This is a great resource for differentiating. Many teachers use graphic organizers, but there are a few here that I’ve never seen – such as the jigsaw puzzle. Changing things up always grabs the students’ attention. To apply this to different abilities in your classroom you could try the following levels, in order from least ability to greatest ability:
organizer that is pre-filled
organizer that is attached to a worksheet with the different words or phrases for the students to cut out and apply
blank organizer with no word bank
select your own organizer and fill out
I have tried the last one in my classroom, and the students love being given the option to choose. It is interesting to see how they can apply the same information in several different types of diagrams.
According to its website, “The Learning Network provides teaching and learning materials and ideas based on New York Times content.” Although the site is designed for students who are 13 or over, I have found many lessons that can be adapted to my elementary level Gifted and Talented students. The site includes lesson plans with links to related stories in the New York Times, as well as news quizzes and crossword puzzles. I find the “Student Opinion” section to be a treasure chest of engaging questions that can help students connect themselves to the real world. The “Poetry Pairings” section is also intriguing. The site is a great resource for teachers, and gives teenagers a voice and a place to see how the news relates to them
Free Technology 4 Teachers recently had post about this great website from the National Science Foundation. Be sure to check out Richard Byrne’s description of the site. And, when you visit the site, don’t miss the neat brainstorming tool and the information for parents and teachers.
WordFoto is an iApp ($1.99) with a lot of potential for creative minds. The app allows the user to either take a picture or load a photo from the device’s Photo Gallery. Once loaded, the designer can then crop the picture if necessary. The main appeal, however, is adding words to the picture. There are sets of words already provided, or a creative mind can provide his or her own. You can also choose the style by selecting from different themes or creating your own. In addition, there are some fine-tuning tools to tweak things a bit more. Below you will find an example of an original photo by one of my 4th graders, and her interpretation using WordFoto.
This site from the Science Alberta Foundation describes itself as follows: “Wonderville is a fun, interactive destination for kids to discover the exciting world of science. This award-winning site encourages exploration and curiosity, while helping kids discover how much fun science can be.” The site include videos, games, comics, and other activities about topics such as “Milk Mystery” and “Tree Cookies”. This would be a great link for a teacher to suggest to parents, or to use as a supplemental resource in the classroom.
O.K. It’s Sesame Street. But you would be surprised how engaged kids of all ages can be by this series of linked videos that allow the viewer to make choices that determine the next video that will be watched. An experiment showing whether or not different objects float is the purpose of the video. However, it could also be used as a general lesson that demonstrates the Scientific Process. If you enjoy this interactive video experience, and would like to learn how to make your own set of videos that link together, you can find some very simple instructions here.
Bubble Ball is one of my favorite iDevice apps. It is a free download, and has 48 levels. You can purchase more after you finish the 48 for 99 cents. The purpose of this game is to use the various materials that appear on the screen in each level to direct a ball to roll toward a flag. I don’t usually like to recommend game apps for the classroom, because students seem to get enough of those at home. But this Physics challenge encourages problem solving and creative thinking. Many of the levels have more than one solution. This could be a fun center in which the students could take screen shots of their solutions and explain them using the free Screen Chomp app or other methods. It would be interesting to compare the different solutions groups develop, and have them explain their thought processes. Of course, I highly recommend that you play around with the app yourself – just to get familiar with the levels, of course 😉