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!