Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Chicks are Hatching!

Rendell Park was home to 7 hatching chicks!  Check out the saved videos on the Ustream website.(Search:  Rendell Park).  The chicks were a few days overdue, but very welcome.  Many students had a field trip to this classroom to check out the live action.  Congratulations to all the work done by Mrs. D. Miller, Farmer Al, and her grade 2 classroom!

Archived videos of Wed. hatching are posted on the Ustream site
Update:  Thursday April 21  12:00 pm
Newest Arrival!

Class watching the hatching on the SMARTBoard

Update: (5:50 pm Wed).  He/she is out!  After a great struggle for about an hour, the chick is out and resting comfortably.

1:45 pm Wed April 20, 2011
Update (1:45 pm Wed):  There are 4 eggs that are now showing in the live stream.  #3 is the furthest along on the left but the others are catching up.  One of the other eggs just started breaking out of the shell at 1:00 pm.  At 5:00 pm, quite a bit of progress has been made as a huge crack is opened up.  Shouldn't be too much longer!

Day old chicks in the classroom:


Saturday, April 16, 2011

TimeGlider: Construction of Timelines in History

This is web-based timeline software for creating and viewing history timelines as well as for project planning.  It requires a free sign up if you would like to create your own timelines.  This would be a useful presentation tool for teaching a historical sequence of events.  Students can also generate their own timelines which would incorporate research and writing skills.

Timeline events can contain text and pictures and you can change the size of the event to highlight its importance.  It is very easy to manipulate the timeline by using a slider (zoom in=less time shown, zoom out=more time shown).  Unfortunately, there are only a few examples given on the website: Wright Brothers, World War I, The CIA Leak Case and the History of Idaho (kind of random...go figure...).  Timelines you create are not public and are only shared between people by using a unique URL.
How it Works (overview)

TimeGliders New York Times Explorer: Search by keyword and/or author search from the New York Times in any time period between January 1, 1981 and the present.  Displayed will be the most relevant 200 articles.  Instructions are given next to the search box to provide the best keyword search possible.  For example, if searching for salmon farming, it would be best to use a number of keywords:  salmon+fish farming.  This way you would avoid articles referring to recipes involving salmon or restaurant reviews involving salmon entrees!

Friday, April 15, 2011

Learn Alberta's Online Reference Center

A major problem students and teachers encounter when doing research is when the internet is unavailable or slow because of heavy traffic to a particular site. Sometimes sites become dead links or valuable time is wasted when students aren't focusing their research on age appropriate information.

Built into every school's library home page is a link to Learn Alberta's Online Reference Center which supplies a wealth of research resources for students and teachers that are broken down into age appropriateness.
As all this information is stored and regularly updated on an independent server in each school library, these resources offer immediate access as they aren't reliant on the World Wide Web. You will not get a slow or dead primary link using this service as long as you are logged into LPSD. However, others links within these services may be dead or slow if they are dependent on accessing the World Wide Web. Access at home is available if you use LPSD's login and password which can be located at the top of the webpage.

All resources are listed in alphabetical order:

Accent: Discover French Beyond the Classroom| Grades K-12
Advance Placement Source| Grades 10-12 The Alberta Online Encyclopedia| Grades 6-12
Amazing Animals of the World| Grades K-6
The Atlas of Canada| Grades 6-12
Bookflix| Grades K-3
The Canadian Encyclopedia| Grades 5-12
Canadian Reference Center| Grades 7-12
Culturegrams| Grades 3-12
Early Canadiana Online| Grades 9-12
EBSCOhost| Grades 7-12
eLibrary Canada: Curriculum Edition| Grades 6-12
eLibrary Elementary| Grades 4-8
Grolier Online Passport| Grades 7-12
History Study Center| Grades 9-12
Novelist K-8 Plus| Grades K-8
Novelist Plus| Grades 9-12
Opposing Views In Context| Grades 7-12
Peel's Prairie Provinces| Grades 6-12
ProQuest Learning Literature| Grades 9-12
Science in Context| Grades 6-12
Statistics Canada: Learning Resources| Grades K-12| Grades K-12
World Book Advanced| Grades 8-12
World Book Kids| Grades K-3
World Book Student| Grades 4-9

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Text to Speech Changes a Child's Life

A moving article....

....and finally, Carly's blog:  Carly's voice changing the world of Autism

Submitted by Roxanne Smith (Winston Churchill School)

Accessing ExploreLearning Gizmos through Learn Alberta

Gizmos is an online interactive simulation site that has been provided to our schools through Learn Alberta.
Learn Alberta

Using our division’s Learn Alberta account, staff and students can access Gizmos without needing to register or pay for anything extra. These are all free to use in your classroom.
In the search button to the left, type in Gizmo, the subject area, and grade levels.
For example:  Under the Resource Search, type in "gizmo", select "Science", then Grade 11 and 12 and get 125 gizmos!
If one types in "Gizmo Biology", you will get 37 gizmos. You can narrow the search to a more specific topic if desired.

Learn Alberta Home Screen
Interactive Photosynthesis Gizmo

Staff and students have an automatic login to this site anytime they are logged into the school division's network. You just need to use the "search" field on the left. If you want to access this site at home you will need to use the division's login and password. As we aren't able to post these on this public forum, please locate and record the info at the top right of the webpage anytime you access this site at school.

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

MediaSmart's "Passport to the Internet" WOW!

Calling all Grade 4 - 8 Teachers who feel a need to teach on-line skills such as cyberbullying prevention and effective research...this program is so user friendly and children love it!  The best part of "Passport to the Internet" is that Alberta Education is providing it to LPSD for free.  We'd encourage you to take a moment to watch this video.  Please find the log-in info below.  You will not be sorry you spent some time investigating this!  :)

Please go to each school's First Class staff conference for teacher and student login credentials to access "Passport to the Internet"

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Glogster EDU Digital Posters

A glog is a fun and simple online way for students to create digital posters that can contain text, photos, videos, and sound.
To ensure student privacy, Glogster EDU has provided teachers the ability to create and manage up to 50 student accounts that can be refreshed and used in following years. It's an enclosed classroom environment that can't be seen by the public which ensures student privacy over the internet.  NOTE:  Glogster EDU is no longer free.  To access the free version, users (students) will have to create their own accounts.
One of the strongest features is the teacher having the ability to view, assess, respond and check student progress in any location as long as they have internet.
The only negative I have heard from teachers is the nagging request to upgrade to the Pro version whenever a teacher logs into their classroom account. But this is only occurs once after logging in.

Sumopaint and Pixlr Online Image Editing and Painting Programs

Both these programs are free web based applications that don't require the hassle of creating an account. Accounts can be made to house your creations and offers a few extra features but they aren't necessary to create art or modify your existing images.
The interface is quite simple where students just open up an existing file housed in their documents folder. After editing is completed the file can be saved in three basic formats:

Sumopaint saves in JPEG, PNG and the application's unique format "Sumo" which remembers all the steps of editing so a student can revert changes until the file is back to its original state.
Pixlr gives more save options in JPEG, PNG, BMP, TIFF and its own "PXD" that saves all the editing steps.


Monday, April 11, 2011

How to Link an Object to the Web in SMART Notebook

The video clip found at demonstrates how to link an object to a web site in SMART Notebook.  You could use this in a number of different ways.  It should decrease the time spent searching for clips, files and websites during your lesson.

-quickly access favourite YouTube clips rather than opening your browser and searching for the clip
-open frequently visited sites like the weather or other daily websites with a single click
-link to other Notebook files within your unit of study
-link to Word, Excel, PowerPoint, and pdf documents

Adding links is very useful when setting up a Unit Dashboard.  Here is an example:

On this Home Page or Dashboard for a primary health unit, each of the text boxes and the images are a link to a page within the file, another file, website, or video clip. The Dashboard for a unit of study is easy for the teacher, student or substitute teacher to use.  Please consult with other teachers or your tech coach for help constructing a Unit Dashboard.  

Note:  Linking to other files rather than attaching them or putting them all in one Notebook file lowers the size of the Notebook file.  This ensures that all clips and pages open quickly. 

Friday, April 8, 2011

Scribblemaps Pro in the Classroom Scribble Maps is the quick and easy way to rapidly make and share maps!  Once you begin exploring this application, you will think of many ways you can incorporate it in your classroom.
It's a simple-to-use online map allowing you to draw shapes, place markers and text,  link to a graphic, and ‘scribble’ on them as well.  You are also able to create a custom widget that can be embedded in your website or blog.

Similar in style to Google Maps, you can zoom in and out showing the desired area you want to work with.  You have four view modes:  map, terrain, hybrid, and satellite.  Then, using the tools, you can map out (draw) a route, mark and identify locations.  With the shapes tools you can draw a circle or square around a specific area and even control the opacity of the shape. Students have been using this application to create presentations demonstrating relationships between geographical features, resources, land use, and industry.

Registration for ScribbleMaps is free.  Upgrading to ScribbleMaps Pro (also free) gives you account management, additional tools, and other features.

For a quick overview and tutorial of creating a map....
Scribblemap Pro Basic Tools Tutorial
Saving Scribblemap Youtube Tutorial

If you are needing information on topics like environment, the economy, history, resources, health, people and society a great resource for Canadian statistical data is the Atlas of Canada offered through the Learn Alberta Online Reference Center.

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Google Earth Tours

Google Earth
There are many features to Google Earth that you and your students can use in the classroom.  Aside from finding directions, they can access the street level view which was added a few years ago.  Most towns and cities now have this feature.  Simply grab and drag the yellow street level man onto any city street and you will automatically zoom in.  You can then get a 360 degree view of the street if you use the left and right arrow keys, or drive along the street using the up and down arrows!  

Please contact your technology coach for assistance in setting up tours, organizing files within Google Earth, and exporting tours so they can be shared between teachers and students. 
Did you know that you can also record tours?  In Google Earth 5 and 6, there is the ability to record all of your actions on the screen, so you can save them to show repeatedly.  For example, you might have a tour that flys through the Grand Canyon, flys to the Seven Wonders of the World, or follows a historical event such as the settlement of Western Canada by the Barr Colonists or the historical places involved in the Northwest Rebellion.  Contact your tech coach to help you or put you in touch with teachers who have used this feature.

Google Maps:
Make your own tours (lit tours, geological tours, holiday summaries, historical place tours etc).  Using an email account, set up a private or public display of these tours.  When you make it private, you can select who will see your map tour.  Students can create an itinerary to follow as if they were running a tour company.  This type of lesson incorporates research, geography, and creative writing all in one!
Once students are signed in to their account, they can add markers, road highlights, photos, text and video links.  The list of places with their icon appears on the side margin, while the markers will show on the satellite or road map version of the locations they have chosen.   Here is a video the illustrates how to use this tool.
Google Maps

This website houses many teacher approved 'tours' in many different subject areas and grade levels.  It uses the Google Maps feature that allows the user to place video, photos, websites, and text to make custom tours.  Rubrics are provided to help plan the tour before submitting it to the site for approval.

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Alberta 2Learn Video Conferences

Periodically, the LPSD Educational Technology Department will post video conference sessions hosted by 2Learn.  2Learn's mission is "to initiate, advocate and share with educators technology-enriched teaching, learning and leadership options of tomorrow, empowered by unique alliances with education and community partners."

The general Alberta2Learn website is:

Derek Smith will make ALL of the arrangements if you decide to have your class attend!

Elementary VC Suite Sessions Elementary Listserv April 2011

Middle School VC Sessions JrHighListserv April 2011

High School VC Sessions SrHighListserv April 2011

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Skype in the Classroom

There are many sites available to help teachers and classes connect with others around the world.

1.  Skype in the Classroom:
"Skype in the classroom is a free community to help teachers everywhere use Skype to help their students learn. It’s a place for teachers to connect with each other, find partner classes and share inspiration. This is a global initiative that was created in response to the growing number of teachers using Skype in their classrooms."

Sign up for a free account.  All teachers can install Skype on their desktop computer.  To get a camera, please send in a help desk ticket requesting a webcam.

2.  Skype Want Ads:
Skype in Schools is a Wiki site where you post your request for your Skype session.  You must set up a free account in order to post on this site.

3.  Around the World with 80 Schools:
This is a great site that dissects what it takes to have a fantastic educational Skype experience.
This project is part of a larger blog/website (Langwitches), hosted by Silvia Tolisano an expert on using Skype as a means to connect to students around the globe.  Here is a video explaining the project:
Around the World with 80 Schools Video
There are many resources listed in this site, but in order to have full access, you will need to set up a free account.  That way you can post ads to try to connect with other teachers and classes around the world.

Tagxedo, Wordle & Tagul: Word Cloud Generators

Tagxedo - highly recommended!  This program allows you to save the word cloud you have generated.  There are a multitude of options included such as ability to choose the shape of the word cloud.

Wordle Example
Wordle -Beautiful Word Clouds -is a fun and easy program for students to use.  It doesn't require an email address or password.  It provides a visual and graphical representation of how many times a word appears in a document.  If you would like to make a Wordle, you can have the most important words appear larger by typing them in more frequently.  Students are able to choose from a list of fonts, colours, and backgrounds.  Wordles can then be printed and there is a choice to make it public or private.  To save the Wordle, you can take a screen shot or print to pdf.
You could use this in Science, Social Studies, and Language Arts when analyzing the important details of a story or paragraph, or to make great posters for special occasions such as Mother's Day or Father's Day.
What is the origin of this Wordle? (click to enlarge)

This is another word cloud generator.  It allows you more control over shape creation - select from star, square, circle, triangle, and cloud.
This is a free program but requires a sign up process.  In one user account, you can make 20 word clouds.  Each word become a "tag" and when clicked, will take you to the Google search results about that word.  Images can be saved, stored and printed.