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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

Initially I was a little nervous on receiving Darcy’s tweet informing me I’d been tagged … but on reflection, I decided to honoured my last year’s New Year’s resolution to take on all challenges and think ‘Yes’ before ‘No’. So, here goes:

1. I love stationery … piles of blank pads, sharpened pencils, packets of postits, boxes of pens bring a special feeling of well-being.

2. I loved primary school but disengaged in Year 7 and majored in truancy in Year 11 and 12 and Teacher’s College.

3. I am forever grateful for the opportunity to work with a visionary principal at an independent girls’ school in Sydney (1988 – 1998 ) .. she gave me the challenges and opportunities to really develop as an educator.

4. I am torn … I feel like a traitor leaving the public school system and yet, know I wouldn’t be where I am if I hadn’t joined the private school system. Now happy to be working in public schools again!

5. I love my two Border Collies.

6. I am into surf and turf i.e. love my morning beach walks as well as my time up on our 5 acre rural retreat .. life is indeed good!

7. I fractured my ankle in October 2008 and need to get back to being fit and active again … and losing the 3.5 kg I put on while sitting on my backside for 8 weeks!

Passing the baton on to:

Anne BB

Brian Lockwood

Rob

Helen

Jo

Martin

Mandy

What software do you find most beneficial for your students to use? Click here for a link to a short survey.

Zoomerang provides a free online survey tool which can survey up to 100 people. Very easy to use and publish. The survey will remain active for 10 days. To see it working, complete this survey and then try creating your own.

Results published soon …

When Google Earth was launched in 2005, a highly motivating and different perspective of the planet became available to millions of computer users. At first, educators used it to find their school and students’ houses, to explore the local community ‘from above’ and to ’fly around’ tourist attractions, geographical features and historical landmarks. In recent years, with advancing technology, Google Earth combines the power of Google Search, satellite imagery, maps, terrain and 3D buildings with multimedia and linked applications to provide teachers with an amazing array of information and resources. From Google Earth home page (http://earth.google.com/)

The new version of Google Earth has a number of exciting features, including being able to switch between Sky and Earth view. You can look at the stars, constellations, galaxies, planets and the Earth’s moon. Many photos and linked videos are now 3D objects that you can add, fly into and browse.

You can use the Search panel to find places and directions i.e. travelling from Sydney to Beijing. Teachers and students can add placemarks. For example, locate and add a place marker to show an excursion destination, the site of an historical event, or  location of a current event in the news. Some other features of Google Earth include being able to measure a distance or area size, email a view or image. You can print the current view of the Earth and show it on Google Maps. There is also a 3D Viewer to view the terrain.

To download Google Earth on to your computer, Mac or PC, visit http://earth.google.com/download-earth.html … it’s FREE!!

With Google Earth, you can place custom images and Google SketchUp 3D models over the view of the earth. Image overlays provide additional information and can be created or downloaded. For instance, download the Wilkins Ice Shelf overlay which allows a comparison to illustrate the expanse of devastation. Text and photos can be added to the overlay as well. The Image Overlay can be clicked on or off. This Antarctica overlay is available at http://bbs.keyhole.com/ubb/showflat.php/Cat/0/Number/1140191/Main/1139031/ . To find more overlays, just complete a Google search.  

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. 

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