MuseForJews

muse: n. a source of inspiration

Links You’ll Love

The Kid Should See This website offers “smart videos for curious minds.” So fun! You can subscribe to get five videos a week via email or simply search the site or browse by category.

So excited that we’re offering a Minecraft special at my school this year! Check out this article on Minecraft and why it’s used in the classroom. And while we’re on the subject of cool specials, here’s a link if you want to learn more about the robotic devices that we’re using with 6th through 8th graders this year.

August 28, 2015 Posted by | Links You'll Love | | Leave a comment

Thinglink

July 31, 2015 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

BrainRush is an adaptive learning games site. You can create your own games or choose from their library.

This article is an interesting assessment of blended learning from a student. It’s not just about robot-like students staring into screens!

ForAllRubrics gives you the ability to create rubrics, add students, and assess away. You can do on your iPad, too!

I love Recite.com! It is so crazy easy – pick a quote, pick a template and go! Images are ready to post on social media or download.

Our 7th graders always enjoy visiting the Newseum when in DC. It’s one of my favorites, too! Check out their website for some fabulous resources, including class-ready videos on bias, media accuracy and the digital revolution, lessons on the First Amendment, and links to primary sources.

May 22, 2015 Posted by | Links You'll Love | , , | Leave a comment

Links You’ll Love

Pear Deck is a formative assessment tool/presentation tool/student participation tool that you run from within your Chrome browser, or from a tablet. It’s similar to NearPod and can use existing Google slide presentations to create interactive lessons.

QR codes! Flipped classrooms! Comics and games! The presentations from last week’s Google On Air conference are available on YouTube.

Here are some great suggestions for keeping your Google drive nice and tidy.

Here’s a great article about helping students read images. So much of what our students see online is image-intense these days – it’s important to help them with this skill! Check it out.

Google’s news archive is terrific if you want to search through newspaper archives. Start here and you can search by topic or you can browse by newspaper. This is a great primary search tool!

Here’s a great video that’s worth fifteen minutes of your time. Did you know that you could connect a Google document with more than one folder? HOW COOL IS THAT? This video is a great explanation of how folders work in Google Drive and in Google Mail. There’s some useful information about understand how shared folders work, too.

Project procrastination. We’ve all done it. Here’s a good article about how to help your students avoid it.

May 15, 2015 Posted by | Links You'll Love | , , , | Leave a comment

Links You’ll Love

Here’s a conference that you don’t have to travel to attend, don’t need to fight crowds, don’t have to eat mediocre food, don’t have to pay for, and (best of all) can participate in your PJs! Google is hosting an on air conference called, appropriately, Education on Air on May 8th and 9th. Would I suggest you “tune in” on Shabbat? Of course not! All events will be recorded for viewing after the fact.

Commonlit is a teacher-sourced collection of discussion questions and corresponding texts that you can sort by reading level. For instance, under the question “What are the costs and benefits of technology?” there were quite a few impressive texts from which to choose.

Here’s an interesting article on giving student feedback in the digital world.

If you’re looking for fun math activities for K-6, check out Matific. You choose from Episodes (brief, interactive videos), interactive worksheets, or playlists, which are collections of videos. There are teacher guides with background information and presentation resources as well.

Here’s a thought-provoking article about digital natives and what they’re not learning in school about using the web.

Formative is a website where you can, well, create formative assessments. What’s pretty slick about it is that you can view your students’ answers in real time, grade on the fly, and track progress. It’s available for free.

If you have an hour to spare, check out this terrific webinar from teacher Vicki Davis on Differentiating Instruction with Technology. I was blown away by some of the things she talked about.

May 1, 2015 Posted by | Links You'll Love | , | Leave a comment

Links You’ll Love

Everybody loves a good skeleton – especially when it’s a free one. Here’s a link to download the free Essential Skeleton app for your iPad (and you are welcome!).

Getting too many emails? Check out Unroll Me. Put in your email address, unsubscribe from the ones you don’t want any more, and you can even choose to get the ones you do want in one daily digest.

What’s your birthday word? Mine is nitpick. Visit the OED Birthday Word Generator, put in your birth year and see the words that are as old as you are!

April 17, 2015 Posted by | Links You'll Love | | Leave a comment

Links You’ll Love

Just in time for Pesach – here’s that fun Rube Goldberg-esqe 10 Plagues video from The Technion:

The Smithsonian Institution’s Tween Tribune is a great news site. You can create a class and have your students join, create assignments, and quiz your students. This also includes a nice “Photo of the Day” section designed to stimulate your students’ imagination.

AnswerGarden is a really fun website that has your students (or anyone) providing instant feedback that you can see! Simply post your question and invite anyone to answer via a weblink. As their answers are recorded, you grow a word cloud. It’s really simple, requires no signup, and is free. No watering required! Check it out.

SoundTrap is basically an online, collaborative version of GarageBand. You can drag in loops, edit multiple tracks and download your creations as .mp3 files. What’s very cool, though, is that you can invite friends to collaborate with you and multiple people can work on the same file at the same time.

March 26, 2015 Posted by | Links You'll Love | , | Leave a comment

Links You’ll Love

If you have a little time on your hands, check out GoogleFeud. It’s a really interesting exploration about how society thinks. And a huge time suck, so buyer beware.

Want to find (or have your students find) articles at their reading level? This is cool – you can use Google’s search tools to help. Just put in your search terms, and on the results page, click on Search tools. Reading level should appear at the top of your screen. Clicking on Reading level will sort the results into Basic, Intermediate or Advanced – just click on the desired level and that’ll filter your results. For a step-by-step, check out this blog post.

If you want to easily create flash cards from a Google sheet (or, even better – have your students do it!), Flippity is a great place to start. Upload your sheet and automatically generate cards.

Hey! You know that Passover will be pretty soon, right? There are some terrific free resources online that you might want to check out. If you’re looking for some fun activities to do with toddlers and preschoolers, TCJewfolk have a very nice Seder kit that you can download for free. JewishBoston.com is also offering their free “The Wandering is Over” Haggadah.

If you have an iPad or a Macintosh computer with the iBooks app, take a moment to check out the amazing array of educational iBooks that you can download (most for free). The breadth of topics is simply mindboggling, and many books take advantage of the iPad’s multimedia capability to integrate video and audio besides text. You can browse the education collection using a computer here. Some of the books that caught my eye are:

To access iBooks on the iPad, open the iBooks app and visit the store. On a computer, go to the iTunes store.

Looking for templates to use with Google Slides? Check out Slide Carnival.

Here’s a terrific resource for your students (or you) to find copyright free photos to use with school projects. Even better – they come complete with an attribution caption. I love it!

NowComment is a cool website where you can create a document and then invite others to discuss it. Students and teachers can use their GAFE account to log in. Here’s a nice overview of it.

March 20, 2015 Posted by | Links You'll Love | , , , | Leave a comment

Links You’ll Love

If you’re a Google Classroom user, check out this post to learn about some of the updates to this awesome Google app.

When I hear “place mats,” I think of dinner, don’t you? This blog post, though, at  discusses place mats as an instructional model used to combine independent thinking with collaboration. The post gives step-by-step instructions to use GAFE to create a collaborative template. Very nice!

I’ve mentioned GoNoodle before, but I wanted to remind you about this great source for movement videos. They’ve added an indoor recess section with videos that last up to 19 minutes. There are Zumba activities, secret handshake partner exercises, and brain boosters for great short movement breaks as well.

Versal is a new platform to create online learning experiences. You can embed video, create quizzes, and add timelines. This is an amazing and robust website. I’m thinking about creating a workshop to explore this over the summer – let me know if you’re interested.

 

March 6, 2015 Posted by | GAFE, Google, Links You'll Love | , , | Leave a comment

We are more than our tweets

(cross posted from Solomon Schechter of Metropolitan Chicago’s blog)

We post, we share, and we judge . . .

When I was in 7th grade, the big thing (today we would say “trending”) was to have a slam book. A slam book was a simple device: nothing more than a spiral-bound notebook with a different girl’s name written at the top of each page. As the book was passed around, you just left an anonymous comment beneath a name. Some comments were nice, some were just innocuous and some, of course, were mean. Cloaked in anonymity, we felt that it would be okay to say whatever we wanted with no fear of repercussion.

Of course, a slam book came to its demise when a teacher got hold of it. The posts disappeared into the garbage, existing only in the memory of the children who had seen or written them. And, while memory can be powerful, those comments were destined to fade over time.

Social media today is in many ways an immortal slam book. There are differences: anonymity isn’t always guaranteed and even deleted posts or comments can still be found. The biggest difference, of course, is the unbelievable reach those posts have. The slam book of my junior high years was a real, physical thing that could only be seen by so many people at one time and could only be in one place at a time. Social media posts today can go viral in an instant and reach hundreds or thousands of people in mere seconds.

We know this and we try to teach our children about the need to think before one posts. To use everything that they’ve learned about being a good person and about Jewish values before one hits send. And I think we generally do a good job at this.

What is scarier to me is how easy it is to judge others in the world of viral social media, and how quickly one can be tried and convicted in 140 characters or fewer. How good a job are we doing at teaching our children to think about the human being – with all his or her flaws – behind the tweet?

In 2013, Justine Sacco, then the senior director of corporate communications at the media/Internet company IAC, stupidly tweeted a joke before boarding a flight to South Africa to visit family. There’s no question about it, the tweet was dumb one associating AIDS with non-whites. She shouldn’t have tweeted it. She made a really irresponsible mistake. She also only had around 170 Twitter followers, so the chance of it getting around was slim. Unfortunately, the offending tweet was picked up and shared by someone who had over 15,000 Twitter followers. It got around.

By the time Sacco landed in South Africa she had lost her job with IAC. The tweet had gone viral, and Sacco was publicly tried and found guilty by the Twitter community. This 30-year-old woman’s career had abruptly come to an end while she sat unaware on a flight.

Was that fair? Who are we to judge? And should her rash tweet get her fired?

I really don’t know if she should have lost her job and if her career should suffer because of this error. I do know, however, that she never had a chance to speak for herself or to even face her accusers.

Our own tradition has plenty to say about judging others. We’re taught to “tip the scale” in another’s favor, and see if someone’s misdeeds are outweighed by his or her virtues (Pirkei Avot 1:6). Unfortunately, social media seems to be faster at weighing misdeeds!

Certainly, we teach our children that you shouldn’t post anything that you wouldn’t be proud to tell your grandmother or put on a billboard, since you never know who or how many people might read your words. But the flipside of the lesson is also important, and I think it’s one we may sometimes neglect to acknowledge. There is a person behind and in front of every Facebook post, every Instagram photo, and every tweet. They are people with feelings. They’re people who had a bad day. People who used bad judgment. And they are not just their tweets.

March 4, 2015 Posted by | Social Technologies | | Leave a comment

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