Google has a great Santa Tracker

Visit Santa’s Village created by Google and enjoy a new activity every day. Each is labeled as Watch, Learn, or Play and feature varied levels of difficulty. There is a little something for everyone and lots of learning embedded into most every activity.

The site employs different forms of Google product. Some are tied to Google Code while others like the parachuting Santa game employs maps of the user’s actual location. We typed in our school location and Santa landed on the map right in our parking lot. When Christmas Eve arrives, kids will be able to even track Santa on his trip.


Put some STEAM into your kids’ Christmas


STEAM might seem just like another educational buzzword, but teaching in a way that fosters science, tech, engineering, art, and math produces well-rounded kids with the ability to communicate and solve problems.

This morning I got the chance to share some of these ideas on WOODTV-8 Daybreak.


Here are some great gift ideas to put some STEAM into your kids’ holiday season.

ScienceI Heart Guts plush toys –  Stuffed animal like organs for the kid who wants to be a doctor or just loves gross stuff. Doctors and pediatricians are actually using these in their practice so kids and adults better understand consults. $14-$20 
TechnologyOzobots –  Little tiny robots that can be easily programed either by an app or simply by using various colored markers on paper. Each color equals a different command. Giving kids opportunities to program and code is so very important, not necessarily to create a wave of app creators, but to develop in-depth logical thought in kids. $49

Engineering – Tie - Goldiblox and the Zipline Adventure –  Kids get all of the parts to build a zipline for Goldie, the included action figure. The set also comes with an accompanying book to fuel the imaginative use of the zipline. Goldiblox is a company geared at getting more girls involved with engineering. $25

Equally cool are the Modarri toy cars  – These are like Hotwheels except kids build them from the ground up and then modify the steering, types of wheels, and suspension as well as other options. $19 each or $49 for 3 that comes with extra wheels.

Arts - Crayola Virtual Design Pro Car Collection – Crayola Virtual Design Pro Fashion Collection - Elaborate set of art and design supplies where kids make their own vehicles or fashion designs. A partner iOS or Android app lets them scan the designs and then play with them in a virtual world by racing their cars or having models wear their fashions down the runway.

Math – Good old deck of cards and “Book of Cards for Kids – 35 Classic Card Games” –   There are so many math concepts kids learn playing card games from counting, sorting, sequencing, all of the way up to figuring probability and it fosters great family time. $12
These gift ideas are just a handful of options that are available to stimulate thinking and creativity while still providing tons of fun. Notice that they aren’t just device based. Each involves some form of real-world making stuff or analog play. All are great for friends and family to make and do together.

11 Months, 3000 pictures and a lot of coffee. – YouTube

This is an amazing video created in stop motion. Read the creator’s explanation of how it all began.


Started out as just a collection of snaps as I stripped down an engine bought off ebay. (To replace my old engine, which had suffered catastrophic failure). The snaps were so that I remembered how everything went, so I could put it back together again.

via 11 Months, 3000 pictures and a lot of coffee. – YouTube.

Emily Oren is the Regional Champion! – Hillsdale College Athletics

It’s been a long time since I have been so proud of a former student.

Congrats former Bentheim Elementary Infotech student and Hamilton High School grad Emily Oren on such a great accomplishment becoming an NCAA Division II regional champion! The fact she runs for Hillsdale, the best college in the country makes me even prouder.


Emily Oren is the Regional Champion! – Hillsdale College Athletics.

Check out the Session Listings for #CUERockStar Camp Melbourne, FL

Get yourself some sun this winter and soak up some amazing professional development as well.

Check out the sessions now listed for Rock Star Florida

January 17-19, 2015

Stone Magnet Middle School, 1101 E University Boulevard, Melbourne, FL 32901

Day 1 – Microsoft, Google, and Apple

Day 2 – STEAM

Day 3 – Digital Pedagogies

All CUE Rock Star Teacher Camps are purposely designed and focused small group events that have three items in common:

Hands-On Learning

All three days consist of two, two-hour sessions allowing attendees to “dig in deep” and really get to know their topic and build resources to use next year.  Morning sessions are repeated in the afternoon so that attendees have two different opportunities to attend a workshop.

Small Presenter to Attendee Ratios

CUE Rock Star events are built so that there is one presenter for every ten attendees and the events sell out at 60-70 attendees.  This allows participants to get hands-on support and learn directly from knowledgeable educators. The amazing Faculty is there to support YOU, the real rock stars. CUE Rock Star Melbourne has an all-star cast of presenters, but the staff isn’t who these events are about. The attendees are the real rock stars and contribute to the magic these camps produce. These three days focus on bringing out the best of all in attendance and launching a new crop of edtech leaders.

Time for Collaboration and Networking

We purposely start late, end early, and take extended lunches so that all attendees have ample opportunities to collaborate and network as part of learning community.

Lodging Information:

View this map for several hotels in the area. CUE is not endorsing or recommending any particular hotel; this is intended for informational purposes only.

Daily Schedule:

9:00      Coffee

9:30      Shred Sessions

10:00    Session 1

12:00    Lunch/Networking

2:00      Session 2

4:00      Closing

Registration and more details at  CUE Rock Star Camp Melbourne, FL.

5 Easy Tech Projects for Kids to Give Thanks


Here are five technology infused ways for kids to show their thankfulness as we head into Thanksgiving here in the U.S. Canadian friends can file this one away until next Fall.

The great thing about each of these activities is that thoughts and ideas are not only shared with the whole class but also an authentic audience across the web. Publish a link in a newsletter or on a class blog and invite the outside world into your classroom and the hard work of your students.

1. Blog Comments: One of the fastest ways for kids to give thanks is on a class blog. Create a post as a writing prompt and then open up the comments to your students. In Blogger and other platforms there are various settings to allow anonymous comments but have students sign each one with a first name. It is a good idea to watch each new addition closely to ward off any pre-holiday hi-jinx or silliness. It is neat to see all of the ideas in one group spot. Students can also comment on each other’s thoughts.

2. Build a Shared Class Slide Deck: If your students all have Google Apps for Education accounts, you can create a presentation that has a blank slide for every student. Just share the deck with the entire class and each student can work in his or her own little corner of the collaborative project. It is a proactive idea to designate each slide ahead of time with a student name or class number. This greatly reduces students interfering with one another. Each can create a slide that has textual and visual expressions of what makes them thankful. The finished deck can be embedded on a class webpage for everyone to easily view.


Haiku Deck helps you makes stunning slides.

3. Get Artsy with Haiku Deck: Students will need an account in Haiku Deck, but they can do that with their Google Accounts as well. Haiku Deck is available free as an iOS app or on the web at There isn’t the option of all collaborating on the same deck of slides like in Google Apps, but there are a number of sharing options that easily let students email links or embed codes to a teacher so all of the work can get compiled in one publicly accessible spot. Students can upload their own background photos or select from the beautiful free collection that Haiku Deck offers.

4. Create a Pic Collage: This a great free app available on iPad and Android devices. It has an easy to use interface for dragging and dropping a number of pictures into a collage and accenting with text and borders. A number of frames are available that makes the maneuvering even easier. Non-linguistic representations of concepts are often the most powerful connections to really understanding something. A collage showing thankfulness really gets kids thinking about what they have special in their lives, but also how to effectively communicate that visually. Collages can be saved as images and then posted by the teacher.

5. Let Them Show it with ShowMe: ShowMe is a great whiteboard recording app for the iPad. Students can upload a picture or draw one and then create a voice over track telling for what they are thankful. One advantage that ShowMe has over some of the other whiteboard apps is that if logged into a teacher account, the quick movies generated can all be easily posted to webspace that ShowMe provides.

None of these techniques take a tremendous amount of tech skills and don’t require a lot of planning on the teacher’s part. Give one a spin this week and you are likely to wind up thankful you did.

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