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Email Santa

What it is: Email Santa lets your students email Santa directly. The best part…Santa emails the students right back! This site is completely safe, it is all web based and does not require email at all. Students fill in a letter form to send Santa and he sends back an appropriate response....

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Sign Up Genius

Posted by admin | Posted in Classroom Management, collaboration, Grade Level, Teacher Resources, web tools, Websites | Posted on 04-12-2012

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What it is: Sign Up Genius is an easy-to-use site that makes it a snap to organize all of your classroom helpers and volunteers, parent teacher conferences, fundraisers, etc.  Quickly build custom sign up forms, invite the group, people sign up online and Sign Up Genius automatically sends email reminders.  Sign Up Genius has professionally designed graphical templates, tools for bulk email, email reminders for those who have signed up, email privacy settings, and even the ability to view statistics for sign up pages.  Sign Up Genius also has great Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest making sharing SO easy!

How to integrate Sign Up Genius into the classroom: Sign Up Genius is your one stop shop for organizing groups.  Use this handy tool to create Sign Ups for classroom volunteers, parent teacher conferences, fundraisers, class snacks, classroom parties, office hours, student presentations, special room use, etc.  Sign Up Genius could also be really useful for creating sign ups for coordinating online projects with other classes around the world.  My favorite feature: email or text reminders get automatically sent out so there is no need to keep track of everyone’s schedules…it is hard enough keeping track of your own anyway!

For older students, Sign Up Genius could be a useful tool for allowing them to sign up for class project/presentations, meeting hours with you, or coordinating their own clubs or group projects.

Tips: There are all kinds of great themes built in-all customizable to fit your needs!

Leave a comment and tell us how you are using  Sign Up Genius in your classroom.

Students Rebuild: Paper Cranes for Japan

Posted by admin | Posted in Apply, Character Education, collaboration, Create, Geography, Knowledge (remember), Middle/High School, Primary Elementary, Science, Secondary Elementary, Social Studies, Teacher Resources, Understand (describe, explain), Websites | Posted on 30-03-2011

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What it is: As news of Japan’s tsunami and earthquake(s) continues to roll in, students may be feeling overwhelmed by the devastation of it all.  Following natural disaster current events can give students (and adults) a real sense of helplessness.  As adults, we often ease this by donating money or time.  What do students do to make an impact? Today I learned of a truly wonderful site called Students Rebuild from a tweet from my friend @MZimmer557.  Students Rebuild is a site that helps students around the world connect, learn, and take action on critical global issues.  There are a few projects that students can get involved in currently:

1. Haiti- building stronger, permanent schools in Haiti.  This is a call to action for middle and high school students to rebuild strong, permanent schools in Haiti following the 2010 earthquake.  Students and educators create a team to raise money.  Any money raised is matched dollar-for-dollar up to $2,500 per team.

2. Japan-folding cranes to support rebuilding in Sendai.  This is a way for young students to take action.  “Through a simple, powerful gesture of making and mailing in a paper crane, students worldwide are promoting hope, healing, and triggering dollars for reconstruction ($2 for each crane received).”

Students Rebuild gives students the opportunity to connect to a global community, learn about the challenges of a natural disaster, and do something real to make a difference.

In addition to the Rebuild challenges, educators can use Student Rebuild to connect students with others around the world.  The site helps build that global learning community  Interactive video conferencing encourages two-way dialogue and emotional connections.  Webcasts between Haiti and multiple schools around the world engage, and inspire.  (Learn more on the “Educators” page)

How to integrate Students Rebuild into the classroom: Register your class to take part in one of the Students Rebuild activities.  The newest way to take part is through the Paper Cranes for Japan project.  Students Rebuild partnered with DoSomething.org to give students worldwide a way to support their Japanese peers.  Start by watching the video of how to make paper cranes on the Students Rebuild website.  Take a photo and upload it with a message to the Paper Cranes for Japan Facebook Page.  Mail the finished paper cranes to Students Rebuild to turn those cranes into dollars for reconstruction and an art installation.  This would be a great project to take on as a class.  Don’t stop there, encourage your students to make more paper cranes.  They can have a paper crane party, or encourage their families to join in on the paper crane creation.  Download the one-page flier to send home with students.

Using Students Rebuild projects in your classroom is a great way to teach students about our global community, empathy, current events, and give students a way to make a difference.

Tips: Be sure to check out the comprehensive toolkit on the Students Rebuild site.  In the toolkit you will find photos, videos, posters, fact sheets, logos, media coverage, and fundraising tips.

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

Wiggio: Group Collaboration made easy

Posted by admin | Posted in Analyze, collaboration, Create, Evaluate, Middle/High School, Primary Elementary, professional development, Secondary Elementary, Subject, Teacher Resources, Understand (describe, explain), video, web tools, Web2.0, Websites | Posted on 28-10-2010

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What it is: Yesterday as I was scanning through my Twitter stream when I came across this tweet from my friend @jasonshmidt123:  “Holy buckets of love, this is cool! RT @plugusin: Checking out Wiggio:  http://wiggio.com/ for collaborating.”  Now, any time buckets of love are involved I am intrigued- I had to check it out.  I must say, Wiggio is a way cool tool for collaboration.  Wiggio is a completely free online toolkit that makes it easy to work and coordinate with groups.  Wiggio is SO very simple to use and has a very straight forward interface that makes it easy for even those who are low-tech.  Wiggio lets you share and manage files, manage a group calendar, poll your group, post links, set up conference calls (including voice, webcam, shared whiteboard space, and screen sharing), chat online, send out mass text messages, and send voice or email messages to the entire group.  Wiggio has a lot of features that remind me of Google Groups but some additional features that truly make it a “holy buckets of love” experience.  Everything is in one place, handy and easy to use!

How to integrate Wiggio into your curriculum: I can see a lot of possibilities of Wiggio in the classroom.  Use it to create a class group with student families each year.  Keep families up to date with the latest happenings in your classroom, volunteer opportunities, and class projects that will need some parent support.  Share all important documents, videos, and resources that you use in your classroom for easy access from home.  (I can’t tell you how many, “I’ve lost the permission slip could you please send a new one?” I get in a year!).  Keep all those documents in your Wiggio group file and parents will never have to worry about lost paperwork again.  Live meeting opportunities mean that you can hold a virtual parent university where you catch parents up on the new math/reading/science/writing curriculum.  Teach your parents everything from reading strategies to use at home to working through math problems together.  Parents would love a little support in this area!  Offer virtual conference opportunities for parents who are unable to make it for a live conference due to long-term illness, job travel, or in multiple parent homes.

Use Wiggio to create student groups where you keep students up to date with classroom happenings and resources.  Offer your students a study hour where they can meet with you virtually for a little extra support or mentoring.  Remind your students of upcoming assignments by creating to-do’s.  Collect digital assignments using Wiggio files.

Students can create study groups of their own for collaborative projects.  As they work together they can meet virtually, share resources and links, and create a schedule to keep themselves on task.

Working with a class outside of your school?  Maybe in another state or country?  Wiggio is the perfect platform for connecting them, they can work together with shared space and chat live from your classroom.

Wiggio can be used with teaching staff to keep teaching teams organized and give them a place to share resources, ideas, and share a common calendar of events.

Have ambitious parents?  They can use Wiggio to collaborate and work with other parents for fundraiser events, coordinating volunteers, and special days.

I am currently using Vyew as my virtual classroom meeting space but Wiggio offers so much more functionality all in one place, I think for the next round of virtual class I will be making the switch!  To quote Jason again, “Holy buckets of love, this is cool!”

Tips: Wiggio has a demo area where you can play with all of the features yourself without registering or creating an account.  Note to all web 2.0 companies…this is a really nice feature, I wish you all would do it :)

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