Monday, 01 April 2013 11:53
Whew! I've had a hard time keeping up with all the news buzz today. There seem to be an inordinate number of corporate announcements coming out. Looking to catch up on the ones you missed? Never fear, I've compliled a great little video list of things that you may find important:
YouTube's 8 year long video contest comes to an end:
Westjet to improve their policy on passengers flying with pets:
Whoo hoo! Google announces the arrival of Gmail Blue:
Find some pirate treasure on Google Maps:
Hope everyone enjoyed some fun on this April Fools Day today :)
Thursday, 28 March 2013 05:02
I remember what this time of year was like. The smell of Spring was (finally!) in the air, the upcoming Spring break was a mere 6 hours away and both the students and teachers could almost taste freedom.
What it also meant was usually a severe lack of focus for both the adult planning their final pre-break lessons as well as the students that were trying desperately to alternatively work on their assignments and will the hands on the clock to move faster. If you're in the elementary grades, you might as well toss your hands in the air since the impending arrival of the Easter Bunny and the promise of loads of chocolate practically causes a sympathy sugar high amongst the kids.
Wondering how to pass the final few hours prior to Spring Break with those little ones without completely compromising your wish to make every class a learning opportunity? Check out the myriad of Easter or Spring themed activities on the SMART Exchange website. Some are useful as a whole class activity; others as a small group station. I've pulled out a few of my favourites and highlighted them below:
Just like the title implies, young students are to try to answer the questions regarding the amount of Easter-themed items in 2 separate boxes. I like that the teacher that created this allowed for self-checking. Drag the magic wand across to your answer and either a happy face or a sad face will appear.
A quick little overview of some of the concepts that this class was obviously working on. Each page has a different task for the student(s) to complete, then they return to the homepage for their next task.
Students drop the picture on the egg into the basket to match the beginning sounds. No self check option here that I could find, but it would be good to get a small group of students practicing some key concepts and helping each other out when they make mistakes.
Fairly self explanatory. Don't have time to create the questions yourself? Turn it into a class challenge today and have small groups responsible for creating a handful of questions before you play. Use the template on the SMART Exchange to save time.
Enjoy your last day and have a great long weekend/Spring break as is applicable!
Tuesday, 26 March 2013 08:01
In a perfect classroom world, we'd have all the tech we could possible dream of at our fingertips to use as we see fit. Some folks are pretty lucky to live in such a near-perfect dream world. You know the type -- when you meet up at a teacher conference, they start talking about how they just couldn't live without their 2 multi-touch SMART Boards paired with Apple TV and doc cam. And lets not forget that beyond having laptops at the back of the room, their students each have an iPad to use all day, every day...doesn't everyone?
More often than not, techie teachers are starting to subsidize some of their wishlist purchases for their classroom with their own personal devices. Awesome in theory; tricky to navigate obstacles that come with that in practice.
Perhaps you yourself have thought about bringing in your personal iPad to set up as a learning station with an awesome app that reinforces that week's lesson. Problem is, you don't necessarily want students having instant access to your personal email, Facebook account, etc., etc.
Welcome to Guided Access, which is a feature that was introduced last September with the introduction of iOS6. In a nutshell, it allows you to lock down your iPhone or iPad so that whomever is using it can only access the app that you've okayed unless they know the passcode to turn off the lockdown.
Super useful if you're passing around your personal device in a classroom or even to keep an entire group of students on task if you're one of the lucky ones to have a class set of touch devices. Have a little one at home? Guided Access is also a great tool to toddler-proof your device...unfortunately, it doesn't make said device waterproof so it still requires some parental supervision (don't ask how I found that out).
For directions on how to turn Guided Access on and off, as well as a few tips and tricks to think about, check out the YouTube video below. Alas, I did not create this brilliant tutorial - someone beat me to it!
Friday, 07 December 2012 09:19
Today's Fresh Look Fridays post is going to be short and sweet, but it does mark a new milestone for me: this is the FIRST website recommendation that I've listed as a direct result of Pinterest.
I probably don't need to ramble on about how much I LOVE Pinterest, but when I have 10 minutes to waste I can easily spend 45 minutes on that stupid addictive site. So far, I've kept it fairly linked to areas I'm interested in in my personal life -- stuff for toddlers, cooking, etc. -- but I've started to follow some people with some excellent classroom technology boards.
What I like about today's website is the simplicity of it. In the past, I've reviewed some online interactive keyboards, but I find this one might be more appropriate for young elementary students that prefer a cute visual.
As you can see, there are 7 birds, representing the 7 notes (obviously no flats or sharps). There is a free play option, where kids can press the birds and hear the "laaaa" that comes out of each bird, either creating their own tune or trying to replicate a simplistic tune they know. The other option is to follow the arrow and play 3 Blind Mice.
So cute, and so easy to put a small group to work on this at your SMART Board for some music creation.
Friday, 23 November 2012 09:49
Today is Black Friday and that means Deals, Deals, Deals and Sales, Sales, Sales!! In honour of the madness that is consumerism today, I thought it was only appropriate to focus today's Fresh Look Fridays post on money.
As always, these interactive sites work best either as a center on your SMART Board for a small group to work on, on a class set of iPads (for the non-flash sites) or in a 1:1 scenario. There are a TON of interactive money websites out there, but these are just a small sampling of ones that I found easy to navigate and applicable to a variety of grade levels.
One of your basic change counting interactive websites. Simple and easy to understand.
Next - Check My Change. A quick little spin on the other website, I like that the money is a bit more realistic, and is found in the cash register.
Working with littler ones? Brought to you by Toon University, this is more about experimentation with coins and starting to understanding coin values as well as basic arithmetic.
Now one for our Canadian followers -- Money Matters. It really is hard to find a *good* interactive money website that deals in Canadian currency. This isn't my favourite on the list, but at least is a simple website that utilizes coins that are familiar to our students.
Finally, a bit of a twist on basic money sense for the older students. So You Think You Can Budget is a good little website that highlights the challenges of balancing a federal budget.
Have a great weekend, and good luck scoring whatever great deals you're looking to get today!