Thursday, October 30, 2008

Exploring Mount Everest Lesson Plans

One of my life goals is to climb in the Himalayan Mountains. Although I will be in China for the climbing season on my upcoming trip, I will not have a chance to travel until after my teaching responsibilities are over in June. Nonetheless, I still hope to see the Himalaya. On that note, the following are some good resources for lesson plans about Mount Everest.

National Geographic Expeditions has a lesson plan for middle school students about the history and development of climbing Mount Everest. The lesson plan also touches on the physical challenges posed by high altitude mountaineering.

The American - Canadian Mount Everest expedition of 2001 created a website of lesson plans that can be used in reading, Math, Science, and Social Studies classes. In all there are roughly 30 lesson plans available on the website.

A physical education teacher at the River Valley Middle School in Grand Bay Westfield, New Brunswick developed an extensive lesson plan about the physiological demands of climbing Mount Everest. The lesson plan is titled the Mount Everest Challenge. This lesson would be a great way to incorporate science, physical education, geography, and history into an interdisciplinary project.

The Rest of Everest video podcast provides more than 100 hours of video and commentary from two expeditions to the Himalayas. If you're looking for a way to show students what life on a mountain climbing trip is really like from start to finish, the Rest of Everest is the place to go.

Open ID Will Make Teaching With Technology Easier

This week Google and Microsoft announced that they are making available to code to support Open ID 2.0. Microsoft will support Open ID for users of Live ID and Google will support Open ID for anyone with a Google account. This changes will not happen overnight, but it is a huge step toward making Open ID an extremely useful option for teachers and students working with multiple online programs.

For people unfamiliar with Open ID, it is an effort to streamline the log-in process for websites across the Internet. Open ID enabled websites allow users to log-in with one user name and password. You can read more about Open ID here.

Applications for Education
Open ID could make teachers' lives so much easier when students are working with online resources. One of the most frustrating and time consuming experiences for teachers can be trying to get a class working on a project online and having students that can't remember their log-in names or passwords for a website. Having students create Open ID accounts will hopefully alleviate this stress for teachers.

Grading Student Blogging

Grading the work students create online is new territory for a lot of teachers. Creating a well written rubric for any assignment can be time consuming even if you are familiar with the medium your students are working in. If you're trying to create a rubric for work students are doing in a new or an unfamiliar medium the task can be downright daunting. Fortunately, there are people like Ryan Bretag who are willing to share ideas about grading the content students create online. Ryan has published, under a Creative Commons license, a rubric for grading student blogs.

By the way in case you're not familiar with it, Rubistar from is a great place to get ideas for rubrics and create rubrics for a wide range of student work.

Piqqem - Can You Predict the Market?

Piqqem is a new, free website that asks visitors to make predictions about individual stocks and indices. Predictions are made on a simple five point scale. There are wikis and timelines that provide users with some information the stocks and indices.

Applications for Education
Piqqem could be a useful tool for business and economics classes. Students can make predictions, see what other users are saying about the market, and compare their predictions with other users.

Halloween History and Games - Reformation Day Too

Tomorrow is Halloween and in classrooms around the country children will be buzzing with excitement for the candy they may collect. Tomorrow will present teachers with a number of "teachable" moments. To help you take advantage of those moments, Mashable has compiled a list of more than 20 online ways to enjoy Halloween. Among Mashable's list of resources is the History Channel's "History of Halloween" page containing videos, games and other resources.

Tomorrow, October 31st, is also the day that is generally accepted as the day Martin Luther put forth his 95 Theses. PBS Frontline has a lesson plan for teaching the history of this day.