Friday, October 4, 2019

The Practical Ed Tech Podcast - Episode #12

This afternoon I recorded the twelfth episode of The Practical Ed Tech Podcast. In the episode I shared some reflections on teaching computer science and some reflections on being a teacher at 40 versus being a teacher at 25. Of course, I also answered a handful of questions from readers. The episode begins with some news and notes from the world of ed tech over the last week. Give the show a listen here or search "Practical Ed Tech" on your favorite podcast platform.



Get the complete show notes here.

You can listen to all episodes of the podcast here or find them on the following podcast networks:

The Solutions to Common Classroom Stains

Stain Solutions is a handy website developed by Susan Taylor at the University of Illinois Extension. The site is a database of solutions for removing more than 200 common stains like coffee, bird poop, and white glue (commonly called Elmer's glue). Click on a stain in the chart and you will be taken to a list of the ingredients needed to make a solution that will remove your chosen stain. Directions and warnings are provided along with the solutions.

Applications for Education
I don't know of any teacher who hasn't stained work clothes themselves or had them stained as the result of a student mishap. I've stained enough neckties to create a drop-cloth. Coffee, ink, and dry-erase markers seem to be the leading causes of those stains. Solutions to remove all those stains can be found on Stain Solutions.

A Tool to Simulate Text Messages Between Historical Figures

One of my favorite tool on ClassTools.net is the Fake SMS Generator. The Classtools Fake SMS Generator is free to use and does not require students to register to use it. In the video below I demonstrate how to create a fictitious text message exchange between historical characters.


As I mentioned in the video, the Fake SMS Generator could also be used to create visuals for lessons on cyber-safety and etiquette.

Poe Animations and Lessons

It wouldn't be October without language arts that mention Edgar Allan Poe. It seems that October is the time that a lot of students are introduced to the work of Edgar Allan Poe. If that describes your classroom and you're looking for a few Poe resources, take a look at the following three videos.

In the TED-Ed lesson Why Should You Read Edgar Allan Poe? students can learn about Poe's guiding principles for writing, the recurring themes of his work, and the personal factors in his life that contributed to his writing. Find the complete lesson here or watch the video as embedded below.



Introduce The Pit and the Pendulum to students through Flocabulary's rap of the story. That video is embedded below.



Here is an animated telling of Edgar Allen Poe's Tell Tale Heart.

Thursday, October 3, 2019

Math & Science Halloween Lessons

This afternoon one of my students asked me what my daughters are going to be for Halloween. That question reminded me that Halloween will be here soon. If you find yourself starting to look for some Halloween-themed math or science lessons for elementary school, take a look at the following items.

PBS Learning Media also has a collection of Halloween-themed science and mathematics lessons. PBS Learning Media's Halloween collection includes lessons that can be used in elementary school, middle school, and high school classrooms. One of the elementary school Halloween-themed lessons is all about the historical traditions that contributed to the creation of Halloween. The materials for this lesson include a short video, video discussion questions, and a vocabulary sheet. The middle school and high school resources in PBS Learning Media's Halloween collection are videos without any other supporting materials. In the collection you'll find videos about why things sound scaryflesh-eating beetles, and supernatural elements in Macbeth. All of the items in PBS Learning Media's Halloween collection can be shared to Google Classroom where you can add questions for students answer after watching the videos.

SciShow Kids has a playlist of videos covering topics that are frequently connected to symbols of Halloween. Those topics are bats, spiders, skeletons, and the changing colors of leaves. In the video about bats students learn how bats use sound to find their way at night, how and why bats hang upside down, and how they rear their offspring. In the video on spiders students learn about the role of spiders in controlling flying insect populations and how spiders create webs. In the video about the human skeleton students can learn about the functions of the skeleton as well as how bones grow and heal over time. Finally, in the video on leaves students learn about the correlation between chlorophyll, sunlight, and leaf color.




Coding with Monsters is an activity from Tynker. It can be used to introduce some basic coding concepts to elementary school or middle school students.

If you can get through the obtrusive advertisements 31 Days of Halloween STEM activities offers some good activities for teaching basic engineering, biology, and chemistry concepts.

Number Chase - Math vs. Zombies is a free iPad game with a Halloween theme. The game is has three virtual worlds each containing ten levels of basic math problems. The object of the game is to correctly solve as many math problems as possible before the zombies catch you. The math of the game is basic addition, subtraction, multiplication, and division.