A Few Good Links + A Vacation

I’m headed out of town tomorrow for a vacation and a visit with my family, so I won’t be posting again until after the Fourth of July holiday.  Last week, I posted some Web 2.0 tools I came across recently while surfing the Web, and now I’m posting a few more good ones I’ve encountered.  Hope they are of help to someone.  I know I’ll be using many of them myself.

1.  Jeopardy Labs – The other day I posted a similar link to this one.  It’s strange how for a long time I could never find an easy template to create jeopardy-style review games, and within the last week, I’ve found two!  This one is similar to the other one.  You put in a password of your choosing, plug in the questions and answers, and save.  By saving, you generate a link for the game that you created. You will need to save this link as the site won’t save it for you.  If you ever need to edit the game, there is a link for that as well.  And of course, it’s free for the most basic version.

2.  Scribble Maps – Okay, so this is my favorite find this week.  Scribble Maps allows you and your students to draw on maps, add images and overlays, and add text and place markers to maps.  You can then save the map and share it with others by emailing them a link or a JPEG file.  Saving as a JPEG would allow a teacher or student to easily place a map of his or her making into a PowerPoint or Keynote presentation.  It’s incredibly easy to use, but there are also great tutorials to watch if you have questions.  I could see students using this to identify major battles of a war, map a trade route, or research the movements of a famous person or group of people throughout history.  It also has uses for science and math as well, although don’t ask me to go into those details since that’s not my area! 🙂  All this, and the best part is that it is free.

3.  Exploratree – Exploratree offers a HUGE variety of what the website calls “thinking guides”, which are really just graphic organizers.  You can print blank ones out for students, or they can complete a “thinking guide” on the website and print out their work or email it to the teacher for grading and feedback.  By creating an account, students can save their work on the website, thus saving on ink and paper.  There is also a blank sheet to create your own graphic organizer from scratch. Since the thinking guides can be shared, the teacher can assign a group project as well.  Totally free and totally awesome.

4.  TeacherPal – TeacherPal is an app that works with the iPad and iPhone.  It may work with other smart phones as well, but I’m not sure.  While it has an attendance feature and a grade book feature, the reason that I downloaded it was for the behavior log.  Say your students are working on a group project or working on something individually. As you walk around the room, you can make notes on their behavior – good or bad.  You tap on the name of the student, create a title (something like “Thesis Writing Assignment”), and then you can click a thumbs up or thumbs down to designate their behavior or perhaps their participation.  In addition, you can write your own notes to provide more detail on the behavior. The notes are then dated, timestamped, and saved automatically so you have clear documentation for the student, parents, and administration.  Love this app!

5.  Cacoo – Cacoo is similar to Exploratree in that it is a site devoted to diagrams and graphic organizers.  With Cacoo, you get 25 blank “sheets” for free to create whatever kind of diagrams you wish.  So long as you never need more than 25 sheets at any one time, this site is also free.  The major difference between Cacoo and Exploratree, besides the fact that Exploratree comes with some already-designed templates, is that Cacoo allows students to collaborate in real time.  With Exploratree, you can share the thinking guide, but only one student can edit at any given time.  With Cacoo, multiple students can work on the same diagram at the same time.

6.  The Periodic Table of Videos – Now, I don’t teach science, but if I did, I would definitely use this site.  For each element on the periodic table, there is a short (around 6 minutes) video of a scientist talking about the element and showing experiments or natural phenomena and materials that contain the element.  I ended up watching several of the videos despite severely disliking chemistry as a college student.  Imagine what a student who actually likes the subject matter would think of this site!

7.  Stick Pick – I still like to use good old-fashioned popsicle sticks in a cup to call on students randomly, but if you want a high-tech version of this technique, then Stick Pick may be the answer for you.  Stick Pick works with the iPhone and iPad. Not only can you call on students randomly with this app, but the app gives you question prompts based on Bloom’s Taxonomy.  It also tracks student responses so you can keep track of how many times a student is called on, what kinds of questions they answered, and how many times they answered correctly.  This app costs $2.99.

That’s it for now.  Enjoy your 4th of July.


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