It’s time for my yearly ‘connect with Santa’ blog post! This is a great time of year if you have little ones that are eagerly awaiting Santa’s arrival on Christmas Eve. The following links will enable youngsters to contact Santa Claus online or receive a phone call from him! I am reprising this blog post from the past two years and have added some new ways to connect to Santa Claus using technology. If you find the links are not working, please let me know and leave your favorite links in the comments section that might not be in the short list below.
Chat with or Call Santa
In addition to taking children to the mall to talk with Santa, as has been the tradition for a number of years, there are a variety of ways that children can interact with Santa Claus electronically. There are several apps that you can download for a variety of mobile devices. Those are cute but a live ‘call’ or ‘message’ from Santa may be more meaningful and exciting to your children or grandchildren.
Santa’s Portable North Pole TV – http://www.portablenorthpole.tv/home
- This site allows you to create a video but there is a fee to download/forward the video to someone.
Hello Santa – https://www.hellosanta.com/
My Santa Call – http://www.mysantacall.com/
Elf Clubhouse (talk to the Elves) – http://www.northpole.com/Clubhouse/ElfChat/
Santa’s Good List – http://www.santasgoodlist.org/
Christmas Dialer – http://www.christmasdialer.com/
Live Phone Call from Santa – http://santaspeaks.com/call-from-santa/
Calling Santa - http://callingsanta.com (free app to download)
Santa Hotline – http://thesantahotline.net/
North Pole – http://www.northpole.com (letter from Santa)
Norad – http://www.noradsanta.org
Santa Tracker – http://santatracker.google.com
Santa Live Chat – http://www.santalivechat.com/
- If you use use MSN/Windows Live Messenger or Yahoo Messenger, add: firstname.lastname@example.org and begin chatting with Santa Claus.***
Free Text Message from Santa
If you would like a free text message from Santa, contact me by filling out the form below and I will send a short text message to you for your children in the United States. If I get bogged down with tons of texts to send I will contact you. This will be done by myself so allow some time to get things processed.
My niece absolutely loved her phone call from Santa from the http://www.sendacallfromsanta.com/ website a few years ago. That and the portable north pole video were two big hits of the Christmas season for our family! Be sure to let Santa Claus know that I will be waiting for him with cookies and milk and carrots for his reindeer on Christmas Eve when you connect with him this year!
Children: Please do not leave voice messages for Santa Claus. He does not receive them here. Contact him at one of the numbers above or at the North Pole. Also, be sure to have your parents’ permission and show them this blog page before you contact Santa Claus or his Elves.
***Blogger’s note: I haven’t personally used all of the above services so please use discretion and make sure all children are safe and have parental permission when using an online service to interact with ‘Santa Claus’. Be certain that you approve of the site and read over the website’s Terms of Services for any fees incurred when contacting Santa Claus.
The program recognizes the top 100 applicants nationwide who are using digital media in classrooms and serving as leaders in edtech. Beginning today through February 11, K-12 educators can apply for the program at pbslearningmedia.org/digitalinnovators.
In addition, the top thirty applicants will be designated as Lead PBS LearningMedia Digital Innovators and will receive an all-expense paid trip to Philadelphia to participate in the 2015 PBS LearningMedia Digital Summit and this year’s ISTE conference. Lead PBS Digital Innovators will also receive a Samsung Galaxy(R) tablet.
For more information about the program, please see the press release at that link.
Hopefully everyone will take the opportunity to nominate themselves or someone else for this prestigious honor!
Just a note: CardKiwi is now WordKiwi – a website for an app that translates words into many languages. It is no longer a flash card service.
If you haven’t used any of the online flashcard sites, I highly recommend “CardKiwi“. It is super easy to use Cardkiwi to make a flashcard set and the service is free! You can add vocabulary words, words in English and another language or facts about a historical event. The uses are endless and Cardkiwi is a great way to study.
Once you play each set, you then mark the card with a thumbs up, thumb down and a thumb sideways indicating how well you know the content. Thumbs up is if the content is known well, thumbs down is if you don’t know it that well and you need to repeat that card and the thumb pointing sideways indicates you sort of know the material. Other flashcard quizzing sites have the thumbs up and thumbs down but not the one in the middle of the two.
Currently, you can only add text on the flashcards but you can share the set with others saving you time from making a similar set on the same content. You can also search for sets of flashcards created on a specific book using the ISBN number. This is great if you doing a novel study or want a flashcard set on a specific topic featured in the same textbook a student is using in class.
Teachers can create a set of flashcards and share the set with their students. For visual learners, this site is right in learn with their learning style.This way students have an accurate set of flashcards with information that the teachers deems important to learn. For visual learners, this site is right in learn with their learning style.
The site states that using this system helps retention of the content by 50%. The research and information about this strategy for learning is featured in the video below.
Below are images of the front and back of the flashcards:
How do you assess your students? Each of us does so formally and informally. I am finishing up my second book and writing a section on assessing student work and performance. Do you know of any innovative ways of assessing students or fantastic apps to do so?
I know there are apps like Zip Grade that will grade answer documents by taking a picture of the answer sheet, but I am looking more for assessing project based learning activities. I am open to all suggestions and will give credit to resources that I haven’t already included. I prefer only free tools although there are some fantastic ones that are not free.
If you think I should consider sharing the assessment resource please leave a comment below. Some of the ways I have already suggested are as follows:
- blog posts
- using VoiceThread
- Evernote (turning in documents in individual folders – is this interesting or innovative – going paperless per se)
- Google forms usage (like Flubaroo and book reviews)
- Teacher made quizzes and tests based on content presented (-i.e. – the old-fashioned way of doing things :)!)
- Microsoft Mouse (?? – not sure if that is the name for the PPT plug in or not)
- ????????? – need your help and suggestions please!!
November 18th was my presentation for the Global Education Conference coordinated by Lucy Gray and Steve Hargadon. My slides and Livebinder are as follows.
Al 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:
- He 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!
No, 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.
I 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!
Need 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.
- http://supportmyclass.org (appears to be limited to Hawaiian classrooms)
Tips for Excellent Proposals
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
Getting 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.
Complete Post Shared Below from http://www.rubegoldberg.com/.
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.
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!
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:
San Francisco, CA, September 25, 2014 – Education.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 types 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.
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!