Challenger Center Field Study Video

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Here’s a video from our field study. We had a great time working with the ISS and Mission Control to deploy a probe to study the moon Challenger Center Field Study

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Upgrading Our Classroom Election

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This week our school has been holding student council elections. Our class has been following the 2012 Presidential Election since the start of the school year, and we have gotten excited about the possibility of our own classroom elections. Students have been nominating each other, writing speeches and preparing to vote by digital ballots.

This idea started an interesting discussion about the nature of our democracy in the United States and the balance of power between the branches of government. We even got off topic a bit and shared our stories about our favorite past presidents. 

I found some nice online election tools I want to share with my class as we move forward. The first tool of interest I found on the blog historytech,wordpress.com. What I found that interested by appeared in a post a few weeks ago about campaign ads. I was most interested to learn about The Living Room Candidate, which is a website that catalogs the past 60 years of political campaign ads. I want to share this with my students not only because of their own interest in the history of the presidency, but to help them along with idea of their own campaign speeches they are preparing for the class.

The next tool that I think my class will be excited to hear about is something I pulled from Richard Byrne’s blog called Free Technology for Teachers. He shared a site called Ad-O-Matic, which was developed by the National Constitution Center. The site allows students create their own campaign ad from a very simple four step project builder. The biggest trick might be providing students with an image to load for the ad, but their is an option to use your devices built in webcam if you have one. To help my students I posted a link to their headhsots in Picasa.

I plan to share this with my students soon, and look forward to showing them a bit of U.S. Election History as well as helping them upgrade their own election campaigns for our school student council. Hopefully they will even get to share what they make on their own blogs, which can be accessed here.

Creating Avatars for Your Blog

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I have noticed many students have yet to create their blog avatars. It is time to create a graphic for your blog to give your readers a sense of your image.

Also, I seen that many students have been using images copied from other sites. Technically this counts as a copyright violation, so they will need to be changed. While visiting other educational blogs I ran across another teacher who is using blogs with her students. Mrs. Young from Fairfax, Vermont has created a page to help her students with their avatars. I liked it so much I wanted to share it with you here. Check out her page and read about how you can make your own avatars without copyright violations or by posting an actual picture of yourself to maintain your digital privacy on your public blog.

Mrs. Young’s page on avatars.

Challenger Center Field Study

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We went to the Challenger Center today in Richland One near WA Perry Middle School. Here’s a link to some pictures from our mission to the moon.

https://picasaweb.google.com/109514396617813374823/ChallengerCenter?authkey=Gv1sRgCMHLmayMtNPt_gE

How to Search Correctly

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This may be the most recognizable image today, but many people don’t know how to search efficiently and effectively. The following is from a session by Lucy Gray Called “Beyond Searching.” I’d also like to thank Wesley Fryer whose blog I originally found most of this information on.

Hey kids, One of the worst things you might do is: “Just Google it” Knowing how to search and find information correctly is a vital 21st Century skill for students today.

Here are some resources to help:

http://www.slideshare.net/elemenous/beyond-search-blackfoot-etc

Here’s a great site to help you practice your searching techniques. http://agoogleaday.com

Also, there is a blog by Dan Russell dedicated to improving student search understanding. Here’s a link to it. http://searchresearch1.blogspot.com/

A Lesson on “Searching”

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Is there such a place as Dog Island? Can I really find an island just for my dog’s vacation?

Today we will be looking at ways of judging whether a website can be trusted. Students are starting to use their netbooks for different types of research and we need to take some time to explore and discuss what we can trust on the internet.

Here is a link to a presentation by Chris Betcher on the 5 questions to ask when using a website for research. http://www.slideshare.net/betchaboy/5-factors-for-evaluating-websites

Also, we will be using the google search syntax tool called linkto: to see if other websites trust the site we are using.

Here is a list of  other sites we will be looking at to judge their trustworthy factor. Check them out and report back if you think they are real or fake. Remember to use the 5Points from the presentation and the linkto:syntax.

http://zapatopi.net/treeoctopus/ – The Northwest Tree Octopus

http://allaboutfrogs.org/info/species/pacific.html – The Pacific Tree Frog

http://www.fvza.org/ – Federal Vamprie and Zombie Agency

http://www.deadlysins.com/guineaworm/index.htm – Save the Guinea Worm

http://www.guineafarm.com/toc.html – Guinea Farm

Faculty Focus @ Board Meeting

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I was asked to share at tonight’s District Board meeting along with the my other two fellow conference goers about my experiences at the Engaging The NetGeneration Conference.

I was honored to get to share with board. However it also gave me an excuse to play with a new presentation tool I learned about recently. I read about Powtoons in a blog recently and signed up as a beta tester. It’s free right now and offers a new twist to online video production. It was not hard to figure out and the only issue I had was getting audio to post correctly. I had to fix this by uploading to YouTube and then loading the audio in youtube’s oine editor.

I hope the folks at tonight’s meeting appreciated what we shared about the conference. Here’s a link to what we shared. I’d love for others to take a look as we. It’s short and sweet.