Thursday, November 22, 2018

You Can Get Anything You Want... Happy Thanksgiving!

Today is Thanksgiving Day in the United States. Somewhere in the last 50 years it became a tradition that classic rock stations play Alice's Restaurant Massacree at noon on Thanksgiving Day. And it has become a tradition for the last ten years that I post a video of Alice's Restaurant Massacree here on Free Technology for Teachers. If you search for the song on Wolfram Alpha you will find a chart of Wikipedia traffic for the search term "Alice's Restaurant." So the question/ cultural history lesson for students is "why do people search for that term around Thanksgiving?"

Happy listening! Happy Thanksgiving!

Measuring Mountains - A Math Lesson

A few years ago I read Mount Everest, The Reconnaissance 1921 which I downloaded for free from Google Books. In the introduction there is a three page explanation of the methods used to measure the height of Mount Everest. An explanation of the differences in measurements is also provided in the introduction. Part of that explanation includes differences in snow fall, cyclical deviations of gravity, and differences atmospheric refraction when observations were made. I'm not a mathematics teacher and will never pretend to be one, but reading that introduction did get me thinking about a possible mathematics lesson.

Applications for Education
Turn to pages 10 through 13 of Mount Everest, The Reconnaissance 1921 and read about the difficulties of accurately measuring Mount Everest in the late 19th and early 20th Centuries. It's interesting to note that most accepted measurements were more than 100 feet higher than today's accepted measurement. Tell your students that Mount Everest has shrunk over the last 100 years and ask them to solve the mystery of the shrinking mountain. 

Wednesday, November 21, 2018

The Chemistry of Thanksgiving or "Why It's Not the Turkey Making You Sleepy"

Tomorrow is Thanksgiving here in the United States. Just like I did last year, on this Thanksgiving Eve I found a video that would have made for a nice Thanksgiving-themed lesson. So even though it is too late to use it this year, bookmark the Thanksgiving Turkey Compilation from the Reactions YouTube channel. The video explains two things. First, it explains how the deep-frying process works and how it helps to make a turkey more flavorful. Second, the video explains why turkey isn't the primary culprit in making you drowsy after devouring your Thanksgiving meal.

Black Friday Sale on Practical Ed Tech Webinars

One of the ways that I keep Free Technology for Teachers running is through the sales of professional development webinars on my other site, Practical Ed Tech. In the last year I hosted more than three dozen professional development webinars on that site. For Black Friday and Cyber Monday I'm offering the six most popular Practical Ed Tech webinars in one convenient package.

The webinars in the Practical Ed Tech Black Friday bundle are:
  • 5 Video Projects for Nearly Every Classroom 
  • 10 Search Strategies Students Need to Know 
  • Google Forms & Sheets for Beginners 
  • Get Organized With Google Classroom, Calendar, and Keep 
  • Introduction to AR & VR in Education (only available in this bundle) 
  • 5 Ways to Blend Technology into Outdoor Lessons (only available in this bundle)
Purchased individually this collection of webinars would cost $120. During this sale the whole collection is just $47. 


How to Create a Backchannel on Padlet

Padlet is one of the most versatile tech tools that a teacher can have in his or her toolbox. From making KWL charts to exit tickets to simply posting ideas in a shared online space, Padlet can be used in nearly every grade level and subject area. And your notes aren't limited to just text on Padlet walls. In fact, there are ten types of notes that you can add to Padlet walls including screencasts, audio notes, and even maps.

Recently, I noticed that Padlet has a new wall template designed for hosting backchannel chats. In the following video I demonstrate how to create a backchannel on Padlet.


Applications for Education
When you use the backchannel template on Padlet you and your students can still add all of the note formats that Padlet offers. That means that you could post a picture or video as a discussion prompt.