Wednesday, April 27, 2011


When I first saw Sketchfu, I thought it wasn't anything great. Then I browsed the gallery and quickly figured out what makes this special. You can watch the drawing take place before your eyes in fast forward. This would be a cool project for any art class. Even if you don't plan to use this, check out the gallery.

What is it?
You start with a blank slate and begin to draw something. The program records what you draw and at the end you can watch your creation take shape. Sketchfu's (if that is what they are called) can be embedded into a website or emailed as a link.

Educational UsesStudents can create presentations in sketchfu. They will have to draw everything, but it is well worth it to see the creativity they use. I had one student last week create one on the life of a Knight during the Middle Ages. This student was a junior in high school and LOVED doing it, and better yet, he loved sharing what he had done. All the other students enjoyed watching what he had done, and it reinforced what I had taught them earlier.

Monday, April 25, 2011

Not your father's periodic table -
When was the last time you consulted a periodic table? If you're not a science major or teacher, the last you used a periodic table it was probably taped to the wall in a high school classroom or in the appendix of your high school or college science text book.

If this fits true for you, you'll wish you had the dynamic periodic table available at I know I did when I found this site.

The dynamic periodic table at has all the information a chemistry or science student needs at the hover of their mouse. Do you need to know what the physical properties of Iron (Fe) or any other elements are 6000 degrees Kelvin or any other temperature? Well, even if you don't, has that information and everything you might want to know about the elements embedded or linked to, including orbitals, isotopes, videos, photos, podcasts, and what ever Wikipedia might say.

Tell your students, children, and friends about They'll thank you next time they need to consult a periodic table for class or just because.

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Harness the power of the web with Web 2.0

Are you looking for a way to engage students? Web 2.0 tools will help you out.

Web 2.0 tools that make it easy for students to create and share media enriched content with authentic audiences. Many, if not most, web 2.0 tools are free and enable students to collaborate across time and distance in ways they cannot using traditional learning tools.
Enable your students to harness the power of the web using Web 2.0 tools to embed multimedia and collaborate in rich learning experiences.

Learning about Web 2.0 is a wiki created and managed by Suzie Vesper that offers insight and ideas about using Web 2.0 with students. Learning about Web 2.0 informs about how to use blogs, wikis, and other Web 2.0 tools for learning.

On Learning about Web 2.0, Suzie has great guides to help you get started using Web 2.0 tools with your students. Suzie's guides share strategies and examples to help you integrate these powerful tools into your lessons.

Check them out and start engaging your students in Web 2.0 activities.

Learning about Web 2.0's list of Top Web 2.0 Tools

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Do you Wordle? is a web application that allows you to create beautiful word clouds from text that you choose. In a Wordle word cloud the sizes of each word vary depending on the frequency the word is present in the source text. The more frequent a word, the larger the word appears in the word cloud.

In his article on, Jonathon Wylie gives 10 suggestions for using a Wordle word cloud in classrooms. Jonathon gives directions and links to examples for creating Personal Narratives, using Wordles with Famous Speeches, creating Wordle Gifts, Classroom Polls, Comparing & Contrasting information, Word Walls, Current Affair and Document Analysis, and more.

Wordle word clouds are easy and fun to make.  Word clouds are a great way for students to evaluate information and demonstrate learning. Watch this video to learn how.

Wordle from John Lustig on Vimeo.

Some additional Wordle resources:

I Can Back Off My Blogging, Turn Down My Tweeting, And Even Wrap Up My Wiki, But I Can’t Wane My Wordling...
An article about word clouds by Michael Gorman from Tech& This article includes links to other Wordle articles, tutorials, and examples about how Wordles can be used by students and teachers for learning.

51Interesting Ways to Use Wordle in a Classroom
Tips and examples for using Wordles in classroom lessons. Presentation originally created by Tom Barret.

Five Ways to Make Word Clouds from Text
Richard Byrne has a great post about using Wordle and four other word cloud generators to easily make word clouds from text. All five of these tools enable teachers and students to bring the power of word clouds into classrooms for teaching and demonstrating learning.

Sample Lesson Plan for integrating word clouds, such as Wordle, as tools for students to evaluate information and demonstrate learning.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Student Interactive Activities via the Utah Education Network

Have you been to Utah? I never have, but I did visit the Utah Education Network website and found their collection of links to engaging online interactive activities for students of all ages.

The links to student interactive activities on the UEN site are grouped by grade clusters and categorized into subject and topic areas making it easy to locate fun, interactive activities the are designed to engage students in media rich learning experiences.

The interactive activities on the UEN site are great to engage individual students, small groups, and an entire class. Many features built in to the activities will be enhanced using them with an interactive whiteboard, creating learning experiences that engage students physically and academically.

Give them a look. You'll easily find a variety of activities that will engage your students differently in classroom instruction and as supplemental learning experiences.

Grades K-2
Grades 3-6
Grades 7-12

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Online Resource - The Civil War at 150 Years

Are you looking for resources to bring student learning and thinking skills about the events and impact of U.S. Civil War to the evaluation level in Bloom's Taxonomy?

The National Park Service has a great online resource that will help you and your students think and learn deeply about the U.S. Civil War and its legacy. 

The Civil War: 150 Years -
The NPS is commemorating the 150th anniversary of the Civil War on its website offering glimpses into the past and connections to the present. The Civil War: 150 Years site scrolls as a time line spotlighting then and now, looking at significant events and people from 150 years ago and present day.

This week marks an update in the time line with the sesquicentennial anniversary of the Battle at Fort Sumter on April 12.

The then and now sections of the web site offer opportunities for students to explore and analyze as they compare and contrast the past with the present. For April 12, the then section provides links to online historical resources about the battle,  Eyewitness to History, News in History, and the now section links to online resources that include a live view of the historic Fort Sumter via web cam and an online book, Five Flags over Fort Sumter, that explores the history of Fort Sumter and the beginning of the Civil War, from the National Park Services' History E-Library's Civil War Series.

The Civil War: 150 Years is a media and information rich resource for students and teachers. The evolving time line, links to historical documents and artifacts, and connections between the past and the present allow students of all ages to interact with history. Students and teachers can use this site for virtual field trips, investigating historical documents and testimonies, and taking their learning beyond traditional resources found on the pages of a textbook or in the frames of a video.


First off, I must say that I am a tools blogger.  I love finding cool things to use in my classroom to enhance the learning experience.  As a history teacher, I have had students choose a person from a time period and do an introduction of their person in the form of a Voki.  I have heard of Spanish teachers who use it as an oral language test.  You could use it to explain directions orally for students, place the Voki on your website with directions to an assignment.  There is so much you can do with a Voki.

Voki is a free service and very easy to sign up.  Students LOVE using Voki.  I would love to hear how you use Voki or would use Voki in your classroom.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Using Google’s Art Project to Create Virtual Field Trips via EdVoices

In his article on EdVoices,  Kevin Hart gives some great insight about using Google's Art Project for student learning.

Hart suggests using Art Project to breakdown the barriers of a burdened budget or distance and time constraints that get in the way of students experiencing great art.
The real impact of Google’s Art Project is that students will now be just a mouse click away from some of the world’s great works of art. It could prove an excellent tool for creating virtual field trips and broadening students’ horizons.
Art Project by Google
Explore museums from around the world, discover and view hundreds of artworks at incredible zoom levels, and even create and share your own collection of masterpieces.
I didn't post about Art Project in my Tech Tactics article about using and creating Virtual Field Trips, but it definitely fits and is a cool tool for school. 
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