Making Citations A Breeze (Three Great Resources)

Cite This For Me

Helping students with their bibliography for their papers is always frustrating and confusing for my Junior High Students. So this year I had them use three great resources that helped them to create their bibliographies without all of the usual headaches. The three sites caught my eye this year they were CiteThisForME, Easybib and Bibme. Not only did these sites really seem to alleviate many of the citing issues for my students they were easy for them to use and created great bibliographies for my students. These sites makes it simple for students to select the correct source and enter needed information to create their citation. Then students just click on the copy and paste button and paste the citations into their works cited or bibliography page. Many of the students said that they will bookmark these sites and use them again in the future. These tools will be helpful to all students check them out at the following addresses:

  1. Cite this for ME: http://www.citethisforme.com/
  2. Easy bib: http://www.easybib.com/
  3. BibMe: http://www.bibme.org/
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Teach Geography with GEOGAMES

Last week I tried out GeoGames with my Middle School Students and they loved it. Geogames is a great little website that teaches students world geography. Students are timed as they put continents and countries on a world map.  This game has three levels and students can mark their improvement by reducing their time within the game.

As the game states on their website: “The game focuses on cognitive concepts such as spatial relationships (where the continents are in relation to each other and to the oceans), nesting (how a city is a unit within a country, a country is a unit within a continent, & etc.), and how countries, continents and oceans have vastly different sizes (scale).”

Check is out at the following address: http://reachtheworld.org/geogames/index.html

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Augmented Reality Experiment Post 2: “Introducing the Smart Phones”

Well this is my second post on my Augmented Reality classroom experiment.  As I mentioned in my first post, I am piloting 30 HTC  Touch smart

HTC Touch Pro
Pilot Phone for class

phones to create augmented reality learning environments for Junior High students.  The goal is to get kids out of their seats and walking around the school grounds and school interacting with virtual characters and fellow classmates to solve a question or scenario.   This type of environment, I believe, can be very powerful for students.  As I begin to look at creating these environments, I have settled on two different software platforms to use since they are free. Both work well on the phones I have and have a simple interface.  To see more information about these programs read my first post “30 Smart Phones and 5 Weeks: An Augmented Reality Classroom Experiment“.

On the first day with the phones, I demonstrated the basics of how to use the phones with my pilot class. Their enthusiasm was incredible.  This became quite the learning environment, as students began to teach each other and me tips and tricks on how to work these phones.  They were very open and willing to help all students and me in the class.  I was surprised and encouraged by how the class behaved and interacted with each other. Status and cliques of students seemed to disappear and everyone was willing to help each other.  Since the students will be assigned a particular phone, they seemed to become very protective of their phone and how it was setup.  I believe that the sense of ownership is a key to using this type of technology.  So the first day was encouraging for me, and I felt like it was a great success.  Monday I will try out our first game.

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Blogging an Essential Part of a Successful Learning Environment

Over the past year I have begun to use blogging in my classroom as a way for students to communicate with each other and me.  I have found that it can be an engaging and useful tool for students.  I often use blogging to have students answer sample test questions  to prepare for their upcoming state standardized tests.  I have found that students seem to put forth more effort into their writing in this type of medium.  Students also seem to really enjoy looking at other student work and commenting.  So I have begun to put out grading rubrics to the students and have them grade each others work.  This has led to some heated discussions about different topics that have been incredible learning environments for these students.  This has also helped them prepare for their testing by making them well aware of the grading criteria on our state standardized tests.

The key to blogging in the classroom seems to be timely responses to their posts.  As long as students feel that someone is reading their posts they see a real world connection and this really seems to motivate them to keep writing.  Blogging as become a big part of my classroom learning environment and one that I will continue to use in my classes.  Here are some great resources for more information on blogging in the classroom.  They will provide you with ideas and how to write  and comment on blogs.   Blog Basics; Blogging Support

If you are looking to try blogging in your classroom here are some great places to setup a class blog.

  1. KidBlog.org http://kidblog.org/home.php: This site is designed for elementary and middle school students.  It allows the students to create unique blogs with no email addresses.
  2. Class Press http://www.classpress.com/: This site does require a reasonable yearly fee.  They however do monitor the writing and will send you emails with questionable content. This site also also allows kids to create their own unique blog.
  3. ClassBlogmeister: http://www.classblogmeister.com/
  4. Edublog: http://edublogs.org/
  5. 21Classes: http://www.21classes.com/ This site does require a monthly fee but provides lots of storage and tools for your students.
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