Archive for the ‘Assignments’ category

Alternatives to YouTube

August 10th, 2011

In our school, and many others, I’m guessing, YouTube is blocked. This has some pros and cons. Pro? There is some nasty stuff on YouTube. Con? Teachers can’t show clips that supplement their instruction.

That being said, here are some sites that you might be able to find clips to use:

Khan Academy – Even though YouTube’s blocked, Khan Academy videos are still viewable. These are amazing videos that demonstrate in simple language pretty complex math and science concepts. – has 5-minute videos (thus the name) that explain concepts in a quick but thorough manner. I easily found a video about the Homestead Act and then discovered a video from the Khan Academy about why (not just how) borrowing works in subtraction problems.

MovieWeb – Do you want to show 30 seconds worth of a film instead of the whole thing? Try

and then you have the classics TeacherTube and SchoolTube if you want to share videos (and find ones shared by other educators…I prefer SchoolTube over TeacherTube because it loads faster).

Hopefully that helps!

How likely is it for a spirit bear to be born?

August 4th, 2011

Picture from National Geographic

At our junior high, some of the teachers read the novel Touching Spirit Bear by Ben Mikaelsen with their students. In it, one of the major forces is a giant white bear.

So, how likely is it for a spirit bear to be born?

National Geographic has a great article about the Kermodism genetics that causes the white fur. The really cool part is the Punnett square visualizing how the recessive trait is passed on.

This is an excellent opportunity for science and English teachers to team up for a cross-curricular lesson.

Myth Fakebook

May 17th, 2011

Ms. Harvey has done a great update of her Mythology Fakebook in Excel.

You can download it here.

Physics rollercoasters

February 18th, 2011


Ms. Foley and Ms. Kulkarni have their students demonstrate Newtonian physics through building rollercoasters. Not only must the coaster work with a dropped marble, it must be cost efficient. Each piece, including the tape, has a fictional dollar value that they must defend to a board of investors. This is another great example of our staff challenging students in rigor and relevance.

Verb Volley and the History of Oregon Trail

January 21st, 2011

I was reading an article about the history of the Oregon Trail video game and learned that it was the result of two Math teachers and a History teacher being roommates. All three were in their first years of teaching and wanted a way to grab students’ attentions when learning about western expansion in the United States.

They programmed the whole thing in two weeks. That’s what reminded me of Verb Volley, a game I created one Fall Break to help my students review parts of speech.

Here’s my game:

The Concord Review

January 10th, 2011

Normally when you see a link for ESSAYS ON THE INTERNET, it’s a money-making scheme to sell desperate students poorly written essays.

The Concord Review, though, publishes the top research papers from around the world as a showcase for colleges/future employers to look at. If you want to submit your essay, here are the guidelines. I will say this, though: there is a fee associated with submissions and the essays all deal with history.

I think the site is great to show off examples of well-written student work and definitely being published here would make for a nice addition to your college application.

Reading in pairs

January 4th, 2011


Part of what I enjoy about reading great books are the discussions that I have with other readers.

Ms. Hofmann is doing a pretty cool experiment with AR reading. She paired up students based on an interest survey and I pulled all of my books that I have two copies of. Tomorrow I’ll booktalk a few and we’ll let students choose from there. The goal is to get good books into the hands of students and to have a little bit more interactivity with their reading.

The other fun bit is that for the library to have two copies of the book, it has to be a good book. I’m excited to see how it turns out. If you look at the above photo, that’s just a small sampling of the awesomeness.

Research Scavenger Hunt

November 24th, 2010

I’m a fan of experiential learning to build connections and help students find the relevance, hopefully remembering some of what they learned. (If they truly learned it, they will remember. If it’s just storing the information in working memory, then you can wave bye-bye.)

Many times we ask students to find information using multiple sources, but we don’t coach them on how to do it. 7th grade Language Arts teacher Mrs. Clerke and I created a quick scavenger hunt to familiarize students with print references. If we were to jump straight into a big research assignment, the students wouldn’t quite know where to look. Add that confusion to students not realizing what information they really need for their project and a research unit becomes more exhausting than it should be.

Below is a copy of the handout we gave them for the scavenger hunt race. (This is also for Clerke’s and my reference in case the district wipes our computer user accounts and e-mail in the same year. What are the odds of that happening, right?)

Research Scavenger Hunt

Find a biography of a president. What’s the title of the book? Who’s the author?

Is Warsaw, Poland north or south of Prague, Czech Republic? What’s the title of the book? When was it published?

Let’s say you’re writing an essay and you want to start it with a quote about winter. Find a quote about winter. What’s the title of the book? Copy the quote about winter. Which page was it on?

Your teacher has asked you to make a travel brochure to visit Guyana from the story “Three Skeleton Key”. Draw the flag from Guyana. What is the title of the book you found the flag in?

What are two synonyms for the word “sovereign”? Which book did you use?

What part of speech is the word “jealousy”? How do you spell its plural form? Which book did you use?

Who invented the Geiger counter? When did that person invent it? What country was that person from?

Name a type of fluke worm. What does it do? What’s the title of the book? Who published the book?

*Bonus Point: Draw the flag from Libya.

The Hero’s Journey

November 9th, 2010

Many stories have similar elements, similar characters, that author Joseph Campbell believes is common to the human experience. If you look at the plot lines for Harry Potter, the Lightning Thief, Eragon, Star Wars, and King Arthur legends (Dumbledore/Chiron/Brom/Obi Wan/Merlin), you’ll see that there are shared aspects of popular stories.

You’ll be exploring those similarities today in Ms. Redden’s Language Arts class. The online Hero’s Journey organizer can be found by clicking here.

Careers in Sports and Fitness

September 21st, 2010

This is a collection of websites for Ms. Cuppage’s career research unit.

Here’s a link to how to cite the Career Opportunities book.
Field, Shelly. “Sportscaster/Radio”. Career Opportunities in the Sports Industry. New York: Checkmark Books. 1999

Here’s information from the government’s Bureau of Labor Statistics:
Athletic Trainer

Dietitian and Nutritionist
News Analyst, Reporter, and Correspondent
Professional Athlete
Recreation and Fitness Worker
Recreational Therapist

Sports Business and Administration

Professional Sports Agent

Sports Statistician

Sports Industry Publicist

Account Exec for Special – Risk Insurance – Sports

Athletics, and Recreation

Sports Event Coordinator

Coaching and Education

Coach or Manage – Professional Sports Team

Coach – College, University

Coach – High School

Athletic Director – Education

Physical Education (PE) Teacher – College, HS, JHS, Ele.

Officiating Sports Teams

Umpire/ Referee-Pro, college, HS, JHS, Rec Leagues

Sports Journalism

Sports Writer

Sports Columnist

Sportscaster – Television

Sportscaster – Radio

Sports Photographer

Recreation and Fitness

Sports and Fitness Program Coordinator

Personal Trainer

Aerobics Instructor

Health Club Manager, Assistant Manager

Tennis Director

Tennis Teaching Professional

Golf Pro


Horse Racing


Harness Driver (pull carts behind horses competitively)

Harness Racing Judge

Racing Secretary

Racetrack Announcer

Sports Medicine

Athletic Trainer

Physical Therapist

Physical Therapy Assistant

Sports and Fitness Nutritionist

Sports Physician

Massage Therapist


Orthotics and Prosthetics


Sports vision careers

Strength and Conditioning Specialist

Sports Acupuncture and related therapy

Sports Psychologist

And all the assistants to these positions.

Medical Imaging Careers

Wholesaling and Retailing

Manufacturer’s Representative – Sporting Goods

Sports Store Manager

Sporting Goods Salesperson

Boxing and Wrestling


Boxing Referee

Professional Boxing Judge

Boxing Trainer

Boxing Manager

Boxing Trainer

Ring Announcer

Professional Wrestling Referee