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Connecting Classrooms through Global Projects – 2014 Global Education Conference

November 18th was my presentation for the Global Education Conference coordinated by Lucy Gray and Steve Hargadon. My slides and Livebinder are as follows.

Full Recording Link: https://sas.elluminate.com/site/external/jwsdetect/nativeplayback.jnlp?sid=2008350&psid=2014-11-18.1630.D.A29F0FE2DFA53A92C238077914DA54.vcr

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#Rokerthon uses Crowdfunding to Raise Money for USO

Posted by kcaise on November 12, 2014 in blogging, Digital Media |

Watch__Rokerthon__Al_attempts_World_Record_for_longest_live_weather_report_-_News_-_TODAY_comAl Roker, weather forecaster for the Today morning show, is hosting a 34 hour weather-a-thon where he will be on air talking about weather in an effort to raise money for the USO while attempting to set a Guinness world record for the longest uninterrupted live weather broadcast. He is using a Crowdrise campaign to raise money for the USO from donations submitted by viewers.

Al gets a five minute break every hour on the hour or he can save the time and take a longer break with the five minutes per hour he builds up and saves. I love how he is using social media to raise money and attempt this world record.

You can go to http://today.com and click on the #Rokerthon image to view the live broadcast. He started at 9pm CST and will continue until 7am CST Friday morning.

In order to break the world record, he has to follow the rules below:

  • TODAY_-_Latest_News__Video___Guests_from_the_TODAY_show_on_NBCHe must talk about weather for the entirety of the time, outside of breaks.
  • He can talk about current weather, and weather seven days in the past or seven days ahead.
  • For every 60 minutes completed, he can take a five-minute break. The breaks can carry over and be combined, so if he goes four hours without stopping, he can take a 20-minute break. 
  • Two independent witnesses must also be there at all times. 

This will be a difficult, but worthy challenge for Al Roker and a great way to bring attention to the amazing things the USO does for the military community. Join in the fun and be sure to share this with your colleagues and students!

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“How Feel Better in Life” Google Search

Posted by kcaise on November 10, 2014 in blogging, curriculum |

Kim_s_Technology_Treasure_Chest___A_Treasure_Chest_of_Technology_Tools_and_ResourcesNo, that isn’t a typo in the title. One of the former radio announcers writes a column for the local suburb newspaper for the area we live. He stated that he uses Google analytics to find out how people find out about his website of http://www.sonnyradio.com maintained by himself, Sonny Melendrez.

He was sharing how honored he felt that someone found his website using the search term “how feel better in life” and spent time reading different postings. I know I feel that same way whenever I see the hit counter go for the blog posts I write. I feel honored that someone took time to read my blog, leave a comment or both. It is always daunting for small blogger or new bloggers to write posts thinking no one will be interested or read what I have to say.

Kid_Detectives_Classroom_Gamification_Learning_Activities___Cross-CurricularI wrote a book that was recently released around September 1, 2014 titled, “Kid Detectives – Classroom Gamification Learning Activities: Mystery Adventure Quests.” I have only sold one book but whomever purchased that book I would like to thank them personally for believing in me and taking a chance on the content presented in the book as being a value to them. I was re-reading it recently and told my husband that the book was actually really well written and I could see how teachers new to mystery adventure quests, gamification, or using technology in the classroom would find some golden nuggets of truth and value in the book. Designing and implementing quality mystery adventure quests is a difficult and challenging task and implementing learning activities like mystery adventure quests is so rewarding.

It goes back to every hit my blog receives, every person who subscribes to my blog and any individual that takes time to leave a comment. I am honored beyond means when this happens and feel so blessed at the smallest of successes. I do not take writing a book or writing a blog for granted – both are ways that I share my knowledge to help educators around the globe transform their teaching and make school interesting, valuable and meaningful for all students. I didn’t enjoy going to school as a student and believe that my ‘gift’, as Steve Harvey talks everyone having a specific gift in his latest book “Act like a Success, Think like a Success”, is to make a difference for students by impacting instruction via their teachers.

Upon personal reflection, what is your unique gift? How do you share your gift with others? Feel free to leave a comment and let’s share our gifts!

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Teachers: Need some Money?

Posted by kcaise on November 4, 2014 in blogging |

treasurechestNeed some money? Most people realize, including the Internal Revenue Service (IRS), that teachers pay for classroom materials and supplies out of their own pockets. The following resources can fund various classroom project proposals and send either a check to purchase the materials or send the actual materials the project proposal asks donors to fund.

For each site below, be sure to check the requirements necessary for submitting a successful proposal. Some may have rolling due dates or specific end dates when the project proposal or request is removed from the site if it isn’t funded. The proposals can cover online class needs for funds for projects that may include credits to download individual Voicethread projects, purchase membership subscriptions to pay for web tools like Animoto or GoAnimate, or to fund a software site license to enhance the curriculum of a hybrid/blended or e-learning course.

Donation Sites

  1. http://classwish.org/
  2. http://www.donorschoose.org
  3. http://digitalwish.com
  4. http://adoptaclassroom.org
  5. http://supplyourschools.org
  6. http://supportmyclass.org (appears to be limited to Hawaiian classrooms)

Tips for Excellent Proposals

  1. Include specific demographic information whenever possible. Many donators fund projects in areas of poverty or areas that are in the greatest need. That doesn’t mean classrooms from wealthier schools won’t get projects funded; it just means that if a classroom is from a school in a high poverty area it is more likely to get funded. Regardless of the socio-economic status of your students, include statistics or basic demographic data.
  2. Craft your proposal with an eye-catching title. You want to grab the attention of possible donator resources and a clever or catchy title can really help draw attention to your proposal.
  3. Try to keep wish lists or project proposals under $400 – $500. Funding projects are expensive or you wouldn’t be soliciting funds and projects with lower amounts seem reasonable to donators and are funded more often. Don’t limit your project though. Cut it in half if you have and submit it twice or submit to more than one donation source for different portions of your proposal’s wish list.
  4. Inform everyone you come into contact with your proposal. Explain to parents and students that you have submitted a proposal and ask parents to consider submitting the wish list to their employers or neighbors, etc., to help secure funding for your project. This is paramount if your school is in a wealthy area. When you involve the community, you often have a better chance of getting your project funded.
  5. If your wish list isn’t funded the first time around, don’t give up. Try other sites or look at the proposals of successfully funded projects as a guide for a second submission. Lower the amount or number of items you are soliciting funding for and continue submitting to donation or crowdfunding websites. There are others out there but the above are specific to education.

paycheckGetting a project proposal successfully funded may seem like a daunting task but doing your homework before you submit will greatly pay off, pun intended. Follow the above tips, research successful proposals, check out sites like Grant Wrangler to find out how to write quality grants or project proposals and help get supplies and materials for your classroom projects that would ordinarily be out of reach due to a lack of funding.

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2015 Rube Goldberg Machine Contest – Topic Change

Posted by kcaise on October 31, 2014 in Digital Media |

Complete Post Shared Below from http://www.rubegoldberg.com/.

PROct2014_pdf

Click here to see Press Release concerning the task change.

The Rube Goldberg Machine Contest (RGMC) is an annual international competition that challenges teams of students from middle school to college age to compete in building the most elaborate and hilarious Rube Goldberg Machine.

A Rube Goldberg Machine is an overly complex contraption, designed with humor and a narrative, to accomplish a simple task.

The 2015 Task is: ERASE A CHALKBOARD. Team Registration is open now!

The RGMC is STEM and STEAM friendly, and Teams and their machines are judged on a range of criteria from absurd complexity, reliability, team chemistry, creativity, humor and story-telling — along with the successful achievement of the task at hand.

Download the ALL NEW CONTEST 2015 Rule Book.

Click here to find out How To Register

CONTEST HISTORY

Dating back over 60 years, the contest’s namesake is the late American Pulitzer Prize-winning cartoonist, humorist and inventor, Reuben Lucius Goldberg, who specialized in drawing whimsical machines with every-day objects that performed a seemingly simple task.

Goldberg’s legacy lives on through the contests — as students nationwide build crazy machines that complete the annual task, all in the spirit of Rube’s illustrations.

View the International Online Contest page for middle school students.

View the High School and College Contest schedule for dates and to find a contest near you.

No contest near you? Sign up to become a Host. Hosting is a great way to:

– Create an exciting, annual, on-campus event that sparks the imagination of media and spectators;

– Connect students from all disciplines — Engineering to Theater, Physics to Art, and Chemistry to Computer Science — in a creative, competitive, and fun atmosphere fueled by learning and humor;

– Engage your students and teachers with an audience and community of creative and abstract thinkers, including prospective students;

– Help your students become the problem-solvers of tomorrow by participating in a Rube Goldberg Machine Contest today!

 

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Crazy for Brainzy – Get a FREE Membership!

Posted by kcaise on October 22, 2014 in apps and gaming, curriculum, Digital Media |

I don’t usually endorse paid educational services but Brainzy changed my mind. Brainzy is a website created by Education.com and contains over 300 games, stories, songs and videos for children aged 3-7 years old.

There is an annual or monthly cost associated with using the site but I have 10 codes that can be used for a home membership or in the classroom with up to 35 students. Just leave a comment below I will send you a code for a one year membership. For early childhood educators or homeschool parents this is very exciting news!

The press release stated the following about this new educational website:

Brainzy_Math_and_Reading_ProgramSan Francisco, CA, September 25, 2014Education.com, the nation’s leading destination for parents and teachers seeking supplemental learning materials, today announced the launch of Brainzy, a new kind of online learning program designed to build reading and math skills in children ages 3–7. Developed using rich data gathered from the 20 million worksheets downloaded each year at Education.com, Brainzy features hundreds of interactive games and activities that captivate young minds and delight parents weary of filling screen time with so-called education apps. Brainzy’s comprehensive program follows a methodical, building-block path created to spark curiosity, giggles, and grins while building more than 30 critical reading and math skills.    

The systematic approach of the new program sets it apart from the thousands of learning apps that take a one-off, episodic approach. Brainzy covers the essential skills teachers consider most important for early learning success while deeply engaging kids in a world rich with exploration. Guided by a lovable cast of original characters, kids cover a year’s worth of learning as they play through more than 300 fun games, videos, and read-along stories.

Brainzy takes kids to a pretend land and is full of educational games. Education.com takes the data of what the students to understand what typeBrainzy_Math_and_Reading_Programs of supplemental resources educators are looking for when using educational games and websites. It gathers real-time data from the games, videos and items accessed at the site to create quality supplementary resources for educators.

Education.com’s website has five million members with millions more visiting the website for blog posts and educational articles every month. Education.com serves as one resource for motivation, inspiration, advice and materials to use with students.

Knowing this, you can rest assured Brainzy is a quality site aligned with the Common Core State Standards and is filled with fun, fantastic resources to teach young children skills they will need to be successful in school.

girl-with-ipad-hires_jpg_and_announcing_Brainzy__new_games_for_math_and_reading_-_kcaise_gmail_com_-_GmailBrainzy is kid safe and does not contain advertisements so you don’t have to worry about pop up banners or banner ads that are questionable or inappropriate.

Check it out and don’t forget to leave a comment below and I will contact you for a code for a FREE one year membership!

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5 Steps to a Successful School Year for (New) Teachers

Posted by kcaise on October 22, 2014 in blogging |

hard working womanResearch shows that October is a difficult time for new teachers. The excitement of a new school year, pristinely decorated and organized, ready to greet your crew of new students wanes around this time.  For some, this school job poses as a new job, first time being on your own in your own classroom and reality is starting to set in that things are not as you were taught (in some cases). Unfortunately this phenomenon is not related to new teachers only. It happens to all teachers.

In a way, the honeymoon period is over and it becomes apparent that you are now responsible and accountable for a group of 25 to 40ish students per class. You are responsible for preparing your students for either the CCSS assessments or state standardized testing. The pressure can be daunting. But there is good news!

1. This too shall pass. This rut or wane of energy will pass and you will resume your confidence and continue to demonstrate your expertise whether you are a first year teacher or experienced teacher. Start an exercise regimen if you don’t already have one to release stress. Start a blog so you can reflect upon your teaching or keep a journal of your daily adventures so you can express your feelings.

2. Find apps on a smartphone, tablet, or mobile device of some kind to help you be more productive. Whether you use Nearpod for interactive PowerPoint presentations, Dropbox or Evernote to have immediate access to your files or student work on any device – find what works for you. There is a complete educator’s section in iTunes to help you identify great productivity apps. Use them to ease some of the teaching responsibilities that you feel are looming over your head. Use the apps to help make tasks that you dislike more interesting or fun to do instead of dreading them.

3. Flickr CC: Kandyjaxx's PhotostreamFind a quality mentor. Find someone that has their act together, and is well respected for their classroom management and teaching strategies. Find a colleague that uses technology to integrate innovative learning activities into the curriculum. Find someone that has a positive attitude and is realistic about the expectations and responsibilities you face every day as a teacher on your campus. You will be surprised how much talking with someone who can relate and offer you advice that will benefit you will be a great relief and motivator.

You can be re-energized again and have that same excitement that you started the year with if you take certain steps to ‘protect’ that special feeling when the new school year starts. Remember, every educator has been at this point at some time in their academic career and feeling frustrated and tense is commonplace. Talk with your mentor on ways you can relieve those negative feelings and ways you can stay on track on focused on your campus vision.

4. _Never_Erase__Teacher_Plaque___zulilyBe positive and share your heart. Let your students know you care about them and want them to be successful. Let them know you believe in them and they won’t let you down. Don’t be fake or phoney though as kids can see right through that. One campus started giving bucks for behaving, following rules, being prepared for class, completing homework, etc. and discipline referrals declined by 75%. Being positive and caring for your students is catching and you will see that your students will want to please you and will work to the best of their abilities and beyond.

5. Involve your parents. Send home positive notes for even the smallest thing. I have had parents say that my phone call home was the first time a teacher called or sent a note for something positive. With parents on your side, your classroom will run smoother as you have the support and backing of your parents and your students know you are in close communication with their parents. This will alleviate and present discipline problems from exacerbating and becoming huge problems for you while you are teaching. Trust me on this. I have been in education for over 20 years and the students I had the most trouble with I made extra efforts to contact parents at the onset of a concern and continued that line of communication. Parents appreciate knowing what their children are doing in your class and that is why a blog or website for your classroom is so helpful.

paycheck of heart - Google SearchThere are many more things that I could share with you to help make the school year a success but I will finish with this. Teach your heart out and make a difference in the lives of your students. It will be challenging to not lose your temper and to be positive but the effort will pay off in dividends and you too will receive many paychecks of the heart as I have over the past 20 some odd years. Never give up and remember, this too shall pass!

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6 Great SAT Prep Apps

Posted by kcaise on October 22, 2014 in apps and gaming, curriculum |

iphone-for-me-mdEver searched for a great SAT prep app in iTunes? There are hundreds of apps and it is extremely time-consuming to read the descriptions and decide if the app is valuable, offers tips or information that will be beneficial to the user and aid in actually preparing for the college entrance exam.

What is unique is that most of the apps have game like features as there is an abundance of current research that shows many students learn more when games, challenges and levels are involved, especially with gamification becoming a large trend in education.

Below are six apps that will benefit any student preparing for the SAT/ACT that are free to download with a few offering in-app purchases for additional features or content.

Screenshot_10_21_14__6_02_PMSAT Up Score Beyond – This is a free app that does off in-app purchases for additional preparation content. This app offers over 3,000 prep questions and users can personalize the content based on strengths and weaknesses. The app tracks progress and compiles performance data from the app for you. The app is free but there is a $4.99 monthly fee that can be cancelled at any time. Looks like a great app if you don’t mind the subscription fee.

Screenshot_10_21_14__6_01_PMAce the SAT – This app focuses on mathematics questions. You can use the app without an Internet connection and there are no in-app or subscription fees like some of the other apps. Each quiz you take will feature new questions and incorrect questions show the correct answer with some explaining how to solve the question correctly. The test section tracks progress as well as allows you to take a screenshot to share with someone if you need additional assistance or clarification on the solution.

Screenshot_10_21_14__6_00_PMPlay2Prep – This app customizes training and is in a game format. You can practice with tough test questions and improve your time on each section with this app. You can create customized practice tests and track your progress, simulate real world tests and track strengths and weaknesses for future improvement. Additionally, you can play games against other or individually to practice test questions.

Screenshot_10_21_14__6_00_PMCollege Passport – SAT Edition This is more than just an SAT prep app. You can get information about colleges and track your applications all in one place. This is the only app that is similar to a flipped classroom with practice questions and video tutorials with online office hours to ensure that students receive assistance when needed. The instructors that provide assistance are trained in the same proven methodologies that the app is based. This features can be great advantages over some of the other apps.

Screenshot_10_21_14__5_59_PMKaplan’s SAT Quiz U – This app gives you free practice SAT questions in timed mini quizzes, helping you study the most valuable, score-raising topics in each area tested on the SAT. You get access to 450 questions with the option for in-app purchases to gain access to more questions. Receive immediate feedback on your progress as you work through the features of the app with the ability to submit discussion questions to Kaplan SAT teachers and get a response within 24 hours.

Screenshot_10_21_14__5_58_PMSAT Prep TestBank 2400 – The app is free but there are in-app purchases that are required to gain full access but there is a great deal here for free and a minimal cost. The authors of the app supposedly earned perfect scores on the SAT so the quality is high. The app re-calibrates based on your responses and avoids repeat questions. The app contains tips and strategies to achieve a high score on the SAT in addition to the practice elements.

All of the above apps offer great features that will greatly help any teen studying for one of the college entrance exams even though the apps are focused on the SAT. The features, questions and tips are applicable to all kinds of tests in and out of the classroom that students will encounter so take some time to explore the apps and find out which best fits your needs. If you find a great SAT prep app that isn’t listed above or find the ones shared above valuable, I invite you to leave a comment and let me know!

 

Cross posted at: http://elearningindustry.com/6-great-sat-prep-apps

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Metals in Your Everyday Life Virtual Field Trip

Posted by kcaise on October 21, 2014 in Digital Media, Discovery Education Network (DEN), online events |

Discovery Education will host another virtual field trip free for students of all ages although the resources and virtual field trip will feature 6th-8th grade students. This field trip will show middle schoolers getting a personal tour of a working copper mine live from Arizona.

According to Discovery Education,

Metals_in_Your_Everyday_Life_Virtual_Field_Trip_on_LivestreamDuring this live event, students will get a behind the scenes look into the copper industry and meet with a local Geologist and Mine Planning Engineer as they reinforce STEM and core math and science concepts within real world careers.

The event will take place November 13, 2014 from 1-2pm EST and the registration page can be found here: http://www.eventbrite.com/e/metals-in-your-everyday-life-virtual-field-trip-registration-13623473175. Check out the teacher resources on this page: http://www.digintomining.com/teacher-resources.

Teachers can submit questions prior to the event so the questions can be answered during the live event on this page: http://www.digintomining.com/virtualfieldtrips.

 

Photo Credit: Discovery Education

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Coming Soon – iOS and Android Bling!

Posted by kcaise on October 20, 2014 in apps and gaming |

Cuff_-_Smart_JewelryWith the holidays fast approaching, close attention should be paid to this blog post. Every woman loves to receive and wear jewelry and the items featured in this post might be on many holiday gift wish lists. Smartphone jewelry has arrived in the form or a necklace and several bracelet cuffs. There is a masculine cuff for the guys too!

The items are similar to the fitbit cuffs but these are considered more of a jewelry item. The featured necklace has two gold overlays and communicates with the smartphone to let the wearer know that a phone call or text message has been sent to their phone. No more missed calls or texts when wearing the necklace!

Cuff_-_Smart_JewelryThe cuffs let designed people know you need help. The app communicates with the jewelry via an electronic module and is charged in a mirrored jewelry box. The cuff is designed for activity tracking or safety purposes. One type of cuff tracks like the fitbit cuffs and ones similar to the one on the right informs those selected of your location with live audio and any other relevant information necessary to let selected parties know how to help reach you. This is great for those who travel or teach in areas that might be considered dangerous or are involved in abusive domestic relationships.

You can pre-order the items now and read more about the details on their website http://cuff.io. You can view the informational video below on the three types of items offered. The cuffs start at $49 and are really pretty. The module with a simple charger is $29. Check out the website to see all of the different items that can be ordered and how they are used. I just love these technology items – so exciting!

What do you think? Are these items on you or your family members’ gift wish list?

 

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