Monday, December 29, 2008

Capitol Words - Just What is Congress Saying?

Capitol Words is an interesting way to look at what your Senators and Representatives are saying in Washington. Capital Words creates "word clouds" based on key words used most often in Congress. The words in each cloud are pulled from the Congressional record. There is a national word cloud as well as word clouds for each state.

Applications for Education
Capital Words could be a good way for students to see which topics are most frequently discussed in Congress. Students can track how the word clouds change from week to week or month to month. Another activity using Capital Words would be to have students compare the word clouds of their own state with those of other states. As a continuation of the comparison, students could research and investigate the reasons for the differences between the word clouds of each state.

College Crunch - Resources for College and Career Planning

College Crunch claims to be "the best college resource online ever." I don't know if it's the best ever, but it is good. College Crunch features college reviews, college profiles, tips for navigating the logistics of college financing, and career planning advice. The career planning advice includes lists of salaries by career. Not all aspects of the pages on College Crunch appear to be functioning yet, none-the-less the concept of College Crunch is good.

Applications for Education
College Crunch could be a good resource for students that are planning to go college or have questions about applying to college. The advice offered by College Crunch is fairly generic, but it should make a good resource for students that represent the first generation of their families to go to college.

Another college planning resource worth exploring is My College Calendar.

Four "Year-In-Review" Quizzes

It's the time of the year when major news outlets create year-in-year slide shows, videos, and quizzes. I shared some year-in-review slide shows last week. Larry Ferlazzo and Jeffrey Hill have assembled some good lists of year-in-review slide shows that you should check out. Today, I found some year-in-review quizzes worth checking out and sharing with your students.

MSNBC has put together a twenty-five question year-in-review quiz that they call the Super Tough 2008 News Quiz. The quiz has a good mix of US news stories and international news stories.

News Day's 2008 Trivia Quiz is a twenty question quiz about US news with a sprinkle of entertainment/ pop-culture questions thrown in.

The BBC offers a short, ten questions, quiz about international news stories. The BBC's In Pictures section is also a good place to find week-in-review and year-in-review image collections.

Info World has put together a twenty-five question quiz centered around technology news stories. This quiz might be a good resource for people that teach computer courses.

The History of Credit Cards in the United States

The CBS News Sunday Morning show is one of my favorite weekend shows because of the variety of topics that are covered. Every episode covers stories from the world of news, entertainment, and the peculiar. Yesterday, the Fast Draw segment explained the history of credit cards in the United States. I've embedded the two minute video below.

Watch CBS Videos Online

Applications for Education
This video provides a good introduction to teaching a lesson on personal economics. To find ideas for personal economics lesson plans try Biz Ed or the Buck Institute for Education.

A Great Example of a Student Built Website

Last week I posted a review of the free website creation service Synthasite. This morning when I logged in to moderate comments, I found a comment from a middle school teacher in Omaha, Nebraska sharing a link to a project that his students created using Synthasite. These students created a website as the culminating activity for a unit of study about recycling and going green. The website is called Green Monkey Homes. I checked it out and found that it is an excellent piece of work that these students and their teachers should be proud of. Green Monkey Homes has practical tips for recycling, green living, and energy cost savings. Beyond those pages, Green Monkey Homes has an interactive quiz for visitors to check their knowledge and learn.

Free Boardmaker Boards, Activities, and Tutorials

I've previously shared that the excellent blog Teaching Learners with Multiple Special Needs is one of the best blogs for special education teachers to subscribe to. Today, Kate posted an update to the list of Free Boardmaker Boards, Activities, and Tutorials. The list now includes more than 60 free resources. If you use a Boardmaker Board, check out the list.