Page Updated: Web 2.0 Tools to Embed on Your Blog

I have just updated my page about web 2.0 tools to embed on your blog.

Here you will find:

  • Tips for using and embedding web 2.0 tools.
  • A list of tried and tested tools from slideshows to videos and polls.
  • An embedded example of each tool so you can see what it looks like.

Please visit the page and leave a comment if you have any feedback or suggestions.

Online Maths Activities

We had a numeracy curriculum day at my school today and I was asked to present a workshop on online maths sites. The audience was diverse with teachers from all grade levels as well as CRTs (casual replacement teachers) and student teachers.

I began by giving a few tips for using online maths sites.

1. Think of the learning intention first. When you find a good online activity, it can be tempting to want to just use it in your classroom. It’s important to think of the learning intention and then the resources, not the other way round.

2. Be organised. Have a play around with the site before your lesson (you don’t need to know everything about it). Get your tabs up on the interactive whiteboard or student links ready ahead of time. Have a system to archive your online resources. I would be lost without my Diigo social bookmarking account.

3. Learn with your students. You certainly don’t need to be the expert when using online resources.

4. Think out loud. For example, when you come across a website you could say, “I don’t know how to play this game so I’m going to click on help and read the instructions first”. I have found thinking out loud to be an excellent way to teach incidental ICT skills and troubleshooting.

5. Mix up the way you use online resources. Online maths activities can be used for whole class activities, small group work (don’t underestimate the power of collaboration), and individual work (through a rotation if you don’t have the resources for 1:1). Sometimes online activities are more teacher led, such as when you’re teaching a new concept, however, it’s always a good idea to have the students as actively engaged in their learning as possible.

I shared one or two examples of maths resources that could be used for all four areas of our maths lesson structure.

1. Warm up. This is a quick activity to get the students ready for learning.

  • A + Click: This site has quick activities for all age groups to develop logical reasoning and creative thinking. No sign in required.
  • Oswego: Students love playing these games on the IWB. There are games for all areas of the maths curriculum and many are timed which allows for some friendly competition. No sign in required.

2. Introduction. This is the teaching part of the maths lesson.

  • Virtual Manipulatives: A simple alternative to using the maths tools on the IWB software which I know many teachers find frustrating. No sign in required.
  • Studyladder: I like using the IWB resources and explanation videos as another way to teach a concept. Studyladder also has many other resources for all areas of the curriculum. Free sign up required.
3. Main task. This is the activity that the students complete with enabling and extending tasks to differentiate the curriculum.
  • Sqworl: A great visual way to put together a collection of maths activities for students to use on their computers. Free sign up required.
  • Woodlands: There are many sites that compile links to online activities into subjects. Woodlands is one my students really enjoy with links to many activities to practise maths skills. No sign in required.

4. Reflection. This is the time for sharing strategies and summarising what was learnt.

  • Jenny Eather’s Maths Dictionary: This site has kid-friendly and visual definitions for maths vocabularly. There are also excellent printable charts to use around your classroom on the site. No sign in required.

I compiled all of the links to the examples I gave and many more on a Sqworl http://sqworl.com/vec8xd

Participants were given time to play and find resources that would be useful in their classroom.

What online maths resources do you enjoy?

Do you have any great sites to add that aren’t on the Sqworl?

New Teacher Blog: Guiding Digital Nomads

I first met Aine Murphy (@ainetmurphy) when she was completing teaching rounds at my school in 2010. We bonded over a common interest in technologies, blogging and global collaboration.

Aine taught in Ireland for ten years before moving to Australia and retraining at Deakin University. She is now teaching Grade Three/Four at Point Lonsdale Primary School having previously taught Spanish.

Last year, Aine and I taught post-grad education students at Deakin University and together we injected some new ideas and tools into the curriculum.

Aine has recently started a new blog called Guiding Digital Nomads: The Wanderings of a Teacher in the 21st Century

http://digitalnomads.global2.vic.edu.au

I recommend subscribing to Aine’s blog as I’m sure her posts will be full of new ideas and excellent reflections.

Aine also recently started a new blog for her Grade Three and Four students and is looking for other blogging classes to collaborate with. Contact her via either blog or Twitter if you’re keen!

Why not head over to Guiding Digital Nomads now and introduce yourself?

Learning to Type

Over the years, the need for my students to be able to type has become increasingly important.

Being able to type with reasonable speed and accuracy helps students to better cope with the technological world they live in. Students are increasingly going to be held back in their school work, everyday life and future career if they don’t have adequate typing skills.

Of course, we still write with pencil and paper daily in our grade two class and have formal handwriting lesson,s but I find typing lessons and practice is often neglected in the primary curriculum.

Throughout the course of each year, I see a big improvement in students’ typing skills just from the regular practice they have with blogging, however we try to do typing practice where we can. This has become easier with the 20 netbooks and 10 classroom computers we now have in our class of 43 students. Typing practice is now a regular activity in 2KM and 2KJ.

Typing Test

Last week, I had the students take a typing test.

Thanks to @rebeccacarr87 for suggesting 10 Fast Fingers Speed Test which, despite the ads, was perfect for my grade two students. It contained high frequency words and no punctuation. It also gives a simple “words per minute” (wpm) score.

typing2

I wrote the students’ best wpm score on a class list and told them we’ll retest again with the goal of improving by the end of the year. The score range was 4 to 21 with an average score of 9.5 wpm. It will be interesting to see how they improve. I only wish I had thought to test them at the beginning of the year!

Teachers of older students might find this Typing Speed Test more useful as it contains more complex paragraphs including punctuation. This test gives a speed and accuracy score.

Typing1

Online Typing Activities

I have put together a collection of free, online typing games for my students into this Sqworl.

The link is http://sqworl.com/9r5u8p

Typing sqworl

Feel free to use it with your students too!

Lessons Vs Practice

I like to give my students a mix of formal tuition in typing as well as practice time.

How people get to the point of being able to touch type is something that interests me. I learnt “by doing” while my colleague, Kelly Jordan learnt through formal lessons, however we both got to the same place as proficient touch typists.

If you consider yourself a touch typist, I am interested to hear how you learnt to type. Did you learn by doing or did you learn through formal touch typing lessons?  Please complete this quick poll!


How do you approach typing lessons and practice with your students?


Do you know of any other good typing websites?

Guest Post about Twitter on PLN Challenge

As I have blogged about before, Edublogs supports a Student Blogging Challenge and Teacher Blogging Challenge which are two excellent forms of free professional development.

The current Teacher Blogging Challenge is called “30 Days to a Whole New PLN”.

There will be two or three posts each week about setting up, enhancing, and participating in your very own personal learning network.

This week, I was invited to write a guest post on using Twitter to build your PLN.

Click here to find the post

In this post I answer

  • What is Twitter
  • Why you should be interested in Twitter
  • What you will get out of being on Twitter
  • How to get started with Twitter to build your PLN

Guest post Twitter PLN

Head over to the Teacher Challenge site and check it out!

All You Need to Know about Educational Blogging

Readers of this blog will know that educational blogging is one of my passions.

I receive many questions from teachers each week about blogging via email, this blog, Twitter or in person. While I love helping other educators, sometimes the best way to answer a question is to point them to a post I have written on the topic.

Over the past couple of years I have written many posts about educational blogging. I have a page on this blog with an archive of all of these posts sorted into categories. Feel free to browse it at your leisure and pass the link on to other teachers.

Educational Blogging Page

What questions about blogging would you like to see answered in an upcoming post?

Keeping up with Blogs

I became a proud iPad 2 owner this week and it’s been a steep learning curve to learn as much as I can about my shiny new tool!

After getting my iPad I was inspired to work on updating the blogs in my Google Reader.

I know I’m not alone in being a little neglectful of my Google Reader from time to time, but it is a very useful tool.

If you are unfamiliar with Google Reader, you can find out more about it here. In a nutshell, Google Reader captures all of the new content from your favourite blogs and websites so you don’t have to be checking them all the time. Google Reader describes itself as a “personalized inbox for the entire web.”

One of the reasons I was neglecting my Google Reader is I had too many blogs in there and I guess it became a case of “I don’t want to look as I know how many unread items I’ll have!”

I have now condensed my Google Reader to include blogs that I have a particular interest in and connection with.

Using Flipboard and Reeder on my iPad, I hope to keep more up to date with all of my favourite blogs!

There are so many fabulous education blogs out there and along with Twitter, reading blogs is my top form of professional learning.

Image: 'Flipboard' http://www.flickr.com/photos/38305415@N00/4818276266

Image: 'Flipboard' http://www.flickr.com/photos/38305415@N00/4818276266


Blogs I Subscribe to via Email

I like these blogs so much that I don’t want to miss any of their posts. I have signed up get new content delivered to my inbox.

chrisbetcher.com – Chris Betcher is an ICT integration teacher in Sydney and always produces interesting and well written posts.

whatedsaid.wordpress.com – Edna Sackson is a Teaching and Learning Co-ordinator at a PYP school in Melbourne. Her posts are guaranteed to make you think!

langwitches.org/blog – American teacher/consultant Silvia Tolisano and I share a passion for globally connected learning and I have learnt a lot from her posts.

teachingliteracy.global2.vic.edu.au – I team teach with Kelly Jordan so I can’t miss any of her blog posts about literacy in junior primary.

ilearntechnology.com – Kelly Tenkely, an American teacher/consultant, never fails to be on top of the latest web 2.0 tools. Always something new to learn.

theedublogger.com – if you’re into blogging, this is a must read. Everything you need to know about educational blogging by Australian member of the Edublogs team, Sue Waters.

Blogs in my Google Reader

Blogs about Education and Technology – I prefer to follow blogs that are updated fairly frequently (but not daily!) and I enjoy following blogs from people I “know” on Twitter. It usually doesn’t take long to figure out whether a blog has a style and content that appeals to you.

Class Blogs – there are some class blogs I like to keep abreast of such as Mrs Yollis’ class blog, Mr Salsich’s class, Mr Avery’s classroom blog, Open the Door to B4 and A Peek Inside.

Student Blogs – Sue Waters has an excellent post about how to add student blogs to a folder in Google Reader. While I don’t have any current students blogging just yet, I do like to keep track of my former students who are still blogging such as Rhiannon and Bianca.

Vanity Alerts – If you’re active in the online world, you might like to set up vanity alerts to keep track of your name or sites being mentioned. This is good to form relationships, satisfy your curiosity and monitor plagiarism.  Sue Waters describes in this post how to set up these alerts using various online tools and Google Reader.

New bloggers – I like to support new bloggers where I can and Google Reader is a good way to do this. Two new blogs I have enjoyed lately are PrimEd by third year out graduate teacher, Kirby Goodey and An Aspiring Primary Teacher by student teacher, Ashley Azzopardi. Both Ashley (@ashleyazzopardi) and Kirby (@KirbyGoodey) are active on Twitter too.

Finding other Blogs

I have found that Twitter is a fantastic way to keep track of other “must-read” blogs. Popular blog posts are often retweeted and easy to find out about if you’re a regular Twitter user. Finding out about blogs via Twitter is a bit of a lucky dip but you can find some real gems As Sue Waters said, it is a bit like an (ever changing) buffet!

What blogs do you like to follow?

How do you use RSS feeds or email subscriptions?

What do you use Google Reader for?

New Blog Addresses

This week there was a change of domain name for Global Teacher and Global Student blogs. Victorian teachers and students now have one Edublogs campus site called Global2 to take us into 2011 and beyond.

global2

If you work in a Victorian government school and you want to start a blog, visit http://global2.vic.edu.au.

If you had a Global Teacher blog, you will notice the domain name has changed from globalteacher.org.au to global2.vic.edu.au.

Visitors to your blog will be redirected for the coming months, however you should advise your readers to update their links.

If you have a Global Student blog and you wish to continue it, you need to follow these instructions to export your blog and import it into a new blog on the Global2 site.

**************

I have a new address for this blog, Integrating Technology in the Primary Classroom.

Please update your links to

http://primarytech.global2.vic.edu.au/

**************

I also have a new class blog for 2011.

It is a joint blog with my team teaching partner, Kelly Jordan, and her class, 2KJ. We will be launching our blog to a group of 42 enthusiastic grade two students tomorrow, 4th February!

The address is

http://2kmand2kj.global2.vic.edu.au/

If you previously followed the 2KM blog, please update your links.

Happy blogging!

Smories: Stories for Children

Smories is a website with short videos of children reading original stories for kids. There are 50 new Smories added every month. Writers are encouraged to submit their original children’s stories to be featured on the website.

The stories are advertised as being suitable for children aged three to eight although there are many stories that would also appeal to children older than eight.

There is a special version of Smories available for the iPhone, iPod Touch and there will soon be an iPad version.

I have been using this site with my Grade Two class as a means of modelling reading with expression and also as a comprehension activity. I have been encouraging the students to picture the story in their mind as they listen. Listening to Smories is also a good way to revise the features of a narrative.

My students have really enjoyed the stories and find it quite appealing to listen to children their own age.

Next time we do a story writing activity I am going to get my students to publish their work “Smory style” which we can then put on our class blog.

Smories

Do you have any other ideas of how you could integrate this site into your classroom?

Clasroom Resources: Teachers Pet

I have been using the website SparkleBox for quite a while to find a wide range of printable resources for my primary classroom. I was therefore surprised to discover that the SparkleBox website has been been undergoing a troubled time recently with it’s creator and editor, Samuel King being imprisioned in January 2010 for child pornography offences. Read about it here. As a result of the convictions, many teachers felt compelled to boycott their use of SparkleBox.

sparklebox

This week on Twitter, I found out about an alternative new website called Teacher’s Pet. The site that was launched on April 14th 2010 is the combined work of a teacher, Christina and Flash programmer, Jay. The site contains free printable PDFs and will soon contain IWB resources and music. The website is nicely designed and the resources are clear, colourful and purposeful. While this is a UK site, it looks like it could be useful for primary teachers worldwide. This site is very new, however new resources are being upload regularly and hopefully it will eventually become a site that is as comprehensive as it’s comparable website, SparkleBox. Check it out!

Teachers Pet

Postscript: I have just come across another new similar site called Twinkl. There must be a few SparkleBox alternatives popping up on the web. This is good news for teachers!

Leave a comment if you know any other sites with printable resources for teachers.