Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Catch of the Day - The Teacher's Corner - 24 Nov 09

TheTeachersCorner.net is today's fresh catch

The Teacher's Corner was launched in 1998 as an online resource for educators. The Teacher's Corner is an extensive collection of lesson plans along with a wide range of other resources for teachers. On the home page you'll see sections covering numerous topics, such as What's New?, Thematic Units, Seasonal Activities, Lesson Plans, and more.

The Teacher's Corner Home Page

The Lesson Plans page includes teacher-submitted plans for nearly every subject area. If you like, you can submit your own lesson plans to share with teachers everywhere.

There is a Message Board where teachers can chat together.

The Forum Page

The Teacher's Corner has collaborated with CareerBuilder to provide users with information about the latest career opportunities. Users can post a resume, or get help improving one. Employers looking to hire a new staff member can access their employer resources.

The Teaching Jobs Page

Online Collaboration Projects are learning activities that involve collaboration between two or more classrooms from various locations around the world. Students will use the Internet to interact with one another.

Online Collaboration Projects Page

One note, The Teacher's Corner is heavily ad-supported and doesn't like ad blockers.



Monday, November 23, 2009

Why Rows?

I got to thinking about this this morning, "Why have we traditionally arranged our classroom's desks in nice, neat, straight rows and columns?"

Despite some movement away from that traditional configuration, the majority of teachers still use the "row model" to organize their students.

Although I began experimenting with alternative arrangements the last 6 or 8 years I was in the classroom, I used the traditional model most of my career. Changing from that model was not the easiest thing I've ever done. The kids had to learn how to function in an environment unlike that to which they were accustomed. I had to be very patient and nurturing during that transition. Further, it was an adaptive process for me, too. Handling a classroom that is not neatly organized in rows is not the same, from learning how to manage student interaction to carrying out simple things like distributing and collecting materials.

It is my feeling, however, that the eventual results were very much worth the effort. I felt a more interactive relationship developed among the kids as well as between me and my students. There were conversations about math. I think the atmosphere was more respectful and cooperative. There is research which seems to show that kids may ask more questions when they are able to establish face-to-face contact.

Changing classroom arrangements can shift the focus in the room. In the "rows" configuration, everything points to the teacher. The teacher is the master of the room. I've known teachers who could have put a transparent plastic wall between them and their students (like the Bubble Boy in the Seinfeld episode) and it wouldn't have altered the interplay in their rooms at all. By rearranging things, you can put more attention on the kids not only as learners, but also as "teachers". You put everybody in the same boat, so to speak.

Traditional linear rows do not encourage collaboration among students, they were never meant to. Neither do they foster student interaction or cooperative relationships between students and teachers. But, they do simplify classroom management. Your seating arrangement may tell your students where you think everybody stands in your classroom. "Classroom management experts and experienced educators say the decisions teachers make about ... the physical arrangement of the classroom can have an impact on classroom discipline and the effectiveness of instruction."*

So, anyway, why do we continue to be dominated by the "row model"? I expect it's because it's what we know. Most of us have not really experienced anything else. That's the way it's always been done. What else would you do? Then, too, something as simple as the classroom furniture may be a factor. Many schools, especially older secondary schools, are still furnished with the one-piece desk/chair units which don't lend themselves to flexible arrangements.

Ultimately, how teachers choose to arrange their classrooms depends on an understanding their own styles and the needs of their students. The classroom should be a comfortable, relaxed learning space for everybody.

*Dunne, Diane. "Do Seating Arrangements and Assignments = Classroom Management?" Education World. http://www.education-world.com/a_curr/curr330.shtml, 09/10/2004

Catch of the Day - Exploratorium - 23 Nov 09

Exploratorium: The Museum of Science, Art, and Human Perception is today's plenteous catch.

The Exploratorium is an actual brick-and-mortar museum located in San Francisco, California. The Exploratorium went online in 1993, one of the first science museums to create a site on the World Wide Web. The site now contains over 18,000 Web pages and many sound and video files, exploring hundreds of different topics.

Exploratorium Home Page

Many online exhibits are patterned after real exhibits on the museum floor. To simulate some of these, Exploratorium has created a variety of online exhibits using Shockwave, Flash, QuickTime, and other technologies to provide similarly rich experiences.The site contains instructions for over 500 simple experiments, all of which may be viewed on any Web browser and easily printed out.

Teacher Institute Science Teaching Tips Page

A focus on investigating the science behind the ordinary subjects and events of people's lives is what makes the Exploratorium site unique.

Sport Science Page

The Exploratorium's online resources are available 24 hours a day, worldwide, to anyone with an Internet connection. The site has over 20 million visitors a year, that's more than thirty times as many visitors as go to the museum in San Francisco. That makes Exploratorium one of the most visited museum sites on the Internet.

Webcast of the Exploratorium's Iron Science Teacher


Friday, November 20, 2009

Brightstorm: Now with More Calculus!

Brightstorm, the subject of an earlier post, has added more Calculus.

Eleven new Calculus topics are now live on Brightstorm. These videos cover topics that students generally see in the middle of the school year.


Catch of the Day - Math Playground - 20 Nov 09

Today's fresh catch is Math Playground

Math Playground is an award-winning, action-packed site for K-8 students where kids can practice their math skills while having fun. The content includes Math Games, Word Problems, Logic Puzzles, and Math Videos.

Math Playground Home Page

Math Playground was created by teachers who are passionate about math and technology. Many of the activities on the site were inspired by the students they have taught over the years.

Word Problems Page

Math Playground requires Adobe Flash player.

A Video Tour of Math Playground


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Thursday, November 19, 2009

Catch of the Day - Planet Science - 19 Nov 09

Planet Science is today's ocean-fresh catch

Planet Science has been designed to stimulate an interest in science and investigation as well as to develop the skills and attitudes of future innovators.

Planet Science Home Page

Planet Science is organised into 8 main sections, each with its own type of visitor in mind, and its own content. The front page of each section is where you'll find the links to all the content in that section.

Planet Science sections:
  • News - Latest Planet Science news
  • Sci-Teach - Resources and inspiration for teachers
  • Next Steps - Careers in science
  • Out There - Interactive and fun features
  • Parents - Science ideas and activities to share with your kids
  • Under 11s - Round up of special features and sites
  • Randomize - Games and online fun
  • Library - Science and more from the WWW

Sci-Teach Front Page

Teachers, parents and students are free to use the resources that have been thoroughly tested by the Planet Science team.

Randomise Front Page

Planet Science is owned and run by NESTA, the National Endowment for Science Technology and the Arts.


Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Catch of the Day - Parade of Games in PowerPoint - 18 Nov 09

The fresh catch today is Parade of Games in PowerPoint from the University of Wisconsin-Whitewater

The Parade of Games in PowerPoint web site was created to provide educators with easy-to-assemble educational games for classroom use in support of key learning points. The content available on this site makes use of familiar games and popular TV game shows to reinforce learning.

Parade of Games in PowerPoint Home Page

Parade of Games in PowerPoint includes templates for and samples of sixteen games such as Buzz Word Bingo, Jeopardy, Who Am I?, and Who Wants to be A … .

Who Wants to be A… Page

The downloadable template files are in .ppt format and appear to work in Keynote and Neo/Open Office as well as MS Office.

Buzz Word Bingo Page

Parade of Games in PowerPoint is open to all teachers interested in using the templates or the ideas for instructional purposes. The games on this site are free of charge for non-profit educational users.


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Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Catch of the Day - Ideas to Inspire - 17 Nov 09

Ideas to Inspire is the tasty catch today

Ideas to Inspire is a collection of embedded Google Docs presentations created by Mark Warner and designed to inspire the use of technology in teaching. The presentations are the result of the collaboration of teachers from all around the world.

Ideas to Inspire Home Page

The presentations are organized into four different tabs:
  • Curriculum Ideas - Ideas and resources linked to specific curriculum areas
  • Interesting Ways to use ICT hardware in your classroom - Presentations focused on one specific hardware tool
  • Interesting Ways to use ICT software in your classroom - Presentations which share classroom uses for a number of software and online tools
  • Other Collaborative Presentations - More collaborative presentations, covering a range of topics such as Techy Tips, Inspiring Youtube videos, Games and more
Quick tour of Ideas to Inspire

A companion site to Ideas to Inspire is Teaching Ideas, also by Mark Warner.

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Monday, November 16, 2009

Differentiated Instruction - Online Resources

A LiveBinder collection of numerous online resources referencing Differentiated Instruction.

Includes some videos


Teaching Thanksgiving

A LiveBinder collection of classroom resources to use in teaching about the US holiday, Thanksgiving
Teaching Thanksgiving

Suitable content for all grade levels.


Catch of the Day - Owl & Mouse - 16 Nov 09

The fresh catch of the day is the resource site Owl & Mouse

Owl & Mouse helps your child learn with free games, software and educational activities. Owl & Mouse early reading software includes phonics software, alphabet games, and Dolch sight words in a fairy tale story. There are online USA maps, world maps, maps of Europe, map puzzles of the US, Europe, Africa, Asia, and many more.

Owl & Mouse Home Page

  • Maps That Teach
  • Online Map Puzzles
  • Online Interactive Maps
  • Printable U.S. State Maps
  • Online Atlas
  • Make Your Own USA
  • Walk-through Mega Maps

Online Atlas Page

The Owl & Mouse Reading Resources include Learn Letters, Color Letters, Letter Sounds, and Bridge to Reading.

Letter Sounds Interactive

Owl & Mouse also offers other activities such as Build Your Own Medieval Castle; Shields, Knights, and Heraldry; and Make a Town/Village/Farm

Make Your Own USA Page

Everything on Owl & Mouse is free. It's not necessary to download any software. You can use Owl & Mouse content right in your web browser, PC or Mac.


Friday, November 13, 2009

Catch of the Day - Purplemath - 13 Nov 09

Purplemath is today's fresh and bountiful catch

Purplemath is a website dedicated to helping students learn algebra. The heart of Purplemath is a huge collection of student-centered lessons with an emphasis on the nuts-and-bolts of algebra. Lessons are cross-referenced and there's a search box on every page to to help students connect to related material .

Purplemath Home Page

In addition to the lessons, Purplemath also offers:
  • Free learning forums to help learners grow in mathematical knowledge and confidence
  • Reviews of and links to free sites with ontent useful for algebra students
  • Homework guidelines that will give students a leg up, explaining in clear terms what math teachers are looking for
  • Kids can take the Study Skills Self-Survey to find out if they have the study habits needed for success in algebra
Purplemath Video Tour

Purplemath began in 1998 as a personal web site created by Elizabeth Stapel. Ms. Stapel's initial site included course-specific materials for her math students. Later, she started adding a few lessons, eventually growing into what Purplemath is today.


Thursday, November 12, 2009

Catch of the Day - Game Classroom - 12 Nov 09

Game Classroom is today's fresh catch

Game Classroom provides access to quality educational games and homework help for K-6 students. Game Classroom searches the web for the best and most reputable games, collects them, and sorts them according to skill, topic and grade level.

Game Classroom Homepage

Game Classroom serves up an abundance of interactive content to help parents better understand the underpinnings of their child’s development. There is also a comprehensive, free homework help section where parents and teachers can find learning tips, online resources and sample problems to help their children.

Homework Help Sample Page

All of Game Classroom's educational content has been created by professional educators with over 200 years of combined teaching experience.


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Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Catch of the Day - Lure of the Labyrinth - 11 Nov 09

Lure of the Labyrinth is today's innovative catch

Lure of the Labyrinth is a game for middle school pre-algebra students designed to improve math and literacy skills. It includes intriguing math-based puzzles embedded in a narrative game in which students work to find their lost pet and save the world from monsters. Linked to mathematics standards, the game gives students a chance to think like mathematicians.

Lure of the Labyrinth Home Page

In Lure of the Labyrinth, students progress through three sections, or wings each related to a different math strand that is part of a the typical pre-algebra curriculum:
  • Proportions (including fractions and ratios)
  • Variables and Equations
  • Number and Operations (including geometry, order of operations and modular arithmetic)
Each of the three wings includes three puzzles, and each of the puzzles has three levels progressing from easy to hard. Students have to successfully solve each puzzle three times before they can advance through the game.

Lure of the Labyrinth Library Page

A professional development video specifically designed for pre-algebra teachers takes them step-by-step through the things they need to do to make this engaging game the focal point of great classroom learning experiences.

Planning resources include links to standards, directions for working with specific puzzles, lesson plans, explanations of the background math, and graphic organizers.

Video - Lure of the Labyrinth

Lure of the Labyrinth was created by Maryland Public Television and MIT Education Arcade in cooperation with FableVision.


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Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Catch of the Day - RIBIT - 10 Nov 09

Today's fresh catch is RIBIT, the Reusable Internet-Based Inquiry Template

RIBIT is a tool designed to help teachers create inquiry-based learning curriculum using the Internet. RIBIT is easy to use, it stores the Internet-based inquiries (IBIs) that users create and it's free. RIBIT is rooted in constructivist thinking, which argues that humans generate knowledge and meaning from their experiences.

RIBIT Home Page

RIBIT is a tool that teachers can use to help students learn to think. Use the RIBIT template to build Internet-based-inquiries: activities that ask students to make sense of raw materials such as photos representing the elements of the water cycle, videos of ballistic tests, historical sources pertaining to an event.


The RIBIT philosophy …
"Our students need to practice thinking. Much of K-12 education is about learning facts and concepts and then being able to demonstrate this knowledge. That's fine, but this alone does not prepare students for life in a complex world where circumstances are ever changing and often unfamiliar... where the ability to recognize patterns, ascertain forces and draw conclusions -- in a word, to think -- are the required skills for success."

RIBIT offers workshops on inquiry-based models of teaching and using RIBIT. John Raymond, creator of RIBIT, is an educational technology developer and professional development consultant.


Monday, November 9, 2009

Catch of the Day - The Biology Project - 9 Nov 09

The Biology Project is today's ocean-fresh catch

The Biology Project is an interactive online resource for learning biology developed by the Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biophysics at the University of Arizona. Richly illustrated, The Biology Project has been tested on thousands of real of students. Though originally designed for college level biology students, it is useful for high school students, as well.

The Biology Project Home Page

Teachers can assign an activity before students cover that topic in their lab, or may assign problem sets for exam reviews. You can link to specific Biology Project activities from your course website or wiki.
General Biology Lesson Plans Page

Students will find that the information covered in The Biology Project is probably just like what they've been studying in their own biology course. Advanced students may find these materials to be a useful review. The authentic applications of biology and the inclusion of up-to-date research will benefit all students.
Human Biology Projects Page

The problem sets for each category of the project are based on multiple-choice questions, a format that serves to create an interactive learning tool rather than a testing instrument. The non-linear interactive presentation style of The Biology Project requires the active participation of the user, helping to retain the attention of the students, promote learning interest, and enhance the retention.


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