What it is: Another web 2.o tool, Sketchcast is a new way for you to communicate with your students and for your students to communicate with one another. A Sketchcast is a recorded online sketch. Think an online whiteboard recording. Sketchcast offers the ability to record a sketchcast with or without a voice.
How to integrate Sketechcast into the classroom: How many times do you remember this scenario as a student: you watched the teacher teach a new math concept, understood it perfectly in class as you watched the process only to get home, look at the notes you took and have no idea what to do? I suspect if we are honest, this happened with more than just math. Enter Sketchcast. Now you can enable your students to be more successful by Sketchcasting new concepts and lessons. Sketchcasts can be embedded in your classroom website or blog or accessed on your Sketchcast channel. Now when students get home and have the “I don’t remember what to do” panic, they can get online and re-learn the concept with your virtual guidance. Could it get any better than that?! This could also be a solution to feeling like a broken record and repeating the same directions a thousand times (come on be honest, I know I am not the only one who has to do this!) If you have access to a projector, create the Sketchcast as you are teaching your students (instead of the whiteboard). This will keep you from doing everything twice and students can re-view the exact lesson you taught. Cool! Sketchcasts would also be fun for students. Let them practice that new concept online in a Sketchcast for their classmates to visit. Sketchcasts would also be a great alternative to the traditional book report. Give your students a new method for sharing ideas and get some great mouse manipulation practice in at the same time!
Tips: Sketchcast requires registration to create a Sketchcast (including email address). For younger students who may not have an email address, create a student classroom account where all students can login and create a Sketchcast.
Please leave a comment and share how you are using Sketchcast in your classroom.
What it is: Class Tools is possibly the most impressive, easy to use tool that I have reviewed to date! This allows teachers (even those who aren’t incredibly tech savvy) to create interactive Flash diagrams and games for learning and revising material. It is FREE! All diagrams created can be saved as data files or web pages to host on your school website or intranet. Quiz creators allow you to input up to 25 questions and answers an then choose a game to test student knowledge. Games include Matching Pairs, Manic Miner, WordShoot, and Cannon Ball Fun. Learning templates that teach and support chronological awareness include Time Line and Living Graph. Categorization tools include Post it, and a Target diagram. Linkage tools include Venn diagrams, and The Learning Puzzle. Priortization tools include Diamond Nine and a Priority Chart. Sourcework Skills tools include Lights Out and Source Analyzer. Essay skills tools include Fishbone and Hamburger diagrams. WOW!!
How to integrate Class Tools into the classroom: Class Tools may be one of the most versatile tools you can use in the classroom. Teachers and students can create learning diagrams together and upload to the school website for later study. Teachers, you can create games for your students to play focused on any specific curriculum. The sky is the limit for Class Tools in the classroom.
Tips: Print out a copy of the Class Tools Flyer, having a description of the tools handy is a must!
Please leave a comment and share how you are using Class Tools in your classroom.
What it is: Digication is a website that allows teachers and students to create and keep e-portfolios. E-Portfolios are online spaces for teachers and students to communicate, share, reflect and collaborate in and outside of the classroom and have created exciting opportunities for teaching and learning world-wide. E-portfolios can be a continuing body of work that follow students throughout their school experience. The communication aspect that Digication provides makes for a richer school experience. The Student/Teacher edition of Digication is free.
How to integrate Digication into the classroom: Digication e-portfolios can be used in the classroom as a means for communication between students and teachers. It can also be used as an introduction to the student for other teachers. Students can use Digication for publishing school work, sharing school-related accomplishments, use for college admissions, sharing ideas and showcasing work, and build powerful learning communities with other students within the school. Students can control who has access to their e-portfolio and have control over the navigation of their e-portfolio. An e-portfolio can be a work in progress throughout the students school career. It can be used by teachers to see the progression of student ability throughout their school career. Teachers can use Digication to document student work, create a class/course website, share best practices in education with other teachers, gain recognition, link to external websites, upload documents that you have created, and display flash movies from your e-portfolio.
Tips: Ideally Digication would be used school or district wide so as to create a body of evidence in an e-portfolio.
Please leave a comment and share how you are using Digication in your classroom.
What it is: Mighty Book is a fun, interactive website that makes reading exciting with animated talking books…animated story songs…animated jokes, games, puzzles and riddles. All with words that highlight in sync with the stories and songs. It’s so much fun, students don’t even know they’re learning to read. The site is very engaging for students. The link I have provided is for the Mighty Books home page. These are free interactive books and games. However, this is only a small portion of what Mighty Books has to offer. For $24.95 a year your class can have full access to the membership portion of the site and for $99 a year your school can have full access to the membership portion of the site which allows access to hundreds of animated books, 5 new books are added each month.
How to integrate Mighty Books into the classroom: Mighty Books can be used for whole class instruction or individual instruction. Use the animated talking books during reading instruction. These books would be great for recall and story ordering activities. For whole class instruction, use a projector (speakers are a must on this site!). Struggling readers would also love the “read along” aspect of this site. If you are an art teacher, or study art in the classroom, be sure to visit the interactive museum together. It is organized wonderfully and includes kid-friendly information about the artist and the genre.
Tips: Make sure to visit the teachers page for some great integration ideas as well as some free printouts!
Please leave a comment and share how you are using Mighty Book in your classroom.
What it is: Interactives is a truly amazing website for teachers and students. Interactives provides educators and students with strategies, content, and activities that can enhance and improve students’ skills in a variety of curricular areas including math, literature and language, science, history, and the arts. The site has great webquest/interactive activities on a variety of subjects for first through twelfth grades. These activities are extremely well done. The spelling bee activity is really the only activity appropriate for first grade but I found that many of the activities that were rated for middle and high school students, would be appropriate for elementary students as well. I cannot say enough about this site, it is a truly amazing site for teachers and students!
How to integrate Interactives into the classroom: Interactives has a variety of interactive activities for the subjects listed above. These would be great to use as an introduction to a new unit, or as a learning activity or field trip in a unit. The Interactives could be completed as a whole class (using a projector), in groups (center style in the one or two computer classroom), or individually (in the computer lab setting). Any of these options would be time well spent for your students! Each Interactive presents the student with information about the unit and follows with interactive activities such as building a roller coaster, collecting rocks, or tracing the growth of the United States.
Tips: Sign up for the learner.org newsletter for some great teaching tips and ideas.
What it is: Professor Garfield: Comics Lab here students can write, assemble and print their own comic strips. The comic strips can even be saved on Professor Garfield. The Comics Lab allows students to develop creative writing skills while learning how to develop plots and story lines. The Comics Lab also includes a video tutorial about writing.
How to integrate Professor Garfield: Comic Strips into the classroom: Professor Garfield Comic Lab allows for fun, creative writing for beginning, developing, and intermediate writers. Give students a common theme for their comic. Students should watch the Jim Davis video tutorial on creative writing before they begin brainstorming. This can be done as a writing center or with a projector. Students can plan their comic on paper before getting onto the Comic Lab. The Comic Lab encourages hesitant writers and those who don’t think they like writing.
Tips: Be sure to visit the Teachers’ Lounge for really thorough instructional materials, phonemic awareness, vocabulary, comprehension, writing, printable materials, electronic field trips, and educational materials.
What it is: Professor Garfield: Art Bot is a site dedicated to teaching kids the building blocks of art, specifically cartooning. Interactive training videos include: How to draw Garfield by Jim Davis, how to draw animals, how to draw cartoon characters, fun with sculpture, and creative carving. These step by step videos are great for teaching kids the basics and help kids to feel successful in their art skills.
How to integrate Professor Garfield: Art Bot into the classroom: Set up Professor Garfield: Art Bot as a center. Students can visit this center (or bookmark) and practice basic drawing skills with the digital tutorial. Students will love learning from Jim Davis. The videos are easy to follow and very kid friendly. This is also a great introduction to online instructional videos and training modules. Students can self direct learning with these types of video tutorials. Professor Garfield: Art Bot will encourage them to search out more video tutorials.
Tips: Be sure to visit the Teachers’ Lounge for really thorough instructional materials, phonemic awareness, vocabulary, comprehension, writing, printable materials, electronic field trips, and educational links.
What it is: PBS Kids Curious George website features several games featuring the popular Curious George character for kindergarten students. All games encourage growth in math and science. Students will use counting skills, observation skills, listening skills, logic skills, basic engineering skills, measuring skills, basic addition and subtraction, color creation, mouse manipulation skills, categorizing skills, and recording skills.
How to integrate Curious George into your classroom: Use the Curious George website during math and science time as a center. Students can stop by the center individually if you have a classroom with several computers, or in small groups in the one to two computer classroom. The site has 13 wonderful games that can be used as extended learning activities in math and science class.
Tips: Visit the Teacher section for Extended learning activities, lesson plans, and related video clips. Be sure to bookmark this page for easy access. Because there are so many games, this may be a site you use often to reinforce skills learned in the classroom.
What it is: Planetfesto is a website dedicated to creating an Internet ribbon large enough to stretch around the planet. Students add their own six inches to the ribbon by creating a simple panel expressing their love for the Earth and a pledge to change something small in their life that might affect the earth.
How to integrate Planetfesto into your classroom: Planetfesto would be a great Earth Day activity for the classroom. Students can create their own tribute to the planet (on paper and scanned in or in a graphics program) or choose a picture from the site that demonstrates how they view the planet. Students then type a paragraph about why they love the planet and their pledge to personally protect it. There are some ideas for students to choose from for their pledge.
Tips: Your students will be proud to be part of the “bigger picture” with this ribbon that wraps around the world. Students can share their work by using Planetfesto’s search feature.
Planetfesto has been nominated for an Edublog Award!! Vote for them here. Congratulations Planetfesto!
What it is: Canvastic is a great student focused graphics and text publishing tool for kindergarten through eighth grade. It has easy to use tools and options. You won’t find any of the “toy” features that you find in Kid Pix type applications. The control given to teachers is wonderful. Teachers can give students access to tools gradually so that as they learn more, they can use more. It actually grows with the user. It has the best spell checking feature for students I have seen. You can try Canvastic for free in your classroom for as long as you like but the print, export, and save features are disabled. For $39 you can purchase Canvastic.
How to integrate Canvastic into your classroom: Use Canvastic as part of your publishing center. Students can publish written stories complete with illustrations. Students can create their own graphic organizers on any subject using the Canvastic software.
Tips: Join the Canvastic community to contribute ideas for improvement of the software, how you are using it in your classroom, and to foster an atmosphere of communication and exchange. In the Community you will find example lesson plans that are tied to state and national standards.