Saturday, August 30, 2008

Some Flash Games for The Younger Set

Well, I am finished with my week at the Democratic National Convention and if anyone is at all interested in my comings and goings there - check out my blog at I must warn you that it has a very Democratic slant, so you have to understand that before reading. I respect all of your leanings and I am sure everyone has different priorities on which you base your support for political candidates.

Now on to something you can use in your classroom:
ict Numeracy Games at
are created by educator James Barrett. These flash games are excellent for K-2 students to practice math. You will find game themes for number facts, counting, bridging through ten, time, shape and measures, greater than and less than, multiplication and rounding, money (this is UK money), addition, subtraction, odd and even, place values, doubles, and equivalence. Each math or numeracy theme has several games to play for practice. These are very interactive an will not only motivate, but provide good practice.

There are advertisements on this site but they are unobtrusive, your students probably won’t even notice. The games are high quality enough that this shouldn’t be a deterrent.

Saturday, August 23, 2008

Know Some Student Teachers or First Year Teachers?

Hi Everyone,

I just came along a wonderful article written by Christina Laun and I know that there are new people in your schools that could really benefit from your passing this on to them. t is called Baptism by Fire: 100 Essential Tips and Resources for Student Teachers. It is chalk full of websites of resources, blogs, professional organizations, and message boards that are speciffically for the student teacher or the first year teacher. It can be found at
I know the newest members of your faculty would really appreciate it if you would email them this article filled with websites just for them.

I will be in Denver this week for the Democratic National Convention. I am not a delegate, but acxtive in the party and invited by my sister-in-law who is the vice chair of the DNC. My husband and i are making a vacation of it and really looking forward to it. I may get to some blogging on this site as I will be listening to podcasts on the plane tomorrow, but if you have the least bit of interest in my activities in Denver, check out my blog at .


Friday, August 22, 2008

iTunes U - Free Audio and Video for Instructional Enhancement

Hi Everyone,

You are probably all either enjoying your last week of summer or already going in to your classrooms for the week long setup that it will take to get your classroom looking just right for Day 1. Or maybe some of you are well into the school year (Arizona! where my grandchildren are)

I was just reading the new online copy of Tech and Learning and it provided me with lots of information for what I missed by not attending NECC Conference in San Antonio. One thing that popped out at me and I wanted to share was about the free iTunes U. It looks wonderful and may provide the videos that many of you have been looking for if your district does not provide you with a online service like United Streaming. These audio and videos can be downloaded to iPods or played right from the computer.

Visit iTunes U at and then scroll down and watch the video to learn all about how this works. It is amazing what is available. You will then have to download iTunes if you do not already have it. In searching, you will still search the iTunes store and then narrow your search by clicking on iTunes U and this is all shown in the tutorial from the main page.

Hope this is something that you will find useful.

I wish you either a great last week(s) at home or a wonderful start to the new year. I know many of you did not really take much of a break.


Wednesday, August 20, 2008

OREO Project Posted and Ready For Registration

Hi Everyone,

You know that I talk passionately about engaging your students in online collaborative projects. I really believe that a lot of learning can place along with the experiences that can only come from being a part of a global project such as this.

The task for you and your students is quite simple. Students will stack oreos and then average the numbers that are tallied before the "tumble". When young children who have not experienced averaging are doing this project, teachers can do the averaging "whole class" and the students will understand the results because they are engaged in the process. There are all sorts of other activities that Jen Wagner, who does so much to initiate the most wonderful projects, suggests and makes available to you. The project takes place from September 15 - October 10, but registration is open now - so register your class before you forget!

http://www.jenuinet /2008oreo/ register. htm


Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Websites For Your Class - Easily Accomplished!

Dear Friends,

If this is the year that you are going to have a class website, you have chosen an excellent time to do it. Never before have there been easier ways to have your own website, easily created, web-based (able to edit it and post from any computer) and free! The ones I am going to recommend are even Ad-Free, which to me is important when students and parents are going to be using it to gain classroom information.

Why Create a Classroom Website?

Once you have a classroom website, you have opened the doors of your classroom to anyone who is interested in what the children in your classroom are doing and/or learning. This definitely includes the many grandparents, aunts, uncles, cousins, and friends who live in cities far away from the classroom. It is so appreciated by these people and the students themselves who share their pride in their classroom with so many others.

They also open up their classroom with peers from around the world as you create relationships with classrooms around the world and share your website with them.

Having a “voice” that reaches far beyond the classroom really motivates kids to want to read and to write. Also, your young artists will enjoy sharing their work, too.

What a great way to keep parents informed! Is there an important letter going home? A field trip next week? Perhaps you are currently seeking parent volunteers to help out with that art project next month. A classroom web page let's parents have a peek at what's going on - just in case Mary loses her backpack (and school newsletter) on the way home.

The web page publicizes what is happening in the class. Parents read about a project and a talented construction worker may show up to lend a hand at building the bird house you need for the science project.

Students will never have time within a school day to use all of the good links that will enhance their learning of content or of a skill. The website will be the perfect place to list websites. Boy, will parents appreciate that!Students will love hearing from people from all over the world who may look at your website. Have a “generic” email address on the first page of your website to invite comments. You, of course, will control the password.

Display pictures of all of the classroom projects. If your students have just finished creating a classroom mural that is, well, magnificent, wouldn't it be a shame to keep that from the rest of the world? Let folks know about it! Of course, refrain from adding names.
Teachers see so many faces coming in and out of their classrooms. Wouldn't it be lovely to keep a visual record of all the wonderful things your students said, did and learned throughout the year? You can do this with a classroom web page.

So What Can You Use To Create These Easy, Free, Ad-Free Websites?

These are the two that I have noticed lately that I would recommend:

WIX - This is an easy to use, great looking results website that is an online website builder - there is no need to have it hosted. You make it and then provide the weblink to others!

Weebly - This one was highly recommended by Jen Wagner. There is even a You Tube Video Tutorial that walks you through the steps. That can be found at

Please let me know if you "take the plunge" or if you already have an active website that you would share with me. I would love to hear from all of you about your success at trying this.

Monday, August 11, 2008

Best Buy Teacher Grants

I have been looking and looking to see when Best Buy was going to post the information about their next rounds of Teacher Grants. They have not appeared as promised in July at the same link they have been on before. This morning I decided to do some searching and did find the link. It is not eaasy to find, so I think, if you act quickly, you should have a "heads up" on gettinmg these grants. The grants are for use for purchasing technology for your classroom and range from $1000 to $5000. You will just have to articulate how you would use the technology in your classroom. So many teachers that I have kjnown in the past have applied and have won these grants. They are not as elusive as some. Go to and sign up as an applicant. Do this quickly, do not put it off (I know this is a busy time for all of you), but you will be so happy you did, because in early March 2009, you could be sent a checvk that will be the answer to your technology "wish list".

I am in New York City for five days. My husband is attending amny meetings and I am doing the NYC things. I am going to watch him make a presentation this morning.

Enjoy the very short rest of your summer!


Saturday, August 9, 2008

Jen Wagner Announces her First Project of the Year!

You all know, if you have heard me present, how passionate I am about having a class participate in an online collaborative project. Going beyond the classroom walls and introducing your class to envirionments around the world is an experience that will go long to meet many of your teaching objectives.
The first project of the year from JenuineTech is called A Room With A View. Here you will see the Introduction page and see what this year-long project will entail. It really is quite simple on your part, however, the results that will be posted will allow you to take your students travelling, virtually, to many, many places. One teacher has already made a website about her students' participation in the project at

Jen provides all the Resources you will need and the registration page can be found here:

I hope that many of you will take advantage of the opportunities that come with a project such as this. Again I am in awe of Jennifer Wagner!

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

I Am Really Back Now!

Part of me wants to apologize for not blogging more often this summer, but I must tell you that taking a few weeks break from thinking too much "classroom technology" felt quite good. I just spent the entire morning rereading the blogs that I have saved, newsletters, listserv messages, etc. that were worthy of keeping and concentrating on later in the summer, which is now here. I have picked out some things I really want to share with you throughout the rest of your short-lived vacations and hope that they will help you feel ready for the beginning of a new year!

The first entry will be called Websites With A Cause and have been collected from various sources.

Each of these websites offers students an opportunity to look outside their own needs to the needs of others. They go a long way to teaching your students compassion and how to help those less fortunate than they are. They also provide excellent practice in vocabulary or geography skills. They will probably like them so much that they will "play" these games at home and continue learning. Graphing class results will also provide further learning opportunities. I liked the idea that I saw on the ILearn Technology Blog, which suggested that we use websites such as these to teach persuasive writing to get other students to use the site, e.g. having your students make a commercial about the sites. Another idea is to post these sites on the desktop of the classroom computers so students who finish their work early can sit and play one of the games while they wait for the next activity. Credit is given to the ILearn Technology website for most of these suggested websites:

Free Rice - For every word gotten right on this v0cabulary game, 20 grains of rice are contributed through the United Nations World Food Program. Totals are kept on the computer being used, so that students can watch their progress.

Free Poverty - This is a wonderful geography game that donates ten cups of clean water for each correct answer on the student's behalf.

Free Corn - distributes free corn, but it takes 25 visits for each kernel of corn. However, if your students check in every day, they will learn new vocabulary and throughout the year, the donation could add up.

Free Kibble - This is a fun Trivia game and whether the student gets the answer correct or not (they are given the right answer so they learn), the site will donate free kibble to animal shelters.

Kibble Cat - does the same thing as Free Kibble, but the goodies go to the cats.

Aid to Children - For every correct answer to a vocabulary quiz, $ .25 is donated to children. A list of where the money goes can be seen on the website.

An additional resource that would be great for "whole class" use by the younger students and "on their own" for the older ones - Learning Games To Change The World These are wonderful and very motivating for students, being so "game-like".

I am sure these will keep you busy for awhile and I promise to get back to blogging more often as we all get in to "school year" mode.

Remember I am always happy to hear from any of you!