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!

Asking Prompting Questions During Math Instruction: Resources for Teachers

prompting questions during math

Elita has done a great job explaining the three-part math lesson with posts on Bansho, Gallery Walks, and Math Congress. The Literacy and Numeracy Secretariat has an excellent resource on the three-part lesson in math, which also includes a series of webcasts. (Aside: if you haven’t had a chance to visit, I highly suggest you review the many excellent resources that are available on curriculum.org). One of the key components of the three-part math lesson is the student collaboration and communication that occurs.   It’s important to note that teachers play a key role in helping students engage in mathematical communication and collaboration.  How can teachers help students contribute during math lessons? This webcast featuring Marian Small is a great starting point: Marian Small: Asking Prompting Questions During Instruction (scroll down to the sixth video…it’s just under 4 minutes long and provides great info).

Some of the key points that Marian Small makes:

  • Generic prompting questions (e.g. “Why do you think that..”, “What did you do here?”) are useful and help students explain their thinking
  • However, it’s really helpful when teachers truly understand the math they are teaching, so that they are able to formulate specific questions based on the concepts being discussed (e.g. “Why did you decide to do it in this order?”)
  • Teachers often ask questions to check for understanding, but they should really be asking questions to initiate thinking (what a great point!)
  • Teachers need to ask themselves: “Why am I doing this? Mathematically what are the kids going to get out of this? What is the important mathematical idea that I want to come out of this?” This line of questioning will really help teachers to develop initiating questions along these important mathematical concepts
  • Look at the types of questions you ask students to solve; for example:
    • “If you cut this shape of the dotted line, what will the two parts look” (this type of question will elicit discussion that is over quickly, with the majority of conversation being “teacher voice”) vs
    • “What shapes can you create by cutting up this shape?” (this type of question is much richer, provides a key ideas for students to explore, and initiate a deeper conversation with much more “student voice”)

The link provided above has other webcasts that would be beneficial for teachers regarding discourse in the math classroom.  The webcasts feature Marian Small, Deborah Ball, Steven Katz, and (my favourite!) Lucy West.

The Tuesday 12: 12 Frightfully Fantastic Halloween Poetry Clips from YouTube!

12 halloween clips

Last week’s edition of The Tuesday 12 provided 12 terrifyingly terrific Halloween poems!  This week, I will be providing you with some excellent YouTube clips that will bring these poems alive in your class! Prepare to be spooked!

1. Johnny Cash reciting “The Cremation of Sam McGee” by Robert Service

2. 8 minute short 35 mm film of “The Cremation of Sam McGee” by Robert Service

3. “The Raven” by Edgar Allan Poe on The Simpsons’ Treehouse of Terror

4. Shakespeare’s Three Witches from Macbeth on Sesame Street (too cute and a great lesson on co-operation!)

5. Jack Prelutsky Presents It’s Halloween

6. Animation of “I’m not afraid of the dark” by Kenn Nesbitt

7. “The Scary Song” by The Learning Station

8. “Five Little Pumpkins” by kdpteacher

9. “Annabel Lee” by Edgar Allan Poe

10. “Halloween Song” by KIBOOMU

11. A-Z of Halloween by RandMPublishing

12. Ten Little Monsters by TheLearningStation

Have a safe and happy Halloween! Check back next week for another edition of The Tuesday 12!

Gr 4 Science Unit ~ Habitats and Communities

We have done it again!

We have now compiled a complete unit for Habitats and Communities to help you in your Gr. 4 Understanding Life Science Strand.   This unit, just like our Combined Gr. 4/5 Science Unit for (Habitats and Organ Systems), integrates curriculum in order to create cross-curricular lessons. Once again you will not only be covering curriculum expectations, but cross-curricular activities which tend to be more engaging and creative.

Here is what is included:
* Learning centres: students work in small groups or individually to rotate   between three centres over the course of the activity (five types of centre activities: iPad integration, technology, reading/writing activity, creative response, and a fun or hands-on activity);
* Whole class lesson/discussions followed by either small group activities or whole class activity
* Cross-curricular integration with other subject areas, including Language Arts (Reading, Writing, Oral Communication, Media Literacy), Drama, Physical Education, Art, and Health
* A focus on Assessment For and As Learning through student self-assessments and group assessments, KWL charts, exit slips, anticipation guides, and project planning sheets
* Reading strategies addressed include making connections, inferring, determining important ideas, drawing conclusions, and cause-and-effect
* Differentiated Instruction is achieved through Learning Centres, choice board for the end of unit project, RAFTS assignment, and a variety of hands-on activities and labs

The entire unit, including lessons, assignments, assessments, printables, and centre activities comes to over 160 pages!

Need more?  Preview the unit!

To be taken to the complete unit just click on the picture below!

 

 

Stay tuned as we are working on our Gr. 5 Science Unit for Organ Systems!

The Tuesday 12: 12 Inspirational YouTube Videos to Share with Your Class

So, what is “The Tuesday 12”? We will be gathering 12 resources, ideas, lessons, and activities for teachers on a variety of topics.  In this inaugural edition of The Tuesday 12, we decided to go with 12 inspirational YouTube videos for you and your students.

1. Severn Cullis-Suzuki at the 1992 UN Earth Summit

At only 12 years old, Severn addresses the UN regarding environmental concerns and the fear she has for her future and the future of other children.  It is very powerful and my students have always commented that she is so confident and intelligent, and her message still resonates today.

2. Dr. Randy Pausch “The Last Lecture”

University professor Randy Pausch gave a lecture on the topic, “What wisdom would you try to impart on the world if you knew it was your last chance?”  But for him it was especially poignant as he had been diagnosed with terminal pancreatic cancer.  His speech (an abridge version of it taped for Oprah) is both inspirational and emotional.

3. Dalton Sherman addressing 20 000 educators in Dallas

This is a bit of a longer video and even though Dalton is addressing teachers, not only is his message inspiring for educators, but it helps our students understand that we believe in them and want them to reach their full potential.

4. Iqbal Masih

This particular video is inspiring for two different reasons. First, it tells the story of Iqbal Masih, a child laborer in Pakistan, who was sold into slavery at a young age.  He gained international attention when he spoke out against child labor and was murdered at the age of 12.  Not only is Iqbal inspiring, but the students at Broad Meadows Middle school in Quincy, Mass (where he visited) raised money to build a school in Pakistan in his honor.  Not only did the students raise enough money for one school, but they were able to build 8 schools in Pakistan.

5. Craig Kielburger

When Craig Kielburger read about the death of Iqbal Masih, the young Canadian boy wanted to do something about it.  He turned to his friends and together founded a group that would eventually evolve into “Free the Children.”  This clip shows his travels to Asia to see child labor for himself.

6. Free the Children

Founded by Craig Kielburger, Free the Children “believes in a world where all young people are free to achieve their fullest potential as agents of change. We are a charity and educational partner that empowers youth to remove barriers that prevent them from being active local and global citizens” (www.freethechildren.com).  Young people throughout the world have the power to change the world.

7. Redefine Possible…Spencer West

8. Spencer West and Mount Kilimanjaro

Videos 7 and 8 go together.  In the first, we are introduced to Spencer West, who lost his legs at 5 years old due to a genetic condition, but that doesn’t stop him from leading a full and active life.  On June 18, 2012, he reached his goal of hiking to the summit of Mount Kilimanjaro to raise money for clean drinking water through Free the Children.

9. Marianne Williamson “Our Greatest Fear”

Although this quote has been attributed to Nelson Mandela, it was actually written by Marianne Williamson.  I chose the clip from “Akeelah and the Bee” because it is an inspiring movie that can be shared with your students as well.

10. Running for My Existence (Roger Wright)

In these 5 minutes, we literally see a man transform himself from someone who could only run 10 yards to being ready to run the Boston Marathon in just ten months.  He did it to raise money and awareness for his niece Julia, who has Cystic Fibrosis, and to change his own life for the better.

11. Lost Generation

When I first viewed this video, it really made me sad…but then I got to the second half and I realized what an amazing concept it was!  This video would also make an excellent resource for a media literacy lesson.

12. Derek Redmond

Sometimes no matter how much we try to prepare ourselves for a challenge, we will not be able to overcome the obstacles in our path…unless we receive help from those that care about us.

If you have any other suggestions, please list them in the comments below!

Don’t forget to check back next Tuesday for the next installment of “The Tuesday 12”!

It’s all in the Flip!

 

Have you thought about it?  How am I going to reach more of my students?  What can be done so we interact with them more while they strategize?  Why is it so difficult to do?  I know I struggle with these questions all of the time.  As we all know, students come to school with their homework incomplete, unable to recall anything you taught the day prior.  You then need to go through that whole scaffolding process and sometimes re-teach that whole lesson over.  So then you send them on their way and hope that they will work through the problems on their own.  Or maybe you have made some time to hold an extra help session (during another subjects time if you are able to) or during your lunch or afterschool.  I don’t think that there is anything wrong with extra help but would it not be better to be with your students when they are actually attempting the work?  Would it not be better to have them discuss, share, strategize in front of you all the while you working with them, in class, instead of teaching them the concept?  Would this not be a better plan, in order to deepen their understanding?  In order to reach all your students and the diverse ways they learn? You are probably wondering how in the world this can be done, with what time? This new strategy is called the Flipped Classroom!

We always look for innovative ways to teach our students, we re-invent, re-work, and re-shuffle.  Well here is one more way that could possibly change your whole practice.  How about converting the way you do things?  How about if your students do the work in the classroom and attend your lessons at home?  Yes, let me say that again, your lesson at home and the work at school.  Flipped!

With today’s technological advances, this is not a thought of the future but a thought for now!  Many teachers in the past five years have been taking aim at this process of flipping their classroom.  They record their interactive lessons (known as Educational Vodcasting) and students access them from home to watch and then come to school to work through the problems.   As summer is upon us, we have more time and researching this new practice would be worthwhile.  I hope you let us know what you think about this practice, let us know your plans and experiences.

This concept was started by two teachers John Bergmann & Aaron Sams who found great success with their students.  You can find their book through Amazon.

Flip Your Classroom: Reach Every Student in Every Class Every Day (2012). By Bergmann & Sams.

Also, a support network, with many examples of flipped classrooms can be found at  the Flipped Learning Network.  The website has a network of over 6000 educators in different phases of flipping their classrooms.

Good Luck to you all!

Disclosure:  This post contains an affiliate link; however, all opinions expressed are the author’s own.