Classroom Solutions > 43 posts categorized "Web/Tech"

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Extra, Extra, Read All About It! Current Events in the Classroom

Reading News on the SubwayOne of my personal goals this year is to read the newspaper every single day, regardless of how many student essays I need to read or how crazy my morning commute. I want to be aware of the world around me, and I am committed to living a more news-literate life. I bought a newspaper subscription for my Kindle, and at the very least, I am going to read the news while I take the subway to and from school.

While working on myself, I also consider my students’ current events literacy. I want to help my students to become informed young citizens and lifelong news readers. However, finding time for current events during our jam-packed school day has always posed a challenge. In this post, I'll share some of the solutions I've found. However, my current events curriculum is very much a work in progress, so I would love to hear how you cover world events in your classroom. 

Photo: One of my students reading a newspaper on the subway during a field trip. I need to learn from her!

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Tips on Creating a Kindergarten Classroom Blog

Blogaholic Designs”=This year I'm creating a classroom blog for the first time. Needless to say, I simply love it! I have truly become a blogaholic. Creating a blog for your classroom will unlock the doors to a new world of communication. Read on as I introduce you to this virtual learning community and guide you through the steps for creating your own classroom blog.

 

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Ten Years Later: Remembering September 11th With an Oral History Project

Scholasticsept11postOn the morning of September 11, 2001, I was on my way to work in Springfield, Illinois.  Many people remember where they were and what they were doing when terrorists attacked our country 10 years ago this year. My current students, however, may have a difficult time remembering as freshman students were 4 to 5 years old when this significant event changed the course of history. Since I often refer to 9/11 when discussing various pieces of literature, I wanted my students to have a firm understanding of the event, and so created the Remembering September 11th lesson. This lesson is broken into three phases: class discussion, group research, and individual project.

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Resources for the Differentiated Classroom

Mult-Sensory Teaching In a previous post, I wrote about how you can differentiate your kindergarten classroom. Here you can read up on some of my favorite resources for multisensory teaching.

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Open House, Mother's Day, and Father's Day, OH MY!

DSC00571 The end of the school year is around the corner, and there are still so many events to prepare for. In our school district, we have state testing the first two weeks in May. So the next month or so will be spent preparing for the state test as well as wrapping up the school year with Open House. Read on to find great crafty ideas for Mother's Day and Father's Day gifts as well as instructions for creating an easy Open House slide show.

 

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Adventures With Books: One Tiny Turtle by Nicola Davies

One Tiny Turtle by Nicola Davies
Join my class as we turn the book One Tiny Turtle into a unit of fun and exciting learning experiences. This lyrical and informative look at the elusive and endangered loggerhead turtle is sure to delight young nature lovers.

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Celebrating Eric Carle and The Tiny Seed

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One of my favorite children's book authors and illustrators is Eric Carle. He is one of our classroom favorites as well. A while back, I even had the pleasure of hearing him read The Very Hungry Caterpillar LIVE at the Los Angeles Times Festival of Books. Read on to get some fabulous resources for The Tiny Seed, watch a book trailer featuring Eric Carle, and listen to our Tiny Seed podcast!

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Chu Ju’s House by Gloria Whelan

BookcoverThis year, I was blessed to receive a class set of Chu Ju's House by Gloria Whelan, which tells the story of Chu Ju, a 14-year-old Chinese girl struggling to survive in a country where males are traditionally valued more than females. When Chu Ju's parents decide to give her baby sister away because of the One-Child Policy, Chu Ju leaves home with her. Teaching literature from other cultures requires a considerable amount of background knowledge. However, it is exciting learning about different cultures, and that excitement spreads through the class.

After reading Chu Ju’s House, students engage in a mini research project, exploring an aspect of Chinese culture alluded to in the novel. This assists the students in developing a thorough understanding of the legal and cultural conflicts presented in the novel. In this post, you'll find a study guide, instructions for a vocabulary wall mobile, and  SMART Notebook activities.

 

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Paying It Forward

ParentteacherWhen I attend a conference, my goal is to come away with techniques, ideas, or information that will improve my teaching, and my greatest hope is to leave inspired. This year at the Computer-Using Educators conference, both my goal and my hope were realized. Today I want to introduce one of the people who made this happen last week. He's amazing both in how he uses technology in his classroom, and also in who he is as a person and as a teacher. He is one of the people that I aspire to be more like. His name is Brent Coley, and I'm honored to have him write a guest post for this blog.

 


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Cool Web Tools for Teachers and Kids! Part Two

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Last week at the Computer-Using Educators (CUE) Conference in Palm Springs I saw a ton of great presentations. This week I am excited to share what I learned during a great presentation called "Extreme Makeover: Web Site Edition" by Brent Coley, a 5th grade teacher in Murietta, California.  Read on for ten great suggestions for making your Web site interactive, informative, and useful with FREE, easy-to-use apps!

 

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Cool Web Tools for Teachers and Kids! Part One

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I just came home from a fantastic technology conference in Palm Springs called Computer-Using Educators, or CUE, and my head is about to explode (in a good way). I would love to share some of these fantastic cool tools and apps with you. If you ever do any projects online or offline, have an iPhone, iPad, or iPod Touch, or are just a tech geek like me, hold on to your heads for some AMAZING tools that you can use right away, to make teaching easier in almost any grade level or to make your life easier at home. Special thanks to all the presenters at CUE for inspiring others to bring tech into their classrooms! Read on to check out some super amazing techy things to do with your class and some cool apps for you!

 

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Darfur: Does History Repeat Itself?

MBlow031511_iStock_4567809_SudanFarmLast week, I wrote about the classroom resources I use in my Holocaust unit, “Children of the Holocaust.” During literature circles for this unit, my students read a historical fiction novel and discuss character development. Adding a nonfiction component to literature circles provides the opportunity for text-to-text and text-to-world connections. The group discussions help them to better understand nonfiction. In this post, I'll take you through the lesson we do in my class connecting the Holocaust to a current event through nonfiction. Included in this post is a classroom video showing how this lesson was integrated into the "Children of the Holocaust" unit.

Photo: Refugee in Sudan collecting garbage. Copyright Claudiad/iStockphoto.

 

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I Love to Read! Surefire Ways to Create Lifelong Book Lovers

I Love to Read Month February is “I Love to Read Month,” the perfect time to assess if your students do, in fact, love to read. Are they captivated by good stories? Does reading fill them with excitement and enthusiasm? Do they play with the sounds of language in a literature-rich environment that promotes active learning through highly engaging activities? If the answer to any of these questions is no (and even if it’s yes!), it may be time to arm yourself with a repertoire of techniques guaranteed to get every child in your class saying “I love to read!”

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Making the Most of Your School Computer Lab

BoywithComputers   Credit: netbritish/Shutterstock

Teaching today has its challenges, especially if you're not comfortable teaching computer and information technology skills. Our students have never known a world without the Internet, computers, cell phones, and Xboxes. They were born into a world of technology and take to it like ducks to water. You can make going to the computer lab a weekly occurrence even if your district doesn't have a computer teacher to man it. Read on for some helpful hints on how to make the most of your computer lab visits.

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Comments: 5

Digital Communication: Student-Designed Commercials

Movie ReelBeing able to effectively communicate in the 21st century is essential. Advertisers have efficient communication down to an art. (And at $3 million for a 30-second Superbowl slot, they'd better!) They must pick the perfect story, image, background, words, and music to engage an audience and sell a product in under a minute. By creating their own commercials, students learn to pay attention to detail and discover some fun technology.  

 

Photo courtesy of Salvatore Vuono.

 

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Danger on the Internet: A Lesson in Critical Thinking

Internet Danger SalvatoreArguments on Jerry Springer, cat fights on Jersey Shore, WWE wrestling — the line between reality and manufactured entertainment is forever being blurred. My momma always said, Don't believe everything you read. Don't believe everything you see. These phrases are more true today than ever before. With all the recent technological advancements, it is increasingly difficult to tell the real from the fake. We must arm our students with critical-thinking skills so they can separate the fact from the fiction and use the Internet safely.

Photo courtesy of Salvatore Vuono.

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Comments: 8

Educating Teens About Drugs — The National Institute on Drug Abuse

DSC01340Drug and alcohol abuse continues to plague teenagers, and parents and teachers are often at a loss about how to handle this important issue. I grew up in the '70s, when there was a great deal of glorification of drug use in the media and very little information about the dark, dangerous side of drug use and addiction. With the advent of the information age, however, there are plenty of resources to help educate and inform students about the dangers of drug use.

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A Teen Soap Opera to Learn SAT Vocabulary

DSC01247 Because I teach in a low-income, urban high school, where many students do not speak English as their first language, my students often have difficulty building their vocabulary. Yet increasing their vocabulary is extremely important: vocabulary is critical to students' reading success, and a wide-ranging vocabulary helps students communicate more effectively when writing, speaking, and listening. In addition, students' confidence improves both academically and socially when their vocabulary increases. Further, students will soon face state testing, SAT testing, and Advanced Placement courses, all of which will require them to employ an ever-increasing vocabulary.

Read on to find out how my class learned new vocabulary words and so much more when they wrote and produced their own high school soap opera.

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Comments: 6

Time for Thanksgiving!

WebcastGetting your Thanksgiving unit ready? Scholastic has some awesome resources to help you plan a great one. Sign up for the FREE Webcast now! This event will be on November 16, 1 p.m. ET, and you must be signed up to view it. But you can take advantage of the vast variety of other multimedia and more traditional resources available on the site right now. There are videos, tours of the Mayflower, and slide shows that really bring the spirit of Thanksgiving into your classroom. Check it out.

 

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Student Planned Parties

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I was strolling through the hardware store yesterday and saw Christmas items slowly invading the Seasonal Item aisle. Seriously!? As annoying as the sight of premature holiday items can be, it did serve as a reminder that I needed to start the wheels in motion for a Halloween celebration in my classroom. My students do all the planning, and they often require extra time as they are just beginning to develop the skills of organization and budgeting.

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Comments: 24

Fun, FREE Educational Web Sites for Kids

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Kids are naturally drawn to the computer with its fun animations and cool games. It's one stop for shopping, entertainment, fun, and games. Here are a few Web sites that I use in my class to give a little extra practice in a skill for my below level kids, some challenge activities for my top students, and reviews for my on level students. Sometimes, I use the sites as extension activities or for homework. All of the sites are free and some of them have a premium version that includes more activities and some teacher tools. Leave a comment to be eligible for a GIVEAWAY at the end of the post!

Photo courtesy of Microsoft Office Clipart.

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Using Web 2.0 Tools in Your Classroom

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There are many teachers at various levels of tech savviness that are charging into the classroom armed with awesome tools from the Web. Many of these programs can be used with kids and adults in many capacities. Your imagination will determine how to use it. The sky's the limit!

Clip art licensed from the Clip Art Gallery on DiscoverySchool.com.

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Clifford's Preposition Mystery


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Clifford’s missing! Where could he be? A lesson on prepositions takes Mrs. Power’s kindergarten students around the school looking for their lost friend. Click read more to watch our Clifford's Birthday Party Mystery to see if they can find him in time for a special surprise! Also included are the steps that we used to make this learning project a huge success. Go ahead and give it a try with your students. You will be amazed at the amount of excitement and learning that takes place.


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Embrace Creative Technology With These Websites

6a00e54faaf86b88330133ed4fcd59970b-pi Do you want to encourage a greater use of technology in your classroom? Whether you want your students to create their own comics, use digital cameras, type information in graphic organizers online, edit photos, or make an online slide show, the links that follow can be particularly useful!

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Earth Day is Just Around the Corner!

50 Simple Things Kids Can Do To Save The Earth Earth Day is just around the corner! Help your students learn more about the environment with these "green" classroom activities.

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Census Day: April 1

Photo 2 Today is Census Day (April 1st) and also April Fool's Day – go have fun! Census Day is used as "a point of reference for sending your completed forms back." See 2010.census.gov. You can find lots of different activities to use in your classroom here at Scholastic.com/census as well as www.census.gov/schools. I've briefly outlined a few ideas from these sites that I will use in my classroom when I go back on track.

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Utilizing Web Cams for Classroom Instruction


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The “millennials” that sit in our classrooms each day, bring with them a unique and exciting skill set, mastery and command of technology. Utilizing web cams to enhance and enrich content is a free and exciting opportunity that teachers can share with students. Not only does it give students resources that are directly related to concepts being taught, but it also provides data in real time.

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Utilizing Classroom Web Pages for Student Engagement: Part II

Top of mrantuna Here's an idea for organizing your classroom website to make it more meaningful for students and for their parents. 

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Cut Your Report Card Comment Writing Time in Half

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Does your "To Do" list look like this around report card time? Do you procrastinate or dread writing comments for your students' report cards because they take so long? If you would like to cut down on the time and frustration spent writing comments, take a look at this free program called Teachers Report Assistant. I have included two "how to" videos in this post to get you started.

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Utilizing Classroom Web Pages for Student Engagement Part I

School website For those of us that have classroom computers in our rooms or with computer lab time, sometimes we find ourselves struggling to get students started at centers/groups, especially when using computers. I have found that managing a class web page can be very helpful to keeping students focused on what they need to do and minimizes the need for questions like: "Where do I go!?" or "What do I do!?" Here are a few tips that all teachers can use.

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Tech Tidbit: Displaying Classroom Photos Online

Shutterfly Do you take photos or videos of your students completing experiments or cooperative learning assignments in your classroom? Do you want to find a way to display your photos for families without much hassle? Beginning an account at Shutterfly.com may be the answer for you since it includes templates and color schemes you can easily customize. You do not need to be an expert at technology to make an effective website for sharing class photos and videos or updating parents about upcoming events.

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World Maths Day 2010: Participate to set New World Record!

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Attention Pre-K to grade 12 teachers!

Imagine your classroom buzzing with excitement as students are practicing their math facts and connecting globally with kids around the world. It sounds like a dream right? Well, your dream (and your students’) has come true. Learn how your students can participate in this exciting FREE World Maths Day event and beat last year’s world record of two million students from 204 countries correctly answering 452,681,681 math problems.

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The Role of Social Networking Sites in Teaching

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"Friending a student on Facebook?! No way..." That was the reply that one my colleagues gave when asked about using social networking sites to connect with students. In the last few years, social networking has grown to become a huge part of our culture and for those teachers (myself included) who have personal profiles, it seems as though getting friend requests from past and current students is becoming more and more common. What's a teacher to do?

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Helping Parents Prepare Their Children for State Assessments

IMG_5549 Every January, our school hosts a standardized test preparation evening for parents of students in grades 3-5. In March, the FCAT (Florida Comprehensive Assessment Test) will be administered to thousands of students in Florida. During this meeting we encourage parents to help prepare their children for their most important and challenging academic task of the year.

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iPod Invasion: Energizing Students to Learn!

IMG_5555 This year, I am incredibly blessed to have five iPods in my advanced fourth grade classroom. However, I never used them before and had absolutely no idea how I would utilize them in the academic setting. Thinking back to when I attended FETC (the Florida Educator's Technology Conference) in Orlando, Florida four years ago, iPods were starting to become popular in classrooms nationwide and teachers were beginning to share ideas about how they could be used to increase academic achievement. iPods offer music, movies, Podcasts and lots of FREE learning resources that students can use as a tool to enhance your curriculum!

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Interactive Whiteboards on a Budget

Photo If your school is like mine your teacher budgets have been slashed, general funds are dwindling, and classrooms are brimming with students near capacity. The thought of a interactive whiteboard just makes you shudder when you think of the cost. However, here's a simple, cost effective solution for a classroom whiteboard that helps me reach more students and actively engage them in learning.

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Superior Strategies to Encourage Reading and Enhance Comprehension

IMG_4176 How do you define yourself as a reader? Are you an avid reader who reads every chance you have outside of work? Or would you rather define yourself as more of a newspaper or magazine reader? Just like us, every one of our students possesses different reading interests. Not every student is realistically going to devour every single Harry Potter book or excitedly head over to your classroom library to peruse the historical fiction books about World War II. Additionally, not every student is going to understand every word he or she reads. Their fluency or prosody may be strong, but their comprehension may be a struggle.

Here are some ways you can make reading better for your students and enhance their comprehension in the process:

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Teaching With Laptops for Every Child

IMG_0410Laptops in Kindergarten? The answer is yes! Why not? Students are digital natives completely surrounded by a digital world. With the increase in class size and students still needing one-on-one support, technology like laptops can assist us in reaching all students. Read more to learn about how we started using laptops in our classroom and the results I've already seen.

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Winter’s Tail - Free Webcast Wednesday, October 7th at 1:00 P.M.(ET)

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If you haven’t heard the true story of Winter’s Tail, you are in for a real treat. Winter is a dolphin that was rescued and brought to the Clearwater Marine Aquarium in Clearwater, FL. At three months old her tail was trapped in a crab trap for about 36 hours. Shortly after being freed, her tail flukes fell off. Many people thought a dolphin this badly damaged would not survive. It took a lot of caring volunteers and money to help her, but this heroic dolphin is about to turn four years old! With her prosthetic tail she can swim just like other dolphins. Please join us on Scholastic.com on Wednesday, October 7 at 1:00 - 1:45 P.M. (ET) for a live webcast with Winter from the Clearwater Marine Aquarium.

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Classroom Website 101

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It all started when I visited Heather Renz's website in 2004, I believe. Mrs. Renz (http://www.mrsrenz.net) is a fourth grade teacher in Redmond, Oregon who has a plethora of resources for her students and teachers as well as a motivational club called the Mastery Club. She focuses on math brain teasers and has photos of her students' projects. After one visit to her website, I was hooked on the concept of having my own site. I had been designing websites in general since 1998, so it was not going to be a challenge, necessarily. I just needed to think about the content I would include. In July 2005, http://www.teachingvision.org became a reality in cyberspace.

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Teaching with Interactive Whiteboards

IMG_0318Once I received my Promethean Activboard through a grant two years ago, I could never go back to teaching without it. The benefits of using an interactive tool like the Promethean Activboard are tremendous. My teaching has evolved and my young students are progressing and understanding content at an impressive rate. Click to read further and to see a video about how this amazing tool has changed my teaching.

No money? Click to see a creative way to make an interactive board in your classroom...

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Comments: 3

Making It Happen: Academic Competitions and Contests Part II

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Here is the promised “Part II,” a continuation of my post about the guidelines for getting students involved in math contests and competitions. Check out the considerations suggested in my previous blog as they are the basics I follow for both science and math contests and competitive teams.

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Comments: 9

Grant Writing 101: Getting Your Hands On Good Stuff

School 2008-2009 259 Face it you’ve got great, no stellar, ideas for classroom instruction this year. Think about what you would provide for your students if money wasn’t an issue. Go ahead, the sky is the limit, dream BIG. I bet instruction could get exponentially more engaging. Acquiring tools, resources, and materials for our students can present quite a challenge. With ever-changing state budgets and limited funds, money can be scarce. Armed with enough how-to-knowledge, grant writing can provide the answer. I’d like to share a couple grant resources and writing tips with you in this week’s blog.

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The opinions expressed in Classroom Solutions are strictly those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of Scholastic Inc.