Friday, 22 February 2013

February 22, 2013 - A Few 'Tools' to Help 'Construct' Meaning

Hello Everyone,

This week I have a few fantastic websites which can be used as reference tools for yourself and your students. Enjoy!

The Teacher’s Gateway to Special Education
The Teacher’s Gateway to Special Education ( was created by the Ontario Teacher’s Federation and not only offers teaching and environmental strategies for various diagnosed conditions but also information about the Special Education Process itself.  By clicking ‘show’ on the individual pens at the bottom of the page, then by moving your mouse over the various topics they reveal definitions of each student need as well as links to specialized pages for that need.  The linked pages offer teacher strategies (broken down into instructional, environmental and assessment strategies) and links to additional resources such as Ministry documents, newsletter sign-ups, websites and various associations.  I have found this website to be especially helpful in creating and updating IEPs.

Word Hippo
Word Hippo is an all-in-one reference tool for students in a variety of grades.  By entering a word in one of the various search boxes, Word Hippo will define the word, provide a meaning, provide an antonym, pronounce the word, provide rhyming words, place the word in many different contexts, and translate the word into various languages. A one-stop site for working with words.

Lexipedia  ( is a fun online visual thesaurus. You simply type in the word of your choosing and click ‘sumbit’ and the site creates a web of synonyms, antonyms and fuzzynyms (a word having a loose or fuzzy semantic relation to the chosen word).  One of the great features of this website is that it breaks down the synonyms, etc. in to verbs, nouns, and other grammatical terms and colour co-ordinates them for easier understanding and visualization.  If your student’s writing is experiencing a case of the ‘said’s you may wish to encourage them to spice up their vocabulary with the Lexipedia.

If you have any suggestions or would like to see resources for a particular subject or program, please feel free to share.  I’m always looking for new topics and suggestions! 

Thanks for reading!

Friday, 15 February 2013

February 15, 2013 - Do A Doodle and More...

Happy Friday Everyone,

This week I have a variety of tips and tidbits for you to use as a technologically savvy teacher.  Enjoy…

Do a ‘Doodle’ - Online Website
Have you ever tried to schedule a meeting between multiple participants and find that the logistics is mind boggling?  Try using a Doodle…    A doodle is free to make and allows you to create an assortment of potential times and dates for your meeting; you then e-mail the invitations to the attendees.   They will receive the invitation with an active link to a webpage which shows the possible dates and times for your meeting.  Next, they select the times which fit into their schedule and click save.  The information is transmitted back to you and you can see when the meeting would best fit into everyone’s schedule.  This is a quick and user friendly tool that takes everyone’s schedule into account and makes your scheduling much easier.

iMotionHD –Free iPad App
Have a creative student in your class who is interested in creating a movie of their own but they aren’t sure where to start? iMotionHD is an iPad and iPhone app that makes stop motion animation easy and fun.  The app allows you to choose between a pre-set timed photo  shot (i.e. daily or every second) or choose to  manually select when the image is taken.  You simply capture all of the images and the app will collate them and create the movie with them.  You are able to control the speed at which the images are shown in the video (i.e. 1 frame per second, etc.) When complete, videos can be uploaded to Facebook, YouTube or emailed.  This is a wonderful tool to be used with Lego creations, either capturing how they are built brick by brick or by using them to illustrate a story.  Also helpful to demonstrate changes in cloud formations and growth changes in plants.

SmartBoard Magic Pen

By engaging the magic pen, you have several tools available at once.  Click on the pens and select the magic pen (see image on right).  The magic pen does not create permanent marks on the SmartPages or documents, if you write with it; the drawn lines will disappear in about 10 – 15 seconds.  Additionally, if you use it to circle a portion of an image, etc. it will highlight it (dim the screen around and illuminate the item which was circled.  You can then move the circle around using its blue outline or if you pull (click and drag with the mouse or touch and drag with a pen from the tray) on the inside of the circle; you can enlarge or shrink the size of the circle.  Click the red circle or square to the right and it will disappear.   You can also use the pen to make a square on the image and it will immediately zoom in on that blocked image allowing for better viewing.  When you are done simply click on the red circle or square to the right and it will revert back to the original image.

OTF Connects – Professional Development Opportunities Delivered to Your Computer
      You may have received an e-mail from the OTF (Ontario Teacher’s Federation) recently and not have paid much attention to it.  In this message they shared information about upcoming online PD webinars, many of which are on the topic of technology in education.  These hour and a half sessions include a wide variety of topics and can be accessed from your home computer at times which are convenient to you.  Subjects include:
·         Supporting Student Learning with iPads
·         Flipped Classroom - The Basics
·         Blogging for Learning
·         BYOD (Bring Your Own Device) High Yield Instructional Strategies
I have personally taken several of the OTFConnects courses and have found them to be very beneficial and enlightening.  The instructors are quite knowledgeable and even include the UGDSB’s very own Brenda Sherry.  You may want to visit their website ( and have another look at these courses . 


Thursday, 7 February 2013

February 8, 2013 - There's a Method in this Mathness!

A happy snowy Friday to all…

Our Tech Tidbits for this week are all math related!  Here are some web links and apps regarding math of various levels and strands.  I hope you can find something that works for your class!

A+ Math – Online Website (
Creates online flash cards in Java for addition, subtraction, multiplication and division as well as order of operations, fractions, square roots, and algebra.

Fun Brain Math Arcade – Online Website (
Offer various math games available in the form of Poptropica that the kids seem to enjoy so much.

MathPlayground  - Online Website ( /ASB_Index.html )
Offers various math themed games including numeration, time and money (sorry, US coins only), integers, equations, fractions, ratio and decimals.  The game will allow students to play against others currently online (anonymously) by giving them a randomly generated username. By choosing ‘public game’ they can play and compare their results against others online currently playing.

Created by the same group as the above website, this site offers more games on specific strands and concepts (i.e. area and perimeter, ratios and pre-algebra skills).  Have your students try them out and share their favourites with their friends.

Word problems – Online Website ( )
This website offers challenging math word problems divided up by grade level and strand.

Math Up – Free App
Students are able to choose between single, double and triple digit addition and subtraction problems. Students earn stars and level up to harder and harder levels.

-Match Ten – Free App
Students click on numbers next to each other (Boggle style – above, below, right, or left) attempting to create a sum of ten.  When accomplished the numbers disappear leaving them additional sums of ten to find.

Math Drills Lite – Free App
Students are able to choose between addition, subtraction, multiplication, division, or a combination of all computations.  They are able to visualize the questions on an optional number line, chart or block configuration and the app can offer a hint on how to respond if the student is taking a longer period of time to answer.  When a question is answered incorrectly, it notifies them and allows them to retry the question. When all ten questions are answered, the score is displayed.  Choose between practice (timed questions) and review mode.

Geoboard – Free App
Just like the ‘hands on’ version, the Geoboard app allows students to use stretchy bands of various colours to create different shapes and patterns. There are two boards to choose from (swipe from right to left in the upper right hand corner) a 5X5 set of pegs and a 10X15 rectangle.  Once you have created your shape, use the tear drops at the bottom of the screen to colour in the shapes you have created.

Geometry ++ – Free App
This app is a virtual tangrams game for students to try and create the image while racing against the clock.  Shake the device to reset the current puzzle; complete the tangrams and level up to more difficult challenges.

Graphs – Free App
This app allows students to challenge their ability to read a bar graph, line graph, or pie chart in beginner or advanced levels. 

MyScript Calculator – Free App (best used teachers)
This app allows you to write math equations on the iPad with your finger and it will convert it to text and solve the equation for you.  For example, write on 7X35-? =3+7 and it will fill in the answer of 235.  It may take a little practice but the tutorial is helpful and the app is fun to play around with.  One reminder – the variable which is often written as ‘x’ should be written as a ‘?’ for the app to recognize it.

I hope these offer you some interesting tools to help make math more engaging and fun for your students. 

Enjoy the weekend!