Archive | November 2012

7 Tools for Creating Visual Presentations that Engage

If you are wanting to find more visual presentation tools besides PowerPoint, here is a link to an article that lists and describes 7 tools that could be used for making visual presentations.  Well, okay… Although this site states 7 tools in the title, it actually has seven categories and lists a few more than seven tools for visual presentations. This resource discusses the following tools:

1.  Prezi

2. Gliffy

3. SmartDraw

4. Visio

5. Interactive Excel

6. Stock Photo Sites

7. Microsoft Office Online

8. Chatting and Polling within GoToTraining

9. Native Programs Beyond Microsoft Word

10. Maximizing PowerPoint (animating static images, picture placeholders, using image effects and photoalbum, and third party programs for PowerPoint visuals

Helpful pictures are included in these descriptions.  As well, this resource also lists other blogs and sites to visit for more tools in depth.

One thing that I really like about this resource is that it acknowledges the whole “death by PowerPoint.”  It has its own introduction section that discusses this which I completely agree that PowerPoint is being overused and it is no longer engaging to students.

Major ECMP 355 Project – Unit Plan

Here is my unit plan:

math ubd ecmp

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Lesson One:

Lesson Plan: lesson 1

SMART Notebook lesson

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Lesson Two:

Lesson Plan:lesson 2

SMART Notebook lesson

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Lesson Three:

Lesson Plan: lesson 3

SMART Notebook lesson

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Lesson Four:

Lesson Plan: lesson 4

SMART Notebook lesson

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Lesson Five:

Lesson Plan: lesson 5

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Lesson Six:

Lesson Plan: lesson 6

SMART Notebook lesson

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Lesson Seven:

Lesson Plan: lesson 7

SMART Notebook lesson

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Lesson Eight:

Lesson Plan: lesson 8

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Lesson Nine:

Lesson Plan: lesson 9

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Lesson Ten:

Lesson Plan: lesson 10

SMART Notebook lesson

Elementary and Middle Years Math Games Website

So I found this amazing website with all sorts of different games for math while searching on delicious.com.  This math website has all sorts of games for different topics covered in elementary and middle years mathematics (although mostly elementary).

What do I like about it?

  • There is more than one game for a certain topic.  So, if you get bored of one game, the game is too hard, or the game doesn’t gain your interest, there are others to choose from.  Also, this allows students to get more practice in a variety of different ways.
  • Many games are timed.  This can help encourage students to quicken their pace and solve mathematical problems with more efficiency.
  • Games are engaging.
  • Students are having fun while they are learning and developing their learning.
  • The site is user friendly.
  • Games are organized by their topic and there is a tab at the top that you can click on to quickly get to those topics.

What do I dislike about it?

  • The colours of the main page is quite hard to look at.  There’s too much red and shades of red that make it seem unappealing.  I was going to leave the site but then some of the pictures and names of the games caught my interest.
  • Some of the games can be a bit frustrating.  I found a couple games to be frustrating for two reasons: the first being when I was moving my character, it would keep moving in that direction for a while after I stopped pushing the button.  The second is that there is a lot going on in some of the games that I overwhelmed with the task to be done (yes I even felt this way!).
  • Does not have any games for high school math topics.

Where does this fit into the curriculum and how would I use this in my teaching?

This fits into every math curriculum in the elementary and a some of the middle years.  Examples include: counting 1-10 which is part of the kindergarten math curriculum; counting 1-20 which is part of the grade one math curriculum; adding and subtraction which is a part of the grade four curriculum; and mixed fractions from the grade seven math curriculum.

I would most likely use this as a support material for students to use outside of class.  Although, I could use this in class as a review or as an engaging way to get students to practice their skills and knowledge instead of having a written assignment.

Conclusion.

Unfortunately since I will be hoping to become a high school math teacher, this most likely will not be applicable for me.  However, this is a great resource for any elementary teachers looking for fun, engaging math games!  I would definitely recommend this site for you to at least try out!

If I were to give this website and its resources a 7.5/10.

Importance of Using Tags in Your Blogs

Up until a couple days ago, I have never used tags in my blogs.  What inspired me to go and start tagging all my blogs was while I was working on an education business class assignment where I had to find resources that I could use in a business class.

For this assignment, I was trying to figure out a way so that my teacher could easily access my blogs only related to that of my assignment and how I could categorize the blogs according to the curriculum they fit in.  I was considering creating new categories for it (which is what I should have done now that I think about it), but I had heard about tags earlier that day and thought that this could be a way to organize my blogs.  So, I went and tagged my business blogs according to what they were about.

One thing that I didn’t expect was that the next day when I went to continue my assignment was that I had notifications saying that people liked my blogs, people were commenting on my blogs, and I had quite a bit more viewers (and actually from different countries!).

Before this, the only people liking and commenting on my blogs were my fellow ECMP 355 students and professor and the only viewers were from Canada (which presumably were my classmates and professor).  Now, I have people liking, commenting, and viewing my blog from at least 4 countries from around the world (including Australia and Great Britain).  I think it’s just amazing how people around the world can access my blog and that they are actually reading my blogs!  This was such a confidence boost and in a way it reinforced the reasons why we should comment on other people’s blogs (as discussed in my ECMP 355 class).

With that said, here are my reasons why you should tag your blogs:

  • Increase amount of views.
  • Increase amount of likes and comments.
  • Keep your blog organized.
  • Provides viewers easier access to only blogs about certain topics.

Here is a link to Steinar Knutsen’s website page discussing his thoughts about the importance using WordPress tags.

Department of Justice – Business Resource

Justice.gc.ca is the website for the Department of Justice Canada.  This website provides many resources on law and the justice system.  In particular, I would like to focus on the “Rights and Freedoms in Canada” page which could be a particularly useful resource for the Law 30 curriculum.

What is it?

This is a page that briefly introduces the Canadian Bill of Rights, The Canadian Human Rights Act, and the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms.  This page also describes the role of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms and what the Charter protects.

What do I like about it?

  • Great source for accurate information.
  • Gives point form version of information about the Charter.
  • Translated to use more understandable words (compared to actual document).
  • Lists and elaborates points.
  • Not a particularly long read so this could help increase engagement.

What do I dislike about it?

  • Not very engaging/visually pleasing (it is a page from the government website so really, what do we expect?).

Where does this fit into the curriculum and how would I use it?

This resource fits in with the Law 30 curriculum.  Specifically, this fits under the third foundational objective in unit one (pg 27) which states: “Know that the Charter of Rights and Freedoms and the Saskatchewan and Canadian Human Rights Codes provide criteria to assess legal rights.”  In this case, this resource provides the role of the Charter which includes legal rights.

Also, this could fit in with the fourth foundational objective (pg 27) in the same unit which states: “Know that sources of law include The Constitution, The Charter of Rights and Freedoms, Treaties, statues, and common law.”  Here, this resource explains the Charter or Rights and Freedoms so students can have an understanding of this document and be able to conclude that it is a source of law.

In my classroom, there are a couple ways I could use this resource.  The first way, is to go over the resource as a class and begin a discussion based off of some questions students might have or ones that I have thought of a head of time to ask the students.  Another way is that I could get students to either individually or in small groups read this resource and then work on a worksheet that I have made up.  Lastly, I could just use this as an extra resource and put it on the class blog/site for if students want to learn more about the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms outside of class.

Evaluation of the Department of Justice website.

One issue that I had with this site is that it didn’t have a search box.  When I go to a website, I would rather type a topic into a search box and see what related articles I get, rather than having to click through a bunch of different pages to finally find what I was looking for.  I found the website fairly easy to navigate through and the resources page provides a lot of great information on all the different types and issues of law including: war crimes, violence, violence against women, drugs, and dispute resolution.  However, I was quite surprised to find the resource that I discusses not under this resources page.  Honestly, I wouldn’t have been able to find it if it didn’t tell me which pages I had clicked though to get to this page.  Here’s an example of what I mean:

So, if I had to give this website a numerical value, I would give it a 8/10 and the resource itself would receive a 7.5/10.

Entrepreneurweek.com – Business Resources

Entrepreneurweek.com is a blog that is designed to consolidate information for and about entrepreneurs.  There is one blog, in particular, that I would like to focus on called “Why Are More Women Choosing Entrepreneurship Over the Workplace?”

What is it?

This is a blog about why more women are deciding to enter into the field of entrepreneurship rather than the workplace.  It discusses factors including: being able to create their own work environment, carve out time for family, break through their income limits, and help those in their communities.

What do I like about it?

  • Lists several factors and then elaborates on them.
  • Recent (February 2012).
  • References multiple resources (accuracy).
  • User friendly.
  • Well organized.
  • Language and words are understandable.
  • Short, engaging read.

What do I dislike about it?

  • Only picture provided is just of a women in a business suit.
  • Limited reasons as to why there are more women entrepreneurs (there are more reasons but there are also the typical reasons like being the boss and pursuing passion).
  • Advertisements (distraction).

Where does this fit into the curriculum and how would I use it?

This fits in with module 18 of the Entrepreneurship 30 curriculum.  Learning objective 18.3 (pg 71) states: “To identify reasons why more women are becoming entrepreneurs than ever before.  To examine factors that have influenced the changing career patterns or paths of women and men.”  This blog more helps to achieve the first sentence in the learning objective as this is the main purpose of writing this particular blog.  This also does work toward the second one in a way because it does discusses why women want to be entrepreneurs which are factors that impact a person’s choice of career.

In the classroom, what I might first do is brainstorm ideas about why more women are becoming entrepreneurs today than ever before.  Then, I could get my students to read the article and discuss in groups what they discovered and if they might have any new ideas .  While doing this, the students will complete a worksheet that shows what the students discovered and maybe ask them to think of at least one or two reasons why more women are becoming entrepreneurs.  Once completed, I would get the class together to discuss these answers.

Because this is an optional module, I might only get a certain amount of students to work on this module and get groups to work on different ones so that we can cover a large amount of optional but important material at one time.

If I didn’t use this article inside the class, I believe it (and as well as the website) would be great to be made available for my students via a class blog or by email.

Evaluation of Entrepreneurweek.com

Overall, this site is very user friendly and all blogs posted are related to entrepreneurs.  If students were to get distracted by other blogs on this site, it is all about entrepreneurs anyways so it’s not exactly a bad thing for them to get distracted.  I didn’t go through all the blogs (which there are tons! So that might be an impossible task), but the ones that I did read were interesting reads and good resources (maybe for outside of the class though).

If I had to give this website a numerical value, I would give it a 9.5/10 and the actual resource (blog) a 7/10.