Friday, April 30, 2010

My Top 10 Favorite Web 2.0 and Tech Tools for the Elementary Classroom

As we near the end of our school year and you start thinking ahead to next year, I wanted to remind teachers of some of the great Web 2.0 tools and programs that can be used with your students. The following is my personal "Top 10" list of my favorite technology tools to use with elementary students in the classroom. As you learn about these tools, try to think of ways that you can use these tools with your classroom curriculum.

1. Glogster EDU
What is it?
Glogster is a design tool to create online, interactive, multimedia posters that can include text (information), images, audio, video, and web links.
Why do I like it?
Glogster can be used with any students for any content. You can have students make a glog (poster) about anything you can imagine to show what they know. It allows students to be creative and after the glog is made it can be published and embedded in a web site.
How can you learn more about Glogster EDU?

What is it? is an easy to use blogging site for classrooms.
Why do I like it?
It is simple to set up and to edit. Students do not need e-mail addresses, the teacher sets up all accounts. The blog and all posts can be made private. Students practice writing for an audience and organizing their ideas. Teachers can assess students' understanding of topics through discussion posts and blogging promotes collaboration.
How can you learn more about

What is it?
Wallwisher is a tool that creates a "wall" that users can post their messages, images, or links on. It is like having an online corkboard and post it notes.
Why I like it?
It is a quick and easy way to gather student responses. For example, you could make a wall for your question of the day and ask students to post their answers. You can see all the answers in one place. Wallwisher "walls" can be embedded in your own web page to make it easy for students to participate.
How can you learn more about Wallwisher?
What is it?
Crazy Talk is a program that combines your recorded audio with an image to make it "talk". This is a software that needs to be purchased. However, Blabberize is a free, online site that makes similar projects.
Why do I like it?
Students think it is fun to make an animal or historical person talk. It motivates them to research facts and to create a script that they will record. The video clips that are created are fun to watch and share, too. Completed projects can be published to a web site.

5. Photostory 3
What is it?
Photostory 3 is a free program by Microsoft that creates slideshows from your images. There are also some online tools that create image slideshows such as Animoto and Photopeach.
Why do I like it?
It is easy to use. It allows teachers and students to add audio narration, titles, and music to the photo story. Images can be edited and you can choose transitions throughout the photo show. There are so many ways to showcase student learning through pictures.
How can you learn more about Photostory 3?
YouTube Video: Digital Story Using Photostory
What is Photostory?
Photostory Basics Handout

6. Voicethread
What is it?
Voicethread is an online tool that creates a discussion board based around an image, video, or document.
Why do I like it?
A Voicethread is easy to create and can be used for any discussion topic for any classroom. This tool promotes collaboration. Students can comment on the voicethread by text, audio, or video.
How can you learn more about Voicethread?YouTube Video: Introduction to Using Voicethread
What is Voicethread Handout
Voicethread in the Classroom

What is it?
Kerpoof is a digital storymaking tool that creates stories, books, drawings, cards, and movies.
Why do I like it?
Kerpoof is easy for early elementary students to use for online story publishing. It motivates reluctant writers by combining great images with text. The "poof" image tool lets students easily find images to add to their stories.
How can you learn more about Kerpoof?

What is it?
Museum Box is a site where your students can organize a collection of artifacts (images, text, video, audio, powerpoints, or links) about a topic.
Why I like it?
Choosing and organizing artifacts makes students think about their topic in a creative way. Teachers can review the boxes once complete and the contents can be shared as a presentation. Students can view and comment on boxes created by others.
How can you learn more about Museum Box?

9. and other Comic Creators
What is it? is a site to create comic strips from photos or images that you upload to the site. Other comic creator sites include: Bitstrips, MakeBeliefsComix, and Pixton.
Why I like it?
Comics are fun! Even your most reluctant writers might be interested in making a comic strip. Pikikids has cool photo effects that make your photos look like drawn comic strips. Use this as a class activity on the Smartboard after a field trip!
How can you learn more about and other Comic Creators?

10. Voki

What is it?
Voki is a site to create a talking avatar (character).
Why I like it?
Vokis are fun to make and once created they can be embedded in a web site. Teachers can use vokis to give directions or information. Students can create vokis that show what they have learned.
How can you learn more about Vokis?

Monday, April 26, 2010

Word Clouds

Word Clouds are a visual way of looking at words. Click here to find out 46 ways to use word clouds in the classroom. Then visit some of these word cloud sites and have fun! : The original word cloud program.

ABCYA Word Clouds: Easy to use, save, and print for early elementary students.

Tagxedo: Many styles to choose from!

Word Hearts: Heart shaped only and screen capture is the only option for saving and printing.

Kerpoof: Spell A Picture

Kerpoof's new Spell A Picture activity is a great way to practice spelling and phonics with your early elementary students. Students start spelling a word and images appear in the picture window. When the word is spelled correctly, the image will be available to place on your background. Choose from several backgrounds and a large library of images. This is a great activity to do on the Smartboard.

Thursday, April 15, 2010

National Poetry Month

In honor of National Poetry month, here are some interactive websites to help your students learn about and write poetry:

Scholastic's Poetry Idea Engine will help your students to get ideas for their poems.

The Magnetic Poetry site gives you a virtual refrigerator with magnets. Let your students be creative on the SmartBoard with this activity.

With Poetry Play your students can learn how to read and interpret a poem.

Poetry Splat makes instant poetry. Just choose a word to "splat" into the verse.

These easy to use Instant Poetry forms will help your students to easily create a poem.

Read, Write, Think's Shape Poems are a fun way to write and publish poetry. Check out their other poem formats, too!

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

My Culture Quest

My Culture Quest is an interactive adventure around the world. Students need to collect artifacts from several different countries and create an exhibition at the museum to complete the game. Students score the highest points by collecting items with a similar theme (conflict, religion, or celebrations) from various countries. Teachers can preview all of the images (artifacts) used in the game and print game cards to supplement the online activity. View the game full-screen:

Scholastic's Character Study

Scholastic online has recently posted this great interactive character scrapbook creator. Students can use it to analyze a character from a book. First, they input the name of the book and the character, then they create an image of the character from preset choices, then they answer questions about the character. Questions include: 10 Things I Know About ________, 10 Words That Describe ________, and 10 Challenges ________ Faced. When the student is done, the character card prints on a 1/2 sheet of paper. Students can collect and share their character trait cards. This activity would be great for Literature Circle groups as part of their character analysis. This activity could also be used for pre-writing for a student to define their own character before writing a story.

Monday, April 12, 2010

InTec InSights Newsletter: April 2010

In this month's newsletter:
Technology Showcase: Crazy Talk
Interactive Learning with Your SmartBoard Fun Sharing
Interactive Butterflies and Bugs Games
Educational Technology Standards for Teachers
Website Workshop: Slideshows

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