Wednesday, April 27, 2011

ThatQuiz! - Quick Practice Quizzes covering many subjects and ALL grade levels! is a fun little site that offers various customizable quizzes covering Math, Geography, Science, & Vocabulary.  Each quiz can be customized to set the time, the level of difficulty, whether the site offers feedback, and more. 

This site offers a great opporitunity for instructors to have their students review a large variety of subject matter for different class subjects.  This site is great for "POD" or beginning of the class activities, classroom review sessions & Games, or even an activity to work on to review for a test.

I would never recommend a site like to be used as a sole teaching tool.  This will never replace class instruction and class practice.  However, it is a great review site, time filler, or fun website students can navigate in their spare time. 

Check out

Sunday, April 24, 2011

"This ISTEP Test" Original Rap Song and Music Video

I have been away for a week spending my free time working on this video.  In Indiana, we take our annual standardized test, the ISTEP Test, this week. 

Below is the finished product.  Feel free to use this video in your classroom if you are a teacher in Indiana and grades 3-8.


Monday, April 18, 2011

ViewPure - "Videos without the clutter!" View Youtube videos without comments, ads, links, etc.

ViewPure offers educators and opporitunity to view your favorite, classroom appropriate of course, youtube videos without the comments, links, ads, related videos, etc that may be inappropriate for the classroom.

"Napoleon" by History4MusicLovers on Youtube
ViewPure's interface is very very simple.  All you have to do is paste the link to any youtube video you want, and view it against a very plain white backdrop.  As many of you know, there are great videos on youtube that you would like to share with your class, but some of the comments and "related videos" are definitely not what you want students looking at. 

"Napoleon" by History4MusicLovers on ViewPure
ViewPure's homepage does have some annoying ads at the bottom of the page, however, when you view a youtube video through ViewPure you do not have any ads.

I love what the site offers and will continue to use it in my classroom.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Wordia - "Bringing Words to Life"

Wordia is a very interesting "visual dictionary."  The site works as a dictionary, with parts of speech & definition, but each word also contains a video of the definition.  That's right, you get a user submitted and reviewed video where everyday people simply say or read the definition, act it out, dress up like the definition, etc.

It is a great tool for students just learning the English language, students strengthening their vocabulary, or even as a cool idea for a classroom project.  A collegue of mine had her students make videos of important ISTEP Testing Words and Terms.  The ISTEP is our statewide standardized annual test in Indiana.

Check out Wordia today, or get out and have your students start creating their own visual dictionaries. 

Monday, April 11, 2011

Common Sense Media - "Talking about Sexting"

Sexting is sending sexually revealing photos or texts to another person.  Sexting is a topic that many teachers may choose to dance around when it comes to Internet Safety Discussions.  The fact is, we should be discussing Sexting within the classroom as much as we discuss Cyberbullying and Protecting your Private Information.  Sexting is becoming more and more of a problem for our children/students every single day.

Common Sense Media has a great page for teachers with a nice video, information, stats, tips for parents, etc when dealing with Sexting.  This is not an all encompasing site with everything you need, however, it is a great starting point for researching, learning, discussing, and teaching about Sexting.

I recommend you preview the video and the information on Common Sense Media's Sexting Page before sharing it with your classroom.  The video may be inappropriate for some students.  In my classroom, I normally send a page home that mentions we are talking about sexting so my parents are aware.

Below, I have also linked 2 videos that detail stories of Sexting and where the consequences may lead. I have shared these stories with many of my students.   Both are very heartbreaking and eye opening. 

Jessie Logan's Sexting Story
Hope Witsell's Sexting Story

Friday, April 8, 2011

Books Should Be Free - Free Public Domain Audio Books for ALL!

Books Should Be Free is an outstanding resource that contains hundreds of audio books totally free to download as an mp3 or iPod audio file.  Each audio book is in the public domain, meaning nobody owns the copyright any longer and anyone can distribute them.  There are many many classic books that can be shared with your struggling readers, ESL Students, or someone wanting to simply listen to a great story. 

If your classroom is readying a classic literary piece, you will probably be able to find the audio book on Books Should Be Free.  This is a great tool that should be in any teacher's "box of tricks."

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Scribble Maps - Draw on and customize Google Maps without even signing up!

Scribble Maps is an interactive Google Maps application that allows you to draw, write, add shapes, lines, etc to Google Maps.  You do not have to sign up and the site opens and is ready to use the minute you open it in your web browser.  Want to trace Lewis & Clark's Trailblazing adventures?  Want to have students create a route to their favorite vacation destination?  Want to highlight different areas of your own community?  Scribble Maps allows you to do it.

Scribble Maps takes a few minutes to get the hang of, however, the tools are familiar to anyone who has used the drawing features in Paint or even Microsoft Word.  Your students will pick  it up and run with it in minutes.

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Let Them Sing It For You - You type it, it sings it!

Let Them Sing It For You is a very simple site that takes whatever text you type, and sings it using samples from popular songs.  Of course some names or words are not in the database, but the site will allow you to submit suggestions for a word, a song you can find the word in, and the artist that sings it.  That way, the database can be updated to include more and more words in the future.

Simply type your text in the box, click on the play button, and listen to the site sing your text back to you.

Some fun classroom connections would be to use Let Them Sing It For You to "play" your daily lesson plan to your kids.  See who can repeat what you are going to do for the day after the "song" is finished playing.  It could also be used in various listening skills activities to have students actually focus on the substance of each sentence, and not on how it is being said. 

Check it out!

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