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Tech Integration for Busy Teachers

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3 Fun Thanksgiving Sites for Elementary Students

1. FunSchool

FunSchool has several games and activities geared towards Thanksgiving. Turkey Filbriks is a ton of fun and tests your speed and memory. Thanksgiving Feast is an arcade-style game that teaches kids about nutrition. There’s a Thanksgiving Quiz to test your knowledge of the history of Thanksgiving, jokes, crafts, word plays, and more!

2. Primary Games

Primary Games has a great Thanksgiving section that’ll make kids thankful they dropped by. Word searches,puzzles, a cornucopia coloring bookThanksgiving sudoku, and much more, will keep little pilgrims engaged and learning until the turkey is out of the oven.

3. The Kidz Page

The Kidz Page has more than 50 puzzles, printables, word searches, and other activities that will have kids gobbling up facts and knowledge like they’re going out of style.

We’re Back!

After a wonderful summer hiatus spent travelling with my family to Hawaii, California, and finally returning to Singapore after 2 months of living somewhat off the grid; I am penning my first post in quite some time. For those of you long time readers, welcome back to EdTechIdeas!

Being that most schools in the northern hemisphere are starting up school in the next few weeks, today’s post will highlight 3 sites that can be used as ice breakers and discussion starters. These sites can be used at any time, so for those of you half-way through the school year, they will come in handy as well.

Learn Something Every Day

Learn Something Every Day is a great little site that has for the past couple of years posted interesting facts on a daily basis. Teachers often have the site projected as the students enter the class and have them do a quick write about the topic.

A Google a Day

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).

Icebreakers from Education World

Here’s a bunch of icebreaker activities from Education World, broken down into 12 different volumes. You’re bound to find an activity here that will get your school year off to the right start.

Best of luck to you whether you are beginning your school year or are half-way through!

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.

Toporopa

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.

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.

Shelfari

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.

Cool Tools for Math

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

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:

Cool Math for Kids

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

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 KnightSketch’s World, Castle Quests, and Grand Prix, but there are tons more on the site, so check it out!

3 Cool Tools for Individual Math Practice

All three of the following sites would be great to use with an IWB or at a stand-alone computer station for basic math practice.

1. Fraction Monkeys

The goal of Fraction Monkeys is to simply hang the fraction monkey into the correct loop on the number line. The game starts out easy and progresses to greater difficulty the longer you play.

2. Speed Grid

Speed Grid challenges a Player (or players) to answer a set amount of questions in a pre-selected amount of time.

3. Practice Fish

Chose a factor to work on and then solve the math problem by clicking on the correct sea creature swimming by. If you’re using this on an IWB remind students not to hit the board too hard, as they tend to get a little excited:).

World Heritage Sites

Me at Machu Picchu with my dad and wife after hiking the Inca Trail - 2003

The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) website is a great tool for students to learn about the 911 cultural and natural protected sites from 187 countries (as of June, 2010). The goal of UNESCO is to “encourage the identification, protection and preservation of cultural and natural heritage around the world considered to be of outstanding value to humanity.” This is embodied in an international treaty called the Convention concerning the Protection of the World Cultural and Natural Heritage, adopted by UNESCO in 1972.

EdTechIdeas: Students need to be aware that if we don’t make the effort to preserve earthly wonders, there is a good chance that they will not be around for future generation.  Exploring UNESCO’s site will help students gain a better understanding of the protected areas, and why it is important to keep them protected. They will also gain a better understanding of geography and culture. Google also has a section of their Lat-Long Blog dedicated to street views of world heritage sites, that gives students a close-up tour of many great sites.

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 – 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.

Document Corrupter

Document Corrupter is a site that all teachers who have students email in assignments should know about.

Document Corrupter according to their site shuffles documents, which makes it harder for tech-savvy teachers to recover the file.

Out of time? Can’t finish that paper? Don’t hand in a garbage paper or buy one online! Send a corupted file instead for FREE!

I find it funny that on their site, they spell “corrupted” incorrectly. Perhaps if the creators spent more time in school working on their assignments, this snafu could have been avoided.

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 12

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. E-Learning For Kids

e-Learning For Kids is a great site with some wonderful interactive learning games that are engaging and fun. Students click on their grade and then a list of games divided into subjects comes up. Thanks to @Ariellah for the find.

2. Rhymes.net

Rhymes.net is a simple search site that returns rhyming words to whatever you enter in the search field. The rhyming words are divided into syllables for ease of use and there is a list of photos of whichever word you search for. Even better, Rhymes.net automatically generates citations for bibliographies.

3. NeoK12

NeoK12 is a fantastic collection of videos arranged by subject that have been individually reviewed by K-12 teachers. The videos are all (at least the ones I’ve seen) via YouTube and all the adds have been stripped and related videos removed which, as an educator, is a great thing! There are also quizzes, games and puzzles as well as a cool presentation creator that helps teachers or students create presentations within the site. Also cool is the How it Works Section. Thanks to Kelly Tenkely for the find!

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