Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Tech Tuesday for March 1

Here is the Tech Tuesday for March 1. We have a spelling site, a science site and a math site. I also have more information on the conference I'm putting together in May. Also, check out the TheTowerPulse.net if you haven't stopped by recently. The kids are doing great things. Feel free to email me with any questions. Have a great day!

The Spelling Bee

The Spelling Bee from Annenberg Media is a great free site for students of all grades that need to work on their spelling skills. There are many different things I love about this site, but here are just a couple.

It allows the user to choose the grade level. That doesn’t seem like a crazy feature, but the site has grades 1 – 12! Grades 1 – 5 are separate levels and the following grades are grouped like this: 6 – 8, 9 – 10 and 11 – 12. Most spelling sites tend to stop with the Middle School or Junior High grade level, but this site goes all the way through high school. I have too many high school students that have trouble spelling without the computer. The Spelling Bee can help students in all grade levels.

Another awesome feature is the way the words are presented. The words are not isolated; they are integrated as part of sentences that are read aloud. Each word fills in a blank and the goal of the user is to spell the word in the correct blank. Using words in sentences is a far better way to learn vocabulary and practice spelling. The Spelling Bee does a nice job pulling it all together.

As spelling sites go, The Spelling Bee is one of my favorites and it can really help those students that struggle with spelling at school. This site is worth a bookmark.
Try Science!

At a young age, many kids love Science, but grow out of it. TryScience.org is a great site that can help grow and nurture the passion for Science in kids. According to TryScience.org,

TryScience.org is your gateway to experience the excitement of contemporary science and technology through on and offline interactivity with science and technology centers worldwide. Science is exciting, and it's for everyone! That's why TryScience and over 400 science centers worldwide invite you to investigate, discover, and try science yourself.”

TryScience.org offers fun and interactive experiments that young children can try from the comfort of their own home and without the mess! From topics ranging from Chemistry to Space Sciences, a large variety of topics are covered to support the varied interests of kids.

TryScience.org also provides live camera feeds of Science Centers from around the country. Students can see anything from dinosaurs in Maryland to submarines in Oregon. It’s a great chance to see some amazing museums without stepping foot outside.

If parents are looking for more hands-on options for their kids, TryScience.org provides experiments that can be done at home. This is a great way to bring the science from the computer to the kitchen. Although working on the computer can be fun, getting your hands a little dirty with a science experiment can be even more fun.

TryScience.org is a great site dedicated to bringing science to kids all over the world. If you have a child that loves science, they will love TryScience.org. It is worth a bookmark for future use.


Teachers are always looking for ways to make Math more exciting. Now, there is a site that aims to do just that! Sumdog is a very fun and exciting site that turns basic math numeracy into competitive games for kids. Kids can sign up for a free account and challenge students from all over the world. Kids can race cars or play musical instruments to achieve various goals. However, the car will not go or you will hit the wrong note if you are unable to answer the math questions presented.

There are 10 different levels ranging from basic addition to complex multiplication and division tables. Students can adjust the level of difficulty as they play to give themselves a more difficult challenge. Each account will keep track of statistics so kids can see how they have done over time. Sumdog is a wonderful site that takes the creativity found in the gaming world and mixes it with the world of Math. This site is a great way to get kids hooked on playing educational games with friends and family instead of spending too much time playing games with little to no educational value at all.

Teachers can set up free accounts for the students in their room and keep track of student progress as a class. This is another fun way to incorporate computer games in the classroom. The students might think it is free time, but it will also be learning time. Overall, Sumdog is worth bookmarking on your computer.

Edcamp Detroit

The spots are filling up fast and will be practially gone after the state tech conference. Sign up soon!
Last May, a bunch of teachers organized an event called #edcampPhilly. The event was an unconference. The cool thing about an unconference is that all of the sessions are run by the people who show up. The schedule is loose to allow people to talk about whatever they want. #edcampPhilly was a huge success and edcamps started to appear all over the country. I attended one in New York City and Kansas City to see how they worked and meet some friends that I've been working with online for a few months. After seeing how they operated, I'm proud to announce that #edcampDetroit is open for registration! After tons of planning and organziation, we have a location (Wayne State University's College of Education), a date (Saturday May 7), Sponsors (Click the link to see. More are being added every day) and a price (Free!).

I have spent a ton of time this past year attending conferences and learning many great things. Despite some of the awesome sessions I attended, I always seemed to learn the most from talking and sharing with other teachers around me. The purpose of an edcampis to connect the teachers directly. Teachers have so many great ideas and practices, but they are not often given a chance to share them with others in their own school. Edcamp is a way to bring these teachers with great ideas together from all over to help the students in the classroom.

I would love to see a strong showing from my District at this event. I think I teach in one of the best districts in the country and would love to show everyone the amazign things that our teachers do each and every day. This conference is not a tech conference! This conference is about sharing ideas that work. Best practices for teaching various subject matter. Administrations isues could be addressed. There are countless topics and many conversations that can be had because we all work so hard at our jobs and it would be just greedy not to share with other teachers eager to learn.

We are limited in space (250 Max), so please click here to register. Space is filling up and will get jammed after we spread the word in March at MACUL, so sign up sooner than later. Maybe our district would even give us conference or workshop hours for attending (cough cough hint hint). Please pass this conferecne along to any other teachers you might now. A ton of work goes into putting on a free conference and I would love to share it with some of the best teachers I know. Thanks in advance.

Here is a video #edcampPhilly put together that does a nice job explaining #edcamp.

Give these great tools a try and see what they can do for you and your students.

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