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Sphero: the coolest robot around

This week, the wonderful people at Orbotix sent me a Sphero to try out and play with. HOLY COW, I haven’t had so much fun with a new toy in a long time. The better part of today was spent learning about the Sphero and stealthily “driving” it into classrooms (much to the delight of...

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Comapping

Posted by admin | Posted in Geography, History, Language Arts, Math, Middle/High School, Science, Secondary Elementary, Social Studies, Software, Teacher Resources, Websites | Posted on 22-10-2007

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What it is: Comapping is a mind mapping/concept mapping online application that offers a unique left to right mind mapping technique. While the application is not free, Comapping does offer a free trial version for schools and very competitive pricing. Students can collaborate on mind maps in real-time. Comapping has a feature that other mind mapping solutions don’t have, a presentation tool. Teachers and students can actually turn their mind map into a presentation quickly and easily in the same web-browser. Comapping also has an auto focus feature which makes it easy to collapse maps and “zoom in” to the portion of the map being worked on.

How to integrate Comapping into the classroom: Teachers can use Comapping to structure lessons, units and themes in the classroom. Comapping would be an excellent way to organize the structure of the lessons for each subject and to align standards with those lessons. Students can create character diagrams, comparison charts, story diagrams, vocabulary word diagrams, timelines, effect of events, experiment maps, food pyramids, scientific processes, life cycles, and more. This tool will be valuable for your visual learners! Comapping would also be a useful tool when teaching students how to note-take. Comappings left to right mapping technique makes note taking succinct and easy to refer back to and understand. The collaboration portion of Comapping is useful to students completing projects together as well as for teachers and staff for creating units and lessons together.

Tips: I encourage you to select “try Comapping without an account” to learn about how it works. This will take you to an interactive page where you can learn, step by step about how to use Comapping. Really neat! Once you are sold, you can sign up for a free trial account.

Comapping for Education PowerPoint


Interactives

Posted by admin | Posted in Art, Geography, History, Interactive book, Language Arts, Math, Middle/High School, Primary Elementary, Science, Secondary Elementary, Virtual Field Trips, Websites | Posted on 19-10-2007

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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.

Gabcast

Posted by admin | Posted in Blogs, Middle/High School, Phonics, Primary Elementary, Secondary Elementary, Teacher Resources, Web2.0, Websites | Posted on 18-10-2007

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What it is: Gabcast is a podcasting and audioblogging website that offers an easy way to create and distribute audio content. The most amazing part of this resource is that students can actually use a touch-tone cell (yes I said cell phone, put them to good use!) or land line telephone to make their recordings. Gabcast also provides worldwide access to the sevice through VoIP. Once a student has mad a recording and had it published, a newsfeed is automatically updated to alert subscribers (like other classrooms, students or parents) to your channel.

How to integrate Gabcast into the classroom: What makes Gabcast so ingenious to me is that there is no need for fancy equipment (i.e. immediate computer access or microphones) to record a quality podcast. If you don’t have a classroom computer, or want to be using the computer for other activities or centers, Gabcast is a perfect solution for creating podcasts. Gabcast is an outstanding alternative to more ‘traditional’ methods of podcasting. Students could also easily create podcasts from home since the only equipment needed is a telephone. Use Gabcast to create a weekly radio type broadcast for the rest of the school or learning buddies, create audio books for other students, or for interviewing others. Bring along a cell phone on field trips and record audio clips (like of animal sounds at the zoo). This tool would be wonderful for auditory learners. The possibilities with Gabcast are nearly endless.

Tips: Gabcast is a toll free call, visit the overview page for the toll free phone number for your country. You can embed Gabcast on your school, or classroom website or blog.

Kindersay

Posted by admin | Posted in Language Arts, Phonics, Primary Elementary, Websites | Posted on 17-10-2007

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What it is: Kindersay is a website for emerging language learners. This is the new See and Say. Kindersay allows pre-school, kindergarten, and struggling language learners to learn new words through visual and auditory practice.

How to integrate Kindersay into the classroom: Kindersay makes an excellent listening and language development center in the preschool, kindergarten, or special education classroom. Set up the computer for student exploration of words. Learn adventure, alphabet, animals, arts, cities and people, food, home large, home small, movement, numbers, outdoors, parts of the body, colors, times, shapes, tools, and transport words.

Tips: For a $6 a month subscription, Kindersay allows you to upload your own images and sounds to Kindersay.

I Was Wondering

Posted by admin | Posted in Primary Elementary, Science, Secondary Elementary, Teacher Resources, Virtual Field Trips, Websites | Posted on 16-10-2007

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What it is: I Was Wondering is a site geared toward getting girls interested in science and technology. Although this site is geared toward girls, the site has some fun games and activities that boys will enjoy too. I Was Wondering features 10 women scientists, a time travel time line, and science games. Games include astroscope where students can explore the universe in a scavenger hunt (this is really neat!), gorilla quest where students can “track” and learn about gorillas, and make a robot where students can create their own robot and then learn about robots that real scientists have created.

How to integrate I Was Wondering into the classroom: I Was Wondering would be an excellent site to use during a solar system unit. The scavenger hunt gives students a sense of what the universe looks like while making them familiar with vocabulary. Set the site up as a center during science class or bring your students on a space “field trip” to the computer lab. Students could explore the gorilla quest to learn about gorillas. This would be a fun way for students to learn research skills. Students could use the 10 women scientists or time travel time line to learn more about famous scientists and their contributions. All are very student friendly.

Tips: Visit the teacher section and click on “Using the Science Labs”. Science labs are activities based on one of the ten scientists. These are really great extension activities for your science classroom. Again, this site is geared toward girls but is a great addition to any science class…boys included!

Kidz Online

Posted by admin | Posted in Middle/High School, Science, Secondary Elementary, Teacher Resources, Video Tutorials, Websites | Posted on 15-10-2007

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What it is: Kidz Online is a digital production and distribution organization with online learning. Kidz Online is the leading provider of training videos for students and teachers. Each of the 12 technology subjects is explored through five channels. The variety of formats draws students from a wide range of skill levels and interests. The teach IT section has videos that target viewers who are interested in hands on learning. A host guides students step by step through the concepts and tools behind each tech topic. Animations and screen demos aid in understanding. The KTK Live! uses sketch comedy to introduce the potential of technology. Streaming Features is an online career resource and shows students what kind of jobs are available in the field of technology. Gurl Tech emphasizes the importance females have in technology. Technology in Action is the final channel, it allows anyone to submit their work online, showcasing their learning to fellow students.

How to integrate Kidz Online into the classroom: Kidz Online is an amazing resource for teachers who are lagging in their technology skills or simply don’t have the time to teach technology skills. Students can learn at their own pace using the online instructional videos. Videos can be downloaded or streamed online. Students can learn about a topic or program that interests them or all students can watch and learn from the same videos. The videos are very well done and user friendly. Kidz online is the perfect tool to teach students self-directed learning skills. Challenge students to become the class “expert” in one of the programs featured on Kidz Online and let them teach each other. This site will excite your students about the possibility of technology in the classroom and in the future. Students can also create their own video tutorials and post for other students. Have older students create video tutorials of programs that younger students use.

Tips: Make sure to click on the “Lesson Plans” page for some great lesson plan ideas and teacher resources. While you are there, click on the Teacher’s Tool Kit for free resources including: instructional web videos, step-by-step tutorials, technology integrated core-curriculum lesson plans and streaming videos on various topics like girls and technology (gURL Tech) and career exploration (Streaming Futures). This is an amazing resource!

Professor Garfield: Comics Lab

Posted by admin | Posted in Art, Language Arts, Primary Elementary, Secondary Elementary, Teacher Resources, Websites | Posted on 12-10-2007

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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.

Professor Garfield: Transport to Reading

Posted by admin | Posted in Language Arts, Phonics, Primary Elementary, Teacher Resources, Websites | Posted on 11-10-2007

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What it is: Professor Garfield: Transport to Reading has two interactive reading games. The first is called Fishing for Phonics. Students can choose to fish for beginning or ending consonants. In the game, Garfield fishes and discovers different objects like a book. Students find the consonant that matches the object. The second game is called Orson’s Farm. Students can choose to play a game on the farm practicing rhyming words, syllables, segmenting words, blending, and deleting and substituting.

How to integrate Professor Garfield: Transport to Reading into the classroom: Professor Garfield is a nice addition to the kindergarten, first grade, or remedial reading programs. Use Professor Garfield: Transport to Reading as a center to reinforce phonemic awareness and learning in class.
Orson and his friends on the farm offer engaging, academically-sound activities at each level that will give students the opportunity to practice phonemic awareness tasks.
The skills practiced while playing Fishing with Phonics can be used to reinforce ongoing classroom instruction directed at identifying sound-symbol correspondences and automatic phoneme blending. The students will love working on these interactive sites as an alternative to paper and pencil practice.

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.

Technorati

Posted by admin | Posted in General | Posted on 11-10-2007

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Technorati Profile

Professor Garfield: Art Bot

Posted by admin | Posted in Art, Primary Elementary, Secondary Elementary, Teacher Resources, Websites | Posted on 10-10-2007

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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.

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