Collaborize Classroom: How would you like a free online learning platform for your students that is secure and safe? Collaborize Classroom offers just that! Teachers can extend classroom discussions in a private online community of students. The online platform is safely structured to continue discussions, facilitate online learning groups, and allow students to share resources and engage in collaborative learning.
This online collaborative learning provides deeper participation inside and outside the classroom as students are engaged in online discussions, activities, and assignments. Students can share resources and engage in discussions that will result in a richer educational experience.
What’s great is that teachers can set up their Collaborize Classroom site in just minutes. They just need an email address to utilize this free online learning platform that complements classroom discussions and encourages discussion, participation, and engagement. Teachers can also create online lesson plans using free resources. Here are some of the free resources available:
Do’s and Don’ts for Student Forums
Rethinking Your Role
Art of Asking Questions
5 Activities with Collaborize Classroom
The platform is not meant to replace traditional instruction but helps to facilitate learning groups in a safe environment. All of the sites are secure and have a password protected process. The password is known only by teachers, students, and those who are invited to join the site. All information and data is protected and safe!
Collaborize Classroom is free, allowing teachers to accomplish more than they could otherwise, and the free resources are a valuable addition to using this online learning tool. The web-based technology provides endless possibilities for student learning. In my opinion, this is a great way to encourage student engagement, especially those who are shy and don’t talk in class. Most students are online at home anyway using social networking. This platform fits right in with the way they communicate online socially. And with the current economic crisis, the fact that this is free enables any teacher to use this platform.
Many children and adults as well are fascinated with dinosaurs. This is an exciting way for students to learn about them in a fun way! Set up an interest center with dinosaur books and dinosaur figures. Choose two or three dinosaur books to read before doing the “dig.”
DINOSAUR DIG ACTIVITY:
Cheap, tiny little dinosaurs from a dollar store, enough for each child to have three or four dinosaurs
Plastic containers such as Cool Whip containers, one container per child
Plaster of Paris mix to be used by an adult
Tools such as small screwdrivers, small hammers, etc., for each child
Optional: Buy safari hats at a party supply store, one per child (we can get them for 89 cents each) Let each “paleontologist” wear a hat while excavating their “dinosaur dig.”
Make one “dinosaur dig” for each child beforehand: Cut each dinosaur apart into several pieces, keeping the pieces for each dinosaur together. Place three or four cut-apart dinosaurs in each plastic container and mix up the pieces, one container per child. Have an adult carefully mix up some Plaster of Paris according to directions and pour about an inch onto the dinosaur pieces in the plastic containers. After it hardens, take out of the container. These “paleontological sites” are now ready for the student “paleontologists.” While wearing their hats, let the students use their tools to chip away at the Plastic of Paris, slowly discovering pieces of their dinosaur. As they discover the pieces, they can put them together like a puzzle until they have all the missing pieces.
“WHICH TYPE OF PAPER IS BEST FOR MAKING RECYCLED PAPER?”
On the left side of the project board is the “Procedure” with drawings underneath illustrating the experiment. (Photos could have been used here.) In the middle of the board is the title, “Purpose,” and “Hypothesis.” On the left side are the “Results” and “Conclusion.”
How does the type of light affect water’s evaporation rate?
I think that (place your own hypothesis here).
(Your materials might be a little different. Use what you have.)
Eleven 9 ounce Solo cups
One Sharpie marker
Fill five cups with an equal amount of water, labeling the cups A-E.
Place cups in different places around the house.
Wait four days and then mark the water level.
Repeat steps 1-3 using five different cups labeled A2-E2. Put cups in the exact same places as the first five cups. Place A2 cup where A had been, etc.
After four more days, weigh each of the ten cups with the water in them, including a control cup with the original amount of water.
Average the two trials for each cup (A & A2, etc.) and calculate the percentages to see how much water evaporated.
(Fill in the blanks with the percentages you got from your calculations.)
Cup A: ____% evaporated
Cup B: ____% evaporated
Cup C: ____% evaporated
Cup D: ____% evaporated
Cup E: ____% evaporated
My hypothesis was supported by my experiment: (Place your own conclusion here.)
Type out the Problem, Hypothesis, and Experiment, etc., and display on left side of board. In the middle section, have the title of the project and photos or sketches of the cups of water and where they were placed. Also, graphs can be made on the computer displaying the results of the experiment. On the right side of the board, display the Results and your Conclusion.
This is a very interesting project! I imagine most people know someone who lived through WWII and have heard stories of what life was like during that period in history. What made this particular project interesting was that the student (actually my son) interviewed several people who lived during this time period. He received first hand information about what life was like and how so many people pulled together for the good of our country, even though they had to ration items and do without some items. Interviewing these people helped make this project come alive for him. We knew someone whose best friend was killed at Pearl Harbor on the USS Arizona. It was such a sad time in history for all those involved!
Another interesting factor was that we had actually been to Pearl Harbor, saw the short movie (which made it seem like we were really there and brought tears to my eyes), went through the museum, and bought memorabilia such as a copy of the newspaper which showed the headline “WAR!”
TIPS FOR THIS PROJECT:
Interview people who lived through WWII and get a first hand account of what it was like.
Get copies of pictures of people who served in the war to add to the project.
Read children’s books about Pearl Harbor. See list below.
CHILDREN’S BOOKS ON PEARL HARBOR:
Pearl Harbor: A Primary Source History by Jacqueline Laks Gorman. Good for ages 8-12.
The Attack on Pearl Harbor (Cornerstones of Freedom Series) by Tom McGowen. Good for ages 9-11.
Attack on Pearl Harbor by Shelley Tanaka. Good for ages 10+.
Air Raid – Pearl Harbor!: The Story of December 7, 1941 by Theodore Taylor. Good for ages 12 and up.
Boyat War: A Novel of Pearl Harbor by Harry Mazer & Triston Elwell. Good for ages 12 and up.
Pearl Harbor: Day of Infamy by Stephanie Fitzgerald. Good for ages 12 and up.
Most kids are fascinated with volcanoes. When teaching about them, it is important to let kids make a volcano, have good pictures of real volcanoes, and if possible, a video, since most students are not able to take a field trip to actually see one. If you are fortunate to be on the island of Oahu in Hawaii, then you can hike up to the top of Diamond Head, an extinct volcano. We did this, and it was quite impressive. Or you can visit Hawaii Volcanoes National Park on the Big Island of Hawaii, which we also did, and you might get to see an actual lava flow. We didn’t get close enough to see a lava flow, but we did walk through the Thurston Lava Tube which was very interesting.
Here is a book we own that has many great pictures of volcanoes:
Use a large pan, 9 x 13. Place an empty 16 ounce bottle in the middle of it with the top off.
Using either papier mache, modeling clay, or salt play dough, make a mountain with vertical ridges around the bottle. Do not cover the top of the bottle. Paint brown and let dry.
Mix 1 tablespoon liquid dishwashing soap and 1 tablespoon baking soda in a cup and carefully pour into the bottle in the middle of the mountain. (If you’re brave, you can add a few drops of red or orange food coloring in with the soap and baking soda.)
Place the pan with the mountain outside. Add 1/4 cup white vinegar to the bottle and stand back. Your volcano will erupt!
For ESL students, be sure and label everything.
For Gifted students, ask higher level questions. There is a chemical reaction when the baking soda and vinegar are mixed. It produces a carbon dioxide gas (a chemical reaction) which is the same gas that a real volcano produces.
Kit: Volcano Island – Discovery Extreme Light and Sound Rumbling Volcano by Poof Slinky
Our Amazing Volcanoes / Earth Science Kit by Poof Slinky
When I taught Gifted and Talented students, they were in a regular classroom (first or second grade). I had a mix of regular students, gifted and talented students, ESL students (sometimes students starting the year speaking no English), and children with learning disabilities or physical handicaps. How is a teacher able to meet the needs of gifted students?
Teacher’s manuals will often have suggestions for gifted students.
Have the gifted students work on projects they can do by themselves.
Just because a student is a gifted student does not mean they are an independent worker or a self-motivator. Pair these students up with a partner who is an independent worker.
Utilize resources. I had one exceptionally bright first grader who would go to the library and do research on topics of his choosing with minimal supervision from the librarian. He would either write about it or illustrate and make a poster about his research.
Encourage students to enter extra activities offered by your district such as Science Fair, History Fair, Invention Convention, Art Contests, etc. One year, I had a gifted second grader (an ESL student) who excelled in art and entered a district contest. He won an award!
Have students work on a class newspaper that they publish once a week or once a month.
A lot of times, you can see where certain students excel in one or more of the Seven Areas of Giftedness. Develop centers or projects for these areas.
Large piece of heavy cardboard or plastic foam for the base
Assortment of cardboard boxes to form the levels of the garden
Heavy-duty tape to tape the boxes together
Modeling clay – white
Acrylic paint – blue & green
Piece of plastic greenery that has many small removable pieces on it
Wire cutter to cut the coat hanger
Make the basic shape of the varying levels with the assorment of boxes that you have.
Tape them together securely with heavy-duty tape
Tape the boxes securely to the base
Cover the entire area of the boxes with white modeling clay
Remove many small pieces of greenery from the large piece. Shorten if necessary. Place in rows in the modeling clay while the clay is still soft, securing with a small mound of clay at the base of each piece of greenery (tree).
Paint the green grass in rows.
Paint the blue waterfall, stream, and pond of water.
Cut the coat hanger to make the irrigation line to take water to the top level. Bend the coat hanger two inches from the end at a 90 angle to make the coat hanger not touch the ground. Do this on both ends of the coat hanger. Secure both ends of the coat hanger to the project with a mound of modeling clay.
Word webs are great to use with kids. I have used them in the regular classroom, with ESL students, and with Gifted & Talented students. Here are some examples of different word webs that you can print. Just click on the highlighted words:
Big Brain Acadamy and Brain Age aretwo of the best video games out there that can teach or strengthen several cognitive skills including math concepts. Here are some of the math skills children (and adults) can learn through these games:
Value of coins
These games cover many different cognitive areas. If you are not familiar with them, I highly recommend them. They are good brain stretchers! We own both games, and they are great for young and old alike.