With a week that was full of tutoring, meetings, and other work, there just wasn't enough time to get the Finds of the Week posting in. But don't fret! Here it is a few days late.
Puzzlemaker from Discovery Education - There once was a time where teachers would have to spend a large amount of time creating word searches and crossword puzzles from scratch. No more! With Puzzlemaker, you can create these puzzles quickly, and even make different ones so that students won't have the same puzzle to work from. In total, there are ten different puzzle types to choose from. These puzzles could be used to help students preview and solidify vocabulary or be offered as extra credit.
The puzzles aren't the only things that Discovery Education offers. On the site, you will also see links for first year teacher resources (who says you can't use them beyond your first year?), brain boosters, clip art, and lesson plans.
drop.io - drop.io is a great way to create a space where students can submit work for teachers or other students to access it. This is a great way to move away from having student turn in a physical paper, and it doesn't not require a student to be on the network at school in order to submit paperless now, as we see with working with a drop box either on your teacher machine or the school's server.
When you create a "drop," you gain a lot of control over what can be done with the work. Check out a current drop that I have set up. First, you will notice that it will require a login. I have a login setup for myself as the admin of the drop, but there is a separate one for guests to sign in. This allows for my audience (whether it is students or teachers) to access my drop and the files already on it, as well as upload new files, but they are unable to delete a file from my drop. If you would like to access my drop, use the password mathrules to sign in. When there, you'll notice three files: A .mov file of a commercial that promotes the Arts, the Chapter 5 Preview for my Integrated Math 2 class, and a phone recording from last April.
Being able to upload the different types of files could lead to a variety of uses. It's a simple way to submit work paperlessly. You could use it as a way for students to reflect on their work by making a phone call. Each drop will have a phone number associated with it. Be aware that the phone number very well may be a long distance number, which could somewhat restrict the use in and out of your classroom. It is also a nice way to set up a space for collaborating within a class, or even between separate classes. Each drop provides 100 MB of space free, and if you require more space, it is $10/GB per year, which is a very fair deal.
PaperRater - When writing a paper, it is often difficult to find someone to proofread it to help you find grammatical errors, or even to help you determine whether you are plagiarizing or not. Students face the same issues, and often when plagiarism occurs in a paper, the writer may be unaware.
PaperRater is a great tool that will allow for the uploading of a paper to help identify these errors. For students, they could upload their papers and sources to check for plagiarism. This is a great learning opportunity for all students, which will lead them to doing better at making sure plagiarism is not in their writing. Teachers can use this site to check student work that has been handed in for any possible plagiarism, as well. This would be a situation where a digital copy of a paper would be more worthwhile than a printed out copy.