Using Videos in Your Classroom

Five Minute Film Festival (Edutopia)

Five Minute Film Festival (Edutopia)

If you are an avid user of videos to support instruction in your classroom, Amy has posted about very useful and effective video tools for teachers. Are you tired of trying to find videos that you have used in the past and wish that they could be in one place? This, and other resources, are detailed in her post here on Five Minute Film Festival:
It’s no secret that I am a passionate advocate for using video in the classroom. When used well, videos can help students make connections to people and ideas beyond their usual frame of reference. That’s why I’ve been really excited to see a wave of new (and mostly free or low-cost!) tech tools recently that enable teachers to take favorite clips and make them more valuable for educational use. Whether you use videos to flip your classroom or you just appreciate the power of video to engage kids, maybe one of the tools in my playlist below will help you go deeper in 2014.

Try them out and let me know how you like them.

Shortcut for Going Straight to a Website

Many lately have been asking for a way for students to quickly get to Reading Eggs, Education City, etc., or an easier way to get to PowerTeacher. Here is a great way to do that!

1) Place your cursor on the site’s icon, such as the egg above for Reading Eggs.
2) Holding down on your left button, drag the icon to the desired location, such as the desktop.
3) Release the button (let up) and the icon (such as the egg above) will now be on your desktop.
4) The next time you wish to go to directly to the site, double click on that icon.

Super Teacher Tools

Super Teacher ToolsHere is a good site with multiple tools (uses Flash) for the classroom:

Classroom Jeopardy: Create Jeopardy games for the classroom
Speed Match Quiz Maker: Drag and drop answer onto the correct question to clear the board
Who Wants to Be a Millionaire?
Board Game: Allows up to 6 players or teams to race their way to the end of the board.
Seating Chart Maker
Group Maker
Random Name Generator
Split Flap Counter: Quick timer or countdown for classroom
USA Population Counter: up-to-date numbers
Hang Man
Flash Lottery: Probability
Random Fact Desk: Need trivia?
Classroom Update (website making)

Professor Garfield’s Infinite Learning Lab

Want a fun and engaging resource/web site to engage your students? PPS teachers are able to access—for free—Professor Garfield’s Infinite Learning Lab. Students are able to watch engaging videos while also practicing concepts in Life Skills, Math, Science, and Reading. Moreover, the teacher can keep track of the progress of students’ work and record data of their work. While students are having fun, the teacher can keep a record of assessments and plan accordingly for differentiated instruction, progress, and student learning centers. As written in a Superintendent’s Memo:

A teacher management system has been added to the Infinite Learning Lab (, a collaboration between the Virginia Department of Education and the Professor Garfield Foundation. The Infinite Learning Lab provides engaging, animated, interactive lessons for students in mathematics, science, language arts, Internet safety, and life skills. New lessons are added throughout the year.
The teacher management system allows teachers to create individual accounts for students to assign specific lessons based on individual need and track student progress. Students will be able to earn online badges based on the lessons they complete.
The accounts are provided at no cost to all Virginia educators and students. Although anyone using the Internet may access four lessons on the Infinite Learning Lab Web site, only account holders will be able to access all the lessons available.
For teachers to have an account, the division superintendent must assign a designated division account administrator for the Infinite Learning Lab. That person will be provided information on how to create accounts for school account administrators who can then create individual teacher accounts. The division account administrator will be able to monitor data for all students who use the Infinite Learning Lab in their division, while the school account administrator can monitor data for all students within their school. User guides for both students and teachers (available on the Web site) will explain how to use the system.

For access information, please see me for login details and how to set up your students’ accounts. Mrs. Ross has already jumped on board! 

Free Technology Resources for Teachers

Free Technology for TeachersI at times get absolutely overwhelmed from TOO many resource choices. For example, I need to find something for “A” and investigate, and search returns show a bazillion possibilities. I think of the “old days” when I was in the classroom and my resources were stored in a filing cabinet; the Internet was in its infancy (remember the dial-up modem sound???).
A clearing house of technology resources that I like to refer to is Free Technology for Teachers, monitored by Richard Byrne, is a concise and well written blog that gives a FUN bazillion possibilities. In fact, it’s fun reading! You can always come away with something new that can be used in your lesson planning for technology projects. To access, click here or click on the picture.

Tammy Worcester, Technology Specialist, has a New Website

Wow! I’m back!

Tammy WorcesterTammy Wrocester has redesigned her website and has streamlined the look. As she writes on her site:

Tammy Worcester Tang, former classroom teacher, specializes in finding unique and creative, but most of all, effective ways to use technology in the classroom.

Tammy offers some fabulous free resources and ideas here at her website, and is available to come to your school or conference to lead sessions and workshops that are guaranteed to excite your teachers and engage your learners!

Click the picture to access her site, or the hyperlink above.

Resources for Teaching Mandarin Chinese

Social Studies SOL 2.1 states that “the student will explain how the contributions of ancient China … have influenced the present world in terms of architecture, inventions, the calendar, and written language.” Considering that 1.1 billion people speak Mandarin—16% of the world’s population (source: WolframAlpha), what resources are available?

Blog post with ten links of ideas/websites

Online Chinese tools

Online Chinese Radio
Chinese Characters index

Translate a sentence by typing in a phrase/sentence

Quizlet: flash cards with pronounciation

Do you need a free online voice recorder? Besides the famous Audacity, Vocaroo is also a good choice for quick and easy recording.

Need a New Presentation Method? Try Some Vuvox

No, that’s not a medicine: it’s a website for making your own presentations. You can make an Express ( I’m trying all and made one from last week’s sports news by uploading Yahoo Sports News):

Or, you can make a collage (one of my trips to China):

Or, you can use “Studio” and pick different styles for your presentation:

I will be talking about this tomorrow at Tech Tuesday at 4:30. Interested? I can also arrange to show you 1:1 or in a small group–just let me know!

Vuvox Wiki
Example of a PBS project
Crazy Teaching Blog Post

Do You Need Some Friends? Do You Feel All Alone?

Teaching, by the nature of our jobs, require emotional support. Moreover, support needs to come from somebody who can EMPATHIZE and not just sympathize. You know what I’m talking about: somebody who has been in the trenches and ‘has your back.’ As you are alone in your classroom, it’s important to have somebody to bounce ideas off of, share your instructional needs, or even more importantly–share your phenomenal ideas and expertise with others.

I would highly suggest that you develop your own Personal Learning Network (AKA PLN). A PLN is a group of colleagues that you gather with over a virtual cup of coffee and discuss your common profession with. Richard Byrne, of Free Technology for Teachers, has a wealth of ideas for you to refer to on how to begin your own. I have my own PLN who I refer to for TRT/ITRT needs and consider them very valuable. Do you need assistance in getting one started? If so, let me know!

Bring History Alive with Newspaper Primary Sources

From the website:

Welcome to, a nonprofit organization devoted to providing FREE primary souce material for students, teachers, and historybuffs. This site focuses primarily on HOW news of major, and not so major, events in American history were reported in newspapers of the time. In addition, there is information about the technology used to produce newspapers over the past 400 years. Our latest addition is panoramas of historic sites in America.

If you want free resources that draw from historical events in newspapers, you will enjoy this site!