Category Archives: Teaching Tools

TED

If you have not visited www.ted.com, or downloaded the app, please do so as soon as you can.  The site is full of inspirational, though-provoking videos on a plethora of topics.  Of course, it is always advisable to preview a video before you make it available to your students, but TED also includes interactive transcripts that you can skim for any objectionable content.  Larry Ferlazzo had a great post recently on his blog that included various resources to accompany the TED talks, including a wiki in which teachers share their ideas for using it in the classroom.

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Guess the Wordle

What a Great Idea!Whether you use the Wordle riddles that “Jen” has created, or set off to make some of your own, this is a great concept that integrates technology with practically any topic you are learning.  You could use your Wordles to introduce a topic or to review something that has already been taught.  You could have students create their own Wordles that others need to guess.  One of the cool, and quite simple, features on this site is the way that she embedded the Wordles in her blog so that when you roll over them the answer appears.  This can be done when you add the alternate text to a picture you are inserting in your blog or website.  Of course, Wordle is not the only site that creates word clouds.  Tagxedo is another fun way to make these, and allows you to format them to different shapes.

The Joy and the Challenge: Parenting Gifted Children

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Though this book is technically for parents, I think that teachers could use a lot of the information as well. At the very least, it could be a resource offered to parents at a conference about their gifted child. This is a free e-book, which can be downloaded in various formats or even viewed on the internet. It has a lot of links to other resources, and it is an easy read with common sense advice.

S.C.O.R.E. Cyberguides

S.C.O.R.E. Cyberguides is a site that was produced by Schools of California Online Resources for Education.  It is based on California’s Language Arts curriculum, and offers a multitude of  literature units at levels from K-12.  The units include teacher and student resources.  They could be used as supplemental materials, or as jumping off points for Literature Circles or independent study assignments.  There is a disclaimer on the site that lack of funding has resulted in some of the units being out of date (broken links, etc…).  However, it appears that even those units are still available on the site under “Retired” sections.  This is helpful as a teacher could scavenge them for curriculum ideas or website suggestions.

UPDATE 7/6/14:  It looks like this link no longer works.  If any of you find a link to these guides that does work, please let me know, as they are a valuable resource!

Khan Academy

Khan Academy is a revolutionary approach to teaching which advocates “Flipping the Classroom”.  You can view the TED video below to learn about the humble beginnings of the Academy on YouTube, and the ambitious plans Mr. Khan now has for his free service.  Basically, the site has hundreds of video lessons indexed in which Mr. Khan explains a variety of topics – mostly math and science related.  If you have a G-mail or Facebook account, you can become a Coach.  Your students, who would also have to register with one of these e-mail addresses, can complete exercises on the site at their own pace.  As the Coach, you can monitor their progress using several different tools included in the registration portion of the site.  Even if you don’t want to register, this is a fabulous resource for allowing students to learn at their own pace, or even for reteaching and reviewing topics.

Wonderopolis

Wonderopolis is a very engaging site that elementary school students could use to find out more about their interests.  It features a Wonder of the Day, but also has a catalogue of “Wonders” listed by category.  For example, under “Animals”, there is an article called, “Why do Cats Like Catnip?”  This site encourages curiosity and independent research.  It includes videos and fun facts that are sure to entertain and educate.  There is a widget teachers could embed into their own sites and blogs.

Teacher Book Wizard

This site, produced by Scholastic, is a nice tool to use in helping teachers to select books.  It includes leveled searches based on the “Level System” your school uses.  Another nifty feature is the “Book Alike” search, which allows you to look for books which are similar to certain ones the student already likes.  For the latter, the teacher can even use a toggle switch to indicate whether to search for books at an easier, harder, or equivalent level to the book cited.  A Book Wizard widget can be added to your website or blog for students and parents to utilize as well.