Sunday, September 26, 2010

Braingle...Just for Fun!

Braingle is a monsterous site full of brain teasers, logic problems, quizzes, and games. Students or you would have to register for a free account, but a benefit of doing that is that it does track some of your vocab learning and progress. I did not register for an account, but saw this site on Free Technology for Teachers, so I thought I would pass it along....

Just Paste It! Many Options for Teachers

I think if I sat down and thought about the many ways JustPasteIt could help an educator, I would end up with quite a list. I recently had students go to some websites that I wanted them to try. This involved them going to the Internet, going to my blog, and clicking on my links. Problem? Even my blog web address is about 30 characters long. The alternative was going to the school site, then finding my page, then finding my class, then finding my links, then clicking on the correct link. didn't go as well as hoped.
Solution? JustPasteIt. This site allows you to paste notes, documents in a way, pictures, or just about anything and hit publish. Once you publish, your information becomes a website with a web address that is about 10 characters long. MUCH SIMPLER!!!! If you want students to do something in the computer lab, feel free to paste the instructions, websites, or materials they need onto this site and publish it. Copy the web address onto the board and just have students use that as a starting place for their web journey or project that day! I have published a sample note below for you to see what it can look like. After that, is a link for the site to make your own note and publish.

Here is my sample note.

Click here to make your own note

Book Report Alternatives

I have posted a blog or two before about some book report alternatives in the past, so this is more of a recent update. Richard Byrne of Free Technology for Teachers just posted a one-stop shopping blog post for some of these ideas. I really like the idea of creating the "book trailer" but that could be just because I love movies and movie trailers. And anytime you can use Google Maps in a creative way, it is worth a try and one of the five alternatives uses Google Maps. For any language teacher who wants to try a "paperless" book report or a book report using technology, give one of these a try and drop a review in the comment section below so others know what you think.

Phonics Site is Free and Could Be Useful at Middle School

This site is geared for young learners who are learning to read, so at first glance, it is useful for only early elementary students. But as we all know, we get students at the middle school all the time who struggle reading even above the 1st or 2nd grade level. So, this site might be good for those students or special education teachers. If nothing else, many teachers have their own children and we are always looking for ways to teach them for free or give them enrichment activities for free. So....give this site a try. I tried the sample book and plan on registering for this site this week and downloading some stuff for my kids. I hope it helps wherever you need it to help.

Deviant Art a Site to Play With....if You Like Art

Since I am not much of an artist, I have not tried this site very much, but any online art and drawing sites are worth posting to our collecting of websites. I am interested in seeing if our art students try this and what they think of it. Post any comments below as to what your thoughts are after trying it out.

Iowa School Uses Cell Phones....A lot!

I was intrigued by this very brief blog. Part because I am always interested in schools who are successfully and bravely trying to use more technology such as cell phones in the classroom and part because the highlighted school is from Iowa! Cell phones in the classroom, or any personal device for that matter, is only a matter of time and something I believe my 6th graders will be using by their senior year. More and more schools are testing these ideas out and this is one Iowa school that we might learn from in the near future. The blog is only 3 paragraphs long, but the idea and discussion will be much longer I assume.....

Read the very brief blog here.

Go Paperless for a Day....or More!

We are living in a "green" world now and education is quickly (or slowly?) becoming more and more online and delivered using technology, so here is a chance to mix the two ideas together. Take a look at Richard Byrne's blog about Paperless Day. Doing activities online, grading them online, taking a walk in nature and having students verbalize or email their findings, etc. Any way you can design it, you can save paper and have students learning along the way. Have fun making a plan for a day or for several days and you will also have fun saving the Earth one lesson at a time!

Read the blog here.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

A Cube Can Describe You

Okay, I admit, I love this site and I WILL USE it in my Life Skills class. I made a cube about me in just a few minutes and I think I did a pretty good job. The basic idea is to pick 6 video clips, sound clips, pictures, works of arts, books, etc. that represent you best. Then the cube can rotate and play these videos or sounds. Very cool idea and amazes me how neat the final product is. I plan to use it in class and see what the students think. I think I will also have the students present their cube and describe it.

Activities to View On-line and then Try Yourself

An interesting idea for students who want to do arts and crafts. But how can a school or teacher use this? They have science activities, projects, and experiments on here too where a student could watch and repeat on their own for credit or extra credit. Or a class could watch and then discuss or try on their own. Lots to explore here..give it a try!

One Principal Bans Facebook? Here's a Response.

Hitting the news recently was a principal who sent a letter home to parents speaking of the evils of Facebook and encouraging them to ban Facebook at home. In a state such as Iowa which is emphasizing 21st Century Skills, it is ironic that a principal or school would consider banning what could be one of the biggest skill of the 21st Century. Take a look at this Youtube video for a response to this principal's morning show appearance. It makes you wonder....what if we took time to teach digital citizenship or digital responsibility and how to use these tools for the better? Hmmmm........

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Ways to Get Free Stuff!

If you have the time and energy and you want free stuff (who doesn't right?!), here is a great blog from Richard Byrne's blog Free Technology for Teachers titled "10 Ways to Get Free Money and Classroom Supplies". is one I highly recommend, but I am sure trying the others would work as well. Also, pay attention to any comments added to his blog entry as they may give you more ideas on how to use these or which ones teachers have used. Enjoy! (Click the title of the blog to view his blog entry)

Monday, September 6, 2010

Can't Use Youtube? Try these other 47 Sites

Thank you again to Richard Byrne and his blog Free Technology for Teachers, we can now all try the many options when Youtube is blocked, doesn't work, or does not cooperate. In a recent blog, he lays out 47 options to Youtube. I have used some before and they do work well. However, with Youtube not blocked on our laptops and the ability to use another site to cut clips or show just the video and not the ads and comments to the side, I still prefer Youtube. Click below to see the 47 other video sites or click on the other parts to view past blogs of mine that show you how to use Youtube better.

Want to show just the video on Youtube and not the junk around the sides? Click here!

Want to show only a portion of a Youtube video? Splice the play the part you here to learn more