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Data- a Magical Solution

9 Dec

In education, we deal with a ton of data.  I can’t begin to count the number of hours I have used excel spreadsheets.  When I was in the classroom, my whole gradebook was in excel- everything calculated for each standard that I taught.  My first year I spent countless hours editting cells to show first name last name; last name, first name; first name middle intitial…. you get the idea.  I wished for an easier way to do that for each and every kid.  Now there is one.excel

Kirk Longhoffer posted on his blog about Magic/ Replace.  This tool will let you reformat large amounts of data.  See this video to understand. It could literally save to MANY hours of formatting time!


Top 100 Learning Tools

13 Nov
Ramblings of a Technology Cooridinator and Log into Lane both fellow Google Certified Teachers, posted the Top 100 Tools For Learning 2008 slide show on their blogs.  Knowing that some of my readers do not read these blogs, I wanted to share it here as well.  I regularly use 29 of the tools mentioned in the slide show and have used 21 others on occasion.  Of the 50 or so sites I had not used, I was familiar with some, but several were new to me.  I plan to look into them over the next few weeks and will post those that I find beneficial.  How many of the tools have you used?  See any you would like to try out?

Web 2.0 Wednesday Challenge

29 Oct

I found a new site today that I wanted to share.  Web 2.0 Wednesday Challenge introduces a new web 2.0 tool each week and then offers a challenge for using it in the classroom.  You can join in where they are to become eligible for “wordwide fame”, or just make it a personal challenge and start at the beginning challenging yourself along the way.

Politics and Wordle

5 Sep

I’m not going to get into politics on here, but I thought this could be used in an educational way.  I have posted about wordle before.  It is a great program that will take a bunch of words- in this case McCain and Obama’s speeches- and create a visual.  The top 125 words used in each speech are listed.  The more often a word is used, the larger that word will be.  I found it very interesting when looking at each candidate and the words they repeatedly used.  This might be a great piece for middle or high school students (or anyone else) to discuss.  If you would like for a larger version, I do have a large copy that I would be willing to email out, just leave a comment.

Spelling City

3 Sep

Two times in the last week I have had parents talk to me about nightly homework.  Kids aren’t wanting to practice spelling and sight words.  I used to have that problem too!  In fact, last year my now 4th grader HATED practicing for spelling, and did not do well enough on the test to just practice at school.  After months of battle, we found some middle ground- Spelling City.  Since I have already recommended it twice this week, I figured I would reccommend it to a “few” more people.

Spelling City allows students (or parents) to input a word list and then it will teach you the words, let you play games with those words and then take a practice test.  I have seen this used with kids as young as 1st grade in learning centers, and my 4th grader is still loving it.  In fact, it is in her “top three favorite ‘school’ websites”.  Out of her mouth, that is saying a lot!!

Why do I like it?  I no longer do the “spelling battle” every day of the week.  On her own, she will go to the computer and practice.  He scores have risen from the 70%’s to the 90%’s.

I am not a huge proponent of weekly spelling words, and really don’t believe homework does much good, but I also stress the responsibility factor and that both will prepare my kids for a better future.  That said, I am all about games that make kids learn without them knowing it.  These days, teachers and parents alike have to be a little sneaky when it comes to “cramming all that learning” into their little minds!

Online Audiobook Checkout- for free!!

1 Sep

I have discovered a wonderful new addiction- audiobooks!  I know, these have been around forever, and I am slow to come around, but I never realized I had a reason to listen to a “book on tape”.  This summer, I spent many hours in the car taking my kids to see their dad.  We drive through the Flint Hills of Kansas and my favorite radio station just doesn’t get that far! 

One day, we were stopping at the library before heading out and I decided to look at the audio books.  I found one of my favorites, that I hadn’t read in a while in a CD version- The DaVinci Code by Dan Brown.  I listened to is all the way up, and all the way back, and so the addiction began!

I am an avid reader and am even the founder of a local bookclub.  I have now started listening to books on the way to and from work.  For 30 minutes each way, I can immerse myself in a story.   I have found it the perfect way to unwind from a crazy day, but enough about me already!

Today I was catching up on my Google Reader, and ran across a post by Wes Fryer.  In his blog, Moving at the Speed of Creativity, he posted about a great service offered to Kansans who enjoy audiobooks.  Please head over to his blog to find out more.  Leave it to an Oklahoman to hear about it before this Kansan.  Oh well, as long as the information gets to people, the how isn’t important, right??


30 Aug

I was catching up on my Google Reader this evening and found a post from Educational Technology and Life by

While it is well worth the time to search for specific images, you can also create you own.  Take many photos from every angle of an object.  upload those photos and phtosynth does all of the hard work for you.  Below shows all of the Sphix photos:

And this is a screen shot of the 3D Sphinx.  The screen shot does little to convey the true nature of the program, so head over to Photosynth for the real experience.

This could so easily be integrated into the classroom in all subject areas.

Some initial ideas:

  • Take a “field trip” to the location in the book you are reading
  • Bring social studies alive by visiting battle sites
  • See all sides of an animal in science
  • Let students see a shape from all angles in math

The application of this in the classroom is only limited by your imagination.  I would love to know how you are using this program in your classroom, or how you plan to!