Wednesday, December 14, 2016

PBS LearningMedia's Digital Innovator Program Seeks Applicants for 2017

PBS LearningMedia is hosting their Digital Innovators program again in 2017. The program recognizes K-12 teachers who excel at using digital media in their classrooms. There is also a leadership component of the program as PBS is searching for people who can be leaders in helping other teachers utilize digital media. Teachers selected as PBS LearningMedia Digital Innovators will receive a trip to San Antonio, Texas for the PBS LearningMedia Digital Innovators Summit and the ISTE conference in June, 2017.

The deadline to apply for the PBS LearningMedia Digital Innovators program is February 13, 2017. The application does require that you create and submit an original video. A sample from one of 2016's Digital Innovators is embedded below. The full application requirements can be found here.

Snot, Poop, Puke, and the Lessons They Teach

This post was inspired by my daughter whose snot, poop, and puke have been on me at various points in the last few days.

Who Pooped? is one of the most Pinned resources of all time on this blog. Who Pooped? is an interactive site in which students learn about various animals by guessing which animal created which pile of poop. Believe it or not, there is actually some good information about the animals that follows each round of guessing who created which poop. Cows are one of the that animals you can learn about on Who Pooped? (give the site some time to load in order to view all features).

In the video below a Rube Goldberg machine is used to show how a cow's digestive tract works.

Cow from Nova Jiang on Vimeo.

The Cleveland Clinic offers an infographic titled The Color of Snot. The infographic breaks-down what the color of your nasal mucus indicates about your health. The infographic might be of interest to health teachers and school nurses to print and post for students to read. You can read more about the infographic on the Cleveland Clinic's website or grab the PDF of the infographic here.

What is an owl pellet? That is the topic of the latest SciShow Kids video embedded below. Unfortunately, most students don't get the experience of walking in the woods and finding owl pellets. You can order owl pellets from a science lab supply company or you could have your students virtually dissect an owl pellet. Kid Wings is a website all about birds. The site includes a virtual owl pellet dissection activity. In the virtual owl pellet dissection students pick apart an owl pellet, examine the bones inside it, then match those bones to the skeleton outline they've been provided. The names of the bones are read aloud to students when they click on the bones in the virtual activity.

Let PrepFactory Help You Teach SAT & ACT Strategies

As more schools and states require all high school students to take either the ACT or SAT, you may find yourself having to teach SAT or ACT test-taking strategies. In fact, I had to do this in my homeroom when Maine required that all students take the SAT.

Trying to work SAT or ACT test-taking strategy sessions into your already crammed curriculum is frustrating. When I did it, it hardly seemed adequate. I did my best to help my students when they were with me and provided them with some online resources that they could use independently. PrepFactory is one resource that I wish had been available to me back then.

PrepFactory provides students with ACT and SAT strategy tutorials before each set of review activities. The tutorials are a mix of video and text instruction. Students can work through the tutorials as complete sets or skip to a specific section that they want to focus on at the moment.

One of the nice things about PrepFactory's approach to review exercises is that they rotate a variety of question formats so that students don't get bored by slogging through twenty multiple choice questions in a row. Each set of review exercises includes a mix of multiple choice, sorting, and fill-in-the-blank activities.

Disclosure: PrepFactory is an advertiser on

OpenEd Adds Thousands of New Science Resources

OpenEd offers a massive library of free educational games, videos, practice assessments, and tutorials. This week they expanded their catalog by adding more than 1,000 new resources aligned to Next Generation Science Standards. These resources come from notable content producers including SciShow, CrashCourse, and Minute Physics all of which have been featured many times on

All of the resources available through OpenEd can be shared with your students through the popular Google Classroom and Otus learning management systems. You can also use the OpenEd Google Docs Add-on to create lesson plans that incorporate the resources you find in OpenEd's library. The video below demonstrates how to do that.

Tuesday, December 13, 2016

A Fun App for Learning to Add Fractions

This post originally appeared on one of my other blogs,

Fraction Mash is a free iPad app that provides a fun way for students to learn about fractions. The app lets students insert two pictures then divide those pictures into grids, columns, pie slices, triangles, or rows. Once their pictures have been divided students select the portions of one picture that they want to combine with the other picture. Students' selections of image portions must equal 1 when the two images are combined. Fraction Mash lets students choose how many pieces each picture is divided into.

When students have completed their image-based fractions problems they can save them to the camera rolls on their iPads. From there they can share them with you in a variety of ways including through Google Classroom. But there is more that your students can do with the fractions mash-ups they make in Fraction Mash. Fraction Mash includes an option for students to write reports about their fraction mashes. The reports templates let students insert the images and the fraction problems they created into their reports. They can then write about the fractions problems that they created and solved. Those reports can be saved and shared with you.

Fraction Mash does offer advertise an online classroom space, but it wasn't working when I tried it. You'll probably do just as well to have your students share their work with you through Google Classroom or another LMS client that is installed on your students' iPads.