Thursday, May 21, 2009

Internet Puzzle Makers

I know I have not blogged for a while, but I have always felt that until I was aware of something new that is really useful, I will not be writing just to write. If you are like me, with so many new tools appearing every day, I only want to know about those that will be very useful to me for my personal use or for you to use as a classroom teacher. Therefore one week I might blog 2 or 3 times, and then some times I will go for several weeks without anything worthwhile to share.
Tonight I was going through Larry Ferlazzo's lists of the Best Websites For.... He has quite a few lists. Tonight I found the one that listed Crossword Puzzle Makers and websites that allow you to make other word games. There were a few I especially liked. Even if you need to register, the registration is quite simple and Free. Here are the ones I liked:
Study Stack - Here you easily create flashcards, hangman games, word searches, and many more activities. (Easy registration needed).

Word Duck - This is an online hangman game for many user-created topics. Once you register for free you can create games using your own words.

APTE At this website you can create crosswords, as well as a number of other word games. One advantage is that they can then either be played online or printed out. Here, too, you have to register.

Just Crosswords - is an easy way to create an online crossword puzzle. No registration is required — just plug in the words and clues and the site hosts it for you.

Thank you to Larry Ferlazzo for not only finding these websites but explaining them in a concise manner.

Thursday, May 7, 2009

Determining Vocabulary Within Content

An interesting tool was introduced to me by Larry Ferlazzo's blog today. It is designed to help a teacher create a vocabulary list for content that students will be reading. It is called VocabGrabber and is an add-on to the Visual Thesaurus.
Here is the way it is explained on the website:
VocabGrabber analyzes any text you're interested in, generating lists of the most useful vocabulary words and showing you how those words are used in context. Just copy text from a document and paste it into the box, and then click on the "Grab Vocabulary!" button. VocabGrabber will automatically create a list of vocabulary from your text, which you can then sort, filter, and save.
Select any word on the list and you'll see a snapshot of the Visual Thesaurus map and definitions for that word, along with examples of the word in your text. Click on the word map or the highlighted word in the example to see the Visual Thesaurus in action.
One more thing - I see that it has an icon that you can place on your toolbar, so that anytime you are on a website and you want the vocabulary, you can just click on the icon. I think this can prove to be a very useful tool.

Sunday, May 3, 2009

This Is Way Too Cool For Words!

I was just reading a blog that is rather new to my Feeds, GO2WEB2.0 and it introduced me to the coolest tool. Well, at least I was really impressed. You find an article that you want to read on the Internet. It has lots of advertisements or distractions around it. Just click on the tool or marklet that you have placed on your toolbar from the TidyRead website and TidyRead takes away all those distractions. It makes any web page into an easy to read page that removes all of the clutter that can make reading on the internet so hard sometimes. How fabulous is this for students?
Give it a try. You will be happy that I just put down a really good book I was reading to dig through some unread blogs!

Learning About Plants and How They Reproduce - Pollen Park

This suggestion is taken directly from Sandra Gluth's wonderful newsletter to which I subscribe and would recommend for you. It is called Worthwhile Websites for Learning. All of her past websites from the newsletters are on this website. Go to Site of The Week Tab at the top to sign up to get the newsletter weekly. It is very worthwhile. Now on to this week's site that would fit into any unit on plants:

In Pollen Park, children join Bumbles the playful honey bee, on a pollen-collecting mission by completing activities and making amazing discoveries about plant reproduction. Students will learn the names of the different parts of the flower and understand the function of each in the reproduction process, the process of pollination and the varied methods of pollen transfer, the process of fertilization and how this differs from pollination, different methods of seed dispersal and why this needs to occur, and the process of seed germination and the necessary conditions for it to occur.