Month: May 2016

Tech Tip Tuesday: Chatterpix Ideas

chatterpixby Kristie Burk

As we get toward the end of the year, educators are looking for apps to help engage students.  If you aren’t already using it, try looking at the free Chatterpix app for the iPad.

Chatterpix is a fairly simple concept.  You can take any picture or sketch, “draw” a mouth, and record your voice to make the picture “talk.”  It sounds hilarious (and it is), but it also has some great educational value.  You can use Chatterpix to have your students

  • upload a picture of an animal they’re studying and then have the animal recite interesting facts about itself.
  • take a picture of a book cover and have the book talk about what’s inside (as a book review).
  • make healthy food talk about its nutritional value.
  • take pictures of historical figures and have them give little mini-bios.

I even read about one teacher who had her students use Chatterpix to animate chemical molecules into delivering monologues. Want more ideas? Check out this Pinterest board of other ways to use Chatterpix.


Website Wednesday: Sites for Memorial Day

4780723487.pngby Kristie Burk

Why is Memorial Day so important? Why did it used to be called Decoration Day? How is it different from Veteran’s Day? What does it mean to our country?

If you’re going to be talking about Memorial Day with your students, here are some good resources to explore:

Channel One News – This website includes a two-day lesson plan that demonstrates the importance of Memorial Day through videos and slideshows, as well as links to pertinent writing such as the poem “In Flanders Fields” by John McCrae and the story of the role of poppies as the Flower of Remembrance.

Education World – There are five lesson plans about Memorial Day here, including additional resources on making a Memorial Day mini-book, learning about World Wars I and II, and creating a “Wall of Thanks” bulletin board.

The National Education Association — This site includes resources for students from kindergarten to 12th graders. There are oral history interviews, first person reenactments, videos, interactive games,  crafts, and more.

Edutopia – This site includes provides 7 insightful multimedia tools to explore Memorial Day and what it means.

PBS LearningMedia – Download this “All About the Holidays” iBook in iTunes from PBS.

Livebinders: Teaching Memorial Day – Check out this awesome curated collection of sites!

National Constitution Center – Share this website with your parents of Memorial Day events right here in Philadelphia.

Food for Thought Friday: Going Global with Special Education Students

by Kristie Burk

Have you heard of Carly Fleischmann?  She is a 21-year old woman who was diagnosed with Autism as a child and recently started her own online show called ““Speechless with Carly Fleischmann.”  Fleischmann is unable to speak and communicates via technology. She went viral with her first live guest – none other than actor Channing Tatum! You can watch her interview here. [Warning: The video contains content that is not appropriate to share with students.]

Carly is proving that even an inability to speak cannot squash her dreams of becoming a “talk” show host.  And, thanks to the help of technology, she gave a killer interview.

Here is another great article from THE Journal called “5 Ways Teachers Are Opening Up the World to Special Education Through Technology” with some inspirational stories.

Some great food for thought: How we can help all children realize their dreams?

Have a great weekend!



Sign up for a Free Summer Course!

by Kristie Burk

Are you interested in taking a college course this summer, but you want to be able to do it for free? If so, register today for these :

Classroom Strategies for Inquiry-Based Learning
University of Texas Austin
Starts June 1
Effort: 1 hour per week for 5 weeks

This course explores the inquiry-based learning instructional model and its uses in the classroom. You will have the opportunity to learn from videos of classroom teachers modeling lessons and access teacher commentary as they use inquiry-based strategies with their students. As a result, you will develop the skills and strategies needed to implement inquiry-based instruction in your own classroom.

Implementation and Evaluation of Educational Technology
Massachusetts Institute of Technology
Starts July 14
Effort: 4-5 hours per week for 7 weeks

This course provides a practical overview for selecting, integrating, implementing, and evaluating educational technology initiatives in formal educational settings, primarily in the US. It will include the perspectives of stakeholders that make such initiatives possible, and consider how to evaluate for efficacy. The audience for this course includes current and future teachers, entrepreneurs, developers, practitioners, and leaders in educational technology.
What Now? Emerging Technologies and Their Practical Application in K12 Teaching and Learning
University of Texas Arlington
Starts July 11
Effort: 2-3 hours per week for 4 weeks

Want to learn how to integrate technology into your classroom? This education and teacher training course takes us to the intersection of research and actual classroom practice. It brings together thought leaders, campus leaders, and practicing teachers to provide a practical framework for integrating technology into K12 teaching and learning.

Tech Tip Tuesday: A Quicker Way to Share Google Docs (6)

A few weeks ago, Google added a new feature to Google Drive that allows you to share a document without having to open it.

First, click on the document you want to share in your Google Drive.  Then, click on the link icon at the top of the screen.

A window will pop up with the sharing link that you can copy to your clipboard.  If you need to change the sharing settings, just click on the sharing settings link in the window.

Professor’s list of failures goes viral

by Kristie Burk

In case you missed it blowing up the Internet last week, Princeton University Professor Johannes Haushofer did something that was pretty amazing.  He posted his list of failures for all the world to see and tweeted it with #cvoffailures.The story was quickly picked up by The Washington Post, CBS, NPR, and even Seventeen Magazine.

Many professors and other professionals post their curriculum vitae, which is usually a list of their best accomplishments.  However, this professor also posted his “CV of Failures,” which includes things like “Degree Programs I Did Not Get Into,” “Awards and Scholarships I Did Not Get” and, my favorite, the “Meta-Failure.” (Read that last one for yourself.)

“Most of what I try fails, but these failures are often invisible, while the successes are visible. I have noticed that this sometimes gives others the impression that most things work out for me. As a result, they are more likely to attribute their own failures to themselves, rather than the fact that the world is stochastic, applications are crapshoots, and selection committees and referees have bad days. This CV of Failures is an attempt to balance the record and provide some perspective.” – Professor Johannes Haushofer

Professor Haushofer credits Melanie I. Stefan at the University of Edinburgh, for the idea. She wrote “A CV of Failures” several years ago for Nature.

I think this is an awesome example to share with students to show them that success includes many, many (many?) failures along the way and that it’s okay to fail.

And in the spirit of  #cvoffailures I will share that I once applied to be a part of the CIA and didn’t get past the second round.

How about you?