Monday, December 28, 2015

The BioDigital Human- A FREE Virtual 3D Human Body

Wow!  You've got to check this out even if you don't teach anatomy, health, or human body systems.  The FREE Biodigital Human Body is a 3-D model that you can manipulate, dissect, and choose layers, systems, and organs to learn about the body, parts, systems, functions, and diseases.  It is available on the web, as an app for iPad and Android, and as a Google Chrome add-on.
The images are amazing and the information is detailed enough that college students use it in their studies.  As a disclaimer, you ARE viewing the human body, so be aware that ALL body systems are available (I work with elementary students, so I think about these things).  There are so many ways to view the body and systems in this program that it could take awhile to learn how to use all the tools.  I don't know why I haven't seen this amazing resource before!

Sunday, December 27, 2015

Animate Your Ideas with Explee

I love it when a tool makes me look talented and is one of those amazing tools!  Explee is a video-scribing tool that creates an animated video in the style of a hand-drawn, marker illustration on a whiteboard.  Here is an example that I created in Explee that took me about 15 minutes to create: 

The build tools are straightforward and simple.  The library comes with 6,000 images for your use, but you can also upload your own images and the software will also animate those as well.  You can completely customize the text and choose from a good variety of fonts.  The program also comes with a nice selection of background audio from which you can choose.

The bottom line, yes it does cost for all this goodness, but there is a 14 day free trial to see if you like it AND an educator's discount!  I think that my 4th and 5th graders could easily master this program and this is a fun and unique way for students to present information.  Plus, if you give professional development workshops or present at conferences, you can wow your audience by giving them something new to see.

Like I said...I love it when a tool makes me look talented!

Saturday, December 26, 2015 A Visual Search Engine for Kids is a visual search engine made just for kids!  I think it is fairly new as it has recently surfaced on my Facebook feed.  (Sorry, I can't remember who shared.)

I tried and this is what I found:
*The results are hand-picked by the editors or selected by Google safe-search.  So the content is better targeted to students' reading levels and content needed for the classroom.
*Search results include images to help students choose the most relative link.
*The large, Arial font makes it easy to read.

Here is a search I did for Hernando de Soto in and
Both search engines listed 4 of the same sites as their top selections. does show Ads in the center bar and related news on the right which may be distracting.
I like the images next to the information.

The image search provided several of the same images.  However, in there was no indication as to whether the images were licensed for use as there is in Google.

The video searches on both sites returned thumbnail previews of the videos and both seemed to be on topic.  However the entire first page of results (10) in returned YouTube links which are blocked for my students.  Whereas Google provided links to videos in  I would need to check out how appropriate that video would be for my students, though.

Regardless of any minor search limitations, the redeeming quality of is this:
I tried the mild to the severe and got the message every time!
But if one of your kiddos does get a search through using a bad word or does access some inappropriate content, you can also request to update the search engine's filters and blocked sites.

Overall, I think this would be a wonderful starting place for elementary students to search for information.  It gives them the freedom to learn search skills without the worry.

Saturday, December 19, 2015

BrainPop's Sortify: Create Your Own Standards Based Games for FREE

Brain Pop has a new selection of FREE games that you and your students can play even if you don't subscribe to their full content.  These standards based games are great to display on your Smartboard for whole class or small group lessons or for students to use individually.  They cover a variety of content for students K-12.  But, hands down, my favorite is the new game called Sortify!

What I love about the Sortify game is that the Brain Pop developers have provided the content, but YOU create the game!  As you see from the images, there is content for math, language, chemistry, music, etc, but the bins at the bottom are empty.  When you start the game, you choose from a menu of items to choose how you would like to sort the items.  Some are easier than others.  This games allows you to differentiate for your learners!  This also means that the game is never repetitive because there are so many different ways to play.

Although I highly recommend Sortify, there are many other great games offered on Brain Pop's site, too.  Have fun exploring some amazing new, interactive content for your students!

Sunday, December 13, 2015

Design Your Own Gingerbread House or Cookies Online!

I love decorating cookies and cakes, but I hate the mess!  If the kids are begging you for some more holiday fun, now you can let them create virtually with this delicious selection of Gingerbread themed games.  Not only can you decorate to your heart's content (because unlike real decorating, you can just start over when you mess up), I have also snuck in some gingerbread themed math games and stories.  

The only thing missing is that ginger and sugary smell!

Saturday, December 12, 2015

Ho! Ho! Ho! and Merry Christmas Games for All!

Are your students a little Christmas crazy leading up to the holiday break? Keep them busy and learning with this collection of (mostly) educational Christmas games. You will find a sleigh full of Santa approved games that support learning for math, language, and logic. There is something here for every student from Kindergarten through 5th grade. If you have a student that doesn't celebrate Christmas, there are also Winter Themed games plus Hanukkah, Kwanzaa, and Holidays Around the World Themes, too!

Merry Christmas!

Friday, December 11, 2015

Madden NFL: Football By the Numbers is a WIN for Math and Science!

EA Sports, Madden NFL, the NFL Players Association, and Discovery Education have just released an online interactive called Madden NFL: Football by the Numbers.  This engaging program created for middle school students is designed to translate students’ love for football into a deeper understanding of the math and science behind America’s greatest game.

Students will be engaged while they PLAY the Digital Interactive and tackle the game-time decisions necessary to ensure success for their team. They won't even realize how much they will LEARN about the math and science behind the offensive and defensive tactics utilized by the National Football League’s coaches and players.

There is a Teachers Guide created for you, too!  Visit this page to learn more about the interactive program and resources available.

Games that Teach About Hanukkah

Do you want to have fun while learning about the Jewish holiday known as the Festival of Lights?  Your head will be spinning like a dreidel as you explore this great collection of games and activities that will teach about the traditions of Hanukkah.

Tuesday, December 8, 2015

Polar Bear, Polar Bear... Teach Me!

I love polar bears!  I've even been to Churchill, Canada (which is known as the polar bear capital of the world) to see polar bears in their yearly migration to the sea ice.  So, today I bring you three amazing resources for your students to use to when learning about polar bears, arctic animals, biomes or ecosystems, real-world math, geography, or literacy.

Your students will be amazed with these two sites that allow you to track polar bears through their satellite collars.  You can follow individual bears over time as they travel on land and then over ice as it forms in the winter months.  Connect math by estimating how miles per day your polar bear has traveled.  Connect with literacy and science by writing a journal for your polar bear.  

The WWF Species Tracker follows polar bears in Norway.
 The Polar Bears International BearTracker follows polar bears in Canada.

Hey, if you can't visit polar bears in the wild or in the zoo you can still bring them into your classroom through and the Tundra Buggy Webcam.  This seasonal live camera that is connected to a buggy drives around the tundra all day and films polar bears for your enjoyment!  No worries if you are out of season as they replay highlights from the live season all year long.  How about graphing certain behaviors such as walking, digging, or rolling?  Can your students make inferences from the polar bears' behavior or from something they see and then play Myth-busters and do some research to prove or disprove their theory?

Say "hi" to the polar bears for me!

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