Saturday, June 15, 2013

Seven Days Until ISTE 2013

 I found this handy free embeddable countdown timer for websites and blogs from (  The countdown timer is also available as a website-based timer (

Image Source
The countdown to any date timer has an easy-to-use simple interface. Simply choose the countdown design, enter the timer title, select the date and time, and time zone of the event and click the Create Countdown button.  Simple as that!
Image Source

The website-based countdown to any date timer produces an easy-to-read countdown that stays active as long as you keep the webpage open.

Image Source also offers a free online timer with a easy-to-use interface interface as well.  You can assign a name to the time, enter the amount of time, and select a sound to play when time runs out.

Image Source
The timer interface produced is easy to read and with the ability to create additional timer would enable a teacher to use this timer for station rotations without needing to reset and restart a timer.

Image Source
The third free online tool available at is a stopwatch timer.

Image Source
The stopwatch timer even saves splits, which can be labeled onscreen. This could be handy if 
you want to time several students doing the same task and compare elapsed time or speed.

Overall, there are many handy tools available at this website for teachers to use in multiple ways in the classroom,  on a mobile device at their favorite sporting event, and maybe even to remind them of an anniversary or birthday coming up!

Thursday, June 13, 2013

Google Translate Makes Blog Content Language-Friendly

Have you ever wanted to be fluent in a foreign language?  Well now you can be!

Not by spending  hours listening to self-paced Rosetta Stone language lessons or by living in a foreign country with a host family.  Thanks to a Google widget you can install in your blog layout, you can instantly become fluent in multiple foreign languages with the click of a simple drop-down menu widget that makes it quick and simple to translate the text content of your blog post on Google Blogger to another language.

You can quickly revert to the original language of your blog, especially if you're not as fluent as you used to be in the translated language and don't quite remember the original content of your blog, by simply clicking the X at the top right corner of your blog.

Imagine having a collaborating classroom partner in another country with students who speak an entirely different language than your own students do.  Now your students can easily use Google Blogger to create a blog of classroom writing and connections that can become instantly multi-lingual with a click of the Google Translate button, making the experience much more personalized for the collaborating classroom students while enabling global connections.

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Tracking Derecho Winds With Wind Map

Last night's unusual derecho weather produced strong winds and rain. If you're like most people, you're probably wondering what a derecho is.  I certainly was when I heard my local weather forecaster Dave Dahl mention derecho-like weather predictions yesterday.

Image Source
derecho is a widespread, long-lived, straight-line wind storm that is associated with a land-based, fast-moving band of severe thunderstorms. Derechos can carry hurranic or tornadic force and often deliver torrential rains and perhaps flash floods as well as strong winds. Winds convection-induced take on a bow echo(backward "C") form of squall line, forming in an area of wind divergence in upper levels of the troposphere, within a region of low-level warm air advection and rich low-level moisture. They travel quickly in the direction of movement of their associated storms, similar to an outflow boundary (gust front), except that the wind is sustained and increases in strength behind the front, generally exceeding hurricane-force. ~

What a great opportunity to take advantage of an interesting and fun Web 2.0 website called Wind Map.

Image Source

Wind Map is a personal art project created off hourly updates to surface wind data from the National Weather Service National Digital Forecast Database (

Image Source
The site also includes of gallery of "Snapshots of Winds Past" (  One the past wind snapshots is of Hurricane Sandy's ( near 40 mph winds.

Some of the great features of the wind maps include being able to hover over a region and get a pop-up of the wind speed at a particular latitude and longitude.  Clicking on a area of the map creates a zoomed in view, which can produce some great visuals for teaching meteorological concepts.

Image Source
A great classroom use of this website might be to take a screenshot of the site at relatively the same time every day use the thumbnails as part of a morning meeting activity or to create a table or spreadsheet of weather-related data comparisons of the wind, temperature, etc.