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Tuesday, July 31, 2012

July's Most Popular Posts on Free Technology for Teachers

It's almost hard for me to believe that July is coming to an end in just a few hours from now. I hope that all of you have had a chance to enjoy the summer (and I hope that those of you in the southern hemisphere are enjoying the winter too).

This month I've been fortunate to travel and present in many places. Thank you to all of you who have helped to make that possible by inviting me to your schools, referring me to your friends and colleagues, and by sharing the posts I write here. I also have to say thank you again to the wonderful guest bloggers who stepped-in while I was traveling in Iceland earlier this month. Without all of you Free Technology for Teachers would not be what it is today. Thank you! As I do every month, I've created a list of the most popular posts in July 2012.

Here are the most popular posts of July 2012:
1. Say Goodbye to iGoogle and Hello to Symbaloo
2. 47 Page Guide to Google Sites
3. How to Ace Your Interview for a Teaching Position
4. 10 Ways to Create Videos Without Installing Software
5. 5 Ways to Use Google Sites in Schools
6. Making Educational Blogging Work for You
7. Mobile Formative Assessment: A One Device Solution
8. One Music Class - One iPad - Now What?
9. Gathering Feedback With Socrative Student Activities
10. MIT Video - More Than 10,000 Educational Videos


Please visit the official advertisers and marketing partners that help keep this blog going.
LearnBoost provides a free online gradebook service for teachers.
Vocabulary Spelling City offers spelling practice activities that you can customize.
Academic Pub is a service for creating custom etextbooks.
MasteryConnect provides a network for teachers to share and discover Common Core assessments.
ABCya.com is a provider of free educational games for K-5.
Lesley University offers quality online graduate programs for teachers.
The University of Maryland Baltimore County offers graduate programs for teachers.
Ed Tech Teacher offers professional development services for schools. I will be conducting a series of workshops with them this summer. Please visit their site for the schedule.

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Websites Like - Find Related Sites and Tools

If you have ever found a website that you really like and wished that there were more like, Websites Like is a website you should try. Websites Like helps you find sites that are similar to your favorites. To find similar sites just enter the url of a like that you like and let Websites Like suggest similar sites to you.

Applications for Education
Websites Like could be a helpful research tool for students. When a student find a site that contains useful information they can try Websites Like to find more sites that could help them out.

Website on Steroids: Creating a Powerful Blog

This is a guest post from Dan Klumper.


The topic of using blogs in education is nothing new. One thing I have noticed over the years is that many teachers use blogs in basic ways, such as posting a question(s) and having the students respond/answer. This is good from time to time, but a blog can be so much more than that. A blog can by one of the most dynamic teaching tools a teacher could have. It can be a review tool, learning tool, creating tool, collaboration tool, a sharing tool or all of them. With this post, I want to give some useful tips and ideas that can be used to make a dynamic blog. So, let’s go.



  • The Silent Review: The silent review video is something I started this past year. This is a video that my students and I make together. As you will see in the video, it is such a simple way to review, but a very helpful one. The video can be posted on your blog for the students to access easily and watch leading up to the test. The attached video is a review over Greek Mythology. (be sure the students’ answers are the correct ones!)


  • WSG Live! My blog is called Water for Sixth Grade, so at the end of each unit, I have a WSG Live! review event. This review tool allows me to study with the students the night before the test. I am at my computer at my home, and they are on theirs at their homes. (How often can a student review with the teacher the night before?) For 30-45 minutes, I go online and with my blog, ask my students questions on my WSG Live! post. We discuss the material we have been studying together.  I take off comment moderation which allows the students to answer my questions and have their responses post immediately. This is a great way to review interactively.


  • Prezi Online collaboration: I am sure you are all familiar with Prezi. So let’s take Prezi and combined it with our blog. I posted a prezi on my blog that could be edited by anyone. I told my students that sometime over the next week, they were to add anything they know or learned about our topic (ancient Egypt). At the end of the week, we had a ton of things posted. The next step was to take what was added to the Prezi and organize it into topics such as “Nile River” or “Pyramids” or “Religioni.” This forced the students to do some thinking as to which category each piece of info went into.


  • Keep it Fresh: There is a multitude of tools that can be used through your blog. Create a comic on Pixton to help students learn/review in a more fun way. Have the students post a thought/comment on Wall-Wisher. Have the students create an imaginary conversation between them and someone of their choice about a topic. Post some online flashcards for them with flashcardmachine. Hold a debate on your blog, which allows everybody to have a voice, instead of just one kid getting called on. Share student work, post interesting videos. The possibilities are endless!

Keep in mind, you want your blog to be something that the students want to go to. So don’t “over blog” but try to keep new and useful/interesting things going. Start building momentum and remind/show the students how helpful it can be.  Soon, the students will “buy in” to your blog and jump on board. And when that happens, you shall have a dynamic blog.


My name is Dan Klumper and I live and teach in Brandon, SD. I have taught 6th grade social studies for the past six years. I am originally from Worthington, MN. I attended Augustana College in Sioux Falls, SD. I have a passion for technology in education because I believe it can make a huge impact on today’s students. Thank you.
Blog: http://waterforsixthgrade.blogspot.com
twitter: @danklumper
email: Daniel.Klumper@k12.sd.us 

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