Monday, July 29, 2013

Trading Cards iPad App from ReadWriteThink

Here's the 3rd of my 3 GTG posts on my new favorite free iPad apps from ReadWriteThink.

Trading Cards does just what it sounds like it does...however, not the baseball variety.  One of my favorite parts of this app is that it is specifically designed for the classroom to create 7 styles of trading cards.  You can choose between making one for:
  • A fictional person
  • A real person
  • A fictional place
  • A real place
  • An object
  • An event
  • Vocabulary words
Given this, your classroom options are endless.  Again, ReadWriteThink has information and lesson plans for using this app.

I also like that (regardless of card type you pick), the app walks you through each box by asking a pointed question that will help you focus on fine-tuning your information per box.  My 2nd grader made a cute one for the Mary Pope Osborne "Magic Treehouse" books he's been reading.  

Here's my definition card for the environmental term "planned obsolescence." 

For my other two GTG posts on RWT's great apps, click here.

My Planned Obsolescence card from the Trading Card app, using my own research.  Image on that card from;  Trading Cards Logo from

Saturday, July 27, 2013

Venn Diagram iPad App from ReadWriteThink

As I mentioned in my last post, this summer I'm "learning on my iPad" (as I tell my students they have to say). So here's Part 2 of my eco-investigation adventures using ReadWriteThink's 3 free iPad apps.

Venn Diagram was created by the International Reading Association (ReadWriteThink's home organization).  At the touch of the tablet, you can decide upon two or three circles, their sizes, their labels, and how to fill them.  My sixth grader intuitively knew what to do faster than me!

Here is a sample of what I created using the 3 R's:  Reduce, Reuse, and Recycle.

As an additional perk, ReadWriteThink has a whole portal of lesson plan ideas for additional ways to add this app to your classroom and iPad activity repertoire.   You can use the grade level tabs to come up with something that is just perfect for the age you teach on a wealth of topics!

To see my other GTG posts on this trio of apps, click here.

Venn Diagram black image from; My 3-ring Venn created using this app (again, not as easy to read as I'd have liked), using my own ideas on how the 3 R's are connected.

Friday, July 26, 2013

Word Mover iPad App from ReadWriteThink

Summertime, and the living is easy.  It's true, but for a teacher, the summer comes with personal goals and plans for things that the regular school year cannot offer.  My garage, scary dump pile corners, kids' closets... so far it sounds like summer needs to come with courage and bravery (at least in my own house).

But there are the professional "ducks in a row" to get together too.  It's a great time to explore new ideas for schools and edtech trends--at least for this girl.  So along those lines, I've been investigating some apps that I could use in the classroom. Playing with them and giving them a whirl in the eco-world is a good way for me to give them to my own test drive.  ReadWriteThink have 3 notable and free iPad apps worth highlighting.

Word Mover is my first share.  If you remember the magnetic fridge poetry of days gone by, then you know exactly what this app is all about.  You have the choice of pre-programmed text on tiles, inputting your own, or even modifying existing tiles to change words on a per tile basis. This comes in handy when you need to add word endings or even just want to add a word of your own.  They have a handful of background images to add a canvas of your own choosing.  Additionally it's kid-tested, at least here in this house.  Both of my kids sidled up next to me to see what I was doing.  That's always a good vote!

Here's my " Green Surrounds" which helps all of us take a very Richard Louv approach to the green that surrounds us this summer.  A tad fuzzy in that it didn't like the digital transfer, but you get the idea.

For ideas on how to use Word Mover in other lesson plans, check out ReadWriteThink's Word Mover Page.


My fuzzy pic from my own creation, using ReadWriteThink's app WordMover.

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Being a Mean Green Traveling Machine

It's summer time, and that's the time people start hitting the roads, rails, trails, and airways for travel.  From the looks of this old Superbowl advertising pic, even Kermit the Frog can get bit by the travel bug from time to time.  Whereas Kermit might go by his typical mantra "It's not easy being green," perhaps it is easier to travel green than you'd think.  At the very least, there are definitely a lot of good reasons to do so!

Check out the "Sustainable Travel" infographic below to investigate why indeed you should travel green, and how you can reduce your carbon footprint as you go.  Click here for a bigger version.

Infographic from

Monday, July 22, 2013

The Paper Towel Not Spent

Remember the paper towels with quotes on it.  I think perhaps they were Bounty.  You could get your li'l daily dose of wisdom, a takeaway that left you feeling a little bit brighter, a little bit wiser.

Here's a li'l something that'll do just that.  No, it's not ON the paper towel, but it should be.  It is however, ABOUT the paper towel...and the proper use of using just one to do the trick.  In doing so, you can save 571,230,000 pounds of paper towels over a year--from the current number of the 13 billion pounds of paper towel that are used in the US each year.

One indeed seems like a magic number.  (And that one, by the way, can be composted!)

Good advice to follow...unless perhaps you are writing a song.  Then, perhaps maybe you could take 2.  But only then:
"The weirdest place I have ever written a song is probably in an airport, and I got an idea so fast that I just had to run to the bathroom at the airport, grab a paper towel and write lyrics on the paper towel. I still have it. I still have it in a box in my room." ~ Taylor Swift

Paper Towel dispenser pic from
Joe Smith TEDX video 

Thursday, July 18, 2013

And Then There's the Kids--Climate Change, Summer 2013 Part 6

And so it continues....
"For the sake of our children and our future, we must do more to combat climate change." ~ President Obama in his 2013 State of the Union Address
I found the above quote from the July 11th article by Frederica Perera, DrPH, PhD in the Huffington Post.  Dr. Perera wrote an article entitled "Climate Change and Our Children." In it, there were some noticeable points and numbers that speak very loudly.
  • 88% = The World Health Organization (WHO)'s estimated percentage of diseases that affect kids age 5 or  younger that are connected to the effects of climate change.  Immature immune systems of the young and nutritional needs are greatest cause for this connection.  This 88% affects populations globally.  Hardest hit:  the little ones in lower socioeconomic populations.  
  • 150,000 = The WHO's estimate of deaths caused annually due to climate change (adults and children combined).
  • 5,000,000 = The WHO's estimate of years lost due to disability, malnutrition, or poor health due to climate change.  
  • 17 = The number of years between now and 2030.  During these years, the 5 million above could double if nothing is done to curb the problems.
  • 66,500,000 = The number of children globally (over time) who have been affected by weather-related disasters--which have increased in both magnitude and occurrence. 
  • 372,000 = The number of children left school-less due to Hurricane Katrina in 2005.  (It amazes me to realize that hurricane and its devastation was nearly 8 years ago!)
The list of health effects on small children is detailed well in Dr. Perera's article.  The list are many as a result of heat waves, air pollutants, and exposures that all come about due to the after-effects of our warming planet.  Given their still-developing, little systems, it's no wonder that the smallest of our people are the hardest hit and the most at risk.  They need us all to be agents of change, to curb the climatic changes.

Along those lines...more numbers....

NOAA's State of the Climate Report for June 2013 had this very striking quote:
"The globally-averaged temperature for June 2013 tied with 2006 as the fifth warmest June since record keeping began in 1880. June 2013 also marks the 37th consecutive June and 340th consecutive month with a global temperature above the 20th century average."
So all that remains....

Are the questions:  What is going to be done to solve these problems? Why aren't we doing more now? And why are people even still questioning the existence of climate change?

These are the things that make me shake my head.

To see more on my GTG summer series on climate change, click here!

Monday, July 15, 2013

In a Nutshell--Climate Change, Summer 2013, Part 5

Planet Nutshell
I'm telling you--it's the summer of Climate Change.

Every time I turn around, it's the topic of a lot of good info and good finds.  Even going to the Smithsonian National Zoo in Washington DC the other day, many exhibits spoke on endangered animals and how many animal populations were affected by humans--particularly by way of climate change.  But, I'm getting ahead of myself, and that's a story for another day.

Planet Nutshell takes complex concepts and simplifies them in an easy to understand video format.  They put down the facts cleanly and simply, "in a nutshell."  Visit Planet Nutshell and you will find a series of 11 animated videos all on the science behind climate change.  These videos were created through a grant from the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, and created in collaboration with Salt Lake City's KUEN TV.  Here's episode 1:

To learn more, check out Planet Nutshell's Climate Change to find all 11 of their nutshell videos.

Special thanks to Free Technology for Teachers for originally writing about this.  If you are at all interested in teaching, educational technology, and finding engaging resources for your classroom, THIS is an excellent source for you!!

To see more on my summer series on climate change, click here!

Video and logo from

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

And the Wild Weather & Wildfires Continue--Climate Change, Summer 2013 Part 4

It just seems I can't steer too far away from climate change this July.  Of course record heatwaves and Western wildfires make that a little tricky.  (Reason # 316 why my backyard pool and it's revival this summer--after a long hot no-pool summer last year--is of paramount importance in my "Teacher Summer" this year!)

Caught this on tonight:  "Smoke from Massive Wildfire Billows Over Las Vegas."  More wildfires after Arizona's tragic event is bad enough, but it does make it more personal when I was in Vegas for the first time in 15+ years this past March AND I have a good hometown/high school buddy who lives in Vegas.  Makes you rethink the popular "What happens in Vegas, stays in Vegas."  When it is wildfires in surrounding communities that are only 15% contained, not so much!

Add too that tonight I was going through my list of saved "blog fodder" links, and ran across this video from Australia's Climate Commission.  At 2 minutes, 14 seconds, it does a good job of relating the wild weather, wildfires, and climate change conundrum.  It's not just an Australia the same way that it's not just a Vegas or Arizona problem.  Makes you wonder when we're all going to get serious, and get smart. "It" (this, this promise...of Climate Change) is not going away, people!

For more information on Climate Change, visit the Climate Commission.

To see more in my July Series on Climate change, check out:

-Wildfires: Just Another Climate Change Clue--Climate Change, Summer 2013, Part 1

-Right Brain Meets Left Brain With Climate Change--Climate Change, Summer 2013, Part 2

-Obama's Climate Plan--Infographically Speaking--Climate Change, Summer 2013 Part 3

Video from

Friday, July 5, 2013

Obama's Climate Plan: Infographically Speaking--Climate Change, Summer 2013, Part 1

To wrap up this week's GTG 3-part Climate Change Quest, this infographic is a goodie.  Shared on TckTckTck: The Global Call for Climate Action on June 25, the visual below does a good job of summing up President Obama's recent plan for fighting climate change.

Infographic from

Wednesday, July 3, 2013

Right Brain Meets Left Brain With Climate Change--Climate Change, Summer 2013, Part 2

I'm sort of continuing on with my Climate Change thread this week.  In thinking about the rise in temperatures and the fact that this still is somehow "a debate," I landed on this video by Ensia.  In it, University of Minnesota and Daniel Crawford go about discussing climate change in a non-traditional way.  A way that hasn't been done before.  A way that more of us might "hear."  He combines raw scientific data with the music and magic of his cello and a pretty distinctive game plan--to record a song to reveal about climate change.  Namely, "A Song of Our Warming Planet."

A Song of Our Warming Planet from Ensia on Vimeo.

The score of this musical masterpiece is a little different than your typical song.  In it, Daniel Crawford plots the global temperature since 1880 by scale--musical scales.  If the temperature trend went down, the musical notes of the song go down.  If the temperature goes up, so too do the tones.  I love how the historical temperature graph is superimposed on the images, and the line graph moves with the music.  The trend is quite clear.

I love that this approach takes a right-brained tackle on the left-brain global data.  It left me wondering:  could this be the type of thing that finally makes a difference between the deniers and the dedicated believers.  My question is how many scientist need to be right in order for us to start believing it?  97% clearly isn't quite enough yet.  Perhaps by approaching it in a non-scientific way, people will truly be able to see!

For more on Right Brain-Left Brain from GTG, check out:
When Left and Right Brains Unite: The Symphony of Science

For more on Climate Change from GTG, check out the sidebar and click on "climate change."

Video from

Monday, July 1, 2013

Wildfires: Just Another Climate Change Clue--Climate Change, Summer 2013, Part 3

Our country, if not the world, is saddened this week with the terrible loss of  19 firefighters who were victims in the raging Arizona wildfires. Our hearts go out to them, to their loved ones, to their community they were working to help.  This single event rivals the loss in the fire industry that occurred Sept 11th, 2001. With damage covering more than 8400+ acres (a quadruple-sized jump since when it first began on the 28th of June), it is the worst US wildfire accident since 1933.  Those kinds of stats make you sit up and take notice.

Additionally too, you sit up when you start to see that the West Coast is emeshed in the perfect storm of a horrible, long-lasting drought and a record breaking heatwave.  Human-made climate change was one of the over-riding factors in the rise of Southwestern wildfires in the January 2013 climate report from the Federal Advisory Committee (the NCADAC, also known as The "National Climate Assessment and Development Committee).  Check out the fire graph here from Climate Central for the US's top state for fastest rising temperatures: Arizona.

When the Washington Post starts indicating we should be concerned on their Opinion Page, I'm thinking we should go with that. (See the WP's June 16th Opinion Post "What to Do About Climate Change.")  When the report is that the carbon level in the atmosphere is 400 parts per million [ppm]--when most climate scientists indicate that 350 ppm is where we should be--we should be worried.  Moreover, the carbon levels hit the highest ever point in 2012 according to the International Energy Agency (IEA).  These carbon level increases could raise us 2 degrees Celsius over the next 100 years.  Those numbers change shorelines.  Those numbers raise waters.  Those numbers and rising temperatures cause an increase in natural disasters such as hurricanes and wildfires.  Do we need more natural disasters in wake of these Arizona wildfires and many distinctive and destructive storms fronts?  I don't think so.

To learn more about climate change, be sure to visit all the links above, as well as

Another good read:
"Climate Change is Here — and Worse Than We Thought" by James E. Hansen, August 3, 2012

Image from;
Graph from