Thursday, May 17, 2012

Science Website: 3D Toad

 A great website called 3D Toad has a free gallery of 3D objects from skeletons to dissections to molecule structures. Use your mouse to zoom in and out or rotate the objects. If you have access to 3D glasses, you can use them to view some of the images even more clearly. Just look for the red and blue glasses icon. The clip below shows a teacher using the dental hygiene section of the website. 

Monday, May 14, 2012


Feeling a void since Picnik was absorbed by Google? I know how 'ya feel, and we are going to change that. PicMonkey is a new web 2.0 tool that allows you to upload your pictures, make them awesome, and then download them back. (Similar to Picnik but no storage.) Why is PicMonkey so great? You can check out the details on the team here, but let me just point out that one of the software engineers and the #1 code-writer   from Picnik are in the mix. You're sold now, huh?

PicMonkey has your standard crop, rotate, sharpen tools, but you'll love the tabs that follow: photo effects, touch ups, text tools, shapes, scrapbooky items, frames, etc. Below is one experiment of mine. I will spare you the rest. (Weren't my twins cute when they were little??)

Try it out and post below with your thoughts. Share a before and after pic if you like! Want a printable guide to walk you through a few of the options? No problem. My colleague, Randi, has you covered.

Thursday, May 10, 2012

DoInk: Draw it Yourself Animation

While GoAnimate and xtranormal are old favorites of mine, DoInk is my new animation best friend. You can download the app for $5 or used the web-based version for free. I love that each step in the process of a DoInk animation is bite-sized. DoInk rep Melinda Shultz turned me on to a great sample and a few tutorials to get started, and I created a step-by-step guide as I went. If you give DoInk a try, leave a post on your thoughts!

Under the Sea 2 by melanie_turner, made at

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

SMART Exchange: Blue Ridge Mountain Region

Since SMART and Promethean boards gained in popularity a few years back, every Joe Schmo computer company has come up with some kind of whiteboard or  interactive projector or special funky pen. At the time, I looked into both SMART and Promethean products. SMART won hands down.

You see, it's not really about what the board itself can do; they pretty all much work the same. It's about what the software will do. SMART software allows the teacher to create something that is truly interactive. You can set up sorting activities, quizzes, and animations. You can embed YouTube videos and attach other files. And the best part? There is this whole community of teachers out there making and sharing their SMART resources on the SMART Exchange. While I've been a member of the Exchange forever, I just recently submitted my first file. After all, that's what collaboration is all about. Don't just lurk and download - add to the knowledge bank!

Monday, May 7, 2012


In the United States, 61% of middle school students say they’d rather take out the garbage than do their math homework. If you ask students why they dislike math so much they’ll often say, “I don’t know what it means or when I’ll ever use it.” To many, math is just a bunch of random steps to memorize and regurgitate. 
(excerpt from Mathalicious)

Mathalicious is trying to change this perception by tying together real-world, interesting questions with practical math concepts. For example: Why does everyone pay the same amount to buy Nike shoes online? Surely the cost of making a size 2 is much less than a 12. What would happen is Nike charged by weight? The common core standards are listed beside the topic slideshow and downloadable teacher guide/student handout.

Some of the lessons on Mathalicous are free. Others require a paid subscription. The suggested contribution is $20/month. However, they follow a "pay what you can" philosophy that would allow the strapped teacher to join for as little as $5/month. An annual school license is also available.

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Animation in the Classroom

Animation projects can be a great way to check for understanding with students. A 5th grade teacher friend of mine uses Go Animate often, and the example below was created by one of his students.

the civil war by sherndon4 on GoAnimate

If you are not familiar with Go Animate for Schools, check out this printable quick guide. Go Animate's site also offers tutorials like this one on design principles. If you create an animation, link it up below!