Thursday, May 31, 2012

Summer Plans

I love my time off in the summer.  Who wouldn't?  I love baseball, and camping, and baseball, and gardening, and baseball, and reading, and baseball, and cleaning, and baseball, and time with family, and did I mention baseball?  Yes, we consume a lot of baseball in the summer!

However, I do not like being idle and simply have to keep myself busy, so I spend a lot of time during the summer on Professional Development. 

Daily Tekk is a blog that I follow which recently posted 100 Tech Tools for Teachers and Students.  As I browse over the list, I recognize a few of the listed tools, but many are unknown to me.  I just don't have time to go over such a long list during the school year.  My solution?  Save it to my Delicious account and tag it Summer 2012!  I can't wait to dive into this long list and discover new ways to integrate technology into my teaching or learning.  

Are you up for a summer challenge also?  It can take some time to browse lists like this one.  I sometimes feel my blood pressure rising when I see the number 100 followed by tools, but it won't stop me from checking them out.

If you need a collection of tools and sites to check out this summer, here is my Summer 2012 stack on Delicious.  Take it slow and don't get overwhelmed.  If this isn't for you, no worries, you know many of these great tools will be coming to you in blog posts from me next school year.

Good luck if you choose to tackle a collection of web 2.0 tools this summer.

Tuesday, May 29, 2012


I've been hearing a lot about a tool called Thinglink.  This tool can make any image that you put on your website or blog interactive, so that a person who is looking at your image can hover over small dots  and get information about things on your image. 

Here is a video that shows Thinglink in action:

Click here to get Richard Byrne's take on Thinglink as well as some examples of how people are using Thinglink.  

Here is a how-to video by Richard Byrne:

Here is a Mentor Mob (like a mini tool for learning online) to learn about Thinglink:

Create your own Playlist on MentorMob!

I want to use Thinglink with students.  There are some great ideas of how others are using Thinglink below:

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Cube Mayhem, Blip and 100 Floors

My son, Robert, often tells me he has nothing to do.  This is when I present him with a challenge.  Sometimes it's a chore or helping me, and sometimes it's a new game I have found on the Internet or for the iPad.  Recently there have been some really great finds!

Here are three really challenging games for your students to give a try.  They are all logic type games approved by my son, Robert.  

#1 Cube Mayhem - this reminds me of Bloxorz.  

Get the cube from the start to the finish.  There are many different types of buttons to add the each layout.   Thank goodness for the walkthrough (AKA answer key) or Robert would have given up at level 14.

#2 Blip - Another game where you have to move the box from start to finish, but many obstacles get in your way.

Robert thinks Blip would be good for younger kids.  

#3 iPad game 100 Floors - This is by far Robert's favorite.  We sat out on our porch for more than an hour trying to figure out each level of this game.  The idea is to find out how to open the elevator door and move up to the next level.  

What an incredible feeling we had each time we mastered yet another floor.  Robert was really quite proud of his smart thinking!

Robert and I hope you have a chance to share some logic games with your students.  They build intelligence, perseverance and patience. Three qualities I'm thankful Robert is working on!

Tuesday, May 22, 2012


Recently my co-teacher and I had a conversation about how fast I can read.  According to her, I must be a pretty quick reader.  So I put my reading speed to the test.

Spreeder is a free speed reading tool that is supposed to help improve your reading speed and comprehension.

According to the passage on the Spreeder site, we are used to reading only as fast as our inner voice allows us to because we were taught to read as fast as we can speek.  But if we can silence our inner voice, it is possible to read at a much faster pace.

When I gave Speeder a try, I found that I was able to increase my reading speed much higher that the average 300.  I topped out at 510.  

I used the bookmarklet to select text to read with Spreeder on some of the blogs that I follow, and surprisingly, I was quite good at reading and comprehending at a quick rate.  

You can also use the application and copy and paste text into the box on the web page.

I played with the settings and adjusted the speed as well as the chunk size (the number of words that appears at one time).  
There are other settings to adjust as well.

Give Spreeder a try and see if you are able to increase your reading and comprehension.

Monday, May 21, 2012

A Number Line Game

Battleship Number Line is a wonderful game for students to practice seeing where a number belongs on a number line.  There are four different types of numbers to practice; fractions, decimals, whole numbers and measurements.  This game has been very effective in helping my students think about decimals and fractions as an actual amount, not just digits.  

Here are some screen shots:

I highly recommend using Battleship Number Line with any students who are learning about fractions, decimals or whole numbers.

Friday, May 18, 2012

Who Says Teachers are Dull?

Here's a little Friday humor to end your week.  Teachers are dancing behind students without the students knowing.  I found this video through Richard Byrne and his Free Technology for Teachers Blog.

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Google Docs new Research Tool

I just found out from Richard Byrne's awesome blog that Google Docs now has a feature where a person can do an Internet search while in Google Docs.  

Read Richard Byrne's article here.

This will be a very handy tool for students when they are writing a paper or creating a project.  Student can look for an image and drag it onto their page, or look up the meaning of a word.  Students can look for information on a topic all while in their Google Document.

I used the research tool to add a picture to a review that I'm making on the MacBook Air and I also used it to find prices from retail stores.  It was easy to do and very convenient!

I recommend trying the research tool for yourself.  Just click on Tools and research to open the research feature.

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Recursive Drawing

Our students love it when they can use their computers to explore art.  Recently I came across a neat site that allows you to make a recursive drawing.

Watch this video to learn about recursive drawing:

Click here to visit the site or click here to make a recursive drawing of your own.  We shared this with our students yesterday, and it was a huge hit.  It will benefit students to see the video or get a demonstration before trying to make a recursive drawing of their own.

Want more art sites?  Click here for my collection of art sites on Delicious.

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Succeeding with Science

Succeeding with Science is a great site for all ages.  There are interactives and elessons on various science topics.

Each age level has different interactives:

 Ages 4 - 7
Ages 11 - 14
 Ages 7 - 11
 Ages 14 - 16

Here is an example of an interactive on the Human Body.

Here is an example of an elesson on electrical circuits.

I highly recommend sharing Succeeding with Science with your students.

Monday, May 14, 2012

Curate the Web

Are you a Web Curator?

You may have already heard of a curator for a museum or art gallery, but have you heard of a web curator?  Recently curating the web has become quite popular.  To "Curate the Web" means to create a collection of web resources centered around a topic and organize that collection in some way.  The whole purpose to curating the web it to take the massive amount of information that is available and organize it into bundles that are easy to share and use.

Today, I thought I would share some different ways to Curate the Web.  

#1 Bag the Web - Here is a collection of search engines for students

#2 - Here is a collection of iPad Apps for Education

#3 Pearltrees - Here are some Digital Storytelling Resources

#4 Meaki - Here is a collection of Web 2.0 for schools.

#5 Pinterest - Here is my collection of educational Pinterest Boards

#6 Stumble Upon - a fun way to discover new web content and save your favorites.

I have used all of the above sites and find each of them to be entertaining in their own way.  Perhaps you know of a site that is great for curating the web.  If you do, please share!

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Math Zapper

Students today tend to enjoy learning through videos and interactive games or activities.  Math Zapper has a collection of Flash-based activities that provide lessons on fractions, decimals, and percents.

These would be great for students to view on a whiteboard or on their individual computers.

I highly recommend checking out Math Zapper.

Monday, May 7, 2012

iPad Keyboarding Tips

As you may know, I'm a huge iPad user.  I absolutely love all that I can get done on an iPad and it just seems to save me time.

Recently I came across this great video showing some keyboarding tips for the iPad.  I knew some of these, but not all.  If you use an iPad, it will be worth your time to watch this short video.

Saturday, May 5, 2012


Have you ever used a bookmarklet?  These are applets added to your browser bookmarks.  Here is a screenshot with some of my bookmarklets:

The bookmarklets I use  most often are (post a web site on Save on Delicious (save a webpage to Delicious), (pin a site to Pinterest), and Sidebar (get a shortened URL for a site).  

To install a bookmarklet, you just need to click and drag the bookmarklet to your toolbar (appears below your URL).  If your bookmark toolbar isn't visible you can check "show bookmarks bar" in your browser settings. 

Here are links to the bookmarklets I use most often:

Delicious bookmarklet bookmarklet

Pinterest bookmarklet Sidebar bookmarklet

Facebook bookmarklet

Twitter bookmarklet

iPadURL bookmarklet

Click here and here to read other posts listing more bookmarklets.

I highly recommend giving bookmarklets a try.  They can be real time savers!

Friday, May 4, 2012

Text 2 Mind Map

Imagine you are brainstorming with your class about human body systems (this is our unit of study right now in science).  You have asked the students to list organs that go with the different body systems.
As you brain storm you create an outline that looks like this one:

Now for some fun.  You go to the web site Text 2 Mind Map and convert your outline into a web.  Now it looks like this:

You were able to customize everything about your web.  You chose the colors, text, and even the line thickness.  Then you saved the web as a jpeg and downloaded it to your computer to use however you'd like.

Now, wasn't that fun?  I highly recommend using Text 2 Mind Map with your students.  

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Flashcard Sites and Google Gadgets

Lately our student teacher has been teaching a lot of vocabulary, which reminded me of several sites for flashcards and of Google Gadgets that can be used to review vocabulary.

Here are some flashcard sites:

Inside Story Flashcards - Stunning pictures, audio of each word, and short definitions all make this online vocabulary flashcard site visually stimulating and interesting. As a bonus, you can print all cards. Choose from basic, easy, medium, or hard levels of vocabulary to find and listen to words. Definitions can also be turned off for practice with word recall or guessing what the image represents.

Flash Card Friends - 

Quizlet- one of my favorite flashcard sites!  Here is a video:

I also wrote about two other vocabulary sites in this past post; Easy Define and Word Stash.

And then there's Google Gadgets!  

make your own flashcards freeThe site Make Use Of has a great tutorial on how to use the Flashcard Gadget in Google Docs to create an interactive gadget to study vocabulary.  

Last summer I wrote a post about Google Gadgets with a video tutorial on how to embed the gadget into any website or blog.

Whether you're teaching reading, science, social studies, or math; almost every academic area has vocabulary to learn.  Enjoy using these sites with your students.