For the third year in a row, fourth grade teachers at Wheeler are hosting the Write On project! This collaborative writing project involves fifteen classes of third, fourth, and fifth grade students around the United States. Three groups of five classes are collaborating through a wiki to write and illustrate a story, for a total of three stories. The purpose of this project is to expand writing skills while utilizing 21st Century learning tools for communication and collaboration. This activity also allows for an exploration of regions as students track the location and regional information of participating schools. Visit Write On 2011 and follow the stories with your class as they develop!
PCS teachers, would you like your class to be part of a collaborative project, either locally, regionally, nationally, or perhaps even globally? Email me and I’ll be glad to help you design and implement a project, or find an existing one to join. This is actually an area of special interest to me, and one that I have a lot of experience in from my classroom teacher days. FYI, one of my favorite sites to find existing projects is the Global School Network projects registry found at: http://www.globalschoolnet.org/gsh/pr/.
Did you know that there’s a large K-12 section for podcasts in iTunes? You can find audio and video podcasts for teachers and for students of all ages! A list is available on the iTunes K-12 Preview page: http://itunes.apple.com/us/genre/podcasts-education-k-12/id1415. There’s no real organization to the page you initially see, it’s a list of the popular podcasts. You can view more extensive alphabetized lists by clicking on letters at the top of the page. Unfortunately, they’re still not organized by age/grade or subject matter. The time that it takes to look through is well spent though; there are some great podcasts available, and all for free!
Carrotsticks is an online multiplayer math website that now is FREE for schools. Students can play up to 25 levels of math games either on their own or with friends. Set up your classroom account by clicking the link for it at the top of the page. An email will be sent to you with a link to share with students. The first time students access the site they will be prompted to create a username and password. Since we don’t want to use students’ last names online, you might want to use a classroom naming structure that includes your last name and the number the student is on your roster, such as Murrihy08 for the eighth student on the list in Jen Murrihy’s class. Students should use the same password they use for login, so they can easily remember it. One thing to keep in mind is the time zone you select when setting up your classroom account. CarrotSticks gives students unlimited free acess between the hours of 7am and 3pm. Since our school hours are different, you may want to select a different time zone, allowing for end of the day practice. Also, do not expect an immediate email back setting up your account. It took two hours for my email to come in.
I used this site with Jen Murrihy’s fifth grade class on Tuesday. They have some thoughts to share with you on it.
• You get to play with other people.
• You can play back to back people.
• It’s fun!
• You can practice by yourself and choose what level and what operation.
• You can create your own avatar.
• You can’t chat with others while you’re playing. (From a teacher’s perspective, this is a pro!)
• The challenges aren’t for a long time, only a short time.
• When you’re challenging someone it stops working if one player presses random buttons.
• Other people can send you a request in the middle of a game you’re already playing.
Unanimously the kids said they liked the site. One young lady went so far as to say, “I’ll eat carrots just because of this website!” From a teaching perspective you need to be aware of what levels the students are playing, ensuring they are at an appropriate level of difficulty. Overall, this site is definitely worth using with your students!