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".