Monday, February 18, 2013

Spelling/Vocabulary City in the Classroom

This would be a very useful tool for my classroom. I can put in any spelling or vocabulary list I want and the site creates fun activities! My students have used this site with the technology integration teacher and they LOVED it!

The best part, I think, is that the activities can be printed. I can then use those activities as extension, re-enforcement, or homework. My students almost forget that they are learning because the games are so much fun.

This site would also allow me to differentiate for the diverse needs of all my students. I can adapt the spelling and vocabulary lists to make it easier or more difficult depending on the level of my students.

Spelling/Vocabulary City

Spelling / Vocabulary City is a great site for students and teachers. This site has a ton of learning activities and games for spelling and vocabulary words. They have pre-made lists you can access or you can create your own! The entire site is free to use, you just have to register. There is the option of premium membership, if you desire, which gives you access to even more resources.

There are links for students, parents, teachers, and schools/districts. Each page has different information and activities. When teachers register, they can create their own lists and then save them for later use. What's neat is that students can use this site from any computer 24/7 - so they can access it at home.

This site has a lot of good teacher resources and all the activities are fun for students. They will feel like they are just playing a game, but in reality they are getting extra practice with spelling and vocabulary. The site includes FAQ's in the form of videos to help teachers and parents if they need it. It does seem a little overwhelming when you first visit the site, but with a little playing around and navigating the site, it turns out to be very simple. I think one of the best things is that your created lists can be saved for in the future. Almost all of the games and activities are also printable, which makes this site even more valuable.

Check it out! Click on the picture below to be taken to the site!
Makes practicing for spelling tests fun

Book Builder in the Classroom

There are many ways to use Book Builder in my classroom. It is a simple tool to use and is awesome because it meets the needs of all the diverse learners in my classroom. I can make a story for any topic I want or can search and use a book that has already been made and published. The fact that it can be read to students will help my lower readers and the extension tips will help my higher readers. I can also differentiate the stories by having the lower readers listen to it and my higher readers can read it themselves.

I can use these stories to provide a more fun way to present different skills. Not only can it be used for individual students, but also for my class as a whole. My students could also use this site to create their own stories.

Based on all the different tools within this site, Book Builder can be used to cover any skill I need to teach and I can also use it for reinforcement for those students who had a hard time with the skill the first time. Creating books using this site focuses on Garder's multiple intelligences. I can adapt these stories any way I need to in order for all my students to be successful. Every child learns in their own way and Book Builder helps with that in a positive and fun way.

UDL Book Builder

I was introduced to this Web 2.0 tool in my Adaptive/Assistive Technology course. This is an awesome site where the teacher and/or students can create their own book. What makes Book Builder unique is that it is designed to support students with different learning needs. You can create your own book and publish to the site or you can read books that other users have created.

In order to start creating and sharing your own book ideas, you must create an account, which is free. It allows for differentiation and meets the diverse learning needs of all students. Teachers can create a book for the entire class or for individual students. The students can also create books as part of a project or to reinforce the skill that has been taught.

I like all the different links on the homepage that provide assistance, in addition to creating your own books and looking at the books of others. You can view videos to learn more about Universal Design for Learning (UDL), there is a link for tips and resources, and you can also connect with others. When you want to look at model books that others have created, you can filter your search results to find a book that is specific to what you are looking for.

Here is a screen shot of a model book that I found on the site:

Each book has a lot of good features to enhace the story and lesson. There are "text help" tools that help to read the story aloud and even translate parts into Spanish. You can choose to have the story read to you, if you want. There are also tips that come up along side the story pages which differ for each page. Most of the tips I found for this specific story was about how to use this story to teach specific skills and extension activities. There are also "helpers" at the bottom of the screen that helps readers through the story. You can name them what you want or you don't have to use them at all.

Sunday, February 10, 2013

Using in the Classroom can be a useful tool in any classroom. It helps students and teachers organize their thoughts when brainstorming on a specific topic. Teachers could also use it to help them plan - daily or weekly.

In Primary Grades:
This tool can be used as a teacher directed class activity. The teacher can give a topic and have students come up with ideas to create the brainstorming map. The teacher could also create a brainstorming map that is partially filled in and have students complete it as part of an assignment or assessment. Students could work in partners or small groups in the computer lab to build their own brainstorming map as well.  

In Intermediate Grades and Beyond:
Students can create their own brainstorming maps. This would be especially useful for students to use when writing a paper or completing a project. It would be an easy and organized way for students to lay out their thoughts before completing their assignment. The site makes it easy for users to move around their thought bubbles, which would also be helpful for older students.

In My Own Classroom:
This Web 2.0 tool would be very useful in my first grade classroom. I can use it to guide student thinking during reading lessons. We can use it as a teacher guided tool and my students can tell me what to add to the map. If I take them to the computer lab, I can have a partially filled in brainstorming map and have the students complete it on their own as an assessment.

Well everyone, here is my first Web 2.0 tool that I would like to share with you. I apologize that I have taken so long to post!

I came across through a general web search on Web 2.0 tools. This tool is used for brainstorming your thoughts in a web format. You start with a topic and branch off from there to lay out and organize your thoughts. You are able to move each individual bubble to where you want it or move the entire web. You can make the web look anyway that you want, but I did find it frustrating at times when I went to move a bubble and it moved itself where I didn't want it. Overall, though, I found this site to be very easy to work with and user friendly. You can brainstorm ideas without an account, but you need to be logged in to save your work. It's free to sign up! 

My class just finished reading stories about the rainforest. We worked on visualizing during reading. Students used their five senses to create a mental image. Here is an example of my brainstorming web about the rainforest.