May 31 2010

Shelfari- Display your own bookshelf of books!


Susan and I are both avid readers- and our interests vary greatly. Finding a new good book to read is like finding a treasure- and a double bonus if it’s in stock at Half Price Books! Shelfari is a place where you can showcase the books you have read, are reading, or planning to read! You can start your own book group and see what your friends are reading, make recommendations, write reviews, and all kinds of things. Take a look at my bookshelf…

Shelfari: Book reviews on your book blog

Does that interface look familiar? Seems like the Apple bookstore isn’t so original in its design after all.

So as an educator, think of these implications:

  • Showcase what you are reading as an example of lifelong learning to students
  • Create an account for your own personal books that students can borrow (yes, you can keep track of your lent books in Shelfari)
  • Display a class bookshelf to show what students in your class have read or are reading- complete with their own reviews
  • And on and on

Oh, did I mention it’s free?

May 18 2010 Make a drawing, pass it on!


This has some real possibilities! It’s a simple concept- I use the online drawing tablet to draw something (can also include text). When I click Share, the drawing is saved to the site’s server and a unique URL is generated. I can then pass that URL on to another to add to my drawing or improve upon it (which in turn can be saved and another unique URL generated). Here’s an example I’ve drawn (remember, I am an educator- not an artist! There is a reason why God made Photoshop).
Start with my drawing, add to it and label the parts of the Water Cycle then post your link in the comments area! See my drawing (the same one as above) here: Add to it and re-post your new link!

May 17 2010

Five Card Flickr


I know, it sounds like one of those websites that should be blocked at your campus, but take a closer look. We all know and love Flickr (see our previous post). This site monopolizes some “random” images to get students writing! Here’s how it works:

The user (no registration required) is shown five images from which they must choose one. This is repeated four times so that the user ends up with five images. Then the user writes a story based on the sequence of five images. The story and images are saved to the site where others can read it (or use the same images to write their own stories).

Here’s a story I completed:

Some ideas:

  • Create a story using at least one simile and one metaphor.
  • Write a story in the first person, then re-write it in third person.
  • Write a story using nothing but passive voice, then re-write the story using active voice.
  • Create a story based on the images and weave three of this week’s vocabulary words in it.

May 17 2010

Piggyback anyone?


Some of the Web 2.0 tools we have discussed in this blog require you to register with a real email address. Some of you may have assigned email addresses for students, but many of us do not, particularly at the elementary level. Although there are some products out there that provide free email addresses for students ( and as well as others), we have found a quick and easy method to manage this problem… piggy-backing on a gmail account!

Create a gmail account with a name you can share with students such as This probably isn’t the place to share your account!

Students can then piggy-back off your account by adding anything after a + sign. For example:

Each of these will create a unique email address that the student can use to register for a Web 2.0 tool. The email will still go to your gmail account, but students will not be able to log into your gmail account, or ever actually receive any emails.

If the login requires you to click on a link to activate the account, you’ll still have to click on each of the emails sent. This may be a little time consuming if you have a lot of students, but you know you are keeping your students safe and allowing them to create cool projects that you might otherwise have to pass on!

May 6 2010

Publishing Like a Pro!


Recently I presented a workshop, and I needed my participants to be able to view some documents that we would be discussing and working with. I made paper copies (I know, how old fashioned of me!), but I wasn’t sure how many people would be attending. I didn’t want to bring a lot of extra copies just in case, so I decided that I’d hand out what I had and anyone who came in late and didn’t get one could retrieve the materials online.

Then came the dilemma of “where do I post them?”. I already had the documents in .pdf form, but I didn’t have a quick easy place to store them. I looked around and found

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