Thursday, December 3, 2009

A Virtual Mall to Teach Kids to be Smart Consumers

You Are Here is a virtual shopping mall created by the FTC. The purpose of You Are Here is to share information with middle school students about business practices, advertising, identity theft, and general consumer education. The You Are Here virtual mall is divided into four sections that students can walk through. Each section of the mall is addresses a different set of topics. The teachers' section of You Are Here offers four lesson plans for each of the four sections of the virtual mall.

Applications for Education
The You Are Here virtual mall could be a good resource for teaching lessons about recognizing misleading advertising claims. You Are Here could also be used for teaching the basic economic theories of supply and demand.

Here are some related items that may be of interest to you:
Kid's Economic Glossary
Saving Money in Plain English
The History of Credit Cards in the United States

Micro Grants for Professional Development

We Are Teachers is once again offering a series of $200 microgrants to educators. This round of microgrants is for educators who will use the grant for professional development. You can learn more about the grants and the application process here. $200 isn't a lot of money for professional development, but in today's tight economy every penny helps.

Here are some related items that may be of interest to you:
Find Money for Your School - Grant Gopher
Donors Choose - Teachers Ask, Students Learn
iLove Schools - Free Classroom Supplies

Webinar With Curtis Bonk Tonight at 8pm EST

I know this is very late notice, but I just learned about this myself. Tonight at 8pm EST, The Future of Education is hosting a webinar with Professor Curtis Bonk. Bonk is the author of The World Is Opena great book that I've written about in the past. You can read my previous posts here and here. If you can fit it into your schedule tonight, this is a great opportunity to learn about how Web 2.0 is changing education. You can get all of the webinar details here.

FTC Disclosure: I did receive a free copy of Professor Bonk's book "The World Is Open" and a copy of his book "Empowering Online Learning." That said, even if I had paid for the books, I would still be recommending them.

Interactive from Annenburg - Elements of a Story

Annenburg Media's offers hundreds of lesson plans and online activities you can use in your classroom. One such resource that I just learned about from Anne Marie Corrieri's Talking SMARTBoards & Much More is Interactives - Elements of a Story. Interactives - Elements of a Story uses the story of Cinderella as a model for learning about the elements of a story. To use this interactive students select any element of the story; setting, character, sequence, exposition, conflict, climax, or resolution then read and listen to an explanation of that element of the story. After they have worked through all of the elements of the story, they can take a quiz to test their knowledge.

Applications for Education
Interactives - Elements of a Story uses a familiar story, Cinderella, which makes Elements of a Story a resource accessible to elementary school, middle school, and high school students. Although the graphics are clearly aimed toward elementary school students, this could certainly be a review resource for older students.

Here are some related items that may be of interest to you:
Imagination Prompt Generator
Two Sources of Writing Prompts
Write Rhymes Provides Fun Times

Help Glogster Get Better

Glogster Edu, a multimedia collage service that I really like, is looking for feedback from educators who have used it or tried to use it in their classrooms. Glogster Edu has published a short survey in which they're seeking feedback about how Glogster is used in education and what obstacles to using it in education exist. If you have a minute or two, I'm sure they'd appreciate your feedback.

Here are some posts about Glogster that I've previously written:
A Great Glogster Tutorial
Coming Soon from Glogster
The New Glogster Edu is Live

A Gallery of Glogs

Google Adds World Heritage Sites to Street View

Yesterday, Google announced the addition of Street View imagery of popular tourist destinations in the US and the UK. Today, Google has announced more additions to its Street View imagery. Google has added Street View imagery of nineteen UNESCO World Heritage sites around Europe. Some of these sites include the Palace of Versailles, Stonehenge, and the historic center of Prague. To learn more, watch the following video.

Applications for Education
As I mentioned yesterday, Street View imagery can be a great resource for students to use to create their own virtual tours of places and regions. Google Maps are also great for students to go on virtual tours of places that they might not have a chance to visit in person.

Here are some related items that may be of interest to you:
Geography and Science Lesson Plans Using Google Earth
Google Maps for More Than Social Studies
Create a National Parks Virtual Tour

Need Math Help? Try Wolfram Alpha

Wolfram Alpha is an interesting search engine because of the unique tasks it can perform. In my limited use of Wolfram Alpha I have found that it really shines when you're searching for demographic data sets. Yesterday, I discovered that Wolfram Alpha has a function that will walk you through the steps of solving an equation. To use this function, enter your equation then click the "show steps" link that appears in the solution box. You can read more about this function on the Wolfram Alpha blog. If you're not familiar with Wolfram Alpha, you may want to watch these videos.

Applications for Education
Wolfram Alpha's "show steps" function could be a great aid to students when they are working on mathematics homework assignments and cannot access you for assistance.

Here are some related items that may be of interest to you:
Five Sources of Fun Mathematics Games
Math and Language Arts Games on Arcademic
Ten Problem Solving Games for K-8 Students