Sunday, June 13, 2010

Summer Tech Tuesday Treat

Happy Last Tech Tuesday (of the school year)! I found some time between checking essays and entering in grades to put together some info on some great sites for you to take a look at over the summer. I wanted to take a quick moment and thank all of you who have bee supportive of the blog and have sent me words of thanks and encouragement. It's nice to know that the blog is helpful to some of you. I will continue to post over the summer from time to time, so please add my blog to a RSS feed or just pop in and take a look around to see if there is anything new. Thanks again for the support and I hope you have an awesome summer.

Social Studies!

Here are two sites care of ILearnTechnology. Kelly Tenkely's site is always full of amazing reviews and these two American Government sites are amazing. I know I've said this before, but if you are not checking out her site on a regular basis, you are missing out on tons of great material for your classroom.

The first site is the Branches of Government. It's a very simple game that has students drag leaves from the ground onto the three different branches of the government tree. Each leaf had a fact pertaining to a specific branch of the government. The goal is to place all of the leaves on the correct branched with the fewest mistakes. This would be perfect for use with the Smartboard since you can have students get up and drag and drop the answers by hand. It's a fun and simple game that can be used for review after discussing the three branches of government.

This site is an epic game. Road to the Capital places the user, in this case, the class, in an election against a politician that wants to ban and review all media for kids. As a class, or as individual students in a lab, you can review important case information on Freedom of Speech, Assembly, Religion and other important rights and then go to different parts of the map for mini-quizzes on the materials you have studied. Each mini-quiz will award you poll points. The goal is to end up with more points than your opponent and win the election. I sat down and played this game for over 30 minutes and had a blast.

This is a great way to teach the different aspects of our electoral process and the importance of individual freedoms in a way that students can understand. I highly recommend that Social Studies teachers take a look at this site and think of a way to use it in class next year. Very rarely are they fun and interactive ways to teach government, but this site is the exception. I really think students learning about government would take away some important information if this site is used.


Wordia is a site I only recently found through Twitter and I'm still exploring. I have high hopes for this site and it is currently working on a school version for users. The gist of the site is that it takes everyday words and gives you the standard dictionary definition. Next to the Standard Definition, there is a video of a person's view of the word, the connotation. The idea behind the British site is to make stronger connections to words beyond the standard definitions. The word Pitch is a great example of SD and Connotation. While the Lion is a bit goofy, the point is well made that there are words that have other meaning besides the SD.

The site has one vocabulary quiz game and a couple more on the horizon. It's always good to see more vocabulary games on the Internet. The more practice students can have with new words, they will become stronger readers and writers. The school version will help build those skills as well.

The school version of the program, once it's up and running, will allow schools to upload their own videos and share within the school or district only. This keeps the site safe for kids to use at school or at home. Comments can be moderated and approved to keep the site safe and appropriate for all ages.

I would love to use this in conjunction with my daily vocabulary words. I could have students record their own meaning of words and post them to the site and have other students comment on them. This would allow students a different way to learn vocabulary instead of looking up words and staring at a page. Working with the vocabulary words will hit far higher on Blooms than staring at a piece of notebook paper with definitions. As this site grows, I look forward to seeing what other things it has to offer for students and teachers to help grow vocabulary.

That's All Folks...

I hope all of you have a great summer and come back with a fresh set of batteries. If you have questions or ideas, please feel free to leave a comment on the blog and I'll get an email. See ya! :-)

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