Thursday, December 9, 2010

Two Tips for Today - - It's Follow-Up Day

Today I am following up on two recent posts.  On Monday, I shared two contests that are available to students.  Here is another essay contest that is being shared.  Students in grades 3-12 are eligible.  They need to write 100 word essay about technology and the grand prize is $10,000.
I quoted Wayne Greszsky in my Monday post and I believe his words ring true in all aspects of learning.  He said, "You miss 100% of the shots you don't take."  One of your students could come away a winner and even it they don't, learning to limit an essay to 100 words is a 21st century skill worth exploring and supporting.  Check out this 100-word essay contest and share it with someone if it won't work for your students.  Pay it forward!  100 words for a possible $10,000!  This is keeping it simple.

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My second follow-up is to my post from December 2nd: "Don't Get Stuck in 1.0" in which I shared a blog post by Nicky Hockly.  The post about Web 1.0 was the first in a series and I am sharing her next installment about Web 2.0, the "read, write web."  Ms. Hockly keeps her explanation simple and I hope you recognize some of the tools she discusses.
Have you moved on to Web 2.0 in your teaching?  Web 2.0 is about engaging students through producing with tools that allow creation and interactivity.  This is something that today's students are quite comfortable doing. 

In this blog, I've been sharing a number of these tools and I look forward to your comments about how you are using the read,write web or Web 2.0.  I hope you keep learning and trying to increase your technology tool kit.  You can do tech!

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Math Playground - An Arcade of Engagement

Today's tip is a well developed math game website.

If you are looking for a one stop place for arcade type math games, this Math Playground link is sure to engage your students.  The site keeps it simple and provides clear directions.  The games load quickly, some can be played publicly and privately, and some support both single and multiple players.   If you create a private game, you can add a password and students can share it with friends.  Games on this page include the addition, subtraction, multiplication, division and ratio, fraction and integers. 

In addition to using Math Playground games in your classroom, this is a good site to share with parents to support the home/school connection.  Teachers frequently ask me for sites that will engage their students and this is one that I continue to recommend.  If you like this page, there is much more to the site you can explore.

Check it out and see if it will work for your students or share it with a colleague.  Leave a comment if you find that Math Playground is a hit with your students. 

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Learning About Web 2.0 Storytelling - A Resource

 Today, I am sharing a wiki about Digital Storytelling that I think keeps it simple but provides information, videos, and conversation on the topic.  You can read about digital storytelling or "click" and enter a discussion on various aspects of digital storytelling.  The authors of this wikispace site, Bryan Alexander and Alan Levine, provide a variety of storytelling links and examples.  This wiki was developed after the two wrote an article in 2008, "Web 2.0 Storytelling, Emergence of a New Genre." Click the title to read the article.
 Check out this wiki to expand your understanding of Digital Storytelling and how to integrate technology into your storytelling lessons.

I hope you find this wiki resource useful and simple enough to navigate.  Try a few clicks and see what you find.
Share your thoughts in a comment.  Two years after this article was published, has the new genre emerged in your classroom or school?

Monday, December 6, 2010

Take a Shot: Online Contests - An Easy Find

The web provides access to many FREE resources for teachers and you can also find opportunities for your students to participate in contests, challenges, projects, and events like the Google Science Fair and much more.

If you are an educator, click the link for classroom resources, complete the simple registration form and Google will send you materials for your class or even your whole school.  Students or teams ages 13-18 are eligible to participate in the Google Science Fair. Google will kick off registration on January 11th.  So, if you register your classroom/school now, you should receive your material before the.

My next example will be ending on January 21, 2011 but there is still plenty of time to enter.  Olive Garden is sponsoring its 15th annual Pasta Tales Essay Contest.  Students from 1st - 12th grade are eligible to register online or you can print a form.  This year's topic for a 50-250 word essay is: “Describe how furthering your education beyond high school will help make your dreams come true.” The contest grand prize is a three-day trip to New York City and a $2,500 savings bond and there are also winners at each grade level who receive a bond and dinner at a local Olive Garden.
 According to the contest website, submissions will be judged based on creativity, adherence to theme, organization, grammar, punctuation and spelling by the Quill and Scroll Society of the College of Journalism and Communications at the University of Iowa, with winners selected by Olive Garden.

This form keeps it simple and the essay topic is central to motivating students to achieve and think about furthering their education beyond high school.

If you are looking for a way to challenge your students and open their eyes to new ways to demonstrate their abilities, search the web for contests, events, and opportunities like these.  There are hundreds available, depending upon where you live and the age of your students.
You miss 100% of the shots you don't take.  Wayne Gretzky 
If your students don't ever participate in something like these contests, they will never have the opportunity to win. My search of online writing contests yielded 930,000 websites so, if my examples aren't to your liking, I am sure you will find something that could work for your students. Many contests are simple online submissions like Olive Garden's.  Teachers should check with a school administrator and follow appropriate protocol for online submissions.  I hope you are able to let your students take a shot!

If you have participated in an online event, contest, etc. share your experience in a comment.  If not, could the Google Science Fair or the Olive Garden Pasta Tales Contest work for your students?   Share your thoughts on this topic.