Showing posts from March, 2011

Political Correctness For Teenagers

In today's "politically correct" world, it seems we have to careful about everything we say. As educators and parents, we have to be especially careful!

I received the following list of politically correct terms for today's teens from a friend today. Enjoy!
No one fails a class anymore, he's merely "passing impaired."You don't have detention, you're just one of the "exit delayed."Your bedroom isn't cluttered, it's just "passage restrictive."These days, a student isn't lazy. He's "energetically declined."Your locker isn't overflowing with junk, it's just "closure prohibitive."Kids don't get grounded anymore. They merely hit "social speed bumps."Your homework isn't missing, its just having an "out-of-notebook experience."You're not sleeping in class, you're "rationing consciousness."You're not late, you just have a "rescheduled a…

Those Wonderful Kiddos!

Today I was blessed with the opportunity to work with 7th graders all day. Yes, I said "blessed"! Our 7th grade English teacher and Science teacher have teamed up on a project about biomes. Students are learning about biomes in science and writing a research paper in English.

The culmination of the project is the creation of a Glog on Glogster EDU. Glogster EDU is a great online tool that allows students to create electronic posters. See my previous Golgster EDU blog entry for more details.

My job today was to show the kiddos Glogster and how it works. It was one fun day! The students were attentive, excited about the project, and very eager to learn.

What really amazed me were their technology skills. First, their ability to learn the new software was fantastic. Glogster is a very user-friendly piece of software, but their learning curve was very advanced. Like typical digital natives, they basically wanted me to shut up and get our of their way so they could tinker and le…

Teaching Students About Japan's Devastation

While the world prays for the victims of the earthquake and tsunami in Japan, we as educators owe it to our students to help them understand the power of the devastation. I've come across a few really helpful sites to help teachers do this.

The New York Times has before and after photos of Japan on their site. Each photo has an interactive slider that students can move back and forth to see the before and after effects:

You and your students can learn all about the Tsunamis from How Stuff Works at:

There is a great interactive simulator at:

The Discovery Channel has an excellent interactive earthquake simulator at:

Finally, ShakeZone from California State University Northri…

Protect Your Surfing Kids at Home

Last year at Cole High School, we began our one-to-one netbook program. Every student in grades 9-12 is issued a netbook computer that they can use all day AND take home at night. The program has gone great, with teachers and students using their netbooks in engaging and exciting ways in the classroom.

At school, our students must go through our network, so all Internet activity  is filtered. At home, however, they can connect to their own wireless access. Some parents have expressed concern and have asked me what they can do to filter their children's Internet activity.

K9 Web Protection is a perfect solution. K9 is a FREE Internet filter that gives parents the power to block websites either by specific URL or by category (such as pornography, gambling, drugs, racism, and more). Parents can even set specific times for Internet access to restrict when their kids can get online. Parents can also use it to  "self-control" their own access to specific websites, such as rest…

Friday Freebie: Celtx: Screenwriting Made Easy!

Ever wanted to write a screenplay? You could end up being the next Ben Affleck or Matt Damon! The problem is coming up with ideas is usually easier than formatting the script. Well, not any more. Simply download Celtx from

This amazing piece of software helps you write a script formatted just like the pros! Scene headings, character names, dialogue, action, and shot angles are all easy to add and are all pre-formatted. Capital letters, all caps, centering, indenting - it's all taken care of for you!
And that's not all! Celtx is a full pre-production tool! Print out shooting schedules, scene breakdowns by character, add media, and more. Want to try your script on the stage first? A simple click adapts it to a stage script!
It truly is an amazing writing tool for anyone interested in quality pre-production! Write On!

Images from and Accessed March 11, 201…

They Can't Believe All They Read!

In this age of what Ian Jukes terms "InfoWhelm" we are inundated with information. It's estimated that the amount of information available on the Internet could create 13 stacks of books that would reach Pluto!

With all that information, its imperative that we teach our students Information Literacy - the ability to ask good questions, to access the most appropriate material, and to analyze the raw material they come across. Too many of our students believe everything they read on the Internet - after all, someone posted it, right?

Teach your students and your children to look at who wrote the material, what credentials they bring to the table, and what other sources cite their website. I am a total proponent of using the web to gather information, but only if we teach the skills to go along with it. Growing up, we had librarians to weed out the bad material. Now, we have to rely on our own common sense.

If you want to show your students two fairly harmless sites that lo…

Yes, I Need Both!

Okay, I have a confession to make. I have an iPadand I have a Kindle. And, I really need both of them! It's not just because I'm a tech geek who needs to have every gadget ever put on Earth. It's for two very specific reasons. First, some history...
For Christmas of 2009, I asked my wife for a Kindle. Being the lovely wife she is (and knowing I wouldn't stop talking about it until she got me one), she bought it for me. The following year, I read more books than I've ever read before. I devoured books like they were going out of style and I attributed it all to this new, convenient technology.

Then, last fall I got myself an iPad. When I discovered there was a Kindle App for the iPad, I thought I didn't need my Kindle anymore. I could read all my books directly on my iPad, so I put my Kindle away in the "old technology" pile.
I soon realized that I wasn't reading as much as I was before the "switch." I was trying to figure out why and it hit…

Friday Freebie - Have Your Students Glog, Not Blog

Today's "digital native" students are very visual learners. In addition to learning from text, they enjoy learning from graphics, video, and photos. If that's the way they learn, it only makes sense that they would like to demonstrate their knowledge visually as well.

Today's Friday Freebie gives educators the ability to allow their students to do just that. GlogsterEDU is a free website that touts itself as an "electronic posterizing" site where students can create visually appealing multimedia posters. They can choose from a wide assortment of backgrounds, add text, graphics, video, images, audio, hyperlinks, and more. The result is a visually appealing and exciting way for students to present material.

There is a free version for teachers which allows teachers to create up to 50 student accounts. Teachers give their students the GlogsterEDU generated passwords and usernames, and they can then monitor their students work through the teacher portal. T…

It's Official! My Old iPad is, like, so 2010!

As anticipated, Apple announced the release of the iPad 2. Steve Jobs, himself, came out of his medical retirement to unveil the new generation device. Most of the features they discussed were anticipated, but there were a few surprises. The new iPad has... A thinner and lighter design (1/3 thinner!)Front and rear facing cameras (we knew this one was coming)A new A5 Dual Core Processor (Apple claims these will be twice as fast)They come in both the old black and aluminum AND a full white version (didn't see that one coming)An optional "Smart Cover" attached magnetically to the front. When you fold it over the front, the iPad recognizes it's closed and goes to sleep. The cover also folds over to the back to become a stand. (Now, that's cool!)"Mirroring" allows you to attach to an external monitor (via an optional adapter) to display your entire iPad environment. (This will be great for educators!)And, they will cost the same as the old ones!So, if you'…