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Sunday, April 17, 2011

"Cognitive Theft" -- Are you guilty?

“Cognitive theft” is a term that was coined by Gary Stager as saying that “anytime you go to ‘help’ a learner, pause and think about whether you are taking away an opportunity for them to learn it themselves.”  It even helps explain why students feel so cheated when you do give them the answer to a problem they are working hard on, and why they feel so strongly that “they need to do it by themselves.” We feel a sense of injustice when someone steals our ability to reason through a problem on our own.

Gary has a great video about his and story behind the video. I encourage every new teacher (and experienced one, too) to take a minute and listen to his talk and read his story about how he arrived at the term "Cognitive Theft" -- I won't be doing this. I'm one of those that like to figure things out on my own, too. So as a good teacher I must model what I'm teaching. Shouldn't we all? 
                          Click HERE to read and see Gary's video.

Ideas to Inspire -- Great collection of ideas, technologies and collaborative starters.

'Ideas to Inspire' is a collection of collaborative presentations, which offer a large number of ideas for engaging lesson activities. They are the result of the collaboration of teachers from all around the world.  Check it out here


Memory Matters!

       "If we want our students to remember things and be able to talk about them then we need to help students form declarative, relational memories. Perhaps one way to begin to do this is to model out loud the processes taking place in own brains as we explain a concept. In other words, put our own thinking out there on the table to be examined. That way students might have a better chance of knowing what to focus on, and so begin to be able to develop relational memories, instead of simply memories of isolated episodes, or memories of carrying out activities. A critical capacity of the hippocampus, and one vital to the formation of declarative, relational memories, is linking. The hippocampus works to establish relationships – links – between things, particularly between episodes. So, explicitly focusing on links and connections might be a better way to establish long-term relational memories than simply giving clear explanations."



Science for KIDS!!!

That's right... a Fun Experiments, Cool Facts, and great information about science from around the world!!

Science Kids is the home of science & technology on the Internet for children around the world.

Learn more about the amazing world of science by enjoying our fun science experiments, cool facts, online games, free activities, ideas, lesson plans, photos, quizzes, videos & science fair projects.

Check it out HERE!


Study Jams from Scholastic helps with Math & Science Lessons!

Check out the newest concepts for supplemental math and science for Middle Schoolers @ Scholastic's Study Jam website. Just click on the MATH or SCIENCE link at the top and then click away on getting to know the crew - they are 14 y/o students wanting to learn!


Tuesday, April 12, 2011

From failure can come learning...

There is a challenge called the Marshmallow Challenge (see the link of the video talk from here.)

As educators we are always looking for concrete examples and active experiences to better advance understanding.   Last Saturday I spent four hours with groups of 15-20 seventh graders, about an hour at a time, undertaking an activity which has (at least)  two powerful take-away lessons, one of them being the critical importance of error in achieving success.

The activity is called the Marshmallow Challenge, and it is incredibly easy and amazingly powerful.  It has its own website with thorough directions, including a fascinating Ted-talk by Tom Wujec who articulates astutely some of its lessons.
Here’s the gig: set up groups of almost any size, and any age, Kindergarten to Centenarian.  
                                            Give them a table top, 20 sticks of spaghetti, 
                                            a yard of string, a yard of tape, and a marshmallow.  
Set a time to 18 minutes, and tell the crowd at the end of time, you will measure and (very modestly) award the team which has the marshmallow supported highest above the table– and remember, at the end of time, no hands!
That’s all.  Step back, watch, and learn.  Be sure to check out the pictures in the Photo gallery and then try one the next time you have a cooperative learning need or just a professional development event that is a bit boring. You and what you learn about each other maybe surprising!


iPODsibilities... Software for use in Special Education settings...

Here are a few educational apps that Meg Wilson from of iPODsibilities website has come across during her time with iPods, iPhones, & iPads.

From improving math frequency to tracking data,
here are a few good Special Education apps
to check out on iTunes...Check out her listing of software by looking here

Special Education apps listing is found here!


Google Classroom.... yes it's already here!


Google has not only taken over the world, but they are positioned to take over many of the classrooms! 

There are many Google resources and applications that can be utilized in the classroom. Below you will find them organized into the following categories: Applications (downloads); Collaboration; Research Resources and Other Resources.

The first thing I suggest is setting up a Gmail account. It is free and then you will have a login for all of the Google tools and applications.

Checkout the Google Classroom HERE!


Monday, April 11, 2011

Make YOUR powerpoints POP!!

Microsoft is offering at SLIDEFEST 2011 and through this program you can get tips and tricks on how to make your powerpoints better.

Check it out at:

(Requires an update to SilverLight, which is free).


NEOK12.COM is a great site for all students!!

Kids learn by "seeing" the real world. Here's a 100% FREE collection of online educational videos, lessons, quizzes, games and puzzles from K-12 levels.   Subjects include: Physical Science, Life Science, Earth&Space, Social Studies, Geography, Math, English, History, The Human Body and many more.

There is even a collection on Child Safety videos for both educators and parents.

Check it out at


Sunday, April 10, 2011

Qwiki -- A great way to launch a UNIT Lesson Plan!!

As I learned the other day the "Anticipatory Set" in a Unit Lesson Plan should be something that will ignite the learner and create the interest in the upcoming lessons. Wow! Here is a great way to do this. Using Qwicki...

Qwiki works differently than regular search. Instead of coming back with links, it creates a multimedia presentation for your search term.

The result is a story, told with images, text, and audio about the subject you searched for. If you search for the term again, it will create a new story. There is a "film strip" on the bottom so you can skip ahead to other images.

You can sign up for free and save your Qwiki's for later viewing. You can also view other Qwiki's from other people on the site.  

I'm now using their TODAY IN HISTORY as a launching pad to start the school day and get the students thinking about what impact they will have on history by seeing what happened before!  A great conversation and writing lessons starter. 


Free MATH Videos --- that's right FREE!!!

   Maths Master offers short instructional videos for learning basic arithmetic and algebra. Maths Master is also working on developing video instruction on probability and geometry. The videos can be viewed on the Maths Master site or downloaded via iTunesU.
Click on the logo above to be taken to their website!!

A great website for all grade levels and subjects relating to Mathematics!!


A great source of information regarding Bullying & Cyber Bullying...

The Problem

1. Every day, 60,000 students miss school due to fear or intimidation by a bully.

2. Almost 30% of teens in the United States (or over 5.7 million) are estimated to be involved in bullying.

3. 10% of students drop out of school because of repeated bullying.

4. Bullying increases through elementary grades and peaks in middle school.

5. Bullies are six times more likely to commit a crime.

Take a look at the Principal's Essentials website for additional materials and posters that can be downloaded and used the classroom. Together WE can STOP Bullying!

stop cyberbully posters
CLICK ON THE IMAGE ABOVE to link to the website. 

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Scholastic Math Hub - A Great Resource!!!

Get Students Talking about Math!

How does a teacher find the best way to engage students in thoughtful discussion, connect students to the material, and ask good questions that encourage them to think with depth and curiosity? Our partners at Math Solutions have worked hard to make Math Talk easy to manage in your classroom by identifying the elements and methods that make for successful math discourse.

The Math Hub is a place for learning and sharing expertise about the use of adaptive technology to increase math achievement. Join the conversation, visit the Math Hub!

Click on the picture to go to Tom Snyder's MATH HUB

Math Talk

Saturday, April 2, 2011

The Cost of Dropping Out!

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Brought to you by Teacher Certification Map and MAT@USC | Master’s of Arts in Teaching

Google Supports Bloom's Taxonomy... check it out!!

Kathy Schrock has created a "linkable" page that has Bloom's Taxonomy (revised) that show's how Google Tools and applications can be used in the classroom. This is a great tool for teachers that want to learn how to use technology as a tool in getting students moving through the levels of Bloom's hierarchy. Check it out at the link below!


Personal Learning Networks - A "MUST" for new teachers...

A PLN is a way to make connections and share ideas and resources. As I have become friends on Facebook and determined who to follow on Twitter I have found that a Personal Learning Network is a great tool for a new teacher. 

But it doesn't have to start with the ones you've never met anywhere except online -- you can have one with colleagues that you work with. This means that you share tips, techniques, and ideas that you have found. It may mean that there is a "teacher blog" at the school so that those that wish to contribute can do so without the "face-to-face" obligation. Sometimes its easier to jot down a few lines in blog, than it is to ask questions or feel that you are interrupting your fellow colleagues with things that you think you should already know. But the one thing I have found on this Journey Toward Education is that "no one has all the answers" to all the of the questions that we face as educators on a day-to-day basis. What works in your classroom may also work in someone else's and what works in their may work in yours, but if the two of you never talk more than the simple "hello" in the hallway as you way students change classes then neither of you benefit from the "experiences" that we accumulate on a daily basis. 

Thus here is a great link that I found on David Andrade's blog that listed all of the online connections that I've been using, plus a few more that I didn't know existed. 

Why not start your own PLN and then link together with those in your building, your district and as always "around the globe".   After all we are much more globally impacted than we realize and it's now time to work together as a global community!


Use technology to get parents involved....

"Schools need to reach out to parents and get them involved in the school. Schools should also help parents with helping their children succeed." This is from "educationaltechnologyguy"'s blog and is a great read on how to help get the parents involved in the education and learning of their children.

So many of the younger children's parents are "tech" savvy that we need to make sure that we get the K-3 group wired together for class-learners-parents-schools.

Check out David Andrade's blog post to find out how we can all benefit.