Quick intro to setting up a FREE Weebly site in the video below. Please note the last step which I failed to mention is pressing the orange publish button on the top right
For my Master’s course we were required to work with tools that could be used to create and e-portfolio. I picked Weebly mainly because it was a tool that I had not worked with before. I have used Google Sites, Wiki’s, Blogs and other tools in the past but Weebly was something I never got around to trying. The main benefit of Weebly is the simplicity of the process in creating a website or blog. The interface uses simple drag and drop functions that are laid out nicely and the process is fairly intuitive. Teachers that are looking for a way to have an online presence for their classroom (class website or blog) should give this tool a try.
The site allows for a lot more customization than other options which is an important feature for giving the creator ownership of their design. The other tools I mentioned before allow for customization but none of them do it is a simple way like Weebly. Of course Weebly is not as powerful a tool as WordPress as far as customization but WordPress is also not as user-friendly. Weebly is a great tool to use to introduce students to e-portfolios and to begin the process of creating one. The site has options to upload all the standard media a student might use in their portfolio such as video, audio, documents, pictures and text. For students new to the process Weebly is the perfect tool to start with but I think it is important that we give students autonomy in choosing the tool they want to use. My main concern would be the ease in exporting the content from Weebly. Technology and the tools available are changing fast and the ability to move seamlessly from one tool another is an important feature. Another aspect of Weebly that is a benefit is it shows the process of creating a website in a visual way. Of course creating a website requires a much deeper understanding but Weebly does begin that process of showing how websites are created. My hope would be that some students would take that basic knowledge and look for other options as they want to customize and add features. Weebly seems to be a good “gateway” into creating and designing online spaces.
The website created in the video can be found here if you want to see the product
I started using coloring pages this year for our labeling center with Skitch on the iPad. (Need a tutorial on using Skitch app? Click here) The kids have always liked labeling pictures and being able to take those images home but using the coloring pages allows them to color them also and they love that added bonus. If you look at the images below they represent three weeks of examples. The first two you will notice the kids have most of the words spelled correctly. This is because I included an example with some of the things labeled for them and they were copying my example. Starting with the third week there is not an example and the kids will sound out all the words on their own. We will continue doing this many times throughout the year because the kids seem to never get tired of it and it is a great way to encourage writing and phonics practice. The expectation is that they label at least five things but often they label much more than that. My class always work in pairs on the iPad so these examples are two kids working together. I pair them so that at least one child will be strong enough to complete the phonics part. Setting up expectations for how the kids work together is important. For this project one kid pics what they want to label and then that child draws the arrow and writes the word. Their friend is allowed to help them figure out how to do this but is not allowed to do it for them. The friend can help them figure out the sounds and point to the letters on the keyboard if needed but not actually touch the iPad until it is their turn.
I find the coloring pages by doing a simple search for a keyword (such as Fall) followed by “coloring pages”. There are many sites that share free printables. Once the kids are finished I email the finished product to my teacher computer using the kids names as the subject line. To print the images I simply insert them into Microsoft word. To save paper I fit two images on each word document, print that page and then cut the page in half to give to each kid that worked on the project.
The first question I am sure many people will have is WHY would I use a DVD player for my listening center. It all started when my old CD player died this week. I went to several electronics stores and was not able to find a cheap CD player that had a place to plug in headphones. Apparently that feature is not standard anymore. That led me to come up with another option… the DVD player. The main reasons I decided to use a DVD player are: 1. they can play audio CD’s 2. they are cheap 3. they are small 4. I don’t need speakers, actually I prefer not to have them. Speakers take up space and when the kids accidentally (or on purpose) unplug the headphones my class is blasted with the audio.
Here is what you need to make this happen (images below):
- A cheap DVD Player (with composite output): I was able to find one $25-$30 at every electronics store. My understanding is all DVD players can play CD’s. Make sure the DVD player has composite output. The cheapest ones should have this and it will say on the box.
- Adaptor: you will need a “RCA audio to 3.5 female” adaptor. I ordered this one on Amazon and will update the post when it arrives. Another option is to visit Radio Shack or Fry’s and see what they might have. I used some connectors I already had (yes I am a geek)
That is all! If you are curious about the headphones I use look here. The headphone splitter I use can be found here.
This is what the adaptor looks like…
The back of the DVD player needs to have composite output. Often called RCA or Red/White cables…
In this video I show how I use this app for a large group lesson on Nouns and then incorporate the large group lesson into our literacy centers.
You can see more explain everything examples HERE, HERE and HERE.
The noun literacy centers can be downloaded here-> Noun Sorting Pics, Noun Recording Sheet
I have written about how we use this app in my class to document and share our weather (see here) but I wanted to remind everyone about this great app and share the new options available. The one I am the most excited about (seen above) displays the weather on a thermometer with both Fahrenheit and Celsius. This is very valuable for us because we share our weather with classes around the world using Twitter. Other options I am excited about are shown below. The kids love helping to take the picture and keeping track of how the weather changes during the seasons.
** I always blur out the part of the image that shows our location using the Skitch app because I don’t like to share our exact location on twitter.
Below is a 7 minute video outlining the basics of using this great app. There is a FREE version (Popplet Lite) as well as a paid version ($4.99.) I discuss the difference between the versions in the video.
I have written about using this app HERE, HERE and HERE.