Wednesday, September 08, 2010

Tasty New Snack!

I just tried a can of Blue Diamond's Bold Wasabi & Soy Sauce Almonds. All I have to say is, "WHOA! These suckers are DELISH!!" If you like the intensity of horseradish with a little saltiness of soy sauce, THIS is the snack for you. Far superior to the smokehouse almonds of days gone by, this new product in the Blue Diamond family makes almonds exciting.

28 almonds comprise one serving. While not exactly low in calories (1 serving has 170 calories), almonds contain healthy fats, potassium, fiber and protein. They are totally worth a try! Pick some up some Wasabi & Soy Sauce almonds in your grocery store's snack food aisle and enjoy!

I really do sound like a commercial!!

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Friday, September 03, 2010

Tagxedo - Another Techie Tool!!

I have to say, I really love playing with new resources. I found this particular site a few weeks ago while reading through edutopia's Back to School guide. If you have ever played with Wordle, you are going to love Tagxedo. Tagxedo lets you create word clouds generated from the frequency of words used in a document. What sets Tagxedo apart from other word cloud designing sites is you can select the shape in which your word cloud appears. For example, if you wish to convert the FFA Creed into a word cloud, go to "Create" across the top of the screen. On the left menu, choose "Load" and merely paste the entire FFA Creed into the text box. Then, you can customize the font, color theme, orientation of text or other characteristics in the left menu. To represent the final word cloud in the shape of a pig or perhaps the USA, go to "Shape" and make the appropriate selection.

Teachers may find Tagxedo helpful for struggling readers learning to extract meaning from a paragraph. Like Wordle, Tagxedo makes the words used more frequently much larger than others. English teachers may wish for students to enter their poetry into Tagxedo to create visually stunning representations of their work for posting around the classroom. Teachers may also use Tagxedo as a game with students to introduce a topic. By entering key words from the lesson plan or unit plan into the text box, teachers may have students try to anticipate the next topic of study.

I recently used Tagxedo as a professional development feedback tool. As you can see from above, I entered my faculty resume into Tagxedo. I had hoped to see where I was spending the bulk of my time. Those words I am not seeing, or those not appearing as large as others, may be areas I need to focus on for the coming academic year. Why did I choose the footprint shape? Because I wanted to see the footprint I was leaving on Agricultural education! The opportunities for this tool are limitless!

Thursday, September 02, 2010

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I really believe I am a rebel at heart. When I hear of a silly rule, I feel the need to find a way around it... or merely push my way through it. Many schools have tried to ban cell phones and texting during the school day but as a teacher, it is almost futile to fight against the pull it has on students. Rather than spend so much energy trying to win a losing battle, why not try to structure technology use for students? Not only does it seem possible to achieve, it seems like it would boost student engagement in the process.

Well, that is what THIS teacher thought!! Watch and celebrate what this teacher in Florida is doing by asking her students to text in class.

Texting in Class Video