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Thinking Blocks: Model math word problems with virtual mantipulatives

What it is:  Thinking Blocks is a great find by @matthewquigley who was nice enough to share his find and let me take the credit (I may have made up that last part…).  Thinking Blocks lets students model and solve math word problems by using online virtual blocks to visualize the problems...

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Free Twitter Posters For Your Classroom

Posted by admin | Posted in Classroom Management, collaboration, inspiration, Knowledge (remember), Middle/High School, Primary Elementary, professional development, Secondary Elementary, Teacher Resources, Technology, Understand (describe, explain), Web2.0 | Posted on 17-09-2013

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Twitter Poster for Your Classroom- iLearn TechnologySometimes I forget all of the work I’ve done over the years.  Tonight, I was cleaning up my computer…it may not be spring, but it was definitely time!  Cleaning up always tends to be a trip down memory lane.  I’ve forgotten the sheer AMOUNT of things I’ve created.  It really is impressive when you look at 10 years of creation in an hour, it makes you feel like you’ve accomplished something and maybe like you could take over the whole education world if you wanted to.  That, right there, is reason enough to do some file clean up!  Twitter Poster for Your Classroom- iLearn Technology

Tonight the #edchat topic on Twitter was all about connected educators.  Being connected has transformed my life.  I mean, I started a school you guys! This was largely due to my personal learning network helping me hone my craft, challenge my thinking and cheer me on.  As I was rifling through files, I came across a set of Twitter posters that I created for teachers new to Twitter and for teachers using Twitter in their classroom.  In light of the conversation tonight, I thought they were worth sharing again.  Feel free to download, share with some friends and use!

Download here!

Twitter Poster for Your Classroom- iLearn TechnologyTwitter Poster for Your Classroom- iLearn TechnologyTwitter Poster for Your Classroom- iLearn TechnologyTwitter Poster for Your Classroom- iLearn TechnologyTwitter Poster for Your Classroom- iLearn Technology

Oxford Owl Maths: math ebooks, activities

Posted by admin | Posted in Interactive book, Interactive Whiteboard, Knowledge (remember), Math, Primary Elementary, Teacher Resources, Understand (describe, explain), Websites | Posted on 24-07-2013

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iLearn Technology Oxford Owl Math ebooksWhat it is: Oxford Owl is the awesome site I wrote about yesterday.  They have a fantastic collection of free ebooks and accompanying activities for kids.  The site is making an appearance in today’s post because they ALSO have Oxford Owl Math for ages 3-7.  There isn’t quite the breadth of resources here that you will find on the main Oxford Owl site, but they do have some great suggestions for math activities, both online and offline, and there are some online math e-books.  The 3-5 section currently has the most e-books, online math games, activity sheets that can be printed out, and offline games to play.

How to integrate Oxford Owl Maths into the classroom:  Oxford Owl Maths has some wonderful math themed interactive ebooks that include practice with position words, counting, shapes, time, and adding/subtracting.  The ebooks make for a great introduction or review in the kindergarten and first grade classrooms.  The telling time ebook and activities are even appropriate for second grade students.  In the kids treasure box, students can collect online trophies for the games and puzzles they complete, find recipes to make in the kitchen, and download offline activities.

Oxford Owl would be a nice center activity that even the youngest students could explore independently or with a partner.  It could also be used for whole class stories with an interactive whiteboard or projector.

This is a good site to introduce parents to for at home reading, play and math practice.  If you have a classroom website, Oxford Owl is a great one to link to!

Tips: If you haven’t already, be sure to check out the Oxford Owl Literacy site.

Tell us how you are using (or plan to use) Oxford Owl Maths in your classroom!

Learning A-Z Teacher Appreciation week open house

Posted by admin | Posted in Download, Language Arts, Primary Elementary, Science, Secondary Elementary, Spelling, Teacher Resources, Websites | Posted on 02-05-2011

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What it is: Every year, Learning A-Z celebrates Teacher Appreciation week with an open house where teachers can explore all that Learning A-Z has to offer for FREE!!  Each day you can access another portion of the Learning A-Z tools.  This is one of those sites that I have paid for and used since I started teaching.  I love Reading A-Z because it has books that my students can print off and take home with them for every reading and interest level.

All week: Raz-Kids is a student-centric site where kids can practice reading online anytime and anywhere.

May 2, 2011- Reaing A-Z is a fantastic collection of printable and projectable books and resources that spans 27 reading levels.

May 3, 2011- Vocabulary A-Z has 12,000+ words that are organized by categories and give teachers the ability to create customized vocabulary lists.

May 4th, 2011- Science A-Z has science curriculum resources spanning more than 60 units, all are written to three reading levels.

May 5th, 2011- Writing A-Z has many of the resources you need to teach writing in your classroom.

May 6th, 2011- Reading tutors provides more than 400 reading resource packets that can be used for one-on-one tutoring.

How to integrate Learning A-Z into the classroom: If you teach in an elementary classroom, you should take advantage of these resources during the free open house week.  Find new resources for your classroom and explore what Learning A-Z has to offer your students.  I think you will be impressed by the resources available here!

As a new teacher, I relied heavily on Reading A-Z to help bulk up my classroom library.  Students loved being able to color in and take home the Reading A-Z books.

Set up your classroom computers with Raz Kids for the week, students can have fun practicing those reading skills in a fresh new way all week long!

Hunt down your science units and download resources that teach important concepts while being accessible to students of all reading levels.

Tips: Don’t forget to visit and explore each day this week!  Everyone who registers for the open house will be eligible to win a free classroom license of Learning A-Z, 5 teachers will be selected each day!

Please leave a comment and share how you are using  Learning A-Z  in your classroom!

 

Twitter in the Classroom and Twitter Posters

Posted by admin | Posted in Apply, Classroom Management, collaboration, Download, Middle/High School, Primary Elementary, Secondary Elementary, Teacher Resources | Posted on 09-03-2011

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I think it is fabulous when schools decide to intentionally use social media as part of the learning day.  I am working with a school right now that has hired me to help them do just that.

A little background before I tell you how we are doing it: This is a kindergarten through eighth grade private school. There are three classes at every grade level up to fifth grade.  Sixth through eighth grade looks like your typical middle school with a variety of subjects and teachers.  Every classroom has a Promethean interactive whiteboard connected to a Mac Mini as well as two additional Mac Mini’s for students to use and a teacher MacBook.   Full disclosure, this is the school that I taught technology at for 7 years so they know what they are getting when they pull me in on a project like this!  When I was at the school, I used Twitter myself and created a school Twitter account and a school Facebook fan page.  I used think.com with my students to teach and model proper use of social media tools.  In September, the superintendent and communications manager for the school called me in to find out how social media could be used to tell others about the school. They wanted to build up the school community and tell the wider community about what makes the school special using social media tools.  I worked to help them understand that social media does not make a good broadcasting platform. What makes Twitter and Facebook work are the connections it enables and the stories it allows to unfold.  My recommendation to them was to bring the students in on telling that story, they have the most authentic voice, and a unique perspective within the school.  Because we are working with kindergarten through eighth grade students, creating student accounts was not an option, the majority of students at CHC are under 13 years of age.  My work around: create classroom accounts.

I created a classroom account for every staff member in the school, all 58 of them! Next I connected each classroom Twitter account with a classroom fan page on Facebook.  I set up the Facebook fan pages so that commenting, photo, and video are turned off (this will be the case until teachers are comfortable enough and want to interact in both spaces).  The idea here is that parents who use Twitter and the wider education and local community will follow the classroom and school Twitter accounts. Parents who are not on Twitter but have Facebook accounts won’t miss out on any updates because the Twitter account is feeding into the page.

Teachers will be using the classroom Twitter accounts with students to post updates throughout the day.  Posting will be done as a class using the Mac Mini connected to the Promethean board.  Classes will be using Twitter to reflect on learning, as a class they will share, reflect, engage, inquire, and report.  This doubles nicely as a form of informal formative assessment.  Classes will also use the  Twitter accounts to connect with other classrooms and experts.  Students will not be permitted to post to the accounts without teacher permission because of the Twitter age limit.  I wanted students to be involved in the tweeting not only for the learning opportunities, but also for the opportunity for teachers to model proper use of social media.

The main school Twitter account will be used to retweet (RT) posts from the individual classrooms to the larger community, pass along school-wide messages and information, and as a point-point-of-contact for customer service.  Administration and school leaders will be tweeting their unique perspectives about what is happening in the school.  Together, CHC will be writing it’s stories of learning 140 characters at a time.

Participation by teachers is optional. I presented the idea to the teaching staff at their last staff meeting using this Prezi.  I invited interested teachers to a Tweetup in a few weeks where we will meet up and learn about using Twitter.  I really pushed to make this optional for teachers, I didn’t want it to feel like one more thing for them to fit into their schedule.  85% of the staff signed up for the tweetup!  I am training teachers off site at a local coffee shop where it won’t feel so much like a typical tech training (hence the tweetup) :).  I’ll fill you in on all the details of that tweetup training in a few weeks.

In the mean time, I have been creating posters for the classroom.  The school asked me to create rules for teachers to follow and rules for students to follow when using social media.  I also created posters with ideas for using Twitter in the classroom, authors using Twitter, a web of ed chats and hashtags on Twitter, and Twitter Lingo (Twingo).  I’m sharing these posters below, you can check out the original version that I made for CHC (branding and school hashtags included) and a version for any of you who are interested.  Feel free to download and print the 11×17 posters for your classroom.

SPILL! Virtual Team Challenge

Posted by admin | Posted in Apply, Character Education, collaboration, Download, Evaluate, Math, Middle/High School, Social Studies, Teacher Resources, Understand (describe, explain) | Posted on 19-01-2011

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What it is: Registration is now open for the Spring 2011 SPILL Virtual Team Challenge for North America.  The Virtual Team Challenge is a real-time, multi-user business simulation that is played over the course of several weeks by high school students in North America.  As a team, students will take on business tasks and challenges that simulate real-world experiences of professional services employees. Each student participant will fill one of the several roles offered on a simulated professional services team and compete against other high school teams to clean up an oil spill in the river of New York City.  When the challenge is complete, Deloitte will make a real donation to the United Way on behalf of the winning team.  Registration is open now and the competition takes place from February 14, 2011 to April 1, 2011.

How to integrate SPILL! Virtual Team Challenge into the classroom: The SPILL Virtual Team Challenge is an engaging, hands-on approach and competition to learn about business, math, and economics. Get your classroom involved in this great learning opportunity and challenge by registering your school, entering students’ names and assigning them roles and teams for the game, downloading the free game and installing it on the school computers, and playing through the tutorial. On February 14 the official competition and game launches. Students can play at their own pace to finish the three game tasks by April 1, 2011.  This is one game that is packed full of learning, provides a realistic experience, acts as a team building exercise, and has the great outcome of providing a donation to the United Way.

Tips: You can learn more about the game platform and Deloitte by visiting the Virtual Team Challenge website.

Please leave a comment and share how you are using SPILL! Virtual Team Challenge in your classroom.

Photovisi- Make a free online photo collage

Posted by admin | Posted in Create, Knowledge (remember), Middle/High School, Primary Elementary, Secondary Elementary, Subject, Teacher Resources, web tools, Websites | Posted on 10-11-2010

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What it is: Photovisi is an online photo collage creation tool.  Students can use saved photos or a webcam to add pictures to their collage.  The finished result can be downloaded and printed out.  Photovisi is exceptionally easy to use and requires absolutely NO sign in or registration!  This makes it the ideal online tool in my book. Students can get right in and quickly create a photo collage, add text, and download it.  There are several collage templates to choose from, and each template is highly customizable.

How to integrate Photovisi into your curriculum: Photvisi is a great online creation tool.  It doesn’t require any sign up or registration making it ideal for using in any classroom.  Students can make collages to document learning, a science experiment, field trip, or special project.  Students can upload pictures from their computer to add to the Photovisi.  Students can add text labels and titles to document learning.  Collages can be used for getting to know you activities. Students can create a collage of pictures that represent themselves and their interests.  Use text to create an auto bio poem over the collage of pictures.  Students could also create collages as a place to visually document their learning.  Students could create “time capsule” collages that represent a period in history.  Students can add pictures, key dates, people, and places to their time capsule collage.  Collages are a great way to visually group items, younger students could create their own class alphabet display.  Each student could create a collage of a different letter, all finished collages could be printed to create a class created bulletin board.  The same could be done for phonics or word study.  In math class, collages could be used to create a visual representation of shapes found in buildings or nature, angles, or scale.  In art, students could create a collage of artists, a style of art, or of their own art.

Photovisi would be ideal in a computer lab setting where each student has their own computer.  Photovisi could also be set up as a creative center on classroom computers.  Students can rotate through the center for a specific project, or visit any time as a creative center.

You can see an example of a Photovisi collage above, I created this World War 2 collage in honor of Veteran’s Day.

Tips: Photovisi does have Google Adwords on the site.  These are not obtrusive at all and are all related to photos and collage creation.  You may want to teach younger students how to spot these advertisements so that they don’t inadvertently click on them.

Please leave a comment and share how you are using Photovisi in your classroom!

Progressive Phonics

Posted by admin | Posted in Download, Interactive book, iPod, Knowledge (remember), Language Arts, Phonics, Primary Elementary, Secondary Elementary, Spelling, Teacher Resources, Understand (describe, explain), Websites | Posted on 28-09-2010

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What it is: Progressive Phonics is a fantastic, free all-in-one reading program that I learned about from @rmbyrne on his blog Free Tech for Teachers (honestly, some days I wonder why I bother with a resource sharing blog…he is amazing!)  This site is totally FREE, as in every single download is available for $0, all that is required is registration.  Progressive Phonics provides books that can be read on-screen or printed out.  Books include alphabet books, beginner phonics, intermediate phonics, advanced phonics, and handwriting.  In addition to phonics rules, Progressive Phonics teaches essential sight-words (phonics rule-breakers).  Each book includes a PDF version of the book, and accompanying activity sheets such as handwriting worksheets, a word search puzzle, flash cards, and a five-minute memory game.  If you have access to iPads or iPod’s for your classroom, these FREE phonics books can be downloaded and put into the iBook bookshelf for reading.

How to integrate Progressive Phonics into your curriculum: Phonics is one of those things that a reading program either excels at, or falls flat with.  Using the Treasures reading curriculum, I was always disappointed by the lack of real phonics work and often supplemented with sites like Starfall.  Progressive Phonics is another resource that would make a fantastic supplement.  If you use a standard reading curriculum, take a look at the Progressive Phonics books and align them with your current curriculum.  For example if your current curriculum has students practicing short vowel “a”, find the corresponding phonics rule in Progressive Phonics.  Because these books are free to download, they are excellent for printing out and sending home with students for extra reading practice.  The accompanying printable games, flashcards, and puzzles will keep your students practicing that skill in and out of the classroom.  Books can be printed out and assembled as a traditional book, read on the classroom or lab computers, or transferred onto a mobile device such as the iPad or iPod Touch.  This collection of phonics resources is a must see!

Tips: One thing I really appreciate about this site is that each book comes with a page count and an approximate time to print.  I remember spending hours printing Starfall books on an old school printer, wondering if I would ever finish.  The approximate printing time lets you know what you are in for before you hit print.  Each book is offered in two formats, one is a print friendly version that has been designed to use as little ink as possible.  So smart!

Please leave a comment and share how you are using Progressive Phonics in your classroom!

Google Me Business Card

Posted by admin | Posted in Character Education, Download, Internet Safety, Knowledge (remember), Middle/High School, Primary Elementary, Secondary Elementary, Teacher Resources | Posted on 15-09-2010

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What it is: Google Me Business Card is a free template download from Ji Lee.   The template is a PDF file of a blank Google Search query; enter any name, subject or topic and print out your own customized Google Me Business Card.

How to integrate Google Me Business Cards into your curriculum: These business cards could be used in the classroom during a discussion of digital footprints.  Students can create their own Google Me cards to act as a reminder that what they do online has staying power.  (This is an important reminder for teachers too!)  The cards could also be used as a fun way to assign research topics; enter the topic in the search box and let students draw a card to find out what their assignment is.

Tips: To add your own text: In Acrobat Professional, open the PDF and go to Forms, Form Tools, Text field.  Now you can add a text field to enter your own text.

In Adobe Illustrator or Adobe InDesign, place the card on a new document and type your text with the text tool.

Take a screen shot of the image and import it into a word document program (Pages is my Word Document program of choice) Add a text box over the search box and enter your text.

Please leave a comment and share how you are using the Google Me Business Card in your classroom!

I have/Who has Free Language Game Downloads

Posted by admin | Posted in Apply, Download, Knowledge (remember), Language Arts, Primary Elementary, Secondary Elementary, Teacher Resources | Posted on 14-09-2010

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What it is: Lakeshore is an educational store here in the states.  Today they posted links to some free language game downloads for 1st-6th grade.  The downloads are for an I have/Who has card game. For grades 1-2 you will find a beginning sounds game, for 3-4 a fact and opinion game, and for 5-6 a parts of speech game.

How to integrate I have/ Who has into your curriculum: The I have/Who has card games are a fun way for students to practice a skill as a whole class.  Students sit or stand in a circle.  One student begins by reading the statement on their card.  For example, one student might read “I have: Candy tastes sweet.  Who has an opinion about birds.”  The student whose card has an opinion statement about birds answers “I have: Flamingos are the prettiest bird. Who has a fact about exercise?”  Play continues until all the cards have been matched.  I like the I have/Who has games because they require every student to be actively listening and involved in game play.  The game also gives opportunity for the class to discuss why an answer is correct or incorrect.

Tips: If you are looking for another I have/Who has card game, check out my Contractions game here.

Please leave a comment and share how you are using the I have/Who has Free Language Games in your classroom!

ARKive

Posted by admin | Posted in Fun & Games, Geography, Interactive book, Interactive Whiteboard, iPod, Language Arts, Middle/High School, Primary Elementary, Science, Secondary Elementary, Social Studies, Teacher Resources, Virtual Field Trips, Websites | Posted on 25-02-2009

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What it is:  ARKive is an incredible website that I learned about from a tweet on Twitter (forgive me I was in the middle of class and didn’t keep track of who- thank you whoever you are!)  ARKive tag line is “images of life on Earth”, but ARKive is so much more than just a collection of images, it has thousands of videos, images and facts about the world’s species.  This is the digital version of Noah’s Ark!  This is the most impressive animal and life website I have seen!  I truly can’t say enough about this site, students of all ages will enjoy this one (I’m talking k-12 here!)  ARKive has an education section of the site that is a free multi-media educational resources complete with downloadable, ready to use audio/visual modules on a wide range of science, geography, citizenship, and environmental based topics.  ARKive also has some great games for students to play that are directly related to the lessons they learn while on the ARKive site.  Games range from building a habitat to word searches and digital fridge poetry.

How to integrate ARKive into the classroom:    ARKive’s ready made educational resources make it simple to integrate into your science, geography, or general classes.  The resources are ready made PowerPoint presentations (which incidentally also open nicely in Keynote which we use).  The resources bring learning to life with images, videos, facts, and some interactive pieces.  This is what textbooks should be!  ARKive’s ready made resources can be downloaded on classroom computers for use by small learning groups as a center, downloaded to a lab of computers for individual student exploration, or used with a projector and an interactive whiteboard for whole class learning and exploration.  The ARKive site itself is a wonderful place for students to explore and learn more about animal species and life on Earth.  This would be a great place for students to collect information, images, and video to create their own presentations.  The games provided on the ARKive site are fun for students and teach them as they play.  For example, students who are studying habitat can play the Design a Habitat game and gain an additional opportunity to interact with the concepts they are learning.  Older students can dig into the facts provided on ARKive and learn about animal classification and species of the world.  ARKive images could be used in the language arts classroom as a story starter or creative writing prompt.  

 

Tips:  This is truly an incredible site, I encourage you to take a look at it and use it with your class!  (Click on the education link at the bottom of the site for the Resources and Games.) 

 

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