July 15, 2011


One of my new favorite blogs to follow is Richard Byrne's Free Technology for Teachers.  The resources Byrne shares cover a broad spectrum of user difficulty, grade level usage, purpose, and curricular implications.  This week, besides the impressive list of resources shared (just check my starred items in Google Reader), Byrne asked We're Halfway Through the Summer, Have You Tried Anything New?

Why, yes Mr. Byrne, in fact I have tried something new.  With the realization that the first day of school is exactly one month from today, I'm going to take this opportunity to recap my new "tech-knowledge."

  • Lions and tigers and blogs, oh my!  Blogging is definitely a new adventure for me this summer.
  • ePals.com - This is an extraordinary resource worthy of it's own post on ICE.T.  It's a simple way to break through the walls of your classroom and go global!  I created an account and within 48 hours I already had a connection with a 3rd grade class to correspond with about social studies for the coming school year.
  • Google Reader - Setting up a Google Reader account was easy, check out this video from Common Craft for details, then download the Google Reader App for your smart phone so you can stay up to date anywhere (or any other Reader for RSS feeds).
  • Prezi.com -  I am just tickled with Prezi, an exciting way to take slide show presentations to a whole new level.  I'm currently working on a prezi for my school's staff retreat.  The topic for this prezi?  I'll be sharing all of the amazing tech-ed resources I've discovered this summer.
  • eBook-o-rama -  My school is receiving a cart of Netbooks this year, thanks to our amazing PTO, and I discovered some great eBook resources as a way to integrate reading and technology.
    • Storyline Online- produced by the Screen Actors Guild, this site features famous actors reading children's books.  
    • RAZ Kids - This site is produced by Learning A-Z and features interactive leveled eBooks, just like its print counterpart, Reading A-Z.
    • Free eBooks - I've linked this site to the Youth section where there are many classic titles available.  Be aware that users can write and publish their own eBooks on this site and verify the author and contents when selecting texts for children.
    • Tumblebooks is a subscription service for schools and libraries, but it has an impressive catalog of eBooks for the elementary classroom.
  • Library of Congress Primary Resources Database - loaded with photos, maps, some video, and resources for specific state standards.  With my state's implementation of Common Core Standards, there are some new topics added to science and social studies and the Library Of Congress Primary Resources are a fantastic digital resource to add to the curriculum.
  • The Global Read-Aloud Project- My class is signed up and I'm just trying to decide how we'll share.  There is an Edmodo group for the Global Read-Aloud Project, which could be a fun way to respond, but I've never used it with students.  I'd love comments from teachers who have used Edmodo for their students.
So, yes, as you can see, I have tried something new.  But I think there will be more new tech to try, learn, and explore because Byrne's post also included a link to 77 Web Resources for Teachers to Explore This Summer.   I just can't help but think, "Jackpot!" when I see such tremendous resources.  I think this calls for a nice glass of iced tea and some serious surfing.  Cheers!


    1. Sarah,
      Have you been to www.zooburst.com? It's a way to do digital storytelling. I think I am going to try it this year with my kiddos.

      Amy Brandau

    2. Great Post! The library of Congress link and the storyline Online are AWESOME!! I almost wish I was back to teaching.... oh well just have to enrich my own kids I suppose.