Posts categorized "Friday 5" Feed

Friday 5: Recent Google Finds

Friday 5: April 20, 2012  Recent Google Finds

I’ve been prepping for various conferences that are coming up in the next few months and in the course of updating my presentation materials, I’ve found some useful and intriguing Google related resources.



Some example of teacher created site using Google Products:

Vernal Ponds Projects

Good example of using Google Sites to support student learning.

Science Notebooking

This is an example of how one teacher has used Blogger to document her work with science teachers.

A recent Google collaboration:

Nelson Mandela Digital Archives

Google was instrumental in making this great site happens. A great repository of primary source material!

Two practical Google tool tips:

Using Google Docs Self-Grading Quiz as an Exit Ticket

Using QR Codes in the Elementary Classroom and Using QR Codes to Create Them

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Friday 5: iPads

This week's list focuses on the hot, hot, hot topic of iPads in education. Here's a quick list of some of favorite resources.

Have a great weekend,


1. iPads for Learning

Here's a tremendously useful and comprehensive guide from the Victoria Department of Education and Early Childhood Development in Australia.

2. Teach Like It's 2999

Several Chicago Public Schools have been leading the way in exploring the potential of iPads in the classroom. Check out math and science teacher Jennie Magiera's blog to learn more about her work in this area.

3. iPads at Burley

Burley School is another Chicago Public School that is on the forefront of using iPads to their fullest potential. Tech coordinator Carolyn Skibba is leading Burley's efforts and various teachers are documenting their work in this blog. Burley has always been known for its rich professional culture and commitment to authentic, student-centered instruction; technology has enhanced what they already do well.

4. Our Alaska Stories

Check out Larry Mitchell's blog about using iPads in his fifth grade classroom. In particular, check out his videos on YouTube I particularly recommend this video which was created by someone else: if you want to get an idea of what instruction could look like when incorporating iPads.

5. High School 1:1 iPad Implementation in Danville, IN

This is a nice example of how one school district has documented its high school one-to-one iPad program. Every school that is going through this process needs a site along these lines!


The Friday 5 Revival

After many months of neglect, I'm reviving the Friday 5 and cross-posting a thematic list of web sites to Facebook, Twitter, and our previously dormant Google Group. Now you can select your favorite method of delivery! I suppose I should add Pinterest at some point, too.

This week’s theme is simply excellent resources and blog posts that I’ve come across recently. There should be something for everyone in this quick list.

Hot Apps 4 Hots
If you’re an iPad aficionado, you must check out this excellent iBook professional development resource. This is my inspiration for developing future workshop materials!

Hack Education: The Audrey Test”: Or, What Every Techie Should Know About Education
I highly recommend Audrey Watter’s blog in general, and this particular blog post is essential reading for entrepeneurs and classroom teachers alike. Do you know the answers to questions posed here?

Presentation Zen: Videos to Help You Rethink Education, Learning & School
Garr Reynolds’ post goes beyond his usual guidance on presentation design and gives everyone a refreshing list of videos by various thought leaders on education.

TED Ed: Lessons Worth Sharing
TED is famous for making widely available its incredible series of lectures from its various conferences. They’ve taken these lectures a step further, identifying TED talks that are particularly useful to classroom teachers and enhancing them with additional animation.

Springwise: QR Codes Embedded Into Art on Ceramic Tiles
This isn’t specifically an education project, but I could see this concept easily incorporated into K12 art projects.

Thanks to Christina Hayward for suggesting that I get this going again. Have a good week, and hopefully, I’ll remember to post another list next week! :)

Lucy Gray

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Friday 5: Interactive Sites

Using multimedia in the classroom is one of the suggestions put forth by math teacher Dan Meyer in his TEDxNYED talk from last spring.  I watched the video of his presentation today in preparation for my own talk at this year's TEDxNYED and it's well worth a look by any teacher, not just teachers of math.

If you have other suggestions for interactive web sites, leave them in the comments! Thanks!

1. Interactive Learning Opportunities on the Internet

2. Library of Congress Interactives

3. Spin and Spell

4. Interactivate

5. PhET Interactive Simulations

Friday 5: Literacy

Since reviving the Friday 5, my plan is to start with re-visiting basic content areas with a few links worth exploring. In the past few weeks, I've covered math and science; today's featured topic is literacy.

1. Voice of Literacy

Podcasts by literacy researchers on the implications of their work in classrooms. I think this is a great way to bridge the gap between research and practice and the design of the site makes it very easy to listen and share podcasts. Wouldn't it be fun to have a similar site dedicated to discussing educational technology research?

2. K-2 Writing Interactives

Links to some high quality sites for helping kids with writing.

3. Leading to Read

Activities for early childhood from RIF.

4. Kids on the Net

This is a great site for encouraging kids to write and publish. One activity that looks particular fun is their interactive Monster Motel:

5. Woodlands Literacy Zone

Another site from the UK that contains tons of links for every language arts skill imaginable.

Friday 5: Math

Happy Friday! Here's a quick list of some of my recent finds via my Facebook and Twitter networks. Hope you find them useful! Feel free to make other non-commerical recommendations in the comments.  Also, consider joining our Friday 5 Google Group if you'd like these updates emailed to you.

1. Khan Academy

The Khan Academy is a repository of teaching materials and self-paced exercises that has received a great deal of media attention. I can't attest to the quality of the videos and exercises, but this model may be the way of the future. However, I don't believe a site like this can replace a teacher. Most of the content looks to be geared towards middle grades and up, but the exercises could be used with younger kids. I tried out their addition exercises and I like how the user can use a scratch pad, get hints and track their progress.

 2. Math Maps

This is a very interesting project blending Google Maps and math problems from the ultimate Google Certified Teacher, Tom Barrett. Click on the placemarks to see the various problems contributed by teachers all over the globe, and make sure you zoom in well enough to see that landmarks or areas that the problems refer to.

3.  OCSD Interactive Games

Check out the plethora of math games that go a bit beyond the typical kill and drill sites. I like this site in particular because it isn't cluttered with a lot of advertising.

4. PHMS Podcasts: Making Math Real!

These podcasting projects by middle schoolers are a good example of how kids can use technology to explain mathematical thinking. My guess is that the teacher had the students use Apple's Keynote program for this and possible had a template setup for the actual podcast in Garageband or something. If you plan ahead using such templates, you can streamline the process for creating vignettes such as these.

5. PBS Math Games

One stop shopping for all math related games on PBS Kids. Most of these are probably geared towards younger students.

Friday 5: Best of 2009

Hi Everyone -

Happy New Year! Here's a quick round up of a few annual "best of " lists. Enjoy exploring these resources and all the best wishes for a happy, healthy and productive 2010. 

I'm not into New Year's resolutions, but one of my professional ones is to publish more Friday 5s this year!

All the best,

Lucy Gray

1. 50 Best Websites 2009 - TIME,28757,1918031,00.html

2. Jane's E-Learning Pick of the Day: Top 100 Learning Tools for 2009: The Final List

3. Google: Zeitgeist 2009

4. The Ninth Annual Year in Ideas - Magazine - New York Times

5.  The Year in Review Captured on Google Wave

6. Year in Review: Edutopia's Staff Picks

7. Best of Edutopia's 2009 Technology Coverage

8. The Best of Open Culture 2009

9. Best of 2009 - Lifehacker

10. A Decade of Learning, Sleuthing, and Reporting at Learning Matters

Friday 5: Cool Sites

For the past month, I've been babbling about interesting web sites for kids and teachers at (, Chicago's first user-generated content radio station. It's an initiative of our local NPR affiliate and it broadcasts on the internet and at 89.5 if you're in the Chicago/Northern Indiana area. The station is a really interesting concept and I think a sign of the ways things will go with radio. Anyway, I thought I'd share 5 of my favorites from this series with you today. Enjoy! 1) Eduweb's Portfolio Interactive games for kids 2) Sumo Paint A free online image editing tool 3) Great webcam tours of a wildlife reserve in South Africa 4) The National Day of Writing Starting in October, you can contribute to your own gallery of writing! This is a great initiative to focus on all kinds of writing. 5) Interactive Exhibits from the Library of Congress Explore primary source materials and much more at this very cool and creative site.

Friday 5: Back to School 2009

Cross posted at the Infinite Thinking Machine and in the Friday 5 Google Group.

As a follow up to Lucie's Infinite Thinking Machine great post (http://, here's a quick list of links to support your back to school efforts. 

1. US Census Press Releases 

Check these amazing statistics! 

2. U.S Fund for UNICEF - UNICEF USA - A back-to-school-tip 

The purchase of a desk lamp at IKEA can help children around the world! 

3. Scholastic's Back-to-School Planning Guide | Teaching Ideas to Start the Year 

Lots of resources for all aspects of back-to-school time. 

4. | Back-to-School Activities 

Very creative ideas for incorporating math into classroom activities. Make sure you check out the pictures of various morning math routines. 

5. NEA - Top 20 Back-to-School Activities 

Another great list of resources from the National Education Association. 

6. NASA - Blast Back to School 

NASA has a rich variety of projects, games and videos for classroom use. 

7. Reading Rockets Back to School 

Particularly good resources for parents. 

Friday 5: 21st Century Skills

Crossposted at the Infinite Thinking Machine

This week, it's my turn to come up with a thoughtful list of resources for teachers, and I have chosen the theme of 21st Century Skills. Recently, in the main stream press and in the edublogger/eduTwitter world, there has been debate about the validity of such a skill set. This particular blog post will not do justice to this ongoing argument, but I do have one observation to add. 

I recently had the amazing opportunity to travel to Singapore to visit schools and assist with the 2008 Apple Distinguished Educator Asia Institute. A more comprehensive blog post about my experiences will follow one day (I'm still mulling over everything I saw and did), but I was really struck by the attitudes of the people I encountered. It seemed to me, from my conversations with administrators and teachers from Singaporean and international schools, that many agreed with the basic idea that students and teachers today are require to employ a different mindset and set of abilities in this changing world. There was no ongoing debate; it was accepted that education had to change in light of this, and that this change happened through collaboration and exploration of global best practices.

In my opinion, U.S educators need to stop arguing semantics on this topic and need to get down to the business of educating our peers about teaching and learning in the 21st century. Here we are, nearly 10 years into this new millennium, poised to start making meaningful, substantive change happen. Let's get on with it, people! We've got hard work to do!

That said, I'm off my soapbox and I recommend the following resources for investigating the idea of 21st Century Skills:

1) The Global Achievement Gap by Tony Wagner (Tony's website:
2) The Partnership for 21st Century Skills
3) 21st Century Literacies: Tools for Reading the World
4) 21st Century Learning
5) The Emergent 21st Century Teacher, Mark Treadwell
6) The Metiri Group: What's So Different About the 21st Century?
Feel free to offer any other recommendations in the comments here!

Friday 5: Our Nation's Teachable Moment

My new year's resolution has been to revive the Friday 5. In case you might have forgotten, I used to regularly publish a list of at least five quality sites each week based on a theme. Let's see if I can keep my resolution!

A national teachable moment is coming our way next Tuesday with the inauguration of President-elect Obama. Regardless of how you feel politically, it is a chance for students and teachers to examine presidential beginnings and to contemplate the renewal process involved with a change in administration. I hope classrooms all over America are not just watching the event, but are actively engaged bywriting, discussing and generally analyzing material from this piece of history and beyond. It's a great opportunity for teachers and students to consume and produce media through photos, video, blogs, and podcasts.

Thank you to my Twitter network for suggestions for resources!

Lucy Gray

Here are a few sites for inspiration:

1) NKO Inauguration

This is the site I'm building for one of the campuses within our charter school. We are posting pictures, video podcasts, and web-based resources. Teachers and students are welcome to leave comments to ourblog posts, take a survey,  and to leave a placemark on our special Google Map. Please visit this site!

2)  U.S Presidential Inauguration Group within the Global Education

If you're looking to do some sort of last minute collaboration with another school, check out this group!

3) Inauguration is Inspiring Classrooms Nationwide

An article from the New York Times on how schools are getting involved with inauguration activities

4) Obama''s Inauguration: Class Rules the Streets of D.C.

Another article showing how schools are taking field trips to D.C and using social media to publish items about the inauguration

5) Presidential Inaugural Committee's Photostream

See photos of inaugural preparations

6) Welcome to Washington DC for Kids!

General site on our nation's capitol

7) C-SPAN Classroom Inauguration Day Lesson Plan

8) YouTube - 44 US Presidents: Quotes from George Washington to Barack Obama

Nice video that could serve as a model to be replicated for a class project

9) Inauguration Day 2009: Where to Watch on TV, Radio, and Online

A great list of ways to bring the inaugural live to your classroom

10) The Library of Congress: "I Do Solemnly Swear...": Presidential Inaugurations

Lessons and primary source materials related to inaugurals

11) Inauguration Day 2009 - Mahalo

A compilation of media related to this year's event

12) 25 Inaugural Addresses

A great source for comparing and contrasting inaugural speeches

13) Joint Congressional Committee on Inaugural Ceremonies

Everything you always wanted to know about Tuesday's ceremony and beyond

14) Democracy@Work: Inauguration Timeline

A timeline from Scholastic that might help kids visualize U.S history

To see even more resources, join our Diigo group for sharing

For more options, visit this group at

Friday 5: 100th Day of School

We're celebrating the 100th day of school at my new school next Monday. I put together a list of resources for our staff and I thought I'd share them here as well.

Work life has been unexpectedly busy and I hope to get around to publishing the Friday 5 more frequently!

Lucy Gray
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Education World: Celebrate the 100th Day in 100 Ways

One Hundredth Day of School Activities, Crafts and Printouts from Enchanted Learning
Enchanted Learning has been one of my favorite early childhood sites for many years. They also have some great world languages resources.

ReadWriteThink: February 15, 2008: Celebrate the 100th Day of School!
ReadWriteThink has a calendar linked to various lessons and web-based activities for kids.

Celebrate the 100th Day of School! See What Life Was Like 100 Years Ago! PowerPoint SlideshowThis slideshow includes pictures of commonly known people and objects contrasted between 1908 and 2008 which might foster a great conversation about how things have changed in the course of a century.

100th Day of School Homepage
One stop shopping for all things related to this unofficial school holiday!

Starfall's 100th Day of School
Starfall is a classic site for many interactive reading activities for young children.

This is an interesting  web-based tool that could be used for 100 day activities.

Counting on and back in ones and tens
Another tool to demonstrate counting which could be especially useful for lessons involving interactive white boards or projectors.

SMART - 100 Square - for use with SMARTboards

CanTeach: Songs & Poems - 100th Day of School

100th Day of School Printables from ABC Teach

Friday 5: Year in Review

Hi Readers -

My New Year's resolution is to try and get back in the habit of publishing Friday 5 lists on a consistent basis! Here are a few sites I've collected to ring in the New Year.

See you next year,

Lucy Gray


1) The Condition of Education 2007

2) Year in Review 2007 - Special Reports from CNN

3) AFI's Top 10 Movies of 2007

4) 100 Notable Books of the Year - 2007 - New York Times

5) Internet TV: 2007 Year in Review | last100

6) The 100 Best Songs of 2007: Rolling Stone

7) 50 Top 10 Lists of 2007 - TIME,30576,1686204,00.html

8) Google Zeitgeist 2007

Google publishes lists of the most popular search queries, which give you an indication about the public mind set during 2007. It's scarily fascinating! At the end of each section in this year's zeitgeist is a practical tip on how to refine your searches.

9) Lifehacker Zeitgeist 2007

Mashable and Lifehacker are two of the most practical web sites out there. I highly recommend skimming these sites on a regular basis.

10) Ask Lifehacker: How Can I Create a 2007 Timeline?

11) Lifehacker Top 10: Top 10 New and Improved Apps of 2007

12) Mashable's Best Technology Quotes of 2007

13) Top Web Apps & Sites of 2007 - ReadWriteWeb

Friday 5: Native Americans

1) Library of Congress Main Reading: An Annotated Reading List of Websites: Indians of North America: Tribes and Nations

Also, from LOC, Immigration: Destroying the Native American Cultures

2) Native Americans - Internet Resources

3) Carnegie Museum of Natural American Indians and the Natural World

4) Native Wiki

5) Mr. Donn's Native Americans/First People Lessons & Activities

6) Native American: National Geographic World Music

7) Read Write Think: November is National American American Heritage Month

8) Scholastic Explorers: Native American Cultures

9) NMAH: Our Story in History: Pueblo Pots

10) The Big Myth

Friday 5: Newsletters for Teachers

Hi Everyone -

I know I've been MIA, but it's been a busy couple of weeks. Here's a double list of sites where you can sign up for newsletters. I tend to get information via RSS and news aggregator software these days, but I realize that this is still a pretty new concept to teachers. Many of youstill prefer to learn about new teaching ideas, products, and events by subscribing to good "old-fashioned" e-newsletters. If you know of any other newsletters worth perusing, please let me know and I'll add your suggestions to this list.


Lucy Gray

All Kinds of Minds Newsletter Archives

Dr. Mel Levine is a neurologist who specializes in treating kids with learning differences.

ALTEC Newsletter

This is a newsletter from the people who brought us the fabulous Rubistar among many other great resources.

Annenberg Foundation's Newsletter

Blue Web'n Weekly Update

Blue Web'n is a classic site for finding the best sites on the web.

Education World Contact Center

Education Worlds publishes a plethora of newsletters. I wish they were available via RSS!

Eduptopia Magazine

Hands down, Edutopia is my favorite online educational resource and their magazine is exceptional, too.

The Family Center on Technology and Disability

George Lucas Educational Foundation/Edutopia Newsletter

In addition to the Edutopia magazine (see above), GLEF publishes a few e-newsletters.

Inspiration Software Newsletter - Flashes

Inspiration now has an online community. My new school recently purchased InspireData and I'm looking forward to learning more about this program.

Librarians' Internet Index: News This Week

Library of Congress's Learning Page Newsletter

Middleweb | Middle School Newsletters

National Geographic Education Update

Newsletter@Web English Teacher

November Learning: Mailing List Signup

Primary Source Learning - Library of Congress Teacher Treasures Newsletters Publications is focused on learning disabilities, and it's a great resource. They also have a great site for kids called Sparktop, which helps kids think about how they learn best.

Smithsonian Education Newsletter

T.H.E. Journal Newsletters

T.H.E publishes several newsletters including one called Eduhound.

Teachers' First Newsletter

Teacher Magazine: News and Information for Teachers

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Friday 5: Special Mystery Guest: ELL

Hi All -

Larry Ferlazzo has put together tremendous resources for teachers and students. He teaches Social Studies and English to English Language Learners and native-English speakers at Luther Burbank High School in Sacramento, CA.  He was named the Grand Prize Winner of the 2007 International Reading Association Presidential Award For Reading and Technology.  He has a website with over 7,000 categorized links accessible to English Language Learners and younger native English speakers at and a blog ( where he daily shares new content added to the website. A few months ago, I shared his student examples page ( l) with Friday 5 readers; it's helpful because I'm always seeking concrete examples of student technology use. Thanks, Larry, for sharing your expertise with us!

Lucy Gray


1) Oxford University Press -- Student   Sites
Hundreds, and probably thousands, of online   English language development activities for all levels.
2) Peace Corps English Teaching Manuals
I think the teaching manuals the Peace Corps   has developed for teaching English as a second language are extraordinarily   helpful to teachers.
3) Starfall
The best online site to teach reading to   beginning English Language Learners or young native speakers to read..
4) Dvolver Moviemaker
A great site for students to develop their   writing skills in a fun and creative way by creating simple movies.
5) Hello World English
A site for beginning English Language Learners   to learn basic "survival" English.
6) English 180
A very good site for both Beginning and   Intermediate English Language Learners with graduated lessons.
7) English Interactive
Another excellent site for both Beginning and   Intermediate English Language Learners with exercises at various levels.
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Friday 5: Ning

Hey Everyone -

A year or two ago, during the early stages of my foray into Web 2.0 applications,  I was introduced to a web site that I really didn't quite get called Ning. My vague recollection of the original Ning was that one could create various items to share with others such as a list of books. I recall exploring it a bit, not finding it particularly user friendly or compelling, and setting it aside for other Web 2.0 tools.

Fellow ITM blogger Steve Hargadon revived my interest in Ning last spring. Using Ning, he created two online communities that I joined, and I found that this social networking tool had completely changed since my initial exploration. In a nutshell, anyone can create a customized space online, make it public or private, and invite others to participate via threaded discussions, the sharing of multimedia, and posting of blog entries. Ning communities can be further embellished with all sorts of web widgets that are available from third party developers as well.

I am fascinated by how quickly Steve's Classroom 2.0 Ning caught on. Since March 2007, nearly 3000 educators have joined this group which focuses on using Web 2.0 tools (Flickr,, Google Docs & Spreadsheets are examples of this). For some reason the format put forth by Ning seems conducive to participation by others. Several worthwhile communities have since developed and I thought I'd share them with you this week.

I think Ning is a powerful tool because it makes it easy for educators to take charge of their professional development by interacting virtually with other like-minded souls. For instance, I've had answers to questions within hours, been directed to great edtech resources, philosophized with online colleagues about the state of education, and even met many of my fellow "friends" on Ning in person at conferences. My personal network has grown substantially because of this.

Keep your eye on Ning as it is still being developed and additional features are frequently announced. Recently, Steve started another group that focuses just on the uses of Ning within education. Ning wasn't necessarily developed as an education tool, but it seems teachers have found their Ning experiences worthwhile and are eager to try it out in their classrooms. Something has to be done about advertising within Ning sites before I will try it out with younger students, but in the meantime, it's a great tool for working with adults or maybe even high schoolers.

I hope you'll check out the following Ning groups and consider joining one or two! Let me know if you know of any other good Nings!


Lucy Gray


1) School 2.0

This is one of Steve Hargadon's original Ning sites and it focuses on rethinking schools under 21st century terms.

2) Classroom 2.0

Here's a very active group in which people explore the use of emerging technologies in education.

3) Ning in Education

4) Global Education Collaborative

Yes, this is a shameless plug for a Ning that I started and have been nurturing. If you're interested in global education related topics, this is the Ning for you. Many educators from around the world have joined this adventure and are in need of global collaborative partners. If you are looking for resources, projects, and ideas, this is the place for you! We will be holding our first online meeting this Sunday evening CST. Email me if you're interested in participating.

5) Literacy Coaches

Matthew Needleman's new literacy site is designed to support coaches in his district using the Open Court reading series, but it is open to everyone and growing! Literacy coaching is a fairly new concept to me and I'm interested in it as its practiced in my new set of schools.

6) Open Education

Learn more about Open University's open source courses and materials here.

7) Library 2.0

A plethora of librarians have gathered here to share ideas and resources.

8) Learning 2.0 Conference

This event is taking place right now in Shanghai. Isn't is amazing how we can now follow along and learn virtually? This is the Ning that interests me the most right now!

Friday 5: Math Mania

Hi All -

Just a quick list of some recent math related finds.

Have a great weekend,

Lucy Gray


1. Rainforest Maths

I thought this site was better than typical drill types; nice sets of visuals accompany math problems organized by grade level. The same web author publishes a math dictionary and a writing help site. You can find these links at the bottom of the Rainforest Maths home page.

2. Intermath

This is a project from the state of Georgia that seeks to improve the content knowledge of middle school math teachers. I was struck by the links within lessons to "constructionaries", small web demonstrations of various mathematical principles. The lessons seem to refer in general to many interactive sites including Interactivate, a site dedicated to math and science interactive tools. This page, in particular, has some great tools.

3. That Quiz

Create customized online math quizzes for students and track their progress at this web site.

4. Countdown

This is a video library of math TV shows produced at Loyola University in Chicago. I used to watch this show with my students two schools ago, and I think it's great that the materials are now archived online.

5.'s Homework Help Everyday Math

Everyday Math is a popular math program currently used in my previous and current schools.

6. Everyday Math Resources - Center School District

Find more resources here for using the Everyday Math series.

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Friday 5: Literacy

Greetings, Friday Fivers -

My new school has been in session for a full week now. One of the first things I've noticed as a newcomer is the attention paid to literacy and to professional development. Teachers at NKO are devoting an hour and a half each week to discussion and reflection on literacy best practices, more specifically on improving reading instruction in the content areas. This week, we discussed reading aloud and text sets. As a result, I've been poking around literacy web sites that might support this professional development, and I thought I'd share some of my better finds with you this week.

Have a great Labor Day,

Lucy Gray


1) BBC - Schools Ages 4-11 - Literacy Sites

The BBC produces wonderful stories and games for kids.

2) Word Girl

This is a web site for a new PBS show that promotes literacy. Word up!

3) Verizon Literacy Network

Check out literacy resources from what was formerly known as Marco Polo, now known as Verizon's Thinkfinity.

4) Literacy Coaching Clearinghouse

Literacy coaching is a new concept to me and it is used at my new school, so I thought I'd learn more about it.

5) Reading Rockets

Reading Rockets is one-stop shopping for all things related early literacy. I subscribe to their newsfeeds in my newsreader.

6) The Literacy Web at the University of Connecticut

Find lots of resources arranged by grade level here in addition to literacy research. I particularly like the links to teacher web pages; it's nice to get a peek into other classrooms.

For more literacy sites, check out my links in

Friday 5: Back to School 2007

Hi All -

Here are a few sites to jump start your school year.


Lucy Gray

A few reminders about the Friday 5 list:

A) I try to publish a thematic list of useful web sites each week. Sometimes I annotate entries, but this depends on how busy I am. To subscribe to the list, visit Archives are browsable, too.

B) You can also read the Friday 5 in my blog:

C) If you have an idea for a theme, email your suggestions to me.

D) If you'd like to be a special mystery guest and submit a list for the group's perusal, also email me and we'll discuss a potential topic and date. Last year, we enjoyed lists on everything from Google Sketchup and Architecture (Fred Bartels) to digital scrapbooking (Rae Niles and Marianne Handler). Thanks to everyone who joined in!

On to this week's list.....

1) Beloit College's Annual Mindset List

When I was a student at Beloit, this annual tradition was nonexistent. The list is now 10 years old, and is designed to give faculty of a cultural sense of the incoming freshman class. You can look at's history of who has bookmarked this site, and the user notes crack me up. Nearly all the comments are on how this list makes people feel old. Do you remember when car windows used to roll down?  ( ADEs who were on the global awareness trip last summer should note #1 on the list!)

2) Chalkboard Message Generator

This is an entry from the Generator blog, which lists a gazillion types of fun generators. Here, you can put a custom message on a chalkboard graphic to use in a blog, web site, or presentation.

3) Classroom Organization and Set Up - Tips for Classroom Organization

4) Librarians' Picks: Back to School

Here's a good bibliography of school related titles from the Ann Arbor public library.

5) Free Stuff for Teachers

This site is a little heavy on worksheets for my taste, but there's a ton of practical stuff to be found here.

6) Proteachers Ideas Back to School Ideas

Friday 5: TeacherTube

Friday 5 : TeacherTube

Hi All-

TeacherTube  is a new service for educators to upload and view educational content. Here are several videos worth watching!

Have a great weekend,

Lucy Gray


1) Did You Know

2) Pay Attention

3) Why Let Our Students Blog?

4) Riddle iMovie Step 1

5) Homage to Magritte

6) Inspiration Software with Math Instruction

7) Constitution Day 2006

8) Poetry and Multimedia

9) Dinoland

10) Digital Students @ Analog Schools

11) When I Become A Teacher - This is my all-time favorite. I couldn't find it on TeacherTube, but here it is on YouTube.

Friday 5: More Cool Tools

Friday 5: More Cool Tools

Hi Everyone -

In February, I had the opportunity to help with the second Google Teacher's Academy in New York. Along with two other GTA leaders, I participated in a "Cool Tools Duel" in which we presented a couple of our favorite edtech resources. Everyone present then voted via applause for the overall favorite. This activity inspired a long list of other cool tools within the Google Certified Teachers community, and I thought I'd share a few of my favorites this week. The third Google Teachers Academy just wrapped this week in Southern California, so welcome to any new Google Certified Teachers who may have joined the Friday 5!

Enjoy and think summer,

Lucy Gray

1) VoiceThread

This site was recommended recently by my ADE friend, Valerie Becker, and I'm looking forward to exploring it further. At VoiceThread, you upload photos (or directly import them from your Flickr account) and a slide show is created. You then can add audio and text narration, and have others comment on the photos in a similar manner. Check out this document for information on how you can set up VoiceThread to for classroom use.

2) Gliffy

Here's an online alternative for concept mapping. There are some nice Web 2.0-like features in Gliffy, such as the ability to blog about a drawing as well as to add collaborators to a file. Via Chris Walsh.


Create multimedia, interactive time lines for free at this web site. This is a nice resource for personal use because several sets of guiding questions regarding various life scenarios are presented. For instance, there is a set of travel questions that will lead you to reflect and document on a trip. Via Kevin Jarrett.

4) Math Thinking Blocks

This is an online visualization tool for helping students with math. In the module I sampled, I was given a story problem in which I had to figure out the total cost of two items. I was guided through three steps to solve this problem which included visual guides and feedback. I found this to be a really unusual as well as useful tool for helping students with math. You really need to try this one out!  Via Kevin Jarrett.

5) The Generator Blog

This was suggested in the GCT community by Alix Pleshette. This blog contains a growing list of web sites in which you can generate general silliness. For instance, you can add your own picture to an image of a cereal box, make a banner for a web page, or create your own customized Hollywood sign. You might want to screen any of the sites listed here first before using with students, though. Some of them do not look appropriate for kids.

To subscribe to the Friday 5 Google Group, visit this page.

Friday 5: Best of the 2007 Webby Awards

Hi All -

The Webby Awards were recently announced, and here are a few of my favorite sites culled from the long list of nominees and winners. Check out the entire list here if you would like more!


Lucy Gray



This site has a great search tool: One feature includes searching for poetry-related images within the foundation's Flickr groups.

2) Best Stuff in the World

#2 and #3 on this week's list fall under the category of social networks, sites that revolve around user generated content. Best Stuff in the World has people rate and compare anything and everything.

3) - The Social Music Revolution

Listen to and buy music here at this site.

4) The Gapminder World 2006

I think I've mentioned this site in a previous Friday 5, but it's worth another mention. This site uses graphics to represent data in interesting ways.

5) Smithsonian Photography Initiative

This site has search capabilities which allow one to easily browse photos, create a personalized collection, and share it with others.

Friday 5: Will Richardson Workshop

Friday 5: Best of Will Richardson

Hi All -

On Friday and Saturday, teachers and administrators from several area independent schools gathered at the Francis Parker School here in Chicago to learn from classroom blogging guru, Will Richardson. Will is a former high school teacher and early adopter of Web 2.0 technologies, now consulting in school districts across the country. His blog, Weblogg-ed, is widely read by many educators. All in all, it was a productive and enlightening workshop; this week's list represents a handful of sites that were discussed.

Take care,

Lucy Gray


1) Gcast

Gcast is a podcast hosting service. Users can make recordings via phone amongst many other features.

2) Wikinomics

This is the accompanying web site to a popular book written by Don Tapscott and Anthony Williams. Will recommended this business book as its message apparently has potential implications for education. Interestingly, the web site includes a blog and a wiki where community members are authoring additional chapters of the book.

3) Remote Access blog by Clarence Fisher

Will referenced Clarence's work several times during the workshop. There's an interesting graphic on emerging technologies and services included in Clarence's May 5 post.

4) 21Classes

Will consulted on this student-friendly blogging service.

5) A Web of Connections: Why the Read/Write Web Changes Everything

Will relies on wikis for presentations nowadays, not slideware.

While browsing sites during the workshop, I found two others worth sharing that were not directly a part of the workshop:

6) Using Google Earth for Earth Science and Remote Sensing

7) Celebration of Teaching and Learning: Multimedia Resources from Thirteen/WNET and WLIW

This conference had a great line-up of speakers. For those of us unable to attend in person, videos of several presentations are online for viewing.

Friday 5: Using Chat and Instant Messaging in the Classroom

My students have found me online. I haven't decided if this is a good thing, or not, quite yet, but it definitely has me to thinking about using chat and instant messaging to communicate with students.

In my sixth grade computer science class, our discussion about instant messaging started when a student asked me about my user name for a class wiki project. I explained that I use the same user name (elemenous) for all my accounts, including the AOL Instant Messaging service (AIM), and my students perked up immediately. They were surprised that a teacher, of all people, actually used AIM, and I bet one class that many more teachers use an instant messaging service than they realized. I also explained that I use chat regularly to communicate with other teachers around the world, and that it's been wonderful tool for exchanging files and learning from other educators.

So, since this discussion, the number of kids instant messaging me after school has jumped from 1 kid last week to about 8 kids last night. I think I had 4 different chat windows open on my computer, and it was difficult for me to multitask. I noticed that the conversations are markedly different than the ones I have with adults. When I chat with an adult, I usually am pinging them for a specific reason such as tech help or to share a resource. With kids, however, it seems as if they are sort aimlessly IMing each other and me. This is a social tool for them, and they must be chatting with lots of other people because often our conversations go dead as if they were busy elsewhere. Sixth graders, IMHO, have not learned the fine art of  carrying on an online conversation. Interestingly enough, though, one of my students told me that most of the grade-level "drama" happens within instant messaging conversations after school. One kid said he's learned to hit certain keys to quit IMing quickly when his mother approaches as he's not supposed to be online during homework time. Another kid said his mother took away his keyboard because she thought his computer habits were too distracting for him. (I'm making a mental note of this tactic for when my children hit middle school.) It's fascinating to see how important this tool has become to kids; I feel like I've been let into the club a bit as they have been reaching out to me via IMing.

Generally, I think using instant messaging and chat rooms in the context of learning is not something most teachers want to incorporate into their curricula; it's a matter of digital natives versus digital immigrants. We immigrants have been slow to realize that this tool is wildly popular amongst adolescents, and that if we frame its use properly, chatting via instant messaging or inchat rooms might actually empower learning. So this week, I've compiled a slew of related articles that might help you understand this phenomenon.

Take care and have a great weekend,

Lucy Gray

1)   Strategies For Using Chat
Academic Distance Learning Center, Webster University, Saint Louis, Missouri

2)    Let's Chat: Chat Rooms in Elementary School

3)   Educause | Resources | Resource Center Abstract

4)   PC World - Internet Tips: A Grown-Up's Guide to Instant Messaging

5)   Moving at the Speed of Creativity>Blog Archive> The Case for Instant Messaging in the Classroom

6)   Experimental College at Tufts | Instant Messaging: R U Online! RU? | By Robert Farmer

7)     Spiral Notebook > IM in the Mood for Chat

8)     Apple - Education - iChat AV and iSight in the Classroom: Lesson Plans

9)     iChatCollaboration.pdf from Goochland County Public Schools

Friday 5: Green Friday

Everywhere you turn, green is in the limelight. Thomas Friedman, of the New York Times and A World is Flat fame, has authored a new green article for the NYT Sunday Magazine, Vanity Fair has devoted its entire April issue to environmental topics, and my local papers, the Chicago Tribune and the Chicago Sun-Times, both have turned out several articles that have caught my attention. Is this a fad or are people really getting serious about our environment? Only time will tell, but I am certainly more interested in learning about what I can personally do to make this world a better place. This week's list consists of sites that I've found in my online explorations... a little late for Earth Day, but I suppose every day is Earth Day now.

Take care,

Lucy Gray


1. The Power of Green | Thomas L. Friedman | New York Times
(may have to register to read this article)

2. Living the Dream | Chicago Sun-Times
The Sun-Times is running a series on the green movement; check out this article and others to discover a variety of resources.

3. Making It a Green Sweep This Spring | Chicago Tribune

4. The Green Guide

5. Monterey Bay Aquarium: Seafood Watch Program - A Consumer's Guide to Sustainable Seafood.

6. Treehugger

7. North American Association for Environmental Education: Student Programs
    and Choice Picks for Teachers

8. EEK! Environmental Education for Kids

9. National Environmental Education Week

10. The EnviroLink Network

11. Sustainlane

12. Grist: Environmental News and Humor

The Friday 5 Search Engine

I've made a customized Google search engine using sites I commonly use when compiling Friday 5 lists. It's now listed on the left-hand side of my blog along with a box that allows people to subscribe to the Friday 5 in Google Groups. If you ask to contribute to this search engine, you can add relevant sites. It is also possible to add the search engine to your blog, homepage, or Google start page.

I can see teachers using Google Co-Op to make customized engines for various units of study. I think it's a pretty handy way to direct students research instead of just letting them loose on the Internet.

Friday 5: Creating Comics

Hi All -

I've been working with a science class this week in which kids are creating newspapers on genetically modified foods. Some kids are drawing political cartoons and I showed them how to scan their work, import these files into Comic Life and add fun touches including captions, speech bubbles, and various graphical enhancements. This project got me thinking about other useful tools for creating comics and thus, this week's theme was born!

Have fun exploring these tools!

Lucy Gray

1) Comic Life

This is one of my favorite pieces of software, and I believe it comes installed on new Macs. iPhoto is integrated into Comic Life, and you can publish directly to a .Mac account as well.

2) ReadWriteThink: Student Materials: Comic Creator

This web site generally has great tools and lessons for students and teachers.

3) Make Beliefs Comix

This site seems kid friendly!

4) Comeeko

This site lets you create comics with photos. It is a social web site, too, meaning that you can rate and comment on users' comics if you choose. I would recommend using this site for teachers to possibly create materials, but NOT for student projects, as the content does not seem to be screened for the k-12 arena.

5) ToonDoo - The Cartoon Strip Creator

Again, this is a social site and you may want to take a look around this site before using it with students.

6) The Comic Book Project at Teachers College, Columbia University

I found this link while looking for comic resources, and it looks like an interesting project for hand-drawn comics. Take a look at the online gallery of student work.

Friday 5 - Before Google Groups - Google Docs & Spreadsheets

Link: Friday 5 - Before Google Groups - Google Docs & Spreadsheets.

I used to publish the Friday 5 in several places including Yahoo! Groups and Topica. Before I moved my Friday 5 listserv to Google Groups solely, I archived these posts in a Word document and I just added this doc to my Google Docs and Spreadsheets page. The formatting translated very nicely and I'm impressed with the ease of uploading Word documents to Google Docs and Spreadsheets, although I wish there was a less cumbersome name for this service. Anyway, if you're looking for more web-based teaching resources, click on the above link.

Friday 5: Summer Professional Development

Hi All -

This info is crossposted at the Infinite Thinking Machine blog. Thanks to Laurie Bartels who gave me a good portion of the technology and brain based learning links. If you'd like to contribute to this list, email me and I'll add you as a contributor to the Google Doc version of this list. You'll be able to find any additions if you bookmark this link.

Lucy Gray


Summer Professional Development Opportunities


Learning and the Brain (takes place every November and April)
April 28-30, Cambridge, MA

CAST conference - Universal Design for Learning (applicable to both
technology and the brain)
July 23-26, near Boston, MA

The Brain, Learning & Applications Summer Institute (same as below)
August 2-3, Nashville, TN

The Brain, Learning & Applications Summer Institute
August 21-22, Avon, CT

Drawing on the Right Side of the Brain
multiple dates and types of drawing, painting and sketching sessions so
check the site

Schools Attuned -
See this press release:


Authentic Education Summer Institutes

ASCD Summer Conference on Differentiated Instruction
June 30 - July 2  Salt Lake City, Utah


The Library of Congress | The Learning Page | Self-Serve Workshops

Professional Development Listings at the National Council for the Social Studies web site

National Gallery of Art - Teacher Institute 2007

National Geographic School Publishing and Literacy Achievement Research Center's Literacy Institute


Texas Instruments Professional Development

Key Curriculum Press Workshops

Math Forum - Math Education Conferences


Stanford Summer Programs for Teachers
For Bay Area teachers only

International Studies Summer Institute 2007

NCTE - Literacies for All Summer Institute
July 12 - 15 Louisville, KY

Responsive Classroom Institutes

Summer Institute for the Gifted

Phillips Exeter Academy Summer Programs

Chicago Foundation for Education's Fund for Teachers Grant

The application deadline for this has passed, and it's only for Chicago Public School teachers. Keep it in mind for next year!


Pasco Professional Development

Teachers as Investigators

The Keystone Center's Bringing Environmental Issues to the Classroom Program

Teton Science Schools - Teacher Learning Center Programs

Exploratorium: Teacher Institute

Earthwatch Institute


Summercore - "A Unique Five Day Marathon in Hardware, Software and
dates and locations vary so check the site

CAIS 11th Annual Summer Technology Conference
June 18-22, Farmington, CT

Lausanne Collegiate School Laptop Institute
July 15-17, Memphis, TN

Building Learning Communities
pre-conf: July 16-17;  main conf: July 16-17, Boston (Newton, actually), MA

CAST conference - Universal Design for Learning (applicable to both
technology and the brain)
July 23-26, just north of Boston, MA

Teach the Teachers Collaborative

National Educational Computing Conference
June 24-27 Atlanta, Georgia

Logo Summer Institute
July 30 - August 3 New York, New York

The Stonington Retreat
July 31 - August 3 New York, New York

Photography Workshops and Digital Lab Workshops in Santa Fe, New Mexico

Friday 5: Special Mystery Guest: Astronomy

Greetings -

This week's list comes to us from the one and only Karen Thompson of Springfield, Illinois, another Apple Distinguished Educator. She is a stellar person, no pun intended!

Next week's list will feature summer professional development opportunities... send along any suggestions that you think should be included!


Lucy Gray

The spring equinox is March 21, 2007. I started this list of websites with Stellarium. It offers so many delightful explorations for students!

1)  Stellarium

A free open source planetarium for your computer.

2)   Springfield Public Schools - Stellarium Projects

I’ve listed some of the lessons we’re using with our 6th graders.

3)  Open Astronomy Curriculum

Stellarium is great, and this will get you started in some meaningful explorations.

4)     Bad Astronomy

I know it’s going to come up, so as long as we’re talking about the equinox, let’s not forget about standing eggs on their ends. Don’t miss the Bad Astronomy website and the discussion on the eggs and the equinox.

5)  The Ceres Project

Did you see the recent lunar eclipse? Stellarium makes it very easy to preview these events. If you’re looking at the moon, let’s explore the Birthday Moons!

6) Time Exhibits

And if you’re looking for more information on the change to daylight savings time, check out this site.

Karen Thompson started her teaching career as a middle school science teacher with a slide rule in hand. Currently she is an instructional technology facilitator in Springfield, Illinois and serves as a school board member in the consolidated school district of Tri-City in Buffalo, Illinois. Karen is currently using her vision of educational technology to help guide her district’s 1 to 1 laptop program for 800 6th graders.

Friday 5: Special Mystery Guest: The Great Potato Famine

Hi All -

I sent this list in the midst of editing, so I apologize for duplicate entries this week! Please welcome my friend and neighbor, Joan Kane, as our special mystery guest this week. Another SMG will follow next week with sites on the spring equinox.

Lucy Gray


As St. Patrick's Day approaches and all things seem to turn green, it is important to remember the reason why the Irish seem to be everywhere. Many of these Irish are descendants of the four million victims of the Great Famine that left Ireland between 1845 and 1851.

The links below highlight some of the resources available if you would like to explore some of the social, political, historic, governmental, and cultural issues associated with the Great Famine.

Beannachtái Lá Fhéile Pádraig (pronounced: ban-ach-tee la fay-le Paw-drig) or Happy St. Patrick's Day!


1) An Gorta Mor

This site, developed by Quinnipiac University in Connecticut and County Kerry Library offers original source documents from the time of the Great Famine, digitized resources, Irish history e-texts, a collection of over 400 pictures of Ireland, and more.

2) Following the Great Famine

This website focuses on the impact of that Great Famine on Canada. It tracks the experiences of the Great Famine victims in Canada through stories that mirror the Irish experience in many countries. The site provides curricula on the elementary and high school levels.

3) BBC History of the Irish Famine

Information on the Great Famine from a British viewpoint. This site provides a different viewpoint
that can be used as a basis for discussion of famine and reactions to famine across the globe.

4) Curriculum on Great famine from the New Jersey and New York
Departments of Education

Both sites offer complete version of curricula for grammar school and high school students with many resources listed.

5) The International Famine Centre at University College Cork, Ireland

The International Famine Centre commemorates the more than one million people who died and nearly four million who were exiled during Ireland's Great Famine by working to prevent the present-day recurrence of famine elsewhere in the world. This site provides information on current famine conditions across the globe.

Joan Kane has over twenty years experience in the software industry. She has worked in training, marketing, and management roles for leading software companies, such as Adobe, Ashton-Tate, Asymetrix, and Borland Software, but she has always considered herself to be a teacher first. She recently returned to teaching as a business/technology teacher for the Chicago Public Schools and is completing her doctorate in instructional technology. Joan has presented at the Illinois Technology Conference for Educators, the ToolBook Developers conference, and the American Society for Training & Development Conference.

Friday 5: Best of IL-TCE

Friday 5: Best of IL-TCE

Hi Everyone –

Last week’s list is compiled from various presentations that I attended at the Illinois Technology Conference for Educators.

Stay tuned for this Friday’s list which should feature another special mystery guest…

Take care,

Lucy Gray

1)    OhmyNews International

This citizen journalism site was highlighted in ADE Tim Wilson’s Web 2.0 presentation.

2)    My Friend Flickr

ADE Charlene Chausis presented on all the things one can do with the photo sharing site known as Flickr.

3)    Photofiddle

Cited by NYT columnist David Pogue during his digital photography workshop, Photofiddle lets you create interesting items from your own photos.

4)    Breaking the Myth of Megapixels – New York Times

According to Pogue, four or five megapixel cameras are sufficient for most users.

5)    The River City Project

My ADE friend, Steve Wagenseller, instant messaged me during my workshop with David Pogue and during our virtual conversation, he mentioned this site. It’s an online simulation described as “a multi-user virtual environment for learning scientific inquiry and 21st Century Skills”.

Friday 5: Online Teacher Networks

Friday 5: Online Teacher Networks

Dear Readers –

Last week, I spent a glorious day at Google’s New York office assisting with their new education initiative, the Google Teacher Academy. Participants in this day-long professional development event are now part of the Google Certified Teacher learning community, along with teachers from the first GTA held in Mountain View, California, late last year.

Google Certified Teachers are actively sharing ideas in a Google Group created just for them, and this has reminded me of the potential power of online communities. Virtual places can serve as support for teachers at any level, and it’s a huge convenience to participate in a professional development activity at anytime from any internet-connected computer. Judging from the enthusiasm of these Google Certified Teachers, educators are truly yearning for opportunities to connect and collaborate.

While the Google Certified Teacher program is open only to those who’ve participated in academies, there are many other places where teachers can find similar opportunities. For instance, my professional life has indelibly improved by my participation in the Apple Distinguished Educator program, which is currently taking applications for a new class of ADEs. The deadline is February 28, so consider applying as soon as possible! Please note that some of the communities cited in this week list do not require application for membership, however. There is something for everyone out there!

I suspect that Second Life probably also has some learning communities for teachers, too, but I have yet to dive into this virtual world. Maybe this summer I will take the plunge!

Have a great weekend,

Lucy Gray

1.    Tapped In
Create a virtual office in Tapped In and participate in various activities in this space.

2.    National Geographic Education Network

3.    EdWeek
EdWeek has several community tools within its extensive web site. Check out:

4.    Discovery Educator Network

5.    Golden Apple Foundation’s Teaching Excellence Network

Friday 5: Special Mystery Guest: Online Photo and Digital Scrapbooking Resources

Rae_ucea Our second Friday 5 Special Mystery Guest is the incomparable Dr. Rae Niles, Director of Curriculum and Technology in the Sedgwick, Kansas and fellow Apple Distinguished Educator.  Her list on online photo resources refers to many sites of which I was previously unaware, and I am grateful for that she has chosen to share her wealth of knowledge with Friday 5 readers!

Sorry for the delay with this week's list; I was off in NY last week at the second Google Teacher Academy, and I'll have more to share about this event in a future Friday 5.

Take care,

Lucy Gray


Online Photo and Digital Scrapbooking Resources

1.  For creating my own books using my own photos, I am the first to admit that I love iPhoto. However; as of late, I am sold on using Photoworks   or producing high quality hard cover bound books!  Many times, coupons can be found for free shipping or a 5-15% off an order.  Normally, I search Deal Mac for links to Photoworks coupons.  Photoworks not only lets you upload your photos for printing, but also allows for the creation of some really cool present ideas for those "hard to buy for" relatives!

2.  Digital Freebies offers a very colorful website chockful of digital scrapbooking resources. In particular, I like the "Friday Freebie"  and the online weekly newsletter.  Not only does this site offer great ideas and examples of cool layouts for photos, it also has a forum for folks with questions about digital scrapbooking.

3.  Linda Sattgast not only offers a great website for those interested in digital scrapbooking, but also a great weekly ezine that includes a link to a "how-to" video on using Photoshop or Photoshop Elements. I am not a digital scrapbooker, but I LOVE the weekly tutorials. To receive the tutorials, you need to sign up for the ezine.

4.  Snapfish  is another site similar to Photoworks that offers users an opportunity to upload photos and create items using the photos. One of our teachers at school has a latte mug/cup she made with photos of her children on it. It looks nice every morning on her desk with coffee in it.

5.  Winkflash is similar to Photoworks and Snapfish, too. I like some of the items available through the site that can be created from your own photos. 


Dr. Rae Niles  is currently the Director of Curriculum and Technology for Sedgwick Public Schools in Sedgwick, Kansas.  Students at Sedgwick High School are in the fifth year of a one-to-one laptop computer initiative where every 10th, 11th, and 12th grade student has their own wireless Apple iBook.  She is an Apple Distinguished Educator (ADE) and serves on the national ADE advisory board. Rae was recognized as a published author on the Apple Learning Interchange in 2003 and named one of six National Technology Leaders in 2005 by the Technology and Learning Magazine.

Rae has worked with the Kansas State Department of Education on a five-year leadership project funded by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation to help private, public, and parochial principals and superintendents across the state begin the educational change process in an effort to move Kansas education into the Digital Age. Most recently Rae has worked with McNeil Lehrer Productions in Washington, D.C. to help create digital content for students and also with Follett Education in Chicago.  She has also been invited as a panelist for the Learning First Alliance Summit this spring in Washington, DC this spring. Rae has been a keynote speaker and presenter for several state, national, and international conferences, including the CUE strand of MacWorld 2006.

Friday 5: Video Games in Education

Hi All –


Today’s list is inspired by an event that took place last night sponsored by the MacArthur Foundation . The foundation recently announced a fifty million dollar initiative to investigate digital media and learning, and this panel discussion is the first of several regional events planned.  The following links are related to the panelists and the ensuing conversations that took place after their initial comments.

While many may be dismissive of the value of video games in education, I would recommend that educators keep an open mind to the possibilities. Engaging simulations, not the drill and kill types of games,  can potential immerse children in new experiences and problem solving situations. In his remarks to the assembled group, Jonathan Fanton, President of the MacArthur Foundation, cited statistics from the Pew Internet and American Life Project  that indicate that our kids already deeply engaged in digital media and communication. It is clear, to me at least, that education must roll with and adapt to these changes.

I found last night’s discussions to be inspiring, yet I still have a few questions.  For instance, David Williamson Shaffer of the University of Wisconsin-Madison noted that computers are very important because they have caused the transformation of information. I agree, but I wonder how many other educators would share this view. I think many people believe that face-to-face interactions with their students cannot be replaced with technology, and others simply have not stumbled upon the potential power of computers in a personally meaningful way.

Secondly, it was clear to me that the panel participants are forward thinking people who are not challenged by change. I wonder how they expect schools to adapt to new models of learning when traditionally, most schools change very slowly. Does technology change too rapidly for schools to keep up? And if so, why is innovation not embraced more in schools? And, how does school change affect students? Those are just a few of the questions that come to my mind.

Anyway, I hope you are as interested in this topic as I am, and that you’ll take some time to explore the following links. Hopefully, I will blog more about my thoughts on this topic...

Lucy Gray

David Williamson Shaffer, The University of Wisconsin-Madison
Epistemic Games

Sasha Barab
, Indiana University
Quest Atlantis

Games mentioned by Sasha:

Nichole Pinkard, Center for Urban School Improvement, University of Chicago

 Spotlight Blog on Digital Media and Learning | Ecology-of-Games

Games for Change

The Video Game Revolution: “Eight Myths About Video Games Debunked” by Henry Jenkins | PBS

This specific site wasn’t mentioned by the panel, but the author of this piece, Henry Jenkins,  and his work at MIT with media literacy was cited. He also has a blog:

Second Life

Friday 5: Writing

Friday 5: Writing

Hi All –

Writing has been on my mind this week, and so I spent time digging around for fun, interactive web sites geared towards elementary kids. My favorite find was the Student Materials Index at the always fabulous ReadWriteThink site. There’s something for everyone in this short list, and if you can think of any must visit additions, feel free to email me and I’ll publish your suggestions next week!


Lucy Gray
University of Chicago Lab Schools

1)    ReadWriteThink: Student Materials Index

2)    WritingFix: Word and Writing Games for Young Writers

-contains several interactive writing prompts

3)    Teacher Tap: Magnet Poetry, Stores, & Mad Libs: Writing Fun on the Web

-check out various forms of Mad Libs online

4)    Young Writers Workshop

- lots of writing prompts for dictation use can be found here

5)    42 Explore: Writing Pathfinder

- a long list of resources for students of all ages

6)    National Writing Project Interactive

- a free online community

Friday 5: Special Mystery Guest: Google SketchUp & Architecture

Hi All -

I am pleased to present our first Friday 5 Special Mystery Guest, Fred
Bartels, Director of Information Technology at Rye Country Day School
in Rye, New York. Fred is an innovator and is constantly exploring new
ideas involving the uses of technology. For more information about him, please visit this link. He has also been instrumental in the development of the
School Computing Wiki.

Various friends and acquaintances will be making similar special
appearances on the Friday 5 during 2007.  If you are interested in
contributing a list of sites devoted to your interests or areas of
expertise, drop me an email and I'll send you additional details.

Lucy Gray

Fred's Friday 5:

Google SketchUp is a wonderfully accessible 3-D design program that is available for both Macs and Windows. Even better, there is a free version. With SketchUp, students can easily and quickly develop all kinds of designs. My particular interest is architecture and what follows are 5 of the best websites to support using SketchUp to learn about and create architecture.

1. Google SketchUp's home page and Google SketchUp Pro's home page. On the second URL, under the Education tab, you can find many examples of student work.

2. The Google SketchUp Warehouse. A huge and rapidly growing collection of free-to-use SketchUp models submitted by SketchUp users from around the world.

3. The Designing with SketchUp Infowiki. A wiki resource for teachers and students interested in SketchUp and architecture.

4. An excellent video podcast with clear explanations on how to design with SketchUp.

5. Architecture Week, a great online "magazine" about architecture. They have very good pricing for educators.

Friday 5: Online Collaboration

This week’s list was inspired by a workshop led by GlobalSchoolNet founders at NECC last summer. While I’ve been aware of this web site for some time, I previously hadn’t taken the time to explore its great resources. I am just now starting to, and in the wake of my recent  Google Earth extravaganzas, students in my afterschool program and I have come up with a project to share. Please feel free to join in any time between now and June.

Clearly, one of the benefits of today’s technologies is the ability to connect and learn from others around the world. Hopefully, you’ll find one project or idea from the following list that will inspire you to reach out!

Stayed tuned in the coming weeks as we will have some special mystery guest authors of the Friday 5... I've invited some friends and acquaintances to share a bit of their interests and expertise with us. If you'd like to participate, shoot me an email!

Lucy Gray

1)    Education World’s Internet Archives – Site Reviews – Collaborative Projects

2)    ED Teacher’s Guide to International Collaboration on the Internet

This list contains many links to established and well regarded programs that promote online educational collaboration.

3)    A Sampler of International Web Projects from Edutopia

4)    Technospud Projects

Check out the calendar page for upcoming projects that seems pretty manageable.

5)    The International Telementor Program

This sounds like a great way to connect students with a virtual mentor. There is a cost involved of $200 per student.

6)    The GLOBE Program

This looks like an amazing science program, and it appears that there needs to be some commitment on the part of participating schools to regarding training.

Friday 5: Google Earth

Happy New Year, Everyone!

I just looked through my group archives, and I can’t believe I have never compiled a Friday 5 devoted to Google Earth. It is such an amazing application, and once you’ve experienced it, I think you’ll agree that it has great implications for enhancing teaching and learning.

A couple of projects have occupied me during the last couple of weeks. I’ve been playing with Google Earth and I have even started collaborative projects using Google Earth files. Inspired by a fellow Apple Distinguished Educator who collected holiday greetings in audio format and podcasted them for the ADE group, Ken Tuley and I came up with the idea of posting New Year’s resolutions from around the world using Google Earth. Several ADEs created a file of a Google Earth place mark indicating where they currently live or work, and put New Year’s resolutions into the description field of the place mark. Files were emailed to me and I compiled them, simply by dragging and dropping .kmz files into a folder. I then emailed the main file back to all participants. It was great fun to “fly” around the world, seeing people’s homes and gathering inspiration from various New Year’s resolutions.

I’ve started another similar project, and this one is geared for all teachers and students. Participants again will create a place mark indicating their home, workplace, or other special location. In the description field, they are supposed to write a paragraph or two about their favorite teacher and/or learning experience. I’ll collect these files via email, and put them into one file that will be posted on my blog and in the Google Earth Community. Follow the link below if you’d like to participate… detailed directions are included.

Have a great weekend,

Lucy Gray


1)    Google Earth

Download the free software here.

2)    Google Earth – Wikipedia

A little background info on GE.

3)    Google Earth Community: Teacher Meme

This is the link to my current project. Join the fun!

4)    The Good Earth

Read about how teachers are using Google Earth in this Edutopia article.


5)   Google Earth Education Community

6)   Juicy Geography’s Google Earth for Teachers

5)    Tom Barrett’s Classroom Google Earth Wiki

Lots of great resources can be found here and if you feel inspired, you can add your school’s location to a collection of files from other schools.

6)    Google Earth Users Guide

7)    Google Earth Wikipedia Layer

This is a blog post about a relatively new feature in Google Earth.

8)    Virtual Globetrotting

9)    Google Earth Blog

Click on the links labeled GE to download the file and view in Google Earth.

10)     Google Sightseeing

11)     Official Google Blog: The Illuminated Continent

National Geographic naturally has content viewable in Google Earth.


12)     GeoGreeting

Send a fun message to a friend using satellite images. Thanks to Charlene Chausis for this link!

13)     Geography 2.0: Virtual Globes: Google Earth Education Initiative

Get a free copy of Google Earth Pro for your school. Follow the instructions posted in this blog.

14)     Google SketchUp

Create 3-D models in SketchUp and import them into Google Earth.  You thought Google Earth was mind blowing? Wait until you try this!

15)     Google 3D Warehouse

Store and share SketchUp files here. Check out Fred Bartel’s collection of designs for 21st Century schools:
and his Designing with SketchUp Infowiki :

Friday 5: Bookmarklets


Happy New Year, everyone!

Bookmarklets give your web browser increased functionality and allow you to access certain web sites and their tools on the fly as you surf the 'net. Bookmarklets are installed in the toolbar of your browser, usually by simply dragging it in place.

For the sake of demonstration, pretend that you use the social bookmarking web site,, to keep track of your personal library of links. You would install a set of bookmarklets in your browser's toolbar and when you came across a web site you would like to bookmark, you would click on the bookmarklet.  A pop-up window would appear allowing you save the url directly to your account at There are lots of different bookmarklets out there for various online tools. I use bookmarklets from Typepad and Blogger to publish blog entries, one from Furl to bookmark web pages, and another from Bloglines to subscribe to various podcasts, blogs, and websites.

Here are some links to get you started...

Take care,

Lucy Gray

1) Bookmarklets - Wikipedia

Get an overview on bookmarklet basics here.

2) Absolutely Tools Collection

Tools for using can be found here.

3) Bloglines | Easy Subscription Bookmarklet

If you like to keep track of RSS feeds from various web sites, use a bookmarklet to add these feeds to your account at Bloglines.

4) Six Apart - Everything TypePad - Setting Up the QuickPost Bookmarklet

I use TypePad to maintain my blog and here is information on how to set up a quick method of publishing a blog post. Blogger also has a similar feature:

5) Jon Udell: The LibraryLookup Project

Librarians can generate their own bookmarklet for using services that their libraries might already subscribe to :

6) Social Bookmark Tools to View, Search and More

Here's a comprehensive list of tools and services available with a Web 2.0 influence. This is probably best suited for the advanced bookmarklet user.

Friday 5: Farewell to 2006

Friday 5:  Farewell to 2006

Merry Christmas (if that’s your celebration) and Happy New Year! 2006 has been a great year for me and frankly, I will be amazed and even more grateful if 2007 eclipses my experiences from this year.

I like to wrap up the year taking a look at traditional year end best of… lists and I found THE perfect one for this edition of the Friday 5. Also, Infinite Thinking Machine  bloggers are putting together their own best of lists to post next week, so stay tuned!


Lucy Gray

1) 2006 Lists

Check out this amazingly comprehensive aggregation of year end lists on just about every subject.

2)    Infoplease’s Year in Review, 2006

3)    2006 Web Technology Trends

4)    Education World’s Best of 2006: Technology Integration Channel

5)    ASCD Smartbrief 2006 Year in Review

6)    eSchool News Online – Top 10 Ed-Tech Stories of 2006

Friday 5: Images and Video

Hi All –

Here’s a quick Friday 5 list of sources for video and images. Teachers and students are always in need  of  digital material for projects but, before you publish anything using materials from others, check out this chart from Hall Davidson.  Also, don’t forget about Creative Commons Search for resources that may have less restrictive copyright protection.

Have a great weekend,

Lucy Gray

1)    KidsClick!: Image Search Tools

2)    The NYPL Picture Collection Online

3)    UNESCO’s Photobank

4) The Gateway to Astronaut Photography

4)    Digital Collections and Programs: Library Functions (Library of Congress)

5) TASI:: Techinical Advisory Service for Images

This section on finding and using digital images ( looks particularly comprehensive and helpful.

5)    YouTube -  K12 Education

6)    HubbleSOURCE: MPEG Video Clips

7)    The Open Video Project

8)    Video Classroom

9)    American Field Guide

10)     NARA on Google Video

Subscribe to the Friday 5 at:

Friday 5: Flickr Groups

Happy Friday!

I’ve been stewing all week, trying to decide on a theme for this week’s edition. While browsing the Edublogs Awards blog, I discovered a great entry in the Best Audio and/or Visual Blog category called Classroom Displays. The author, Linda Hartley, also runs an accompanying wiki  and Flickr group

This Flickr group inspired me to search for other education related ones, and these groups make up this week’s Friday 5. While I have used Flickr for a year or two to manage photos, I haven't explored it as much as I probably should. It dawned on me while viewing Linda’s group that this is a superb way for people, and teachers in particular, to share their experiences and ideas visually. Take a look and I think you will agree. I would have appreciated seeing examples of other teachers' work when I was new to the profession!

If you are unclear on the Flickr concept, check out these links for a little background info. Also, keep in mind that Flickr membership is free, although I recommend the Pro memberships for added benefits which is a reasonble $25 per year.

Flickr – Wikipedia

MediaMazine: Flickr Tutorial Series

5 Steps to Getting that Flickr Group off the Ground –

Also, browse the aforementioned Edublogs Award site and you will notice that the Infinite Thinking Machine is nominated for the best group blog category. Consider voting for the ITM as it’s a new project with which I am involved!

Take care,

Lucy Gray

1)    Montessori Education Flickr Group

This group is not particularly active nor large in terms of membership, but there are a fair amount of pictures to view.

2)    e-Artcasting Flickr Group

This project is not directly related to education, but the idea here is document museum visitor’s experiences. I think I am going to add some of my Louvre pictures from last summer to this collection.

3)    Educational Bloggers Flickr Group

This group is larger in size with about 160 members, and there seems to be a fair amount of discussion on the group Flickr site.

4)    Flickr For Education Group

5)    Elementary Art Flickr Group

6)    NECC 2006

7)    Illinois Technology Conference for Educators Flickr Group

I’m on the organizing committee for this conference, so please excuse another shameless plug. There should be many more photos in this pool in March!

Friday 5: Widgets in Education

MydashboardWidgets are mini-applications that can be employed to make your working life more efficient. The Mac operating system, known as OS X, includes Dashboard, a piece of software that runs and manages widgets. Yahoo also has a widget engine which runs on PC and Mac desktops. This week’s list is primarily focuses on Dashboard widgets for OS X. I've also included a screenshot of my Dashboard.

The impetus behind this week’s list is that I decided that a list of educationally usefully widgets would be helpful to educators, particularly those who are implementing 1 to 1 laptop programs. There are also sorts of widgets out there that can potentially enhance learning including ones containing dictionaries, words and facts of the day, calendars, converters, translators, and photos. Also, students absolutely are intrigued by widgets and you should be aware of these doodads from a classroom/laptop management point of view. Best of all, many widgets are free, although I’ve noticed a few shareware and commercially sold ones out there.

For more background information, I suggest you check out  a couple of Wikipedia articles on Yahoo’s Widget Engine (formally known as Konfabulator) and on Apple’s Dashboard software which also uses widgets. And, for a more in-depth history of Konfabulator widgets and Apple widgets, read this blog post from Daring Fireball.

Have fun exploring,

Lucy Gray


1)    Yahoo! Widgets

Get the Yahoo engine widget here. You need this before running any Yahoo widget. There is a version for both PC and Mac users.

2)    Apple’s Dashboard Widgets

If you have a Mac running OS 10.4 (Tiger), you have Dashboard on your computer. View a demo of Dashboard and find widgets that run on Dashboard using the above links.

There are differences between Yahoo! Widgets and Dashboard widgets. They are created using different technologies and Yahoo’s widgets run on your desktop while Apple’s run in Dashboard.  Read the aforementioned Wikipedia article on widgets for more info.

Next Steps

3)    Listing of Education Widgets

Here’s a comprehensive list of widgets that could be used in school settings.

4)    Dashboard Widgets from ZDNet

Google Macintosh Dashboard Widgets

5)    Voicenotes Dashboard Widget

This one is a demo and it costs $5.95. Check out the company web site for additional widgets: .

6)    Graphing Widgets for Dashboard

7)    Notepad Widget for Dashboard

8)    Stop-It! Widget for Dashboard

This widget is a count down timer.

9)    This Day in History Widget for Dashboard

10)    The Periodic Table Widget for Dashboard

For Fun

11)     Pirate Translator for Dashboard

12)     Christmas Lights for Dashboard

13)     Basketball for Dashboard

Deep Dive

Apparently, it’s fairly easy to create your own widgets. Here are some sources for getting started.

14)     Developing Dashboard Widgets

15)     Yahoo! Widgets – Workshop

Subscribe to the Friday 5 Google Group here.

Friday 5: Holiday Shopping and Giving

Hi All –

Happy Thanksgiving ! This list is intended to provide some food for thought as we enter the holiday season. Using the links below,  find a charity that can benefit from your generosity or shop via a portal which donates portions of proceeds to various charitable organizations.

Take care,

Lucy Gray

1)    Buy Nothing Day

2)    Greater Good

3)    iGive

4)    Just Give

5)    DonorsChoose

Friday 5: Graph Paper

Friday 5 : Graph Paper

Hi All –

I’m still going with my current theme of practicality and this week’s list is on graph paper. It’s amazing what you can find online for free.

Have a restful weekend,

Lucy Gray

1) Make Your Own Graph Paper

This MacWorld article inspired this week’s list. Instead of buying the program suggested here, try some of the free sites below.

2) Free Online Graph Paper from

Make PDFs of just about any kind of paper you might need in a school setting here. This site is not just about the graphing kind!

3) PDF Pad

This is a fairly basic graph paper generator that allows you to specify type of paper and size.

4) Downloadable Graph Paper and Measurement Tools

Not only can you print graph paper at this math and science site, but you can also find printable measurement tools such as centimeter rulers and protractors. It looks like other math and science resources cited here might be worth browsing as well.

5) Graphing Worksheets from Teachnology

This site includes printable graph paper as well as graphing activities.

Friday 5: Photo Sharing

Friday 5: Photo Sharing

Happy Friday, everyone!

Learn how to access and organize photos online using this week’s list. The web makes it easy to carry out basic photo editing, share pictures with others, and even create calendars, cards and the like. There are a myriad of tool choices out there in this arena, and I’ve selected a few of the most compelling for this Friday 5 list.

Have a great weekend,

Lucy Gray

1)    Photo Sharing – Wikipedia

Here’s a basic explanation of the type of sites listed this week.

2)    Flickr

Flickr is one of my favorite sites and I particularly like the Creative Commons section where one can use others’ photos depending on the kind of Creative Commons license that has been assigned to a digital photo:

3)    Picasa

This is Google’s photosharing service for Windows machines.

4)    Our Story

Our Story seems to take photo sharing to a different level in that you can use this service to create a digital timeline of your life. It seems like sort of another way of blogging.

5)    Photoshow

Make an online photoshow complete with music here and share it with others.

6)    Bubbleshare

Bubbleshare is in beta testing, so this is not the final version, but it has some intriguing features. It is similar to photoshow and has the ability to add your voice and bubble captions to your photos. There are also desktop widgets for this web app.

Friday 5: Calendars

Friday 5: Calendars

Hi All –

Practical sites seem to be very helpful to Friday 5 readers, so I am continuing with that theme. This week, learn all about online calendars as a way to organize your life and communicate with parents and students. Along with my flashcards and notetaking lists, your students can get organized digitally!

Take care,

Lucy Gray

To subscribe to this list, visit  or send me an email.

1)    Airset

Apparently, Airset’s calendars can by synced with Outlook.

2)    Google Calendar

Check out the many features of Google Calendar which is shareable and customizable.

3)    Yahoo! Calendar

Not to be outdone, Yahoo also provides free online calendars.

4)    Listible’s 33 Resources on Best Online Calendars

5)    Apple – Mac OS X – iCal – Library

I am a big fan of Apple’s iCal application and here are dozens of calendars that you can import into iCal on your computer. See the links below for additional ways you can iCal.

6)    How to Subscribe to a Google Calendar using iCal

7)    iCal World

8)    iCalShare

9)    Online Advent Calendar

I added this site just for fun. I tried to peek at the first day of this calendar, but I couldn’t!