Tuesday, December 11, 2012

New Symbaloos Ready for Winter Break

Here are the links to the 4th grading period Symbaloos! Remember, these can be shared on blogs, sent home to parents, or used in whatever way fits your students' needs. All linked activities are interactive, TEKS based, and correlate with the curriculum for each grade level. Blue is math, green is science, and red is ELA. We have also sent these to your CTA and requested that they please place these in Student Share so that students will have access to them throughout the building (student computers in the classroom, computer labs, science labs, etc.).

Monday, December 10, 2012

30+ Free Apps for Celebrating and Learning About December Holidays

Shelly Terrell is a phenomenal person to follow in the Twitterverse. (@ShellTerrell). She has been a huge leader in the educational technology world and presented to thousands of educators worldwide in over 100 countries! Talk about a mover and a shaker!!! I love reading her blog posts and especially loved this well-timed post Shelly wrote for the holidays:

Part of the Cool Sites series and Mobile Learning category“As we work to create light for others, we naturally light our own way.”~ Mary Anne Radmacher

Tis the season to be jolly, especially with the newest interactive and multimedia apps available to celebrate. Children, adolescents, and teens can create very meaningful gifts for friends and family members or get into the holiday spirit by using the suggested apps below. The apps are very easy to use, often free, and have various multimedia options. These apps integrate images, audio, text, video and extras. Children can also easily send the messages, videos, and cards at anytime for parents or friends to wake up and see on their phones or in their email. Many of these apps have the ability for users to share their creations through online communities, such as Facebook, and Twitter! For ideas on how to use these apps with students, view my slideshare presentation, Holiday Apps for Creating Gifts & Learning!

Holiday Greeting Apps

Students will enjoy sending a special greeting to loved ones and friends either through video, with personalized pictures, or with a holiday e-card. Some are equipped with Christmas and Hanukkah backgrounds and extras!
  • Holiday Video by Vlix (I-friendly)- Students can create a personalized video greeting up to 60 seconds. Choose from 17 holiday video effects, 16 holiday music tracks, various fonts and color, upload your own photos, and share on Facebook, YouTube, email, or your vlix feed
  • Animoto (Android/I-friendly)- Upload up to 10 images, choose a soundtrack from the library (many nice holiday tunes to choose from, and click a button to make a 30-second video. Sync your videos with your Animoto.com account, download videos for offline viewing, and make longer ones with an All-Access Pass. Sign up for an educator account to create longer videos for free.
  • Fotobabble- Quickly create and easily share talking photos in 3 steps (Snap or select or a photo, speak into the microphone to record audio, share with friends via email, Facebook or Twitter). You do get various holiday themed backgrounds. Example- Here’s Rosco, my pug’s holiday card to you!
  • Disco Santa Video Card- This is only compatible with the iPad 2 but students create a video of themselves with friends dancing with a Christmas monster then email the video.
  • RedStamp (I-friendly)- send free e-greeting cards with various free holiday templates in the spirit of Hanukkah and Christmas and upload your photos
  • Holiday Cards by Sincerely (Android/I-friendly)- send free e-greeting cards with various free holiday templates and the ability to personalize
  • A Card for That (Android)-send free e-greeting cards with various free holiday templates and the ability to personalize

Interactive Holiday Apps

These holiday apps have students read, play educational games, create videos detailing their wish lists, and more!
  • Wishstix (I-friendly)- record a video of you as an elf telling Santa what you want for Christmas and email to friends. It’s interactive with an elf prompting students.
  • Christmas Fun HD- (I-friendly) Students get into the Christmas spirit with interactive sing alongs, dress up games, painting activities, peek-a-boo games, interactive stories and so much more!
  • StoryKit- create a holiday book (I-friendly). Upload your own photos, doodle, add voice narration, or edit a classic book like the 3 Little Pigs or Humpty Dumpty.
  • Letters to Santa (I-friendly; search for the free version)- kids write unlimited letters to Santa Claus who responds
  • 123 Color: Hanukkah Coloring Book- (I-friendly) students learn numbers, letters, and colors with engaging artwork, music, sound effects, and voice-overs spoken in these 12 languages and dialects
  • Light My Fire- (I-friendly) Students learn about Hanukkah and get to light a virtual traditional Hanukkah lamp.
  • Become Santa Claus in 24 Days- students play 24 problem-solving games that will help them achieve a Santa diploma in the end
  • Jingle All the Way- Interactive book on i-devices that has games, puzzles, and more for kids!
  • Henry Motlies Christmas Story- Interactive book on i-devices where children can listen to the story in English or German, play games, and has interactive features.
  • Christmas Eve SO- Interactive book on i-devices that features cartoons, karaoke read along, pronunciation of each word, syllable breakdown, vowel displays, word explanations and illustrations, and French, English, German options.
  • Toca Hair Salon Hair X-mas- style Santa’s hair (I-friendly)
  • Norad Santa Tracker (Android/I-friendly/Blackberry)- search in your phone’s app store for free versions; track Santa as he drops off his gifts.
  • Santa Hat Sewing (I-friendly)- is a brand new arts and crafts app that will lead you all the way to design and sew that perfect Santa Hat for your kids. This art and craft app has been specially designed for the kids to take an active role in making a Santa hat.The Santa Hat Sewing app will teach you and show you how to make a great one. Idea- Create a Santa hat for a favorite doll or loved one with a cute title like Mrs. Claus!
  • MeeGenius- helps kids read with a library of books that have read along features, word highlighting, narration, and other features to help those with autism (Android/I-friendly)
  • Santa’s Village- Interactive games/reading (Android)
  • Tales2Go- Audio Stories (free for 30 days; I-friendly)

Talking Holiday Apps

Students speak to these characters and they repeat the words back in a funny voice. You can have students send holiday greetings, come up with their gift wish lists, create a modern version of Christmas songs like the 12 days of Christmas, sing a holiday chant or song or record a Christmas poem, video, joke, or rhyme.
  • Talking Santa (Android version)- Students talk to Santa and he repeats their words. They can poke, swipe or tickle him and he reacts. They can also send video Christmas cards via email or Facebook or upload to Youtube.
  • Talking Santa 3D HD (iPad)- Students talk to Santa and he repeats their words. He does 10 different poses, dances ballet, plays snowball and gives special gifts like a Superman as well as candy. They can also send video Christmas cards via email or Facebook or upload to Youtube.
  • Talking Santa Meets Ginger (Android version)- Students talk to Santa and he repeats their words to Ginger the mischievous cat. Ginger tickles/kicks Santa, pulls off his beard, puts a finger up his nose, sets his hat on fire, and more. They can also send video cards via email or Facebook or upload to Youtube.
  • Talking Gremlin (I-friendly)- students talk to the Christmas Gremlin and he repeats their words in a funny voice. They can also interact with him to make him do funny things and create/send video cards via email or Facebook or upload to Youtube.
  • Talking Gingerbread Man (I-friendly) students talk to the Gingerbread Man and he repeats their words in a funny voice. They can also interact with him to make him do funny things and create/send video cards via email or Facebook or upload to Youtube.

Holiday Music Creation Apps

Create holiday music or send a singing carol with these great apps!
  • Autotune Xmas (I-friendly)- kids sing along to their favorite popular hits from Beiber, Lady Gaga, Madonna and more and can send as a video to someone else.
  • A Holiday Piano Book: Jingle Bells by StoryBoy (I-friendly) an interactive and illustrated holiday piano book that teaches kids to play songs on a virtual piano
  • Maxi’s Holiday Piano (I-friendly) simon says style game with a virtual keyboard to teach students how to play favorite holiday songs
  • Piano Mi (I-friendly) videos teach children how to play Christmas favorites on a virtual keyboard they get to interact with
  • Christmas Piano (Android/I-friendly)- search in your app store for the free version
  • My Baby Piano (Android) great for very young learners. This app features drumming and keyboard lessons
Try these apps with your students and blog about any exciting ways you use them!

READING HER BLOG IS A MUST AND YOU CAN DO IT BY CLICKING HERE: http://shellyterrell.com/ !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Monday, December 3, 2012

12 Days of Christmas Sites!

I recently came across a fabulous post by Keith Ferrell on his blog EdTech Ideas. Keith regularly posts great resources for technology integration and with Christmas coming up, this blog post doesn't disappoint. He has not only collected great holiday-themed sites but explained how you can apply these to your classroom teaching.

Here's a collection of holiday and winter sites for kids and teachers that should help make your last week of school festive and productive, and give kids some fun places to go on those cold, wintry days.

In this ├╝ber-popular game from Mini-Clip, your mission is to help Santa Claus collect the presents and get them ready for delivery on Christmas Eve. To do this you need to draw a pathway of least-resistance, collect all the presents, and finish at the checkered flag.
EdTechIdeas: Although mostly fun, the rules of physics play a part here and students must think and plan out a pathway that does not defy gravity. Also a good game if you have students who have not completely mastered the mouse.

Here’s a challenging game from Kaboose which is kind of like a mash-up between Tetris andConcentration. In Santa Filbriks, students are to help Santa find the matching tiles without hitting the bottom of the game area.

Journey to the Northpole.com for loads of great activities for kids. Students can write letters to Santa, read stories, have stories read to them, create personalized stories, and many other activities. EdTechIdeas: Beyond having students explore and learn with this site, there is theElf Pal Academy, which connects teachers to a plethora of printable Google Docs geared to lower elementary students and English language learners.

Another great game from Miniclip. Your mission is to slice through the ice and save the frozen Vikings by getting them back to their longboat! You really have to contemplate and plan out your moves in this highly challenging game.

There are tons of ideas, lesson plans, book activities, links tore-printable stories, teacher sharing ideas, and more. EdTechIdeas: The Ultimate Winter Resources for Teachers would be a good place to start if you’re looking for winter inspiration.

Who doesn’t like Mad Libs? Classroomjr.com has a collection of 3 winter Mad Libs, along with 3 Christmas Mad Libs, some winter word puzzlesChristmas math worksheets, and someprintable Christmas mazes that’ll keep students productive all winter break.

7. Norad Tracks Santa

Each year, Norad tracks Santa by using four high-tech tracking systems – radar, satellites, Santa Cams and fighter jets. This site allows kids to watch as Santa is tracked as he delivers all of his presents. On Christmas Eve, students can click here to track his flight live in Google Earth. EdTechIdeas: Norad Tracks Santa is a great site to learn about geography and places around the world. Students could chart the stops in Google Maps, calculate distances and speed required to make all of the stops possible, write a creative story about his adventure, compare and contrast Santa’s trips in the past using population data… I could go on forever!

8. ABC Teach

Great site for teachers, ABC Teach has downloadable bookmarks, border paper, word scrambles, coloring pages, some holiday book comprehension and activity pages, and more.

9. Education Place - Winter Theme

Education Place has a plethora of activities for teachers of grades K-8. Winter memory books, weather studies, seasonal comparisons, winter quizzes, word finds, snow sculptures, and more. If you’re looking for learning activities to do during the winter months, this is a good place to start.

10. Antarctica - "Street" View

Google Maps Antarctica allows you to take a walk around parts of the white continent. A very small portion of Antarctica have been covered (for obvious reasons), but the views are amazing! In typical Google subtle humor, the normal yellow street view man in street view Antarctica is replaced by a penguin. EdTechIdeas: I realize it’s not “Christmassy” and Santa lives in the North Pole, not the South; but there’s some great images here not to be missed. Students could write stories about what life would be like if Santa lived in Antarctica. They could pinpoint where his home would be and find a suitable area for a landing strip.

11. Christmas Around the World

Students can learn about different Christmas traditions in several countries. While the title of the site sounds grandiose and all-encompassing, there are only 8 countries highlighted. However, for learning about some different traditions for kids, it’s not a bad place to start.

12. Storynory

Storynory is a site that lets kids listen to free audio stories that are read by storyteller, Natasha Gostwick. The stories can be streamed live, or downloaded to be played anywhere. EdTechIdeas: Storynory would make a great listening center and a place story starting ideas. Students can created their own audio recordings and turn them into podcasts for other students, parents, and teachers to enjoy.

Be sure to add EdTeach Ideas to your Google Reader, or other RSS Reader, and follow @k_ferrell on Twitter. TONS OF GREATNESS!

Thursday, November 29, 2012

Trading Card Creator

I follow Richard Byrne's blog, "Free Technology for Teachers," like a stalker. He consolidates and posts education resources he finds online there and they are always outstanding. This past week, he posted about Read Write Think's Trading Card Creator on the web.

The Trading Card Creator is an excellent way to have students show what they know.They are able to create a trading card about a historical person, fictional charcter, current figure, event, or concept.

If a student, for example chooses to highlight Ben Franklin, they should download a public image from a site like www.pics4learning.com. Then, research Franklin and use what they find to create the trading card.Another nice feature of this tool is that students can download the card when they are finished! No account or email address is needed :)

Friday, November 16, 2012

3rd Grading Period Symbaloos

Here are the links to the 3rd grading period Symbaloos! Remember, these can be shared on blogs, sent home to parents, or used in whatever way fits your students' needs. All linked activities are interactive, TEKS based, and correlate with the curriculum for each grade level. Blue is math, green is science, and red is ELA. We have also sent these to your CTA and requested that they please place them in Student Share so that students will have access to them throughout the building (student computers in the classroom, computer labs, science labs, etc).

Thanksgiving Resources

Scholastic has put together a phenomenal collection of resources to teach your students about the first Thanksgiving. Take your students on virtual field trips where they can explore the Mayflower, compare and contrast the daily life of the Pilgrims and Wampanoags, and learn about the Thanksgiving feast. There are also great resources for teachers as well. They have lesson plans, videos, ideas for arts and crafts, and even book lists for various grade levels. 

Check it out HERE.

Friday, November 9, 2012

Digital Citizenship Made Easy!

If I asked you to define 'digital citizenship', could you? More importantly, could you to a student? Would you be able to not only define what it is but teach those same students about it. Have no fear, I have the PERFECT resource to help you out! 

Common Sense Media has create a Scope and Sequence with lessons on all the various aspects of digital citizenship. It has topics that cover internet safety, cyber-bullying, information literacy, copyright and MORE. There are 8 topics in all. Their collection of lessons also span from kindergarten to twelfth grade. So, even our wee-little web users can be knowledgeable when they browse. 

Just an FYI for you: Common Sense Media's mission statement is: "Common Sense Media is dedicated to improving the lives of kids and families by providing the trustworthy information, education, and independent voice they need to thrive in a world of media and technology." 

You can browse all of these lesson plans HERE

Monday, November 5, 2012

Safe Online Searching

I wanted to let you know about an online resource, provided by the FBI, called Safe Online Surfing. I have taken a brief look at some of the presentations on the website and think this will engage students at most any elementary level. There are games for the students to play set in cool island scenes that allow for fun creativity. There are support instructions for teachers as well so take a look. Also, if you need CIPA support, this might be something you could use if you don’t already have something in place. It’s very ‘user friendly’. Anyone can use the site, but grades 3 through 8 have specific islands. An exam is available for each level if a teacher signs up.

Here is an article about the site.

TCEA1011 Conference

Last Saturday, Region 10 and Region 11 came together to host a technology conference. The conference was called, 'Teach Me: Teaching Using Technology' and featured tons of great presentations. 

Hundreds of educators from across Texas showed up for the collaboration and learning opportunity. There were sessions on everything from flipping your classroom, Pinterest for educators, PBL, Google Tools, and even more. Edtech celebrities were there sharing their innovative ideas on implementing technology. However, don't fret because you couldn't make it. Many of these great presenters can also be found on Twitter, sharing bits of great thoughts at any time. Here are a few that were in attendance that day:


Some other more familiar faces in attendance were Jessica Branch (@Jessica_Branch), Stacey McGough (@smcgough), and myself (@AngelynCheatham).

So proud of our Garland teachers taking time out of their weekends and absorbing this phenomenal professional development on their day off! Way to go ladies!!! Can't wait to see the great things you are able to do with all that you learned. 

Thursday, November 1, 2012

I Spy a COW in the classroom!

No, not this kind of COW...

The kind of COW (computers on wheels) that allows teachers and students to go beyond the boundaries of the classroom and explore while learning. This is what this COW looked like...

5th graders at Davis Elementary were using laptops with their math lesson in Mrs. Hodgkins class. Each student was able to log into his/her account on EnVision (our digital math textbook) and review the math topic of the day, practice guided and independent problems, and then reinforce their understanding with the accompanying activity. While each student was working hard solving these problems at their own pace, the teacher was able to work with students one-on-one for further help. The combination of technology and pedagogy during this lesson allowed for authentic differentiated learning in math. KUDOS Mrs. Hodgkins!! 

COWs are an excellent tool to use in the classroom. Here are some other ideas on ways that you can use laptops in the classroom:

  • use with Britannica Online for research
  • allow students to work on Tech Apps Projects from the curriculum
  • practice skills using the TEKS correlated Symbaloos
  • student-creation & publishing
  • Web 2.0 tools like Voki or Blabberize
  • district resources like Tumblebooks or EnVision as seen above
Are you ready to go beyond the walls of the classroom with a COW in your classroom? I can help! Please let me know if you would like help setting up, getting going, or teaching a lesson with laptops and your students. I would be happy to help!

Friday, October 19, 2012

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Digital Pumpkins

What could be more fun than letting your entire class carve pumpkins in your classroom??? How about letting your entire class carve pumpkins WITHOUT the mess??? Thought so! ;)

Check out these great 'digital' pumpkin carving websites that will let your students carve and/or decorate a pumkin safely (only virtual carving here) and without getting that sticky orange mess on their hands:


Ideas for Classroom Use:
  • Put it in a center at the student computers
  • Print out each student's pumpkin for a digital pumpkin patch outside your classroom
  • Make Geometric Jack-O-Lanterns by carving shapes into the pumpkin
  • Pull the activity into writing with a 'How to Carve a Pumpkin' prompt

Monday, October 15, 2012

Trapped! Punctuation Activity

Sometimes punction can be scary....and fun! Check out this new game created by the BBC called Trapped!. In this animated activity students will be challenged to identify the correct punctuation in the course of an eerie story. Also, just in time for Halloween, this activity has a spooky hint to it with rotten apples and bats flying around.

I especially love that you can click on the 's' below the screen to see subtitles of what is being spoken to the student. Can you say fluency support? YAY! The following is an example of one of the challenges a student must complete in this story.

This activity can be found by clicking HERE. Enjoy!

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

5 Tech-Friendly Lessons that Encourage HOTS

I want to share these five great ideas I found on Susan Brooks-Young's blog. She is an education consultant and author in Washington. She wrote a great article called 5 Tech-Friendly Lessons to Encourage Higher-Order Thinking

Research has proven that students' repeated 
involvement in lessons that make them use higher order thinking skills, or HOTS, greatly increases their chances of achieving success on standardized tests. I think, typically those activities are more fun and engaging anyway! Susan's post has some great and practical suggestions. I have posted her article in it's entirety below.

Experts maintain that regular opportunities to engage in activities requiring use of higher order thinking skills can significantly improve student achievement as measured on standardized tests. My own experience as a classroom teacher, site administrator, and professional development provider supports this assertion.
To this end, mobile apps and Web 2.0 tools can facilitate implementation of activities requiring students to use skills at the top three levels of Bloom’s Revised Taxonomy--analyzing, evaluating, and creating. Here are five examples of activities that target these levels of the taxonomy and can be used with students across grade levels in a variety of content areas. Teachers of very young children can implement these ideas as whole class projects.

1. One Minute, One TakeVideo production helps students of all ages use higher order thinking skills as they create a digital media product. In the One Minute, One Take activity, students work in small groups to identify a topic that can be explained or summarized in one minute. This might be a plot summary of a book or movie, but can also be an explanation of a concept.Once the topic is identified, students analyze the information, evaluate what critical information must be incorporated into the one minute summary or explanation, and create a video in one take. It’s okay to pause the recording while shooting, but aside from adding a title and closing credits, that should be all the editing that’s done. 60 Second Recap is an example.

2. Listen up!Creating podcasts is an easy, effective way to help students of all ages strengthen their higher order thinking skills and become better speakers and listeners in the process. All you need is a device that can record audio and a way to listen to what’s been recorded. There are free audio recording apps for all mobile devices and Audacity is a free audio recording and editing program to download on a PC or Mac. An external microphone is handy, but it’s possible to get by without one.Podcast topics are virtually limitless and recordings can be comprised of words, sound effects, and music. Encourage students to work in pairs or small groups. Limit early projects to about three minutes. Once they choose (or are assigned) a topic, they need to work collaboratively to conduct research, write a script, record the podcast, and review their final product. As with the video, keep editing to a minimum. If students rehearse before recording they should be able to get through a short script with very few mistakes.

3. Look CarefullyInfographics--graphical representations designed to show complex information quickly and clearly--are useful because they reduce lots of content into a readily understood format. However, it’s easy to use charts, graphs, and other visual representations to distort facts. The ability to differentiate between accurate and inaccurate infographics is a critical media literacy skill.One way to become a more discerning reader of infographics is to create one. In this activity, students work in small groups to create an infographic on a topic of their choice. In the process they: research a topic to gather data they verify as being accurate and current; decide how the data will be presented (e.g., charts, timelines, Venn diagrams, etc.); choose design elements (color scheme, font type, size, and style); and, assemble the infographic using Excel and MS Word, or a Web 2.0 tool like Piktochart.

4. Thinking Out LoudA screencast is a recording of what’s happening on a computer or tablet screen and typically includes audio. The technique is often tapped to create software tutorial videos, but with a plain background, it’s also possible to use images or live drawings to explain or demonstrate something.Challenge students to create a video tutorial that demonstrates a skill or explains a basic concept using a screencasting app (e.g., Screen ChompShowMe, or Educreations for iPad) or screencasting program for a laptop (e.g., Jing or Screencast-O-Matic). Instead of scripting the video, ask the student narrator to outline basic steps in the process being covered and then describe out loud what he or she is doing during the demonstration or explanation. Sample student screencasts can be accessed at this URL.

5. Five Photo StoriesBased on a Flickr group, Five Photo Stories tell tales using five images with no supporting text or audio, aside from the story title. The images can be found online, but it’s usually easier for students to take their own photos. The guidelines on the Flickr group site suggest that storytellers use the following structure. For more examples, visit the Five Photo Story Education Group.
  • Photo 1: Establish character(s) and setting
  • Photo 2: Create a situation where multiple actions might occur
  • Photo 3: Engage the character(s) in the situation
  • Photo 4: Built toward a likely outcome
  • Photo 5: End with a surprising--but logical--finish

Read more at http://thejournal.com/Articles/2012/09/24/5-MediaRich-Lesson-Ideas-to-Encourage-HigherOrder-Thinking.aspx?Page=2#k7e9WkM66Ef0cpC3.99 

Friday, October 5, 2012

2nd Grading Period Symbaloos

Here are the links to the 2nd grading period Symbaloos! Remember, these can be shared on blogs, sent home to parents, or used in whatever way fits your students' needs. All linked activities are interactive, TEKS based, and correlate with the curriculum for each grade level. Blue is math, green is science, and red is ELA. 



Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Landforms and Patterns in the Sky

I am so grateful for LuAnn Engelman from Kimberlin Academy for finding these great resources for landforms and earth patterns. The best part is that all of it is FREE! Thanks for sharing Mrs. Engleman!

http://www.teachersdomain.org/resource/ess05.sci.ess.eiu.seasonsgame/ Great explanation of rotation and revolution, shows seasons as it shows earth going around the sun in a year
http://www.teachersdomain.org/asset/ess05_int_fossilintro/ Shows step by step how a dinosaur becomes a fossil
http://www.teachersdomain.org/asset/ess05_int_shake/ Interactive plate tectonics and shows mountain building and volcano building
http://www.teachersdomain.org/asset/ess05_int_boundaries/ Shows plate boundaries and tectonic plates
http://www.teachersdomain.org/asset/ess05_int_helens/ Mount St. Helen shows video of the eruption, and photo slide show of before and after the eruption
http://www.teachersdomain.org/asset/ess05_int_mphase/ Excellent interactive on moon phases
http://www.teachersdomain.org/asset/ess05_int_virtmap/ Virtual cave, shows different cave formations
http://www.teachersdomain.org/asset/ess05_int_vistopo/ virtual topographic map, can show shadow formation and can tilt and rotate like in Google earth. Shows valley, hill and cliff
http://www.teachersdomain.org/asset/ess05_img_erosion/ great images showing the different types of erosion and weathering