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Critical Past

What it is: Critical Past is a website I learned about today from Tom Boito’s great blog EDge 21 in his Catch of the Day.  The resource is too good not to share again here!  Critical Past is a collection of more than 57,000 historical videos and more than 7 million historical photos.  All of...

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An advent calendar for everyone including my Web 2.0 calendar and app-a-day calendar!

Posted by admin | Posted in Analyze, Create, Geography, History, iPod, Middle/High School, Music, Primary Elementary, Secondary Elementary, Teacher Resources, Understand (describe, explain), Web2.0, Websites | Posted on 29-11-2011

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It is almost December again, which means the beginning of Advent.  Advent calendars are a fun way to reveal information and “surprises” for your students to look forward to each day in December leading up to Christmas.  Last year I thought I would make an advent calendar of my own using Wix.  I created a Web 2.0 advent calendar by choosing 25 of my favorite web 2.0 tools for the classroom.  Each day you can check out a new one.  (I’ll let you in on a secret, you can cheat and look at them all by clicking on the bird to get back to the calendar page…shh don’t tell anyone!)  You and your students can create your own custom advent calendar like I did using Wix.  Students can create an advent calendar of pictures of their school work, trivia for their parents, special audio notes, or anything they are learning.  To create your own Wix advent calendar, choose a template, add shapes to the template to create your calendar pieces, add 25 pages to the site, add links to those pages.  You could also create an advent calendar of your own using Glogster.  Create a customized advent calendar for your students with fun surprises, quotes, video clips, sound bites, etc.  It can be related to the learning they are doing in your classroom, suggestions of books to read,  or reveal special rewards like extra computer time, time playing a favorite game, time for reading, etc.  Be creative!  I’m hoping to make a new advent calendar this year…we will see if I can find the time to make that happen!  In the mean time check out these other great calendars to use with your students!

Woodlands Jr has a great online advent calendar every year that tests students knowledge about Christmas around the world.  The Woodlands Jr. 2010 advent calendar is a fun one, I am hoping that they come out with one for 2011 in a few days. :) This is a fun way for students to test their knowledge and learn about the ways that Christmas is celebrated all around the world.  As an extension, plot the places around the world that they are learning about on a world map.

BBC Radio has a fabulous Bach advent calendar. Each day your students can listen to a story about Bach or music.

The National Museum of Liverpool has an advent calendar that reveals a piece of art from the museum each day.

The Dirt Dirt advent calendar is purely fun, each day click on a number and an animation will be added to the tree.

For those of us who are app inclined, you can download a free app for your iDevice every day from Appvent Calendar!!

Below you will find my interactive advent calendar finds from last year.  You are bound to find one that is a perfect fit for your class!

What it is: It is December!  This means the beginning of Advent along with the anticipation and excitement that it brings.  The Internet is full of interactive advent calendars that you can use in your classroom to teach about how the Christmas season is celebrated all around the world.  These advent calendars reveal fun facts, interactive activities, and stories.

Santa’s House Advent Calendar- This advent calendar tells a fun story.  Each day reveals another secret about what goes on inside Santa’s home on the 24 days leading up to Christmas.  In each picture, there is a little mouse hiding.  When students click on his ears, he jumps out.

Christmas Around the World Advent Calendar- Each day students click on the date to reveal a fun fact about how countries around the world celebrate Christmas.  The facts are accompanied by great illustrations and pictures.  This site shows up very small inside my Internet browser (Firefox).  To remedy this problem, click on “view” in your menu bar and choose “zoom”.  You may need to zoom in several times.

Christmas Mice Advent Calendar- This calendar tells the story about a mouse family who celebrates Christmas.  Each day a little more of the story is revealed.  Each picture includes some animation.

Santa’s Advent Calendar- On this advent calendar, each day reveals a new song or activity for students to complete. There are some fun Christmas themed mysteries to solve, stories to read, and activities to work through.

French Carols Advent Calendar-  This is a French advent calendar.  Each day contains a new French Christmas carol sung by children.  This advent calendar would be a fun one to include in a study of Christmas around the world.

Christmas Around the World Advent Calendar Quiz-  This advent calendar tests students knowledge about how other cultures celebrate Christmas.  Each day students are asked a question and given hints to help them answer.  When the answer is revealed, students can click on links to learn more about the Christmas celebrations in that country.  This site also includes great activities and teaching resources for Christmas.

Christmas Advent Calendar- Follow the adventures of Zac the elf as he tries to find a Christmas present for Santa.  Each day a little more of the story is revealed.

Christmas Activity Advent Calendar-  This advent calendar has fun little games and activities to play each day.  The games and activities are quick and easy to complete, building mouse and keyboard skills.  This advent calendar would be a good one for the classroom computers as a center activity.

 

How to integrate Interactive Advent Calendars into the classroom: The season of Advent is always filled with eagerness and expectancy. Build some of that anticipation into your school day by allowing students to unlock a new secret on the advent calendar each day.  Use these advent calendars with the whole class on an interactive whiteboard or projector, or set them up as a quick center activity that students can visit.  Use the advent calendars that reveal a story to practice looking for foreshadowing clues, using context clues to guess what will happen next, or as story starters for students own stories.  The Christmas around the world advent calendars are wonderful for teaching students some of the history of Christmas and the way that other cultures celebrate the familiar holiday.

Tips: Each of these advent calendars has some fun goodies and hidden surprises, find the one that best fits your classroom needs.

Leave a comment and share how you are using Interactive Advent Calendars  in your classroom.

PlanbookEdu: Lesson Plans in the Cloud

Posted by admin | Posted in Classroom Management, iPod, professional development, Teacher Resources, web tools | Posted on 06-07-2011

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What it is: Planbook EDU is a great cloud-based (a.k.a online) lesson plan book.  Because Planbook EDU is hosted in the cloud, all you need is an Internet connection, your plans travel with you.   Planbook EDU is listed in the Google Apps Marketplace and is a natural fit for schools already using Google apps for education (email, calendar, documents, etc.).  The free version of Planbook EDU has nothing to install, let’s teachers access their planbook from any internet connection, is easy to use with word processor like editing, is fully customizable, works in all major web browser and is iPad/iPhone supported (word processor editing doesn’t work on these devices).

How to integrate Planbook EDU into the classroom: I am a big fan of organizational tools, they let me organize my thoughts so that in the fire hose of ideas what is important (the learning goal) doesn’t get lost. Planbook EDU is a simple way to organize and plan units and your school year.  I love that it is cloud-based so that I can access my plans from anywhere and any time.  The basic features are robust enough to get your planning in place and the extras that can be added on make it VERY useful.

The premium version allows you to embed your planbook directly in your classroom website…very handy for keeping students and parents up to date with what is coming!

Tips: For $25/year, you get all of the free features plus- attach files to lesson plans, assign Common Core Standards, embed your planbook on any website, share lesson plans with anyone, print from your browser, export to Microsoft Word or PDF, built-in spell check and enjoy access to unlimited planbooks each school year.  EVERY user gets a free 14 day trial of all the premium options from Planbook EDU.

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

 

Web 2.0 Library

Posted by admin | Posted in Classroom Management, collaboration, Create, Grade Level, Teacher Resources, Web2.0 | Posted on 13-06-2011

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What it is: Many of us are heading into the summer vacation months, a time when our non-education friends and family view us with envy over our “2 month break”.  I don’t know about you, but I NEVER had a summer where I wasn’t working on education in some capacity.  Summer is a time to prepare for the next school year, dream up new projects and explore all of those things we didn’t have time for during the school year.  Web 2.0 Library is a fun one to explore this summer for some new resources for your classroom tech tool box.  Find web tools that will help teachers and students connect, collaborate and create.  When you choose a topic, you will be taken to a login page.  Click “login as guest” to proceed.  Icons accompany each tool that offer additional understanding for each tool.  The i give more information about how to use the tool, the @ gives activities that can be done using the tool and the video icon includes a video that teaches more about the tool.

How to integrate Web 2.0 Library into the classroom: Web 2.0 Library is a great one-stop shop for Web 2.0 tools that can be used in the classroom.  These tools are well organized and the supporting information makes it a snap to find the perfect tool for your classroom.  Quickly get ideas for activities, get more information about the tool and view a video about the tool.  You are sure to find some new goodies that can make your classroom more connected and creative!

Tips: Don’t forget to login as “guest” to access all of the web 2.0 goodness.

Please leave a comment and share how you are using  Web 2.0 Library  in your classroom!

The Super Book of Web Tools for Educators: FREE ebook!!

Posted by admin | Posted in Blogs, collaboration, Download, For Teachers, Grade Level, inspiration, Interactive book, Middle/High School, Primary Elementary, professional development, Secondary Elementary, Subject, Teacher Resources, web tools, Web2.0, Websites | Posted on 13-12-2010

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I am excited to announce the release of a free ebook: The Super Book of Web Tools for Educators- a comprehensive introduction to using technology in all k-12 classrooms.  Think of this as an early Christmas present!

Richard Byrne from Free Tech 4 Teachers is the brilliant mind behind this ebook.  About a month ago, he approached some of your favorite educators and bloggers (myself included…still can’t wrap my brain around that :) ) to contribute to an ebook.  Today is the release and I have to say, it is pretty amazing!!  I just finished reading through the finished product and have bookmarked some new tools, had my jaw dropped by Silvia Tolisano and her AMAZING Skype guide, and been inspired all over again by fellow educators and administrators.  I am honored to be a part of this incredible resource and guide.  Contributers include: Steven Anderson, Adam Bellow, Richard Byrne, George Couros, Larry Ferlazzo, Lee Kolbert, Patrick Larkin, Cory Plough, Beth Still, me (Kelly Tenkely) and Silvia Rosenthal Tolisano.  Thank you Richard for the outstanding idea and for acting as editor and pulling it all together!

You can read the ebook in it’s entirety embedded below, by following this link, or download it here.


31 of My Favorite Digital Storytelling Sites

Posted by admin | Posted in Apply, Create, Interactive book, Language Arts, Middle/High School, Primary Elementary, Secondary Elementary, Teacher Resources, video, web tools, Web2.0, Websites | Posted on 11-10-2010

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I am working on starting a virtual classroom…actually when it is all said and done, it will look more like a virtual club.  I have opened up my virtual classroom to students in 3rd-8th grade.  My first offering is going to be digital storytelling.  In honor of that, I thought I would share the sites I am going to use with the students, as well as some other favorites for digital storytelling.

1. Google Search Stories Video Creator- This is a YouTube site that lets you create a digital story out of a series of Google Searches, you really have to check it out to get the full effect!

2. PicLits- This is an all time favorite of mine, PicLits lets students choose a picture and then draw from a word bank to create a sentence or story to accompany the picture.

3. Domo Animate- This is my favorite story animation tool.  It gives students so much flexibility and freedom in telling their story, the results are amazing!

4. StoryBird- This site lets students create stories based on beautiful illustrations by real artists; better yet, it lets students create stories collaboratively!

5. Animoto- The free version of Animoto lets students create 30 second videos that combine images, songs, and text. It combines them all for an impressive presentation without a lot of fuss.

6. ZooBurst- ZooBurst is one that I haven’t used with students yet but I am excited to.  ZooBurst is a new site that lets students create virtual 3D popup books.  Even better, it lets students print out a special marker and view their popup book augmented reality style as it comes to life using a webcam!

I couldn’t fit in all of my favorite digital storytelling tools into a 5 week class, here are some more favorites:

7. Myths and Legends

8. Shidonni- One of my students very favorite websites of all time, this one gets requested a lot!

9. Smile Box

10. Kerpoof- another student favorite!

11. Glogster

12. Creaza

13. Voice Thread

14. Graphic Novel Creator- Comic Master

15. Stage’d

16. ePub Bud- publish ebooks for ebook readers like the iPad

17. Virsona- a different kind of digital storytelling but neat none the less!

18. Zimmer Twins- one of my students very favorite ways to tell a story!

19. Fotobabble

20. Picture Book Maker

21. Nota- collaborative workspace

22. My Story Maker

23. Xtranormal

24. Do Ink

25. Piki Kids Comic Creator

26. Bubblr!

Sites to get students writing:

27. Lightening Bug

28. What-if questions for stories

29. The Story Starter Jr. -Created by my friend Joel Heffner!

30. The Story Starter- Also created by Joel!

31. PinBall-bounce ideas around

Free FETC Virtual Conference

Posted by admin | Posted in inspiration, ISTE10, Middle/High School, Primary Elementary, professional development, Secondary Elementary, Teacher Resources, Web2.0 | Posted on 21-09-2010

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What it is: On October 7, 2010, FETC is offering a FREE virtual conference for educators.  The virtual conference will feature new presentations that originated at the FETC live event, with a focus on the latest educational tools, technologies, and services in learning.  Educational experts will be passing on inspiration sharing best practices and successes.  A virtual exhibit hall will put you in touch with exhibitors and let you learn about the newest in hardware, software and solutions, there will even be some free downloads and content.  In the virtual networking lounge you can chat and interact with other educators from around the world. The Keynote presentation for the virtual conference is titled Mobile Learning: The Game Changer for k-12 it will be hosted by Elliott Soloway and Cathleen Norris.  I saw these two present a similarly titled session at ISTE 10 and if it is anything similar, it is definitely worth catching (click here to view my notes from their ISTE 10 session)!

How to integrate FETC Virtual Conference into your curriculum: Okay, so maybe you won’t be integrating the conference itself into your curriculum, but this virtual conference is sure to offer plenty of great ideas, inspiration, and a shot of enthusiasm that will carry into your classroom.  If you teach older students, you might let them sit and listen to the keynote session.  I know my students were always fascinated to find out that educators talk about innovative ideas for learning.  They assume that every teacher wants to teach in the current system.   Most are pleasantly surprised and encouraged to find out the contrary.

Tips: Register for this Free Virtual conference today by clicking here.  Hope to see you all there!

Please leave a comment and share how you are using the Free FETC Virtual Conference in your classroom!

National Geographic Maps: Tools for Adventure

Posted by admin | Posted in Fun & Games, Geography, Interactive Whiteboard, Primary Elementary, Secondary Elementary, Social Studies, Teacher Resources, Websites | Posted on 26-05-2010

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Screen shot 2010-05-26 at 9.13.55 PM

What it is: National Geographic Maps: Tools for Adventure is the best everything-map site I have seen.  The site was created by the Children’s museum of Indianapolis.  Maps are presented as the keys to adventure.  Students learn to use maps to find their way, share information, look at patterns, and solve problems.  There are six excellent interactive games for students to practice putting their math skills to use.  Students can explore a pyramid by guiding a robot to hieroglyphs, find sunken treasure, explore Mars, go on an adventure, see GIS in action, and visit Adventure Island.  I love the realistic feel of these games, as students explore and guide robots, they get a “live” video feed of where they are navigating.  On the National Geographic Maps: Tools for Adventures site, you will find information about the Indianapolis exhibit, how to use maps, related map links, and lesson plans.  This is one of those websites that my description just won’t do justice to, be sure to check it out!

How to integrate National Geographic Maps: Tools for Adventure into the classroom: This website is packed full of fantastic resources, games, and activities involving maps.  This is THE website to use when you are teaching students map reading skills.  As students navigate through the games, they will learn how to read a legend, practice following written directions, learn about different types of maps, practice giving directions, and problem solving.  The games provide an authentic way for students to learn how to use maps. Lessons in the “For Educators” section are wonderful and incorporate the online games.  National Geographic Maps: Tools for Adventure is ideal as a center on classroom computers or as an individual activity for the lab setting.  It could also be used as a whole class activity with an interactive whiteboard or projector, allow each student to take part in the navigation process at the board.

Tips: Be sure to check out the Related Links for more map adventures, games, and activities, you will find fun extras to build map skills.

Please leave a comment and share how you are using National Geographic Maps: Tools for Adventure in your classroom.

Comics in the Classroom 100 Tips, Tools, and Resources for Teachers

Posted by admin | Posted in Fun & Games, Language Arts, Middle/High School, Primary Elementary, Secondary Elementary, Teacher Resources, Websites | Posted on 10-07-2009

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A reader tipped me off to this great list of ways to use comics in the classroom.  The list is extremelly comprehensive and includes sections on the benefits of using comics in the classroom, great resources for using comics in the classroom, suggested comics for reading in the classroom, tools for creating comics in the techie classroom, creative ways to use comics in the classroom, lessons plans using comics for elementary/middle/high school classrooms, manga and anime, and free comics for educators.  With 100 tips, tools, ideas, and resources, this list should convince you of the why and how of using comics as teaching tools.  Enjoy!  Comics in the Classroom 100 Tips, Tools, and Resources for Teachers

Teacher Led Interactive Whiteboard

Posted by admin | Posted in Geography, Interactive Whiteboard, Language Arts, Math, Middle/High School, Phonics, Primary Elementary, Secondary Elementary, Teacher Resources, Websites | Posted on 15-04-2009

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What it is: Teacher Led IWB is a collection of resources for use with an interactive whiteboard.  This is an outstanding collection of 46 math tools and games, 3 geography maps and map makers, 6 English tools and games, and two multipurpose games.  The collection is visually appealing and helps teach key concepts visually in each content area.  There are too many great resources to go in depth here, I recommend heading over to Teacher Led IWB and taking a look right now!

How to integrate Teacher Led IWB into the classroom:  This collection is VERY impressive.  The tools and games are perfect for whole class instruction and practice in math, geography, language arts, and creating custom activities for other subjects.  Most of the tools are designed for the elementary classroom but there are some that can be used in middle school as well.  

 

Tips: If you have an interactive whiteboard, go to Teacher Led now and check out these awesome resources!  

 

 

Leave a comment and tell us which of the Teacher Led resources you have used in your classroom.

Novel Games-Flash

Posted by admin | Posted in Fun & Games, Geography, Language Arts, Math, Middle/High School, Primary Elementary, Secondary Elementary, Spelling, Typing, Websites | Posted on 02-04-2008

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What it is: Novel Games provides free Flash games that can be embedded on any website. There is a long list of games that you can embed from World capitals game, typing games, to Sudoku and other great math games. Search the list of games, you are sure to find many that fit your needs. Because you can embed the games on your website, students can easily access the games from school and home.

How to integrate Novel Games into your curriculum: There is such a variety of high quality, FUN, educational games that integrating them into your curriculum will be varied as well. An example of how I am using the Novel Games in my classroom can be found at www.typing.weebly.com. My students are learning how to keyboard. Because I don’t want to spend my year teaching only keyboarding I offered my students a challenge. Practice typing at home and come participate in a Typing Olympics (where only touch typing is allowed) and you won’t have to spend your computer time learning to touch type. I am at a private school so the best prize that can be offered is a break dress code day. The fastest touch typer’s in each class will get to break dress code on a day when no one else does. Students can practice typing using these practice games I have provided. The games are perfect as part of the Typing Olympics because they give a final score…easy to tell who the winners are! Most of the games are perfect for practicing a skill and will inevitability get kids doing homework voluntarily because they are so much fun to play.

Tips: Don’t have your own website to embed the flash games? Create a free one today using a site like www.weebly.com. To embed a player simply highlight and copy the code from Novel games and paste in an HTML editor in a site like Weebly. Make sure that your students have the latest Flash player installed or the games won’t work properly.

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