Jamendo: Free Downloadable Creative Commons Music

I'm thinking this music would be appropriate for students to use in their projects and presentations. Anyone else used this music yet?

Image Search: Creative Commons Filter

Yahoo Image Search for "clouds" with CC filter ON

If you are like me, you are always looking for great images to use in your slideshows and images that are appropriate for students to use in their presentations. However, with copyright law, and the fact that's it's so easy to right click on virtually any image these days, this ease sends kids the message that if it's this easy it must be legal.  As teachers we must be citizens and models of ethical behavior including modeling the behavior of legal use and attribution of images licensed by the creator for reuse in accordance with the Creative Commons of copyright law.   Now, both Google Image Search (Usage Rights filter) and Yahoo Image Search (Creative Common License filter), through the Advanced Search button, gives the option of searching for images that allows for reuse and/or remix.

Web 2.0 Tool - Jing: Easy Free Screenshot Grabber

Say hello to the "sun"....A friend and university colleague shared this cool tool with me this weekend and I LOVE IT...Jing.  The free version is all you need to capture exactly what you want on the screen using the cross hairs to select and an instant SAVE button right there! (jpeg) In the free version is also the capability to capture a few minutes of narrated video of your screen shots....like Camtasia, but easier. Check it out at Jing.

Presentation Zen: How to Not Be Boring While Presenting

Bethany Smith, in the College of Education at North Carolina State University has some excellent points on what life IS left of Powerpoint.  I also found inspiration (hers too, I think) at http://www.presentationzen.com/.  Bethany keeps the Creative Commons images that she finds at her delicious.com bookmark. 

Kids' Games, Animals, Photos, Stories, and More -- National Geographic Kids

Kids' Games, Animals, Photos, Stories, and More -- National Geographic Kids

ABCya! Word Clouds

Article Source: Digging the Dirt @ Time for Kids Online

List of Creative Commons Image Directories and Sites


List of Creative Commons Image Directories and Sites - using photos and images linked from this directory you can give proper attribution when re-using photos and images for your own purpose.   Simply give credit at the bottom right of each slide like the following:

Then, when you find images that you've searched long and hard for, save them as a delicious bookmark so you don't have to search too far to find them again. 

Pics4Learning | Free photos for education

3rd Reading Group:Guided Reading Lesson

1. First I found a Soils (3rd Grade science content) article at http://www.kids.nationalgeographic.com/, here is the article specifically. Time for Kids Home Digging the Dirt
2. Then I reformatted the article using http://www.joliprint.com/ so we could mark up the article during our group.
3. Then I created a Talking and Learning multiple choice assessment.
4. I checked out 3 iPads (2 students shared one) and we talked through each questions.  The idea was not to let them take this on their own, but use it as a vehicle to teach them how to navigate through multiple choice answers and refer back to the text.    It worked really well! 

Web 2.0 Tools: Joliprint & Kwout

Joliprint is a great website especially if you find web-based content (like a non-fiction) article that you want to print for students without ads, banners, headers, etc.  Copy and paste the web-based article into the URL box at http://www.joliprint/ and select Joliprint It! and wa-la, a pdf is clean, neat pdf is created. Awesome!

And Kwout.com takes a screenshot of ANYTHING on the web like I did for both of the images above and creates an html code you can embed into your blog, website, whatever. 
Two great capture tools!

Google Docs - "Forms"

Google Docs is my absolute most favorite new cool tool this year.  Among the many applications in Google Docs (Documents) are Forms...the over-simple name for surveys.  Waaaaayyyy easier than Survey Monkey and totally free. At first I started using Forms to collect quick pieces of information from the staff, but they are a very 21st way to gather pre-unit and assessment data.  The above pre-unit survey is a KWL before beginning a unit on Immigration.  Instead of standing in front the class to create a KWL on chart paper while students all wave their hands, you give them a link and they each log in to answer the questions...kids love it and their responses are surprisingly refreshing.  Then all  responses are "dumped" into one file...pretty cool, huh?  Here is what the kids actually see, Immigration KWL.

This is another way I've used Forms-- as an assessment.  So, in Reader's Workshop we've been working on the reading strategy of Questioning and I've explicitly taught them the methods known as QAR (Question Answer Relationships) so they've gotten very good at reading text and asking the four question types, Right There, Think & Search, Author & Me, and On My Own.  As a way to see if they've got it, I created this short formative assessment that will let me know who's got it and who still needs help with the four types of questions. Here's the way the kids see it: QAR Assessment

Google Image Tools: Guess-the-Google & Montage-a-Google

"Guess-the-Google is an addictive guessing game based on Google's image search. It turns the mental activity of searching into a fun, visual and engaging game where people can enjoy the challenge of being the fastest and most efficient at making that connection between search terms and their results."   The computer keeps score for you...play it whole class, small group or individually. You might be wondering why I added this, besides the thinking skills required to do this, it seems like it also has vocabulary and language benefits, too. 

 Montage-a-Google is a fun image creation tool that lets you create large colorful montages using Google's image search.  Enter a search word and 20 google images will auto-fill to create the montage. It takes 3 seconds to make one and you are given two options at the end of the three seconds--download it or make another...hours of fun, here.  For the image above, I entered the word SPRING.  This image was sent to Google labs as another example of how Montage-a-Google can be used--only delta, all that printer ink.

Web 2.0 Literacy Tools - Spell with Flickr

letter H IMG_7079 L L letter O
Use this one-page site, Spell with Flickr, to create a variety of different fonts for titles, blogs and student projects.  Our firewall prevents this site to work at school....however, it works great at home.  Generate any text in 2 seconds.

Web 2.0 Literacy Tools - Wordle

Wordle made by First Graders with character trait words generated from the story, portrayed by the main character, Alejandro.  Alejandro's Gift by Richard E. Albert.  Available at Amazon for .01 & found a Vocabulary PPT for the book online...there is really quite a lot of resources on the Internet for this title.  The kids really enjoyed it, it's simple and sweet, no frills or nonsense.  I highly recommend it. 

 I created this Wordle using only letters from the alphabet in three letter string combinations and imported it into a Smartboard Notebook file.  The intention was to create a Smartboard literacy center for Kindergarten.  After modeling, students would follow these directions:
1. Put a circle around an "m"
2. Put a triangle around an "a"
3. Put a square around an "s"
4. Put a rectangle around an "l"....etc.

 A great activity for the first day of school or any day of the year, it's literacy and math.  

Really, the Wordle possibilities are endless....leave a comment and let everyone know www.wordle.net how you use Wordle to enhance literacy instruction in your class. 

Answers to Promote Higher Order Thinking

It is true that Higher Order Thinking is a big buzz word in education right now, and rightly so, we need to teach kids how to think at higher levels.  I found this great article and thought it was well-written and usefully understandable...I'm pretty sure I can make some quick and easy changes to the way I respond to student questions.  Check it out!

How to Increase Higher Order Thinking

Improving K-3 Reading Comprehension

I thought it symbolic to kick off my new Hello Literacy blog with a first post about best practices in reading comprehension. I ran across this publication while searching another of my favorite websites (www.fcrr.org)and overall, think it's awesome...87 pages of reading goodness! Don't be fooled by the "ed.gov" in the link, the disclaimer on page 3 seals the deal. Some of my favorite reading researchers, Nell Duke and David Pearson, had a big part of this document. See it for yourself!

Improving K-3 Reading Comprehension
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