Games to Build Geography & Computer Skills

Located on this website, under CRESTek Links, is a collection of geography games. Students/teachers can select from 20 different games.  Not only do many of these games build student understanding of the United States, its rivers, lakes, and regions, but they also help students practice their navigation skills using the arrow keys to move left/right or up/down to enlarge or reduce. Many states must be dragged and dropped into their correct position on the map.  This video demonstrates several of the games.

Popplet for Quick, Visual Organization

One of my favorite online resources for students is Popplet. Popplet enables users to create visual organizers to clarify and communicate their ideas. It also helps students see how information is related as they sort, rank, and connect their ideas.  When students first log in, they’re prompted to title their popplet and select a background color to make it so. The next step is to create a popple (a rectangular balloon), which is created by double-clicking on the background. The popple can be resized vertically and horizontally and can be shown in eight different colors. The popple can contain text, an uploaded image, a sketch created within the popple, a hyperlink, or embedded video. Text size and alignment can be customized. This resource also helps students practice their digital citizenship skills, giving them an opportunity to upload only copyright free images and appropriate text that is on topic, accurate, and free of personal information. The best feature of Popplet is the ability to invite others to collaborate. Popplet continues to rely on Flash to run its website but will soon transition to HTML. A free membership allows users to create 10 popplets. Teachers can purchase student memberships from the group link for $2/student. I created the graphic organizer shown below to illustrate an All About Me popplet for 2nd graders.

Shown below are some of the skills developed through Popplet with teacher instruction.

-Use online subscription resources

-Navigate to a web address Responsible Use:
-Use equipment for positive and productive functions
-Recognize and respect ownership rights (copyright)

Online Safety and Security:
-Do not share personal information online

-Do not use inappropriate or disrespectful language online (proper netiquette)
-Do not share network login information

Intellectual Property:
-Explore the appropriate use of copyrighted material through permission, crediting sources, payment

-Discuss plagiarism and its ramifications

Problem-Solving Tools:
-Use graphic organizers to solve problems

Canva for Quick, Digital Designing

Well,  here’s another helpful ad from Facebook. Canva offers digital designing software. Over 200,000 free photos and images are offered. With no training, I was able to quickly create a blog graphic. CANVA’s Digital Design Challenge will walk you through the basic skills needed to create your own design. Additional design elements can be purchased at $1/piece.

Canva created graphic









Canva can also be used to create certificates.

Solar Eclipse at CRES

CRES kids wore their safety shades to watch the eclipse. All photos were edited with the Aviary application and uploaded to Animoto.  It took about 30 minutes to upload the photos, dragging and dropping them into the preferred order. The video was produced and then upgraded to HD (720p) for an additional $10.  The band, Leftover Cuties, supplied the song: A Sunnyside.

Creating Online Projects with Padlet

Padlet is a wonderful resource for classroom projects. Shown below is an example I made to illustrate my Four Seasons Project.

After showing students my example, I’ll send them to their project Padlet and ask them to upload a pic for each season under the appropriate column, including a sentence or two. Students will click a plus sign below each season to add text and images.  When students return from summer vacation, I’ll unlock the Padlet, making it public and editable. Padlets can be private, password protected, secret, or public. They can also be set to read, write, or moderate.

Made with Padlet

When unlocked by the student, the canvas will appear as shown below.

view of unlocked Padlet

#Padlet #Padlet_Projects #Digital_Projects

Mastering Computation with Math Facts Pro

Math Facts Pro Sign-on Screen

Math Facts Pro Sign-on Screen

If you’re looking for a convenient and affordable way to build and track your students’ computation skills, try Math Facts Pro.  Students sign in with their teacher’s name, then type in their name and password.  The teacher can select the number of problems for quizzes (Math Facts Pro recommends 50). Students enter their answers by clicking the online number pad.  Class reports can be printed in under a minute. Here’s an example of the progress made by one of our 2nd grade classes during one academic year:

math facts pro results

CRES has had Math Facts Pro for 2 years. For at least 3 years prior, we used a much more expensive, software-based program. Internet access for the program was cost prohibitive. Math Facts Pro runs $1/student.

Students make progress when the program is used 4-5 times a week. Students solve more computation problems accurately on Math Facts Pro than they do on worksheets because the program grades them immediately. It is this timely feedback that holds students accountable and prevents them from leaving the classroom with misconceptions that may not be corrected until the student returns to class the next day. Students completing worksheets often wait days to see their test results.

#computation skills #edtech

Headsprout for Reading and Comprehension

I just started a free 14 day trial at Headsprout. The program offers 80 Interactive online episodes that teach kids how to read; 50 interactive online quizzes that teach kids how to comprehend text.

Students log in with their teacher’s username, click on their student name, and then  enter a text or picture password. Students are assigned an appropriate module as their starting point after the teacher conducts a quick reading assessment. I particularly like the option of sending an individual student a text or recorded message for encouragement. The kids love to know their teacher is overseeing their work. I can also award bonus stars to students. The stars they earn can be used to “purchase” features for their robot icon or to play short videos/games.

A one year subscription can be purchased for a class of up to 36 students at $189.95 (less than $6 a student).

#headsprout #readingcomprehension #edtech

Using Izzit and Classroom Salon for Communication & Collaboration.

I consider to be one of top sites for building kids’ digital skills. The site can be used with documents, images and videos. I have previously written about the benefits of Salon.

I created this video for FlipCon14 to demostrate a flipped lesson. This video illustrates how to easily and efficiently create an online activity for current events using a free resource from It’s a simple way to bring enriching and appropriate content  to your students, a great way to keep them aware of current events, and an outstanding way to get kids communicating and collaborating: an expectation for 21st Century Learners. (See ISTE for more information.)