Thursday, June 24, 2010

Follow #ISTEfreebie for Exhibit Hall Giveaway Updates

I may not be teaching in a fourth grade classroom anymore, but I am still a teacher. And as a teacher, I love the word “free”, which makes the exhibit hall at ISTE10 an exciting place to be! So here’s how I will be helping my colleagues take advantage of all that is free in the ISTE10 exhibit hall.

Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday, I will be scouring the exhibit hall and tweeting out the best vendor giveaways. (I still use my INTEL insulated mug. Unfortunately, the dozen golf balls from Daktech are resting peacefully at the bottom of a pond, relaxing in overgrown rough or hiding in the hollow of a tree.—They didn’t stand a chance.)

So I don’t muck up the #ISTE10 stream, I will be tweeting freebies and booth numbers via the hashtag #ISTE10freebie Follow @starrmatica or the #ISTE10freebie hashtag to receive updates, and when you come across an amazing find, share it with the rest of us by adding to the stream!

Speaking of giveaways, StarrMatica will be giving away 9 classroom memberships to our library of K-6 interactive reading, math and science content throughout the conference. And it couldn’t be easier to win:

1. I will give away three memberships in the exhibit hall. Be the first to stop by AVI-SPL booth #1675 on Monday, Tuesday or Wednesday and mention this blog post to win that day’s membership.

2. I will give away one membership at my ISTE Unplugged presentation "3 hours or 3 clicks? The Easy Way to Create Fun, Interactive Lessons" on Monday at 1:00 pm to the first person that mentions this blog post.

3. I will give away one membership at the Compass Learning Tweet Up on Monday night and one at the Simplek12/Promethean Tweet Up on Tuesday night to the first person who finds me at each party and mentions this blog post.

4. Not attending ISTE? Not to worry! We will be tweeting away 3 classroom memberships, one each day: Mon., Tues., Wed. at 10 am Mountain Time. Win by being the first to correctly tweet the answer to a question about this article:

And if you would like a membership for your entire school, we are giving away 50 of those this fall! Visit AVI-SPL booth #1675 to learn how to get one for your building!

Looking forward to meeting everyone at the conference, and travel safely!

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Chapter Four: Just For Fun


The gophers are here to help you relieve some stress.--Great indoor recess activity!

A Walk On The Beach

Need a vacation? Take a walk on this virtual beach!


Fill a canvas with color simply by clicking and dragging your mouse. Change the speed at which you move the mouse pointer to add variety to your work.

Magic Gopher

Think of a number and let the magic gopher read your mind.

Magical Lanterns

Compose an original tune or just enjoy playing a random melody with these magical musical lanterns.

Monkey Music

Move the monkey around the screen to experiment with various sounds. Disclaimer: This one can get annoying if students are experimenting for an extended period of time. :)

Rodent Choir

An octave of rat voices is at your disposal to create a new song or play an old favorite--might I suggest “Happy Birthday”? I smell a new classroom birthday tradition brewing!

Reindeer Orchestra

The Reindeer Orchestra—it’s not just for holidays anymore! Compose a song or play a seasonal favorite.

Screen Clean

Make sure to clean the inside of your interactive whiteboard. This is sure to make your students smile!

Thanks @tomwhitby for making me laugh by sharing this resource.

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Chapter Three: Creativity

Think Draw
Combine splashes of paint with flower images to create your own unique collage. Materials can be resized and rotated before being placed on the canvas.

Ink Blobs

Create a masterpiece by filling the canvas with colorful ink blobs.

This Is Sand

Click and move your mouse around the screen to create layered sand art.

Cloud Dreamer

Create your own cloud formation. Then, see it float through the sky.

Monkey Machine and Virtual Keyboard

Bring out your inner rocker by creating a unique song with this online drum kit and virtual keyboard.

Thanks @vanessascassie for sharing the Virtual Keyboard with me!

Compose Your Own Music

Place notes on the staff to compose your own music. Play back your creation and send it to a friend!

Music Box

Add pegs to this virtual music box to compose your own song. Add pegs across from one another to create chords and harmonies.

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Sponge Interactive Whiteboard Activities: Chapter Two

Chapter Two: Logic Games

Inch Worm, Inch Worm II, and Frog Jumpin’

Find your way though challenging mazes of increasing difficulty in Inch Worm and Inch Worm II. Use logic to reduce the number of frogs on screen through a series of jumps in the Frog Jumpin’ activity.

Chat Noir

Use logic to corral the cat with dark green dots and prevent it from escaping.

Below are links to three versions of the same challenging activity. Guess a computer selected pattern in a certain number of tries based on logical feedback from previous attempts.



Pattern Quest

Use the weight relationship between objects on either side of a scale to determine the value of each individual object.

Seesaw Logic

Valuable Jewels

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

"Sponge" Interactive Whiteboard Activities: Chapter One

There are times in your classroom when you need to have interactive whiteboard activities up your sleeve that weren’t planned learning opportunities but that still engage students in thinking--maybe your lesson finished 10 minutes sooner than you had planned, maybe your students are burned out from standardized testing, maybe it is hot in your classroom and attention is waning, or maybe your kids just need a break. I was taught to call these “sponge” activities --I suppose because they “soak up” time.  But, it is important to have interactive whiteboard activities ready that are thought provoking and creative, so you aren’t just “filling time” with meaningless tasks.

This is the first in a series of posts dedicated to sharing “sponge” interactive whiteboard activities that fall outside of your regular academic curriculum. All of the resources make great center activities and can also be used on computers. While some of the interactive whiteboard activities can be related back to a specific curricular area, these sites are perfect for just letting your students explore, get creative, and have fun!

Chapter One: Build and Construct

Ball Droppings

Experiment with this application by drawing lines to affect the direction of the balls, by changing the rate the balls drop and by modifying the effect of gravity on the balls. Notes: While the tones the dropping balls produce are fun for awhile, you may want the students to use headphones if in the computer lab or to mute the sound on the IWB. Also, I had difficulty getting this site to work correctly in Internet Explorer but had no issues in Firefox.


Knock down some popular formations or create your own. You can even save your creation at a url to send to your friends!

Tinker Ball
Use the given array of objects to build a path that will guide the ball into the cup. How many different paths can you build? Can you build a path that uses all of the objects? What is the fewest number of objects you can use and still be successful?

Thank you to @sharnon007 for guiding me to this resource!

Launch Ball

Place blocks in the correct locations to guide the ball into the goal. Different blocks have unique properties which makes each level challenging. You can save your work and go back later to continue at the level where you left off. The site also offers an open ended application where you can build challenges for your friends to complete.

Thank you to @ktenkely for guiding me to this resource!

Creative Builder

Build an online lego structure according to a set of plans or build a structure as quickly as you can while being timed. You can even choose a blank template to build your own unique and creative formation.

Thank you to @vanessascassie for guiding me to this resource!