Monday, August 31, 2009

Catch of the Day - MyEnglishImages - 31 Aug 09

Today's catch is MyEnglishImages

MyEnglishImages is a site for English instructors and English teachers working with ESL and EFL students. The site is full of downloadable images and worksheets designed to enhance your lessons and grab your students' attention.

Among the site's offerings are catalogs of images, conversation starters, grammar materials, basic beginner materials, pronunciation and vocabulary resources, games, and more.

A brief video tour of

MyEnglishImages was created by F. Michael Kloran for his own students in his spare time after classes and during breaks between semesters.
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Friday, August 28, 2009

Catch of the Day - SignApp Now - 28 Aug 09

Fresh from the sea, today's tasty little morsel, SignApp Now

SignApp Now is an extremely simple tool for the easy creation and distribution of the classic sign-up sheet. Who's going on the field trip? Who wants tickets to Saturday's game?

It's so simple you don't even need to register to use it. Just create a sign up sheet and email its unique link to everyone you'd like to sign up. They just need to visit the link and sign up. They don't need to register either. Anyone can visit the link anytime to see who has signed up. It's that simple and easy.

SignApp Now does away with the need to swap emails and phone calls then manually compile the list of participants.

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Catch of the Day - PlanbookEdu - 27 Aug 09

Today's catch of the day, PlanbookEdu.

PlanbookEdu is a web site which allows you to create, save, and share customizable lesson planbooks. Your planbooks are hosted on the site and therefore are accessible anywhere. All you need is a Mac or a PC, an internet connection, and a web browser (IE, Firefox, Safari, and Chrome are all supported).

Share your planbooks with anyone: colleagues, administrators, or a substitute. It's easy and you completely control what they can see and for how long they'll be able to see it. Planbook sharing is a premium feature.

PlanbookEdu offers a free basic plan and $20 annual premium plan. The free plan offers basic features, is limited to one planbook per year, and may include a few ads. The premium plan allows users to attach files to the plan, export plans as MS Word or PDF, and create unlimited ad-free planbooks.
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Wednesday, August 26, 2009

It's Just a Phase. It Won't Last.

I was pointed to this extremely well-produced video, Social Media Revolution, on the impact of social media by topsurf on Twitter.

Is social media a fad? Or is it the biggest shift since the Industrial Revolution? Welcome to the World of Socialnomics.

Catch of the Day - Brain Boosters - 26 Aug 09

I went trolling for logic games and caught Discovery Education's Brain Boosters

Brain Boosters is a source of numerous challenging brain puzzles for all grade levels. The archive of puzzles is large, well over 200, and categorized by type of puzzle: categorization, lateral thinking, logic, number and math play, reasoning, spatial awareness, and word and letter play.

I used many of the puzzles from the logic and reasoning categories as daily starters in my geometry classes. The puzzle was on the interactive whiteboard as kids came in and began to talk and think about it.

As you see in the above video, each puzzle is accompanied by a detailed explanation of the solution. You will also find a button above each Brain Boosters puzzle to easily share the puzzle via MySpace, Facebook, Twitter, and more.
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Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Catch of the Day - Timez Attack - 25 Aug 09

Timez Attack from Big Brainz is today's fresh catch.

Timez Attack is a high-quality educational game designed to do just one thing, teach multiplication facts. Timez Attack has pushed the gameplay and technology in their games to the level of real video games.

They have tried to make a highly effective teaching game, including built-in assessment, to help kids achieve total mastery of vital multiplication facts.

The core education module (2s through 12s) is totally free. Schools can try the full version free for 30 days. The annual fee for elementary schools is $10 per student. A high school/middle school site license is $395. The full home version sells for $39.99. Big Brainz guarantees your satisfaction by offering a no-hassle refund within 90 days of purchase

See the full video tour.

Timez Attack is available for both Mac and PC.

Monday, August 24, 2009

Catch of the Day - SpellingCity - 24 Aug 09

Enjoy today's fresh-from-the-sea feature, SpellingCity.

SpellingCity is an online spelling program that makes practicing for spelling tests fun. has over 42,000 spelling words read by an actual person who says each word and sentence. After taking the online spelling test, students can print out a report, retake the entire test, or get tested only on the spelling words they missed the first time.

TeachMe spells and displays the words in ways that stimulate memory for visual and verbal learners. Ten spelling and vocabulary games are available to play online or to print including WordSearch, UnScramble, WhichWord?, Sentence UnScramble and MissingLetter.

For teachers and parents there are free home pages to save lists, How-To videos to explain how to use, printables for handwriting practice with your saved lists, and a forum and newsletter with more vocabulary and spelling resources.

Friday, August 21, 2009

Catch of the Day - Medical Animation Library -21 Aug 09

The Medical Animation Library is today's fresh catch.

Penn Medicine's Medical Animation Library offers well over 150 high-quality animations covering a broad range of medical topics. You may browse the library alphabetically by title or sort the animations by medical specialty such as cancer, dermatology, orthopedics, or eyes and vision.

The actual animations are of better quality than this screencast sample.

The latest versions of the Shockwave and Quicktime browser plug-ins must be installed to view the actual contents of the Medical Animation Library.

Penn Medicine is associated with the University of Pennsylvania.

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Thursday, August 20, 2009

Catch of the Day - Internet4Classrooms - 20 Aug 09

Today, we feature the internet education portal Internet4Classrooms.

Internet4Classrooms grew from a collaborative effort by Susan Brooks and Bill Byles to extend assistance to fellow teachers. In November of 2000 that project became what is now known as Internet4Classrooms, a free web portal designed to aid anyone who wants to find free, high-quality internet resources to use in classroom instruction, developing project ideas, reinforcing specific subject areas, and even for online technology tutorials. Internet4Classrooms is used by teachers, parents and students of all ages around the world and is available free to anyone with an internet connection.

offers ...

Grade level help for K-8
Standards based links and our grade level Skillbuilders to help students practice what they have been taught.

Links for K-12
Several large collections of links for K-12 teachers, students and parents.

On-Line Practice Modules
Step-by-step technology tutorials for learning common applications used in K-12 classrooms.

Daily Dose of the Web
Web sites which provide new content on a daily or weekly basis.

Assessment Assistance
Help your students prepare for annual assessments, standardized tests, and end of course exams.

On-Site Training for Teachers
Technology utilization and integration support sessions lead by the founders of Internet4Classrooms.

Internet4Classrooms invites you to reach out to them through email, by posting to their blog, or using Twitter. They will answer requests for help, concerns, or anything you want to write about. Internet4Classrooms is using social networking so that they can share their answers with other users who may have similar questions.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Strive to Engage Not Enthrall - Video

In this 10 minute video, educator Wesley Fryer shares some thoughts about ways schools should change for the 21st century.

Fryer is an educator, author, digital storyteller and change agent. He aspires to be a "catalyst for creative engagement and collaborative learning." Fryer hosts a blog and podcast, Moving at the Speed of Creativity.

Thanks to AngelaMaiers on Twitter.

Catch of the Day - LiveBinders - 19 Aug 09

Livebinders, the knowledge-sharing site, is the catch of the day.

LiveBinders is dedicated to helping you empower your students with the information you worked hard to collect.

LiveBinders was created so that you could do with digital information what you do with the papers on your desk - organize them into nice containers - like three-ring binders on your shelf. Teachers place Livebinders on desktops so kids don’t have to type URL addresses or get lost searching on the web. And they don't have to add a bookmark to every computer everytime they have a new link to share - they can just update the Livebinder.

LiveBinders lets you use not just one binder, but as many binders as you need to help organize the stuff you collect and share over the internet. You can create as many LiveBinders as you want for free.

View links like pages in a book instead of URLs on a page. Combine PDFs and Word documents with the links you collect. Organize your links and documents into tabs and subtabs.

Build a library of Livebinders and allow others to view your public and private binders. You can embed Livebinders on blogs, web pages and desktops.

Add the LiveBinder It bookmarklet to your browser toolbar. Then start browsing the web. Find a link you want to save then click on the LiveBinder It bookmarklet to automatically add the link to a new Livebinder.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Catch of the Day - Nota - 18 Aug 09

Today's catch is Nota, a dynamic whiteboard wiki.

Nota lets you mash your ideas and media together with others in a dynamic whiteboard wiki. Using photos, videos, and other web content you can quickly create multimedia presentations on your own or with more than 50 colleagues.

Nota has been used for educational purpose as an online collaboration tool that allows students and teachers to quickly create and share virtually any kind of document such as presentations, notebooks, reports , artwork, anything. Using Nota’s toolset, users can integrate text, video, maps, clip art, photos from web albums or on a local computer, or images from Flickr, and other sources. Users can then embed their work in webpages, wikis, or blogs, and can share and collaborate with other people. There's no limit to what students can express using Nota.

It’s free of charge, no software to purchase or install, and because Nota’s online, collaborative and real-time, student reactions, responses, and ideas can be integrated live into the document.

Unique Features
  • Users can create visual presentations or notebooks in literally minutes using any web browser.
  • Design and user interface are simple, intuitive, and can be mastered in minutes.
  • Instantly combine virtually any kind of material, from any source.
  • Materials can be shared and edited simultaneously with group members.
  • Work is auto-saved and immediately published.
  • Ideal for group projects and hands-on instruction – incorporate student responses into material as you develop it.

Use the text tool to add titles, messages, and comments to your creations. Insert photos, videos or flash from your own files or Flickr, YouTube, Google Maps, Wikipedia articles, and more. Use the drawing tools to work on any object in the workspace. Upload PDFs, document files, and audio for sharing.


Create private or public notebooks and invite one, two, or dozens, of people to collaborate on a Nota project. Add as many pages as you want to a notebook.

To use Nota, you'll need to register. See the Nota Quick Start Guide.

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Monday, August 17, 2009

Catch of the Day - kids DO science - 17 Aug 09

kids DO science is our fresh catch of this day.

kids DO science is the result of a hands-on "research-to-classroom" science program for elementary students initiated in 2002 by The Environmental Outreach Program of the University of Georgia's Savannah River Ecology Laboratory. Fouth and fifth grade students from South Carolina participated in five 2-hour hands-on science workshops where they worked in teams, formulated hypotheses, and collected, recorded, and analyzed data.

The hands-on workshops and materials developed for the program are available on the kids DO science web site where you are invited to try them with your students. The workshops cover a variety of topics and are appropriate for grades 3-6. All the activities were developed to get students involved in science and to stress the scientific method and science inquiry skills.

kids DO science offers sections for the methods of science, hands-on science activities, science fun and games, and other science resources.

In the Science Fun and Games area you'll find activities related to ...
  • The Scientific Method
  • Biodiversity
  • Wetlands and Water Quality
  • Chemistry
  • Genetics
  • Ecotoxicology and Pollution
  • and more

kids DO Science is supported by the American Honda Foundation.

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Sunday, August 16, 2009

Say 'Hello" to My Little Friends

My little friends are small Mac and Windows freeware apps without whom my life would be much less efficient. Most of these apps have been long-time buddies in good standing, having been culled from numerous trial relationships with a large number of wannabee friends.

My Little Mac Friends. (I'm a Mac user by choice.)

Skitch is a free screen capture and markup tool. You can capture the full screen, a selected region, or an iSight camera shot then use Skitch's markup tools to annotate the image. You can drag the capture onto the desktop or upload the capture to or other image host.

makes it easy to type full sentences or paragraphs using abbreviations. This is great for signing your emails with a signature, inserting your address into a form, or typing a long, easy-to-misspell word. Simply type the abbreviation you chose and RapidoWrite expands into the full text.

ClipMenu can manage clipboard history. You can record 8 clipboard types, from plain text to image. To paste a recorded item, you just pop up the menu by invoking the shortcut key or toolbar icon, and select an item from the menu. You can also register texts you frequently use, like e-mail addresses, user IDs and so on, as snippets which you can then paste from the menu, too.
Jumpcut ia another clipboard manager that works almost identically to ClipMenu without the Snippet feature.

Google QuickSearch Box can be used to find the following: programs and files on your computer, search results on Google, bookmarks and websites, calculations, site-specific results, weather and definitions, and contacts. You can even post to Twitter.

My Little Windows Friends. (I'm a Windows user by necessity. Some of these apps are tools to supplement the functionality which is native on a Mac but missing from XP.)

Easy Capture is a powerful and easy-to-use free screen capture software. It allows you to capture screen shots, including windows captures, scrolling windows, and selected-regions. It also allows you to edit and markup the screen captures.

Texter saves you countless keystrokes by replacing abbreviations with commonly used phrases you define.

xNeat Clipboard Manager is handy and very simple to use. It captures clipboard items as they are copied to the Windows Clipboard, and you can simply bring up a menu containing all the previously copied items and select the item you want to paste. For regularly used text you can make it permanent in xNeat Clipboard Manager's menu by right clicking on it, then select Make Sticky.

EditPad Lite is a general-purpose text editor, designed to be small and compact, yet offer all the functionality you expect from a basic text editor. EditPad Lite's features include opening multiple documents in tabs, unlimited undo/redo, reopen recent files, highly configurable, and much more.

ScreenMarker is an application used for drawing on the current screen using a variety of tools. It gives you the functionality to draw on the screen to highlight existing or provide further information to all those viewing. Screen Marker provides some of the features of an interactive whiteboard without having one.

QuickMonth Calendar adds a tiny calendar pop-up to the clock icon in your Windows XP tray. Just hover your mouse over the clock and up it pops, ready to serve. That's it. Nothing more dramatic. But definitely a bit useful.

Launchy is a free windows utility designed to help you forget about your start menu, the icons on your desktop, and even your file manager. Launchy indexes the programs in your start menu and can launch your documents, project files, folders, and bookmarks with just a few keystrokes!

SumatraPDF is a slim, free, open-source PDF viewer for Windows. Portable out of the box. Sumatra has a minimalistic design. Simplicity has a higher priority than a lot of features. It's small and starts up very fast.
FoxIt Reader is a free PDF document viewer, with incredible small size, breezing-fast launch speed and rich feature set. Foxit Reader currently has over 50 million users all around the world.

PrimoPDF is a completely free PDF creator. Create PDF files from 300+ file types. Make 100% industry-standard PDF from virtually any files that print. Create PDF files optimized for print, screen, ebook, or prepress.

Saturday, August 15, 2009

Saturday Project: A Central Charging Station

Friday night, I finally had had enough of having things charging in every room of the house (except the bathroom). I decided to do something about it and paid a visit to the local Home Depot Saturday afternoon. This convenient kitchen charging station is the result.

The shelf has room enough for both my 13" MacBook, my 10" Toshiba netbook, and a couple of smaller devices such as my iPod Touch and my phone. The two hanging baskets below the shelf, which are the key feature to me, accommodate the AC adapters for both laptops, the iPod charger, the phone's AC adapter, a camera battery charger, and a charger for AA/AAA batteries with space to spare. If necessary, a couple more baskets could easily be added. A couple mini hair clips help with cord management.

The shelf unit is Closet Maid item 8279, $15.76, all hardware included. The two baskets are Closet Maid item 3937 at $3.67 each. The hair clips were locally appropriated at no cost to me. Total (with tax of course) was $24.48. Labor, about a half hour. Degree of difficulty, a caveman could do it.

Friday, August 14, 2009

Catch of the Day - VUE - 14 Aug 09

Today's catch is VUE, an enhanced mindmapping tool from Tufts University.

VUE provides a flexible visual environment for structuring, presenting, and sharing digital information. At its core, the Visual Understanding Environment (VUE) is a concept and content mapping application, created to support education and for anyone who needs to organize, contextualize, and access digital information.

Using a simple set of tools and a clean interface consisting of nodes and links, teachers and students can map relationships between concepts, ideas and any kind of digital content. Content can be drag-and-dropped from the internet, or using the Resources panel to access local file systems, FTP servers and other digital repositories.

But what makes VUE more than just another mindmapping tool is its Pathways feature. The Pathways feature in VUE allows users to create custom trails through nodes in their maps allowing construction of interactive presentations. These custom trails are useful for highlighting particular nodes in large maps. VUE's presentation tools allow the presenter to focus in on specific content while at the same time maintaining a sense of its overall context. Presenters can build and navigate their pathways in a linear or non-linear fashion, allowing for “just-in-time teaching” and more in-depth exploration of a topic.

VUE is an open source project from Tufts University. It is available as a free download for both Macs and PCs. Included on the site are well written tutorials to help you use VUE effectively.

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Catch of the Day - - 13 Aug 09

Today's featured catch is, broadcasting live from the South African wilderness. is from Wild Earth (Pty) Ltd, an ambitious South African media company delivering high quality live broadcasts from the African bush to a global audience.

Everything you see on is totally live and happening in real-time. You can join live presenter lead safaris into the wildenerness of the Djuma Game Reserve 04:30, 13:00 and 16:00 GMT. If you miss the live broadcasts, everything is archived for your convenience. is based on the Djuma Game Reserve in South Africa. The idea of live broadcasting from the wilderness was pioneered by Graham Wallington in the late 90's. The broadcasting infrastructure began to take shape in 2006. Overcoming a range of technical and environmental obstacles, they were ready to begin broadcasting in April 2007.
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Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Catch of the Day - EcoKids - 12 Aug 09

Today's fresh catch is an award-winning environmental education resource for kids and teachers, EcoKids®.

Started 14 years ago, EcoKids® is a free, environmental education program that offers curriculum-linked materials and activities for Canadian elementary schools. Children are encouraged to form their own opinions, make decisions, get involved and understand the impact their actions have on the environment.

The center-piece of EcoKids® is an interactive web site for children, their families, and educators in Canada and around the world. It offers topical information about the environment through interactive, fun, educational games and activities.

For Kids there are ...
  • Games and Activities on Wildlife, Climate change, Energy, Water, and more.
  • Homework Help
  • Have Your Say is a forum where kids get to speak their mind and share their opinions and comments about environmental issues with kids around the world.
  • Contests
  • and an environmental Blog for kids.
The Teacher’s Lounge offers a wide range of free environmental education resources ...
  • A collection of new lesson plans tailored to the Ontario Elementary Science and Technology curriculum
  • Corresponding printable handouts and assessment materials for each lesson
  • A searchable interface of their available resources
  • Literacy Corner—a resource list of environmental books with corresponding teaching tools
  • English as a Second Language lessons and resources
  • A Free Stuff section where you can get free items such as the EcoCalendar, stickers, tattoos, bookmarks and posters
  • Profile pages for other EcoKids® schools that list their activities and accomplishments
Teachers must register and signin to access the Teacher's Lounge.

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Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Catch of the Day - Create a Quiz in Google Forms - 11 Aug 09

Today's catch is this great video Using Google Forms to Create an Online Quiz

In five minutes, learn how to use Google Forms to create an easy-to-administer and grade online quiz or test. Results are presented in a Google spreadsheet.

From the classroomnext channel on YouTube

Thanks to rmbyrne on Twitter

Monday, August 10, 2009

21st Century Skills Maps

The 21st Century Skills Maps from the Partnership for 21st Century Skills.

These 21st Century Skills Maps are the result of hundreds of hours of research, development and feedback from educators and business leaders across the nation. The leading advocate for integrating 21st century skills into education, the Partnership for 21st Century Skills, has issued these maps for the core subjects of English, geography, mathematics, science, and social studies. Each skills map is a downloadable PDF document. These are rather large, graphics-intensive documents so be patient.

Core subject maps -

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