Thursday, July 26, 2007

Interactive Whiteboard Resources

Regardless of the type of interactive whiteboard that you have chosen, the staff here at the Tech Fridge congratulates you on joining (arguably) the "next big thing" in education. Some would argue that it can't be the "next big thing" because its already here, but we think that, until they become more common in ALL districts, we can't say its a "now thing."
To quench your IW thirst, we offer these online resources:
For Math: Math Blox
Math Blox is a Tetris-style game. You may choose to focus on any of the four math operations. You also can set how high you want the answer to be. For interactive whiteboards, we have students stand in a line next to the board to allow for quicker transitions between players. The obvious problem is that students get in the way of the projector, especially if the projector is not in the ceiling. When blocks are stacking up and someone gets in the way, some students easily come unglued. It's been a hit with 1st grade to 6th grade.
For Science: Forces of Nature
Forces of Nature focuses on volcanoes, earthquakes, hurricanes and tornadoes. Students are able to read about the different natural disasters and then create a virtual disaster. For example, students can decide what type of ground (bedrock, landfill or fault zone) a building is built on and the magnitude of the earthquake (I suggest fault zone and high :) ). Better for upper elementary to get the most of the information presented, but what little kid doesn't like to create virtual disasters? Nothing is timed so there are no special ways to align students.
For Language: Punctuation Paintball
All students will beg to do daily oral language when you show them Punctuation Paintball. Students choose a correction to make (the paintball) and then touch/click where the correction should be made. The ball is shot at the correction. If the student is correct, the word/phrase/sentence turns green. If not, paint splatters (remember, end punctuation comes AFTER the word). When you are done with the sentence, it goes away and another appears. Students that get them all correct in the allotted time participate in the bonus round get to shoot at the aliens. There is an easy, medium and advanced level. The difference is the amount of corrections per sentence and the type of sentences. For example, the easy level focuses on capitalization and end punctuation. We have done this with 1st-3rd grade as well. We have one student stand on each side of he board and divide the screen in half. They get to play untilthey don't win. There is one sentence that appears in the middle...just play rock-paper-scissors to settle the argument.
Miscellaneous: Invention at Play
Invention at Play has four different activities. Cloud Dreamer lets you create your own clouds. Puzzle Blocks make you maneuver the blocks so that it creates the desired object. Word Play is a mad libs type activity. Our favorite? Tinker Ball. Students love it! Students move various objects in hopes of dropping a ball off a ledge and bouncing it into the cup (Yes, cheaters will "pick" up the ball an drop it in the cup). It is a lot of fun. It's not timed, so we have students come up one at a time. They can add an object, turn one that is already there, or drop the ball, then sit down. It is a lot of fun...even for teachers.
One common misconsception is that websites that are geared for interactive whiteboards can't be used on computers. That's very untrue. Think about it: the interactive whiteboard, at its very basic, is a board that controls your computer. These websites can be used at any time, but they lend themselves very well to an interactive whiteboard environment.
Well, don't plan on every post being this long, but the fridge is definitely full. We need to clean out some of our ideas so that we can put in more. We don't like stale milk.

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