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23 May 2011
Comments: 1

Appy Hour: ELAR App-Teasers

Appy Hour will provide you with a fast-paced introductory approach to FREE apps that are appropriate for secondary students. App-teasers for ELAR will be sampled. After this class you will think beyond the concept of an App as simply being a game – you will leave with a menu of appealing concrete lesson ideas you can serve as soon as you are back with your students! An iPad with all required apps will be included for use during the duration of the class.

Jog iTunes with Me

iPad Lessons ©2011. Lisa Johnson. All rights reserved. Permission to reproduce for classroom use granted

ELAR Appy Tour (Jog the Web Tour)

app_happy_elar (Menu of ELAR Apps Sampled)

See iPad Lessons for more ELAR examples.

See ELAR Podcasts for a starter list of podcasts.

19 May 2011
Comments: 0

Podcasts 4 ELAR/Language/Library

Our Web 2.0 Part 2 Moodle course provided some wonderful discussion on useful Math podcasts. Why reinvent the wheel? Here are some of the resources (with descriptions) that were provided from teachers enrolled in the course. Use these as mini lessons, reviews, independent study pieces, or to clear up common misconceptions. 

  • Grammar Girl: This is a must!!!!
  • Storynory: This podcast has a bunch of poems and stories that are auditory. Many of my students sadly, don’t have books at home, this is a way they can get the exposure and enjoyment of literature just by clicking the link.When looking through the podcasts in Storynory, I saw that they had The Wizard of Oz, which is on my student’s reading list, broken down by chapter. The podcasts here are almost like an audio book. The chapters are each read aloud on the podcast. This would be a great way to keep students who are frequently absent caught up. I could post the podcast in my wiki for each chapter. Students could listen to the chapter if they are home sick
  • Sweet and Sassy Summer of girls fiction: This is a podcast for girls that has some storytelling activities geared towards girls, voiced by girls my students ages. It gives great ideas abot novels and literature that I can use to interest some of my girls especially over the summer, almost like a reading camp for them during the down time.
  • Book Voyages: This is a podcast dedicated to introduction of new books and poems geared towards kids my students age.  I am hoping to encourage them to listen to the podcast over the summer, by getting them to check it out in May, and using it regularly. (Also check out Horn Book Podcast & Authors Without Limits).
  • Coffee Break Spanish: This podcast will help me because I’m certified in Spanish, but I’m not currently teaching Spanish. So it can keep me up to date and practicing/reviewing the language daily.  I wouldn’t use it instructionally (at this moment), but could be used to connect with Spanish speaking students and parents. (Also check out Discover Spanish, Finally Learn Spanish)
  • English Grammar in Context:  will serve as that extra grammar practice, or perhaps the reteach that sometimes needs to take place.  Again, individual station work or as additional work at home.
  • One Voice from Africa: is a news program connecting Africa and America.  I will use it for listening practice as well as just current information.  I have several African students and this will provide some intrinsic motivation for learning as they have great interest in what is happening back home.
  • Meet the Author: is a podcast for the students. Students can listen to interviews of different authors to find out about what inspired them to start writing, hear about the characters in the books and learn facts about the author.
  • American English Pronunciation: is pronunciation practice and I will be using it for stations or as homework for my students.  It provides private practice and allows some flexible learning in my classroom.
  • Books on the Nightstand: is a blog about books, authors, and reviews of books. It is beneficial to both me and the student because it has suggestions for what to read next, books that are related to each other by theme or author, and information about authors. Instructionally, for me personally, I am always looking for fun interesting picture books to share with my family. For students, it would help them choose a book.
  • Radio WillowWeb: This podcast database is something that we’ve used in our previous assignments as an example for podcasting.  I struggled to find ideas for how to use podcasting with my first graders. This podcast subscription is great for me because it helps me get ideas for my own classroom and gives me a guide for formatting.  It works well for my students because it allows them to learn from other students and they can use it as a model of expectation for their own podcasts.  I used this for my students’ assignment.  We are about to study sound in the upcoming weeks and I found a podcast on Sound created by third graders for my students to listen to and record one thing they learned about. I thought it would be a great introduction.
  • Super Why! PBS Kids: this is a breakthrough preschool series designed to help kids ages 3 to 6 with the critical skills that they need to learn to read (and love to read!) SUPER WHY makes reading an empowering adventure by using interactive literacy games that need YOU to play. I think this resource will be great for my students, especially in the beginning of the year when many of them are still lacking the basic, fundamental reading and phonics skills.
  • Just Vocabulary: I am always looking for new ways to introduce new vocabulary to my students. This podcast presents two new words per episode. I would post one podcast per week. The students would have the week to listen to the podcast and complete activities through the week. One might consist of posting a complete sentence using each vocabulary word to the wiki.
  • Vocabulary and Oral Language Development: Vocabulary and language development are key in kindergarten. I will be able to use this site to engage learning in both areas.
  • Audiobooks with Annie: Classic books from the public domain. She is currently reading Anne of Green Gables. This could be used as a station or during SSR time. Would also lend itself to booktalks on my wiki!
  • Kinder PODS- kindergarten: This podcast has great information pertaining to kindergarten.  There are examples of student work, music, students reading, and much more.  I’d love to have my students listen to a recording of kindergartener read, for example, the Hermit Crab by Eric Carle, as part of our Eric Carle study.
  • Kinderkids: This is a podcast from a kindergarten class in New Hampshire. This subscription can give me ideas to use in my own classroom, as well as offer a great way to share what other kindergartners are doing in another state.  Having my students listen to their podcasts would not only be entertaining, but give my own students ideas for contributing to our own podcasts.
  • BigStoryTime: This podcast has lots of short stories for kiddos on varying topics.  There is a story called “I Love My Mommy” that I will have my students listen to before we start working on our Mother’s Day projects this week.  I’ll post the link to my blog and then have my students finish the sentence stem “I love my mommy because….”
  • Cody’s Cuentos: Has stories in Spanish to listen to online. This is exactly what I need in my dual language classroom which will help with developing better listening skills especially when their is a lack of bilingual material in our classroom.
  • Candlelight Stories: Listening to a variety of stories when books and/or parents or older siblings are not available to help them read, or read to the child. We can listen to a variety of stories through these podcasts, on all different types: fables/folk tales/fairy tales. This blended perfectly with our reading unit we just wrapped up in first grade.
  • The Reading Workshop: this podcast will be beneficial for me by keeping me connected to reading and good ways to implement this into my teaching and curriculum. I will use this by adding these strategies into my daily teaching.
  • How to Videos: are mini blogs about how to act in various situations. These are british, and so much fun. They are beneficial to students through role playing different social situations and showing exactly how to handle each. An example is “how to pay a compliment” and “how to decline an invitation.” I would have these available to students on the Library Resource page under the heading “Handling Yourself in Society.” These would also be great for adults. (also check out Elementary Podcast & Big City Small World & I Want to Talk About)
  • Modern Manners Guy: This is a fun podcast. Some of the podcasts are more directed for high school/adults so I would have to find which ones apply to the middle school level.  I teach social skills (all of my students happen to be male) and many have autism so this would be a fun way to teach them manners and social skills. (also check out Manners for the Digital Age)

Also check out Sesame Street Podcast (video episodes where muppets & celebrity guests explaining the meaning of words), Children’s Fun Storytime Podcast, 123 Listen 2 Me (review books, movies,and music), Graphic Organizer Tools, Bookwink, Children’s Fun Storytime, The Lost World, A Tale of Two Cities, Alice in WonderlandThe Essays of Ralph Waldo Emerson, B&N Meet the Writers, The Art of Storytelling with Brother Wolf, ESL Library & English as a Second Language, Prometheus Radio Theater, Recess Stories: A Web Series for Kids, and Librivox: Great Big Treasury of Beatrix Potter.

Also check out the Escondido iRead Program (iRead in iTunes) for information on how podcasts and vodcasts can be used to support and improve the reading process. iPod, iListen, iRead is another great article to support the success of iPods and reading skills.

Many of these podcasts listed can be used as a stand alone or as an example/inspiration for student and/or teacher podcast production.

Some of these podcasts can be subscribed to which will feed into iTunes, others can be saved as an audio or movie file and imported into iTunes, and some are even bundled as an app. Please post others you find in the comments section along with a description and/or how they can be used.

19 May 2011
Comments: 0

Podcasts 4 Science

Our Web 2.0 Part 2 Moodle course provided some wonderful discussion on useful Science podcasts. Why reinvent the wheel? Here are some of the resources (with descriptions) that were provided from teachers enrolled in the course. Use these as mini lessons, reviews, independent study pieces, or to clear up common misconceptions.

  1. Absolutely Wild Visuals (Animal Olympians): Showcases some of the library’s most compelling wildlife footage. These mini documentaries highlight wildlife hunting for food and show how their survival depends on their physical prowess. I thought this would be a great resource for the students during our animal unit in science.
  2. Whale Trackers: Is a series of documentary programs that journey across the world’s oceans to explore the lives of whales, dolphins, and porpoises. It explores their range of species and diverse habitats and examines the threats the animals face. My students are currently working on an “All-About” Books Project and one group is writing about whales. I thought this would be an excellent resource for them to use and could also be used during our animal unit.
  3. Science in the Real World: Though I am not a science teacher, I would love to share this podcast with the science teacher on my team. It breaks down specific topics in science. My team generally builds our integrated projects around a science lesson. As a team, we could use these podcasts for integrated projects if there is a topic that coincides with what students are learning.
  4. Creepy Creatures of Texas: Students will find this podcast very interesting to see so many bats escaping. Instructionally, they will see characteristics and habits of animals
  5. Sid the Science Guy: Is a show form PBS that focuses on science concepts for Kindergarten age children. My students will enjoy it very much and it will help reinforce our science concepts in a fun motivating way. (Also Check out Volume 2).
  6. DragonflyTV: Students can listen to these podcasts about real-life SCIENCE experiments by kids! I love that this is produced by PBS Kids. There are TONS to choose from – I can’t wait to utilize this in my classroom. How could you not use this instructionally?! My kids would love to watch these science experiments – either to supplement our own science experiments with, or to lengthen and add to our existing experiments. This is an AWESOME resource for me!
  7. Kids’ Science Challenge: This will benefit my students. They have cool experiments and different things about science. These experiments are easy to reproduce and get the kids involved. This can be worked into the classroom as a Science center for the kids to get involved.

Also check out The Science Show for Kids, Douchy’s Biology, EcoGeeks, Meagher’s classes: Chemistry & Physics, Physics: 50 Examples, and Physics in Action.

  1. PE Talk: This podcast gives an array of discussion topics concerning Physical Education class. Both teachers and students can gain knowlege through podcasts such as “Skill progression”. Teachers can gain ideas on how to teach certain skills just as students can practice their skills at home in a one on one situation. Different assignments can be created for students to either physcially or with pen and paper identify warm up activities, skills, movements, etc.
  2. Essential Fitness with Wess Murray: Wess Murray is a personal trainer/wellness coach. His ideas on weight loss, nutrition, training, and performance can supplement the content that is taught in the classroom. Teachers can use his motivational approach as a “different voice” than the one students always hear. Sometimes this “different voice” in what students need to jump starts students towards a physically fit life.

Some of these podcasts can be subscribed to which will feed into iTunes, others can be saved as an audio or movie file and imported into iTunes, and some are even bundled as an app. Please post others you find in the comments section along with a description and/or how they can be used.

19 May 2011
Comments: 4

Part 5: Techchef4U iPad Lessons

I came across this tool earlier today in the TCEA Twitter feed and it is just so cool (and easy to use) that I had to share! This Flipsnack I created is using my iPad Lessons(since they were already PDF’s and I needed them for this year’s Tech Camp). (Check out more blogs about Flipsnacks).

I found it was best to link all of the PDF’s into one document using Adobe Acrobat (“create a PDf from multiple files”) prior to uploading the PDF. Otherwise I found each book only had one page. The site does require a login but will give you a free link and embed code and allow you to upload up to 500 pages. This is a very cool way to highlight information and create a cool book of student work or resources. And the embedded hyperlinks in the document still work!!

I have included other links for Web 2.0 sites, resources, and supporting materials that will accompany the iPad Lessons above on my Teacher Web.

Thank you Apps in Education for featuring my lessons in your blog. These are a labor of love and I am so honored that people are getting a chance to see them and use them. As you write your lessons, please share them out. Inspiration and passion for technology integration are oftentimes contagious. Let the appapalooza commence!

iPad lesson development is universal & global: Just saw Jan Gamres blog (Norwegian) referencing the lesson process I stated in my last entry: Using the power of Google Translator, I was able to read it. What a wonderful world we live in! Translate it for some great tips on iPad Lesson development.

iPad Lessons ©2011. Lisa Johnson. All rights reserved. Permission to reproduce for classroom use granted

18 May 2011
Comments: 4

Part 4: iBuild iPad Lesson(s)

Images from The Missing Bite Posters (compiled in Photofunia)

Awake your Appthusiasm for Learning

I am an Instructional Technology Specialist at NEISD that serves 3 Title 1 campuses. We are very fortunate to have an abundance of technology at our disposal to service the students.

With a background in English & Math and a love for all things Apple, I naturally gravitate to the iPad. We have 60 currently on campus with 90+ on the way so I have been working very diligently over the past few months creating lessons for them (as well as training teachers ahead of time) to reduce the turnaround time between when they arrive and when they are actually used for instruction in the classroom.

While these lessons were inspired by apps, I did not want to make the lesson exclusive to the app so I have given suggestions/extensions and projects that can be accomplished with Web 2.0 tools. I have also provided interactive Web 2.0 tools that can serve as an alternative to the app if teachers would still like to use the lesson (and do not have access to an iPad).

Do you have an App-titude for Lesson Development?

After writing a series of iPad lessons, I wanted to share my process in creating the lessons:

  • Theme/Topic/Content Focus: While I try to choose a theme or topic (graphic novels, government, poetry) or locate an inspiring app to build my lesson around to make the lesson general enough that it can be used/adapted by various grade levels, teachers may want to ask themselves some more specific questions as they begin the planning process:
    • What TEK(S) do you plan to cover, focus on, support?
    • What is the purpose of the lesson (pre-activity, review, formative/summative assessment)?
    • How long do I have for the activity?
    • What background information should the students have prior to the lesson?
    • How will I differentiate or provide scaffolding to meet the needs of all learners?
    • How will the lesson be delivered (individual, pairs, small groups, stations, whole class)
    • Should activities within the lesson be completed in a certain order?
    • How will the activities be assessed (questions, lab, oral discussion, project/product, blog/online post)?
  • Supporting Apps & Resources: Find more apps like it or to support it (also consider what materials & resources you already have: websites, PDF’s, movies, podcasts, etc…). If you do not have supporting content already created, consider creating an ePub or interactive PDF.
  • Similar Lessons: Find similar topic/theme lessons online
  • Apps Mirror Interactive Sites: Find similar sites (virtual/interactive/Web 2.0) as apps (for teachers who do not have an iPad to use the same lesson)
  • Projects/Assessment: Compile project ideas/suggestions/products that can be created using Web 2.0 tools, interactive sites, or peripherals (assessment and student products/projects)
  • Resources & Extensions: Gather links to resources used, lessons, extension ideas, etc…

This whole process from start to finish typically takes me 10-15 hours a lesson.

Template for building these lessons: Word_Template (Lesson Outline_Word).  Microsoft also offers thousands of templates for Publisher & Word that can be modified to be used as a lesson template or task card. In Pages, choose a newsletter from the template chooser or a Poster (for a task card).

I have also included sample iPad lessons that I have “cooked up” this year in the next post! is also a great site for iDevice Lessons and a great way to get inspired. Krueger’s KSAT program also has a site with a few example lessons that may give you some direction. Escondido’s iRead site is also a great place to start. This is a fantastic site to understand how to use digital audio tools to improve the reading process.

A wonderful TCEA Workshop left us on this note and so will I, “It’s Not About the Tech. It’s About the Teach.” Be mindful of this when building your iDevice lessons.

Post Your Lesson Ideas to this Canvas!
Appolicious iPad Apptivities


For those of you who may want an agenda for this course, I have gone the nontraditional route and used iBrainstorm to generate a plan!

©2011. Lisa Johnson. All rights reserved. Permission to reproduce for classroom use granted.

18 May 2011
Comments: 2

Part 1: iPad – What it Is/Isn't and What You Can Do with It

If you received an iPad on your campus or are considering purchasing one, you will want to learn about the capabilities of the device and uses for it in the classroom.

Table created with Exploratree. iPad image from Apple.

As technology changes at rapid speed, mobile devices are a standard, and children gather & interact with information in new and exciting ways, we must consider changing our pedagogy and how we deliver instruction to benefit the needs of our digital natives. In this 5 part iPad series, I hope to engage and inspire teachers to do just that. The Mumford & Sons song, Awake My Soul, says it better than I can, “Lend me your eyes, I can change what you see.”

The TCEA “Leading with the iPad” gives some great examples of how the iPad can be used in the classroom.

  • Load iPads with different eBooks (OverdriveGoogleProject Gutenberg, & Magic Catalog of Free Kindle Books are a good place to start) and ePubs and assign them to different groups (there are also lots of children’s and adult books/novels that can be found in the App Store). Check out “Load Your New iPad with E-Books Without Going to the iBookstore“. Check out a Vook (books with video embedded)!
  • Have students watch a preselected video or listen to a podcast and create a written response using a blog, wiki, or other Web 2.0 tool.
  • Use the iPad in conjunction with Google Docs to create a collaborative writing assignment or product.
  • Have students access news & periodicals online to foster research and writing activities.
  • Have students research and review apps and build a classroom list of approved apps (great for critical audiences).
  • Have students use the calendar as a class agenda or the contacts as a database (take or save images for authors, elements, campus officials, characters in a novel or play and add a name & description) and Bump them to build a class database.

How will the iPads change your pedagogy and classroom practices?

Here are some more thoughts on how to integrate the iPad from the kitchen of techchef4u:

Also check out “7 Reasons You Need an iPad in Your Classroom & 10 Ways to Use Them” & “56 Interesting Ways to Use an iPad in the Classroom.

How do/will you use the iPad in your classroom?

18 May 2011
Comments: 0

Part 2: The App Review

Now that you know what you can and can’t do with an iPad and have a reserve of educational ideas for use, let’s take a look at its applications (apps) and how they can be reviewed.

Let’s Review the Types of Apps: Compatible (these are iPhone/iPod apps that can run on an iPad but will appear in compatibility mode and can be resized by selecting 2x), Universal (will run on any device), iPad Only (only run on the iPad).

Within these app categories, we have free, lite, and paid. Consider what your purpose is for the app before you commit to purchasing it.

  • Free: these apps are offered at no cost. Many are the full full version (some are only free for a limited time)
  • Lite: these apps tend to not have all of the features or may not be the full app (they are great for testing an app prior to purchasing it or to use as a starting point for a project)
    • Bard’s Dream Lite: This is a graphic novel for MidSummer Nights’ Dream. The lite app only features the first act. Students can use it as an alternate version to compare/contrast/critique against the original text as well as an inspiration for creating graphic novel or cartoon versions for the following acts.
    • Shakespare in Bits:”This version provides all of the features and functionality (complete cats & analysis information) of the full version, but only contains 2 Scenes: The Act 1 Prologue and Act 1 – Scene 1.” Students could still use the app for the cast and analysis info in conjunction with reading the entire play. They could then review the prologue Act 1 – Scene 1 videos to serve as an example for creating their own videos for the following acts.
    • Not all Lite apps are created equal: Pecos Bill Lite is the full version of the book and still allows users to record their own narration – it only lacks Robin Williams narration & Ry Cooder soundtrack. On the Flip side, Titanic Dog to the Rescue is a free app that really should be considered “diet lite”. It has a few pages to get you into the story and then prompts your to purchase the full version to finish the book.
  • Paid: these are full versions

Is an app worth your time or money? Use several indicators to make an informed decision:

  1. Ratings: Don’t rule out an app by rating alone. There are some great apps that I have found with 2 & 3 star ratings. You have to look at the app and how it can be used for your purposes in the classroom.
  2. Screenshot: Typically the screen shots will help in deciding if an app merits a download. If an app has only one screen shot or the screen shots are vague, I don’t waste my time with the app.
  3. Description: If I am still unsure about the app after the ratings and screen shot, the description may clear up the confusion. The more descriptive and detailed the description, the more likely I am to download the app.
  4. Review: The reviews can be quite useful. If there are more than 2 or 3 really bad reviews, I move on. However, it is important to note how recent the poor reviews were posted as some apps may have received a bad review and then made changes and released an update to rectify the issue.

If it has passed all of these indicators, I will download it and give it a test drive. If it met my needs, I will add it to a content folder. If not, I will delete it so I don’t mistake it for one I would like to use. Keep a running list of inappropriate or inadequate apps and a brief description why. This helps to not waste time downloading an app you have already reviewed & rejected again. you have downloaded an app, spend some time reviewing the functionality & robustness of it, ease of use, proclivity for ads, and inappropriate content (which may not always be obvious). I have found a few that:

  • linked to inappropriate ads or had too many pop-up ads
  • had hidden inappropriate content (rhyming dictionaries with profane terms & poetry generators with quotes and/or poems with adult content)
  • will need in-app purchases turned off on the device so students do not purchase advance features or become redirected to other apps and sites
It is, however, worth some time teaching students how to navigate apps and how to handle occasions when they do encounter inappropriate content to reinforce the idea of creating digital citizens and informed/critical consumers for the next generation.

TCEA has also provided evalipad & TCEA App Rubric(s)

Now you are ready to locate your own apps!

18 May 2011
Comments: 1

Part 3: Finding An App (the best kept secrets)

Where do you find apps (especially the free ones) and how do you narrow down the search?

  1. App store on the Device: If I am looking for a specific topic such as chemistry, I will go to the app store on the device and search “chemistry”. I also take note of wording of apps that may fall under chemistry (e.g… atom, periodic table, element, etc…). This would be similar to how you would approach a Google search with keywords and tags. (You can also search the App Store on the web).
  2. Follow the App: Sometimes I find an app and it leads me to other great apps. (much like Amazon will suggest other items based on your affinity for the selected item: “customers who bought this item also bought”). This is a great way to find 3 or 4 apps based on one good app.
  3. iPod/iPhone Apps: Since the iPhone/iPod has been around longer than the relatively infant iPad, I will also peruse iPod/iPhone apps (there are currently quite a few more that for the iPad) and select one that may better meet my query or needs. Most iPod/iPhone apps will work on an iPad once you select the 2x option after launching the app. They may be a little grainy but that is a small price to pay.
  4. App Store Browsing Categories: Other times I have some “spare time” and I review the app store lists for “top free” & by category (education, productivity, reference). This is a great past time for those who suffer insomnia or need to pass time in a productive manner while waiting in the doctor’s office or in line at the grocery store.
  5. Google Search: If someone mentions the name of an app and are unable to locate it in the app store, try doing a google search. Using the name + “app” or + “iTunes” is useful to give priority to the iTunes page over sites that have info about the app or an article about.
  6. App Evaluation Site(s) & Social Media: If these all fail or don’t produce the desired result, I turn to the internet & social media. There are many sites (and apps) dedicated to locating, ranking, categorizing (some sites will categorize all apps and others will focus on one facet like apps for digital storytelling), and providing useful descriptions and reviews of apps. There are also educational entities that create app lists that are updated on a regular basis and even post info on free app specials (sometimes a developer will run a one-day or one-week special on an app or collection of apps and offer them for free).
Many sites will list and recommend apps by grade level and content area. The TCEA Google Doc is probably my favorite place to begin a search. They are divided by content area and constantly updating their recommendations.
  • TCEA Google Doc: (also iPod apps)
  • 40 Amazingly Educational iPad Apps For Kids: a great starter list (if you are not ready to be inundated with hundreds or thousands of apps at a time)
  • TeachwithyouriPad: this site is such a great place to start your app search as it provides screenshots & descriptions (not just lists)
  • Education Apps Review: This site sorts and reviews apps by both grade level and content area. It also houses student reviews of apps (what a great activity for compare & contrast, persuasive writing, or even an exposition on how to use the app)
  • Moms with Apps: this site will also send push notifications of free apps from some of their vendors.
  • Apps in Education: this site has lists of reviewed apps by content area (and an additional list of unreviewed apps sorted by content area)
  • Fun Educational Apps: this site has apps for all iDevices and breaks their reviews and recommendations by down by age
  • Apps 4 Kids: this site also includes Android apps and separates them by topic
  • App Annie: this one houses multiple app rankings and reviews
  • Appolicious: this site also houses app reviews and recommendations
  • Reaching All Learners: this is a great site that recommends apps for learners with special needs (you can also sign up for email notifications from Mark Coppin – he sends out recommended and free apps)
  • Apps for Children with Special Needs: this is another great site that recommends and reviews apps for students with special needs
  • IPads for Learning: this site offers app reviews and a few other useful sections (e.g. classroom ideas, case studies, 21 steps to iPad success, etc…)
  • Kathy Schock: iPads in the Classroom: this site offers lists of recommended apps as well as tutorials and ideas for classroom use
  • Live Binder – iPads in Schools: this site is robust as well offering lists of apps for students, special education, teachers, admin, and parents
  • Free Tech 4 Teachers: iPad: offers multiple blog entries that review select apps
There are other sites (some are bundled as an app) that recommend free apps (especially those that are only free for a limited time). One of my favorites is the TCEA Twitter feed but there are others that have proved to be useful as well.
  • Awake your Appthusiasm for Learning

Now you are ready to explore the world of apps and become an informed consumer of all apps.

17 May 2011
Comments: 1

The Tree Doth Giveth

Hasn’t the tree given us enough? Go paperless on your next project!

It is that time of year when many schools are working on projects. Here are a few ways you can incorporate Web 2.0 tools in conjunction with the study of personification, simile, and metaphor. All of these tools focus on the tree as inspiration.

Big Huge Labs: Upload an image to create a magazine cover. Create a dialogue or poem to overlay on top of the image.

Tagxedo: Compose a poem and choose a color, theme, layout, shape etc… Tagxedo will give emphasis tow words (Tagxedo_instructions)

Pizap: Upload an image and add text and speech bubbles to it.

Images can be captured by students or taken from copyright free image sites like Pics4Learning & Morgue File.

While most of these sites do not require copyright attribution, it is always a good practice to do so. Since all of these sites do not auto-save or edit text, it is a good idea to write text in another program (Word, Pages, Text File) and copy & paste into tool.

All 3 sites have no required login and have the ability to easily save images as a jpeg for later use in another work.

Have students compose their poem on a word processor, create an accompanying image using one of the 3 Web 2.0 tools listed, and save it as a PDF. Compile the PDF’s to create a class poetry book using Flip Snack (see iPad Lesson section for example & instructions).

Ethemes offers a list of sites that provide lessons and interactives for writing similes & metaphorspersonification.

17 May 2011
Comments: 2

Podcasts 4 Math

Our Web 2.0 Part 2 Moodle course provided some wonderful discussion on useful Math podcasts. Why reinvent the wheel? Here are some of the resources (with descriptions) that were provided from teachers enrolled in the course. Use these as mini lessons, reviews, independent study pieces, or to clear up common misconceptions.

  • The Video Math Tutor–  Even during summer kids can access podcasts to see how some of the math they will be doing in summer is done, it serves as a good review and resource. Tips on how to solve algebra problems, gives graphing calculator tips, brian teasers, and other tips for both students and teacher.
  • Edutopia (Math)– I like this feed because it is a good resource for teachers when they need new ideas or a new insight to approaches or thoughts on teaching. “Teaching Elementary Students the Magic of Math” really shows how math can and should be integrated fully into all subjects of learning.
  • The Wizard of Oz- From Fractions to Formulas – I love to show that math is not scary.  When information is presented to the students in a familiar or entertaining method it grabs the kids attention and diminishes fear of a subject.
  • Math Guy podcast – Fun math games and trick. Gets kids excited about math and using numbers
  • Mathtrain.TV – Review over middle school concepts, interest, percent of a number, unit cost.
  • Khan Academy – Geometry: Khan Academy has podcasts in all of the subject areas in mathematics. It gives very detailed and drawn out explanations of various mathematics topics, including geometry. It is an excellent podcast for students who struggle with their work or for those who would like to see more examples outside of class.
  • Mr. A’s Geometry Podcast: This podcast is similar to the Khan Academy podcast. Detailed explanations of various geometry topics are shown, but more closely resembles what a student would
  • Math Mutation: This podcast provides weekly topics in mathematics that are described as “fun, interesting and weird corners of math.” It can be used to show students than math can be fun and interesting.
  • Math by Design: “These videos and support materials will give you another weapon in your answer arsenal. In the videos, students meet people whose everyday, real life includes just the kind of mathematics they explore in Math by Design. Use the Discussion Questions and Related Practice resources to extend and enrich your students’ video watching experience!”
  • Media 4 Math: Videos range from algebra applications in the mortgage crisis to exploring 3D Geometry. Also has a great section on Math in the News with PPT presentations to accompany.
  • Is All About Math: Math is a subject area that is ever changing. Even though the concepts remain consistent, the strategies and techniques for presenting those concepts are anything but consistent. Using this video podcast as a resource to stay current and on trend is vital in giving my students the advantage they need to be successful beyond my classroom. I am using this in Google reader.
  • The Math Dude (Algebra 1): This is a wonderful tool for my geometry students who need to brush up on algebra and to fill in any gaps that they may experience from their previous year. This was found in iTunes as a video podcast. I like that my students can access this when they need reinforcement on a concept or just another way to look at an area that may be particularly problematic for them. This could also be used as a mini lesson to fill in weak areas in important concepts.
  • Precalculus – Fenton: I found this video podcast in iTunes. This would be a great tool for students who are absent from class. It would also give me ideas when I am looking for ways to present particular lessons. Students can use it as a review or to obtain a different perspective. One drawback is that it took a long time to download.

Also Check out:,, Math Snacks& MathtrainTV.

Some of these podcasts can be subscribed to which will feed into iTunes, others can be saved as an audio or movie file and imported into iTunes, and some are even bundled as an app. Please post others you find in the comments section along with a description and/or how they can be used.

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