Edutech for Teachers

Cool Tools for the 21st Century Classroom

Edu-fun Friday: Why God Made Weekends

October24

weekendsAs Quincy Jones once remarked, “I’ve always thought that a big laugh is a really loud noise from the soul saying, “Ain’t that the truth.”

That said, Edu-fun Friday is a series devoted to adding some humor to the lives of teachers who visit this blog. After all, there’s nothing better than ending the week on a positive note! Plus, do we have the best topics to provide us with some comic relief or what?

TGIF! Fact.

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Trick or Tweet? Halloween Activities for the Classroom Part II

October22

halloween picWith Halloween—one of the craziest days of the year in a school—rapidly approaching, many teachers are looking for some fun activities to share with all of the ghosts and goblins that live in their classrooms.

If you’re one of these educators trying to preserve what’s left of your sanity at this time of the year, then check out some really spook-tacular collections of Halloween-themed resources that are sure to creep out your students—in a good way, of course!

Whether it’s writing prompts, science experiments, Halloween candy math, Edgar Allan Poe videos or haunted vocabulary, there’s something ghostly awaiting you below on my recently updated Trick or Tweet greatest hits list:

» The History Channel: The History of Halloween

Bet you didn’t know Halloween is one of America’s favorite holidays, but what’s the real story behind the tricks and treats of Halloween? Find out by exploring this site filled with cool facts, figures, videos and interactives.

» Scholastic: Halloween Trick or Treat for Facts and Fun

Get your classroom in the Halloween spirit with these math and science activities, writing ideas, and crafts. Plus, use the Halloween-themed book lists to find a perfect read-aloud title or scary stories to share with your students for independent reading.

» 7 Halloween Themed Educational Activities

A collection of Halloween-themed games and activities curated by Richard Byrne, author of Free Technology for Teachers—apps, math adventures, safety games, typing activities, a web hunt and more!

» It’s Halloween!

A Pinterest board containing 90+ Halloween sites to celebrate Halloween by Edutopia.

A collection of all things Halloween by Larry Ferlazzo—A visual history, slideshows, vocabulary and spelling games, cloze activities, Halloween Around the World and Mia Cadaver’s Tombstone Timeout, one of the most favorite games found on the BBC site and more!

» Halloween Activities

A variety of educational sites for Halloween by 19 Pencils.

Classroom Connection:

Use these resources to teach and learn about the Halloween holiday.
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Focus on Form-ative Assessment

October20

thinglink-logoA few months ago I wrote a post about the value of utilizing Google Forms in education and shared a super cool resource containing 80+ ways to incorporate them into the classroom.

Well, I’m back again… With more reasons why you should become a fan of this edtech gem…

Yep, this geeky girl love, loves this particular component of Google Apps for Education. Why? Because forms can be created quickly and easily for an unlimited amount of purposes: assessment, polls, surveys, questionnaires and so much more! And the best part? There is no need to have advanced technology skills to make forms an integral part of your digital toolkit.

That said, whether you are a forms believer or not, check out the interactive image shown below—one I developed with ThingLink for a professional development session I facilitated last week in my district. It not only includes a ton of resources related to developing and using this tool to support learning, but it also demonstrates how forms can be used as a bell ringer and/or exit ticket.

Be sure to hover over the image to reveal the really good stuff!

And by the way—no, you are not seeing things. Forms work seamlessly with ThingLink. All you need is the link and a live form appears right within the image!

A full screen version of this image can be found here.

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Diigo Weekly Update

October19

diigo iconWhat’s new this week in my Diigo bookmarks? Check out the links shown below for some of the latest and greatest tools that can be utilized in your classroom throughout the new school year.

» SoundBible.com

Free sound clips, bites and effects for all kinds of multimedia projects. Download files in either wav or mp3 format.

» Wishafriend.com

Jazz up your photos with a variety of cool effects and share them with your BFFs on social media networks. Find quotes, graphics, poems and more as well!

Posted from Diigo. The rest of my favorite links can be found here.

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Edu-fun Friday: The Original Computer

October17

the original computerAs Quincy Jones once remarked, “I’ve always thought that a big laugh is a really loud noise from the soul saying, “Ain’t that the truth.”

That said, Edu-fun Friday is a series devoted to adding some humor to the lives of teachers who visit this blog. After all, there’s nothing better than ending the week on a positive note! Plus, do we have the best topics to provide us with some comic relief or what?

As much as I love, love my devices, there are times in which I still prefer to use one of these low maintenance fossils. How ’bout you?

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The Twitter Feeds Your Brain Infographic

October16

images1Yep, it’s another post about the value of Twitter. Yes—Twitter. If you haven’t yet adopted this social media platform as one of your go-to places for professional development, you really don’t know what you’re missing! And it’s not just the latest celebrity drama!

Seriously, despite the 14o character minimum, tweets—articles, thoughts, opinions, inspiration, quotes, images and more—allow like-minded individuals (you and me) to connect, collaborate, discuss, exchange and even debate all sorts of ideas with virtual colleagues. Whether it’s best practices, instructional strategies, the latest and greatest tech tools or an innovative project, invaluable information is just a hastag away!

Check out the infographic below for additional info about why you should build a PLN on Twitter. Who knows… Maybe it will inspire you to become a “cereal” tweeter!

twitter feeds your brain

A shout out to edu rock star Krissy Venosdale for creating and sharing yet another very useful and motivational infographic!

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The Ultimate ThingLink Word Wall

October13

thinglink-logoFor those of you who are regular visitors to this blog, you know that I’m a total ThingLink addict. In my (humble) opinion—I believe it is one of the most useful, dynamic, all-inclusive web tools currently available for both teachers and students. I love, love the many ways that an interactive image can be integrated into the curriculum to actively engage students in the learning process. And with a variety of new features—video options, customized and active icon sets, the ability to embed a live Google form and most recently, a partnership with Tackk—another web tool in which can create virtual flyers—to say that the possibilities are endless is really no exaggeration.

So, of course, when I saw this collection of ThingLink images based on interactive vocabulary instruction—compiled by ThingLink Education Community Manager and edtech rock star Susan Oxnevad—I knew that sharing it far and wide was a no-brainer.

If you’re not yet a ThingLink believer, I’m pretty sure you’ll be drinking the Kool-Aid after you check out this super cool resource!


The full screen version of this collection can be found here.

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Diigo Weekly Update

October12

diigo iconWhat’s new this week in my Diigo bookmarks? Check out the links shown below for some of the latest and greatest tools that can be utilized in your classroom throughout the new school year.

» Dweeber

An internet platform that allows students to participate in study sessions and discuss homework with their friends. The tool also allows students to solve problems, talk about issues and share ideas on projects.

» DebateGraph

A web tool for visualizing and sharing networks of thought through the use of mind maps. Create your own, explore the library and/or contribute to maps developed by others.

Posted from Diigo. The rest of my favorite links can be found here.

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Edu-fun Friday: Back-up that Brain!

October10

edufun friday 57As Quincy Jones once remarked, “I’ve always thought that a big laugh is a really loud noise from the soul saying, “Ain’t that the truth.”

That said, Edu-fun Friday is a series devoted to adding some humor to the lives of teachers who visit this blog. After all, there’s nothing better than ending the week on a positive note! Plus, do we have the best topics to provide us with some comic relief or what?

I thought that’s what happened during summer vacation, but I stand corrected!

A shout out to artist Randy Glasbergen for providing this week’s edutech humor!

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Three Word Thursday: A Weekly Multimedia Mash-up

October9

twt 1-24-13-2

You know what day it is, right? Nope, it’s not Throwback Thursday—although it could be. Just not in my Multimedia I class. Instead this day of the week means it’s time for another edition of our weekly project known as Three Word Thursday.

So, here’s how it works… Every Thursday my students are responsible for taking a photo or shooting a video clip. The rules for doing so are pretty simple: Their job is not only to create original media, but to add three words to the visual as well. This text can be about any topic of their choosing including but not limited to how they feel, an activity, person/people, an event, etc.—as long as it’s G-rated, of course!

Words for the images can be included in the original photo, or students have the option of adding text after the fact with photo imaging software, apps and/or Web 2.0 tools (i.e. Photoshop, Gimp, BeFunky, Skitch, etc.). Words for the video clips should be creatively incorporated into the original video.

So what do students do with their Three Word Thursday images? Well, for starters, they upload them to their wikispaces so they can be shared with their classmates and the rest of the world! Then at the end of the semester, they will combine these original creations to develop a Three Word “mash-up” utilizing a digital storytelling tool (i.e. Movie Maker).

Here are a few examples from what has turned out to be an activity my students really enjoy:

TWT 4.11.13

Three Word Thursday - Alyssa

2-14-13

Smile 4-4-13

TWT9  4.18.13

Classroom Connection:

The Three Word Thursday concept is a pretty simple one, yet powerful—in my opinion—because it encourages students to think and be creative with images, video and a variety of applications and software.

Feel free to hijack my idea and tweak it for your students. The only request I have in return is to share any ways you might incorporate this activity—or a spin off of mine—into your classroom. And of course, a shout out on any social media networks would be appreciated too!

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Hey, edu-tech gurus!

Looking for some technology integration ideas to enhance your classroom lessons? Then be sure to check out my "Tech Tips" for the latest and greatest Web 2.0 tools, applications and web sites that can be incorporated into activities and/or projects. Although some posts may not be applicable to your content area or grade level, be sure to check back often as I will be varying ideas in order to provide resources across the K-12 curriculum.

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