Friday, April 30, 2010

Connect with the New Verizon Thinkfinity

Verizon Thinkfinity, the program that brings thousands of free, standards-based resources to teachers, students, parents and the afterschool community, has a new look and whole lot more! Check out their new:~
• Design – access resources, features and education news
• Community – join groups, exchange ideas, save & share favorites in the Verizon Thinkfinity Community
• Professional Development – take their latest webinar, "Explore What's New with Verizon Thinkfinity." or browse their list of webinars & earn a certificate of completion for each one you attend.
• Social Networking Tools – use their widgets, blogs and RSS feeds, and follow them on Facebook and Twitter.

See Thinkfinity's New Look and Community

Teachers can now create their own virtual filing cabinet of favorite online educational resources @ The Thinkfinity Community

Follow a school field trip to Chicago live as it happens - all on Edublogs. What a cool idea!

Have a school trip or special end of the year project coming up! Why not blog about it!

Wednesday, April 28, 2010


A Week of Frank Asch Centres in the Classroom

Let's see. Two months holidays on the horizon. Investigate two sites a day!! That should provide you ample opportunity to explore!


Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Gleaned from CUE March 2010

In addition some great presentations by Rushton Hurley. Thank you for suggesting Google Web Search - Classroom Lessons and Resources
The Cue Community - discussions and forums

Sunday, April 25, 2010

Still not convinced about the power of twitter as a PLN; explore your areas of interest and return with your comments.

After exploring find out Nine great reasons why teachers should use Twitter

Educators can learn how to leverage Twitter for their own professional development.

You may wish to follow teachers20

Hope to use the leeson plan on Napoleon to accompany an art theme.

Saturday, April 24, 2010

Sites of the Moment

Concept mapping for the K to 3 student.
Teachervisions' Concept Online and printable Map
For group brainstorming on a Smartboard etc or individually in lab setting.

Interactive Games
Play & Create Interactive Games

Sites Worth a Revisit
Web Sites Worth Clicking
Ask Kids
Interactives from Thinkfinity
See your students get excited about learning with our interactive games ... Riding Hood," invite your students to turn familiar fairy tales upside down. I have seen classroom teachers use this theme for the end of the year to keep students engaged!

Friday, April 23, 2010

A portal and plethora of resources for the elementary teacher sorted by grade level and subject area.

Thursday, April 22, 2010

I thought teachersfirst was worth a detailed revisit in light of recent popularity and increased adoption of web 2.0 tools in schools and the increased usuage of Smartboards in every classroom.. So what's new here.
An Informative, Inviting and current MAIN PAGE
Dates that Matter which is great for classroom news and intro to the day or can even be integrated into various areas of the curriculum.

Kelowna teacher, Sharon Affeld, found the MathCounts Toolbox. This is a 9-page summary of the basic facts of elementary math. Go through each page, checking off all the things you know. Then try to learn at least one new math fact per week between now and test time.
MathCounts Toolbox

If you like this resource be sure to check out the following and related or resource portals ~

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Gather inspiration from this class blog of the day!

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Not only is this a refreshing perspective on tech today, it's also funny. See related videos as well.

Friday, April 16, 2010

Connect with Canadian teachers across the country.

This wiki was created to easily help educators find other educators on Twitter that have the same interests as them (that teach in the same content area).
Why teachers should use Twitter!

Thursday, April 15, 2010

an online diagram maker with an extensive library of shapes and icons, added features such as shading and gradients, and the ability to collaborate in real-time

Tech in the Classroom Blog recommends the tool for students to stay engaged and on task. A great group collaboration tool for brainstorming. It lets you save, upload your own images, and lets you work collaboratively with other Cacoo users. A wonderful tool for teacher planning and group meetings. What are your impressions?

See Cacoo Reflections

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

April is National Poetry Month ... celebrate with Poetry4kids and Gigglepoetry Instead of Readers Theater have poetrytheater throughout the month. Celebrate with this lesson plan from readwritethink and these Classroom Celebrations from ehow

Related links: ~
Poetry writing with Jack

This is a teachers first attempt first attempt at a collaborative project.. The topic is plants. You may wish to join them.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Think of the possibilities! Storybird is an excellent way to get your students enthusiastically writing.

Related: resources
Storybirds Experiences
Storybird and ILearnTechnology

Monday, April 12, 2010

Sunday, April 11, 2010

These Interactive Writing Sites inspire the most reluctant writers while enabling the most gifted writers to really stretch their imaginations. The purpose of interactive writing is to teach children proper writing conventions, beyond their own approximations. It can be taught in a whole class or small group instruction. It can be used in PreKindergarten-second grade class, or even beyond for students learning and practicing writing skills.

Wild Earth

Africa Safari Third Grade Lesson Plans

Saturday, April 10, 2010

A fantastic article on the growing use of web 2.0 apps in schools due to Personal Learning Networks such as Twitter. Included is a list of the 5 top technologies for language learning.

This is a neat cross-grades project, with a kindergartener drawing the original image, a fourth or fifth grader writer an accompanying story (perhaps as the kindergartener dictates it) and a high schooler or middle school student creating the finished image. What a way to involve the school in a cross grade and cross curricular project. This would make an excellent project for education week or those for those last few weeks of school where you want to keep students engaged and focussed.

Friday, April 09, 2010

The goals of this IMPROVED site are the creation, collection, evaluation, and dissemination of java-based support material for K to 12 students. Glad to see support for the younger set!

Sites of the Day
Tinker School
Mind Share
Ning for Students
Virtual Choir
Ze Frank
Salty Chip
Bitstrips for Schools/Graphic Novels
Paul Finkelstein Saves the-School Lunch

Sadly, after being bought out by Google, Etherpad is closing down in the Spring. But they have now made the code open-source, and that means that other sites are now springing up that are running the same software as Etherpad. Primary Pad is for Schools only. All pads are monitored.
One of those, with UK schools in mind, is Primary Pad.

It works in exactly the same way as Etherpad. You can sign up for a private, passworded pad as well if you wish.

An awesome educational portal with free resources for teachers and their classrooms as well as students, parents and homeschoolers.

The site includes Top 10 Web 2.0 sites with tried and true curriculum integration ideas!

Choose one from each category to investigate and use in your planning or with students!

Thursday, April 08, 2010

Sites of the Day
"50 Free Collaboration Tools That Are Awesome for Education"
Collaborative Mind Mapping
Sample Mind Map Pic
Collaborative Writing Tool
Science and Music
Tammy's Tips
CUIL..unique search engine
Wix.. to play with your photos

I am lucky enough to attend Rushton Hurley's session at Tappedin

Ruston Hurley is best known for his workshops and nextvista web site. He introduced himself at
"I teach Japanese language and video production. I also run the nonprofit Next Vista for Learning (, which is working to help students and teachers around the globe. Please let others know about our site and its resources!"

Related sites of interest:
Exit Slips Examples
Exit slips and other forms of assessment~ ie backward design explained
What is the value of assessment?
How do we know what the value is?
How do we use that value?
- a running record is informal, but has a record that can be used to see how well a student has attained the objectives
- backwards design (Rick Stiggins) is where the teacher decides objectives, writes final assessment to match objective, then teaches materials on test....instead of teaching then writing assessment at end this design, you create the assessment first, from the objectives and then you design the learning and instructional activities.... backwards design is more about creating instructional practices that get at the assessment
Another assessment I like, is to observe my student teaching another student, to see if my student understands the concept, or method.
-a classroom teacher has the students do the problem on individual whiteboards then hold the answer up to be checked... maybe quicker than having them turn it in
-one can use exit slips which has a simple question on it and it will let the teacher know if they understood what he/she was trying to deliver in the days lesson
-or talk to a partner. tell your partner what you learnined, they will write it down, then you do the same for them
-3 three things they learned - 2 questions they have - 1 thing they would like to learn more about
- I do cards, color the numbers on the card, 1,2,3 one set blue, one set red, etc. then they draw, 1 is the recorder, 2 is the person who reports, 3 is the team leader.
- think - pair - share ...the more we have kids talk and explain and then share, the better they will comprehend and write
-one can see assessment as a guide to instructional activities
-for example ...having the kids identify the type of connection and explain what it is helping them understand has done wonders with my second graders during read alouds and literature circles

Many of these comments were gleaned from Maryann Durland's Classroom Assessment discussion in April 2010 at Tappedin

I plan to use some of these techniques and strategies in the classroom as an Occasional Teacher. Thanks Maryann!!

Now I know that headline your attention so do please read on!

Blogs of the Day!
Guess the Wordle by Jen Wagner now has it's own official blog. Well done!
Bright Ideas for inspiration

Web Site ...ings of the Day

Best web 2.0 Apps
Resources for Classroom 2.0 LIVE show on March 13, 2010 Special guest: Adora Svitak Topic: Engaging Students with Interactive Technology
Ancient Greece Projects
Edmodo for Teachers/Students
Adora's Blog
Tony Vincent's Google Search Tricks
Dm Dim
Adora's Links

Tuesday, April 06, 2010

It's Math Awareness Month Come celebrate wit these activities from Math Rules

Monday, April 05, 2010

Blog of the Day
Class Blog of the Day
"We learn to blog and blog to learn"

Some great math journal prompts at Math Journal Writing Writing Instructions

Math journals are an effective means for grade 1⁄2 students to communicate their learning in math.

This link was gleaned from Kimberly Lightle's sessions at Tapped In
Now you are wondering what is "Beyond Penguins and Polar Bears"? Beyond Penguins and Polar Bears is an online magazine integrating science, literacy, and the polar regions. In each month’s issue, you can ~

* Explore the Arctic and Antarctica
* Learn science concepts and literacy strategies
* Read about misconceptions, equity, and technology
* Discover standards-based lessons and resources
* Integrate polar science into your curriculum

So the main idea is to integrating literacy and science in K-5 Classrooms

You may wish to refer to the Beyond Penguins and Polar Bears Blog and the Beyond Penguins Ning or Penguins Social Network for Elementary Educators

The blurb for Kimberley's next event at tappedin is ~~

"Join us at the Beyond Penguins Room in TappedIn at 3:30pm EST, Wednesday 4/7/2010 as we explore how to "Keep Warm" and issue 17 of Beyond Penguins and Polar Bears - the online magazine of polar science.
We'll explore physical science concepts, such as heat, conductors, and insulation, and apply this knowledge to the animals and people in the Arctic and Antarctica. Explore adaptations and behaviors through hands-on science lessons, informational text, and Readers Theater scripts. Use formative assessment and discrepant events to target student misconceptions about heat. We know your students will quickly "warm up" to science with these ideas!"
Please mark your calendars for that not to be missed session @ tappedin

Concept Mapping Software helps students plan out their ideas for written assignments in a visual format. Bubbl Us— is a free web based program.

Free Typing Games

This website has a collection of games which focus on building keyboarding skills. It also in-cludes lessons and tests. Please note this website is more appropriate for students who have some keyboarding experience.
Free Typing Game

Provides visual supports for typing lessons. Students type the letters on the screen. They will receive a visual prompt to let them know they made an error. More appropriate for older students (7-12).
Power Typing

BBC Schools Typing
A four level typing program that has auditory instructions. Starts with the very basics. Excel-lent for younger children (Grades 1 -6). Very engaging. Suitable for reluctant keyboarders.
BBC Schools Typing

Unique Do-It-Yourself ideas for your classroom in comic form ...

This is an on-line typing program that requires you to sign up, however, there are some activities that are free to use without signing up. It also gives some great tips on how to improve your keyboarding. Lots of visuals as well.
Nimble Fingers

Last Week’s Puzzle
T H E T E C H N O L O G Y T I M E S — T H E B A C K P A G E
This Week’s Puzzle
A man picked up a plastic water bottle and filled it to the rim with water. He put a ketchup sachet in it and closed it
The man approached a woman and said, "If you can solve how this works,
I'll give you a dollar."
The man said "down" and the sachet of ketchup suddenly went down.
Then he said "up" and it went up. Then he said "down", and when it was
halfway down, he said "stay" and it stayed.
He did it by adding pressure to the bottom. When there is less pressure, it rises. When there is more pressure,
it lowers. If you add just the right pressure, it will stay.
You can perform this with lots of practice in front of a mirror. It will shock your friends, most likely.
You can find a ketchup sachet at your local fast food restaurant
A line of 100 airline passengers is waiting to board a plane. They each hold a
ticket to one of the 100 seats on that flight. (For convenience, let's say that the
nth passenger in line has a ticket for the seat number n.)
Unfortunately, the first person in line is crazy, and will ignore the seat number
on their ticket, picking a random seat to occupy. All of the other passengers are
quite normal, and will go to their proper seat unless it is already occupied. If it
is occupied, they will then find a free seat to sit in, at random.
What is the probability that the last (100th) person to board their proper seat (#100)?

Sunday, April 04, 2010

Sites that Caught my Eye: April
My Hero
Earthday Resources
Webinars from PBS
Ms Day's Class Blog

Some Cool Tools of the Moment
Simply Box
This is a WAY cool way to collect and share websites. You can comment on them, take notes (like in a research class), and non-readers can benefit from the graphical nature of the interface. Thanks to glovely

ScreenHunter 5.1 FREE
ScreenHunter 5.1
This is a free download for Windows only. Screenhunter is a simple and easy way to grab screenshots.

FREE web site creation and hosting - EASY and great support! I created this site with it and I will create more. No ads, no problems. I think students could create their own sites here too.

Live, Real-time Owl Cam
Molly and her owlets
I think it is amazing to be able to watch this mother eagle care for her young - as it happens in real time! Great opportunities for discussion and discovery!

Multi Url
Multi Url
MultiURL makes the process of sharing multiple links at once much quicker and easier by combining these links into one short link. Great for young students in a lab or classroom setting.
examples for a class author study unit

Note the kindergarten blog as well.

All about mini lessons!

Saturday, April 03, 2010

I quite agree with Mr. Dembo/teach42's top 10 Web 2.0 apps for educators. I have had success with all of them and have seem them mature over the years.

Related sites:
Teach42 Blog
What are your Faves?

Perhaps this should be added to the list:

Allow your student's creativity to shine!

Friday, April 02, 2010

April Is National Poetry Month - Celebrate with PBS Teachers Poetry Activity Pack

The PBS Teachers Poetry Activity Pack is a free Web-based widgets that contain links to high-quality PBS education resources and activities focused on poetry for multiple grade levels. Venture into the world of poetry with students as they learn about famous poets and find opportunities to share their own works. Visit:

Don't call it homework! Call it Home Learning!!

Legends and Folktales

Use these folktales and Legends for classroom storytelling. Assign a country togroups of students and haveeach group do an oral presentation with simple props. A nice way to inspire groups to listen and view the other legends in the series.

You may wish to visit these related sites on the topic of myths, fables and legends.
Web English Teacher
Embracing the Child
Thinkfinity and Aesops' Fables
Grimm's Fairy Tales

Classroom Project
Owlets and Mother Molly live webcam

From the website:
This is a live feed of a wild mother barn owl that has just started setting on her eggs. The owl box is located in our backyard in San Marcos, CA and is 15 feet off the ground. She appears to be a first time mom. The owl is about 14 inches tall. She laid her first egg on February 13th. We are expecting owlets around mid to late March. Incubation is 30 to 34 days. owlets will hatch in order laid. Not all at one time like chickens.

The male has a white chest and face. He usually shows up after dark but has spent an entire day with the female. We have named the female Molly and the male McGee. The Barn Owl is widespread but usually a scarce species. They are strictly nocturnal and rarely observed in flight during daylight hours.

The owl house is located on a 15 foot pole and there is a tree just outside the opening. The box has been up for two years and it took two years before the owls showed up. No other birds have tried to nest in the box. We have a very eco-friendly backyard; we live on an acre lot with lots of trees and plants for wildlife. We have had kestrels, bluebirds, hummingbirds, phoebes, wild ducks, killdeer and mockingbirds all nest and raise their young in our habitat. We do not have any cats or dogs to disturb the wildlife. This is our first owl to nest here.

I was lucky enough to have the live feed on during the owners' live talk on Friday afternoon (03/19). They answered questions that were posted on the chat box and gave a nice talk about how this whole project got started.

Live Feed:
The Blog:
Be sure to check out my other educational blogs for more great resources: and

Why not consider adding a Book orPoetry Club to your literature or language arts programme!

Thursday, April 01, 2010

To kick off Math Awareness Month, let's talk about the weather! There was a super warm weekend in the middle of March when my roommate and I ... A hearty thanks goes out to BJB from TAPPEDIN for suggesting this site. A super discussion topic for students after they return from their Easter weekend!!

Mrs. Alphabet and 26 ways to use that poem with youngsters!