The Battle of the Timelines “Timetoast vs. Xtimeline”

timeline

This past week I had my students use one of the following timeline creators,(Timetoast, Xtimeline) to discuss the major events leading up to the Declaration of Independence. Since both of these tools are free and simple to use I thought that they would be a great fit for my class.

Both tools required no instruction to use and my students found them easy to navigate. They do require the latest flash player and an updated web browser. As my students progressed with these tools I did notice that not having a spell checker was an issue. Since nothing was underlined red they assumed everything was spelled correctly, which was not the case. But as far as use and functionality they both seemed to work well for my students.

From a teachers perspective I found that timetoast was a bit friendlier to use. Timetoast has a text view option that allows you to see all of the content for each date so that you do not need to click on each event to read the student material. This was really helpful and saved time in the grading process.

Check both of these tools at the following addresses:

Here is a link to a previous post on “14 Ways For Students To Create Timeline

Teaching Channel “Reading Like a Historian”

Question mark

Question mark (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

This past week our school has been focused on the use of questions in the classroom. As I began looking into the many approaches and types of questions teachers can use effectively in the classroom I came across a great video on the Teaching Channel. This video was titled “Reading like a Historian“. I found this video quite informative and a great starting point for our teachers to begin discussing the use of questioning in the classroom. Take a look and tell me what you think or stories you have of using questioning in the classroom.

Click here to watch the video on the “Teaching Channel”

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5 Edtech Resources for Students

This year I have put together a list for my students of five sites that they might find helpful in their classes. These sites are ones that over the past few years my students have routinely used. I do not necessarily think that they are all great but there is something about them that students seem to like and have proven to be helpful in their studies.

Search Engines

InstaGrok: This is a great search engine that shows how facts and concepts are related. This is a great visual tool to teach kids about how searches are conducted on the web.

Fact Monster: This site allows students to find information quickly and keeps them on one site so that they do not get lost in a variety of links looking for information.

Images

Pics4Learning: Great website for students to use to find images for projects and other assignments. Teachers can use and feel safe that all images found on this website are appropriate for school.

Writing Tools

Wordsmyth: is and easy to use dictionary that provides definition pronunciation and alternative words for students to use.

Bibme: Is a great free citation and bibliography maker. It is simple easy to use and auto

Image representing BibMe as depicted in CrunchBase

Image via CrunchBase

fills in a lot of details for the students.

 

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5 Teacher Resource Edtech Tools

With the overwhelming amount edtechtools that can be found on the web, this is the first post in a series to highlight some that I

Classroom

Classroom (Photo credit: James F Clay)

have found useful in the classroom and are FREE!!

The focus of this post are some TEACHER Tools that I have found useful to use with my students.

  1. Dropbox:  This storage site has proved to be an extremely useful to store and access my files anywhere on any computer. Also the addon of DropitTo.me has been useful for my student to turn in their work. This is a must look at for all teachers!
  2. Classroom Timers:
     Classroom timers have become a staple in my class and are an excellent way to keep students on task. This website provides a list of different types of timers and all are free to use. online-stopwatch.com
  3. Duplichecker: This is a great plagiarism checker and will also check attached files. This is a free site and a great resource. I also have a list here of other plagiarism checkers.
  4. Testmoz: As they state on their website, ” Testmoz is a test generator that sports 4 question types, automatic grading, a really simple interface and detailed reports.” Have used this many times and found it to be very useful.
  5. QuizSnack: Is an easy way to create polls and surveys and post them to a variety of different websites.
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Hundreds of Great Ideas and Just One Classroom!

Well it is that time of year again and I can already hear the school bell ringing. Like many teachers I am hitting the web and my classroom resource creating and organizing lessons. As I peruse the web looking for ideas and resources I can feel my stress level rise as I see hundreds of ideas and resources to use in my classroom.

The problem is the web has so many great ideas that it can be overwhelming. Just today I came across two great posts one from edudemic.com titled “50 Educational Technology Tools Every Teacher Should Know About” and Getting Smarts “50 Essential Edtech Tools By Category” each had 50 different tools or resources. This just added to my stress and frustration about what to do in my classroom. I quickly realized that I need to have a specific goal in mind so that I can focus on one or two aspects of Edtech in my classroom. So over the next two weeks I will be posting about 4 or 5 really good tested Edtech tools to use in the classroom. Each post will focus on a specific content area with Common Core in mind. My hope is to help myself get organized and maybe help someone else out in the process.

GAME ON! as the 2012-2013 school Year starts!

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Free Survey Creator “Obsurvey”

This past week as our semester came to a close I began looking to create a survey to see what my students are thinking about the year so far. I have always found these types of surveys to be very reveling and enlightening and because of this have made them a regular part of my classroom routine.

The issue every year is what service to use? Survey Monkey is the most well known but like many other survey creators they require a monthly fee and since I am only creating 3-4 surveys a year a monthly fee of $20.00 is just not worth it. Many of the survey sites do offer a free version but only allow a certain amount of questions or responses which will not work for me either since I have almost 200 students. So I began the search to find a survey creator that is simple to use and unlimited in it application for free.

The best thing was I found one “Obsurvey”. Obsurvey is a great survey creator. It is very simple to use and has a wide variety of questions types to ask such as multiple choice, short answer, essay and others. It provides many different ways to present your audience with the survey by providing code to embed the survey, a link or in a java application. It has many other options like pass wording your survey and a print version as well. You can also print your results in an organized easy to read PDF document. So if you are a teacher on a budget and looking to create a survey for your students at no cost check out “Obsurvey”.

Click here to take a look at their site.

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14 Ways For Students To Create Timelines

CSI timeline

Image via Wikipedia

Timelines are a great way to teach history. Students in my classes often use them to create projects on a given time period or event with great success. I have found that for all students putting events in order helps them to understand the overall development of a particular event like WWI, WWII, and to understand the development of an historical era like the Cold War. It also allows them to see how historical events are related and points out the cause and effect relationship between historical events. Below is a list of 14 great website that will allow students to create excellent interactive timelines.

  1. xtimeline – Explore and Create Free Timelines

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60+ Video editors

Well it is that time of year again for student projects. Every year I am always looking for new and inventive ways for students to show me what they have learned in class. This year I really wanted to use video. Students always love making videos. It is a fun and engaging way for them to present information. However, video editors are quite expensive and can be difficult to use. So over the course of the past few years here are a some websites  that are not too difficult to use and many are free. This allows all students the ability to edit video. I have had students use many of these websites and have seen some great videos in the past. I just hope to see more of the same this year. Take a look at the following 60+ video editors.

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

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New Year! New Whiteboard? Here Is Where To Start!

So, if you like many teachers in the country received a new Whiteboard in your classroom this summer you are probably wondering how you can use it. I was in this position a few years ago. The whiteboard I received came with no training or help just the expectation that I would incorporate this tool into my classroom. Well like most technologies there are some things you need to know to effectively incorporate this technology into your classroom. Often there are help files and manuals that come with these new whiteboards but they are not enough to really allow you to truly integrate this tool into you classroom. Some of these boards like the Promethean boards have a great website to assist you.  Promethean Planet  “http://www.prometheanplanet.com/en-us/”, this is a great website that provides example lessons and tutorials on almost all areas of their whiteboards. There are also some third party websites that have been truly helpful in learning how to incorporate whiteboards in the classroom.To help you get started here are a few resources I have used over the last few years to assist me in using my Whiteboard.

Other Resources:

  1. Promethean Planet
  2. Whiteboard Training
  3. Polyvision Tutorials
  4. SMART BOARD for BULLDOGS 
  5. Activeboard Resources 
  6. Whiteboard Tutorials 
  7. SMART Board Tutorials 
  8. Whiteboard Resource Room
  9. SMART Board Resource
  10. Whiteboards with Math Tutorials
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Make the Ordinary seem Extrodinary

I was watching Helen Papagiannis on TEDxYorkU this past week and was struck by her supposition, ” make the ordinary seem extraordinary”.   This really is the key, I believe in education today. Students are bombarded with technology and are constantly entertained. If their is no element of entertainment in our classrooms we will inevitably lose the attention of many students. Like it or not this is a conditioned response of the current generation. Educators need to acknowledge this fundamental component of their clientele and address it in their classrooms.   I am not saying to become full fledged entertainer and I do realize that students need to learn how to interact in a traditional educational setting. However educators must acknowledge they need to make the ordinary seem extraordinary to create a true learning environment.

If you have not seen Helen Papagiannis’s “How Does Wonderment Guide the Creative Process” check it out below.

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