Classroom Makeover Grant Opportunity!

Bring some life back into your classroom with the Great American Classroom Makeover. Win up to $2,500 to give your room a little TLC! Plus, when you win—so does your school.
First place: $2,500 for your class plus $2,500 for your school
Second place: $1,500 class and $1,500 school
Third place: $1,000 class and $1,000 school
Finalists will be notified in December 2010, and the public will decide who is most deserving of a classroom makeover in January 2011. Submit your entry by November 13, 2010!
Click  here to submit your entry!

Be sure to leave a comment below if you entered the contest - we want to vote for you!   


Tech Tip Tuesday ... Spelling City

If you teach spelling or vocabulary (and really, who doesn't???) you will definitely want to check out Spelling City

Spelling City is a free online environment where kids can access their weekly spelling or vocabulary lists, practice their words with online games, and even take practice tests. 

The super simple way to use Spelling City is to encourage the students to visit the site, they (or their parents) type in their weekly spelling words, and take advantage of the online games and practice tests. Other than letting the parents know about it, this is all you have to do!

Spelling City is really quite easy to figure out, but if you want a little more instruction, they have several short & sweet videos that can be viewed here. Some of the videos include:
  • Get Started – Demonstrates how a user enters words and takes a test. 
  • Test Results – Explains the information that SpellingCity provides after taking a test. 
  • Custom Sentences - Shows how parents and teachers can add their own sentences!  
  • Student Writing Practice - Explains how to use the Sentence and Paragraph Writing Practice activities. 
  • Handwriting – Details how to create handwriting worksheets using your spelling lists.  
Teachers, you can create their own accounts in Spelling City and enter the spelling lists yourself. When you sign up, you will want to select your school so that your students can easily find you. After you enter your preferred username, your email, and a password, you will come to a screen that explains the subscription costs. STOP - Don't pull out that credit card yet! Look down in the lower right corner of the screen for the No Thanks, I'm fine with the free version button. 
The last step of registration will be waiting for you in your email box. Be sure to check your junk mail, because it will most likely go there.  

What do you think about Spelling City? (Be sure to leave a comment below.)


Tech Tip Tuesday ... Dropbox

If you've ever been at home and needed a document that was safely stored on your computer at school, OR you've been at school and needing a document from your home computer, Dropbox is for you!

Dropbox allows you to sync designated files online, allows you to share files with others, gives you access to your files virtually anywhere, and is even available on your smart phone!

The first thing you need to do is go to Dropbox and watch the little introductory video and then download Dropbox to your desktop.

In the interest of full disclosure, we do have something like this in district. iFolder is a similar tool that is available in district with your Novell username and password. Here are the reasons I've converted to Dropbox instead of iFolder:
  • Dropbox is easier to install and run on your computer. 
  • You get 2 gb of free space just for signing up - get friends, co-workers, or PARENTS to sign up, and you get additional space.
  • I can get to dropbox on my iPhone (or other smart phones and mobile devices!)
  • I can share documents, pictures, fonts, etc. with anyone - not just district employees. 
I'm a classroom teacher. Why do I need Dropbox?
  • Easily share documents with other teachers on your team, campus, across the district, or anywhere in the world.
  • Share class newsletters, class pictures, video or audio recordings of your class (with permission, of course). The only people that see it are the ones you have invited - no fear of internet predators.
  • We all know it ... teachers work from home! Instead of emailing yourself that huge document or saving all those pictures to your flash drive that's in the bottom of your purse right now, just save them into Dropbox. You've got access to them from home, from your classroom, from the public library, from the Development Center ... anywhere!
If you have any questions, concerns, or comments about how we can use Dropbox, please leave a comment. (It's EASY ... give it a try!)

    Tech Tip Tuesdays are Back!

    New school year, new look for the blog ... what do you think?

    As an Instructional Technologist, it is my job to support the teachers, students, and administrators of our district as they use our different systems and programs.

    Do you have a specific request for a type of tool or website that would help you in your classroom? Click the Comments link below and let me know!

    Check back each week to learn about a new website, technology tool, or tip that's sure to keep you wanting more! Please be sure to leave comments about how you're using these tips in your classroom.


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