holidays

Teacher Appreciation Week: Gifts for Tech Teacher

Teacher Appreciation Week: The First Full Week of May

teacher appreciation weekThere’s always been something mystically cerebral about people in technical professions like engineering, science, and mathematics. They talk animatedly about plate tectonics, debate the structure of atoms, even smile at the mention of calculus. The teaching profession has our own version of these nerdy individuals, called technology teachers. In your district, you may refer to them as IT specialists, Coordinators for Instructional Technology, Technology Facilitators, Curriculum Specialists, or something else that infers big brains, quick minds, and the ability to talk to digital devices. School lore probably says they can drop a pin through a straw without touching the sides.

When I started teaching K-8 technology, people like me were stuffed in a corner of the building where all other teachers could avoid us unless they had a computer emergency, pretending that what we did was for “some other educator in an alternate dimension”. Simply talking to us often made a colleague feel like a rock, only dumber. When my fellow teachers did seek me out — always to ask for help and rarely to request training — they’d come to my room, laptop in hand, and follow the noise of my fingers flying across the keyboard. It always amazed them I could make eye contact and say “Hi!” without stopping or slowing my typing.

That reticence to ask for help or request training changed about a decade ago when technology swept across the academic landscape like a firestorm:

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Gifts for the Tech Teacher in Your Life

Teacher Appreciation Week: The First Full Week of May

teacher appreciation weekThere’s always been something mystically cerebral about people in technical professions like engineering, science, and mathematics. They talk animatedly about plate tectonics, debate the structure of atoms, even smile at the mention of calculus. The teaching profession has our own version of these nerdy individuals, called technology teachers. In your district, you may refer to them as IT specialists, Coordinators for Instructional Technology, Technology Facilitators, Curriculum Specialists, or something else that infers big brains, quick minds, and the ability to talk to digital devices. School lore probably says they can drop a pin through a straw without touching the sides.

When I started teaching K-8 technology, people like me were stuffed in a corner of the building where all other teachers could avoid us unless they had a computer emergency, pretending that what we did was for “some other educator in an alternate dimension”. Simply talking to us often made a colleague feel like a rock, only dumber. When my fellow teachers did seek me out — always to ask for help and rarely to request training — they’d come to my room, laptop in hand, and follow the noise of my fingers flying across the keyboard. It always amazed them I could make eye contact and say “Hi!” without stopping or slowing my typing.

That reticence to ask for help or request training changed about a decade ago when technology swept across the academic landscape like a firestorm:

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Happy New Year!

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Happy Holiday!

I’ll be taking a few weeks off–until after the New Year–to edit/format my website, work on projects with a deadline, prioritize life, and wish my two adult military children could come home to visit. I may drop in on you-all as you enjoy your holidays, but mostly I’ll be regenerating.

I wish you a wonderful season, safe and filled with family.

See you shortly!

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Categories: holidays

13 Holiday Websites and 9 Projects

Need a few websites to fill in free minutes? Here are Holiday websites that will keep students busy while teaching them:

  1. 12 Days of Christmas
  2. Christmas puzzles and games
  3. Christmas—history—fun video
  4. Holiday Crossword
  5. Holiday Elf Games
  6. Holiday Hangman II
  7. Holiday music II–sing along with the music–the site provides the words
  8. Holiday—find the word
  9. Holiday—Math Facts
  10. Holiday—North Pole Academy
  11. Holidays around the world
  12. Phone call from Santa
  13. Santa Tracker

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Where did Christmas Come From?

Watch this video and come away educated:

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Holiday Gifts for Teachers

Holiday gifts for teachers are a challenge. If your child has many teachers, it’s difficult to find a personalized gift for each that is both affordable and valued. For me, as a teacher, I am always happy with a gift certificate that works anywhere but there are time-proven ways to get more creative than a gift that sounds like “money”.

When I chat with teacher friends, here are the most popular gifts they’ve gotten over the years. Many are free and others allow you to spend only what you can afford while still giving a gift the teacher will love.

Most popular gifts

Let’s start by stipulating that what defines a great teacher gift is subjective. It depends upon the teacher’s subject, how long they’ve taught, their personal style, and so much more. The seven suggestions below provide ample ways to provide a gift your child’s teacher will love regardless of how well you know them.

A Helping Hand

Probably the most popular gift with most teachers is the gift of time. Sure, money is nice but when parents are willing to give of themselves to organize class events, chaperone, help out on lesson plans, or any number of other activities, that’s priceless.  As a tech teacher, my ideal is to have two parents for every K-2 class I teach. That’s a lot of helpers and a huge commitment from parents. I rarely found that many so was thrilled whenever parents offered to assist.

Compliments to the Administration

Happy parents often forget to share their joy with the teachers’ administrators. Too often, Principals hear from parents only when they’re angry about the teacher or some class activity. Providing unsolicited good news about the teacher’s effectiveness is a wonderful treat for both the teacher and the school’s administrators.

A Thank You Letter

Handwrite a note to the teacher telling them how much you and your child appreciate what they do. There’s little more valuable to a teacher than the acknowledgment from stakeholders that what they work on nights and weekends is working.

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Categories: holidays, teacher resources

Have Santa Call Your Kids

christmasDialMyCalls (an AATT sponsor) has a special Christmas offer for kids:

Free Santa Calls To Your Family This Christmas

This Christmas we have a great gift for everyone! Whether you’re an existing DialMyCalls user or not, you can take advantage of our completely free phone call from Santa. Imagine the look on your child’s face when they receive a personalized phone call from Santa with his or her name on it!

  • Simply select your child’s name and the message from Santa you want sent on this link.
  • Pick the time, date and phone number you want the call sent to.
  • We create a personalized message and send the call when you want it sent!
  • Each household can send up to 3 free calls from Santa Claus.
  • Additional Santa Calls may be purchased for a small fee.

What an amazing gift to any child for Christmas!

@DialMyCalls

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Categories: holidays

Happy Thanksgiving Week to All!

I’m taking next week off. I’ll be preparing for my daughter’s holiday visit from her home in Maryland and my son who’s visiting from Okinawa Japan (by way of Georgia). I am so excited to see both of them!

I’ll be back December 2nd. Any emergencies–drop me a line at askatechteacher@gmail.com.


Jacqui Murray has been teaching K-18 technology for 30 years. She is the editor/author of over a hundred tech ed resources including a K-12 technology curriculum, K-8 keyboard curriculum, K-8 Digital Citizenship curriculum. She is an adjunct professor in tech ed, Master Teacher, webmaster for four blogs, an Amazon Vine Voice, CSTA presentation reviewer, freelance journalist on tech ed topics, contributor to NEA Today and author of the tech thrillers, To Hunt a Sub and Twenty-four Days. You can find her resources at Structured Learning.

Categories: holidays, Uncategorized

Thanksgiving Activities That Keep the Learning Going

thanksgivingTeaching the days before big holidays is challenging. Students and teachers alike are ready for a break. Both struggle to pay attention regardless of how innovative and engaging are the lesson plans.

I’ve been there often. As a result, I’ve come up with fun ways to support learning while students power through the last few days of school. Here are seven I use during the pre-Thanksgiving season:

ASCII Art

Time required: Less than one class

ASCII Art is the graphic design technique of creating images by typing the letters, numbers, and symbols defined by ASCII Standards. Holiday examples include this Thanksgiving pumpkin and these holiday bells. Here’s how you do it:

  1. Open your word processing program (MS Word, Google Docs, or another).
  2. Add a watermark of a picture you’d like to use, preferably a single image rather than one that includes a background. Silhouettes are perfect for this sort of project.
  3. Type over the image with the letters, symbols, and numbers that best fit the outline. It’s fine to use one letter throughout (like an X).
  4. Add color by highlighting the letters, numbers, and symbols typed over the parts you’d like colored (such as the stem of a pumpkin or the bow on Christmas bells in the linked samples above).
  5. When you’ve covered the image with characters, delete the watermark. That leaves just your typing.
  6. Save, print, share, publish as is customary in your classes.

Tie-ins: Use this not only for holidays but any academic class by creating an artistic image of the topic being discussed. Click the link for an example of Abraham Lincoln to align with study of the American Civil War. This is also a fun and authentic way for students to practice keyboarding.

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Categories: holidays, lesson plans

16 Sites, 3 Apps, 7 Projects for Thanksgiving

Need a few websites and apps to fill in sponge time? Here are Thanksgiving websites that will keep students busy and still teach them:

  1. Berenstein Bears Give Thanks (app)
  2. Canadian Thanksgiving

  3. Online/Offline Thanksgiving activities
  4. Plimoth Plantation
  5. Thanksgiving edu-websites–CybraryMan
  6. Thanksgiving Games
  7. Thanksgiving games and puzzles
  8. Thanksgiving games–Quia
  9. Thanksgiving information–history, more
  10. Thanksgiving Jigsaw
  11. Thanksgiving Jigsaw II
  12. Thanksgiving Lesson Plans
  13. Thanksgiving Tic-tac-toe
  14. Thanksgiving video–Brainpop
  15. Thanksgiving Wordsearch
  16. The First Thanksgiving

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Halloween Projects, Websites, Apps, Books, and a Costume

Three holidays are fast-approaching–Halloween, Thanksgiving, and Christmas. If you’re a teacher, that means lots of tie-ins to make school festive and relevant to students.

Here are ideas for Halloween projects, lesson plans, websites, and apps:

Websites and Apps

  1. Carving Pumpkins
  2. Carve-a-Pumpkin from Parents magazine – Resolute Digital, LLC (app)
  3. Enchanted Learning
  4. Halloween games, puzzles–clean, easy to understand website and few ads!
  5. Halloween ghost stories
  6. Halloween counting & words games – IKIDSPAD LLC (app)
  7. Halloween WordSearch – FinBlade (app)
  8. Halloween Voice Transformer (app)jigsaw
  9. Landon’s Pumpkins – LAZ Reader [Level P–second grade] – Language Technologies, Inc. (app)
  10. Make A Zombie – Skunk Brothers GmbH (app)
  11. Meddybemps Spooky
  12. Pumpkin Toss
  13. Signing Halloween–a video
  14. Skelton Park
  15. The Kidz Page
  16. WordSearch Halloween – AFKSoft (app)

Projects

  1. ASCII Art–Computer Art for Everyone (a pumpkin–see inset)
  2. Lesson Plan: Halloween letter for grades 2-5
  3. Make a Holiday Card
  4. A Holiday Card
  5. A Holiday flier

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Categories: holidays, lesson plans

Work Hard–it’s Labor Day!

Labor Day is annually held on the first Monday of September (this year, September 2nd). It was originally organized to celebrate various labor associations’ strengths of and contributions to the United States economy. It is largely a day of rest in modern times. Many people mark Labor Day as the end of the summer season and a last chance to make trips or hold outdoor events.

Labor Day is a US holiday dedicated to workers across the country. The public holiday always falls on the first Monday in September. The first federal observation of the holiday occurred in 1894 however the first Labor Day observed in a state was in Oregon in 1887.

Today, I honor the warrior, his job to fight for America’s way of life, invisibly and heroically, across the globe.

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Categories: holidays

Happy July 4th (and Happy Canada Day)

It’s America’s birthday and I’m celebrating. My Army Sergeant son is in Japan–Okinawa. My Navy LT CDR daughter’s in the DC area. I thank both of them and all those soldiers who fought for America’s uncertain future so long ago.

God be with all of us.


I want to include all my efriends from Canada in the celebrations though I’m a few days late for Canada Day:

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Categories: holidays, news

18 Easter Sites For Students

Many Christians celebrate Jesus Christ’s resurrection on Easter Sunday. To non-Christians (or non-traditional Christians), that event signifies a rebirth of spring that is filled with joy and gifts — and chocolate! Overall, it is America’s most-popular holiday with Christmas a close second. The date depends on the ecclesiastical approximation of the March equinox. This year, it’s April 1, 2018.

Here’s a good mixture of games, lesson plans, stories, and songs that can be blended into many academic subjects:

18+ Interactive Easter websites

Preschool-2

This website includes a colorful collection of Easter (and Spring) games and information that is visual and enticing to youngers. Games are Easter Math, Easter Egg Hunt, Easter Egg Dress-up, Easter Word hunt, complete-the-sentence, and more. Also, viewers will find websites about the history of Easter around the world.

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Categories: 1st, 2nd, holidays, Kindergarten, websites | Tags:

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