I did my Under 5 series on Remind.com this week! Check it out!
*Ignore the fact I look like I am going to start singing to you. For some reason, YouTube would not let me pick another thumbnail!*
Our littles love Starfall at school! If you need a site for younger kids to explore their ABCs, learn to read, or do some easy reading, this is the site you need. You can find interactive books and phonics games.
Look how fun and colorful it is! It is very kid friendly and allows children easy use. My child, when he was 3, was able to use it successfully. I love the Learn to Read section because of the way the material is organized. There are stories for the different phonics areas. There are movies, and games associated with each book. The books are fun for the kids, too!
DOGO News has received many recognitions for being a great current event website. Edmodo, Association for Library Service to Children, District Administration, Great Websites for Kids, and School Media have all recognized DOGO News for having quality information and being a wonderful web tool for students and teachers.
Students can narrow by topic, including sports, social studies, entertainment, and amazing articles. They can also narrow by grade span. All students can benefit from the site, Kinders all the way through middle school (and probably many high school!).
Teachers can sign up for FREE. Yep, free. You can create lesson plans with the news articles, make reading lists (through the DOGO Books area of the site), create a class calendar online, and make learning collaborative.
Students create their own avatar, earn badges and points, bookmark favorites, and leave reviews for books and movies. Pretty awesome!
Even better, you can link to DOGO News through the Chrome Web Store, Apple Store, Edmodo, Edublogs, and others! No reason to not sign up for this great resource!
I was reminded about this site through a Tweet this week, and I thought this would be a GREAT opportunity to share it seeing as though it could be a tool teachers can use for back to school time.
FutureMe.org is a simple website where students can write their future selves a letter. They plug in their email address, put in a subject line, write the email, tell it what date to send it on, and there is an option to add a photo.
A couple of ways this can be used...
This tool can be used at any grade level. Just remember, if a student leaves the district and they send it to their school email, they will not be able to access it anymore. I would also put guidelines for their letters so they are meaningful. In the "public letters" sections, the emails are kind of lackluster, but I know they could be really great! This is also a great opportunity to teach how to send an email. There is a snapshot of the template below.
How many students raise their hand in your class everyday? Picture the students you have heard from in class vs. those you have NOT heard from in class. I imagine the second number is larger than the first. Just because kids are not raising their hands, does not mean they don't have something to say.
Introduce TodaysMeet, a site where students can put their thinking out to the whole class. You may have heard it called backchanneling. This is the conversations that are going on behind the activity going on in the classroom or meeting.
TodaysMeet creates a chat room, you share the link, students go to the link (NO SIGN UP REQUIRED!), put in a display name, and then get started. You can type questions or comments, up to 140 characters. Kind of like Twitter in the classroom, in a safe environment!
How can YOU use this in YOUR classroom, you ask? Here are some quick, easy ways:
Another awesome feature, you can have these rooms delete themselves after a given amount of time. These are not permanent rooms. You can keep them up and going for one hour to one year! Pretty cool, right? Check out a quick video below on creating your room!
Poll Everywhere is a polling website that can be used for many different instances. This is a great alternative to clicker systems. Poll Everywhere is web based and has a free package that is great - unlimited polls with up to 40 votes per poll, live PowerPoint polls, web voting, Twitter voting, results you can download, and so much more!
How does it work? You pose a question that can be open-ended OR multiple choice. Awesome, right?
How do students chime in? They can use computer or mobile devices.
Wait, I can see results in real time? Yep, you can see them live in a PowerPoint or on the web.
Why Poll My Students?
After all is said and done, this is a great free Web 2.0 tool to use in any classroom. Remember, if students use their mobile device to text or use Internet, messaging and data rates apply. Make sure students are aware of this before they start using it in class!
As we start our switch to Gmail for our email accounts here at Hallsville, I know there will be many questions and concerns. I am going to start first with all the BENEFITS of Gmail.
Benefits of Gmail
1. Access it from anywhere - phone, tablet, computer, home, school, field trips This means you can connect it to your Gmail app if you wanted to do that. You can switch back and forth between a personal one and your work one.
2. Allows you more options in Google Apps for Education You can create groups, name them, and email to just those groups.
3. Emails from Google Classroom can now go through! Yes, now when you leave a comment on a paper, students will receive the email. They can also use the link to email you now, too.
4. SAFE for students They can only send and receive emails from those with the @hallsville.org domain at this address.
I am attaching a link to the Google Gmail training site. This is the best place to start. Then if you realize you need additional help from there, either Google it (haha) or email me! I will be more than happy to help you! Also, I am sending you to the introduction page, on the left you will see "Basics" and "Advanced". Use those as needed!
*Quick note: I learned when using this before: There is a chat feature that only staff has (students should not). If you send a chat message to teachers during class time, that message pops up on the screen. Meaning, if the SB is on, students will see it. Always send a nice, generic message to start the convo!
*Also, this site is GREAT for any training you may need on a Google feature like Maps, Calendar, etc.
How have I not put this into my Website Wednesday yet?! I have definitely passed this website on to others for the past couple of years. This is one of the best free websites I have ever used in a classroom. Not only do I use it in the classroom, I use it with my 4 year old at home!
What is GoNoodle?
GoNoodle is a website that has a multitude of brain breaks. Brain breaks are a way for students, or anyone!, to get up and get moving after they have been sitting for an extended time. GoNoodle has put all these videos in one place for easy access. Each player gets to pick a "champ", or avatar, that gets larger and stronger as you do more videos. Eventually they max out and you get to choose a new champ.
There are a lot of videos to choose from, including Zumba, Kidz Bop, yoga, fitness, and YouTube songs. You can search them by those channels or they also have organized them into different categories including deep breathing, stretching, kinesthetic learning, etc. My favorite is the Koo Koo Kangaroo! Try some Pop See Ko!
Perhaps the easiest part is the sign up. All you have to do is register with an email address. You then can create multiple accounts under that username. It is all FREE, which is fantastic! Use this link to sign up, https://www.gonoodle.com/s/nschwartz.
There is a Plus option. The videos have a more academic feel, tied to Common Core. I have not tried this option, as it is $10 a month or $99 a year. There are some samples you can try though.
Again, sign up for a GoNoodle account today! There is going to be a GoNoodle Camp that I will feature this coming Monday in my Parent section. Enjoy!
This may seem like a no-brainer for some of you, but for others, I'm sure your wondering why I am suggesting Pinterest. I talked about this back in January, but I wanted to include some more information about it now.
Pinterest is a world of wonder that can make you lose hours of your day without realizing it. You find one thing you are interested in and lose yourself in websites galore. Then it leads you to something else, getting lost in that next. The web it weaves is intense, but so worth it!
Many of us use Pinterest for our personal needs, looking up cute classroom decor, meal ideas, clothing we wished we owned, gift ideas...the list goes on and on. But this genius website can be ideal for teachers to use for reaching out to families.
How many times have we searched Pinterest for lesson ideas? Probably more times than we care to admit. How many times has a parent contacted the teacher for ideas of what to do to help at home? Again, probably more times than we can count. This is where Pinterest can help.
When you sign up for Pinterest, I recommend keeping your personal account separate from your classroom account. Parents don't care what clothing you hope to wear this spring or how to poach an egg. Keep it separate.
Create boards that revolve around particular skills in your classroom, "Vowel sounds", "Multiplication", "Civil War", etc. Then pin the websites to those boards. Here are boards...
These are the pins on my boards...
You can embed your Pinterest account on your website.
Or provide the link for parents. This is a great way to provide them with resources to use at home! Let me know if you have any questions about using Pinterest for your classroom. I have had a couple of teacher friends do this after I talked to them about it, and they said it was very well-received by parents. Make this a goal for the next school year!
Check out my page on Pinterest!
I discovered a website that my second graders LOVED this week! The San Diego Zoo has a wonderful section for kids. There are videos, live web cams, activities, games, jobs at the zoo, and information about different animals. This site is very interactive and the kids were so excited about it!
Students can learn about the different types of animals: mammals, arthropods, reptiles, amphibians, and birds. In that section they can read about what makes animals fit into the specific category. Then they can explore pictures of animals from the zoo that fit into that category.
Find different games and crafts you can do and make at home! There are some really neat ideas in here for families.
Animal Cams and Videos
There are some amazing videos the San Diego Zoo has put together for kids! They talk about different animals and the kids get to see them up close and personal. Some that we watched were how the elephants are taken care of at the zoo, baby lions the zoo had to take care of after the mom stopped caring for them, a Golden Eagle that had to be cared for after an injury, and more!
The other popular thing here are the animal cams. The kids can see the animals in real time at the zoo. Pandas, elephants, apes, and polar bears all have cameras in their exhibits. We have been fortunate enough to see the pandas chomping on bamboo in each of my classes so far!
Jobs at the Zoo
There are more than just animals and zoologists at the zoo! Learn all about the jobs at the zoo in this section. People can learn what the jobs are, challenges, and how they can get a job like that in the future. I love this section so kids can learn about careers they may have not heard about before.
What a great resource! I encourage the kids to view the videos and check out the areas at home.
Fifth grade teacher in a 1:1 iPad classroom, sharing my journey with technology in the classroom