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Pinterest Review

Throughout the past four weeks I’ve tried to explore new educational resources to write about.  I just wouldn’t feel right without writing about Pinterest, however, since it is the first place I go when looking for inspiration.  Inspiration is a big part of the role Pinterest plays with educators.  They can find ideas for decorating their classroom, get cool ideas for new projects, and find all sorts of ways to become more organized.  Pinterest is also great for planning lessons.  You can find tons of printables on Pinterest as well as ideas to make learning more hands on.  It also provides links to a number of useful technology resources.  The uses for educators, are simply endless.

When using Pinterest, you can start by browsing the Education section or search by grade.  If you have something more specific in mind, you can search that too.  When you find a board you like it’s always a great idea to follow it as well because then as it is updated you’ll likely find that the new information is of interest to you as well.

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Online-Stopwatch Review

I wasn’t sure if I was going to review this site at first because it seems so basic.  I just love the concept so much I had to.  As someone who always took until the very last minute on their test this would have been an incredibly useful tool.  The main purpose of this website is to be used either as a stopwatch or countdown although they have a number of clock related options.  The feature I was most excited about was the countdown, which could be projected on the screen during timed tests or assignments so students knew how long they had left.  In my experience teachers would generally make an announcement letting students know they have about fifteen minutes left to finish what they are working on. The countdown feature would allow students to keep track of remaining time throughout their work as is convenient for them, and it gets rid of the distraction provided by the announcement.

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Read Write Think Review

This website has so many resources it’s hard to know where to begin talking about it.  Under just the Classroom Resources tab there are four sections I can’t get enough of.  First is the lesson plans section.  These lesson plans come with everything you could possibly need.  They plan out the lesson for multiple days, they have all the resources you need gathered together and they list the standards the lesson is aligned for (This includes National, State, and Common Core).

The next section I can’t get enough of is Student Interactives.  The interactives include some wonderful activities to get students to participate in their education.  If you find one you like, you can also see lessons which have been created using that interactive.  Additionally, it shows related classroom and professional development resources as well.

The third section I love in Classroom Resources is the Calendar, which provides knowledge of what is important about any given day, also ties these events into the classroom.  This is accomplished by describing the event, suggesting a classroom activity, listing related websites, and suggesting related resources such as lesson plans on the topic.

Finally I want to mention the Printouts section.  In addition to telling you what grade it is appropriate for, it also says how to use the printout and has other suggestions to try.  It, of course, shows the related information on the site as did the rest of the sections I’ve already discussed.

The Professional Development section of the website is full of useful information as well.  In particular I think the strategy guides are a very useful tool.  They even have a section on teaching with technology.  I also like that the website provides a section for parents and outside of school resources.

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JeopardyLabs Review

When I came across this site, I just knew I had to check it out, because it high school everyone always got really excited when a Jeopardy game was used for a review.  What got me really excited about this website was that it was a Jeopardy game created using something other than powerpoint, which was unheard of when I was in high school (unless it was just drawn on the chalkboard). Another great thing about JeopardyLabs is that it doesn’t cost anything and you don’t even have to make an account.  There is an option to pay $20 for a lifetime membership with a few extra perks but I don’t see why you’d need them.

When you begin it asks you to create a password for your Jeopardy game.  This is simply to prevent others from being able to edit your game, as all games are available for anyone to utilize.  In fact, there are millions of already created games on the site already which may be useful for a quick review.  Once you create your password you are take to a very easy to use Jeopardy template.  All you have to do is fill in the information and hit save and you’re ready to go.

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SAM Animation Review

SAM Animation is an iCreate to Educate product which allows the user to create stop animation videos.  It has both an iPad and desktop version which is nice because it adds extra versatility in the classroom.  I think this is a great product to have kids use to show their understanding of concepts with some creativity.  The software is easy to use and appropriate for kids of any age.  SAM Animation also has some previously created videos available on their website.  These videos are broken down by subject, and show the wide versatility of the program.  Another benefit of SAM Animation is the many workshops they offer.  This  includes on-site profesional development workshops for schools and districts.  

While SAM Animation is a product that would need to be purchased it seems very reasonable.  To start, they offer a free limited download for desktops and the iPad version is available for only $4.99.  They also take into account mass purchasing for schools offering 1, 5,and 10 packs as well as a school license.

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RubiStar Review

RubiStar is a great tool when it comes to making rubrics.  I am particularly fond of it because it doesn’t even require you to set up an account or login to use it.  Sure, there are benefits to doing such, like being able to permanently save your rubric, but even not logged in you can save the rubric as a pdf.

I find this tool incredibly easy to use, and love that they have pre-worded categories and rubric types.  Even better than this though, is that if something doesn’t quite fit you can easily add to or change it.  In fact it is possible to word every category for yourself.  No matter which route you take in the end you’ll be left with a professional looking rubric which suits your needs.

A final benefit of RubiStar worth mentioning is that it is possible to search rubrics made by others as well.  The perfect rubric for your assignment may already exist, or it could assist you in finding the proper wording or point values for your task at hand.

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MentorMob Review

When I was looking for something to review I came across MentorMob and thought it sounded really neat.  Upon exploring this technology it has only continued to grow on me.  The idea of creating a learning playlist is what intrigued me right away.  First to make sure this was a tool I wanted to write about I explored a few playlists created by others.  I was really glad they had the playlists broken down into subjects.  After clicking through a few playlists I felt this could be an incredibly useful tool in the classroom.  It’s a way to put a bunch of information on a topic together and help students to build upon what they have previously learned.

Since I found myself liking this website so much it was time to test out making my own playlist.  The options provided came as somewhat of a shock to me because the playlists I had previously viewed seemed to stick with links to other websites.  MentorMob however, also allows the creator to upload files, write articles and even create quizzes.  This makes it even more of a complete tool than I was originally picturing.

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