Thinking Blocks

I have been using Thinking Blocks for several years with students who are working ahead of their peers in class.  It allows students to use blocks to model word problems.  Because the site includes all four operations, I think that it would be a great resource for reinforcement as well as for enrichment.  It easily allows for independent learning as it has videos that introduce each topic and an easy way to track progress.  There is even a printable certificate once a level is completed.

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Thinkfinity

Thinkfinity has been one of my “go-to” sites for many years, ever since its infant stage as Marco Polo.  It is a wonderful resource for teachers use for finding interesting lesson ideas based on national standards.  It has several content partners, including “Read, Write, Think” and “Illuminations“.  You can choose certain partners to search, the grade level, the standards, etc…Whenever you are looking for a new idea to add a spark to your lesson, this is definitely one place you should visit.

 

Bloom’s Taxonomy Tech Pyramid

In case you haven’t seen it, this Tech Pyramid has great ideas for technology tools that you can use at each level of Bloom’s Taxonomy.  When you go to the site, each of the icons are linked.  It’s a great visual to help teachers in planning lessons that integrate technology based on the levels you want to address.

Spelling City

I am not a huge fan of spelling tests, particularly when everyone in the class is responsible for the same words.  However, this site has some amazing tools that will allow you to customize lists for your students.  There are also fun games that they can play to practice those specialized lists.  The site is free, although you need to register.  There are some perks for purchasing a premium membership, but it can still be a valuable tool without all of the bells and whistles.

Surprisingly Educational Apps

Pictorial” is a free app.  I envision using it with an iPad in a center.  The app is a great way to practice spatial skills.  However, the user can choose even harder puzzles if or she finds these too easy.

The puzzles show a series of dots.  By sliding your fingers around the screen, you can manipulate the dots until you see lines connecting them.  The darker the lines become, the closer you are to creating a picture.  Once you slide the dots into the correct place, an image will appear, such as the ice cream cone in the picture to the left, and a prompt appears for the next puzzle.

A student could be asked to solve a puzzle, then identify the picture.  To increase difficulty, a student could be directed to write a sentence with the picture, or even a story.  A high level user could have the additional challenge of connecting several pictures together within a story.

A screen pic and Screen Chomp (another free app) could be used by students who have difficulty writing.  Or each student could be directed to add the title of their picture to a class brainstorming map to use for writing or creative thinking. Another possibility would be to have students add the pictures to a class mind map to be used for vocabulary and/or spelling practice.  Creative students could try to find as many ways to connect the pictures as possible or use the pictures artistically in drawing a scene.

I think this app would be appealing to students in K-5.

For more ideas on how to use apps in the classroom, please visit www.techchef4u.com, another great resource for teachers!

Stick Pick

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Stick Pick is an iPhone/iPad app with great potential as a teacher tool. The teacher can add one or more classes within the app. To each class, the teacher adds individual student names, determining the type and level of questioning to use for each student from the following categories: Bloom’s Taxonomy, Bloom’s Revised Taxonomy, or ESL. Once all students are entered, their sticks appear in a cup from which the teacher can randomly or purposefully choose names. As each student is chosen, a list of question stems from their particular assigned level appears on the screen. This is a wonderful way for teachers to customize impromptu questions based on ability.

Producer’s Toolbox

Created by Kim Ball, a teacher of Gifted and Talented students in San Antonio’s North East Independent School District, The Producer’s Toolbox is a great resource for anyone, teacher or student, who is interested in creating multimedia presentations.  It has links to video, audio, and research sites, as well as other fun extras.

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