Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Arcademic Skill Builders

Mission: Engage and Excite Students

Arcademic Skill Builders are online educational video games that offer a powerful approach to learning basic math, language arts, vocabulary, and thinking skills.  Grades 1-6

Their philosophy is inspired by the intense engagement arcade and video games foster between the player and the game. The Arcademic goal is to make aspects of classroom instruction as effective in creating persistence and involvement as observed in video game players. Our games are a result of blending video game features into instructional research in order to achieve a high rate of student learning through increased time-on-task and engagement. Students must employ strategy under exciting circumstances to make rapid responses while being given immediate feedback on their decisions.

These educational games provide fun and focused repetition practice that enables automaticity and fluency to be achieved more quickly. With what we now know about automaticity and fluency in academic performance, we can help students achieve masterful levels performance faster than ever before!

Creating Gmail "Sub-Email" Accounts for Students

Often times, a Web 2.0 application will require a valid email address to create an account. In order to maximize the safety of the online experience of students, you can create “dummy” Google Gmail accounts to allow you to control the accounts of the students. This will allow you to have greater supervision of the students’ online activities.

In Gmail or Mail with Google Apps for Ed, you can have what are called “sub-email accounts.”   For example, my Gmail address is, I can use a sub-email account called You can use as many as you wish:
NOTE: You don’t actually have to create these email accounts. They all will go to the your gmail inbox. Gmail ignores the “+” and anything after it.

Because these sub-emails will all end up in your Gmail inbox, you will want to organize them using the Gmail filters. Filters are sort of like folders. When someone sends you an email, you can tell Gmail what to do with that email. In this case, we are going to create a filter for each of the student “sub-email accounts” that we are using.

When logged onto Gmail, click the “Settings” link in the upper right-hand corner of the screen:

On the Settings Page click on the Filters tab and then click “Create a New Filter.”

In the “TO:” field of the filter (1), type the sub-email account address and click the “Create filter with this search” link (2).
In the next step, you will check the “Skip the Inbox” option and “Apply the Label:” option. You will choose “Create New Label” from the dropdown menu and give the label the same name as you put after the “+” in your sub-email address. Then click “Create Filter.”
 New label... Enter new label name:

Repeat this process for each student “sub-email” account you will use. You can then use the sub email accounts to manually register your students for a Web 2.0 application. The advantage of this method gives you greater control over accounts so you can:
  • Help a student to retrieve a password
  • Ensure that the account for the Web 2.0 account does not contain personal information.
  • Monitor content being posted
Emails sent to the sub-email account will appear on the left side of Mail in SCS Google Apps for Ed:

Google Search Stories

By now I'm sure you have seen the famous Google video 'Parisian Love'. It became very popular since it was shown at the Super Bowl. It's popularity is due to the its simplicity and effectiveness -- and now you can make your own using Google Search Stories.

All you have to do is enter some search terms, define the kind of search (book, blog, images, news, etc.)... and choose some music that they provide.

My 1st Google Search Story

Directions for Using Google’s Search Story Creator

1. Begin by navigating to

2. Enter your first search term and watch the preview window at the bottom of your screen to see what kinds of results will appear in your final search story.

3. Experiment with the options in the drop-down menu under “Using” next to each search term to see what kinds of results are returned by different Google search (web search, images, news, maps, blogs) types.  Choose the search type that communicates the most appropriate message to viewers.

4. Complete steps 1-3 for each of your remaining search terms.

5. Once you are happy with the language of each of your questions AND the types of search results that you’ve chosen to display in your final product, click “Next” at the bottom of your screen to add a music track to your work.

6. Preview the music tracks that Google makes available in Search Story Creator.  Find one that you think shares the right emotion for the message that you are trying to convey and then click “Next” at the bottom of your screen.

7. Preview the first version of your final product.  If you want to make changes, click “Edit Story” or “Change Music.”

8. If you are pleased with your final product, add a title and description.  Then, upload your final product to YouTube.  (Note: You’ll need a free Google or YouTube account in order to upload your final product.)

9. Share the link with others!

Tuesday, March 27, 2012


Realtime behavior management

Guest Post: How Jason Whitaker Uses ClassDojo to Help Students Recognize Their Learning Habits

ClassDojo Stories

ClassDojo makes it easy to keep my students alert and on-task.”

Tagxedo: Word Cloud with Styles

Tagxedo turns words -- famous speeches, news articles, slogans and themes, even your love letters -- into a visually stunning word cloud, words individually sized appropriately to highlight the frequencies of occurrence within the body of text.
If you like these word clouds, you must read about the 101 Ways to Use Tagxedo.   


Thursday, March 22, 2012

InstaGrok: Educational Search Engine

instaGrok is an intelligent educational search engine that empowers self-directed learning from the Web. instaGrok finds quality educational content on any topic and presents it in an interactive graphical interface, helping learners quickly navigate and make sense of the topic they are interested

instaGrok's sophisticated functionality includes automated filtering (of commercial/inappropriate sites), rating materials by difficulty level, identifying important concepts, displaying key facts, and even generating quiz questions. This is made possible a set of innovative machine learning natural language processing algorithms that set instaGrok apart from other search engines.

Using the search box, type in any term or idea that you are interested in learning about. The results returned are divided into five categories:
  • Overview 
  • Websites 
  • Videos 
  • Q&A 
  • Quizzes 
The results returned are derived algorithmically which means the database is as wide as the internet.

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

AHS News Special: "Moran Moment"

Moran Moment is a special grammar segment added to the AHS school news.  Each episode provides a unique grammar lesson for AHS students.  Students and staff enjoy watching Moran Moment.

Moran Moment videos have been added to YouTube: Moran Moment Channel and to SCS Online Video Library so students and guest may view each segment at any time on the internet.  

CommaRap has got to be my FAVORITE Moran Moment so far!!!  
Mr. Moran as "Flo Mo"

Guest Speaker on Moran Moment:  Dr. Griffin

Entire collection of Moran Moment segments also included on Moran Moment GlogsterEDU:

Which Moran Moment segment is your favorite & why?

Learn Touch Typing

A co-worker, Julie LaChance, ITS with Stanly County Schools, recently shared for learning touch typing.  I have shared several online typing tutorials resources in the past, but I am particularly fond of TypingClub & it's FREE!  

SCS now his a domain in Typing Club for SCS classes.
What is this program?
This online program will assist you with learning and improving your typing speed!

How does it work?
Practice each lesson over and over to at least get all three stars. It really doesn't take much to learn, a few minutes a day for one to two weeks and you will be a pro!

Using this program, your typing speed will reach 10 to 12 words per minute rather quickly. From there practice on your normal typing activities to increase your speed to 40 - 90 Word per minute.

Is it really free?
Yes. 100% free, ad free, etc. If you enjoyed it, please blog, tweet or otherwise link to TypingClub.

Stanly County Schools domain:

Turn Your iPad 1 or 2 into an Interactive Whiteboard

This blog post was just shared with me via edmodo.  I just love edmodo for professional development since so many teachers share and post useful tools, resources, and helpful tips!

View blog post on Tyson's Practical Practice:

Creaza: Make Movies, Pictures, Cartoons, Audio, Graphic Organizers, and More—Online and Free!

"Check out Creaza. It's a FREE Web 2.0 tool that offers offers four creative tools that allow the users to make movies (similar to using iMovie), create pictures or cartoons, create audiofiles, and graphic organizers. This blog post has more information."

Monday, March 19, 2012

Online Vocabulary Practice

Wordia is a free games-based learning platform - built on the foundations of a dictionary - that blends word-based learning games with interactive video vocabulary.

Wordia encourages students to learn through play - building subject ‘Word Banks’ as they compete with classmates and other schools in a fun, competition-led, learning environment.

Edmodo & Google Docs - Integrated

Edmodo for Stanly County Schools

Edmodo announced that Google Docs has been integrated into Edmodo. This highly requested feature allows you to sync your Google Docs with your Edmodo Library so you can easily access and share your Google Docs with your Edmodo groups.

Here are a few ways you can take advantage of the new integration:

Share: Sync your Google Docs to your Edmodo library and easily share them with your groups or other Edmodo connections. You can also add your Google Docs to shared folders.

Collaborate: Group members can open shared Google docs from the Edmodo stream and all edits will automatically save. Host a backchannel through the Edmodo group for added collaboration.

Go Paperless: Create a paperless classroom by using Google Docs for assignments and submitting them through Edmodo.

Click the link to learn how.

How to use SCS edmodo district account:

LiveBinders - Online Organization

Think of LiveBinders as a virtual 3 ring binder that you can put pretty much anything in. Webpage, PDF, image, video, text:  they all can go into a page organized for you. Each item can be on it’s own tab or you can further organize by using sub-tabs. You can even put LiveBinders inside LiveBinders inside LiveBinders!!

On the LiveBinders site, you can find lots of great binders others have created. You can copy those binders and place them on your shelf too. The Featured Binders area is a great place to look. While there are many binders related to technology topics and Web 2.0 tools, I think some of the best ones are related to instruction and full of resources!

Draw a Stickman

Draw a Stickman is a delightful place for kids to be creative, read, imagine and draw.  Students are given sets of directions that they must complete to help out the hero of the story, a stickman figure that they created.  Everything that they draw comes to life and interacts with the rest of what is on the screen.  Brilliant!  These mini interactive stories that have students reading and following directions, solving mysteries, thinking creatively and solving problems.

Creating Comics

Many teachers have discovered that even the most reluctant writers are delighted to write digital stories using cartoons with text!

Among the many different ways of creating stories, using comics is one approach that never fails to engage learners. These are some suggestions which you can find here in the slideshow above:

Comic Creator in Surf Swell Island

Comic Creator - Read Write Think

Garfield's Comic Creator

TVO Kids Comic Creator

Dr. Who Comic Maker

Lego Comic Builder

Comics Creator - App

What other comic makers have you found fun to use?  Share your experiences with others.


Slides made with: 280 Slides

Sunday, March 18, 2012

Screen Share Instantly - FREE

Screen Leap
View from any device with a browser (including tablets and smartphones).
No downloads, installs, or sign ups.
Best of all, it's FREE!

To share your screen using Screen Leap just visit the site, click "share your screen," enable the Java applet, and send the sharing code to the person you want to view your screen. The person receiving your invitation code will be able to see your screen when you have Screen Leap activated.

Saturday, March 17, 2012

Free Ideas and Resources for the Elementary Classroom

Mrs. Gilchrists Blog

Check out this classroom blog with free ideas, resources, and downloads
for the elementary classroom.

Magnetic Poetry and Interactive Language Arts: Teach Students to Love Words

"How do you help your students to love words? You already have lots to do to teach students how to read, write, and speak. How about encouraging your students to get involved with words? Have students play with words using interactive sites. If your students have laptops or have access to interactive whiteboards, then check out some of these websites:

Building Language for Literacy

Friday, March 16, 2012

Graphic Organizers

Holt Interactive Graphic Organizers
"Graphic organizers are tools that help your brain think." - Kylene Beers

Graphic organizers are an illustration of your thoughts on paper. They can help you brainstorm, organize, and visualize your ideas.

Click on a graphic organizer to download a PDF of it. Once you’ve downloaded an organizer, type in your comments and print it out.

Each graphic organizer below includes Teaching Notes with lessons and tips on how to use graphic organizers in the classroom.

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Vocaroo | Online voice recorder
Vocaroo - The premier voice recording service.

Vocaroo is a quick and easy way to share voice messages over the interwebs. You can embed voice recordings on webpages or blogs.

Apply & Reflect:
What I most like about Vacaroo, is that it was a simple and easy to use program. It took me less than 60 seconds to record a message and copy the URL.

Voice Recorder >>

Classroom Ideas:
Please share any ideas you have for using Vocaroo in the classroom by leaving a post below.

For your website or blog.
You can embed a Vacaroo widget that is a simple toy to let your visitors record and play back their own voice. The widget does not store or save messages.

Powered by Vocaroo

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Voki in the Classroom

A voki is a Web 2.0 tool that allows the students to create a character and then to give them a ‘voice’ which we are doing by typing their biography.   Differentiation can be provided by allowing  children to record their voices instead.    The kids love them and it is surprising how other elements like punctuation and spelling become very important as they immediately see the impact of leaving out full stops or spelling incorrectly as the voki will read EXACTLY what is written.
Feel free to experiment with vokis at home. It is important to note that children do not need to create an account.  Instead, they simply use the ‘create’ tab in the top left hand corner of the screen.
You might like to view this clip that shows how powerful the use of a voki can be for proofreading.

75 Interesting Ways to use an iPad in the Classroom

Interesting Ways provided by EDTECH
are presentations that are created by crowdsourcing good quality classroom ideas via Google presentations.

Social Networking for Education

I really do. If you haven't heard, Edmodo is a free social networking platform for teachers and students. (Think Facebook for school.) I love it for professional development and classroom use. Here are a few reasons why:

  • Teachers can use Edmodo to ask questions, post resources, collaborate, etc. professionally. We have several district groups here, and the Edmodo community has groups by interest.
  • Teachers can set up a controlled social space with students to have discussions, post and receive assignments, give polls and quizzes, and more. (The embed feature is great. Students can share videos, animations, and digital flash cards easily.)
  • Students join groups with the code from the teacher. They can private message the teacher, but not other students. 
  • Students join and leave groups themselves - there's no management for the teacher on setting up student accounts. (They can also enter a phone number to get text updates or use the app.)
  • The teacher can moderate the feed for any group they create several different ways.
  • SCS has their own domain with edmodo:

Webinar training for edmodo is available on SCS Online Staff Development System. SCS also has several other helpful resources and video clips on the ITS department page (Digital Resources - edmodo).  Feel free to use anything you need. Got a question about edmodo or our district domain? Leave a post.

Just for Fun: Clay Yourself

Clay Yourself
One of the ways that we encourage professional development is through a social learning network called Edmodo. Well, you know teachers (especially women). "I don't want to put my picture on here! I don't have a good one!"

Problem solved: Make one. I've used a couple of avatar creators, but I came across this one recently. Clay Yourself is sponsored by and lets you create little Playdough versions of yourself. Check out mine. (I love to use "ageless" pictures of myself!) This works well for student Edmodo accounts and Google Apps profile pictures too. Like this idea? Here are more places you can go to create your own "ageless photo" or avatar:

Doppel Me

Converting Fractions into Decimals

Converting Fractions into Decimals

Crack the Mission 2110 vault using your knowledge of fractions and decimals.

10 iPad Apps for Making Stories/Animated Video

10 Top Apps for Digital Story Telling
"With the recent wave of mobile devices and technologies, a giant step has been taken in how students develop these skills (via touch screen) in a brand new way."

Monday, March 12, 2012

Virtual Field Trip to Ellis Island

On March 29, 2012 Scholastic is hosting a live virtual field trip to Ellis Island. The field trip, for students in grades three and above, will be held at 1pm ET, 10am PT. The field trip will take the students on a tour of the island and the Ellis Island Museum. You can register for the event here.


Log in or sign up to:
  • Build your classroom library
  • Import Booksource orders
  • Import student roster
  • Track book conditions
  • Generate reports
  • And more!

Khan Academy

Khan Academy: Model for future of U.S. education?

60 Minutes on CBS News: Khan AcademyModel for future of U.S. education

World's most popular teacher doesn't show his face in online ... Watch Video

Bootstrap is a standards-based curriculum for middle-school students, which teaches them to program their own videogames using purely algebraic and geometric concepts. We work with schools and teachers to integrate Bootstrap into their algebra classes and technology programs, as well as parents and afterschool programs across the country.

Sunday, March 11, 2012

Here's a document aligning Bloom's Taxonomy with technology trends and tools. It's never been about the tools of the classroom (traditional or technological), but the learning—and that's at the heart of this document. From the synopsis:

"This is an update to Bloom's Revised Taxonomy to account for the new behaviours,
actions and learning opportunities emerging as technology advances and becomes more
ubiquitous. Bloom's Revised Taxonomy accounts for many of the traditional classroom
practices but does not account for the new technologies and the processes and actions
associated with them, nor does it do justice to the “digital children”, or as Marc Prensky
describes them the “Digital Natives”.