Surf the Turf with New Google Earth

Teachers can use the new web-based Google Earth in the classroom to:

Explore the spatial relationship between locations such as timelines of the American Civil War or westward migration. Emphasize geographic features and transportation systems such as route choices around waterfalls or mountains.Catalog historically important landmarks and compare architectural styles.Measure the impact of climate conditions on habitats or how humanity impacts the environment.Place news events in their geographic locations.Create a virtual field trip or vacation plan, listing places of interest near a specific location.Use the Knowledge Cards to begin a research project.
Schools with older equipment or limited local memory will appreciate that there is nothing to install. Google Earth is not yet available for iPad, those users will still need to install the older app.

Jonah: A Modern Parable

We often declare our righteous anger when expectations go unmet, all while refusing to help the needs of those around us. The following tale is loosely based on Jonah 4:5-11 reflecting our attitude towards God's mercy contrasted with our skewed sense of justice selfishness.

When God spared the city of Nineveh, it really upset Jonah. So he went out and sat to the east of the city on a park bench. He sat there, sure that his passive protest would force God to destroy the city. Instead the LORD God sent a coffee vendor who set up his umbrella stand so that it gave shade over Jonah's head, and a free mobile hot spot to save him from using his data minutes. Jonah was extremely excited about ordering a macchiato.

But when dawn came up the next day, God sent a social media notification that there was a food truck festival down the road, so the coffee vendor left with his free WiFi. As the sun rose, a flurry of video chat notifications caused the data signal began to grow faint. Then Jo…

Desktop Organization

For those who are visually oriented, saving everything to the desktop seems like a good idea. And unless organization comes easily for you, files can get lost in a sea of sub-folders. So whether you subscribe to the idea that "a neat desk is the sign of a sick mind" or "cleanliness is next to godliness" keeping your desktop icons organized can be helpful.  How to Rearrange Desktop Icons
​Right click anywhere on your desktop. "View" gives several options for icon size and even an auto arrange option for those who cannot decide. "Sort by" gives four options for arranging icons (Name, size, type and date) Renaming icons is a great way to understand what they are. Date is good for keeping fresh icons together and clearing off stale links. "Refresh" updates your desktop with any recent changes.

An Inconvenient Truth

Younger students struggle with disappointment or unmet expectations. How to handle adversity is often the computational skill students need to learn most.

Purdue STEM Workshop Slideshow Posted

Amazed at the response to my #2017STEMConf workshop last Thursday. To view my slideshow from the workshop, scroll to the bottom of the RPE website.

I estimate there were 50+ attendees at my presentation. Several took notes and four teachers stayed after to ask some excellent followup questions.

Since this workshop was only 45 minutes, I wished we could incorporated more hands on role play. Several teachers already use ClassDojo, so it was good sharing ideas with them on expanding and incorporating the Dojo system into a larger classroom narrative.

I was able to attend several other workshops and enjoyed hearing Buzz Aldrin give the keynote speech. As I continue to process through all my notes, I'll try to share some thoughts in additional posts.

Related Link:

Collecting Classroom Book Reviews

If students struggle to choose free reading books, try creating a card catalog.

Today at lunch while talking with a reading teacher, she mentioned that several students struggle to choose a free reading book. It's not for lack of choices, instead they are having difficulty discerning if the book is worth their time.

Why not create a way to share book recommendations between students?

While the tech side of me thinks Microsoft Access would be a fun way to do this, I recognize most teachers wouldn't know where to begin in creating a digital database. But it wasn't that long ago when libraries used a simple card catalog system for tracking books. A simple tweak of the system can help a teacher collect book recommendations.

Using 3x5 index cards, have students write the name of the book at the top, then the author underneath. The first student should write a short description of the book without spoilers! The finish the card with their name and a 1-5 star rating.

If another stu…

ISTE Standard: Global Collaborator

Standard: Students use digital tools to broaden their perspectives and enrich their learning by collaborating with others and working effectively in teams locally and globally.

I think this is one of the best technology standards because it fits so well with our mission and especially the social aspects of this year's theme verse. It can be difficult for students, especially younger ones, to comprehend the larger world outside of their social bubble. We protect them on field trips and corral them into neat lines with established patterns. The big world can be a scary place, but it is also filled with amazing people who daily act as the hands and feet of God. As Christian school educators, global collaboration easily takes on a missional element.

In this article from 2015, ISTE Connects gives seven tips for starting a global collaboration project:
​Find your passion and purpose. If you're excited about the project, you are better prepared to overcome obstacles. Pick your focus. …