Totally 3rd Grade Blog
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Archive for November, 2008

A Spelling Site You Should Check Out

Wednesday, November/11/2008

Every now and then I come across a website that is really worth your time.  One of those sites is

SpellingCity is free to use and in a nutshell, you can type in your spelling list and the site will:

  1. automatically produce 8 different spelling games utilizing your list
  2. automatically produce 2 or 3 different kinds of interactive, online quizzes
  3. display your vocabulary words in sentences
  4. audibly pronounce the words for you
  5. offer a variety of printable worksheets involving the spelling words you’ve entered
  6. provide other useful functions that you can check out while you’re on the site

Did I mention that it’s free? Additionally, if you create a user account (also free) you can save your lists for future use.  This can be handy if you want to sit down once for an hour or so and prepare all of the vocabulary quizzes you’ll need all year in one sitting.

Once you’ve set it up, just have students pull up the appropriate list and get to work!

Click the link below to see for yourself.

Take me to to check out a truly useful website

P.S. The site has a vocabulary of 38,000 words.  As a smarty pants, I typed in “discombobulation” and the site correctly pronounced the word and correctly used it in a sentence.  I was blown away.

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Modern Resources for the Modern Era

Friday, November/11/2008

Change is in the air.  Hope for a more unified world and a more balanced role in that world is upon us.

To help re-align our thinking with the demands of the new world, I suggest revisiting some of the forward-thinking tools from our recent past.

One of these tools is the Hobo-Dyer Projection World Map, which is the map that President Jimmy Carter used to display his agency’s efforts at his Nobel Peace Prize ceremony in December 2002.

The Hobo-Dyer Projection is an equal area design that displays countries by their true size in relation to one another.  The reverse side of the map shows the exact same projection, but with two somewhat startling changes: south is on top and Australia is shown in the middle of the map. (See a larger view)

Most Americans have never seen this projection and instead can only imagine a world in which the United States is a prominent country almost literally at the center.  While romantic and glamorous, that kind of distorted thinking hampers our ability to make rational and balanced judgements about our role and importance in the world. 

How does such a simple thing as reversing the poles or changing the “centering” influence your impression of what’s important?

(Shameless promo section ahead… ) has partnered with ODT Maps for a special packaged deal; we are offering a Teacher and the Rockbots “World” CD bundled with an 11×17 Hobo-Dyer World Projection Map for $14.95 (a $4 savings).

If you are interested in acquiring modern resources that fit the modern era, click of the link below and it will take you to ODT Maps where you can make your purchase.

Take me to ODT Maps for my Hobo-Dyer/”World” CD offer

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Connection, Connection

Thursday, November/11/2008

Why bother making connections?

NCLB has created a huge disconnect.  When I was in school (1960’s-1970’s), we studied reading, writing, arithmetic, science, social studies, art and history.  I learned each of these subjects in their own right but more importantly, I learned how they related to each other.  I was taught to apply the principles of one discipline to solve problems within another discipline.  I was taught how to think.

Fast forward to the present.  My wife is an award-winning elementary school teacher and as her devoted spouse, I get to hear about the realities of teaching.  The one thing that has struck me more than anything else about her stories is the frequency of a single complaint: the amount of time that she gets to spend teaching has dropped almost in half since NCLB was enacted.


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The Power of a Promise Kept

Wednesday, November/11/2008


In the end, hope won.


(I apologize for the 15 second commercial that leads this clip.  I chose to use it because of its quality, not its product endorsement.)

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