What it is: Blogger is a free blogging tool. Blogger makes it easy for teachers and students to share work, class notes, and pictures online. Educators can even make private blogs for their classes’ eyes only.
How to integrate Blogger into your classroom: Teachers can use Blogger to stay connected to students, parents, and other teachers. Use Blogger for newsletters for parents, keep parents up-to-date about what is happening in the classroom, share photos and student work, post school documents and projects, and assign collaborative group projects online with an easy way to track students’ progress. Students can use Blogger to communicate ideas, photos, class notes, improve their writing skills (give students a sense of audience), improve typing skills, and teach basic web publishing. Students can access Blogger from any Internet connected computer making it an ideal place to collect information for projects, work on unpublished drafts, collect feedback from classmates, and take on collaborative projects.
Tips: When you view a published blog in Blogger, you will see a Next button at the top of the screen. This next button will take you or your students to a randomly selected blog. These are not always school appropriate. To remove this next button, follow the instructions at TechLearning.
What it is: Scribble Screen is a presentation tool allowing you to write directly onto the screen, drawing the attention of the audience to items which can be in windows from completely separate applications, high-light items as you speak about them, sketch a quick diagram or type some text. Scribble Screen works by capturing an image of the Macintosh screen at the moment it is launched; thereafter drawing occurs on top of this screen image as a background. This background can take over the whole screen (the other applications still running, but hidden) or can be in a smaller side window so you can see the other applications. Scribble Screen is a freeware application.
How to integrate Scribble Screen into your classroom: Use Scribble Screen for presenting information to students. Scribble Screen can be used over any computer application making it ideal for teaching any computer skill, math, taking notes, etc. The possibilities with this tool are endless. This tool is best used with a projector in whole class instruction.
Tips: Note that this program only works with Macintosh operating systems.
What it is: Hands on Banking is a free, fun financial education program that presents the basics of smart money management in an easy to use format game. Topics include budgeting, the importance of saving, bank accounts and services, borrowing money, establishing credit, investing, and more. The curriculum is appropriate for 4th through 12th grades.
How to integrate Hands on Banking into your curriculum: Use the Hands on Banking site as an extended learning activity for the economics or math classroom. Activities can be customized for each age group. The site works best in a computer lab setting because it takes time to get through the entire game. Use this activity at the end of an economics or money unit as a culminating activity.
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: Kidoons brings time-honored, universally recognized stories to life. Stories include tales from the Brothers Grimm, Hans Christian Andersen, Charles Perrault, Thorton Burgess, and more. Kidoons offers both online stories and games for kids developing literacy skills.
How to integrate Kidoons into your classroom: Offer students the opportunity to use Kidoons during silent reading time, or during a unit on one of the time-honored authors listed above. The online books are not read for the students, so it is best used with independent readers.
Tips: Visit the teachers section to join the Kidoons teacher’s resource newsletter. Kidoons will alert you of any new games, stories, and ideas for your classroom.
Kidoons does have advertisements on it, use this as an opportunity to teach kids about how to spot ads on the Internet.
What it is: Our Timelines is a free web tool that lets teachers and students create and print timelines. Students can click on any entry in an already created timeline that is underlined as a link to a page that provides additional details on the event.
How to integrate Our Timelines into your classroom: Allow students to create timelines on Our Timelines. The timelines can be a 5 to 140 year span. Students fill in the time period, the event description and the event type. Students can also see a timeline of events that happened on their birthdays. This is a great resource for teaching kids about timelines and visualizing history. Use for history lessons, literature timelines, personal timelines, etc.
Tips: Be sure to click the printable check box in the timeline form so that the timeline can be printed.
What it is: Teachers can use School Notes to create notes for homework and class information and post them on the web in seconds using this free service.
How to integrate School Notes into your classroom: Use School Notes as a quick easy way to stay in touch with your families. Parents and students can view your notes by entering the school zip code. This is an easy to use interface!
Tips: School Notes is part of Education World, be sure to visit Education World for great teacher resources.
What it is: Grade Connect is an online course management system that streamlines and enhances communication between teachers, students, and parents. It is free to use. It includes a secure online gradebook, announcement and assignment posting, and convenient email system.
How to Integrate Grade Connect into the classroom: Use Grade Connect to make teacher/parent communication more efficient and effective. Post assignments online so that students can easily check on the weeks activities and homework.
Tips: Watch the demo of Grade Connect before signing up to see if it fits your needs.
What it is: Safety Land is an interactive city that teaches Internet safety. Students help the Safety Land super hero catch a bad Internet character. Students search different buildings and answer Internet safety related questions. They receive feedback on their answers (right or wrong) along with an explanation about why the answer was right or wrong. When all questions have been answered, the bad Internet character is captured.
How to integrate Safety Land into the classroom: Use Safety Land to practice and assess Internet safety. Because students have to go through a series of questions to get to the end of the game, this is a wonderful game to use to check for understanding. The site should be used throughout the year to reinforce Internet safety rules.
Tips: Teachers can print out the entire game (all questions, answers and responses).
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!