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Sunday, April 5, 2009

5 Fun, Interesting, and Educational Things on Twitter

Today's Twitter tip for teachers new to Twitter is to post updates even if you're just getting started an only have a handful of followers. By posting updates you're letting people know what you can contribute to the education community. When people are trying to decide to follow you or not (this is a 30 second process for most people) they're going to be looking at your updates to see what you're about. If you don't have any updates or just one update and it's "trying Twitter" people aren't as likely to follow you compared to if you have a handful of updates containing something like "looking for and considering how to use Google Docs in my classroom."

Here are five fun, interesting, and educational things found today on Twitter.
1. Free eTextbook - 21st Century Physics from @monarchlibrary
2. Visual Fractions from @mtechman
3. Gossip Girls and Boys Get Lessons in Empathy from @lebby
4. FETC Free Virtual Conference for K-12 Educators from @bergenhagen
5. Six Public Speaking Tips for the Young Professional from @slidemagnet

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America's Class Warfare - Video for US History

As some readers have probably guessed, I try to watch the CBS Sunday Morning show every weekend. Today's show started with segment about America's new class warfare. One of my US History classes has developed a particular interest in the struggles between economic classes throughout US history. This video makes reference to the class warfare of past eras with class warfare today. Tomorrow morning I will use this video as the starting point for students to create their own comparisons between class warfare of the past and of today.

The video also contains an interview with middle class workers in Lehigh Valley, Pennsylvania who share their opinions on whether or not the government should bail out those people who default on sub-prime loans. This is another good topic that my high school students have passionately discussed this year and are sure to pick up on again when they watch the video.


Watch CBS Videos Online

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I Could Be the NECC Newbie

NECC (National Educational Computing Conference) is a conference that I have considered attending for the last couple of years, but due to the cost I have not yet been able to attend (without giving specifics, my earnings are less than Maine's statewide average). This year was shaping up to be no exception to that rule until I received an email last night from Beth Still. Beth is a social studies teacher in Nebraska and a part of my PLN or you could say that I'm a part of her PLN through Twitter and Facebook. Last night Beth emailed me with an opportunity that I couldn't refuse.

Beth has organized an idea to send a newbie to NECC this year. Through the contacts in her PLN Beth is trying to raise $1500 to send me to NECC. In consultation with another member of her PLN, Jason Shrage, she chose me to be the newbie for this social media experiment. The short version of the story is Beth wanted to give someone who had never been to NECC the chance to go. Beth also wanted to test the power of a PLN and social media. Read the full story on Beth Still's blog. It is also on Beth's blog that you can make a donation.

On a more personal note, this is one of the nicest things that anyone has ever done for me in my adult life. When I read Beth's email last night I was utterly speechless (that doesn't often happen). My mother raised a boy who has trouble accepting gifts without being able to reciprocate. Therefore, when I'm at NECC I will, of course, blog and Tweet about my experience. And I hope to be able to share some video of my experience along with a video of Beth and I meeting for the first time.

The Physics Classroom - Tutorials and Animations

The Physics Classroom is a great resource for high school Physics teachers and high school Physics students. The Physics Classroom was developed by Tom Henderson, a high school physics teacher since 1989. The Physics Classroom offers detailed tutorials on thirteen different physics topics including waves, static electricity, Newton's laws, and vectors. In addition to the written tutorials, The Physics Classroom also offers more than 50 animations and 6 videos demonstrating physics concepts.

Applications for Education
The Physics Classroom could be a very good resource for high school physics teachers and their students. The animations in particular could be very helpful to students that learn concepts better when they can see those concepts in action.

Here are some related resources that may be of interest to you:

Physics Games for Your Blog or Website
Understanding Einstein
This is Phun - Physics Simulator


Behind the Scenes With Grammar Girl

Grammar Girl is a great weekly podcast containing tips on the use of the English language. The Grammar Girl podcast is a great resource for personal use and for classroom use. I have listened to the podcast off and on for the last two years. Listening to the podcast has helped me get a better understanding of the trickier parts of the English language. The video below, which I found on Jeffery Hill's The English Blog, takes viewers behind the scenes with the Grammar Girl.


Here are some related resources that may be of interest to you:
Five Great Grammar Resources
Grammar Bytes
Confusing Words Clarified

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A Great Collection of K-8 Math Resources

Math Graphing is a part of a larger compilation of K-8 resources assembled by the Jefferson County Schools of Jefferson County, Tennessee. The Jefferson County Schools have hundreds of links for K-8 math, science, social studies, and language arts. I came across this great resource while looking for an interactive graphing activity. I found the activity I was looking for, but of more value is the Math Graphing collection of links from Jefferson County Schools.

Math Graphing has links to 45 interactive graphing activities appropriate for elementary school and middle school use. If you're looking for other mathematics activities, check out the Jefferson County Schools' general math page. The general math page is divided into fourteen categories including fractions, flashcards, integers, telling time, algebra, and geometry.

A related resource that you may want to visit is my list of math links you might have missed.

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