An Easier Way to Get Plain Text

Our school is moving to more active use of Lexile scores for reading selections. The Lexile website has a nice analytic tool which allows you to upload text (after you create a user account) for analysis. The pain in this process is that A) you can only do it from the Lexile.com website, and B)Read More

Make a Website for your Flash Drive

The Problem If you've ever been in a situation where substitute teachers can log onto the computer but not do much with the Internet other than take attendance, it can make sub plans hard to pull together, especially if you want students to see a video. This is doubly true if you're not in 1:1Read More

Quickly Make Bulletin Board Words

Marc Seigel is always doing great things in his classroom and he tweeted out a great picture of a bulletin board that now lives at the front of his room. My new bulletin board at the front of the #roomofawesome No more boring announcement board. Now positive messages are what the students will see everyRead More

More Scripts to Make Life Easier

It's been an intense week of teaching, church band practice, and Google Apps Scripting. I'm really focusing this year on using the computer to do what it does well so I can focus on doing my job better. In particular, I'm using the desktop to do repetitive, marginal jobs as efficiently as possible. This week,Read More

Down the Rabbit Hole with Alice

I read Randy Pausch's The Last Lecture when I was in college. In it, Randy talks about developing Alice and how it impacted his career and his views on teaching computer science to kids. At the time, I remembered thinking, "I should download and try it out." But, I never did. Fast forward seven years.Read More

Abstraction

The essence of abstraction consists in singling out one feature, which, in contrast to other properties, is considered to be particularly important. Sparks of Genius, p. 72 Looking past the obvious is hard to do, especially when you're up against a deadline. Our quick-to-consume culture has conditioned us to see the world in snippets...short burstsRead More

Prototypes and Constructing Models

Each year teaching chemistry, I made it a point to my students that everything they learn over the course of the year is based on observation and best guesses. Up until 2009, we hadn't actually seen a molecule or an atom...they're just too small. What we can see is how they behave and change whenRead More

Game Theory and Computational Thinking

Game Theory Games and learning go hand in hand. Children learn social interaction, communication, and even motor skills through playing. Remember, Piaget and early learning theorists broke learning down into formal and informal actions. Play is very much in the informal category, with school in the formal setting. Lately, the gamification movement has pushed toRead More