Sometimes an educator needs a resource that is easy to use, interactive, needs no instructions, and is actually fun!
Well, Smarty Pins by Google can fit all those needs. Smarty Pins challenges students in a variety of subject areas to find important geographic locations around the world. It provides clues which students can use to find a certain location and if they choose incorrectly, it will show them the correct answer. Students are encouraged to quickly guess to earn bonus points, but allowed unlimited time to find the correct answer.
In fact, sometimes trying to find the correct answer will cause a learner to get side-tracked reading. For example, I was challenged to find the location of Ned Kelly's last stand. Thirty minutes later I finally remembered to enter the answer into Smarty Pins.
This website also works on all devices. It can be used on Chromebooks, MacBooks, Windows, and even mobile devices like iPads and Android phones!
I am always a sucker for free curriculum resources. In fact, anytime I here free my ears are perked. Often though the free part comes with a catch. This is not true for Elementary GLOBE. Elementary GLOBE is a resource sponsored by NASA and the National Science Foundation and then further supported by NOAA and the US State Department.
Elementary GLOBE provides units on:
Each unit provides a book, teacher guide, and student activities. The activities themselves are often priceless resources! If you want to learn more about this resource and see a brief demo of what Elementary GLOBE has to offer, watch my YouTube demo below.
One of my favorite iPad apps for video creation is Adobe Spark. Adobe has now brought this awesome app to the web so you can even use it on a Chromebook! Adobe Spark allows you and/or your students to create stunning videos that not only look great, sound great, but are also super easy to make. It also features a wealth of built in icon type images, meaning that students do not have to leave the website to find pictures. An added bonus is Adobe Spark features a sign-in with Google button. So if you are a Google Apps school, students can quickly sign-in without having to create an account.
If you want to learn more watch my tutorial video above or check out the demo video below.
Nothing fills a learners head with more excitement then the two words, field trip! And nothing fills the educators head with more dread than those two words, field trip! The planning, the transportation, the finding parents to help chaperon, the funding, can all be a huge undertaking on the part of a teacher. Why not simplify the process and have students tour places they never would be able to in person by taking a virtual field trip. By doing a virtual field trip learners can be in control of what they view, how they view it, and see things they would normally not be able to.
The hard part about virtual field trips is finding good resources to use. To help with this I have curated a teacher's beginning guide to virtual field trips here: Virtual Field Trip Ideas. These resources can be as simple as passing on a link to students or as intensive as setting up a step-by-step tour. So the next time you are in the mood for your class to do a field trip, try a virtual field trip and let the students explore!
For this years Presidential Election, PBS has pulled out all the stops. They have created Election Central: An Educational Guide to the US Elections which is your one-stop-shop for all thing electoral! Election Central features interactive videos, maps, and even virtual field trips. I found the interactive map a really interesting resource. Using this map students can see where each of the candidates are and learn some great election historical facts. Oh, did I mention Election Central also feature pre-made lesson plans and videos with lesson plans/handouts!
To help educators explain the election and educate their younger students, PBS Kids has introduced You Choose. You Choose allows students to explore facts about each of the candidates, view videos about the election process, create their own campaign posters, and even collect trading cards of past presidents.
So this election season be sure to check out You Choose from PBS Kids!
I was recently asked by an educator for some projects students could do using their Chromebooks. He wanted the students to express their creativity and give them options on the type of project they could create. I came up with fifteen resources that would work on a Chromebook, Windows/Mac, and some even on an iOS device.
I hope you find one or two that can benefit yourself or your classroom.
Scale of the Universe 2 is a great tool to show the size of items from any subject from biology to astronomy. Even if you do not teach any of those classes, it is an amazing website to explore for any age level or subject.
Compare yourself from anything from a quark to the monstrous VY Canis Majoris star by going to Scale of the Universe 2.
Every once in awhile I come across a website that makes me say, "Holy Smokes! That is just plain old awesome!" Well, Appear.in definitely falls into that category! Appear.in allows up to 8 people to have a video chat and share their screens without having to login to a website or install complicated software. The website just plainly works and is a lot of fun.
For educators the possibilities are endless. It could be used for those ever popular Mystery Skype sessions, it could be used to allow students to meet in groups outside school hours, it could be used to share a student's Chromebook screen on a projector, and there is so much more amazing potential!
Watch the demo people to see how Appear.in works to both have a video chat and share a Chromebook screen.
This blog contains resources available through the web and accessible through a variety of programs.