Sunday, October 13, 2013

Blog Post #8

21st Century Learning and Communicating Tools
By: Jennifer Hamrick
spelling city logo
When I began my search for some 21st century learning and communicating tools, I wasn’t sure what I was looking for and had to spend a lot of time weeding through various web pages to determine if the content was good enough to be brought into a classroom. One site that I found was Spelling City. I personally could have spent days playing on this website just to discover all the options. The main thing that I liked best about this website is that it is set up to provide help for all elementary grade levels. At first, I didn’t like that I couldn’t select a specific grade level to help break down the options but then realized that by keeping the options open, advanced children could try harder games and challenge themselves. On this site, there is a game titled HangMouse. It is very similar to the game Hangman. The student can select from a list of 14 different word lists ranging from color words to math words. The color words list is great for lower grades. A specific number of dashes will appear on the screen with the alphabet underneath them. The student then picks a letter, the mouse walks over to the cheese that the cat is guarding and if the letter is in the word, the mouse gets a bite of cheese and the letter appears in the spot that it would in the word. If the letter isn’t in the word, the mouse doesn’t get a bite of cheese. This game is great for lower grades because it helps with letter recognition and identifying color words. Students also have to use problem solving. If five dashes appear on the screen, then they use deductive reasoning and realize that the word red or pink won’t work but, green or white might work and they can select an “e” and see where it appears on the screen. If an “e” doesn’t appear, then maybe the word is black or brown. For a higher grade level game, I came across Speedy Speller. Again the students had 14 word lists to choose from and I selected science words. The goal of this game is to listen to the word being said and then type it correctly. The game is looking for the person who can spell 10 words the fastest. After the computer says the word, it also uses the word in a sentence while the child types the word. For this particular word list, words that needed to be spelled correctly were terrarium and ecosystem which makes this game more for the higher grades. While searching around, I noticed something that looked similar to a notebook and asked you to type words in the spaces to make a word list. I put in some 1st grade spelling words and then had the option to take a spelling test. The computer recognized the words I had used to make the list and then read them to me like I was taking a test. The word is read to you and followed with a sentence so you know how the word is being used. You have the option to rehear the word or the sentence. When done, you select check me and find out how you did. If you miss a word, you can select a button that says, “teach me” and the computer will phonetically help by sounding out the word, respelling it and using it in a sentence. This is something you can use for all grade levels since you get to make the list yourself.

edmodo logo in a thinking bubble
Another website that I found was Edmodo. While researching Edmodo, the best comparison I could come up with is it is similar to Sakai. It is a safe social-learning site for students and provides an easy way for teachers, students and parents to communicate. Teacher can place assignments into a calendar for students to know what is due and when. Students can submit journal entries through assignments right to the teacher. Teachers can prepare their own quizzes and polls to assess the student’s knowledge. A poll can even be made before a unit begins to see what the students think it is actually going to be about. Parents are able to set up accounts also so that they can communicate with the teacher and monitor their child’s grades and upcoming assignments. Parents can select text notifications and be alerted via their cell phones of special dates or changes to their students account. While this might currently be a little too in depth or advanced for lower level elementary kids, what essentially hooked me to this site was the Teacher Network/Communities. I signed up for a free account and when I logged in, I was taken to a page very similar to the News Feed page on Facebook. The difference is that it’s a page full of teachers either asking for assistance or offering up information they have found. One teacher left a message about how her students were studying the Civil War and having a hard time remembering the dates and keeping things straight. She thought a timeline would really help them out and did anybody have any suggestions where she could find a great site to help with this. Instantly from around the world, teachers started offering up sights and how they used them. This is a website that I will be adding to my PLN even if I only use it for the Community Page and never in my classroom.

21st Century Learning and Communicating Tools
By: Dominique Jones

The website I chose is a gaming website and an app that you can download on any Apple product for students in grade levels K-5. This website was designed to focus on the student, parent, and teacher. You can chose which grade level. Next you pick a category which includes letters, numbers, holidays, more (shapes, art, social studies). One game that kindergartners can play is letter bingo. There is a bingo board set up and it pronounces the letter and you chose which letter is correct. The point of the game is to get 3 squares in a row and it is graded after you get bingo. Another game that I liked was Typing Race Keyboard Practice for grades 2-5. This game is to help children practice using the keyboard. There is a race car and there are letters, numbers, or punctuation marks ahead. Every level you pass the cars goes a little faster so you’ll have to type your words faster. The point of this game is for the student to not let the car run out of gas. I would make the children use this website during free time in the class maybe once or twice a week. I think this is a great website because students are getting familiar with using technology and their learning at the same time. I chose this tool because it is easy to use and fun. Students can access this website from their home with the help of their parents.


  1. Jennifer, I am commenting on your portion of this blog. First I would like to say that I enjoyed the material that you provided. I loved learning about spelling city and believe it will be very beneficial to all students. I liked the fact that students who are more advanced can still be engaged in the process by playing a more challenging level of words ect. I did not find any grammar or punctuation errors. Great job, keep up the hard work!

  2. Jennifer, great job on the post! You chose two awesome tools to talk about!