Wednesday, December 22, 2010

PaperRater: check for grammar mistakes and plagiarism

PaperRater, free, allows you to upload a paper and check for grammar, plagiarism and even gives writing suggestions. Would be helpful for students writing papers or for teachers to check a paper. Simply copy and paste the text into the form.


DocsTeach is a website published by the Foundation for the National Archives has over 3000 primary sources selected from the National Archives, you can create your own activities based on their templates using the documents or use an existing activity such as We The People, comparing a draft of the constitution with the final version.. Primary sources are US History and cover 1754-present.

Monday, December 20, 2010

Interactive Holiday Websites Dec 24-Dec 26

A Couple of fun websites for this weekend's holidays Christmas and Kwanzaa

Christmas December 25
Send a Call from Santa
This is actually pretty good, you can specify what you want Santa to say from google voice, preview it and have the message go to email, facebook, twitter or to a phone. Its pretty funny. Worth looking into. No login required.

The Gingerbread Man with Everything...
Looking for something holiday-ish, free and fun to do with your students, have them create a gingerbread person. Sponsored by SPRINT so we can look at their ad while we do it, this is a cute website. No flour, sugar, frosting or candy needed for these cookies, just click and drag. I would recommend it for all ages. No login required.

Norad Santa
Track Santa, begins Dec 24th. Visit the North Pole to play some fun games. Download google earth to track Santa around the world.

Elf Yourself
Upload a picture of yourself and you become an elf, upload up to 5 photos.

Kwanzaa December 26

Kwanzaa Paper Dolls
Print, color and make your own Kwaanza paper dolls.

Kwanzaa Jigsaw Puzzles
These are really fun. Put together a Kwanzaa jigsaw puzzle online.

Coloring Pages and Activities

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Go!Animate 4 Schools NEW!

Go!Animate just launched a FREE educational version called Go!Animate 4 Schools. I was really excited to learn about this becuase a bunch of teachers have expressed interest in cartooning tools. It is really brand new so there are only a few educational examples, but looks amazing. It is drag and drop scenes, characters etc... so is easy for younger children. I love the text to speech feature so students don't have to fiddle with microphones if they aren't available. I signed up for a free school account so if you are interested, contact me and I can add you.

These are the features of the free teacher account

-1 free teacher account
-100 student accounts
-teachers have the ability to create characters

Students can...
- Make animation up to 2 minutes long

- Upload own music

- Text-to-voice and voice recording

- Create up to 3 characters per student

The plus version gives you a lot more for $12 per year.

Here is a sample... Animation class begins by Lindsey Stevens

Like it? Create your own at GoAnimate4Schools. It's free and fun!

If you would like to use this with your students or create your own animation for teaching

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Google Earth 6 NEW!

Google, has upgraded Google Earth by adding 80 million trees, more historical images and updating the street view which makes it more realistic and seamless when on the street view.

To download

Monday, December 6, 2010 launched today, a new literary website for teens launched today. It looks interesting. Teens can write and contribute to the site and they can also read other stories, poems etc...

NY Times Article

Its worth a peek at. Might be great for students to encourage them to read or write.

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Adding a signature to your email

This video shows you how to add a signature that appears on the bottom of every email you send!

(NOTE: I made in error when recording this, when you go into Mail Identities, your name should already be there, click on your name and then follow the directions. You DON'T need to click 'new'.)

Glogster PD

Wednesday, November 24, 2010


Kerpoof Scholastics, is an online multimedia software in which students can create original artwork, animated movies, stories and more. Geared toward elementary and middle school aged children, Kerpoof offers teacher accounts so you can manage your class. Its free and the students don't need an email address to log in.

Kerpoof has some great lessons and is aligned with some states' frameworks (not MA yet, but it is aligned with ISTE)

The lessons included are as follows (or make your own)

Master Artist Series
  • Impressionist Art (grades 4-8) (PDF)
  • M.C. Escher's Relativity (grades 4-8)
  • Pablo Picasso and Cubism (grades 3-6)
    • Lesson Plan (PDF)
    • Worksheet (PDF)
  • Surrealist Art of Salvador Dali and Friends (grades 4-6) (PDF)
  • The Color Wheel (grades 4-8) (PDF)

Math and Science

  • The Planets (grades 3-6) (PDF)
  • Programming Wizards (grades 5-8)
  • Movie Math Madness (grades 3-5) (PDF)
  • Life Cycle of a Butterfly (PDF)
  • Nocturnal vs. Diurnal Animals (grades 4-6) (PDF)
  • Celebrate the Seasons (pre-K - grade 2)
    • Lesson Plan (PDF)
    • Color the Seasons (PDF)
    • Write about the Seasons (PDF)

Language Arts

  • Visual Thesaurus (grades 4-6) (PDF)
  • Fairy Tale Reporter (grades 3-5) (PDF)
  • French Fairy Tales (grades 5 and up)
    • Lesson Plan (PDF)
    • Le Petit Chaperon Rouge Packet (PDF)
    • Le Petit Chaperon Rouge Vocabulary (PDF)
    • Les Fees Packet (PDF)
    • Les Fees Vocabulary (PDF)
  • Henohenomoheji (grades 3-6) (PDF)
  • Exploring the Polar Regions (grades 6-8) (PDF)
  • Metaphors in Fairy Tales (grades 7-9)
  • Fairy Tales with a Twist (grades 3-6) (PDF)
  • Haiku for You (grades 4-6) (PDF)
  • Writing a Persuasive Advertisement (grades 3-5) (PDF)
  • Celebrate Sport (grades 2-8)
    • Lesson Plan (PDF)
    • Activity Scripts (PDF)
    • Worksheets (PDF)
    • Vocabulary (PDF)
  • Making New Year's Resolutions (grades 4-8)
    • Lesson Plan (PDF)
    • Worksheet (PDF)
  • Spanish Fairy Tales (grades 5 and up)
    This lesson plan guides beginning Spanish-speakers in the retelling of Little Red Riding Hood and the Three Little Pigs using Kerpoof's Make a Movie. Present and past tense verb worksheets are also provided.
    • Lesson Plan (PDF)
    • Vocabulary (PDF)
    • Links to Fairy Tales in Spanish (PDF)
    • Assignment Worksheet (PDF)
    • Present Tense Verb Worksheet - The Three Pigs (PDF)
    • Past Tense Verb Worksheet - The Three Pigs (PDF)
    • Present Tense Verb Worksheet - Red Riding Hood (PDF)
    • Past Tense Verb Worksheet - Red Riding Hood (PDF)
    • Worksheet Answer Key (PDF)

Social Studies

  • Thanksgiving (grades 2-4, 5-8)
    • Grades 2-4 (PDF)
    • Grades 5-8 (PDF)

TenMarks Online Math Tool is now free!

TenMarks is now free for teachers. As seen on Fox 25 Boston (see video below)

From the Publisher: TenMarks is the only online math program that helps students refresh, learn, and master math concepts - in their own time, at their own pace. Each child receives a personalized curriculum to help them master the concepts quickly
Starting at grade 3, the teacher can set up a classroom and import in skills based on the state's curriculum frameworks.

This online software allows students to practice the skills they have learned in the classroom. Great for a struggling student, fun review or summer homework.

I actually am setting this up to use with my own daughter, so I will let you know how it goes.

As always, email me if you would like help setting this up
sarahkyriazis @ wbschools .com

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Digital Story Making/Telling

I came across some great FREE resources for writing children's stories. These would be great for all ages

Story Bird: collaborative storytelling, Storybirds are short, art-inspired stories you make to share, read, and print. Read them like books, play them like games, and send them like greeting cards. FYI- there is no sound, but students can write a story and select some beautiful images to add. The finished project turns like a book. The education account is free and you can create a class account so that students don't need an email address or any private information to log in.

StoryJumper: publish your own children's book. This site has a great 7 step quick start. Children can write a story using preloaded images or their own art. Teacher can create their own classroom so it is safe and easy for children to create their own writing projects. The books can be shared online for free or printed professionally for a fee. In StoryJumper there are a lot of options to add multiple images of characters, scenes, props etc... It would require more time in the classroom than Story Bird.

Tikatok: This website is actually owned by Barnes & Noble. On the homepage, there are 3 options 1. Memory book which is for all ages 2. Story Sparks which is for ages 8+ and 3. Start from Scratch for ages 10+. On the teachers page, teachers can register for a free account and have students login and create their stories olnline. They can publish the books for a fee. I really like how Tikatok automatically creates the book so that the copyright information and author's name, dedication etc... are already in there so students can see how they are truly the author. You can create a class account and then give out an information sheet to parents (that tikatok provides) so that they can log in and see their child's book and order it if they want. *Because it is a Barnes & Noble site, it is a little heavy on the 'buy now', but I wouldn't let this discourage you.

**I have signed up for all of these services so if you would like to preview it before you sign up, I can show you the site. Contact me at sarahkyriazis @ wbschools .com

Collaborize Classroom Free if you sign up by November 15

There was a post about Collaborize Classroom on my google homepage today so I decided to check it out. If you have been thinking about starting a blog or online discussion, this would be great for you to check out. Even if you are thinking about doing it in the future, sign up before the 15th to have it for free.

From the Publisher:
Collaborize Classroom™ is an online learning platform that allows your students to engage and discuss topics and ideas, by adding structure to their conversations that drives to better participation and engagement inside and outside the classroom.

In partnership with Democrasoft®, The Kids In Need Foundation is providing the Collaborize Classroom™ product at no-cost to teachers for the 2010-2011 school year if you sign up before November 15, 2010.

Please note that there is not an automatic renewal process at the end of the school year.

Watch the video about an English teacher talking about this online tool.

Wednesday, November 3, 2010


Reminder: The middle/high school has a 30 day free trial of EasyBib, automatic bibliography and citation maker. The free trial started Monday, November 1st.

Monday, November 1, 2010

21st Century Learners

Faculty Meeting
Monday, November 1, 2010

Tools used in this presentation
In student's presenation

Monday, October 25, 2010

Digital Natives

Digital Native: a person who has grown up in a world with digital technology such as the Internet and mobile phones (source: Macmillon Dictionary)

Take a look at these thought provoking videos. I would love to hear your comments. Agree, disagree?

Presentations with Prezi is a great tool for teachers or students to use for making presentations. It hails from Europe (Budapest, Hungary) and it just launched last year, in my opinion is one of the most engaging presentation tools out there.

Instead of that same old boring powerpoint, prezi allows you to create extremely creative presentations. You start off with a white screen and can add images, video, sounds and more to your presentation. Your presentation can go foward and backward like slides, but it can branch off as well. You can zoom in and out (but prezi cautions about this because it can make your students sea sick and after reviewing this for the last 30 minutes, I am honestly feeling a little nauseaus, but they have tutorials on how to avoid this)

This is a great (10 minute) video created by a college jazz professor that speaks about his experience using prezi. It is worth the time to look at.

Here is an example below of a very basic 'prezitation' that an 8th grade science teacher created as an example for his students with the project requirements. Simple, to the point but how engaging! I bet every single one of his students knew exactly what was expected of them.

To view this prezitation, just click on the arrow and keep clicking to take you through it. Way more fun than powerpoint!

and here is an example of what one of the students turned in. I would have liked to see video or music etc.. but I think it is a good start and did exactly what the teacher asked.

If you want to try this, sign up for the edu version which is free for students and teachers and gives you more than the public version. And contact me and I can help! sarahkyriazis @ wbschools .com

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

What the heck is a GLOG?

Looking for an easy, interactive project that your students can do? Try Glogster, A Glog is an online poster. It is easy to use, educational and interactive. It can be used in EVERY grade level. Imagine a poster that can include text, images, video, sound and more!

The free educator accounts have 100 student accounts (Until November 7) then it drops to 50.

Glogster EDU Premium is a collaborative online learning platform for teachers and students to express their creativity, knowledge, ideas and skills in the classroom.
  • Glog – interactive poster
  • Collaborative class projects
  • School-level teacher management of students and classes
  • Private and safe student environment
  • Engage students in fun and creative activities
  • National educational standards

Below are some examples of glogs. Click to see them in action.
*Plug in your headphones or speakers!

Click on this link and this glog will sing the ABC Song



If you would like to learn more or need help integrating this into your classroom.
Please contact sarahkyriazis @ wbschools .com

Interwrite Mobi (on your desktop!)

Interwrite Workspace
All the middle/high school teachers have the purple INTERWRITE workspace icon on their desktops. This is the software that comes with the clickers, but you don't NEED the clickers to take advantage of this software.

This is a video that shows you a little about the software.

It teaches you how to

-launch the software
-capture an online image
-use the gallery
-use the sims
-drawing tools
-shape and text recognition
-record and playback

If you want to more help with interwrite mobi and don't know how to get started.
Contact me sarahkyriazis @ wbschools

Educational Rap Videos!

Mr. Duey, a 7th grade math teacher, has his own YouTube Channel where he has rap videos about math. He is so funny and the videos are engaging. These would be great to show your students using your computer/projector.

The funny thing about this teacher is that now he has his own website and is selling his 'educational raps'.


SMART Board and Long Division

Google Docs

There are countless free resources Google offers. One of the is Google Docs. As an educator and as a business owner I use Google Docs every day because everything is stored online for me. I can create a free google account and create a document or spreadsheet online. It is saved and can be accessed anywhere in the world. I can also ‘share’ it with others so they can either read it or contribute to it.

Watch this video “Google Docs in Plain English

Watch this “Jing” from a collegue of mine, Mary Marotta, the Instructional Technologist at Nashoba High School about how you can use Google Docs in the classroom

Activity: Create a Google account

Activity: Create a document in google.

STEP 5Reflect: Comment on how you would use this for your productivity or to use in the classroom.


What is a blog? Well, this… you are on a blog right now, Blogger is a type of blog. Many people use blogs as a diary of their daily activity, hobbies, book clubs and more!

The definition is:
A blog (a contraction of the term “Web log”) is a Web site, usually maintained by an individual with regular entries of commentary, descriptions of events, or other material such as graphics or video. Entries are commonly displayed in reverse-chronological order. “Blog” can also be used as a verb, meaning to maintain or add content to a blog.

As you can see, you can teach a class through a blog, communicate with peers, disseminate information, get feedback, give polls, post links etc… There can even be more than one contributor to a blog so two+ people could be creating posts in the same blog.

I love blogs as a teacher because #1 its free #2 blogs are accessible from any computer with internet access #3 blogs are relatively easy to use #4 the functionality of a blog is phenomenal, you can embed links, images, videos and more.

STEP 1Assignment: Watch  this video “Blogs in Plain English”:

STEP 2Assignment: Make your own blog. Choose one of the following:
bloggerBlogger (this is a link to the tour

Write a comment below and link to your blog. Why you created it, what subject you chose, how it is doing.

Google Earth

Google Earth is one of the coolest Google Tools. It is a free download that you can put install on your computer and have on your desktop.

The possible integration of Google Earth into your classroom is endless!

It is complete with historical imagery from around the world, Ocean floor and surface data from marine experts and simplified touring with audio and voice recording.

Google Earth lets you fly anywhere on Earth to view satellite imagery, maps, terrain, 3D buildings, from galaxies in outer space to the canyons of the ocean. You can explore rich geographical content, save your toured places, and share with others.

Google Earth is an interactive, virtual globe that enables you to find and explore just about any location on our planet and beyond. In this video you will learn how to find businesses and locations in the Search Panel and save locations in My Places Panel.

Download Google Earth

STEP 2Take 30-45 minutes to look through different educational examples of Google Earth.
One example is: Enjoy a guided tour of the sites of ancient Rome from the comfort of your desktop. From the Colosseum to the ruins of the Temple of Minerva, each placemark offers a brief history of the specific location.

STEP 3Plan a lesson using google earth to PREPARE for your lesson or as a part of your lesson and post below.

If you would like help with using this in your classroom and need assistance...
Contact me sarahkyriazis @ wbschools

31 Interesting Ways to Use Google Docs in the Classroom

This used to be 19 ways to use Google Docs in the classroom, but now it is 31!
It is a short sweet slide show created to spark your creativity.
Google Docs is one of my favorite free tools for teachers.

RSS & Google Reader

RSS feeds are something you can subscribe to like news, blog posts etc… that will come to you in your reader. Google Reader is an aggregate for reading RSS feeds. They work together.

Objective: To learn about Google Reader

Watch Video: RSS in Plain English:

STEP 2Assignment: Watch Google Reader in Plain English

STEP 3Assignment: Set up a google reader account. Follow google’s directions.

Assignment : Using your new google reader account
  • subscribe to a blog that is in your academic subject area
  • subscribe to a newspaper, journal or blog that is a hobby of your
  • LOOK for the RSS orange icon
Objective: To learn how to subscribe to RSS feeds and gain information that is useful professionally, educationally and personally.

Comment on your experience with this. Share how you can use this in an academic atmosphere or for professional development.

Tina Avery's comments from 2009

Hi –
I had a lot of fun with this one. I subscribed to the Boston Globe, Edutopia and Will Richardson’s blog. If you haven’t heard of him (I know you have Sarah.) he is a blogger extraordinaire. ( I clicked on a blog entry titled “The Added Value of Networking” on 3/4/09 that caught my eye because it mentioned “Passion in Learning”. What a concept! How many of us still have that as teachers? How many of our students experience it?
Within the blog was a link to an article from Harvard Graduate School of Education’s magazine titled “Thanks for the Add. Now Help Me with My Homework”. ( It dealt with Social Networking in education. What a great read. Among other things one of the researchers found that by using Facebook the students developed technical skills, creativity, an appreciation for diversity and communication skills. Hooray for digital citizenship!
Subscribing to these feeds is a boon for my PD. I just have to pay attention to the time!
If a student were researching a particular topic they could set up feeds from journals that deal with the topic. In that way they could receive timely information on their subject of choice.

Google Maps Tutorial

One of the VHS teachers asked me to do a tutorial on how to set up a custom map in Google Maps. She wants to put a marker for all of her students’ high schools with links to their websites in her custom map. We discussed the other possibilities of making a custom google map. In Social Studies it could be used to mark different battle grounds, in Science it could be used to mark tornadoes in a season, the possibilities are endless.

My Maps can be customized with place markers, videos, images, html, text, and more.
So, I created this map of the places I have been. You can make maps public or private (I made mine public).

View Countries I visited in a larger map

STEP 1 Create a google account if you don’t have one (

STEP 2 Do a search for “MY MAPS” or click here:

STEP 3 Create a map. Post the link below, or if you have a blog, post it in your blog.
* To embed in your blog, click on "link" and then "paste HTML to embed in website".

EXTENSION Create a map to integrate into one of your lessons.

If you would like help with using this in your classroom and need assistance...
Contact me sarahkyriazis @ wbschools

Pixton - Online Comic Writing Website

Pixton is an online comic writing website. The possibilities with this in every subject are endless.

What a great tool to engage students through comics!

Students or teachers can make comics, posters and more! Make a comic together as a class with the teacher's account.

The public version is free. The educator version is a little more secure and offers a free 14 day trial, but then it is a paid service. With the educator version, you can give students a passcode so they don't need an email to login.

Alternatively, this would be great to offer students that have home email access as a choice for a project.

Express yourself in a whole new way!

Make comics
  • Award-winning click-and-drag comic creator
  • Customize everything right on the page
  • Move characters into any pose
  • Use in any web browser, Mac or PC
  • Certified for use on interactive whiteboards
Share anywhere
  • Send by email, embed in blogs or social networks
  • Pinpoint friends & fans on a world map
  • Print with the click of a button
Add your twist
  • Remix and switch up the storyline
  • Make a guest appearance in comics
  • Create your own ending
  • Watch animation teaser
  • Watch 30-sec trailer
  • Educational version


  • Bring your comics & avatars to life with animation
  • Set keyframes, let Pixton do the rest
  • Rendered to video for easy upload
  • Remix with your friends

Connect globally

  • Make friends & fans around the world
  • Automatic translation on comics in 40+ languages
  • Website in Portuguese, Romanian, Dutch, Polish and growing

If you would like help with using this in your classroom and need assistance...
Contact me sarahkyriazis @ wbschools

What are they saying?

As teachers and as parents, it is important we know what our kids are saying when they are instant messaging (im) or texting on their cell phones… keep this glossary handy. There is a language for chatting and a language for texting. This website lists it all

Project Spectrum: Autism and Google Sketchup

Project Spectrum: Autism and Google Sketchup

Project Spectrum was created to give people with autism the opportunity to express their creativity and develop a life skill using Google SketchUp 3D modeling software. More information can be found at

Google Sketch up is a free google tool!

If you would like to try this out, contact me.
sarahkyriazis @ wbschools

Texting Until Their Thumbs Hurt

Texting Until Their Thumbs Hurt

Interesting article and comments to the blog about teens and texting.

Technology Lingo

Want to be up to speed with all of your technology savvy colleagues? Here are some important terms to help you out.
Web 2.0
The term “Web 2.0″ refers to a perceived second
generation of web development and design, that aims to facilitate communication, secure information sharing, interoperability, and collaboration on the World Wide Web. Web 2.0 concepts have led to the development and evolution of web-based communities, hosted services, and applications such as social-networking sites, video-sharing sites, wikis, blogs, and folksonomies.

A social network service focuses on building
online communities of people who share interests and/or activities, or who are interested in exploring the interests and activities of others. Most social network services are web based and provide a variety of ways for users to interact, such as e-mail and instant messaging services. Some social networking sites include: Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Linkedin

Folksonomy(also known as collaborative tagging, social classification, social indexing, and social tagging) is the practice and method of collaboratively creating and managing tags to annotate and categorize content. Folksonomy describes the bottom-up classification systems that emerge from social tagging.[1] In contrast to traditional subject indexing, metadata is generated not only by experts but also by creators and consumers of the content. Usually, freely chosen keywords are used instead of a controlled vocabulary.[2] Folksonomy (from folk + taxonomy) is a user-generated taxonomy.

Social Bookmarking
Social bookmarking is a method for
Internet users to store, organize, search, and manage bookmarks of web pages on the Internet with the help of metadata. Examples include: delicious, dig

A blog (a
contraction of the term weblog) is a website, usually maintained by an individual with regular entries of commentary, descriptions of events, or other material such as graphics or video. Entries are commonly displayed in reverse-chronological order. “Blog” can also be used as a verb, meaning to maintain or add content to a blog. Although some focus on art (artlog), photographs (photoblog), sketches (sketchblog), videos (vlog), music (MP3 blog), audio (podcasting), which are part of a wider network of social media. Micro-blogging is another type of blogging, one which consists of blogs with very short posts.

computing, a plug-in (also: plugin, addin, add-in, addon, add-on, snap-in or snapin; but see also extension) consists of a computer program that interacts with a host application (a web browser or an email client, for example) to provide a certain, usually very specific, function “on demand”.  Applications support plugins for many reasons

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Picnik- Photo Editing Made Fun!

Picnik is an excellent tool for teachers and students who want to edit photos, but don't have Photoshop or have advanced skills. It is user friendly and has a great set of free tools. The beauty of this site for the classroom is that you don't need a login to use it. Simply upload a photo and edit.

If you would like to try this out, contact me.
sarahkyriazis @ wbschools