Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Monthly Tech Tips

I have been super busy with the house and boys off during Spring Break. Our new house doesn't have internet or cable yet so I haven't been able to post in awhile. So, not much new from the tech world. That being said, I will share some tech tips from the past. The 1st and 15th of each month, I send out a tech tip similar to Tammy Worcester's. These are for my campus (which is a 5th and 6th grade campus) but I feel are applicable at any grade level and ability. You can use these in your classroom or computer lab, in groups or during direct instruction.


ABCya! Fifth grade children's computer games and activities have large easy to use navigation buttons as well as simple instructions. Activities include addition, subtraction, counting money,keyboarding practice, and much more! Great in the Computer Lab or at the end of your class period.


Museum Box is a tool that allows students to place items in virtual boxes. These items can range from images, text, sound to video clips. Use these boxes for students to assess, investigate, debate, explore and develop ideas. The possibilities are endless!

To get a better idea of what a Museum Box is, check out these examples.

The Treatment of the Jews by the Nazis

Thomas Clarkson's Box



What is Storybird? Storybird is a service that uses collaborative storytelling to connect kids and families. Students can create a story all their own, or two (or more) people can create a Storybird in a round robin fashion by writing their own text and inserting pictures. They then have the option of sharing their Storybird privately or publicly on the network. The final product can be printed (soon), watched on screen, played with like a toy, or shared through a worldwide library. Check out this link to see a created Storybird and you can read more once you're at the website.



What is Virsona? Virsona is a tool that gives students and teachers the ability to create and "chat" with historical or fictional characters. I would envision it being used to research historical figures or talk with fictional characters. Instead of looking up information on that historical figure, students can actually "ask" the figure about themselves. To see an example visit this link to chat with Abraham Lincoln. If you set up an account (it's free and easy) you, or your students can create other Virtual historical figures as well or even a virtual you! I would even be willing to put in the information for a historical or fictional figure if you just get it to me.

Here is a link to a great lesson plan for Virsona. Students first research a Virsona that is already created and then they research their own figure and create a Virsona for that person.


Misc Creative Tools

Custom Tombstone Creator - Use this to create your own tombstone. Have students create a tombstone for a historical figure, a character from a story, a famous artist or musician, or a fictional person.

Newspaper Clipping Generator - Use this to create a newspaper article. Have students summarize a current event, an important event in Science or Math, part of a story, or a historical event.

Children's Book - Use this to create your own children's book. Have students create a story based on a writing prompt, an event or time period from history, or the life of an important person.

Kerpoof - Have students create a card, a story, or a picture or drawing....the possibilities are endless for this studio website.



Picnik is an online photo editing website that is similar to a software program like Adobe Photoshop. However, Picnik has a variety of advantages over a program like Photoshop. Advantages include: saved hard drive space (because it's web based), quicker processing time, easier to use tools (stamps/stickers/frames/text), updated themes according to the time of year, linking capabilities to sites such as Flickr, Photobucket, MySpace, Facebook, collage templates, and the fact that it's FREE (although there is an upgrade option)! This could be a great tool to use in your classroom or at home.

How do you sign up for Picnik??? YOU DON'T HAVE TO! You can actually just go to their website and start editing. Upload a picture from your computer or a photo sharing site and begin.



It's a dictionary! It's a thesaurus! It's a complete visualization tool! Visuwords is great resource for vocabulary development. You can see relationships, derivations, meanings, parts of speech, and read the vocabulary word in meaningful contexts.

You can zoom the term in and out by rolling the wheel on your mouse. You can click the gray background and drag the mouse in order to shift the whole term around so you can explore. You can grab any part and pull it away from the others to clarify connections and relationships.



  1. Thanks for sharing all these great things! I can't wait to share them with the teachers I work with. I put a link to your blog on mine so I would remember where to find all these great ideas!

  2. This is an awesome collection, thanks for all of the great reminders and ideas.