Friday, May 23, 2008

Teaching Copyright

What is fair use? What is attribution? How much of a video or song can I use in my presentation? These questions can all be answered on this student-friendly Cyberbee page.

Thursday, May 22, 2008


Students love to play bingo. In this post you'll see two bingo generators.
With these you can make bingo cards for a variety of topics including vocabulary words. Type your words in the bingo generator. Rather than calling out the vocabulary word, call out the definition so the students will have to know the meaning. If you're studying states and capitals, you could enter the states then call out the capitals, or the other way around. What about putting in random numbers, then calling out 5 x 5? or 12 ÷4? I'm sure you'll come up with lots of ideas.
I like using bingo cards for literature books. Students have to read books in a row, column, diagonal, or 4 corners. I've made them with Jan Brett books, Newbery Award and Honor books, various genres, and authors. This encourages students to read a variety of books.
I found the reading level of each book on the Newbery Award list. Most of them are 4th grade through 7th grade. Then I color coded them for each reading level. I decided which student received which color. This worked really well!
Depending on the level of the books, this could be their free reading over an entire semester or a nine weeks period. Extra credit could be given to students who read extra books. Of course, you need some way to evaluate their comprehension of the book. There are zillions of ways to do this. I have a long list I'll share in another post.
Try either one of these sites:
Print Custom Bingo Cards
Educational Press
Educational Press also has generators for flash cards, study guides, game boards, and more.

Wednesday, May 7, 2008

Thesis Builder and Outliner

I know I suggest a lot of websites and I say the same thing - this one is really amazing! Well, this one IS really amazing!
By sixth grade students start writing thesis statements. This is not always an easy task for them. This thesis builder will alleviate some of the pain associated with writing a thesis statement. It walks the students through the parts of a thesis statement. Students will enter their topic, then enter arguments for their opinion and arguments against their opinion, and their thesis statement will be generated. It will probably need a little tweaking but that can be done easily. An added bonus is the button that says Make an Online Outline. The outliner immediately plugs in the information from their thesis statement and then guides the students with suggestions to complete their outline.
Writing a thesis statement couldn't be any easier!

Monday, May 5, 2008

Basic Math Skills Practice

I'd like to suggest 2 sites for students to use to practice their basic math facts. Students will enjoy competing against themselves for higher scores, for 100% in a shorter time period, for solving harder problems with greater accuracy! For those who are struggling, they can practice their facts in the privacy of their own home and not have to feel threatened by others. You may have to encourage your students to practice the operation they are most uncomfortable with. We usually love to do the things we are already good at!
A+Math ( has several options but my favorite are the worksheets. First of all choose worksheets, then choose Online worksheets. Students can choose the operation then choose their level of difficulty. This is great for differentiated instruction. You could have an entire class working on this at one time and everyone could be working at their own level. If parents ask how they can help their child learn their math facts at home, direct them to this site. They can print off worksheet after worksheet for their child to work on. I have an idea the more they practice online though the better they'll become at their facts.
The other site I'd like to mention is Math Mania. There are lots of interactive math activities here! Students can choose the Math Facts Practice Online and time their efforts. I think students will be challenged by this to improve their scores and times. Explore this site for more games and drills.
Well, I just can't quit without mentioning another one of my favorites: This is practically an entire year's worth of math curriculum. Great site for your students to get used to. They'll want to practice each concept that you introduce throughout the year.

Sunday, May 4, 2008

Scribble States

At Scribble States, students connect the dots to draw a state. Then they are given a multiple choice question to guess which state they just drew. They must hit every dot in order to get to the question. Turn the volume up as the sound makes you want to work faster!
Thanks Jera for reminding me of this one!

Friday, May 2, 2008

Comic Life

Comic Life by Plasq is one of my favorite applications! Comic Life is available for both Mac and PC. Comic Life is a very simple desktop publishing software that can be used for making comics, storyboards, diagrams, newsletters and lots more. Students love using Comic Life especially when they can add their own picture using Photo Booth.
If you need some ideas for using Comic Life in the classroom, visit Comic Life Meets the Curriculum. You'll find many student samples and templates to download. Great site!
We've added a few more resources for using Comic Life on our Buhler Tech Wiki.

Spelling City

Now this is an amazing site - Spelling City. Here you'll be able to access over 30,000 spelling words, including plurals, contractions, Dolch words and tricky words. There are several games students can play using these word lists.
I was surprised when I put in my own list of words then had the site 'test me.' It pronouced my words (in a human voice) and used my words in a sentence! So there you go! You can add your own spelling lists, have your students play a version of hangman (hang mouse) and other games with your lists. You can login to the site and create lists over literature books, science vocabulary, or whatever you want. Then your students can search for your list and play the games with those words. They can even take a spelling test with the computer pronouncing the word for them. This is a great tool for some independent and differentiated spelling activities.