Saturday, October 30, 2010

Easiest Blogging Site I've Ever Seen!

This video explains how to set up blogs for students at  It is the easiest, simplest blogging site I have ever found.  We are going to use this site for blogging about our weekends as well as blogging about our AR books.

One thing I forgot to mention in the video is that the settings tab allows you to change the privacy of your blogs.  It is set up automatically to be completely private and secure.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Comic Strip Creator!

Bitstrips is one of the best online Comic Strip makers I know of. If you plan to have students use this for an assignment, you will first need to give them time to play around with creating characters and all of the fun tools. It is a pretty involved Web 2.0 tool!

If you are looking for a simpler form of a comic strip maker, try this one on the  Read Write Think site.  Our students used this the other day and were able to create a comic strip in under 15 minutes!

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Two Neat Ways to Practice Vocabulary or Spelling

These two sites are great for introducing vocabulary or practicing spelling words.

First is a site called Dotty Dots.  Type in the word you want and click go.  Then move your mouse over the dots and the dots go crazy and scramble all over the place.  Take the mouse away and the dots magically go back to where they belong.  We're going to use this in spelling.  We will spell the word, make the dots go crazy while students spell the word on their slates, then let the word go back to normal to see if we spelled the word correctly.

DARN!  Word Mix is no longer available!  Thank you Janet for making me aware of this!
Next is a site called Word Mix.  Type in a word and the letters will be put into tiles that can be arranged by clicking and dragging them.  Then type in the word and see if you were correct.

Monday, October 25, 2010

How to Create a Google Form

This tutorial explains how to create a Google Form which can be used to send out a survey or to quiz students.

Two Fantastic Google Apps!

This is a series of posts all about Google Forms and Google Sites.  I hope you find these apps to be useful in the classroom!  Please let me know your thoughts or questions!

I plan to have future posts about other Google Apps for Education.

View the Results and More about Google Sites

This tutorial is about seeing the results of your survey or quiz and also gives a little more information about Google Sites.

How to Create a Google Site

This tutorial shows how to create a Google Site and insert your Google form into the site!

Tech Survey

Here is my tech survey!

Friday, October 22, 2010

Stop Animation Movies Using Pivot

This is one of the best free downloads available. It is a stop animation movie maker called Pivot. I had our students make Pivot movies at the beginning of the year. The assignment was to create a video and they had to use the stick figure as well as incorporate their name. They figured out the rest! It was so much fun! You have to play with Pivot quite a bit to figure out all that it can do!  If you are interested in Pivot, I'd be happy to show your more!  You can download Pivot here.

Here are 3 of our students' Pivot movies.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Activity TV

You have to check out Activity TV.  This site is amazing and it lends really well to project based learning!  Students can find out how to do all kinds of different things including origami, juggling, magic, science projects, crafts and on and on!  Each activity has a TV program to watch and print outs as well.  I could try to explain this site in more detail, but honestly the easiest way to get to know what Activity TV is all about is to check it out for yourself.  I could see students learning how to do something on this site and then sharing what they have learned with their peers.  I think Activity TV has a lot of potential!  What do you think?

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

A Special Request

Hi everyone,
I had special request to show how to put a video into Power Point 2010.  So here is a tutorial showing how to do just that!
Hope it helps!
Let me know if you have questions!

Halloween Resources

I thought I would put together a list of Halloween Resources for you to use with your Smart Board or students.

First is a great site full of clip art, games, puzzles, informational activities, create your own activities, Notebook 10 resources, and sound files.  This site is great for all kinds of Halloween resources.

Next is a neat pumpkin carving site!  I love that this can be done on the Smart board and then when you are done carving, turn out the lights and click "Done".  The pumpkin glows!!!

The last site is really fun.  You can import pictures of people to put their faces on Halloween characters.  You can choose from playing a video or making a photo.  I made a video of our family and embedded it below for you to see.  This was way too much fun!  I could see putting some of your students' pictures into a video for fun!  Be careful, only the things marked FREE are available unless you sign up for a membership.

Our Family Video!

Personalize funny videos and birthday eCards at JibJab!

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

A Special Request

Good Morning Everyone,
I had a special request to show how to take some Flip videos and put them all together into one video. This is a multi-step process that takes a little time and knowledge, but it can be done. To help with this I decided to make some video tutorials. The first tutorial shows how to export Flip videos from the Flip video software.The second video shows how to convert the videos to a different format. The third video shows how to use the program called Windows Movie Maker. I realize not everyone needs to know how to do this, but I'm hoping others will take a look and venture into the land of video editing! I will be happy to help anyone who needs assistance.

Thanks for taking a look if you're interested.

P.S.  Here is the link to a free converter called Format Factory.

Step 1: Exporting Flip Videos

This tutorial shows how to export Flip videos from the Flip video software.

Step 3 - Windows Movie Maker

This tutorial shows how to use Windows Movie Maker.

Step 2 - Converting the Videos

This tutorial shows how to convert the videos from MP4 to AVI.

Monday, October 18, 2010

Webonauts Teaches Internet Safety

Here is a site for your students to try.  It is called Webonauts.  This site comes from PBS Kids.  Its purpose it to teach students about Internet Safety and about being a responsible citizen.  Here what PBS says about Webonauts:

"Webonauts Internet Academy is a web original game from PBS KIDS GO! that gives kids 8 to 10 years old an opportunity to have some fun while exploring what it means to be a citizen in a web-infused, information-rich world.  It is an engaging experience on its own but becomes all the more powerful when parents and teachers use game play as a springboard for conversations about media literacy and citizenship in the 21st Century."

Our students explored this site and really found it engaging.  Students have to problem solve and make good choices in order to work their way through the Webonauts Academy.  We had our student make a username and password so that they could stop and continue Webonauts when we had time.  We first discussed safe ways to make a username and password before they started.  All usernames and passwords had to be approved by the teacher and written down on a sticky label attached to their planners.

I would try Webonauts yourself before using it with your students.

Friday, October 15, 2010

Easy Slideshow!!

We have Fun Friday's in our room.  I find a fun site for the students to try.  Here is our Fun Friday site for today!

Sometimes you just need an easy way to create online content and Colgate has created a fun and quick way to do just that.  The Colgate site allows students to create a multimedia slideshow with images, text and sound.  The students can then share their slideshow by playing it right on the Colgate site or emailing it to someone or even embedding it onto a blog or wiki.  The images to choose from are mostly animals, nature or sports.  The text is made up of mostly adjectives.  So, I would have students work on matching good adjectives with the images.  Here is an example of the slideshow I made:

My Slideshow Using the Colgate Site

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

A Fun Way to Answer a Question

Hello to everyone who is checking out my blog! 

Today's site is called Answer Garden.  This is a neat way to communicate within your classroom.  Answer Garden allows you to ask a question and then students can type in and submit their answers.  It works similar to a Wordle in that the more times an answer is given the larger the answer will appear in the display.  You can also hover over a word in the Garden and see how many times that word was entered by students.  The Answer Garden can be shared with students using a URL or it can be embedded into a wiki or blog!  

I used it yesterday with our students during vocabulary practice in reading.  Our students were finding words that had a similar meaning to the word analyze.  I asked the students, "What is your favorite word for analyze?"  You can check out our Answer Garden on our class wiki!  

I have created a series of screen captures to show you how to set up an Answer Garden.  I hope you find this tool to be yet another way for students to communicate answers and ideas.  And the best part is?  No passwords, email or logins!
Let me know your thoughts please.

Gmail for Your Students

Have you used Gmail with your students yet?  Each of your students has a Gmail account already set up.  Their usernames are their graduation year (18, 19, 20) followed by their last name and first initial.  The password is ripon followed by their graduation year.  
For example:  18smithr and ripon2018 

Parents had to give permission to allow their child to use email.  You should already have the forms that show if they have permission (Pam gave you these earlier in the year). We had 3 students whose parents hadn't signed the permission form and when I explained that we would be using email as a way to send and return assignments and activities, all 3 of the parents agreed to give their child permission.  (If you would like to use the letter I sent home explaining this to parents, just let me know and I can send it to you.)  

We use Gmail in a lot of different ways.  One way that we have been using Gmail is to send our students Notebook 10 activities to work on.  It is a great way to have each student complete an interactive activity.  We have also sent them Microsoft Word documents which they need to complete and return.  I'll be talking about other ways to use Gmail with students in future posts.

If you haven't tried Gmail with your students yet, I suggest you give it a try!  I would go in as each student first to make sure each students' email works and also to set up their email for them.  The first time they go in it requires a word verification which can be difficult for students. 

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Great Interactive Dictionary Site

Hi Everyone!

Here is a link to a great interactive dictionary site for students to use.  We used it to create word webs for our vocabulary words.  The students also used the "Say it" feature that allows them to hear the word.  Each word in the web also gives a definition when you hover over the word.

A great site to make a word web on is  This site takes a little practice, but students get the hang of it pretty quickly.