Friday, January 16, 2009

The Week in Review - 5 Most Popular Items

It has been a cold (-17F in Norway, Maine this morning) and busy week here. For the first time since early December my district had a full week of school. This week Free Technology for Teachers surpassed the 2000 subscriber mark and also had a record day for number of unique views. Thank you to everyone that continues to subscribe to the blog and shares the blog content with others. If you're not subscribed to the RSS or email feed you can subscribe through this link.

Here are the five most popular blog posts of the last week.
1. More Than 250 Free Audio Books
2. A Colorado Middle School Cuts Lunches
3. Teampedia - A Wiki of Team Building Activities
4. A Great Guide for Substitute/ Relief Teachers
5. What is RSS?

My 4th Grade Science Project Comes to Google Calendar

When I was in the fourth grade in 1988 my teacher (I'm sorry, I don't remember your name anymore) had us write down the weather report on index cards for a couple of weeks. At the end of those two weeks, we looked at the almanac from the previous year and made predictions for the next week based on our index card data and almanac data. Twenty one years later students don't have to use index cards to record each day's weather data, they can use Google Calendar to do it. The video below, from Tekzilla, shows you how to get the weather in Google Calendar.

Applications for Education
In 1988 my classmates and I were limited to using local weather data for our forecasting project. Today, students can find data from anywhere in the world and make forecasts for any place in the world. To bring my 1988 project further into the 21st century teachers may want to try to connect their classroom with one in another part of the world and have students compare forecasts and climates.

A Brief Overview of Notable Inauguration Speeches

Two days ago I posted a link to Hulu's video collection of inauguration addresses dating back to Eisenhower. That collection is great, but watching all of those videos would be time consuming. If you would like a short overview of significant inaugural addresses from all Presidents, watch this two and one half minute video from MSNBC.

Applications for Education
This short overview of past inaugural speeches might be good to show to your students before watching Barack Obama's inaugural address next Tuesday. You may want to have your students make some predictions about what they think Obama might say in his speech. For more inauguration lesson ideas, check out The Innovative Educator's blog post on the topic.

Understanding Einstein

Open Culture brings us another great opportunity to learn from Stanford professors online. Stanford is posting on YouTube and iTunes Leonard Susskind's lectures from his fall course about Einstein's Theory of Relativity. The course is part of a larger sequence of continuing education courses titled Understanding Modern Physics. The first lecture in the series is now posted and the others are scheduled to follow on a weekly basis. You can subscribe to the YouTube playlist to get all of the lectures in sequence. I've embedded below the first lecture from Dr. Susskind's fall course.

Applications for Education
This course, just as with most courses in Open Culture's collection of free online courses, is a good opportunity for college bound high school students to get a good preview of the type of material they will see in college. Theses courses also provide good supplementary materials for advanced placement courses as well as home school curriculum.

Documents and Videos for Martin Luther King, Jr. Day

On Monday most schools in the US will closed in recognition of Martin Luther King, Jr. Day. The following are some document and video resources for teaching lessons about Martin Luther King, Jr.

The National Archives has published lesson plans based around this portrait of Martin Luther King, Jr. The National Archives also has lesson plans based around this document signed by President Johnson designating April 7, 1968 as a national day of mourning for Martin Luther King, Jr.

The Biography Channel has a sizable collection of videos about Martin Luther King, Jr. Their collection includes a video of Dr. King delivering his famous "I Have a Dream" speech.

Today's episode of CNN Student News includes a look at the legacy of Martin Luther King, Jr. and his influence on American society. I have embedded the video below. If you need a quick tool to check for understanding of the video, visit the CNN Student News quiz.