Thursday, April 26, 2012

News Stories for Grades 1-3

In the past I have written about Tween and Teen Tribune. You can read more about them here. These sites provide news stories for students. Teachers may setup student accounts that allow them to leave comments that are moderated by the teacher.

Tween Tribune just released Tween Tribune Junior for grades 1-3.  It includes all of the same features as the other versions! This is a great resource for integrating primary source documents, current events, collaboration and student publishing into your classroom.



Thursday, April 19, 2012

Celebrity Video Conference - It's just good business!

Our high school business department had a special guest visit them today.  We hosted a Skype video conference with Barbara Corcoran. Barbara is an extremely successful entrepreneur in the real estate industry. During her impressive career she took a $1000 loan to start The Corcoran Group. She parlayed the loan into a five-billion-dollar real estate business and sold it in 2001 for $66 million.

Barbara is the real estate contributor for NBC’s TODAY Show where she comments weekly on trends in the real estate market.  She’s also a Star on ABC’s reality hit Shark Tank. As a speaker, Barbara brings her front-line experience and infectious energy to every group she addresses.  Motivational, inspirational, and sometimes outrageous, Barbara Corcoran’s tell-it-like-it-is attitude is a refreshing approach to success.

Thanks to the efforts of Mrs. DeGraw we were able to provide our students with a 45 minute question and answer session with Ms. Corcoran.  It turned out to be a huge success. Ms. Corcoran provided a thorough and entertaining perspective into entrepreneurship, business development, and the important factors that contribute to a successful business. Our students questioned Ms. Corcoran regarding branding, success rates, expectations, investment decisions, and the general factors that contribute to a successful start-up. Ms. Corcoran answered each question with specific examples and entertaining stories.

This was a wonderful experience for our students. Video Conferencing allows authentic connections that isn't possible with only a textbook and a teacher. We are able to vet the resources available world wide at no cost and practically on-demand. Instead of reading about what successful entrepreneurs have done  we can ask one live! First hand questioning, conversation, and collaboration will always have the greatest impact on student learning. This makes learning fun, authentic, and engaging.

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

National Poetry Month - Listen to Poems Read by Poets

April is National Poetry Month. While there are a number of online resources with activities to celebrate and explore poetry I really like the Listening Booth .  The listening booth contains audio recordings of poet's reading poems. You can search by poet name or poem name. 

There are a number of benefits to having students listen to poems read by their actual poet.  This website lists an number of strategies and ideas to share with students when listening to poetry.  You may want to have your students first read the poem themselves and then listen to it read by the actual poet. That should prove to be a beneficial and enlightening exercise for all students.


Poet's Listening Booth

Listening to Poetry - Ideas for Teachers



Monday, April 2, 2012

Student's Illustrate, Record and Publish

Little Bird Tales is a free site that allows teachers and students to create and publish their own digital tales.  Here is what i like about it.

Class Management

  • The has a simple to use teacher interface in which you can setup classes and control access.

  • Teachers manage student accounts.

  •  The teacher assigns usernames and passwords to the students without the requirement of student emails.

  • The teacher controls the privacy and publishing settings


Student Access and Story Creation

  • Students can use the drawing tools to create characters, backgrounds and objects.

  • You can add typed text or record your own narration with the click of a button.

  • Students may import their own pictures. After importing they may use the drawing tools to add to them or annotate them.

  • The site is easy to use and offers a number of options for classroom integration.


The options are limitless with Little Bird Tales. Students may publish a story of all original illustrations and narration or they may develop a presentation about an event, person or curriculum topic. Students may develop bird tales as an enrichment activity. An example would be the assignment to create a tale that describes how to add fractions.

For more student publishing resources please see my digital writing wiki: