Saturday, November 13, 2010

Virtual Math Manipulatives - interactive learning for all ages

Utah State's National Library of  Virtual Math Manipulatives is one of the best interactive sites for students from Pre-k through high school.

The organization of the site with the grid format keeps it simple  and easy to find the appropriate manipulative for your concept and grade level.

The interactive games provide the correct answer for students and the activities work well on an interactive white board.  I have teachers who use the tool as an introduction to a new lesson and then provide opportunity for students to use the site for practice on individual computers.

Here are two of the dozens of interactive, virtual manipulatives.  Check through the site and see how the manipulatives could support your math lessons.  I've seen high levels of student engagement when teachers use the Virtual Manipulatives.

Check out the site and play with with the interactives. Then try one with your class or share it with a colleague.
Post your comments and share your thoughts about the site.

Friday, November 12, 2010

Voki - cool tool for fun Friday.

Get a Voki now!  Click the play button to hear my message.
Voki allows you to create an avatar, record a message, share it with friends, or publish it.  You can do this without registering, which keeps it simple for teaching students how to use Voki. You can also register on the site and save your creations for future use.  Teachers may want to do this so you can create Voki messages and have them ready to share with your students.  

Using Voki, you can customize your avatar or if your goal is to share a message, you can simply use the many characters that are already designed.  Although using a microphone allows you to practice presentation skills, the text to speech feature supports writing, punctuation, etc.  If you are looking for a simple way to get your students' creative juices flowing.

Here is my classroom joke of the day Voki. 

Get a Voki now!
Try this creative tool and see what you can create.  Then, see what your students create.  Share your comments about Voki and how you could use the tool with your students.  Have a fabulous Friday!

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Fact Monster - free reference site and much more

Fact Monster is a free interactive website from Info Please.  It provides students with comprehensive reference materials, games, quizzes, and a lot more. 
The homework help section provides excellent resources.  You can choose a subject, skills or types of reference resources.  

Fact Monster is engaging for students from elementary through middle school.  I have worked with teachers who use it for lesson review, afterschool program activities and homework.  Fact Monster has interactive quizzes that provide instant feedback.

I have added a screen shot of the tool bar that keeps it simple with good visuals for easy searching.
tool bar

Check out Fact Monster and all the various components you can use to enhance a lesson.  Share a comment about how you use it or what your students think about the site.  Sharing builds community!

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Wise Owl - Learning Resources Site

NC WiseOwl is a site published by the North Carolina Department of Public Instruction. This site provides incredible resources for teachers and students.  The site has featured web sites for elementary, middle and high school "zones."  You will find links to online encyclopedias, dictionaries, photographs, reference material, and interactives.  In additional to the student material, there is a professional zone and a media/tech zone.

When I add a post to my blog, I try to make technology learning easy for educators.  I have tried to share individual programs, tips and web tools.  NC WiseOwl is a bit different because it has an abundance of resources but, the website is easy to navigate and has a clean look that I think you will find "keeps it simple."
The November featured websites link to excellent interactive learning resources with pictures and online quizzes.  Students can even print a certificate after successfully completing a quiz.

As with all lesson activities, it is important for teachers to preview the material.  Ensure the website opens on your computers and that all the links are working.   Thank you to the NC Dept. of Public Instruction for sharing these resources.

I hope you will click though WiseOwl and that you find an activity that will support your November instruction.  Share your comments.

Monday, November 8, 2010

Facebook as a Learning Tool - Yes Indeed

I read this article and knew I had to share it.  So many schools/districts are blocking Facebook and other social networking sites and this article does an excellent job of explaining how teacher, Erin Schoening has harnessed the power of social networking with her 1st grade students in Council Bluffs, Iowa.   

Congratulations to Ms. Schoening for challenging and engaging her students in an experience that I believe they will never forget.  She has parents on board and students are "writing for an audience." 

I realize that people have strong opinions about Facebook so, I choose to look at the student engagement, collaboration and positive communication that Ms. Schoening's project has generated.  There are other tools we can use to communicate and collaborate and most have positives and negatives.

Teachers, consider this as one fine example of what a group of 6 and 7 year old students can do with proper supervision, instruction and support.  Share your thoughts in the comment box. 

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Kerpoof Studio - Multimedia Experience!

Kerpoof is a Web 2.0 site that I have used and shared with teachers for several months.  Everything is free and elementary and middle school students have enjoyed the creativity it affords. Students and teachers have given it a huge thumbs up!  
Students can create multimedia drawings, stories, movies, cards, doodles, and more.  The site links to state standards and activities are interactive.  Kerpoof can be used with an Interactive White Board and of course, individually.  It is also a good site to share with parents so families can create at home.  The site has won numerous awards, supports multiple languages, and encourages creativity, reading and writing.  What more can a teacher ask for? 
                  Keeping it simple                   
The teacher link, Kerpoof Scholastics is: It will give you a clear overview of the site's options.
FAQ's for Teachers - Kerpoof is free to teachers and educational institutions. 
  • There is nothing to download.  Kerpoof runs using Flash Player 10.  Most schools have Flash Player as part of a desktop/notebook configuration and it is a free download from Adobe.  
  • Kerpoof runs on PC and MAC computers.  Technical support is available through a website.
Make sure your students know that they do not need a paid membership.  That option is available however, all your students can use Kerpoof at the same time and it is free.

If you are looking to spark creative writing and storytelling, give Kerpoof a look.  I think you will be impressed.  Leave a comment and let me know what your students think of the site.