Archive for October, 2010

Top 10 gifted education blogs

Oct. 29th 2010

The need for gifted teachers is everywhere – West Virginia, Utah, Tennessee, South Dakota – all over the U.S and other countries as well. Read on to find some of the best gifted education blogs out there.

1. High Ability

The Ohio Association of Gifted Children manages this blog, which offers ideas and information for teachers and guardians of gifted and high ability children. There are also sections that discuss advocacy for gifted children, testing, and social networking. Recent posts discuss current events, possible curriculum revisions, pedagogy and grading.

2. Ingeniosus

Ingeniosus, in Oregon is a company that offers consulting, seminars, and more for educators and organizations serving gifted students. This blog shares some of that expertise. Posts include discussions about best practices, social networking, professional development, and more. There are also links to numerous resources and tools, according to type and subject. This is a great resource-rich blog!

3. Teach a Gifted Kid

This teacher blog includes thoughtful discussions about gifted education and the needs of gifted children. Some notable recent posts include If We Identify Gifted, We Must Support Them, When Was the Last Time You Thought About Your Educational Philosophy?, and Notes fromt he TAGT Conference ’09.

4. Gifted Exchange

This blog shares information about gifted education and current events, and aims to foster discussion that changes “American education for the better.” Discussions at times share opinion, pose questions, and offer ideas for educational practice. There are also links to useful resources.

5. Gifted Parenting Support

The author of this blog is a gifted-education consultant. Posts offer in-depth discussions about gifted education and advocacy, and how best to meet the needs of gifted children. Some notable recent posts include Thinking About Thinking, To Group or Not to Group…That is No Longer the Question!, and Returning Creativity and Innovation to America’s Classrooms.

6. The Gifted Kids Network

There are lots of great resources on this site — including useful links, classes, tools for students and teachers, and more. There are also ideas for activities, links to lesson plans, and discussions about current events. Here’s another great resource-rich blog!

7. Prufrock’s Gifted Child Information Blog

This useful blog combines thoughtful discussions about gifted education with links to relevant news articles, teachers tools, and other resources. There are some great games, activities, and lessons for specific subjects, as well as general tools and resources for the gifted student or teachers in the gifted classroom.

8. Irish Gifted Education Blog

Though this blog is based in Ireland — and focuses a lot of discussion on the Irish education system — there is still a lot of great information here for all parents and teachers of gifted children, no matter where they live. Two mothers of gifted children write this blog. Some recent posts include discussions about parental roles, the outcomes of gifted children when they become adults, creativity, and using social media.

9. A Gifted Journey

Kathee Jones, a Colorado mother of three gifted children, shares her experiences and thoughts about gifted education. Some notable recent posts include Where There’s Smoke… and Apoxyomenos and the Lesson of Biomineralization.

10. Gifted Phoenix’s Blog

Gifted Phoenix is consultant based in the United Kingdom. “This blog is based on the following three principles: Gifted and talented education is a global issue, gifted and talented educators can learn much from other countries, and other countries can learn from the UK’s experience in gifted and talented education.” Posts often analyze educational issues according to country, and discuss the ways that they are related internationally.

Posted by maria magher | in Education | 5 Comments »

College admissions tips

Oct. 11th 2010

It’s that time of year again. Colleges across the country will soon begin accepting applications (and some may have already opened up early acceptance). That means that students hoping to start a degree program next fall should be preparing their applications now.

This week, First in Education will share tips on how to navigate the college admissions process, from interviews to application essays to letters of recommendation. But first, we will share our tips for how to best to approach the overall process:

1. Do your research. Don’t pick a college because it has a good sports team, or because it “seems” like a good school, or because someone you know is going there. Think about what you are interested in studying, and look for colleges that have a good program in that subject area. If you are certain about what you want to study, you can even research the professors who will teach those courses to see if their research interests match up with what you want to do. Decide whether you would like to attend a large college, or one that allows for more individual focus.

2. Create your list of colleges. Rank these according to priority so that you can also prioritize completion of your applications. Having a ranked lists of colleges to which you will apply allows you to create a timeline for the application process, as well as a plan of attack. Make a list of important deadlines, as well as required documentation, so that you can organize your activities and stay on target. Applying to even one college can sometimes be overwhelming when confronted with all the required information and the deadlines; if you are applying to several colleges, it can make the process even more stressful and confusing. Rank and prioritize to get organized and streamline the process.

3. Attend college fairs and open houses. Whether you’re talking to a rep at a fair, or you get a chance to meet with administrators in person at an open house, you’ll get the benefit of learning about the college first hand and having specific questions answered. This can give you a sense of what to expect and help you understand if this is the right school for you.

4. Visit the campus. This is one of the best ways to learn about the college you are considering. Meet with admissions representatives, professors and even fellow students. Ask a lot of questions! You are there to get information, and the more you know, the better informed you will be when making a decision and the more prepared you will be in your application. Take the time to interview, as well. A good interview can help set you apart and give you an edge in the admissions process. Even if the interview is not required, or is not allowed, talking to an admissions rep will show that you have demonstrated interest in the school, setting you apart for your dedication.

5. Send a thank you note. Once you have visited, send a personal note to each of the representatives you spoke with thanking them for their time. This gesture will show that you are sincere in your efforts towards the school and that you appreciate the time these people took to meet with you.

6. Register for and take the SAT or ACT. Some colleges will allow you to take either test, but some have specific requirements about which test you must take and when. Pay attention to deadlines. Some colleges will require that you take the test by a certain date, while others will require that your actual scores are received by a certain date. Plan ahead so that you have enough time to prepare for the test, take it, and have your scores reported on time.

7. Start your application early. There are deadlines for each piece of information that must be received, including your transcript, test scores, and letters of recommendation. Request this information early in case there are delays. Another good reason to start early is that some colleges have early acceptance or rolling acceptance — meaning that you may have better odds of being accepted if you are considered early.

8. Read directions carefully and follow them. Do not allow your application to be rejected or delayed because you did not submit required information, forgot to sign it, or did not meet submission guidelines (such as writing out the application instead of typing it). Make sure that you thoroughly read the directions, and then follow them. Don’t allow technicalities to derail your application. Meet deadlines. Make sure that all materials are submitted at the time they are required. You should also monitor those aspects of your application that must be submitted by other parties, such as your transcripts and letters of recommendation. Make sure you submit your request with enough time to grant it, and then follow up. You are the person who will ultimately be held responsible if the information isn’t received.

9. Admissions essay. We will provide specific tips for writing the best essay that you can later in the week, but as a general rule of thumb, be sure to write a unique essay for each application that you submit. Your essay should reflect how your experiences or goals fit specifically with the college to which you are applying. Don’t send a generic essay to each college.

10. Letters of recommendation. Again, we will provide specific tips later in the week. Some general tips to keep in mind include asking for letters early. Many professors will be asked by multiple students for letters of recommendation, and deadlines will all be around the same time. Make sure the person you ask has enough time to thoughtfully complete your recommendation and to submit it on time. When considering who to ask for a recommendation, talk to professors, counselors, or coaches who you have known for a long time or you have worked with closely. The person should be able to speak of your experiences and abilities with confidence.

Posted by maria magher | in Admissions, Education | No Comments »

Top 25 world languages blogs

Oct. 11th 2010

1. Vamonos!

Lisa Stevens, a primary language educator and consultant, offers her thoughts on teaching and learning primary languages. There are many thoughtful discussions on best practices and connecting with students. She shares some of her personal experiences, as well, and offers some suggestions and resources.

2. Teaching and Learning Spanish

This resource-rich blog includes tools, videos, publications and other relevant information for those who are either teaching or learning Spanish. Each post includes relevant links and information. There are also lists of resources on the Web. This is a great site for anyone involved in Spanish education!

3. Foreign Language Fun

French and Spanish are the focus of this blog, but the activities could easily be modified to fit your classroom needs. There are numerous suggestions for games, crafts, activities, and study aides that you can use in the class. There are also links to Web resources for apps, videos, puppets, and more.

4. Spanglish Baby

In addition to all the great posts you’ll find here with commentary and ideas for language learning, there are also categories that include Must Reads, The Culture of Food, Daily Learning, Your Story, Ask an Expert, and more. Still can’t find the information you need or the inspiration you’re looking for? The site even offers user forums.

5. Babelhut

French, Spanish and Japanese are just some of the languages covered on this resource-rich blog. Posts include tips, highlights on particular language lessons, and more. There are links to resources in every posts, and some even include videos and other supporting materials. There is a lot here to help those learning or teaching a foreign language.

6. Marginalia

A high-school Latin teacher writes this blog, which include “notes, observances, and commentary.” He shares his personal experiences and trials in the classroom, noting what went well and resources that have proven useful along the way.

7. Sans Problemes!

This is a classroom blog that is presented entirely in French, very helpful for practicing your language skills! There are many useful assignments that can be used in your own classroom, or can be modified for another language. Links and resources are included.

8. Souffler – A breath of fresh air

Here’s another blog that focuses on French — though you’ll find that it’s easier to read in English:) The focus is on how you can use music to teach French in the classroom, and there are suggestions for activities and online resources to help you do it.

9. The Languages Resources Blog

This UK blog is written by a teacher of French and Spanish. The focus is on Information and Communication Technologies (ICT) and Modern Foreign Languages (MFL).

10. Lgb06’s Blog

The person behind this blog is a Spanish teacher, and the blog serves as a forum for sharing classroom experiences and tips, as well as offering thoughtful commentary about teaching practices. Posts cover technology in the classroom, as well as more specific lessons such as gender in language.

11. 123 Teach Me

There are a lot of great resources here for learning Spanish — which can also be used in the Spanish classroom. In addition to the free lessons, there are also games, level tests, a Spanish-English dictionary, and a Spanish text translator. The many links and resources also include a search for Spanish schools or programs, online tutors, a word of the day, and more.

12. Languages and Learning

This blog is written by the Head of Spanish at Grosvenor Grammar School. There is much thoughtful discussion here about best teaching practices. Some notable and interesting recent posts include Teaching Literature, Learning from Others, and Speed Dating in the MFL Classroom.

13. Los Bloguitos

This Spanish blog is written entirely in Spanish — perfect for new learners who want to push themselves. It includes riddles, stories, poetry, drawings, and more. There is a lot of great material here that would be especially useful in a Spanish classroom — especially for young learners.

14. Wanna Jugar with Migo?

This fun blog promises “adventures in Spanish teaching ideas, links and giveaways.” And it offers just that. There are a lot of great ideas here, and the author shares some personal experiences with them.

15. ICT for Language Teachers

Teachers who are interested in ICT can follow this blog for updates and new developments in the use of ICT in the language classroom. There is also information about conferences and other professional development opportunities.

16. Langwitches Blog

Silvia Tolisano, a Technology Integration Facilitator and 21st Century Learning Specialist, writes this thorough and thoughtful blog with her ideas and projects. The blog also includes a podcast and links to relevant articles and videos. Each posts includes a number of useful and interesting links.

17. More Spanish

This blog offers “lesson plans and technology for the classroom.” There are reviews of useful products and tools, as well as anecdotes about how certain lessons or activities have fared in the author’s classroom. There is a lot of great information here that is sure to help any language teacher find new inspiration or figure out how to improve in the classroom.

18. Bilingual Fun

Maestra Jen is a Spanish teacher who also teaches Spanish to her own children. Her blog is full of great ideas for the classroom, as well as links to other useful resources, such as videos, Web sites, and more. Readers are sure to find ideas here for how to make learning languages fun!

19. Montessori Spanish

Gigi is a mother to three children and and a full-time online college professor. Her blog shares her experiences from teaching Spanish using Montessori training, and now teaching her own children through homeschooling. She shares lesson plans, activities, and other inspiration.

20. My Languages

This UK blog is written by IC Jones is a Head of Modern Languages and has training in teaching French, Spanish and German. There are thoughtful discussions here about pedagogy and developments in the teaching of modern languages.

21. Lingualicious

This blog for Belle Vue Girls School offers fun games, activities and lessons that can be used for your own classroom or home practice. There are some posts that are targeted specifically to students in the BVGS class, but there is more than enough here for your own personal use.

22. Maternelle to Moliere

French is the focus of this blog, and the author shares personal experiences, reflections, and — of course — tips and ideas to use in the classroom. The author even shares some primary materials, such as slideshow lessons.

23. All Saints Languages Blog

Here’s another classroom blog that includes lots of great lessons and activities that you can easily co-opt for your own use. French is the focus, but it would be easy enough to adapt the activities to any language classroom.

24. Spanish: Just Another TCPS Site

Elementary and middle-school Spanish are the focus of this blog, and posts share the experiences of the author’s classrooms. It’s another blog with great ideas for your own use!

25. French Teacher

Here’s another blog written entirely in French. The blog author offers up very thoughtful posts about the state of education and French education, in particular. Films and popular culture are also part of the discussion.

Posted by maria magher | in Education | 3 Comments »

Top 15 android apps for science lovers

Oct. 4th 2010

1. Elements 2.0

This app puts the periodic table right at your fingertips. You can also look up the melting point, appearance, atomic radius, and other characteristics of the elements. This is a handy guide or study tool.

2. Handy Calc

Turn your phone into a sophisticated calculator with this app. It has advanced and scientific calculations, and there is an intuitive feature built into the app to help predict what you are looking for and provide it for you.

3. Science Pal

This free application offers useful scientific terms and information, including the Periodic Table, constants, polyatomic ions, the solar system, and nuclides.

4. Deluxe Moon

This handy app includes a widget that shows you the phases of the moon, as well as animated zodiac circles. Other features include a browsable moon calendar, automatic GPS locations, and moonrise time. You can also explore moon astronomy and astrology. Only $4.77.

5. Taber’s Medical Dictionary

Here is a comprehensive app and reference tool that includes over 60,000 entries, 1,000 illustrations, and 30,000 audio pronunciations. The app allows you to bookmark content and link to related entries. This authoritative tool doesn’t come cheap: It costs $49.95 to download the app.

6. AgileSciTools

This advanced calculator is specifically targeted to those studying the biological sciences. There are functions to calculate molarity dilutions, cell dilutions, MOI calculations, and primer resuspension volumes. And if you can understand what any of those are, then this is probably the calculator for you.

7. Science Facts

Learn interesting and remarkable facts about science with this app. You can use the information to learn something new, to refresh your knowledge, or to impress your friends.

8. iSoundSmart: Science

Learn a fun new fact about science for each day of the year. With so much information, you can easily use this app far beyond the year, and rediscover the information the following year.

9. New Scientist

Read the publication New Scientist right on your phone. The app helps you stay up-to-date on all the latest stories from this respected news weekly.

10. Science Quiz

You and your friends can quiz each other’s science knowledge with this fun and handy app. See how you stack up against your friends, or use it to quiz yourself for a refresher.

11. The Science of Mind

This app offers “a complete course of lessons in the science of mind and spirit.” This application is free.

12. 1001 Science Trivia Lite

The free “Lite” version only has just over 300 trivia questions, not 1001, but there are still enough questions here to test out your knowledge and help you learn more about science. The full version is .75 pounds.

13. Metal Detector

Find metals of most types to use in your experiments by turning your phone into a metal detector. The app will detect most metals, but it can’t pick up on aluminum. Who knows, you may get lucky and strike gold on your search.

14. Ghost Radar

Hearing things that go bump in the night? This app can turn your phone into a ghost detector, so you know for sure whether those strange noises are celestial or just a couple of alley cats. The app picks up on nearby energies NOT EMF or gravity. Some may argue that this is more parapsychology than science, but even paranormal investigations fall under the larger umbrella of science. Even still, the app is for entertainment purposes only.

15. Space, Android, Science, Planet

This fun app helps decorate your phone with a space theme. Icons include aliens, space shuttles, satellites, stars, planets, and the sun. There are also fun menu icons and a space background.

Posted by maria magher | in Education, Technology | No Comments »