Welcome Back

7 09 2013

Hi everyone and welcome back!

Hope you all enjoyed your summer:) It goes so fast, doesn’t it?

As I explained on Tuesday,  I am now at Berner all day but MTRACT is still alive and well. I will be there depending on my schedule after school. Please email me with any needs or concerns or call the office and leave a message at 308-5580. You can always call my cell – email me for the number.

Don’t forget about the collegial circles. There is much to do to prepare our students to succeed with the Common Core and collegial circles are the perfect avenue to work with your colleagues in achieving that goal.

Personally, I was VERY busy over the summer. I’ve told you about LearnZillion before and also told you that I was honored to have been one of the teachers chosen to attend Teachfest last May in San Francisco. My commitment was to create lessons for three math standards. Well, I cannot tell you the amount of work that we put into those lessons as well as how much I learned about creating Common Core lessons. We each worked with a team of 5 teachers from around the country and a coach who had to approve everything we did. The teachers on my team were incredible, as was my coach (even though he put me through the ringer). Once all was approved by our coach, it went to the LearnZillion team for final approval. After spending the ENTIRE summer working on 14 lessons, I can attest to the rigor that goes into creating lessons for LearnZillion and encourage you to take a look at their site http://www.learnzillion.com

You will find ELA and Math Common Core lessons grouped in lesson sets by standard. You can assign a lesson to student and see the results of their practice questions. It’s changed a bit from last year so the Expert Commentary from the teacher who created the lessons is more explicit and includes the research of what standards came before and what this standard is moving toward. There are four fluency and two application questions for each math lesson as well. I didn’t see the new ELA lessons as yet but many of you know how impressed I was with their resources last year.

I’m embedding a video about LearnZillion below that includes some video from Teachfest in San Francisco to give you an idea of the commitment of the staff in producing quality lessons. They are a really impressive and dedicated group who believe in scaling their impact on a daily basis. They will be doing 1/2 hour professional development webinars throughout the year. I’ll keep you posted on that.

I hope you take 2 1/2 minutes to watch the video (if you look really closely, you’ll see me at about 56 seconds in). OH! And by the way, second grade is now included and plans to extend to kindergarten are in the works. High School is also included with the new batch of lessons being unveiled. There will be OVER 2000 NEW lessons created over the summer that will be published within the next couple of weeks. Once again, I’ll keep you posted.

I just caught the tail end of TEACH on channel 2 and it really got me excited about returning to the classroom this year. I’d like to share the end quote by a student.

The question: “What is a teacher?” Her response, “Someone who inspires you to do something better with your life.”

I guess that says it all….

Have a GREAT year,


Ever lost your Favorites?? Try Symbaloo Internet Bookmarker for computer, SmartPhone, or Tablet

19 06 2013

Hi everyone!

Can you believe it? Two more days and we are at the end of the year!

Here’s something you may want to take a look at over the summer. Have you ever opened a browser only to find that all of your bookmarks are gone? I use three browsers – Firefox, Chrome and Internet Explorer (sometimes I throw in Safari as well). If I bookmarked a website, I would have to remember which browser I was using. THIS can get confusing…. UNTIL, I found Symbaloo!

Symbaloo is a place that you can store all of your bookmarks quickly, easily and VISUALLY. Let’s say I find a site that I really like. I make sure Symbaloo is open (I’ve made it my home page), click on add a tile, copy and paste the URL and voila! See the picture below:


Another really cool thing – let’s say you have a topic of interest and are looking for resources. How about Common Core??? or Football??? or Web 2.0 tools??? Well, you can search for what’s called a WEBMIX – all the tiles are already on the page and you may now add that page to your Symbaloo. Yes, that’s right – Symbaloo lets you have multiple PAGES of bookmarks so you can really be organized. You may want a page for just math sites, just LOTE, etc… Maybe just worksheets. And how about the kids? What a great way to teach them organizational skills!

I’ve included two videos below – one is Symbaloo as explained by a child. Since we are teachers I figured it was appropriate! The other is about SymbalooEdu.

To create a free account, go to http://ny.symbaloo.com

Symbaloo as explained by a child

Symbaloo EDU

Have a GREAT summer,

You’ve heard of highlighting? How about citelighting OR scribling?

28 05 2013

Citelighter (http://www.citelighter.com) is your highlighter on steroids. The free version allows you to capture text from the internet, automatically creates the bibliography in MLA, APA, or Chicago, and gives you a scratchpad to enter your notes about the research. It will save to your citelighter account but you can also download to Word. It will integrate with Google Docs but that requires the paid version.

Scrible (http://www.scrible.com) allows you not only to highlight your online content on the web but add post-it notes and save to your library. Scrible, like Citelighter, can also create the bibliography for you. There is a new free student version that was unveiled within the past two months.

Both are finalists in the 2013 EdTech IndustrySummit Innovator Award. I’ve only started using them and to be quite honest found Citelighter easier though I wish the integration with Google were not only with the paid version. Scrible is probably more powerful and I can see English teachers happier with this one. Take a look at both and see what is your preference. I’d love to get feedback!

Video Editing, Lesson Plans and a Virtual “WebShelf”

4 04 2013

Hi everyone!
Hope you had a relaxing break. I know I did! I have a few things I’d like to share with you today.

First – the good news – teacher centers are IN the budget for next year. I haven’t worked out the details yet as to when MTRACT will be open but we will have money to provide you with services.

Second – hate writing lesson plans? Here’s a new FREE web 2.0 tool that can help

This is Common Curriculum from Common Curriculum on Vimeo.

Third – Looking for APPROPRIATE video for your lesson?
Take a look at Watch, Know, Learn for pre-screened video you may download for FREE

Fourth– Video Editing Made Easy, FREE and in the Cloud!

And FINALLY…VERY INTERESTING – Do you PIN? Well, EdShelf seems to be the educational equivalent. You can create your own shelves or take a look at what other teachers have already found beneficial on their shelves. It’s pretty terrific and, of course, FREE. Click on the link and take a look!Ed ShelfEdShelf

Academic Vocabulary with Pixton and Gooru – An Educational Search Engine

12 03 2013

Hi everyone,

Academic Vocabulary

We have two words outside our doors throughout McKenna each week with their definitions. Take a look at what Tim Gill did with “assume” using Pixton, the FREE comic maker I told you about. Click on the link below the image to see the rest of the comic.



Don’t forget about the contest using Pixton and reporting on an invasive life species. Let me know if you need any help! Thanks Tim for sharing your creativity with us

Tired of googling a topic that you are about to teach and then spending however long to filter through what would not be appropriate for education?

Try gooruing instead! Take a look at the search engine for education called gooru sponsored by the Hewlett Foundation, Cisco, pd, ONR, Google, Ram Shriram Family Foundation, Pearson, and Next Generation. It is also an APP – you can find it for your iPad or in the Google Marketplace.
I’ve embedded a video with information about it below.

This is not just a search engine – it’s a community of teachers and students. Go to goorulearning.org and explore. Join the community.

Stonybrook Classes

And speaking of Google, Stonybrook is offering three courses leading toward the Google Certified Trainer certification. These courses are graduate and work for your 175 hours. I will send the paperwork as soon as I get it. In addition, let me know if you are interested in the Education Computing Certificate. This can be extended for a masters program. Our Ed Leadership program will not begin until the fall.


Cooperative Discipline
Student Brains, School Issues – A collection of articles
Creative Controversy
Blueprints for Achievement in the Cooperative Classroom
Brain Compatible Learning
Project T.E.A.C.H.
Teaching the Skills of the 21st Century


Pixton Cartoon Maker (WRITING TOOL), Encyclopedia of Life and the Professor Garfield Contest

21 02 2013

Hi everyone,


pixtonTake a look at the new FREE cartoon maker at the Professor Garfield website. There is a premium version but the free does PLENTY! What a great way for students to write a report on some assigned topic or LOTE students to create a conversation.
I’ve linked two videos below to show just what Pixton can do. Click on the URL below to see them. Michael Draper – you will LOVE this!



Another site for SCIENCE teachers is the Encyclopedia of Life (http://eol.org), a free online resource about all life on Earth that offers text, images, video, sounds, maps, . . . Watch the video for a 2 minute clip

This is a real community of sharing supported by many including the Smithsonian Institute and Harvard University.


To introduce you to these wonderful resources, NYS Teacher Centers, NYIT, Professor Garfield and EOL are sponsoring a contest for grades 6 through 8. eol

Students will visit the Invasive Species of New York State Collection on EOL at http://eol.org/collections/33844 to choose an invasive species in our area and then create a 6 to 9 panel comic in Pixton. I’ve attached a PDF Encyclopedia of Life Contest with further information as well as the rubric. Entries MUST be submitted to me by May 1!!!

PRIZES for students in each grade level
First Place – Apple iPad Mini
Second Place – Google Nexus Tablet
Third Place – Kindle Reader

There is a website as well – click to go to http://profgcontest.nyittbls.org/home/new-york-state-teachers

Enjoy – as always if you need help, give me a call or email me 🙂

EdCanvas – a presentation tool

16 01 2013

Hi everyone,

I have been playing with a new kind of presentation tool that is FREE and I believe has great potential. In order to show you some of what can be done, I created a presentation about Sandy on Long Island. My girlfriend now lives in Florida and has asked me on more than one occasion to send her news articles about Long Island because not much was reported about us – most of the information relayed was about the city.

Once you create an account (all they need is your email and password) then you can begin to search the topic you would like to create your canvas about. I typed in Sandy on Long Island and was then able to choose from You Tube videos, Flickr photos, Google photos and web search. I can also  insert a label for text, enter a specific URL, upload a file. When I uploaded a Powerpoint, it was automatically converted to a Google Doc and displayed.

My mind is moving a mile a minute thinking about what can be done with this tool. How about a group project where students place “their” piece in a square. They can literally upload ANYTHING…Animoto, Prezi, Word, Powerpoint, …

Oh, and by the way, you can post your EdCanvas to Facebook as well as tweet it, share the link, or embed the code! Take a look – you will LOVE, LOVE, LOVE this!


Click to see the complete Sandy on EdCanvas




Digital Learning Day, Business and Health Websites

4 01 2013

Hi everyone and welcome back to a NEW year and hopefully a great one!

digital learning day

Don’t forget to sign up for the second annual Digital Learning Day on February 6th. For more information and FREE registration click here.

Also, contact me if you’d like to submit a 2 to 3 minute video on how YOU integrate technology into your classroom. As a reminder, the website for this contest information can be found here.

Through Technology Tidbits and Tech4Teachers, I’ve found a couple of sites that Health and Business teachers may be interested in.

HEALTH Department
Here’s an iPad app “The Miracle of Life” I think you’ll find worthwhile. The video will give you an idea of how it can be used in your classroom. Remember MTRACT has iPads you may borrow.

BUSINESS Department
Remember Atari? Here’s a typing game that I believe the kids will enjoy. It is Space Game Defense – words fly down in attack and children (or adults – I had some fun playing as well – ask Trish Kanavy, she caught me!) must type the word in order to shoot it down before it reaches their base. The game can be found at http://www.digitalraiders.com/node/8

Happy New Year!

Digital Learning Day, Internet Safety and a Persuasive Essay Web 2.0 Tool

18 12 2012

Hi everyone!Dec 12, 2011

The second annual DIGITAL LEARNING DAY is scheduled for February 6, 2013. NYS Teacher Centers have partnered with NYIT in encouraging teachers to submit a 2-3 minute video illustrating how they are using technology to transform classroom practice and help students meet Common Core Learning Standards. Teachers who submit a video could win a $50 Amazon Gift Card For more information, visit the NYIT website here

I learned about the following government website called OnGuard Online for online safety. It’s not only a good resource for your class, it’s a great resource for us as well. Click here to visit.

Another really cool site, called SCAN, is a 2.0 tool to help guide discussion and learn to respect other’s opinions. There’s are several PDFs that can be downloaded for handouts. I’ve attached the SCAN Persuasive Essay for your review. SCAN_Persuasive_Essay

Here’s a video explaining the site. There is a free and a subscription version. If you choose to subscribe, the price would be $45 per year.

Dec 12, 2011

Have a wonderful Christmas, Hanukah, and New Year!
Hope it’s relaxing – you deserve it!


Using Video as a Presentation Tool and 21st Century Skills Strategies

3 12 2012

Hi all,
I have a few highlights to share with you. One is Better Lesson which is a social learning community and a place that you can find, save and share quality common core lessons. A short video explaining follows:

They are looking for exceptional master math teachers currently teaching grades 6-12 to work as part of a cohort building CCSS-aligned courses. Regular feedback and support will be available from coaches who are experts in the implementation of CCSS. Resulting lessons and best practices will be shared with the Better Learning community. The work is virtual and you would be expected to devote 10 hours weekly building curricula and sharing instructional strategies. The project has been funded by Bill and Melinda Gates the master teacher would receive a $30,000 stipend for the two years. For more information, click to go to http://blog.betterlesson.com/seeking-teachers-for-the-betterlesson-master You can get the application at that link or download from the next page after clicking this link. BetterLesson Master Teacher Program

The use of video can be a very powerful tool for learning and most especially motivation. It’s so important for us to enter our students’ worlds and use their tools. How many of them create video all the time and post to You Tube? Rather than creating a presentation using PowerPoint, how about having them create their learning experience using multimedia? Here’s a website https://www.wevideo.com that easily allows you to edit video. The basic tool is free to educators and probably more than adequate but you can upgrade (Plus is 19.99 per year and Ultra is 29.99 per year). Click on the image to see exactly what is included.

The following video shows what you can do:

And then…I found this video on Edutopia on 21st century Teaching Strategies. I loved it – hope you will too 🙂