Tag Archives: lesson planning

You Don’t Have to Work too Hard, Check Out Screenr.

Many people have enjoyed using Jing from one of my prior entries, but were looking for something that allowed for a increased recording time without a great deal of additional effort.  Never fear, Screenr is here.

Screenr allows you to video capture what you see on your computer screen and create a voice over audio file to accompany it.  The site is free and easy to use.  This is a great site for sharing lesson ideas with colleagues, teaching online skills to your students or sharing experiences (perhaps pictures you took and now can add the accompanying story) with friends online.

When you go to Screenr you are given a choice to make an account, or you can sign in with an existing account you have on Google, Yahoo, Twitter, Facebook, etc.  The choice is yours.  The site is free, no payments required. This is a Web based program, so you are not required to install or download any software.  The only things that is required is that you have Java capabilities on your computer.  Your computer will also need to have  a microphone if you wish to record your voice.  The site works on both Macs and PCs.

When you are ready, click the “record” tab.  A frame will open up on your computer screen.  You can enlarge the frame or minimize it.  You have the capability of recording your entire screen if you wish.  Once you have your size set up, open up the window of the information you wish to record.  The Screenr page disappears, but the frame you wish to record with remains.

Once you have what you wish to record on the screen and know what you want to say, click the “record” button.  The screen will count you down as “3…2…1” and then recording will start.   You do not have to speak throughout the recording, only at the parts you wish.  Whatever you do on the screen within that frame will be recorded for your viewers to see.  You can record from 5 – 15 minutes worth of material.

When you are done recording, hit the “Alt” and “D” key at the same time.   You will then be taken back to Screenr  where you can play the recording  to see if you like how it came out.  Then you can choose to delete it, publish it and/or save it.  If you want to save it, you’ll need to publish it first.  Just click on the button and a little over a minute later you are ready to go.   If you still want to save the video to a device,  just click on the “save” button and choose where you want the video to be saved.

You can also choose to share your video in other ways.  You can upload it to YouTube, but you will need to have a registered YouTube account to do so.  You can e-mail your friends the link, or embed the video into an online Website you have (Facebook, Jupiter Grades, etc.).  Once you embed the video, your viewers will be able to click on the page and watch it right there instead of having to go to Screenr‘s page to view the information.

So whether you are looking to share vacation memories, lesson plan ideas or information you wish for your students to view at home – Screenr might be just the tool you are looking for.

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Filed under Free, lesson planning, Websites for sharing

Ahoy Mateys… Pirate Pad Off the Starboard Bow

There are many Websites out there which allow you to have friends or students post thoughts, ideas and questions on one page; however, it is often the case the site runs slow or has issues.   PiratePad seems to have overcome these difficulties and it is also a free resource.

When you get to the site, you will be greeted by a frog wearing an eye patch.  This page provides you with a quick hint on how to get the site to work better if you are having trouble viewing the page.  Click on the frog to continue.  As soon as you do, you are taken to a page with a Web address you can use.  You are able to immediately start typing onto the pad.

You can give your page a name or change the colors of the text. Don’t worry if you want different colors or other features on different lines.  As you type, each line is designated with a line number to make it easier for you to make changes.   There is a simple “pad options” icon to help you decide how you want your page to look like.

What is great about Pirate Pad is that you can share what you created right away.  So if you gave your students a homework assignment to perform on Pirate Pad, you can literally create the page when the school day ends and the students will be able to interact with it the moment they get home.  You are given choices on how to share the URL.  You can copy the link and create your own e-mail or text to send to people you want to invite to work on the pad. There is also a ready made welcome letter you can e-mail out to those who you want to participate.

This site makes it easy to distinguish who shared what thought.  As each person signs in and contributes to the page, they are assigned a different color.  Their comments as well as their name in the chat window share that color.  This makes it easy for you to scan and see which students have posted and/or participated in the chat discussion.  There is also a timeline you can utilize.  For example, If you require the students to participate three times a week, you are able to verify their number of times logging in with this feature very quickly.

Pirate Pad is a great tool to have your students brainstorm about ideas, discuss issues for debate, work on group projects, review the day’s lesson, etc.  If you have a large class, you might find it easier to assign 4-5 students to a group and have 6 or 7 groups to ensure you don’t run out of colors.

While Pirate Pad may not offer as many bells and whistles as other sites, it does offer many features to make it a valuable resource.  This can be a plus if you have students (or you yourself) are familiar with basic set ups similar to a Word document, but have difficulty with information intense sites.

So whether you are using the site for a lesson or gathering ideas for a friend’s surprise party, Pirate Pad may be just the tool you are looking for.

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Back On Site with a New Tool for Your Delight

I know it’s been awhile since my last posting.  Unfortunately there was a family illness that I needed to attend too and then I had to catch up on regular life.  Now I’m back – bigger and better than before :).

For my first posting this scholastic year, I thought it would be nice to share a feature that can be used for the classroom, your personal and your professional life.   Today, I will be discussing how you can create your own blog on a site that is not blocked by most servers.  It can even be viewed in NYC DOE schools.  It is Blogger.com.

This option is offered by Google in their suite of tools.  It is free; just sign into your Google account.  If you don’t have one, just go to Google and click on the “sign up” tab in the upper right hand corner.  This also gives you access to a free e-mail account. Once you have your Google account and have an active e-mail address (it does not have to be Google’s), you can set up your blog.  You can even set up multiple blogs.  You can create one for your students, one for your personal life, one for your travel posts, etc.  You get to decide who views each blog.

“Is blogging still relevant?” you ask.   Yes it is.  While there is plethora of different types of social media available, there are many benefits to having a blog that can benefit you and your students.  Blogging allows you freedom in how you present your material and how long your post is.  Many of the social media sites control how the information is presented and limits you on the number of words you can use.   On a blog, you can get into the meat of your topic and provide many more details for discussion.  In addition, while social media sites are blocked in most schools – they are also frowned upon for you to use to connect with students outside of the classroom.  If you are using your blog for educational purposes, most principals will give permission for your students to respond to your postings.

Once you create your blog account you can set up your profile.  You may wish to provide a picture of yourself or perhaps one someone else made that you feel represents your character (following copyright law of course). Choose backgrounds that you like and feel are beneficial.  Then you can post topics, pictures, videos, etc.  The blog will not be posted for viewing until you say it is ready.  This will enable you to start a project and come back to it later if another issue pops up.

“If Blogger.com is so wonderful, why are you on Word Press?” you ask.  The simple fact is that I found WordPress before I knew about Google’s offering.  They both are free and offer similar features.  I’ve been very happy on WordPress, so I don’t feel it is necessary for me to start fresh.  Both are great sites.  Why not try each one and see which fits your needs the best?

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Filed under lesson planning, social media

Common Core Standards, Lesson Plan Ideas and Videos All in One Place

A library peer of mine just shared a wonderful Website that you can use for multiple purposes in your classroom.  It is The Teaching Channel and it is free for you to use.  All you have to do is register an e-mail address.

The mission of this site is to provide reliable video resources that teachers can use for lesson planning, Common Core connections and to find ideas.  You can also tap into your professional peers for methods that have provided successful results in their classroom.

Have you ever heard of a fantastic lesson, but can’t remember exactly how it went?  Odds are you can find information about it at  The Teaching Channel.  Did you see something that would be great for a lesson you are doing four months from now, but are afraid you will forget about it?  You can have the site send you an e-mail reminder at exactly the time you need it.  Just fill out the quick boxes and put it out of your head.  When the time comes, you will get that reminder with the notes you created when you had the idea.

Say you see specific moments in a video you wish to share with your grade or subject team.  You know they are busy and do not have time to watch the whole video.  You are given the tools to highlight the exact moments you wish to share so everyone can collaborate on the ideas as soon as possible.

Does your school have a program that the teachers use to post assignments and links for student work?  You can post the videos you find right on that page for your students to use as well.  Teaching Channel provides embedding codes for each video.  Just click on the “Embed Video” link and a code will be provided for you to copy and paste on any Website you wish.

So whether you are looking for a great lesson plan idea, information about the Common Core Standards or a video you can share with your students, The Teaching Channel may be just the page for you.

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Filed under Common Core, lesson planning, Videos, Websites for sharing

Educational Videos and YouTube Videos

Many teachers have been there.  You’ve seen a great video you want to share with your class, but the DOE blocks the showing of YouTube as well as other video sharing sites.  Just when we find a workaround site, it is taken down or blocked in turn and you are unable to incorporate the video into your lesson.

WatchKnowLearn.org is a free Website available in both English and Spanish and can be an excellent resource to use in your classroom and for your children at home.  It is a non-profit organization that wants to make educational videos available to students, teachers, librarians and parents at home and in an educational setting.  The videos are chosen for children from ages 3 – 18.  There are literally tens of thousands of videos available for watching.

There are videos available on ALL school subjects, including the Common Core Curriculum.  A directory is provided to create better ease of accessibility in finding just what you want.  Videos are provided from: TeacherTube; YouTube; graspr; School Tube; Internet Archive; slideboor; hulu; slideshare and brightstorm.  WatchKnowLearn.org also partners with Citizendium and Curriki.

If you are worried about who is “behind the scenes” deciding what videos get posted, you are provided with a list of the Advisory Committee along with their backgrounds and affiliations.  A number of the members are teachers or have connections to an educational institution.

While the site may not have the exact video you were looking for, it is still a nice back up to check for something that will help inspire your students or make a connection to their personal lives.

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Filed under Common Core, lesson planning, Videos, Websites for sharing

Can you hear me now?

Vocarro  is a great free Website to share your audible recordings and it is so easy to use.  Just go to the site press “click to record” and record whatever you wish to say.  When you are done, press the appropriate button to save the recording.  A URL will be provided and then you can press another button to share the recording.  The site also provides a code so you can embed the recording if you wish.

You will need a computer with an internal microphone or an external microphone that is synced with your computer in order to create the recording.  Also, this is a Beta version of the tool, so there might be times you find an issue with the recordings.  Usually though, the site works very well.

You can have your students create recordings and send them to you in response to a project.  Make a recording providing lesson instructions and place the link on your class Website for students and parents to access.   Share information with family and friends.  There are many ways you can use this Website.

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A place to share teaching resources and ideas.

A new Website has come into being to help teachers of all grade levels share ideas, lessons and resources which can be utilized in the classroom.   When you are looking for help, who better than another teacher knows what you are going through?  On ShareMyLesson – www.sharemylesson.com teachers share their ideas, lessons and experiences which have worked for them in the classroom.  Best of all…. the site is absolutely free!

The American Federation of Teachers recommended this Website in their September/October 2012 issue of American Teacher as a wonderful resource for preschool to college level teachers.

Need help with the Common Core Standards?  Not to worry.  With the emphasis of these standards in education today, you will find many resources on this site to help you.

Why not give ShareMyLesson a try?  It already has over 180,000 resources available for you to use. 

Good or bad, let me know what you think.  Happy exploring 🙂

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Filed under Common Core, lesson planning