Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Word Magnets

From one of my FAVORITE blogs, iLEARN Technology, I came across a really great resource for use on the SMART Board (or any interactive whiteboard).

The specific resource that I found first is Word Magnets from Triptico's website. Triptico  e-Learning Design and Training.png by lsharbaugh on Aviary

Here is Triptico's description of the Word Magnet resource: "Word Magnets will take a piece of text and break it into individual magnets which can be moved around the screen, resized, removed, colour coded, grouped, sorted and so on. New magnets can also be added at any point.The resource also offers a range of backgrounds for use in a variety of activities."

Here is iLearn's description of the Word Magnet resource:
"What it is: Word Magnets is a fantastic little website that lets you type or copy and paste words into a field and create virtual word magnets out of them (think of the popular word magnets sold for refrigerators). After you have typed in the words to transform into magnets, you can choose a “magnetic” background for your words. There are several backgrounds to choose from including grids, venn diagrams, time lines, arrows, stair steps, targets, boxes, numbers, alphabet, circles, webs, flow sequences, tables, present/absent, and many more. After you choose your background, students can create sentences, sort, and interact with the virtual magnetic words. Words can be added to the board at any time and the color of the background and size of the magnets can be adjusted.

How to integrate Word Magnets into the classroom: The background options for your word magnets are really the highlight of this website. You can do everything from word sorts, to venn diagrams, to practicing alphabetic order. Create tables; sort words by their root, prefix, or suffix; link ideas; practice building sentences; create a time line of events, take attendance…the possibilities with this site are endless! If you are going to use this site for taking attendance, I would suggest creating a master list in a saved word document that you can copy and paste from (this will save you from re-typing names every morning). This is an excellent site for an interactive whiteboard or to use as a center activity. This is an easy way to create customized interactive lessons for your classroom. Because you enter the content, this site is appropriate for any grade level.

Tips: One thing I wish this site had: the ability to save. If you want to save words to interact with over and over, create a document that you can copy and paste from. If you want to save a copy of the word magnets after students have interacted with them, take a screen shot of it."

See why I love reading blogs so much?
It is so helpful to find a resource on someone's blog. Not only are you getting access to a teacher tested resource that has proved helpful in someone else's actual classroom, you are also usually getting a quick, to the point, but thorough and useful description of what the resource is and how to use it in the classroom. I love them.

So what do I have to add to these posts? Two things:

1.) I want to make sure you see all the other helpful resources that are on Triptico's website. There is a LinkUp activity where students sort words into categories,Triptico  e-Learning Design and Training.png by lsharbaugh on Aviary

a simple timer,

a 4 or 8 option spinner,
Triptico  e-Learning Design and Training.png by lsharbaugh on Aviary

a match/memory game,
Triptico  e-Learning Design and Training.png by lsharbaugh on Aviary

a simple calculator, a scoreboard, and number spinnners.
All these resources are "content free" so you as the teacher can customize their use to your individual lesson.

2.) I also want to take this opportunity to make sure you are all aware that Flash Files can be saved from the internet and inserted into SMART Notebook software. This would allow you to insert this Word Magnet resource (or any of the other resources on Triptico's website) into the middle of a language arts lesson that you are presenting in SMART Notebook, so that you could seamlessly move from one segment of your lesson to the next.

How do you do this? Here are some (hopefully) easy to follow steps:
1. Find a webpage that is a flashfile. (They will usually have a .swf ending instead of a .html ending) Hint: the resources on Triptico's website are able to be converted into .swf files by going to the resource and changing the .html ending to .swf
2. When you are on the webpage, go to save page as in the File menu. Give the file a name, choose where you would like to save it, and make sure it is saving as a .swf file
3. Go to SMART Notebook, to the Insert menu, and choose Flash File. Find where the file is saved on your computer and click it to insert.
4. The flash file should now be inserted into your Notebook document, with all the interactive functionality it had on the original website.

One more tip: you can do a google search for flash files by going to Advanced Search
Google.png by lsharbaugh on Aviary

Google Advanced Search.png by lsharbaugh on Aviary

and selecting "shockwave flash" as your file type.

Google Advanced Search.png by lsharbaugh on Aviary

Once you put some kind of search term in the top box (i.e. fractions), all the results that come back will be flash files that should be able to be inserted into your Notebook files as HIGHLY interactive lessons.

Here is an example flash file for math that I found using Google Advanced search that could be saved and inserted into your Notebook file.

As always, please ask questions!

Thursday, October 15, 2009

October 09 In Service Training

Geography Quiz - Europe

Why we picked the ASP project

Friday, September 25, 2009

Alphabetical Order

A teacher of mine asked for some resources to help reinforce the concept of alphabetizing to her first grade students. I wanted to pass along what I was able to share with her.

1.) Using the "Sentence Arrange" game in Lesson Activity Toolkit 2.0 in SMART Notebook. This allows the teacher to use any combination of words they would like the students to practice with. Students can check their work, and the page can be reset so the words are scrambled, allowing for continual practice. You can download a sample file here.

2.) Crickweb has a wonderful assortment of resources that work great on a SMART Board, both for literacy and numeracy skills (it is based on the UK standards of education). This particular activity (Alphabetical Order 1) allows for students to alphabetize easy words, progressing through increasing levels of difficulty.

Crickweb  Flash Page.png by lsharbaugh on Aviary

3.) Roy the Zebra also has a nice variety of resources for the SMART Board in the area of literacy, including alphabetical order, double consonants, and capital letters. There are five different levels of alphabetical order games based on the number of letters included.

Reading Games  Alphabetical Order Game 1.png by lsharbaugh on Aviary

Enjoy these new tools for your toolbox and keep asking questions!

Friday, April 17, 2009


A great (possibly) new review game for you all to try on your interactive whiteboards this week. It is taken from the old TV game show Blockbusters. I've posted a link to a YouTube video so that you can see exactly what I'm talking about.

In this game, two teams compete against each other to answer questions. The answers to these questions begin with a certain letter of the alphabet. If a team gets a question right, that team's color gets control of the hexagon. One team is trying to complete a row of hexagons from left to right across the board before the other team completes a column of hexagons from top to bottom. Click here to go directly to the online blockbuster game. (or click the picture to the left to read a little more about it)

You can also read another description of the Blockbuster classroom game by going to the TeqSmart blog. The rules and game format they describe would be the same as you would use with the website game above. There is a video on their blog showing the game in action. TeqSmart offers a downloadable version of the Blockbuster game that allows you to type in and customize the questions. If you are intersted in this, please let me know.

This game would require a little bit of either advance planning or fast on the spot thinking in order to come up with questions that have answers that start with every letter of the alphabet (except Y and Z), but I think this game would work really well for certain chapters of study.

Let me know what you think of this tool! Have fun!

Thursday, April 2, 2009


I've been encouraging my teachers to use their SMART Boards or Mimio boards to break up their times of direct instruction with 5-minute Reinforcements. Many of them have said that they find themselves only using these IWB (Interactive White Board) products for games. I agree that many of the best uses of interactive technology are gamelike in nature. However, instead of only playing a full-blown review game at the end of a chapter, why not play a mini-game or do a similar activity after each smaller section in a chapter to reinforce what the kids learned, change up the type of instruction, and appeal to the nature of children and their diverse learning styles.

Here is one resource that I think would be ideal for these 5-minute Reinforcements. Quizlet.com is a study resource where users can create flashcards to review any topic that they desire. (Teachers and students can also browse through already created sets of flashcards, but keep in mind that the content of these other-user-created cards is not monitored.) The flashcards could then used for study.

The feature of Quizlet that I would like to focus on is one of the two games that can be played with the cards. The "Scatter" game scatters the terms and definitions around the screen. Students are then timed as they drag matching pairs together. This could be a really quick reinforcement activity. If you had premade a set of flashcards to go with the topic you just discussed, pairs of students could go up to the board and help each other get rid of all the pairs of terms. A new set of students could then come up and try to beat the previous set's time.

I can think of other ways that Quizlet could be integrated into the classroom as well. Once a flashcard set is created, you could post a link to your specific set on your class blog. Students could then review the flashcards, take practice tests, and play the basic games from home or from centers. Students could also be given the assignment of making their own flashcard set and then posting the link on their individual blog or emailing the link to the teacher. This could be an interesting variation on a homework assignment that gets students more involved with the chapter content and might provide a context for future studying.

How else can you think of integrating Quizlet?

Here are some simple instructions for creating a set of flashcards and playing the game:
1. Go to Quizlet.
2. Click on the "make flashcards" tab at the top of the page.
3. Either sign up for a new, free account of log into an existing account. If you are signing up for a new account, you will need to check your email and click on the confirmation link before continuing.
4. Click on the "make flashcards" tab again.
5. Give your new set of flashcards a title, a subject, and a description. Then simply type in the terms and definitions into the blanks provided. You may click on the plus sign on the bottom row of terms if you would like to add more cards to the set. When you are done entering information, click "create set."
6. You will then be taken to a screen like this where you can interact with the flashcard set in five different ways. This is the screen that you should post a link to for your student's use.

Enjoy Quizlet and, as always, ask for help if you need it!

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

More Example Webquests

I realized one of the major things lacking in my presentation on webquests the other day was in my examples. All four of my example webquests were geared towards middle or high school students. Webquests can be an effective tool for elementary students also. I wanted to show you some examples. Please feel free to ask me for any further clarifications or ideas.

Kindergarten - 2nd Grade

Tree Webquest
Skip Counting Webquest
Fish Addition Webquest
Memorial Day Webquest
Food Chain Webquest
Bug Webquest

Those examples are just a scattered handful. Quest Garden allows you to search by grade level, subject, or specific topics.

Sample Webquest - Letters

An interactive webquest designed for kindergarteners.
Welcome boys and girls to an exciting, interactive webquest where you become the teacher! A teacher's job is very important, so... I hope you are up to the task.

You have a new student in your class. This student needs your help to learn the letters of the alphabet. As the teacher, your job is to work through the fun alphabet games in this webquest with your new student. Then, you must determine how well your new student does in learning to recognize the letters of the alphabet, match capital letters to lowercase letters, put the letters in ABC order, and learn the sound each letter makes.

Here are some great educational sites that will help your new student meet each goal listed above. The sites are in order so that the student will be progressively challenged as he/she moves through the activities.

1. First, let's get started with Elmo. Elmo wants to play Elmo's Keyboard-O-Rama with you. Click on the green button to begin the game. Just press any letter on the keyboard and Elmo will tell you the letter and something that begins with that letter. Be sure to tickle Elmo before you leave his game.

2. Now, it is time for some Alphabet Action. Click on the green arrow to see each letter in action.

3. Okay, since you are now an expert in identifying the letters of the alphabet, it is time to match capital letters to lowercase letters. Try your hand at working an Alphabet Letter Puzzle. As you match the capital and lowercase letters the computer will show you a piece of the puzzle. See how many puzzles you can work.

4. Next, we are off to Paw Park. There are some confused kangaroos at the park. They need to find their Mommy's and Daddy's. Match the capital and lowercase letters to help the kangaroo kids find their parents.

5. Now that you are letter experts, it is time to have some fun with Alphabetical Whack-a-Mole. This game is so much fun. Whack the moles on the head with the hammer but, be sure you whack them in ABC order. As you whack each mole, the letters will appear in a line at the top of the screen.

6. It is time to learn the sound that each letter makes. Big Bird wants to help with his game, Letters to Big Bird. Big Bird is going to check his mailbox for a letter. You must tell him the things he has that begin with that letter.

7. You are almost finished, but not before we take a trip to Disney.com. JoJo wants to play JoJo's Letter Sound Dash with you. She wants to race you the finish line by matching letters to the sound they make.

A teacher's job is never done. Now, it is time to decide how well your new student did on this Alpha Quest. Please click here and use the rubric to score your new student.

Congratulations on you first assignment as a teacher. You did a great job leading your new student through this exciting webquest. I know that your new student had a wonderful time playing these fun, interactive games and I am sure he/she learned a great deal. Letter recognition is an important skill. It is the first step to becoming a reader! I hope you enjoyed being a teacher for a short time. I also hope you will come back often to practice letter recognition and "teaching".

Teacher Notes:
This webquest is designed for kindergarten age children and will require a parent or teacher to guide them through.

Sample Webquest - Brain Images

Our textbook provides us with a few images of the brain and its structures. These images are mostly drawn. Today we want to find other images, photographs and drawings. We want to use these images to learn more about the different structures that make up our brain.

You will be exploring several websites that I have found for you, find a few websites of your own, and then choose your five favorite images of the brain. You will then create a Power Point project using these five images. You will write information about these images to accompany the Power Point presentation.

1. You are going to begin your exploration by visiting a set of websites that I have found for you. They are listed in the resources section. All of these sites allow for some exploration into and interaction with the parts of the brain. Make sure you take plenty of time on each of these tutorials.

2. Now it is time to explore some websites that will show you some detailed images of the brain. Again, spend plenty of time exploring these websites.

3. Now you need to explore some websites and find at least three images of your own choosing. Be sure to record the URL of the site where you find each image. (Do you have a del.icio.us account? You could store your URL's there.) The images we find on websites are not our own; we need to give credit to their source.

4. The next step is to make a Power Point presentation using the images you discovered on this journey and the information you learned along the way. In the evaluation section you can see a rubric that will be used to evaluate your presentation. Here are some specific items to keep in mind:
a.) You need to include at least five images found during this webquest. Three of them can be from sites that I provided you with and two of them should be from your own search.
b.) Credit will need to be given to the source of each image.
c.) When each image is shown during your Power Point presentation, you need to include information about each image in the "notes" section of your Power Point file. This should include: 1. The name of the overall brain part shown in the image
2. The names of any specific brain structures that are shown in the image (even if they are not labeled)
3. The functions of these specific brain structures - Be Careful: If I see a brain structure in your image that you should have mentioned (because it was mentioned in class) and you didn't mention it, you will lose points. You can use your book to find information about each of the brain structures or go back to the interactive tutorials at the beginning of your webquest! The descriptions should not be word for word from the book.
4. The URL from where you find your image.


Section 1 - Tutorials
Get Body Smart Interactive Brain Tutorial
You need to explore the following sections of this website: major divisions of the adult brain, sectional views of the brain, organization of the cerebrum, and cerebral cortex
Secret Life of the Brain: 3D Brain Anatomy
You need to take a 3D tour of the brain. Look into all of the parts by area and all of the parts by function.
Brain Facts from National Geographic
Go ahead and read the intro, interact with the brain anatomy and unhealthy brain sections, and look into the stimulate the brain section.
Brain Model Tutorial
Click on all the pieces of the brain that we discussed in class.

Section 2 – Image Collections
Brain Connection
Brain Images - This site is actually more of a portal, listing many links to other sites with brain images. Spend some time looking at a minimum of three of these sites
Brain Photographs - Look into a variety of these links, at least five
More Brain Images
Final Image of an Actual Brain

Click here to download the rubric for the webquest.

Make sure you follow the instructions given, read the rubric to find out how you will be evaluated, and take the time necessary to do a thorough job with research and descriptions.

Teaching with Webquests - Part 2

Here are the slides from our training session on Webquests the other day. I've included the links on each slide below the image:

Teacher’s First Tutorial




Social Security
The Roaring 20’s
Webbie Awards
To Kill a Mockingbird


Looking at the “Task” more closely


Best Webquest.com

You can also download the handout from this training session by clicking here.

Monday, March 16, 2009

Teaching with Webquests

Click here to download the handout from this training session.

Sunday, March 15, 2009

No Hassle Jeopardy

I just found a resource that has got to be one of my favorites of all-time. http://jeopardylabs.com/ This site allows you to customize your own jeopardy board and game. You put in the questions and the answers, and it handles the rest. You don't have to register; you don't have to save anything to your computer. It gives you a "url" address where you would access the created game. You could then play it as a whole class review activity; it even keeps score for you! Or you could post the link to the game on your class blog, and students could play from learning centers or from home. Excellent, easy, and free.

I will admit that this jeopardy doesn't have a lot of bells and whistles (sound, fancy graphics, etc.), but with all the pros that I just mentioned, I think we can handle the cons. Check it out for yourself, and let me know what you think!

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Revealing Information within SMART Notebook

Have you tried all of these ways to reveal information in SMART Notebook? Feel free to comment with other ways that you have used.

1. Dragging an object out of the way
2. Erasing to reveal - cover your text or objects with a marker drawing the same color as your background. You can then use the eraser to rub away the invisible drawing and your object will appear. It will look like you are using a magic eraser, or a reverse eraser.
3. Click and Reveals from the gallery
4. Using "Shrink and Grow" animation to reveal hidden text
5. Revealing by color

6. Flippers from the gallery
7. Balloon pops
8. Revealing by ordering/layering

(Thanks to Jim Hollis at Teachers Love SMART Boards for providing some of the ideas in this list.)

Sunday, March 8, 2009

Teaching with Blogs

Here is the Google Docs Presentation that I will use to teach the LCS staff about blogs.

You can also access the presentation complete with notes here. To view the speaker notes, click on the mouth with plus sign icon in the bottom right corner of the google docs screen.

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

So I decided to start a blog

There are many educational blogs out there. I will not even pretend that this is going to be one of the better ones. However, I do want a way of getting ideas and resources out to the teachers that I am working with. Hopefully this will help in that process. You may have noticed that "day" is in quotation marks in the title of my blog. My life is busy - I doubt that my tips will be daily. When I do find good resources, I will do my best to share them on here.

I still also update my delicious page with good resources as well.

Make sure you check out my blog list for other great ideas and resources!

Feel free to email me if there is anything I can do for you in your classroom. laurasharbaugh@gmail.com