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Word Dynamo: Vocabulary made fun

What it is:  Word Dynamo is a superb site from Dictionary.com.  Word Dynamo makes learning new words a whole lot of fun. Here is how it works: 1.  Answer 10 questions and Word Dynamo will calculate how many words a student knows. This is your word score. The word score adjusts as you learn new words, Word Dynamo helps give students study “shortcuts” to learn new words faster. 2.  Word Challenge- in word challenge students are offered a custom 20-level game designed especially for their skill level.  As students master meanings, they unlock the next threshold of difficulty. 3.  The Word Dynamo Library- here students can browse and search for things they need to learn.  Students can choose to practice by schooling level, SAT prep, subject or popular word lists. 4.  Play Games- students can practice vocabulary by matching terms and definitions, listening to the word and definition, spell a word out in a crossword puzzle, etc. New challenges are unlocked as students succeed! 5.  Create a Word List- this one is my favorite, I love that students can create their own lists based on what they need to work on. How to integrate Word Dynamo into the classroom:  Word Dynamo is an easy fit into any classroom k-12.  This is a great addition to your language arts, math, economics, science, history, (ANY) classroom.  Word Dynamo gives students the keys to their own learning by working with them at their own level.  It would be wonderful to use Word Dynamo throughout the year to keep kids playing with words.  Students will love watching their own “estimated words you know” score creep up and up over the course of the school year.  Vocabulary is one of those things that students don’t always realize that they are learning throughout the school day.  Then *bam* they wake up one day and suddenly know a whole LOT of words. The games and practice items on Word Dynamo make for a great vocabulary center on classroom computers during language arts.  But, as I mentioned before, my very favorite part is the ability for students to create their own lists.  At Anastasis, we have  students constantly adding to their own spelling/vocabulary list as they come across new words they want to learn.  I like that Word Dynamo give them a place to keep, practice and play with these words.  Students have ownership over their own learning and aren’t stuck practicing and testing on the words they already know. Do you assign spelling and vocabulary words each week?  Let students enter those words in their custom list to practice! Because Word Dynamo is constantly utilizing the feedback it gets from students, it is constantly challenging them and urging them on to a new personal best.  Students can watch their score go up, engage in challenges, and choose fun games that keep them learning. In other words, this is a site you are going to want to have handy for your students! Don’t have the opportunity for students to use Word Dynamo on their own account/computer?  Put up a challenge on the interactive whiteboard or projector-connected computer.  As students enter the classroom, they can each answer a question on the way to their seats.  Keep track of the number of words that the whole class knows. Tips: The Quick Tour will lead you through all the Word Dynamo goodies and have you ready to use it with your students in no time!  Word Dynamo looks and works well on the iPad and iPod Touch browser…great for vocabulary practice anywhere. Please leave a comment and share how you are using Word Dynamo in  your classroom!

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ArcGIS Explorer Online

Posted by admin | Posted in Analyze, Apply, Blogs, collaboration, Create, Evaluate, Geography, History, Interactive Whiteboard, Language Arts, Math, Middle/High School, Primary Elementary, Secondary Elementary, Social Studies, Teacher Resources, Understand (describe, explain), web tools, Websites | Posted on 16-08-2010

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What it is: ArcGIS Explorer Online is a neat mapping experience powered by BING that lets you use, create, and share ArcGIS (Global Information System) maps online.  The online software lets you read and write ArcGIS maps that can be used with the website, ArcGIS for the iPhone, and ArcGIS desktop version.  Mark up maps with notes that have photos, text, and links embedded directly in the map. Measure distances on the map and include them as a layer of the map.    Create a presentation in the map that guides viewers from one location on the map to another.

ArcGIS lets you create an interactive map experience.

1. choose a basemap to display your GIS data on top of.

2. Click on one of the map notes shapes to add a GIS note to your map.

3. Click "edit note" along the bottom of the note and add text, a picture, and a link.

Create a slideshow presentation of you map by clicking "Edit Presentation"

Click "Capture New Slide" to take a screen shot of your map to become a slide in the presentation.

Format the slide with the formatting tools above the map. View slides in the slide pane to the left of the map.

Click the home tab to return to the default tool bar. (You can switch back and forth between the two).

Click Measure to measure distances on the map. Click "add to map" if you want to add the measurement to the map.

How to integrate ArcGIS Explorer Online into your curriculum: ArcGIS Explorer is an impressive online mapping tool.  Use it to create guided tours for your students that can be played on classroom computers as an independent learning system or on the interactive whiteboard as a whole class map tour.  Embed links to informational websites, pictures relating to learning, and text to help guide your students through their journey.  Do one better by asking your students to create a map where they layer information, pictures, measurements, etc. on a map.  Students could create and swap tours of their home town with pen pals/blogging buddies around the world.  Create historical maps by adding notes with primary sources, pictures, links to additional learning (or blog posts that your students have written), and text that indicates the importance of the place.  Create literary maps by making note of key locations in literature that students are reading.  Students can add a note to the map with a quote from the book or a description of what happened there.  When they are finished reading, students can create a presentation/tour of the literature by creating a slide out of each place in the book.  An interactive literary tour of learning beats a traditional book report hands down!  ArcGIS would be a really neat way to plot a Flat Stanley project in the elementary classroom!

Tips: ArcGIS requires the Microsoft Silverlight plugin to work.  You can download Silverlight for free directly from the ArcGIS website.

Please leave a comment and share how you are using ArcGIS in your classroom!

Comments (7)

That is very cool! When I have the time to play around with it, I will check it out!

[…] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Shelly S Terrell, ktenkely. ktenkely said: ArcGIS Explorer is really neat mapping tool that lets you embed in maps and create map presentations to share http://bit.ly/d4YpdY […]

I follow your blog and sometimes I would like to forward an article via email. I don’t see a way to share your blog entries. Can you help me out?

[…] more importantly shares ideas on how to integrate them into the curriculum. Print What You Like and ArcGIS Explorer are two great resources recently […]

This would be a great tool for creative text response; show where characters travelled to/from, what happened where, etc. Love it!

Great idea for creative text response!

Tori, I don’t have a built in forward feature. Now you have me on the hunt! I will see what I can come up with. In the mean time, you can subscribe to my RSS feed by email so that all of the feeds are sent to you. Just click the subscribe by email button in my sidebar on the right.

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