Standing Ovation for DC Public Schools

Tameka Petticolas – the subject of one of DC Public Schools’s Standing Ovation videos

It is quite obvious from looking at my blog stats that a lot of people on the internet are searching for inspirational videos for teachers.  During this time of year, when many teachers are returning to the classroom to begin a new school year, there is, perhaps, a desire to find some material that will help to motivate and invigorate these educators.

One source for inspirational teacher videos that I discovered recently is a YouTube Channel for DC Public Schools.  On this channel, there are several videos that spotlight Washington D.C. teachers who have won D.C.’s “Excellence in Teaching” Award.

Watching each of these teachers in their classrooms, and their obvious dedication to their students, reminds me of the reasons I went into Education – not for the glory of winning an award, but for the absolute delight exhibited whenever I help a child to reach his or her goal.

From what I can tell, every one of these featured teachers embody the principles of Universal Design for Learning, making them shining examples for teachers all over the world.

The video for one of the teachers, Eduardo Gamarra, is embedded below, or you can go to this link:  http://youtu.be/vy42aoC49LQ

Talk Typer

Talk Typer is a website that works best in the Google Chrome Browser.  Without installing any software, you can choose from several languages, then speak into your microphone, and Talk Typer will print the text of your speech.  You can then look at what it produces, make any corrections you would like, and then move it into the bottom portion of the page.  In this second level, you can e-mail it, tweet it, or even translate it seamlessly into another language.

This free tool could be so useful for ELL classrooms, foreign language classrooms, and even regular classrooms where students might use this as an aid or an extension.  For teachers who are looking to incorporate Universal Design for Learning into their classrooms, I think this resource is essential.

(Here is a link for speech to text options in OSX and Windows 7)

Tap Into the World of Comics

Tap Into the World of Comics is a Slideshare presentation by S. Hendy.  It not only gives examples of sites for creating comics, along with their links, but also offers 26 suggestions for ways to integrate comics with the curriculum.  Presented in the form of a comic, the slide show is visually interesting as well as a creative and valuable resource for educators.

Digital Differentiation

In her post, Digital Differentiation, Susan Oxnevad provides interactive graphics powered by Thinglink.  The “Flexible Learning Paths” graphic is the one with the most resources, providing links to examples of Digital Tools that could be used to help with addressing the needs of many different types of learners.  Almost as interesting as the message she is delivering is the way that she chose to display it.  Thinglink appears to be a powerful tool in itself.  In this age of Pinterest, appealing graphics that can also contain a lot of information are definitely the way to go.

Spelling City

I am not a huge fan of spelling tests, particularly when everyone in the class is responsible for the same words.  However, this site has some amazing tools that will allow you to customize lists for your students.  There are also fun games that they can play to practice those specialized lists.  The site is free, although you need to register.  There are some perks for purchasing a premium membership, but it can still be a valuable tool without all of the bells and whistles.

Stick Pick

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Stick Pick is an iPhone/iPad app with great potential as a teacher tool. The teacher can add one or more classes within the app. To each class, the teacher adds individual student names, determining the type and level of questioning to use for each student from the following categories: Bloom’s Taxonomy, Bloom’s Revised Taxonomy, or ESL. Once all students are entered, their sticks appear in a cup from which the teacher can randomly or purposefully choose names. As each student is chosen, a list of question stems from their particular assigned level appears on the screen. This is a wonderful way for teachers to customize impromptu questions based on ability.