Choose Chart Chooser

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!

Resistance is Futile:

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.

You will be assimilated.

News in a New York (Times) Minute

readnewspaperBusy? Want to keep up with current events? If you’re a dedicated reader of the New York Times, consider the New York Times article skimmer.

Related links:

  • For those who like their content fresh and visualized, Newsmap has been around for a while. It puts story popularity into perspective.
  • is another addictive news visualization tool worth using.
  • Those who are concerned about a free and open press will want to swing by NewsCloud.

Hail to the Chief!

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 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.

Tasty Reading: Salt Water Taffy

Salt Water Taffy: the Legend of Old SaltyI 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: