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You know what no one tells you about starting a school?  That ending a school year is WAY more work than starting a school year.  Also, no one warned me that I would be licking cheap envelopes while everyone else was enjoying the freedom of summer.  We have just wrapped up our second year of Anastasis...

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Free Rice

Posted by admin | Posted in Character Education, Language Arts, Math, Middle/High School, Primary Elementary, Secondary Elementary, Social Studies, Websites | Posted on 10-11-2007

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What it is: Free Rice has two goals: to provide English vocabulary to everyone for free and help end world hunger by providing rice to hungry people for free (this is made possible by the sponsors on the site). Free Rice is a sister company of www.poverty.com. Free Rice began in October 2007 and to date has donated over a billion grains of rice. Students play a vocabulary game online. For each word they get correct, 10 grains of rice are donated. If a student gets a word wrong, the words get easier. If the student gets the word right, the words get harder.

How to integrate Free Rice into the classroom: Free Rice is a wonderful vocabulary game for the classroom. I love the added lesson about helping those who are less fortunate. Free Rice would be the perfect game to play during the holiday season…particularly around Thanksgiving. As our students give thanks for plentiful food and nutrition, they can play a game to help others get much needed food and nutrition. Visit the FAQ page to find out more about how the Free Rice program works and how rice is donated. This vocabulary game could also be a great way to teach students how to use the dictionary. As students get an unfamiliar vocabulary word, encourage them to look the word up (online or “old school”).

Tips: Use Free Rice as a math lesson, students can document the number of grains of rice donated each month. Use these figures to introduce graphing and charting skills (among others!).

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

VoiceThread

Posted by admin | Posted in Blogs, Character Education, Geography, History, Interactive book, Language Arts, Math, Middle/High School, Phonics, Primary Elementary, Science, Secondary Elementary, Social Studies, Teacher Resources, Virtual Field Trips, Web2.0, Websites | Posted on 08-11-2007

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What it is: VoiceThread brings Web 2.0 communication to presentations. Slide show presentations are no longer static, VoiceThread makes them interactive collaborative learning experiences. Features include: the ability to create voice comments, voice recording within a browser allows for recording of multiple voices, doodling which captures drawing as an animation synced to voice or text commentary…listeners can watch the process, voice threads can be embedded in other sites, one account can have many identities so a classroom can switch identities on the fly without having to sign out, media importing so slide show presentations and pictures become collaborative conversations, comment moderation abilities, and the ability to zoom in and pan images.

How to integrate VoiceThread into the classroom: VoiceThread has hundreds of uses, the following are a few that I came up with. Use VoiceThread to create a time line of the students day. Students can record themselves describing different events of the day. Parents and out of town family can see what happens on a typical day in your classroom. Debates can be hosted and conducted using Voice Thread. VoiceThread can make history interactive, for example, host an art history artist critique and discussion. Create a book group using VoiceThread where students interact and discuss their reading together. Students can read their stories and record as a VoiceThread (this also makes a special keepsake!). Teachers can use VoiceThread for math problem demonstrations, step by step science “experiments”, staff training, or to teach a second language. Computer teachers, what about creating Voice Threads to teach your students when you can’t be there? This would make life easy for a substitute and ensure that your students are on track when you return.

Tips: Go to the “help” section of VoiceThread for some great interactive tutorials.

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

Library of Virtual Manipulatives

Posted by admin | Posted in Math, Middle/High School, Primary Elementary, Secondary Elementary, Teacher Resources, Websites | Posted on 07-11-2007

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What it is: The Library of Virtual Manipulatives is a library of interactive, web-based virtual manipulatives or concept tutorials for mathematics instruction (K-12 emphasis). Manipulatives are for students in grades kindergarten through twelve and include hundreds of manipulative tools in the areas of Numbers and Operations, Algebra, Geometry, Measurement, Data Analysis, and Probability. Manipulatives include interactive base 10 blocks, money, pattern blocks, tangrams, geoboards, clocks, and bar/pie charts just to name a few.

How to integrate Virtual Manipulatives into the classroom: Virtual Manipulatives can be used in place of actual manipulatives in math class. There are many benefits to the virtual version of manipulatives. First, math manipulatives can be expensive, especially when a class set is required. The Virtual Manipulatives are completely free to use. Math manipulatives can take up a lot of storage space. The Virtual Manipulatives are accessible quickly and easily and there is never any need for set up or clean up. The Virtual Manipulatives never wear out and need to be replaced. In the one or two computer classroom, set up a Virtual Manipulative center where students can stop by individually or in groups and work with the manipulatives. Use a projector cart for whole class instruction. Virtual Manipulatives are ideal for the 1 to 1 computing environment.

Tips: Share the Virtual Manipulative site with parents. The manipulatives are great for use at home while students are completing math homework!

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

Prezent It

Posted by admin | Posted in History, Language Arts, Middle/High School, Primary Elementary, Science, Secondary Elementary, Social Studies, Software, Teacher Resources, Web2.0, Websites | Posted on 06-11-2007

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What it is: Prezent It is a free online resource for creating and sharing presentations online PowerPoint style. No special software is needed, Prezent It is an online application that allows teachers or students to create and present from a web browser. Presentations can be public or private and each has its own web address. Presentations can be downloaded and shown without any internet connection. There is no file size limit with Prezent It so create away!

How to integrate Prezent It into the classroom: Prezent It can be used in place of PowerPoint type applications. Because it is web-based, students could start a project at school and finish it at home without the necessity for expensive programs and saving to flash drives. Students can use Prezent It for any school presentation. I like starting out the year with a getting to know you presentation. Each of my students creates a presentation all about their favorite things (in fact we call it “A Few of My Favorite Things”). We have a special presentation day where we watch everyone’s Prezent It. Students can choose to narrate during the presentation or just sit and watch (this will save your shy students). You won’t believe how this project will bond your class, students will find out they have many similar interests and learn things about their fellow students they may not otherwise have known. This program is very intuative and easy for students to learn. Prezent It is a great tool for teachers as well…bring your lessons to life with Prezent It and a projector!

Tips: Prezent It requires a valid email address to activate your account. If you teach students who do not have an email address, you could use a teacher email for activation purposes.

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

NoteSake

Posted by admin | Posted in Geography, History, Language Arts, Math, Middle/High School, Science, Secondary Elementary, Social Studies, Teacher Resources, Web2.0 | Posted on 05-11-2007

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What it is: NoteSake is an online note taking tool for students and teachers. Students (or teachers) can take and organize notes online. This makes it easy to access notes from any Internet connected computer. NoteSake also provides students or teachers with the ability to collaborate in groups. Students can take notes for a group project in NoteSake and share with other group members. NoteSake is a God-send for the student who missed a class due to an illness…other students or teachers can share the notes from the day with the student who was absent. NoteSake offers several options for organizing notes; organize by name, date, class, or custom tags that the student adds to the notes.

How to integrate NoteSake into the classroom: NoteSake can be used to teach students how to take and organize notes. Aside from taking everyday type class notes, NoteSake is ideally suited for taking notes while completing research projects. Students can research on the Internet, in the library, or from home and access their notes any time they need to. No more forgetting where all the research papers are stashed. NoteSake also makes it easy for students to collaboratively gather information for projects. NoteSake makes it easy to share notes with others, absent students no longer have an excuse!

Tips: NoteSake requires a valid email address to activate your account. If you teach students who do not have an email address, you could use a teacher email for activation purposes.

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

Thinkport Tool: My Timeline

Posted by admin | Posted in History, Language Arts, Middle/High School, Primary Elementary, Secondary Elementary, Teacher Resources, Websites | Posted on 02-11-2007

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What it is: My Timeline is a tool introduced by Maryland’s Thinkport. My Timeline allows students to create professional looking timelines online. Timelines can be saved and printed from the online environment. Teachers can create interactive timelines about any subject that can be filled in by students.

How to integrate My Timeline into the classroom: My Timeline can be used for any history project or to teach chronological events. My Timeline is a neat tool, it allows students to add dates, events details, and an image uploaded from Thinkport’s image library. Students could also use the timeline tool for book reports, re-telling the story in chronological order. Teachers can create and save timelines that become fill-in-the-blank type activities for students to complete.

Tips: Click on the “Sample Student Activities” to see how other classrooms and students are using My Timeline.

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

TerraClues for Schools

Posted by admin | Posted in General, Geography, History, Language Arts, Middle/High School, Primary Elementary, Secondary Elementary, Social Studies, Teacher Resources, Virtual Field Trips, Websites | Posted on 01-11-2007

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What it is: TerraClues for Schools is an easy to use tool where teachers can create interactive “scavenger hunts” with Google maps. Teachers can access hundreds of already made TerraClues to use in conjunction with curriculum or create their own TerraClues to fit their classroom needs. Teachers can also create private classrooms where they assign students to specific hunts. TerraClues hunts can also be shared with other teachers in your school, district, or anywhere in the world. This is a fun way to learn about using maps, curriculum content, and how to navigate the Internet. This site encourages students to learn and implement problem solving skills and learn about different cultures around the world. The Google Maps can be viewed as street maps, satellite maps, or hybrid. (A big thank you to Mike for suggesting this site!)

How to integrate TerraClues for Schools into the classroom: TerraClues for Schools can be used in a variety of ways in the classroom. Create a hunt for an explorers unit, any literature where the characters visit different locations (this would be a fun site for Flat Stanley), to teach students about history, in conjunction with web 2.0 tools and pen pals, for any social studies or geography lesson. Create an interactive field trip anywhere in the world for your students (or map out a field trip before you go). This is such a neat site, you are bound to find a multitude of uses for this site in your classroom. Wouldn’t it be neat to have older students create hunts for younger students?

Tips: If you haven’t already, go visit TerraClues for Schools NOW! Click on the “Tutorial Hunt” to see how TerraClues for Schools works. You will be convinced of this tools possibilities in no time!

Please leave a comment and share how you are using TerraClues for Schools in your classroom.

Drupal

Posted by admin | Posted in Blogs, Middle/High School, Open Source, Primary Elementary, Secondary Elementary, Software, Teacher Resources, Web2.0 | Posted on 31-10-2007

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What it is: Drupal is an open source (free) content management platform. This free software package (downloaded) allows teachers to easily publish, manage and organize a wide variety of content on a website. Teachers can use Drupal to create discussion areas for their class, as a content management system, for blogging, as a collaborative learning environment, for classroom social networking, a classroom forum, newsletters, podcasting, online picture albums, and file uploads and downloads.

How to integrate Drupal into the classroom: Make your classroom “classroom 2.0″ with Drupal. Encourage student collaborative learning, discussion, and outside the classroom self-guided learning. Drupal helps teachers to teach 21st century skills by providing the platform to do so. Use Drupal to build an online classroom community where students and parents can interact with one another and you. Post assignments online. Students can download and upload assignments. This will bring a whole new aspect of parent involvement in your classroom!

Tips: Drupal handbooks (on the website) are a wealth of information for using Drupal.

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

Exploratree

Posted by admin | Posted in Character Education, Geography, History, Language Arts, Math, Middle/High School, Science, Secondary Elementary, Social Studies, Teacher Resources, Web2.0, Websites | Posted on 30-10-2007

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What it is: Exploratree is a free web resource where teachers and students can download, use and create interactive thinking guides (graphic organizers). Thinking guides can be used to support independent or group research projects, students can think and plan easily. Thinking guides can be used collaboratively and shared for group projects. Exploratree has several ready-made thinking guides. Students and teachers can add to these guides or create their own from scratch to meet a specific classroom need. Ready made thinking guides include: tracking an enquiry, futures wheel, lotus blossom, from a different angle, thinking boxes, plus- minus- interesting, scamper, thinking actively in a social context, reverse planning, is/is not, complete reversal, compass rose, facts or opinions, making meanings, compare and contrast, knowing trees, digging up roots, traffic lights, examine existing and new ideas, using the essence, question things, a day in the life, and possible/probable/ preferable futures.

How to integrate Exploratree into the classroom: Exploratree is a wonderful replacement for traditional paper/pencil graphic organizers. They are easy to use, navigate and include some amazing features that just aren’t possible with paper graphic organizers. As a teacher, you can set up the sequence that you want the thinking guide to be revealed, so that you can stage the thinking activity. Each portion of the organizer is revealed as students are working. Students can fill out the thinking guides online as they complete a project or teachers can create a thinking guide that fits a classroom activity and print them out for student use. Students can submit thinking guides so that they can be edited and reviewed by peers or a teacher with comments. Think about using Exploratree for ALL subjects. Students can use thinking guides to explore the scientific process, for KWL type charts, to predict what will happen in literature they are reading, to plan a story or report, to explore a historical figure, to organize thoughts before a writing assignment, in social studies as a current event organizer, to think about choices and possible outcomes, to show mathematical processes, to explore a topic using different senses or points of view, sort facts and opinions, and a day in the life of a notable figure just to name a few.

Tips: Exploratree is in its Beta form so they are open to input and suggestions from educators. If you don’t see a feature you could use in your classroom…go ahead and suggest it!

Engrade

Posted by admin | Posted in Middle/High School, Primary Elementary, Secondary Elementary, Teacher Resources, Websites | Posted on 29-10-2007

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What it is: Engrade is a free online gradebook that allows teachers to manage their classes online as well as post grades, assignments, attendance, and upcoming homework online for students and parents to see. Engrade makes it easy for parents, teachers, and students to communicate and stay in contact. The free Engrade suite offers a gradebook that automatically calculates grades and provides tools for custom grading scales and weighting assignments, an attendance book that automatically emails parents with absences, a homework calendar for students and parents, and online student reports where students can view their grades, homework and attendance in real time.

How to integrate Engrade into the classroom: Engrade makes it simple to quickly post homework assignments, edit students grades, and take attendance all in one easy to use online interface. Best of all, since Engrade is online based, teachers can update grades and homework assignments from anywhere. Engrade is a wonderful way to keep parents and students informed of grades, homework assignments, and absences in one place. Communication between school and home has never been easier! Engrade is a secure, password protected site so there are no concerns about privacy or security of grades.

Tips: Be sure to check out the Teacher page on Engrade and all of the features that are offered. This truly is an amazing product!

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