Too Cool for School Tools

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Here are some of my fave online tools for today’s #msSunFun post!

www.Animoto.com

If you haven’t used Animoto, you need to check it out!  It’s free, extremely easy to use yet so professional looking!  I try to take a lot of pictures of my students working and put together Animoto’s now and help parents see some of the things their students are doing in Algebra.  We are working on a statistics unit right now, so took the kids outside yesterday to hula hoop and jumprope to gather some data.  Haven’t pulled this year’s Animoto yet, so here’s a link to one from a previous class.

www.VoiceThread.com

I love to have the kids reflect on their learning – it’s a valuable skill and VoiceThread is a great way for kids to comment on their work.  One of my favorite ways to use VoiceThread is to gather work from a unit on the Iditarod.  Students choose a musher, create a Glogster about their musher (another cool online program if you haven’t tried it), develop a word problem related to the Iditarod, make an Animoto about their musher and finally create something that reflects a part of what they learned in the unit.  Students pull all of these elements into a VoiceThread and then reflect on what they liked, didn’t like, and how they could have improved their unit.  Here’s a link to an example one of my students did on DeeDee Jonrowe.  I love how she comments on the things she would do differently if she did the unit again

www.Wordle.net

Wordle creates a visual representation of text – the more frequently a word appears in a passage, the larger in appears in the Wordle.  I’ve seen this used in Social Studies to analyze he content of a speech, or in literature to look at the use of repetition (as in “Nevermore” in the Raven).  I’m very visual, and I love the way Wordle works and how you can change color, text and layouts.  I’ve used this in Algebra by having students summarize topics.  Last year they wrote summaries as we were finishing our unit on slope.  I gathered all of their summaries and put them into one Wordle.  It was so cool to see the emphasized content from the unit based on what the kids put in their summaries.  I took the wordle, enlarged it and put it on the bulletin board:

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http://grooveshark.com/ is a new tool that I have just started using.  @Fouss, @jreulbach and I were talking about creating playlists of our students’ favorite music.  @jreulbach set up a google form and @Fouss said she uses GrooveShark because you can stream the music without having to download it.  I LOVE this.  We are having some bandwidth issues at school so streaming isn’t working too well, but they hope to have the issue corrected by the end of the month and I have our playlists ready!

Our district has embraced www.Edmodo.com this year and it has been a great way to share content and connect with students.  I’ve posted a few videos for them to watch at home so we can spend more time doing activities in class with less “stand and deliver” instruction, but the jury’s still out on how effective this is.  What I really like so far is how the kids have utilized it to build their own PLN.  Sometimes they will post to the class about how they are struggling with a concept.  They often will respond to each other before I have the opportunity to respond – it’s awesome.  Another new tool for me this year is www.EverNote.com.  Although my student’s are not using it, I have been utilizing it for keeping track of all of my meeting notes this year.  I love how I can access the content from anywhere, and it’s really been useful in helping me organize, which of course, ultimately helps my students 🙂

Well, like “bright copper kettles and warm woolen mittens,” these are a few of my favorite things.  Looking forward to reading other posts to find new items to add to the ToolBox!

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About merryfwilliams

High school math teacher and mom of 3 amazing kids. I have a high maintenance husky and am adding a knitting obsession to the juggling routine. @merryfwilliams on Twitter
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2 Responses to Too Cool for School Tools

  1. bboydelgado says:

    Reblogged this on The List Goes onandonandon and commented:
    As a math teacher, you can never have too many resources. I am beginning to notice that I am becoming a nerd for teaching

  2. Thanks! I totally agree that you just cannot have too many resources!

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