How can technology help keep all students in your class motivated and engaged in Spelling activities, whether very able or needing lots of consolidation? One way is using a free online spelling tool from Scholastic, which allows you to enter your own spelling words and create two activities. The Spelling Wizard is found at http://www.scholastic.com/kids/homework/spelling.htm.

The first step is to type in the 10 spelling words. You, the teacher, can do this or even better, the students can type in their own. Once the words are in, there are two activities to choose: Spelling Scramble or Word Search.

The first activity is a scrambled letters activity, where the letters of each of the 10 words typed in are jumbled. The activity can be printed and completed on paper or filled in online by typing in the correct spelling of the word in a box to the right of the scrambled word. Once all 10 are completed, you can again print the page or even better, have the computer correct the spelling. Students can then re-do the activity if they haven’t scored an appropriate score.

The second activity is a Word Search, and again, can be printed out or completed online by clicking the letters of the words.

Students could create and complete activities for themselves or for other students in their class. The only drawback is that words and activities cannot be saved.

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Steve Hargadon has created a Ning dedicated to discussions about the future of education (http://www.futureofeducation.com/).

In his introduction he states: This community is devoted to providing an opportunity for those who care about education to share their voices and ideas with others. It’s a place for thoughtful discussion on an incredibly important topic.

One of the most exciting features of this website, is the terrific range of free downloadable podcasts of interviews with some of today’s most innovative educators. Can I particularly recommend Sheryl Nussbaum-Beach on Educational Social Networking.  Sheryl speaks with such passion, wisdom and knowledge … and a whole lot of sense!!

Also check out the discussion forum for some very informative and thought-provoking comments.

Biopix (http://www.biopix.com/Default.asp) is a collection of nature photos, primarily from Scandinavia. Images include detailed and colourful photographs of animals, plants, weather and landscapes. Biopix is used online by a wide range of students, teachers, researchers, photographers etc. as well as used professionally in a large range of publications.

The photos may be used for free with no permission by teachers, pupils and students at schools, universities and other educational facilities, for purposes related directly to the education. Typically reports, teaching material for single classes, talks, posters, Masters-, PhD-reports etc. The source should always be given and if the product is published on the Internet, a link to Biopix should be given.

Thanks to tee1962 Reagan for sharing

Pixlr (http://www.pixlr.com/editor/) is an online image editor that allows you to upload your images and edit them in your browser (Firefox or Internet Explorer). Pixlr is perfect for students when they want to create or edit images to be used in multimedia presentat ions l ike PhotoStory, PowerPoint or imovie. They can also use it at home as it is online and free!
While it’s not the most full-featured image editor you will ever use, Pixlr makes it fairly easy to do some sophisticated graphics manipulation with images online. The Flash-based web app has an impressive set of tools, from graphics tools like paint, blur, pixelate and emboss, to layers and filters for masking and effects.
Students can create a painting using the pen and paint tools or import images from digital cameras or the web … or even better via a web address (URL). For instance, as shown in the example, students were given the task of studying rainforest birds and their characteristics. The students did a search for pictures of rainforest birds as part of their HSIE unit. When an appropriate graphic is found, the web address can be copied and pasted into the ‘Open from URL’ window. Pixlr will then open that graphic in its own window. With the lasso tool, the bird was selected, copied and pasted into the main project window. A selection of birds were copied and pasted into the project and text and drawings added. For example, foliage could be copied or drawn in. The finished graphic can then be saved as a jpg to import into other programs.
Pixlr has a number of features similar to PhotoShop and other quite expensive software applications and can therefore be used to teach many of the graphics skills students need. Pixlr uses built in Flash so you need to have a Flash plug in for it to work. If Pixlr doesn’t function automatically see http://www.adobe.com/ products/flashplayer/ for details.pixlr

Recyclezone, the site for schools, children and teachers that tells you what’s what in the world of waste! Although this site (http://www.recyclezone.org.uk/home.aspx) from England is called recyclezone, recycling is only one of the things we can do about waste. The site addresses the 3Rs – reduce, reuse, recycle. The site has a number of areas including a Fun Zone, with interactive online games, Activity Zone, where there are activities like making paper and a Teacher Zone.

Teachers might use this site as part of a recylcing / conservation unit or a follow-up to Clean Up Australia activities. It could also be used as inspiration to the SRC or the Environment Committee to plan a school based event. Some of the online waste-related games include:

  • Rubbish Challenge – Can you get rid of your rubbish?
  • Rap with Recycler – Join in with Recycler’s Rubbish Rap.
  • Is your brain full of rubbish? – Test your knowledge with our Rubbish Quiz.
  • Virtual school – Does school have to be rubbish? Find out by exploring our virtual school.
  • How much of a waster are you? – Find out if you’re a waster with our lifestyle challenge.

In the Teacher Zone, there are ideas for integration into your classroom:

  • What your school can do about waste – Practical steps that your school can take to reduce, reuse and recycle its waste.
  • Broader picture – Includes an introduction to waste and Education for Sustainable Development.
  • Waste on the web – Recommended waste related websites for use by teachers, school managers and students.
  • Teacher’s resources – A library of teachers’ resource pages from ‘wasted’, Waste Watch’s education newsletter.
  • Waste in the UK Curriculum – would have relevance for Australian Curriculum
  • Waste education publications and support – education materials and support from Waste Watch and others

The website is managed by Waste Watch, which is a leading environmental organisation promoting sustainable resource management in the UK by campaigning for all areas of society to:

  • reduce resource consumption
  • maximise resource reuse
  • increase the percentage of waste they recycle

Syllabus amendments, text lists, exam and assessment changes, new services and support materials – all are published first online  on the Board’s website. Also visit K-6 BOS at http://k6.boardofstudies.nsw.edu.au/.

The best way to be sure you miss nothing is to subscribe to the Board’s email news alerts – see http://news.boardofstudies.nsw.edu.au/index.cfm/official-notices. Email alerts are simple and free. You can subscribe to all BOS announcement or just Official Notices. Official Notices are about important Board rules, procedures and syllabus changes. The last Board Bulletin for 2008 reminded schools that from 2009 Official Notices are only published online. BOS recommends to have at least one email subscriber in each NSW school who can check for Official Notices and other important information from the Board.

As well as the email service, you can get Board news updates at-a-glance by grabbing the Board’s RSS feed for your favourite News Reader. In the righthand frame of the Official Notices page you can subscribe to every BOS news item or just the ones relevant to you.

If you like your news in quick, short bites and want to see BOS news as it happens, BOS is now sending Tweets via Twitter.com! Join the principals and teachers who are already following NewsAtBOS by visiting http://twitter.com/NewsAtBOS.

Melbourne, Australia had a tremor last night which registered 4.7 on the Richter scale. To take advantage of this current event in your teaching and the amazing up-to-date resources now available on the internet, visit U.S. Geological Survey Earthquake Hazards Program (http://earthquake.usgs.gov). Since the early 1990s, the magnitude and location of an earthquake have been available within minutes on the Internet. Now, as a result of work by the U.S. Geological Survey and with the cooperation of various regional seismic networks, people who experience an earthquake can go online and share information about its effects to help create a map of shaking intensities and damage. The map is available at http://earthquake.usgs.gov/eqcenter/recenteqsww/.

The website also has a number of resources for teachers and students at http://earthquake.usgs.gov/learning/kids/. There are facts and information about earthquakes as well as activities, puzzles and animations. The Teacher section includes photos, PowerPoints and maps as well as other resources, although they favour a US perspective.

The map below was accessed from the website on 7/3/09 and shows the earthquake indicator near Melbourne as well as other earthquakes which have been recorded in the previous 7 days. Earthquake times are listed in USA time, so need to be converted to your local time.

Map showing latest earthquakes

Annenberg Media’s website for teachers (http://www.learner.org/) provides teacher resources for a number of KLAs. The site is more aligned with American 7-12 curricula but there are a number of excellent interactives which could be used in a K-6 Australian classroom.

In the Mathematics area, there is an engaging resource on 3D Geometry. There are 6 sections, including 3D Shapes, Surface Area and Volume and Test Your Skills. Teachers can use the online information and activities as a teaching resource and students can use it to consolidate their knowledge and understanding of the concepts. The lessons are structured sequentially and progressively build on skills.

Another useful interactive is Spelling Bee. A cloze passage is displayed with missing words which the student needs to type in … obviously spelling the words correctly. Content is divided into year groups with sub-levels for each year. Words and passages can be ‘read’ out by the computer and even better, the computer corrects the student’s spelling!

Have you programmed for a unit on Fairytales? There is an interactive called Elements of a Story, which takes you through creating the Cinderella story. Could be used by teachers as revision activities or consolidation for students who need extra scaffolding. As stated on the interactive: “This site features an interactive explanation of each literary element, which is then followed by a series of activities to enhance students’ understanding. Students will be asked to put plot developments into the correct order, select appropriate settings and characters, and sort events and exposition.”

Other features of the website are videos and support materials which are aimed at helping teachers understand concepts and background knowledge of some content areas of the curriculum e.g. How can we use rocks to understand events in the Earth’s past? You must sign up to use these but they are free if watched online.

fireshot-capture-30-interactives-www_learner_org_interactives

Be part of a NSW ICT project! The Tooth Tally Project gives teachers a way to integrate an important event in the life of a child – losing a tooth – with Reading, Mathematics, Writing, HSIE and ICT. Using “lost tooth” data collected in the classroom, students will practise counting skills and collecting data. They will learn to make and interpret graphs, develop map skills and communicate through email. It’s a wonderful opportunity for children to realize that in spite of many differences children all around the world have many similarities, too.

To take part in the Tooth Tally Project (http://www.toothtally.com/default.htm) you’ll need to register your class before 1 February 2009. Registered classes will count and compare tooth data from 1 February 2009 until 30 April 2009. Your class will become part of a team competing against other teams for the grand Tooth Tally Title. The winning classes will receive a special Tooth Tally Project certificate and be acknowledged on this site as the biggest tooth wigglers and wobblers in the world!

The Tooth Tally Project has been running for 10 years under the capable direction of Lynda Smith, Technology Coordinator at Barwell Road Elementary School, Raleigh, NC, USA, who inspired and created this wonderful learning activity. In mid-2008 Lynda passed coordination of the Tooth Tally Project to Cheryl Hill, Computer Teacher at Lindfield East Public School, Sydney, NSW, Australia.

A wiki site is used to keep the tally and to communicate with each other. There’s a gallery of work samples, class comments and a photo album. For lots of lesson plan ideas from previous Tooth Tally participants visit our Teachers page.

A great way to kick off the Tooth Tally Project is the Tooth Fairy description activity. Participating classes are invited to do this activity and select a picture to upload to the wiki. Instead of trying to squeeze the Tooth Tally Project into an already packed teaching day, why not integrate it into your regular curriculum? There are heaps of ways you can use the Tooth Tally Project to teach your regular curriculum objectives. Many of these ideas have come from previous Tooth Tally teachers!

Thanks to Melanie for alerting me to this  interesting integrated project.

Teachers TV is a website which has hundreds of videos about education, teaching and inspiring methods of sharing knowledge – and room for you to share your own videos, photos and story ideas. Teachers TV Australia is the Australian equivalent of the successful UK initiative, Teachers TV.

The UK service, as described on their website, is a successful web and 24 hour cable television initiative providing teachers and school administrators with professional development resources that are engaging, relevant and convenient to use. Teachers TV content often features great teachers and teaching in action. Stories are focussed on classroom and school observation to illustrate how different teachers deal with challenges, ideas, problems, innovation and systems.

Teachers TV Australia entered its first phase in early 2008 and is now committed to sourcing funding to create Australian content for Australian teachers, schools and principals. Teachers TV in Britain is funded by the UK’s Department for Children, Schools and Families and produced by an external production consortium. Teachers TV in Australia is an initiative brought to Australia by Peter Sjoquist AM, the driving force behind the drug and alcohol-prevention youth event Rock Eisteddfod Challenge , now a global event.

The first phase of teacherstv.com.au demonstrates examples of locally produced programming along with video material from the UK to illustrate how a full Australian service will work. A selection of UK content was reviewed during a 3 month period by our production team and a Teachers Review Panel consisting of teachers from around the country. The aim was to ensure we selected the most relevant content for the first phase.

Users will need to create a login by registering on the site. It is free and only takes minutes. Australian teachers, school staff, educationalists and principals will be able get the most out of Teachers TV Australia by becoming a Contributor. You can be the first to know about new stories when our regular newsletter begins. Once logged in, you may also register your interest in joining the Teachers Panel or suggesting story ideas that could be made by the Teachers TV crew in the future.

The website is also accompanied by a new Free-To-Air TV Channel aimed at up-skilling teachers and improving education within Australian schools. It commenced broadcasting Monday 3rd November to Australia’s largest free-to-air market (Metropolitan Sydney). Teachers TV is about real teachers, in real classrooms achieving results and is for teachers, principals, parents and everyone with an interest in what’s going on in education. Teachers TV will be available on Channel 47 on Broadcast Australia’s digital free-to-air television trial platform known as DIGITAL FORTY FOUR and can be received by any household who currently receives digital terrestrial Television signals (via a Digital TV or a set top box).

“Whatever their level of experience, teachers will be able to tune in to Channel 47 or log on to teacherstv.com.au and view resource videos from many different areas of the curriculum. The videos show real teachers in real classrooms and how they go about implementing curriculum,” Mr Sjoquist added. Programming outlining general teaching practices and methods will also be broadcast and available to view from the website. Teachers TV will share Channel 47 with Federal Parliament and be broadcast at times when Federal Parliament is not sitting. Further details on how to receive Teachers TV and the other DIGITAL FORTY FOUR services can be found at http://www.digitalfortyfour.com.au .

teachertv

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