Recent Posts

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Drawing Developmentally

Susan Donley presents a really fascinating chart of drawing development in children at her Learning Design site. Betty Edwards (author of The New Drawing on the Right Side of the Brain) and Viktor Lowenfeld (author Creative and Mental Growth) chronicle the developmental abilities at children at various age levels (although your experience may vary).

If you're a fan of Daniel Pink and his book A Whole New Mind, both names should ring a bell. If you haven't read that title yet, I highly recommend you pick it up. (I've also done a workshop on teaching ideas from that book).

Parallels can be drawn to children's stages of cognition which roughly correspond with these same ages. When we ask in frustration, "What were they thinking?" this site kind of answers that.

Friday, December 25, 2009

Visual Bookmarking Using Sqworl

If you're looking to share multiple links, you can always email a list of hyperlinks; however, that looks kind of crowded and lacks a visual element. You can also post those links on a website, provided you have one. But with Sqworl you can instantly create a one-page site which visually presents a snapshot of all chosen sites at a glance.

How could this be used in the classroom? Teachers can create a quick set of links for student reference or for use as a webquest. Students themselves can import web sites as they conduct research online. You could also use this application to create a personalized homepage (similar to Pageflakes), featuring those sites which you regularly visit for updates.

The video below shows how the site works, and may give you some ideas for its use.

Sqworl Screencast from Caleb Brown on Vimeo.

Saturday, December 19, 2009

Twiducate: Social Network for Schools

Most parents still have a lot of reservations (rightfully) about social networking.

Perhaps Twiducate is the right tool and venue for making it happen for your classroom. Has anyone out there tried it yet?

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

15 Free Resources for Young Readers

This is a guest post by education writer Karen Schweitzer. Karen is the Guide to Business School. She also writes about online school for

Incorporating technology into the reading and learning process can motivate young people to read more. There are many different sites online that are designed to engage children and encourage a lifelong love for books. Here are 15 Free Resources nearly every young reader will enjoy.

Book Adventure - Book Adventure is a free reading program for reluctant readers. The program motivates kids by encouraging them to create their own book lists, participate in online activities, and earn points that can be traded in for prizes.

Big Universe - This award-winning website is an online community for k-8 readers and writers. Big Universe users can read, create, and share books online.

Read Print - Read Print is a free online library with more than 8,000 books, poems, and short stories. The site hosts the best-loved classics from thousands of different authors.

International Children's Digital Library - The ICDL is a multicultural library for kids. Offerings include hundreds of high-quality historical and contemporary books that can be read online.

Storynory - Storynory provides free audio stories for kids. A new story is published each week.

What Should I Read Next? - This free web application allows users to type in a book they like and receive suggestions on what to read next. Suggestions are pulled from a pool of nearly 70,000 reader favorites.

DogEared - This book blog from National Geographic Kids is written by kids for kids. Readers can find book reviews, get book recommendations, and submit books for consideration.

Kids' Review - Kids' Review is a UK site that offers book recommendations and book reviews for young readers. All of the reviews are written by kids and authenticated by teachers.

RIF Reading Planet - Provided by the non-profit organization Reading Is Fundamental (RIF), Reading Planet is a good place for young readers to find books to read. Users who sign up for a free membership can also write their own book reviews.

GoodReads - This social networking site for booklovers was not created specifically for kids, but it does offer children's literature recommendations. Young readers can also use the site to keep track of what they have read and share book reviews with friends.

BooksWellRead - Readers who use this site can create private book lists to keep track of what they have read. The site also offers a place to take book notes and get recommendations from other users.

BookGlutton - BookGlutton is a site where older children can read and discuss books at the same time. The site is perfect for anyone who wants to start an online book club.

Jen Robinson's Book Page - Devoted entirely to promoting children's literature, this blog provides book reviews, book recommendations, information on book events, and a weekly newsletter.

Growing Readers for Life! - Aimed at parents and teachers, this blog explores different ways to encourage reading among kids. The blog also has a companion newsletter with additional tips.

The Reading Tub - The Reading Tub is a non-profit organization that promotes reading and literacy among children through book reviews, recommendations, author interviews, newsletters, and a blog.

Thanks, Karen, for sharing these sites!

Saturday, December 12, 2009

PBS Video Online

I love using snippets of video in my lessons, and now PBS has organized many of their films online for instant, free access. Some are full length programs, while others are just segments; either way, there's lot to see.

This is also a great way to have students view videos at home, since many parents still (rightfully) fear Youtube.

Sunday, December 6, 2009

Online Comic Creators

A friend on Twitter shared this; a great collection of online comic creators which can be used as a creative response to reading or as a writing option. Each has its own strengths and weaknesses, so check them out for yourslef before unleashing your students.

A couple of these would be great extensions for the Hero writing lessons I presented on my Teach with Picture Books blog some time ago.

Saturday, December 5, 2009

Presentation and Workshop Documents

From a friend on Twitter comes this link to Presentation and Workshop Documents, a great collection of original how-to's offered by John Larkin. His knowledge of Web 2.0 is quite extensive, and he has some terrific resources offered at this site.

If you're a proficient user of all things Web 2.0, perhaps this is a link you can pass on to your newbie friends.