Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Web 2.0 Tool: Edmodo

Hi everyone! It's Sandy from Soaring Through Second. I hope you are squeezing all the fun you can out of the rest of your summer vacation!!!

As we start to think about the upcoming school year, this might be a tool you can use in your classroom!

Have you heard of Edmodo???

It's like Facebook for the classroom (and much safer and secure!!!)

Here's their online schpeel (is that a word??? Don't think so):

I've used Edmodo in my classroom for the past year with my 2nd graders and I loved it! I've primarily used it with writing and reading response. In the beginning, I would post a question or a prompt, and the kids would respond. Once we got rolling, they were able to post their own questions to each other, and respond to other student's responses. (Does that make sense???) Sometimes it was a must do, other times it was something the kiddos could do when they finished their work. Take a look!

In the beginning of the year, I was so disappointed in the responses I was getting on Edmodo. One word, no thought responses. Then I realized I needed to teach them how to respond in a thoughtful and appropriate manner. (A lesson on completed sentences didn't hurt, either! ;-) By the end of the year, I was floored with how much improvement they had made, and about the overall content of their responses. 

Here are some positives about Edmodo:
  • It allows everyone to be heard- even your quietest students! 
  • You can use it with any subject area! Any! 
  • It works on both devices and the website. So, you don't necessarily need iPads or iPods in your classroom to use it! Just computers.
  • It's free! 
  • It's got a Facebook feel to it so the kids like it too!
  • Kids and families can access it from home! 
  • There's an app for it! (Like everything else, right!) :-)
And some negatives:
  • It took a looooooooooog time to teach my 2nd graders how to use this. I think they just weren't used to typing and how to post things, etc. But once they learned, easy cheesy and well worth it! I probably wouldn't use it with kiddos under 2nd grade. (Have you used it with K or 1st??? If so, I'd love to hear about it!) 
And just some little things I noticed:
  • The first thing the kids like to do is go in and change their profile picture. :)
  • It is a great opportunity to discuss appropriate things to post, and how when we post things online, they are there for everyone to see. For example, posting "You are stooped. You are not my frend enymor" is not appropriate. (This could also lead to a great spelling lesson!!!) 
I've used Edmodo in professional developments, I've seen middle school teachers use it to assign homework and assignments and keep in touch with parents...the possibilities are endless!  
Have you used Edmodo??? I'd love to hear about it!!! 

Soaring Through Second
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AutoRap App

I am loving AutoRap!! I have used it for many things, but I am now using it for vocabulary. It is a great way for students to practice and review their vocabulary words. Your students will also love to hear their teacher rap = )

Check it out!

The app lets users talk into the app and then maps their words to the beats of different songs, creating a syncopated stream of lyrics that repeat and stutter. The app also latches on to phrases and words and turns them into musical auto-tuned hooks for the intro and chorus. You can rap to a list of generic beats or there’s a library of premium tunes that you can rap over. It is available for Apple and Android products.

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Virtual Cubes

Hi everyone! I am so excited to be a part of this wonderful team.
I thought this would be a great time to post about Virtual Cubes. These cubes are made with Adobe Flash Professional and can be used within your interactive whiteboard software or without it(you will need Adobe Flash..its free). When you click on the cube, the cube rolls and information will appear. The link provided below gives you lots of cubes to choose from. If there is one you do not see, let me know and I can create it for you. Have an awesome day!

Check my blog out at:

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Random Name Pickers

Hi Tailgaters! This is Shana from Enchanted with Technology and I'm super excited to share my first post on Technology Tailgate.
Enchanted with Technology

Tired of pulling popsicle sticks to randomly choose students? Make it more exciting by using one of the random name pickers to select students. They are super easy to use! The first one is called The Hat and is a free software download that takes no time at all. Once it is downloaded, an icon of a hat will appear on your desktop. When you launch the program, all you have to do is click the green plus sign to add your students' names.
The Hat

You then have the choice to pick individual names or pick pairs. I really like the idea of picking pairs because students never like who you pair them with anyways. Now you can tell them it was completely random :)

When you are ready, click on the hat icon in the toolbar and now you can begin randomly picking student names!

The other random name picker I like to use is on Classtools.net. It is internet based so if you don't like downloading you may prefer this one. Again, all you would need to do is add a list of your students' names. It can be copied and pasted from a word document or spreadsheet to make it easier.
There are two different versions you can use for the random name picker. However, the Fruit Machine seems to be the most popular but it is still definitely worth it to try the Typewriter version out.

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Friday, July 27, 2012

Do YOU Symbaloo?

Hi guys! Betsey, here, from over at Trendy Tech Tips. I have to share with you an amazing, multi-use website that I could not live without in my classroom. It is called SymbalooEDU! While the name is a little silly, the site is AWESOME! Put simply, SymbalooEDU is an organization tool that allows teachers and students to  hold various links all in one location. These links are stored in what is called a "webmix."
Webmixes are filled with tiles. These tiles are links to your favorite websites and tools that you can use in your classroom! While Teacher and District licenses do cost moooolah, the individual license is completely FREE and you can create as many webmixes on as many different "themes" as you like! I have different mixes for my staff resources, math and reading websites, Web 2.0 tools, and I've even began creating them for various lessons with my students by linking tiles to Google Docs. 
What's even cooler....there is a Symbaloo app for your android or apple products! This is a great organizational tool that really keeps me on track and the kids LOVE using it! Check out my blog to see a tutorial on how to create your OWN Symbaloo!
 Trendy Tech Tips
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Thursday, July 26, 2012

Free Creativity Tools for Students {and Teachers!}

Hi Tailgaters!  It's Kate from EduKate and Inspire!

When I was a child, my absolute favorite thing to play on the computer was Kid Pix.  I would play Kid Pix for HOURS!  While Kid Pix is still available for purchase, there are several other free options that my students love.  Not only are these creativity tools perfect for when you need students to create a picture for a project, but they are also even more beneficial when students can simply explore!  Here are three paint-based creativity tools that your students will love:

1) Tux Paint: If you are able to download programs in your classroom {you might have to beg your tech department}, I would definitely recommend Tux Paint!  It is very similar to Kid Pix in that it offers a huge variety of drawing tools, paints, stamps, backgrounds, special effects, and even sound effects.  You can click {here} to read more about the features or {here} to see videos of Tux Paint in action.  Here is a screen shot of the drawing canvas and tools:

(Source: www.tuxpaint.com)

2) Crayola Digi-Color: If you are not able to download programs, I would recommend Crayola Digi-Color because it is completely web-based.  There aren’t as many features as Tux Paint, but there are still a ton of fun drawing options!  My students love the marker stamps and tri-color crayons… there are also paints, markers, colored pencils, and Slick Stix!  Here is a quick picture I made to show off some of the features!

3) Bomomo:  I had to throw this one in here for teachers {and of course, students love it too!}  Having a rough day?  Go to Bomomo to sooth your soul.  This is definitely not a structured paint program where you can paint a specific picture; however, it features all sorts of strange paintbrushes with neat effects.  It is very relaxing!  Here is a crazy picture I made:

PS: If you get a chance, we would love for you to take the new survey that is in the sidebar to the right!  We are trying to gather info about what types of technology posts our followers would like to read.  Thanks for your help!

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Sunday, July 22, 2012

Class Dojo!

Have you guys heard of Class Dojo? 

It is the most amazing classroom management tool!! 

If you have a Promethean Board, Smartboard, or Projector, you can set this up from your computer and display it as the day goes on! This is how it looks once you start giving out points! It's visual and it's freakin' awesome!

Anytime you give out a point, it dings! And all the students heads flip in the direction of the board because when you add a point this is what happens! And of course if a student loses a point, it makes a sad sound!! lol

I also love that you can change up the avatars! There are tons of choices and you can even upload a picture of the students! 

You can also modify what you want the behaviors to be! How cool is that!?

At the end of the week or month, or whatever, you can even print or email reports to give to parents!

I used this in my class and worked like charm! 

Possibly the coolest part of this whole website is the fact that you can use it on your smart phone!! You can add a point from anywhere in the classroom or school building and it will ding on the board! I love this!! I'll be working with a small group and my students will be like, "Oh my gosh, who just earned a point," as they are fiercely trying to view the board! haha

I created my own reward system to go along with the points that you can download HERE!

I used Microsoft Word so you could have an editable version and change it up if you wanted! I like free rewards, but you can do whatever your little heart desires!

P.S. Pride Paws are part of our schools PBIS rewards. The students can spend them in the school store!

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Glogster and a Real Life Tech Tip

Hello again Tailgaters!  I'm Megan, and I'm back again from I Teach. What's Your Super Power?  So happy to be here again.

And now on to one of my favorite websites. Glogster Edu. Glogster is one of those awesome websites where you totally want your students to use it, but maybe you're not so sure how to transition from isn't this cool? To academically valuable. I love Glogster and so do my students.

Okay, back to the point. I've used Glogster in a variety of ways in my classroom. Here are a few:

When we have a rule like doubling the final consonant or there/their/they're, one of our spelling homework choices is to make a Glogster poster to teach the rule.

One of our state standards is research based. After writing a research paper, my kids completed a final project to teach others about their research subject. Glogster was one of the options.

Mother's Day:
This is one of my favorite projects. My kiddos brainstormed the top 10 reason their mom was the best. We then had a great lesson on rearranging sentences (given that 9 out of 10 of their sentences started with my mom or she).  After that, they published the list in Glogster. Who wouldn't love this for Mother's Day?

The fine print: 
Glogster.edu is not free (and FYI, you definitely want to be on the edu version.)  It's $30 a year for a classroom license of 50 uses.  BUT something special happened.  The last time I posted about Glogster, Stephanie from Glogster contacted me and asked if I wanted to giveaway some 1/2 price subscriptions. Um, yes!  So stop by my blog, leave a comment, enter the giveaway, and maybe you'll win!!!

Good luck,
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Saturday, July 21, 2012

MindMeister and Bubbl.us Video Tutorial

This is Sarah again from Miss A's Kindergarten! I'm back with another web 2.0 tool video tutorial! I hope that you learn a lot from this little post/video. This is my sixth video tutorial, so if you missed the first five you can find them on my blog by clicking this link!

Bubbl.us & MindMeister Video Tutorial for TeachersToday's tutorial is on TWO different web tools. I know that you're going to love them. :) I did! Some of you may already know about them, but it could help you still. They are called Bubbl.us & MindMeister.

These tools are meant to allow you to get your thoughts down in a logical manner. This can be called "brainstorming," "concept mapping," or "mind mapping." It can be used in so many different ways, but the focus is to start with a concept and come up with tons of branches that come off that idea. (If you get my drift!)

How can they be integrated?

Here are some simple ways to use these tools:
  • Create a whole class concept map when the season changes! (Start with "Summer" in the middle and branch off of that)
  • Plan your letters that you send home to parents.
  • Let the class plan stories (using main character, setting, etc)
  • Allow students to use these tools as a way to accommodate them in essay writing. Some kids think better when they have a chance to brainstorm in a different way.
I hope that this tutorial helps you out! Here's the video!

Oh, and here's the quick survey. I'd love if you filled it out! I read all your entries and cherish each one. They brighten my day! Also, jump on over to my blog if you'd like to follow my posts! Just click my signature below to go to my blog.

Which do you like better: MindMeister or Bubbl.us? Why?


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Thursday, July 19, 2012

What Was That Password Again???

I don't know about you, but every time I open my laptop, I find another amazing website or tool that I want to use with my kids (thanks to my wonderful PLN)! Buuuut, by the time I get around to using that tool, I have forgotten my username or password or BOTH! Sometimes I write in on a sticky note, but let's be honest...those things are great, but they can pile up and soon my computer is buried under hundreds of them. Plus, everyone can see them! And don't get me wrong...I love online bookmarking, but that doesn't really help me with the login stuff and I like something I can feel and touch. Soooo I came up with a solution! I created a Web 2.0 Address Book!
The 24 pages include spaces for the Web Tool name, URL, username, password, and a description of how to use it! I also created the margins so that it can easily be printed front to back and fits into a 3 ring binder! My favorite part is that it matches the colors and decor in my room this year...as well as my Planning Binder (which I'll post pics of soon!)

I thought you might like one of your own! So, I'm sharing it with YOU for FREE! Make sure to print it front to back!

Click HERE to get your own and make sure to let me know what you think!

:) Betsey
 Trendy Tech Tips
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Poll Everywhere for Instant Student Feedback

As an educator, I feel that one of the greatest benefits of all this amazing new technology is being able to get immediate feedback on whether my students understand a concept.  Today, I’m going to share a very simple and user-friendly site that allows you to post open ended or multiple choice questions and see your audience’s feedback in real-time.  With Poll Everywhere students can use cell phones, tablets or a website link to respond and don't even need to be logged in to the site.  You as the teacher don’t even need a login to post your polls, which is a huge selling point for me.

Here is a two-minute video that goes over the basics of Poll Everywhere.  

Rather than waiting until the worksheets or exit slips have been collected and graded, you can get feedback during or immediately following your lesson.  This allows you to adapt the lesson as needed depending on the students’ understanding.  Since students might not want their peers to know they’re lost, this gives them an opportunity to do so anonymously (if you choose to do your polls anonymously). 

You could use Poll Everywhere to open up class discussions by posting a question that might have more than one viewpoint so you can stop and discuss both sides.  You can even embed your poll into Keynote or Powerpoint so students can see it in real-time, which I think is really cool.

I plan on using the free version, which supports an audience size of up to 40.  I’m going to leave the generic link pollev.com on my class website all year so students always click on the same link and I never have to update it.  Once I create a new poll, they just need to type in the numeric code that corresponds with their answer choice (which will be displayed on the SMARTboard when I show the poll).

Feel free to respond to my poll below so you can test it out.  I'd love to hear your feedback. :)

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Wednesday, July 18, 2012

A Website to Teach the Teacher...and the Class!

Hey guys!

It's Michelle from Making It As A Middle School Teacher.

I have a website I use in my classroom from time-to-time that is actually set up for teacher professional development.

You can find information, lessons, examples, video, and distance learning for just about any concept in any subject you teach.

I really love that some of the videos and virtual manipulatives on the website are excellent for classroom use.

The website is Learner.org.  I think you could spend a week on this website and not run out of new things to see.  It is jam-packed!

Check out my video and see what you think about the website.  Although I focused on a middle school math concept, the possibilities are endless.

Enjoy :)

Making It {and smiling},

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Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Read a Book, Give a Book

As a teacher at a small school in Morocco, English books are not extremely prevalent, so I am always looking for alternative ways to expose my students to books.  Technology helps me fill this gap for my children.  One site I love to use is WeGiveBooks.  ThereWe Give Books Charitable Organization - Free Books for Your Classroom are over 190 books on the WeGiveBooks website that you can read completely FREE.  With a projector, this makes a great shared reading activity or even a read aloud.  The books are a combination of classics (like the Snowy Day) and contemporary (like Good Night I-Pad), fiction and non-fiction.  There are even books in Spanish.

However, the best part of this website is that it is also a way to increase your children’s global awareness, because for every book you read, you have the opportunity to “give a book”.  For more information on this site – check out my review at Raki’s Rad Resources.

Heidi Raki of Raki's Rad Resources   Heidi Raki of Raki's Rad Resources

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iTeach- Apps for Teachers

Must have teacher apps! Do you have an iDevice or other tablet that you use to help manage your teacher life?  What are your favorite apps?    These are the 5 apps I use the most to support my classroom instruction and management.  

1.  Teacher’s Assistant Pro- check out my post {here} or description from itunes {here}

2. Stick Pick check out the overview video below. I LOVE Stick Pick! Their slogan is “The right question for the right learner at the right time.”  Do you know about Bloom’s Taxonomy?  Click {here} for some of my favorite Bloom’s Sites. Do you have ELL students?  Do you use the old fashioned sticks out of the can to pick students {or a newer, cuter version}?  You will LOVE Stick Pick!  The Stick Pick app allows you to create multiple rosters for different classes/subjects.  From there you can just enter children’s names or… you can assign them a level of Bloom’s Taxonomy you want to target OR their ELL target level.  I use all three ways.  Once student names are entered into the roster, you are good to go! Click {here} for the Stick Pick blog.  For a description from iTunes click {here}.  Stick Pick is coming soon to Android!

I use this app primarily at two different times:

1. Group games, choosing kids to do stuff, etc.  (They love it- They love that the iPad picks!) I just enter the sticks as “used” for these times

2. To measure and record comprehension during RtI guided reading groups and whole group settings.   They are all entered as different classes/subjects in my app. This is when I use the Bloom’s and ESL mode and ranking of answers. 

I then use my data as easy ongoing assessment data along with having a good amount of data (from throughout the quarter) for report card time and conferences.  Remember even if you have the same kids all day, you need to take advantage of entering multiple classes.  (I.e. I have activities, guided reading groups, RtI, whole group discussion, math, etc)

3. Notability- I use this all the time for check lists. I have my class roster.   Anything that is saved in PDF you can import via Dropbox {click here for Miss A’s tutorial}, email or a few different other options.  You can then write on that document however you wish, I like to use a stylus. You can also create new blank docs and type within this app. There are many, many other things you can do and other similar apps as well with similar features.  For a description from iTunes click {here}

4.Common Core App- I use this app as my go reference for the Common Core Standards.  This App is available in both the iTunes app store and the Android Market.  Click {here} to access the Matery Connect- developer home page.  There is also a widget available for websites and blogs.  

5. Evernote- There is so many AMAZING features with Evernote!  Access on a tablet, Smartphone at any computer… you can even save voice recordings.   Who uses it and how?? I’ve had my account for some time, but haven’t done much with it.  I know this app has endless possibilities!  For a description from iTunes click {here}

I would love to what teacher apps you are using to organize and manage your teacher life.  What are your favorite teacher apps??
 Please ask away if you have ANY questions!!  

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