Google Posters

What it is: Google Posters are printable posters offered by Google for educators. The posters can be printed in different sizes and teach students how to perform better searches.

How to integrate Google Posters into the classroom: I am realizing lately just how clueless students are about performing a quality search. Teachers are not exempt from this, I have had many educators tell me that it took them 3 hours to perform a search to find a state flower. What this tells me is that they don’t know how to search. Google Posters can be handed out as an individual handout, hung around the classroom, or both. The posters are found in Google’s Educator section. The posters teach students (and teachers) how to use modifiers to refine searches for the best results, the anatomy of a search, how to find a book using books.google.com, and examples of how to go about a search. Use these posters to teach your students how to do a quality search and then pick a topic for them to search and have a Google scavenger hunt. Students will learn how to use search engines and increase productivity.

Tips: Make sure that you have tested your scavenger hunt before you let your students loose, sometimes you will get results that aren’t appropriate for your students.

Please leave a comment and share how you are using Google Posters in your classroom.

Wildlife Filmmaker

What it is: National Geographics Wildlife Filmmaker lets students make custom nature films complete with animal video clips, sounds, music, and text captions. The site is easy to use and films can be saved on the site or shared through email.

How to integrate Wildlife Filmmaker into the classroom: Wildlife Filmmaker is an excellent place for students to display knowledge after researching wildlife. Research on different animals can be completed right from the National Geographic website or collected from several sources. Students put a lot of thought into their wildlife videos since they are shared with other students. Students can send their videos to you via email for grading and sharing with the rest of the class. Plan a film festival where you can use a projector to show students finished products. Wildlife Filmmaker can also be used as a creative writing activity. Students can select video clips and use the caption tool to write a story about what is happening in the film (these get very creative!) Additionally the site would make a nice basic introduction to movie editing because of its use of timelines. It would be a great activity to lead into using iMovie HD where timelines are used to separate sound tracks and video.

Tips: The National Geographic site does contain advertisement banners. I use the advertisements as a mini lesson to teach students how to recognize the difference between ads and site content. We also discuss what the purpose of website ads.

Please leave a comment and share how you are using Wildlife Filmmaker in your classroom.

Links Galore!

Normally I don’t like to just list links…I would much rather give you a snapshot of a website, give you ideas for implementing it into your classroom, and tips on what has worked for me. Today is different. If you are like me, you read a new idea and immediately want to implement it in your classroom but don’t always have the right resources to make it happen. I have so many links for podcasting that I am going to give them all to you in one shot and then break them down in another post. If you have the podcast itch, get podcasting and browse the links below for some hosting ideas.

The following links are FREE podcast hosting sites (a place to store your teacher or student created podcasts where listeners can access and/or subscribe to your podcasts).

Global Classroom http://globalclassroomusa.org- Expect to see a post dedicated to this one, it is so much more than just a podcast hosting site.

My Podcast http://www.mypodcast.com

Podango http://podango.com

Switchpod http://www.switchpod.com

Podbean http://www.podbean.com

Podcast Summit

As promised I want to share some of the incredible uses of podcasting in the classroom that I heard at the Colorado Podcast Summit yesterday. One of the keynote speakers was ISTE Primary Teacher of the Year Carol Greig. Her Keynote entitled “Podcasting for the Struggling Reader” was truly inspiring. Carol teaches kindergarten in the Eugene School District in Oregon, here she started a podcasting program for her struggling readers called Reading Buddies. The Reading Buddies program uses several iPod shuffles that are loaded with reading lessons (created and recorded by Carol) that go home with the students. Carol said something that I think rings true with educators everywhere, “No one can teach my students as well as I can.” Reading Buddies allowed Carol to go home with her students every night using the iPod. The goal of the Reading Buddies program was to help struggling readers reach the benchmark. Carol loaded the iPods with reading lessons based on the individual child’s needs, this provided guided learning at home with and extended student learning. In the Reading Buddies packs Carol included vocabulary picture cards which she created, fluency cards, a book or two and the iPod Shuffle. A sample lesson might sound something like this: “Take out the green picture card. What picture do you see first? That’s right, a cat! Cat starts with the letter C. Cat, Cat. What is the next picture?” Carol pauses after a question so that the students have time to think and respond. The Reading Buddies program helps kids with vocabulary, fluency, alphabetic principal, rhyming, phoneme segmentation, and literature. The iPod “buddies” have been a huge success with 99% of students reaching the reading benchmark by the end of the year. Carol started getting calls from parents requesting that their student be a part of the Reading Buddy program, parents and other educators in the district started offering help to create the recordings for the Reading Buddies. At the end of the first year a parent called to thank her for the wonderful program and things it had done for her son, but she also benefited. After her son went to bed, the mother would listen to the reading buddy and follow along, she learned English by listening to her kindergarten son’s Reading Buddy! There are some good rules that were set up for the students who have reading buddies, each child was told that only the child who was given the Reading Buddy was allowed to use it, if a Buddy was lost or broken the students family was responsible for replacing it. It is a privelege that can be taken away if the Buddies were not cared for. They have never had to take a Buddy away or replace one that was lost or broken by a student. The future of the Reading Buddies program includes expansion to other grades, older students could have their anthologies or science text recorded on the Shuffle. The Reading Buddies program won the presidential award for reading and technology…it is easy to see why!

The new iPod Nano would be great to use as a reading buddy because students could have audio and visual presented. The Shuffles are nice because they are so affordable (the 1G just dropped to $49 yesterday!) I am hoping to get a Reading Buddy Program up and running at my school. I will keep you posted with any success stories or lessons learned!

Colorado Podcast Summit

Today I presented a poster session at the Colorado Podcast Summit hosted by Apple Education. I met a lot of wonderful educators and heard some great ideas which I will be sharing in the upcoming days. Today I wanted to share with you some of my presentation at the Summit. My session was called Podcasting: Creativity Communication Collaboration below is a break down…

Get Ready to Read!

What it is: Get Ready to Read is a site that supports early childhood literacy. I don’t know how I have missed this one in the past! It is an excellent resource for teachers. If you teach pre-k through first grade or are a remedial reading teacher, make sure to take a look at all this site has to offer. The program is designed to help early education professionals to equip children with the basic skills necessary for learning to read. The site offers tools for screening children for pre-reading skills and provides skill strengthening activities both on and offline to ensure reading success.

How to integrate Get Ready to Read into the classroom: Use the Get Ready to Read Program to screen your students for reading skills. Use this assessment to guide your reading program and help individualize instruction based on your students needs. Print out and use the 36 offline activity cards with your students. These can be used as reading centers, for individual learning, or for whole class instruction. Set up your classroom computers with the Get Ready to Read online activities. These interactive stories about Inky and Gus’ underwater adventures can be used with a projector for whole class participation, in centers, or on individual computers in a lab setting.

Tips: This site is a completely free resource for teachers and parents, be sure to involve parents in early literacy activities. Print out the parent brochure for additional information on the Get Ready to Read program for parents.

Please leave a comment and share how you are using Get Ready to Read in your classroom.

ClickCaster

What it is: ClickCaster allows you and your students to create a podcasting channel that can be subscribed to via RSS feed as well as publish and embed your podcast for integration with classroom blogs or wikis. The ClickCaster platform is extremely easy to use with professional results. ClickCaster offers different levels of service the most basic is free but only includes 125MB of storage. The other levels are very affordable and ClickCaster gives teachers $3 off of their standard package.

How to integrate Click Caster into the classroom: ClickCaster is a great way to publish your classroom podcasts. Other classrooms and parents can subscribe to the podcast through RSS feed or visit your channel for a complete list of your podcasts. Publish a weekly radio show where your students give a synopsis of what they have learned throughout the week. Or, create podcasts where your students get to be the “expert” on a subject. No matter what the subject, ClickCaster will make publishing your podcasts for others simple.

Tips: Sign up for the basic limited account (free) to find out just how simple ClickCaster is to use…you will be hooked in no time!

Please leave a comment and share how you are using ClickCaster in your classroom.

Doodle 4 Google

What it is: Google is encouraging students to put their creative doodles to work and giving the opportunity to be a part of Google history. Doodle 4 Google is a contest for schools that invites kindergarten through twelfth grade students to doodle on Google’s logo and see what they come up with. The theme is centered around the question “What if…” Students can take this question and go anywhere with it…for example: What if I could live underwater, outer space, or colonial America? What if I could build any invention I wanted? What if I could see into the future? Students “doodle” their logo on an 8.5″ x 11″ piece of white paper. They can do this with any medium (as long as it isn’t 3-D) including using the computer.  The winning doodler will receive a $10,000  college scholarship and their design will take over the home page for the day.  As if that isn’t exciting enough, the winning school will also receive a $25,000 technology grant!!

How to integrate Doodle 4 Google into the classroom: This one needs to be started soon, the registration deadline is March 28, 2008 and the doodles need to be submitted by April 12, 2008. Each school can only submit 6 entries so you may have to hold a classroom vote to narrow down which doodles get sent to Google. A panel of judges will select 40 finalist doodles and the public will vote for the best. The winning doodle will be displayed on May 22, 2008 on Google’s homepage. Google provides the original artwork for the students to work from. Google has also provides some awesome lesson plans for integrating Doodle 4 Google into your curricula. This would be a fun writing/creative activity!

Tips: Google also has a section where students can learn about the original Google doodler, find out where he gets inspiration, and watch a video of him at work. They have also provided some fun posters to print out advertising the contest in your classroom.

Please leave a comment and share how you are using Doodle 4 Google in your classroom. If your class is participating in this fun Google contest, be sure to share your students work with us!

Ad Decoder

What it is: Ad Decoder is a web game created by the Center of Disease Control and Prevention. The game teaches students how to decode advertisements to learn the difference between real and ideal as well as some of the tactics that advertisers use to get them to buy a product. Students flip through a virtual magazine full of advertisements and try to decode the messages the ad sends off. When students scroll over the message the true message pops up.

How to integrate Ad Decoder into the classroom: Ad Decoder is a great tool to use with students to promote a positive self image and character development. It helps them recognize advertisements and the true messages they send. It can also be used to teach students how to spot ads both on the web and in magazines. (Those advertisers are getting so sneaky…ads are starting to get really good at blending in with the good stuff!) Use the online Ad Decoder tool and as an extension activity, have the students go through other magazines and “decode” the messages in the advertisements. This should spark some very interesting discussion!

Tips: The Center for Disease Control and Prevention has some other quality student activities including food and nutrition, physical activity, safety, and more. Check out the other quality activities and games on the site!

Please leave a comment and share how you are using Ad Decoder in your classroom.

Wetpaint

What it is: Wetpaint is a free wiki website editor/builder that is EXTREMELY simple to use. (No really, EASY is an understatement!) If you aren’t familiar with wiki’s they are websites that anyone can edit and help grow through collaboration. The most famous wiki is Wikipedia which is a group effort encyclopedia that anyone can add to and edit. Wetpaint has amazing looking templates to use…this is no boring wiki!

How to integrate Wetpaint into the classroom: Wetpaint is an easy to use wiki builder. It provides a place for students to collaborate on projects, it is so simple to use that even primary classrooms could make use of Wetpaint. Wetpaint provides a platform for your students to be the “expert” on a subject. Whatever you are studying in math, language arts, social studies, science, etc. is the perfect subject matter for a wiki. Create a classroom book club where students can write book reviews, suggest books to read as a class, and rate books through a poll. Collaborate with other classrooms, grade levels, or other schools on any subject. Wetpaint provides some different levels of privacy for your wiki, it can be public which means that everyone can edit, semi-private, or private.

Tips: Wetpaint has built in widgets that can be used in your wiki. These include YouTube or Google videos, polls, slide shows, rss feeds, music, and a place to embed code (like a Gabcast podcast).

Take a look at the introduction video on the Wetpaint site… I want my students to make videos like this! So rad (yes I really did say rad!)

Please leave a comment and share how you are using Wetpaint in your classroom.