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Thursday, October 1, 2020

NASA ScienceCasts Explains the Harvest Moon - It's Tonight!

Tonight is the night of the annual Harvest Moon in the northern hemisphere. The harvest moon comes on a different evening each year. If the weather is cooperative, tonight will be a great evening to get pictures of the moon rising. I hope that this year is the year I finally get a good one. 

The harvest moon is the full moon that is closest to the northern autumnal equinox. In the short video below the team at NASA ScienceCasts explains why it is called the Harvest Moon and why other moons have names too (have you heard of the snow moon or the wolf moon?). I found the video interesting, and I hope that you and your students do too.

Good Video Lessons About Cyberbullying and Digital Privacy

Students in my school district, like students in many other school districts, have more unsupervised time on their hands than ever before. That factor combined with the general "cooped up" feeling that many are having as a result of measures prevent the spread of COVID-19 in our community has led to an increase in cyberbullying this fall. In response to that I spent some time on Wednesday talking to my students about cyberbullying, how to spot it, and how to respond to it. I also made them watch this Planet Nutshell video about stopping cyberbullying. 

I've featured the Planet Nutshell NetSafe series in the past. For those who haven't seen it, it's a series of eighteen videos for K-12 students. There are videos specifically for elementary school and specifically for middle school and high school students. The videos cover topics like preventing cyberbullying, digital privacy, and the dangers of distracted driving. The videos were produced by Planet Nutshell in collaboration with the Utah Education Network. A few of the videos from the NetSafe series are embedded below. 

A Similarity Checker in Word - How Did I Miss This?

I've written about Google Classroom's originality reports in the past. I've also posted tutorials on looking for matching documents via Google Drive. This week, thanks to Mike Tholfsen, I learned that my Microsoft-using friends have a similar feature available to them via the online version of Microsoft Word. 

The similarity checker in Microsoft Word uses Bing to determine if there is a match or strong similarity between what a student puts in his or her document and a publicly available webpage. You can see a full overview of how the similarity checker works by watching this video produced by Mike Tholfsen. 


It is important to note that the similarity checker in the online version of Microsoft Word is only available to paying Office 365 subscribers and not to users of free Office 365 accounts. I decided to write this blog post anyway because I know that many of you reading this are working in schools that do have paid Office 365 accounts.