Trackstar

This was promised to you last week. I even put the tease out there that it was coming over the weekend. Going to be honest with everyone here, it’s been really hard to sit down and ‘want’ to type a blog post. For the most part I’m trying to remain positive. For my friends, they know these last 2 weeks have been a challenge for me in trying to get everything up and running at my school. I’m but a few cogs short, but for the most part I can sit back and breathe a sigh of relief. Just hoping now my wireless issues will be solved, in which my district IT guys were there again today. I swear, there is nothing like hearing alot of “that’s odd” and “strange” coming from guys who are definitely smarter (and geekier) than you are. SO! Here’s hoping I can start positive stuff again!!!

Thanks to Darcy out in Arizona, I was able to befriend Diana L. while out on the DEN excursion. It’s always nice when someone comes up to you and says, “Hey, you’re Tom…Darcy told me to find you and hang with you and all would be ok.” Thought that was a good way to start a friendship. Her and I were skypechatting the other day about some free resources to share with my teachers and she ripped off a couple that I have DEFINITELY never heard of. Trackstar being one of them. Here’s a direct quote straight from the Trackstar home page that pretty much sums it up better than I can.

“TrackStar is your starting point for online lessons and activities. Simply collect Web sites, enter them into TrackStar, add annotations for your students, and you have an interactive, online lesson called a Track. Create your own Track or use one of the hundreds of thousands already made by other educators.” (http://trackstar.4teachers.org/trackstar/)

I’ve not created one of my own as of yet, not that I’ve had much time. I asked Diana to pick out one that she wanted to share with everyone. She chose this one that revolves around the Flagstaff Film Festival of 2007. The really great thing about Trackstar is that you can search by Track # or author, even better is the keyword search. As Diana cautioned me, read the terms of use before creating your own. Because there are copyright issues involved with the use of it.

Several implementation ideas I have for it, and will share with my teachers when I do my online resources session. Diana’s pointed out that for her, “it’s a great way to get them focused and into the activity in the lab the second they walk in.” The author of the “track” is doing the research, the students find the results/answers. I think I referred to it as a place to house organized “online scavenger type hunts.” Second would be to have students create their own tracks at the conclusion of a unit. Working collaboratively, give students a list of about 10 vetted and appropriate websites, and let them create their own. I’ve not gone through and searched to see if this has been previously done, and I’m sure it has. Apparently this site’s been around for a while, I think she told me 10 years, so anything is possible.

I’ve had some great conversations with some of my teachers on campus over the last few days. Most revolving around the use of the word ‘stealing’ ideas to use in their own classrooms. I’m VERY quick to point out that in my eyes we are all collaborating with each other to make each other’s jobs that much easier. It pains me to see teachers, who are Really good at what they do, hoard great ideas. Support each other! As I’ve been so apt to hear over the weekend, “We’re all in this together”. I cannot really believe I just quoted a lyric from High School Musical. But really, isn’t it appropriate?

Seeking the Wisdom of the Ages…

Tom.

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4 thoughts on “Trackstar

  1. That’s one of the reasons I loved the DEN. Teachers collaborated and shared and the DEN teachers more than likely went back to the school and shared with others- prodded it out of them. I shared information about the DEN today. It’s not my job anymore, but it’s still a past passion. (sigh).
    And it bugs me too when they don’t share! HELP others out. Otherwise, next year you could go up a grade and get their kids that could have used your great lesson ideas and tips. If they had it the year before, they’d be on grade level now.Don’t whine – shine with sharing.
    Boy I’m tired.

  2. Pingback: Larry Ferlazzo’s Websites Of The Day For Teaching ELL, ESL, & EFL » Blog Archive » Trackstar

  3. Hi Tom,

    I don’t know if you have had a chance to check out all the other tools available from http://4teachers.org but they have so many easy to apply tools in their arsenal. The site used to be be HPR-Tec, but has since been taken over by ALTEC and now is hosted at http://4teachers.org. If you haven’t checked out RubiStar (rubric creator) you should. Some of the tools are older and not updated very often but they are still very useful.

    ~Anne T

  4. Yes Anne…Diana hooked me up with the rest of the tools on that website. I was very impressed with it, and very amazed that I hadn’t seen it before last week.

    Tom.