Saturday, November 1, 2014

The Week in Review - The Most Popular Posts

Good evening from Maine where we will soon be skiing and enjoying the best of what winter has to offer. I spent some time this evening to get my skis ready for the new season. Wherever you are this weekend, I hope that you have time for something fun too.

The new month is here and I am happy to announce that later this month I'll be offering another section of my Practical Ed Tech webinar series Getting Ready for GAFE. This webinar series has a graduate credit option, click here to learn more about it.

Here are this week's most popular posts:
1. By Request - Five Good Math Sites and Apps for Elementary School Students
2. A Handy Sheet of Google Search Modifiers
3. Access More Than 1,000 Socrative Quizzes Sorted by Subject
4. By Request - 5 Good Sites and Apps for Elementary School Language Arts Lessons
5. Novels on Location - Read Your Way Around the World
6. How Do Things Fly? - A Fun and Interactive STEM Activity
7. Wideo, WeVideo, and Magisto - Three Good Tools for Creating Videos Online

Would you like to have me speak at your school or conference? Click here to learn about my keynote and workshop offerings. 

Please visit the official advertisers that help keep this blog going.
Practical Ed Tech is the brand through which I offer PD webinars.
IXL offers a huge assortment of mathematics lesson activities.
Typing Club offers free typing lessons for students.
Discovery Education & Wilkes University offer online courses for earning Master's degrees in Instructional Media.
MasteryConnect provides a network for teachers to share and discover Common Core assessments.
The University of Maryland Baltimore County offers graduate programs for teachers.
Boise State University offers a 100% online program in educational technology.
EdTechTeacher is offers professional development workshops in Boston, Chicago, and Atlanta.
StoryBoard That is a great tool for creating comics and more.
BoomWriter and WordWriter are fantastic tools that help students develop their writing skills.

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Candy Crime Scene - A Science Lesson

Now that Halloween has come and gone there's a good chance that you have some candy lying around your house or classroom.  Use some of that candy in this neat lesson plan from the Museum of Science and Industry, Chicago.

Analyze Candy Using Chromatography is an activity in which you set up a "candy crime scene" for your students. In the activity you smudge the coating of a candy onto a small pieces of paper. Students have to determine which kind of candy was smudged. The students try to make their determinations based on comparisons with other candy smudges.

Applications for Education
Analyze Candy Using Chromatography is a fairly basic activity, but elementary school and middle school students will probably enjoy it. The activity could be a fun way for students to practice their reasoning skills.

A Handful of Resources for Teaching About Thanksgiving

It's the first day of November. The change of the calendar reminds me that Thanksgiving in the United States isn't too far away now. Over the years I've collected some resources for teaching about Thanksgiving. Here are the ones that I like best. I'll be adding more to this list as the month goes on.

You Are the Historian: Investigating the First Thanksgiving is an interactive exploration of the facts and myths associated with the story of the First Thanksgiving. Students can explore the facts and myths through the eyes of a Native American child or through the eyes of a female Pilgrim. Through the eyes of each character students discover the culture of giving thanks in the Native American and English cultures. My favorite part of the investigation is "The Path to 1621" in which students hear the perspectives of Native Americans and Pilgrims about events prior to 1621.

Voyage on the Mayflower is a nice resource produced by Scholastic. Voyage on the Mayflower has two parts for students to explore. The first part is an interactive map of the journey across the Atlantic Ocean. Students can click on placemarks on the map to read and hear about the journey. The second part of the Voyage on the Mayflower takes students "inside" the Mayflower to see and hear about the parts of the ship.

The First Thanksgiving: Daily Life is another online activity produced by Scholastic. Daily Life is comparison of the lifestyles of the Pilgrims and the Wampanoag. Students can click through each aspect of daily life to see a comparison of housing, clothing, food, chores, school, and games.

The Year We Had Two Thanksgivings tells the story of Thanksgiving 1939. In 1939 Thanksgiving was going to fall on the last day of November which caused merchants to be worried about a shortened shopping season. In response to this concern President Roosevelt proclaimed that Thanksgiving would be moved up one week. Some states chose to ignore this proclamation and celebrate Thanksgiving on the last day of the month anyway. The conflict was finally resolved in 1941 when Congress passed a law stating that Thanksgiving would always be celebrated on the fourth Thursday of the month. The Year We Had Two Thanksgivings is supported by ten primary source documents. Included in those documents are letters from merchants appealing to FDR to change the day of Thanksgiving and letters opposing the change.

When Is Thanksgiving? Colonizing America is an episode in John Green's Crash Course on US History. The video starts with the history of Jamestown before moving onto Plymouth. Green does a good job of illustrating the differences between why and how each colony was established. This is video is suitable for high school students, but Green's use of sarcasm (which I actually like) and the details would probably be lost on middle school students.

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