The Tuesday 12: 12 Awesome Digital Resources for Your Classroom (Word clouds, comics, infographics, math, classroom management, and so much more!)

12 digital resources

In this week’s edition of The Tuesday 12, we’re looking at some excellent digital resources for your classroom! There are so many great sites out there that would be beneficial to both teachers and students, but here are 12 that we can’t live without! Just click on each name to be brought to its website!

1. ClassDojo

This is a classroom behaviour management tool that allows you to track each student in your class.  You can either use the predefined behaviour categories or create your own.  I have created the behaviour categories to match the learning skills we use on the Ontario Report Cards.  I think it will be great to keep students on track (you can even set it so that it tracks group behaviour) and to help teachers with anecdotal comments. I’ve just begun using this app and so far, so good! I’ve downloaded the app for my iPhone, so it’s really convenient and easy to use!

2. Glogster

So what is a “glog”? Well, according to Glogster, a glog is an interactive poster loaded with text, graphics, music, videos and more, while being a space to express emotions, ideas, and knowledge online.  What I like about glogster is that it is great to watch…students will be captivated by the interactive, multi-media lessons making them much more engaged in learning.

3. Wordle

I’ve already told you how much I love Wordle! Create word clouds about any topic.  So easy to use!

science wordle

4. Tagxedo

Similar to Wordle, but you are able to make your word clouds look like various images and create various shapes. Check out the ones that Lisa has created!

5. storybird.com

According to their website, “Storybirds are short, art-inspired stories you make to share, read, and print.” Students can create a free account, choose the images that they would like, and then start writing a story, poem, comic, or anything else they’d like.  Just like the photo and image prompts that are often used in creative writing, the digital images found here are a great springboard to help students get writing!

6. Gizmos

As Elita previously explained in a post, Gizmos are interactive online simulations for math and science topics.  There are a variety of fun, engaging, and interactive activities on many different science and math topics, such as dividing fractions, predator-prey relationships, and genetics.  The activities are scaffolded, so students work on increasingly difficult tasks to fully comprehend the concepts.  Although it is not free, you can sign up for a free 30-day trial, but you can always see if your school or school board is interested in obtaining a subscription for their teachers.  Our school board has a subscription, so teachers and students are able to enjoy this great resource!

7. Bitstrips

As Lisa has previously mentioned, Bitstrips is a great site to help your students create their own comics. So cool and the kids love it!

8. Pinterest

Oh, Pinterest, how I love you! We just love spending hours on Pinterest finding great ideas and resources for our classrooms! If you haven’t already, follow our boards!

9. LiveBinders

This site allows you to create a digital binder of the your favourite web resources! Instead of adding them all to your Favourites, you can create various binders to keep track of sites and resources you love! You simply add the “LiveBinder It” tool to your browser toolbar and then surf the web like you normally do…when you come across a great resource, you can quickly and easily add it to one of your binders.

10. Edmodo

I’m going to start using Edmodo with my class very, very soon. It seems like a combination of Twitter and Facebook to me, since you can post pics, chat, vote, and send messages that are 140 characters or less. What I really like about it is the privacy…teachers sign up for a free account, students sign up for a free account, and then teachers provide their students with a code to join the group.  This way, the classroom information and messages are kept private.

11. Prezi

A great way to create cool, multi-media presentations! Simply sign up, login and begin adding in your information.  You can add video or audio clips, images, websites, and other resources to your presentations.  Why can’t I just use PowerPoint, you might be asking…well, Prezi makes the presentation so much nicer and more fluid as the ideas flow from one section to the next.

12. Easel.ly

Love infographics? This site allows users to create their own infographics by choosing, selecting, dragging, dropping, and editing vhemes directly onto your canvas. This would be a great way for student to consolidate learning, create mind or concept maps, visual key concepts, and share their learning with their peers.

Don’t forget to check back next week for another edition of The Tuesday 12!

Bullying: Reporting vs. Telling

With all eyes and ears on bullying and anti bullying initiatives, we are also facing the same challenges in keeping our ears to the ground so to speak.  We cannot be in every place for every situation but yet we need to address them.  What we need to understand is that every time someone is being bullied there is always someone else that is present.  We do not want to imply that they are culpable, but when they just stand around and observe or watch, they help perpetuate the bullying behavior.  One of our greatest assets in diminishing and preventing bullying is the help of other students.  But, what I have found is that other students do not understand they have the power to be or to make that difference.  They believe they cannot make a difference and sometimes do not possess the strategies necessary to make that difference.  We have to help them identify these strategies and understand that the safety of others is of essence and they are responsible for their own and others well being.  One key factor is having students understand the difference between telling and reporting.

Telling: When a student is telling a person of authority about an action or situation, in order to get the other student(s) in trouble when there is no safety concern for self or for others.

Reporting: When a student tells a person of authority about an action or situation in order to prevent the emotional and/or physical safety of others.

Students need practice through demonstrations to be able to understand the difference.  They need to be able to identify situations and how to address them.  That is, if they speak to a person of authority about that situation, would it be telling or reporting?

Below you will find a link to a presentation (5 slides) that can be used as a short handout, or worked through as a group.   Don’t get fooled though, a lot of discussion will be generated!

To begin students will be able to identify who the trusted adults in their surroundings are and who will be able to help.  The presentation stresses personal safety and the safety of others as paramount.  After identifying the adults who could help, students will brainstorm the difference between telling and reporting.  Lastly, 3 different scenarios are provided for group discussion.  At the end of the presentation, it is time to proceed to different teaching strategies.

Some strategies to help students further understand that they cannot just stand by and watch unsafe situations happen are as follows:

1)   Have students role – play different scenarios (student developed) as a great way to recognize their actions and how to act appropriately.

2)   Another way is to build understanding through visuals. Students can create posters for a variety of audiences.

3)   Get technology involved! Students can create digital presentations (Powerpoint or Prezi are fantastic tools)

4)   Students can get even more creative by developing songs, videos, news/podcasts, or commercial.

Reporting vs Telling Presentation

We hope that starting off with small steps will begin to make a difference in your schools.

Keeping your Classroom Clean

We are almost mid-way through November and our students are beginning to have their first round of colds, sniffles and flus.  They come in and they sneeze here and there, they touch their desks and the resources we have in our classrooms.  Unfortunately, due to the constraints that families have today, most of these students should be at home recuperating but have no where or no one to be with during the day so they are sent to school.  What can we do?  They are there with us, with everyone else in the classroom and they are spreading their germs.  It is vitally important that we protect ourselves and keep our classrooms as clean as possible.  Many of us take precautions and help students be more aware of their classroom environment.  From disinfecting students desk tops, and seat backs, to door knobs, our desks and classroom materials we attempt to keep the germs at bay.  I ask students to bring in their own hand sanitizer and ask them to use it constantly during class time.  Furthermore, I have each student donate one tissue box for classroom use.  Unfortunately, we are not allowed to bring in store bought disinfectants into the schools.  These disinfectants have toxins that students should not be exposed to and can be harmful to them and us.  So the endeavour began, and through my friends on Pinterest, I have found DIY disinfectants and cleansers that can be used in my classroom. Just click on the picture below and you will find a detail of four wonderful and fantastically easy cleaners that are safe! I have found that I only need two of the four: the antibacterial spray and the all purpose cleaner for my classroom! But I’m sure you will be very impressed with the results! Happy Cleaning & Be Healthy!

 

Literacy Planning Sheet: An Organizational Tool

How many times do you read a piece of text, be it a poem, book, article, song lyrics, and think about how it can be utilized to teach concepts in literacy to your students?  I have found that I do this constantly, but sometimes have great ideas at that moment but then forget about all those thoughts.  I say to myself, I should have written it down, organized my thoughts.  With this planning sheet, you can organize your thoughts about that piece of text and keep a record of it for future use!  This way, you do not need to re-read it in its entirety, and can always build from your initial thoughts.  The planning sheet is a 2 page organizer where you can record the name, author and type of text you will use.  I have added some literacy concepts for headings and have left some blank for your discretion.  It’s a simple document that can easily be used as a point of reference for you or your team! Click on the image to get this effective tool.

 

6 Awesome Cooperative Classroom Games! Find them on our TeachHub.com article

We are always looking for ways to ensure that we meet all of our students needs.  The best way to do so, is to utilize cooperative games in our classroom.  Doing so will have great short-term and long-term benefits for you and your students.  Creating a safe and conducive environment to allow your students to grow emotionally and academically can be achieved through cooperative games.

Click on this link where you will read our latest article published on TeachHub.com, which focuses on the benefits of cooperative games.  In addition we have included games appropriate for each division level.

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How to help students set and reach their goals! Read all about it on www.TeachHUB.com!

At the beginning of each school year, I give each one of my students a yellow star and they write their names on the front. On the back, I ask them to write out three goals that they hope to achieve by June.  Some students’ goals are academic, some are social, some are extracurricular, and some are personal; however, all students clearly articulate that they have ideas in their minds regarding what they are hoping to achieve during that school year.  I then staple the stars up on my front bulletin board all around my banner that displays that quote, “Shoot for the moon. Even if you miss, you’ll land among the stars–Les Brown” (love that quote!).

Choosing a goal is pretty easy, but how can you help your students reach their goals?  Read our article on TeachHUB.com, where we provide you with a lesson plan and student worksheets to help them choose a goal and then develop an action plan in order to achieve it!