Showing posts from March, 2014

Online Manipulatives for Grades K-8

McGraw Hill Education Virtual Manipulatives

 McGraw Hill offers a free website with a huge variety of manipulatives that would be great for use in a classroom with an interactive projector. 

After picking your grade level, choose the desired background from the list.  Pre-K-2nd grade have game board and story board options as well as the workmats that are available for all grade levels.  

Next choose a manipulative.  Some options include algebra tiles, base ten blocks, currency, clocks, fraction tiles, geoboards, geometric solids, hundred chart, tangrams, thermometers and many more.  

Use the tools at the bottom of the screen to move, type text, draw or measure objects on the workmat.  

DocsTeach - An Amazing Resource for Analyzing Primary Source Documents

DocsTeach is an awesome resource for social studies teachers. Teachers can search a large collection of ready to use interactive activities or create your own for students to analyze thousands of primary source documents selected from the National Archives.  

Note: The activities do require Flash to be interactive so they won't work on iPads but they do have a print view that can be accessed on an iPad.  Some of the activities would be great to complete whole class using your interactive projector.

Activities can be searched in 3 categories: by eras (from 1754 to present), by historical thinking skill (chronological thinking, historical comprehension, etc.) or by tool (finding a sequence, focusing on details, etc).

Here's an example activity analyzing documents from the Civil War:

To create your own activity, first create a free account.  There are 7 different activity types to choose from:

Choose your documents, des…

Turn Any Video into an Interactive Formative Assessment with EdPuzzle

EdPuzzle is a great FREE web-based tool allowing teachers and students to create interactive quiz-based video lessons using just about any video.  Once uploaded, videos are editable, can include voice notes, and provide data tracking for real time formative assessment. The site is easy to use and provides a variety of useful features to transform passive viewing into interactive lesson engagement!

Personalize the Learning Any video can be personalized with the addition of audio notes, annotations, cropping and editing! Even videos from other sources such as YouTube, Khan Academy, Learn Zillion and more can be remixed with your own voice or annotations. The best part is that the student doesn't have to wait until the end of the video to answer questions. Multiple choice, open ended questions, and comments can be added at any point in the video. EdPuzzle collects data as the students watch and interact with the video. The teacher can track when a student viewed the video as well how…

Leave Audio Comments on Google Drive Files with Kaizena!

Kaizena is a free resource that let's you leave audio comments, text comments or links to resources on Google Docs.  What a great way to give feedback to your students!  Students can share their work with you through their Google Drive account (all GCISD students have a Google Drive account using their email address and password). Then you open the document in Kaizena (on a computer) and quickly and easily record comments.

Here's how to get started:
Go to Connect to Google Drive.Login to your district Google account and click Accept.Pick a file from “My Drive” or “Shared with Me".Highlight desired section to add a comment.On the toolbar that pops up, click the microphone to add an audio comment, click the quote bubble to type comments or click the tag to add a resource (link to video, lesson, game, etc.)Send the comment to the creator by clicking their name on the left hand side.Choose to send via Doc Comment.When the student open…

Student Learning Journal - Google Template

At the TCEA (Texas Computer Educators Association) Conference in February I learned about a great free template for students to use in their Google Drive account.  It's a student learning journal created by Tammy Worcester Tang.  This would be a great tool to help  students become self-regulated learners. 

The template can be accessed here:

Students would click the link on the page above and login to their GCISD Google Drive account to create the journal in their Google Drive.  

Note:  On a computer, the link will automatically ask them to create a copy in their drive.  On an iPad, students will need to choose "Go to Spreadsheet View" and choose "Continue to Desktop Version".  Then they can choose FILE and MAKE A COPY to create an editable copy in their own drive. 

Once the copy is in their drive, students can edit it using the Google Drive app, on an iPad in Safari or by going to their Google Drive on a c…

QR Journal - QR Scanning on a Mac Computer

Looking for a way for students using Mac laptops to scan QR codes? QR Journal is a great free option.  

To install QR Journal:
1.  On a Mac, go to the Applications folder and choose App Store.  
2.  Do a search for QR Journal.  (or use this link:
3.  "Buy" the app using your AppleID.

Once it’s installed, open the app from your Applications folder. You'll see a button that says “Scan”.  That opens a window that is using the laptop's built in webcam.  Hold the QR code in front of the camera and it will scan the code.  Super easy!

Tip: To make any Mac app easy to access, you can choose to keep it in the dock even when it's not open.  Just right-click on the app icon in the dock (when the app is open) and choose "Options" and "Keep in Dock".

What's a Mystery Skype?

What is a Mystery Skype? A Mystery Skype is a Skype conversation between 2 classes.  The teachers arrange the Skype call in advance but the students do not know where the other class is located.  Students ask and answer pre-determined questions about their city/state to learn about where the other class is.  Students research the answers and guess the location of the other class.

What themes can be learned through Mystery Skypes? Social Studies: geography, climate, landforms, natural resources, economy, cultures Math: data collection, graphing, estimating, measuring Science: weather, seasons, landforms Thinking: research, organizing data, critical thinking, problem solving, compare/contrast Listening/Speaking: notetaking, communicating via written, oral and visual information

What equipment do I need to do a Mystery Skype? Either a computer with a webcam, microphone and Skype software loaded or an iPad 2 or higher with the Skype app installed.

How do I do a Mystery Skype?
I've put together a…