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Thursday, October 20, 2011

Twitter Resources and Activities

Twitter is just the best free resource for conservations and input into your classes. Students think in text today and this allows for quick and short responses. Students like it and it seems they will tweet things long after class is over.

I use it to find trends in my field and to share what I am doing in my classroom.

Tweet Deck--allows you to manage the information easily. It is a free download that organizes your tweets by hashtags. You can organize tweets by the people or hashtags. It is easy to use and allows you to tweet from the programs. It keeps things focused so keeping up is easy.

Twitter Poll--allows you to get immediate feedback from your students. I use it for back channeling and formative assessment at the end or start of a class.

Tweet Chat--This allows you to follow a specific hashtag and have a running conversation on a topic. A point to remember if you want to not overwhelm your followers when having a #hashtag chat, start any tweet you want to "hide" with @HideChat or @HideTag. I use this during lectures or videos--I can stop and answer questions or review things students are not understand immediately.

NOTE: This also works when live-tweeting events or shows.

Tweet Grid--allows you to manage tweets by hashtags. It's online so no download--it also allows you to follow 9 hashtags at once. It's quick and easy! It saves you time and can be accessed from anywhere because it's online. You can tweet from this site. I use it to monitor chats with in my classes--all seven of them at once.

Tweetree--Allows you to watch a specific hashtags but not reply--but it does give you a url to share with others. It allows me to let the students see the input from the day before. Doesn't allow them to reply at that time.

I have my students research their chosen field and what hashtags to follow. They can ask questions of professional in the field and find out what trends are in their field. Every profession has hashtags. They can follow professional organizations or specific topics of interest.

Titter in the Classroom Wiki This site is loaded with ideas for using Twitter in your classroom--check it out!

Hope this helps inspire you to jump in and start tweeting in your classes and professionally. All comments and suggestions are welcome! Email me at

Sunday, October 2, 2011

Web 2.0 Tools in the 1 to 1 Classroom & Business Education Classroom

What are Web 2.0 Tools?
  • Usually free
  • Web-based
  • Available from anywhere there is an internet connection
  • Unlimited possibilities
  • Good for differentiating instruction
  • OR Or my definition . . .
  • World-wide Educational Based 2.0Tools
The best part is they are free!

Teacher Productivity Sites

Twitter Resources

Tweet Deck--allows you to manage the information easily.

Twitter Poll--allows you to get immediate feedback from your students.

Teacher Resources

Quizlet--allows you to create online flashcards that turns them into games for the students to play and review the important information you want them to learn.

Make Use Of-- Free PDF Files about many computer programs and computer skills (ex. facebook, photoshop) Delicious--Online bookmarking--great site to find new resources

Financial Literacy Sites

Ed World--Financial Literacy mathchat027.shtml

Power Pay--

Jump Start--Reality Check

Financial Football-- games/trainingcamp/

Great Cyber Sites

Cyber Bullying-- cyberbullying-toolkit

50+ Effective Mobile Learning Tips and Resources [PDF]--

Google Resources

Google Docs--good for collaboration projects and sharing your presentations with students to access for review at home.

Forms—surveys Word Processing, Spreadsheets, Presentations

Google Sketch--a CAD type program that is free and can be
used in many ways and has thousands of templates to get you started.

Google Sites--free websites that are easy to use and look great

Google Searches

Goofram Searches--

Google Squared-

Google related searches from Google Home Page:

  • Google Wonder Wheel or
  • Google Timeline or
  • Google Reading level or
  • Google Dictionary--To find these do a search and when you get your results look on the left hand side down below under more search tools
Wikis for the Classroom

Allows you and your students to create a free website which is easy to make and change

Wiki Spaces--
Allows you and your students to create a free website which is easy to make and change

Teaching Video Resources

  • YouTube--Great videos but many schools block this site. You can download from home and bring in to show
  • Teacher Tube--great site have to register or you get commercials.
  • Learn it in 5--free resources for teaching many items that are quick five minutes or less
  • WatchKnow--videos for students to learn from
Presentation Sites

This site allows you or students to make a presentation that is exciting.

Google Docs--Allows many people to share the presentation and allows people to collaborate when making them.

Free Image Resources

Google Images--maybe copywrite issues

Pics4Learning is a copyright-friendly image library for teachers and students

Flicker storm -- this site has images that can be used professionally

My Favorites

Egg Timer--timer

Cool Text--logo generator

Creates word play--Wordle OR Tagxedo

Back channel resources for feedback

Wall Wisher-- OR Lino It OR Answer Garden--

Screen Casting

Animoto Make Free Videos

Voki Create a talking avatar

Poll Everywhere allows feedback from cell phones http://

Make Use of has a how to book for almost any computer program or web program (ex--facebook)

Tiny URL shortens your long URLS so when you share them with your students it easier to share them OR Itsy Bisty

Rubric Star Resource of hundreds of rubrics or make your own

Go animate makes cartoons

Zamzar Online Conversion of files like videos and audio

Online Converter--

Flixtime makes 60 sec. videos--

Turdy Search-- Gives you a reading level for your search site results

WOW--I bet your head hurts! My advice is to pick one or two and to get started. Then add one as you see it would help you in your effective instruction. Have fun! Remember you do not have to be an expert to use any of these tools Or have a student teach you how to use it!
Questions? Contact me or follow me at twitter--CRBusiness Or my Blog at Or my website
Thank You!

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

My Favorites Wikis

We all need resources that are quick and easy to use. As a teacher finding connections is the hardest. Here are some of my favorite Wikis:

Skye in Schools Allows you to connect with other classrooms easily.

PBWikis Contains directory of wikis for education and much, much more!

Teaching with your IPad This wiki has tons of information about IPads and even more ideas on how to use them.

Cool Tools for Schools This wiki has Web 2.0 tools for everyone and every thing you can imagine.

Wiki for Twitter in Schools Classroom activities and ideas for using twitter in a classroom.

These are just a few a use on a weekly basis--I'll keep adding as time allows. Enjoy!

Differentiating Instruction Using Web 2.0

Differentiating instruction has always taken time to set up because of supplies and supplemental materials needed. In today's world with the Web 2.0 tools--students only need access to a computer and the world of differentiated instruction if available for FREE! Here a few of my favorites:

PB Works This allows my students to create an online portfolio of their online work. It's quick and easy to work with. It also allows be to grade items and evaluate them. You need a place to embed their work or link to their online projects.

Wall Wisher This site allows students to brainstorm and solve problems. I also use it to have students ask questions. Or a bell ringer activity at the beginning or end of the hour to pull students ideas together. Its great the next day to start by answering the questions on the wall. The students can add question at night or in study hall when ever they have one they can add it.

Quizlet Allows you to create flash cards for students. They can be printed or used online. It creates games and tests for the students to practice the information. I use it for tests reviews. My students scores have increased noticeably since I started to use it. I paste the link in my website but could embed the code.

Glogster It allow students to create interactive posters that they can share with the class. Check it out the kids love it and it is free--you do have to do some set up.

Flicker Storm Online picture to use for visual learners. Easy to use and easy to search for what you are looking for. Use it for vocabulary posters for my walls. Student create and print I use in class for my units.

Prezi More fun than a Power Point and all online so you don't have to own a program. It creates interactive presentations. Easy the students have no problem creating them.

Zamzar Converts videos so you can use them in your class--in case YouTube is blocked in your school. We also use it to convert Quicktime Player videos and audio into something useable for all computer types. Have the students record a video or audio from the computer using a webcam--not perfect but it works!

Watch and Know for Students
Good videos on many subjects that are short and to the point. They are great starters for a subject.

The Search Engine List This helps the students pick the right search engine for the type of research they are doing. Its organized and contained search engines I didn't know existed. Very helpful. Great link for your website!

Online Web 2.0 Sites This is a listing of many Web 2.0 sites and organized by type. Whenever I need an idea I check this site and find one that fits the project I want to produce. It is an amazing site and a must bookmark for every teacher.

These are just ten sites I used weekly. I will put more up as I have time. Hope this helps you find a new site or idea to use in your classroom. Please post your favorite site so we can all learn about what works in a 21st Century Classroom.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

How do you give up control?

In this new age of 1 to 1 computing the problem isn't the students--it's the teacher! I know I'm a control freak and letting go of control of my classroom is scary! I've been slowly doing it for years as the computer has taken over my business curriculum--however it's hard.

For those of you that are new to this process I can give you these words of advice:
  • Learn to use Twitter--I love Tweet Deck to learn new innovative ideas for my classroom--I set aside 10 minutes everyday to Twitter--and I rarely tweet--I just read them.
  • Start off small and slowly create projects to engage students in the computer projects for your subject area--there is a WEB 2.0 Tool that will inspire you. Check them out at
  • Know what you want before you assigned a project--having a rubric is very helpful to you and your students--these will constantly change as the projects progress over the years. Sometimes I had too high of expectations and sometimes too low. Live and learn! Great site that helps is
  • If you wait until you have all the programs or Web 2.0 sites mastered they are old--jump in and the kids will learn along with you or you from them.
  • Tons of ideas out there--there is a wiki for everything--Google it!
  • Let students make suggestions for projects--they have great ideas.
  • I truly believe it is no longer about "How much" I cover but "How" I cover it.
  • Developing a student social network site is critical to the 21st Century Classroom--it is how today's students communicate. Edmodo-- is free and Ning is cheap!
  • TEACHER LEARNING--is more important than ever before--it can't only be about our content--it's about our--Pedagogy!
  • Student Responsibility is critical and an important piece--it will only hurt them later in life if we don't set deadlines and expect them met! Employers will reap the benefits later!
  • TIME is still precious and teacher's will need time and support to make the changes necessary for a Student Centered Classroom. Differentiated Instruction site
  • Find someone who is doing it and visit them--follow them through a day of teaching. A good mentor is critical.
  • Don't give up--it will be worth it in the end!
The author has been a classroom teacher for 30 years and is currently the Iowa Business Education Teacher of the year.

Monday, January 31, 2011

Teaching Capitalization in the 21st Century

Today I spent time teaching basic capitalization rules to 10th graders and was amazed all the questions of "Why".

Capitalizing the first word of sentence was easy but after that they were questioning "why" the rest of the rules were important? It made me think are they important? Has technology changed the rules? Texting, IM, chating and email has changed their world and it is changing mine? I really think students need to understand the difference between formal English and casual English. It's like talking slang--it's not always appropriate. The students seem to understand this example and relate to it. I hope now they will apply what they are taught.


Friday, January 28, 2011

One to One Computing--Lessons Learned

After teaching in a 1 to 1 school for a semester there is a few very basic things that I have learned that you can learn from.
  1. Edmodo is a very efficient and simple way to manage the assignments in a paperless setting. Email just is too overwhelming! The best thing is that Edmodo is free and simple to use. It takes under an hour to set things up and after that is is super simple to maintain. The only problem is transferring grades to my online grade book--however it prints out so it just takes a few minutes a week. The students like it and I wish I knew about it right from the start! Ning has more bells and whistles however is has a small fee attached--you may apply for a free account. My first year I needed simple.
  2. Microsoft Office 11 for the Mac is great--it finally looks like the window version and can be used with the window books. Remember you still don't have Access.
  3. We have a Google domain so it handles all email and we use Google docs which has made collaboration easy for students. You need to get "Googleized" it makes life easy. I even now have a good website for my classroom.
  4. Make sure all your old equipment is compatible before school starts. Even if your tech person says it will work--check yourself or you can have a complete unit fall apart around you--especially video equipment.
  5. TWITTER is your best resource! Get a program like Tweet Deck or Twitter falls and find experts in your field to follow. You do not have to tweet but following a hashtag like "#1to1" will give you unlimited resources to check out. I'm in Iowa so I follow "#iowa1to1 You can find sources to follow at I spend 10 minutes a day catching up on new tweets and getting inspired.
  6. Don't try to do everything at once! Pick a few classes or units to start with and then add as you go. It is easy to be overwhelmed at first. You need to push yourself but not bury yourself. The computer is only a tool--not a teacher.
  7. I have embedded links to atomic learning and You Tube videos on my site to supplement my lectures and demonstrations. The students who miss my lectures can catch up at home.
  8. Be flexible--sometimes things just don't work! I have learned to laugh with the students and my motto is "It won't matter in ten years so don't worry about it."
  9. Find a group of teachers that you can meet with and share ideas--we have PLCs and my group is constantly working together to better incorporate new ideas into our curriculum.
  10. Don't feel like you have to be a pro to assign a program. The students will figure it out faster than you so learn from them.
Good luck and welcome to the 21st Century!