Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Shahi - A Visual Dictionary

Shahi has a great visual dictionary for kids.  When searching for a word, this dictionary gives images from Flicker, Google and Yahoo along with parts of speech and a definition.

All pictures shown on my searches were appropriate.  Of course if a student types in an inappropriate word, they will get inappropriate pictures.  I would use Shahi on my Smart Board so that I could control the search.  Shahi is a great way to introduce new vocabulary or look up new words.

Friday, May 27, 2011

Edutopia video -support Differentiated Learning

Edutopia.org has videos for Professional Development.  They are up-to-date and very well made.  I have found a lot of great information from Edutopia.org for my master's classes as well as for use in the classroom.

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Math Tricks

Pedagonet offers math tricks to explore. 
For example, one of the tricks is known as the Phone Number Math Trick.  In this trick a person writes down their phone number, uses a calculator to perform the following steps, and eventually get an answer that is their phone number in the end.
Here are the steps:

Find a calculator

Insert in the first three digits of your phone number (not the area code)
Example  : (905) 567 - 1111

Multiply these three numbers  by 80
567 x 80 = 45360

Add 1
45360 + 1 = 45361

Multiply by 250
45361 x 250 = 11340250

Add to this the last 4 digits of your phone number
11340250 + 1111 = 11341361

Add again the last 4 digits of your phone number.
11341361 + 1111 = 1134272

Subtract 250
1134272 - 250 = 11342222

Divide number by 2
11342222 / 2 =  Magic phone number

Answer:  567-1111

Here is another trick called Book Math Trick.  This one has been captured with a You Tube Video.

Another trick is called Roll the Dice.  In this trick you have a friend roll two dice and do not have them reveal what numbers they rolled.  Then though this series of steps, you will be able to tell your friend what their two original numbers were on the dice.

I think it would be fun to have students choose a trick and perform it for their classmates.  It would also be fun to video tape the tricks and share them on Teacher Tube.  Pedagonet has a lot of tricks and fun!

Wednesday, May 25, 2011


Lemelson Center's Invention at Play is a fabulous site for exploration.  It also has stories about inventors.  Here are some of the highlights.

Tinker ball (click here)

Place the gadgets in the correct place in order to get the ball to drop in the cup. 

Cloud Maker (click here)
Design your own cloud and watch it move across the sky.

Puzzle Blocks (like tangrams) (click here)
Place the blocks in the correct place to fill in the shape.  Blocks can be rotated.  Help will show the lines where the blocks should be placed, but only for a short time.

Stories about Inventors (click here)
Includes stories from little know and well know inventors.

Lemelson Center's Invention at Play is a wonderful site.  It offers a place to read about different inventions and inventors, but also a place to explore, solve puzzles, and create.  This one is worth bookmarking!

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Spider Scribe - Mind Mapping Tool

SpiderScribe is a mind mapping tool that has been mentioned quite a bit lately.  There are a lot of mind mapping tools for teachers and students, such as Bubble.us and Mind42, but this may be among the simplest and most creative of all of them.

SpiderScribe is incredibly easy to use and it offers some great features like the ability to upload files, use a Google Map, or add pictures, text and calendar events.  Here is a short video showing how to use SpiderScribe.

Below is an example of a mind map I made using SpriderScribe:

 In order to use SpiderScribe, you need to create an account with an email and password.  I could see students using SpiderScribe to create a mind map on a specific location, or a topic that centers around different locations.  It took me about 2 minutes to create the mind map above. 

Monday, May 23, 2011

Image Detective

Image Detective is an interactive site that has students analyze a historical photo and make conclusions about the photo.  Their job is to figure out what is going on in the photo.  

Students work through a four step process:
1. Form a question
2.  Gather clues
3.  Get information
4.  Form a conclusion.

There are 9 photos to choose from.  Take a look at this screen capture.
Every student could be assigned the same photo to analyze or you could divide the photos up among your students.  

To give students a better idea of how the detective process works, I would first show the students the example of how a scholar investigates a photo.  It is in the bottom left corner.  

I had fun trying several of these Image Detective Photos.  And I learned some things along the way!  With a little pre-teaching and preparation, I believe that Image Detective could be a great learning experience for students.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Edutopia -

Edutopia is a web site that spreads the word about ideal, interactive learning environments.  The site contains best practices, classroom tips, and stories from the field of education.  Edutopia is a wealth of resources for educators.  

Here are some highlights:

1.  Edutopia has a learning style inventory for students (and adults for that matter)
 This is a great way for students to evaluate themselves as a learner.

2.  Edutopia has a vast amount of videos.  They range from project-based learning to authentic assessments to building community through morning meetings.  Edutopia relies on schools and communities to help make these videos authentic.

3.  Edutopia focuses on six core strategies.

 When exploring each of the six core strategies, you will find articles, videos and examples to explore.  I often spend a lot of time in the technology integration section.

Edutopia is one of the most resourceful sites for teachers to find ways to use best practices in their classrooms and to see how schools across the country are incorporating these best practices.  

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Present Me!

Once again, here is a neat thing you can do with a Power Point presentation.  

Present.me allows a person to upload a Power Point presentation and add themselves in video format so that they can present their Power Point in person. Check out my presentation on the immune system. 

Isn't that amazing?  Present.me uses your webcam to record your video.  This program does not require a download.  I did sign up for a free account using an email and username.  I could see students using Present.me on their own.  It was really easy to do!  The hardest part was watching myself and feeling self-conscious!! 

Science Tricks and Experiments

Last week while our class was on a visit to the Middle School, one of the science teachers (Mr. Goretski) took a few minutes to show our group some amazing science tricks.  The students were extremely engaged and impressed.
Then I had a thought, science shouldn't only be exciting for students when they visit an 8th grade teacher's classroom!  So I searched and found a web site called The Surfing Scientist. The minute I started looking around this site I was impressed!  The Surfing Scientist, which is really a guy named Ruben Meerman,  shows all sorts of amazing science tricks and conundrums.  

 After seeing how impressed the students were with Mr. Goretski's science tricks, I have decided to show our students that there are plenty of amazing things to learn on the Internet about science.  And The Surfing Scientist is a great place to start!  Of course, nothing can replace the atmosphere and learning environment that Mr. Goretski provides in his classroom!

Read the Words

Most of us have heard of and/or used Voki in some way.  
Read the Words is a site that uses a Voki in a useful way.  Watch this You Tube Video to see how it works.

I played around with Read the Words and took some text about the founding of Ripon and made an audio file.  I then took the embed code and embedded the file below.  Take a listen. 

Friday, May 13, 2011

Friday Fun

As promised earlier, I made a Jog on Jog the Web to share this week's Friday fun!

Here is a collection of fun drawing tools.  These really bring out the artist in all of us!

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

A Mind Map of Teacher Tools

I recently came across this Mind Map of tools for teachers and was quite happy to see that I knew pretty much every one of the tools listed here.  Check it out and see how many you are familiar with.   

Mind42.com is the site where this Mind Map of tools was created.  The neat thing about a Mind Map is that it can have all of the tabs put away for simplicity or the tabs can be expanded for more details.  Check out the pictures below to see what I mean.

If you see a green globe, this will take you to a link to the Internet.  An icon of a little page will give more informational text about a topic.  I think these mind maps are a great tool for outlining and organizing a huge amount of data.  I would like to create my own mind map, but I first have to decide on a topic, and at the moment I don't have an idea.

Older students would be able to create their own Mind Maps!  Here is what Mind42.com says about their site,

"Collaborative mind mapping in your browser. Isn't 42 the answer to Life, the Universe, and Everything? Well, in this case it means FOR TWO and indicates the collaborative character of mind42. Manage all your ideas, whether alone, twosome or working together with the whole world - collaborative, browser-based and for free. "

I could see Middle or High School students collaboratively create a mind map.  In order to get an account for Mind42, you will need to sign up with a username, email and password.  Email verification is required.

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

An Interactive Math and Science Site

Today I would like to share a great site called Smartr.edc.org.  This site came to me from Melanie Oppor, our district Curriculum Coordinator.  

The best way to describe the site Smartr is to quote what they have to say,

"Welcome to SMARTR! The only math and science site around created by youth just like you! Here you will find some amazing math and science games and activities. Search by topic (e.g., Weather) or subject (e.g., Math). Sit back, relax and EXPLORE!"

Smartr has games, activities, simulations, and careers on the concepts of math and science.  There are also YouTube videos with each topic.  I have spent some time exploring the different topics and I find the resources to be very interactive.  When you click on a link, it will take you to a site on the Internet that has an activity or video.  

Here are some of the places I explored:

Under Science and Body I found this Interactive on how big microorganisms are compared to a pin head.

Under Science and Cells I found this jigsaw puzzle

Under Math and 3D Geometry I found this interactive on prisms, pyramids and polyhedrons.  

Under Math and Probability I found this Virtual Coin Toss simulation.  

Under Math and Ratios I found this site about becoming a Video Game Designer.  

There are so many other great resources on Smartr and I found these to be high quality activities.  I plan to use Smartr with our students to provide supplements to the topics we are studying. 

Monday, May 9, 2011

Jog the Web

Jog the Web has been popping up all over the place lately!  Jog the Web is an easy way to share sites with others.  It reminds me a little of Livebinders.  When you are on the Jog the Web site, you can search for Jogs made by other people covering all different types of categories.  I did a search for educational Jogs.  

Here are some examples of educational Jogs created by other people on Jog the Web:

1.  A Jog about Fractions for grades 3-5  (Click here)

2.  A Jog about Electricity and Magnetism  (Click here)

3.  A Jog about Educational Technology Tools  (Click here)

4.  A Jog about Math  (Click here)

 I think Jog the Web is a great place to search for sites related to any topic you'd like.  There are thousands of Jogs available.

You can make a Jog without signing up for an account, but if you want to save your Jogs and edit them later, you need an account.  Signing up for an account requires an email and verification and a password.  I plan to make a Jog this week for Friday Fun.  I'll bet you can hardly wait!

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Schools Share Smart Board Lessons

Looking to the Future 
For next year, I would like to see our district use the Internet to share our Smart Notebook resources. Perhaps through a wiki, Livebinder, Google Site or other hosting site we could begin having an online presence.

Take a look at these schools that have their resources online for others to access. You may find some useful Smart Board pages created by other teachers.

Amphitheater Public Schools (Click Here)

Longwood Central School District (Click Here)

The Kenton County School District (Click Here)

Would you consider sharing your Smart Board lessons with other teachers? 

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Smart Board YouTube Videos

You Tube has a huge amount of videos to help with creating pages on a Smart Board or utilizing certain features.

Here are a few I found useful:

Using Power Point with your Smart Board


How to use Smart Exchange

Text to Speech option

There are thousands of other videos and tutorials on You Tube for using your Smart Board.  Check it out!

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Internet Resources

When I am looking to create a new Smart Notebook lesson, I often rely on the Internet to guide me.    Check out these great sites that I often use:

A Wiki by djainslietech  Click the links on the left side

 Scholastic Smart Board Resources

Smart Exchange - Find Lesson Plans for Your SMART Board and Connect with Teachers

The Whiteboard Blog -This blog covers guides and IWB files.

A Smart Board Livebinder

 Smart Notebook Express   - allows a person to work with Notebook 10 files without having the software on their computer.  You can upload Smart Notebook files, save them, share them and even create them on any computer.

I hope you find these resources useful in creating your own Notebook 10 lessons.

Monday, May 2, 2011

Put Your Smart Board to Use

Get the Most Out of Your Smart Board

We use our Smart Board every day with our students in some way. Perhaps it is through an interactive lesson, an interactive website, Senteo quizzes, students creating interactive pages to share on our smart board, or elessons created to teach our students. 

In order to get the most out of your Smart Board it needs to be used for more than just a screen to project things onto.  Teachers need to create interactive pages that engage student learning.

Here are some videos that show simple techniques you can use to create an interactive page on your smart board.

Using the checker tool

Click to Reveal

Erase to Reveal

Random Generator

Magic Tunnel

Magnifying Glass

Page Recorder

Pull Tab

These techniques are simple enough to use and students are much more engaged when they can participate in these type of interactive pages.