Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Catch of the Day - Kidport - 31 Mar 10

Kidport is an Internet-based educational service designed to help K-8 students excel in school. It provides a unique, multi-step program to create empowered learners, not simply good students.

Kidport Home Page

To make students aware of the thinking skills they use while learning, Kidport is built around "Think-and-Learn" modules. These thinking and learning skills are tied to curriculum content to help students carry-over these thinking skills to their work.

Kidport Components

Projects are integrated into the learning modules to provide real-world experiences and applications. Integrated reference materials provide background for Kidport activities as well as help with other school work.

Kidport is a directory of links to several thousand web sites. These links are sorted by grade level (K-8) and by curriculum area.

Kidport Kindergarten Page

Kidport curriculum content is designed using a "Traps-and-Gaps" concept which focuses on areas where students may have problems, problems that may arise due to difficult concepts or common misconceptions (traps) or content that is not learned thoroughly in school (gaps).

Kidport Teachers Page

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Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Simple Tips for Clearing Your Inbox

I hear so many teachers in our district complain about being overwhelmed with email. Just one peek at their inboxes and I see why. Virtually every piece of email they receive stays in the inbox until they just arbitrarily delete everything (both important and trivial) out of frustration.

And finding a particular email is an agonizing exercise in scrolling through dozens, maybe hundreds, of messages cluttering the inbox.

Today, I put together this tip sheet for those teachers. Apart from the unique technical how-to's specific to our less than state-of-the-art email system, the tips could be used by anyone who finds himself email-challenged.
Managing Your MV Webmail

Catch of the Day - Big Universe - 30 Mar 10

Today's fresh catch is Big Universe

Big Universe is an education web site for grades K-8. This engaging web site uses attractive picture books to encourage the love of reading, writing and learning.

Big Universe Home Page

Big Universe is an anywhere, anytime, standards-based education resource connecting teachers, students, and parents.

Read Books

Some of what Big Universe offers...
  • Big Universe Reader™ - Read hundreds of fiction and nonfiction children's books from today's best publishers online.
  • Big Universe Author™ - Create, print, and publish animated e-books using an easy-to-use writing tool and more than 7000 images.
  • Big Universe Community™ - Safely share a bookshelf, recommendations, and published books only with selected peers or with thousands of other members.
Create, Print, Publish, and Share

Books can be instantly accessed from any computer with an Internet connection. Students can use their accounts at school and at home, making the books and tools available to both the child and parents at home.

Book Sample

At Big Universe, test a child's comprehension of books read with online quizzes. Detailed reports help to assess progress at a student or classroom level.

Watch a video "What is"

Big Universe
offers a number of pricing plans starting with a free, but limited Lite option with a single account up to a school-wide plan with unlimited reading, creating, sharing, and publishing for up to a thousand accounts.

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Monday, March 29, 2010

Major Upgrade For

I recently posted about and I learned today that it has just had a major upgrade.

The Kidblog development team has spent the past two months working to bring you the most significant upgrade in Kidblog’s history. The upgrade is now official, and you and your students will notice the new features immediately.

Click here to read about the new features.


Catch of the Day - EtherPad Alternatives - 29 Mar 10

Today our catch yields a bunch of alternatives to the popular online collaboration tool, EtherPad

EtherPad is a great easy-to-use tool for simple, real-time collaboration of text documents. Multiple people can edit the same document simultaneously with any changes instantly reflected on everyone's screen.

On 4 December 2009, it was announced that AppJet Inc. (the parent of EtherPad) had been acquired by Google and the EtherPad team would continue its work on realtime collaboration by joining the Google Wave team.

Because of strong reaction to this news, on 5 December 2009, Aaron Iba (former CEO of AppJet) announced that pad creation from the EtherPad home page would be re-enabled and would be maintained at least until the code had been open sourced.

On 17 December 2009, the EtherPad source code was released. This has resulted in the birth of several EtherPad clones on the web. As you can see from the screenshots which follow, these clones have been faithful to the original EtherPad concept, one to the point of not even changing the name in the title bar.

The original EtherPad




In so far as I can tell, there is no functional difference among these. Pick anyone you like to get the EtherPad experience. If you discover anthing unique to any one of these, please add it to the comments.

You can even get directions for running your own etherpad server here.


Friday, March 26, 2010

Catch of the Day - - 26 Mar 10

Today's fresh-from-the-sea delicacy is was created to leverage the power of the Internet in order to meet a perceived need for improved math education worldwide. Home Page

The goal of is to provide innovative ways for students, parents, and teachers to learn math. offers exploratory and recreational lead-ins to the world of math that will encourage a deeper understanding and enjoyment of mathematics.

Math Practice quickly guides the user to the solutions they need such as assessment, on-demand modular courses that target key math concepts, 24/7 live online tutoring, and expert answers to math questions. has sections for…
  • Homework Help
  • Practice
  • Tutoring
  • Calculators and Tools
  • Games
Teachers will find lesson plans, classroom resources, career information, standards, free stuff, and more at the Teacher Centers.

Teacher Center

The range of services, products, and solutions offered makes a one-stop source for all your math needs.

A Two-Minute Tour of


Thursday, March 25, 2010

Catch of the Day - Have Fun Teaching - 25 Mar 10

Have Fun Teaching is today's scrumptious catch

HaveFunTeaching, created by an elementary teacher, specializes in fun worksheets, coloring pages, songs for kids, educational videos, fun activities, and teacher tools.

Have Fun Teaching Home Page

Have Fun Teaching is a resource that is free for everyone. Content is updated daily with new worksheets, videos, flash cards, coloring pages, and more. One of the more unique offerings of Have Fun Teaching is a collection of high quality songs for learning with content-rich lyrics for kids.

Songs for Kids Section

Have Fun Teaching categories…
  • Fun, Colorful, Grade Level Worksheets
  • High Quality Full Page Coloring Pages
  • Single-Sided and Double-Sided Flash Cards
  • Kid's Songs for Learning
  • Educational Movies To Use With Your Lesson Plans
  • Fun Activities and Games for the Classroom
  • and Teacher Tools

Teacher Tools Section

You can connect with Have Fun Teaching through Facebook, Twitter, MySpace, You Tube, the Have Fun Teaching blog, and a free email newsletter.


Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Catch of the Day - VocabAhead - 24 Mar 10

VocabAhead vocabulary videos is the delicious catch today

VocabAhead provides a distraction free environment with over a thousand difficult words explained using videos and flash cards.

VocabAhead Vocabulary Videos

Ways you can use VocabAhead in your classroom…
  • Create personalized lists with words of your choice.
  • Share your personalized word lists with your students and other users.
  • Create a customized widget for your class blog or webpage.
  • Make vocabulary building fun by assigning video projects to your students and uploading their work to VocabAhead.

Try VocabAhead Here

Subscribe to Word of the Day to be emailed a free VocabAhead video each day. In the Study Room, students can take live vocabulary quizzes based on their word lists .

VocabAhead Quiz


Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Catch of the Day - Maggie’s Earth Adventures - 23 Mar 10

Today's haul is Maggie’s Earth Adventures, an environmental education site

Each unit in Maggie’s Earth Adventures presents stories and activities that introduce students to actual environmental issues to motivate them to more deeply explore those issues.

Maggie’s Earth Adventures Home Page

In the Teachers' Lounge section, teachers will find standards-based on-line activities designed for a range of levels and learning situations. Maggie’s Earth Adventures printable lessons lend themselves to cooperative learning situations and offer students sound practice in critical thinking skills.

Teachers' Lounge Page

In Maggie's Earth Adventures students are given real-life environmental problems. Content from various disciplines are integrated into each activity to help students see the connectedness and relevance of math, science, geography, language arts, and cultural experiences.

Sample from a Weekly Activity Pack

Registered teachers have the opportunity to receive free Weekly Activity Packets from Maggie’s Earth Adventures that present environmental issues while teaching skills and problem solving. These packets are designed for students to complete independently.

Maggie’s Earth Adventures
ia disponible en español.


Monday, March 22, 2010

Catch of the Day - 4Teachers Family of Tools - 22 Mar 10

The 4Teachers Family of Tools is today's bountiful catch

The 4Teachers Family of Tools offers timesaving educational resources that use technology to improve instruction across all content areas and grade levels.

The 4Teachers Family of Tools resources align with standards, promote higher-order thinking skills, and support the development of writing skills. There are tools to help you monitor student work, assess student performance, and create online lessons, classroom calendars, and quizzes in less time than traditional methods. Locate ready-to-use online resources such as web lessons, quizzes, and rubrics.

Among the tools in the 4Teachers Family of Tools arsenal are…
  • RubiStar - Create customized rubrics in English and Spanish
  • PersuadeStar - Provides tools for students to write persuasive essays
  • Equity - Locate resources and tools to help you meet the needs of a diverse classroom
  • TrackStar - View thousands of online lessons or quickly create your own
  • PBL Checklists - Make custom checklists for multiple projects
  • Web Poster Wizard - Make and post a simple web page within minutes
  • and many more
The 4Teachers Family of Tools helps you integrate technology into your classroom by offering online tools and resources. Discover useful professional development resources tackling issues such as equity, ELL, technology planning, and at-risk or special-needs students.

Trackstar Page

The 4Teachers Family of Tools también está disponible en español.


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Friday, March 19, 2010

Catch of the Day - H.S.I. Historical Scene Investigation - 19 Mar 10

H.S.I. Historical Scene Investigation is today's fresh catch

The H.S.I. Historical Scene Investigation project was designed for social studies teachers who need a powerful teaching tool for bringing primary sources into their classroom.

H.S.I. Historical Scene Investigation Home Page

Social studies teachers trying to give students experiences that more closely resemble the work of a real historian find it difficult to locate projects and experiences that are accessible for their students. The HSI project was developed for these teachers.

The HSI instructional model consists of four steps.
  • Becoming a Detective - Background information and context relative to the historical scene under investigation are provided for the students. Students are then presented with an question to guide their inquiry.
  • Investigating the Evidence - Students are linked to appropriate digital primary sources such as text files, images, audio, or video clips to help them crack the case.
  • Searching for Clues - Students are provided with a set of questions for their log to guide their analysis of the evidence.
  • Cracking the Case - Students present their answer to the initial question. Students are encouraged to enter new questions that have arisen during the process for future investigation.
Student Notes for an Investigation

There is a section for the teacher in every case. In this section the teacher will find a list of specific objectives for the activity and additional contextual information and resources as well as instructional strategies that might be useful.

Teacher Notes for an Investigation

The H.S.I. Historical Scene Investigation project has been developed in partnership with the College of William & Mary School of Education, University of Kentucky School of Education, and the Library of Congress Teaching with Primary Sources Program.


Thursday, March 18, 2010

Catch of the Day - - 18 Mar 10

The catch of today is, blogging for pre-high school students is designed for elementary and middle school teachers who want to provide each of their students a unique, safe blog of their own. Home Page is designed and built by teachers so students can get the most out of the blogging experience. provides a safe and simple blogging platform suitable for elementary and middle school students. Teachers can monitor and control all publishing activity within the classroom blog.

Create a Class Blog has privacy features that put student safety first. Teachers have administrative control over all student blogs and student accounts. By default, students' blogs are private - viewable only by classmates and the teacher. Comment privacy settings block unsolicited comments from outside sources.

Semi-public blogs requiring a password to view students' posts and comments can be set up so that guests, parents for example, can have access. is simple...
  • No need to memorize usernames, simple login menus allow students to select their name from a list.
  • Clutter-free design means more time publishing.
  • Easy for students to find classmates' blogs. does not collect any personal information from teachers or students. Nor does it include advertising of any kind.


Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Catch of the Day - Uniboard - 17 Mar 10

Uniboard software is today's fresh catch

Uniboard is pen software for presenting and teaching. Uniboard looks and functions like a simple whiteboard.

It works with most any non-keyboard input device: tablet PC, interactive whiteboards, graphics tablets, touch screens, even a mouse. Annotate, draw, and highlight to enhance and enrich your content while you are presenting.

Readily integrate any documents on your computer into your Uniboard presentation. An integrated web browser lets you access and capture any web content without leaving Uniboard. With the Apps Library insert a calculator, a stopwatch, Google maps, Wikipedia pages, YouTube videos, and many more apps.

Uniboard makes it possible to easily record and share your presentation using the Podcast tool. Record your explanation live while you write and draw, then publish on YouTube.

Uniboard features...
  • Unlimited page size
  • Document autosave
  • Quick view and access to your Uniboard documents
  • Great quality of writing
  • Integrated document management
  • Uniboard virtual printer
  • Available in 8 languages
  • and more

Watch a video demo of Uniboard.

Uniboard is available for both Mac and Windows. You can download and use Uniboard for free. This is a fully functional, unlimited version of Uniboard that will, however, show a semi-transparent banner at the bottom on startup promoting Uniboard. This banner can be closed. An education license which gives you access to minor updates and completely eliminates the banner is $49.



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