Tech Tools for the Everyday Teacher

Posts tagged “resources

Resource Hunting

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Our school has often looked into getting clickers.  Unfortunately they can be quite expensive.  Some of the teachers have put it before me to see if I could find alternative technologies.  After searching I discovered Socrative and Infuse Learning as the primary two resources.  Having used both in my class now I am not overly excited about either one.  Both have their flaws and challenges.  Socrative seems to be improving the most recently with their I-pad app.  When I used Infuse Learning last my students enjoyed it.  ImageI had them answer the questions during class time.  I projected the results on the board so they could have immediate feedback.  It was really a contest in the end.  Nonetheless, in order to use Infuse learning you must have the quiz up and running on the teacher computer otherwise the students can’t log in.  There are some other options, which have less potential, but better stability.

ImageQuizlet would be a good example of a more stable resource.  Quizlet is excellent for building vocabulary.  It has games to play and practice quizzes.  Of course it is free as well.  You can even embed these games onto your class website – which I found super handy.

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Honestly, kidblog is still up there as one of my favorites.  Posting a blog post and having students comment their responses seems preferable.

It’s nice that other students can’t see their peers responses until I have checked them.


The Practical Post

I recently held Back-to-School night with my 5th grade parents.  While preparing for it I asked myself, ‘what are you excited about for this year?’  Oh sure – I’m going to have to cover reading and math curriculums, homework expectations, behavior, routine and schedules, and IB traits… but what is unique about this year?

So I pondered this and I realized that the resources I have available to me right now I was either ignorant of or they hadn’t been created before.

So I decided to create and title this blog post the Practical Post.  This blog is full of exciting new resources – but will I use all of them this year?  Nope.  These tools can quickly become overwhelming.  So what is at the forefront?  What are the tools that I will absolutely introduce on Back-to-School night?

Here’s the list:

1. Class Website: This website will be the hub for the parents to find tools used throughout the school year.  Oh – don’t get me wrong, I also use it to communicate through, but the primary purpose is to create a place where parents can go to to find links to useful resources to aid their students.

2. Khan Academy: Many of my parents ask what their children can be doing at home to further their education.  Here’s an excellent website.  Last year I requested from my district that all students’ district e-mails work on this website.  This year they all work!  This means that my students have pre-assigned logins and I just simply have to add myself as a coach for each student.  Students work through a knowledge map and achieve energy points along the way.  Eventually this will earn them badges and awards.  This site is also full of ‘tutorial’ videos which are clever and easy to follow – and they explain everything from basic addition to university mathematics and sciences.  If students ever get stuck they can watch a quick video to aid them in understanding the concepts and content.  In addition – I, as the coach, get to see each students’ statistics.

3. Spellingcity: This website is a must have and use for elementary classrooms.  I have my spelling lists pre-loaded for the students so they can just find my name and get going.  The website offers games to go along with the words and pre-tests (which I give an additional 10% extra credit if they print off a pre-test they completed at home).  This website is such a help for students who just can’t figure out spelling.

4. Games: I have a link to Games that I have added on to my symbaloo page.  These games are all educational.  The first few weeks of school I let the students discover some of them (otherwise – I’m not sure they would ever be discovered).  As a result – the students fall completely in love with them.  Let me highlight a few of them: Oiligarchy, Electrocity, and Energyville are all games related to our unit on Energy.  The students learn a lot about expenses and energy types as they work through the games.  Kerpoof is a website that allows for teachers to set up their own class list and student logins.  Then the students can access the website and create videos, drawings, and storybooks.  The students absolutely love it.  Icivics is a fantastic website for finding games related to history and civics.

5. Tools: The last link I share with my parents is the tool page.  This page is full of web-based presentation tools, media tools, and search tools that the students will be using – especially in their Exhibition (the culminating event in the IB process).

I wanted to give you a quick synopsis of what I actually use in the classroom.  That being said, every year I do discover new resources to use and I try to adapt my classroom. Even now I am trying to figure out a way that I will use KidsBlog inside and outside of the classroom.  I hope this Practical Post gives you a better idea of what web-resources I prioritize at the beginning of the school year.  Feel free to link to my games page if you have a class website (or let me know of any other excellent educational games you have discovered).


A website for everything

Have you checked out the website Free.Ed.Gov?  It’s got thousands of federal resources for students to view or research to assist them in learning.  It’s full of animations, primary documents, photos and videos.  One warning about the website -though- is that it can be difficult to navigate because there is an overwhelming amount of resources and tools.

So… what’s on the site that would be useful?  Let me just show a few things:

1. The Cell: This link allows for users to navigate around a cell and see the different components.  Each component has a tag that, when clicked, tells you about that component and what it does.

2. Pangaea: This is an animation of pangaea over time and how our continents ended up as they have.  The website this came from is called ClassZone.  It was linked from free.ed.gov.  ClassZone is awesome because it contains animations from all the different content areas in science like: earthquakes, volcanoes, cells, weather-soil-erosion, nature of science, rocks, minerals, atoms… so if you need to find any science animations to help explain or engage students: visit ClassZone.

3 Diaries of George Washington: If you’re looking for primary documents, free.ed.gov organizes these documents through the library of congress, which allows for great accessibility.  This link is an example of the diaries of George Washington between 1748 and 1799.

4. Journey to America: Are you looking for primary documents or trustworthy information on viking, mountain men, columbus, or any early journeys to America?  This website (linked from free.ed.gov) provides resources for students to use.  Resources like: images, primary documents, captions, brief summaries…

5. Space: This website is full of interactive lessons created by teachers who teams up with scientists.  The lessons or resources provide pictures from the hubble telescope, as well as interactive images, animations, and videos.

These are just five examples of resources linked from free.ed.gov.  There are so many more!  I will continue exploring them and let you know if I find more treasures.