Monday, October 31, 2011

Meet Me at Midnight - Dare You Enter?

Smithsonian American Art Museum offers an online, interactive adventure, Meet Me at Midnight, for kids ages 8 to 10 years old. Meet Me at Midnight introduces students to American art and the artists. This is done using the collections that exists in the Smithsonian American Art Museum. The goal of Meet Me at Midnight is to teach art terms and concepts through game-based play.

Meet Me at Midnight challenges kids to undo the chaos that has been created by the Root Monster, a piece of art work. Students must do this with the help of a character that has been removed from its own artwork. Throughout the adventure, Meet Me at Midnight, adds factual information about the art and the artists who created the works. It is a fun way to learn about art design and concepts.

One fault that I find with Meet Me at Midnight is the fact that there is no audio to go along with the text. Younger students might get lost in the reading and older students might bored with the reading thinking the game is a more work than fun. However I would recommend Meet Me at Midnight. A great tool to learn about American artists and theirs works.

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Resources for the 21st Century Classroom

Yesterday, my fellow TIS colleagues and I offered training covering The Three Tiers of Technology Integration and the 21st Century Learner. The Tiers of Technology Integration is a product of Texas Steps Up initiative. This training was initially presented to the district's Technology Integration Specialists by TCEA's Monica Martinez with the intention of bringing the information back to the school district and sharing with other educators.

Tier 3 of Technology Integration seems quite overwhelming. Tier Three promotes the student-centered classroom which seems to contradict all the mandates involving curriculum, discipline, and state assessments teachers are required to incorporate into their classrooms. As daunting as the task seems to be, most of the teachers I know are willing to try new things, however, they feel there are a lack of resources to support the changes they would like to make.

In an effort to support the teachers' needs, Michael Gorman's blog, 21st Century Educational Technology and Learning was discovered.

A few weeks ago, Gorman, created a post entitled Connecting PBL and STEM.

In this posting, Gorman has compiled an extensive list of resources for teachers to incorporate into the classroom. Connecting PBL and STEM supports PBL and STEM based projects was well as incorporating those 21st century learning skills we are diligently trying to support in our classrooms.

Connecting PBL and STEM is a great resource for any classroom. While it seems like a list of resources for older students, I suggest spending some time with the resources because all grade levels are represented. I hope that you find this resource useful and please let me know if I can help!

Tuesday, October 25, 2011


Recently I posted an interactive lesson covering idioms from Verizon and Thinkfinity's ReadWriteThink. After answering several questions about where I found the resource I decided it would be a good thing to share ReadWriteThink. ReadWriteThink offers many free educational resources for the K-12 classrooms. The goal of ReadWriteThink is to provide educators and parents with access to quality resources focusing on Reading and Language Arts.

ReadWriteThink partners with the International Reading Association and the National Council Of English Teachers.

I believe this is a must have resource for the classroom. Take some to check out ReadWriteThink.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Eye on Idioms

Eye on Idioms is a great interactive activity to reinforce idioms. Eye on Idioms offers seven different idioms which gives students the opportunity to choose a correct idiom, give the definition, and then use the idiom in a sentence. This activity can be used as a whole group activity, or Eye on Idioms offers the opportunity to print each idiom so that a hard copy may be produced.

Eye on Idioms is created by Read, Write, Think. Eye on Idioms is a great tool for the the elementary language arts classroom and I highly recommend checking it out, along with Read, Write, Think

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Scribble Maps

Scribble Maps is a great tool for the classroom. Scribble Maps allows users to manipulate maps by drawing shapes, adding markers, images and text. Once maps have been created then students are able to save maps and share them with teachers and classmates. Scribble Maps also creates code that maps can be embedded into blogs and sites. Below is a quick map that I created marking the Capitol of Texas:

Scribble Maps is quick and easy to use, however, Scribble Maps also offers video tutorials that students and teachers can access for further instruction.

I learned about Scribble Maps from my friend and colleague, Twyla Felty's blog, Technology Tidbits. This is a site worth checking out!

Pinterest anyone?

Pinterest is not a site I can recommend for educational reasons, but I can recommend it for FUN! Pinterest is basically a pin board. Pinterest gives you a fun venue to organize fun and beautiful things that interested you. Pinterest has a "pin it" button that allows you to pin items to Pinterest while searching the while you are searching and you come across something you like then just "pin it". Pinterest is a fun way to organize ideas you may have on how you would like to redecorate your home, find a style that you feel suits you, pin up things that inspire you, and even plan a wedding; You can save pattern ideas, pictures of furniture, fashion ideas, the list could be endless. You can even create a Pinterest board for your classroom ideas. This board could possibly contain favorite sites, ways to decorate, inspirational quotes, and many other things. One of the best things is that you can browse other boards and re-pin things that interest you.

Pinterest is just a place of fun. Take some time to find the fun!

Sunday, October 9, 2011

Word It Out

Word It Out gives students a way to turn any written assignment into a fun word cloud. Word It Out is a word cloud which allows the creator to customize many of the settings such as the type of text, the colors of the text and background, margins, size, and even text and characters to appear or ignore.

Word clouds can be created from sentences, whole documents, web address, or tables. Word It Out allows the creator to decide how to filter the text and adjust the importance of words fairly easily. When you have your word cloud adjusted they way you want then Word It Out allows you to share your word cloud or not, embed it on your website, download a copy, or even get the word cloud printed on various mediums that can be used as gifts.

Word It Out is another fun way to create word clouds it if free and does not require the user to create an account. Word It Out does however require an email address to save the word cloud which sends you a link to access your saved product. Word It Out definitely worth trying out.

Word cloud made with WordItOut

Friday, October 7, 2011

Guess the Wordle

Guess The Wordle is a fun, educational use of a Wordle. Guess The Wordle is designed so that students read a daily Wordle and using the clues must guess the subject of the Wordle. Guess The Wordle is a challenge for students to use internet tools to determine the subject. Each day Guess The Wordle will post a new Wordle for students and their teachers to view.

Guess The Wordle will post a new Wordles in a pattern each week. Monday and Wednesday will be similar with Monday's the easiest and Wednesday's Wordle being a bit more difficult. Tuesday's Guess The Wordle will be based on the scientific classification of animals; Thursday's Wordle will have a language arts theme (books, poems, fables, etc.); and Friday's Wordle will be a famous location.

What makes Guess The Wordle so much fun is that when you think you know the answer, all you have to do is hover over the Wordle and the correct answer will be revealed.

Guess The Wordle is a project created and hosted by Projects by Jen. Projects by Jen is created by Jennifer Wagner. Jennifer has created various online projects which can be found at Projects by Jen. Jennifer encourages participation in online projects and works to provide opportunities for you to participate in various projects.

I highly recommend Guess The Wordle and Projects by Jen to all classrooms. Take the time to check it out.

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Iggey and Rasper - Internet Safety Game

Iggey and Rasper's Internet Safety Game is an internet safety quiz hosted by KidsCom Jr. Iggey and Rasper's Internet Safety Game offers tips on internet safety.

Iggey and Rasper's Internet Safety Quiz is a simple reinforcement of good internet safety tips and internet etiquette rules. Iggey and Rasper's Internet Safety Game is a quick resource to reinforce internet safety being taught in your class. This site would be a nice addition to other resources you are using to teach internet safety.

My American Farm

My American Farm is a fun, kid friendly site that teaches kids about farming and agriculture in the United States. My American Farm is a product of the American Farm Bureau, Foundation for Agriculture. Its goal is to teach agricultural literacy to the public. My American Farm teaches where food comes from and how produce gets from the farm to the table.

My American Farm has fun, interactive games, that as players successfully progress they are given facts about farming and agriculture in the U.S. The games offered by My American Farm reinforce skills in math, science, geography, social students and language arts.

My American Farm not only offers games for the kids but the site also offers resources for educators and activities for families to participate in together. My American Farm invites everyone to participate in the journey they are offering to learn more about farming and agriculture in the United States.

My American Farm is a fun educational site. I believe it will be a great resource for the elementary classroom. Enjoy!