ABCya! Animate

When I was in Elementary School, there were minimal opportunities to incorporate art and creativity into my academic work. The extent to which creativity was involved in my elementary academics was drawing pictures, making a painting or poster, or using Paint, a Windows computer program that could create digital drawings. These few techniques were the only creative options that were available to me at the time. Whether you had, or didn’t have, the same experience, either way, wouldn’t it be great to expand your knowledge base of cool and creative ways of learning?

One of the tools that can be added to your knowledge base is ABCya! Animate, an animated GIF creator that is hosted through the website ABCya.com. ABCya.com is a site with educational games and activities for kids who are grades K-5. All of the games and activities on this website are approved by teachers and modeled after lessons in each of the elementary-level subjects.

I first became aware of ABCya! Animate through a blog written by Richard Byrne, Free Technology for Teachers. He publishes blog posts that provide information about different types of technology tools that are meant to enhance teachers’ teaching methods and, thus, students’ learning. In the post entitled Create 100 Frame Animations on ABCya Animate, Byrne briefly touches upon some of the neat features that this tool has to offer.

An animation is a type of presentation that uses a sequence of still images to create the appearance of motion. The way in which animations are created is through many frames that slightly change from one frame to another. Have you ever done this with a sticky-note pad? When I was younger, I used to take a pad of sticky-notes and draw a stick figure person at the bottom of the first note and then slightly change its position on each of the following notes in order to make him look like it was walking. Each sticky note looked like a the stick figure was frozen in time, mid stride. Once I finished drawing, I would flip the pages at a high speed to make it look like the stick figure was actually moving. This is an example of a flipbook animation. ABCya! Animate creates an animation, like the flipbook, but in a digital form.

To start making animations on ABCya! Animate, you click the “Go” button which redirects you to the creation studio. You are faced with a blank white frame with different digital art tools at the bottom of the frame, buttons that perform actions on the right-hand side of the frame, and a reel of uncreated slides above the frame.

Options of animation backgrounds: "Create Your Own" and default themes

Options of animation backgrounds including “Create Your Own” and default themes

The first step you should take in order to create an animation is to make a background upon which the animation will develop. ABCya! Animate provides you with many different options. You could either choose from one of the default themed backgrounds or even choose to create an original one. The background will become the part that remains consistent throughout the entire animation. If you choose to create your own, you will be able to use all of the art tools that the program has to offer so that your background can be fun, colorful, and personalized to the topic of your animation!

The default themed backgrounds are a nice feature for the students who find art to be a little bit challenging. Default settings can relieve some of the pressure of artistic performance that students put on themselves; yet, they are still able to exert creativity in choosing a default background because there are so many options. Having the student be able to make artistic decisions, such as this, could make even the most artistically challenged students feel creative. This will also make them satisfied with their final product when, if they had created an original background, might not have been the case.

Personalized animation background

Personalized animation background

No matter with which background you choose to proceed, the next step is using the art tools. To the left is a picture of the background that I created for my animation. I used the pencil tool to draw the sun’s rays and the clouds because the pencil creates the thinnest lines. To draw the water and the circular body of the sun, I used the paintbrush tool because it creates thicker lines which are useful when drawing large pictures or when filling white areas. These tools are located at the bottom left-hand of the screen, underneath the frame. To the right of the tools there are a selection of many different colors which can be used to change the color of the pencil or paintbrush lines. If you want to change the tool that you are using, or the color of the line, simply click on the icon and this will change.

Bottom toolbar

Bottom toolbar

Options of images that can be inserted into the frame

Options of images that can be inserted into the frame

Adjusting the size of an image

Adjusting the size of an image

The toolbar at the bottom of the page provides many different tools which can be used to create your frames. The pencil and paintbrush are the tools that allow you to draw. This is the most important feature because elementary school students mainly art and illustration as a means of idea and thought expression. At such young ages, students are still learning to master the English language in speaking, reading, and writing. It is natural that art is the best way in which they are able to communicate because it is visual instead of technical.

You can also use the “Images” icon to add to your picture because it offers dozens of  animated images that can be inserted into the frame. These can be adjusted in size and changed in direction which provides you with the liberty that you would have if you were drawing these images from scratch. These adjustment features are another example of how this program is an excellent tool for students of ranging artistic ability because they are able to make creative decisions in ways that make them feel comfortable with the creation process.

Toolbar on the frame's right-hand side

Toolbar on the frame’s right-hand

In order to create a sequence of frames, you must continually click the “Copy Frame” button. Each change made in the frames is what creates the impression of movement once they are scrolled through in sequence. This concept of sequence in the project will help students understand how there is sequence and change in parts of life. For example, ABCya! Animate could help introduce the concept of evolution and the growth of live organisms.

Once you are finished with your animation, click on the “Save” button so that you can save your animation project to your own computer! It will save as a GIF file which can then be uploaded to and shared by the Internet. Underneath the save button is a button that allows you to play your animation at any time during its creation so that you can view your progress or final product. Being able to play your entire animation before saving could be helpful for students to see the connection between their frames. This will help them to understand the importance of revision.

To show you my final product, I inserted my saved GIF into this post. So, check it out below!

ocean animation

Another cool feature that is available for ABCya! Animate users is the Tutorial video that you can watch before you start creating your animation. If you, or your students, are still a little confused by all of the features, this is a great way to teach yourself and others about how to use the program!

ABCya! Animate is an awesome tool that teachers can incorporate into their instruction. Teachers can use it to help teach a lesson about the seasons, for example. ABCya! Animate would allow the students to see the progression between seasons and how it affects the environment. If the teacher made an animation of a tree and how the scenery behind it changed, as well as the tree itself, this would be a good visual for students to understand how changing seasons also change elements of nature.

More importantly, students can use ABCya! Animate to create their own projects. They could use this program to make short stories that apply to the topics that they are learning in the classroom. When students are able to create something of their own, it helps reinforce the information being taught, leading to a longer retention rate.

ABCya! Animate could also be a beneficial learning tool for children who are not as proficient with expression. It could be used as a modification for students who have learning and/or developmental disabilities. This is a program that could hold students’ attention and is fairly simple to use, making it a tool that could be used to enhance the learning experience of a student who might lack in some of these areas.

If you like ABCya! Animate, you can also check out another one of Byrne’s blog posts entitled 5 Free Apps and Sites for Creating Short Animations. Below is a list of his recommended tools as well as a few others:

  • Draw Island is a program that allows users to create drawings and GIF animations.
  • Wideo is another animation tool that allows users to create videos like those of Common Craft.
  • If you create an account with Culture Street, you can access Stop Frame Animator, a tool that it offers which enables you to create animated stop motion videos.
  • The iPad app, Animation Desk, also creates animated videos.
  • JellyCam from Tickly Pictures makes stop-motion films with a web-cam or photos.
  • Another app for an iPad is called myCreate by iCreate to Educate.

With so many features that ABCya! Animate offers, this program can be used in so many different ways! What are some of your ideas for how it could be used in a classroom? Do you see yourself using it? What are some of your favorite features? I would love to hear some of your thoughts about ABCya! Animate!

Posted in Uncategorized | 12 Comments

Skype in the classroom

When I was in primary school (and secretly even today) I loved when visitors came into the classroom, or when we took field trips (even if it was just to the playground), or if we got to talk with another class, and it is these experiences that I remember the most vividly, because it got me excited about learning something new. By using the free video calling service Skype you have an amazing way of bringing people in to be the teacher for a day even if they’re miles away. The first time I heard about using Skype in the classroom was from Teach Hub, Annie Condron wrote an article about the cool ways to use Skype in the classroom, and it blew my mind because she explained that students can connect with the world from the comfort of their own classroom via Skype.

A guide on how to use Skype calls as an assessment

A guide on how to use Skype calls as an assessment

Having someone come into the classroom and having someone visit via Skype are almost one and the same – You, as a teacher, need to plan accordingly. Since this is the first time the students will be seeing someone else’s face all day they’re going to be excited, so the idea is to take that excitement and turn it into something productive. In Sylvia Rosenthal’s blog Langwitches she explains how you can take this seemingly random (educational) lesson, and create an assessment from it. And who doesn’t love assessments that aren’t tests? And thus, Taxonomy of a Skype conversation was born! As you can see in the picture off to the right, Rosenthal’s aim is to use Skype as a means of teaching students how to improve presentation skills, interviewing skills, collaboration skills and so many more.

Framing a Skype call to make the learning more substantial

Framing a Skype call to make the learning more substantial

However, teaching a group of students how to give a phenomenal presentation doesn’t matter if they don’t remember why they were doing it. As with any lesson there should be a planned outcome for the task. Again Sylvia Rosenthal comes to the rescue with ideas to implement this so that this wonderful tool doesn’t fall by the wayside. The image below is one of the slides in her document Framing a Skype Call, which suggests ways to make the experience more memorable and education than an isolated event that they remember as fun but not useful.

I could rant on and on about how amazing Skype is when used in a classroom setting, but the video below offers a goofier,greater and groovier summary.

Now hold up, the guy they were Skyping with drew something and it showed up on the whiteboard in the classroom?! What is this sorcery?! That is right, there are a plethora of add-ons to Skype that are simply amazing! You should check out these Eleven must have free add-ons for Skype to make the experience a million times better. The program used by Mike Artell in the video is called IDroo, and they tailor this tool for effective online tutoring, brainstorming and exchanging doodles between friends. Sadly, though, this program is only available for Windows, and would require some sort of digital tablet in addition to Skype.  Tell me what you think, is there an experience you had that could be replicated on Skype? What are the pros and cons that immediately pop out at you when you think of this teaching style?

Feel free to read a few of the blog posts that I’ll link below to learn more about what other people’s experience with Skype is in the classroom. I guarantee you’ll learn things you never thought you would.

  • Author Skype visit’s the classroom – One fifth grade gets the chance to meet more famous than I probably ever will. Read about how these students go crazy about these authors. Definitely worth it, trust me.
  • How Teachers Are Bringing the World to Their Students via Skype in the Classroom – How a teacher helped her bi-lingual fifth grade class overcome their fear of public speaking, and how another teacher found pen pals no more than a mile away. Just give it a chance, it can spark an idea in you to use this in your classroom.
  • Skype in the Classroom -I know this is the actual website of the creators, but it gives pretty sweet opportunities to Skype users to connect with others. I’d say it’s worth at least a gander, I mean, how can you resist when they say “mystery Skype call”! (hint check out the links at the bottom).
Posted in Assessing student work, Collaborating, Communicating, Cool tool | 12 Comments

Smore Flyers

How many times have you tried to make something – a poster or flyer – and just felt you weren’t creative/neat/artistic enough? How many times have you felt your handwriting was not nice enough or you just couldn’t draw designs the way you wanted them to turn out? Well fear no more Smore Flyers has the perfect solution when it comes to making flyers. These flyers can be done quickly and can hold lots of information. Students of almost any age can use this cool tool to make flyers, posters, or invitations on almost any topic in the classroom. And then once the flyer is finished students can share these online or print them out and hand them out. No more messy or uncreative flyers or posters in your classroom!

Smore Flyers are so easy to use. Before you can begin you must sign up and create an account but to create an account it’s free and it only takes a few seconds to sign up! There are some some packages you can buy that give you bonuses such as custom backgrounds, monthly emails, priority email support, no Smore branding, and early access to new designs; however, this site is totally usable and comes with great options without any paid for upgrades. If you have more questions on prices there is a pricing page right off of the home page that gives you all the options and what you can do with them. However, while this is an option its not something that you have to do! You can still make fantastic flyers without paying for anything.

Once you sign up, the website gives you a variety of pre-made templates

Some options Smore gives you for Flyers

Flyer Template Options

that you can then choose from. As you can see, in the photo to the right users can choose what kind of flyer or poster that they would like to make, or just start with “other” if they want to completely design it on their own.

Once you choose an option it will bring you to a ready made template where the rest of what you do is up to you. This cool tool gives you the option to change the design of your poster or flyer as well backgrounds, colors, and fonts.

Design options Smores offers to users

Design Options

There are usually around five to ten options for each, which some might see as not enough. However, I think it keeps it from being too overwhelming. Plus by keeping the options limited to only five fonts it could be helpful to students who spend too much time on detail as now they don’t have to choose from a thousand different things.

Different types of media users can insert into their flyers or posters

Insert Different Types of Media

Another great thing about this cool tool is that you can upload all sorts of content to it. Users can add text, pictures, audio, videos, and more! This is helpful for whatever you are making – your options are practically endless to the things you can add to your flyer or poster. This can make school projects more fun because students aren’t limited to just writing or only showing through pictures. Now students can really get to know certain topics by being asked to find all sorts of media to support their ideas and claims.

Once everything is complete, Smore Flyers gives you the option to share what you’ve made in many different ways. You can share it on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Google +, Craigslist, email, direct link or you can just print it out and handout your flyer. You can also view flyers that other people have made with the Featured Flyers page. You can see what other people have done with their flyers to maybe give yourself some ideas or see all of the the options you can choose from.

Below is a Youtube video that explains a little more about how to make something on Smore.

Educators love this site as well. Shana, a former third grade teacher who now writes the blog Enchanted with Technology, writes about cool ways for teachers to integrate technology with their lessons. In her blog post entitled Smore! Flyers, she writes about all the great ways she thinks teachers and students can use this tool in the classroom. Some of her ideas for students consist of making a personal flyer on a character in a book they have been reading or even creating a snapshot of a book they’ve been reading. In that snapshot students could add pictures of the setting, an bio about the author, and add text for a summary. Some of Shana’s other ideas include things teachers can use Smore Flyers for. Shana says teachers can create a classroom newsletter to hand out to students and their parents or even create a syllabus for a class using one of the templates. All of these ideas are fantastic and there is still so much more you can do with this site!

I had so much fun learning about this site that I made a flyer of my own. Below is an example of a flyer that a class could do to show what the students learned about animal adaptations.

Smore Flyer

Smore Flyer

To learn more about this site and what you can do with it visit these other online blogs about Smore Flyers.

Please comment below on your thoughts or ideas on using Smore!

Posted in Cool tool, Creating | 9 Comments

Timeglider – A slide through time

Do you remember the times in elementary school when we had to make timelines on paper?  Well, I do and they were awful.  Being someone with a little OCD about straight lines, these were stressful, especially when I did not have a ruler.  Luckily we now have the technology to have many different tools that can help those less talented with a pen.   Richard Byrne, the author of Free Technology for Teachers, posted an article titled Five Ways Students Can Build Multimedia Timelines that talks about five different timeline tools.

His post includes tools such as XTimeline, TimeGlider, Time Toast, TimeRime, and Dipity.  These are all great timeline tools to consider and for more information on them go to Richard Byrne’s blog post from above, but let’s look at Timeglider.

Homepage for Timeglider

Homepage for Timeglider

This is a nifty tool that allows us to look at time through another lens.  Although we think of these only being used for history, we can use timelines for many different topics. While most of the topics I looked at using this tool dealt with history, TimeGlider can be used for so much more.

Before I let you off easy to watch the YouTube video, I’d like to show you some useful aspects of Timeglider.  You can view my timeline by clicking the screenshot below. Within this you will be able to use the bar to the right to zoom in and out to view more or less of the timeline.

Click to view in Timeglider

Click to view in Timeglider

I created a basic timeline that includes the major events leading up to the signing of Declaration of Independence.  The reader and creator can sort items because of this neat feature that allocates a certain design to distinguish Acts from other events.  Another thing you

Size differentiation

Size differentiation

may notice in my personal creation is the size differentiation

between the “important” events and the “less important” events.  If you notice, the Tea Act is significantly smaller than the Declaration of Independence, which as we know is more important. If you take a close look after clicking on Boston Tea Party, you will notice the little link tab.  If you click on that you will be taken to PBS American Revolution Page.

One great thing with this tool is you can incorporate pictures along with your text.  You have three options when it comes to doing this.

Uploading or including a picture

Uploading or including a picture

First, you can upload your own personal picture. Second, you can import a picture using the URL. Finally, you can pick from the timeglider library.

Once you finish your timeline then you have a few options as to what you are going to do with it.  You can make it public and share with others or you can keep it private and have for your own personal use.

If you like reading, you should skip the video and take a look at the How it Works page on the Timeglider page. Watch the YouTube video below for further instruction.

A little unknown fact is that Timeglider is not free for everyone.

Pricing & Plan page

Pricing & Plan page

For pricing and types of plans one can have, instead of the free tool that I am using, you can use any of the two other listed options. For myself, I was able to use the free portion because that is open to undergraduate and younger students, but the company does need money to keep running the program. By using the free version you are subjected to limitations. Some include: the number of timelines you can create (3,10,500) respectively, the number of sub-users, the number of views a time line can have, collaboration amongst other students and having a legend to categorize your events with specific icons. All of these neat tools within Timeglider are open for paid members.  At the bottom of the pricing page, there is a little blurb that explains in detail why they closed the free version from  everyone other than students, as well as why they cannot use advertisements.

For some more information on Timeglider follow these links listed below:

Thank you all for taking the time to read, watch, and look at the other blogs.  I hope you will comment and ask questions as I will love to aid you as you create your own timelines.

Posted in Cool tool, Creating, Organizing, Understanding | 8 Comments

Meograph

On this blog, we’ve been exploring a lot of great ways to present information to our students other than the traditional formats like PowerPoint that we’re all familiar with. Aaaaaand here’s one more! Meograph is a tool used to created digital stories based on Google maps and timelines. The creators refer to meograph presentations as “4-D stories” because presentations can include not only images, text, videos, music, and narration, but also related links that allow viewers to interact with the content more deeply. It is a free service; all you need is an email address to create an account. The company does offer more advanced packages for a fee, and labels these bundles for business, tourism, journalism, weddings, sports, genealogy, family, and of course education. Check out the Meograph in Education page and follow the “Extra Features” arrow to see some of the options available to teachers and classrooms. The “Lite” option for $19.99/year allows teachers to create accounts for their students without email addresses and prevents advertisements from appearing while working on meographs. The “Plus” option, for $29.99/year, offers the same advantages as the Lite option and also includes the ability to create group pages and private sharing within a class. The most advanced and expensive option is the “Pro” option for $49.99/year. This package has the same features as the others as well as an advanced customer support system and the ability to remove meograph’s branding from the products created by the class.

I first read about Meograph on Richard Byrne’s blog Free Technology for Teachers in the post, Meograph-4D Storytelling in Education. In his post, he highlights the education page. I also found a great article on TechCrunch, called Meograph Adds Paid License As It Looks To Push Its “Adobe For Everyone” Into The Classroom, which explains some of the history of the tool and its uses, as well as the new accounts available to teachers and classrooms.Here is a great YouTube tutorial that gives step-by-step instructions for creating a new Meograph.

The video highlights some of the neat features of Meograph like ways to manipulate and edit pictures, insert YouTube videos, select the sections of the video you wish to show, and add narration. While Meograph is pretty user-friendly, I found the video really helpful in showing me the ropes and features of the program.

Meograph Help Screen

Meograph also offers this helpful visual to the right for new users. It gives an overview of every feature of the program and how to access it on the edit screen. If you click on the image, you can access this visual by clicking “How-to” on the welcome screen and try your hand at your own meograph. Presentations are organized into “moments” which are essentially slides where your content is placed.

The Meograph website offers several samples for each of its categories and here are some neat educational examples. The tool makes it really simple to embed presentations onto websites, or share them on Facebook or Twitter. These presentations really highlight the timeline and map features offered by this program, and the use of text, graphics, and narration to create a presentation.

I’ve created a Meograph about the Battle of Alamance, to experiment with the tool. The embed format of Meograph is not compatible with WordPress, unfortunately, but you can follow the linked image to my presentation.

The Battle of Alamance Meograph

While creating this presentation, I realized some of the pros and cons of using this tool:

Pros

  • Moments are automatically placed in chronological order
  • Presentations are saved automatically
  • Music can be uploaded from personal files, good for personal presentations
  • Add narration to each moment individually
  • Embedded YouTube video begins automatically, right after narration for moment
  • Can add links to related content and photo credits on each moment
  • Can access accounts from any computer and work on presentations from anywhere

Cons

  • Only one image per moment
  • You cannot enter a date range for a moment, but only a specific year, or month and day if you wish
  • You cannot add a link to the Introduction or Conclusion slides of your presentation
  • Each moment can only have one link
  • Most school computers do not have many musical files to upload into student presentations
  • Cannot add captions to a meograph presentation for hearing-disabled viewers

Though this tool is similar to some of the other tools that have been discussed on this blog, and programs like iMovie or PhotoStory, it has a few defining characteristics. The timeline and maps features are clearly great for social studies and English lessons, but you could also use Meograph as a presentation platform for science and math lessons. You could just ignore the map feature and leave the dates blank. It is very easy to add content like YouTube videos, pictures, music, and narration to a meograph. Your meographs can be public or private, and can be shared by embedding it on your website, or through social media. For middle and secondary grades educators, Meograph would be a great way to record your lectures and lessons if you knew you were going to miss a day of work, and students could certainly create them for projects. For elementary educators, short meographs could be a great way to introduce concepts or incorporate videos into your lesson. Young students might need some help with this tool, but it could be fun to have them narrate portions of presentations, so that they feel more engaged and empowered in the classroom.

Here are some other posts about Meograph:

  • Meograph: The Future of Storytelling is 4D (with Context)-from pbs.org. This article does a great job of explaining creator Misha Leybovich’s vision for the product and what he meant by “4D storytelling”.
  • New, Easy to Use, 4-Dimensional Storytelling Tool– from Visual News. This article has several good examples of meographs used in education, and a few student-created presentations.
  • Meograph Blog Post– from DiscoveryEducation. This blog post briefly explains Meograph and provides a sample teacher presentation that could be used as an introduction on the first day of class.
  • Create Your Own 4D Stories With Meograph– from Mashable. This article provides an overview of the program and the ease with which users can make stories, not just absorb them.
  • Meograph provides “fourth-dimmension” to multimedia storytelling– from ArsTechnica. This describes the use of Meograph in journalism, which would be great to share with students. It would prove that a) you are teaching useful, applicable skills,  b) that your students are able to use a tool that paid adults use in their jobs, and c) make journalism seem like a “cool” and more accessible career for students.

So tell me what you think! Have you used this tool before? How would you use Meograph in your classroom?

Posted in Communicating, Cool tool, Creating, Understanding | 8 Comments

Worksheet Works

Remember those times where your teacher told you to take out a piece of paper and draw your own Venn Diagram? Or when you were doing a project where you had to teach the class something and had to come up with some sort of activity for your peers to do, so naturally you made them draw a graphic organizer since you had been creating those since you were 5? It is no secret that children’s handwriting (and even highschooler’s) is terribly messy, and drawing your own graphic organizer on paper take lots of time, lots or erasing, and ends up with messy papers where the boxes you drew are never big enough for the words you need to put in them.  Well thanks to Worksheetworks.com, making your own, customized graphic organizers has never been so easy.

This is a list of some of the graphic organizers that Worksheet Works.com offers.

Types of graphic organizers

What a cycle diagram is and ways to use it

Cycle diagram description

Worksheet Works is a website that allows anyone to choose from 14 different graphic organizers and customize them to what you need them for.  You can change the topic, headings, and how many rows, columns, boxes, or whatever your graphic organizer requires.  I found this tool on Tammy Worcester’s Technology Tips for Teachers, specifically the post titled Tip 83- Graphic Organizers (Customizable!).  When you click on a graphic organizer, there is a short description as to what that organizer is used to show, and some give an idea for a lesson plan to use that graphic organizer with.  For example, when you click on the cycle diagram, the description says that it is used to show how a series of events occur in a repeated fashion.  It also says that a typical lesson plan using a cycle diagram would have students show that they know the critical events that make up a cycle.

Here is a quick YouTube video that explains more about Worksheet Works!

Once you have made your graphic organizer and customized it to the topic of your choice, you can save it and download it as a PDF file.  The file is clear and high quality, so when you print it, it won’t be fuzzy.  You can then print enough for your class or your project, and your students will not have to waste time drawing their own!

This is also a great tool for students to use, because they can create their own graphic organizers by themselves.  The website is very user-friendly.  I know that when I was in school, I would have to do projects that required me to make graphic organizers about a book I read, a science topic, or comparing two wars in history.  This website is great for projects like that because students can quickly and easily make an organizer to show their peers.

How to use the options to make your own chart

Customization of star chart

Graphic organizers are also great note- taking tools.  In this example below, I created a star diagram about the moon.  As I read an informational text about the moon, I could have my students write down things they learn as the story goes along.  when the story is over, they can compare what they wrote down with others at their table, then pick the most common things they learned to share with the rest of the class.  This enables students to focus more on what to put in the chart, rather than the chart itself.

Star chart about the moon to list things students learn about the moon

Moon graphic organizer

Free common and proper noun worksheet customized by the teacher

Common and Proper nouns worksheet

Worksheet Works is not only a tool for making graphic organizers though.  The website has math, geography, english language, and puzzles categories where hundreds of different worksheets, flashcards, maps, and other tools are free to customize and print.  Here is an example of a worksheet created to teach common and proper nouns.  You can choose what types of questions are found on the worksheet, and the website creates the problems for you.

Worksheet Works is a great, free resource that allow both teachers and students to create customized worksheets and graphic organizers for a variety of subjects, topics, or projects.  What ways can you see yourself using Worksheet Works in the future? Would you use it to allow your students to create tools on their own?

Here are some additional resources regarding Worksheet Works:

Posted in Uncategorized | 14 Comments

LiveBinders

Teachers are always so busy in their classrooms creating, organizing, and storing lesson plans. One of the most vital keys to success within the classroom is organization. With today’s technology there is a new way for students and teachers to stay organized online! LiveBinders is an online resource where students and teachers can create a virtual binder.

The online blog, TIPS,  is a blog created by teacher educator and researcher Dr. Jenny Lane. Dr. Lane created TIPS in order to introduce iPad technology and ways to incorporate iPads in a classroom. The post on LiveBinders entitled “Tips2012 iPad App Guide #41: LiveBinders” informs readers about LiveBinders and how to use the LiveBinders app. Although LiveBinders has an app available, LiveBinders is a web based resource. Users can use the LiveBinders resource online in addition to on an iPad with their app. 

LiveBinders allows users to create, organize, and share information. This tool is located online. A user can put almost anything into the binder. Students and teachers can link webpages and YouTube videos or just put documents, images, and videos inside their LiveBinders. They also have the option of creating different tabs and sub tabs just as you would do in a tangible binder. Below is a 90-second overview of how to use LiveBinders.

To get started with LiveBinders you must first create a free account. There is also an option toupgrade to a paid version of LiveBinders. The upgrades version of LiveBinders includes more privacy option for users as well as more storage space. Once you’ve created your account there is an example binder already stored in your library. This binder includes information about how to use LiveBinders. Here is a binder with general information made by the creators of LiveBinders:

How to create a blank binder or blank shelf.

How to create a blank binder or blank shelf.

To create a new binder click on the “Start a Blank Binder” button on the left hand side of your home page. Not only can you create a blank binder, you can also create a blank shelf. With this feature you have the option of organizing your binders into different shelves as you would on a bookshelf in real life. This could be very helpful when creating different lesson plans. You can easily sort the binders in to shelves that could hold different subjects such as social studies and math. Or even create shelves chronologically by weeks within the school year.

When creating a new binder, users have the option to make the binder public or private. Viewers do not need an account to view public of private LiveBinders. If you choose to make your binder public, anyone with the URL of the binder has access to it. It is also stored in a public library on LiveBinders where anyone with or without an account has access to view and share it. If you choose to make your binder private, only you can choose who views your binder.  Even if someone has the URL they must enter an access key to view it. Therefore, if you were to have a private binder that you wanted to share with your students, parents of your students, or even a substitute teacher, you would just have to provide them with the URL and the access key. 

Once you specified these settings, you can begin creating your binder! This binder

Tab Settings

Tab Settings

defaults with 3 tabs, but if you click on the “tab settings” button users have the option to add as many tabs and sub tabs as needed. In addition to the number of tabs you can include, you can also customize the tabs. In the tab settings users can name each tab and then design each tab with different colors and even different layouts. The different layouts are similar to those in Microsoft PowerPoint where the tab page can include a layout with just a title or other styles of layouts. This allows the creator to further organize the tabs and sub tabs within the binder.

After creating your tabs and designing them to your liking, you can begin adding content.

Content Options

Content Options

There is an “Add Content” button at the top of the dashboard page and a menu pops up. Once you’ve hit the “Add Content” button you have the option of adding a link, uploading a file, or adding other kinds of content such as QR codes, embedded codes and even a Dropbox. The possibilities are endless!

For more information about LiveBinders check out these great sites:

  • @LiveBinders is LiveBinders’ Twitter account where users can follow their updates!
  • LiveBinders’ YouTube channel has tutorials uploaded that can help users step by step.
  • LiveBinders’ blog on WordPress! Here users can read different blog posts written by the creators.
  • LiveBinders 4 Teachers is a wiki page about LiveBinders!  Here users can connect with other users and view example LiveBinders. The wiki is organized by grade level and subject so you can easily access specific example binders!
  • Featured Binders is a page within the LiveBinders site where users can search for binders by category and subtopics using links.
  • iPad, Android, and Chrome Apps are also available so you can use LiveBinders when you’re on the go!
  • Free Tools Challenge #15  has some basic information on LiveBinders. EduBlogs Teacher Challenges is a site where new teacher challenges are posted. These challenges are all technology based and LiveBinders was featured as one challenge in a series of challenges that teachers can choose to use in their classrooms!

LiveBinders are a great resource for teachers, students, and parents to use! What are some of your ideas for LiveBinders? There is so much you could do with LiveBinders!

Posted in Communicating, Cool tool, Creating, Organizing | 13 Comments