Want your students to collect data and construct charts. You probably know that the National Center for Education Statistics has an engaging resource called Create A Graph that’ll allow your learners to generate graphs online. As nifty as the NCES site is, however, you want your pupils to use Excel (or OpenOffice’s equally proficient and FREE spreadsheet tool, CALC) to create a chart. One extremely simple way to facilitate the use of spreadsheet applications is to drop by Chart Chooser. Once there, locate the type of charts you want learners to use, download the charts as Excel or PowerPoint templates, and then have pupils insert their data. It’s that easy!
Don’t have funds for costly word processing software? Can’t use Google Docs because your school system blocks the site–even though you’ve mentioned that Google Apps for Education is free for schools? Keep stressing that point but in the meantime consider using a substitute. If this is the case, there’s a resource you’ll want to integrate into your classroom assignments. It’s called Shutterborg. It’s a nifty composition tool that’ll allow you and your pupils to edit documents online without paying a cent.
Yes, it’s that time again–a Federal holiday known as Presidents’ Day. Specifically, it’s the day we officially observe Washington’s birthday. Why not use technology to “virtually” drop by the White House and ramble through our nation’s official guide to George Wasington and many other interesting individuals who’ve served in the Executive Branch of the United States Government?
If you’re really curious, the Miller Center of Public Affairs sponsors a treasure-trove of Executive Branch information called AmericanPresident.org. This extremely informative explores all manner of presidential data from Washington to our newest Commander-in-Chief. The site covers everything from each First Lady, every president’s nickname, to who served in a each cabinet. This rich resource provides excellent historical accounts of past Presidents, including images, quotes, and biographical information.
I recently chanced upon a story that my 9 year old daughter thoroughly enjoyed. Written by Matthew Loux, the graphic novel Salt Water Taffy: The Legend of Old Salty tells the tale of a summer vacation that’s about to become more exciting than two boys ever thought it could be. With a little encouragement, my daughter wrote and recorded a review of the book. I’ve used her work here as the basis of a test podcast we created using Garageband. Here’s the review:
Maybe Stevie Wonder had it right when he sang:
Very superstitious, writing’s on the wall,
Very superstitious, ladders bout’ to fall,
Thirteen month old baby, broke the lookin’ glass
Seven years of bad luck, the good things in your past.
When you believe in things that you don’t understand,
Then you suffer,
Superstition ain’t the way
Well, if you’re going to fret about today anyway, at least read the history of triskaidekaphobia. Find out why superstitious people get upset and suffer from the heebie-jeebies when they think about this day. Find out how stuff like this “bad day” superstition works. I mean, what’s so important about the number thirteen, right? Attaching any importance to an ordinary number like thirteen is a prime example of superstitious thinking. Like Archimedes, the famous Greek philosopher, a fellow who favored reason, we should look for solid examples of rational thought.
Perhaps the the better angels of our nature will help us recall an individual who left us a legacy of brotherhood and unity. It’s Abraham Lincoln’s birthday. Take a moment to reflect on his life and what we can learn from it.
Google’s cooking up another exciting project. Big G’s newest example of thinking outside the box (or rather, beyond the grid) is known as Google PowerMeter. If it’s realized, this project could help all of us live in a future where access to personal energy information consumers make more informed, more intelligent energy choices. In the meantime, try implementing some practical tips and get serious about energy conservation.