Monday, July 27, 2009

Up toTen


If you’d like to be able to suggest online games and activities that will help young and special-needs children improve their coordination, logic, or computer skills, then look no further than UpToTen’s search page. It will help you quickly search through more than 1,000 entertaining and focused free online activities to locate the perfect game to match a child’s interests, age, and developmental needs. You can search three ways: by keyword, by game category, and by educational category. Because this is such a huge site, there are a lot of choices for each topic—for instance, there are 20 different activities to help kids learn how to click and drag with a mouse—so kids can practice without getting bored by playing the same game over and over again. Bookmark this site—it will save you tons of time when helping kids who just want to have a bit of online fun.

This article originally appeared in SLJ's Extra Helping.
Gail Junion-Metz -- School Library Journal, 1/14/2009 6:56:00 AM

Sunday, July 26, 2009

Websites I found interesting (weekly)

Posted from Diigo. The rest of my favorite links are here.

Online Stopwatch

This is a very useful, but short post today. Choose from several different types of countdowns. The timer may count UP or DOWN.

Saturday, July 25, 2009

25 ways to teach with Twitter

25 ways to teach with Twitter by Sonja Cole
Here are 25 ways that teachers can use Twitter to ask for help, get lesson plan ideas, book and professional resource recommendations, connect with other professionals, and even host an online book club.

Great resource! Thanks,
Lisa, for the Tweet!

Friday, July 24, 2009

Taming the Paper Tiger

Onsharp is committed to education, the environment, and the community. One expression of that commitment is our free lesson plan for educators: “Taming the Paper Tiger: a Unit on Paper and the Environment.” This multi-level, integrated cross-curricular lesson plan is a free download, and may be reproduced freely for classroom use. A reproducible folktale, coloring page, and lesson plans are included. Free Download

Paper accounts for 40% of the waste stream. Reducing, reusing, and recycling paper can therefore make an enormous difference to our environment. This unit helps students understand this important issue, while also working on math, literacy, and science skills.

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Make Your Macintosh Read Aloud to You

Your Macintosh can read aloud to you. Mac OSX Leopard has a text-to-speech function that will, with a keystroke combination you set, read any text you’ve highlighted in a text-based file. It can read e-mail messages, webpage text, PDFs, calendar entries, spreadsheets, word processor documents, and more.

To set your Macintosh so that it reads text, go to your System Preferences and choose Speech. In the Speech dialog, you can try various reading voices - Alex, Bruce, Victoria, and about 18 others. You can select the speed they read to you. Most importantly, you can choose a key combination to initiate speech. Click the Set Key... button. Then choose the key combination you wish. I would personally avoid common ones like Command-S - which is the save command in most programs. Here I’ve chosen Control-S as my key combination.

Now, whenever I want to have the computer read to me, I first select (highlight) the text I want, press the key combination, and the Macintosh begins to read the text to me. Be sure your volume is turned up so you can hear it. If I want the speech to stop, I just press the same key combination again. It acts as an on-off switch.

Tired of reading the student’s homework? You can have it read to you instead.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Facebook Manners

My Favorite Walden U professor, Kevin Jarrett, posted this as a facebook post back in mid-June. I saved it for today! Enjoy!

Do you have good Facebook manners? Timmy and Alice don't. Watch their bad behavior to learn the dos and don'ts of Facebook breakups.

Responsible Relationships and You
is a production of

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Google Tasks
If you have not discovered Google Tasks, you should visit the Gmail
Lab (under Settings) to turn on TASKS.

When you read an email that includes a new item for your to do list, or important information needed to complete that tasks, just click on the Label button to assign this email to a task. Your tasks list will now contain items that are linked to any email related to that tasks.

The most satisfying part is being able to check off the tasks as you complete them. Learn more about how to use the Tasks feature in Gmail or on
your mobile device in Google's Help Section.

Tasks adds a to-do list to Gmail. After adding the lab, click the Tasks link above the chat box on the left-hand-side of the page. Your task list will appear on the right – click anywhere in the list and start typing to add a task.

You can also create a task from an email: from the More Actions menu, choose Add to Tasks when viewing an email, or press shift+T if you have keyboard shortcuts enabled. For more shortcuts, explore the Actions menu at the bottom of your task list.

Monday, July 20, 2009

15 Second Search Tip Videos

This post came from a post on Clif's Notes.
This is a professional blog by Dr. Clif Mims, professor at University of Memphis.
Thanks, Dr. Mims!

These very short videos will help you more effectively use Google’s search engine. Click play to watch the entire playlist or use the arrows to navigate to particular clips that interest you.

Sunday, July 19, 2009

Decimal and Fraction Interactive Games

Albert Bradley Bennett, Jr. a mathematics professor at the University of New Hampshire has written some great mathematics game software to assist students in practicing their decimals and fractions. This promotes his conceptual approach to learning mathematical principles.
Fraction Bars Online Games Set 1, 2002.
Fraction Bars Online Games Set 2, 2009.
Decimal Squares Online Games
, 2002.

Saturday, July 18, 2009

Hands on Banking

Kids, Teens, Young Adults, Adults, Take Charge of Your Future!

The Hands on Banking® program will help you take charge of your own finances and reach your goals? Just pick your age group and get started! Whether you want to build your credit, your investments, or your own small business; invest in the market, a home, or higher education; shop for a loan, buy a car, or open your first bank accounts, the Hands on Banking program offers all the basic money tools, skills, and information you need.

Two years ago, Wells Fargo, a strong advocate for financial education in America’s classrooms and communities, began working with teachers, parents and students to enhance its curriculum specially designed for young adults. The topics—including responsible use of credit, managing student loans, avoiding fraud and identity theft, finding a job, renting an apartment, buying
a car, saving, investing, wealth building, and more—give young people real-world knowledge and skills for financial independence.

With teenagers’ twin passions for computer games and social interaction in mind, Hands on Banking’s developers packed each lesson with fun, interactive exercises led by
young adult coaches who appear on video. Young adults can zero in on the information they need, practice skills, and test their judgment in true-to-life situations.

This is a great educational resource for Elementary through adults. I downloaded the Teacher's guide for the Kid Version. It is for 4th and 5th graders. This would be a great integration in the math classroom or social studies. OR a summer program!

See Resource page:

Friday, July 17, 2009

Sparkle Box

Sparkle Box is a great site to explore if you are looking for downloadable resources to support visual learners in both mainstream and special education settings.

Teachers can download teaching materials for mathematics, reading, basic science lessons, geography basics, and lots of free posters for their classrooms. Teachers will also find on Sparkle Box certificate/ award templates, attendance registers, and many other forms commonly used in elementary schools. The Sparkle Box sharing zone provides a place for teachers to post resources they've created and access resources created by other teachers.

Thanks to my PLN for this blog post!

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Send Your Name to Mars

NASA invites you to submit your name to be included on a microchip that will be sent to Mars as part of NASA's Mars Science Laboratory mission, scheduled to launch in 2011. Mars Science Laboratory is a rover that will assess whether Mars ever was, or still is, an environment able to support microbial life.

The "Send Your Name to Mars" Web page enables anyone to take part in the mission by sending his or her name to the Red Planet. Participants can print a certificate of participation and view a map showing where other contributors are from.

Whether you are interested in science and space or not, the site has an amazing amount of information about it in laymen’s language for adults and kids.

To submit names, visit

To learn more about the Mars Science Laboratory mission, visit

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Go One-to-One

Apple has relaunched its One to One retail training program. Still costing $99 in annual fees, membership in the program can now only be had at the time of a Mac purchase, which in turn must be made through Apple's phone, retail or online ordering services. One to One was formerly available to anyone willing to pay.
Previously, teachers got a discount. (It is worth asking!)

Several services form a part of the program, beginning with Personal Setup, in which staff transfer files from an old computer over to a new one, and configure any peripherals and software bought at the same time. Personal Training sessions guide individuals through various products, whereas Personal Projects and One to One Workshops occur in a group setting. Only one Training or Project session can be booked at time, up to 14 days in advance; a place in a Workshop can be reserved simultaneously, though.

Existing memberships can only be renewed once, up to 30 days following the expiry date. New memberships can be renewed twice, allowing as much as three years of assistance. A video tour and a list of sessions has been made available on Apple's website.

Monday, July 13, 2009

This is another post which came from Learning Signs Our Family Learning Blog by Wes Fryer and his kids. This post was written by his son. Wes presented about it at NECC in Washington. Please direct questions about this site to Wesley Fryer. This one is from the daughter. Note the response below the post. I like how he takes the time to read the post and pose a new task tha will motivate more content and thought. is a new site that I like to play on. I like it because you can dress up dolls,give dolls makeovers,do there nails,and fix there hair. But before you play the game you have to watch adds. (my dad doesn’t like that part,but you can skip the add after 32 seconds.

Sunday, July 12, 2009

Websites I found interesting (weekly)

Posted from Diigo. The rest of my favorite links are here.

Lego Universe is a MMOG for Lego fans. MMOG means Massively Multiplayer Online Game. This post came from Learning Signs Our Family Learning Blog by Wes Fryer and his kids. This post was written by his son. Wes presented about it at NECC in Washington. Please direct questions about this site to Wesley Fryer.

LEGOuniverse in a new game that LEGO is coming out with. This game will have ninjas, pirates, dragons, robots and much much more. All the people are going to be lego figures but they be able to bend there legs and arms and even dance, go here and put in the word dance in the box where it says VIP Access Point download and enjoy! Go here to see what they say a bout the game. You can also get e-mail up-dates if you really like it. Have fun learning about it!

Saturday, July 11, 2009

National Geographic Kids Games

School’s just about out and kids are looking forward to a summer full of fun. Get them excited with these challenging and intriguing games from National Geographic. First, check out “Top Games,” which kids have rated the highest. My personal favorite is “Zipper’s Pipe Panic 2”—a total hoot!

“Interactive Adventures” features games about faraway places—don’t miss the “Tomb of the Unknown Mummy.” And make sure you check out the “Geography Games,” including my fave, “GeoSpy.” Finally, by way of a detour, click on the yellow “Activities” tab at the top of each Web page for tons of things kids can do and make (while not on their computer) during summer vacation.

This article originally appeared in SLJ's Extra Helping

Friday, July 10, 2009

Selene: A Lunar Science Game

from the Selene website...
Would young people learn science better if it were packaged in a videogame?

That's the question at the heart of the Selene project. Originally funded by NASA and now carried on through a four-year grant from the National Science Foundation, Selene studies videogame learning and the ways researchers can assess how effectively that learning takes place.

The Center for Educational Technologies® at Wheeling Jesuit University created the Selene online game to see how organizations like NASA could best use videogames to introduce important science concepts.

Named after the Greek lunar goddess, Selene challenges players to learn the major geologic processes scientists believe formed the modern Moon. Players create their own moon and then pepper it with impact craters and flood it with lava. It's a great opportunity for students to learn about lunar geology while helping researchers study some key videogame design principles. In addition, playing Selene offers a way to take part in the International Year of Astronomy 2009, a global celebration of astronomy and its contributions to society and culture, highlighted by the 400th anniversary of the first use of an astronomical telescope by Galileo Galilei.

The Center for Educational Technologies produced Selene to conduct its research. If you're a student between the ages of 13-18, we'd love to have you play. The game takes about an hour to complete, but you can spend more time after checking out Selene's various resources about the Moon. To play, though, you have to be enrolled by an adult recruiter to ensure parent/guardian consent for your participation.

If you're an adult who'd like to help out, click on the Recruiter button at left and help us find players to take part in the study. Being a recruiter is simple and doesn't involve a lot of paperwork. The whole process involves getting oral consent from a parent or guardian, then forwarding Selene registration access to your recruited players. It's that simple.

Join us in this exciting venture and be a part of cutting-edge research sponsored by the National Science Foundation.

Thursday, July 9, 2009

Tweeting with Parents

Would twittering with parents be a useful way for teachers to
communicate with at least a segment of their "parent population"?
Sixth grade teacher Bill Ferriter thinks so. In this post at the TLN
Teacher Voices blog, Ferriter reflects on the pros and cons of
Twitter use - and several teacher-readers add their thoughts and
experiences. Consensus: It's not a sole solution but in situations
where many families have easy access to Twitter, the
"short-messaging" service could provide a quick, easy way to keep
parents abreast of things without getting buried in email. BONUS
RESOURCE: 25 Ways to Teach with Twitter:

Wednesday, July 8, 2009


While not everyone agrees with Harry Wong's approach to the first years of teaching, his book The First Days of School has sold over 3.3 million copies, serving as an anchor in many a first-year
teacher's storm. Harry and Rosemary Wong also write a monthly column at the TeachersNet Gazette website titled "Effective Teaching," where many of their ideas for the novice educator can be found. The Gazette's June 2009 issue includes an annotated index of columns since 2000. The very first column from June '00 suggests that a First Day of School script can help establish the structure for a successful year.

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

I Was Wondering...

Thanks to Cindy for posting this site on Facebook about a great Science site for girls. "Awesome elementary science site. It was mentioned in the Commercial Appeal today. It was created in an effort to encourage more girls to become interested in science." She said it was mentioned in an article in our local newspaper. (Which I haven't even had time to get off the driveway because I am cleaning house! As our family says when you have church folks over you have to clean"like the Queen herself is coming)

Here is the article Cindy mentioned:
Cathryn Stout's Column Ask a female scientist

In an effort to get more girls interested in science, the National Academy of Sciences enhanced its kid-friendly Web site

The animated site with bold neon colors now features "Ask It," a moderated forum where kids can pose questions to scientists, engineers and other youngsters. Kids must register to participate in the Q&A, but registration is free and the site also includes free educational games on robotics, space exploration and animals.

The site is filled with random facts. On my recent visit to the site, I learned that a cockroach can live for a week without its head. The online science hub contains wacky and useful information sure to fascinate any inquisitive mind, but it is geared towards girls who want "a curious look at women's adventures in science."

To further this cause, the National Academy of Sciences created the "Women's Adventures in Science" book series. The biographies cost $8.96 and are available online.

Monday, July 6, 2009

Google Search Lessons

from my Google PLN
Go to:

Google Web Search - Classroom Lessons and Resources

Web search can be a remarkable research tool for students - and we've heard from educators that they could use some help to teach better search skills in their classroom.

The following Search Education lessons were developed by Google Certified Teachers to help you do just that. The lessons are short, modular and not specific to any discipline so you can mix and match to what best fits the needs of your classroom. Additionally, all lessons come with a companion set of slides (and some with additional resources) to help you guide your in-class discussions.

~~~~~~ A little back story from Lucy Gray:
Cheryl, Kathleen Ferenz, and I worked with Googlers Sergio Civetta and Dan Russell to
develop a search curriculum for classrooms. It was published just as NECC started: It's based on Dan's work (he is a search expert and conducts research into the user experience) and we envisioned something practical and modular. The hope is that teachers will pick and choose lessons as needed to help their students become more effective searchers. If you caught Dan's booth presentations at NECC, you would understand that there is a mindset that's needed in order to arrive at good search
results. Kathleen, Cheryl and I really feel that this is something that needs to be taught and cultivated with our students on a regular basis throughout their academic careers. Each of the nine lessons has an overview and slides; in some cases, there are handouts as well.

Sunday, July 5, 2009

Plagiarism Checker

from my PLN thanks to Kristine
A Free version of The Plagiarism Checker can be found at

You paste in your student's paper, and it tells you if it was plagiarized!
It is that easy!

Instructions: Cut & paste your student's paper or homework assignment into the box below, and click the "check" button. This free plagiarism detector will find plagiarized text in homework and other essays/reports.

This version is Free

You may choose a more powerful version for $8/month via Paypal

Saturday, July 4, 2009

Publish to Twitter

Publish full articles without needing a blog or site. There's no setup or login. Just write your text and Write4net will publish it using your Twitter account. That's it. So easy. And free!

Friday, July 3, 2009

Let's Play Ball: Web resources related to baseball

Learning sites that relate to our national pastime

By Gail Junion-Metz -- School Library Journal, 5/1/2009

Baseball—As American as Apple Pie

The Library of Congress hosts primary resource materials on all aspects of our national culture, including America's pastime. On this topical site, you'll find everything from photos and old posters to baseball cards and the personal papers of Dodger great Jackie Robinson. Lesson plans and an annotated baseball bibliography are included, too. Created by: The Library of Congress, Washington, DC. Don't miss: The seven-page teacher guide “Baseball Across a Divided Society.”T

Become a Google Educator

Google Teacher Academy applications are due by midnight today:

See previous post @

Thursday, July 2, 2009

Smokey Kids

This article originally appeared in SLJ's Extra Helping.

...No matter what time of year it is, it’s important to teach kids how wildfires and forest fires get started and what they can do to help prevent them. The website is well done.

“In the Forest” teaches kids how valuable trees are, and “Campfire Games” contains five super online games and over 40 print-and-color pictures. Kids can also, with a parent's permission, receive monthly emails from Smokey. Be sure to point out the links at the bottom of each Web page. “Only You” will take older kids and teens to a ton of information about wildfires, including a wildfire map that is updated daily and a real-time estimate of the number of acres burned this year (1.2 million acres so far). Finally, the “Resources” link contains wonderful teacher/librarian resources.

Wednesday, July 1, 2009


This article originally appeared in SLJ's Extra Helping.

Math isn’t just a bunch of numbers or boring problems kids have to do as homework. Math, in fact, isn’t just a school thing—it's everywhere, and it can actually be a whole bunch of fun! Don’t believe me? Just spend time exploring the Cyberchase Web site and you, along with kids in grades 3–7, will be amazed at how exciting and entertaining math can be. This nifty site is chock-full of activities, online games, and downloadables.

The best place to start exploring is the “Games” section. Check out both “Logic Zoo” and “Pattern Quest”—they’re two of my favorites, and will give you a feel for the rest of the games. Next, check out the “Quests” and try your hand at the various interactive challenges they present. In the “Club” section, kids can make their own online art and download awesome screensavers and wallpaper. In “Adventures,” kids can read stories and help the characters figure out how to do something. Finally, in the “Parents & Teachers” section, grown-ups will find lesson plans and activity themes, including “My Cyberchase Summer,” which is just the thing to challenge kids when they’re bored and want something “cool” to do on a hot summer day.