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Wednesday, December 7, 2016

Apply for a National Geographic Teaching Adventure

The Grosvenor Teacher Fellow Program is an annual program administered by National Geographic. This unique professional development program, open to teachers in the U.S. and Canada takes teachers on field work expeditions to interesting places all over the world. Some of the places teachers could go through the program include Antarctica, the Galapagos Islands, Iceland, Greenland, and Norway.



Applications are due by December 31st. You can get read a set of program FAQs here and see a sample application here. The program is limited and competitive so click here to apply today.

How to Use Canva to Create Greeting Cards

Canva is a free graphic creation tool that I use to create a lot of the graphics that appear in my blog posts and Facebook posts. Canva makes it easy for anyone to create great looking graphics in all kinds of shapes and sizes. Canva offers free templates for creating holiday greetings. In the video embedded below I demonstrate how to use Canva to create greeting cards.


Canva works in your web browser. You can also use their free iPad app to create your holiday card designs.

Applications for Education
If you're thinking about giving an assignment in which your students write letters to family members for the holidays, consider adding a splash of color by using Canva's holiday design templates.

Three Ways to Make Your Blog Posts More Helpful

One of the central purposes of this blog and thousands of others on the web is to help others. Blogs that help people solve problems get a lot of return visitors. Apply that concept to your classroom, library, or school blog the next time you craft a blog post for it. If your post helps a student, a parent, or a colleague solve a problem, he or she is more likely to return to the blog in the future. Here are three things that you can do to make your blog more helpful to others.

1. Include a video. 
This could be a screencast video that you create or it could be an informative video that you found on the web. Screencast videos are particularly helpful when you're trying to show someone the steps to solving a problem.

2. Include hand-outs.
If you find that your blog post is going much past 600 words, consider making it available as a PDF that folks can download to read as a printed copy. Similarly, if you're including slides in your blog post, consider letting people download them to print and write notes on.

3. Include a chart.
This could be a pro-con chart, a flow chart, or a chart comparing similar iPad apps. Over the years I've found that people love having charts, especially ones they can download, to help them make decisions.

More ideas about improving your blog will be shared in my upcoming webinar, Winning Blog Strategies. I hope that you'll join me for it next Wednesday. 

Tuesday, December 6, 2016

Do You Have an Online Hub?

Social media and text messaging is great for sending quick updates about things happening in your classroom and in your school. But when you need to write a longer explanation of your announcement or reminder, a blog is your best friend. Use social media and text messaging services to direct parents and students to your blog posts. In that way your blog serves as an online hub for your announcements.

When you start a new online activity with your students do you give them a different link for each activity or do you direct them to the same place over and over again? If you have a blog you can just tell students to go to your classroom blog to see the link(s) they need for the activity that you're doing that day. In this case, your blog is serving as your online hub for activities.

How many times do you answer the same questions? How many times do you give out multiple copies of the same handout for students or parents? If you have a blog, you can post your handouts there and ask students and parents to print the copies when they need them. Likewise, put an FAQ section on your blog for those questions that you feel like you're always answering. Again, your blog becomes your online hub.

If you have started a blog before and it didn't work out the way that you wanted it to, join me next Wednesday for my Practical Ed Tech webinar, Winning Blog Strategies

An Interactive Map of Pearl Harbor Survivor Stories

Tomorrow marks the 75th anniversary of the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor. Earlier this week I shared some resources for teaching and learning about Pearl Harbor. This afternoon through the Maps Mania blog I learned about another resource to add to that list.

The 1941 Project is an interactive map of Pearl Harbor. The map features the stories of survivors of the attack on Pearl Harbor. Click on a person on the map to read his or her story and see accompanying photographs. You can customize the map to display the positions of ships on December 7, 1941. There is also an option to see the map as the Japanese had drawn it prior to the attack.

The 1941 Project map does take a long time to load all of features. Remind your students to be patient while the map loads all available features.