Friday Five 2012-2013

Each week I send out eTips to all 21st Century learners in Talladega County, Alabama on Friday. The Friday Five provides readers with valuable tips, information, links, and inspiration for engaging students using 21st Century skills. I hope you enjoy! To see previous Friday Fives, visit the TCBOE21 wiki or check the navigation bar at the left for last year's editions.

Friday Five for Friday, May 17th

1. Motivation and Rewards for Your Students...
Looking for a new reward and motivational system for your students? Check out these great ideas on The Nest Effect blog. You'll find dozens of great ideas on this 4th grade teacher's blog. It's definitely one to bookmark and investigate this summer.

2. The 5 Biggest Education Technology Trends...
From iPads in classrooms to mobile apps for educators, new technologies are changing how teachers teach and educational institutions are run. Whether they flip the classroom model, blend the learning experience or just make educators’ lives easier, lots of innovators are talking about technology and how it is transforming education as we know it.
3. Parent Input...
Are you considering conducting a survey for the parents of your students? Check out this Survey Monkey template for schools and teachers.
Harvard University's Dr. Hunter Gehlbach and his team used a rigorous process to create survey questions to assess key areas of family/school relationships. Drawing from academic literature, parent interviews, focus groups, expert panels, and survey design best practices, the team developed questions that addressed the a number of important key areas.

4. Can You Write a 6 Word Story?
There's not much time left in school but just enough time to have your students write a short story -- a very short story. Take a look at this article about 6 word stories. This activity might be really fun for you and your students. Enjoy!

5. A Look at 20th and 21st Century Classrooms...
What is the difference between 20th and 21st Century Classroom? This comprehensive comparison chart is worth a look. How can you improve your classroom and meet the needs of your students? Use this list to help guide your development.

Have a great weekend!

Friday Five for Friday, May 10th

1. 60 Tech Tips in 60 Minutes...
Kathy Schrock is definitely one of my favorite technology leaders in America today. Though she retired a couple of years ago, she is still incredibly active in the world of technology integration. I find her 60 Tech Tips in 60 Minutes especially useful. You'll find many new things on this list. It's definitely worth a few minutes of your time!

2. Need More Educational Jargon?
If you can't get enough educational jargon, you simple have to visit this site. The Educational Jargon Generator was designed to assist in the writing of reports, grant applications, and other documents related to public schools. I believe that it will be particularly useful for people involved in writing reports for WASC accreditation. Amaze your colleagues with finely crafted phrases of educational nonsense! (I really think this is more for fun. I can't imagine that it really helps in the writing of reports or grants. Enjoy!)

3. Diaper Technology...
I found this so... (well, I'm not sure the word) that I just had to share it. Testing is ongoing for an app that will send a parent a tweet to alert them that their child's diaper is wet. Seriously. Read more about the Kimberly-Clark Corporation's efforts here. There really is an app for everything, now!

4. Voice Feedback using Google Docs!
Teachers at Childersburg High are crazy about a powerful Google Docs tool -- Voice Comments. Provide your students voice feedback on their writing or projects on Google Docs with this amazing FREE app. It only works with Google Docs (not Spreadsheet or Presentation). Teachers are finding it a HUGE time saver and CHS students are using it to provide one another with peer feedback. The tutorial is very simple and straight-forward. If you are a Google Doc user, you absolutely MUST take a look at this application.

5. Need Fresh Ideas for Student Leadership?
Does your school place a strong emphasis on student leadership? Would you like some fresh, new ideas for next year? Check out this article, Ten Ways to Pump Up the Volume on Student Leadership. I guarantee that you will find something useful for your school. Read, jot down the best ideas, and share with your colleagues. It's a great resource!

Have a great weekend!

Friday Five for Friday, April 26th

1. Why Try Apple TV?
Apple TV is great for entertainment. But why are so many teachers consider the device a very valuable piece of their technological arsenal for their classrooms? It's much more than the mirroring capabilities, which is one the main reasons many are adapting Apple TV to the classroom environment. Read this excellent Edudemic article to see the many ways Apple TV can serve your students. Great piece! (Another mirroring solution for your iPad is Reflector App - take a look at this $13 solution! Thanks to Emile Milam for the suggestion!) Have a ton of money? Take a look at Netsupport School. One teacher called it Smart Sync on crack! There really are some amazing products out there to support our digital learning environment!

2. A High School Must-Read...
Every high school staff member needs to read this article: 10 Elements of a Successful High School.This succinct top ten list is incredibly powerful! Use it as a checklist. Use it as inspiration. Use it as an evaluation tool. Use it to set goals. Just use it. This information is based on research and provides links to support to help make the "10 Elements" a reality in your school. I know it says high school, but this list really works for ALL SCHOOLS. Take a moment to read the list!

3. Online Research Infographic...
Researching online can be overwhelming for many students (not to mention lots of us adults, too!) Take a look at this Online Research infographic that helps make sense of the online research in a very simple, straightforward way. Print a copy and share with your students. They'll love it, too! Thanks to Emeka Barclay for sharing this resource!

4. Deep Discounts on Books? Yes, please!
Have you ever shopped at the Scholastic Book Warehouse? If you love books and love books on deep discount, you need to bookmark this information. May 16 - May 31st is the warehouse sale in Inverness. Check out the Scholastic website for specific times and how to sign up and visit. Coupons are available as well. Can we say summer reading for a bargain?

5. So, What's Next?
Do you ever have trouble deciding on the next book you'd like to read? Well, here's an interesting solution. What Should I Read Next is a simple solution to finding a book similar to others you really enjoyed. Type in the author or title and you'll find long lists of suggestions and links to information about the book and where to buy. How simple!

Have a great weekend!

Friday Five for Friday, April 19th

1. Lucky Seven!
Are you using iPads with your class more and more? Do you need some management advice for effectively using iPads with students? Well, look no more! The Journal's online magazine published a great article recently just for you -- 7 Tips for Managing Your iPad Classroom Be sure to bookmark this one!

2. Free Posters!
If you are like me, you love free resources and information. I found this collection of 14 Bloom's Taxonomy Posters and immediately knew someone one there would love to post one of these in his or her classroom!

3. Using Technology vs. Technology Integration...
If you'd like to assess your use of technology, take a look at this very simple chart. Using Technology vs. Technology Integration: An Excellent Chart for Teachers is a wonderful little self-assessment worth your time. See where you are in the process of highly purposeful technology integration. I bet you will do great!

4. What to do with your tech after you're gone...
The folks at Google have come up with something to help you even when you are no longer here. Google's Inactive Account Manager is a way for you to tell Google what you want to happen to all your emails and various Google accounts after your predetermined length of time. Take a look at this article about the service.

5. Pray for Boston and our nation.
This morning my heart is heavy for those in Boston and those effected by this week's tragedy. I'm especially mindful of the many young children scared and confused today. I pray for wisdom for parents, teachers, and others to help them through this horrific saga.

Have a pleasant weekend.

Friday Five for Friday, April 5th

1. Talladega County's technology Showcase
Today is the annual 21st Century Technology Showcase for Talladega County's teachers and students. To find out more about the fun, follow the #tcboe21 hashtag on Twitter and Instagram. You will see loads of great pictures and descriptions of the events from the showcase!

2. App Fit for a 10th Grader!
This app was recommended to me by Miesha Avery, a 10th grader at Childersburg High School. She swears by it. Try Catch.
Catch is a free app for capturing ideas and turning them into action with simple mobile collaboration. You'll find that the app is available for iPhone, iPad, and Android.

3. iPad Reference Card...
Need a iPad Cheat Sheet? Look no more. This excellent basic iPad Reference Card can help you with all the basics of your device. These quick tips are certain to lessen your frustrations when working with your iPad. Print a copy and share with your students. They'll love it, too!

4. Another one bites the dust (or will soon)!
Google Alerts is one of my favorite Google tools, but will soon be buried in the Google graveyard with Google Reader and many other tools. If you'd like an alternative to Google Alerts, check out this article. You'll find loads of other options there.

5. Don't Look Now, But Folks Will be Sniffing Their Phones Soon...
The folks at Google have outdone themselves. Now in Beta is Google Nose. Yes, that's nose, as in, "What does that thing I'm searching for actually smell like?" They promise a Google Aromabase of tons of scentibytes. It's so odd that they had to invent language to even explain it. I don't think I have to encourage you to investigate. Admit it, you're curious, right?
(In case you missed this on Monday, April Fools! I wonder how many of you didn't make to the end of the message to find out that it was a joke!)

Friday Five for Friday, March 22nd

1. Search and Rescue...
Do you need a few top notch search engines designed especially for academic work? 20 Useful Specialty Search Engines for College Students are actually quite good for the college-bound middle or high school student. Give them a look!

2. Love Affair with Math?
How Do You Spark a Love of Math in Kids?This wonderful article focuses on middle school math, but has some great stuff for ALL math teachers. Here's another great article to browse: Why It's Important to Talk Math With Kids.

3. Creativity Challenge...
Edutopia contributor Andrew Miller knows so much about PBL and 21st Century skills. Take a quick look at Yes, You Can Teach and Assess Creativity. If you find yourself uncertain how to teach creativity, you'll be glad you read his post.

4. Best Videos on the Web!
Looking for something to inspire discussion, thinking, or debate? Want a video of reasonable length to serve as inspiration for your students. Take some time to explore TED. I've shared many videos from this site over the years, but there are SO many on here I couldn't possibly tell you about the best ones. The leaders and thinkers that share at TED conferences will blow you away!

5. Spring at last!
“April is the cruelest month, breeding lilacs out of the dead land, mixingmemory and desire, stirringdull roots with spring rain.”
T.S. Eliot, The Waste Land

Friday Five for Friday, March 15th

1. Superb Common Core Resource...
One of the BEST Common Core tools I've seen for English Language Arts, Social Studies, and Science is the Literacy Design Collaborative. Be certain you check out the unbelievably useful Secondary Task Collection. There is also a great Elementary Task Collection. It's so powerful that you can use this with your students tomorrow.

2. Online Quiz Options...
Are you looking for some great online quiz options? Edudemic has 7 Online Quiz Tool Perfect for the Classroom for you! Most are free and very easy to use. Take a look at these simple tools for tests, quizzes, and other simple formative assessment tools!

3. Are Digital Natives Digitally Literate?
Blogger David Jones explains why many of our students are neither digital native nor digitally literate. This post really outlines what being digitally literate means. Do you wonder about YOUR digitally literacy? Read this to see where YOU are and what YOU might need to learn to catch up!

4. Weak Writing? Not Any Longer!
Looking for some tips on managing a technology integrated classroom? Integrating Technology: Classroom Management Strategies provides loads of tips, information, examples, and ideas to help you keep your classroom running smoothly.

5. St. Patrick's Day Wish for You!

May your blessing outnumber
The shamrocks that grow,
And may trouble avoid you
Wherever you go.
~Irish Blessing

Have a great weekend!

Friday Five for Friday, February 15th

1. iPad Storage Options...
The lack of storage space on an iPad causes us all a bit of frustration, especially as other devices seem to have MORE storage spaces than ever before. But here's a bit of help. 14 Ways to Store and Share Files on the iPad is a great article highlighting some solutions to your storage problem.

2. A New Kind of QR Code Generator...
Lots of teachers are finding creative ways to use QR codes in their classrooms these days. If you are one of those and looking for a really snazzy QR Code generator, try Visualead. Take a moment to browse this site to see the cool samples of the sorts of codes you can generate. These are awesome! Imagine them on t-shirts, posters/bulletin boards, programs, and your classroom door!! The possibilities are endless!

3. Bite into this...
Looking for a new digital slidebook for student creativity? Try Biteslide. In a nutshell, Biteslide is the easy and engaging way to make school projects more creative. It has been designed specifically for teachers, students, and the teaching environment. Biteslide is being used by students of all ages around the world. At the heart of Biteslide are slidebooks. Slidebooks are a creative and fun way to express yourself using text, images, videos and much more. It is limited to 1 teacher, 30 students, and 1 project (1 project can have as many slidebooks as you like).

4. Weak Writing? Not Any Longer!
This post by Jeff Goins spoke to me. Teaching students to write using strong, active language is challenging. This short article might inspire a lesson in avoiding "weak words" and give you just the examples you need with your students. Five Weak Words that Make Your Writing Less Effective is a must-read!

5. Wallwisher's Glitches Have Gone Away!
Wallwisher is now padlet and it works like a charm. Padlet is an Internet application that allows people to express their thoughts on a common topic easily. It works like an online sheet of paper where people can put any content (e.g. images, videos, documents, text) anywhere on the page, together with anyone, from any device. Think of it like a multimedia friendly, free-form, real-time wiki. If you've never used it, give it a try. You'll be glad you did.

Have a great weekend!

Friday Five for Friday, February 8th
Talladega County Teachers Connect and Share Resources!

1. Share On This GOOGLE DOC
Take a moment and open THIS GOOGLE DOCUMENT and share your information with other teachers in Talladega County. Share your name, school, Google info, Twitter handle, social bookmarking IDs, website, blog, or wiki, and other important information. We need to have a way to stay in touch with one another and using this Google Doc will help us all share resources, information, and ideas. Thank you in advance for taking the time to do this. You don't have to sign into Google to provide your information. It will only take you two minutes. I promise! :)

2. PBL Warehouse...
Visit Brandon Brown's PBL blog to find excellent PBL resources. Thanks to Brandon for creating this great resources that was simply too good to keep a Winterboro secret!

3. Get the Scoop on
Two of my Scoop.its - Childersburg High School1:1 Resources and Childersburg High School PBL. Take a look at how easy it is to use while you are there. Does anyone else imagine using this tool like a modern day bib cards for a research paper or a web based report on various topic? I'm sure there are hundreds of ideas that you can come up with!!

4. Are You a Connected Educator?
Check out this Connected Educator websiteto learn more about what it means to be connected. In collaboration with a wide range of educational organizations, the Connected Online Communities of Practice project is increasing the quality, accessibility, and connectedness of existing and emerging online communities of practice through various types of activities.

“It takes a lot of courage to show your dreams to someone else.”Erma Bombeck

Have a great weekend!

Friday Five for Friday, February 1st
Why Close Reading is Necessary for All Grades, All Subjects

1. What's Close Reading?
Close Reading is a careful rereading of a text. Watch this brief two minute video introducing close reading. The resources on this site are great for Common Core literacy standards.

2. How Do I Do a Close Reading?
Check out Harvard University's guide for doing a close reading with your students. his site's main page. It's very short and to the point.

3. Another Guide for Close Reading...
If you want a different guide for close reading, there are many out there. Here's another - Dr. McClennen's Close Reading Guide. There are some excellent links at the bottom of this page for further support.

4. Can you give me an example of this close reading thing?
If you are like me, I need to see an example of this strategy in practice. Here are some great exemplars (as they are called on this "Achieve the Care" website). You'll find examples from 3rd grade through 12th grade in several content areas on this site. And here's another step by step for close reading of a literary passage!

5. A great resource I have to share (less about close reading and more about close contact!)...
Skype with an author on World Read Aloud Day! Author Kate Messner has made it SO easy for you. She has an enormous list of authors willing to Skype with your students on March 6th. Check out this super blog post and see if you can connect your students to an author for that day.

Have a great weekend!

Friday Five for Friday, January 25th

1. Well, That's Interesting!
"Interesting Ways to use"is a great series of helpful tips and ideas for using various technologies in the classroom. Check out this fantastic list of helpful hints. Lots of new things are added, so if you haven't visited recently, you may find something you need!

2. Need a picture of a piece of your screen?
One reason I love my MacBook is that it is SO easy to take a screen shot (and even a snippet of the screen pressing Shift, Command, and 4). But it's not always as easy on a PC. But here's an option. Try There are four simple steps on this site's main page. Easy as pie! Try it out!

3. Special Science Stuff...
I wanted to provide something special to all the science teachers out there! Are you looking for some quick labs or practical applications of your content? Take a look at the Science and Math Educational Resource Center. Click on the various science kits on the right. You'll find PDFs inventory for the kits and lessons for each. Life, physical, and earth science can be found as well as as few others. Every grade level should take a look. It's worth a look!

4. Reading is Fun!
Check out this list of 50 Incredible Books Every Educator Should Read. If you are looking for a few picks for winter reading or curious to see how many you’ve read on this list, take a look.

5. A lot of people like snow. I find it to be an unnecessary freezing of water.
Carl Reiner

Have a great weekend!

Friday Five for Friday, January 18th

1. We don't need kicks, just reminders...
The author of 7 Golden Rules of Using Technology in Schools article in Mindshift says teachers and administrators need a kick in the pants to see what they perceive as problems re-framed in a different way. I'm not sure about that, but I do think this article is a valuable tool to remind us of a few critical aspects of excellent technology integration.

2. SmileBox makes me happy...
Beth Hoffman will release her second novel in May and created this SmileBox to show her readers a little more about it. I'm not sharing this with you to promote her book (though, based on her first, Saving Cee Cee Honeycutt, it will be wonderful). I'm sharing because it is a wonderfully creative tool for expressing an idea, perspective, or information. Watch Beth's short production and imagine the possibilities with your students. It's a great tool!

3. Need a Visual Writing/Thinking/Discussion Prompt?
They say pictures are worth a thousand words. But, I think "Top 50 Pictures of the Day for 2012" are worth more like a million. These pictures will inspire and leave you awestruck. I can imagine prompting a discussion about nature, caring for our earth, the definition of beauty, or just how big and beautiful our world actually is. Warning: I couldn't just look at a few; I had to look at all 50. Then I HAD to explore this website. Just amazing! (I used to use a series of photos to prompt writing in my English classes. I wished I'd had these!)

4. Updated Web Wardrobe...
If you haven't visited My Web Wardrobe in a while, take a few minutes to visit again. I've been updating and adding more web tools, games, resources, and information. Also, if you need tutorials on specific tools, check out my Tips and Tutorials page. There is a ton of information on these pages. Be sure to bookmark!

5. MLK Day
If you'd like to take a few minutes today to explain more about Martin Luther King, Jr. Day, use this MLKDay resource. This site is dedicated to the MLK Day of Service. The MLK Day of service is a part of
United We Serve
, the President's national call to service initiative. It call for Americans from all walks of life to work together to provide solutions to our most pressing national problems. It's worth a visit!

Have a wonderful LONG weekend!

Friday Five for Friday, January 11th
Language Arts Theme (somewhat)

Thank you for completing the survey from last week. If you didn't get a chance to complete it, please take a couple of minutes to complete the Friday Five Survey this week. I really need your feedback and want to make this weekly email something that will benefit you.

1. Bring Life to Your Pictures ...
ThingLinkis a wonderful site for making your images come alive with music, videos, text and more. Every image contains a story and ThingLink helps you tell your stories. This could be an easier alternative to Glogster. Try it out!

2. A Poem a Day Keep an English Teacher Happy...
Poetry 180 is a great little site with poems for every day of the school year. Just type a number in the top right-hand corner of the page and you'll find a new poem for the day. The print option is ideal if you'd like students to react, respond, and mark the poems.

3. Need an Audience for Your/Your Student's Writing?
Sometimes it's nice to get the honest feedback that often comes from a total stranger. Fiction Press is a terrific hangout spot for those who lover the writing process. There are dozens of genres for uploading work. You'll find many writers that upload work not yet completed just to get feedback. You'll also find essays, poems, short stories, and even full-scale novels on the site. Give it a look!

4. Getting a Guy to Read...
Looking for a way to get boys in your class more interested in reading? This is the mission of Guys Read, a site created by Jon Scieszka, an author and dedicated advocate for literacy among boys. This site is loaded full of resources designed especially for boys. You will be very glad you took the time to explore.

5. A Shameless Plug
This week an article I wrote about the transformation at Childersburg High School was published on Education Week Teacher. 7 Ways to Increase Student Ownership outlines some of the things we've been doing at CHS this year. While each of us work hard at our own schools, I believe all of us cherish the relationships we have with each other. In that spirit, I wanted to share this article with you all with a special thanks to who have played a role in this work.

Have a wonderful weekend!

Friday Five for Friday, December 14th

1. Am I Getting This Right?
Do you ever ask yourself "How do I know if I am doing this right?" The Arizona K-12 Center has developed an excellent rubric for you to see. To see and download the rubric and read more about it, check out this Edudemic article.

2. A Closet Full of Web Tools...
I've shared this many times, but thought I'd repeat this one. My Web Wardrobe is a collection of over 350 links to web tools you might enjoy using with your students today. I add to my wardrobe often, so if you haven't checked it out in a while, take a moment to look. I've reorganized things to make it a little easier to navigate.

3. Want to Expand Your PLN?
Digital Learning Day 2013 will be here before we know it. On February 6th, join the nationwide celebration of innovative teaching and learning through digital media and technology on February 6, 2013. As we lead up to Digital Learning Day, visit the Learn & Explore section of the website to find valuable resources for teachers, school librarians, principals, district leaders, and members of the community. We enlisted the help of an expert group of instructional technology leaders comprised of more than twenty-five innovative teachers and librarian leaders from across the country to develop these helpful resources. We hope you enjoy them and we encourage you to offer your additions as we build more and more resources.

4. Technology and Writing...
Looking for ways to use the technology you have for student writing? This short article outlines some great strategies and tools. If you teach writing, make sure you read or bookmark for reading later!

5. Coming Soon...
Look for a Friday Five survey soon. I'd love to get a better idea of what you want from each week's Friday Five. So give a little thought to what has been missing for you so that I can do a better job serving you in the new year.

Have a great weekend.
Friday Five for Friday, December 7th
All About Blogging Theme

1. Allowing Your Students to Speak Out...
Have you considered having your students blog on a regular basis but not sure how to go about it? Then you should read this post, 14 Steps to Meaningful Student Blogging. You will find plenty of information and advice for getting most any age student on the road to blogging!

2. Great Blogs to Help You...
If you are looking to read a few blogs, let me recommend this post, Top 50 School Technology Blogs. There truly is something for everyone in this very comprehesive list of the most informative blogs on the web in educational technology. Be sure to bookmark your favorites!

3. Which Blogging Service is Right for Me?
You might be overwhelmed by all the blogging platforms available. Sort through them to see which one might be best for your and/or your students. Check out this post, Top 10 Free Online Blogging Platforms.

4. More Blogging Information...
Looking for a great background piece about blogging? This short two-pager put together by Educause gives you plenty of information about blogs, how they work, and why they are so popular. You can find this on my wiki's Tips and Tutorial Page.

5. “Everyone has their own ways of expression. I believe we all have a lot to say, but finding ways to say it is more than half the battle.”
Criss Jami, Salomé: In Every Inch In Every Mile
Have a wonderful weekend!

Friday Five for Friday, November 30th

1. Google is Great
Check out Google for Educators Click on Classroom Activities to find ready-made lesson plans for using Google tools. I really love the presidential election lesson for the primary elections going on right now. Also, the Classroom posters are great!
2. Web Playground
Looking for a great place to play? Try Go2Web20. This is an amazing place to find web 2.0 resources and tools. Warning: You could play here for many hours, so do this when you have time to play. It is a must-see site!
3. What’s in a byte?
Have you ever wondered what difference between a megabyte and a gigabyte is? Check out the attached sheet on storage capacities. I've shared this before, but I still get lots of questions about storage capacities. It might just blow your mind! Have you heard of a petabyte? Get ready, it is coming next!
4. Ga Ga for Google…
Without a doubt, Google has one of the best online toolboxes. There are so many goodies for teachers and some great help sites to assist you as you sift through to find what you need. Try - to see an embedded presentation and to find links to everything you need. Explanations are provided for each tool.
5. Is it better to give than receive?
Share something that you’ve learned with someone. When you do this you force yourself to know your stuff! By sharing your discoveries, you can become an expert. The more you share the better you become. Ask your principal if you can demonstrate a new skill at a faculty meeting. Don’t be shy – share!

Have a Great Weekend!
Friday Five for Friday, November 16th
Thinking about Thanksgiving

1. 9 Heartwarming Acts of Kindness
Your students might enjoy reading and discussing this article from Ladies Home Journal. Inspire them to search for more stories, write their own story, or interview a relative or friend about their most heartwarming act of kindness.

2. Random Acts of Kindness
This fabulous website has absolutely everything you need to put together any size random act of kindness experience for your students. I love the site so much that I've attached a few of their free documents for teachers. If you are looking for a good Thanksgiving activity for you students, make sure you visit this site.

3. Kids are Heroes
See how kids are making a huge difference around the country. Visit this site to read the inspiring stories of some really remarkable kids!

4. Scholastic Kids Press Corps
Scholastic Kids Press Corps has over a dozen awesome stories of kids all over the world acting to help their communities. Check out how kids make a difference and are making positive change in the world every day!

5. Feeling gratitude and not expressing it is like wrapping a present and not giving it.
William Arthur Ward

Have a wonderful weekend!

Friday Five for Friday, September 7th

1. Animation Made Easy…
Zimmer Twins is a site devoted to kids and creative storytelling. Make movies and add dialogue and animation using this simple web [[#|application]]. Your students will love it. In many ways, Zimmer Twins is similar to xtranormal.

2. Another Brick in the Primary Wall…
Primary Wall is a web-based [[#|sticky note]] tool designed for schools that allows students and teachers to work together in real time. No sign up or [[#|registration]] is required!

3. Zoomerang…
If you like using surveys and polls with your students and are looking for a different tool (other than [[#|survey]] monkey and [[#|survey]] gizmo) try Zoomerang. Create unlimited surveys and polls, send via email, facebook, twitter or web, and view real-time results. Also, it’s free!

4. Best Library on the Web…
Do yourself a favor. Visit right now. You will be amazed at the information Jerry Blumengarten has compiled on his internationally acclaimed website. I heard Jerry speak at last year's EdCampBham and am convinced that this “cybraryman” is the real deal. If it’s out there, he knows about it. Get to know his site. You’ll be glad you did!

5. The mother’s heart is the child’s schoolroom.
Henry Ward Beecher, US Congressional clergyman

Friday Five for Friday, September 14th

1. Engaging Competitive Learners...
If your students love to compete, I have two GREAT games for you. And, there is absolutely NO preparation to play using these web tools. Try Quiz Scorer (4 teams) or Quiz Scorer (2 teams). You'll be so glad you clicked on these links to see what I mean!

2. Managing Your Classroom...
Class Dojois one of the fastest growing educational tools on the market. Have you heard about it yet? ClassDojo is a classroom tool that helps teachers improve behavior in their classrooms quickly and easily. It also captures and generates data on behavior that teachers can share with parents and administrators.

3. Teaching Like It's 2999...
If you are an [[#|iPad]] user, take a moment to visit my friend Jennie Magiera's blog, Teaching like it's 2999 and be sure to bookmark it! You'll find so much help from apps to administering an iPad initiative. She shares great advice and information here. (Kudos to the teachers at TC and Comer for great iPad work this week!)

4. A Really Cool Tool...
I love when I come across something really special. I love the web tool, You Are Your Words. Create a self-portrait using your own words. I can think of dozens of uses for this cool tool! Take a look to see if ideas come to ming for you!

5. Amazing Social Learning...
Over the years, I've shared with you all the amazing impact Twitter has had on my professional learning. If you're game and want to give Twitter a try, start with a great Twitter chat on a topic of your interest. Edudemic just published the Top 50 Education Twitter Chats (and how to use them) this week. I'm thrilled that the Twitter chat I co-moderate (#teaching2030) is #10 on the list! Connect with me (@jenniferbarnett) and I'll be happy to be your "Twitter guide/mentor".

Have a great weekend!

Friday Five for Friday, September 21st

1. Shiny New Apple (Operating System)...
Be sure to update your Apple devices to the new IOS 6! There are tons of new features for your iPhone, iPad, and other devices. Learn more about what IOS 6 can do here.

2. Type Like you Write!
Do you have excellent penmanship? Did you know you can create a font with YOUR handwriting? Writingfonts is a website that can help you make that happen! Try it out!

3. Taking Pride in PBL...
Edutopia is one of my favorite places for professional reading. Andrew Miller, a terrific Edutopia blogger and PBL expert, wrote a short reflection for those of us working hard to become better project based learning teachers. Check out his article, 6 Affirmations for PBL Teachers. It's a great quick check for yourself!

4. Picassohead: Art, the easy way
For our artistic crowd looking for a new toy, try picassohead. This is a very fun way to try your hand at drawing faces and heads. Kids will love this! Enjoy!

5. Magically Delicious!
ICT Magic is a super resource wiki you must bookmark and explore. Martin Burrett has an award-winning site! He updates it regularly and is constantly on the cutting edge. Be sure to follow him on Twitter as well.

Have a great weekend!

Friday Five for Friday, September 28th
CCRS Standards Theme

1. College and Career Ready Standards
The newly adopted College and Career Ready Standards effect virtually every teacher in Alabama. If you are looking for a simple website with PDFs of all the documents and information to help you understand your standards, visit Common Core State Standards site. Be sure you bookmark this site. You'll find a wealth of information to help you become intimately familiar with all of the new Alabama standards.

2. More College and Career Ready Standards Resources
The Alabama Learning Exchange (ALEX) website has loads of great information about CCRS. You will find additional information about the standards and access to the Insight Tool, Alabama's online curriculum tool for exploring and mapping the standards. Another excellent resource to bookmark.

3. Reading Resource
The Lexile Framework for Reading is a wonderful web resource. Lexile measures are powerful, versatile tools that educators can use to help their students grow as readers. When you use both Lexile reader measures and Lexile text measures, you can better serve each student.

4. Instructional Resource
Devonna Strickland's website is packed full of resources for you. She has links to dozens of important documents and websites. Her "resource" section is a must-see. From ARMT, ASHGE, and CIP to pacing guides, explicit instruction, and strategic teaching, the resources Devonna provides you are rich and useful.

5. What's the Scoop?
Scoop it is one of my favorite curation tools. The CCRS (or as others around the country call it, Common Core) is a popular topic on Check out a great curation of CCRS/Common Core information pulled together by Darren Burris. It's an excellent resource for learning more about CCRS.

Have a great weekend!

Friday Five for Friday, October 12th

1. A Word from Mark Twain...
Lightning Bugis a great site for storytelling. Mark Twain once said, "The difference between the almost right word and the right word is really a large matter - it is the difference between the lightning bug and the lightning." This sight is all about right stories with the right word. Take time to see this great resource and digital storytelling site.

2. The Wonderful World of Disney...
Some movies manage to touch us and teach us in ways nothing else can. If you love Disney movies, you might enjoy searching through some excellent lesson plans for using portions of these movies as an extension for your lesson. This site has plans for 247 Disney movies. If nothing else, you might find some great connections for what you teach to movies/stories that your students already know.

3. Must See TV...
In the spirit of the Disney [[#|lesson plans]], you might enjoy taking a look at some lessons using popular television shows and movies. Check out plans using shows such as Lost, ER, Around the World in 80 Days, Numb3rs, and CSI. Plans are for a variety of content areas and grade levels.

4. Five Minutes of Your Time?
Learn it in 5 is a powerful library of how-to videos, produced by technology teachers, for the purpose of helping teachers and students create classroom strategies for today's 21st century's digital classroom. These step-by-step how-to videos walk teachers through Web 2.0 technology, demonstrating how to use Web 2.0 applications like blogs, social networks, podcasts, interactive videos, wikis, slidesharing and much more. Enjoy!

5. Flashcards using Google Docs...
Want to make flashcards using Google Docs? This informative article will help you do this using the Spreadsheets on Google Docs. This versatile tool is worth your time to learn. Your students will love this!

Friday Five for Friday, October 19th
Presidential Election Resources

1. Introduction to Presidential Elections...
Use Common Craft's excellent video to guide a discussion about the election with your students. Common Craft videos are known as short, simple videos with a highly engaging style and excellent content. Great for upper elementary, middle and high school students. Try it out!

2. Playing with Elections...
Rand McNally has a great Play the Election site loaded with plenty of specific information about the election. Make sure your students have a little time to explore this site.

3. Creating Your Own Election Ad...
National Constitution Center sponsors a site for students to create their own presidential election ad. They will have a great time with this site, while learning more about campaigns and the most important elements of a candidate's platform and message. Enjoy!

4. Looking Back at Presidential Candidates...
The Living Room Candidate is a great website that explores the presidential elections from 1952 to the present. You'll find resources galore about each of those elections. This site is a must-visit for students doing research on elections. It's a fantastic site with more than 300 commercials from past campaigns.

5. For the Younger Crowd...
Scholastic's website has a wonderful section on the Presidential Election for elementary and middle grade students. I really like the games and activities, especially the Seven Hats Challenge Game. You'll find it when you scroll down a bit and look at the navigation area on the left.

Have a great weekend!

Friday Five for Friday, October 26th
7 Things You Should Know About....
1. 7 Things You Should Know About Challenge Based Learning

2. 7 Things You Should Know About the Evolution of the Textbook

3. 7 things You Should Know About Social Content Curation

4. 7 Things You Should Know About Organizing Files in the Cloud

5. 7 Things You Should Know About iPad Apps for Learning

Have a great weekend!

Friday Five for Friday, November 2nd

1. Need Some Closure?
40 ways to Leave a Classroomis an excellent PDF of intellectual work that should be done by students - not the instructor - at the close of a lesson. You will recognize many (if not all) of these strategies. But it's always a great idea to take a look at great formative assessment strategies every few weeks.

2. Invisible Technology?
PBL expert, Andrew Miller, has written an excellent article on Edutopia - Practical Tips for Mobile Learning in the PBL Classroom. I really like how Miller ended this article: "Ultimately, we should move to a learning environment where technology is invisible. We can accomplish this by pairing PBL and mobile learning to create a space where technology is integral, and where the focus is on authentic, engaging and purposeful PBL projects."

3. Smart Pens Get Even Smarter!
For those of you who use and love your Echo Pen (by Livescribe), I have some exciting news. A new Livescribe Sky WiFi Smartpen was released on November 1st. Learn more about what it can do on this Assistive Technology blog, on Wired, and on Tech Crunch. If you are an Evernote user, you will love how seamless this new pen works it.

4. Need Perspective?
Thanks to the U. S. National Archives, we can see "How Children Used Technology 100 Years Ago." This photo collection is worth a few minutes of your time and might serve as a great discussion or writing prompt for your students. They will love these photos!

5. Daylight Savings Time
Don't forget that Daylight Savings Time ends. Fall back one hour!

Thanks for reading! You've earned extra credit!
Bonus Tip: The Buck Institute for Education commissioned the cutting-edge advertising agency Common Craft to produce a short video on Project Based Learning. It has just been released to the public! Without a doubt, teachers and students in Talladega County will find this video a great resource for sharing what PBL is with new faculty and staff, students, parents, guests, and others just beginning to explore project based learning. Enjoy!

Have a great weekend!

Friday Five for Friday, November 9th
Board Game Theme

1. Jenga
Even though it's not technically a board game, Jenga is a very popular game. Brittanni Brown at WHS purchased a generic version of the game and used a sharpie to write science vocabulary terms on the blocks. To play a block, students must define the term to the group. Other members of the group check the answer. Denver Spanish teacher Emily Huff wrote a great blog entry about using Jenga in class complete with detailed instructions for playing. (Note: Brittanni found generic "Jenga" games at Fred's for very cheap. Also, don't forget to visit your local thrift store!)

2. Bananas for Bananagrams and other games...
10 Board Games for the ESL classroom can work for most any reading or language classroom! Most require little or no preparation. Check out this article to find 10 great games to make learning vocabulary fun. To get you thinking about how you might use other board games for practicing and applying learning in ANY subject, check out this exhaustive list of board games on wikipedia - with links to each. Remember: your learning target is the KEY. Talk to your colleagues about the creative ways a game can support your lesson objective.

3. Math games...
The MathSphere website has great resources and games are certainly among them! Math games to play is a superb free collection of board, counter and dice games, including how to play instructions, equipment and colored layouts. These are ideal for printing out in color and laminating, making a long lasting resource. In case you'd like more, here's one more article on using board games to teach math.

4. Checkmate!
The Benefits of Chess in Education is a collection of studies and papers on chess and education. Have you thought about how it might support your goals for your students? Years ago when my 7th graders were studying geographic directions (north, southeast, northwest, south, etc) we played a few games of chess. Before they moved they had to articulate the geographic direction in which that piece could move. It was a simple activity, but it had a lasting benefit. Students loved the game and began playing it every day before school.

5. Board Games on Pinterest...
Here are a few boards on Pinterest with great resources for using board games in the classroom. If you use Pinterest, be sure to follow the following: Kristina, Marcia, Paula, and Laurke.

Have a great long weekend!

Friday Five for Friday, November 23rd

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Have a great weekend!

Friday Five for Friday, November 30th

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Have a great weekend!