A super nice member!
Kidblog is an online publishing and writing “space” for kids of all ages. It is a safe and easy online blog set up and managed by the teacher. Students and teachers can submit posts which are approved and then published on the blog. Class members can then respond/comment on the post. Comments must be approved by the teacher before they are published on the blog. No one can access the blog without a username and password assigned by the teacher. We use this blog to respond to literature, content area questions, current event issues and creative journaling. The students love to create their own posts for others to respond to and are thrilled when the teacher is one of those responders. I have found it to be highly motivating even for the most reluctant writers. I appreciate the feature of being able to respond privately to a student who may need editing or reworking of a response. Only the teacher has this option and I have found it useful and that students are very responsive to my suggestions in this online format. Highly recommended!
Quizlet is a study tools site for learners in mid-elementary school on up to college level. This site is user friendly, although many students in grades 4 and 5 will need a bit of assistance to set up an account and get started. Once they get going they can use one of the many pre-loaded vocabulary lists, a list that the teacher has loaded for them or they can create a list of their own. The lists are then used to create flashcards, create quizzes, study guides and more. Using a keyboard to create study tools can be a benefit to students who struggle with motor control and organizational skills. It would certainly be beneficial for a teacher in the younger grades to set up the site and then teach a few mini-lessons to share with students how to access the vocabulary and related activities. Parents would also quickly become fans of this helpful site.
Inspiration Maps is a tool for the IPAD that helps writers of all abilities to map out, brainstorm and chart ideas for writing, research and note taking. I see the biggest application of this for our reluctant writers or writer’s with organization disabilities. With a simple tap on the screen boxes or clouds are formed and students can insert topics and notes in any order. With an additional click, this brainstormed map is turned into an outline that can be manipulated very easily. For many students this part of the writing process can be very tedious and often if they have the ideas, they struggle to get them onto paper and organize them. I think with practice, this could be turned into an excellent study tool, with students working together to brainstorm main test topics and accompanying vocabulary and concepts. For relatively low price, this is a useful tool for the classroom.