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Tech Integration for Busy Teachers

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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 20

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. Free OCR

Free-OCR.com is a free online OCR (Optical Character Recognition) tool. You can use this service to extract text from any image you supply. This service is free, no registration necessary, and you don’t even need to supply your email address. Just upload your image files. Free-OCR takes either a JPG, GIF, TIFF BMP or PDF (only first page).

2. Number Quotes

Similar to Number Gossip, NumberQuotes is a site that gives you all kinds of random information related to any number you enter. Facts like, “1,099 Burger King Whoppers laid next to each other would reach as far as 1.44 American football fields.” Now who doesn’t need to know that?

3. Engineering Interact

Engineering Interact is a good site for children aged 9 to 11 that provides fully interactive, engaging game environments tailored to the National Curriculum. Engineering Interact has been created by the University of Cambridge Department of Engineering.

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.

Top 3 Paragons of the Week – Episode 15

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 Your Tables

Learn Your Tables is a nice interactive site that allows students to practice their multiplication times tables. Learn Your Tables is ideal for introducing topics on an interactive whiteboard, and for extension material on individual computers or in a lab.

2. Virtual Sistine Chapel

Virtual Sistine Chapel is an amazing 360 degree interactive view of the Sistine Chapel brought to you by your friends at the Vatican. You can fly around the amazing artwork and zoom into the frescoes at a pretty decent level. This site would be great for art history and religious studies.

3. Google Earth Now in Google Maps

Finally, the long awaited addition of Google Earth features within Google Maps!

Top 3 Paragons of the Week – Episode 14

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 Bob

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.  Thanks to Richard Bryne for this find. Don’t forget to click on the “Whatever you do, Don’t click here” button (or not).

2. Grammaropolis

Grammaropolis is a fun, interactive site that helps students learn about the parts of speech.

Thanks to Kelly Tenkely for this great find.

3. Kwout

Kwout is a great tool that allows you to take web clippings off of any website and it will keep the links hot.

Great find from Mr. Man.

Paragons of the Week – Episode 13

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. Math Live

Math Live is a fantastic site to use for upper elementary students that has a plethora of cartoon math tutorials on subjects like fractions, multiplication, area and perimeter, tessellations, probability, and a variety of other topics. The glossary section is an amazing collection of math concepts animated for more solid understanding. Thanks to Kelly Tenkely for this find!

2. Animal Diversity Web

From the University of Michigan Museum of Zoology, the Animal Diversity Web is an online database of animal natural history, distribution, classification, and conservation biology. Students can browse the information on individual creatures from the Kingdom Animalia and find 1000s of pictures on specific animals. What’s great about the Animal Diversity Web is that students can sign up to become contributors to the website. To do this, teachers must submit a request form.

3. PDF to Word

PDF to Word is a fantastically simple site that allows you do do just what the url suggests: Convert PDF documents to fully editable Word documents. You simple go to the site, upload your pdf, select either .doc or .rtf, enter your email and click convert. PDF to Word then emails you the word file upon completion. There is no sign up necessary and the turn-around time is approximately 10 minutes.

Top 3 Paragons of the Week – Episode 9

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. Invention at Play

Invention at Play is a fantastic interactive website from the Smithsonian National Museum of American History. When asked what inspired them to become inventors, many adults tell stories about playing as children. The Invention Playhouse takes this fact and offers up great activities to increase problem solving ability, visual thinking, collaboration, and exploration.

2. Virtual Piano

As a computer teacher, I can see this site as having huge potential. Virtual Piano is a beautifully sounding piano that you play by typing on your keyboard. You can play Für Elise by following the key-pattern available. As this is in beta version, I’m guessing that over time, there will be more song choices and hopefully more learning connectivity with the computer keyboard.

3. Story Jumper

Story Jumper is a wonderful new site that allows children to create their very own books. You can create cover pages, add text, upload drawings or photos to illustrate your story, and you can use the StoryJumper clipart gallery, too.

Paragons of the Week – Episode 7

Top 3 Paragons of the Week – Episode 7

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

Questionaut is a Math, English, and Science game from the BBC. The premise of the game is your standard question/answer delivery, but what I really like about this game is twofold. One, the artwork, created by Amanita Design, is amazing. You could get lost in just looking at all the beautiful details. The second thing that really brings this educational game to a higher level in my book, is that students will have to work and explore to be given the questions. Within each level, the player will need to complete a series of clicks to release the questions, adding a very subtle think-out-of-the-box element to the game.

2. Games for Change

I’m a big fan of quality educational games, and this site takes it to the next level. Games for Change is a non-profit organization which seeks to harness the extraordinary power of video games to address the most pressing issues of our day, including poverty, education, human rights, global conflict and climate change. As of this writing, there are quite a few dead links to the games (Balance of the Planet, ElectroCity, Globaloria), but I have high hopes that updates come soon as I really like the idea of this site.

3. Who Pooped?

You know with a name like Who Pooped this will be popular with the younger students. Who Pooped is a science site created by the Minnesota Zoo to help students to begin thinking like scientists. One way scientists learn about animals is by studying their poop — also called “scat” or “dung.” Who Pooped allows students to investigate various types of scat and try to match the scat with its creator. A very interactive site which would pair well with IWBs. Hats off to Larry Ferlazzo for the find.



Top 3 Paragons of the Week – Episode 6

Attribution: "pink universe" http://www.flickr.com/photos/20375052@N00/31390991Paragons 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. Number Gossip

Thanks to Kelly Tenkely for this one. Number Gossip is a simple search box where you enter any number and receive back “everything you wanted to know about the number but were afraid to ask.” For example, I entered the number 38 and got these facts:  38 is the magic constant in the only possible magic hexagon (which utilizes all the natural integers up to and including 19); XXXVIII (=38) is lexicographically the last string which represents a valid Roman numeral; 38 is the largest even number which cannot be written as the sum of two odd composite numbers

2. Illuminations: Dynamic Paper

Need a pentagonal pyramid that’s six inches tall? Or a number line that goes from ‑18 to 32 by 5’s? Or a set of pattern blocks where all shapes have one-inch sides? You can create all those things and more with the Dynamic Paper tool. Place the images you want, then export it as a PDF activity sheet for your students or as a JPEG image for use in other applications or on the web.

3. Museum of Animal Perspectives

Saw this a few weeks ago at Free Technology 4 Teachers. Museum of Animal Perspectives is a cool mashup of YouTube and Google Maps that has videos of animals in their natural environments along with where, specifically in the world the video was taken. Great for science and geography learning.

Top 3 Paragons of the Week – Episode 2

Attribution: "underneath+a+star" http://www.flickr.com/photos/31874781@N00/3133924813Paragons 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. BlogJet – Learned about this from Scott McLeod. BlogJet is a WYSIWYG desktop editor that works for WordPress, TypePad, Blogger, Drupal, etc. blogs. Blogjet makes it easier to edit your blog and features tools like YouTube and Flickr support, file attachments, word counter, blog statistics, and more.

2. CoSketch – Another find by Richard Byrne is a collaborative drawing site which requires no joining, logging in or registration. Perfect for elementary classes. It’s a no frills tool, so there are not a lot of extras, but for simple drawing and text, it works great. Users just go to the site, click on create a sketch, and begin drawing. To add more people, you just send them the url. There’s also a nice chat feature. I could see using this to collaboratively solve math problems, play hangman using vocab words, exploring maps (there is a built-in Google Maps support), and a variety of other applications. Finished drawings can be embedded into blogs or websites.

3. Interactive Simulations – From the University of Colorado at Bolder comes some fantastic java-based interactive simulations. From Glaciers, to Natural Selection, to Circuit Construction; these simulations really show students how things work.

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