Friday, April 27, 2012

Web Game: Semicolon Wars

Mr. Nussbaum's site has tons of educational games on it; my favorite is called Semicolon Wars. (You like that well placed semicolon, don't you?) The semicolons are tired of being pushed aside for the more plebeian punctuation like periods and commas. You must correctly place all of the punctuation in the game to defend semicolon honor!

Other great activities on the site include the ever-popular Tony's Fraction Pizza Shop, Cash Out, and General Tso's Spicy Synonyms.

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Teaching Channel: Short Video Inspiration

Teaching Channel hosts hundreds of video clips designed to improve instruction and inspire new classroom ideas. I previewed a 7 minute language arts video about using personal anecdotes in narrative writing. (I think this is where I insert a story about how I used to teach this concept, but I will spare you.)

Browsing, I spotted a lesson idea for high school statistics and a middle school video on making edible cells. You can also search social studies and the arts. This would be a great (quick) way to get in a little PD when you are pressed for time.

Monday, April 23, 2012

Phonics App: Tic Tac Toe

Lakeshore Publishing has a great free app for phonics called Tic Tac Toe. The first player chooses Xs or Os, and then chooses a space. Here are a few of the question types:
  • What are the first two letters of the picture below? (blends underneath)
  • Which of these words has a different beginning sound than the other words? (onset)
  • Which word doesn't belong with the others? (long and short vowels)
  • How many syllables are in this workd?
With each correct answer, the player marks her X or O in the square; incorrect answers get no mark.  Now, the app does not read the questions, so I have to play this with my kindergartner to help with the unfamiliar words. I could see this as a great small group activity for K-2.

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Favorite Free App for Language Learners

Do you need help to parlez-vous fran├žais? AccelaStudy has an awesome app for drill and practice with foreign languages. I have playing around with the French version, and I'm pretty impressed. I can choose to study all of the words in the bank, or just certain categories. As I flip through the flash cards, I can select troublesome words (like those pesky days of the week or condiments) to copy into their own review batch. The app offers quizzes and statistics by category as well. Do you have a favorite languages app? Leave it in the comments section!

Suggested in the World Languages group on Edmodo by Mrs. Brenda Bennett: Memrize online, Busuu and LearnBots for iPad

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Website: Phonics Training Ground

Here's one for the babies: Phonics Training Ground is a cute little site for PK or K students. It starts off with showcasing certain letter sounds and blending together those sounds into words. Next students may be asked to identify the picture with a word and fill in the missing letter. Last, the officer in charge chants about letter substitution and makes new words. That's it - the site is very basic, but my PKer loves it!

Here are a few more early learner sites. Feel free to leave your favorites in the comments section!

Monday, April 16, 2012

Use Edmodo to Text Students

Free use photo from morgueFile
While some high schools do not allow cell phone use during the school day, many teachers would like a way to reach their mobile students after school hours. It would be a HUGE pain to try and collect all of these students' cell phone numbers and a nightmare to continuously update them. Edmodo offers a great solution: Students can log in and choose text message as the mode of notification. They enter the number and they update it as needed. Now all you have to do is send out message through Edmodo, and teens at the mall, Walmart, and baseball practice alike will get an alert like...

"Don't forget to turn in your character analysis tomorrow."
"We will hold a study discussion at 6pm on Edmodo for everyone who can attend. Bring your questions!"
"Check out the two links I posted to the group for more practice on Algebra."

You get the idea.

I do have one suggestion though: I would advise students (especially those who may be in several Edmodo groups) to choose to only receive "alert" notifications. These will only be text, so students will not accrue any unwanted data charges. It also cuts the number of texts they receive to the short ones from you. If you'd like to give it a shot, check out my quick guide! If you are new to Edmodo, here is a collection of resources to get you started:

Friday, April 13, 2012

Google Lit Trips

There is a plethora of research out there supporting cross-curricular education, and Google Lit Trips are one marvelous example. Created using Google Earth, the trips are a collection of links and pictures that follow a particular path. For example, you could follow the Joad family through The Grapes of Wrath (created by Jerome Burg - founder of Google Lit trips) or Possum Magic's Hush through the Australian Outback (created by yours truly).

Under the hood: You must have Google Earth installed on your computer to begin with. The trips download as .kmz files - which you can open inside Google Earth. You can choose the "play" the trip and have the slides advance automatically; or you can manually click through the path locations to allow for more discussion time. If you'd like to create your own trip, click on download and then "Lit Trip Tips." Once it is complete, submit it to Mr. Burg for publication!

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

SMART Game Board: Sight Words

The SMART Exchange is fabulous place to find resources or spark ideas. (Sometimes it is daunting to look at a blank SMART Notebook file and get creative.) If you have never used the site, just sign up for a free account to get started.

I ran across this game board while searching for review activities. Kids love game boards, but are generally resistant to practicing sight words. Students click the dice, read the words, and move the appropriate spaces. Since I'm a little OCD, I tweaked some of the pages. I also changed out the original Dolch words for the words du jour in South GA: Fry. There is not a big difference, and if you'd like the Dolch file, I'll be glad to email it to you. Just message me.

The dice are located on the last page and can be copied as much as you'd like. You can make your own board easily by using shapes and Gallery items. Below is a board that I threw together for my little girls' school reading theme: Reading Rocks! Or click to get my full Fry Words gameboard file. Feel free to use it or make it your own!