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Achievement Counts – Volunteers Needed

It’s that time of year again when you can make a difference in the lives of students looking to find direction by volunteering for Achievement Counts, a speakers-bureau program designed to inform and motivate middle and high school students about the vital connection between hard work in school and success in college, the workplace, and in life.

We are pleased to report that our school continues to be recognized as one of the leading sources of volunteers for this important and valuable program. Created by the Maryland Business Roundtable for Education, the program recruits and trains volunteers from various careers, educational, ethnic and cultural backgrounds.

Volunteers will participate in a 3-hour training session in September and are asked to make four 45-minute classroom presentations in October/November. The messages they deliver are based on their own personal and work experiences, and focus on the importance of working hard, taking rigorous courses, and building a strong transcript while in school. Volunteers can select schools, dates and times that are convenient to them.

We encourage you to take advantage of this opportunity to make a difference in the lives of students. To sign up to be a speaker or get more information, visit www.mbrt.org/speak or contact LaTara Harris at 410/727-0448 or latara@mbrt.org.

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Wordle: Another great (free) app

Wordle is another web-based application that is incredibly simple and pretty darn cool. According to the website (www.wordle.net), “Wordle is a toy for generating ‘word clouds’ from text that you provide. The clouds give greater prominence to words that appear more frequently in the source text.”

Basically, you type or dump in a block of text or link to a blog, then hit “go” – and, voila! – instant word art. You can tweak the colors and fonts to your heart’s content. For 38 ideas on how to use Wordle in the classroom, be sure to check out http://clifmims.com/blog/archives/2626.

Have fun!

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30 seconds to your own chat

A number of faculty and staff are devoting part of our summer to mastering Web 2.0 tools and strategies under the tutelage of SOE alum (and all-around edtech guru) Shelly Wojewodzki. Shelly, who teaches at John Carroll High School in Bel Air, MD, runs an entirely paperless classroom (learn more at www.teachpaperless.com or by following @teachpaperless on Twitter).

Today we learned about a(nother) great, free tool – Today’sMeet (www.todaysmeet.com). Designed as a backchannel to accompany live presentations (you will no doubt start seeing it used at conferences, if you haven’t already), it can also be used to quickly and easily facilitate a real-time chat session among anyone with an internet connection. No one needs to subscribe to anything, and you can archive your session for anywhere between two hours and a year. Pretty cool. Great idea for open hours, faculty meetings, homework help, etc.

Check it out! (And don’t be surprised if we invite you to our own such sessions in the future.)

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