Thursday, August 9, 2012

Evaluating Websites

  • Web site address:  
  • Category: Teacher Resources
  • Audience: Educators of all grade levels
  • Subject area: All areas
  • Description: This site is free and you can sign up for a free monthly newsletter Connected Educator Initiative which will keep you in the know of what is going on the online community of education.  As you know there is an over abundance of online resources for educators and this site pools all the great sites together and online educators communities in just one place.  What I especially like this site for is looking for resources for specific grade levels and subject areas in the search box. The site list other great resources you a gives a summary of the sites and when it i was created and how many members.

  • Web site address:
  • Category: Teacher Resources
  • Audience:  Educators of all grade levels
  • Subject Areas:  All areas
  • Description:This site is a collection of lesson plans for all subjects and all grade levels. It is easy to navigate and search a specific topic.  You do not have to be a member and the site and all the lessons are free.

  • Web site address:
  • Category: Student Resources/ Interactive Learning Sites
  • Audience: Middle School
  • Subject Areas: All areas
  • Description: This site is a great tool for both teachers and students to enhance their learning. It is chalk full of links to sites that are geared for middle school students as a great resource or interactive site.  This would be a great site to to bookmark or link for students to readily access.

  • website address:
  • Category: Teacher, Parent, Student Resources
  • Audience:  All levels
  • Subject Areas:  ELA
  • Description:This is site is a great writing tool for students in class and at home.  Teachers will find great graphic organizers and interactive worksheets that can be copied or displayed on the overhead.  

  • website address:
  • Category: Parent Resource and also Teacher Resource
  • Audience: All levels
  • Subject Areas: Pre K-High School
  • Description:This site is for parents being the potential audience, in hopes that parents become informed and can help guide their child’s education at home and in the community. There are many great articles to read and everything is nicely organized into specific topics and grade levels.  There are many easy to follow lessons, tips and worksheets to help support their child’s learning at home. These worksheets can also be used by teachers. I especially liked the student progress chart at the bottom of the home page. Which gives a broad outline of what students will be working on at the particular grade level.

  • website address:
  • Audience:  Middle School/High School
  • Category:  Teacher Resource
  • Subject Area: Popular Young Adult Books
  • Description: Can’t keep up with Vampire Diaries, Hunger Games and all the other young adult books, well this site is for you.  This site offers several other great sites/apps that offer summaries and reviews to catch up with all the current young adult books.

  • Website address:
  • Category:  Teacher Resource
  • Audience:  All Grades
  • Subject Area: All Areas
  • Description: is just that it is a place where teachers form an online community to discuss and share their lessons which follow the common core standards. This is a brand new site and with over 255,000 teachers contributing their lessons and insights.  The best part is that everything is free and will remain that way.

  • Website address:
  • Category: Teacher Resource
  • Audience:  All Grades
  • Subject Area: Literature 
  • Description: This site provides free access to thousands of great works of classic literature, modern day poets, songs and fables.This site is well organized and easy to navigate.

  • Website address:
  • Category: Student Interactive Online
  • Audience: All grades
  • Subject Area: Reading & Vocabulary
  • Description: This site provides several online games to practice spelling, vocabulary and phonemic and phonological skills. I especially like this site for the online activity in syllable division.


My Dialogue Poem with Grandma AKA Jill

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Too Dumb for Complex Text?

In this age of digital overload young students learn how to multi task, read, write and communicate using technology.  Technology is fast paced and students have adapted to the rapid fire of giving and receiving information.  Many teachers are finding their students unable to focus on a single tasks for a length of time. Teachers of all grades need to set time in their day for students to be unplugged, uninterrupted, and read a book which provokes thoughts and takes time to digest. In order for students to delve into the complex text, they must first be engaged and invested in what they are reading. It is up to the teacher to spark their students interest through prior knowledge, class discussions, open ended questions and even technology.  Once students are invested and engaged, teachers can help facilitate discussions and teach students the reading strategies needed to navigate through the complex text. The more opportunities students are given to read, analyze and respond to complex texts both in and out of the classroom, the more prepared students will be as they tackle their first year of college.

Robin's Wordle

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Is Wikipedia a Friend or Foe?

 I have alway thought of Wikipedia as one of those very smart friends that seem to know the answer to just about anything and everything but may not be getting all their facts straight. Can you really believe everything they say?
After I participated in our class discussion and did my own investigation of what Wikipedia has to offer, I am happy to say I am a friend of Wikipedia. I realized that I am the one who did not have all their facts straight. Wikipedia has a team of editors and volunteers who are constantly cross referencing and editting the contributors work.  Wikipedia checks to see if the information is accurate and is written within  their guidelines and style of writing. Unlike other resources, Wikipedia is updated instantiously and has the most current news and events. 

Teachers need to  fully understand the nuts and bolts of Wikipedia and their strict requirements to contribute to the collaborative encyclopedia.  Once teachers have a clear understanding of Wikipedia and what Wikipedia has to offer, they can better explain Wikipedia to their students and how to use it.  No matter what, students are always going to find Wikipedia as one of the first sites on their search results. Teachers need to inform and teach students about Wikipedia and how they can use it as a research tool.  Students can refer to the citations and sites to find other reliable sources.  Teachers of middle school and high school can use Wikipedia as a stepping stone for critical thinking of what is a reliable and is not reliable and how to evaluate sites.  Teachers can also use Wikipedia to teach students about the editing process using many of Wikipedia's editorial tutorials and reference guides. Students can produce their own written contribution about their school or community according to the Wikipedia writing criteria.  I am looking forward to use Wikipedia as a teaching tool and inform my students what Wikipedia is and how it can be useful to them.
If you are foe of Wikipedia or you are on the fence, here is a helpful website I found on my investigation of ways to incorporate Wikipedia into the classroom.

Monday, August 6, 2012

My Tech Time Line

On April 7, 1978, I took my first breath in a hospital in Pawtucket, Rhode Island and my brother was at home playing video games or building his latest computer. So I guess you can say technology started to impact my life on the day that I was born.
 I had fond memories playing snake and ping pong on the Atari Video Computer System. The first computer I recall using was in 1986 Commodore Amiga 2000 with the original floppy discs. I used this computer to type a research paper on dolphins. For the cover of my paper I used a drawing program called Corel and drew a dolphin using a mouse and printed it in color on a line printer. My teacher did not even read my report and gave an A+.  

Commodore Amiga 2000


The Original Floppy Disk

 Thanks to Texas Instrument, I spent many road trips playing word games with my Speak and Spell. I loved the Speak and Spell's robotic voice so much that I would talk to it when I was bored or lonely and type a word so it would talk back.  I would also spend countless hours reading books with my Magic Wand Reader(see video skip to 1:36)which compares to a Leap Frog tag reader of today. I think this was one of my all time favorite toys. 


The Internet has played a big part of my life since the late 80's early 90's. Using the lovely dial network through Prodigy. In 1994, I went to my sophomore prom with a boy I met on a Christian chat room. This may have been the very first online date.

I relied on the Internet on my first year of marriage. One week after my wedding my husband was deployed to basic training then  Afghanistan. Thanks to Skype we made it through that difficult year. I felt like I was married to my laptop for a year but it helped so much just to see his face everyday and know that he was OK.  

I have seen the Internet at its infancy stages to what it is today, which is too big for me to begin to comprehend.  The Internet has helped me tremendously through the years. Whether it is finding research for a paper, finding a job, a place to live, social networking or using the Internet to enhance my lessons and students understanding, I am truly grateful. Even though I have had technology my whole life, I would not consider myself a tech savvy person. What I am good at, is figuring things out but I always feel a little behind when it comes to trying to keeping up with the rapid changes of the tech world. I am eager and curious to see what major changes the tech world will have for in store for the future and how those changes will impact my son's life.