Monday, February 4, 2013

Common Core, Effective Instruction and Techonlogy with Glenn Wiebe

On January 21, 2013 Glenn Wiebe spent an afternoon with our staff talking about the connections between common core, effective instruction and technology.  As he began, Glenn stated that, "Change is hard and sometime hard to see."  He shared samples of various common core standards and the key words being used to indicate the use of technology.  Some of those key words included digital tools, digital media, text read aloud, digital sources, multi-media and other media.  I found this interesting because sometimes as educators we read just like the students.  If it isn't stated in black and white, then it is not implied.  So, if the standard doesn't say 'use technology to...' we assume technology is not a part of the standard.  However, the simple phrase 'text read aloud' can imply the use of technology.

Glenn also spent some time sharing Google Earth.  He called it the ultimate "Swiss Knife" of technology.  Google Earth is available on all student and teacher computers.  It is also available for use on the iPad, but has some limited features.

Here are some resources for obtaining lesson plans and ideas for using Google Earth in the classroom:
Classroom Resources:  Lesson Plan Library
Google Earth Lessons - Provides lessons for actually using Google Earth as well as student and teacher controlled lessons
Teaching & Learning with Google Earth - Lessons are grouped by primary level and secondary level
Google Earth for Educators:  50 Exciting Ideas for the Classroom - Find lesson plans and virtual tours for various grade levels
Google Lit Trips - Use these trips to follow the journey of characters in famous literary and bring a new level of engagement to your students with photos and questions centering about various aspects of the novel
Google Earth - Wiki with various resources and samples
Google Earth Education Community - How-to helpers for Google Earth and links to Google Earth lessons

Need help understanding how to work with Google Earth?  Check out the print and video resources at

Later in the afternoon, Glenn shared some great Google search strategies that will benefit teachers and students.  They are the 2M List, quotation marks, title, site and file.

2M List - You add the words that must be on the site and put a minus in front of words that must not be on the site (columbus -college -university)

Quotations Marks - Put your search phrase in quotation marks to get that exact wording.  This is a great way to check student writings for plagiarism.  If some wording doesn't sound like the student, then put that phrase or sentence in quotation marks for a Google search.  If it was copied from the Internet, it will show you the source.

Title - If you need a particular word or phrase to be in the title of a website, then type intitle: and your word or phrase in quotation marks.

Site - Use site:site type (edu, com, org, net) and your term to narrow your search results. 

Site Types:
.com - used for commercial purposes, usually by corporations and businesses
.edu - used by educational organizations
.net - used by internet related companies, but also used by all types of businesses
.org - used by organizations, usually nonprofit like Red Cross

*You can also search by country site.  For example, .us is for United States and .uk is for United Kingdom.

File - Search by a specific file type like powerpoint by using filetype:ppt and then your search terms.

Possible File Extensions:
.gif OR .jpg OR .tiff - images
.doc - documents
.ppt - powerpoint
.mpg OR .mov - movies
.pdf - portable document files

Glenn ended our time by talking about Visual Discrepant Inquiry.  In simplest terms, you give students part of an image and ask them to tell you what the photo is about - time, place, overall content or focus of the image - from the portion they can view.  Slowly you reveal more of the image and have students continue the investigation of the photo.  The key element that reveals the significance behind the image isn't revealed until the end.  Glenn explains the process in more detail in this article -  It was an intriguing activity and not hard to duplicate with Keynote or Powerpoint and a projector.

Throughout his instruction, Glenn also provided staff with time to explore various web tools he introduced throughout the afternoon.  In our district, some of the sites are only available to staff and some have been opened up for student use.

BibMe - Create a bibliography for your works cited.  We also have EasyBib available through Google Docs which not only allows students to create an MLA formatted works cited, but it then downloads right into Google Drive.

ReadLists - A group of web pages - any type - bundled together in an eBook format.  Here's a sample

Shmoop - Provide learning guides, homework helpers and test preps for anyone wanting to learn.  Shmoop also provides indepth literature analysis for those complicated text.  Resources are available in Spanish.

KeepVid - (only open to staff)  Download videos from the web onto your computer to prevent issues with buffering.  This works great for those YouTube videos you want to show in class, but stall out from the buffering.

Readablility - Turns a web page into a readable document that you can save for later once you create a free account.  Good for those great articles you stumble upon during the day, but don't have time to read in depth.  Save it to Readability and read the articles as time permits.  You can get the Readability app for your Android,  iPad, iPod or iPhone.

Evernote - Set-up a free account to save your notes (text and audio), webpages, lists and more.  Evernote is accessible and syncs your account on the computer, website and mobile apps.  Great tool to use when researching on the internet.  You can get the Evernote app for your iPad, iPod or iPhone.

ThinkFinity -  (only open to staff)  Use the search box on the right-side of the home page to search for lessons based on standards, grade level and content area.  If you are trying to search by Common Core standards, scroll past all the regular state standards - the common core are listed below the regular state standards.

Advanced Google Search - Use the advanced tools when searching in Google.  This will help you narrow your search and obtain the information you are seeking without wading through millions of web sites.

Critical Thinking
Google Earth - This program allows you to take a virtual journey of the globe.  You can explore terrain, 3D buildings and more.  Resources for Google Earth were provided in the beginning of this post.  This program is available on every staff and student computer in our district.

YummyMath - Get ideas for bringing real-life into the math classroom.  Searchable categories include Algebra, Number Sense, Data & Probability, Geometry and more.

Google Earth Math - Provides Google Earth math map lessons for use in the classroom.

Visually - Search for infographics to enhance your curriculum in the classroom.  You can also create your own infographics at this site.

Infogram - Create interactive inforgraphics and charts for the classroom OR have students create an infographic to share stats and content.  Create an account for free.

Common Core
Diigo:  Glenn Wiebe Common Core - 40 website links centered around common core

Diigo:  Common Core - 578 sites that have been tagged as common core

Google Drive - Share and collaborate in real-time, create documents, presentations, spreadsheets and forms, and store various file formats, photos and videos.  Every staff and student in our district has an account to access Google Drive.

My Big Campus - Engaging online environment for your classroom.  Share assignments, tests, slideshows and other resources to students whether they are in class or not.  Our technology department is exploring this venue to replace Blackboard.

Dropbox - Store and share your documents, photos and videos.  Not as user-friendly for collaboration.

Ted-Ed - Videos that can be used to enhance your current curriculum or to be viewed by students as homework in preparation for the upcoming lesson.  You access resources to dig deeper and some videos provide questions to get students thinking about the content they viewed.

Little Bird Tales - Use this tool to create, record and share online stories.  Check out the demo video below:

Celly -This is a group messaging and communication service you can use via a cell phone or web browser.  Check out the Celly for Schools Set-up Guide and Celly for School for ideas on using Celly in your school and classroom.

PrintFriendly - Use this tool to print only the text on a web page.  Just copy the URL, go to PrintFriendly and paste the URL in the box.  Hit return and wait for your PrintFriendly view to appear.  You can remove any text from your new document before hitting print.  This will save you from printing those worthless blank pages.

Slideshare - Store and share your slideshows and pdf files through Slideshare.  Once uploaded, you can embed your files and slideshows on a website or blog.  You can view and use slideshows shared by other people.  Great way for students to share their presentations in real-life.

Socrative - Engage students in games, polls, quizzes and tests through Socrative.  It is similar to using a clicker system, but students can respond via the Socrative student app available for iPad, iPod and smart phones.  Students can also respond via a web browser on the computer.  The main Socrative website is blocked by our district filter for students, but they can access your classroom by using the following URL -

Below are additional resources from Glenn's Presentation:

Social Studies Central - Links to all of Glenn's handouts, presentations and web sites.


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