Thursday, April 28, 2011

Word Games

Whether it's solving a crossword puzzle or playing Hangman, I have always loved to play word games.  Jog the Web has a great collection of word games to play.  Here is an overview:

Spinners Luck
 Click on letters and try to solve the puzzle.

 Put the letters in order to form a word that fits the clue.

Guess the word.  Green boxes means right letter in the right spot.  Circled letter means right letter in a different spot.  You have 5 chances to guess the word.

 Unscramble the word as it moves across the screen.

Word Builder
 Click letters to make words.  The game ends if the tiles reach the top. 

Joy Words
Find words with 3, 4, 5 or even 6 letters.  Get as many words as possible before the time runs out.  Click shuffle to mix up the letters.  This was one of my favorites.

 Here are the solutions to the puzzle I tried to solve.

Chain Letters
 Click letters in a chain to make words.  Get as many words as you can before the timer runs out.

Word Craze
 Type as many words as you can that have the same number of letters as there are boxes and also have the target letter in the same place as the one above!

 Click a letter and solve the question.  This one asks what D city in Texas is home of the NBA team, Mavericks?  I said Dallas.  Try to get as many tiles in a row as you can.

Wheel of Fortune
Plays just like Wheel of Fortune.  I love this game!

I think students will enjoy playing these word games as much as I did.  It is also a great vocabulary builder.  Please share these with your students!

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

A Few Writing Resources

Story Starters 
Free Illustrated Story Starters from the Young Writers Workshop are useful for promoting writing stories.  Each story starter opens up as a PDF and is then printable.  Here is a screen shot of one of the story starters.

 A Thesaurus
Our students can struggle with using common words over and over again.  I found this printable thesaurus which helps students to find similar words for commonly overused words such as bad, happy, funny and sad.  This would be a great resource for any elementary student.  

 Be a Reporter
Here is an interactive for writing a news article.  This interactive is easy to use.  There is no option to save your work or print, however, using Print Screen would be easy enough.  I have previously explained how to print screen here.

Write with a Quill Pen
Here is a simple and fun interactive.  Students can write with a quill pen.  They can choose an ink color and also print their writing.  

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Stop Animation

Our students have done several projects this year with stop animation.  Simply put, stop animation involves making a movie frame by frame through moving objects a little bit at a time.  


Earlier this school year I posted about Pivot, which is a free download for making stop animation movies.  You can read about Pivot and see an example here.

ABCya Animation for Kids

For a simpler stop animation maker, there is ABCya's animation for Kids.  The background button allows you to make a background for all of your frames.  I found it easy to use the copy and paste button for copying a frame and pasting the objects onto the next frame.  I also used the select mode instead of the drawing mode to easily select and then move the objects I had drawn.  Here is an example I made of a bouncing ball.

Recently I came across another stop animation maker.  It is called JellyCam and it uses the webcam on a computer to capture frames for the movie.  I haven't used this with our students yet, but I plan to soon.  JellyCam is free and needs to be downloaded onto your computer.  Here is a short video of how JellyCam works!

I tried JellyCam out myself and  found it easy  to use and fun!  This would definitely be easy enough for our students in 5th grade!

The first stop animation movie I made was with a digital camera and Photostory 3.  We used clay and formed our own characters.  We made a background and created a story board.  The movie took around 120 pictures and was quite an involved process.  Having programs like Pivot and JellyCam, or a site like ABCya's Animation for Kids is making stop animation a much simpler and quicker process. 

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Into the Future

Each year I have my students write a letter to themselves to be opened in the future.  We date it to be opened on the year of their graduation.  Students try to predict who their friends are, what kind of grades they are getting and even what path they are going to take after graduation.

Future Me is a similar idea.  Write a letter to yourself and then choose a date in the future to have it sent to yourself via email.  The letters can be private or public.  Future Me does require an email verification.

I would like to have our students use Future Me to write a letter to themselves and then have the letter delivered close to their graduation.  I could also see students writing a letter to themselves at the beginning of the school year with their goals for themselves and then have the message delivered by the end of the school year.

Do you have any ideas of how you might use Future Me with your students?  If so, leave a comment and let me know.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

A Simpler Sticky Note Wall for Primary Teachers and Kids

Primary Wall is a web based sticky note tool.  It is geared towards younger students and is very simple to use.  Watch this video to see how Primary Wall works:

Primary Wall is free and easy to use.  The site also offers lesson plans and ideas.  Here's a little extra note:  The idea of Primary Wall was created by a teacher!  No wonder it's so easy and simple to use.

One suggestion for using Primary Wall would be to use a site like Weebly to share links with younger students, since typing in a URL is difficult for them.  I have written about Weebly here.  I also find using Quick Mark and a QR code is a simple way to have students access a link.  I have written about this here.

I think younger students would have a great time giving Primary Wall a try!

Monday, April 18, 2011

A K-12 Stie to Help Teach Government

Ben's Guide to U.S. Government for Kids is a site I found recently while searching for resources about the U.S. states.  This site is great for teaching topics about government, laws, elections, the states and so much more!  The site is divided into sections for K-2, 3-5, 6-8, and 9-12.  I have mostly explored the 3-5 area and it is excellent.  The topics that I read about have short, kid friendly explanations and graphics.  There are games to play; both printable and interactive.  I especially liked the Place the State interactive game.

Another great resource this site offers if a free Activity book full of resources and activities called Symbols of the U.S. Government.  I found several great activities in this free book that I would use with our students.  Here is where I found the free book:

I highly recommend Ben's Guide to U.S. Government for Kids to any teacher wishing to help students of any age gain more knowledge about our government and nation. 

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Collaborative Whiteboard

Have you or your students ever tried an online collaborative whiteboard?  Dabbleboard is a great one to try.  It is free, easy and fun.  When you share the link with others, they can draw and create right along with you.  Watch this short video to see how to use Dabbleboard.

My co-teacher, Stacey, and I gave Dabbleboard a try and we loved it.  I haven't used this with students yet, but I will soon.  I think students will love this! 

I imagine students using this to make flowcharts, diagrams, webs, tree diagrams, so much more.  How might you use Dabbleboard?

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Tip of the Week

My students and I use Google images all of the time!  This week some of our students made a movie using Photostory and we needed images of flowers.  Our student teacher, Jen, needed images of an boy and girl outline.  Finding just the right image can take a while. So. . . . 
I have been showing people how to get more out of their Google Images search.  Sometimes you are looking for a certain type of image.  This video will show you how to refine your Google image search!

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

All Finished with Type to Learn. Now what?

Since some of our students are talented typists, and others are no where near being done with Type to Learn, I've decided to enrich our  students who are finished with some fun sites on keyboarding.  Go to our classroom Weebly site to find the links to many different types of games.  


Monday, April 11, 2011

Animate your words!

made on Wondersay - Animate text with style

I found through my friends on Twitter. lets you animate words and then embed those words on a blog, wiki or webpage.  You can also just share the URL.  All you need to do is type in the words you want to embed and then copy the embed code.  You can preview your words before you embed them.

But there's more.  Wondersay lets you change the settings such as font, background, entering effects, leaving effects, and speed.  There are also embed settings so that you can change the size of the object, make the words repeat and make a transparent background.  If you choose not to change any of the settings, then Wondersay will randomly choose new settings every time your words animate.

Here are a few screen shots:

 Settings tab

embed tab

Friday, April 8, 2011

Friday Fun

Today I share with you my Weebly web site of Friday fun!  Feel free to share this site with your students and have fun with these educational activities.  

This week I added Kerpoof and Spore.  Kerpoof offers a lot of fun activities for students to try including: Make a movie, make a drawing, make a card, and much more.  Spore is a creature creator.  It is inventive and creative.  Have fun.  Share with others!

Thursday, April 7, 2011

A Math Challenge

A+ Click Math Skill Test is for students 1st - 12th grade.  Here is how it works.  You can begin solving problems at 1st grade or any grade you'd like. There are graduated sets of problems to solve.  Each problem contains a short description and an image to help visualize the problem.  The problems adapt to the skill of the person answering the problems.  A person must answer 5 problems correctly in a row to move up to the next grade level.  The tests concentrate on understanding, spatial reasoning, and problem solving rather than math rules and theorems.

This site would be a challenge for any student wanting to test their math abilities.  It would be fun to put this on the Smart Board and work through the problems as a class.  It would be a great site to link to your website if you have one.

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Easy Poster Maker and Much More

Check out this poster maker at Big Huge Labs.  It is as easy as browsing for a photo on your computer, pick a background color, type in a title and additional text if you wish and wa-la!  Poster for you to use on your website, blog, or print out!

I love simple sites like this one!

Here's my poster I created in less than 30 seconds!

Here is another option from Big Huge Labs.  Make trading cards!

I made this card in under a minute.  It is so easy!

Other options on Big Huge Labs include:

 Make any of these projects quickly and simply at Big Huge Labs!

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Tip of the Week: How to Loop a You Tube Video

Recently I was asked if I knew how to make a You Tube Video loop so that when it finished the video would start up again.  This is a nice feature to have if you are playing a video for an open house or parent night.  Once the video is started you don't need to do anything to keep it playing over and over again.

After just a bit of searching I discovered that looping a You Tube Video is very easy!  Here is how it is done.

Find the You Tube video you want to show.
In the address bar, type the word "repeat" before the .com
It would look like this -

After you have added the word "repeat", then just hit enter to refresh the page.

Here is the site where I found the information about Repeat You Tube.

Monday, April 4, 2011

Templates for Teachers

Most of us use Microsoft Word, Excel, Power Point or Publisher on a regular basis.  Here are some additional online resources that are available.

Microsoft Office has images to use.  Click here to see them.

Microsoft Office has templates that can be downloaded just for teachers.  Click here to have a look.

Students have their own special downloads, including bookmarks, calendars, and photo albums.  Click here to go to the student page.

One reason I like these downloaded templates is that you can type right on the template and then save and print your work. 


Hold on!!!! There's more!  Did you know that Google Docs also has templates?  I've used a few of these and they are great!  

Check out this template for making a recipe book!

Here is a template for a scrapbook.

To find more templates follow the steps in these three screen shots:

It is also possible to create, share and save your own templates.  I hope that using templates is helpful and useful for you.