May 12, 2011
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TeacherLed 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.
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.
April 29, 2011
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I’ve always liked Inspiration and Kidspiration for quick, easy to use ways of brainstorming. But with a $900 price tag for a 20 computer license, there just didn’t seem to be any reason to pay that money when there are several robust, free alternatives. In the past couple of years, these alternatives have come close to matching, and in many aspects, surpassing what Inspiration and Kidspiration can do to help students organize their thoughts. Here are my three favs, with a few honorable mentions thrown in to boot.
Just discovered this one and it’s already my favorite. Easy to use (really) drag and drop interface. Intuitive tool bar. Decent amount of shapes, lines, and clip art. You have the ability to right-click on any shapes for editing options. Diagram.ly has a very Microsoft feel to it so if you have students who are used to using Office products, the learning curve with Diagram.lywill be easy. Another great feature is that there is no sign up, no registration and no download. You simply create your mind map and save (.xml, .jpg, .png, or .svg).
Grapholite is another great diagramming site that is, like diagram.ly, very “Microsoftesque.” Grapholitehas a generous amount of shapes, text boxes, arrows, flow chart icons, and blocks. Colors, fonts, and sizes are easily changed, and it’s easy to insert your own pictures directly into the diagram. Without creating an account (demo mode) users can create diagrams (there doesn’t seem to be a limit as to how many) and export their work as either a .jpg, .png, or .pdf. If you sign up for a free account, you can save your work online to be able to come back and edit it at a later time.
Another great tool, bubbl.us allows you to easily create and save mind maps. Without an account you begin brainstorming straight away and are able to print or save your mind map as a jpeg or png. Sign up for a free account and you can save the mind map to work on later and/or have others edit it.
Hewe are some other sites worth checking out for brainstorming and flow chart creation:
April 27, 2011
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How many different tech tools can you count?
April 14, 2011
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Here’s a great idea for a classroom ice-breaker or a daily conversation starter from Google. It’s called “A Google a Day” and it’s a simple interface that takes the Google search page and adds a daily trivia question to the bottom of the screen. You do a search to find the answer and then check to see if you got it correct by clicking, “Show answer.” The answer is then displayed along with tips on the best techniques to search for it (in case you got the wrong answer).
Ed Tech Ideas: This is a great activity for younger kids as it teaches and reinforces smart search querying. To avoid spoilers, Deja Google was created, which is, “A wormhole inspired time machine that searches the Internet as it existed before the game began.” So you can search for the answer without fear of coming across someone’s blog post with the answer, thus spoiling the fun.
March 31, 2011
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In celebration of Robert Bunsen’s 200th birthday, I’m dedicating this post to four cool science sites for kids. If you’d like to see some of my other favorite science sites, click here.
The Periodic Table of Videos is a site created and maintained by The University of Nottingham. Clicking on any of the 118 chemical elements brings you to informational videos all about that element. A great site for self-directed learning!
The educational goals of Catch the Science Bug are to, “Increase science literacy and raise environmental consciousness by adhering to national standards and guidelines for content and use different teaching methods to engage all types of learners, and encourage life-long learning by featuring scientists who model this behavior.” The site has big goals, but it hits them pretty well. By using the Science Files section, students can learn about various scientific concepts by reading, watching videos, and completing activities.
Science Bob is a fun, interactive site that has several different areas for kids to choose from. There are videos, experiments, science fair ideas, and a research help link with a plethora of fantastic links to other sites. Don’t forget to click on the “Whatever you do, Don’t click here” button (or not).
Here’s a simple flip chart that you can download for free from Promthean Planet to illustrate the flame types of a Bunsen Burner depending on valve position. There is also a series of photographs to identify element flame tests. (Note: You must be logged in to Promethean Planet to download the chart).
March 18, 2011
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This is part II of a series of posts dedicated to free, online math sites to help students learn their basic facts, and to help teachers help their students. You can view part I here.
Create A Graph helps students graph all sorts of data in either a bar, line, area, pie, or xy graph. To create a graph, you choose a type of graph you want to produce, enter your data, change the font and colors (optional) and then either print or save after previewing it. Students are able to save in a variety of formats including pdf, jpg, png, and others. I use this site to help my students graph data they gather when we are researching about developing countries. You can read about this unit here.
You can also download this step-by-step guide to help you along:
I couldn’t have a post called “Cool Math Tools” without including Cool Math for Kids. This site has so many great games, activities, lessons, and even flash cards for math learners ages 3-12 (older students can check out Coolmath.com). There is a Teacher Section with ideas on how to use the site in your classroom, as well as continued education, resources, and a few extras.
Multiplication.com has some really fun games to help students master their basic facts. Most of the games would go well with IWBs or stand-alone computer stations, so they would be good to use as individual or group practice. Some of my favorites include: Math Wash Up, Space Race, Flight of the Knight, Sketch’s World, Castle Quests, and Grand Prix, but there are tons more on the site, so check it out!
March 15, 2011
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I recently revisited Spelling City and thought it deserved another post. The layout and simplicity of Spelling City has greatly improved, and with the additions of a teacher resource section and forum, there is a lot of help for those who want to turn their students into better spellers. You begin by entering your words that you want to work on. You can enter the words individually, in groups of 5 or 10, or you can batch import by simply doing a copy/paste from Word.
Take a Test
In the “Take a Test” section, once the words are entered, you can take a test, where each word is read and used in a sentence. You type it out, hit enter, and go on to the next word. The site checks your answers and lets you know if you are correct.
Another option is to use the “Teach Me” section, where the Spelling City teacher says the word, spells it, and uses it in a sentence. Note: the computer voice is not perfect and occasionally mispronounces words.
The game section of Spelling City contains nearly 2 dozen games which incorporate your words that you entered in your initial word list. 7 of these games are only for premium subscribers ($24.99/yr for a family $49.99/yr for a classroom Learn more), but there are plenty of free games to keep students busy learning their words.
All in all, Spelling City is a great resource to use in the classroom as part of a spelling program, or for students to use for home learning. The site is clear, concise, engaging, and will help students learn words in a fun way.
March 13, 2011
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If you haven’t visited the Khan Academy or used the videos to help enhance your math lessons, watch this recent Ted Talks video.
The idea that Salman Kahn discusses about flipping the classroom is fascinating and echoes ideas that Alan November mentioned when he came to our school last fall.
March 4, 2011
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This is part IV in a series dedicated to free, online writing tools for kids. You can view part I here, part II here, and part III here.
Part of the larger Scholastic site, Writing With Writers provides an excellent resource for writing. There is an excellent section for kids called, Computer Lab Favorites (Teacher View Here | Student View Here), that has a variety of writing tools like Story Starters, Myth Brainstorming Machine, and Poetry Idea Engine; as well as learning games like, It’s Greek to Me (great for Real Spelling connections), and Fish Up Word Endings. Along with all the great writing tools and activities, there are also sections for Math, Science, Social Studies, and Spanish that require no prep and can be completed in 15-30 minutes.
2. Zoo Burst
Zoo Burst is a digital storytelling tool that allows you to create lively 3-d pop-up books with sounds and actual pop-up effects when you turn the page. You first create a free account, and then use the simple interface and tools to begin creating your book.
My favorite comic creator, Bitstrips allows students to create fun comics on any topic of their (or your) choice. Students can use Bitstrips for free, but the $78 annual subscription allows teachers to create a classroom with individual student accounts and create assignments that students submit to you when they are finished. EdTechIdeas: I’ve had classes recreate scenes and plot lines from books, show understanding of rainforest layers, desert environments, and historical events, teach math concepts… The possibilities are endless.
March 1, 2011
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A month ago, Google released the ambitions Google Art Project which uses street-view technology to allow users to virtually move around some of the world’s greatest museums and browse famous works of art. I finally had some time to sit down and give it a tour, and it’s quite impressive. With the featured artworks, you can zoom in to view the paintings at high resolution (I hoped that the mouse scroll-wheel would work for zooming, but it does not), learn about the artwork and the artist, find more works from the artists, and watch related YouTube videos produced by the museums. Users can also create their own collections of artwork, comment on each piece, and share the entire collection with others. As of this writing, the participating museums include:
- Alte Nationalgalerie, Berlin – Germany
- Freer Gallery of Art, Smithsonian, Washington DC – USA
- The Frick Collection, NYC – USA
- Gemäldegalerie, Berlin – Germany
- The Metropolitan Museum of Art, NYC – USA
- MoMA, The Museum of Modern Art, NYC – USA
- Museo Reina Sofia, Madrid – Spain
- Museo Thyssen – Bornemisza, Madrid – Spain
- Museum Kampa, Prague – Czech Republic
- National Gallery, London – UK
- Palace of Versailles – France
- Rijksmuseum, Amsterdam – The Netherlands
- The State Hermitage Museum, St Petersburg – Russia
- State Tretyakov Gallery, Moscow – Russia
- Tate Britain, London – UK
- Uffizi Gallery, Florence – Italy
- Van Gogh Museum, Amsterdam – The Netherlands
EdTechIdeas: Google Art Project is an art teachers dream, or any teacher, for that matter, who wants to expose their students to artistic culture. Teachers could send students on virtual field trips where students “collect” specific pieces of art and further explore the artist of their choice. You could create a classroom collection of artwork and have each student research an artist. Leave a comment below on a way you would use Google Art Project in your classroom.
February 26, 2011
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This is part III in a series dedicated to free, online writing tools for kids. You can view part I here and part II here.
Learn Something Every Day is a fun, simple site that is great for a morning opening activity. In the classroom you could have this site up on the projector every morning to generate discussion or as writing prompts.
The Houghton Mifflin Company produces Grammar Blast. Grammar Blast offers 35 interactive grammar activities for students in grades two through five.
Grammar Practice Park, produced by Harcourt School Publishers provides 12 games for students in grades three, four, and five.
February 17, 2011
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This is part II in a series dedicated to free, online writing tools for kids. You can view part I here.
is a collection of short videos that give definitions, usages, and pictures associated with interesting vocabulary words. You may subscribe to receive a vocab video of the day and there is also a section of videos by students
that are fantastic.
is an online story and comic-creator which allows students to create comic scenes and stories, as well as animated movies, cards, drawings, doodles, and pictures. Educators are able to sign up for a class account and assign usernames and passwords for each student to have their own individual accounts. There are no ads or inappropriate content and the art work is fun and lively. Finished products may be saved, printed, or emailed.
reminds me of a writing warm-up activity I used to do with my third grade class. The kids would choose a word and then have 1 minute to write as much as they could on that topic. We called the activity Speed Writing. They would then choose a second word and write on that, and so on. We would do this 3 or 4 times, and each time they would count their words and I would graph the results. Every time, they would write more (I would purposely give them a couple of extra seconds more each round… shhh!). My mantra during this activity was, “The more you write, the more you write.” One Word works the same way. After clicking on Go students write as much as they can. After the minute is up, they enter their name and email and they can see what they wrote, as well as what others have written on the same topic.
February 10, 2011
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Valentine’s Day, according to Wikipedia, is
“An annual commemoration held on February 14 celebrating love and affection between intimate companions. The day is named after one or more early Christian martyrs named Valentine and was established by Pope Gelasius I in 500 AD. It was deleted from the Roman calendar of saints in 1969 by Pope Paul VI, but its religious observance is still permitted. It is traditionally a day on which lovers express their love for each other by presenting flowers, offering confectionery, and sending greeting cards (known as “valentines“). The day first became associated with
romantic love in the circle of Geoffrey Chaucer in the High Middle Ages, when the tradition of courtly love flourished. Modern Valentine’s Day symbols include the heart-shaped outline, doves, and the figure of the winged Cupid. Since the 19th century, handwritten valentines have given way to mass-produced greeting cards.
Here are some great sites for kids and teachers to help celebrate this day of love and kindness.
From the History Channel, you can learn about the history of the big day, chocolate, the science of love, and find out interesting facts such as, “85% of all Valentine cards are purchased by women.”
From National Geographic for Kids, learn how to turn everyday items from around your house into something heartfelt. There’s Candy Hearts Bingo, Valentine’s Day Straw Craft, Pop-up Greeting Cards, and more!
Lots of great resources here for teachers. Printables like heart flashcards, heart bingo, valentine multiplication, word scrambles, and more!
Not just songs and poems, you’ll find many crafts and activities here for Valentine’s day.
Teacher Vision has a ton of great resources for teachers. There are Valentine printables, slideshows, lesson plans, quizzes, art activities, and more!
Happy Valentine’s Day from EdTechIdeas.com!