newselaNewsELA is AWESOME!!!  This is a Non-Fiction Literacy and Current Event website for your students.  One of the best features on here is the ability to change the student lexile reading level.  That feature alone can help you differentiate and level the articles for all your students of various levels.  The second feature that is how it relates to the new Common Core State Standards (CCSS), and the Anchor Standards for English Language Arts – PLUS some articles have a quiz that is rigorous.  Also,the quizzes occasionally have questions where the students have to use text evidence and click the paragraph or sentence the answer is located.

Did I mention that this is FREE?  Yes, it’s all free and all you have to do is register and give your students the class signup code, then they sign up themselves.  Another thing is that it works on tablets, PCs, or other handheld devices.

Teachers can assign articles for students to read and take their quizzes on.  It keeps all the data in your “Binder” and show what standards the students are doing well or struggling.  My students really like the articles because they are highly interesting, current topics/events.  They are separated into these topic areas: War & Peace, Science, Law, Money, Kids, and Health.

I have really liked having classroom discussions on certain articles and having them write some opinion/argumentative writing.  They share and provide evidence from the article or their personal knowledge to support their argument, which is very powerful and fits right in with the CCSS.

Sign up and get your students reading some great non-fictional articles to peek their interest in current events happening around the globe.


A Few Websites to Checkout!

Here are a few great sites that I haven’t mentioned on my blog, but they are great resources for all teachers and people in education.


The Teaching Channel is a great tool for videos that show teachers doing lessons.  The lessons are extremely helpful seeing them in real life classrooms, not just hearsay.  I personally love the Common Core lessons and new ideas to engage my students in meaningful, rigorous lessons/activities.  Plus, when you sign-up for updates, you’ll get a email with new videos that relate to you!

edudemic_weblogoEdudemic is another great site that includes many articles and updated daily with articles that show how to add more technology into your 21st Century classroom.  Get lost with this treasure trove of great resources.


Teachers Pay Teachers has been around for a while now, but I never really looked into it.  This website is pretty AMAZING… I find so many resources created by teachers, and there are many FREE things on here that you can use right away.  There are many great things to buy on here, and you won’t have to re-create the wheel.  Have fun getting lost in resources on here…

Do you have any other sites you visit often?  Leave a comment to share yours!

Gamestar Mechanic


Gamestar Mechanic is simply a site for students to play, design, and share games.

This site is mainly geared toward 4th – 9th grade, but can be used for younger and older students!  You can register and start your students playing and designing their own games for FREE – or upgrade for $2 a student to full version.  My plan is to use this as an after school club or activity.  I registered and signed up tonight – Then, I started playing the games and was hooked!

The concept of this site is pretty simple – students will learn how to design and create video games.  Designing games builds:

  • Systems Thinking,
  • 21st Century Skills,
  • Creative Problem Solving,
  • Art and Aesthetics,
  • Writing and Storytelling,
  • and creates a motivation for STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics) learning.

This is from the “Getting Started with Gamestar Mechanic” PDF –

What Skills are Learned in Gamestar Mechanic?

Systems-Thinking: Students design and analyze dynamic systems, a characteristic activity in both the media and in science today.

Interdisciplinary Thinking: Students solve problems that require them to seek out and synthesize knowledge from different domains.They become intelligent and resourceful as they learn how to find and use information in meaningful ways.

User-Centered Design: Students act as socio-technical engineers, thinking about how people interact with systems and how systems shape both competitive and collaborative social interaction.-

Specialist Language: Students learn to use complex technical linguistic and symbolic elements from a variety of domains, at a variety of different levels, for a variety of different purposes.

Meta-Level Reflection: Students learn to explicate and defend their ideas, describe issues and interactions at a meta-level, create and test hypotheses, and reflect on the impact of their solutions on others.

Check out this very cool and fun way to have students learn the basics of video game design and computer programming – I mean what student doesn’t like or play video games?



This week’s educational web tool is Kerpoof –

Kerpoof Studio is owned and run by The Walt Disney Company.  It has many great features and aspects that are for Pre-K – 12 students and classrooms.  This site has some really fun activities:

  • Make Animated Movies
  • Make Artwork
  • Make Printed Cards
  • Tell a Story
  • Make a Drawing
  • Spelling Games
  • Plus much more…

Another area that is truly beneficial for educators is their resource page – Kerpoof Teacher Resources.  It has lesson plans and ideas to implement this valuable web tool in your classroom.  Once you have signed up for your FREE account, you will then be able to add student accounts.  Then, your students can create and save their work in a sort of digital portfolio.  Once they have their accounts, they can also collaborate with other students in their class or across the globe.  They can give feedback and get feedback on their digital creations.  With CCSS (Common Core State Standards) coming, this web tool could become an essential part of those standards.

Get your class started on here and watch the students get excited to create digital stories and movies.  Have them re-tell a book or story you just read or have them design and develop a how-to video on a math concept.  The possibilities are endless!


Classroom Games


This week’s FREE Web Tool is really a web site that has numerous games to use in any classroom K – 20!!  You heard that right, these tools/games can be used in Kindergarten – College and more.

Please check out –

I heard about this site from a educational technology conference (FETC) I went to in Florida just over a week ago.  The creator of the games, Dr. Jeff Ertzberger, presented many games/utilities to use right away in the your classroom.  Many of them are customizable to fit your needs for any subject matter.  All the games and templates are based/programmed in Microsoft Office.

Here is a list of some of the games/utilities:

  • Word Scramble
  • Printable Game Boards
  • Bingo Game Card Generator
  • Jeopardy-like game
  • $100,000 Pyramd-like game
  • Racing Game
  • Wheel of Fortune-like game
  • Timers
  • Plus more

There are more games available for purchase – Premium Games, which also includes a book for $19.99.  Which is really is a great deal for all the games you can download and customize for your various needs.  These games can be used as a center activity, universal access, interactive whiteboard activity/center, review for a test, checking for understanding, etc.

With Common Core coming, you can also look at this as a way for students to “create” or “develop” (higher order thinking skills) there own games with the provided templates.  How powerful would it be to have your students make there own games to review key concepts and show their real mastery of the standards?

I hope you enjoy these great games!

Jeopardy Labs


Raise your hand if your students love playing Jeopardy in class?  Well, if you have used a Jeopardy PowerPoint template for review in your classroom, you know students love it!  The best part of the Jeopardy template you have is that it is customizable and you can use it for any subject matter.  In other words, you can “make it your own!”  Another way to find these fun, interactive Jeopardy Powerpoint games is to search online for them.  I just went on Google and typed in “Jeopardy Powerpoint Games,” about 128,000 results showed up, which sure is bunch of sites that have them!  Wouldn’t it be great if there was one source for searching for these Jeopardy games for education?

Well, look no further than Jeopardy Labs .  In the custom search field, just type your subject or topic you want.  I pretty much guarantee you will find whatever you want!  For example, right now my grade level is focusing on the standard about word origins, antonyms, synonyms, prefixes, synonyms, and derivations.  So, I searched for “word origins,” which resulted in over 1,000 different matches.  You will then need to browse through them and find what you are looking for.  Once you find the game you want, click on it and it will bring you to another page.  On this page you have a couple of options – Start, Edit, Download, and Share.  Before you start, select how many teams you will have competing and click start.  Then, the game page opens and you can begin.  Another useful feature is the Download feature, where you can download and save the game to your computer.  It will save as an .html file and can be opened up in any web browser (Internet Explorer, Firefox, Chrome, etc.) – which means that once it’s saved on your computer, you can  launch it without being connected to the internet.

Please take a look and give Jeopardy Labs a try with your students – I guarantee they will love playing Jeopardy against each other, or whole class with your interactive whiteboard.  You can enjoy being Alex Trebek!

I would love to hear back from you when you use this web tool or if you have a question about it.




Study Ladder


My next web tool is Study Ladder ( ).  This web tool is for grades PreK – 6 and is FREE!  It’s created by teachers and of course, standards aligned – Common Core Standards aligned, too.  It covers over 10 Subjects areas:

  • Mathematics
  • Literacy
  • Science
  • Music
  • Art
  • Language and Culture
  • Health, Safety, and Citizenship
  • Financial Literacy
  • Mastering Numeracy
  • Naplan (Australia – National Assessment Program – Literacy & Numeracy)

A couple other great features are that it is student paced, individualized, and gives the students the needed feedback right away.  I also, like the activities associated with the tasks that are able to be assigned.  You can assign videos, tutorials, online worksheets (or print it out), assessments, and interactive activities (which can be used as an interactive whiteboard activity or center).  The students will like the ability to customize their personal avatars, earn reward points to upgrade their avatar, and print out certificates for subject areas/tasks mastered.  Teachers will like the ability to look at or print out reports and use the assessment piece for another form of assessment.

To get started, all you need to do is register and create your class.  They will create a username/password for your students, and then you can edit them if needed in the future.  Here is quick how-to setup link –

Another bonus is the parent aspect of the site.  The students get bonus points when their parents link to their account.  Parents can then monitor, help students with tasks, and provide the parent/teacher/student connection which is sometimes lacking.

Please let me know if you sign up, give it try, or if you have a question.  I think you will see how much fun the students will have with this and hopefully you will see some improvement with some of the basic skills which our students need to master.