Posts Tagged websites

Add Some “Zip” to Your Teacher Blog

While your teacher blog can be an effective channel of communication for students, parents, and the community at large, let’s face it; without any images, your Teacher Webpage can appear a bit…well…boring. Never fear! Here at the iCafe we have several sure-fire ways to put a little “zip” into your Teacher Blog.

Get Organized – Use Tables

Using tables can allow you to place content exactly where you want it. Want an image to appear next to your text, rather than above or below it?  Use a table!

To add a table to your latest blog post, simply click on the Insert Table icon while editing your blogpost. From there, you can choose to use the Table Wizard to add rows and columns to your table.


Brighten Things Up – Insert Images & Links

Including images of what your students are doing in class, or anything that relates to the information you’re posting is a GREAT way to grab reader’s attention.  Another way to make your Teacher Webpage interactive is to include links to helpful sites, parent information, instructional materials, and more.  When you’re ready to add images to your Teacher Webpage, Check out our Working with Links and Images Cheatsheets!

Get the WOW Factor – Embed Content

In a nutshell, embeding content allows you to create a window within your teacher webpage through which visitors can view content normally found on other websites.  Some things you might want to consider embedding are:

Stuff to Embed:  Videos of Student Created Work (YouTube):

Stuff to Embed:  Instructional Materials from edu.Glogster, edu.Prezi, or other Content Creation Sites:

Embedding Content:  It’s not as Tricky as it Looks!

Embeding HTML sounds really tricky, doesn’t it?  Guess what?  Embeding content does NOT take a degree in computer science!  Boiled down, it’s as simple as Copy/Paste.    Still not convinced?  Check out the Embed Content on Teacher WebPage Cheatsheet , and give it a try!

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Discover the Possibilities with Discovery Education!

An amazing resource our district has access to is Discovery Education, formerly known as United Streaming.  Many teachers already know of and use the thousands of videos that are available to help enhance instruction in their classroom.  Starting a new topic?  Do a quick search and find a great introductory video to start off your lesson.  This has been done for years.  As a teacher, is that all you use Discovery Education for?  If your answer is yes then you are just scratching the surface for what this site can do for you and your students!

Discovery Education is not just for videos.  Many media resources are at your disposal.  Choose from a number of images, audio files, editable clips, encyclopedia entries, writing prompts, and quizzes.  Visit the Teacher Center for lesson plans, thematic units, interactive maps, and calendar options.  Set your students up with accounts through the Classroom Manager, and assign activities for them right through the website.

Sound overwhelming?  It can be!  There are so many options at your fingertips you may not know which one to try first.  Find a focus and start from there.  Ask your CITS to help set up a plan of action with you to let your students access this incredible tool.

To access Discovery Education, visit  Sign in with the username and password assigned to you by the district for Discovery Education.  If you do not know your username and password ask your librarian.  She should be able to help you.

Are you ready to set your students up with accounts?  Visit the “Classroom Manager” tab on the website.  You can use this DE- Classroom Manager cheat sheet to help you get started.

Make Discovery Education your one-stop shop for all your media resources.

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Powerful Practice Instead of Painful Practice

There are basic skills that form a foundation in each of the core subject areas.  Students who cannot quickly recall basic math facts struggle with daily mathematical problem solving.  A child who doesn’t have his sight words memorized struggles with reading fluently.  Poor spelling can cause a student to have trouble writing.  You get the idea.  These foundational skills must be mastered if we are going to help students build the complex concepts that they need.  We know we need to provide opportunities for students to practice these basic skills but it takes time and traditional practicing methods are often boring.  Adding a dose of technology into your skill drill-and-kill can grab a student’s attention and keep them interested long enough that they just might remember the facts.

Here are three ideas to make skill review more fun:

1. Raps on iPods

Catchy tunes and rhythm can often aid in the memory process, so it only makes sense to pair our reviews with music!  Examples can be found all over the internet and here is a fantastic example found on TeacherTube:

You can then take the songs and videos and load them onto iPods for students to review anywhere!

2. Video Flash Cards

Power Point slides saved as jpeg files can make great video flash cards to practice math facts, sight words, or vocabulary.  Load the slides into Photostory or Movie Maker.  Have students record the answer, pronunciation, or definition.  Flash cards can be viewed at the computer or loaded onto an iPod for portability.

3. Websites

There are a number of great websites that provide opportunities for students to practice basic skills.  Many of the websites mimic traditional methods of practice (i.e. flashcards), but they add color or animation to grab your attention or make things interesting.  Other web sites hone in on students competitive nature by presenting the skill review in the form of a game where students can earn points for correct answers or speed.  I’ll include a few of my favorites.


Math:   Spelling: Vocabulary:

Repetition of basic skills and information is important, but it doesn’t have to be dreadful.  Take some time to add a little technology into your rote practice of skills and I guarantee you will grab students’ attention and keep it!

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