Some subtle and not-so-subtle changes are coming to Google Docs. One of my favorite blogs, Free Technology for Teachers, has an entry on the changes, New Sharing and Editing Options in Google Docs, and includes video. While you’re there, be sure to check out the great free guides he’s written for teachers.
If you like to travel and you like to save money, you might want to check out the article, On the Road, on the Cheap: Get Around Without Going Under, published on the Edutopia website. Although it was published a few years ago, many of the teacher travel discounts and specialized programs still exist. If you’re a bargain hunter, don’t forget many discounts exist for teachers, even at department and speciality stores. Google the terms, “teacher shopping discounts” or “educator discounts” without the quotes, and browse some of the results.
If you plan to spend some time this summer making games for your students, you’ll want to look at the Free Board Game Maker site. It offers a variety of customizable board game templates that you can print out for centers or other activities.
If you need some new graphic organizers for the 2010-2011 school year, check out the Graphic Organizers from Houghton Mifflin page. It has over 30 types that you can print out for student use.
Summertime is a great time for exploring some new blogs. If you’d like to expand beyond here, a few of my favorites, where I often find great resources to share with you, are:
Also, if you have some time, don’t forget to explore our revised Elementary Instructional Technology website.
Welcome to Website Wednesday, bringing you some of the best of websites I’ve looked at recently that you can really use.
Thanks goes to Cathy Frayler for this week’s first site, Thinkfinity. It’s been around for some time, but they have a new look and expanded content, definitely qualifying them for “wow” status. Resources available include lesson plans, interactive games, primary sources, worksheets, reference material, media, and assessments. Content partners include Illuminations, Literacy Network, ReadWriteThink, Smithsonian’s History Explorer, and more. This one is definitely worth a look!
Are you looking for new ways to spark writing in your students? Plinky provides some very interesting writing topics. Sign up is free, and a new prompt is provided each day. (If the prompt is too short, you can always expand on it.) Most are appropriate for our elementary students, but occasionally some are not. So, although the idea is for the writer to add their answer to the site, you might want to project the prompt onto the SmartBoard, and have students respond with paper/pencil.
Another great resource to spark writing is Story Starters from Scholastic. It’s organized by grade level, and provides prompts that focus on character, plot, and setting. While the intent of the site is for students to type their story online, you could also run the Story Starter from the SmartBoard, and have students do a traditional paper/pencil writing activity. The fun is in spinning the wheels to see what the prompt will be! Hint: Don’t forget to click the link for the Teacher’s Guide.
Perhaps you need some new math tools and activities for your students. If so, check out Johnnie’s Math Page. This site links to a variety of activities, organized by concept, including number sense, geometry, fractions, multiplication, measurement, data analysis, and probability. Some of these may look familiar since our integration resources link to some of the same activities. If there are some not included in our integration resources, and you think should be, just let me know.
Free is almost always a good thing for teachers, and the APTE Curious Minds Click website is free, and definitely a good thing. You can find and create puzzles (crossword, word search, etc…) for your students, and access some very cute clipart for your documents and presentations.
Another nice, free site is Woopid. They provide free technology training videos on a variety of topics. To find all of the videos, click the link at the top of the site that says, “View Library.” The items you might find the most helpful are in the Mac category: iLife, iWork, Mac OS X Leopard, and Safari 4.
I read a number of education blogs as a way to learn more about what’s going on with technology and education, both in our country and around the world, and to find new resources to share with you. One of the blogs that I just started reading, Always Learning, has an entry on Tips for Managing Tech Tools in the Classroom. A VoiceThread is embedded into it, with educators adding text or their voice to share ideas and build a conversation. Teachers at the International School Bangkok, located in Thailand, started the Tips for Managing Tech Tools in the Classroom VoiceThread. All readers/viewers have been invited to add their thoughts to it. It’s definitely worth checking out, both for the tips included and to see a VoiceThread in use. Hint: When it loads and you’re asked to add a picture to the identify, click the yellow close button to view the VoiceThread. Extra: If you want to see VoiceThread in use in Plainville, talk with Deb Pikiell, Rob Silliman and Tawana Graham-Douglas, they’re doing great things with it!
As the cold weather sets in, and recess moves indoors, our students move less and less. A recent article on teachers.net mentioned the importance and educational benefits of movement, and included 20 Movement Activities and Games for Elementary Classrooms.
If you like these sites post a comment and share your thoughts with other teachers. How do you think they helped you and/or your students?
If you find a resource that should be highlighted here, be sure to let me know!
Welcome to Website Wednesday, bringing you some of the best websites I’ve looked at lately, that you can really use! Great sites this week include:
103 Things to Do Before/During/After Reading: The title of this webpage tells you exactly what you’ll find. What it doesn’t tell you are the wide variety of unique ideas that can be implemented at so many grade levels. This is definitely one of those sites that makes me say, “Wow!”
Winter Math Activities: Snowflakes + Penguins + Gingerbread Men = Timely K-5 math activities for geometry, measurement, patterns, number sense, data analysis, and more.
Typing Olympics: If you’re looking for a unique way to help address keyboarding skills with your students (grades 3-5 only), given limited computer time, check out this novel idea from an Instructional Technology Specialist in Colorado.
Forty-Three Interesting Ways to Use Wordle in the Classroom: Back in September I shared the Wordle site with you, and gave some ideas of how it could be used in the classroom. (Re-read the article here.) The Forty-Three Interesting Ways presentation shares actual examples of use across a variety of grades and subject areas. You won’t be able to use all of these ideas, but it’s likely you’ll find one or two that will work for your grade level. Hint: Be sure to check out ideas 15, 26, 33, 34.
Finally, take a look at more Wordle ideas in this presentation on SlideShare:
It’s time for another Website Wednesday, highlighting websites that you can really use.
If you’re looking for new ways to liven up spelling lessons and spelling practice, check out Ten Spelling Games and Lessons. It’s actually a blog entry at the Free Technology for Teachers blog, highlighting ten websites with spelling games and lessons that you can start using today.
Tools for Differentiation is a wiki that provides information on differentiation, and tools to help you. Be sure to click on the folders under the navigator section on the right hand side to see a variety of links to pages within the wiki. You’ll also want to click the links under the sidebar section on the right hand side.
Dare to Differentiate is another wiki providing information and tools on differentiation. This one is perhaps a little easier to navigate, with links to the wiki pages on the left hand side.
Lexipedia is where words have meaning! This useful tool is like a dictionary and a thesaurus all in one, and color coded by parts of speech. Type a word in the box at the top, and click the submit button to see a web of related words appear. Rest your mouse on top of any one word from the web to see the definition and more information. The same information can be found in the navigator on the left hand side. Double click on a related word in the word web to bring up the Lexipedia “web” for it.
The last website isn’t a website, but a video on YouTube. The SmartNotebook Exchange is changing, and this video walks you through the new look, and ways to search for videos. Of course you know that I link to SmartNotebook presentations in our Integration Resources, so let me know if you find good ones, and I’ll add them.
There are so many websites out there about Thanksgiving, it can be a bit overwhelming to find what you want. A simple Google search for the First Thanksgiving returns over 20 million hits! If you just want quick and easy information to share with your students, here are a few sites to check out:
Scholastic’s First Thanksgiving: http://www.scholastic.com/scholastic_thanksgiving/ – Includes audio!
Plimoth Plantation Investigates the First Thanksgiving: http://www.plimoth.org/education/olc/intro.html – Uses primary sources!
Fifth grade might want to look at Thanksgiving from the Wampanoag point of view at: http://www.bostonkids.org/educators/wampanoag/html/w-thanks.htm