Finding and organizing resources

A few great places to find resources include:

Graphite from commonsense media

  • Discover apps, games, websites that have been reviewed and rated by teachers
  • Share with a community of teachers
  • Innovate with the right tools

PolarTREC: Polar region resources – articles, lessons, activities, interactive media

Power my learning – free and flexible way to integrate blended learning into your lessons – portal to some of the best educational games. activities, simulations and videos – search by subject, create personal playlists for each student if needed

21 things 4 students – suitable for students grade 6-8 – interactive program about vital technology concepts

Atomic learning now includes an iPad app

Teaching the inquiry process – includes apps, videos and tutorials

Schools that work – produced by Edutopia – links, videos

Apps in your classroom – apps, lessons, tutorials

Math Landing – resources and tools for primary teachers including apps

Edmentum – lots of different programs and courses for all ages

Cyber Science 3D – interactivity and reasoning – class, school or district license

Take students on virtual field trips around the world – a small cost associated with the site.

Looking at using eBooks in your library? Check out this site. Or check out Brain Hive here.

Do you find it difficult to get the most out of your interactive board? Check out Gynzy with a free trial.

Want to engage your classes inside the pages of any digital book, article, PDF or document? Check out Subtext – also available as an app.

Do you need to use a graphing calculator in your maths lessons? Here is one for free at Desmos

Online databases, streaming video. eBooks and eLearning modules all online – free trial available  at Infobase Learning.

Online resources for adaptive curriculum in maths and science, suited to middle school and high school students

An eReading platform for schools – online annotation, embed quizzes, immediate feedback for students – check it out at Gobstopper


Teaching technology and connecting with other teachers

Teacher playground includes resources, PD, lessons, tutorials

As a teacher, do you want to be more connected as an educator? Join in activities in October – some will be based in Australia even though this website is American.

Here are some online catalogues with useful programmes to buy: ShopK12,

Teachers First – a site for thinking teachers – free membership, 1000s resources, free PD

Want to do some online learning of your own? Check out FLO.

Want to buy, sell or create some teacher created resources? Head to the Teachers Notebook


Organizing resources

Got your own classroom library? Track student borrowing by using classroom organizer. Can also add eBooks to your library.


Blooms Taxonomy and apps

Scrabble! of sortsMany students and classes now have ipads in their rooms. While I was at the conference in San Antonio Texas, I went to a few sessions mentioning apps.

Here is a list of those recommended if you use Bloom’s Taxonomy in your lessons.

Stack the States (free and $1)
WordWeb Dictionary (free)
Flashcards Deluxe Lite (free and $4)
Google Search (free)

Skitch (free)
Spacecraft 3D (free)
What Does Not Belong? (free)
Flipboard (free)
Word Seek HD (free)

Educreations (free)
Xperica (free and $4)
MindMash (free)
Slice It! ($1)

Cargo-Bot (free)
QuickGraph (free)
Wolfram Alpha $3
PollDaddy (free and subscription)
NASA Visualization Explorer (free)

Nearpod (free and subscription)
Socrative (free)
Side by Side ($2)
InDecision ($1)

Puppet Pals HD (free)
Inspiration Maps Lite (free and $10)
WordFoto ($2)
iStop Motion ($10)
Comic Touch Lite (free)
Comic Life ($5)
iMovie ($5)
Garage Band ($5)

Many thanks to David Pownell for the link to his website where he mentions all the apps.

Do you have any other apps you would recommend under each section of the taxonomy?

If you are using ipads for blogging, I recommend the Edublogs app  with the campus set up. Please try some of these apps at home or in the classroom and in the comments leave something positive about the app.
Creative Commons License Photo Credit: Amit Gupta via Compfight

Part of my holiday

Happenings at ISTEAs most of you know I have been in San Antonio this last week at the International Society for Technology in Education 2013 conference. I presented a poster session on Sunday evening, along with two other blogging teachers and two Edublogs employees, about the student blogging challenge which I run every March and September. Over 200 people visited our booth to talk to us, but we had a very loud Mexican band also playing in the mezzanine area, so it was very hard to be heard unless we were speaking one to one with people. We also had TimTams and Caramello Koalas for the people to eat and a business card for them to take away.

But it was also a chance for me to meet face to face with people I only know from twitter or blogging. I  met lots of new people who I added to my twitter lists but the whole conference was always noisy with attendees chatting together in the lounges. There was over 15,000  teachers and administrators from all around the world at the conference.

I also got the chance to attend lots of sessions on hundreds of topics relating to computers in schools. My friends and I would often go to different session then share each others notes – collaboration of a kind. I will be writing a couple more posts on these especially great websites mentioned in talks and apps for the ipad that were also recommended.

At these big conferences there are also lots of sponsors and companies which exhibit their goods and try to convince you to use their product. It took me a day and a half to walk through all these booths, leave raffle ticket draws at some of them, attend sessions run by the companies and pick up brochures and business cards. Once I have checked out the websites of these companies I will also be writing a post about these.

So the conference has now finished and the final keynote speaker Adam Bellow, had these words of wisdom to those in the audience:

Learning and doing something awesome without sharing is selfish.

It’s not about the technology, it’s about us and the connections that we make.

Acknowledge your challenges, and then see them as opportunities.

If you don’t think you can, you’re not willing to.

Explore. Share. Contribute.

Creative Commons License Photo Credit: David Warlick via Compfight

New term arrives earlier this year

Oh no, here come the BloggersHere in Tasmania we are not used to having term two start in May – this is the first time we have had four terms per year instead of three.

During the recent holidays I ran refresher sessions for teachers in the north and south of the state.

Check out some of the work by our newer bloggers as well as a couple who have started again since last year.

  • The blog at Westbury is run by a group of grade 6 girls with initials of FEAST.
  • After seeing the blog from Miss D&D from Longford, Mr Guy at Evandale decided to get his blog going again and asked the other grade 3/4 teacher at his school to join him. What a great start to their blogs this term!
  • The class of 4LB have been getting lots of comments for their posts – many from overseas as can be seen on their clustrmap.
  • I am impressed with the Monday Inspiration posts from Mrs Smith and Clark’s class. Mrs Smith is only there one day a week. What a great way to start the day with inspiration from the students.
  • Students are starting to write the posts on the blog in Mrs Thomsett’s class. Can you leave a comment on this post from Sophie?
  • The students in Mrs Fall’s grade 2 have just started leaving comments on their blog.
  • The students from Mrs Wells’s class have been doing a lot of reading and learning about early Australian History.

I will be leaving Tasmania on 23 May and heading to America for five weeks. I will be visiting Washington DC to check out the Smithsonian Museum and the Holocaust Museum. Then I will be driving around the southern states for three weeks to finish at San Antonio for a conference on technology in education. I will be presenting a poster session about the student blogging challenge which I run twice a year.

If you want help, I will still only be an email away or if the time zones allow maybe even a skype call.
Photo Credit: Brett L. via Compfight

Giving a helping hand

Has your class or school thought of giving a helping hand to Dunalley Primary School which burnt down during the January bushfires this year?

Have a look at this video put together by Triabunna District High School. Maybe your class could sponsor some of the students on their exciting bike ride from Triabunna to Dunalley.

Check out more about the Bunna Bash at their education department website.

Mrs Westthorp has a grade 4/5 at Dunalley and they have their own class blog started this year. Visit them and also their school facebook page run by parents I think.

Do you think all schools should have a sponsored child or some form of community volunteering as part of their classroom programs?

Creating slideshows

I notice a few teachers have started creating slideshows on their blogs. There are a few websites that you could use.

Slideshare – will convert powerpoints to slides you can embed on your blog. But remember every image and sound in the slideshare has to be creative commons or taken by you, the teacher or student.

Photopeach allows you to add words at the bottom of each image so great for storytelling. Check out this grade 2 story about a sign in the forest. There is an educational version but costs $9 US per month. I have only ever used the free version.

Animoto is the one I would recommend for teachers and students. Teachers need to join first then apply for the education version. They are then given a special code which students can use. The teacher then sees the animotos created by the students and can delete them if not made correctly. Again all images and sound used in the animoto must be creative commons. Using the free version only allows 32 seconds video play but the educational version is a lot longer.

Adding Animoto to your blog post

1. I always suggest writing the post first including saving it as a draft before you try adding the Animoto. Remember to include the category and tags before saving.

2. Once you have created your Animoto, you will see some symbols beside the video you have created.

3. Click on the more button.

4. Now click on the embedded video tab and then the blue button copy to clipboard.

5. Final step is to add your animoto to your blog post. Do this by opening your draft post, click on the HTML tab, then paste in the code that you had copied to the clipboard – just press CTRL V. You can add it at the beginning of the post or at the end after the    which is code for enter a new line  Now press publish and your Animoto will appear in the actual post.

Using plugins

You may have noticed when you have your dashboard open, that there is a section down the side called ‘Plugins’.

You may ask what is a plugin?

A plugin extends the way you can use your blog. It might be a form to add to posts, some extra widgets for the sidebar, an easy way to add images to posts – all these are done by activating a particular plugin. Here are some posts to read about activating plugins and an overview of those available on your blogs (instructions included).

There are some plugins I would recommend you have for your blogs. These are in alphabetical order but compfight is a necessity I feel.

Compfight – easy way to add creative commons images to your blog posts. Make sure you have the settings correct. This is how I have them set for this blog. Here is a post I wrote for the student blogging challenge which gives instructions on using the compfight plugin.

WP cumulus is an interesting way to show the tags or categories on your blog as if they are floating on a cloud.

Contact form allows parents or visitors to send an email to you through your blog. Might be handy on a page called  ‘Contact Us”.

DOGO content widget allows book reviews, movie reviews etc from DOGO site.

Footnotes would be great for those students in the Big Picture program to give references in their blog posts. Could also be used with younger students teaching them about referencing any posts they write after they have researched a topic.

Google maps if you want to include a map in a post or in your ‘About Us’ page

Image widget for your sidebar for students who might be more visually focussed rather than links written as words – good for those commonly used websites like studyladder, reading eggs, mathletics etc.

Notifier reviewer if you want to receive an email every time a student has written a post that is pending review. If you visit your blog often, you probably don’t need to have this plugin.

Subscribe to comments is handy for visitors to your blog. They might leave a comment and want to know when someone replies to the comment – they tick the box about subscribing to comments. This is for only one post at a time. Your visitors can tick this box on as many posts as they want to hear about comment replies.

Supreme google webfonts has 291 fonts available but this slows your blog down quite a bit having to load this each time.


National Youth Week 5-14 April

Before u wake upIs your school taking part in anything related to National Youth Week 5th-14th April?

Perhaps you could help Tash, one of our big picture bloggers at Ogilvie, who is asking you to go without your bed for at least one night and then comment on her blog post about what you did. Maybe you could also write a class blog post.

She also has a survey you might like to answer as part of National Youth Week.

When checking my Facebook page, I found a link from the Education Department about a blogging challenge relating to National Youth Week. Visit this website and decide if you want to take part. There are money prizes and examples of previous winners to look at – must be grade 7-12 for this competition though.
Creative Commons License Photo Credit: M1k3 via Compfight

Adding a class cyber pet

I notice many classes are starting to add class pets but some are not working properly, so I decided to write a post with step by step instructions for adding a cyber pet as a widget on your blog sidebar.

1. Go to this website which is the gallery at widgetbox.

2. Click on cyber pet.

3. Click on Bunnyhero labs


4. Choose the pet you want by clicking on it.

5. Now customize your pet by changing colour, adding a name for the pet and putting in your class name as the adopter. Change the text colour as well if you want. You should be seeing on the right of the page what your changes will make your pet look like.

6.  Make sure the number for the width is between 180 and 200 if you are putting your pet in the sidebar. Finally click on the first button  </>  This is the embed code button on many websites.

7. When the following screen appears click on the green copy button. This copies the code to your clipboard on your computer.

8. If you have done all the above steps correctly the final screen will look like this.

9. Now the last step is to copy the code into your blog widget area. Go to your blog dashboard> appearance> widgets

Drag a text box to the sidebar where you want the pet to appear. Put in a title if you want and paste in the code that is on your clipboard – use control V.

Save and then close. Go to your class blog, refresh the blog and you should now have your pet in the sidebar.


Do you know of any other great websites with widgets other than widgetbox?

What other widgets would you like on your class blog?

Many thanks to Sue Waters for telling me about the program SnagIT which I have used for the arrows and numbers on the images.  Next learning step for me will be creating a video as well.

Welcome to a new year of blogging!

As you may have noticed, we have a lot more class blogs listed on the links in the sidebar. This is because many teachers took part in some professional development during the school holidays and began learning about using a class blog as part of their curriculum.

Some teachers have decided to keep their blogs private at this stage until they have taught their students about quality commenting and how to write great posts. But most blogs are open to the world, so please start visiting them and connecting students within our state. If you want to know what the posts are about, check out the widget on the right sidebar  “Posts from all our blogs”.

Here are some great posts from last year and some from this year that your students might like to comment on:

You will all be receiving a copy of this post in your email because I have added all the teachers and students who are administrators of blogs to the blog subscription list. That way, you will know every time I have written a post. All the posts will help you in some way to improve your blog or topics to write about on your blogs.

If you need any help with your blog, just send me a message by email (see widget on right sidebar) or use the blog inbox where I am tasteach.

Good luck with the blogging in 2013.