Tag Galaxy – Visual Search Engine

My of my favourite tools ( … and yet one I have not yet blogged about!) is Tag Galaxy.  Tag Galaxy is a great flash application that uses Papervision3D with beautiful transition effects to explore Flickr photos via virtual planetary systems.

 

 

To use the Tag Galaxy, you enter a tag in the search box (see below) and related tags appear with beautiful planetary systems – Easy!

 

 

The site will search for all photos tagged in Flickr with the tag (topic) you have entered, and will then create a 3D ‘globe’ that you can grab with your mouse and spin – very cool!

 

 

Each picture can then be clicked once to enlarge it, and clicked again to view any further information attached to the photo.

I have used this site many, many times in my classroom!  Most recently, I was teaching my students about a particular art style and used Tag Galaxy to compile photos of that art style for us to view and compare.

As the photos are gathered from Flickr, and have not been moderated for educational use, I recommend using this site with caution on individual computers.  In my classroom, to be safe, I only ever use the site on the interactive whiteboard so I can have complete control over the images the students see (and can spin away from anything I feel is inappropriate!). 

After passing this site on to a friend recently, I am excited to see it being used in many ways – both in and out of the education sector.  See Gold Coast’s ABC Open Producer Solua Middleton’s blog entry here to see how she is thinking of using the site.  Thank you for the mention Solua!

Tumblebooks – E-Books for E-Kids!

Whilst wandering around the internet collecting resources for my new unit, I ‘tumbled’ (excuse the pun!) across this fabulous resource – Tumblebooks.

TumbleBook Library is an online collection of TumbleBooks – animated, talking picture books which teach kids the joy of reading in a format they’ll love. TumbleBooks are created by adding animation, sound, music and narration to existing picture books in order to produce an electronic picture book which you can read, or have read to you.

The Tumblebooks interface is very clear and easy to use, with a fantastic navigation system that students young and old will be able to use. 

A great site to use in the classroom … and especially on the interactive whiteboards! :)

Psssssttt …. click here to log in to Tumble Books! ;)

 

Johnnie’s Math Page – Fantastic Interactive Resources!

Johnnie’s Math Page:  Interactive math tools, math activities and math fun for kids and their teachers

Johnnie’s Math Page is the site to find fun math for kids, math games, and even a little math homework help.  Interactive math activities from across the web have been organized by topic to make math learning enjoyable and interesting. 

For parents and teachers, you will find math lessons and free math worksheets as well as links to other math teaching resources.  For those who like a challenge, you will find free math games in the math puzzles section.

 

 

This site is very well organised, and has many fantastic resources to use in the classroom on an interactive whiteboard or individual computers.  A favourite of mine is the base 10 activity where the students ‘build’  a number by dragging the base 10 blocks to the page to create their number.  It’s a great activity that shows the visual representation, the number line, and can be modified to deal with ones, tens and/or hundreds – great when differentiating for students in your class.

 

Though quite heavy on Google advertisements (that may confuse some students), the site has a great collection of resources from around the web that more than makes up for it! 

Overall?  Definitely bookmark this site and use when you plan your numeracy program :) 

Onset & rime – word wheels resource

Word Wheels is a quick and easy to use interactive resource that helps teach the concept of onset and rime. It is from the ever popular CrickWeb site, and would be great for use on an interactive whiteboard.

If you get a chance, head to CrickWeb and have a look at some of the other fantastic resources available as well.

Topmarks – Educational Search Engine

If you’re anything like me, you spend forever searching the internet for that ‘perfect’ resource to help illustrate your point on a topic, or to engage a student whilst teaching a new skill.  Hours tick by, and you end up ‘exploring’ a variety of sites you may use ‘one day’ …. but not really what you were looking for. :)  Wouldn’t it be great if there was one location you could go that has already screened the educational sites, and weeded out the less than useful resources?  Well …. I found just such a site called Top Marks.

Topmarks is one of the largest independent educational websites in the UK.  It was established in 1998 with the aim of making it easy to find the very best free educational resources whilst providing a safe environment for children to use the world wide web effectively for learning.

According to the site, all of the content on Topmarks is carefully reviewed by qualified teachers and regularly re-checked because of the changing nature of the web.

The site has resources for just about every learning area you could want, interactive whiteboard resources and a great parent section.

We show how you can help your child with learning to read, a vital skill for accessing knowledge and information in the modern world. Our Learning Numbers article has advice on how you can help pre-school children learn and understand numbers.

What a great inclusion to the site!  Helping guide parents to enhance their child’s learning at home.  The parent section includes:

  • Cook to Learn
  • Sand & Water Play
  • Learning Numbers
  • Learning Words
  • Homework Help
  • Learning to Read
  • Toys and Games

Take the time to have a look around.  I am sure you’ll be excited by what you can find …. and how quickly you were able to find it!!! (I know I was ;) )

Become a moviemaker with Zimmer Twins

The Zimmer Twins is a fun way to incorporate technology into the classroom. Watch your students expand their vocabulary, practice proper writing habits, and become junior movie producers all at the same time!   The Zimmer Twins website is a fun and positive environment where kids can safely explore and exercise their creative muscles.

On the Zimmer Twins website, your students can:

  • Watch a starter (a short animation that ends with a cliff-hanger).
  • Create their own ending to the story by writing dialog for the characters and putting scenes together.
  • Save their work on the website for other kids to watch, rate and comment on.
  • Watch and rate movies made by other kids.

My husband has been using the Zimmer Twins in his classroom this semester, and has been amazed at just how much the students enjoy the site.  They use it on the IWB as a whole class and also as an independent computer activity during literacy rotations.  After one week of using it in the classroom, students began creating movies in their own time, and bringing them in to show the class. 

The only drawbacks (and they’re not really big ones) are that the films are limited in length and can only be saved to an online account. The good news is that the online account is free!  What a great, motivating site!  Two thumbs up!!

Teacher’s Pet

Teacher’s Pet launched in March 2010, and is definitely a site to watch.  With its clean, crisp design, Teacher’s Pet already has over a hundred KLA specific resources to use in your classroom.  The best thing about them is that …. you guessed it ….. they are FREE! :-) (although there seems to be plans to release curriculum packs you can purchase in the future)

As well as the usual free printable PDF’s. Teacher’s Pet will also house interactive resources for you computers and IWB’s as well as music. Whilst many sections still bear the ‘coming soon’ message, the quality of the resources that have been uploaded to date seems to be quite high.  Definitely one to keep an eye on ;-)  Join Teacher’s Pet on Twitter or Facebook to stay up-to-date.  Don’t forget to check out Dexter’s Doghouse blog for the latest news as well.

iBoard – Fantastic IWB site for Juniors

iBoard contains hundreds of free-to-use, highly visual, interactive resources for lower primary school.  They are powerful teaching tools that can be used on any interactive whiteboard.  They are also simple enough for a child to use independently or with minimal support.

With its simple navigational structure on the left hand side, and thumbnails of each activity, the site will appeal to young students, and encourage them to explore on their own. 

Areas cover for Reception (our prep!), Year 1 and 2 include:

  • Numeracy
  • Literacy
  • New Literacy (two thumbs up for this section!!!)
  • Science
  • History
  • Geography
  • RE
  • ICT
  • Early Years

This site is a fantastic site to use in the lower year levels, but also great for use in special education and ESL (English as a Second Language) lessons.  If you are only just beginning to use your IWB, this type of site is fantastic to get you going – and seeing the real benefits of the valuable resource available to you and your students.

Primary Games Arena – Full of fun resources!

Thank you to John who commented on my ABCya! post for leading me to this fun-filled site called the Primary Games Arena.  According to their site:

Primary Games Arena is the largest resource of Primary School games in the universe. Webmasters and developers can enjoy the use of our API which allows them to register games & feed scores from their games straight onto Primary Games Arena! Kids have full national curriculum game coverage. Please be eSafe on this website and never give your real name.”

Covering most subjects, there really does seem to be a game for everything.  After wandering around the site, I am very impressed with the resources that have been sourced and organised. 

The ability to locate resources through both subject and year level is very useful, and I also like the side bar that includes ‘today’s top games’ for you to see what is popular.  There are some advertisements, but they are appropriate for the audience and are clear to see that they are ads (so as not to be confusing for younger students).

One issue I have with the site is that only some resources open within the primary games arena page (ie their banner and navigation remaining at the top of the page).  Unfortunately, some of the resources take the user away from the main site.  Whilst this will not be a problem with upper school students, it does limit its use for lower school students.  Of course, there’s always a way around everything …… if the teacher uses the primary games arena to source the games they require, they can always just link directly to that game in a virtual classroom or class website. It seems a shame though.

 Overall, a very useful site that will be a great resource to use in the classroom!  Thanks again John :-)

Interactive Life Cycle of plants

This ‘Life Cycle of Plants‘ website is a great interactive resource for teaching students about the life cycle of plants.  The students can explore how the seed would react to different growth situations such as light but no water, water and light, or water but no light.

Not only does the site contain the interactive resources, but it also has a link to a 2 page worksheet document.  Whilst the info may be geared towards middle to upper classes, the site (and 2nd worksheet) could still be modified for the lower year levels.

Another bonus of the site is that it also has a link to a larger whiteboard version.

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