Friday, December 9, 2011


TESiboard is a collection of interactive whiteboard activities that has been made available to teachers for FREE!

A product from the UK, TESiboard activities are grouped by years. They don't correlate perfectly to our grade level system but, when looking for an activity, it will get you fairly close.  EYFS might be preschool, KS1 might be Kindergarten through grade 2, and KS2 looks a great deal like our 3rd-6th grades.

You can play the activities right from the website or download to your computer. Some of the activities have a "one and your done" page, while others can be played over and over again. Though I have only played with a few of the charts, I believe that this site provides activities for all grade levels through middle school. Several students I shared this with today got caught up playing the TESiboard where you add decimals  in order to get enough fuel to launch the rocket.

So, if you are looking for a quick interactive activity to practice or reinforce skills, check the TESiboard collection!

This great resource was shared today on Twitter by Vicki Davis, the Cool Cat Teacher. Have you checked Twitter today??

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Sluggish iPhone or iPad??

I am often a day late and a dollar short when it comes to technology news, so I hadn't planned on sharing this information. However, after talking to several iPhone/iPad aficionados that were equally surprised, I decided this may be helpful to someone after all.

Is your iPhone or iPad running sluggishly or is your "home" button not working consistently or responding more slowly than when your device was new?? It could be that ALL of the apps you EVER have opened are still running in the background....and you don't even know it.

To see these apps, click the "home" button twice. The lower part of your screen will then display a row of apps in a new, little window. Touch and hold one of these icons (as if you were going to delete it) until a minus sign appears. Then "subtract" them one by one until those apps are gone. Your iPhone/iPad is now free from all those opened and secretly running apps!

You should NOT close down any apps that are pushing notifications---this includes "Words with Friends" (or you will miss your turn), your calendar (or you will forget to move the netbook cart---sorry Alicia!),  Google + apps...etc.

If this is a surprise to you, then you are probably sharing my initial reaction....oh my gosh!!
Enjoy and pass along!

Monday, December 5, 2011


OK folks! We just have to learn to use this one. Today was a rough day for the access points, hardware, or iBoss. I really don't know what the problem may have been, but, on occasion, everyone has to ask the question: is it just me and my computer??? And this site is better than the Magic 8 Ball!

Down-for-everyone-or-just-me is a web site that will do the work of your local TIS, checking to see if that webpage is really down as opposed to being blocked or just loading so slowly that it might as well be a dead link. Also known as, pasting your evasive link in the empty box and hitting return will provide the answer you seek.

Oh....if it doesn't work, then please call for help! 

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

iTunes Match

Many teachers are using their personal smart phones as a technology tool in the classroom. These devices allow teachers to take role, quickly send e-mail, use apps to solve discipline issues and to fill the learning environment with music. 

For those heavily invested in the music end of things, yesterday iTunes finally rolled out  "iTunes Match". According to iTunes, "With iTunes Match, even songs you’ve imported from CDs can be stored in iCloud. And you can play them on any iPhone, iPad, iPod touch, Mac, or PC — whenever you want and wherever you are, without syncing. iTunes Match is just $24.99 a year."

This only pertains to iPod Touch 3rd and 4th generation, the iPad, iPad 2, and iPhone 3GS or later and devices must have iOS 5.0.1. It will work with Mac or PC with iTunes download 10.5.1 For those wanting access to all of their music in the cloud, this will be the way to go if you can swallow the stiff annual price. 

Thanks to "The Loop" for this information!

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Skype Revisited!

When the staff first received laptops, Skype was discovered as we sat in training. It was like the video-phone from "The Jetsons" or the viewscreen from Star Trek had come to life! One by one, teachers created accounts and we "Skyped" each other like miscreants instead of attending to the lessons at hand. Some teachers quickly found ways to use Skype in the classroom. My kindergarten class would get the "weather report" from another class that had just returned from recess; we "Skyped" people on college campuses and businesses during career week; teachers at workshops or out-of-town could Skype their classes to "check in".  After leaving the classroom, I became a "fairy god-teacher" to a class or two, sending educational gift packages and following up with a visit through Skype.

This year, it seems we are revisiting Skype! Jerri Davis recently set up a Skype connection for one of her third grade teachers, and the two classes quickly planned an online collaborative lesson! More teachers are hearing and asking about this great tool, and this past week,  Steven Anderson's blog included an entire list of great projects that classes can join if they have access to Skype, projects that can open a whole new window to a world that many students never dreamed they would experience!

Skype is important to me in a personal way as well. I have been using Skype to "call" my children at college. This visual connection has become even more vital since my twin boys, who have Asperger's syndrome, moved away to college. Never great at conversation on the phone, Skype has provided a much-needed visual connection to my reluctant communicators.

To get started using Skype in the classroom, use Skype's educational site:
The direct link to Skype's list of ways to use Skype in the classroom:
To download Skype:
For other ways to use Skype, visit 50 Awesome Ways to Use Skype in the Classroom.

Once you get hooked on this versatile tool, the only thing you might need will be a "morning mask".

Monday, November 7, 2011

Share Our Nation's History

Great resources from Scholastic. com on "The First Thanksgiving".

I always think of the month of November as the month of "thankfulness": a time to really focus on all our of blessings both at home and in our nation. As educators, I believe it is critical that we share our country's rich history and develop an early appreciation within our students for the freedoms and gifts we enjoy as Americans, and this experience doesn't need to rest solely on the doorstep of the Social Studies or History teacher. Integrated learning experiences can bring the past to life, reveal the timeline of science, technology, and history, and expose the true value of the"everyday" things that we now take for granted. Read the "journals" of the pilgrims, study the diseases that claimed so many lives, explore the hand-crafted tools and materials, and marvel at the courage of those who dared to leave everything for the unknown. Could we have done the same?

Get involved this season by sharing the past with the students who will create our future. If you need a great place to get started in looking for ways to engage your students, Scholastic has wonderful resources for all age groups and includes videos, a timeline, and a tour of the Mayflower.  Teachers First is another great site and the lessons often include great technology tools such as Tagxedo, Vocaroo, and VoiceThread. Take advantage of this season and share our history as we nurture students to become productive citizens of tomorrow.

Friday, November 4, 2011

The web is so full of new games, gadgets and gooeys (gui-s?)  that finding the new or the useful can be complicated. I sometimes become so distracted while "resource surfing" that I forget what I was looking for in the first place!

So, to keep me on track, there is a website that I use when looking for "new" stuff to try: Go To Web 2.0!

Go To Web 2.0 is easy to use because you can search the index of tools by using "tags". So, if I need a photo tool to create a gallery for display, you can use those tags to weed through it all, winnowing thousands of resources to just a few! That is how I discovered, a daily photo-journaling site.

There is also a newer site I have been using: Web 2.0's Top 1000 List!. This site comes from Web 2.0 Search Engine, but the new site is in a list format in which all the most popular web 2.0 tools have been neatly organized!

As you search, keep in mind that not all things are free, but, with so many resources at our disposal, these searching sites can provide you with the options you need as you are looking for new technology tools to spice up instruction and learning in your classroom!

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Ideas to Inspire

This week, two of our administrators attended a meeting in Kilgore where they were introduced to Project Share. Of course they immediately came back and shared the fun, including the website, Ideas to Inspire.

Ideas to Inspire is an interactive idea site. Decide if you are interested in presentation, hardware, software, or online tools, and it will provide you with a list of selected resources in that category. Once you have made your selection, a pop-up window will appear with a presentation containing multiple ideas to get you started.

Here is a video on 32 Interesting Way to Use an iPod Touch in the Classroom. I know that it is HUGE, but I couldn't change the HTML---I did try though. Just click the little box to open in another window. Sorry!

Ideas to Inspire is the creative genius of Mark Warner, who also authors the blog, Teaching Ideas.

U.S. Geological Survey

Learning is always more interesting when it pertains to current events, and nothing can provoke more discussion than a natural hazard that sweeps the news. Teachers can take advantage of sudden student interest as these events occur but may need quick and ready resources. 

Well, the U.S. Geological Survey has its own website and it covers these natural hazards! I first found this site when students showed an interest in the floods that were occurring in the northeast, but the U.S. Geological Survey also covers earthquakes, volcanoes, landslides, geomagnetism, and other coastal and marine geological events.

The U.S. Geological Survey has an educational link at the top that offers grade-level materials including lesson plans, videos and animations. I re-visited the site today and was able view time-lapsed animation of Io, Jupiter's moon, in eclipse!  This site would be a great place for students to investigate as they study the world around them!

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

iPad Comparison Chart

Wow! The other day, I sent out a simple e-mail and just happened to mention that Christmas was only 64 shopping days away, and, suddenly, I am flooded with e-mails asking for help in selecting technology products for Christmas gifts.

Since I am really a Kindergarten teacher disguised as a technology integrationist, I turned to my PLN for help, and one of the individuals I follow is Kim Komando. On her radio show she mentioned a comparison chart for individuals wanting to compare the iPad 2 to other options on the market, and I think that anyone purchasing such a device would find this chart extremely useful.

So, happy shopping, and, by the way, there are now only 53 shopping days until Christmas! Have fun!!

Saturday, October 29, 2011

Must Have App for Teachers!

Ever at the end of your rope in dealing with student behavior? Do you need new "tools" for your toolbox when dealing with disruptive classroom conduct? Now there's an app for that!!

"You Can Handle Them All" is a FREE app from iTunes full of suggestions for managing those little behavioral issues that creep into the classroom to steal your instructional time. Just select the student behavior from the list, and this app not only offers strategies for impacting that student behavior, it also proffers possible reasons for that student's conduct. Now I can't promise that you will agree with the solutions offered by "You Can Handle Them All", but since its free, it is certainly worth a try!

So, the next time a student challenges your authority or your sanity, "take 10", breathe, whip out your phone, and open "You Can Handle Them All". If nothing else, it will give you time to "cool off"!

Thanks to Molly for sharing this great app! It is now on our school's iPads in case you want to check it out!

Friday, October 28, 2011

The JASON Project

The JASON Project connects students with scientists and researchers in real- and near-real time, virtually and physically, to provide mentored, authentic and enriching science learning experiences.

The JASON Project is a website that is dedicated to connecting "...students with scientists and researchers in real- and near-real time, virtually and physically, to provide mentored, authentic and enriching science learning experiences."The JASON Project's curriculum is aligned to the national and state standards and is broken into five major projects: forces and motion, geology, energy, ecology, weather, mysteries of Earth and Mars, and the disappearing wetlands.

To access this great material, you do need to register---but that process is both free and easy! Once you have set up an account, you can create classes, assessments and access all materials in the seven major units.

Our 8th grade Science teacher uses in her classroom and was the one who suggested that I check out this great resource. 

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Resources for Tier Three Technology Integration

Yesterday, the TIS team trained staff members on "The Three Tiers of Technology Integration" in order to pass along information we had received during the TCEA "Texas Steps Up" Training with Monica Martinez.

Moving toward technology innovation in the classroom can be a daunting task as teachers juggle curriculum, discipline  and state-based assessments that often seem to conflict with the 21st century skills that we now need to cultivate in our students. Teachers need dynamic resources and support in order to become facilitators for this process. One of the best "one-stop-shopping" posts has been put together on 21st Century Educational Technology and Learning by Michael Gorman.

In his post on 21st Century Ed Tech and Learning, Gorman  has compiled a comprehensive list of resources for teachers to use in classroom for PBL and STEM. He also includes a short list of  free software that supports STEM-based PBL.

It can seem at a glance that the resources found in this post are dedicated to the upper-level grades, but please do look further! I am a novice blogger, and my very first post this year was about BIE, The Buck Institite for Education. This site has rubrics for the primary grades as well as a  comprehensive library of activities from which teachers can pull or use as a launching point for ideas. This library can be searched by subject and level and may be a great place to start, so.....let's get started!  And let me know how I can help!

Tuesday, October 25, 2011


We love to communicate through images, and one fun website to use is LoonaPix! LoonaPix allows you to upload a photo, add a photo effect and share, embed or e-mail the image you create. I would love to have more time to get into LoonaPix and play, but, it was so simple to use, that I was able to open the site, upload my photo, and make several images to send out to my Dad in honor of his 87th birthday.
Below is one of the images that I created on LoonaPix for this special occasion.

Happy Birthday Gramps! I love you!!

online photo effects

Gramps, you are worth a million!

Monday, October 24, 2011

When we started this school year with CSCOPE for the first time, one of the "scary" new changes was that the curriculum was opened the year with a unit on POETRY!!

Poetry, a subject that often immediately strikes fear or dread into the hearts of many, can be fun, and is one website to get started with when planning your poetry unit. has a page specifically for educators containing links for curriculum units and lesson plans, tips for teaching poetry, and a teacher resource area.

Needing to research a poem or poet? There is an advanced search that will allow you to search using keywords, forms or themes. also has a "Poetry map" where you can find featured poets, poems and programs in a specific state. This site also has audio and video recordings of poets reading their own works, proving to students that poetry is still a "living" part of our language today.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Topic Box

Websites for multiple subjects and grade levels save teachers valuable time and energy when looking for classroom resources. A great site to bookmark for use is Topic Box. This website covers subjects from English to Design and Technology and even Religious Education. Each subject link at the top takes the user to a page full of specific strands within that content area. Topic Box even boasts the following: "2084 links to free teaching resources, 1,888,371 hours of searching saved"!

Topic Box  has a search box that takes a prominent place on the page--I can see it without my glasses! After typing in a search, links to resources, accompanied by a visual sample, appear in a flash. I searched about 10 topics in Topic Box, and only one turned up absolutely nothing (Incas). Resources I found included Power Points, drag-and-drop activities for IWBs, and internet games. If you find a resource that you wish to share, you can Facebook, Twitter, or e-mail directly from the site. As expected, I did run into the usual advertising for educational products, but these never interfered with my content search. Topic Box would be a great addition to any teacher's toolbox!

Monday, October 17, 2011

BrainPop Educators

Any teacher who has ever used BrainPop will love this one! BrainPop Educators has 850+  resources available for teachers that are absolutely free! BrainPop Educators has lesson plans, free training and resources too---including those great BrainPop videos with Moby that we all love. There is even a link for embedding some of these great resources in your blog or webpage. I used these free tools to put in  the widget and video that you see here!

With so many schools experiencing financial shortfalls, having free access to so many tremendous resources is quite a find!

Thursday, October 13, 2011

iPhone, iPad and iPod Touch Apps for (Special) Education is yet another site providing oodles of apps for our i-devices. iPhone, iPad, and iPod Touch Apps for (Special) Education has carefully categorized the apps making it easy to browse through topics.As the mom of autistic twins, I found that iPhone, iPad, and iPod Touch Apps for (Special) Education has included just about everything! They even included Decibel, an app for devices with a mic, which can be used to measure the background noise in the classroom----a handy tool for teachers with "sound sensitive" students. As the name indicates, iPhone, iPad, and iPod Touch Apps for (Special) Education is not limited to Special Education alone. So, if you are a teacher looking for great apps, this is the place to start!

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Best Kids Apps

As you can tell, I have been looking for great apps to put on the iPads at the middle school, and I found another awesome source: Best Kids Apps. This site interested my initially because it included more age groups than did iPad Kids Games. The apps included on Best Kids Apps are broken down into age brackets with an additional link specifically for "educational apps"! Another bonus: Best Kids Apps includes Android apps as well.

iPad Kids Games

With so much available in the education market for kids these days, it can be difficult to weed through it all to select the very best. That is what make iPad Kids Games such a great web find! iPad Kids Games is self-described as "finding suitable apps for children, so you don't have to". The site specifically groups children by toddler, 4-6, and 7-10 years of age. So, if you are in the market for iPad games for your children or students, I highly recommend iPad Kids Games as a resource!

Friday, October 7, 2011

Scribble Maps

Today, the 7th grade Texas History class used Scribble Maps to locate and mark the major missions  in the state of Texas and the cities that resulted from their establishment. This cool website made the project engaging and fun for everyone. Next week, they will be locating pictures of these areas and adding those to their Scribble Maps as well.

This is a snapshot of one of the Scribble Maps in progress:

Scribble Maps provides a great, easy way for students to manipulate maps that can then be embedded, shared or saved.

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Smithsonian Channel

In keeping with my quest to find more free, online video sources, I have a new one to add to my list: the Smithsonian Channel! Last summer, our family took a summer trip to Washington D.C. that included a whirlwind tour of the top 5 Smithsonian Museums. You could spend weeks there and never see everything that that the Smithsonian has to offer, and this site seems to follow suit.

Videos are divided into categories: Air and Space,Science and Nature, Culture, History, and Kids. You can also view the latest videos, the most viewed, or search the site. These great videos are also available through YouTube and iTunes for easy viewing and for downloading.  The only downside I found to this site was that most of the topics I searched for yielded full-length videos, not always a great option for regular classroom use.
Still, Smithsonian Channel is a great resource for high quality, free video viewing!

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Teacher Book Wizard

Technology can be a real time-saver for teachers, and Scholastic's Teacher Book Wizard is one of the best tools I have seen in a long time. You don't have to be a member, and it is so simple to use.

Select your reading level system: Grade Level Equivalent, Lexile measure, Guided Reading, or DRA. Type in the title of a book, the author, or a keywork and it will search for you. Results will provide the interest level, the reading level system, and whether an AR quiz or Scholastic Quiz is available  for the book.

For other search options, you can run a "Book Alike" search or run a "Leveled Search" to fine-tune your selection. Membership is available and allows you to store your book lists and to share your lists with friends.

I wish this tool had been available when the Kindergarten team had been leveling the Guided Reading library. It would have saved hours of work!! Scholastic's Teacher Book Wizard is a "must have" tool for any ELA educator!

Monday, October 3, 2011

Math Goodies

Last week, the 7th grade math class spent several days working on integers using  Math Goodies.

Math Goodies is a free math help site for teachers, students and parents that has lessons, printable worksheets, webquests, games, and puzzles. There are seven "calculators" available---though two are actually number generators and two are referred to as "obsolete clocks"---and the site has recently added a new glossary.

 Since I am not a math enthusiast, the most interesting thing about Math Goodies was the webquests page which sends students on web adventures to discover that math is connected to everything in life: shopping, sports, space, and even bananas! Mark it on your calendars: March 14 is Pi Day! There is a webquest for that as well.

Sunday, October 2, 2011

Coffee Klatch Special Needs Radio

Several weeks ago, I had been looking for a recording of Temple Grandin on "Fear and Autism" that had been recommended by a friend in the autism community. This led to an entire library of podcasts in iTunes created by "The Coffee Klatch Special Needs Radio". Though designed for parents with special needs children, these informative podcasts are an invaluable, free resource for educators as well.

Live radio broadcasts and lists of upcoming shows can be found on the website "Special Needs Talk Radio".

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

In continuing my search for great free video websites, the newest launch by an old favorite, National Geographic and National Geographic for Kids, cannot be ignored.

National Geographic for Educators, still in its Beta form, was rolled out in April. It contains all the useful resources that we have come to expect from National Geographis, but it is formatted specifically for use in the classroom. There are links that allow users to view the site as teachers, informal educators, family, students, or kids. As a teacher, a variety of tools and resources are available, including those videos.

My favorite tool is the MapMaker Interactive. Once you create a map, it can be printed, emailed, shared through Twitter or Facebook, or linked into a blog or webpage. Lots to do on this site even if you aren't looking for videos!

Monday, September 26, 2011

Dude, need some videos??

Yes! More videos!

This time from YouTube. This may seem silly to point directly to the "video-meister" as a video source, but it is the surprisingly great quality that is available for free from YouTube that makes it "THE ONE" to include in my search for greatness!

For example: "Dude, What Would Happen" is a great series of videos by some dudes that explain the basics of Science and other curious questions through experiments that will leave you and your students totally stoked!

YouTube blocked? No worries! There are great downloaders available online for free. My fav is aTube Catcher. It is a free download---but seems to have a "free toolbar" associated with it as well. Just go back an uninstall that when you are done. 

You can also just "kick" YouTube. Just select the video you want on YouTube, click right in front of the word "you" in the URL, type the word "kick", and hit "enter". It will take you to a website that will allow you to download the video of your choice to your computer. 

These great dudes are also totally available on the Cartoon Network. YouTube just makes it seem totally sweet and the teacher totally gnar! 

Meet Me at the Corner

This week, I have been looking into free options for instructional video resources and found an amazing place called  "Meet Me at the Corner". This website offers free virtual field trips for kids, and each video is accompanied by related links and books. Though intended for an elementary audience, there is a wide range of interesting topics. I even found a video that introduced kids to Geocaching and would make a great resource for introducing the activity regardless of the age of the audience.

Other site information: you can create a virtual field trip to add to the site (but you would need to join first) and follow on Facebook or Twitter to keep up with the newest videos.

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Classtools---An old favorite

Several years ago, we started the school year with a district-wide technology training, and was one of the websites that I presented. This week, two teachers asked where to find this site, so it must be time to visit an old favorite. offers 24 free tools for teachers that are just a click away! Teachers can also use to create games, activities or quizzes, and there is no charge.

If you really love this site, they do offer a membership which provides three advantages: it is advertisement free, provides a personal space for you to edit and organize your personal or favorite tools, and is in full-screen mode for better viewing on your interactive whiteboard. When you sign up, the cost is in English pounds. Need a converter.....try a currency converter widget

By the way...the two tools that the teachers had asked about were the Random Name Generator and the Countdown Timer

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Groove Shark

Everyone loves Pandora, and Groove Shark is another music streaming site that is quick and easy to use. You can locate songs by artist or title and play them without even becoming a member, but basic membership is free if you wish to join.

The site allows you to create playlists and listen to the radio and will direct you to Amazon or iTunes if you decide to purchase the song you are streaming. One of the benefits of Groove Shark over many other music streaming sites is that it encompasses genres that are often absent from other services. The band directors love this one for locating concert band recordings!

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Mathematics in Movies

Have you ever watched a movie and found that one clip that would be totally awesome to use in classroom instruction?? Mathematics in Movies has done just that! This site contains an entire library of clips from movies that provide an interesting and entertaining way to introduce those "boring" math concepts. Clips are available in both flash and quicktime.

I read about this site on a blog by Jerri Davis and just had to pass it along! It's great to visit even if you aren't teaching math.

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

The U.S. 50

Our 6th grade Social Studies teachers just recently worked on a project in which students researched information on a state in order to create a travel "brochure". The students were able to find all kinds of wonderful sources, but one of the favorites was The U.S. 50!  The site opens to an map or drop-down menu where a state can be selected. After choosing a location, each page lists basic links that provide a snapshot of information at a glance. These topics include the history, geography, and tourist attractions of each state along with the traditional state symbols, flowers, and even license plates. If you are planning a quick trip out of state, you may just want to visit the site yourself!

Monday, September 12, 2011

The National Library of Virtual Manipulatives

Today's featured website is a favorite of one of the math teachers here at the middle school. The National Library of Virtual Manipulatives is a site that offers free virtual manipulatives that work beautifully with the interactive white boards in the classroom. Students can get the visual support they need to develop greater understanding of the material along with hands-on practice that covers a wide-range of content areas: Numbers and Operations, Geometry, Algebra, Measurement, and Data Analysis and Probability. What is even more amazing is that this site covers all grade levels from Pre-K through 12th grade.

Each tool will open up in a new page and has instructions available. Tools have features that can often be edited in order to fit your exact needs!

The program does offer a download for its "free trial version", but you don't have to do this. Just click and use. You may have to allow permissions for the Java plug-in or be prompted to allow Java to "continue", but this that is it! This is a great resource and a fun site to explore.

This screenshot shows a spinner from Data and Probability along with the results and instructions.

Thursday, September 8, 2011

It has been such a long time since my last post! I have a new position in my school district and am enjoying the  challenge of working with older students and meeting the technology needs of their teachers.

To kick-start my first blog of the 2011-2012 school year, I decided to feature the web sites that the middle school teachers already have found and that may be new to me. This one if from our 8th grade Science teacher. is great for engaging students in interactive learning. The students loved using the Promethean board to run the simulation of the triple beam balance.

The site isn't only for Science! It has much to offer in other content areas as well as games to play. Check it out!

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Intervention Central

During CSCOPE training today, Sheron Darragh shared the web site "Intervention Central". With RtI as a central focus of instruction, teachers across all grade levels are in need of new resources and information on scaffolding and intervening for an increasingly growing and changing student population. This site has oodles of information and covers reading, math, writing and behavioral interventions and includes generators for creating all kinds of activities. Articles and downloads are available. This site looks to be a great resource to add to any teacher's toolbox!

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Computer Lab Favorites from Scholastic

Scholastic's Computer Lab Favorites has over 50 educational activities delivered in a fun format.

Students select their grade level at the top (K-2 or 3-5) and the subject on the wheel to find a variety of online activities. In my short time in the website, I found some cool on-line games, some activities that would read to and questions the kids, an interactive board activity, and even some printable materials.

To point your students to the activities that match your curriculum, there is also the teacher view of Computer Lab Favorites, providing a brief description and teacher's guide for each activity.

Saturday, May 14, 2011

Awesome Library

I think we could all love a web site that made looking for resources a little faster, and Awesome Library has 37,000 organized web resources organized into neat and tidy categories. 

Each category is then further broken down eventually leading to oodles of useful links! Definitely a great prep tool for teachers, the site includes links to lesson plans, project ideas, worksheets and online activities!

By the way, I found this cool tool for teachers simply by reading a tweet containing a link to the blog, "Techy Things Teachers Should Try". I told you that Twitter could be useful!!

Friday, May 13, 2011

Why Twitter??

OK--I used to ponder that question myself. Why Twitter? What can I possibly gain personally from such inane mini-messages?

My first adventure into Twittering was not successful. I found "friends" that were tweeting and simply followed them....and they were really going nowhere! I consider myself a busy enough person that I don't want to know what anyone is doing for every moment of the day.

Luckily, I have a wonderful technology role model in my life (thanks Jerri!), and she set a great example for me: don't aimlessly Twitter but look specifically for a group of people to feed your interests and meet your professional development needs. Now I have multiple resources at my disposal each and every day ---OK--each and every moment.

Sometimes I still feel overwhelmed by all the Tweets that I don't have time to read. My OCD just kicks in and I "unfollow" people who are flooding my Twitter. I would also like to note that I do not really like to tweet and do not have anyone following me either. For now, however, I have found that Twitter has been a great tool for learning, and, eventually, I may even join in the "exchange".

If you are interested, even a little, in starting up a Twitter account, there is a great article to get you going.
"How to Use Twitter to Grow Your PLN" has basic instructions on starting an account at the end of the article, and it also includes a list of "educationally focused chats" to make your first experience a positive one!

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Kids Click Search Engine

Teachers of the younger grades want their students to safely explore the internet to find their own resources, and Kids Click is the perfect solution! It is also absolutely FREE!! There are several ways for students to search: keyword, advanced search, category, alphabetically, and even Dewey Decimal (the site was designed by librarians). Another great tool is the quick links to digital media: pictures, video, and sound. 

Eight Tips to Engage Your Students

The article, Eight Tips to Engage Your Students, was recently tweeted  from Steven W. Anderson of Web20Classroom. It has a nice little opening article, but, if you are in a hurry, just scroll down and look at the bulleted information.

Great reminders of how to keep our learning environment and instruction "fresh"!

Monday, May 9, 2011

I love those websites that have oodles of resources where teachers can go "shopping" for games and activities to suit various subjects and grade levels! is one of those sites! The home page has separate links for the various grade levels Kindergarten through 5th Grade. The only issue I have with the site is that the games for the older grades don't have sound and the "gaming frame" is small , but there is still plenty of good stuff in this one site.

FYI: is also the source of one of our students' favorite apps, "Rocket Math", so you know there are some gems to be found here.

Friday, May 6, 2011

Teachers love to use brainstorming and "mind mapping" in the classroom, and is a free on-line tool to use to enhance this interaction.  The site allows you to just click and play or register for an account where you can save your "maps".

When I used the site, it took me a little while to figure out how to change the colors and make connectors. If you click, you will get a new "bubble". If you hover over the bubble, you get menu choices for color, connecting and deleting. I kept accidentally changing the text color instead of the bubble color. To connect, you have to actually click on the connect icon and drag directly from there----not from the bubble itself. Once I figured that out, I was good to go (in my defense, it was very early this morning!).

In the end, I decided this was really fun and useful---and more importantly---FREE!
But, go and try it for yourself!

Screen shot of a quick map I made comparing PBL with true 21st Century Technology  Integration.
Don't look at the content---just the Bubbles!

For other great brainstorming web tools, take a look at this great article by Richard Byrne.

Thursday, May 5, 2011


During the Texas Steps Up Technology Training today, we got to play with a really fun website called ToonDoos. You do have to go on and set up a free account, but it was very easy and there was no e-mail confirmation to wait for---so you get play right away! Once you have an account, you can create cute cartoons and avatars, save them publicly or privately, and even print them. Though I have only just quickly played with this site, I immediately loved it! It was intuitive and will be so easy to integrate into classroom learning. Check it out and let me know what you think

Screen shot of the little cartoon I made in class today. It only took about 15 minutes to get this done!

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Cool Tools for Schools

David Andrade, the "Education Technology Guy", recently shared a great website full of tools for teachers. "Cool Tools for Schools" contains oodles of links that are well organized into useful categories that make accessing them fast and easy!

This would be a great website to bookmark and revisit again and again.

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Story Time for Me!

I am an avid follower of Digital Goonies, and Jim recently featured "Story Tme for Me", a website offering free online books for children to read. It currently has a very small library of books, but the stories are "animated" with automatic page turns, the text is highlighted as the story is read, and the page offers a toolbar to control book features. Several stories also have companion activity books which can be printed for free.

This is a screenshot of one of the books and includes the control bar along the bottom of the page.

For those of you who have already written books or may be inspired to publish children's stories, the site also offers the opportunity for you to submit your work for consideration.

This little website hopes to grow with the help of educators and is well worth visiting. Happy reading!

Monday, April 25, 2011

Color Scheme Designer

Need a little color in your life? Color Scheme Designer is a site that provides a color wheel which displays complementary colors that can be added to your web pages or Flip Charts to make your work "pop"! Choosing just the right colors can prevent visual distraction and help to guide attention to critical content.
For those of us without a natural "eye for color", this website can be a great tool!

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Great Math Website!

Need a great website for math skills?? Don't forget about Osewego! I know that many of you had bookmarked this site years ago, but they have since relocated. So, update your list of favorites and engage students with favorite activities like Stop the Clock and Math Magician.

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Teach the Children Well

Needing something new to add to your activity toolbox at school? Do you have parents requesting resources to help their children at home? "Teach the Children Well" is a wonderful collection of web sites that cover a wide variety of subjects. Not all of the links work, but, if you have time to play, there are some hidden gems in this site!