Sunday, July 31, 2011

L = LiveBinders #GETABC

L is for LiveBinders

GTG's  #GETABC Series = Green, Education, & Tech*)

Livebinders has been one of my absolute favorites this summer o'self-tech-homeschooling.  In fact, if you've been following along with the #GETABC series, you've seen a few embedded already. (The Livebinder's site makes it super-simple to embed).  The wealth at Livebinders is phenomenal!  Check out this video for a brief snapshot of these web-based, online 3-ring binders.

Whether you peruse the existing binders on the site, or start creating your own, there's a great deal of flexibility with them for when you want to share knowledge.  One of the best perks is when you are doing a computer lab activity with your students:  you can create one of these, ready made with all the links you'd like your troops to find!  Don't just take my word for it--check out 10 Great Ways that Educators Are Using Livebinders.

To satisfy your inner "green-iac," check out the LiveBinders "Green" Shelf here, however some of my favorite eco-friendly finds are below!

This has a slew of of sites!

Great place for images on environmental issues--perfect for discussion starters and writing off of picture prompts!

Livebinders.  Fabulous Finders!  You'll love them!

Letter L from 
Note:  In an attempt to meld my pursuits of green, education, and technology, "GET" and this ABC series did my twitter thread #GETABC.  To see the inception of #GETABC and give yourself a tidbit of background, go to GTG's True Confessions & Whirling Dervishes.

Friday, July 29, 2011

K = Kerpoof #GETABC

 K is for Kerpoof

(GTG's #GETABC Series = Green, Education, & Tech*)

"Kerpoof" is one of those words that sounds like magic about to happen or the results at the end of a magician's wand. Truthfully, that was probably by design, as magic is what can happen when you sit a child down with Kerpoof.
Kerpoof is a new find to me, but a little web search showed me that clearly has been around for awhile. (Noteably--it's a product of Disney, and a Parents' Choice Award Winner of 2008). But, if you're like me and new to it, you'll appreciate not only learning about it, but it's longevity.  Longevity is especially obvious when it comes to Kerpoof's level of on-site education directed to teachers. In fact, that is one of the things I like most of all. Kerpoof does an exceptional job as a classroom tool, complete with lesson plans, standards, classroom use ideas, newsletters, Teacher's Guide, and teacher accounts.

Here is a video of some of Kerpoof's capabilities from their Teacher's Guide of Krista Marks, CEO & CoFounder of Kerpoof:

So what can you do with Kerpoof??  Tons, creatively-speaking.  Kerpoof's 6 major areas (including the site-specified grades these activities most benefit) include:

--Spell a Picture (grades K-3)
--Make a Movie (grades K-8)
--Make a Card (grades K-8)
--Make a Drawing (grades K-8)
--Make a Picture (grades K-3)
--Tell a Story (grades 3-8)

For those of you trying to "GET" green, here's a Kerpoof example of an activity that resulted from the instructions to make the water cycle using "Make a Picture."
For Kerpoof-included eco-lesson plans:

The 3 R's: Reduce, Reuse, Recycle (gr. 1-4)
Life Cycle of a Butterfly (gr. 1-3)
Celebrate the Seasons (PreK--gr. 2)
Exploring the Polar Regions (gr. 6-8)
Or Tweak their Write a Persuasive Advertisement activity to any environmental issue. (gr. 3-5+)

Lesson Plans are listed as follows with links to the PDF or PowerPoint directions:
--Learning to Use Kerpoof
--Master Artist Series (these look amazing!)
--Math and Science
--Language Arts
--Social Studies
So, make some magic happen while you Kerpoof with your kids or your class.

Letter K pic from  Kerpoof Water Cycle pic from Kerpoof logo from

Note:  In an attempt to meld my pursuits of green, education, and technology, "GET" and this ABC series did my twitter thread #GETABC.  To see the inception of #GETABC and give yourself a tidbit of background, go to GTG's True Confessions & Whirling Dervishes.

Thursday, July 28, 2011

J = Jump Over to ISTE

J is for Jump Over to ISTE

(GTG's #GETABC Series = Green, Education, & Tech*)

In lieu of anything else for j that truly didn't jump at me, this seemed like a justifiable way to extend the jewels of the letter I.
ISTE - International Society for Technology in Education
About 3 days before the June 26th annual ISTE (International Society for Technology in Education") conference, I learned about it, its wealth, and the fact that it was literally a hop, skip and a jump away, over in Philadelphia...however, I had plans that took me to Illinois.  Darn and drat.  But, it didn't matter too much, between Twitter participants tweets of the event and the website, I was able to learn a lot about what I missed!

Yes, there are jewels galore at ISTE's website: national standards, tech-ed communities, professional development, publications, conferences & other dated events, and an online store with oodles and gobs of tech goodies, magazines, podcasts, and more.  Membership of course brings with it certain privileges and price cuts. 

If you're just at the tip of the iceberg of how best to use technology in the classroom, find your bounty here at ISTE!

J Picture from and ISTE logo from

Note:  In an attempt to meld my pursuits of green, education, and technology, "GET" and this ABC series did my twitter thread #GETABC.  To see the inception of #GETABC and give yourself a tidbit of background, go to GTG's True Confessions & Whirling Dervishes.

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

I = Infographics #GETABC

I is for Infographics

(GTG's #GETABC Series =
Green, Education, & Tech*)

At the start of July, I decided to embark on my #GETABC series to integrate (not to mention, self-educate along the way) my green, educational, and techie worlds. The main goal was to do this without finding myself pulled in 3 different directions of Internet searching and info-seeking!

With it's inception, I sat and listed through all the ABC's, outlining my finds and future blog fodder....  I think it's "I = ironic" in that infographics made it on my original list that I created a month ago, sitting poolside an Illinois hotel's poolside.  The ironic part is that infographics have been all over Twitter the last few days.  Clearly, it's a definite trend in the #edtech world!  (Always nice to feel like you've got your finger on the pulse!)

An infographic is essentially a visual way of showing, displaying, detailing, emphasizing information.  They make great tools with which to teach. They also make it clear how what your students are learning and how they've absorbed the topic at hand.

1).  Check out this video from Kathy Schrock:

Infographics as a Creative Assessment from Kathy Schrock on Vimeo.

2). Then take yourself over to Infographics for Librarians, Educators, and Other Cool Geeks for tons more resources.

3). Here are a few of my favorite environmental education infographics:
The Double Pyramid
How Wild Is North America?
The Perils of Plastic from The Plastiki
Letter I pic from  All other pictures have links to their sources in the captions.

*Note:  In an attempt to meld my pursuits of green, education, and technology, "GET" and this ABC series did my twitter thread #GETABC.  To see the inception of #GETABC and give yourself a tidbit of background, go to GTG's True Confessions & Whirling Dervishes.

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

H = Healthy Eating #GETABC

H is for Healthy Eating (GTG's #GETABC Series =
Green, Education, & Tech*)

It's been awhile since I've written about food and the obesity in America crisis here at GTG.  No, it hasn't gone away--unfortunately, it's still here. A second season of Jamie Oliver's Food Revolution this past year shows us that, as he tackled the school board, sugar in flavored milk, and a lot of other things in Los Angeles.  Truth be told, a walk in any mall in America will also prove the same point!


Another piece of clear evidence: the changes to the Food Pyramid...which, after a few modifications is now "My Plate."  Glad to see that the government's radar is on health and better guidelines from the USDA regarding dietary intake.  They even have interactive tools online to help you get on your way!
Chef Ann's "Healthy Eating Meal Wheel"
What I really like about this BESIDES the fact that the visual is perfect given it is so relate-able to our every day dining experience, is that it serves as a parallel to Chef Ann Cooper's "Healthy Eating Meal Wheel." Known also as "the Renegade Lunch Lady," Chef Ann (as her bio states) is a "celebrated author, chef, educator, and enduring advocate for better food for all children." She's on a mission, just as Jamie Oliver is, to get us all eating healthy, and she's starting it where habits start: with the young, and in schools. 

If you are tackling nutrition in the classroom, here are some great places to start:

--Use the 2 visuals of the Meal Wheel and the USDA's My Plate as springboard teaching tools.  Students can compare and contrast them using a Venn Diagram.  To do this in the computer lab, head to an online version at ClassTools.Net.

--Check out The Food Revolution's site, particularly the "School Food" link.  Scroll to the bottom for a PDF of either the Teacher Tool Kit, or the School District Tool Kit.

--Not to be outdone, Chef Ann also has a "Curricula and Classrooms" page, with loads of links for teachers to use.

--As an aside...Here's a map from Chartbin ranking US states by the Fattest, of 2011.  Wow! 


*Note:  In an attempt to meld my pursuits of green, education, and technology, "GET" and this ABC series did my twitter thread #GETABC.  To see the inception of #GETABC and give yourself a tidbit of background, go to GTG's True Confessions & Whirling Dervishes.

As Chef Ann states in the video on her home page, we can all do it, little by little, step by step. Another fine example of how 1 person can indeed make a difference.

Sunday, July 24, 2011

H = Hashtags #GETABC

H is for #Hashtags
(GTG's  #GETABC Series = Green, Education, & Tech*)

In the olden days, it was merely a number sign.  Now, in our Twitter-fied world, it's a hashtag.  And, true to old definitions, it is still linked with numbers.  Now though, the numbers are people who's ideas we share and want to follow.  Not to mention, it becomes a great thematic organizational tool for finding and sharing on Twitter.

If you're having a hankering for heightening your hashtag education about education (including environmental education), here are 4 heavy-weight, great finds:

FreeTech4Teacher's "7 Ways to Find Teachers on Twitter"

Cybraryman's Educational Hashtag Page

Green Economy Post's "Ultimate Green Twitter Hashtag List:  Build Your Online Green Twitter Following"

Letter H pic from and Twitter Hashtag pic from:

*Note:  In an attempt to meld my pursuits of green, education, and technology, "GET" and this ABC series did my twitter thread #GETABC.  To see the inception of #GETABC and give yourself a tidbit of background, go to GTG's True Confessions & Whirling Dervishes.

Friday, July 22, 2011

G = Google #GETABC

G is for Google
(GTG's  #GETABC Series = Green, Education, & Tech*)

Holy guacomole...It's a jungle out there!  Or rather, a Google out there.

Google's become a known noun AND verb in our dictionary, thanks to the wonders of cyberspace and everyone's knowledge of Google.  "Google" is well-named because "googol" is a mathematical term than mean a number that starts with 1 and is followed by 100 zeroes...which sometimes feels like what's out there when you do a Google search!

There are a gazillion goodies galore out there on the Internet...and tons having to do with teaching with Google alone.  It is far more than a mere search engine! 
To educate yourself, Richard Byrne (our favorite tech-master & Google Certified teacher over at the FreeTech4Teachers site) has some great online google eBooks he has created.  There's a wealth here, and this is where you need to start your Google education:

In pouring over the googol of Google items, some of my favorites include:
  • Using Google Maps for their "Math Maps" (where they have maps layered with color-coded questions for different grade levels--granted, more math than "eco" but very cool!).  I also love that you can use the maps to place mark certain sites & embed YouTube videos (which will be perfect when my 3rd graders study "Rivers & Bridges").  You can also use them to investigate their climate change data.
  • You can also build customizable, kid-friendly searches--check out Byrne's Beyond Google for details on that!
  • You can use Google Docs to create flashcards, word games, word clouds, quizzes, surveys, and more!
G pic from, Google pic from of course
*Note:  In an attempt to meld my pursuits of green, education, and technology, "GET" and this ABC series did my twitter thread #GETABC.  To see the inception of #GETABC and give yourself a tidbit of background, go to GTG's True Confessions & Whirling Dervishes.

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

F = Flipping Out for Flipbooks #GETABC

F is for Flipping
Out for
(Taking you back to Part 2 of 2 in the GTG #Green #Edu #Tech Series)

Flipbooks are fun, no matter what kind you make.  We've all done the finger-flipping cartoon books by stapling papers together to make an animated cartoon.  In the classroom, stapling graduated sizes of paper together also makes for a fantastic way to illustrate a subject.  Here are 3 different electronic flipbooks that can bring an added dimension into your teacher tool box for any topic at hand.

1.  Benettonplay! Flipbook Deluxe. Whether you want to make or find a flipbook, this is a fun online find for digitally-animated flipbooks.  You could use it as a teacher to illustrate vocabulary, animate historical events, or detail concepts.  (I could especially see this as vital on an environmental front by using it to showcase the Food Web or the Water Cycle/Storm Water Management.  Older students also could use it themselves.  To see an excellent example of all the Flipbook Deluxe can be, check out "Sharon Takes eLearning and Digital Culture" and "Amazing and Elaborate Multiple Intelligences."
2.  Read! Write! Think! Flipbooks
Create tabbed flipbooks from 2-10 pages long.  It works as a wonderful canvas for for teachers and students alike for taking notes, making fact books or visual dictionaries, or sharing curricular concepts.  With 9 different layouts, there's a lot of flexibility in this creative site.  There are also a slew of pre-made lessons which are listed by grade level in tabs.  Included on the website are a few ready-made flipbook lessons that would be perfect for eco-friendly themes (not to mention, a whole lot of other goodies).  Check out How Does My Garden Grow? Writing in Science Field Journals and Creative Writing in the Natural World: A Framing

3.  Flipbook for iPad & iPhone
According to iTunes, FlipBook and FlipBook Lite are the #1 iPhone animation app.  Just as with the Benettonplay! FlipBook, you can animate up concepts, putting a visusal flair on whatever you are learning, but with your mobile iDevice.  Likewise, you can search their gallery for anything any user has created.  Video tutorials are on their site so you can get your movie just right.

With all of these three sites, the eco-implications and applications are far reaching.  You can use them to illustrate environmental education concepts such as the 3 R's, discuss endangered animals (perhaps even using facts from ARKive), or use it as a visual dictionary for terminology such as "sustainability," "conservation," "climate change," and more.

As with most things, once you have the tools, the sky is the limit!

Letter F pic from, general flipbook photo from, and all site-specific images from above-mentioned sites.
Note: In an attempt to meld my pursuits of Green, Education, and Technology, "GET" and this ABC series did my twitter thread #GETABC. To see the inception of #GETABC and give yourself a tidbit of background, go to

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Praying to Neptune, God o'the Sea

They say a bad day of fishing always beats a good day at work. Lucky for me, this past weekend, I didn't have to argue that point, as I had a great day o'fishing, despite my apparent, inadvertent attempt to sabotage it!

I must say, despite living in Maryland for a half-dozen years or so, I've never had the opportunity before this to find myself on a charter boat, embarking on "big fishing." We're not talking little white perch off the shore fishing, but real, out-in-the-Chesapeake-Bay fishing. Fishing for Maryland's state fish ~ rockfish, also known as striped bass ~ was an excellent place to start.

With our boat of 10 passengers, Captain, and First Mate...a 4 am wake up call (it's not often I see this side of 4 am)...a 6 am departure from the dock....idyllic weather...we couldn't really ask for more (other than biting fish!)

Well, we could have asked for one more thing. This Midwest girl really should have been instructed on the do's and don't's of what you may bring on a boat, especially when it comes to the superstitions of watermen!  We had copious amounts of water--check. Sunscreen--check. Snacks galore--check.

Yet, it was in the snack portion of the trip, that I hit the snafu. Mid-morning (well, probably 7:20 given my perception of time being skewed with our early wake-up time), I pull out a snack. I whipped out of my bag a banana. It was then that I noticed my error--as was evident from the looks of terror from all of my companions. One bite in, I learned that a banana was THE WORST thing I could have brought aboard, and now I've risked the fate of our whole catch.

Um, hello! First-timer here! Midwestern girl! Improperly informed!

Sure enough, posted there was a "no banana" sign on the boat's window (first I'd seen of it!). Old maritime lore has it that back-in-the-day of wooden galleons and exploration times, stops along newly found islands would bring about all sorts of exotic new finds: like bananas. When bringing bananas on board to take back said-finds, you'd also be unknowingly-transporting all sorts of poisonous critters like spiders and snakes that would hitch a hidden ride. Then, once onboard, the vermin would multiply, and do what poisonous vermin do, bringing detriment to all aboard.

It is doubtful that my solo banana from the produce section at Giant would elicit such results, but from the aghast of the group as I was one bite in, I knew that "being uninformed" was no true excuse!

Fretful that I had now cursed the boat, I was dumbfounded, holding my open banana, wildly asking, "What do I do? What do I do?" General consensus--"Get rid of it!!" Not being one to litter, but more largely fearing mutiny, my banana went sailing through the air with a mighty splash in the sea. A few fish below, no doubt, were happy with my error (and my mega-flying-banana shot overboard!).

It was about then that I began praying to Neptune, Roman God of the Sea.

Well, despite being called "Del Monte" and "Chiquita" for the rest of the day, the story has a happy ending.  We caught our bait fish (a barrel full of spot), headed out, and (phshew! wipe my sweaty brow) Neptune was smiling on us. During the course of the morning we caught our allowed 2 rockfish per passenger. Those are some mighty strong fish, let me tell you! We had a great day on the Canvasback (thanks Capt. Brian and First Mate Kenny)!  Pretty cool experience for this corn-belt-Midwestern girl!

Even better, was dining that night on a scrumptious filet of rockfish that we'd caught ourselves, seasoned and grilled to perfection. Accompanying the fish, the baked squash that was hand-picked just prior to dinner from our garden was tasty.  As was the luscious tomatoes we picked up from a roadside stand on the drive home. We were true locavores, hunters and gatherers. We'd lived off the land, and boy oh boy did it taste good!

Yep, the makings of a perfect day...despite the banana!

Pics from and my camera from Sunday, July 17th.

Monday, July 18, 2011

Outdoors Section Be Gone? Then Here's My Letter to the Editors at The Baltimore Sun

If you read my weekend post about The Baltimore Sun and their outlandish decision to annihilate the Outdoor Section, then you'll know a lot of Maryland right now is pretty darn fired up over the loss of Outdoors Girl Candus Thomson.

 Below is the letter I just sent to the "Powers of the Baltimore Sun"
(aka, the 4 significant publishers/editors) ~ Feel free to send one of your own, or check out the "Save the Outdoor Sun" Facebook page.

Sun Publisher, Tim Ryan:
Content Manager, Mary Corey:
Head of Digital Media, Trif Alatzas:
Sports Editor, Ron Fritz:
I feel that you are making a grave error with your decision to cut The Outdoors Section from The Baltimore Sun. In an outdoor state such as Maryland, letting go of a community and statewide resource such as Candus Thomson is akin to obliterating a national treasure such as the Liberty Bell or vandalizing... the Washington Monument. Those two national icons are symbols of our country. For Maryland, a state rich with its outdoor opportunities, the knowledge that Candus Thomson holds and shares daily with outdoor enthusiasts in the state is equally to be treasured.

As an elementary teacher, I have seen far too many times the effects of “Nature Deficit Disorder” on children (and adults alike), where they are too “plugged in” to get out and enjoy the bounty that surrounds them outside. This is evident with our nation of growing waistlines as well. We need an enthusiastic voice, ONE voice, to invite us outdoors, and show us the amazing natural resources that we have around us. Candus Thomson, and her years of experience do this.

I question the motivation of The Sun to eliminate the Outdoors Section at a time when our state has been the first to make it mandatory for high school students to graduate with an environmental literacy requirement. Why would the newspaper do this, when our state has taken pride in its nearly 400 Maryland “Green” Schools? Why demote someone with Candus Thomson’s expertise about the Chesapeake Bay (which is a beautiful, yet environmentally-troubled part of our surroundings that needs a protector) to traffic reports and the Howard County Metro section? You are losing someone who can enlighten us all with her knowledge of environmental, regulatory, outdoor, and recreational issues. Candus has been achieving that mission quite well during this millennium.

I question also if you are basing your decisions to go this route off of Internet hits to The Sun’s webpage. I hope you are realizing you are countering our state’s environmental strides, and are instead favoring an attitude of “obesity in America.” I find this very disturbing that as a leading paper in the state, you would opt to go this route, when newspapers traditionally have been known for their power in educating, informing, and enlightening the public. Anyone can click a mouse at a computer…but is that the type of state that we want for Maryland? Is that what is at the heart of Maryland? I think not. Your computer clickers are probably out enjoying our amazing state parks, seasides, and mountains, doing what Marylanders have done for years.

I have written a post on this subject on my environmental education blog, Green Team Gazette.
I have also posted it on The Baltimore Sun Facebook page, my Green Team Gazette Facebook page, the “Save the Outdoor Sun” Facebook page, the Baltimore Sun Facebook page, and on Twitter.

Again, I hope you will reconsider and reinstate the Outdoor Section. At the very, very least, The Baltimore Sun should maintain a Sunday’s Outdoors column (which still feels substandard as you are doing your readers a disservice the other 6 days; yet this option is far better than nothing at all). If this is your plan, do know that wire feeds alone will not be enough to satisfy your readers and their quest for knowledge of Maryland’s environmental/recreational issues. If that is the route you are planning to take, even in that minimalistic-capacity, what Maryland needs would be again, Candus Thomson. We need her as the common thread, one voice, speaking for the Chesapeake Bay, and to us all.

Bottom line: We need an Outdoors column. Daily. The people of Maryland, the kids of Maryland, need this. Ultimately, for the sake of your readership, The Baltimore Sun needs this!

Vicki Dabrowka
3rd grade Teacher at Eagle Cove School, a Maryland “Green” School since 2006
Co-“Green Team” Lead Teacher at Eagle Cove School
Environmental Educator/Author/Creator of "Green Team Gazette"
Member of MAEOE (Maryland Association of Environmental and Outdoor Educators)

Member of ISTE (International Society for Technology in Education