Wednesday, October 18, 2006

ITM #2: The Write Stuff

ITM #2 dives into the world of language arts with some great web resources and instructional strategies. Pour yourself a cold glass of milk and enjoy!


> Quicktime MP4 (33 MB)

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Show Notes:

The History is Elementary blog is great resource for practical ideas on teaching history, especially in elementary school. The Shake and Bake post is particularly inspired, providing great ideas for hooking kids on Shakespeare by introducing them to the mystery of his identity.

Type in "Answer to life the Universe and everything" on the Google search bar and click "I'm Feeling Lucky". Hint: It's an obscure literary reference to a famous science fiction novel. If you want to cut right to the chase, check out this entry in Wikipedia.

The Gmaps Pedometer is a FREE web tool that measures and records walking distances from one point to another. It even measures changes in elevation! Use this tool with kids to help measure the exact distance between two points or to monitor your exercise path. FYI - Although Gmaps Pedometer uses Google Maps to help make it work, the website is not affiliated with Google in any way.

Ken Stein's Teacher Blog
is a "sandbox" for ideas and resources related to teaching writing. It's just one of many great resources provided by the New York City Writing Project. His post on "Things to do with Writely" has 10 specific tips on how teachers and students can get the most from Writely (now called Google Docs) and other online word processors. Zoho Writer, AjaxWrite, and ThinkFree are a few other online tools to check out.

Google Docs & Spreadsheets (formerly Writely) is a free web-based word processor and spreadsheet tool.

Mike Lawrence is a former high school English teacher who currently serves as the Executive Director of Computer Using Educators. He visited Price Elementary School in Anaheim, CA for his "field trip" to see how they were using online word processors in their writing process.

The Big 6 is an information and technology literacy model and curriculum developed by educators Mike Eisenberg and Bob Berkowitz. It is the most widely-known and widely-used approach to teaching information and technology skills in the world. On the main Big Six website, you can get lesson ideas, read about their evidence of success, and access grade appropriate tools.

There are lots of FREE online dictionaries ( and Free Dictionary are two of the most popular), but you can also define words straight from the Google search bar. This simple tool allows you to quickly view multiple definitions of words and follow the link to the original source of that definition.

Your Homework Assignment: Take one of the ideas or resources mentioned in this episode and use it in your school or classroom. Post your results to the comments section of this blog (see the blue "comments" link above) or send us an email.

Thanks to the students from Mr. Hernandez' class at Price Elementary School in Anaheim, CA, for helping us explain what the Infinite Thinking Machine is!