Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Brief.ly and a Research FREEBIE

My last post, Internet Research for Grades 3-5, got me thinking about research skills in the younger grades. It is a hard skill to hit at that age, especially for those children who have not developed the literacy skills needed to learn new material. Our school district has a subscription to PebbleGo which is an incredible site for research and listening to readings. Another way I have included research skills in the younger grades is by using Brief.lys. Brief.ly is a free online service that allows you to combine multiple websites/urls into a single url. You can create a collection of videos, images, and appropriate websites for children to access with just one click! You can even customize the url address AND the site provides a QR code for you. Your students can scan the QR code or just type in the web address and ALL of the websites will pop up in one location.

Here is an example of a Brief.ly I created about the Water Cycle: http://brief.ly/smithswatercycle/
This is what it looks like:

Super easy to use and a great way to touch upon research skills with the younger ones by finding easy to read websites and other age appropriate resources!

Do you have an inquisitive class this year? Do you have a lot of early finishers that need something "academic" to do? Why don't you set up a "Research" computer/iPad center for your kids to practice their research skills and learn something new at the same time. Here is a set of 20 different research topics your kids can choose from if they have a hard time coming up with a topic of their own. Click the images below to take you to this FREEBIE:




Sunday, September 14, 2014

Internet Research for Grades 3-5


The world of research has come a LONG way since I was in elementary school. I remember going to the library to locate nonfiction texts using the card catalogue and sitting down with my book to take notes on white notecards. It was never easy and it was NEVER fun for me. I really believe I would have enjoyed research so much more if I had had access to the internet!

Children today have the internet at their finger tips. Therefore, we need to TEACH them how to use it correctly for research. Often times I see kids just "Googling" topics and reading anything that pops up on their screen. We need to teach them the basics of internet research:

   -what makes a website reliable
   -tips and tricks for better search results
   -how to take notes
   -how to site sources from web resources
   -how to find copy right free images for their reports/presentations

The foundations of research skills begin in elementary school and travel with a student through college and then into their field of work. Even though I'm not in school I find myself researching the latest educational technology practices on a daily basis. I make sure my sources are reliable and up to date.

How can you tell whether or not a website is reliable? Here are a few ways:


This slide comes from my latest product: Internet Research Grades 3-5:


This product is 50% OFF today only so hop on over to my store and check it out, especially if you are going to have your students conducting research this year!

Using keywords is always a difficult concept during research time. I also have a Powerpoint that will help your kiddos with this skill:


Friday, September 12, 2014

Cameroid

Cameroid is a cool webcam that I am looking forward to using in the classroom this year. You can start snapping away as soon as you get to the website, no sign in required. There is a gallery full of fun backgrounds and frames. Here are a few:



I bet your kiddos would love using this! You can save it as a jpeg or it allows you to download from a link. Send the link home to parents for them to print!

Wednesday, September 3, 2014

Slidely Slideshow Maker

Are you trying to gather pictures for a slideshow to show your students' parents at Back to School Night? I know a lot of my teachers have been busy taking tons of pictures. We have been using Animoto (you do have to sign up for the free 6 month education account trial) and Slidely. I REALLY like Slidely because it is FREE and easy to use. Here is one I put together with some AMAZING Virginia Bloggers' blog buttons. You have to check out their blogs!


VA Bloggers by Slidely Slideshow

If you are interested in making slideshows then definitely hop over to Slide.ly and sign up for a free account. Upload your pictures, choose a song from a YouTube search, select your theme and your slideshow is created! You can email your slideshow to parents and even get an embed code to put on your blog or class website. Many other kinds of share options are available too.

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Google Forms Update: Finally!

Woo hoo!!! You can now customize your theme in Google Forms. Add your own photos or logos to the header, customize fonts and colors, pick a background, and more. I have been waiting for this :) Check it out: http://googledrive.blogspot.com/2014/09/custom-forms-themes.html

There are cool new themes too!

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Google Drive Snapshot Feature

I don't know where I have been living lately but one of my coworkers just showed me the other day the Snapshot Feature in Google Drive! Ahhhhh....do you know about this? If so, just move onto the next blog on your roll :)

When your students create Google Docs or Google Presentations they can now add snapshots quickly and easily to their work! Follow these steps:

Go to INSERT and click on IMAGE:

Click on TAKE A SNAPSHOT:


The webcam will pop up and you need to click on ALLOW:


 Take your picture and click INSERT:


There it is!

Google surprises me every day:) We could do a fun Selfie project with Google now!

Sunday, August 24, 2014

Grids Math

Grids Math is a website that sets your screen up as a big piece of grid paper with many cool tools to help you solve various math problems. I could see my students using this to solve multiplication/division problems with arrays, fractions, area and perimeter, distributive property, graphing, simple counting and so much more!

This website does not have an option to save your work mat but students could simply take a screenshot of their work and paste it into a doc to save or print!