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Wordsmyth- outstanding illustrated e-dictionary

Posted by admin | Posted in Foreign Language, Inquiry, Knowledge (remember), Language Arts, Middle/High School, Primary Elementary, Secondary Elementary, Teacher Resources, Understand (describe, explain), web tools, Websites | Posted on 16-11-2013

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iLearn Technology: Wordsmyth- illustrated e-dictionary

What it is: Wordsmyth is a fantastic online dictionary for kids.  WILD is Wordsmyth’s Illustrated Learner’s Dictionary.  It is a truly well done young reader’s dictionary for k-3 readers or ELL students.  WILD is a simple-to-use visual dictionary that includes definitions for 1500 words, developmentally appropriate sentences for each word and for each meaning of the word, integrated visual environments that help kids really explore language, audio for each word, and fun activities that promote literacy.  Wordsmyth has a dictionary for intermediate elementary and middle school students called Word Explorer Children’s Dictionary.  The Word Explorer includes a related-words feature where students can see concept maps, easy-to-read and understand definition, word histories, Language Notes, and thousands of images and animations to help students build literacy. Finally, Wordsmyth has a comprehensive dictionary suite with easy to read entries and definitions, illustrations, synonyms/similar words/antonyms under each definition, audio pronunciation and thousands more images.  Wordsmyth has different options for use.  There is a free subscription available to everyone that will allow students to freely access all 3 dictionary suites, advanced search options, puzzles, words of the day, look up history, customized pronunciation and dictionary formats, and a glossary maker.  MOST of the site is totally free to use with the free registration!  For $9.95/year, you can also purchase an individual subscription that gives some additional features such as the ability to customize the dictionary and gain access to premium features.

An educational subscription allows access to ALL tools including teacher tools.  Best of all, it is FREE for schools for the 2013-2014 school year.  Worth taking advantage of this option!

How to integrate Wordsmyth into your classroom: I’m seriously impressed with the Wordsmyth dictionaries.  They are truly an impressive option for a digital dictionary in the classroom.  The downfall of this site: the illustrated dictionary (WILD) is flash-based.  This means that it is not easily accessible on iDevices in the classroom.  It also means that it takes a bit to load each page if your Internet connection isn’t great.  

What I appreciate about this dictionary, is the accessibility for emerging readers, non-readers, or ELL/ESL students.  The dictionary is really easy to use, the definitions are easy to understand, and the accompanying audio and images are fantastic!

If you have a dedicated writing space in your classroom, make sure to include Wordsmyth in it.  Bookmark it on classroom computers, send it home to parents, include it on your classroom blog/website, etc.  This is a wonderful place for kids to be empowered during their writing and literacy time.

If you are lucky enough to have a 1:1 device setting, this site is worth making a web clip for to make it easily accessible to everyone.

Right now our students are inquiring into how we express ourselves.  Our intermediate students are looking at different mediums and methods that people use for self-expression.  Part of that exploration has led them into a study of words.  Wordsmyth is a great way for them to explore in a place that is developmentally appropriate and helps them see the way that language is connected and can be used for expression.

Wordsmyth has words separated by topic.  As you begin a new unit, give students the opportunity to explore the vocabulary on the front end.  You can do this as a class using a projector or interactive whiteboard or individually on classroom/personal devices.  As you go through a class book or unit together, create a custom glossary that students can refer to.

Tips: Be sure to sign up for the free educational group subscription for the 2013-2014 school year.  With the subscription you get unlimited making/using/saving/sharing activities, customize the dictionary, access premium dictionary features, and access to the teacher tools.

What do you think of Wordsmyth?  How do you plan to use it in your classroom?

3D Toad- 360* images worth more than a thousand words

Posted by admin | Posted in Analyze, Evaluate, Interactive Whiteboard, iPod, Math, Middle/High School, Music, PE, Primary Elementary, Science, Secondary Elementary, Social Studies, Teacher Resources, Technology, Understand (describe, explain), Websites | Posted on 16-04-2012

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What it is:   3D Toad is a site I learned about from @rmbyrne‘s fantastic blog, Free Tech for Teachers.  This is like hitting the lottery of educational image libraries.  It goes beyond your typical image library and has 3D images that students can spin all around and explore from every angle.  Stinking awesome!  Even better? (Yes, it gets better.)  It works on mobile iDevice browsers! There are great images to explore on a variety of educational topics including: dissections, animal skeletons, human skeletons, music, geology, dental hygiene, coral, yoga, ballet positions, fossils, history, chemistry, emergency preparedness and computer networking.

Our students are learning all about earth systems right now so the fossils, geology and coral are especially exciting!

How to integrate 3D Toad into the Classroom:  They say a picture is worth a thousand words.  If a regular picture is worth a thousand, these 3D images are worth at least 360 times more.  The 3D images on 3D Toad let students examine all 360* of an image.  Students can examine, discover, and analyze images from various angles.  3D Toad helps students really visualize learning in new ways.

Use 3D Toad as a visual glossary on classroom computers.  Students can visit this “visual glossary” center to explore objects and new vocabulary that they are learning.  It would also be great on an interactive whiteboard or classroom computer where students can examine objects together.  3D Toad has a video on their site that shows a teacher using 3D Toad with students.  I don’t love their example because the teacher is at the center of a review time before a test.  The best use of this site would be to let students loose on it so that they can explore the images on their own.

3D Toad would be a great place for students to practice their observation skills.  Each student could choose an object to explore in depth, write a detailed description and observation of the object.  Working with a partner, they can describe their object and see if their partner can identify the image from the description alone.

These 360* images can be used for introducing new concepts, as a visual aid for students who are presenting learning, and as a place for further exploration of a topic or object.

Tips: Double click to zoom-in on an image.  ***Some of the images have alternate 3D views that can be viewed with 3D glasses!  The Giraffe skull is a good example of this.  How cool would it be to outfit your students with some cheap 3D glasses for this lesson? I’ve asked local theaters to share leftover glasses in the past, they are usually very willing/happy to help out!

Please leave a comment and share how you are using 3D Toad in your classroom!

Science and Technology Office of Naval Research

Posted by admin | Posted in Interactive Whiteboard, Knowledge (remember), Primary Elementary, Science, Secondary Elementary, Teacher Resources, Understand (describe, explain), Websites | Posted on 02-04-2012

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What it is: The Office of Naval Research has a great interactive site filled with science and technology exploration for students.  On the site, students can explore oceanography, space, and blow the ballast.  Each section of the site has sub categories that let students narrow down their focus.  The majority of the site is purely informational with accompanying images and short quizzes.  My favorite portion of the site is the seasonal constellations.  It really is the star of the site (no pun intended).  The constellation interactive focuses on the constellations that can be viewed during each season.  When students click on a season, they will see the constellations and options to show/hide the pictures, lines and names of the stars.  The explanation of constellations and the seasonal impact on what students will see in the night sky is fantastic.  In the Teacher’s Corner, you will find great animations for each topic (space, oceanography, and submarines).  These are fantastic visualizations of complex concepts made simple for students.

How to integrate Science and Technology Office of Naval Research into the classroom: The Science and Technology Office of Naval Research isn’t the flashiest site I’ve seen.  In fact, it looks a whole lot like a site that was created in 1995.  I recommend it, in spite of the aged design, because of the wealth of information that it offers students and the student-friendly language and explanations it uses.  This is a great site for students to conduct a research project in the early years.  The information is concise, easy to understand, and offered in bite-size chunks.  Students can approach the topic of oceanography, submarines and space independently.
As I said above, the constellations based on season is pretty neat. It shows students the constellation and allows them to overlay the image with additional information as they want it.  If your students are studying seasons or constellations, this is a nice visual and description.  Students could explore the constellations on classroom computers, or better yet, together as a class on a projector-connected computer or interactive whiteboard.  Google Sky is amazing, but sometimes it can be overwhelming with detail before students understand the basics of what they are looking for in the night sky.  The images on this site are a great first step that can lead to a next level of detail in sites like Google Sky.  I love that technology lets us bring the whole universe into our classrooms as a smaller scale planetarium.  As a side note, if you have an iPad…go download Go Skywatch now. You will thank me!
Be sure to check out the animation section, these are wonderful for introducing students to complex concepts.  The animations would be great on classroom computers as part of a science center rotation.  They are perfect for sharing with the whole class on an interactive whiteboard! At Anastasis, students keep a running vocabulary collection where they create a “glossary” that they can refer back to. They do this in Evernote, these animations are perfect for linking to within the glossaries so that they can refer back to an illustration of the word.
Tips: The Science and Technology Office of Naval Research includes a teacher resource section.  This is where you will find the Animation Gallery I mentioned above.

Please leave a comment and share how you are using Science and Technology Office of Naval Research in  your classroom!

Wordia

Posted by admin | Posted in Interactive Whiteboard, Knowledge (remember), Language Arts, Primary Elementary, Secondary Elementary, Teacher Resources, video, Websites | Posted on 27-02-2012

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What it is: Wordia is a site that has been around for a little while, I recently took a look at it again and was pleasantly surprised with the updates. Wordia is game-based platform that helps expose students to a variety of words and vocabulary.  The Wordia platform uses a dictionary as its foundation and blends learning games with interactive videos that teach vocabulary.  Using Wordia, students build “Word Banks” as they engage in some friendly competition with classmates and other schools.  The games in Wordia focus on spelling, grammar, oracy, auditory and phonics.  This update has included some helpful goodies with schools and classrooms in mind.  Games have been developed for educator led one-to-many scenarios that can be played on an interactive whiteboard or or projector connected computer with the whole class.  One-to-one games are perfect for the classroom, computer lab or home.  Word lists and lesson plans are available with both options for some great ideas for whichever situation best meets the needs of your classroom.

Wordia keeps track of student progress through a series of badges.  Students work to build their own word bank and collect badges.

How to integrate Wordia into the classroom:  Wordia is a great place for students to build and practice vocabulary and word knowledge.  The games are fun to play as a class or individually and beat a vocab worksheet hands down.  Wordia has a pretty impressive search engine.  It would be an excellent site to keep bookmarked on classroom computers as a resource center in the classroom.  Any time students run across an unfamiliar word, they can immediately run a search that brings them the definition, a video, a game, and related words.  If a video doesn’t already exist, your students can record and contribute their own video!  The same option exists for games.  You and your students can easily build a game on Wordia to share.  Just upload a word list, select a game type and voila!
Why not share spelling and vocabulary words every week by building a game from the word list?  Much more fun than the boring word list that gets lost on the way home anyway.
Tips:  You (the teacher) will have to create an account before your students can save their progress in Wordia.  Searching the site and viewing content can be done without a login.

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

Moglue: Create interactive ebooks and release as apps!

Posted by admin | Posted in Art, Create, Download, Geography, History, Interactive book, iPod, Language Arts, Math, Middle/High School, Primary Elementary, Science, Secondary Elementary, Software, Teacher Resources | Posted on 26-10-2011

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What it is:  Moglue is an interactive ebook builder that helps students create and share their stories on mobile devices as an app.  This download desktop platform makes it a snap for students to create interactive ebooks and release them as apps for iOS devices (iPad, iPhone, iPod Touch), Android tablets and Android phones.  Students only need to build the content once and Moglue makes it compatible with each user interface seamlessly.  No programming is required, this is a great creation platform for all classrooms!  Using a simple drag and drop interface, students can make their stories come to life.  Every child is enabled to be an artist now.

How to integrate Moglue into the classroom:  I think tools that make content creation simple are absolute genius.  As much as I would love for every student (and myself) to know how to program, it takes quite a bit of know-how before students can make their stories and ideas come to life.  The intuitive interface of tools like Moglue let students focus on breathing life into their creations and not on the technology tools used to build them.  Tools like Moglue are wonderful for the classroom where students are often short on time and resources (someone to teach them programming).  Because the interface is so easy to use, students can focus on telling a story, releasing their inner artist, and letting their creativity shine.

Students (or classes) can use Moglue to:

  • Tell a fractured fairy tale
  • Create a choose your own adventure story
  • Demonstrate science concepts in an interactive “glossary”
  • Create a class dictionary of math, science, economics or geography words
  • Write creatively
  • Create an interactive “textbook”
  • Create an illustrated dictionary for a second language
  • Create an interactive “travel-the-world” geography book
This is a neat way for students to publish their work and share with others!

Tips: The Moglue builder can be downloaded on Mac or Windows computers and has a great tutorial to get your students started!

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

Little Bird Tales

Posted by admin | Posted in Art, Character Education, collaboration, Create, Foreign Language, Interactive book, Language Arts, Math, Phonics, Primary Elementary, Science, Secondary Elementary, Teacher Resources, Understand (describe, explain), web tools, Web2.0 | Posted on 25-02-2011

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What it is: I am late on this post, but it is too good to skip a mention!  Little Bird Tales is a new way to digital story tell with primary students.  With Little Bird Tales, students can upload their own artwork, record their voice, add text and email their finished creations to family and friends. Sign up on Little Bird Tales requires an email address for verification purposes.  This can be a parent or teacher email address (the site is geared for 3 to 14-year-old children so a student address is not necessary).  Little Bird Tales includes a built-in art pad where students can create pictures online.  They also have the option to upload photographs and images they have created offline.  Each page give students a place to add a picture, text and voice recording.  Finished books can be saved and accessed online or sent via email.

How to integrate Little Bird Tales into the classroom: Little Bird Tales is a brilliant option for digital storytelling in the primary classroom.  I love that it includes both online and offline student creations, as well as student voice recordings.  Students can use Little Bird Tales for creative writing and imaginative stories, as a way to reflect on learning, or as a keepsake for parents.  Students can take pictures of science experiments and create a digital science journal detailing the experiment with text and student voice reflections included.

Use Little Bird Tales to create whole class stories where each student contributes a page.  This type of book can be made over a few weeks using classroom computers as a writing center.  This would be a fun way to create an A to Z type book of learning, reflections by students after a unit, a 100 day book, fact vs. opinion book, an interactive glossary, a class book of poems, a phonics book, or a class book about a field trip that students took.  The finished product can be shared with parents and families easily through an email. For a back to school night activity, take a picture of each student to add to a class book and record students sharing what their favorite part of the school day is.  This same idea could be used in preparation for parent-teacher conferences. Students can upload pictures of their best school work, record thoughts about why they are proud of the work they did, and add reflections in the text field.  These can be shared as a starting point for conferences, at the end of the conference, parents have a keepsake.

Because of the voice recording capabilities, Little Bird Tales, would be a great way for students to practice a foreign language.  They can illustrate a word or phrase accompanied by the audio.  Classes could work together to create a “living” digital glossary.

Do you have a planned absence coming?  Why not create a digital story that your substitute can share with students?  Upload pictures that support learning, text, and your voice.

Tips: If you have parent email addresses in Google, Yahoo, or Outlook, they can be directly imported into Little Bird Tales as contacts.

Please leave a comment and share how you are using Little Bird Tales in your classroom!

A Lifetime of Color

Posted by admin | Posted in Art, Character Education, History, inspiration, Interactive book, Language Arts, Math, Primary Elementary, Science, Secondary Elementary, Social Studies, Teacher Resources, Websites | Posted on 25-02-2010

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What it is: A Lifetime of Color is a fun interactive environment where students can learn about, and study, art and artists.  in these “Art Edventures”, students will discover how great artists made their famous works and learn tips and techniques for create their own masterpieces.  A Lifetime of Color is split into activities for primary and intermediate students.  In the primary section, students will learn about line and shape, landscapes, color, architecture, industrial design, and portraits.  In the intermediate section, students will learn about the history of art, the art of crime detection, Leonardo, color theory, architecture, design and portraits.  In the study section of the Lifetime of Color site, students can explore a timeline, artists, and access a glossary.  The activities section includes technique demos, projects, and featured artists.  The lesson plans are cross curricular, combining art with science, social studies, math, and reading. 

How to integrate A Lifetime of Color into the classroom: One of the saddest developments to come out of the budget crisis is the cutting of the arts from education.  The arts are so important to learning and development.  Art asks students to think differently, creatively, innovatively.  Art is a necessary focus in education.  A Lifetime of Color is an excellent site to integrate art into a variety of subjects.  With ideas for the science, social studies, math, and reading classroom, there are no excuses for not infusing your classroom with art.  The activities lead and guide students to look at the world in new ways, to consider detail, and to interpret what they are viewing.  This is an excellent site for the art classroom but has activities that will easily extend and enrich any classroom.  Use the activities with the whole class using an interactive whiteboard or projector or set up A Lifetime of Color as a center on your classroom computers for students to visit.

Tips: Make sure to take a look at the lesson plans for your grade level, there are some fantastic ideas for introducing art to your curriculum.

Please leave a comment and share how you are using A Lifetime of Color in your classroom.

Interactives Geometry 3D Shapes

Posted by admin | Posted in Interactive Whiteboard, Math, Middle/High School, Secondary Elementary, Teacher Resources, Websites | Posted on 23-01-2009

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What it is:  I ran across this site yesterday as I was searching for a Geometry site for a teacher.  Interactives Geometry 3D Shapes is a great website for students to learn about 3D shapes, surface area and volume, Euler’s theorem, and platonic solids.  Each section gives students an interactive environment where they can manipulate 3D objects as they learn.  In the surface and area section, students can learn how to calculate area of a 3D object and then have an interactive space to practice calculating the area of 3D objects.  At the end of the site there is a place where students can put their knowledge to the test and apply what they have learned.  This is an outstanding alternative to learning from a text book.  The Interactives site gives students what a text book can’t, interaction with 3D shapes and the ability to rotate and manipulate the shapes.  Throughout the site, math words are highlighted in red, students can click on these words and are taken to a glossary that defines the word for them.  

 

How to integrate Interactives Geometry 3D Shapes into the classroom: Use the Interactives Geometry 3D Shape site to introduce 3D shapes, area, Euler’s Theorem, and platonic solids to your students.  This is a great way for your students to learn geometry, especially 3D geometry, in an environment where they can interact with and manipulate 3D shapes.  This site could be used with a projector, interactive whiteboard, as a math center in the one computer classroom, or individually in a lab setting.  Use the interactive portions with an interactive whiteboard to manipulate shapes for students to see as you are teaching new concepts about 3D shapes.  This would be a wonderful site to point your students to for geometry homwork help, students can use it to model and define concepts they may find difficult as they work.  

 

Tips: The Test Your Skills section gives students 15 problems to complete that are accompanied by photos, illustrations, or animations.  I wish my geometry tests looked like this!  I am such a visual person, I think I would have been so much more successful.

 

Leave a comment and tell us how you are using Interactives Geometry 3D Shapes in your classroom.