Saturday, March 4, 2017

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

Friday, March 3, 2017

How to Create Strong Passwords

When was the last time you changed your email password, your Facebook password, or your online banking password? Hopefully, you're not using the same password for all of your accounts. If it has been a while since you changed your passwords, think about doing so as part of digital spring cleaning. The videos below provide some guidance on creating strong passwords.

Here's a set of three videos to get you started. The first video is a fun look at the ten most commonly used passwords, don't use these.


Here's a video from Mozilla about password security.




Here's Secure Passwords Explained by Common Craft.

Draft - Focused, Collaborative Writing

Draft is a collaborative writing tool that makes you focus on writing and revising by giving users a simple interface. In Draft you won't find options for inserting images or messing around with font types. In Draft you just write. When you're ready to get feedback about your writing, you can invite someone to read your document by entering that person's email address. The person that reads your document can suggest edits. When the person reading your document is done you can accept or reject the suggested edits.

Applications for Education
For students who don't have Google Documents, Draft could be a nice tool for peer editing online.

All of My NCTIES Slides - #NCTIES17

If you have been following my blog or Twitter this week, you probably know that I have been in North Carolina for the NCTIES conference. Earlier in the week I facilitated pre-conference workshops. On Thursday and Friday I gave a few presentations. The slides from those presentations can be seen here or as embedded below.



How to Search For Public Google Docs

This morning at the NCTIES conference I shared with people how to search for publicly shared Google Docs, Sheets, and Slides. Doing that can be a great way to find templates for lesson plans and other resources to use in your classroom (with attribution, of course). In the video embedded below I demonstrate how to search for publicly shared Google Docs.


Once you find a publicly shared Google Doc, you might want to make a copy of it in your Google Drive account. In the video below I demonstrate how to do that.