Fun and Games

Filed Under (Work) by Laura Smith on 17-09-2010

Here is a great website I just learned about from someone in my PLN – Braingle.braingle.pngIt is packed full of brain teasers (great for class warm-ups) logic games and puzzles, trivia, brain exercises, and educational games.I found myself particularly addicted to Hang Glider, a hangman-style game which builds vocabulary skills.I would consider this an appropriate center time activity- fun and educational!

My bookmarks for September 14th through September 16th

Filed Under (Uncategorized) by Steve Dembo on 16-09-2010

These are my links for September 14th through September 16th:

Tech Integration Thursday – ABC Quilt

Filed Under (Work) by Laura Smith on 16-09-2010

This is a very simple lesson that I tried for the first time this year – the ABC Quilt.  I made a simple table template in Microsoft Word, with 7 columns and 4 rows.  In each of the cells, I typed a letter of the alphabet (or you can have the students do this).The students then have the job of finding Clip Art pictures that start with each letter of the alphabet.  This was very effective for teaching the students the skill of inserting a picture and then formatting the text-wrapping.  (After you insert the picture, click Format-Text Wrapping-In Front Of Text.)  Since they had to do it over and over, it really drove the point home, and hopefully they will remember that skill throughout the year as we insert clip art.abcquilt.png

Website Wednesday: Who wants a Premium Glogster EDU upgrade?!?!

Filed Under (Work) by Laura Smith on 15-09-2010

If you haven’t tried it yet, Glogster EDU is a website worth checking out.  Glogster is a web tool that lets you create interactive posters which can contain backgrounds, pictures, videos, links, animated and interactive images, and so much more!  Many users have embraced Glogster as a way to express themselves just for fun, but teachers can leverage Glogster in a whole new way.  With the opportunity to create classes and users, teachers can not only use Glogster EDU for their own educational purposes (check out just two cool examples here and here– and there are tons more in their sample gallery), but they can also assign projects to students, or at least train students how to use it so they can choose Glogster as a way to demonstrate their understanding of a subject.   I am a Premium Glogster EDU User, and working towards “Certification” as a Glogster EDU Ambassador.  For a limited time, the team at Glogster has asked me to share this survey with you, and here’s what they said:

We would like to ask you to recommend this survey to any non Glogster EDU educator who is familiar with online education. Its aim is to find out their views on the topic of online education applications, their usage and further development.Please provide the following link to anyone that may be interested in helping us create a better Glogster EDU product: survey is anonymous. The first 1500 respondents will receive Glogster Premium Trial licenses. The winners will be contacted after the interview via e-mail.

So click the link, take the survey, and try Glogster EDU! You will be glad you did!

Tech Tip Tuesday

Filed Under (Home, Work) by Laura Smith on 14-09-2010

iGoogle.  IMHO, one of the simplest and easiest-to-set-up aggregators available.

Basically, you either sign in to your Google account, or create one, and you can set up little “widgets,” or boxes on your page, which hold things you use frequently, such as a calendar, weather forecast, news feed, your various emails (yes, Google can import ALL of your email accounts into one place- no more checking 5 different sites to read your email), links to your favorite websites, and so much more!

Top 5 things to do when you are home sick from school…

Filed Under (Home) by Laura Smith on 13-09-2010

  • Catch up on lesson planning…while sitting in bed
  • Catch up on your to-do list…while sitting in bed
  • Watch WAY too much HGTV…while laying half asleep in bed (darn it! I fell asleep and missed the reveal again!)
  • Drink hot liquids, like tea with lemon and hot chocolate
  • JUST REST.  It’s hard to do! I’m so used to being busy it’s hard to just stop and do nothing!

Can you tell where I am today?;)

Just doing this for Technorati..please ignore

Filed Under (Uncategorized) by Laura Smith on 12-09-2010


And for Friday- Game Day!

Filed Under (Work) by Laura Smith on 10-09-2010

This is an easy one for me.  I am a HUGE proponent of gaming in education.  That puts a lot of teachers on edge.  “How can you let the kids play games and call it learning?”

Well, the short answer is that you can’t.  You can’t just set kids loose on and call it a day.  You have to carefully select and assign games for a purpose.  For example, my Kindergarteners came to my class for their first official lesson the other day.  They played games.  But here’s how it went:

Beforehand, I set up a page on my class website with links to three games: Bees and Honey(on TVO Kids), Dress The Bear(on Northumberland Grid For Learning), and Gopher(on the Palm Beach County Library website).  After the students came in and sat down on the floor in front of the big screen, I explained to them two things: how to access and navigate my website(I have a link on the desktop with a tiny picture of me!), and a quick version of how to play the games.

Then I sent them to their computers.  I wanted to see:

  • Who could remember/follow the directions on how to get to the games
  • Who obviously had prior experience using computers (you can tell, trust me)
  • What their mouse skill level was (I had a few students holding the mouse with their right hand and clicking the button with their left hand)

This was a simple activity that left me free to assess their baseline skill and comfort levels.  Each year, each class is different, and knowing your class is important.  You don’t want to push them too hard, or they will frustrate easily.  You don’t want to give them work that is too easy, or they will soon be off task.

So, as you can see, this class full of “game playing” was VERY important to the rest of the year with this class.  And they learned mouse skills while, surprise!, having fun!

Okay for crying out loud I have got to remember to do this every day…otherwise known as Curriculum Tech Integration Thursday!

Filed Under (Work) by Laura Smith on 09-09-2010

Dear Classroom Teachers:I know you are busy.  I know Tech may not be your thing.  However (why does however sound nicer than “but?”), there are very easy ways to integrate technology into your everyday curriculum!  You may even find that some of these ideas make things easier for you!

Here’s today’s idea: Wordle!  Have you tried it yet?  If not, you are missing out!  Wordle is a website that lets you input text and then print out (or display via your projector) a customizable graphic with that text arranged artfully on it.

Here’s a cool website that explores the poetry of Jack Prelutsky, which you could preface with a Wordle of one or some of his poems:

And a sample Wordle, using the poem “Be Glad Your Nose Is On Your Face:”


There are thousands of ways to use Wordle: try entering the text from a famous Martin Luther King, Jr. speech, or the Gettysburg Address, or your favorite blog. Have fun! Words make great art!

My bookmarks for August 25th through September 8th

Filed Under (Uncategorized) by Steve Dembo on 08-09-2010

These are my links for August 25th through September 8th:

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