Saturday, May 25, 2013

The Week in Review - Learning About Sea Turtles

Good evening from San Jose, Costa Rica where I've just wrapped a week in which I was able to observe students learning about sea turtle conservation at the Pacuare Nature Reserve (I'll post some pictures next week when I've sorted through them). Going into the week I knew that I would have very limited Internet access so I the posts that appeared on Free Technology for Teachers this week were things that I wrote last week and last weekend. I also had one guest blogger this week, thank you Rachel Langenhorst. If you're in the U.S. I hope you have a great long weekend.

Here are this week's most popular posts:
1. 5 Good Lesson Plans for Teaching Copyright
2. 10 Good Sites & Apps for Learning a New Language
3. Still the Best Presentation on Copyright
4. Study Jams - Elementary Math and Science With Music
5. Five Ways to Digitally Celebrate Your Students' Year
6. The Top 10+ Sites for a Successful 1:1 Laptop Program
7. Design Squad - Engage Kids in Hands-on Engineering Projects

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Friday, May 24, 2013

Every Stock Photo - A Search Engine for Free Images

The next time that you need to find some high resolution images for a slideshow skip the Google Image search and head over to Every Stock Photo. Every Stock Photo is a search engine for public domain and Creative Commons licensed pictures. When you search on Every Stock Photo it pulls images from dozens of sources across the web. If you click on an image in your search results you will be taken to a larger version of the image, a link to the source, and the attribution requirements for using that picture.

Applications for Education
Often when students are told that they need to use Creative Commons or Public Domain images they moan about it because they only think of Google when they search for images. Every Stock Photo is a fantastic alternative to using Google Images to look for Creative Commons and Public Domain images.

Get Help With Name Pronunciation from Hear Names

Hear Names provides guides for pronouncing names. On Hear Names you will find recordings of native speakers pronouncing given names and surnames. You can search for pronunciations by language or look through an alphabetical listing.

Applications for Education
I'm sure we can all think of time or two when accessing Hear Names would have been helpful when calling home or meeting a parent or student for the first time.

FatURL - Share Bundles of Links

FatURL is a handy little tool to use when you need to share a group of links to someone. To share a group of links through FatURL just copy and paste or type URLs into the bundle box. You can add comments to each link. After creating your bundle hit the share button to send it.

Applications for Education
If you don't have a blog on which you can post the links that you want your students to use, FatURL could be a good way to send links to them. You can have up to three dozen links in one bundle on FatURL.

5 Good Places for Kids to Learn About the News

When I was a student in Mrs. Simmons's second grade classroom one of the things that I looked forward to every week was the arrival of the Scholastic Weekly Reader. I loved read the stories about news from other parts of the world (I guess I was destined to become a social studies teacher). Today, students don't have to wait for the Scholastic Weekly Reader to appear in their teacher's mailbox. Here are five student-friendly news sites to use in your current events lesson plans.

Go Go News is a news website designed for elementary school students. The site features many short news stories that can be read and listened to. The stories that Go Go News covers aren't hard, breaking news stories. The stories are more of a interesting and educational nature.

Teaching Kids News is a news site developed for use in elementary school and middle school classrooms. Teaching Kids News features timely and relevant news stories written on a level that students can comprehend. Each article is accompanied by a set of discussion questions, writing prompts, reading prompts, and vocabulary words.

Youngzine is an online source of news, sports, and entertainment stories for elementary school students. Students will find stories to read and videos to watch in each of the information categories. Each news story is accompanied by a Google Map that has a placemark indicating where the story takes place.

CNN Student News is an excellent resource for middle school and high school current events lessons. The roughly ten minute episodes feature US stories, a world news stories, a "shout out" to a classroom, and a quick quiz. Transcripts for each show are available for download as are suggested viewing questions to cover with your students. 

One of my favorite features on the BBC New website is the Day in  the Day in Pictures. The Day in Pictures displays a small collection of photographs from around the world. The pictures capture a mix of  serious news stories and lighter cultural stories. The Day in Pictures collections are part of a much larger resource from the BBC simply called In Pictures. The In Pictures resource provides hundreds of images in a variety collections and slideshows about current events throughout the world. Some of the slide shows even include narration. All of the images include captions explaining what is happening in the picture and a little background knowledge about the event being photographed.