Saturday, September 20, 2014

The Week in Review - The Most Popular Posts

Good morning from Maine where the sun is shining and the air is cold. I had to use an ice scraper to clear my car's windshield on Friday morning. This is my favorite time of the year to be outside. I plan to enjoy today's sunshine by playing with my dogs at our favorite pond, Oversett Pond. While we wait for things to warm up a bit, I'll write out this week's list of the most popular posts of the week.

Here are this week's most popular posts:
1. Socratic Smackdown - A Game for Learning and Practicing Discussion Strategies
2. MyStorybook - A Good Platform for Creating Picture Books
3. Pixabay Updates Make It Easier to Find Quality Public Domain Images
4. Mark Your Calendar for an Afternoon of Free Webinars About Google Apps
5. Piano Maestro Offers a Fun Way to Learn to Read and Play Sheet Music
6. Use Google Drive to Share Videos Privately
7. Use This Interactive Map to Discover Artifacts Used in Ken Burns Productions

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Please visit the official advertisers that help keep this blog going.
Practical Ed Tech is the brand through which I offer PD webinars.
IXL offers a huge assortment of mathematics lesson activities.
Typing Club offers free typing lessons for students.
Discovery Education & Wilkes University offer online courses for earning Master's degrees in Instructional Media.
MasteryConnect provides a network for teachers to share and discover Common Core assessments. is a provider of free educational games for K-5.
The University of Maryland Baltimore County offers graduate programs for teachers.
Boise State University offers a 100% online program in educational technology.
EdTechTeacher is offers professional development workshops in Boston, Chicago, and Atlanta.
StoryBoard That is a great tool for creating comics and more.
BoomWriter and WordWriter are fantastic tools that help students develop their writing skills.
GoSocialStudiesGo is an online textbook for social studies students.

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How to Use Join Codes to Add Students to Wikispaces Wikis

Last week I posted information about having your students join a Wikispaces wiki by using "join codes." I had a couple of people email me this week to ask for a help with this process. I created the following video to demonstrate how to create join codes for your Wikispaces wikis. In the video I demonstrate using the new and old versions of the Wikispaces interface.

Friday, September 19, 2014

Expedition Insects - A New Interactive Book from the Smithsonian

Expedition Insects is a neat interactive book from the Smithsonian Science Education Center. The new book was written to helps students in third through fifth grade learn about insects from all over the world. The book is full of pictures and videos to complement the text. Throughout the book students can click or tap on underlined words to quickly access their definitions.

Expedition Insects was created for the iBooks platform. It is interactive if you read it on a Mac or on an iPad. A non-interactive version of the book is available to read too.

Applications for Education
By reading and watching the content in Expedition Insects elementary school students can learn about how the insects survive in their respective environments. Students can also learn about the role that insects play in ecosystems.

How to Create Trading Cards for Historical and Fictional People, Places, and Events

The Trading Card Creator is one of my favorite tools offered by Read Write Think. The Trading Card Creator allows students to create trading cards about people, places, and events both real and fictional. It is available as a browser-based tool, as an iPad app, and as an Android app. In the video below I demonstrate how to use the browser-based version of the Trading Card Creator.

(yes, that is one of my dogs shaking his collar that you hear in the background).

Applications for Education
Some of the ways that the Trading Card Creator could be used by students is to create a set of trading cards about characters in a novel, to create a set of cards about people of historical significance, or to create cards about places that they're studying in their geography lessons.

Jeopardy Rocks - Another Tool for Creating Review Games

Jeopardy Rocks is a new tool for creating Jeopardy-style review games. To create your game click "build now" on the Jeopardy Rocks homepage, choose a URL for your game board, and enter your email address. To create your questions just click on a square and enter your questions and answers. You can go back and edit your game board whenever you like by entering your board's URL and entering your email address again. When it is time to play your game in your classroom you can have up to six teams represented on the game board.

Applications for Education
Like nearly all Jeopardy-style review games, Jeopardy Rocks is a simple tool that you can use to quickly create a review game to use with your students.

A couple of similar tools that you might want to explore are eQuizShow and FlipQuiz. Both of those tools offer galleries of public review games that you can use in your classroom.