Thursday, December 18, 2014

BIOMAN Biology





Check out BIOMAN Biology

BioMan Biology is the fun place to learn Biology! Here you will find learning games, review games, virtual labs and quizzes that will help you to learn about cells, ecology, genetics, physiology, and much more!

Note: If you are a teacher, please check out the teacher section for ways to use the site to increase student engagement and learning. 
Remember, everything on this site is completely FREE to use!

Friday, December 5, 2014

20 Free Tools for Making Comics and Cartoons for Teaching and Learning by Kelly Walsh


20 Free Tools for Making Comics and Cartoons for Teaching and Learning

by KELLY WALSH on DECEMBER 11, 2014

Comic Strips and Cartooning can be a Fun Way for Students to Explore Learning Topics
There are so many good free tools for creating comics and cartoons on the web, as well as apps for tablets and smartphones. I’ve built out a list of fun tools I am looking forward to trying out over the upcoming holiday break. I can’t wait to brainstorm creative ways to leverage these in lessons!
Note that some of these tools offer very different types of functionality. It’s important to explore them yourself before introducing them students.

Web Apps for Cartooning and Comic Creation

ToonDoo: “Fastest Way to Create Comic Strips and Cartoons”:www.toondoo.com
Make Belief Comicswww.makebeliefscomix.com/comix (you don’t even have to create an account to use this)
Create Your Own Comic from Marvel:marvel.com/games/play/34/create_your_own_comic
Pixtonwww.pixton.com
Strip Creator: www.stripcreator.com
Write Comics: writecomics.com
Toonlet: toonlet.com
Cambridge English Online’s Cartoon Creator:cambridgeenglishonline.com/Cartoon_Maker
Cartoonize Your Pet! www.cartoonizemypet.com
Anmishanmish.com

iPad and Android Apps for Making Comics and Cartoons

DoInk (iOS): www.doink.com
Draw Anime – Manga Tutorials (Android):play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=mangatutorial.drawanime

A Few Important Things to Keep in Mind When Using Comic and Cartoon Creation Tools in the Classroom

  • Try a few tools yourself and find those you think will work best in your classroom
  • Make sure that the app(s) you select actually work in your classroom (they are not blocked, for example)
  • Watch out for inappropriate content created by other users
So there you go … now start clicking and using your imagination to have some fun with the cool tools! If you have some experience with these or similar apps in the classroom, we hope you will comment and tell us about it.

About 

Kelly Walsh is Chief Information Officer and a faculty member at The College of Westchester in White Plains, NY and is the founder and author of EmergingEdTech.com. As an education technology advocate, he frequently delivers presentations on a variety of related topics at schools and conferences across the U.S. Walsh is also an author, and online educator, periodically running Flipped Class Workshopsonline. His latest eBook, the Flipped Classroom Workshop-in-a-Book was published in September, 2013 and is available here. In his spare time Walsh also writes, records, and performs original (and cover) songs (look for "K. Walsh" on iTunes or Amazon.com or check out his original song videos on here on YouTube ).

Thursday, November 27, 2014

Easy Accents App with Google Docs

Easy accents with Google Docs

I often have students ask me to help them with their World Language Docs, and finding the correct accent symbol can be tough. There is the feature right in Google Docs, called "Symbols", and you will have to switch it to "Latin" to find most French and Spanish accents.  

Luckily there is a new Google Doc Add-on called "Easy Accents." Not sure we can save this on student accounts, but you might want to share it with your students for them to set up on their home accounts.

This Add-on is free, and extremely easy to use! 

1: Open up any Google Doc new or old.

2: Click on "Add-ons" at the top of the doc.

3: Search "Easy Accents"

4: Click "free" and then accept the Add-on.

5:  Return to your Google Doc and click on Add-ons  again


6. A new page will show you the variety of choices of accents in the language that you have selected....that's all there is to it! 

Easy Accents....check it out!







Sunday, November 16, 2014

DYSLEXIE FONT .com



Dutch designer Christian Boer created a dyslexic-friendly font to make reading easier for people with dyslexia, like himself.
Designed to make reading clearer and more enjoyable for people with dyslexia, Dyslexie uses heavy base lines, alternating stick and tail lengths, larger openings, and semicursive slants to ensure that each character has a unique and more easily recognizable form.
                                                             

Watch the video for more details.

Thursday, November 6, 2014

Saving a Video to a Google Presentation/Slide

Using Google Slides it is now very easy to insert a YouTube video to your presentation so that all you need to do is open the slide, click on the video to activate it, and you are good to go!

To do this - open Google Slides and slide your cursor over to the word "INSERT" when you slide down you will see the word VIDEO with a video icon. Click on that and a page will open up that looks like this -


From here type in either the specific name of the video or category that you would like - 
"Bill Nye Science Guy" or "Bill Nye Science Guy - Physics" for example
and it will bring you to a few selections on the Internet. You can then click on the specific one that you'd like and insert it onto your slide where it will now be able to play once you activate it from your Google Presentation!

Nice!!




Tuesday, November 4, 2014

PINTEREST









Pinterest has entire category dedicated to education. It is a virtual treasure trove of sources of inspiration for educational projects, activities and reference materials.

My PINTEREST BOARDS





DUOLINGO






Offers free language instruction where users translate documents 
and vote on the accuracy of those translations. 
Contains a description of how it works, a blog, etc.

DISCOVERY ED











GLOBAL WRAP

National Library of Virtual Manipulatives










EDMODO













NEWSELA









News articles updated daily. Different grade/reading levels

READ WRITE THINK









Providing educators and students access to the highest quality 
practices and resources in reading and language arts instruction.

TRADING CARDS

NEWSPAPER

PBS Learning Media







Lessons complete with free media spanning multiple subjects 
for preschool through 12th grade.

RUBISTAR





RUBISTAR

RubiStar is a tool to help the teacher who wants to use rubrics, 
but does not have the time to develop them from scratch.

SCHOOLOGY




QUIZLET





QUIZLET

Quizlet is a free website providing learning tools for students, including flashcards, study and game modes. It was created by high school sophomore Andrew Sutherland in 2005 and now contains over 40 million study sets. All of the material is user-generated.

Monday, September 22, 2014

Educreations

"Educreations is a unique interactive whiteboard and screencasting tool that's simple, powerful, and fun to use. Annotate, animate, and narrate nearly any type of content as you explain any concept. Teachers can create short instructional videos and share them instantly with students, or ask students to show what they know and help friends learn something new."

Check out - Educreations

and a tutorial - HERE ...

Google Sharing Basics from Teaching Forward





A great tutorial for teachers just starting up with Google Docs on how to control who you share what with on this recent post from Teaching Forward .

Worth checking out.



Monday, September 15, 2014

Google Docs Cheat Sheet

The folks at Shake Up Learning have put together a "cheat sheet" for better understanding all the tools and menu on Google Docs.

Check it out HERE


Tuesday, September 9, 2014

ED Puzzle

An interesting sounding free app for teachers - EDpuzzle.com

If you use videos in your classroom yet would like to shorten them or make them a bit more specific to your class and needs, Edpuzzle might be a good resource for you.

This app helps you edit/crop videos to the segment you need; add your own voice-over to them so you can point out something that you might want to emphasize to your class; and you can even set up little quizzes that will give you data as to what individuals in your class are understanding, or not, from the presentation.

EDpuzzle also has a library of video offerings from other teachers that you might find useful to draw from.


Check out EDpuzzle and see how it works for you in your classroom.



Saturday, August 23, 2014

5 Online STEM Courses - Edudemic


There's so much out there to share with our students these days....
Here's some sites/apps to check out that range from Baseball to Computer Programming to AI Robotics and Game Design....

Check out these courses shared by Jeff Dunn on Edudemic -
Baseball Analytics - Learn about the math of selecting baseball players. You know, like that movie Moneyball.

Intro to Computer Programming

Computer programming basics – a great place to start.

AI For Robotics

Maybe someday, you can design your own Rosie to clean your house, make your dinner, and serve you up some sass.

Creative 3D Graphics

3-D graphics aren’t just found in your local IMAX theater anymore. And the red and blue flimsy glasses? Well, at least they’re a little bit cooler now (and not so red and blue and cheap). Learn about 3-D graphics in this course.

Intro to Game Design

A must for gamers, you can learn to design your own game! 


Minecraft, Learn to Mod and more!

 Lots of students enjoy playing Minecraft, a game that uses blocks to break and build things. Fantastic structures, mysterious castles, and gathering and crafting items are a big part of the lure of the game for players. It's also a game that with your avatar you can fight off creatures of the night and build your world as you'd like it. It's not as violent as many multi-player adventure games, though it involves some killing of creatures (no blood, just a grunting noise indicating that they have died).

For more on Minecraft read these couple of reviews - one from and avid and creative player Anthony Gallegos and one from a mother, Bec Oakley, of MineMum who appreciates and elaborates on the learning benefits of the game, and has put together a site that helps other parents understand the game better. She gives a thorough overview of Minecraft including how to install the mods/modifications that help enhance the game.

I need to spend some more time on Minecraft myself, as some teachers are finding it quite educational and helpful in their classes as a way to teach all kinds of curriculum from history to microbiology. Check out Minecraft EDU for further info on that.

Recently, ThoughtSTEM, (think Science, Technology, Engineering and Math), came out with LearntoMod.
Through this mod making program students create their own mods, and the great thing is, they are learning to program while they create. Learning programming is big, and if your students are enjoying what they are creating through their programming sessions, all the better!

Check out this recent article in Wired for further info on LearntoMod.

Monday, August 18, 2014

BYOD - Student Owned Devices in our Classrooms

We've been given the nod that students can BYOD - bring in their own devices to help with in-class research, video/photos, classwork, graphing trends, etc. Whether we're ready for it or not, experts claim that this is inevitable and the future, especially given the demand on school finances and not always being able to keep up the latest technology. So, we might as well find ways to start using them effectively in our classrooms now!!

Here's a good post from Katrina Schwartz on a recent edition of Mindset that will help give you some ideas on how to effectively use these devices in your classroom and maybe even help impress upon students how to use their devices for educational purposes, and something besides checking out YouTube videos or posting photos on Instagram. Along with elaborating how to establish some ground rules with BYODs in school, Schwartz also posts some "go-to apps" that some teachers like to introduce to their students to help with this engagement and learning with technology.

Share some here what and how you are using devices in your class as the year goes on!

Rita Pierson TED Talk

Rita Pierson delivers a powerful and positive TED Talk on being an powerful and positive educator.
"A rousing call to educators to believe in their students and actually connect with them on a real, human and personal level."

A POSITIVE message start to the school year for all teachers.


Google Classroom

Google Classroom is coming to us this fall. Yes, I wish they came out with it this summer so we could play around with it some and get more familiar with it, but given this presentation "Google Classroom Training" posted recently by Joshua Keen / Aaron Svoboda, it looks relatively easy to set up and work in. GClassroom looks quite promising and helpful for us to create classes; add students; create, organize and track student/class assignments; share resources (Google Drive, You Tube, websites, etc.); and even set up grading.

Teachers in other school systems who have tried the Beta form of Google Classroom state that it is relatively easy to understand and set up, and many have dropped using Doctopus, as GClassroom pretty much replicates much of what Doctopus was set up to do for teachers.

Video on how to create classes in Google Classrooms.

For a fuller, more detailed review of using GClassroom, by Jenn Sheffer of the Burlington, MA High School Help Desk - read HERE.

I submitted my name and our school to get GClassroom a couple of months ago. Hopefully we'll be able to get it up and running soon, as the school year is upon us!

Tuesday, August 5, 2014

BLABBERIZE



You and your students are going to have some fun with Blabberize. Using Blabberize you can make your images talk, no matter what they are - animals, plants, people, even inanimate objects! Blabberize is relatively easy to work with - if you've ever made on of those Jib Jab holiday elf creations you'll see some similar features.

Check out this article from Emerging Ed Tech on Blabberize which includes a video tutorial, and get started! Your students can have some fun recreating a great moment in HISTORY; or, like the example above, share some SCIENCE information/phenomenon; or, perhaps they can share their process on a MATH problem using an emcee to be the mouthpiece; some classes read poems and then draw an image that they then blabberize as they read the poem...the possibilities are endless, and fun!

BLABBERIZE - it's a fun one!!




From Edudemic - "10 Things Every Teacher Should Know How to Do With Google Docs"

A great short article from EDUDEMIC that shares 10 great things you should know about using Google Docs. This helps teachers go beyond using the Google Doc platform as just a word processor - things like share/collaborate; commenting; using Kaizena for audio comments; research tools; email as an attachment; etc. Check out the article, I think you'll find something new to try out that you'll probably love!!

Monday, August 4, 2014

Cargo Bridge

For those teaching anything to do with Bridges, and the forces involved - compression, tension, torsion, you're students will absolutely LOVE CARGO BRIDGE.


Students need to construct various bridges so that the workmen can transport different loads of cargo (even an elephant!) over it successfully - which means it can't break! The bridges get steeper, longer, and basically more challenging, so students need to think about their placement of beams and how to maximize their dollars (the game "bank" issues players a certain amount of "money." As they build it uses up that "money", if they build a successful bridge they gain more "money" to continue on in the game). The game has multiple challenge levels that the students need to go through to move on to more difficult levels and now they've come out with a Cargo Bridge 2 which seems to offer even more challenges.

Students of all learning styles LOVE the game. As a teacher I like how they learn about the importance of bridges in our lives; they stick with it; it challenges them; they enjoy it and it's humorous when their bridges break and laughter erupts....I wish, however, that the game incorporated some of the terms that would help impress upon students what exactly the forces of compression, tension and torsion were and how they relate to their choices in building a successful bridge. (and these are always terms we see on the state tests!) Maybe the Cargo Bridge game developers will see this post and incorporate that into their next version?!
None the less, introduce your students to Cargo Bridge and see how much they enjoy it!

Sunday, August 3, 2014

SPORCLE

Growing up I had a friend who was not the greatest student in the world, however he had this passion and ability for learning/memorizing two main things...
1) US Presidents, in order of their terms
and
2) States from the US and their Capitols.
He could win every class contest when it came to those categories....but, maybe not so much when it came to our Math work or homework!

To this day, Michael can dazzle crowds with his knowledge of those particular facts. If there ever was a Jeopardy match that relied on just those two categories - Michael would dominate, hands down! In the mean time he sticks with entertaining friends and strangers down at the coffee shop where he likes to start his day.

Michael would also do quite well on the site SPORCLE. Sporcle (spelled with a "c" not a "k"), is a fun assortment of thousands of timed quizzes/games that require similar memory work. Where, yes, one the the all-time popular quizzes is about US Presidents! There are 15 major categories that the Sporcle games fall into:
Entertainment,
Gaming, Geography,
History, Holiday,
Just For Fun,
Language, Literature,
Miscellaneous, Movies, Music,
Religion,
Science, Sports, and Television.

On a slow rainy weekend, or perhaps if your students have completed their work and you grant them some time on Sporcle...you can really pass the time away...and maybe even learn a few facts! Like this one -
"Name the 10 Body Parts that are Spelled with Only 3 Letters"......

You have 2 minutes - Ready GO! - SPORCLE

Saturday, August 2, 2014

More on Students and Blogging with Greg Nadeau

Check out this TEDxBeacon Street video presentation by educational consultation, Greg Nadeau, who believes in the value of student blogging in a "Lifelong Learning Blog." He elaborates this in his TED talk as well as his own blog - "Blogs and Badges."

I like that Nadeau takes his beliefs on the importance of blogging beyond just helping developing good writing skills, but that he encourages whole families to partake in blogging together and sharing comments and ideas together. Nadeau also emphasizes how students will be able to take their blog writing skills with them into their future - add their blog to an e-Portfolio where they can show their life-long writing efforts to prospective colleges; include with job applications, etc. Truly taking the meaning of "LifeLong" with them as they move on in life.

Oh how I wish I had some of my writings from 5th, 6th and through 12th grade, and beyond!






KidBlog

For teachers who are interested in helping their students develop stronger writing skills, you'll be pleased to learn about KidBlog. The Basic package which includes 50 student accounts and 2 teacher accounts is free, including ad-free, and no student email addresses are used. They also offer a Class Premium as well as an Admin Pro format that offers more customized blogs, for a fee. In a short time teachers can set up students with their own individual blog. The formatting is simple enough for students from grade 4 through High School and, teachers and parents will appreciate, in a safe on-line setting.

Check here for a REVIEW from one teacher, Susan Lucille Davis, who saw her students writing efforts improve as well as their interest in writing increase. She includes comments from her students as well, as they evaluated their own writing experience over the course of a school year.

If you'd like to see your students have some fun while they learn to write, check out Kidblog!




Friday, August 1, 2014

Hour of Code

You've probably been hearing all the hype about learning to code and the need for our students to start learning to code. Indeed, coding is the FUTURE!
As a teacher not knowing how to code, I know that at first it was intimidating to me to think about diving into this with my classes. Fortunately there was some wonderful support and a main Hour of Code site that help us get started, and they are going to provide the same this year - December 8-14, 2014.

Ali Partovi and Hadi Partovi of Hour Of Code promoted a week in December 2013 with the mission of :
  • * Bringing Computer Science classes to every K-12 school in the United States, especially in urban and rural neighborhoods.
  • * Demonstrating the successful use of online curriculum in public school classrooms
  • * Changing policies in all 50 states to categorize C.S. as part of the math/science "core" curriculum
  • * Harnessing the collective power of the tech community to celebrate and grow C.S. education worldwide
  • * To increase the representation of women and students of color in the field of Computer Science.
But the best thing for teachers is, they made it accessible and self-directed, so teachers do not need to know coding to get their students involved. Students can just dive right in!

You can start your students using that link above. They provide several easy to follow games that require students to immediately start coding. They also have a section of coding practices for students to try once they have completed the first sessions. Beyond Coding

Get on Hour of Code's mailing list and learn about this coming school year's Hour of Code efforts and get your school involved! It doesn't take much effort, but your students will LOVE it!

Thursday, July 31, 2014

Teacher Discounts

This is a bit different post for Tech Teaching Tips, but we all know teachers who spend there own money on in-class materials. We all know how that can add up.

Here's a link to over 75 businesses that offer Teacher Discounts for all sorts of items - from clothing, to art supplies, to technology software (okay, there is a connection here!!), even includes hotels, parks, museums and zoos.

Well worth taking a look and seeing if you can find a way to stretch your hard earned teacher dollars!

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Chalkup Rubrics are here!

Good News!
Chalkup is now incorporating Rubrics into their platform making it easier and easier for teachers and students to have a common baseline for assessment.
If you aren't already familiar with Chalkup...well you should be!
You can learn more from an earlier Tech Teaching Tips post.

Check out Chalkup Rubrics here.

SCRATCH Jr



If you are familiar with the coding program SCRATCH...check out this free new app ScratchJr
especially for iPads. ScratchJr is an introductory programming language that enables young children
(ages 5-7) to create their own interactive stories and games.
It looks FUN!

Read more

and more here


Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Learn Launch


Learn/Launch is a helpful place to be in touch with the latest ideas from start-ups for use in classrooms. Many of these start-ups offer their apps for free to teachers, all they ask is for some feedback from your experience using it with your classes. 
Get in on the ground floor for a lot of cool educational apps!

Read more from their latest mailing 

Google Educator Groups

A great resource for educators...
Are you familiar with Google Educators Groups?

See below for more information below and to sign up for a group or even create your own.

Google for Education

"We are pleased to announce the launch of Google Educator Groups (GEG), a program supporting communities of educators who learn, share, and inspire each other to meet the needs of their students through technology solutions, both in the classroom and beyond. GEG empowers educators around the world to expand their social and professional networks, and gain skills to deliver the best possible education through open technology.

GEG takes place both online and offline, and provides a space for educators to build relationships, collaborate, and learn through Google+ communities and hangouts or in-person events and workshops. Whether you’re a teacher, professor, or principal, anyone is welcome to join GEG to learn. Each group is organized by a local volunteer (GEG leader) and is entirely independent from Google.

Interested in joining a GEG or starting a new one? Check out the WEBSITE at www.google.com/landing/geg to learn more, spread the word, and get involved. See you in GEG!"

Vi Hart on Spirals, Fibonacci, and Being a Plant



If you aren't already familiar with Vi Hart's creative and inspiring videos, you should be. Some of your students might just latch right on to her somewhat quirky approaches to math topics! She has posted hundreds of very quick paced, creative and thought provoking videos on all sorts of topics that show her love of math and art.

Post them onto your blog, webpage, or your Chalkup class platform so your students can watch them on their own time. (a tip - some of them need to watched more than once to "get it")
Vi Hart also has a blog that you and your students may find entertaining, inspiring and challenging.

If you have, share with us how you have used Vi Hart videos for your classes.


Friday, July 25, 2014

DIGICATION

Recently many colleges and universities are including E-Portfolios as a platform for students, teachers, alumni, etc. to showcase their work and ideas. Digication is one of these wonderful sites that many universities are using. High School students should take note as this sort of portfolio will be helpful to you as you apply to colleges...It will be quite impressive on your college applications if you set up your own e-portfolio of your HS work, internships, employment, volunteer work, etc. It also helps your future schools and employees see your experience, achievements and background.  Students and teachers can include artwork, writings, videos, coursework, collaborative work, research, etc. on a platform like Digication.

Some colleges now include this as a mandatory part of their graduation coursework. An e-portfolio program like Digication is actually an excellent way to present your work, your background, your creativity, your coursework to future employers/life opportunities. Many colleges also are now incorporating Common Core Standards and state teaching frameworks as part of an e-portfolio presentation. It creates a comprehensive package of your educational/life learning experiences that will impress anyone you present it to as you approach your life interests.
Check out this intro video from DIGICATION.


Wordle Tutorials



You've probably seen those Word Splashes on your screen within various presentations - these are made with a simple little program called Wordle. Just click on this link and it will bring you to the program you need to build these word splashes. You dont need to dowload anything to your computer for this, though you may like to Bookmark Wordle onto your computer for quicker access. Students and teachers alike can use this program in a variety of ways - key vocabulary words from Science class; words that a students feels describe themselves; names of characters from a book; math terms; Social Competency terms, etc.

The mechanics of using Wordle are quite easy. Once you open the program, just enter your list of words/names in the space provided. Just to experiment and see how it works, you may want to start off with a short list (8-10 words), however the bigger Word Splashes are sort of fun and can often turn into a type of "Word Search" for students.

Check out this VIDEO for more advanced work with Wordle - copying poems, using website URLs, changing  the layout, colors, font style, cutting out words, etc.

You can use your Snipping Tool to save your Wordle creation. A short little video to help you locate your Snipping Tool in Windows 8/8.1

A quick note - make sure that JAVA is uploaded to your computer at home and the school computers if you intend to have students create their own word arrangements.

Windows 8 keyboard shortcuts



A lot of folks are moving on to Windows 8, 8.1, and more than a bit perplexed by all of the features that it offers. Put in a search for "Windows 8 Tutorials" and you will find several videos that offer you more information about some of the variety of features that it now offers. This short video tutorial from CNET will help familiarize you to some shortcuts in working with Windows 8, 8.1.

Let me know if you find some good shortcuts and short informative and helpful videos on this!




Thursday, July 24, 2014

Typeracer for Schools

A wonderful typing game that will keep your students coming back for more day after day - Typeracer for Schools. Although this program is not free for schools, it's cost is quite minimal and do-able for many schools - especially if you can't afford to squeeze in typing/keyboarding classes into your school day.

Teachers set up their students with accounts and log-ins. Students sign in and "Enter Race" - it's as simple as that to get started! Each student is designated a race-car with their name. At the green light, a passage shows up that the students are to type. If they make an error, their passage will turn red to alert them to go back and correct it. The cars race forward as the students type the passages (most are just a sentence or two, sometimes 4-5 sentences at the most). A fun and unique feature is most of the passages are from books that students might be familiar with in their classwork, whether it be Literature/Reading classes or Science and Social Studies. Some students start to smile that even some of their favorite Justin Beiber or Katy Perry tunes are offered up as passages! It makes the game even more fun for them!

The competition within the room gets electric as students realize that they are racing against each other. The Typeracer program does track students' timing and accuracy levels, so eventually those students who perform at a faster and more accurate rate, will be grouped to similar level students. Teachers are able to follow along on a Master List and can see how often a student is participating, how accurate and speed levels.

In this day and age where it is difficult to fit in actual keyboarding classes into a school day, Typeracer for Schools fits the bill in an exciting and fun way for your students.

Give it a try and let me know what you think!


Tuesday, July 22, 2014

This is Sand

When students have completed a project and there just isn't enough time to start a new one, I often give in to their request to go to the site - This is Sand

If you remember ever creating sandart with colored sand, This is Sand is the same concept. Instead of using actual sand, students go to a color page and "grab" a color with their cursor, then return to their art page and click on the mouse to see that color start to fall on the page. To change colors, go back to the color page, click on another choice of color, then return again to your art page.

It may seem like a mindless waste of time, but two things in particular stand out to me -
*This is Sand is very non-threatening and user friendly. You don't have to be an "artist" to use this program. Students' designs improve over time. They start adding some thought and care into their design and realize if they want something besides a triangle, they need to think of some spatial relations of their page and how to create what they have in mind.
*It's a very CALMING. If you have a student who is agitated, upset, or is just antsy and needs to calm down This is Sand is an amazing tool that can help with just that. Because at first it doesn't require any deep thought, anyone can sit down and start with it. Once focused on their project, students will start to breathe slower and calm down. No, I don't believe any studies have been done with this app, but I've seen   it work its magic time and again!


Once they learn the wonder of working in This is Sand, students come from home and share that they've figured out that it's a free app that they can download onto their phones and then they can happily, calmly create all kinds of colorful wonders!

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

San Francisco Symphony site - SFS Kids

http://www.sfskids.org/
  
The San Francisco Symphony has developed an interactive site for young-middle school students on music, instruments, and composing. On SFS Kids students can learn to compose and play music. It is a free site and does not require any log-in for your students.
 
There are lots of sections to click on and just dive into -
 
 
To start it's probably a good idea to start with the "Discover" section and see how the site works.
Most computer-savvy kids will follow along quite easily. In this section they listen to samples of different styles of music performed by the symphony orchestra. Dialog boxes pop up giving information about the style of the piece that they are hearing. After listening to recordings, students can then go to a game section where they are to recognize and match rhythms.

When students click on the "Perform" section they can choose from about 15 orchestral instruments to listen to and even hear and play a scale on them - clarinets, timpani drums, tubs, pianos, etc. In the "Compose" section students are first presented with the basics of how to drag musical notes onto a scale and then can create their own musical compositions based on what they've learned from the other sections of the website.

I've played around with it for a short time and was impressed with how much information is contained in the site as well as how students can compose a variety of pieces within a short time.
 
SFSKids Definitely worth checking into!!
 
 
For some further info click HERE.
 and HERE.

SFS Kids