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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

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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.

The Pics4Learning collection consists of thousands of images that have been donated by students, teachers and amateur photographers. Unlike many Internet sites, permission has been granted for teachers and students to use all of the images donated to the Pics4Learning collection.

Browse by topic, look at the most popular photos or do a search for specific images. Topics include  Animals, Countries, Education, Food, Geography, History, Signs, to name a few. Some of the over 50 topics have numbers in brackets – these refer to sub-topics i.e. Animals has 49 sub-topics which include Marsupials, Bats, Insects, etc.  In the Marsupial section, there are 96 jpg images which can be copied or downloaded and used in multimedia presentations and information reports.

Students can also contribute photos they have taken. An example activity could be setting the students the challenge of taking digital photos around your school of mathematical concepts e.g. acute angles, parallel lines or symmetry. These can then be uploaded to the Pics4Learning site. This activity is not only an authentic learning task to consolidate students mathematical understanding but also a very engaging activity where students would be using a range of ICT knowledge and skills as well as collaborative and decision-making skills.

http://www.pics4learning.com/details.php?img=greyroo5.jpg

Introduction to the second year of the Math Connection Project: a Mathematical Problem Solving Workshop between international and public schools around the world. Find the website at http://mathconnections.wikispaces.com/. This collaborative project is designed to provide a place for students and teachers to share their experiences with Mathematics and discover the connection of mathematics study to their own real world experiences. This year’s project is centred about four CHALLENGES which will use a variety of online tools to engage your students’ in exploring and communicating their understanding of Maths within four different strands.

CHALLENGE 1: DATA ANALYSIS November – December

CHALLENGE 2: GEOMETRY January – February

CHALLENGE 3: NUMBER OPERATIONS March – April

CHALLENGE 4: MEASUREMENT May – June

Interested in participating?

The project is open to all elementary and middle school level classrooms from all over the world. Join in for just one time or as many CHALLENGES as they fit into your planning and schedule. Individual, small groups, or whole class examples are welcome. Email Linda at lvnitsche@gmail.com to answer any other questions you might have. 

Project Goals

  • Develop mathematical understanding across the standards of communication, connections, and problem solving.
  • Develop an understanding of the use of mathematics in everyday life.
  • Develop an understanding of the universality of mathematics across the world.
  • Engage students in discussions about mathematics with others across the world.
  • Develop collaborative skills across classes and countries.
  • Creatively communicate new understandings about Mathematics.

Wouldn’t it be great to have some Australian involvement!

 

Thank you to Vicki Davis for spreading the word!

Dipity is a Web 2.0 application which allows chronological information to be entered and displayed as a timeline. It can then be shared via a blog or other website. The news headlines about our Olympics team below is an example of one your students could make. It is a ‘live’ timeline in that as events are reported, they are added to the timeline automatically. Any RSS feed can be used and I’m sure there will be heaps during the Olympics. Students could also research Olympic data from the past and enter manually … for instance, host countries, records for 100 metres, etc.

https://www.cia.gov/library/publications/the-world-factbook/

The World Factbook contains up-to-date information about all countries in the world. This includes information about geography, government, transportation, communication and the people. It also has useful graphics for student research projects e.g. flags and maps.

The factbook provides an excellent source for data activities in Numeracy. It lists statistics related to a country’s geography as well as many other data lists e.g. population, birth rate, unemployment rate, oil production, mobile phone statistics and transportation figures. It also has Rank Order pages which lists the countries in order of a particular data field. Did you know that Andorra has the highest life expectancy? Where do you think Australia is on the list?

The Australian Olympic Committee invites primary educators to join the a.s.p.i.r.e. school network, a program designed to instill in young Australians an appreciation for the values, spirit and philosophy of the Olympic Movement. Visit the website at: http://corporate.olympics.com.au/page/5/Education

As a member, you will receive access to Olympic resources including the Olympic Fact Zone, a Certificate of Membership, a monthly newsletter and a BK Medallion to award to a student who has demonstrated the a.s.p.i.r.e. values. Once you have registered, you can also access over 200 Olympic themed, cross-curriculum resources including lesson plans and games. The resources are structured around Gardner’s Multiple Intelligences and Bloom’s Thinking Taxonomy and emphasise the a.s.p.i.r.e. values, literacy and numeracy skills, the use of information and communication technologies, active lifestyles and links with the community. This online, values-based program complements the Federal Government’s National Framework for Values Education in Australian Schools.

The website also has an amazing range of information about Australia’s involvement in the Olympics. There is a database of athletes which covers every past Australian Olympian and their results.  You can view information about all Olympic champions plus a detailed profile of our 50 finest athletes. Facts about record breakers, Aussie Team Trivia, past Summer and Winter games as well as pictures and details about Beijing 2008.

In Australian schools, Olympic Day will be celebrated on Friday June 20, 2008. Olympic Day celebrates the Olympic Games through sport, education and culture. Across the globe, millions of schools celebrate the day by participating in Olympic education and activities. A resource kit for primary educators is available to download from the aspire site.

The official site of the 2008 Australian Olympic team is found at www.olympics.com.au. It also contains a huge range of resources useful for teachers and students.

The official Beijing Olympics site is at http://en.beijing2008.cn . Links from here include all related Olympics information and pictures, as well as the Olympic Education link which contains some moving stories of human determination and spirit. For example, John Akhwari, the greatest last place finish ever: After Akhwari crossed the finish line, a reporter asked him why he had not retired from the race, since he had no chance of winning. He seemed confused by the question. Finally, he answered: “My country did not send me to Mexico City to start the race. They sent me to finish.”

Further information is available at the International Olympic Committee’s education site at http://www.olympic.org/uk/passion/studies/index_uk.asp . Apart from vast collection of Olympics information and archives, this site also has an excellent library of multimedia i.e. audio and video footage from previous Olympics.

From the MANSW site, a free 48 page Olympic Maths workbook “In the Running for the Olympics”. Excellent for Year 6 / Year 7 Mathematics classes in preparation for Beijing 2008.  To receive the workbook send an email to chemas@chemas.com  giving teacher name and school mailing address.

Lastly, the AFSSSE Australia-China project (http://www.afssse.asn.au/afssse_res/index.htm ) has produced four units in the Social Sciences area.

The Data strand in the Mathematics K-6 syllabus “addresses the need for all students to understand, interpret and analyse information displayed in tabular and graphical forms.” In combination with classroom activities, data gathering, spreadsheets and graphics software, there is a wide range of online interactive websites that can be used to develop students’ mathematical learning and understanding. One of these is Create a Graph (http://nces.ed.gov/nceskids/createagraph/).

The National Centre for Education Statistics (NCES), is located within the U.S. Department of Education and the Institute of Education Sciences, and is the primary US federal entity for collecting and analysing data related to education. Within this site, is the NCES Kids’ Zone (http://nces.ed.gov/nceskids/index.asp ) which provides, amongst other information, several games, quizzes and skill building activities about Maths, probability, graphing and mathematicians.

Create a Graph provides tools to produce five different graphs and charts. There is an online tutorial as well as instructions, examples and a scaffolded process to create the graph. For instance, for younger students or those new to a certain graph type, there is a Create a Graph ‘classic’ section. The following explanation is under the Pie Chart link:“There are all kinds of charts and graphs, some are easy to understand while others can be pretty tricky. There are so many different types because each one has a fairly specific use. Pie charts can be used to show percentages of a whole, and represent percentages at a set point in time. They do not show changes over time.”It also gives students the opportunity to create a graph with data from NCES as well as entering their own. For those students who already have mastered a basic understanding of graphs, the interface is slightly different. A graph type is chosen, and then following the tabs down the side, students enter the design, data and labels before previewing and printing.

Create a Graph is excellent if you want a transition graphing activity before tackling spreadsheets OR if your school or students’ home computers do not have spreadsheet software. It can also be used as a whole class graphing activity and a means to explain certain concepts in the data strand as well as a focus for experimenting with a variety of tools to organize, display and analyse data. 

 A WebQuest is an inquiry-oriented lesson format in which most of the information is researched via the web. The model was developed by Bernie Dodge and Tom March at San Diego State University in 1995 (http://webquest.org/index.php)In an interview with Linda Starr of Education World,  Bernie Dodge discusses some of the key aspects of using WebQuests (complete interview). 

Bernie describes why WebQuests are not just internet Treasure Hunts or research projects … The key idea that distinguishes WebQuests from other Web-based experiences is this: a WebQuest is built around an engaging task that elicits higher order thinking of some kind. It’s about doing something with information. The thinking can be creative or critical, and involve problem solving, judgment, analysis or synthesis. The task is more than simply answering questions or regurgitating what’s on the screen. The benefit to using WebQuests is that it puts more responsibility on the learners themselves. Usually, a WebQuest includes the following:

Introduction: an engaging first statement that draws the reader in while setting the stage for the WebQuest – includes the central question around which the WebQuest revolves.

Task: a description of the end result of the students’ work; the culminating performance or product that drives all the activities of the lesson.

Process: describes step-by-step how the learners will accomplish the task. Includes online (and offline) resources, role descriptions (if any), and guidance on individual steps in the process.

Evaluation: a rubric or other means to evaluate the final task.

Conclusion: final statement that may include reflections on the lesson or extensions of the content for further exploration.

With today’s Web 2.0 tools, a WebQuest can easily be set up on the internet, include multimedia and hyperlinks and be an exciting, engaging activity for students across the curriculum. It can form the basis for a COGs unit, a G&T activity in Literacy and Numeracy or a group activity in any KLA. 

Bibliography

Linda Starr – Education World

WebQuests in wikipedia 

Free interactive activities, online games and web-based puzzles are a growing segment of the internet today. Teachers must however, evaluate the appropriateness and relevance of each website for their students. Unwanted ads, incorrect content or difficulty level as well as promotion or marketing of products need to be carefully screened. Games are highly motivational for children and adults alike. It is not just that it is fun. More often, it is being given a puzzle to solve, a challenge to overcome, a score to beat or the possibility of being top of the leader board that provide many of us with a purpose for stubbornly focusing on the gaming task. The motivation is in meeting the challenge and making progress.

Prof. D Moursund, of Oregon University’s College of Education writes: In recent years, a number of educators and educational researchers have come to realize that games can be an important component of both informal and formal education. Crossword puzzles build skills in vocabulary, reasoning, spelling, and word attack. As Kerry Jones explains, correctly deciphering a crossword requires exact spelling, which for students may mean practising spelling words and dictionary skills.  Other important skills required for completing these puzzles include making inferences, evaluating choices and drawing conclusions. Puzzle solving is a much more active type of learning, and will engage students with the material more than passive types of review techniques do. Crossword puzzles also have the advantage of appealing to different learning styles. 

As technology, and in particular, Web 2.0 tools, improve and multiply, educators need to monitor the free resources available and utilize the growing number of powerful, motivating and engaging games and interactive activities on offer.

References 

Introduction to Using Games in Education: A Guide for Teachers and Parents; Dave Moursund

Teaching with Crossword Puzzles; Kerry Jones www.vocabulary.co.il.

Websites to try –

Puzzlemaker: create crosswords and word puzzles using your own word lists puzzlemaker.discoveryeducation.com/CrissCrossSetupForm.asp  

Vocabulary Can Be Fun: range of crosswords under themes. Also has 2 levels of difficulty. www.vocabulary.co.il/games2/crosswords/index.php

Online Sudoku: complete online or print out. www.puzzlechoice.com/pc/Sudoku_Puzzlex.html

Chinese Tangrams: complete online. www.apples4theteacher.com/chinese-tangrams.html  

If you like any of our ideas …

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