Sunday, December 2, 2012

Google Maps for Educators: A Resource

One last resource tonight from Richard Byrne and his great blog Free Technology for Teachers. Please visit his blog or at least bookmark it as he blogs daily and always has some great resources. This time, he has a powerpoint explaining how you could use Google Maps in your class and how the students can use it as well. If you have students do anything with maps, this is a must-see resource. Give it a look and see how you can start using it in your class this year.

Richard Byrne Google Maps for Educators click here!

Living Wage Calculator

  This may be mostly for me, but I really liked how simple this website was and the basic information it gave. It will be useful in Life Skills when we talk about salary and how much you need to survive. It shows you county by county how much minimum wage is, how much the poverty wages are, and how much the average careers in that area make. Then it goes on to show how much you need each month to pay the different category of bills (rent, childcare, food, etc.) depending on how many kids you have or need to support. Very good website, definitely one I will use in my class.

Living Wage Calculator click here!

100 Best Apps and 60 Best Websites and Apps

Two big resources in one! I have posted links for 2 great resources below. One is listed as a source for the 100 best free apps for kids. Who doesn't love Free?? I have tried some of the apps they note and they have been very good for my kids. My guess is most of these will be for kids younger than middle school, but some of them are likely middle school appropriate and some may be for our struggling learners as well.

  Secondly, Richard Byrne has his 60 Best Apps and Websites for Educators. A lot of really good stuff in here too. Thanks Richard and thanks for your blog Free Technology for Teachers!

Enjoy!

Manifest Destiny Interactive Site

Thanks to Richard Byrne and his blog site Free Technology for Teachers, this site looks pretty interesting and pretty useful. I have not tested it out, but if you are studying anything about the beginning of our country's history and how we got to our present day state and alignment, this site might be pretty useful and interesting for both you and our students. You can look at what our country looked like at any point in our country's history and see what happened to have us take that certain territory. Give it a try!

Manifest Destiny blog post by Richard Byrne click here

Trading Cards for Historical or Fictional Characters

I love ideas like this! Next time you are studying something in history, social studies, or even reading a book in literacy, have the students make a trading card of one of the historical figures or book characters. To make the cards, you would have to know lots about your person and the student would have to research the person more to add details to the card. Similar to the fake Facebook page for a historical person, but a little simpler. Would be fun to see what the students come up with. Give it a try or have some students do it for an extra credit option. Good luck!

Trading Cards of historical figures click here!

(Oh, you could do it for famous scientists too!)

Speaking of Apps, This App Finds the Free Ones!

I have not downloaded this app yet, but I plan to. This app catches those top rated apps that pop up free on certain days or at certain times and let's you put them on your IPad for free when others might have to pay. Since it is a free app itself, definitely worth the try putting it on your class Ipod or Ipad.

App Bump click here!

5 Dice: Harder Than It Sounds

At first, I thought this game might be a good free app to put on our Middle School IPad for our students in math intervention. Then I put it on my own personal IPad and I was nearly stumped from my first roll. Now, I think this might be more of an App for our advanced students in each grade and maybe for students when covering order of operations. And maybe students don't have to get the answer exactly correct, but just use what they know about order of operations to get as close to the target as they can. But I did have fun trying this game and I definitely had to know my order of operations. So it is a good app to download (since it is free!) and have your students try.

 5 Dice Order of Operations App click here!

Tech Tips from Pros

Ran across this website while catching up on blogs. Great idea, but it does not look like they have posted many tips in the month of November. I wonder if they will begin to post more. If they do, this could be a good site to bookmark. Either way, some of their current tips are pretty good and pretty relevant to questions our own teachers may have. I would bookmark this site and check it whenever you have a tech question to see if they have addressed it. And hopefully they start posting more to their blog.

Technology Tips from the Pros click here!

Sunday, October 28, 2012

New App for Autistic Children

Just read about a great new app for children with autism or children who fall on the autism spectrum. I have not downloaded it yet or tried it yet, but early reviews are very good. Go Go Games for the IPad is the app that I am talking about and it is only 99 cents. I plan on downloading it to my personal IPad soon and also place it on my school IPad so that students in our building who may have Autism or Aspberger's can also try it out. I hope that it is a great app as I think apps like this can really be useful for this population. If you have students or a child that falls on the autism spectrum AND you have an Ipad or tablet device, you might consider downloading this app as well. If you do, leave a review in the comments section please so other readers can hear straight from those who have tried it.

Go Go Games App click here!

Several Good Timeline Creation Sites

Thanks again to Richard Byrne of Free Technology for Teachers for giving a quick and easy list of Timeline creation sites and a brief review of why they are some of the best. No matter what you teach, you can have students make timelines to better help understand a concept or idea and how it came to be. Using online timelines allows the students to research as they go and to gain more computer and technology skills. You may want to test a few of these out to see which would be best for your class, but if you are considering any sort of timeline project, consider using one of these or using one of these as a way to make a class timeline or allow some students to extend their learning by doing one of these online timelines.

6 great timeline creation sites click here!

Creative Uses in the Classroom for IPads

The presentation embedded below was done by Mike Amante, a teacher from New Hartford Senior High in New York. If you have a QR reader or have downloaded one, you can get even more information. But even without a QR reader app, you can still find some great apps for the IPad to use in your classroom. Especially if you are a science teacher. I don't teach science anymore, but seeing some of the apps he uses makes me wish that I was sometimes back in the classroom using cool technology to make my lessons and activities better. Flip through his powerpoint below and make note of some of the apps. Even if you don't have an IPad right now, some of these could help you later in your career when you do. Thanks Mike!

Tap to Learn Grammar (and Math vs. Zombies!)

I have not tried this app as it appears to be an Android App right now, but I am going to check to see if it is available for the IPad as well. But the concept seems good and is not something you see all the time for quick and easy apps for students to use. Usually, these apps are math skill based. But Tap to Learn Grammar has hundreds of grammar lessons and offers extensions to the learning by clicking on videos that support the concept practiced and learned.

After a little investigation, both Tap to Learn Grammar and Math vs. Zombies are available for the IPad, etc. as well. I downloaded Math vs. Zombies and my son approves. Good game for basic math facts. As for Tap to Learn Grammar, I did not download it as it was 99 cents but got some negative reviews. There were not many reviews yet, but the ones that were there were negative. I plan on checking on this often and seeing if the reviews get better and then possibly downloading it and testing it out. I will post more later if I test it out. For now, feel free to test either and leave your review below.

Tap to Learn Grammar click here!

Math vs. Zombies click here! (parent note....you are shooting scary looking zombies with guns, so use as you feel appropriate)

Common Craft Video: Electoral College

If you are teaching anything about the election in the next week or two, you might consider using this quick Common Craft video about the Electoral College. I love Common Craft videos and have used them in my class when it comes to Biztown as they have some great ones on money, finance, the economy. This one is specifically about the Electoral College and how it determines our presidential election outcome. Hopefully you can find 4-5 minutes in the next 2 weeks to show this video if you are talking and teaching about the election.

Common Craft: Electoral College click here!



Crash Course History: Good Supplemental History Lesson Site

Crash Course History isn't going to teach students everything they need to know about a certain topic from history, but it is a good site to reference to students so they can learn about a topic in a different way or extend their learning beyond class. Might also be a good short video to supplement a class lesson. The videos are engaging with a lot going on with lots of extra information. And more and more are being added all the time, so you can keep checking back to see if they have added a topic that you are currently teaching about. I think the best use for this site would be for students to watch and use these videos on their own time in order to add to their classroom learning.

Click here to see all of the videos offered by Crash Course History

Speech to Text Tools

 I have used the Google Chrome speech to text tool before and it was pretty handy. Might be nice for some of our students who struggle with typing skills. And as the technology gets better, these tools will only improve making them even more useful. Another possible use is for students who are working on their speech. By talking and having it converted to text, they might be able to better see the parts where their speech is good and clear and the parts where it is not so clear. Check out this post by blogger Richard Byrne of Free Technology for Teachers to read more about these speech to text tools

Click here to read more!

Monday, October 1, 2012

Possible Election Games Site

 As we get closer and closer to the election and as the debates start up, students may become more and more interested in the election. A site called "Play the Election" has a variety of activities and games that students may like and may learn more about the election, electoral college, and how the whole process works. If you teach social studies or civics and you are thinking about doing some lessons on the election, give this website a try and see if will work for your class.

Play the Election website click here! (Free Technology for Teachers blog site link....great blog if you are not following it yet!)

Monday, September 3, 2012

Using Google Chrome This Year? Add some Cool Extensions!

 If you are using Google Chrome as your web browser for the first time this year or using it again this year but haven't heard of adding Chrome Extensions to your web browser, you should try some that I listed below. I never had used an Extension/App before last year and now I love them. I didn't even get time to list the highlighter extension, the text to voice extension, or the dictionary extensions...all great extensions as well. But I did place the ones I currently put on my Chrome web browser for this year. I hope you can find some of them useful. (All are free by the way)

   First of all, here is the link to the Google Chrome Webstore where you can download games (Angry Birds is on here for free, so you can play it straight from your computer!), apps, and extensions: Google Chrome Webstore click here!
 
     Awesome Screenshot Capture and Annotate Extension. Great screenshot app, but I think I may have found an even better one.

     Explain and Send Screenshots. I haven't tried this one yet, but I added it to my web browser. Sounds easier to use and easier to send or post to FB/Twitter with this extension. If it works great, I may drop the Awesome Screenshot extension.

    To Do List Extension. Best part about this extension is that it is already in your web browser, so you don't have to downsize anything or open up a new window. If you are online or on  your email, it is there with one click.

    Clearly by Evernote. This takes away all the "clutter" that is on a webpage. The ads, the sidebars, the extra graphics. I have started using this to read things easier or if I want to print something without the clutter.  I also use it if I want to show something to the whole class, but don't want the junk with it.

   Evernote Clipper. Speaking of Evernote, I have this extension to clip any article or anything online and save it automatically to my Evernote file. If you don't know what Evernote is, I am still learning and I am in my 2nd year of using it, but I do love it and am getting better at it. Routinely one of the most talked about apps/programs among professionals.
 
    Chrome Remote Desktop BETA. Haven't tried this yet, but this could be great for us technology coaches as this allows you to show your what your desktop looks like to someone else in our district without having to be there. Plus, the tech. coaches could do the same and let you see what we are doing. I think it would also help people troubleshoot problems as well. As I play around with this, I will see if this might be useful for us.

Simple But Great Math Site for All Ages

  Came across a math site called A+ Click Math Skills Test and really, really thought it could be useful to parents and teachers. Did some playing around with a math practice site that I came across, mainly to see if my own kids could use it. Not only did I figure out that my kids could use it, but I figured out that our own middle school and high school kids could use it. I randomly tried some 11th grade problems and REALLY struggled. I guess I am not as smart as I thought I was! My favorite feature is that it lets you move up a grade level after 4-6 correct answers in a row and if you choose to move up, the questions immediately get harder. This isn't a game site and some kids may not have fun with it, but this is a great practice site with lots of questions and when a student gets the incorrect answer, it shows the correct answer with solution to explain why it is the correct answer. And lots of pictures and diagrams to get the students thinking and understanding.

A+ Click Math Skills Test site click here!

Another Way to Search for Apps for Kids: An App!

  There are some websites out there that help categorize great apps for kids, especially educational apps. But  then you have to get your IPad, IPod, or other device to look up the app. With this new tool, your search and categorizing tool is an App itself, so you will already be using your device and can easily find and download the app you just searched for. WeWantApps helps you search by age group and category and one of those categories is "education". Might be good for your own kids or for any classroom or group of kids that have IPads or other app-supported devices. It is getting some good early reviews as well. I plan on adding it to my IPad today and giving it a try.


WeWantApps click here to learn more!

Some Neat "Make Your Own News" Sites to Try

 One of these sites I just heard about and haven't tried yet, but it sounds really easy and something that kids could really learn from. The other is one I heard about in the Spring, tried it, and loved it. Both could be very good tools to use in school, especially in social studies or science where you might be studying a topic in the news. Here are the sites:

Link TV: Know the News: This site has an interesting idea for students to try. Students can find a topic currently in the news and search for clips of it at various news services and see how similar or different the reports are. They can take each clip and cut/paste them back to back to play a string of news stories about the same idea. Or students can simply make their own newscast by cutting and pasting stories from all over the world by different news media. Either way, students will be working with the news and seeing how it gets reported. Might be a good way to talk about bias, sources, and the power of media in general.

Jack the News is a very cool and fun site. I have to admit that I have played around with it several times, one time even recreating the Des Moines Register online news to show only my family's latest news. I even added my family's picture to the front page picture! But, you can use it for education too by having students re-make a website about a topic, the current news, or their book they are reading. The possibilities are endless. And it is fairly easy to use as well. Give it a try!


Sunday, September 2, 2012

To-Do List As Extension to Chrome Browser

  For our many staff who are now using Google Chrome as their web browser instead of Internet Explorer, the next step is to start adding Chrome Extensions like Screenshot apps, dictionary apps, and note-taking apps. But another great one is this "To-Do" app/extension. You don't need a separate window as your To-Do list is always ready and visible through your web browsing tool bar area. Go to the link below (the Chrome web store) and download it today!

https://chrome.google.com/webstore/detail/bhieleigbmmonbckblbeodlmlihacjco


Saturday, August 4, 2012

StudyBlue: Award-Winning Flashcard and Study Site

  Just a quick update for some or maybe new for some, but StudyBlue continues to improve and is making several "Best" website lists for education and learning. I know we had some staff use this site last year and even did a workshop for other staff and that got more people using it. As we start the school year, feel free to play around with this site and see how it might help your students both in the class and while they are away from school. Good luck!

StudyBlue study/flashcard website click here!


Thursday, August 2, 2012

Duolingo...A Site for Spanish Language Learners

Awhile back, I purchased Rosetta Stone software to learn Spanish. Then child #3 and #4 happened, as well as a career change and my life has gotten away from me. I still hope to learn Spanish and Rosetta Stone may be the way to go, but there are many online programs now, not to mention my need for basic Spanish is slowly diminishing with smart phones that translate your voice anyway. But learning a language is still important and still a great skill, so what tools can a school use besides Spanish class. Many apps and websites can help. Here is another one: "Duolingo". When you go to their main site, you can watch their video. I have embedded the video below as well. After watching the video, sounds like this might be a good site for a Spanish teacher to give out to students and families for extra practice. Not sure how the translating the web works, but it appears it uses the some of the same "immersion" theory that Rosetta Stone uses. A few other languages are also offered.



Add Test Review to Your Class Blog...Amazing Ideas!

Wow, I love a couple of these ideas! Richard Byrne of Free Technology for Teachers blog had a guest blogger, Dan Klumper, a 6th grade social studies teacher, post some wonderful ideas. I wish I taught high school science again and could do a couple reviews like his "Silent Video Review". At our middle school, I could see tons of courses/teachers take advantage of it. You don't have to have a class blog to do the idea, but it would be helpful as you could just embed the video to your blog. The 2nd idea is one that I have thought about doing for my counseling/life skills class sometime. Have a designated date/time for online chat/forum in the evening. Parents, students, whoever could join. I also think the Wallwisher idea (Especially since WallWisher has now been updated and many of the bugs from the past year or two fixed) would be super for any class/class review. Either way, please click on Richard Byrne's blog entry and click on the ideas, especially the first one. These are definitely ideas we could use and the students would really benefit from. (If you have an IPad....the first idea is even easier as you can video and upload in a matter of minutes!)

Ideas on how to Use Your Blog for Review Purposes by Richard Byrne (written by guest blogger Dan Klumper)

Two Great "Best Of" Lists from Larry Ferlazzo

  I have shared one of these lists before, but it is always good this time of the year. The 2nd list is a new list based on our current on-going drought, something that is talked about daily here in Iowa. If you are looking for a current event that will get the kids talking, learning, and sharing outside of our school, the drought might be a good topic to start the year with. As for the other list, the Best Resources for Planning The First Day of School, I get something new from that list almost every year. The one caution I would suggest is to talk with your team about the idea you might use so that you are not all using the same idea. And they don't all have to occur on the first day I have learned as well. Lots of great ideas to try at some point. Enjoy the lists and thank you to Larry Ferlazzo and his Websites of the Day blog

Best Resources to learn about our current Drought

Best resources to plan for the first day of school


InkFlow: A Free IPad App for Note-Taking, Brainstorming, Meeting Ideas

 I just downloaded Inkflow, the free version, and I think it could be useful to educators and students who use an IPad. Especially for the visual learners and the group work sessions, this could be a good way to take notes. You can write, draw, move, resize, lots of stuff, and when you are done, you can save your work and email it to whoever else you think might need it. I could see a teacher taking notes at a staff meeting or a team meeting/work session and then emailing it out to staff or to the team when finished. You do not need an IPad to view the meeting notes from someone else, just an email account. I will continue to play around with it some more to see if it is something I will use this year. Might be a good app for my counseling as well.

Inkflow website

TED Videos Starring Inspiring Teachers

If you need to start getting yourself psyched up and pumped up before the school year begins, inspiring TED videos by teachers might do the trick. I have viewed a few of these in the past, but hope to view all 10 before school starts (many TED videos are on Netflix now too!). Great ideas and some pretty powerful and interesting thoughts. Enjoy!

10 Inspiring TED videos by teachers (if you have never watched TED videos, you should. They are purposely very short, 20 minutes or less, and engaging!)

TIME's 20 Most Influential Americans

Thanks to Larry Ferlazzo and his blog "Larry Ferlazzo's Websites of the Day", I learned of a recent online interactive from TIME magazine about their ranking of the top 20 most influential Americans of all time. This list might be a good way to start a history or social studies class this year. To get students linked and hooked on history for the year, you could have them view the list, debate the list, re-write the list, or even argue for others not on the list and write their own big and persuasive essay. Either way, it will get them talking about history and debating and arguing their historical point. Great list, have fun!

TIME's top 20 most influential Americans of all time

The Classroom of the Future? (Video)

Thank you to Scott McLeod and his blog "Dangerously Irrelevant", I found this very cool video by Intel about what the classroom of the near future may look like. Makes you think how far we have  come with technology and instruction and how far we may still have to go....

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

IPad Resources

 Several of our educators added an IPad to their personal toolbox this summer, some even already had an IPad. Either way, if you own an IPad, here are some great IPad resources. Thanks to the Cool Cat Teacher Blog for these resources. Personally, I plan on adding "Skitch" to my IPad and playing around with it before school starts up again here in a month.

Link to Skitch being talked about in Evernote forum (Evernote is another GREAT resource and App!!)

PDF containing 20 IPad apps for educators and education

Awesome Apps in Education Review and Collection Site click here (If you teach or have kids AND have an Ipad or have kids/students with an IPad, you need to follow this blog. Great stuff!!







Monday, July 9, 2012

Nutrition and Media Infographic for Young People. Amazing!

Thank you to Larry Ferlazzo and his Websites of the Day blog, I found this infographic about the nutrition, or lack of nutrition our young people are getting. It also contains some information about their habits and what media and media advertisements they are exposed to. The "results" section is probably the most alarming.  Click on Larry's blog by clicking here to read and see more.

Here is one part of the infographic, but there is a 2nd smaller infographic on his blog post.

Sunday, July 8, 2012

ShowMe and Educreations: IPad Lesson Creation Tools

I have been using Educreations just for fun for some time now and I know of a few schools and educators who use Educreations for their students and parents. I just learned about ShowMe as an alternative to Educreations. I think both are pretty cool sites with tons of use and possibilities for educators. If you have an IPad (you don't necessarily need one), you can create quick visual lessons and post them to the site, email them, or provide a link for others to click on and then they can view your lessons. So, you could show how to do a few different math problems and explain it out loud while you draw on the "board" and record the whole process. Then, students and families could view your lesson over and over at home, especially while they are doing their nightly homework. So, the lessons you do during the day can now be viewed at home. And students would not need an IPad to view, just access to the Internet. Selfishly, I also love having my own kids draw and talk while they draw and then email them to other family members. But you could have your own students do problems or homework as a "lesson" and you could hear what they are thinking. They could even record their own lessons for other students and become the teacher. Lots of uses. And lots of fun!

ShowMe website click here!

Educreations site click here!

ShowMe Story Video:

Nearly 200 Google Tricks!

Dang....I need to read this list a few times and try some of these. A quick look through and I found a few that I need to try and a few more that I should be doing already but I am not. Great list for both students and educators. In fact, you could probably have students spend some time working with the list and learning some things about their google accounts and just how to use google better in general. And then they can report back to you on some of the cool things they found out and teach you how to do the tricks. Have fun!

181 Google Tips and Tricks!

PicMonkey for Art, Literacy, or Science Collages

Not sure where this might fit in the school curriculum, but maybe art, literacy, or even social studies. If you are looking for a project idea and are thinking of having students make a collage of what they have learned, PicMonkey might be a great site for students to try. No email registration needed and I got my collage started just seconds after getting to the website. Students could make a science collage of an animal or concept they are studying, make an art collage, or even a collage that shows what they learned about a book they recently read. Lots of uses, but play around with it first to see how you might use it. Also, you can use the collage feature to make your Facebook banner picture at the top of your profile page. Another fun feature of this site! Give it a try this summer!





PicMonkey click here!



Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Symbaloo Now Working on Mobile Devices, Including IPad and IPhone!


I know some of our teachers started using Symbaloo recently and used it in the computer lab with students. Just wanted to let you all know that Symbaloo can now be used on mobile devices, including IPhone and IPad. I have not used it much, but did add it to my IPad and plan on using it some. I think our teachers liked using Symbaloo in order to set up their own group of websites that they wanted the students to use. No telling students website after website to go to, just get them to the symbaloo and all the sites could be ready. For personal use, symbaloo could be a simple directory of your favorite websites. That is what I am currently using it for on my IPad. I will let you know what I think of it after I have messed around with it for awhile. Below is a video of Symbaloo for the IPhone. Enjoy!



Puppet Pals HD for the IPad: Good Story-telling App for kids....and Counseling?

   I got this app idea from the School Counselor Blog (also where I got the great idea for Scribble Press...thank you Danielle Shultz!) and my own kids have made their first puppet story/video already. Puppet Pals HD is a free app (you can pay to get a super-charged version of the app called a Director's Pass) where kids/students can choose a variety of characters and settings to put on a short play or puppet show. If you download this to your IPad, as you move the characters and change the settings, the IPad will record your voice so you can have dialogue for each character. Students could act out part of a story they read or extend a story that they read. As for me, a counselor, I could have students mess around with this as they talk to me and maybe their stories will tell me more. Or they could use this as role play by controlling the characters or letting me play a role. The possibilities for this app are endless. For my own kids, I even uploaded the video to Youtube when they were done and now I can share it with friends, family, or on Facebook. Neat stuff! I can't wait to see what my kids will create next! Give it a try this summer and see how you might use it.

Click here for more information on Puppet Pals HD for the IPad

Scibble Press for the IPad: My Kids and I love it!

I downloaded Scribble Press to my IPad last night for Free and my 7-year old son already wrote and illustrated his own short book! He had a blast and it was so easy to do. You can choose from several dozen "fill-in-the-blank" template stories that go from pretty basic to pretty fun and bizarre. Or your children or students can make up their own stories with their own words and pictures. More colors, markers, pens, stamps, etc. than you can ever imagine. Once the story is done, kids can even design the front and back cover. When they are completely finished, they can keep the story on the IPad, send it to their IBooks account, or share it with Scribble Press. They could also turn their pictures and illustrations and stories into greeting cards, puzzles, or even get their book professionally printed and sent to their house or classroom. Amazing stuff! It is a free app (suprisingly!) and definitely worth a summer tryout to see if you could use it with your own kids or even within your classroom. I think even middle school and high school kids would enjoy this.

Scribble Press: Click here for info on the app and to download


Monday, June 11, 2012

Sticky Notes for Google Chrome

  In my never-ending quest for a task-manager that is easy to use, easy to see, and always visible or in a place where I can remember, I am now going to give Google Chome Sticky Notes a try. Thanks to Richard Byrne and his Free Technology for Teachers blogsite, I learned about this new sticky note app/extension to add to my own Google Chrome browser (did you know Google Chrome recently passed Internet Explorer as the most used web browser?? There is a reason for this...try Google Chrome and you won't turn back!). I just downloaded it and tested it out and really liked it. I like that when I open it, it becomes its own web tab so it is always just a click away. When I used the sticky notes that show on my computer, my students would sometimes see it on my screen when I closed out a video or a presentation during class. With the sticky note as  a tab, the chances they will see my sticky note is much less and with my role as a counselor, this is important. So...I am going to continue to use this sticky note app this summer and see if I can get used to it enough and like it enough to use it during the school year. If you use Google Chrome, you might consider trying this too!

You can add Google Chrome Sticky Notes App from the Google Chrome Store for free by clicking here!

More Things You Can Do With Evernote

  I am still an Evernote "newbie", but I hope to keep learning and using it more and more. I use it to keep track of my many counseling sessions, but any teacher or educator could use Evernote for a variety of reasons. Instead of me explaining the many ways, especially since I am still a novice at using Evernote, I think this blogpost by Rich Lambert would be much more helpful. Tons of great ideas in here!

Click here to read Rich Lambert's Evernote post (notice that he has a hyperlink to read even more of his blogposts about Evernote)

Evernote website click here


Common Sense Media's Summer Guide for Learning Activities for Kids and Teens

   Thanks to Richard Byrne of Free Technology for Teachers for alerting me to another great thing one of my favorite sites, Common Sense Media, is offering. If you remember, Common Sense Media is a great place for parents and children to go to find accurate and detailed reviews about the newest movies, books, TV shows, and now games and apps. Now they have added a summer guide to learning apps you could download to a device or games that can be played on certain video game systems. They are broken down into 3 age categories and into 5 learning areas. I noticed that I have already downloaded some of the apps for my own kids. And of course, each app or game is rated by Common Sense Media so you can see how educational or applicable it is for your child. Enjoy!

Common Sense Media 50+ activities for summer click here!


Saturday, June 9, 2012

Embed Files and Papers

Thanks to Educational Technology Guy, I am hoping to use the information in his blogpost to start embedding some of my files into blogs that I post. Newsletters, worksheets, fliers, papers, etc can now be embedded into a blog entry and even marked up with extra information you want your readers to know. I have not played around with this tool very much, but I am hoping it will be pretty slick and easy to use and be able to make the blogs that I manage even more informative and easy to read and use. Read his blog post here to see if this tool can help you!

Educational Technology Guy's post on embedding files click here!

FakeBook Adds Animate Feature and Even Easier to Use

 I'm a huge fan of the fun site called "FakeBook" as I think it would be a great way for students to show their knowledge of a historical figure or event or even their knowledge of a story or book that they have read. And now they have added an "animate" feature where a student could animate their entire creation and show how their page was created and how the events happened in order. Students knowledge of facebook should make proving their knowledge fun, easy, and applicable. And as students show off their learning, other students will enjoy their presentations. Not to mention the many already made Fakebook pages that you could browse and possibly use to better explain how an event or book unfolded. Give it a try this summer and see how you might be able to use it during the school year!

Fakebook Tool click here!


Thursday, June 7, 2012

FlashIssue is Awesome! Helps You Make Newsletter in an Instant!

  Wow. Just wow. I have been emailing my middle school parents links to my blogs and putting a brief idea as to what each post is about and cutting and pasting links, etc. It takes awhile, but I think it is important to share the many blog links with parents. Now, FlashIssue may just change how I do things and change it for the better. If you have a blog, you will love using FlashIssue to turn your blogposts into a quick newsletter. If you don't have a blog, you can still make a newsletter from blog posts you have read and want your email list to read. Or you can use other information you already have. Free to use, quick to sign up (can log in via Facebook), and quick to make the newsletter too. I will direct you to Larry Ferlazzo's blog post about FlashIssue as there is a great video on his blogpost to show you how it works. Then I suggest you try it this summer....it might be something you get good at use a lot when school starts up. Thanks for the link Larry!

Larry Ferlazzo's Websites of the Day: FlashIssue Newsletter Creation

FlashIssue website click here!


Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Good Blog for Social Studies Teachers

  If you teach social studies and need extra ideas and motivation, you need to add this blog! Not every post is directly related to social studies, but many are. Plus, if you look to the right hand side, there are two other blogs to follow (World History blog and Government blog). Great resource and a great way to spend your summer....a little blog reading every day and reading back through some of the best posts on this blog. Give it a read, you won't be disappointed!

U.S. History blog click here!

The New Hive: Great "Wall" Site

I love these "wall" sites because they are so open-ended. Teachers can use them as a team to plan a project by posting their ideas and conversations to the Hive wall. They could create a class "hive wall" by posting information to it or having students post questions to it. Or, teachers could use it like I do and have students create their own "hive wall" about a topic. For me, I have students create a wall that shows who they are. They choose text, pictures, videos, music to describe themselves and then present these to the class. This year I used "Wallwisher", but it was pretty buggy. I plan to possibly use this site next year. Seems easier, more possibilities, and hopefully have less issues. Give it a try and see if you can come up with some ideas (Treasure Island Wall, Civil War Wall, Math notes, etc!!!)

The New Hive click here!

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Educational App Review Site

   Looks like this site is new and hopefully grows and adds more, but it has potential. This site is from the UK and collects information about educational apps for IPods, IPads, etc. that are out there and puts them in curriculum categories that make it easy to find what you are looking for. Looking for a math app or science app? Easy to find on this site. It simply needs to add more apps to become much more useful. But for now, you might find some good stuff to try out.

Teaching Appz click here!

Here are Some Great Screencast Tools!

Thanks to Educational Technology Guy, here are 5 great Screencast tools. I love screencasting things and plan to do several Screencasts this summer to help our district staff members learn how to use their Mimio technology. I have also used it for parents to show them a few things about our internet sites. Here is a link to his post showing 5 of the best Screencast tools out there. Feel free to try some of them!

5 Great Screencast Tools click here!

Tutpup: Math Practice and Competition Site for Kids

Tutpup is another math resource for any students who need extra practice on their basic math facts. They even have spelling practice too. What makes this site different is that students can log in and challenge other students from around the country/world in math facts or spelling contests. The challenge function gets the competitive juices going and get the students having fun and learning at the same time. I plan on seeing if my own son likes it, he loves challenges like this.

Tutpup...click here!

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Google Docs "How-to" for Teachers and Tips for Students

   Two great resources in this one blog entry. One is for teachers, the other is for students. Now that our staff and students are all using Google Docs more and more, and likely even more in the future, you may want to bookmark this blog entry. The teacher resource is an 40-page "ebook" from Richard Byrne of Free Technology for Teachers and contains about everything you have ever wanted to know about using Google Docs. The resource for students is a super easy to read and click on resource guide of 52 tips to using Google Docs. So, 2 great resources in this one blog post! Hope they help!

Google Docs ebook for teachers

52 tips for students to use Google Docs

Very Interesting Nation Building Game Website

  I admit, I haven't tried this website, but the concept behind it is very interesting. I could see how some kids could really get into this website. Basically, kids create a nation and build it and try to become the best nation overall. Sort of like a multi-layered game of "Risk" played online in a social setting. Lots of government and social studies learning possible. Might be something you try out this summer and play around with if you are a social studies teacher.

NationStates website click here!

Sunday, April 1, 2012

Thinglink for Making Photos Interactive

  Came across Thinglink from reading several blogs over the weekend, so it must be pretty good. Basically, they made some updates so educators and students can make up to 50 online photos interactive FOR FREE! And if you want to do more than that, it is pretty cheap too. I am linking you to a blog post by Richard Byrne of Free Technology for Teachers as he has a pretty good post on it plus a video showing you how Thinglink works. I could see lots of applications for students, especially for social studies students when using maps.

Richard Byrne's blog on Thinglink click here!

Friday, March 23, 2012

inFocus Allows You to Spotlight Something on a Website

  Cool site to add to your bookmarks. If you, or your class, are going to view a website but you really only want one piece of that website, you can copy/paste the link into this inFocus site and then it allows you to select just that portion of your website and it spotlights it and darkens the rest of the. I tested it on a couple of sites and it really made what I wanted to be seen....seen! Once you have spotlighted what you want, it allows you to save this as a new link and you can just view your spotlighted link. Pretty neat tool. Give it a try and practice it some, you might find some uses for it!

InFocus tool

My blog after being spotlighted (my example)

7 Sites for Art, 7 for Science, and 7 for Typing!

  Thank you much to Richard Byrne of Free Technology for Teachers for 3 great lists of websites for our educators. I got caught up in blog reading this week and Mr. Byrne's award-winning blogsite is one of the best out there. From time to time, he will take about 7 of the best sites for practice, instruction, etc. in a certain subject area. As I caught up, I found he did this 3 times recently. Once for keyboarding practice, once for science teachers, and once for art teachers and students. I have placed links to each of his blog entries below. If you teach in these areas, you may want to check it out. And make sure to sign up to follow his blog or have it added to your own Google Reader, a great read for all educators. As a former science teacher, I really enjoyed some of the science Youtube channels he shared. I could see our middle school kids really liking these. Thanks again Mr. Byrne!

7 Youtube Channels for Science

7 Keyboarding Practice/Game Sites

7 Sites for Art Teachers and Students

Another Great Screenshot Tool for Google Chrome Users

I know not many of you use Google Chrome as your browser (I think you should...I love mine!), but in case you do or in case you are thinking of switching to Google Chrome from Firefox or Internet Explorer, here is a great screenshot tool. It installs at a tiny tool icon up on your browser and you can click on it at any time and it will take a picture of your screen or the whole website. Then you can mark arrows, boxes, type, etc. Then you can save it to your computer or save it as a separate website. You could load this website for students, send it to parents, or even send it to teachers who want to see what you are doing or how to navigate a website. I love taking screenshots of online grades and sending them to parents to note something that is missing or that needs to be done. Also very easy to send to parents if they are wondering about a website for class. See below for the name of the two screenshot tools that I use, I think I like the new one, the 2nd one listed, better already.

Awesome Screenshot

Webpage Screenshot

Math Chimp Aligns with the Common Core

    Need a one-stop shopping site for free math games that are leveled by grade and matched to the Common Core? Math Chimp is a great site. I just tested it and had my own son test it, and we both approved. Lots of math games that our own students have likely played before, only now they can click on the appropriate grade level and choose a game from there. If you have a free math day in class or want to have students practice at home, this is a good site to send them to. Give it a try!

Math Chimp click here!

Thursday, March 22, 2012

MentorMob: Interesting Web/Information Gathering Concept

  I didn't try to make a Mentor/Mob presentation, but I viewed a couple and found them pretty interesting. I also watched their promo video on the homepage. Just 62 seconds long, but very good at explaining what this website can do for you and for your students. I could see educators using this to create an informative presentation for both in class and out of class review and study. I could also see students making a "MentorMob" themselves about a topic. They could then have this be their presentation and share it with others around the world. Lots of different uses and possibilities. Give it a try!

MentorMob site click here!

A Classroom Blog with Over 100,000 Visitors?!

Yes, it is true. Some classroom blogs actually get over 100,000 visitors! Well, at least one blog does: Mrs. Yollis' Classroom Blog. She just went over the 100,000 visitor mark and that is pretty amazing! Take a quick look at her blog and maybe you could get some ideas for your own blog. Things I notice and would like to try:

student bloggers on my blog
Video blogs
Reading assignments
Guest bloggers
and "Quad Blogging" (where you team up with 3 other schools/classes very different than yours and blog your answers to questions each week like what are lunches like? what is a typical school day?, etc.)

Congrats Mrs. Yollis!

Click here to go to her classroom blog

No Red Ink: Grammar Practice Site...and Fun!

   Through Larry Ferlazzo's Websites of the Day blog, I learned of a grammar practicing site called "No Red Ink". I signed up very quickly (less than 2 minutes) and started practicing. I got to choose topics I was interested in (I chose Seinfeld, Friends, and the Daily Show) and then it started to test me. I was amazed that it was challenging enough that I only got a 70% on apostrophes! Then it gave me a tutorial over the questions I missed. I could also track my progress and see which specific rules of each section of grammar I was proficient in, which ones I was not, and which ones needs more data. It keeps track of all of that stuff. And teachers, you can also register and create a class and have students get their results sent to you (think Skills Iowa only students can choose to read information on topics they are interested in). I'm not a literacy teacher, but I found this site very simple and cool to use. Might want to check it out.

No Red Ink

Time's Top IPad Apps of 2012

2012 has really just begun, but Time already has its 2012 Top 30 Apps for the IPad. The best part? Over half of them are FREE! I am posting this a little selfishly as I want to be able to refer back to this post when I get my IPad 2 this spring/summer. But for any teachers or administrators out there who have an IPad, there are some great apps in here that you could use educationally and share with students educationally. Take a look when you have a moment, some are really neat!

Top 30 Apps for the IPad 2012

More Pinterest for Beginners!

  Still not sure what Pinterest is and how an educator can use it?? Read Cool Cat's blogpost Pinterest for Beginners and learn more. My favorite part of her blogpost was the boards she follows and pins to. There are some great educational boards in there and I think after joining Pinterest and looking at those boards, you will start to see how Pinterest can really add to your skills and ideas as an educator. I have a goal next year to make counseling bulletin boards and I plan to  beg, borrow, steal from some of the Pinterest boards that a fellow blogger "School Counselor Blog" has pinned to. She has some great ideas that I would like to use. So, put Pinterest down as both a fun and professional goal this summer to learn more about.

Cool Cat's Beginner's Guide to Pinterest

Google+ is Now Open to All Teens as Well

  As mentioned in a previous post, I have a Google+ account but do not use it. Google+ is a cleaner form of Facebook, free of the many games and apps that clutter Facebook. It used to also be free of teenagers pretty much. But now Google+ is opened up for anyone 13 and older, so our students could sign up for their own account too. Google+ is still dominated by the professional and adult world and teens are not flocking to the site right now, but if they do, Google+ does have several safety features built in for security. And they also have features teens may like (Google Hangouts and Video chats). Click on this blogpost from Educational Technology Guy to learn more.

Educational Technology Guy's post about Google+ Change to Allow all Teens to be Members

Some New Gmail Tips and Tricks

   All of the Carlisle educators have a Gmail account through the school. Many of you use it instead of your Outlook version. I have been using my Gmail version more and more these days and always looking for better ways to use it. Well, thanks to a blog post by Educational Technology Guy, I learned a few more tricks to help me keep track of my emails better, especially my "sent emails". Click on his blog link below to learn these new tips. Thanks Educational Technology Guy!

Gmail Messaging Organizing Tips By Educational Technology Guy

If you are an Educator on Google+, These are the Circles You Need to be In.

   I will admit, I have a Google+ account but do not use it. I probably should, but I don't. Maybe this summer I will look more into it. And if I do, this is the place I plan to start: Google+ 50 Best Circles for Educators. A Google+ Circle is like a Professional Learning Network (PLN) where experts from all around the world and sometimes teachers, students, and parents like you and me hang out to learn more. By being in the circle and following it, we get the information as well and can follow the discussion or even take part in the discussion. If you are on Google+, you are likely in some of these circles already. And if you are not, give some of them a try. And for those of you who have no idea about Google+, maybe sign up for it and see what all of the fuss is about!

Google+ 50 Best Circles for Educators

Sunday, January 15, 2012

More Skype in the Classroom "How to"

If you are considering trying some Skype in your Classroom, there are classrooms all around the country and world waiting to talk and collaborate on projects with you. But how do you even start? This is a quick post that may help give you some ideas and even a little step by step guide on how to get everything going. I really believe the next revolution in education is taking education of our students and moving it out to the community, around our country, and across the world. Their are experiences all over the place outside our school that Skype can reach. Would be neat to start reaching these.


Another Quick and Easy Screen Recording Site

PasteVid is another pretty good Screen Capture and recording site. I like sites like this because you can record what you are doing on your screen and then let others see it by posting it to Youtube, sending a link, or just sending an email of your video to that person. I usually use these sites to send a video to a large group of people. Showing someone how to use a certain internet site, how to navigate our district homepage, etc. Most of these sites, including this one, turn your video into a weblink that you can easily send to whoever. And the best part? It is FREE! Give this site a try.



Fact Sheets on Endangered Animals

For any science teachers who have students do projects on animals, especially endangered animals, this site is for you: KidsPlanet! This site has a link that contains great fact sheets for 50 endangered animals around the world. Might be a place to start the "animal picking" process by students or a link to give to students for research. Either way, pretty good site!

SmarTots: Education App Reviews for Kids

Just a quick post for any preschool and lower elementary teachers who read this blog and may use IPods or IPads in their Centers or teaching. This site has teachers who submit reviews on educational apps for tablet and IPod devices. Might be something you check out before you invest in any educational apps for these devices that you might use in class.

Have Your Students Publish Book Reviews at Scholastic.com

Another quick way for students to put the work they do in your class online and get feedback. Scholastic has a quick and easy way for kids to publish their work online. Whether it be a class assignment or just encouraging students who like to read to write their thoughts and feelings online and help others get more interested in books. And maybe, just maybe, even get some feedback from others around the country and world. Many students in our school are already writing book reports, this might be a way to do something different and let them get some public feedback while helping others learn more about the book they just read. Consider giving this idea a try!

Pinterest: All the Rage and Good for Educators Too?

I must admit, I have not joined Pinterest and have not yet figured out why everyone loves it, but I started to become interested last week when a school counseling blog I follow started hyping it as a place where she can post her counseling ideas visually and link other information to these pictures. Then I realized the power of Pinterest and how it really could be a good social network for educators. No friending, no 3rd party apps, no games....just posting images and information and following the educators who have great ideas. Sort of a visual twitter. If you need more reason to start thinking about Pinterest as a site for educators, take a look at Richard Byrne's Free Technology for Teacher blogpost this week about it. Great post and I love the comments even more. Check the comments for a few Pinterest boards to get you started!

Monday, January 2, 2012

Online Whiteboard Tool You Can Do Lesson on and Send To Parents and Students.

I love this tool and I originally found it as an IPad app first, but you don't need an IPad to use it. Basically, you can draw anything on your "laptop whiteboard" or "IPad whiteboard" and you can record everything you do. When finished, hit stop and publish and you can publish it to Facebook or Twitter, or more likely, you can send it as an email to students or parents. Maybe you even just email it to yourself and play it for students in class or play it during worktime so if they have questions, they can simply watch your whiteboard lesson and re-learn. If you have a microphone, you can talk while you do your whiteboard lesson and the audio is recorded too. I have learned to send my whiteboard lesson to myself and then send the link it gave me to parents, students, family, or whoever I want to send it to from there. Or like I said, maybe I could just use the link in class to have students see the lesson again. We can do similar things with our Mimio, but with this whiteboard tool, it saves to a website so you don't have to worry about how big of a file it is and if it will be able to be emailed. Plus, all of your lessons are saved to your online whiteboard account, so you can go back to them whenever you want. Very cool application. Give it a try (especially if you teach math or science, 2 areas I think would really be good for this)




Markup.io Another Great Website Annotation Tool

I just put Markup.io on my Chrome web browser and can now write on, draw shapes on, or even type on any web page and then save it and send it to whoever I want to. You don't need Google Chrome to do this as it likely works in almost any web browser. If you want to send something to a student or parent from online and have their eyes go to certain spots that you find important, you can use this Markup tool and mark the things you want read and cross out the things you don't want read. Lots of uses and very easy to use!

Sunday, January 1, 2012

Highlighter Tool Called Marker.to is Great!

I just installed a highlighting tool that I can use to highlight a website and then send that highlighted version to other people. How cool! Thanks to Free Technology for Teachers for alerting me to this web browser extension. To show you how it works, here is his blog entry about this great tool, only now I have highlighted it with different colors. Lots of ways to use this with staff, students, parents, and the community.


Youtube for Educators Now Live!

Just a quick update to let you know that Youtube has created a special website for educators and this website hosts thousands of videos safe for schools and accessible to all computers as the web address is not a ".com" but a ".edu", so it won't be blocked on any computers, even student computers. So if you have a video you normally show through Youtube, you might want to visit the Educator's Youtube first to see if it is there so students can access it and you know the video and information surrounding the video is safe and appropriate. Enjoy!

Of note, you may have to use your google account to get to this site and use this site, so I am not sure how easy it will be for all students to access it. In our district, since Youtube is note blocked, students could likely still get to a video through Youtube, but if you are showing a video in class or searching for a good video, you might want to use the Youtube for Educators site. Here is a link to a blogpost explaning all of this...click here!