Thursday, August 4, 2011

5 Great Sites to Start the Year Off Right

There are so many resources out there for teachers now that the problem is no longer.. "I can't find..." but it is instead, "How can I sort through all of this?"  Although there are a lot of resources out are 5 that I can't live without as I start this new school year.

This website transformed my classroom last year as I struggled to find a way for students to submit assignments electronically.  Create classes, have discussions, turn in and grade assignments, and most importantly keep connected with your students.  I used it with 4th-8th graders, and all students were equally excited.  In recent months Edmodo has pushed teacher communities and they have grown exponentially.  Now it's extremely easy to join communities related to subject areas and connect with other teachers.

This is a wonderful site for students and teachers alike.  Create interactive posters with pictures, links, video, and audio.  Students will have a great time creating these and sharing them with their classmates.  As a teacher I have also used Glogs to share links and instructions with students in a fun interactive manner.  The Glogster EDU site has a free teacher version where you can create 50 student accounts.  The only downside of the free version is you cannot create student usernames (they are gibberish letters/numbers), but students will get used to that.

This website was a lifesaver more times than I can count.  If you are looking for any type of resource, literally anything, you can find it here.  Jerry Blumengarten has created a very simple site that is updated quite frequently with resources on everything from Smart Board resources, to Graphic Organizers, to Special Education.  One of my favorite things about this site is that as special events or news stories arise he compiles links and resources that are relevant for you and your students.  This is definitely one to keep bookmarked and frequently check up on.

 Kidblog is a great site for any age level and subject area.  Create a free teacher account and student accounts to manage student blogs and comments.  There is no limit to what you can do with student blogging including writing constructed responses, having students write results of research, for formative assessment, and to do collaborative projects.  Need some ideas on how to use student blogs? Check out Cybrary Man's Student Blog or Class Blog Pages.

A never ending favorite, I always seem to find some use for Google Tools in my classes.  In particular my favorites are:
  • Docs: Collaborative document work with students, i.e. multiple students working on the same project at once
  • Earth/Maps: Exploration of everything on earth and even beyond
  • Books/News/Etc.: Customize your search for news articles, books, images, and much more 
  • WDYL: Stands for "What Do You Love?", type in any topic and see the search results relating to just about everything and that topic.  For instance see pictures, 3D images, translations, search interest, videos, maps, and discussions all on one page. 

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