Google Docs and the Writing Process

Janelle BenceGoogle has teamed up with Weekly Reader to create lesson plans for the revision stage of the writing process.  This is a great way to learn revision while collaborating in a cool read/write web sort of way.  These lesson plans are directed toward teenage students, but any teacher worth his or her salt can adapt and modify to fit other ages.

Learning Google Docs has saved our middle school campus a ton of time by sharing documents and spreadsheets campus-wide eliminating the need to walk to check a sheet in the office or meet just to agree on a revision or final copy.  Our students need to begin learning this process as well.  Revision is the toughest part of the writing process because the ownership is so near and dear (or laziness sets in).  Take this chance to engage your students in the process by utilizing the free tools we have available on the Internet.  You will be surprised how many decide to voluntarily work on their writing at home.  Seriously.

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National Geographic Lesson Plans for ALL Grades

If you found yourself in need of some geography lessons for your K-12 classroom, then do I have a deal for you.  National Geographic Xpeditions has been nice enough to share lessons, projects, and maps on their site by grade level. There is a wealth of information available for educators to take advantage of. 

Here are just a few of the items that the My Wonderful World blog pulled from the site to share:

  • Map your class! – (can be adapted for various age groups)Have students locate on the map (e.g. with removable stickers) countries from which their families immigrated to the United States.
  • 20 QuestionsPlay – 20 questions with a world map!
  • Name Game – Have students name a world location for each letter of the alphabet.Name GameHave students name a world location for each letter of the alphabet.
  • Country Comparisons – Have students research and then compare and contrast two countries.
  • Map your community – Have students look at a variety of maps, and then get them to create a map of their neighborhood or school with a key, title and appropriate map conventions.
  • Locate Earth’s Physical Extremes – Maps4Kids – Maps4Kids provides a series of “top 10” lists about the Earth.
  • Locate Earth’s Political Extremes – Maps4Kids – Maps4Kids provides a series of “top 10” lists about the Earth.
  • Seven Wonders – Maps4Kids – Use the lists at Maps4Kids to have students locate and research the history of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World.
  • Top 10 lists – Have students use other available resources to research and compile their own “top 10 lists” and locate them on the map.

These are just a few of the items National Geographic has made available.  Go try it out for yourself.  There are some awesome resources out there for free for EVERY grade level. 

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Podcasting in the Classroom

Tim Wilson, a technology integration specialist from Minnesota, hosted a session at NECC last year (NECC will be in San Antonio June 2008). The audience put together a list of classroom uses for podcasting. Tim blogged about it and offers this list:

Collect field notes during a science field trip
Living museum, researching characters
“Radio shows”
Creating audio guides for local museums
Teacher powerpoints
Early language learners, (rhyming, etc.)
Staff development
Language learners recording assessments
Discovery Education videos
Science reports
Art projects
Digital portfolios
Weekly classroom news
Serial storytelling
Reflective journals
Summaries of school events
Broadcast school sporting events
Roving reporters
Capturing oral histories (family history)
Podcast vocab words and spelling lists
Flashcard practice with iFlash
Musical compositions
Soundseeing tours

Since podcasting is new to many in our school district, I thought I would offer this list up and see if anyone was interested in trying it out.  If you are, give me a call.  We have the equipment available for our staff to try these things out.

Any other ways to use podcasting that you can think of?

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Ask A Biologist

Arizona State University is offering science students and teachers a great opportunity.  Have a science question?  Post it and let them help you out.  They call the site Ask a Biologist.

While you are there, subscribe to their podcast.  You are going to find some great stuff here!

Thanks to the folks over at the Generation YES blog for pointing it out to me.

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Rock the Web – 07-08 National Youth Presidential Forum

rock_the_webHey history and social studies teachers!  Here is a great chance to get your kids involved with the upcoming election in a 21st Century way.  Here is what their site has to say about the event:

On November 14, 2007, The EWN Foundation together with the Lou Frey Institute of Politics and Government at The University of Central Florida, The Presidential Classroom and The United States Association of Former Members of Congress will conduct a three hour National Youth Presidential Forum (NYPF). The NYPF will be webcast to an estimated 25 million students, who will be first time voters.

Presidential Candidates will participate in the Forum from remote locations of their choice. The candidates will field questions from a moderator and students representing the Presidential Classroom. After the webcast, students will participate in an on-line vote for the candidate they would choose in the 2008 Presidential Election. Student’s feedback about the candidates’ responses will be collected and provided to the candidates after the event.

Each student will receive a login code from their teacher, 7-10 days before the event. They will pre-register to vote at There will be pre-event class work assigned by the teachers. Then each student will attend the event at their respective venues. After the event, each student will receive a unique ballot code that will enable them to return to the web site and cast a vote and complete a survey about the Forum.

The goal of the NYPF is to increase the knowledge of our youth and to promote participation in the upcoming 2008 Presidential Election.

Check out the Rock the Web site for information and registration. 

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Copyright Issues in the (Virtual) Classroom

This is more like a virtual note to myself and readers than it is a new post.

Educators struggle with what is right and wrong from the copyright guidelines and what we do with our students.  Wes Fryer takes on the topic in a fairly easy to understand way in a recent post.  You might also still be able to find his article from TCEA‘s publication TechEdge here.

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Free. Quality. Self-selected. Your pace. Your place.

What else can I say about the technology sessions offered in the k12online conference? Check out the poster below, and then check out the site. This is your chance to learn new technologies and the pedagogy behind them without having a class full of people sitting around you. No pressure to move on until you are ready. Yet, there is a ton of free support offered in this as well, so you are not left stranded. The conference is one I highly recommend.

Oh, did I mention it is free?

If you need help getting an RSS feed reader set-up so you can follow the conference happenings easier, let me know. I am always more than happy to help out.


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Literacy Project to Start the Year?

Jennifer Wagner, from Technospud fame, has prepared one of her many online, international projects for the coming school year. Dr. Seuss is the theme of this one. This is what she has to say:

The one I am most excited about begins registration in just about 2 weeks. “SALUTE TO SEUSS“!! It will involve a WIKi and also several other Web 2.0 tools. Teachers will be encouraged to make a class project about the book they choose to showcase. It can be a blog, a wiki, a slideshare, a photoshare, or more!! We did the same with Charlotte’s Web in the Fall and it was great to see how creative classes can be.

Take this time to consider this unique project. It is very versatile and works for grades K-6. Visit her blog post about this and leave her questions. She is always more than happy to answer them. Good luck!

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