Monday, August 11, 2014

Free Webinar - Back to School With Socrative

The folks at Socrative, many teachers' favorite informal assessment tool, will be hosting a free webinar this week. Join the webinar on Wednesday at 5pm EST to learn the ins and outs of using Socrative in your classroom this year. If you haven't yet tried version 2.0 (all accounts were transitioned to version 2.0 over the summer), this webinar is for you. Prior registration is not required in order to attend the webinar, just hit this link to join on Wednesday at 5pm EST.

Check out the videos below for a little pre-webinar introduction to Socrative version 2.0.

Disclosure: Socrative's new parent company, MasteryConnect, is an advertiser on this blog. 

Dozens of Math Games for Primary / Elementary School Students

The math section of the Woodlands Junior School's games website offers dozens of mathematics games for elementary school students. The games are organized according to skill sets. The categories are measuring skills, number skills, shape and space skills, and data skills. Many of the games that you will find on the Woodlands Resources site are appropriate for use on interactive whiteboards and touchscreen computers.

In addition to the mathematics games Woodlands Resources includes sections for science and literacy games. The first couple of science games links that I clicked led to pages that had been moved so I'm not sure how often the science section is updated. The literacy section features games that use British English so teachers of American students may not find them all that useful.

Applications for Education
Elementary school teachers that are looking for some good mathematics games to add to their lists of resources would do well to check out the links on the Woodlands Resources site. While none of the games are ground-breaking in what they offer, they are fine as fun practice activities for kids.

Get to Know Your New Students Through Comics

As every teacher knows, it can take a while for new students to open up to each other and to you. One way to get them to share stories about themselves is to have them put it into a fun comic story. Through creating comic stories you can have students share favorite stories from their summer vacations. In the process students learn how to use a new tool, practice developing storylines, and they let you in on a little bit of who they are as people.

Here are a few web-based tools that your students can use to create comic stories to share with you.

Comic Master is a free tool designed for students to use to create comics in the "graphic novel style" that is popular with a lot of kids in the ten to fourteen years old age range. By using Comic Master to create their stories about their summer adventures students can turn themselves into the "super hero" of their stories. Comic Master provides a drag and drop interface for students to build their comics on. Students using Comic Master can select from a variety of layouts, backgrounds, characters, effects, and fonts. Students can create free accounts on Comic Master to save their works and edit them whenever they like. Comic Master gives students the option to create and print multiple page stories.

Storyboard That provides templates in which you can create your stories in a comic strip style. To help you create your story Storyboard That provides dozens of scenes, characters, and text bubbles to fill your storyboard's frames. Each element that you drag into your storyboard's frames can be re-sized, rotated, and re-positioned. Storyboard That has free and paid plans. The free plan allows you to create three and six frame stories. The free plan also limits you to three storyboards per week. A paid classroom account offers options for managing student accounts, limiting sharing to classroom members only, and a classroom account offers more frames per storyboard.

Make Beliefs is a free comic strip creation tool that provides students with a variety of templates, characters, and prompts for building their own comic strips. Make Beliefs provides students with a pre-drawn characters and dialogue boxes which they can insert into each box of their comic strip. The editing options allow users the flexibility to alter the size of each character and dialogue bubble, bring elements forward within each box, and alter the sequence of each box in the comic strip. Students that have trouble starting a story can access writing prompts through make beliefs. Most impressively, Make Beliefs allows users to write their comic strip's dialogue in English, Spanish, French, German, Italian, Portugese, or Latin.

Disclosure: Storyboard That is an advertiser on this blog. 

Sunday, August 10, 2014

PDF - Ten Popular Ed Tech Tools That Were Updated This Summer

A couple of weeks ago I published a round-up of popular ed tech tools that were updated this summer. I had a couple of readers ask if they could print the post to pass out in their schools. Yes, you can. To make it easier to print I put the post into PDF format. In creating the PDF I changed some of the "click here" items to written URLs for finding video demonstrations of updated features. The PDF is embedded below, you can also click here for the PDF.

NASA Explains the Supermoon and Perseid Meteors

If you go outside tonight you may notice that the full moon is brighter than usual. This unusually bright moon is referred to as the Supermoon. In the Science At NASA video embedded below we learn why the Supermoon is so bright tonight. The same video also explains Perseid meteor showers and why they might not be quite as visible tonight as on other nights.