Sunday, March 31, 2013

Sound Bingo w/Cards and Audio Clips

by Matt Gomez. You can connect with me on my blog mattBgomez.comTwitterFacebook or Pinterest.
Wonderful sight I had to share. We are learning about the five senses and this is the best (and easiest) way I have found to practice our sense of hearing. This is the first time I have done it and it was fun! The bingo cards are done for you and you can download all the sounds to your computer with one click. If downloading is not an option at your school you can play each sound individually directly on the website. There are 32 different bingo cards and 42 sounds, plenty to keep your kids busy for a long time!

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Let the Kids Teach the Lesson

Have you ever let your kids teach the lesson?  I recently let my kids do it using Educreations and this is what they came up with:

Cool, huh?  Stop by my blog – Raki’s Rad Resources to see the steps they took.


Heidi Raki of Raki's Rad Resources

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25 Apps that Support Reading and Writing for Struggling Students

I was fortunate enough to watch a great webinar the other day about iOS apps that support students that are struggling with reading and writing. Many of the apps discussed were new to me which is always a plus.

Here is the link to all of the apps but for this post I want to focus on just a few.

For reading, the apps that were most intriguing to me were:

1. VBookz PDF Voice Reader reads pdf's that are downloaded on the iPad to the students as well as highlights the text as it's read. The author of the webinar stated the app costs $4.99 but it is FREE right now so you might want to check it out!

2. Text Grabber + Translator app is a little more complicated but it is worth mentioning. If you have an iPad 2 or higher you can take a picture of any text and the app will download the text and create a document of the text. Then use the speak selection function on the iOS device to read the text to the students. This is a new function on the iPad with iOS 6 that will read texts to the students. If you are interested in downloading the "How-To Guide" click on the picture below to link to my blog.

For writing and writing alternatives:

3. PaperPort Notes is a FREE app. Import pdf's to the iPads and allow students to insert their texts right on the form. If students struggle with writing, they can also dictate their work to answer the questions rather than having to write the text. Students can also use a stylus to actually write the text if needed.

4. Book Creator is probably one the best apps you can purchase to allow students to create their own books on the iPad. Students can use multimedia elements in their books such as sound, pictures, and video. Students can then share to iBooks that creates an ebook for students to read. It is a great book!

5. Story Creator is not on his list but it is one of my favorite apps. For one it is FREE and two it allows students to create stories with pictures, video and recording. Students can share their work via email which is in the new update.

What are some of your favorite apps to assist struggling learners?
Happy Easter!

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Saturday, March 30, 2013

Using Khan Academy to Frontload Math Instruction

Ok, I'll say it..."I'm overwhelmed!"  Always.  Constantly.  And looking at all the technology fun piling up on my laptop and iPad isn't helping right now.  I just want time.  TIME.  Time I tell ya!

One big area that I'm feeling the stress is in teaching math to a group of 4th grade students who have more holes in their understanding of math than a Dutch dike.  Seriously.  So I'm busily plugging the holes while trying to move all of my kiddos ahead in their understanding of math.  And I love teaching math...just not like this...

Never superhero, Sal Khan, is here!  Now I know that most of you are probably pretty darn familiar with Sal Khan and his "favorite uncle" casual style of sharing math concepts using an IWB format.

If you've never visited Sal's website, check it out by clicking on the graphic below:

All of the resources on this site are FREE FREE FREE and are of really great quality. With tutorials on everything from basic addition to calculus, Khan Academy has so many features, far too many to really have to dive in to this site and check out everything there is!  It's that good!

As a teacher, I do preview the segments I plan on using in advance...sometimes Sal's casual approach includes some differences in wording/math vocabulary that I point out to my students to avoid confusion.  In fact, I love it when my students "catch" Sal doing something that may not be mathematically correct!  For instance, when viewing the segment on adding larger numbers, my students caught Sal saying a large number with an "and" in it...something that I teach as being where the decimal is inserted.  Kinda cool...

I use Khan Academy throughout my math curriculum:  for reteaching concepts to struggling students, as an independent center for students who are ready to move ahead and learn something new, and as a self-serve kiosk for students who were absent the day I taught a concept.

I also use Khan Academy as a resource to "frontload" math instruction for my struggling mathematicians who need a confidence boost prior to learning a new concept.  For instance, I am about to teach adding fractions to my fourth graders.  I pulled a group of 5 students who have been struggling with fractions throughout the unit and provided a frontload activity that included Khan Academy's video segment on adding fractions.  These students were allowed to explore the concept at their own speed prior to whole class instruction.  The kiddos with the frontload were more relaxed and were able to take on leadership responsibilities in their groups as hands on activities were introduced.  This is a far cry better than where they would usually be during the introduction of new concepts:  slumped in their seats, hoping that their teacher will never call on them.  With a hefty boost of Khan, these students are eager to share what they've learned.  Again, very cool!

Are you using Khan Academy with your students?  If so, I'd love to hear about how you use it!

Have a wonderful Easter everyone!


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Friday, March 29, 2013

Encourage Wonder with Wonderopolis Website

by Matt Gomez. You can connect with me on my blog mattBgomez.comTwitterFacebook or Pinterest.

It was a very hard decision but I chose Wonderopolis as the most important site for my class this year (Symbaloo was a close second). This site is amazing for inspiring wonder, creativity and thinking. The opportunities for learning are endless! Wonderopolis is a site that post a "Wonder of the Day" every day. Some of our favorites included Do Hummingbirds Really HumAre Monster Trucks Scary, and Why Do You Sneeze, just to name a few.  I would visit the page with my class most mornings and we would explore the wonder together. I found the site to be a powerful learning tool because I did not teach or plan anything. This made it easier for me to let the kids lead the discussion and learning. I also loved how the topics were outside the typical discussion I would bring up in Kindergarten. What we did after watching the video and reading the explanation (me reading and often paraphrasing) depended on the kids interest in the topic. They loved visiting the site and always let me know when I would forget.
-Some days we would watch the video, I would read the content and we would be done. 5 minutes max.
-Often the topic would lead to a journal time. Like after the Sonic Boom wonder, some kids wrote facts they learned and others wrote about what the experience would feel like.
-At least once a week a topic would be a super hit and that would become our research project. Some of those are listed below
The wonder about priceless art that led to us learning about abstract art. (blog post about that journey here). Or the Giraffe wonder that we watched at least 5  times. Then we labeled a giraffe picture (image below) as a group and the kids all wrote about what they had learned. Or the Alamo wonder that meant so much to my little Texans. We talked about heros, freedom and being brave. The books about the Alamo I got from the library were always being read for weeks afterwards. We even sang Happy Birthday (video below) to celebrate Wonderopolis' first birthday.
I could write about so much more but I think you get the point. Another benefit is parents can easily easy access the site at home to continue the learning. I heard back from my parents many times about how their kids made them open the page at home to show what they learned that day and even visited on the weekends so they didn't miss any wonders.
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Easter Themed Hollywood Squares Game

Hi everyone and Happy Good Friday! To celebrate this wonderful day I am making my Easter Themed Hollywood Squares Game FREE....Today Only!!

Get ready for tons of fun as you and your students enjoy this Easter themed version of Hollywood Squares. The template will allow you to input your own questions and answers based on the content you teach.

Both the PowerPoint and ActivInspire version are FREE!!  

You can get them both at
I would appreciate once you are there if you would be a follower of mine = )

I hope you enjoy them as I loved creating them. I would appreciate your feedback.

Thank You,
Kristen Hernandez
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Thursday, March 28, 2013

Digital Egg Decorating with Egg A Sketch and Wordle

Second Graders made Easter Eggs using Egg A Sketch App on class iPods. They also used WORDLE to make Easter word clouds. 
Wordle is a toy for generating “word clouds” from text that you provide. The clouds give greater prominence to words that appear more frequently in the source text. You can tweak your clouds with different fonts, layouts, and color schemes. The images you create with Wordle are yours to use however you like. You can print them out, or save them to the Wordle gallery to share with your friends.

Egg a Sketch
Draw on a 3-D spinning easter egg. Spin the egg to draw beautiful spiral patterns in many colors. Hold the egg still to draw your egg masterpiece by hand. Rotate the egg in 3-D! Lots of fun!

Happy Easter!
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Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Handwriting Practice With Apps

by Matt Gomez. You can connect with me on my blog mattBgomez.comTwitterFacebook or Pinterest.
The iPad has many uses in my class but the area I feel it helps the most is with kids that are struggling. Typically when kids struggle in an area it is also something they do not like to do. Makes sense right? They don't enjoy it or don't have the confidence to try so they avoid doing it. That lack of practice compounds the issue. Handwriting is certainly one of those areas.  So we all try to find creative and fun ways to get hose kids to practice their skills... enter the iPad. Today my kids that need writing practice were eager to use the iPad to work on those skills and it reminded me how valuable this tool can be. When working on writing skills I typically have the kids use this stylus but not always. I see value in them writing with their finger at times too.

Here are a few apps I have used for handwriting (please tell me your favorites)

Intro to Letters (pictured above)
Touch and Write - allows kids to "write" with pudding, ketchup, paint etc. So fun!
Wet Dry Try by HWT ( I wrote an app review here on this one) - pictured below

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Techie Tuesday Link Up

Welcome to Techie Tuesday Link Up!
Every Tuesday we are hosting a linky for you  to link up with your best technology post.   Please link directly to the techie blog post you are featuring. We are looking forward to seeing your great ideas! 

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Monday, March 25, 2013

Over 45 Math Games by PBS Kids

PBS Math Games   Symbaloo

by Matt Gomez. You can connect with me on my blog mattBgomez.comTwitterFacebook or Pinterest.
Bookmark this link and let your kids go. Over 45 great math games for young kids. If you are curious about Symbaloo here is how I use it in my class 
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Sunday, March 24, 2013

InstaCollagePro and Idioms

There a million photo apps available to use in your classroom! On Friday, we used InstaCollage Pro to explain our IDIOMS. 

What would Amelia Bedelia think? 
My students love Amelia Bedelia, the literal-minded housekeeper! I love using Amelia Bedelia books to teach and to explain IDIOMS!

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