Saturday, March 4, 2017

The Week In Review - The Most Popular Posts

Good evening from Maine where I am home after another great trip to North Carolina for the NCTIES conference. Thank you to everyone who came to my workshops and presentations. A special thank you to those who supported me with nice messages about my presentations, came to multiple presentations, and or asked for selfies with me. Despite some logistical challenges that were out of my control this week, I once again thoroughly enjoyed NCTIES.

NCTIES represents the beginning of my spring and summer professional development calendar. I still have some openings in my calendar. I'd be happy to visit your school. Send me an email at richardbyrne (at) to learn how to bring me to your school.

Here are this week's most popular posts:
1. Google Keep Is Now Part of G Suite's Core Services
2. Three Free Tools Students Can Use to Dictate Notes
3. Planning Your Video Project - A Guide for Students
4. Virtual Reality in Education
5. Best of the Web 2017
6. Teach Your Monster to Read Minigames
7. How to Create Strong Passwords

Join me this summer for the Practical Ed Tech Chromebook Camp or the Practical Ed Tech BYOD Camp. Early registration and group discounts are available.

Please visit the official advertisers that help keep this blog going.
Practical Ed Tech is the brand through which I offer PD webinars.
Storyboard That is my go-to tool for creating storyboards.
QuickKey saves teachers tons of time when scoring formative assessments.
WriteReader is a fantastic multimedia writing tool for elementary school students.
Discovery Education & Wilkes University offer online courses for earning Master's degrees in Instructional Media.
PrepFactory offers a great place for students to prepare for SAT and ACT tests.
Boise State University offers a 100% online program in educational technology.
EdTechTeacher is hosts workshops in six cities in the U.S. in the summer.
My Simpleshow provides a great way to create explanatory videos.

Two Fun Videos for High School Grammar Lessons

The resources that I shared in the post previous to this one offer games that help students learn and remember the rules of grammar. At the high school level, the following two videos offer fun introductions to grammar lessons.

In Glove and Boots Fix Your Grammar the popular puppets Glove and Boots use fun examples from the web to explain the differences between "its" and "it's," "your" and "you're," and the proper uses of "there," "they're," and "their." Glove and Boots also teach viewers when it is appropriate to use "literally." The video is appropriate for high school audiences.

Weird Al's music video Word Crimes is a parody of Robin Thicke's Blurred Lines in which Weird Al points out some common grammar errors and how to correct those errors. The video is embedded below.

This is meant to be a fun video. Consider your audience and decide for yourself if it is appropriate to show in your classroom.

Two Good Sources of Online Grammar Games

Road to Grammar is a free resource featuring quizzes, games, and lessons for English language learners. Visitors to Road to Grammar will find grammar quizzes. Most of the quizzes provide students with instant feedback. Part of the feedback that students receive on the quizzes they take includes explanations why an answer is correct or incorrect. Before taking the quizzes visitors can work through a series of practice activities.

In addition to the resources that students can use individually, Road to Grammar offers some downloadable resources for teachers. Teachers will find the collection of eight downloads offer discussion starters for English lessons, lesson warm-up activities, and some worksheets.

Grammar Bytes
Grammar Bytes is a great website for teachers of Language Arts to share with their students. Grammar Bytes offers teachers and students a glossary of terms, handouts, interactive exercises, and slide show presentations. Instructional slideshow presentations are available to free download from Grammar Bytes. Each slide show is accompanied by a handout for students to complete as they view each presentation.

The interactive activities on Grammar Bytes require students to do more than memorize the rules of grammar. The Grammar Bytes interactive activities require students to read sentences and identify errors. In some of the activities students have to correct errors in a sentence. Each interactive activity is accompanied by a handout on which students can record their scores and measure their progress.

Resources for Learning About the Iditarod and Dogs

These guys are not running the Iditarod.
This weekend the Iditarod sled dog race begins. If you're looking for some materials to use to teach about the Iditarod or dogs in general, take a look at some of the resources below.

Mushing Explained is a series of videos produced by Alaska Public Media. In the series you can learn about what mushers wear, what the dogs eat and wear, how dog sleds are designed, what makes a sled dog different than your average pet, and what exactly is the Iditarod.

The best place to start your search for Iditarod-related lesson plans in on the Iditarod Education Portal. There you will find lesson plans arranged by subject area. The Iditarod Education Portal includes lessons for math, science, social studies, and language arts. Take a look at this lesson (link opens a PDF) about friction to get a sense of the kind of lesson plans that you will find through the Iditarod Education Portal.

Scholastic offers a nice collection of materials about the Iditarod. Included in those materials is an interview with author Gary Paulsen in which he answers questions based on his experience in the race. The Scholastic Iditarod resources also include some history of the race and history of Alaska in general.

The Discovery Channel offers 37 video clips related to the Iditarod race. The clips cover information about the dogs, the mushers, the sleds, and the history of the race.

For your students who are interested in learning about the dogs used to pull the sleds over the 1100 mile Iditarod course, the American Kennel Club is a good place to find information about Alaskan Malamutes and Siberian Huskies. I should note that most of the dogs that run in the race aren't pure-bred dogs. I've met many mushers and one of my former colleagues is a musher (not in the Iditarod) whose teams that aren't what you might expect to see when you think of sled dogs. To learn about genetics and breeding of dogs I recommend National Geographic's article How to Build a Dog.

A special note about this post.
I write a post about the Iditarod every year and every year I receive critical comments about my decision to do so. As mentioned above I have worked with a musher and met many others over the last few years. I've seen how well those dogs are cared for and how much money those mushers spend on the care of their teams. I am very comfortable in saying that sled dog racing is not cruel to the animals. If I didn't believe that, I wouldn't post about the race. I also volunteer at a no-kill animal shelter and have rescued dogs myself, I wouldn't promote something that I thought endangered dogs

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