Saturday, February 20, 2010

Bulletin Board Happiness

I have to send out a big thanks to Tara Ethridge for introducing me to WallWisher. She has written two blog articles about using WallWisher here and here.

WallWisher is a sort of online bulletin board. It allows users to post sticky note type messages and attach photos, videos, documents, and links.

I thought I would give it a try in an upcoming lesson to fifth graders about Internet safety. Before we delved into the topic, I asked them to share their thoughts, tips, rules for staying safe online. Normally this would be done as a class discussion with raised hands and people taking turns speaking. However, using WallWisher provided each student equal opportunity to express their knowledge. I loved the experience as much as the students did. I plan on repeating this activity at the end of our Internet Safety unit to compare their two boards and let them see how their knowledge and understanding has grown and evolved.

How To:
Creating a wall on WallWisher is so easy! Simply create an individual account and then set-up your wall(s). Students do not need to create accounts to be able to interact with a wall, you just have to allow anonymous posts when you are creating your wall. Once students click on the link to your pre-created wall, they can immediately post. They can change the default "anonymous" name to their own, but it is not necessary.

Click here if you cannot view embedded example below.

Classroom Ideas:
Class brainstorming
"Ticket out the door" activity
Before and After a lesson/unit activity to show learning
Resource gathering - students (or teacher) can add links, videos, photos, documents
Alternative to a standard poll

How would you use or have you used WallWisher with your classes?

Bulletin Board photo used under Creative Commons license from

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Typing Time

I'm sure we've all seen it . . . the one-fingered, hunting, pecking typer. Since our school does not provide keyboarding classes, the majority of the fifth graders enter the middle school with a complete lack of typing skills. Many teachers bemoan the fact that projects requiring computers (and, therefore, typing) take longer than they should if the students had even basic typing skills. So, I found a few sites that students can use to practice their typing skills.

- thanks to ilearntechnology
- excellent resource
- ideas for encouraging kids to practice typing
- list of typing tutorials/games

Typing Web
- provides courses by key rows
- provides courses by level of proficiency
- games available
- registration is optional

Classroom Ideas
Let students practice their typing if they finish a project early
Create typing contests for your students
Have students set goals and track their progress

Typing photo used under Creative Commons license from