Capzles is a free, multimedia presentation tool where students can create a linear presentation with embedded images, music, videos, blogs, and documents. Students choose a background image and theme song, upload their information in the order in which they want it to be presented, and then share it with classmates, on a class webpage, and even through social media such as Facebook. Teachers can also use Capzles to find completed presentations to add to their lessons. There are many categories such as animals, art and design, history, travel, and more through which you can search for a presentation that fits the needs of your class.
Sally Ride, the first woman in space, has teamed up with Google Aps for school to create an educational tour of our solar system and beyond in Sally Ride. You will need to download Google Earth and Sally Ride’s tour. While students can do this individually or in pairs, this would be a great Smart Board activity to do as a whole class so that you can check for understanding along the way.
Realworldmath.org helps students see that there are real world applications to the math that is being taught in the classroom. This site offers thirty downloadable activities within five categories: concepts, measurements, project-based, exploratory, and space. All of these lessons utilize Google Earth to present math concepts in a meaningful and interactive way. For example, students will learn to measure distance in multiple units through the ruler feature within Google Earth. These activities can be used independently, in small groups, or as whole class activities with the use of a projector. These activities are sure to stop the question, “Will I ever need to do this in the real world?!”
Google Lit Trips provide an interactive way for students to connect to literature. Whether it takes place in a different time or location from their own, students often find the settings of literature to be abstract. Google has paired with educators around the globe to help solve this problem. Using Google Earth, students can take street level tours of the settings of their books. The site includes several examples of completed products on the website, but students could also create their own Lit Trips to demonstrate their understanding of a work’s setting.
Wish that you could do a lab in your classroom but don’t have the funds, materials, or ability to do it due to safety issues? PhET is a site from the University of Colorado in Boulder that allows students to interact with simulated science experiments. PhEt can be downloaded to a computer or run from the cloud. Each simulation is designed by a team consisting of a professional software developer, a scientist, a teacher, and students who pilot the simulation. This team ensures that the simulated labs correctly explain content using best practices, appropriate software and graphics, in an engaging fashion. The simulations are organized in by science topics and grade levels.
GeoGebra is a free downloadable math program that allows students to play with math while they learn geometry, algebra, graphing tables, statistics, and calculus. This free and open sourced software has been around for ten years! Teachers have translated the lessons into 15 languages, so English Language Learners can work and play on this site in their native languages. GeoGebra recently released a series of Tablet Apps for schools with a one-to-one initiative. Visit the GeoGebra site to learn more and enjoy its engaging lessons.
Padlet is the new Wallwisher! This is a new, free way to create a “wall” and have students add images, texts, links, and files to decorate the wall. Teachers can also create an interactive worksheet with questions that students can see and work on collaboratively, even remotely. You can make your wall private, customize it with fun and funky backgrounds, check your students’ progress from your mobile device, and embed the wall into your class webpage or blog to share it with parents. Check it out, build a wall, and enjoy!
Many teachers and students are familiar with Khan Academy. It’s a fantastic, free, always growing, educational video resource. Sal Khan, its creator, has produced hundreds of short (ten minutes or less) videos that teach math from foundational skills all the way to calculus and statistics. There are also other contributors who have uploaded videos in many other content areas.
Students and teachers visiting the site often aren’t sure where to start. Khan recently created a tutorial to remedy this problem. Students register for a free account, receive a personal homepage, take a pre-test in the area where they are focusing, and receive an initial mission. Each mission is compiled with grey tiles that students hover over to see what skill the tile represents. Once they click a tile they are lead through videos and questions to check for understanding. As they master the skill the tile turns blue, and as their understanding increases the blue darkens. When all of the tiles have turned blue, the student has completed the mission. This resource is perfect to share with parents for students to work on at home, for center activities, or for independent work time within the classroom. Click on the image below to go to a tutorial to find out more about how to incorporate this great new feature into your classroom.
Planning an inquiry project for your students? Looking for a new way to incorporate STEM objectives into your lessons? Check out NOVA Labs for Educators and bring inquiry to life in your classroom. Each lab presents a topic and allows students to ask their own questions and investigate within the topic. Every lab has five sections: a research challenge, videos that provide background information and help explain the complex areas within the subject, a list of resources and opportunities relevant to teenagers, a community and social feed where students can share their questions and information while engaging in conversation with peers, and an educator guide to provide materials for the lad and subject area. Three labs are presently available: Energy Lab, Sun Lab, and Cloud Lab. Labs for DNA, Cyber Security, and the Brain are in development.
Socrative is a free, online resource for teachers to create “rooms” that can be shared with other teachers or kept to yourself. Within the room, teachers can post questions and communicate in real time as students work toward answering the questions. The site allows teachers to create a variety of question types including multiple choice, true/false, exit ticket, short answer, and quick. There is even a Space Race feature where students work as teams to race other teams to correctly answer the questions! Once the students have completed the room a report is sent to the teacher that is easy to read. This would be a great way to review material before a test or have students work independently to check for understanding while you are available to answer their questions. A new version has just been released this month that makes it easy to add images and align rooms to Common Core Standards, making curriculum alignment even easier for teachers.