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Paragons of the Week: PicLits, CyberChase, Incredibox

Episode 34 >> Previous Paragons

1. PicLits

PicLits is a site that allows users to choose a photo and then drag words onto the picture to create sentences.  There is a freestyle option that allows you to simply type on the picture, and keywords are suggested to help you out. When finished, you can save (free account required), email your piclit, or share it via Facebook, your blog, or other places. Soon there will be a print feature, a weekly contest, and the ability to search and tag photos. EdTechIdeas: This is a great site for inspiring struggling writers and for those times where you hear the complaint, “I don’t know what to write about.”

2. CyberChase

CyberChase from PBS is a fun place for kids with 45 games that focus on problem solving abilities. Challenging games like  Crossing the River, U Fix It, Tangrams, and more will have kids thinking out of the box in no time. EdTechIdeas: Fantastic site for problem solving and creative thinking. Would make a good go-to site for center time in your classroom or a fun activity to spend time on after working out difficult concepts. Use the lessons and activities section for ideas that are tied to the NCTM standards.

3. Incredibox

Incredibox gets my nod for the Odd Site of the Week Award, and I’m throwing it in, just because we all need a little obscure fun in our lives. Not sure of its educational implications, so I don’t have too many EdTechIdeas, but perhaps for music teachers, it could shed light on rhythm, vocal appreciation, harmonic structure, and polyphony. For the rest of us, it’s a great diversion and a good way to bring a little music into your life.

Paragons of the Week – PinDax, Library of Congress, Google Things to Do

Episode 33 >> Previous Paragons

1. PinDax

Pindax is an online message board similar to Wallwisher, where users can add post-its about any given topic. You begin by creating a free account and then build a new board with a name and specific directions about what you want posted on the board. As a teacher, you can create a board and direct your students to the URL to have them each add their thoughts and opinions about the subject of the wall.

2. Library of Congress for Kids and Parents

The Library of Congress family section is a nice collection of online activities and resources. Use this site in the classroom to help kids learn about history, geographyliteracy, fine arts and more.

3. Google Things to Do

Google is a lot more than just a search engine. With Google Things to Do, you can learn how to instantly convert currencies, check flight arrivals, read a book, even search the web like Elmer Fudd! Now, who doesn’t want to know how to do that??!

Paragons of the Week – BibMe, Professor Garfield, Amateur Science Sites

Episode 32 >> Previous Paragons

1. BibMe

BibMe is a quick and easy to use bibliography maker that allows you to cite books, magazines, newspapers, websites, journals, films, and more. You begin by searching for a book (or any other media you choose). Once the book is found, you select it, make any changes (annotations, whether you are citing the entire book or just a specific chapter, etc.) and add it to your bibliography. You can choose a citation format (APA, MLA, Chicago, Turabian), and voilà, you are done.

2. Internet Safety with Professor Garfield

Professor Garfield helps kids learn about online safety with several great videos, activities, and games. The site is broken down into the following categories: Online Safety, Cyber Bullying, Fact or Opinion, and Forms of Media. The “watch, try, apply” method keeps kids engaged and insures that they are learning the content. There are Teacher Materials, Parent Tips, a printable Internet Safety Certificate, and a printable Classroom Poster.

3. Amateur Science Sites

FunSci has been around for a long time, and I don’t think the design has changed since around 1997. What the site lacks in aesthetics, it makes up for in content. There are so many great resources here for young scientists to learn about and discover new things. It makes it a worthwhile visit.

Paragons of the Week: Halloween Fun Sites

Episode 31Previous Paragons

Special P.O.W. Halloween Episode

1. The Kidz Page

On the KidzPage, there are 23 online Halloween games, 12 online Halloween coloring pages, 53 online Halloween jigsaw puzzles, and much more to keep the brains of little ghouls and goblins entertained.

2. Virtual Pumpkin Carving

At this Virtual Pumpkin Carving site, you have all the fun of real pumpkin carving, without the mess.

3. Primary Games

There are not too many sites that allow you the pleasure of Shopping at Witchmart, Whacking a Monster, playing Pingpong with Ghouls, or Typing with Ghosts. Primary Games Halloween Fun lets you do all of that, and a whole lot more.

Top 3 Paragons of the Week – Science House, ViewPure, TeachingBooks.net

Attribution: "Pinwheel Star" http://www.flickr.com/photos/40147761@N04/4193248881Episode 23

Paragons of the Week is a reoccurring post highlighting resources that I find to be worth mentioning. I come across 100s of useful tools for educators each week. Below are the top 3 “paragons” that I found this week that I feel teachers might dig. To view previous Paragons, click here.

1. Science House

Science House is a great site created and maintained by scientists that has a plethora of quick videos of science experiments. They show you the materials you will need, walk you through the experiment and give you the educational background as to why this is important.

2. View Pure

The above image is an entire screen shot of a YouTube video being played on ViewPure. You’ll notice no distractions, no ads, basically nothing but the video. Thanks to Makeuseof.com for this great find!

3. TeachingBooks.net

Teachingbooks.net is a great resource for elementary school teachers who are looking for new ways to explore the series of books that their students are reading. One very cool feature is that kids can listen to authors give introductions to their series and read a bit of one of the books. Mary Pope Osborne does a great job explaining how she came up with the idea of her Magic Tree House Series. Thanks to Julie Niles Petersen for the find!

Top 3 Paragons of the Week – Episode 22

Attribution: "I Got The Star (IMG_6851)" http://www.flickr.com/photos/12054060@N04/3947019428Paragons of the Week is a reoccurring post highlighting resources that I find to be worth mentioning. I come across 100s of useful tools for educators each week. Below are the top 3 “paragons” that I found this week that I feel teachers might dig. To view previous Paragons, click here.

1. Spelling Match Game

Spelling Match Game is a fun site from Houghton Mifflin that helps students in grades 1-8 with their spelling and vocabulary. Students can play games to help them learn about syllables, vowel sounds, missing letters, homophones, and many other spelling-related areas.

2. ChessKid

ChessKid.com is a safe place for kids to go to learn about and play chess online. It’s not necessary, but parents can create an account and then add their child to manage his or her access and friendships online and can monitor their activity. An easy way for kids to play is just choose the options “Play vs. Computer.”

3. Captain Coordinate

Captain Coordinate is not a site dealing with making sure your clothes match, as I originally thought; rather, it is an interactive site dedicated to helping kids understand mapping concepts like scale, compass points, aerial view, coordinates, etc. I found myself having a lot of fun while previewing this site and my 3-5 graders loved it as well.

Top 3 Paragons of the Week – Episode 19

Paragons of the Week is a reoccurring post highlighting resources that I find to be worth mentioning. I come across 100s of useful tools for educators each week. Below are the top 3 “paragons” that I found this week that I feel teachers might dig. To view previous Paragons, click here.

1. JimsPages.com – US States Game

This is a great site for students to practice their US states and geography. Fantastic for IWBs the US State Game works by having students drag a state to its correct location on the map. While playing, the site keeps track of correct/incorrect placement and tracks how far away you placed the state in miles.

2. One Word

One Word reminds me of a writing warm-up activity I used to do with my third grade class. The kids would chose 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 chose 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.

3. Stanford on iTunes

Stanford University has launched its iTunes portal which allows you to download courses, faculty lectures, interviews, music and sports. Download and learn on the go!
Thanks fo @russeltarr for the find.

Top 3 Paragons of the Week – Episode 18

Paragons of the Week is a reoccurring post highlighting resources that I find to be worth mentioning. I come across 100s of useful tools for educators each week. Below are the top 3 “paragons” that I found this week that I feel teachers might dig.To view previous Paragons, click here.

1. Learn Something Every Day

Learn Something Every Day is a fun, simple site that is great for morning opening activity.  In the classroom you could have this site up on the projector every morning to generate discussion or as writing prompts.

2. Brainflips

BrainFlips provides tools for creating, sharing and studying flashcards. Make flashcards on any subject and share them with your students, parents and co-workers. BrainFlips flashcards can incorporate text, images, audio and video to learn any subject.

3. ZeroFootprint Calculator

The Zerofootprint Calculator is a customizable tool to calculate your footprint in land, water and carbon impacts – what gets measured, gets managed.

Top 3 Paragons of the Week – Episode 17

Paragons of the Week is a reoccurring post highlighting resources that I find to be worth mentioning. I come across 100s of useful tools for educators each week. Below are the top 3 “paragons” that I found this week that I feel teachers might dig.To view previous Paragons, click here.

1. Magic Tree House

If your students like The Magic Tree House Series (and let’s be honest, who doesn’t?), they’ll love The Magic Tree House Website. Students climb up the tree and enter the tree house to find some great puzzles, fun games and quizzes on the first 16 books (I’m assuming they will be adding all of the books in due time).

2. Word Mosaic

Very similar to Wordle, but with more design options, Word Mosaic allows you to create word clouds from text you enter. I like Word Mosaic, for the features and it allows you to save your creation as a gif (or share it via email, Twitter, Facebook and my Space). However, I do not like that frequently used words do not appear larger as with Wordle. Thanks to The Teacher’s Hub for this find!

3. ReadWriteThink Printing Press

ReadWriteThink creates a lot of great educational resources. With Printing Press students can create a booklet, flyer, brochure, or newspaper fairly easily. There is a nice guide that walks you through the process and the focus is on writing. There is a place within each publication for a picture, but not one that you can add from your computer. This space is reserved for students to draw a picture after printing. I’m all for creativity, but it would be nice to have the option of adding a photo or graphic.

Top 3 Paragons of the Week – Episode 16

Paragons of the Week is a reoccurring post highlighting resources that I find to be worth mentioning. I come across 100s of useful tools for educators each week. Below are the top 3 “paragons” that I found this week that I feel teachers might dig.To view previous Paragons, click here.

1. Spell With Flickr

Spell With Flickr is a simple site that allows you to enter any word and it will create a photo representation of that word using pictures from Flickr.

2. Freeology

Freeology is a fantastic resource for teachers to download pre-made, or create a plethora of free graphic organizers, forms, calendars, certificates, worksheets, and more!

3. Tagxedo

Tagxedo is a Wordle-esque site that allows students to create beautiful word clouds. The great thing about Tagxedo that in my opinion is where Wordle falls short is the ability for users to save their creations (without logging in) as either a jpeg or png.

Great, Free Mind Mapping Tool

Bubbl.us is a fantasic mind mapping site that allows you to easily create and save mind maps.  If you, or your students have ever used Inspiration, you’ll find bubbl.us a no-brainer. If you haven’t used Inspiration, you will still find bubbl.us intuitive and easy to create and navigate.

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. Others exporting options will be added in the future.

Uses in the Classroom

As with Inspiration, bubbl.us is a great, free tool for brainstorming ideas solo, or with a group. Students from primary on up will find bubbl.us easy to use.  Email is not necessary to create an account so, if needed, each of your students could create accounts to save their mind maps for later use. Great for story idea generating, research indexing, or simply organizing thoughts.

Thanks to LifeHacker for this great find.

Paragons of the Week – Episode 1

I’m always stumbling upon great finds on the web that have educational uses, so I thought I’d begin a reoccurring post highlighting these resources that I find to be worth mentioning. So each week, I plan on scanning through my Diigo and selecting the top few “paragons” that I feel teachers might dig. These will be posted on Thursdays at approximately 5:30 pm p.s.t. (but don’t hold me to this).
(Paragon, btw, means “outstanding example” – don’t feel bad, I had to look it up too).

  • Google Reader – Not new, I’m aware of this, but being this is my first P.O.W. post, I thought I’d start with my main tool that I begin with each morning. Currently I subscribe to 30+ EdTech Blogs, 5 Tech Trends Blogs, 6 General Ed Blogs, 4 News Feeds, The Daily Show Videos (which I never get around to watching) and NPR’s World Story of the Day. I find feed readers to be so useful as it takes out the searching and opening up of multiple sites. All my news and information that I’m interested in comes to me in one place.
  • Active Science – Brought to my attention by Richard Byrne this site has 15 different scientific modules, each with interactive games and activities. Great for use with IWB.
  • MindOmo – This was brought to my attention by Giselda Santos via Twitter. MindOmo is a mind-mapping tool that allows you to add and organize ideas, thoughts, work, websites, lists, etc. I see this useful on a personal level (as in having a visual storage-house for websites that I frequent) and educationally with students. If you want to see a great example of one, click here.
  • KerpoofSusan Sedro showed me Kerpoof a couple of years ago, but I just recently re-visited it and they have made some nice changes. Kerpoof is an online 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 which allows an entire class to login simultaneously using the assigned nickname and password created by the teacher. There are no adds or inappropriate content and the art work is fun and lively.  Finished products may be saved, printed, or emailed.  Great site for story creating!

Wallwishing and Wordling Your New Year’s Resolution

The students returned from Winter Break yesterday. When I was a classroom teacher, I would always have them write about their New Year’s Resolutions; some personal and academic goals that they wanted to set to improve the overall quality of humanity.  I would also have them write the ultimate overused writing prompt: “What I did Over the Break.”

Today, we tried out Wallwisher and Wordle to post my students’ resolutions and write about their vacations.  

Click to see our third graders' resolutions

Wallwisher.com is an online notice board maker that allows you to make announcements, keep notices and do anything that you’d normally do with a sticky note. I set up a wall and posted the directions at the top, set the url and then showed my 20 third graders how to get to the wall. Then it’s just a simple process of double-clicking where you want the note to be placed, adding your name to the note, and writing out your goal.

Click to see Toorno's Vacation

I used Wordle to have students describe what they did over the break. 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. You can tweak your clouds with different fonts, layouts, and color schemes. You can print them out, or save them to the Wordle gallery to share with friends.

46 Stellar Math Sites for Kids You’d be Obtuse Not to Visit

Kids can always use some extra help with mathematics. From fractions to basic math facts; problem solving to number sense; geometry to algebra, there is always room for improvements. Here are 46 sure-fire sites that will engage, enlighten, educate and Einsteinify your students. Most of the sites listed below are geared towards students in grades 1-6.

Fractions

Basic Math Facts

  • Multiplication.com
    Really cool games to help you master your math facts. 
  • Number Lines
    Work on your addition mastery by shooting number balls that add up to a specific number.
  • The Math Page
    This is a really great site from Manhattan Community College 
  • A+ Math
    This site is great fun for third graders and up.
  • Math Dictionary for Kids
    Great math dictionary for kids.
  • DiscoverySchool.com Worksheet Maker
    A super way to make math worksheets. Try it! 
  • Aunty Math
    Aunty Math presents math challenges that encourage thinking skills for students in grades K-5. 
  • Cool Math
    Cool Math is “designed for the pure enjoyment of mathematics.” This interactive site features games, puzzles, calculators, and lesson plans. 
  • Harcourt Animated Math Glossary
    This is a complete online dictionary of math terms. 
  • Math.com
    Math.com: The World of Math Online is chock full of everything to do with math from the most basic to advanced topics. It includes homework help, calculators, games, practice, and much more. 
  • Teach R Kids Math
    I dislike educational sites that misspell words on purpose (in this case, r instead of our) to look cute. However, this site provides online interactive math practice that covers a range of topics from simple to advanced for elementary school children. 
  • AAA Math
    Hundreds of pages of basic math skills to more advanced challenges.
  • BBC Math
    Math game wheel.
  • Multiplication Mystery   
    Drag numbers into the multiplication grid.
  • Fun Brain
    Multiplication Baseball
  • Multiplication
    Multiplication Speed Grid Challenge. Fun game where you race against the clock to complete multiplication problems.
  • Powerlines
    Cool game – students arrange numbers in lines that have to add up to a certain number. Harder than it sounds.
  • Practice Fish
    Help Jungle Jim catch fish by solving multiplication problems. Good for IWBs.
  • Math is Fun
    Assorted math puzzles and quizzes.
  • Mrs. Glosser’s Math Goodies 
    Math Goodies is a free math help portal featuring in-depth lessons, worksheets, and homework help. A pioneer of online help, this site has been reviewed on television and in other media. Math Goodies has hundreds of resources for students, educators and parents.

Miscellaneous Math

  • Graphing
    Create-a-Graph
  • Clocks – Teaching Time
    This resource, produced by the Franklin Institute Online Fellows, takes an educational look at timepieces in the collection of the Franklin Institute Science Museum 
  • Polygon Playground
    All about polygons!
  • Builder Ted
    Number line – help Builder Ted fix the roof by putting decimals in order on his ladder.
  • BBC Maths File Game Wheel
    12 games here categorized by: Shape Space & Measure, Algebra, Number, and Data Handling.
  • Magic Squares
    Lots of links to magic square games and activities.
  • More Magic Squares
  • Yet even more magic squares
  • Allmath
    The last magic square site here.
  • Math Cats
    Explore the Polygon Playground to explore symmetry, make tessellations and pictures. Good for IWBs.
  • Math in Everyday Life
    When you have a student ask, “When am I ever gonna use this?” You can direct them to this site.
  • Math Stories
    The goal of this math website is to help elementary school (Grade 1st through 6th) children boost their math problem solving and critical-thinking skills. MathStories.com has over 15,000 online and printable NCTM compliant math word problems for children to enjoy. Word problems are available in both English and Spanish.
  • Prongo.com
    Prongo.com is an educational website for Kids. We offer fun, interactive, and educational games for kids. For teachers, Prongo.com also offers Quizstation. Quizstation allows teachers to create online quizzes for their students.

Got others? Share below.

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