Saturday, December 21, 2013

Video - Why the Full Moon is Better in Winter

Most of the time when I take my dogs out at night I have to put on a headlamp (they have their own to wear too) so that I can see them in the dark. But this week the combination of a full moon and a fresh blanket of snow canceled the need for the headlamps. In the following Minute Physics video we learn why the full moon appears brighter in the winter. Hint, it's not the snow cover that makes the big difference.

Week In Review - It's Time to Decorate

Good morning from snowy Woodstock, Maine. I hope that everyone is enjoying the start of a relaxing weekend and holiday break. This year, for the first time in my life, I'm hosting family at my house for Christmas. That means I have to start decorating the house today (the picture to the left is two years old). Here's to hoping all of the lights from last year still work. Otherwise, I could be making the forty mile trip to Walmart for lights. I'm no Clark Griswold, but I do like to put up a few lights.

I'll have new posts from now through the 24th. The 25th through 31st will be re-runs of the best and most popular posts of the year.

Here are this week's most popular posts:
1. Stoodle - Quickly Create Shared Online Whiteboards
2. Borrow and Lend eBooks Through Open Library
3. How Google Search Works and A Whole Bunch of Search Tips
4. Amazon Storybuilder - Plan Your Stories With Organized Sticky Notes
5. Five Tools That Help Students Plan Stories
6. All About Explorers - Challenge Your Students' Historical Thinking
7. An Interactive Map of The Odyssey

In January I am again offering my series How To Use Google Drive In School. Click here for registration details and a discount code. 

Would you like to have me visit your school this year?
Click here to learn more about my professional development services.

Please visit the official advertisers that help keep this blog going.
Practical Ed Tech is the brand through which I offer PD webinars.
Remind 101 offers a free tool for sending text message reminders to students.
IXL offers a huge assortment of mathematics lesson activities.
Typing Club offers free typing lessons for students.
MathDisk provides a great platform for creating interactive math lessons.
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. is a provider of free educational games for K-5.
The University of Maryland Baltimore County offers graduate programs for teachers.
Boise State University offers a 100% online program in educational technology.
EdTechTeacher is organizing two iPad summits this school year.
Classmint offers a nice multimedia flashcard service.

How to Subscribe to Free Technology for Teachers
Subscribe via RSSSubscribe via Email.
Like Free Technology for Teachers on  Facebook.
Find me on Twitter, on Google+, or on Pinterest.

Friday, December 20, 2013

Borrow and Lend eBooks Through Open Library

If you're looking for a new-to-you ebook to read during the holidays, take a look at Open Library. The Open Library is a part of the Internet Archive. The Open Library is a collection of more than one million free ebook titles. The collection is cataloged by a community of volunteer online librarians. The ebooks in the Open Library can be read online, downloaded to your computer, read on Kindle and other ereader devices, and embedded into other sites. Some of the ebooks, like Treasure Island, can also be listened to through the Open Library.

Applications for Education
Much like Google Books, the Open Library could be a great place to find free copies of classic literature that you want to use in your classroom. The Open Library could also be a good place for students to find books that they want to read on their own. The audio option, while very electronic sounding, could be helpful if you cannot locate any other audio copies of the book you desire.

Stack the States & Stack the Countries - Fun Windows 8 Geography Games

Stack the States and Stack the Countries are fun geography games that I reviewed last year as iPad apps. Today, I learned that they're also available for free Windows 8 apps. The games use a Tetris-like format that requires players to correctly answer a geography question in order to earn a game piece that they then place into a row. The object is to stack up pieces to reach a target height. When the target height is reached players move on to the next level.

In Stack the States students are quizzed on capitals, state shapes, abbreviations, bordering states, location on the map, nicknames, and flags. In Stack the Countries students are quizzed on capitals, landmarks, major cities, continents, border countries, languages, flags, and country shapes.

Applications for Education
Playing Stack the Countries and Stack the States could be a fun way for elementary and middle school students to develop their knowledge of world geography and United States geography.

Secret Millionaires Club - Business Lessons for Kids

Secret Millionaires Club is a series of animated videos and games designed to help kids learn the basics of business creation, management, and finance. The Secret Millionaires Club contains twenty-six animated videos featuring Warren Buffett talking with kids. The videos cover topics like debt, supply and demand, marketing, and consumer confidence in products. After watching the video your students can play two games to test their understanding of the content they've watched.

Applications for Education
Secret Millionaires Club is currently running a Grow Your Business contest for kids between the ages of seven and fourteen. The contest asks students to create pitches for new businesses. The Business Building Brainstorm activity could help your students develop their ideas.