Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Teacher Led: White Board Activities!

I just came across a website called Teacher Led and it's one of the best sites I have seen to use with interactive whiteboards in a long time! One of their pages is a list of interactive activities that were designed to practice basic concepts on the interactive whiteboard. At this time, most of the activities are designed for math, but there are a few for reading and social studies. "I don't have an interactive whiteboard!" you might complain. These activities would work well on eInstruction chalkboards or Promethean ActivSlates as well. Don't have those either? If you have a computer connected to a projector in your classroom, these activities can be just as effective. Let's take a look at some of these:

The first one is an activity where you have to find common multiples using a Venn Diagram. When you have sorted all of the numbers, you can start over with a fresh batch of numbers to practice with.

The second one allows you to explore the concept of symmetry. Use shapes or draw and color with the pen tools to make a design. The activity will automatically fill in the other 3 quadrants as you draw. This makes a difficult concept very easy to illustrate.

The third one demonstrates the concept of prime factorization. You have the option of choosing a number, and the simulation will break the number down into its factors. Remove the "leaves" over each number to see if you were correct in your guess.

These are just three examples of many activities that Teacher Led has to offer. I highly recommend this site to classroom teachers looking for ways to illustrate difficult concepts.

Related Posts:

Interactive Whiteboard Links
Games for the Interactive Whiteboard
Kids and Cookies
Division Online

Friday, April 24, 2009

Kidspiration Resources from the Company

(I received this comment on an earlier post about Kidspiration 3 that is worth sharing with everyone. Thank you, Molly, for the great information and resources! ~Amy)


We are happy to know that you are enjoying your experience with Kidspiration! If you are looking for new Kidspiration ideas, lesson plans or examples, please do not hesitate to contact us, or visit our website. You may be interested to know that we have several complimentary professional development Kidspiration webcasts that are archived and available for viewing at:

We also have an upcoming Kidspiration webcast on May 14 - Keep Your Students Learning Till the Final Bell with Kidspiration 3 -

Thank you again!
Molly O'Hara
Inspiration Software

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Top 10 Web 2.0 Tools for Administrators

I had the pleasure of hearing Chris O'Neal, from the University of Virginia, speak this week at MICCA on the top 10 web 2.0 tools administrators should be modeling in their schools. Thanks, Chris, for a great session this week!

Here was Chris O'Neal's top 10 list:

  1. Google Docs and Google Apps

  2. Blogs

  3. Wikis (see Chris O'Neal's wiki that corresponds with this presentation here)

  4. Delicious (check out his delicious account online)

  5. Creative Commons

  6. Slideshare

  7. Skype

  8. Audacity

  9. School Tube

  10. Twitter
Photo by tsuacctnt

Kidspiration 3: New Features

Kidspiration 3, the primary version of Inspiration, will be coming to FCPS as of this fall! Let me sum up some of the new features that will make a good program GREAT!
  • Improved Record Option (so that you an record your voice longer on every textbox, and not just one per page)
  • Easier to add text boxes
  • Improved Teacher Control: on the teacher enabled menu, teachers can lock items into place so that they are not accidentally moved and placed on top of other items.
  • Expanded symbol library of clip art
  • Symbol search: now you can search for clip art by keyword like in Inspiration
  • Word Guide: Look up word for definitions, synonyms, antonyms
  • 5 New Math Tool Views!! (This is my favorite part): Color tiles, base 10 blocks, pattern blocks, fraction tiles, fraction boxes
  • Math Text boxes: write fractions, division, and vertical math notations
  • Step Work Space: allows teachers and students to show steps of a math problem in an easy to ready format
  • Cross-out stamp: allows you to "cross out" items when showing subtraction, division, or regrouping
  • Multiple Page feature: Now you can click through pages easily with up and down arrows, which allow you to open multiple documents in one window at a time
  • More curriculum content, lesson plans, and teacher tools

The best improvement by far is the addition of the math tools. You can easily model equivalent fractions, or multi-step addition and subtraction with regrouping. The base 10 blocks can be color coded to show the top and bottom number of an addition problem. Use the "group" tool to group 10 ones together to make a rod. Use the "break apart" tool to separate rods into ones and flats into rods. No need to use physical manipulatives when you are teaching! Think of how easy it would be to clean this up after math!

I summarized some of these features from Peggy Wood, a Technology Resource Specialist from Cecil County, that I saw speak at MICCA this week. She has resources on her page. Thanks, Peggy, for one of the best sessions that I attended at MICCA!

Mandala Maker Perfect for Math Concepts
Division: Visual Representations Online
Online Math Manipulatives and Activities
Math Help Step-by-Step
Kids and Cookies
Base 10 Block Games

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Discovery Education Goes Green

Discovery Education has partnered with Waste Management to bring teachers and students the "Think Green" website, which they hope will people the rewards of recycling in real terms. With Earth Day approaching, this site couldn't come at a better time.

Teachers: check out the teacher resource section where you can find lesson plans on recycling, renewable energy, electronics recycling, composting, landfills, and the 4 R's: reduce, reuse, recycle, and recover. Teachers will also find teaching activities, video assets, worksheets, puzzles, and more powered by Discovery Education.

Students: search the student site for puzzles, videos, and interactive activities that bring them closer to the world around us.

Monday, April 13, 2009

Games for the Classroom

Looking for an educational way to fill a few extra minutes at the end of the lesson? Need an engaging, educational warm up? Maybe these classroom game websites can provide you with what you need! Many of the games on these sites also work well with your eInstruction Chalkboard, Promethean Board, interactive whiteboard, or Promethean Slate.

Novel Games

Novel Games is a site that promotes healthy, non-violent, educational games that the whole family can enjoy. There are several categories to choose from, and the best part is that the games can be embedded into your website, blog, wiki, or social networking site.

Eclipse Crosswords

Eclipse Crosswords is a software download, and there are many counties where teachers are not able to download software on their school computers. However, keep in mind you can download this software on your home computer and create your crossword puzzles there. This software makes it incredibly easy to create a crossword puzzle. Just enter in the words and the clues, and the software does the rest of the work for you!

Brain Training Games

Brain Training Games requires you to create an account with an email address, but this is so the site can track your progress. Login to the site, play the brain games, track your progress, and play against friends. This is a fun and easy way to keep your mind healthy and give it a work out.

Fun 4 the Brain

Fun4theBrain is a site for elementary students to practice basic skills in addition, multiplication, division, subtraction, and English. The site creator is constantly adding games to the site, and students do not need an email address or account to play the games.


Word Games for Elementary Students
Tic Tac Toe in 3D
Games for the Interactive Whiteboard
Statetris: Geography Fun
Make a Wild Animal
Build Your Wild Self
Fun, Educational Sites for Kids

Friday, April 10, 2009

Earth Day Activities for K-8

With Earth Day approaching, I found two sites that are appropriate for K-8 learners.

The first is Earth Day from Scholastic. Here you will find activities for K-8 including:
  • A Water Experiment
  • Recycling Game
  • Earth Day CyberHunt
  • Earth Day Math Hunt
  • and more

The second site is also from Scholastic: Kids' Environmental Report Card. This is a chance for kids to make their voices heard as they vote on topics that are important to them. You can also see the results from last year's Environmental Report Card to compare how issues are changing.

The World Wide Web in Plain English

Another gem from Common Craft:

This is a YouTube video found at

Related Post:

Wiki in Plain English
RSS in Plain English

Siftables: A New Way to Interact With Digital Content

According to the Siftable website, siftables "are cookie-sized computers with motion sensing, neighbor detection, graphical display, and wireless communication. They act in concert to form a single interface: users physically manipulate them - piling, grouping, sorting - to interact with digital information and media. Siftables provides a new platform on which to implement tangible, visual and mobile applications."

All I can say is - WOW! Where and when can I get some of these??

Pixton Comic Creator: Privacy for Educational Platforms

Wow! I just came across a new comic creator called Pixton. (See video trailer embedded in my last post for more details.) Pixton allows you to create comics with the following features:
  • Make comics without having to draw and share them with the world or your private community within Pixton
  • Design and customize your characters according to skin color, hair color, facial expressions, body type, and clothing style
  • Add props, scenery, and backgrounds
  • Remix comics that already exist
  • Animate characters
  • Automatic language translator - 20 different languages currently available

If this isn't enough, Pixton realized the need for a private, educational space where students can post and view comics in a safe environment. As with any web 2.0 tool, there is always the danger of children coming across something inappropriate. Many comic creators that have been released in the past do not currently offer a privacy options to keep kids safe on their site (like Toondoo). Pixton's educational privacy settings is a paid feature, which runs about $1 per student per month and offers:

  • Reinforcement of literacy skills
  • Lesson plan banks where you can share lesson ideas with other educators
  • Private, virtual classroom
  • Password protected
  • Collaborative environment
  • Easy login - students DO NOT need emails to have an account
  • NO software installation
  • Unlimited storage
  • FREE upgrades
  • Customizable to add your school colors or logo
  • Teacher - student messaging
  • Permissions available to set exactly what your students can do
  • Fully customizable comic editor
  • Download comics as PDFs or embed them on sites online
  • Automatic Language Translator

I think Pixton will pave the way for other web 2.0 sites in the future. Check it out!

Pixton: Take A Tour of the New Comic Creator

Thursday, April 2, 2009

SnagFilms Film Widget

SnagFilms allows you to place documentary widgets on your blog or social networking site. The one I have embedded into my blog is about Great White Sharks. The movies are shorter than the original ones that aired on National Geographic, but they are still high quality.

You can link to documentaries using widgets on your blog.

The widget links directly to the site itself and does not play within your blog.
The video will play 1-2 short commercials before the documentary that you cannot skip.

Biology Resources for Teachers

ARKive's mission is to bring together the best photographs and video footage of threatened species around the world in hopes of having a concise, organized database of these organisms. They partnered with some of the best wildlife photographers in the world so that teachers, students, and the general public may learn more about these threatened species and act to save them. You can search for species by their classification (mammal, amphibian, insect, plant, etc), and each threatened species you click on provides detailed information about that species.

There is also an educator section of ARKive, which I was pleasantly surprised to see has FREE multimedia resources on topics such as: plant life cycles, adaptations, food chains and webs, habitats, ecosystems, predator and prey, natural selection, and much more. The resources are PowerPoint presentations with embedded videos on the topic. This is truly a worthwhile site!

Biology in Motion

Biology in Motion is is a site dedicated to providing short animations to explain biology concepts such as: enzyme characteristics and intestinal gas. In addition, there are several interactive activities and simulations that give students practice with concepts like: Meiosis, Mitosis, evolution, digestion, enery, cell division, and the cardiovascular system. While this site is not as extensive as ARKive, it is a helpful supplemental site if you are teaching one of these concepts.