Saturday, February 25, 2012

Murky Reef: Great App for 1-2 Science, Math, & Reading

I had recently heard some good things about the new updated version of Murky Reef - Think & Play, a science, reading and math app from Frolyc; and I decided to check it out for myself.  Murky Reef is designed for students 6-8 years old and is intended to increase their knowledge base in science, reading, and math, through use of interactive game play and enjoyable characters. 

My opinion on this product is that Murky Reef is a great product to add to your collection, especially for those who are homeschooling or providing an extra boost to children's learning beyond the classroom.  There are options available for all skill levels in 1st and 2nd grade, and a variety of subjects.  This app will also be of value to parents that want to help their children with their studies but may have forgotten a thing or two, as it is very easy to understand, control, and provides a video tutorial for every game option. 
While Murky Reef is a paid app, there is a free lite version available in the app store if you'd prefer to take it for a test drive before making a purchase.  There are also lower priced versions focusing on specific subjects alone (math, science, reading) for those interested in targeting a specific area. 

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Thursday, February 23, 2012

19 Pencils: Save your favorite online content!

19Pencils Tutorial from 19 Pencils on Vimeo

19Pencils is the easiest way for teachers to discover, share and 
manage web‐based educational content with students. 

19 Pencils set out to simplify and improve access to online content in the classroom and at home.  What started out as a way for teachers to list their favorite educational websites quickly and easily has turned into an educational ecosystem that combines search, social bookmarking, online assessments, internet monitoring, and social media engagement.  See for yourself during during this 90 second tutorial.

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Trace Letters for the iPad by Electrokite

Trace Letters is a free, fun, and educational application for young children. Using their finger a child can learn how to correctly write each letter of the alphabet, with this interactive app. The full version, only $0.99, children can also trace lower case letters and hear how each letter is pronounced.

This application is great for children at home or in the classroom.

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Big-Screen Moviemaking Comes to the Touchscreen with Avid Studio

Avid Studio for iPad

Avid Studio has distilled the world's leading film-editing technology into an easy-to-use app that enables you to edit video, audio, and photos at the speed of your creativity. Swiftly arrange your clips in the Storyboard, make precision edits using the Timeline, and add high-quality transitions, effects, and a soundtrack. Then share your movie directly to YouTube, Facebook, and more—or export your project to Avid Studio for the PC and continue editing with even more advanced tools.

We’re offering Avid Studio for iPad at a special introductory price for a limited time, so visit the App Store today - click here!

ISTE 2012 Online Program Available Now

Attention all #edtech lovers, the ISTE 2012 conference planner is now available online.  I've heard wonderful remarks about this conference in the past, and I'm very excited about attending this years convention.  I'll be part of a panel discussion this year with some of my 'ed-tech role-models!'  You can add this panel to your planner by clicking here.

I highly recommend checking out this conference.  Besides, who wouldn't love to visit San Diego in June? 

Monday, February 20, 2012

Easily Send Behavior/Academic Report Cards to Parents... Weekly... with just One Click!

Class Dojo: Award Winning Online Behavior Management - Free!

What is Class Dojo?

ClassDojo is an classroom tool that helps teachers manage behavior and boost engagement in class really quickly and easily. ClassDojo enables teachers to recognize specific behaviors and accomplishments in real-time, with just one click of a smartphone or laptop button. Try it out for free now!

You can read more about Class Dojo on their Frequently Asked Questions page.

What is Class Dojo's newest feature?

You can now send reports home every week and save parent email addresses - with just one click!

Class Dojo has made it super easy for teachers to stay connected to parents. To help you get started, they've created a letter you can send home to parents to request their email addresses. Print it out and send it home this Friday - simply login to your Class Dojo account to download the letter.

Click here for quick access to download your parent letter.

Why would you want to send home ClassDojo behavior reports on a weekly basis? 

Here are just a few reasons...

  • Get parents on your team
  • Reduce “surprises” during parent-teacher conferences or report card time
  • Hold students accountable at home and at school, creating more focused classes
  • Spend less time on behavior management, and more time on learning
So, click here and register now for Class Dojo!

Read my previous post on Class Dojo:

By the way, they are hiring!  Click here to read more about their team.

You may blog, but do you glog?

Make your interactive poster online and share it with friends. 
Mix Images, Text, Music and Video. It is fantastic!

You can read my original post about Glogster here, but I wanted to blog about this 'oldie but goodie' for those who may be unfamiliar with this site.  I love Glogster because kids simply 'get it.'  It's just like making a poster... but doing it online.  I've had students create Glogsters for projects, and I've used Glogster for a teaching tool, too.  I love that the creations integrate multimedia.  Students add images, text, music, and video.  They're learning how to embed code, arrange graphics in an aesthetic fashion, search the web, and develop a project that displays their understanding.  The kids take ownership and feel so proud to show off their Glogsters.  Students enjoy receiving feedback and seeing their peers reactions as they discuss the learning objectives from the content.

Check out the Glogster below!

Sunday, February 12, 2012

Storybird: Publish with Purpose, digitally!

I've posted about Storybird before, and I'm excited to publish another piece about this amazing platform for students to use as they share their work in a safe and creative place online.  A colleague and I are presenting on digital publishing platforms at this year's annual Michigan Reading Conference.  After Skyping with site developer, Mark, I am excited to share the rich yet simple history of Storybird with our audience.  Quite frankly, Mark wanted a user-friendly, safe, and effective platform for everyone to share their stories online.  This is my favorite site to share digital work.

What is Storybird?

Storybirds are short, art-inspired stories you make to share, read, and print.  Read them like books, play them like games, and send them like greeting cards. They’re curiously fun. 

Storybird Quick Tour from Storybird on Vimeo.

Can I view a Storybird? 

Can't Say Can't by jlb459 on Storybird

Is a Storybird just digital?

You can certainly share your work online.  With Storybird, keep your work secure and private on the Storybird website.  Or, you can share it publicly on the Storybird site.  You can also embed the Storybird onto a class site or blog, and you can share the link on Facebook or Twitter.  Simply put - you can make your work as public or private as you'd like.

Teachers - you can set up student accounts, too.  Additionally, after a student has finished creating their work, they can integrate their reading strategies by adding an 'about the author' page, story summary, tags (key words for their story - main idea), and more!

Students can even use the Storybird website as a safe place to comment on each other's work.

I really like that I can purchase my daughter's Storybird creations.  As a parent, I can get the link from her teacher and choose to purchase a hardcopy of her book.  The best part, if you choose to purchase a hardcopy, your child's classroom gets $5 for the purchase.  The hardcover books are so beautiful and special.

Would you like to join Storybird or try it out?

If you would like a personal invitation to join Storybird, please leave your email in a comment below, and I'll send you an invite right away.  You'll love this great site and so will your students.

Educational Technology Support

I'm very thankful for the sponsors of this site.  I get a lot of email requests from companies wanting to sponsor this site; however, I only accept those who I think my readers would benefit from and enjoy.  I'm proud to be a partner with the following sites and appreciate how they're supporting educational technology in various forms.  Being a sponsor of this site is more than simply having a spot on the side bar, but rather joining a partnership together to support the advancement of technology in education.  Please take a moment to explore their sites and see for yourself how they're transforming the landscape of #edtech today.

MasteryConnect - share common assessments aligned to standards, connect in a professional learning community, and track student performance.  Teach the Common Core with Mastery Connect! Mastery Connect: Teaching the Common Core just got a whole lot easier!

 is the leader in free educational kids computer games and activities for elementary students to learn on the web. All children's educational computer activities were created or approved by certified school teachers.



Ten Marks - Online Math Programs with Interactive math worksheets, hints, video Lessons. Math Programs for Parents, Educators, Homeschoolers & Students - Try it FREE.

 Insurance for iphone, Laptop, and Cell Phone devices provided by Worth Ave Group, leading laptop and iPhone Insurance provider.  At Worth Ave. Group, we feel that technology plays a vital role in preparing our children for tomorrow. Soon, books and paper will be things of the past. We have been fortunate enough to be able to offer our products and services to students, faculty and schools for over 40 years, and understand the importance of giving back to those who have supported us the most.

Give-Away: Blog2Print $25 Gift Certificate!

Next time someone asks "How can I print my blog?" send them to Blog2Print. With a couple of clicks, you choose a cover, the posts you'd like to include, and you're on your way to creating your own Blog Book!
  • Cover
  • Images
  • Number and Order of Posts
  • Comments

Turning your blog into a book is a fun way to have a hard-cover displaying your work and resources! 

  • great professional piece for interviews
  • create a blog for your family - then turn it into a book (digital scrapbooking)
  • have your resources in a tangible format
  • add to your library
  • display on a table for conferences - fun to look at while waiting
  • add to your portfolio

A 20-page softcover Blog Book is just $14.95.
Hardcover only $24.95.  And extra pages are only 35 cents!

Have a blog that's primarily text?
New black and white blog books are just
$10.95. Extra pages are 10 cents

If you're interested, you can try one for free by entering this give-away!  

Win $25 to Blog2Print - leave a comment below...

Simply leave a comment below with your email address that you'd like to win... that's it!

*Winners will be announced Saturday, February, 18, 2012.*

Friday, February 10, 2012

Save Time With the Volunteer List

As educators, there are often many things that pop up in our day to day careers that don't truly fall under the "teaching" umbrella.  Organzing volunteers would fall into that category as something that is necessary, but doesn't directly influence learning. 

The help of parents and family members whether it's for a party, to read to the kids, or simply to provide supplies, is always appreciated but can often end up with mismatched items, hurt feelings, and confusion.  If a teacher sends home a sign-up list, they end up with duplicates and missing items.  If they send an email, there are multiple emails back and forth, and teachers have to make determinations on things like who signed up for cookies first or how many parents can be at the Halloween Party.  It takes the fun out of the fun when somebody has to be told "no" or change their item, and can occasionally cause issues between parents.

In an effort to make this process easier, David Butler, a husband of a Kindergarten teacher, created The Volunteer List for this wife.  After seeing it in action, her co-workers asked for their own versions.  Now, you can get your own version as well.

The Volunteer List is an easy and cheap way (just 99¢ per event) to coordinate donations, events, conferences, parties, meetings and volunteer times with your room moms, students and fellow teachers. After registering with The Volunteer List you will be given a personal site address ( to give out to your group. All you need to do is distribute the URL and they will handle the rest. No registration is required from your group and filling out the sign-up form is fast!

Your event will be available for 60 days after registration and will be saved on The Volunteer List's server for future use, that means you won't have to create a new list every time!

As a special promotion with Kleinspiration, The Volunteer List is offering your first five lists at no charge.  Just use this link to register

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Thursday, February 9, 2012

Why is Technology Important to You?

You could win some great prizes for your classroom just by letting VideoBlocks know how important technology is to you.  

VideoBlocks, a subscription-based website that provides unlimited downloading of stock video and audio, has announced that it is sponsoring a photo contest for students and their advisors. The grand prize winner will receive a cash prize of $1,000, plus an unlimited subscription to Video Blocks for one year.

The theme of the contest is “Why is technology important to you?” Teachers are asked to submit photos of their class that illustrate how technology,video and media enhance the learning environment.

A grand prize winner and two runners up will be announced onMarch 15, 2012.

For official rules and entry information click here!"

For official rules and entry information click here!"

VideoBlocks is also offering a 7 day free trial of their downloads, click here or the image below to take a look at how you can have acesss to thousands of motion backgrounds, videos, and music clips.

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Wednesday, February 8, 2012

3 Great Giveaways Closing Soon

The best things in life are free.  In addition to our great giveaways this week, there are also a couple of great freebies available in the Kleinspiration store, including a great one for Valentine's Day math.   

Also this week, don't miss out on a great opportunity for 3 more huge freebies!  Our friends at Learning Resources, SpellQuizzer, and Barron's have some great items and information for your classrooms and children this month.  They have generously provided some free items for readers that love their products and can use them at home or in the classroom.  Click the pictures below to learn more and enter the giveaways.

Learning resources has introduced a brand new, portable, interactive white board called the now!Board.  You can see my full review on the now!Board here, and also enter for their $100 gift card giveaway, exclusive to Kleinspiration readers. 

Mrs. Burke
I liked the Now!Board Facebook page.

SpellQuizzer is a spelling software program, which allows parents to upload their students spelling lists, provide voiceovers, and create quizzes for their kids to study with interactively.  SpellQuizzer is currently offering free lifetime licenses to 2 lucky Kleinspiration readers, as well as free 30 day trials.

Thank you for sharing. Your links are fabulous. Would love to win.


I'd love to win a license for this programme, since I'm very curious to know if it will also work with danish learners.

I'm a happy follower...
*Please contact me for your SpellQuizzer gift via email:*

Barron's has been a great partner to Kleinspiration, previously setting up our readers to explore the Titanic, now helping students to spend a day in the life of their body, and later this month they will provide us with some great books to prepare for the 2012 election.  Click the picture below to enter the giveaway for A Day in the Life of Your Body. 

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Monday, February 6, 2012

Make History Your Story with Toontastic

Hip Hooray for History!

I recently blogged about Toontastic here, and now I'm happy to announce that they've recently added a few new playsets to their collection.  With these playsets, kids can retell the stories of these seminal moments using characters like George Washington, Martin Luther King Jr., and Susan B. Anthony in settings like Independence Hall and the Lincoln Memorial. 

Teachers - click here to read more about using Launchpad Toys apps in your class! You can click here to get the free app in iTunes or click here to read more about how others are using Toontastic by connecting to their amazing website!

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Sunday, February 5, 2012

Does literature come to life in your classroom? Do you integrate technology or would you like to?

I recently came across a great digital project for elementary students.  If you're a school that has mobile technology, this would be a really engaging activity for your students.  However, if your students do not have access to such digital tools, you could do this project with your personal device and share the work as a whole group.  Here's a brief introduction to the project I snagged from their site in the 'about' section:

The basic principle of The Flat Stanley Project is to connect your child, student or classroom with other children or classrooms participating in the Project by sending out "flat" visitors, created by the children, through the mail (or digitally, with The Flat Stanley app). Kids then talk about, track, and write about their flat character's journey and adventures. Although similar to a pen-pal activity, Flat Stanley is actually much more enriching-students don't have to wonder where to begin or what to write about. The sender and the recipient already have a mutual friend, Flat Stanley. Writing and learning becomes easier, flows naturally, and tends to be more creative. This is what teachers call an "authentic" literacy project, in that kids are inspired to write of their own passion and excitement about the project, and given the freedom to write about many things through the rubric of the Flat Stanley character.

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Give - Away: Barron's Educational Series - A Day in the Life of Your Body

What we're giving away?

a free copy of the book A Day in the Life of Your Body from Barron's Educational Series

(great for teaching science, social science, health, and general wellness)

What is it?

Book Summary: A Day in the Life of Your Body features beautifully detailed full page color illustrations that explain the various health and body functions a child's body will go through on a daily basis.  The book’s spends a day with a child, from the time they wake in the morning, eating breakfast and digesting food, using the body’s muscles to ride a bike, and performing the many normal activities that make up a child’s average day. In describing the activities, the book shows and explains the workings of the child’s brain and nervous system, the respiratory system, the heart and cardiovascular system, the skeletal system, and other vital functions.

This great book will help kids learn the importance of good nutrition, regular exercise, and adequate sleep. They’ll also find answers to important questions that deal with visits to a doctor’s office, getting sick and recovering, and growing up to adulthood. More than 200 photos and illustrations are all in color.  Barron's lists the books for ages 10 and older, however I have personally read the book with my seven year old daughter and felt it was both age appropriate and beneficial to her. 

How to enter the giveaway:

Leave a comment below after you do one or more of the following:

Winners will be announced on Saturday, February 19.
Please make sure you are following this blog for updates.  Good luck!

Readers can get an copy of this book by purchasing it from the website by clicking here

Additional Information:

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Interested in a product or site review?
Have a new product to launch?

If so, please contact me at:

Thursday, February 2, 2012

Guest Post: SMART Table


Guest Post: This post was written by’s James Lander. Lander regularly contributes to Couponing on topics related to couponing and frugal living.

Forget the times when learning was all about the teacher explaining and the kids writing – SMART Table is here to change that. Combining technology with interactivity, SMART Table is the perfect way to have kids learning while also having fun. Based on multi-touch technology, the SMART Table transforms the boring classic-style lessons into interactive lessons, easily capturing the attention and interest of your young students.


The SMART Table is produced by SMART Technologies, the leading company in the field of interactive learning products and whiteboards. It is the result of more than 20 years of evolution from the first interactive whiteboard, released in 1991. The SMART Table combines the multi-touch technology with a dedicated interactive software suite to deliver a solution that’s educational, interactive and user-friendly.

Under The Hood

Children and electronics don’t mix well, especially if we’re talking about sensitive touchscreen devices. The SMART Table uses an innovative approach to solve this problem, though. Its unconventional touchscreen has a simple working principle that consists of 3 components:

· Solid glass display

· Projector

· Digital camera

The projector is used to project the image on the glass display while the high-performance digital camera is used to track up to 120 simultaneous touch points. This combination is just as effective as a regular touchscreen display, while the solid glass makes it less sensitive to hits and scratches, perfectly suitable to be used by kids.


As a teacher - The SMART Table comes with a set pre-defined lessons and activities and the SMART Table Toolkit, its dedicated software that allows you to customize activities and even create your own. This allows you to adapt the activities to your requirements and include all the information you find relevant for your students. If you don’t feel like creating the lessons yourself, there are plenty of lessons and activities available to download from the Internet, giving you endless possibilities to work with.

As a student – The SMART Table allows you to use your skills and knowledge to read, write, draw or solve exercises. Whether you work alone or team up with your colleagues, the SMART Table is the perfect way to learn and have fun at the same time.


There are numerous advantages to using the SMART Table. As a teacher, you get to make use of technology to present the information to kids in an attractive way. This makes learning more interesting than the classical teaching methods. As for the students, here are some of the most important benefits of using the SMART Table:

· Social skills – having to interact with other colleagues, kids will quickly develop stronger social skills. They will learn to express their ideas more clearly and listen to what other have to say as well.

· Team work – kids will understand the importance of team efforts when working in groups and will learn to manage their work more efficiently.

· Creativity – the higher level of interactivity will also boost the children’s imagination, making them more creative and enthusiastic about learning.

· Fun – the SMART Table allows kids to combine learning with playing, an educational way of having fun. This thing is not usually present in classical teaching methods.


The SMART Table can be used in various scenarios. You can use it either as a standalone teaching method, as a complementary method to classical methods or integrate it with other SMART technologies, such as the SMART Board Interactive whiteboard. The SMART Table can be synchronized with other SMART products to work seamlessly together, creating a completely interactive learning environment. It’s up to you to find the right solution for your class and, no matter what scenario you go with, you’ll be happy with the results.


Further Reading and Resources

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Guest Post: Top Ten Creative Online Activities For Your Children

Top Ten Creative Online Activities For Your Children

With the Easter holiday fast approaching and schools up and down the country breaking up, many children are looking for fun activities to do at home. But with the country coming out of a credit crunch, many can cost a small fortune. Whether it is a trip to the zoo or a day out to a football game, it all adds up. With this in mind, many families are tightening their purse strings and choosing activities that are a lot cheaper. So, here are my top five online activities you and your little ones can enjoy in the comfort of your home!
Online Education games for kids
Who said learning has to be confined to the walls of a classroom. Thanks to advancements in technology many children are discovering websites that house educational videos that help build brain power and put a smile on their faces. Online educational games can cover many different subjects and include historical memory games and mathematical football games that are on many consoles and PCs.  
Share Music
A really fun exercise to get your child involved in is sharing and listening to music. My kids regularly use the Spotify app that allows you to share and listen to various playlists. My little one absolutely loves Justin Bieber and Disney songs and so a group of us created a playlist for her titled Fay’s Fun Tunes. She just clicks on the playlist and sits back with her pink headphones and sings till the cows come home. Having to listen to her Top10 Justin Bieber songs on repeat is a small price to pay for seeing her so happy! Thanks to Top 10’s new app, you no longer need to worry about what song to listen to as you can create a playlist for everything. It is also great for education and I have downloaded a rapping times table for my daughter to listen and learn.

Digital Chess Games

Many children enjoy mental arithmetic, but nothing quite beats a digital chess game that incorporates Ancient Egypt with lasers. The mirrored Pharaohs and Pyramids are moved strategically around to avoid getting shot with the laser. This is great for improving your child’s memory and numerical understandings.

Lego Digital Camera

Any kid will tell you that nothing quite beats building blocks. Well, something just did. Lego has recently created a fantastic new digital camera, allowing kids to snap away and capture breathtakingly accurate pictures. Although the camera looks like it has been built from Lego pieces, it cannot be taken apart. However, the pieces on top of the camera are made to scale so you can add real Lego pieces to the top of it, allowing your kids to build into their models.

Who Said Monsters Don’t Make Great Pets?

When you think of pets, it’s usually cats, dogs, hamsters that come to mind….Well thanks to a fantastically cool site called Moshi Monsters, there’s a new pet in town and not the kind you find in dog beds. Before you get scared and head for the hills, relax - this monster is not real and exists only online. Cute, funny and loving, these monsters come in a range of colours and shapes depending on your taste. My child’s monster was a large hairy, blue one called Daniel, named after a family member with an uncanny resemblance.  Although this website is a fun and entertaining platform to use, it also has a serious side as it teaches children to become responsible when looking after a real pet.

Did you enjoy this? Have you got any techie gadgets that your kids like?
Guest Post: by Michael Edmondstone

Giveaway: Improve Your Child's Spelling-SpellQuizzer

What we're giving away?

2 free licenses for SpellQuizzer, a $30 value!!!

What is it?

SpellQuizzer is a spelling software program, which allows parents to upload their students spelling lists, provide voiceovers, and create quizzes for their kids to study with interactively.  SpellQuizzer does not transmit over the Internet, which alleviates concerns for many districts and parents regarding Internet usage and connection quality.

How do you enter for this give away?

Simply leave a comment below that you love this product! 
Winners for this giveaway will be announced on Saturday, February 11, 2012.
  Winners will receive lifetime licenses for this product. 

*be sure you're a follower of this blog to be eligible*

More about this product...

SpellQuizzer is also great for Homeschooling, and is currently offering free trials to anybody interested.  SpellQuizzer is very easy to use, whether you are using their built in lists or creating your own.

Additional Information:

Video demonstrations and testimonials on this product are available by clicking here

Do you have a product you'd like to offer as a give-away?
Would you like to advertise on this blog?
Interested in a product or site review?
Have a new product to launch?

If so, please contact me at: