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