I was introduced to Voicethread while attending FETC, but never played around with it until a few weeks ago. Now I wish I had tried it out first! Voicethread is an online program that you can use for free. There are pay options as well, but so far everything I have done with it has been free. What I have found out is that you can only create five voicethreads with the free account, so that may be a reason to upgrade! However, you can assign your students to create the voicethread in their account, which will not limit your account. Also, you can delete voicethreads that you no longer need.

First create an account and have your students create their own accounts, or create one for them. Then click CREATE. Here you will upload the pictures and comment on the picture to explain the assignment. When you finish you will click share. Here you can add your student accounts to give them access to the voicethread. The explanation video can be found here.

My Voicethreads:

Israel voicethread from my class

Character voicethread for future class

Voicethreads created by others that may interest you:
Virtual Museum

Two digit by two digit subtraction

Book Talk– So Totally Emily Ebers

So I have shown you a way to incorporate voicethread in Reading, Social Studies, and Writing. How else can you use it? Please leave a comment with ideas for use!

Word Activities

Word study is one of my favorite areas of study this year. My students have expanded their knowledge of roots and prefixes through a year long activity filled study. At first I was stuck with how I could make each study different and create an exciting program. I began to search the internet and ask around for ideas. Today I am going to share some of the ideas I found for word study with you!

Quizlet– This free website allows you to add words and defintions, even pictures, and create flashcards. The program will create games, tests, and activities with your words so that you can study in fun and different ways. I assigned my students a set of words and they created their own quizlets, I also created a poetry unit and assigned students to complete two activities and a test. You can create groups in quizlet and monitor your student’s work. It is simple and easy to do and allows students a fun techy way to study words. I had students complete a discussion board after the first time we used quizlet and asked them to rate the program and give me feedback. Overwhelmingly the students liked and enjoyed the program, however they also said they wouldn’t use it on their own without an assignment that required this program.
Here are some examples of my own and my student’s quizlets, Poetry, Number root/prefix, and Say and Write roots.

Another free and easy website that produces word clouds based on text is Wordle. With this program you can copy and paste words from a document and it will create a grouping of words that appear in the text. Words that appear more often are larger and take a prominent place in the word art picture. You can choose colors, styles, font, and location to make different word art pictures. I used this with our study of Social Studies in the content area. I took the words from the chapters on African American History and put them in the program. I created 5 different types of wordle, then handed it to my students as a preview to the study. They made predictions about our unit based on the words and how big (how often) the words were used. I am also going to use this program in an upcoming lesson for students to create a word art picture.

In a previous Tech posts, I have blogged about glogster, kerpoof, and animoto. It is a way to create an online, interactive poster. In a recent study of number roots/prefixes, students were allowed to choose their own method of sharing their words. Here are a few examples of student work: word glog, 7-100glog, another 7-100glog, Kerpoof book, Kerpoof movie, animoto movie.

Other websites that you can find word activities:

Games with words
Dolch words for preschool
Spelling City

Collection of games

My 7123 Compression Podcast Assignment

My class this semester at Nova is 7123 Digital Media for ITDE. For this class we had to select a topic in ITDE, create a script, take photographs, and make a video podcast to teach about this topic. I initially selected ‘Rule of Thirds’ as I was very comfortable with this topic. I was assigned a second topic by Dr Simonson for my exam, compression, which I knew next to nothing about. Once I researched the term and wrote my exam, I decided to switch to compression as my podcast topic. I learned alot about compression and enjoyed creating the pictures and video for the podcast. So here is my video, watch, listen, learn, enjoy!


Imagine assigning a video/audio podcast to your students as a test on what they are learning in class. I am thinking about it for Science. My students are learning about body systems. Why can’t students form groups, select a body system, and create a podcast to show what they have learned about the system, as well as teach others about those systems. How can you use podcasting?

Graphing using online tools

Let’s discuss graphing tools. I have used excel with my students many times and they pick it up lots faster than adults. A kid friendly tool for creating graphs is http://nces.ed.gov/nceskids/ .The National Center for Educational Statistics has a kids site that allows teachers and students to use math in fun and educational ways. The site includes This Day In History, Mind Benders (jokes and riddles), polls, data snapshots, and word of the day. Additionally they have tabs for tools, graphs, dare to compare, grab bag, and chances. Tools brings up search engines for schools. Dare to Compare allows students to take quizzes to take to compare with students around the world. Grab Bag has multiple choices for games and learning. Chances is a probability dice game.

Today I want to focus on the Graphing tab of the site. Students can select bar, line, area, pie, or XY graphs. Once you select the type of graph, you the direction, shape, and style. Next, you add the data and labels. Then, you can preview the graph. If it is correct and to their liking they can print and save the graph. This easy way to graph will allow students to create, read, and understand graphs.

A few other websites for graphing:

As with all tech items, please play with the sites before you try to use them with students. My kids will be studying baseball math soon and we will use the chart maker to show batting averages and scores. Please take a moment to look over the websites and comment on how you can use this tool in your class.

A New Kind of Book Report

Another great find this week! I have been using a website called Big Huge Labs for a few weeks now in many different ways. This one website has a gazillion uses…yep that many!

My students are sports enthusiasts so at the beginning of February we went through our basketball calendar that has a bball player birthday for all 366 days this year. Students found the player who shared their birthday and researched that person. We used the Trading Card option to create a fact card about the players.

Another option we used was Name Badge. We researched women who made a difference in our world for Women’s History Month. Students wrote a poem about their woman and found a picture online. They put the poem and the picture on the Name Badge.

This website has so many options that you can play for weeks and still not use them all. You can make motivational posters, magazine covers, jigsaw puzzles, calendars, picture captions, and fortune cookies.

First, create a log in. Next, select a tool to use. Then, upload a picture for use. Pictures stay in your upload, so you can use them in any of the tools. Finally, add in the text and organize your information based on the tool you are using. *Just a quick tip: make sure you click on the picture you want to use each time you are working so the program knows what to use. Sometimes it will not move forward in creating until you have clicked the picture again.

Play! Have fun! So how will you use it in the classroom? Book reports using this website are fun and easy. Other ideas include biographical reports, science reports, poetry publishing, and so many more! So what do you think? How can this multifaceted program be used in your classroom? Leave a comment to share your ideas!