Wednesday, August 5, 2015

Fun Math Practice With Penguins

Parts of this post originally appeared on my other blog,

Penguin Jump Maths is a free iPad app that offers a fun game for students to play to practice their addition, subtraction, multiplication, and division skills. Students play the game in the role of a penguin trying to jump from iceberg to iceberg. The object of the game is to be the first penguin to make it across all of the icebergs without falling into the water. In addition to measuring success by being the first to cross the icebergs players also earn points for speed and accuracy.

Applications for Education
Penguin Jump Maths isn’t a revolutionary app by any means. But if you’re looking for a fun and free app for your students to use to practice their basic math skills, the app could provide just what you need.

Students Learn the Alphabet Through Alphabet Organizer

Alphabet Organizer is a free resource produced by Read Write Think for the purpose of helping students learn the alphabet and learn new words. Alphabet Organizer is available as an iPad app, as an Android app, and as a web-based tool.

When you first open the app you will be asked to create a user profile. Multiple profiles can be created on the same installation of the app. Creating a profile only asks for a first name and that name could be a pseudonym.

Once you have created a profile or selected a profile on Alphabet Organizer you are ready to start building alphabet charts and books. In the first screen you will given the choice of making simple word lists or making word lists with pictures and definitions. Should you choose to use pictures you will have to find the pictures somewhere outside of the app and import them to the app. You can make lists for every letter of the alphabet or make lists for just a few letters at a time. After making your lists you can move on to having those lists used in printable charts or picture book pages.

Applications for Education
Read Write Think offers an extensive list of lesson plans that incorporate Alphabet Organizer.

Seterra Offers a Large Collection of Geography Exercises for Students

Seterra offers a large selection of free geography quizzes. The collection includes dozens of quizzes covering everything from country identification to identifying physical geographic features like mountains, rivers, and seas. There are seven categories of quizzes arranged by continent. Seterra's quizzes are available in sixteen languages.

Seterra's quizzes available as a free download for Windows computers. The games can also be played in an online version. If you download the quizzes you can keep track of your scores on your computer. The online version of the games do not allow you to keep track of your scores.

Applications for Education
I downloaded Seterra and tried a couple of the quizzes on my desktop. The quizzes are very straight-forward in terms of how to use them. Your cursor will become highlighted with a prompt to identify a state, city, or geographic feature. You could easily have a whole classroom using Seterra in minutes.

Jumpstart Your Classroom Blog In My New Course

Throughout the spring and summer I offered a five week course on using blogs and social media in schools. Over the last few weeks I've had requests to offer the course again. But school is starting soon and many of us are pressed for time so I decided to offer a three part version of the course. Classroom Blog Jumpstart is a three night event (August 17,18, and 19) in which I'll cover how to set-up a blog, features many people overlook in their blogs, picking the best blog platform for your situation, and share strategies for engaging students and parents through blogging.

Does this sound like a course you could use? Click here to register or read on for more information.

Whether you’ve never tried using a blog in your classroom or you’ve tried it before and it didn’t work out like you hoped, this course is for you.

Blogging isn’t new and it isn’t as flashy as say iPads in the classroom, but it is a very valuable activity for students, teachers, and school leaders. In fact, I think that too often it is under-utilized by teachers. One cause that under-utilization is due in part to not having a clear strategy for implementation. Another reason for under-utilization of blogs is a lack of understanding of just how many ways blogs can be used by students, teachers, and school leaders. I developed this course to address all of those issues and help teachers develop a better understanding of the many ways they can use blogs in their classrooms.

In this three night event you will learn:
*How to use Blogger and KidBlog. Dive into features many people overlook.
*Determine which blogging platform is best for you and your students.
*Learn valuable strategies for engaging students and parents through blogging.

This three night event is happening on August 17, 18, and 19 at 7pm Eastern Time.
Click here to register today!

***********All sessions are recorded.************

I usually charge $97 for a course like this one. As a back-to-school promotion it costs only $65 if you register before August 10th. Use the discount code “backtoschool” to receive the discount.

Space is limited. Click here to register today!

About the costs and my decision to advertise these opportunities on my blog:
Sometimes when I advertise one of these webinars I get messages from people who are upset that I am advertising it here and or that I am charging for it. I understand why some people feel that way. I thought long and hard about how to offer these opportunities. In fact, I thought about it and talked about it with trusted advisors for a year before offering the first webinar series. The purpose of this blog and my goal for years has always been to help people use free technology in their classrooms. The tools and strategies featured in my webinars and at the Practical Ed Tech Summer Camp are free to use. However, my time for teaching isn't free. Further, I pay licensing fees to GoToTraining and to Wistia for hosting all of the media content of the courses.

Tuesday, August 4, 2015

5 Posts to Jumpstart Your Classroom Blog

The arrival of August always makes me think about the first few weeks of school. Using their blogs more consistently is one of the things that many teachers will be doing as the new school year begins. It can be a challenge to get parents to check classroom blogs consistently. One of the ways that you can get them into the habit is to provide them with information that they will find valuable. Here are five things you can blog about early in the school year to provide value to your students' parents when they visit your classroom blog.

1. How to supervise your child's web use at home.
2. Privacy settings on school-provided laptops/ Chromebooks/ iPads/ tablets. Consider adding a PDF of screenshots illustrating those settings.
3. Tasty and healthy snacks to send to school with your child (Pinterest is a great source for ideas, just make sure you give proper attribution).
4. How to talk to kids about bullying.
5. A glossary of Tween/ teen slang vocabulary.

My upcoming course, Classroom Blog Jumpstart, will cover topics like this one and many more. The course begins on August 17th.  Click here to learn more about the course. 

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