Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Chrome Speed Dial

I use Google Chrome.  I had been using iGoogle as my home page, but I found that it took too long to load, especially when I just wanted to do a quick Google search.

Chrome has a native quick-dial page that displays whenever you open a new tab.  However, this utility is not very customizable.  It does not permit you to display more than six bookmark thumbnails.

I found a Chrome extension that solved both my problems.  It is called Chrome Speed Dial.  This extension, which displays when I open a new tab, allows me to have as many bookmark thumbnails as I want.

I transferred my iGoogle extensions to Speed Dial, and then I set my home page to Google, instead of iGoogle.  Now, my home page loads much faster.

Saturday, August 28, 2010

Motivated Students

I found a nice article on the blog scottaaronson.com.

The writer (Scott, I presume) addresses the challenges student motivation.

Scott makes a couple of observations that made me nod my head in agreement.

For one thing, the introduction of grades and assessment into a learning milieu immediately complicates the situation and disrupts the natural curiosity of the learners.  Scott advises teachers to grade generously.  I concur.

Secondly, Scott reminds his readers that a classroom is composed of unique personalities.  It is inevitable that some students will not be interested in learning the subject material; often, they will make it clear that they do not want to be in school.  The teacher should not then be dismissive of the whole group.  Sometimes, I fall into this trap.  If one or two students gives me difficulty, then I feel discouraged by the entire class.  I must remind myself that each student is an individual.  As Scott suggests: focus on the good students and not on the bad ones.

Photo by bernat…

Thursday, August 26, 2010

First Week

These days, many teachers are blogging about their planned activities for the first days of school.

My plan is to have the students write exams in each of the subject areas.  Then, around Christmas and again at the end of the year, I will ask them to write similar versions of the same exams.  This way, I will have a measurement of their progress.

There are many states and provinces that have archived exams available online.  So, for example, students could write the 2006 California English exam in September, and then write the 2007 California English exam in December.

Edinformatics is a website indexing a list of state exams.

Additionally, Larry Ferlazzo has compiled a list of websites offering online exam practice.

Photo by yorgak.

Sunday, August 15, 2010


I created the slideshow below on a website called Shwup.

Shwup has several appealing options.  Users can upload photos, or import them from common sites such as Flickr.  There are a few melodies on the site that can be used, or you can upload your own song.  Shwup uses the Muvee technology to create  slideshows with attractive transitions.  There are several styles from which to chose.  Best of all, it’s free.