January 2014

Media Matters

Word Tamer

Just in time for the practice writing test! This fun site helps students learn the process of developing characters, settings, and plots in creative writing. Word Tamer is set up as an interactive journey through a carnival of literary devices. As students move through the carnival, they develop characters, develop a setting, and develop a plot for their stories. At each stop in the Word Tamer carnival, students can save and/or print out the words they have written. Along the way there are videos to help students understand the roles of characters, settings, and plot development in crafting a good story.


180 Journal Writing Prompts

Daily Teaching Tools has provided a creative writing prompt for every day of the school year to help students develop their composition skills.


Word Hippo

Word Hippo is a useful site that students can use to find definitions, synonyms, antonyms, and translations for words. The site also provides students with verb conjugation assistance, pronunciation assistance, and assistance with prefixes and suffixes. There are more than a dozen tools for students. This tool would also be helpful for ESL students!


ReadWorks Adds More Science Passages Aligned to Common Core

ReadWorks is a nonprofit service that has cataloged hundreds of lesson plans and more than one thousand non-fiction reading passages aligned to Common Core standards. Recently, ReadWorks added a new batch of new science passages with accompanying question sets to use in elementary and middle school. With a free ReadWorks account you can search for lessons and reading passages by grade and skill.

The Science of Macaroni Salad

The Science of Macaroni Salad is a fun two-part TED-Ed lesson through which students can learn about chemical mixtures, solutions, and bonds using a macaroni salad. There are also multiple-choice and discussion questions related to video.


Magisto Video App (free in App Store)

Magisto makes it easy to create an awesome video in just minutes!

1. Open the app and upload pictures (or shoot a video) from the iPad

2. Decide on a theme for your video

3. Choose the music you'd like to add

4. Add a title to your video

5. You will receive an email when your video is complete.


Haiku Deck App & Web Version

Move over PowerPoint, Haiku Deck now has a web version, along with the free iPad app! This is the simplest, most elegant way to make a presentations--either on the iPad or on the internet. See a sample Haiku Deck here: http://www.haikudeck.com/p/Zc4Ey41mU7/solar-system#

Atlas of the Historical Geography of the United States

The Atlas of the Historical Geography of the United States contains more than 700 historical maps of the United States. The maps within the atlas are arranged into eighteen sections. Many of the maps can be animated to show changes over time, and some have interactive elements in them. To help students understand what they are seeing on each map, clicking the "text" box will display relevant information in the sidebar of the map.


Thinking Blocks

Thinking Blocks provides interactive templates in which students use brightly colored blocks to model and solve problems. As students work through the problems, they are provided with feedback as to whether or not they are using the correct sequence to solve each problem. There are templates and problems for addition, multiplication, fractions, and ratios. You can also develop your own problems using the modeling tool.


Get the Math

Get the Math is designed to help middle and high school students understand real-world applications of Algebra I. The site tries to put the challenges in the context of the "real world" of fashion design, video game design, basketball, restaurant management, movie special effects, and music production. There are short videos of professionals explaining and showing how mathematics is used in their professions. After watching the videos students try to complete a series of challenges based upon the work done in the professions of fashion design, video game design, and music production. Educators’ resources include videos of a teacher using Get the Math materials in his classroom, as well as lesson plans with editable student handouts aligned with the Common Core Standards and Mathematical Practices.


Five Awesome (free) Stress-Relief Apps

We could all use some stress and anxiety relief, right? Well, your iPad to the rescue! The following free apps use the beauty of nature to help you relax and rejuvenate!

Pocket Pond
When you have too much on your mind, take a break and watch colorful fish swim through crystal clear water while soft nature sounds play in the background. The free version of the Pocket Pond app allows you to add additional fish, lilypads and dragonflies to the pond. You can also feed the fish and "touch" the water. There's even a thunderstorm mode that is both entertaining and invigorating.

Relaxing Sounds of Nature Lite
This app includes 22 awesome pre-defined sound themes like Mountain Ambience, Jungle (Thailand), Water and Sky etc. It also includes a soundboard with 35 sounds like Rain, Waves, Pond, Beach, Whale, Wind Chimes, Sparrow, Owl, Melody etc. that can be mixed with each other to create a custom sound effect! The app is highly customizable. Not only you can create your own combination from the available sounds, but the volume of each sound can be also adjusted individually . The customized sound effect can be saved and replayed later. The app also include night timers and a wakeup timer.


Zen Space

Your own virtual Zen garden! Free your mind as you rake patterns in the sand and decorate with realistic stones and leaves. The app comes with four soothing background sounds or you can add songs from your iTunes playlist for a more personalized experience.


Naturespace is an audiophile's dream. Along with relaxing sounds of nature, if you're listening through a pair of good earbuds, you can position where in space various facets of soundscapes are located. In other words, you can make a bird sound like it's to your left or right, or maybe even behind you. This is all achieved by a simple, intuitive interface. If you're looking for the utmost in realism to accompany your relaxation, this is it!


Relax Melodies HD

Select sounds and melodies that you like and combine them to create a mix. Adjust the volume of each sound individually for better results. Lay back, listen, and enjoy falling asleep. Is that simple and it works. Use timers and alarms if needed. Try different and new mixes every time!


This cold weather could be worse!