Nov 15, 2009

Scribble Maps

Scribble Maps is free online tool that allows you to draw and write on Google Maps.  You can draw, label, or add placemarks to the maps.  Most of the tools available on Google Maps are available on Scribble Maps including zoom and the search tool.  After you create your map, you can save the file, email it to another person, or embed it into your webpage.

This tool is great for geography or social studies lessons.  Students can put placemarks and write a description of important places.  They could also draw the routes that explorers took. 

Nov 8, 2009


Twitter is a microblogging service that allows people to share information in short text messages called "tweets."  Posts are limited to 140 characters.  Typically tweets describe what people are doing, thinking, or working on.  However, tweets can be responses to tweets or questions for others to respond to.

Here are some ideas for using Twitter in the classroom:

My class creates tweets to review concepts we have learned or to wrap-up a lesson.  Students create tweets to tell the most important information in a lesson.  It is a good way to discuss summarizing.  Our latest tweets can be found on the right-hand side of this page.


A VoiceThread is a slideshow that people can leave comments on. You can upload photos, videos, or documents in the slideshow. Then, people can leave comments on the slideshow. Comments can be made in writing, by recording your comment with a microphone, or by doodling on the slideshow.  The comments are then stored in the VoiceThread and can be shared with others.

"Ed.VoiceThread is a web-based communications network for K-12 students and educators. Simple, powerful and safe, Ed.VoiceThread is a place for creating and collaborating on digital stories and documentaries, practicing and documenting language skills, exploring geography and culture, solving math problems, or simply finding and honing student voices."

Teachers can sign up for a free educator account with VoiceThreads, purchase a pro educator account, or a class subscription.  After creating a multimedia slideshow, students can log-in and add comments.  This can be used in any subject area.  For example, teachers can upload math problems or puzzles.  Students then add comments to discuss how to solve the problem and explain their thinking.  Teachers could also create a slideshow of images related to a social studies topic.  Students would then add comments to discuss how the images relate to the social studies topics they have studied.

Getting Started in the Classroom

Sep 28, 2009

Glogster EDU

Glogster EDU is an online tool for creating posters.  You can create interactive posters that include pictures, videos, audio, graphics, animations, text, and links to other sites.  Pictures and videos can be uploaded from websites or from your computer.  Once you have creaated a glog, you can embed it into a website or blog.  When you set up a teacher Glogster EDU account, you can create student accounts.  All students will have their own username and password to log-into the website and create their own glogs.  All glogs on Glogster EDU are private and teachers can see all glogs created by their students.  To view a detailed turorial about glogs and setting up a teacher account click on the video below.

Here are a few examples of glogs I made for a social studies lesson about the eight geographic regions of North America:

Sep 27, 2009


"The Internet is this genereation's defining technology for literacy (Coiro & Dobler, 2007; Leu, Kinzer, Coiro, & Cammack, 2004; Leu et al., 2007).  It is home to a continuously emerging set of new technologies for literacy such as search engines, emails, blogs, wikis, instant messenger, social networking tools, and many others yet to emerge.  Each requires new skills and strategies.  Schools need to prepare students for these new literacies by integrating them into the curriculum, and blogs are an easy way to begin." 

Excerpt from "HOT Blogging: A Framework for Blogging to Promote Higher Order Thinking" by Lisa Zawilinski in The Reading Teacher, 62(8), pp. 650-661

Blogs are online journals that can be shared with others or kept private. The video below, "Blogs in Plain English" by Common Craft, explains what a blogs are and how they work.

There are several blog tools online such as Blogger, WordPress, Edublogs, and ClassBlogmeister. There is also a blog tool on Blackboard. Blogs created on Blackboard can only be accessed by students, parents, and instructors enrolled in the class. On Blackboard you can create individual private journal blogs for each student or a group blog. Private journals can only be seen and commented on by students and instructors that are given access. A class blog can be accessed by everyone. Here is an example of how blogs can be used on a class Blackboard site.

Individual student blogs could be used for indpendent reading journals, writing journals, or to reflect on class activities and lessons. A class blog can be a place to discuss what is being taught in class and showcase student work, pictures, videos, and other media. Blogs could also be created for novel groups and the teacher can post discussion questions on the blogs for students to respond to. Students and teachers can comment on the posts to provide feedback and reflect on their work.

New York Times article - "In the Classroom Web Logs are the New Bulletin Boards"

Teacher blogs are also great places to find new ideas for lessons and talk to other educators around the world.

There are also several organizations, agencies, and companies that use blogs. A few examples are listed below.

- White House
- Library of Congress
- Discovery Educator Network
- Google

Sep 26, 2009



Vocaroo is a free tool for creating audio recordings without installing any software. All you need to record using this tool is a microphone. After recording you can embed it in a web page or blog or post a link to the recording.

Uses for this tool include independent reading conferences, readers theatre, or audio for slideshows. You can also embed a recording into a Google Earth or Google Map placemark for a geography or social studies lessson.

Ideas to Inspire

Ideas to Inspire

This site has many presentations with ideas for lessons including uses for web tools such as Wordle, Twitter, and GoogleEarth. There are also lesson ideas for different curricular areas including math, science, writing, music, and geography.

Inaguration Speech Wordles

Words of the Inagural Address

This gallery includes all of the presidential inagural addresses with full transcripts, Wordle word clouds, and videos. Below is the Wordle created for George Washington's 1789 inagural address.