Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Private Tutoring...Benefits for ALL Students

The term "Private Tutor" can stem many images, perhaps going back to classical times since that is how emperors educated the finest in society. However in our world, private tutoring has become available to all not only the high-powered elite. The accessibility of private tutoring enables parents and students to get a direct handle on education. Private tutoring has many facets: catch up to speed, broaden horizons, learn "how to learn", mentor and of course get ahead of the class! "Private tutoring can help academically and intellectually advanced students remain challenged—and, therefore, interested in their education—and, because it is customized, one-to-one instruction, private tutoring can go at the accelerated pace necessary for such students" (as reported by Dr. Charlton in “The Story of My Life” in Charlton, Marolf, & Stanley, 2002); It's amazing how 1-on-1 private tutoring can help engage students and enable them to take an active interest in their education! Visit: http://www.ready-2-read.com/ for all your tutoring needs!

Monday, March 24, 2008

Teachers: Move Over Monopoly, Hello Lessonopoly!

Calling all teachers! As teachers we experience a new day everyday, though our classroom walls and students may look the same, a day is inherently different. In an attempt to create interesting lessons, (yes and meet state standards) it is often wise to collaborate with others in the field. However, with only 24 hours in a day and a to-do list that grows like weeds, it is almost impossible to collaborate, lesson plan, successfully manage your classroom, and oh yeah, meet personal goals and chores!
Well, to help your list and time management, I would like to introduce: Lessonopoly (http://lessonopoly.org/). Lessonop0ly is a one stop for free (our favorite word) for: Classroom Management, Lesson Plan Library and Collaboration with other teachers.
According to the site, "Lessonopoly is a free tool that lets you manage your classroom, find and share lesson plans and connect with other teachers" (http://lessonopoly.org/). Simply sign up and you are in a community of educators! Thank you, Silicon Valley Education Foundation (SVEF) for providing teachers with this wonderful tool!

Friday, March 21, 2008

Create Custom Graphs Online!

It is a fact that all students learn differently and our teachers should be able to identify how students learn and alter teaching to styles to meet the needs of their unique classroom. However, with 26-30 students in one class, not all teachers are able to meet this goal.
In our modern day, many students have adapted to visual learning, thanks to the variety of technology in their lives-- television, DVDs, video games etc. As a teacher, I tried to integrate visuals across subjects in an attempt to meet the needs of my visual learners. In particular I often used graphs in my classroom. I liked graphs because we could take class votes and make all different types of graphs. In an effort to promote creating graphs as well as reading them, I found a fabulous website where students can enter information and create graphs according to parameters. You can access the site via: http://nces.ed.gov/nceskids/graphing/
This site is great for all educational levels and students can create different types of graphs! It's great for science projects, as well as visuals for reports! Graph On!

Friday, March 14, 2008

Learning on Your Terms...

When was the last time you used your Walkman or Discman? Well, those days have quickly faded as we have migrated to Apple's iPod and other MP3 devices. Our society has become accustomed to downloading our songs and if we have a slow connection, we become restless. What about the days when we used to drive to the music to purchase a tape? Once again, a faded memory. Since we have trained ourselves to enjoy our entertainment (music, videos, news) on our schedule in our hands, it only seems logical that education follows the same path.

Students still go to school, but learning has begun to revolutionize and I think if we catch the bandwagon like we did with entertainment our students will be more successful in their academic endeavours. In "Apple's 'iTunes' site" there is a section called "iTunes U." This section often gets overlooked because it might not have the latest Beyonce track. However, this subset of iTunes enables us to access educational content from major universities and listen to it just like music.

On Apple's website, http://www.apple.com/education/itunesu_mobilelearning/itunesu.html they explain the power of this method of learning by stating:

U delivers easy, 24/7 access to educational content from hundreds of top colleges, universities, and educationally focused organizations across the country. And it’s accessible to anyone with a Mac or PC.Students can sync iTunes U with any iPod or iPhone, so they can go right on learning while they catch a meal, walk to class, or work out at the gym. Engaging students on their home turf, iTunes U offers audio and video that make subjects more vivid than any printed page ever could. iTunes U allows schools to open all or part of their content to the public, from parents to alumni to anyone with a love of learning.

I think we will begin to adopt these new supplemental learning avenues and this will help keep keep our students engaged. Just like we adapted to mp3 players such as the iPod, look out for a generation that will use these devices for learning too. Learning on "their" terms...

**Apple offers student and faculty discounts! For more information:

Monday, March 3, 2008

NEA's "Read Across America" Happy Birthday Dr. Seuss!

Today, March 3, 2008 is the National Education Association's "Read Across America" day. Perhaps your child will come home with some great comments about how they celebrated this ever popular day. I think that it is wonderful to have a single day dedicated to reading, as it serves as a backbone to education across subjects.
However, I propose that we attempt to keep "Read Across America" alive everyday, even though we celebrate it on a particular day, Dr. Seuss's birthday (3/2). (This year many schools celebrated it on 3/3 because 3/2 was a Sunday). We celebrate Dr. Seuss's birthday because he gave us the timeless readers like "The Cat and the Hat" that helped many say, "I can read and I am a reader!" With this theme in mind, it is important that we surround our students with books and print, constantly reminding them they are readers and the power to read is endless.
Keep on the lookout for the NEA's: Cat-a-Van" in a city near you! The National Edcuation Association's website (http://www.nea.org/) writes:

Catch the reading ride this Read Across America season! Three Cat-a-Van tours will be hitting the roads to celebrate the joy of reading. The three tours will start their travels in Atlanta, Austin and Chicago to cover more than 1,200 miles in 11 states.
During the cat trek, the tours will visit more than 18 cities in Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Indiana, Kansas, Missouri, Ohio, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, and Texas to provide more than 12,000 books and cash grants valued at $100,000, thanks to a generous donations from
NEA's Books Across America, a program that provides book donations and financial backing to public school libraries in need. Find out if Seuss's famous feline is headed to your neck of the woods.

Sunday, March 2, 2008

Education and Technology--A Safe Collaboration

In the current day and age it is almost impossible to get through a day without using technology. We have woven technology into our lives in an effort to simplify, like online calendars with alerts and email accessible on the go.
In the same manner teachers attempt to introduce technology and meet new state technology standards. However there can be many obstacles from a lack of funding to a meaningful way to weave technology into current curriculum. In an effort to create a safe online learning environment for K-12 students, ed.voicethread.com attempts to meet these needs by providing
"a secure collaborative network designed for the K-12 academic environment. Using one simple tool, educators and students can collaborate almost around any type of media via voice, text, web cam and drawing commentary, all within a
secure environment. Access to the network is restricted to K-12 educators, students and administrators, ensuring safe and secure classroom collaboration. "
This safe media based collaborative online network is a powerful tool as it helps weave educational communities across subjects. This is one great example of how students can successfully and safely apply technology directly into learning.