Archive for the ‘Connecticut’ Category

Starting Over

Friday, May 17th, 2013

This year I started a new job in a new district.  I’d worked in my old district in several capacities for nearly 20 years.  I knew the staff, they knew me. They knew I was always eager to share a new technology tool, knew I was some what of a Discovery Fanatic, knew that if they needed a website for a specific skill, I could find it.  With the new job I barely knew the staff in my own building, they knew very little about me.  I did not want to start off on the wrong foot and did not want my enthusiasm for technology (and Discovery) to alienate people. I was reluctant to send out links and suggest web tools the way I normally would.

The year is almost over now and I’ve gotten to know the staff in my building and they me. The science teachers are now aware of the districts Discovery Science subscription and a couple social studies teachers are trying out the new Techbook. Best of all, one of the science teachers is joining me at the New England Day of Discovery tomorrow! I’m sure she’ll leave the event with a better understanding of what Discovery and the DEN have to offer and will help me increase the use of Discovery our building. Maybe we’ll have a new DEN Star soon!  Its been a challenge, teaching a new class in a new district and I’ve probably learned  more than I taught.  This year is not quite over – but I’m looking forward to next year already.

Citizen Scientist

Tuesday, April 10th, 2012

Years ago my daughter asked us to connect our kid’s computer to the SETI network to help search for extraterrestrial life.  For a year or two their old desktop would work for SETI whenever it wasn’t busy in a role-playing fantasy chat room or schoolwork. That was our first venture into the world of “Citizen Scientists”.  Currently I’ve been helping to research light-pollution by reporting an estimate of the number of stars visible in my backyard. Volunteers around the world gather data during February, March and April. Join in this week and report your starlight.  The process is very simple, especially if you have a smartphone or other mobile device, navigate to Globeatnight, set your device to night view and go outside at least one hour after sunset.  Look for Orion and compare the number of stars you see in that area to the charts on the site. Select the closest example and submit. You can even get your students involved and compare notes in class; which students live in the darkest areas of your town? For more information on light pollution, including lesson plans and projects, you can check out the companion site .  There are many more Citizen Scientist opportunities but it can be difficult to sort through them and find the best project to involve your students. SciStarter is a place where scientists can share their projects. This site allows you to filter by project type (i.e. at home, at school, exclusively on-line) or topic (i.e. Astronomy, Birds, Climate).   You can read about various projects but you must register with SciStarter in order to join the project. This website can connect almost any classroom to a Citizen Scientist project, join one today!

QR Treasure Hunt

Tuesday, October 4th, 2011

QR codes have been popping up all over schools lately but did you know they don’t need to be limited to website links? As a matter of fact, you don’t even need Internet access! Using the QR Treasure Hunt site ( you can create codes for a series of questions and answers that automatically generate as text on your QR code reader. Most QR code generators allow you to create encoded text, Classtools allows you to keep questions and answers together, create multiple codes at the same time and view them on the same page.
Hide the codes around your classroom or the school, divide your students into groups (each with a mobile phone or iPod touch – with cameras). The students decode the questions and write down their answers. the questions could be review, synthesis or requiring additional research. Students can even create their own hunts for their classmates to follow. For an excellent example of a Treasure Hunt used in conjunction with an investigative history project, check out ActiveHistory (