Sunday, November 30, 2008

Web 2.0 Goodie Bag

I just stumbled upon an amazing web2.0 resource. The Go2Web20 site is supported by TechCrunch who in their own words is all about, "obsessively profiling and reviewing new internet products and companies."

Go2Web20 is a web 2.0 directory that is very user friendly. You can sort by date to see what new sites have been added. You can also choose from a tag cloud - which is wonderful! If a teacher wants to do podcasts, I'll check out the podcast tag to see what it shows me. In my short time playing with this site so far, I know that it will become a go-to resource for me.

I'm really looking forward to exploring this site. I'm sure I'll find some absolutely perfect applications to use in the classroom! I'm sure I'll have plenty to post about as I explore this directory.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

One for the Language Arts Teachers

This week I happened to be introduced to two new sites that are so perfect for language arts and english teachers as they deal directly with spelling and vocabulary. Now, if I remember my middle school and high school days correctly, I would have been glad for anything innovative (and dare I say) fun that could have been done for these two tedious topics. So, I would like to introduce wordia and spellingcity to you.

Wordia - This was a popular one in the blogs this week, so I thought I needed to check it out for myself. My conclusion is wordia + vocabulary = good times!

Example: Here is an example from the site. I have not created one for myself . . . yet.

Classroom Ideas:

1. This could be used by teachers to create an interactive vocab list. Put up a list of links to the URLs of vocab words. Students can use these to help them study and internalize the meanings.

2. Assign each student a word from the list and have them create their own videos to upload and share to the class.

SpellingCity - In three steps you can create a fun and interactive way for your students to study their spelling words. Step 1 - As a teacher, you can register for a free account. Step 2 - Begin by create spelling lists (which will be saved until you delete them). Step 3 - Place a link on your website so students can easily access your list(s). It truly is as easy as that!

Example: Here is an example I created for Thanksgiving spelling words.

Classroom Ideas: This one is pretty straight forward - just begin creating lists for students to use! With each list, students can be taught the words, play games to practice, and take tests to check their knowledge.

Photo by

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Mashup Heaven

"All it needs is a little salt . . . pepper, mustard, catchup, sauce, flavour." ~Trapper (M*A*S*H)

The photo mashup sites are like the salt, pepper, mustard, ketchup, and sauce that can be added to a photo to take it to the next level. A picture truly is worth a thousand words, and these mashup sites let you express the message you are trying to convey in a way pure words cannot!!! There are a ton out there, but here are my favorite four:

1) ImageChef - Provides you with hundreds of templates which you can modify for your own purposes. Some of the categories they include are signs, work, sports, music, characters, license plates, holidays, buttons, etc. Best of all, this site is soooo easy to use, especially when you don't have any of your own pictures off of which to work.
Example: This took me about 15 seconds to create!
Classroom Ideas: Jazz up your PowerPoints, wikis, and blogs.

2) Flickr Toys - You need a flickr account to be able to use this one. There are so many awesome toys here: create your own movie poster, magazine cover, ID badge, CD cover, jig-saw puzzle, trading cards, and much more.
Example: Here's my pathetic attempt at a magazine cover highlighting some spy novels. I apologize for the size of the picture here.
Classroom Ideas: historical figure trading cards, magazine cover about a book, poster about vocabulary words, movie poster about a country/nation, etc...

3. Bubblr - Create mini comic strips using pictures from flickr. This is site is so easy to use (and fun)! (no account necessary)

If you want to see a larger version click here:
Classroom Ideas: storytelling, a fun way to summarize a current event, practice with grammatical concepts (adverbs, adjectives, prepositional phrases), poetry, etc.
4. Bookr - Create short books using photos from flickr (no account necessary).

Classroom Ideas: practicing synonyms and antonyms, poetry, figurative language, retell an historical event using few words and powerful pictures, vocabulary, book reports, etc...
Some other good image creator sites are:

Saturday, November 8, 2008

Revolutionary Wiki

A couple of weeks ago I participated in a webinar hosted by the wonderful wikispaces. It was an excellent hour-long course that quickly provided newbies with the basics. Then, the best part came. They had invited Clay Burrell to talk about his use of wikis in the classroom. I came away with some great ideas:

1) Have students write a class journal as historic characters.
2) Assign each student a chapter about which they create a wiki page with links, video, photos, and a re-written version of their chapter.
3) Create stories on which students have collaborated.

I decided to take his electronic textbook idea and try it out for myself. So, I talked with the fifth grade social studies teacher to see what she thought. She immediately jumped on board - yay!

So, I began by setting up our Revolutionary War wiki by creating the basic structure of an intro page, a task page, and an example page. Then I created pages from a list of topics that my social studies teacher had given me. Finally, I e-mailed wikispaces with a list of usernames and passwords, and they will create free accounts for all my students! We will be assigning each student a topic and they will build their page with an article researched and written by them, photos, links for additional info, and a works cited area.

I'm excited to see how the students do with it!