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Super Way to Learn

Super duperThe skill of storytelling is best taught when it goes hand in hand with learning to read and write. Super Duper Story Maker is a great way to get started with the ability to create full and rich narratives. There are more than 800 people, places and items to choose to build the story around and the app lets you add your own drawings, photos and voice-overs. Just name the story and start adding items and backgrounds. When students are done, they can share it with others or collaborate on a larger story. The pages turn like in a book and they can be printed.

Freebee Friday: Help from Grammar Girl

Grammar girlLearning the syntax and grammar of English is never an easy thing for small children, but there’s online help from Grammar Girl, aka Mignon Fogarty. Her site on Quick and Dirty Tips has everything from the difference between Farther and Further to how to correctly pronounce etcetera. There’s even a section on the pesky problem of pluralizing words that end in an s. Everything is light-hearted and many of the lessons have videos.

Freebee Friday: Making the Most of a 3-D Printer

ThingverseThose casting about for 3-D printer projects, Thingverse’s Quick Projects page has several that make the most of lessons and the gear. In addition to lesson plans for making book report projects and key chains, the Thingverse site has ones that allow students to create model buildings or 3-D objects from drawings. My favorite is the decoder ring that can teach not only about 3-D printing, but letter frequency and breaking codes.


Online School’s in Session

Vhs computer sciEven though it’s one of the most important skills for the present and future, many schools struggle to provide computer literacy beyond using the basic Office apps and mostly ignore computer technology and programming instruction. That’s where the Virtual High School fits in with a new curriculum and certificate aimed at computer science. The courses include Visual Basic and Java programming classes as well as VHS’s year-long AP Computer Science Principles course.


Freebee Friday: Earthquake!

Usgs earthquakeThe next time you’re teaching about earthquakes and the ring of fire that surrounds the earth, go to the US Geologic Survey’s Earthquake site. It not only shows all the recent quakes with a magnitude greater than 2.5, but plots them for you and your students on a map. You can show not only recent action in California or Japan but zoom in one any of six geologically active regions. While you’re thinking of temblors, the USGS’s lessons page can help teach about what causes earthquakes, a glossary and what to do in the event the ground starts to shake.

Freebee Friday: 60 Full Minutes of Programming

Hour-of-code-5Apple’s Hour of Code program takes a big step off of the Internet and into the company’s iconic showrooms. From December 5th through the 11th, every Apple store will host an Hour of Code Workshop. Just type in your state, pick a store and pick your time. The latest addition is the Swift Playgrounds app that can help get younger students to use their iPads to write programs and create games. Based on the open source Swift language, the playground software may seem like fun and games, but students (and teachers) will quickly learn the basics of coding and how programs work.


Freebee Friday: Tree Teaching

Sen teacher printablesSen Teacher is a great resource for the entire school with free digital curriculum for everything for science, math and language as well as art education. Most of the activities are like games, so learning can be fun and there’s a good selection of printable worksheets and assignments. The site both uses cookies and has advertising on it.

School is Online

Connections academyThe place for the virtual curriculum is everywhere because it can free up students to study at their own pace and teachers to concentrate on actual teaching. Pearson’s Connections Academy is an elementary school curriculum, including math and science to reading, writing and social studies. The big bonus is that in addition to the basics, the online academy’s curriculum has electives for students interested in digital art, music and a small set of foreign languages. Schools can set up the Connections Academy digital curriculum directly with the company or through their district or state officials.

DIY Whiteboard

Ormiboard planetIf your school can’t afford the expense and hassles of dedicated digital whiteboards for its classrooms, you might have all you need at hand. That’s because Ormiboard can turn any connected computer into projector collaboration tools. Just connect to the Ormiboard site, pick your lessons from the hundreds available and start working on it. The site has full lessons on everything from the solar system to nouns and pronouns as well as a good variety of clip art, educational games and audio so you can make your own. You can try it out for free, but the service costs $60 per teacher and school-wide discounts are available.

Nearly November

Polldata_1024x1024With election day coming quickly. Second Avenue’s Voter’s Ed 2016 Edition is ready. At $10 it’s a bargain of an app that can turn any student into a presidential pundit with insight into the coming vote. There’s a look at the history of presidential plebiscites, a continually updated Electoral College map with the latest polling data as well as a candidate tracker. It comes with a lesson plan for your choice of lower- and upper-elementary, middle, high school as well as AP students and works with just about any connected computer.


Disclaimer: The opinions expressed in Tech Tools are strictly those of the author and do not reflect the opinions or endorsement of Scholastic, Inc.