Tech Tools for the Everyday Teacher

Posts tagged “teacher

Health is real wealth

Obesity is a growing epidemic across America.  There needs to be a stop to the growth in obese children and adults.  According to childhoodobesitystatistics.net 20% of children are obese in America.   How can we approach this issue and attack it?  We target the younger generation.  We educate our students on diet, exercise, sleep, stress, and self-worth.  When it comes down to it, what is more important for our students to learn than how to stay healthy?

Do you have the tools to educate students?  There is website called MyPyramid which has been created to assist you in just that goal.

Why mypyramid?

  • It’s free
  • It has interactive tools that allow for students to create personalized daily food plans.
  • It also has an interactive tool that gives feedback on the food you have eaten.
  • There is Foodapedia, which provides information about food groups, calories etc…
  • There is also a Kid’s page, which has games, activities, and worksheets for students to be educated on diet.

Students need to be educated in the food they eat.


Educational Music

As teachers we know that students learn in all different ways with learning styles and multiple intelligences.  Nonetheless, it is our job to teach every student.  In order to be successful in this we are going to have to differentiate in our classroom.  Differentiation, according to Carol Ann Tomlinson, can be done in four categories: content, process, product, and learning environment.   Sometimes we wonder how else we can possibly say something to get through to our students.

Well… have you considered songs?  Music?

Here are a few songs I have found – just to give you a taste… if you find songs that your classroom just can’t live without please let me know!

  1. It’s too Late to Apologize: A Declaration: This song takes the popular song: It’s too Late to Apologize and connects new lyrics to it – using the point of view of colonists writing the declaration of independence against the king of Britain.
  2. Five elements of a short story: This song is by flocabulary.  If you haven’t seen their videos you are missing out.  These music videos are incredible.  There are a number of great things about flocabulary music videos.  First, they have lyrics available for each of their songs. Second, they are very engaging and clever.  Third, they do not lose out on their educational quality.  Five elements would be excellent for any level of student.
  3. Much ado about nothing: This song is also by flocabulary.  This song, as well as The Odyssey and Huck Finn, may be better for older kids.
  4. The Parellellogram Song: There are a number of science and math songs available by a gentleman named Weatherall on YouTube.  Some of these are much better than others – but I have had some great laughs with them.
  5. The Fraction Song: A teacher created this fraction rap and put it on teachertube.  Although it seems goofy, other teachers have said that the words stick with the kids.
  6. School House Rock – I’m a Bill: Of course – what’s a song list without school house rock on the list.  There are a number of excellent School House Rock songs available on YouTube.

It’s amazing how much can stick when you put it to a tune – try out some of these songs!


Augmented Reality (AR)

One incredible emergent technology is Augmented Reality.  The aim of Augmented Reality is to enhance the users’ understanding of the world around them.  It does this by creating interactive 3d aids that can be viewed through a webcam on the computer.  Essentially, software reads an imprint on a paper and tells the computer to produce this 3d, interactive image on the screen.

When used, the Augmented Reality is able to not only be interactive with the user, but also interactive with other AR items on the screen.

Imagine the implications for education.  With a pack of cards teachers would be able to create interactive, computer generated models of what they are teaching.  Students would be able to interact with the 3d model.  It would be incredible!

After viewing this film – I looked online to see if I could create the software to do similar things through my webcam.  Although it was complicated  – I was able to do it!

Watch the following film to further understand how this technology could be used in education.


Imagine running your own firm.

Today was one of those days in Social Studies, where you’re just not sure how things are going to turn out.  We have been studying the U.S. government recently in 5th grade – and specifically The Bill of Rights.  The students had been put through various scenarios where they have had to figure out which amendment was being addressed.  This conversation alone was incredible!

One of my teammates discovered this incredible resource.

If you have not visited ICIVICS you are going to want to.  The website offers a number of free, web-based games that engage students and promote critical thinking.

The games include:

  • Do I have a Right? – In this game the students run their own Law Firm.  The students gain points depending on how well they know their rights, and how well they know the amendments that link with the issue their client is having.  Excellent game!
  • Supreme Decision – Students help cast deciding votes on Supreme Court decisions.
  • Executive Command – Students experience the challenges faced by our President.
  • Argument Wars – Students try to argue and win a Supreme Court case.
  • Immigration Nation – Students guide newcomers through the path of becoming a U.S. citizen.

My class had 16 laptops out playing Do I have a Right?  It was the first time I had seen students dashing for their textbooks to assist them on problems they encountered in the game.  My students gave great feedback and felt like they had really learned what amendment connected to what issue.


Math is Back.

Okay – so school is coming to an end, summer is about to come knocking with lemonade in hand, and ‘some’ parents are coming to your classroom asking what they can do with their child to prepare them for the next grade.  In regards to math – I have found a number of excellent websites that may assist these parents.

It is often surprising how engaged students become when they are placed in front of a computer – listening to the same thing they would be listening to in class.  There are a lot of math game websites that I think are overrated.  Some of them are so cluttered – and lacking in skill practice – that I did not see them worth my time blogging about.  You can find many of those websites by just typing: “fun math games” in google.  The ones listed below aren’t necessarily the ones that pop up on top.

1. Khan Academy – (Free) I have mentioned this website in an earlier blog post (refer to The Khan).  It is excellent because it allows for the parent – or you, the teacher, to keep track of students’ skill abilities.  The free web-based, non-profit school has numerous videos to watch on each skill and practice for each skill.  Students will need to pass a skill before they can move on in the Knowledge Map.

2. IXL (Free) This website has exercises for students to practice the common core standards according to their grade level.  When the students achieve specific amount of points they achieve new awards.  This is helpful because you know that the student is practicing exactly what the nation expects of him/her.

3. School Time Games – (Free) This website reminds me of cool-math-games, but, to me, the games are much more engaging and they work on skills much better.  If your student is into puzzle games or more clever games – then this is the website for your student.

4. Timez Attack – (There is a free demo version – pay to get more levels) Our school is using this website right now.  It is excellent.  Students don’t even realize that they are practicing math while they are playing the game!  The game also presents data to the account manager letting the account manager know the growth of the students.  It is available for addition/subtraction/multiplication/division.  I definitely suggest it for schools.  Students can play it at home if they have an account at school as well!


Blogging at school.

Teachers today are looking for an easy place on the web for students to collaborate with peers and teachers.  Blogs – such as this one, allow for the creator to communicate thoughts to a grander audience than if those thoughts were on paper.  Being able to collaborate with peers is a 21st century skill.

As a teacher, this blog site allows for me to ask questions that students can view and respond to at home or in the computer lab.  It also allows for students to practice their typing skills.

The website I looked at is called Kid Blog:

Why is this website awesome?

  • It is free.
  • It is sooo easy to use.  Teachers can create student accounts – no e-mail address is needed.
  • There are great choices that allow for teachers to put rules on the posts being posted.
  • Dashboard is just like wordpress.com – very easy to use – not too many buttons.
  • Easy to insert media in the posts.


Spelling and Vocabulary

One of the websites that has saved me during my teaching career is Spellingcity.

Why is Spellingcity so great?

  • It is free.
  • It is so easy to input class lists.
  • The lists don’t get deleted – so they can be carried over from year to year.
  • There are great games to play with the words.
  • There are practice tests that students can take (the computer speaks the word).

I use Spellingcity by encouraging parents and students at the beginning of the year to get acquainted with the website.  I give 10 percent extra credit on spelling tests to students who hand in practice tests they took during the week.

There is a premium account that looks excellent.  It has vocabulary lists you can build – which have tests and games.  It also helps teach parts of speech.  For 50 bucks a year this could serve your class great!

If you are an elementary teacher and you don’t have a Spellingcity account – you should absolutely start one today.  After you have registered just click on list management and get started!