Search Master – Part 4

In our final installment of our Search Master Series I would like to share with you what I call “omnibox awesomness.”  You can search for so many things right from the omnibox.  Check out our quick one minute video on how to use the omnibox to search for…

  • Earthquakes
  • Math
  • Graphs
  • Population statistics
  • Unemployment statistics
  • Sunrise and Sunset time
  • Current time in different cities
  • Money conversions
  • Definitions
  • Flip a coin or roll a die

You can also search for…

  • Stock prices
  • Movie times
  • Weather conditions
  • Flight status
  • Things to do in (insert city here)
  • (Type of food) (zip code)

Happy Searching!


Have a Party with Your Photos

“Pics + Words + Stickers = A Party with Your Photos” is how Pic Collage describes this FREE APP on their website.  This is one of my favorite apps right now!  I have been talking about it every time I meet with teachers.  Check out some of the examples I have seen created.  Common Core aligned, of course!

K.MD.1: Describe measurable attributes of objects, such as length or weight.

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3.NF.3d: Recognize that comparisons of fractions are valid only when the two fractions refer to the same whole.  **This standard is going to be HUGE to help students better understand fractions!

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4.OA.5:   Generate a number or shape pattern that follows a given rule.

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PicCollage can be used in all subjects.  Just make sure kids – or adults – don’t spend their whole time choosing a background.

Social Studies: Identify certain various regions of any given state.  Pictures of artifacts from ancient civilizations.  Collection of important members to a specific time period. 

Science: Identify parts of a plant.  Photograph stages of a lab.  Different forms of rocks.

Physical Fitness: Identify proper skill and form for various activities.

Let us know your fantastic ideas in the comment section.

Common Core and Ed Tech

I came across this AMAZING website this past weekend at Fall CUE.  Have fun spending the next couple of hours looking at this site – and trust me you will!

They post about the blend between Common Core and Ed Tech.  Look at this fantastic visual from their site.  I would of never guessed the word technology shows up more in the Math Common Core than ELA.

Common Core Ed Tech

The Sweet Spot

Back in the day there use to be a model called PAC where it labeled effective teaching by understanding both content and pedagogy.  Sure you could know how to do math, but what makes you a great math teacher is knowing how to teach it.  I mean think about it, without that pedagogy aspect all Engineers would be teaching math.  Or maybe not…

Now another topic added – technology!

image taken from

Our group has defined that area in the middle as “The Sweet Spot.”  Throughout this month we have been meeting with Principals and Leadership teams in our district.  We are sharing our goal of Students Using Technology in their Individual and Group Learning Everyday.  Our purpose of these meetings is to get ideas from theses groups to learn about how we can help them get there.  During our discussion we are talking about this “Sweet Spot” and asking staff to talk about their vision of what that looks like.  Some teachers are sharing stories of how they are already there – yay!

A Lincoln Elementary teacher will be taking her first grade class on a trip to Petco and allowing them to take their class set of iPod touches.  With them students will be taking pictures of various things around the store, so that when they come back they can put together a presentation about what certain pets need.  Cannot wait to see the final product!

A Blue Hills Elementary teacher told us about how her fourth grade students collaborate on Google Spreadsheets to create review questions for upcoming tests.  Students are assigned a row and need to fill in a question for each section they have covered in the columns.

Collins Elementary teacher explains how her students are using Google Earth to visit various places around the world to assist with their Social Studies units.

Dilworth Elementary teacher has students creating Educreations to share their thinking, and then shares them with parents via Twitter.

DeVargas Elementary teacher has her first grade students creating an animal unit.  Students are going to the library and using the National Geographic App on her class iPads to learn about various animals and their habit.

Cupertino Middle School teacher talks about how the flipped model has completely changed his Physical Education for the better.  Students watch videos to learn proper form and are expected to come into class and discuss as a group.  He said students have really become the teachers of the class and the engagement level has skyrocketed.

Khan Academy Integration

Khan Academy is a well known resources for math videos, however lesser known are the exercises that students can do and teachers can track how they are doing.  The Khan Dashboard has a lot of powerful information that can be used to inform instruction.

Students in CUSD have automatic access via their Google Accounts – which they can use to log into:  Teachers should also log into Khan with their CUSD Google Accounts.

We are currently using a service called – Clever, to synchronize accounts.  When a teacher and their students both log into Khan – the student should get an automatic request to all the teacher to be their coach.

Try it out and let us know how it works for you.  We will be working with the math department to develop further PD around using Khan Academy.

Math Chat

I wish I could say I made this quote myself, but that would then make me a liar.  Which I clearly am not.  So I’ll give credit where credit is due and admit that my co-worker Stephanie – our Curriculum Support Math Teacher – said the following: “Common Core is more about how to teach than what to teach.”  The “how to teach” refers to the eight mathematical practices that have been made for the Common Core.

Last Thursday and Friday all of our Middle School Math teachers got together at Hyde Middle School to listen to Wendy Ward Hoffer (check out her book here on Amazon, it is amazing) and her co-worker talk about PEBC and the workshop model in a math setting.   Listening to Wendy’s engaging stories and wonderful sense of humor we start to see that the practices are a huge part of Common Core.

We kicked off the first day by talking about what makes you a proficient thinker.  These strategies were originally found by seeking out what made people proficient readers.  Research then found that these seven things make you not only just a proficient reader, but a proficient thinker as well.

  • Background Knowledge
  • Questioning
  • Inferring
  • Determine Importance
  • Monitor for Meaning
  • Create Mental Models
  • Synthesize

Teachers then got into talking about how to create a workshop model in their classroom.  Allowing students to work on complex problems both individually and in a group setting.  The daily layout would be a mini-lesson (maybe 5 – 10 minutes) and the rest of the time working on a complex problem and allowing for some reflection at the end.

PEBC Day 1

In my opinion if the right task is used in the workshop model all of these mathematical practices can be addressed in just one setting!

  1. Make sense of problems and preserve
  2. Reason abstractly and quantitively
  3. Construct viable arguments and critique the reasoning of others.
  4. Model with mathematics.
  5. Use appropriate tools strategically.
  6. Attend to precision.
  7. Look for and make use of structure.
  8. Look for and express regularity in repeated reasoning.

Now the question of “where do I find the right task” is always asked.  MARS tasks are a good place to start, and Wendy also showed us the CarTalk website that has good examples as well.

During the second day teachers talked about the role of Mathematical Discourse in the classroom.  This idea of having students talk and discuss their process to a partner, a whole group or even a small group is more powerful than doing 30 practice problems!  AMAZING!  The discourse connects back to the reflection time that is provided in the workshop model.