Tuesday, April 26, 2011


Guest Blogger - Tina Avery
I am quite impressed with this rubric creating site I recently ran across called iRubric.  Individual educators and students can create a free account.  “Build, Assess, Share and Collaborate” with your rubrics! iRubric is a comprehensive rubric development, assessment, and sharing tool. It is designed to be easy to use. 

Two of my favorite features –
1. The Public Gallery where you can search through existing rubrics by Grade Level, Type and Subject.  There are a myriad of choices!
2. The collection of how-to videos for creating your own rubrics.  I am not that good at coming up with my own rubrics so this is a real boon in my opinion. 

Here is what iRubric has to say about their scoring features:  

Click. Click. Done. Scoring rubrics cannot be made any easier. Just pull up a rubric from the gradebook, click, click, and you're done. Rubric scores are automatically adjusted to the coursework grading scale and posted on the gradebook. All you have to do next is to press [save]. Students get a copy of the scored rubric securely... no more paperwork, no more calculations and no more confusion.
Sign up for your free iRubric account today andspend more time teaching and less time grading”!

Friday, April 8, 2011

Word Clouds: Tagxedo and Wordle

Ok, so Tina Avery introduced me to Wordle and Tagxedo and I was finally able to use them the other day and I can say that I love these free web 2.0 tools, especially tagxedo and more importantly, so do the students.

Let me explain... Monday, the first day of the new quarter, I had a brand new group of 28, 6 graders and the printer was out for service in the lab. They were supposed to be creating name tags in Publisher and I usually have them put 5-10 images of things they like to do, it takes up pretty much the entire rest of the period after we go over class expectations, it also gives me a way to assess how comfortable they are with the computer.

So, plan B...I had the kids write their names on paper and on the back of their name tent, they had to list their 5 favorite things to do with technology. I wanted to see what were the most popular types of technology uses without polling them, so I opened up Wordle and had the kids say outloud their 5 favorite things. I quickly typed everything they said in.

This was the result... (click to view clear) as you can see youtube is the most popular use of technology.

Wordle: 6 Grade Computer Interests

When I projected this, I got oohs and aahs, they were amazed by how it turned out so I thought that since this kept their attention, they could create their own. They got in groups and came up with a question, all I told them was that it had to be about technology, any type they like computers, mp3 players, ipads, games etc... They were then to poll their classmates throughout the day and the next day they created tagxedos.

Here are a few samples...

What kind of phone do you have? http://www.tagxedo.com/artful/41f8795760ed4e06

What types of technology do you have? http://www.tagxedo.com/artful/d4447b6d2da74199

What do you do? http://www.tagxedo.com/artful/bef57e62199e4c39

I love tagxedo, the kids were so engaged and they were really amazed by all of the different shapes you could make. Now my brain is thinking about all of the other possibilities for tagxedo... I created one about all of the things we learn in the class and included it on a handout, this would be great for class expectations or a syllabus... there are so many uses for it and luckily its creator created a blog post called "101 Ways to Use Tagxedo". Be patient, it takes time to load, but the results are amazing. There is something for everyone at all grade levels. If you have used this in your classroom, please leave a comment with a link to your tagxedo.

As always, if you would like to try this in your classroom and need help, please email me sarahkyriazis@wbschools.com

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Flash Cards Online

Check out this great this great web application that allows you to create flash cards online.  You can then use them for studying solo or collaboratively with your friends (CoBo Cards is short for Collaboration Cards).  The cards are interactive and can include images.  They are also printable.  This app is available for the iphone and droid so you can study on the go, too!  If you need them, there are detailed tutorials to get you started, plus tips, possible uses and a FAQ section.

CoBo Cards has gotten good reviews.  Notable among these reviews are three from Tech –Ed bloggers Adam Pash at lifehacker, Richard Byrne at Free Technology for Teachers (You should be following this blog!) and Jane Hart at C4LPT (Centre for Learning and Performance Technologies).
Here is an video introduction: 

Free Tools from Microsoft

From a guest : Steve Pellowe, WBPS Technology Coordinator

Microsoft research has made available its WorldWide Telescope at no charge. WorldWide Telescope (WWT) enables your computer to function as a virtual telescope, bringing together imagery from the best ground and space-based telescopes in the world. Experience narrated guided tours from astronomers and educators featuring interesting places in the sky.


Microsoft has just introduced a free math teaching tool. We can download and install anywhere, students can download it at home. At first glance it appears to be aimed at pre-algebra to calculus but it may have some useful features for grades 4 and 5.

Here is the link to the site:


Thank You Steve! If anyone needs help with any of these, please contact me. sarahkyriazis@wbschools.com

Monday, April 4, 2011

6 Grade Computer Wordle

I asked this question of 25 6 graders.
"What top 5 things do you do with the computer"
This was the results.

Wordle: 6 Grade Computer Interests