Category Archives: Teaching Tools

WordFoto

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.

Original Photo
WordFoto Version

Thanks to Laura Moore, who first brought this app to my attention in her blog!  Be sure to check out her post for ideas on how to use WordFoto in the classroom.

iCivics

Do you have a student who likes to argue?  Maybe one who aspires to be a lawyer one day?  Introduce him or her to this website, which is “designed to teach students civics and inspire them to be active participants in our democracy.”  With a woman like Justice Sandra Day O’Connor spearheading this effort to educate our children about citizenship, this site is not only a great addition to the curriculum, but an inspiration to students to become more involved in their communities.  You can try the games, like Argument Wars, or register for free and receive all of the benefits.

Tic-Tac-Connect

This idea is one of several provided in an article on Scholastic.com entitled Making Connections/Self-Monitoring: A Differentiated Learning Centers Unit Plan.  You may want to check out the entire unit.  Or, if you have less time, be sure to visit this section, which gives you suggestions for using the above reproducible to encourage your students to make connections to the text they are reading.  The students could use this independently or in a game format in pairs.  This lesson is excerpted from Differentiated Literacy Centers by Margo Southall.

Teaching Children Philosophy

Most teachers know by now that they need to take their students far beyond the Knowledge Level questions when examining a story or book.  This website offers intriguing philosophical discussions for many popular pieces of literature.  For example, I used to read the fabulous book, Knuffle Bunny to my daughter when she was younger.  It never occurred to me that there were deeper questions to ask than, “Why was the little girl so upset with her father?”  There are many resources like this on this website for those of us who want take our classroom questioning to a higher level.

Math Apprentice

Math Apprentice is designed for students in grades 4-7.  According the producers of this site, “the goals of this project are to connect math with real world careers, introduce students to more advanced mathematical ideas, and provide additional opportunities to apply math concepts they have already learned.”  If you have a student who asks you, “How will I use this in the real world?”, you will probably want to give him or her this link.  The activities will definitely appeal to tweens, and there is a great guide for teachers to facilitate using this in the classroom.

Writing Prompts

This site has interesting prompts with great graphics that will inspire your students to be creative.  Great for a center or whole-class activity, each post is thought-provoking and sure to spark interest.  I almost got side-tracked, myself, as I was getting information for this post.  I have not viewed all of the over 200 prompts, but please remember, especially if you are an elementary teacher, to preview the topics and pics before you choose to link to them or use them in class.

Wonderville

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.