Saturday, March 28, 2009

Smart Boards: Try a Jigsaw Puzzle!

Are you looking for a novel way to use SmartBoards in your class? Why not have your students work on a puzzle? This could be a fun stations activity for younger students, a chance to practice shape recognition or even a rainy weather "in-day" lunch option.

Take a look at the JigZone. You can pick the design and number of pieces. And you can compette in teams to see who can assemble the puzzles the fastest. Viewed full-screen on a SmartBoard, it's great fun.

Here's one to try:

Click to Mix and Solve

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Reader's Advisory: Bookwink

One of the great things about working with kids is the opportunity to suggest titles you think they'll enjoy, and then talk about the book with them later. But how can we keep on top of all the great material out there?

Here's a nice site (Bookwink) to help busy teachers and TLs that suggests books by theme, title, grade and author.

It's definitely worth a look.

Friday, March 13, 2009

Create Comics on-line

I know that many teachers have begun using comic creation as a way to springboard into composition: students can use the "3 panel" format to sketch out a scene and then flesh out the scenario in prose. For younger students, it can also be a great way to build simple stories....and it's fun too!

Comic Life gives students lots of great options, but if you don't have a Mac, or you don't have it installed, you may feel left out.

There are two web-based comic creators that just might fill the gap. While your options are limited (scenes, props, characters are all preset), you can still have fun building a scene. Stripgenerator has a very "Jetsons" feel and gives extra options if you create an account. My preference would be to create without an account and then print or take a screen shot (SHIFT-APPLE-4) and save to the desktop. The downside of this site is that some of the user created strips might not be appropriate for a younger audience.

A more "realistic" looking strip is easy to create with "Make Beliefs". What I like with this second option is the many story suggestions and idea starters that the site provides. (In addition, there is no requirement to create an account and students aren't distracted by work others have created.)


Just as a little extra, if you are planning to teach comics as an art form, there is a wealth of info in the gURL site to get you "savvy". (I'd use this more as a teacher resource since some of the referring links might not work with younger students!)

Monday, March 9, 2009

Easy-to-use Web-based Whiteboard

I've tried a number of "whiteboard" products and I have to admit that Dabbleboard is easy and intuitive to use. While is doesn't have every single feature (ie resizable text), you can manipulate objects quickly, draw free-hand, insert text, add colour and insert images. You can download your production as a png file or sign up and keep it in your account. Dabbleboard also allows you to create a library of shapes you use often, so you don't have to start from scratch each time. And if you want to illustrate a point quickly, DB lets you draw without having an account: just click on the "Get Started" button and choose the new/or clear icon in the upper lefthand corner of the draw window.

Here's a sample: