Friday, March 13, 2009

Save the Words, Adopt a Word

Save the Words is an interesting project promoting the use of obscure and "endangered" words. Save the Words is a huge collage of words that have been removed from the Oxford Dictionary because a lack of use. Each one of these words is "up for adoption" and looking for someone to adopt it. Word adopters are people who, in the words of Save the Words, promise to use that word as frequently as possible and save it from extinction.

Applications for Education
Save the Words could be a nice addition to a vocabulary lesson. If vocabulary quizzes are a regular part of your course, the words from Save the Words could be used as extra credit/ bonus words.

The Week in Review or... My Mashable Moment

The last seven days have seen Free Technology for Teachers receive more traffic than ever before thanks to Mashable. Friday and Saturday are typically the slowest traffic days for this blog, but last Friday the super huge tech blog Mashable tweeted my blog post about finding teachers on Twitter to more than 200,00o people. That one little message sent out by someone at Mashable resulted in Friday and Saturday being the two biggest days of traffic on Free Technology for Teachers since I started this blog.

It's not just Mashable that has helped this blog grow it's all of the loyal readers and subscribers that have made Free Technology for Teachers grow. Thank you to everyone that has shared a link or told a colleague about Free Technology for Teachers.

Here are the seven most popular items of the last week:
1. Seven Ways to Find Teachers on Twitter
2. World of Teaching - Slideshows for all Subjects
3. Connecting Classrooms Through VoiceThread
4. How Much is One Trillion Dollars?
5. Explaining Daylight Saving Time
6. Figure This! Family Math Challenges
7. Myths and Legends Storybuilder

If you're new to the blog, welcome, please take a few minutes to browse the archives. If you find this blog useful, please consider subscribing to the RSS or daily email feed. You can subscribe to the RSS feed here or subscribe to the daily email feed here.

The Farm Letters - Stories of Great Depression Life

The Farm Letters is a project that is putting online a complete collection of letters and diaries from a Minnesota family living through the Great Depression. The family lives in an uninsulated house that also lacks running water and electricity. The letters and diaries portray the day to day life of the Linsey family as they try to survive during the Great Depression. In The Farm Letters students can read first-hand accounts of the sacrifices and improvisations families made during the Great Depression. When completed, the collection of letters will span almost three years. Currently there is only one year's worth of letters online.

Applications for Education
The Farm Letters could be a good resource for almost any US History class although the vocabulary combined with the stories themselves probably make The Farm Letters best suited to middle school classrooms.

As a side note, the url for The Farm Letters is which triggered our web filter the first time I tried to access it on a school computer.

Cloudlet - Refine Google, Yahoo, and Twitter Searches

I try many Firefox add-ons, but only use a handful of them on a regular basis. Search Cloudlet is one of those Firefox add-ons that I use frequently. Cloudlet helps you refine your searches by generating a tag cloud of terms closely related to your original search terms. Clicking one of the tags generates a new list of search results. Originally, Cloudlet only worked with Google and Yahoo, it now works for Twitter searches too. Click here to learn more about Cloudlet and see screen captures of the difference between searching with and without Cloudlet installed. To install Cloudlet click here or here.

Applications for Education
Cloudlet is a handy Firefox extension for students to have when they are struggling to find relevant search results or are struggling to refine search terms.

A couple of related resources can be found here and here.

Women of the 90's

Today, CNN Student News continued its series of segments recognizing the notable achievements of women from different decades. Today's episode features the notable firsts of women in the 1990's. The video is embedded below, the segment about notable firsts appears in the last third of the video. As always, CNN provides a short quiz that is a handy resource to use to check for understanding.

A related resource that you may want to explore is 4 Great TED Talks for International Women's Day.

Scratch ForceDo from the List

Last night I wrote about ForceDo as possibility for a student planner/ organizer. Unfortunately, I need to remove ForceDo from the list because of some content that it is on the homepage/ introduction page.

Here are three alternative student planner/ organizer tools that I have never heard anything negative about.
Track Class