Apr 13, 2010

Google Maps Weather Overlay

Google Maps has several different mapplets that can be added to maps including time zones, demographic information, and elevation contours.  One useful mapplet was created by The Weather Channel and allows users to overlay information about current weather on their maps.  This information includes temperature, wind speed, dew point, sky conditions, humidity, and pressure.  Users can also view current radar images on their maps.
This mapplet can be found by logging into Google Maps, then clicking on the "Browse the Directory" link.  It is also available in Google Earth.

Apr 11, 2010

The Portrait - George Washington

The Portrait - George Washington: A National Treasure is interactive online exhibit by the National Portrait Gallery. This site allows users to explore different portions of the Lansdowne portrait of George Washington.  Users can explore the portrait using three different filters: symbolic, artistic, and biographic.  Each filter contains different information about twelve parts of the portrait.  Macromedia Flash Player 5 must be installed for the interactive portrait. 

There is also a Kids Portrait page.  The interactive portrait on this page is geared toward kids and is set up as a mystery for users to solve.  Users get clues to uncover hidden parts of the portrait and learn more about the symbolism and meaning of each part.

Also included on this website are lessons and guides for teachers about George Washington's life. 

Civil War @ Smithsonian

CivilWar@Smithsonian is an exhibit by the National Portrait Gallery.  It includes digitzed artifacts from the Civil War era.  The Collections portion of this online exhibit is divided into several sections.  Within each section there is background information and digitized artifacts including paintings, weapons, statues, figurines, and more.  To view the artifcats related to each topic, click on the thumbnails icon at the top of the page.  There is also a timeline of events related to the Civil War that spans from 1859 to 1865. 

Online museum exhibits are a good way for teachers and students to access information that would typically only be available when visiting a museum.  This site also provides links to other resources on the web and in print related to the Civil War.

Apr 4, 2010

Virtual Math Manipulatives

The use of manipulatives, virtual or concrete, can help students build a better understanding of math concepts.  Manipulatives also help students represent about abstract concepts in a concrete way. Teachers then help students to connect these new concepts to their background knowlege.  Some of the advantages of using virtual manipulatives over concrete manipulatives include unlimited numbers or sets of manipulatives and customization.  What are Virtual Manipulatives? by Patricia Moyer, Johnna Bolyard, and Mark Spikell discusses different types of virtual manipulatives, classroom applications, and information about evaluation of virtual manipulative sites.  Learning Mathematics with Virtual Manipulatives also has information about how to use virtual manipulatives in the classroom, efficacy of manipulatives, and information about choosing appropriate manipulatives for teaching a concept.

A few sites with virtual math manipulatives are listed below:
  • National Library of Virtual Manipulatives
    • The NLVM was created at Utah State Universtiy with funding from the National Science foundation.  Users can search for activities by concept or by grade.  Each virtual manipulative has instructions and information for parents and teachers.
  • eNLVM
  • NCTM Illuminations
    • This resource site by the National Council of Teachers of Mathematics includes 105 online activivties, over 500 lessons, and links to other resources on the web.
  • Math Playground
  • Shodor Interactivate Activities
    • Users can find tools, activities, discussions, and lessons for different math concepts on this website. Activities on this site include Area Explorer, Tessellate!, Adjustable Spinner, Box Plot, and Linear Function Machine.
  • NEIRTEC Online Math Tools
  • Math Resources - Virtual Manipulatives
  • Visual Fractions
    • Models of fractions using circles and number lines.  There are also links to other games and resources for learning how to simplify, add, and subtract fractions.
  • Glencoe Virtual Manipulatives
    • Manipulatives on this site include algebra tiles, attribute blocks, base ten blocks, color tiles, two-color counters, spinners, geoboards, and a bucket balance.
  • Arcytech Educational Java Programs
    • This site includes several java applets for a variety of math concepts including
  • Math Tools
    • This site is part of the Math Forum @ Drexel and has a variety of web resources for teaching math.  Users can search the catalog to find resources including tools, lesson plans, stories, and activities.
  • BBC Schools
  • Hand Made Manipulatives
    • Although these are not virtual manipulatives, the printable manipulatives on Dr. Margo Lynn Mankus' site work well and allow all students to have their own set of manipulatives to use.

Apr 3, 2010

Our Documents

Our Documents is a website with 100 influential documents in American History.  It was created by the National Archives and Records Administration, National History Day, and USA Freedom Corps.  These documents were chosen because "they have helped shape the national character, and they reflect our diversity, our unity, and our commitment as a nation to continue our work toward forming 'a more perfect union.' "  Documents on this site include the Declaration of Independence, the Articles of Confederation, the patent for the cotton gin, Jefferson's secret message to Congress regarding the Lewis & Clark expedition, and the Monroe Doctrine.  Click here for a complete list of all of the documents on the site.  For each document there is detailed information, a document transcript,picture(s) of the document, and a high-resoultion downloadable PDF.  There are also extra resources for teachers including a Teacher Sourcebook with additional resources and ideas for lessons.

Apr 2, 2010

Free Web 2.0 Projects eBook

Terry Freedman's Amazing Web 2.0 Project Book is a compilation of lesson ideas and projects from 94 contributors.  The projects use a variety of web applications including Animoto, GoogleDocs, GoAnimate, Skype, VoiceThread, and Glogster.  Each project idea includes a description, challenges that had to be overcome, recommendations, and reactions/outcomes.  This is a great resource for educators learning more about using Web 2.0 applications in their classrooms.  Click here to download the free Amazing Web 2.0 Projects Book.

Apr 1, 2010


Prezi is a free web-based of presentation tool.  Unlike PowerPoint, Prezi does not use slides.  There is one large canvas that the user has the freedom to organize in any way.  Users can include text, bullets, embed pictures, pdf files, and video.  Users can also create paths for viewers to follow or allow viewers to move around the canvas freely.  Prezi can be accessed online from any computer or users can download their presentation to show offline.  The presentation embedded below from the Prezi website shows some of the features that can be used when creating a prezi. 

Teachers can sign up for free accounts with 500 MB of storage or opt for a paid subscription if they need more storage space.  There are also several reusable prezis that can be used as templates.  For more information about how to get started with Prezi, check out this How to Use Prezi guide

Prezis can be used in several different ways in the classroom.  It is a good way to present or review information in any subject area and is much more interesting than a standard presentation.