Category Archives: Websites

Beauty and the Bolt

According to its vision statement, “Beauty and the Bolt, centered on the idea that Brilliant is Beautiful, aims to make learning engineering easy, inexpensive, and accessible for anyone.”  With that goal in mind, Beauty and the Bolt has: a blog post that lists women who teach STEM on YouTube, a map to find makerspaces around the world, and some fun STEM merchandise.  There are also a few STEM lesson plans.  One of the most expansive resources Beauty and the Bolt offers is its video channel on YouTube, with over 50 DIY and educational videos.

My favorite piece of merchandise on the Beauty and the Bolt site is a 2020 calendar called, “Princesses with Power Tools.”   The calendar features 12 inspiring women who are involved in STEM careers, creatively and colorfully photographed as princesses.  Unfortunately, the site states that it is sold out.  I sent an e-mail to find out if it will become available again, and will update this post if I learn any more details.

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Image by RAEng_Publications from Pixabay

Class Hook

In yesterday’s post about a website that archives short video animations for kids I mentioned that I would be writing about another source for videos to use in the classroom.  The site is called, “Class Hook,” and I have mentioned it before in a post about using video clips.  That post gave information about some tools that you can use to make your own clips if you are trying to use parts of longer films.  But Class Hook actually provides clips for you.

I have worked in two different school districts, and one of them blocked Class Hook, so definitely try it out on campus before you choose to rely on it for a lesson.  Even if it doesn’t work at school, you can still use it at home to find clips relevant to your content.  Most of the clips come from videos already accessible on YouTube, which can be a work-around (if YouTube isn’t also blocked!).  Class Hook’s tools will allow you to quickly narrow down the unlimited content that you would find in a Google search to a few suggestions.

Class Hook has a tiered pricing plan, but I can only tell you about my experience with the free version, which was perfectly adequate for my needs.  On this plan, you can browse all of the clips, filter by grade strands, clip length, and by series.  You can also choose a subject or search for a topic and create playlists.

An example of how I used Class Hook in class was when I was searching for a clip for my Engineering class.  I knew there was something in Apollo 13 that I had once thought would be perfect, but I couldn’t remember the exact part of the movie.  A quick search on Class Hook revealed, “A Square Peg in a Round Hole,” which was exactly what I was looking for.

For ideas on possible uses for Class Hook, take a look a this page.  I doubt you will need it, though, as I’m sure you will see many potential benefits of this tool once you try it.

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Image by Gerd Altmann from Pixabay

SlidesMania

SlidesMania caught my eye the other day on Twitter when this cute Harry Potter template was shared:

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Harry Potter SlidesMania Template

I typically go to Slides Carnival or Canva when I am looking for a new presentation theme for Google Slides, but I’m excited to find another resource.

Paula, the woman behind the SlidesMania site, likes to design slide templates as a hobby.  Fortunately, she is kind enough to share her projects online.  Just like the Slides Carnival presentations, the ones on SlidesMania can also be downloaded for Google Slides or Powerpoint.

The next time you need a great theme for a slide show, you should definitely check out SlidesMania!

Making Across the Curriculum

Making Across the Curriculum is a Google Site created by Rob Morrill on which he has curated ideas for “making” that integrate with different subjects.  If you click on the link for “Project Ideas by Class,” you will find suggestions such as “Loominous Literature” for English and “Living Hinges” for Engineering.  Some of the project ideas are repeated in different curriculum areas, as they are open-ended enough to accommodate numerous interpretations.  Although Morrill designed this site for his school staff, you may find some project ideas for your content area here.

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Image by Foundry Co from Pixabay

Big Ideas for Little Scholars

So here I am again. You may have noticed the (not so) brief hiatus. Or you may not have noticed it. If you’re a teacher, the latter is probably more likely. Noticing things that don’t directly affect your classroom is understandably low on the priority list during the school year.
In case you don’t follow me on other social networks, I recently posted this announcement, “On January 6th, most of my colleagues will return to work in schools and, for the first time in over 28 years, I will not. I decided to retire in December. There are multiple factors, and I still feel torn in two about my choice. However, with several family members about to have surgeries and a daughter about to interview at a couple of colleges out of town I am going to take advantage of the next couple of months to work on personal relationships before I decide on my second career. As the narrator of one of my favorite podcasts, Hidden Brain, recently said, ‘We often underestimate our ability to reinvent ourselves.’ Hopefully, I’m not OVERestimating it ;)”
I hesitate to call it retirement because, as my husband is quick to point out, I will be returning to work – but the actual job I will choose is a bit hazy at the moment. Here are my thoughts so far:

  • Starting as an intern at an advertising agency like Chandler on Friends,
  • Working as a staff writer for SNL or Stephen Colbert on The Late Show,
  • Training emotional support animals
  • Working at this bookstore if I can convince the owner I’m not a stalker
  • Going to law school
  • Running for office, probably something to do with Parks and Rec since I’ve been binge watching that particular show lately and Leslie Knope is one of my nonprofit heroes

While I sort things out, I figured I’d come back to this blog, which was one of my many hobbies that has fallen by the wayside in the last 18 months. As I was crafting this post, one of my dear friends from the world of Gifted and Talented tweeted a new site that she has begun, and I realized it was the perfect inaugural post for 2020.

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Donna Lasher has put together an amazing resource for parents and educators of advanced students from K-8 on this site, Big Ideas for Little Scholars.  With curriculum links, thinking skills strategies, and project ideas, this website is a dream come true for anyone who is looking for ways to challenge and inspire students.  This site is easy to navigate, and puts everything you need in one spot, including information on how to reach out to other teachers with similar interests.

When I first started teaching gifted children, there was a paucity of information, and I often felt like I was on my own.  Social networking has definitely changed this – to the point that the availability of materials can be overwhelming.  The structure and quality of Donna’s site makes this much more manageable.  It’s definitely worth bookmarking and visiting on a regular basis!

Thanks to Donna for sharing the site!  Like many of us, she has spent the time creating a resource that we hope will help others, especially our students.

#TCEA2019 – Flippity

Looking back on my blog posts, I see that I’ve never devoted one to Flippity even though I’ve used it for various reasons the last couple of years.  If you haven’t tried Flippity and you like user-friendly tech tools, you should definitely visit the site.  When I first started using it, it was basically an easy way to turn a Google Spreadsheet into flashcards.  Since then, it has added many more features – all for free.

Leslie Fisher reminded me to take another look at Flippity when she mentioned a few of the newer additions to the site.  There is a now a Timeline and a Typing Test.  You can also make a Scavenger Hunt (which is similar to a Digital Breakout, but much easier to create!).  I am eager to try the Badge Tracker for our Maker Space.  I also noticed that there is a Flippity Add-On for Chrome if you are interested.

Each activity offers you a template that you can copy to your Drive.  Follow the instructions on the template and/or the website by typing information into the correct cells.  Publish your spreadsheet, get the link, and the magic happens.

Don’t forget that your students can also create with Flippity.  Though most of the templates are not going to promote deep learning, they are great opportunities for students to practice skills in novel ways.

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screenshot from Flippity.net