Sunday, October 17, 2010

Reading related tips

Some questions to ask yourself:

Do you have several different types of reading materials, be it a newspaper, magazines, brochures, different genres of books at home?

How many of you actually read in the presence of your child as his/her role model?

Do you read different genres or just a certain type of book, again given the fact that you are a role model for your child?

How many of you actually enjoy reading aloud to your child even though your child is a little older?

Do you impose certain reading levels and books onto your child or do you let him/her pick whatever he/she wants to read (as long as it is appropriate)?

Do you make reading into a family habit/fun activity?

Does your child have a set of headphones that he/she can plug into a system for listening to a story or a textbook or any reading material?

Does your child visit the library and/or a book store on a regular basis just to browse if not anything else?

Do you talk to your child about what he/she is reading and discuss it every once in a while without being intrusive?

Do you browse through current children's authors to learn more about them?

Do you have a great deal of writing materials at home - pencils, paper, colors, computer or a keypad to type so that your child can write or draw about his/her reading?

Do you fondly talk about your childhood reading stories to your son/daughter?  Why you liked or didn't like reading and why you thought it was important without making it into a command?

Do you include high-level vocabulary words in the course of regular conversation?

Do you discourage your child from picking up a picture book instead of a chapter book? Think again. Picture books have a great deal to think about, great vocabulary as well as illustrations that help a child really think.

Happy reading!

The Rights of a Reader

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Tips for Writing

The following article contains some really good tips for helping your child with writing.

NCTE Tips for Writing

In the classroom, several of the reluctant as well as ready writers really enjoy writing on the class blog. It may be a good idea to create a blog for your child and have him/her write on there anytime he/she feels like writing.

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Monday, September 20, 2010

Using Google to search on the internet

Got this from the article:

The following is the article:

I really hope you enjoy and can use this article from my“The Googal In Google Series” This posting will focus on the art of searching using the basic Google search engine. I have tried to include the obvious and the not so obvious techniques. As you look through, I am almost certain you will learn something new. Please share this article with other educators and students. Just understanding these ten concepts will assist anyone into being a more productive researcher. As always, please feel free to follow me on twitter at (@mjgormans), I will do the same. Let’s begin our search. – Mike

The Basic Search – The Google Basic Search is usually the first place most people begin a search and it is also the last place they end. Many times students just type in some words and get lost in millions of results trying to find an answer. Impressed by the number of hits they get, many times they forget that the art of searching is getting fewer results with relevant answers. I would like to share with you ten important concepts to think about in getting optimal searches from the Google basic search engine. Print this off and hand out to others. It really is the very basic in using Google. Please note that the last item includes over twenty basic commands that will really help you and your students be more productive.

Ten Items All Should Know When Using Google Basic Search…. Far From Basic… The Googal In Google!

1. The word And is assumed… Example: red and white and blue is a search for red white blue

2. Compound Words, Phrases, and Names; use a String (in other words put the words in quotes “ “… Example: “George Washington”“Fort Wayne” “to be or not to be” “United States of America” “Star Wars” “Diary of a Wimpy Kid”

3. Want to eliminate a word: use the Not Command which is a – (minus sign)… Example: Looking for the country Turkey, but not the bird… Turkey -bird

4. Capital Letters and articles of speech are ignored unless put in quotes… Example: United States of America is treated as united states america but “United States of America” is treated as United States of America

5. The root form of a word looks for all forms of the word… Example: walk = walks, walker, walking, walked

6. Use a tilde (~) to search with other word of similar meaning… Example ~happy searches for happy and synonyms of happy ~large planet(large could be: big, vast, giant, enormous

7. Putting a plus (+) in front of word to keep it exactly as is. This dismisses adding other options to root word… Example: +walk (only walk: does not inlude walker, walks, walking, walked)

8. Wild Card (*) allows for missing words in a phrase (not missing letters). Forget a word in a title or quote, try a wildcard… Example: “Obama voted on the * on the * bill” Note this is mixed with the string concept.

9. The word OR (in caps) allows two ideas to be reported together… Example: “Indianapolis Colts” 2010 OR 2009

10. Get to know the Google Command Lines. These are useful for quick references in a Basic Google Search. Give them a try and experience the power in narrowing down a search. The list of over twenty starts with some real power suggestions and ends with some everyday useful ideas.

INTITLE – To narrow search by finding web sites that have key word in title you may type the words intitle: followed by word you are searching for (Note no spaces) … Example: intitle:ipad … Return example

INTEXT – Same as above only it narrows search to only keywords found in text (Note no spaces)… Example intext:ipad … Return example

LINK – This command determines who is linking to a site. Great command to determine credibility and popularity of a site. To use the link command there are no spaces. Type word link: and follow with complete URL (Note if you remember to put no space after the colon you will get true account of active hyper-links, if you use a space you will get hyper-links and text mentions which will be a higher number)…Example … Return example

SITE – Found a great site, but you want to then just search in that site. Perhaps you just want to search government sites or you want to see the Race For The Moon in perspective from Russia. Type in site and with no space follow with web address, domain, or country code. After the address, domain, or country code put in a space and the key word. Perhaps you want iPad information only from apple… Site Example: ipad … Return example … Domain Example: site:gov earthquake … Return Example … County Example: site:ru “moon race“… Return Example

FILETYPE – Looking for a great power point, pdf, or word doc. Perhaps a spreadsheet would be helpful. You may need to look up some suffixes to use. Type in the word filetype: and with no spaces put the suffix (in my example I used xls for excel), put in space and follow with a search term. I have a list for suffixes linked here… Example: filetype:xls h1n1 … Return example

RELATED – Ever find a great site and you want to see if there is more like it. Just type in the word related: and follow with no space and then the web address. You will find an assortment of related pages… Example: … Return Example

INFO – Want more information about a site that you like. Interested in cached versions, links to the site, links from the site, other web pages that are simular to, and other places the web site is mentioned on the internet. A great tool for evaluating a web site. All you do is type in the word info: and then follow it with no space, and the web address of the site you wish to know more about… Example: … Return Example

CALCULATOR – To use Google’s built-in calculator function, simply enter the calculation you’d like done into the search box. It even follows the order of operation… Example: 10+9*10 (It multiplies first the adds) … Return Example

SYNONYMS – As mentioned earlier, if you want to search for your search term and also for its synonyms, place the tilde sign (~) immediately in front of your search term (no space)… Example: ~city … Return example

DEFINITIONS – To see a definition for a word or phrase, type the word “define” then a space, then the word(s) you want defined. To see a list of different definitions from various online sources, you can type “define:” followed by a word or phrase. Note that the results will define the entire phrase… Example: define: computer … Return example

SPELL – Google’s spell checking software automatically checks whether your submission uses the most common spelling of a given word. If Google thinks you’re likely to generate better results with an alternative spelling, it will ask “Did you mean: (more common spelling)?”. Click the suggested spelling to launch a Google search for that term. Example: pikture … Return example

MEASUREMENT – To use measurement converter put in the measurement you want to convert followed by word to, and then enter desired unit… Example: convert 5280 ft to mi … Return example.

WEATHER – To see the weather for many U.S. and worldwide cities, type “weather” followed by the city and state, U.S. zip code, or city and country… Example: weather “fort wayne” in or weather 46814 or weather “fort wayne” usa … Return Example

STOCKS – To see current market data for a given company or fund, type the ticker symbol into the search box. On the results page, you can click the link to see more data from Google Finance… Example: aapl … Return Example

TIME – To see the time in many cities around the world, type in “time” and the name of the city(Note also sunrise/sunset)… Example: time “fort wayne” … Return Example

SPORTS – To see scores and schedules for sports teams type the team name or league name into the search box. This is enabled for many leagues including the National Basketball Association, National Football League, National Hockey League, and Major League Baseball… Example: national basketball association … Return Example

LOCAL – When looking for a store, restaurant, or other local business search for the category of business and the location and Google will return results right on that page, along with a map, reviews, and contact information. You may have to scroll down to find the local listings in the search returns… Example walmart… Return example

MOVIES – To find reviews and showtimes for movies playing near you, type “movies” or the name of a current film into the Google search box. If you’ve already saved your location on previous search, the top search result will display showtimes for nearby theaters for the movie you’ve chosen, if not enter new location… Example: movie: “diary of a wimpy kid” … Return example

DISEASE – To see information about a common disease or symptom, enter it into the search box and Google will return the beginning of an expert summary. Click through and read the entire article in Google Health… Example: measles… Return example

FLIGHTS – To see flight status for arriving and departing U.S. flights, type in the name of the airline (abrv work) and the flight number into the search box. You can also see delays at a specific airport by typing in the name of the city or three-letter airport code followed by the word “airport”… Example: austin airport … Return example

PATENTS To get information on patents – enter the word “patent” followed by the patent number into the Google search box and hit the Enter key or click the Google Search button… Example: patent 1773980 … Return example

AREA CODE LOCATION – to see the geographical location for any U.S. telephone area code, just type the three-digit area code into the Google search box and hit the Enter key or click the Google Search button… Example 260… Return example

In the future I will provide information you may want to know more about when using the advanced search. Please share with others. You are always welcome to follow me on twitter at (@mjgormans) and visit my 21centuryedtech Blog. Thanks for taking a moment to learn more about “The Googal in Google”! Have a great week. – Mike

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Research related websites

1. A user friendly place to being a research project. The Library of Congress

2. Google Scholar : A website to search through online articles and research.

3. The PAUSD Library resources guide: This contains several links including databases and books.

Saturday, April 3, 2010

Sunday, March 7, 2010

Free links for audio/video/websites/blogging

The following links are spreadsheets in Google docs with a list under each. Each of the resources listed is free. You may want to use the one that suits you best

1. Student Blogs

2. Video and Animation

3. Audio

4. Websites

Saturday, March 6, 2010

Reading and Writing related links

The following sites have information related to connecting the read-write process.

1. ReadWriteThink: This is a government site; it has a ton of free materials like graphic organizers, story map, note taking, parent ed resources, and more. ReadWriteThink

2. Scholastic: Check out the free graphic organizers. Scholastic

3. Google Lit trips: Using Google Earth, students discover where in the world the greatest road trip stories of all time took place Google Lit Trips

4. PicLits: Inspired Picture Writing; great for ESL students. PicLits

5. Creating Bibliographies

6. A great place for students to use images in a presentation about a book, a project, a concept. It does require you to register though. Photopeach/

7. A list of graphic organizers for various uses. Graphic organizers

8. The Visual Thesaurus

9. A guide to grammar and punctuation. Grammar and Punctuation

10. Tech and Learning article containing several online writing tool websites. Writing online

Friday, March 5, 2010


1. The Library of Congress has maps from historical to modern maps. Maps

Sunday, February 28, 2010

Online Writing related links

1. A great place for students to use images in a presentation about a book, a project, a concept. It does require you to register though.

2. A list of graphic organizers for various uses. Graphic organizers

3. The Visual Thesaurus

4. A guide to grammar and punctuation. Grammar and Punctuation

5. Tech and Learning article containing several online writing tool websites. Writing online

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Oceans Links

1. Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute: Research and activities related to ocean life. MBARI

2. Monterey Bay Aquarium: Information and activities.  

3. Oceans Jigsaw Puzzles.

4. PBS Ocean Adventures.

5. National Geographic: Pictures, videos and activities

6. NASA Goddard Space Flight Center:

7. NOAA Kids and Parents resources:

8. Google Earth Ocean: Download Google Earth Ocean and explore the oceans. Google Earth Ocean

9. Sea World. Has information and activities on marine animals. Sea World

10. Oceans. Anything and everything related to the ocean and conservation. Oceans

11. NOAA Fish information

12. The Ocean - questions

13. The Smithsonian Ocean Portal 

Ted Talks on Oceans:

1. Sylvia Earle's award winning talk on the Oceans. Sylvia's Ted Talk
2. David Gallo David Gallo Talk
3. Stephen Palumbi: Following the mercury trail
4. Mike Degruy: Hooked by an octopus
5. Brian Skerry reveals ocean's glory -- and horror
6.Related to the ocean and conservation. Oceans

Friday, February 12, 2010

Cool Stuff

1. Animations: Download animations that you can use either in Notebook or in any document. Gif Animations

Friday, February 5, 2010

Free Translation Tools

1. Google Translation tool: It will translate text, a website; check the website for more tools and details. Google Translator

2. The Mac Dashboard. FnF12 will open up the dashboard on a Mac. The default opens up the default widgets. You can add more by clicking on the + sign on the bottom left. The translation widget is not there by default. You will explicitly have to add it. Once added, it stays on the dashboard. You can translate text from one language to another using this widget.

Saturday, January 16, 2010

Science Links

1. Foss Web

2. Science and Literacy

3. Science Notebooks
On this website, the following pages are useful:
a. Go to Student Work Search Submissions---Excellent notebook examples
b. Go to Classroom Tools, introductory Lessons, Assessments, Templates
c. Go to Teacher Resources, Templates
d. Go to Frequently Asked Questions, Elementary

4. Google Science learning: This website has links to Google Earth, Google MARS, Google Flu trends, Google Earth Oceans and Google Sky. Google Tools and Science Education

5. Learning Science Org: Links to Science tools, online stopwatch, Links to several national Science websites: Learning Science

6. Fifth grade science related links are at:

Friday, January 8, 2010

Tech Tuesday Jan. 5th; Delicious, dashboard, wiki, speech on Word

*Website that bookmarks bookmarks on the web.
* You can use your Yahoo! Login to login to delicious. Alternatively, you can create a login.
*You can make your bookmarks public.
* You can search for other public bookmarks for example if you want to search for a SmartBoard lesson, you could search here instead of Google.
* You can add Delicious to your browser toolbar

Wiki Ideas
* Wiki Walkthrough
*Shows ways that you can use wiki for different purposes.
* It gives you different free wiki websites that you can setup wikis

Instructional Technology, Wichita Public Schools
*Smartboard Lessons can be downloaded

You can use photobooth to capture a photo of something you want to show to your class (if you don't have a document camera). I took pictures of these rock salt crystals in the evaporating dish.
Bring up the photo in Finder.
Open the file (it will open the jpeg file in Preview).
Use the standard Notebook capture feature to capture the image into Notebook.
You can then use this in a lesson. So for instance we compared two different evaporating dishes of rock salt crystals - their similarities and differences, etc.

Mac Dashboard
*Push fn plus F12 or Click on icon on toolbar
* You can add/subtract as many widgets as available.
* You can get more widgets by clicking on the more widgets button or going to Dashboard Widgets downloads
*To disable widget, click the x symbol on the widget.
*The translation tool is a really useful widget. This can be used to translate from several languages to English and vice-versa. Very useful for ELD students to use.
* The concept is similar to the iPhone apps.

Microsoft Word
1. To get computer to speak something written:
*Type Sentence
*Highlight Sentence
Note: To use with ESL student who cannot read, cut and paste translation from dashboard into word and computer will speak in another language.


1. This website has a ton of free online puzzles of various types.

Brain Bashers

2. Create online jigsaw puzzles

3. Crossword puzzles on various themes and events through the year: Crosswords

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Math Links

1. Several Math activities and games:

Math Playground

2. Math Manipulatives

3. Illuminations

4. National Library of Virtual Manipulatives

5. NCTM Web Links

6. Online Games

7. To reteach or relearn: The Khan Academy 

8. YouTube Mathademics 

SmartBoard Links

1. The link for the Hays Wiki where you will find several useful SmartBoard lessons and websites: Hays SmartBoard Wiki

2. SmartBoard TypePad

3. Teaching with the SmartBoard

4. Smart Technologies

5. SmartBoards and Everyday Math

6. Goodrich Elementary

7. Harvey's

8. SmartBoard Wiki Spaces

9. Primary and Secondary Lessons

10. Longwood Central School District

11. Smart Exchange

12. Rockingham County Public Schools - super site for several SmartBoard Maintenance and lesson tips

13. TechSmart - you need a free login but it has several resources including some great game templates

14. A SmartBoard Blog: Useful site for tips. The Whiteboard Blog

15. A Delicious bookmark with various lessons and activities for the SmartBoard. Delicious Bookmarks

16. SmartBoard Tips

Links from Nixon website

Go to

Nixon Website

There are a bunch of useful links by grade level.


- Smita

City of Palo Alto websites

City Of Palo Alto Kids Book Lists

They also have a great list of websites on a myraid of subjects.

Kids Websites

Homework help

Homework Help

Tech Tuesday links 2008 - Math and Science


Math Wire for Teachers
– standards-based math activities

Aunty Math

Science Notebooks - On this site you will find examples of student work from science notebooks - many from common used commercially developed science instructional materials, information to support the use of science notebooks, and strategies to use notebooks to integrate reading, writing, mathematics, and science.

Teaching in the information age

Very thought provoking in the information age for a teacher
Smita Kolhatkar
Sent: Friday, November 20, 2009 5:18 AM


Teaching in the Information Age


- Smita

Tech and Learning online magazine

The magazine Tech and Learning contains some useful information and links. If you are interested, the online magazine edition is available for free. Following is the link to register free and get your subscription:
Tech and Learning Online Magazine

Games Links

1. Sheppard Software

2. National Geographic: This site has online games. National Geographic Online games

3. Interactive games: Thinkfinity

Google Earth

Sent: Tuesday, March 03, 2009 4:08 PM
Hello everybody,

Here's a link which has loads of ocean information.
You do need to download the software.
Google Earth


- Smita

Compressing URLs

When sending a URL to people, if the web link is long - sometimes it can
wind around to several lines, you can shorten it by the following easy
1. Go to Tiny URL or IS GD or Bit LY
2. Type in the long link
3. The website will give you a really tiny URL
You are ready to use this tiny link.