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Spelling City: Update

What it is: Spelling City is a fabulous site for practicing spelling, I have written about its uses in the classroom before (here and here).  Spelling City has just added a new feature that teachers are going to love, the ability to add your own sentences on Spelling City!  Now you can customize your spelling lists to fit your needs.  For example, if you are studying fish and one of your spelling words is “scales”, the default sentence that Spelling City might offer is “The scales were not giving the weights accurately.”  Now as you create a list, you can click on “add” and type a new sentence to fit your classroom needs. The feature is also extremely useful for homonyms (our fifth graders are using this feature this week!).  For the teacher created sentences, the audio read of the sentence will be done by a sophisticated voice synthesis. How to integrate Spelling City into the classroom: Now that Spelling City allows teacher generated sentences, you can customize your lists for students even more.  Have students generate sentences for the weeks spelling words and vote on which sentence should be included on Spelling City.  This is a great way to involve your students in thinking about word meanings and uses. Tips: Spelling City has a premium membership that has been approved for funding by Adopt-a-Classroom.org.  You can use the Adopt-A-Classroom service to ask for donations to cover premium membership. Leave a comment and share how you are using Spelling City  in your classroom.

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Squad: Collaborative Code Editor

Posted by admin | Posted in Apply, collaboration, Create, Middle/High School, Secondary Elementary, Technology, web tools, Web2.0, Websites | Posted on 05-12-2012

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What it is: We have some students at Anastasis Academy that are CODE crazy! They are really excited to learn how to code (we’ve used Codecademy) and practice with friends.  Squad is a free collaborative code editor.  With Squad, students can access the code they are writing anywhere there is an Internet connection. This means that students can chat and edit files together no matter where they are.  Squad constantly saves the workspace so that they are available even when multiple machines are logged in.  Students can see what teammates are working on, offer recommendations and even work simultaneously on a document.  Even better? If your students have a coding question (and you, like me, can’t answer) they can copy and paste the code in the workspace’s share URL and anyone with the URL can get in to help.  All of the files created on Squad belong to your students.  They can open (and save) local files, access a remote host via FTP/SFTP or grab a file from Dropbox.  The chat feature is searchable so that students can go back and learn from past mistakes or suggestions.

How to integrate Squad into the classroom: Do you have students who want to learn how to code?  What better way for them to learn and practice than together?!  At Anastasis, we have Crave classes.  These are classes that run once a week that students get to elect to take…something they “crave” learning.  One of our crave classes last year was learning to code.  I “taught” it.  No, I don’t really know how to code. We learned together!  You don’t have to be an expert to help your students explore their passions and interests.  We used Codecademy to learn together.  One of the limitations of Codecademy is that there is no where to just practice together after you have learned a skill.  Squad would be the perfect place for students to explore and practice together.

Older or more advanced students might want to create a club or work together to show what they know in another subject by putting their coding skills to use.

Tips: The free version of Squad limits students to 3 collaborators and 1 workspace, this should be plenty for your beginners!

Leave a comment and tell us how you are using  Squad in your classroom.

Comments (2)

If you’re looking for a great site to learn to code, you need to check out http://codehs.com

We’ve made it really fun and accessible to get started and keep students engaged by teaching them to make fun graphics and awesome games, all from scratch!

We have an awesome, in-browser editor that lets students explore and create.

Most importantly, we have live tutors that answer your questions and give you feedback on your code, so you really improve.

Thank you for these resources! After I created my wedding website last year I became interested in coding, most specifically, learning more about using HTML and CSS to design blogs. Since then, I’ve been interested in teaching an elective for 8th graders. These resources and your experience make me even more confident that it’s something I’m willing to do! Thank you!!

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