“The traditional school often functions as a collection of independent contractors united by a common parking lot.” – Robert Eaker
Recently I was asked what websites do I use in the elementary classroom and how do I use them. After this conversation, I decided to come up with a list of my top ten favorites but in no particular order!
1. Edu.glogster: http://edu.glogster.com (Free) What is not fun about making interactive posters! The students love that they can be creative and create their own poster for a topic. It is a great way to use formative assessment. I can see through their glog if they understood the main points of the topic. For example, I had my students complete a glog on simple machines. I could tell if they understood the difference between all machines along with understanding the definitions. Example of a glog http://jillthompson.edu.glogster.com/false-4394
2. Popplet: http://popplet.com (Free) Popplet is a mind mapping website. I have the students create circle maps on a topic and have them tell me everything they know in their notebooks. For example, ecosystems would go in the middle and they would write words around it that they know about ecosystems. What I like about Popplet is when we come together as a class and talk about what we know we create a Popplet as a class. Everything we know is displayed in one color, for example blue. I save it and then we go back to our Popplet mid-unit and in a different color we add what we know now. We do this again at the end of the unit. This helps to show the students how much they have learned about a topic from beginning to end. You can upload them to your site or make them into PDF’s as well.
3. Voki: www.voki.com (Free) I love creating vokis as much as the students. A voki is an avatar that people create to express thoughts. There are endless ways you can use vokis. I have see students in second grade make vokis and summarize books they have read. I have used vokis in the classroom to give directions during a transition time (They may love you as their teacher but they love hearing things from the voki more!) Here are other ways teachers have used vokis. http://www.voki.com/lesson_plans.php
4. Kidblog: www.kidblog.org (Free) This is a great site where a teacher can create a class blog and so do the students. Each student gets a user name and password. It is protected so only those invited get to view. I recently helped another teacher set this up in her classroom to have the students write about math. The students have been loving it and are doing math not only in the classroom but at home too. They have even been coming up with their own problems for each other as well.
5. Wordle: http://www.wordle.net (Free) Here students can create word clouds. I have had students create Wordles using different vocabulary words for a unit. I have had them copy and paste in their short stories and see what words come up the most often that they might want to change. There are lots of different ways to use Wordle and here are some more. http://issuu.com/ugaetc/docs/thirty_eight_interesting_ways_to_use_wordle_i/1
6. Tikatok: http://www.tikatok.com (Free) Here students can create their own ebooks. A teacher uploads a roster of their students and they each get a username and password. From any computer, home or at school, the students can create ebooks. You can also send them to their families and if the parents want to purchase it they have that option too!
7. Discovery Education: http://www.discoveryeducation.com (Paid) I use this site all the time as it doesn’t just have science but math, reading, social studies too! All the curriculum for each state is matched to the states standards and recently also to the common core. Short video clips are a great way to engage students for a new unit or for them to review a topic. DE has more to offer then just video clips but lesson plans, class assignments, quizzes etc!
8. Wallwisher: www.wallwisher.com (Free) This site is easy to manage and a great way for students to complete exit slips or to get their thoughts on a topic. They have to be able to summarize their thoughts in less than 160 characters so it makes for great way to have students synthesize information!
9. Prezi: http://prezi.com (Free) Prezi is a great way to present information differently. It is similar to PowerPoint but what makes it better (in my opinion) is that Prezi is more fun to create and engages the audience more. “The zoomable canvas makes it fun to explore ideas and the connections between them. The results are visually captivating presentations that lead your audience down a path of discovery.” (From about-prezi.com)
10. Edmodo: http://www.edmodo.com (Free) Edmodo is a classroom community! You can create groups for your class and have online discussions. If you want more individualized groups then you can create small groups for example for novel studies or book clubs. You can post questions, for students to answer or assignments. Assignments can include videos and articles links. You can create polls for students to vote on topics. You can also grade right on the site but it is private so only that student can see it.
There are sites such as http://pbworks.com that I loved using but have been blocked at school recently. I know there are other great sites that I haven’t tried such as www.Kerpoof.com (the next website I will be learning and trying). If you have a site that you use often in your classroom, I would love to hear about it and how you use it!