Jul 23, 2010

Microsoft Education Resources

The Microsoft Education website has several free lesson plans, resources, and guides for teachers.  Resources on the site include free software and applications, and templates.

The lesson plans can be used to teach specific content-related concepts as well as introducing or practicing using different Microsoft software programs.  Users can search for lesson plans and how-to articles by title, software program/ Microsoft product, and/or grade level.   Users can also browse the lesson plans and how-to articles by subject area.  Lesson plan ideas and how-to documents include using Microsoft Excel to create a timeline, creating a class newsletter with Microsoft Publisher, and telling a story using Windows Live Movie Maker.

Jul 22, 2010

Math and the Movies

Video clips can be a great way to "hook" student attention at the beginning of a lesson.  Here are a few websites with video clips from television shows or movies that involve math, lesson ideas, and lists of movies with math scenes. 

  • Mathematics in Movies is a collection of movie clips with math-related content.  It is created by Oliver Knill from the Department of Mathematics at Harvard University.  Movie clips can be viewed using Flash player (.swf) files or Quicktime. 
  • Math and the Movies Resource List includes information about different movie scenes that pertain to mathematics.  A brief synopsis of the story line, a description of the math problem/concept, and a related lesson or worksheet.
  • Simpsons Math has text transcripts of math-related scenes from television episodes, images from the show, and classroom activity sheets.
  • Mathematical Fiction is a list of books, plays movies, and television shows that involve math concepts.  Users can browse the list by media type, genre, topic, title, or year. 

Library of Congress: American Memory

The Library of Congress American Memory Project is a collection of over 70 collections of digitized documents, photographs, audio clips, and movies.  Users can browse through the collections by topic, search for a paricular item, or browse through all of the collections.  The Library of Congress also has resources and lessons for teachers using primary source documents.

MegaPenny Project

The MegaPenny Project helps students visualize large numbers using pennies.  The site shows different amounts of pennies from a single penny up to a quintillion pennies.  Users can see the value of the pennies, size of the pile, weight, and area.


Zamzar is a free resource that allows you to convert your files to different formats. You can convert documents, images, audio, and video files. Zamzar also allows you to convert and download video files from online hosting services such as YouTube. Once a file has been converted you will recieve an email with a link to your file. These files can then be downloaded onto your computer.

Jul 21, 2010


Scriblink is a free online digital whiteboard where users can collaborate in real-time.

"Sorta like pen and paper, minus the dead trees, plastic, and the inconvenience of being at the same place at the same time."  - Scriblink About page
When you go to the Scriblink homepage, you will see a blank Scriblink board.  This board is private and only people that you invite can view your board.  Collaborators can be invited by email or by sending them a link to your whiteboard.  No registration is required for this site.

Users can choose from a variety of tools to write on their digital whiteboard.  These tools include a pen, line tool, shapes, text boxes, a grid, and an eraser.  Users can also change the size of the pen/tools and the color. 

There is an on-screen chat window that can be used to communicate with other users.  Collaborators can also communicate with one another using the VOIP conferencing tool. 

Once you are finished with your project you can print, email, send, or save the file.

Study Like a Scholar, Scholar

"Study Like a Scholar, Scholar" by New Spice

Jul 20, 2010


Picnik is a free online photo editing tool.  Users can upload photos and then rotate, crop, or resize the image.  Exposure, red-eye, and color can be adjusted as well.  Users can also add special effects, text, graphics, speech bubbles, and frames.  The finished image can be downloaded or emailed to another person.  Possible ideas for the classroom include writing activities, annotating current or historical images, and adding speech bubbles to pictures of important historical figures.

Related post: Six-Word Memoirs

Bart's Chalkboard

From "No Loan Again, Naturally" (Season 20, Episode 12)

Colonial Williamsburg: Life in the 18th Century

Colonial Williamsburg: Life in the 18th Century is a resource for images, biographies, articles, and descriptions of life in the colonies.  The site is divided into several different sections including people, places, life, clothing, and gardens.  In the section about the people of colonial Williamsburg, users can browse biographies of people by gender, race, occupation, or family.  The section about places in colonial Williamsburg include different types of buildings and a virtual tour.  This site also has a section with resources for teachers.

Jul 14, 2010

Graphic Organizers

Need a graphic organizer?  Check out these sites for downloadable organizers and interactive web tools.
Related post: Bubbl.us Brainstorming Tool

Jul 13, 2010

Story Starters

Scholastic's Story Starters is a writing prompt generator.  Users choose a grade level, then click the spin lever to create the prompt.  Each prompt consists of four sections.  Users can change the word or phrase in a section of the prompt by clicking on the "spin this wheel" button below each part.

Here are a few prompts that were created:
  • Describe an outfit for an orange milkshake who sneaks into the movies.
  • Write a quick fairytale about a grouchy plant who likes to sing.
  • Write a postcard to a lonely flamingo who travels in a time machine.
  • Write a myth about a self-conscious weasel who gets lost in the Amazon.
  • Write a brief biography about a know-it-all screenwriter who is the worst singer in the world.
Then, users can click the "next" button if they want to type their story using the interactive tool.  They will then be able to choose a format for their story (notebook, letter, newspaper, or postcard).  Users can create drawings for their writing as well.  Stories can then be printed out.

Jul 10, 2010

Our Courts

Our Courts is a web-based education project to help students learn more about civics and inspire them to become more active participants in our government.  It was developed to carry out Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O'Connor's vision for improving civics education.

Our Courts has resources for teachers including lessons about the Constitution, foundations of the government, and persuasive writing. There are also videos, lesson plans, and information about the Supreme Court, state governments, and tribal governments. 

There are also three interactive games on the site.  These are simulation games and require users to analyze parts of the Constitution, determine the best argument, and apply these concepts to real world situations. 
  • Do I Have a Right? - In this game users run their own law firm.  Clients come into the firm and users must listen to their case, determine if they have a right to go to court, and then match them up with a lawyer that best understands their issue and the Constitutional amendment that gives them that protection or right.  Teachers can download a game guide (.pdf) as well as a lesson plan about interpreting the Constitution.
  • Argument Wars - Users debate historical Supreme Court Cases by determining which argument is best and supporting them.  The cases you can choose from include New Jersey v. TLO, Brown v. Board, Miranda v. Arizona, Gideon v. Wainwright, and Texas v. Johnson.  Teachers can also download a game guide (.pdf) and lesson plan (.pdf)  for this game.
  • Supreme Decision - In this game users assume the role of a law clerk and must listen to the judges' deliberations, learn about the issues, and determine which side of the issue they agree with.  This game helps users to learn more about how the Supreme Court works.  Teachers can download a game guide (.pdf) and lesson plan for this game as well.

Math Slice

On the Math Slice website users can play math games and puzzles like Math Tree (factor trees), Drive Thru (decimal addition/consumer application problems), and Math Wheel (math terms).  Users can also create custom math worksheets on topics such as money, rounding, scientific notation, solving equations, and fractions.

Jul 9, 2010

National Park Service - Webrangers

The National Park Service Webrangers site has interactive activities about the US National Parks.  Users can search for activities by category, keyword, or difficulty level.  Activity categories include people, animals, history, parks, nature, science, and puzzles.  Users can sign up to be a webranger or view activities as a guest.  Here are a few activities from the site.
  • Photo Explore - View old photographs to learn more about people and places from the past.
  • Railroad Connections - Learn about how trains connect to the national parks by solving mysteries.
  • Yesterday and Today - Compare tools from the past to tools we use now.

Jul 1, 2010

Merriam-Webster Visual Dictionary Online

Merriam-Webster's Visual Dictionary Online has 6,000 images and over 20,000 terms and definitions that are divided into themes.  Users can browse through the 15 themes or search for terms or images.  Some images are of individual terms and others are detailed diagrams.  This is great tool to help understand complex definitions and to explain the mechanics of different objects.