Monday, September 11, 2017

Web Quest Learning


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   I have always loved webquests. They are likened to treasure hunts used as a learning tool. 

The webquest helps learners to focus on a certain theme by involving them in a kind of adventure. Then, your students find information on a topic. Sometimes in the process, students portray certain characters, create products, join an expedition, or work as a group to create a presentation or solve a problem. So, a student might be able to use his or her own creativity in the learning action.


   Unfortunately, the freebie webquest is mostly an item of the past. There are many subscription type services where you can buy them now. But you, as a teacher, could make them yourself. Webquests can be time consuming to make. But, they can motivate and magnify your students' enjoyment of learning. This is cause enough to create them.

   There are many imaginative ways to present your concept ideas. Plus, you might decide to sell webquests on a subscription service, or from your own webpage. Here are some examples of web quests that I found on the Internet. Check them out.

Anasazi Web Quest
This web quest helps students learn about the Anasazi by traveling back in time.
http://web.archive.org/web/20080224222818/http://www.brigantine.atlnet.org/GigapaletteGALLERY/websites/AnasaziWebQuest/task.htm

California Indians
How did the natives survive? Students become representatives of a tribe and participate in an Indian ceremony.
http://visalia.k12.ca.us/teachers/tlieberman/indians/

Destroyers or Decomposers?
Do animals, such as vultures, only spread diseases, and contaminate crops? Learners find out about what certain and sometimes unwanted animals do for our environment. http://warrensburg.k12.mo.us/webquest/decomposers/index.htm


Life on Plymouth Plantation
This web quest is about Plymouth Rock in 1620. Learners discover what life was like in the colonial period by participating in activities.
http://score.rims.k12.ca.us/activity/plymouth/

Oregon Trail
Explore the Oregon Trail as a scout. Then, tell the wagon train people what to look for in their journey.
http://web.archive.org/web/20070204021842/http://coe.west.asu.edu/students/jwolfgramm/webquest/webq1.htm

Patriots in Petticoats
Learn about women who helped our nation become free and independent of Great Britain.
http://web.archive.org/web/20061216131005/http:/www.community.k12.mo.us/webquest/duffner/quest.htm

Pizza Family Reunion
Your mission to is make enough pizzas for a family reunion. Can you do it?
http://www.angelfire.com/home/chas/WQ.html

Who Wants to be a Millionare?
Discover how to earn, save and invest money to earn 1 million dollars in your lifetime.
http://www.personal.psu.edu/faculty/j/x/jxz8/Student_Webquests/Neu_Sel_Yar/Questts/Ourquest


Wonders of an Eclipse
Learners become president of science club while raising awareness about solar,  lunar eclipses and phases of the moon.
http://zunal.com/webquest.php?w=33832

Tuesday, August 29, 2017

Must See Virtual Field Trips for School


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"Today, we are going to set sail on an e-cruise to the Acadia National Park, class."

                                                         

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"Here we are in Florence, Italy at the site of a museo, class." 

                                                       


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"Time to see the Statue of Liberty, learners!"



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"Ah, let me share some information with you about one of my favorite statues."


   The virtual field trip. Virtual field trips are not only a no to low cost way of seeing other places not normally accessible to school children. They are an excellent way to teach and to learn. There are some astonishing great virtual field trips. But, it takes some hours searching to find them.


   Here are some terrific virtual field trips that I've found that would be useful with many an objective and lesson plans. Maybe you have found some especially good virtual field trips that you'd like to share?

Colonial Williamsburg

   An interactive tour of the Revolutionary City, people, place, life, trades, clothing, fifes & drums and gardens.

National Gallery of Art

Search the collection to learn about painting, sculpture, photographs and more.

Eiffel Tower, Paris

Je dois en dire plus?

Museo Galileo Virtual Museum

Devo dire di più?

Acadia National Park eCruise

Visit light houses and museums as you take a trip around Maine's Acadia National Park. Stunning!

Taj Mahal

मैं और अधिक कहने की जरूरत है?

Great Wall of China

要我再講一次啊?

Statue of Liberty

Need I say more?

Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History

Take a tour of past, permanent and other exhibits.

Google Cultural Institute

Take a walk around the Palace of Versailles, France or stroll up and down the terraces of Machu Picchu.

The Holocaust: A Learning Site for Students

  This site is recommended for children 11 years and over.

Monday, August 21, 2017

K-12 Cyber Schools: Waves of the Future


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   Poor local school ratings. Interruptions & distractions. Bullying. Rude behavior. Your child's worries of social status. Fitting in. Popularity.

   

   Are these some of the reasons for the growth of K-12 cyber schools? Even if not, the k-12 old brick and mortar schools that we now know, might be something of the past within the next decade or two, in spite of all the "negative nelly" news that surrounds Internet schools.


  It has been said that cyber schools are the wave of the future, and not just for college. Children K-12 are enrolling in on-line schools and student growth continues to climb. Virtual schools have been around since the late 90's. Kindergarten through high school programs can take the place of your local public school, because some of them are public schools or charter schools. Best of all computers, books and materials are free for public school virtual programs.


However, online school learning has had some bad publicity.

for-profit companies are making very high returns from US educational funds
online schools are unregulated
students might cheat for better grades
students live in isolation from a social community
the pacing of curriculum is too fast
students rely on caregivers instead of certified teachers for help
students sit for most of the day

But, consider how well are our public schools doing in the news?

 U.S. trails behind other nations in science, math and language arts according to International testing scores
victims of bullying and gun shootings make national headlines
certified teachers are arrested for cheating on state tests, and worse
students sit for most of the day
many schools fare poorly on the Nation's Report Card
high school students graduate with few skills for good employment

   One of the debated issues of cyber schools is that they are not well regulated. Although public schools are supposedly regulated, one must pause to think, how well are they regulated? If public schools were truly managed well, we would not be reading about horrible social issues and bad test scores nationwide.

   Online schools may have a way to go on becoming better, but they are a very recent institution. The same can be held true for brick and mortar schools, although centuries in existence, they have a long way to go. Brick and mortar schools are also very slow to make changes for the better. Local schools are either (a) making so many yearly changes no person can keep up with them, or (b) no changes are being made that could make a significant difference to benefit students. One middle teacher with 30 years of experience commented to me, a few years ago, " This whole educational system needs to be revamped!".

How does cyber school typically work?

   Oftentimes, a caregiver is present during instructional time to keep the student on task and to assist them in going over assignments, and ask the learner questions regarding his or her work. In some virtual schools, a teacher frequently checks in and monitors student understanding. The honor system is used for all assignments, test, quizzes and portfolio items. This means your learner must do his or her own work, just like a brick and mortar school, or face the consequences of expulsion or failure. Software programs such as, Turn It In, checks for plagiarism.

   Materials such as computers, books, workbooks, art materials, CD's, and science experiment materials are sent directly to your home free of charge. Learners work at a desk, sit or stand at a table and access a "to do" list each day for assignments to complete. Students might attend live instructional broadcasts, watch learning videos, study, attend field trips and work at their own pace during the day. Online school is not for everyone as it requires substantial independent work.

   But, this relatively new Internet institution can learn to improve by... consumer choice, of course. Cyber schools rely on student numbers to grow in profits. There are many virtual schools to choose from. So, advancements must be made if online schools are going to continue to increase in funding. Cyber schools will eventually need to achieve good ratings and be exemplar, state of the art schools.

  Then, consider your local public school. Are government funds dispersed? Are big salaries paid? Do great improvements for all students rarely occur? If you have said yes to all three, a big change is needed or expect the status quo. Changes might happen only when too much funding is relayed to cyber schools, and brick and mortar pupils are at record enrollment lows. And...all of this might happen in the not so distant future.













Monday, August 14, 2017

Do's and Don'ts for Awesome Classroom Aesthetics


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  Keep this tranquil picture in mind as we head back to our classrooms! Most of us keep an organized classroom that helps most every learner to get work accomplished. But, what about more aesthetics? How does your classroom appeal to you and students? We spend most of the day in our classrooms, so it is important that students are inspired by learning there. So, what can you do this year to fill your room with exciting learning tools, sounds and images?



     DO's and DON'TS for  Awesome Classroom Aesthetics


DO  have a good classroom work flow. Does your room have clearly defined spaces for different types of learning? It is not just young learners that like to sit and read in a quiet zone on a carpet or in beanbag chairs. Centers and computers for learning games can be utilized at any age. Also, it is important to have a plan on how desks can be quickly moved together for small group sessions, or for partnerships in your classroom.

DON'T keep a multitude of posters up on your walls all year long. Too many different posters detract from the learning tasks at hand. Also, the same theme, such as say, cowboy decorations for the entire year, can create feelings of classroom monotony. In fact, a room might look downright cluttered and too many concept posters can lead to topic confusion or the "dreaded" student information overload. 

DO  decorate bulletin boards to get your students' attention on a particular concept or to appeal to their senses. But, your boards and posters should change with the flow of seasons, holidays, objectives or big ideas. Bring out posters only when needed as instructional tools. Remember to update your bulletin boards. Kids love to help on this, and some older kids might even design your seasonal/big idea boards.

DON'T pick up student papers and pass out student supplies when you have so many to help you and save instructional time.  During the first several weeks of  school, go over where to place homework, projects and other assessments. Students should also know where the classroom supplies, folders, dictionaries and other books are located. 

DO rotate teams of kids to pass out papers, supplies, books, folders and project materials, as well as to sharpen pencils or neaten up centers.

DON'T keep stacks and stacks of classroom materials on wire shelves in boxes. This gives an industrial effect to your classroom. Either share your wealth with other teachers who need them, stow your things in a closet or keep them at home in the garage until your students need them.

DO bring in interesting items to showcase to your students for short periods. Let's say you found arrowheads while camping, bought items while abroad, or have souvenirs or photographs from a recent trip.

DON'T allow music for the entire class period unless you are a music teacher of course, but...




DO enhance the mood of your class with music or sounds before or after transition periods. You can use music or sound cues to clean up, signal the end of a quiz or work period or to acknowledge someone's birthday or an event. Soft music might be played at a center for those who can listen, read and work at the same time.


DON'T  only have class pets such as fish, guinea pigs, turtles, rabbits or hamsters.

DO  include rubber tree plants, poinsettias, orchids, and maybe an annual or two, such as mums, if they can get enough sunlight.

   Most all children are curious, just as we adults. Having an interesting classroom that supports appealing aesthetics shows that you care, want to continuously improve an environment, and wish for your kids to be motivated and inspired.

  




Thursday, June 22, 2017

Ocracoke Island and the Last Stand of Blackbeard Video
Price $6.00 This video tells a powerful story about Blackbeard on Ocracoke Island that will capture your attention. Ocracoke Island and the Last Stand of Blackbeard is ideal for students with a 5th grade reading level and above (with a good reading fluency) in the study of colonial history. This over 16 minute captioned fun-to-watch video has informational text, background music and footage of the Outer Banks area.


Student Objectives:

1. Read and comprehend informational text.

2. Develop reading fluency at a moderate pace.

3. Learn the history of a settlement beginning with indigenous cultures.

4. Define quotes from the colonial period.

Values Based Learning Skills

5. Understand one’s own values and consider those of others in beliefs, policies, and behaviors.

6. Reflect on concerns for the common good and practice of social values.

7. Develop an awareness of an issue to include complexities, dilemmas, costs and benefits.

Thursday, May 25, 2017