Friday, September 10, 2010

Using Facebook to Connect With Students & Parents

Earlier this week I wrote a post about using Facebook fan pages and Facebook groups to connect with students and their parents. In the video below I give a further explanation of my rationale for using Facebook fan pages to connect with students and parents.

Click here for directions on how to create a Facebook group and a Facebook fan page.

Do You Google Yourself? Do Your Students?

This week every student at my school was issued a netbook. This is a great thing for my students and for me. Today, in my last class of the day one of my students blurted out, "hey did you know you're on Google?" I responded, "yes, if you Google me, my blog is the first thing you'll find." This got me wondering how many teachers, particularly young and fresh out of college teachers, know what happens when students or their parents Google his or her name. Do you know? You should.

Applications for Education
Call it vanity searching if you wish, but it is important to know what happens when someone Googles your name. This is true not only for teachers, but for anyone applying for a job or applying to college. This year my weekly advisory group is made up of juniors (11th grade students) who will be researching and applying to colleges in the spring and or following fall. One of the things that I plan to have all of them do is Google themselves. The students that have common names I'll have add a geographic location and other criteria to their searches to help narrow their results. We'll then talk about what to do if something less than flattering appears in their search results. Web is great for sharing, but we must teach our students how to share responsibly.

Here are some related items that may be of interest to you:
A Thin Line - Digital Safety Education for Teens
Learn Internet Safety with Garfield
Google Family Safety Center - A Resource for Parents

StoryCorps Videos

StoryCorps is a nonprofit organization that records and gathers the stories of Americans from all walks of life. The stories range from light-hearted feel-good stories to serious and sometimes sad stories. Many of the stories are played on National Public Radio. Today, through my colleague Abbie Morrison (check out her great photography blog) I learned that StoryCorps has turned some of the stories into short, animated videos. So far there are five videos available that you can view on the StoryCorps site or view on Vimeo.

The video below features Studs Terkel talking about what has been lost in modern life and his vision of the future.

Applications for Education
The StoryCorps animated videos are a great example of the power of storytelling. The videos and the audio recordings of StoryCorps are a resource through which students can hear varying perspectives on the world we live in. Use the video above to talk with students about what is gained or lost when automation replaces humans.

Videos for Teaching & Talking About 9/11

Tomorrow is the ninth anniversary of the September 11 terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon. If you're planning to talk about September 11 with your students today (or any day), has some videos that should help your students understand what happened on that day and the longer term ramifications of the events. Additionally, has some interactive maps related to the events of September 11. Click on different parts of the maps to learn about what happened where on September 11, 2001.

Applications for Education
Many of our students today were too young in 2001 to fully understand what was happening on September 11. The videos and maps from provide some good background information that you can build on for classroom discussion and or student research into the events and long term ramifications of the events of September 11, 2001.

For more resources for teaching and talking about 9/11, check out Larry Ferlazzo's excellent list of resources.

The Week in Rap is Back for 2010-2011

The Week in Rap produced by Flocabulary is a free weekly rap video recapping the week's biggest news stories. The Week in Rap is back for the 2010-2011 school year. The first video of the new school year came out today. This week's video is a recap of the summer's biggest stories. Watch the video below.

The Week in Rap - 2010 Summer Recap from Week in Rap on Vimeo.