A Brief History of the Universe

David Christian does a fantastic Ted Talk giving a short synopsis of the history of everything. He goes from talking about the big bang all the way through human knowledge.

The first half of his presentation is fascinating. It reminds me a lot of a book I’ve recently started reading. Laurence Krauss’ A Universe from Nothing describes a lot of the phenomena that David Christian talks about in his Ted Talk.

Flipped Classrooms

Pros and Cons

The flipped classroom seems like a pretty good idea. If a kid had the choice of a homework assignment, I think 99% of them would choose to watch a video over doing standard homework. It also gives the teacher the opportunity to watch the students practice.

The linked article mentions a potential con thats rather unfortunate. If the idea of a flipped classroom becomes too popular, the idea could backfire. If every teacher were to run the classroom this way, students would go home and spend hours in front of a computer screen. That is something that parents likely wouldn’t be too happy with.

Finally some recognition for audiobooks!

I found a very interesting list of teacher submitted ways to use audiobooks in the classroom.

Audiobooks

I’ve been using audiobooks for years to do a lot of my reading. Some people may think that using audiobooks is a cop out but I think that they can effectively be used as a supplement to physical books. Since a lot of audiobooks are either read by the author or use some input from the author, the authors tone can come out much better than it could with a physical book.

They don’t even need a teacher anymore!

The Nuts & Bolts of 21st Century Teaching

It’s a really interesting idea to allow the students to guide their own learning. It’s a sure fire way to keep the kids interested in their learning. The major downside is that if the state, county, or school requires a specific curriculum, there’s no guarantee that the students will learn what is required.

The author also confirms what we assumed about Google Docs. It’s a fantastic tool to use for a group of students once you get past the first day of fooling around with it.

Overall this seems like a great idea. Though it does have the potential to flop

My Learning Standard

I’ve chosen to make my focus for this class on the Interrelationships in Earth/Space Systems Grade 6 Science VA SOL .

There are a lot of things that teachers can do for Grade 6 Science that  use different learning styles. The easiest way to do this is to combine learning styles for many activities. Science experiments can be done that benefit visual, auditory, and tactile learning by explaining the science experiments to the students while they do them hands-on and watch the results.

Digital Media: New Learners of the 21st Century

I found the excerpt on the Quest 2 Learn school very interesting. When they first started explaining the school I thought it was just some New-Age feel-goodery schools (Arrested Development reference, anyone?) But after they mentioned that the school follows the New York public school requirements I became curious to see just how affective this school really is.

After a little research I found a study published out of Florida State University (with assistance from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation so maybe a bit biased towards technology) found that students at Q2L show substantial systems thinking skills increases as well as modest time management and teamwork skills increases.

100 Awesome Links to Hundreds of Awesome Ideas

This blog has managed to compile a list of 100 smaller blogs created by teachers. Each of these blogs is full of great ideas to use in the classroom. Among the things I found are project ideas for all grade levels and subjects, homework ideas, and other creative things to do in the classroom. You could spend hours going through all of the blogs and ideas. I’ve spent some time looking through them and these are a few gems I’ve found.

Mrs. Yollis’ Classroom Blog- A recent entry showed how she helps her 2nd graders with multiplication. She has students take pictures of arrays in everyday life and annotate them with a picture editing program to show how rows x columns = product.

Mr. C’s Class Blog- A link to an online puzzle game called Samorost 1 is posted. The assignment for the students is to play the game and then write the story of the character.

Miss Tyler-Smith’s Grade Five Blog- Though the most recent post is a couple years old, her blog still shows a wide variety of history, art, and science projects done by her students.

These are just a few good ones that I found but all of them have some excellent tools for teaching.