The Twenty Percent Project

Last year, a friend of mine told me about Google’s 20% Policy, and I immediately thought of its applications for the classroom.  It was among many of my ideas that I had for the new school year that just didn’t come to fruition.  And now, I find that a teacher named AJ Juliani had the same inspiration – but is actually following through with it.  You can read all about Google’s Policy, and how Mr. Juliani is applying it with his students here on the “Education is My Life” blog.  Be sure to read the comments that follow, as well.  It makes for an interesting discussion!

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Craftsmanship Rubric

This “Craftsmanship Rubric” is a great visual to use to help your students to see what your expectations are for their artwork.  Kathleen O’Malley, the creator of this neat chart, recommends that you produce your own text to describe each picture.  Another thought might be to ask your students to help you to come up with the descriptors for each level.

Tribbs Lite

I saw Tribbs Lite reviewed on the Appitic site under Multiple Intelligences, and decided to give it a try. For students who love math, this free app for the iPad is a great brain exercise.  I am putting it in the Grades 3-12 category because, as an adult, even I found it addictive. My third graders tested it out today, and enjoyed the challenge.  Basically, you are given a target number, and have to find three numbers that will make that target number by using any of the operations.  The number choices are in a grid, and you have to choose numbers that are neighbors.  You get more points the faster and more accurately you solve the puzzle.

Three Good Things

Larry Ferlazzo - Larry Ferlazzo's Websites of the Day

I read this article on Larry Ferlazzo’s blog, and experienced the same reaction he apparently did when he first realized he was missing a key piece to student’s reflections in the classroom.  I have been trying to incorporate more self-reflection into the school day, and now I see that I’ve forgotten a vital part of this.  Read Larry Ferlazzo’s article to find out what you may be omitting, too!

The Akinator

I found out about this site on KB Connected right before the holidays. Karen’s site recommends to “use it to introduce: Historical figures, characters from a book, famous scientists, figures in pop culture etc.” I tried it out myself, and was impressed, so I showed it to my nine-year old daughter – who became obsessed with it!  The Akinator tries to “figure out” which character you are thinking of by asking you questions.  It slowly narrows down to the correct answer based on the answers you give to its questions.  The character can be one from fiction or non-fiction.  Of course, there is less of a chance that obscure ones will be guessed correctly.  But, you may be surprised by what The Akinator knows!  My daughter was thrilled when it guessed the character from The Fablehaven series she had in mind.  In addition, if The Akinator guesses incorrectly, you have the option of inputting information about the character to help it to “learn” more.

Be aware that the site does request a name and age.  I would recommend that you have your child or student use a nickname, but give a close approximation to his or her real age.  The questions change a little for adults and might be considered inappropriate.

My Favorite Vocabulary Building Websites

I thought this might be a good time of year to summarize and emphasize some of the most valuable resources I have reviewed so far.  Today’s list is the last of my “Favorites” posts for 2011.  Here are my Favorite Vocabulary Building Websites:

#3:  Vocab Ahead – This site includes videos and a feature for teachers to create personalized lists and embed them on their websites or blogs.  This site is primarily for upper level students, as it hits pretty hard on SAT vocabulary.

#2:  Word Sort – You have to figure out the secret rule for classifying the words.  I love that this simple game involves logical reasoning, as well as building vocabulary.

#1:  VocabularySpelling City –  This site allows teachers to build their own lists, offers lists that have already been created, and encourages practice on the students’ parts by playing a variety of games with the words.

Here are the links to my posts on each of these sites:  Vocab Ahead, Word Sort, VocabularySpelling City

My Favorite Online Educational Game Sites

As my second (and last) week of favorites nears its closing, I wanted to give you my three Favorite Educational Game Sites:

#3: Brainpop for Kids Gameup – The only reason this is #3 for me right now, instead of #1, is that it’s relatively new, and still building its catalogue of games.  I predict that it will definitely move farther up on my list next year.

#2: ABCya – If you are a regular reader of this blog, then you will know that I’ve actually never reviewed this one.  I have been reading about it on several different blogs, and on Scoopit.com, so I finally checked it out.  I think that it’s a great site for kids in grades K-5.

#1: Mensa for Kids – I love the variety of games on this site, and the different types of thinking it targets.  It isn’t a well-known site, so students generally like the novelty.

For my original posts on #3 and #1, you can click on the following:  Gameup and Mensa for Kids.

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