More and more schools are adding Google Apps for Education as part of their scheme for low cost services including GMail, Docs, Sites, Video, and Calendar. Our district has made the decision to move to this as well. The benefits are: low cost (free), integration of the 5 products listed above, ease of use for students home/school connections, ease of collaboration for students as well as teachers and simplicity of use of the products.

Our teachers are pretty computer literate and this should be a welcomed transition. We have FirstClass email at this point, and will keep it for faculty use. Part of our training session will be to show teachers how to get their contacts from FC over to their GoogleMail. Another important part will be to show them how to have one email account push all messages to the other so that they only have to check one mail service. This is particularly important for teachers who are new to Google services.

I want to recommend two great services for training your teachers as well. The first has been developed by Google as in a comprehensive support page for the GoogleApps for Education. There are video tutorials as well as written instructions for the tools. The second resource was created by several Google Teacher Academy members as part of their project and is called Tech Training Wheels. This site was created to be a resource for those who train others in their district to use Google tools so we could share resources. Rather than have 100 people creating the same videos and documents for training, this site offers videos and documents to share. Start with this video and hopefully you can add to the library or learn something there.

For other Google links to resources, I share my delicious library: http://www.delicious.com/RMOM/google


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Hurricane Katrina in the Gulf of Mexico near i...Image via Wikipedia We are about 1/2 way through hurricane season and it has been pretty mild. Can you believe it was 5 years ago that Katrina hit the Gulf Coast? There is still a lot of rebuilding going on. That year the number of hurricanes and tropical storms exceeded 25, causing over 3,000 deaths in the US alone. Prepare your students for this year by examining these links from Teacher'sFirst. Quiz your class to see if they know what happens when we run out of the alphabetical names for storms. Do you know?
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Looking for another way to share insect biology with your class? Check out Orkin's Virtual Cockroach. Really, it is not gross, but a scientific view of the parts of this insect. If you zoom in you can see an actual photo of the anatomy. I found it quite fascinating. Another link takes you to the Orkin Learning Center. There are lesson plans a pest zoo and games for young children. So use this as a great opportunity to share the love!
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One of the new programs I saw demonstrated this summer is ZooBurst. It is a site that allows you to create an online popup book. Here is my sample:


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Monopoly JusticeImage by mtsofan via Flickr

While looking for some tutorials for Google, I noticed quite a few links to some great teaching information. The first one is for back to school discounts and specials for teachers from many stores. Watch your local paper for other deals and specials from Target as well. In addition, Dollar General is offering 20% off with the coupon printed from this page.

There are thousands of great websites teachers use to inspire students, but here are a few games that I'll bet you have in your basement, closet or can get your hands on quickly. They are classic games that teach many different skills, thinking, compromise, teamwork, problem solving and of course being a gracious winner or loser!
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