Ed Tech Ideas

Tech Integration for Busy Teachers

Monthly Archives: May 2011

Summer Sites for Kids – Part II

A good majority of northern hemisphere and international schools are winding down the 2010-2011 school year and doors will be closing as the students and teachers take off on their summer adventures. Here are three more sites to keep your kids learning in a fun way during the summer months. This is part 2 of a multi-part series of posts dedicating to summer learning. Part 1 can be viewed here.

Arts Alive

Arts Alive is a performing arts educational website developed by the National Arts Centre of Canada (don’t worry, there are no Justin Bieber or Celine Dion references). There are sections for students, teachers, and parentsto learn more about the performing arts and ways to discover a greater appreciation of music, theater, and dance.


Can’t afford that summer vacation schlepping around Europe? No worries, just pull up Toporopaon your nearest browser and learn all about the geographical, political, historical and economical aspects of the wonderful continent.

Story Creator

Story Creator is a great free tool for kids to write creative stories with a medieval theme. Intuitive interface allows users to add pictures from the gallery (with the option to upload your own), record audio, add sound effects, create chapters, and print and/or download the story.



Bullying in school is something that has been around as long as there has been school. This info-graphic shows some staggering statistics about bullying. 77% of students are bullied and the number for cyber-bullying are rapidly approaching this number as well. One thing I’ve noticed is that our image of the quintessential bully is nothing like the picture of the kid in the info-graphic. Especially with cyber-bullying.  More and more I’m seeing girls becoming viscously bold in their online bullying tactics and this needs to be addressed at earlier and earlier ages.

My own 5 year old daughter has been bullied on the bus this year by two 5 year old girls.  She was able to stop them by first telling her parents, and then standing up to the girls telling them they were hurting her feelings and they need to stop. Here are some other things that kids can do if they are being bullied:

  • Speak up against bullying. Say something like, “stop it.”
  • Walk away. Act like you do not care, even if you really do.
  • Tell an adult you trust. They may have ideas about what you can do.
  • Stick together. Staying with a group might help.

Things to remember…

  • You are not alone.
  • It is not your fault. Nobody should be bullied!
  • Talk to someone you trust.
  • Do not hurt yourself.
  • Do not bully back. Do not bully anyone else.
  • Do not let the bully win.  Keep doing what you love to do.

Suggestions from stopbullying.gov

U.S. Education vs. the World

The following info-graphic from USC Rossier Online shows an interesting comparison between educational spending and test performance of the U.S. and 12 other countries. It seems like throwing money at a problem is not always the road to success…

Summer Sites for Kids

Summer is upon us once again so for the next couple of weeks, I’ll be dedicating my posts to some great websites for kids that are fun and educational at the same time!

Cool Math

Probably one of my favorite math sites, Cool Math is “designed for the pure enjoyment of mathematics.” This interactive site features a plethora of fun games, puzzles, calculators, and lesson plans.


Even though Shelfari has been taken over by Amazon, it’s still my favorite book review site and would make for a great summer project for parents and students. Shelfari is dubbed as the “premiere site for people who love books,” and the concept is to create a virtual bookshelf of all the books you’ve read or are reading. You can then add a rating (1-5 stars)  as well as a written review of the book and when you are done, Shelfari gives suggestions on what you might want to read next.

Science With Me

Kids love hands-on projects and Science With Me is chalk-full of fun science projects. You’ll also find science movies, songs, coloring sheets, worksheets, and stories to help kids learn scientific principles and science in a fun way.

Three Great IWB Resources You’re Not Using


 is a site created by Spencer Riley, a UK teacher since 2002 which aims to “provide teaching and learning resources to make the use of the interactive whiteboard in the classroom easier and more productive.” The IWB activities are mostly math-based, but there are several RLA resources and some great geography interactives as well.

Promethean Planet

If you have a Promethean IWB, hopefully you are using Promethean Planet. It’s chalk-full of thousands of free, downloadable flipcharts that have been created for teachers. Whenever I set off creating a flipchart from scratch, nine times out of ten that flipchart has already been created and is on Promethean Planet. From there, it is easy to download and add your own individual flair.


TopMarks is a great site for finding tons of interactive IWB resources. The site is divided into subjects on the left hand side such as Math, Literacy, Science, Geography, etc. From there, you choose the age level (elementary teachers would choose “Key Stage 2”), and then select the area that you would like to focus.

3 Great Storybook Creators

There are many great sites to help students create books online, and so this week, in honor of Children’s Book Week, I am dedicating this post to highlight my 3 favorite online storybook creators.


Storyjumper allows you to create online books using a plethora of characters, scenes, and props. The drag and drop interface is intuitive and students are very motivated by the fun scenes, characters, and props. Teachers can, for free, create classes to register students so they each have their own account. As of this writing, there does not seem to be a limit as to how many student accounts you can create.


Storybird reverses the process of visual storytelling by starting with the image and “unlocking” the story inside. Students start by choosing an artist or a theme, bringing in the artwork from that artist/theme to create the story.  Storybird is a great tool for all, but I find it especially helpful for struggling writers who have difficulty thinking of something to write about. You can sign up for a free teacher account that allows you to create a class for your students so they can login without having to have an email address. The class account also enables teachers to create assignments, view student work, and in the near future, collaborate on stories with other classes throughout the world.


Tikatok is a nice digital story tool because it’s easy to create your story and the design is intuitive. You are able to upload your own photos or drawings and use them directly into your story, which is a nice feature. You start your book by choosing one of three options: A memory book, which is a good place to go as the books here are pre-made and you can change them up. Another option is Story Sparks, in which the books have prompts on each page to generate ideas. The last option is to start from scratch.

Two short-coming of Tikatok in my opinion is that, One, the images within the Tikatok gallery leave something to be desired, as they are limited and not searchable.  The second problem with Tikatok is that you cannot print or embed your book. Hopefully, these issues will be addressed in the near future.

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