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Thursday, May 31, 2007

Free School Clipart

Here is a quick tip for today. If you need free clipart for your class and you don't need hi-resolution, this website contains many royalty-free cliparts that you may use for worksheets, lesson plans, quizzes, websites, and other classroom needs or the students may use in their assignments. However, the liscence agreement, requests that you link back to the « Free Clipart at School » website.

There are multiple subjects available including sports, books, religion, money, military, medical, science, animals, plants and computers. The cliparts are very small in size with low resolution. They are ok to be used on the Web or in small formats on worksheets, however, if you enlarge them, they will become pixilated.

Wednesday, May 30, 2007

The conjugator

The conjugator is a great resource for students who need to conjugate verbs in English, French and Spanish. Unfortunately, the interface for all three versions is only available in French, but it is so minimal (only a few buttons and a drop-down menu) that most users should be able to get by. Once you get on the site, all you have to do is to enter the verb you want to conjugate and select whether you want the affirmative, interrogative or negative form. If you don't enter the infinitive or if you enter an incomplete verb or a verb that is not recognize, the conjugator will suggest the closest match.

The French version of the conjugator, "le conjugueur" will let you conjugate any verb in French including all the tenses (simple and compound) in the passive and active voice. There are also some buttons for students to enter the accented characters. Since the French language verbs are way more complex that the ones in English, this resource is very useful for Second Language Students.

The third version is for Spanish : "El conjugador". Again, it includes buttons for accented characters. For all versions, it is possible to print the page or to export a RTF that is better suited for printouts.

Tuesday, May 29, 2007

Social Studies for kids

"Social Studies for kids" is a web portal is a collection of resources for social studies aimed at students and teachers. It includes a section called "this week in history. It presents an important event that happened sometimes in the past during the same week as we are. The site is geared toward social studies in the US, so there is a section about US government. The articles are presented in a language quite simple for elementary and secondary school students. It also includes information about US history and geography. In addition to the US, world geography and history are also covered. Some of the subjects link to other websites while some of the subjects are covered directly on There is a section with fun facts such as the fact we read from left to right for no specific reason and the fact that Galileo didn't really invent the telescope. The glossary is also well designed based on historical events rather than being solely alphabetical. There is also a discussion forum for teachers and students who want to chat about geography and history.

Monday, May 28, 2007

Literacy Development

Dr. Janice Skowron is an educational consultant specializing in differentiated instruction and reading and writing development. She has her own website to advertise her services and workshops. She also provides free resources on the web available as word files about "Literacy development". If you are interested in increasing literacy in your classroom, there is information on vocabulary development and reading comprehension strategies.

There are also rubrics to help you with the assessment of informational essays, journal writing and story writing. Although Dr. Skowron is located in Illinois, the rubrics follow the four levels used in Ontario, so they may be used easily by Canadian or American teachers. The following documents are also available: How and Why Graphic Organizer, Brain Chain Organizer, Read Reflect Connect, Quick Write Organizer, Understanding Connecting Explaining. All the documents are in Microsoft Word format, so they may be modified to better suit your needs. On her website, she also advertises her book including: "Differentiated Instruction: Guided and Independent Learning for All Students" and "Understanding Stories".

Sunday, May 27, 2007

The Why files

If you want to give your student a better understanding of scientific news, the "Why Files" are specifically design for that purpose. The files are published by the University of Wisconsin in order to get the science behind the news. The site is updated weekly with new articles that uncover scientific concepts based on the news. Topic such as BBQ, Hepatis C, Vioxx, Hurricane Season, Archeology in the ocean, Managing malaria and the necessity of Sharks are all subjects that have been covered in the past few weeks. The top five subjects include electric cars, school violence, skin cancer, steroid in sports and tornadoes. The website also includes some interactive demonstration. They are in Java and users get to control some parameters and look at their effect. Subjects include:

There is also a section called CSI. It doesn't have the regular meaning. It actually means "Cool Science Images". Those images are available in the following fields of science : biology, Earth and Space, Environment, Health, Physical Science and Technology. Each image is described in details (e.g., the image on the right is a picture of pollen). In general, the images are very cool and not easy to get for a school.

The lessons plans for teachers are also very useful. They are based on the article of the Why files, however, they include some discussion questions, some ideas for activities and a multiple choice quiz for students to check their understanding of the topic.

Saturday, May 26, 2007

US History

If you are teaching history in the United States, this US history site is an amazing resource. The site doesn't contain much information but it is a great collection of links to other websites. It covers the history of the States from the early beginning to today. It includes topics such as the revolution, civil war, industrialization, World War I, World War II and the US presidents.

About the presidents, the site also includes some presidential quotes for each of them. There is also a timeline going from the Native American, the arrival of Columbus and the original 13 colonies, all the way to today's history including the conflicts in the Middle East and global economy. There are also some lessons plans available specifically developed for teachers.

Friday, May 25, 2007


Maps4free is a great resource for geography teachers. It is a database of all the countries from A to Z. When clicking on a country, a page of the country appears on the screen including a map, some background information about it, a lot of detailed geographic information, information about people (such as population, age structure, age, growth rate, birth rate, death rate, sex ratio, nationality, languages, HIV, etc.)

There is also information about the governement, the economy, communications, transportations, military and other issues. There is also a picture of the national flag. It is a great resource for students doing research project on a country.

Thursday, May 24, 2007

50 United States Quiz

If you are teaching American geography, this "50 United States Quiz" is for you and your students. It includes over a 1000 multiple-choice questions that are presented randomly. The questions are available in the following categories: State Capitals, Bordering States, State Nicknames, State Flowers, State Birds, State Trees, State Induction Dates, State Sizes, Presidential Birthplaces, Historical Parks, National Parks, Bodies of Water, State Populations, Cities and Towns, and Famous Places. The look of the website is very simple and plain, sometimes too much. In addition, the buttons are not intuitive. They are using radio button (usually for options) instead of the regular "OK" or "Continue" button. However, once the user gets used to the odd interface, the quiz is a lot of fun.

Wednesday, May 23, 2007

Egyptian name translator

If you are teaching the Great Civilizations including the Egyptians to your students, this "Egyptian name translator" is for you. The tool is so simple, anyone can use it. All you have to do, is to click on the letters to type your name. As you click on each letter, an Egyptian hieroglyph appears on the top row. When you are done writing your name, you have the Egyptian "translation" on your screen. The maximum number of letters that can be entered is 11. If you have a long name, you may have to enter it in two parts. There is no export feature, but you can always do a screen grab. Have fun!

Tuesday, May 22, 2007


Whether you are a parent, a teacher or a social worker, Cyberwise will certainly be a very useful resource if you have children or students using the Internet. Children and teenagers are using the Internet more and more yet, they don't seem to be aware of the dangers in that world. They are giving out personal information to stranger, something they would never do when they go downtown. The website includes five section: one for children, one for teens, one for parents, one for teachers and one for professionals.

Teens are often more knowledgeable than parents and teachers when it comes to the on-line world. It is necessary for parents and teachers to get to know more the Internet in order to guide children and teens in using the Internet safely. Luring has been a common problem on the Internet, however, recently, cyberbullying has increased in secondary schools. Sometimes, the bullying comes from people they know at school or in their classroom, not from strangers. Teachers need to be aware that some of the bullying in their class may not happen in their classroom or at recess time, but in a virtual world. The website offers many videos that may be used in the classroom to make students think and start discussions.

Monday, May 21, 2007

Pattern Blocs

You want to use pattern blocs with your students in a fun and easy way? This pattern blocs application let your students use pattern blocs virtually on the computer. The blocs are exactly the same as the one you have at school (yellow hexagon, red trapezoid,, green triangle, blue parallelogram, wooden lozenge, orange square). Students can move them and rotate them. They can put them side-by-side or have them overlap. It is also an excellent tool to assign homeworks with the pattern blocks without the need to send boxes of pattern blocks home.

Sunday, May 20, 2007


MapMachine is a great resource available through the National Geographic website. You can get road map and satellite views of the earth, but it is more than your regular map website such as mapquest or google maps. It also provides a physical map showing the landscape as well as theme maps. The most interesting feature of this map website is the collection of theme maps. They are very useful for teaching geography. The theme maps include population density, habitats, natural resources, vegetation, mining, farming, natural disasters and weather. The picture on the left shows a map of the earthquakes on the west coast of the United States. The application also includes the usual feature such as the possibility to drag the map or zoom in and zoom out.

Saturday, May 19, 2007


Today's resource will be very useful for biology teachers : it is a database of pictures for biology classes : Biodidac. It is possible to search for pictures and drawings in both French and English and this site is hosted by the university of Ottawa. Pictures are available for organismal biology, human biology as well as histology. In the organismal biology category, there are entries for the five kingdoms. Pictures may be used for free in the classroom as long as they are not used for a commercial purpose. It is also important to mention the source of the picture and we have to register each use on the website. This last step is necessary to help the Biodidac team to get the funds necessary to provide this resource on the web.

Friday, May 18, 2007

English Banana

English Banana is a site similar to the one presented yesterday, except that the format of the worksheet is better. It includes over 750 worksheeets to teach English. All the worksheets can be photocopied for use in the classroom and they are free. You have to be careful however, because on the site, there is all stuff that you need to pay. They are all available in PDF and some are also available as word documents. There are tons of activities on various subjects including verbs, adjectives, spelling, grammar, syllables, numbers, speaking and listening, sentence building, etc. Worksheets are available at three levels : elementary, intermediate and advance.

Thursday, May 17, 2007

Spelling it Right

"Spelling it Right" is a website providing worksheet for student to learn spelling. Most of the exercices are easy enough to be used at the elementary level. The website is very simple as it is only text-based. There are no graphic or animation, which sometimes make the site too plain, however, it will be very fast loading on a dial-up connection. The worksheets are also text-based, which is not the best format for printing. It would have been better to have formatted PDF ready for printout.

Exercices cover the following topics : syllables, consonants blends, prefixes, suffixes, word endings, vowels and plurals. There are a few interactive games such as a hangman game. There are word search worksheets as well as instructions for other games. For teachers of other subjects, there is a section with word-lists in Science, Maths, English, Geography

Wednesday, May 16, 2007

Hands-on filmmaking

Today, I would like to show you a resource published by the national film board (NFB). They are "hands-on workshops" that will let students discover the magic of filmmaking. The visual layout of the website is interesting but download speeds are terrible. In addition, videos are available as Real Player files instead of the popular format of Windows Media Player or Apple QuickTime.

One of the most interesting activity on the website is producing animation movies using modeling clay. I have tried this activity myself in my history class and it was a success. The material needed for this activity is quite simple: modeling clay, a digital camera and movie editing software (such as Windows Movie Maker for Windows XP or iMovie that comes on the Mac). All your students need to do, is to build a background and make some characters using modeling clay. They take a picture (e.g. one every half second) and then slightly move the characters between each picture. Pictures are then imported in movie editing software where students can add voice, music and sound effect. Students just love this activity. Unfortunately, the website provides very little information on how to do it, but don't worry, it is very easy! The site provides videos showing some sample projects.

The site also includes a section on how to do a storyboard (a story, frame-by-frame of your movie with pictures) as well as "picture-this", a section where students can imagine their character based on their own style.

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

Math and flight

Your students have a passion for flying objects such as jets, space shuttle, rockets or airplanes? You would like to use this passion to make mathematics more interesting? The "Math Activities for K-12 Teachers" website developed by the California Polytechnic State University in conjunction with the NASA Dryden Flight Research Center is an amazing resource to do that. Math activities are divided by grade including K-4, 5-8 and 9-12. Each lesson plan is based on one or more aircraft.

Lessons are based on the NCTM Standards 2000 (US Curriculum), but could also stir the interest of any student who likes aircrafts. Units used are imperial, so activities might have to be modified for school in countries where the metric system is used. At the elementary level, lessons include concepts such as estimation, shape identification, basic graphing, subtraction and symmetry. At the intermediate level, lessons include concepts such as angle measurements, area and volume, converting units, Pythagorean theorem, rational numbers and graphing. At the senior level, concepts include logarithms, parabolic paths, relationship and Pythagorean theorem.

Monday, May 14, 2007

Kids Health

Kids health is a great website to provide information to kids about health and is sponsored by the Nemours Foundation. The site is available in English and Spanish. There are three versions of the website : one for parents, one for kids and one for teens. The site is visually attractive and in the information is presented in a language easily read by kids or teens. It includes tips for dealing with feelings, for staying healthy and for dealing with everyday illnesses and injuries. There is also an excellent guide on puberty.

There is also a section about the human body where the student can use a magnifying glass to zoom on certain parts of the body and learn about them. There is a lot of easy to read information about each organ. It is a very good resource for research projects on the human body. There are also a few games such as Halloween Candy, a game in which the student realize how many calories there are in candies. "Mission Nutrition" is also a game in which they determine how good is their nutrition. It also includes some movies about asthma, how body works and how we play. For those who would like to do science fair project about health, there are some easy to do experiments that are described in details.

The teen version of the site includes information about topic such as drugs, alcohol, tattoos, etc. It also provides information about sexually transmitted diseases and birth control. There are also some tips on how to cope with school and a part-time job. The site is very complete and provides good information. Also, many sites about health are sponsored by pharmaceutical companies and they have a commercial interest. This site doesn't seem to promote products.

Sunday, May 13, 2007


You have students who are very high achiever and they would like to enter the science fair? The Smarts Guide to Science Fairs is a document that is aimed at advanced students who are willing to compete at science fair at a high level. It doesn't seem to be designed for elementary students or for beginners. It's produced by the Youth Science Foundation, which organize the Canada-Wide Science Fair. Even is some of the information related specifically to science fairs in Canada, most of the tips presented can be useful to anyone entering a science fair. It is presented as a list of 20 steps from choosing a topic to participating in the international science fair. It also includes topics such as doing research, picking your project type, writing a hypothesis, experimental design, conducting the experiment, statistical & data analysis, discussion, writing a conclusion and writing a report.

Saturday, May 12, 2007


Explorelearning is an amazing website designed to let students experience math and science with Gizmos. What are Gizmos you may think? They are on-line simulations that power inquiry and understanding of the concepts. They are short "Shockwave" application that will run directly in your web browser, provided that you have the shockwave plugin installed.

Each Gizmo will let the students change some variables and watch the impact directly on the screen through the simulation. As an example, this Gizmo about Golf Range let you change the initial speed of the ball as well as the angle. You can also choose whether the atmosphere will be composed of air or nothing. It is even possible to change more advanced variable such as gravity and the height of the golfer. During and after the experiment, the student can then measure final speed in x and y, the range of the ball, time, height reached, etc. There are even multiple choice questions for assessment after the experiment.

There is also a demonstration video that shows you hot to use Gizmos to their full potential. Gizmos are sorted by grade and subjects, so it is very easy to find the one you need. In mathematics, they cover geometry, algebra, number sense, measurements, etc. In Science, they cover physical science, life science, physics, chemistry, biology, astronomy and earth sciences. Some examples of Gizmos are : Kepler's Law, polling, cells, ecology, human biology, solving equations, patterns, linear functions, nonlinear functions, perimeter, area, volume, etc. Activities are included for grade 6 to 12. There is one downside to this website. It is only free for five minutes per day, which means, each computer at your school may only access Gizmos for 5 minutes each. There is a cookie stored in your Internet browser cache that keeps track of your usage of the Gizmos. However, the site is well worth paying because there are so many Gizmos.

Friday, May 11, 2007

Treble Clef and Bass Clef

Treble Clef and Bass Clef is a very cool program to teach your students, in a fun and easy way, how to read music notes on the staff in both treble clef and bass clef. It is a shareware, which means you can download a demo version, but you will not be able to access all the notes. You can pay a small fee to access the other notes. This program works well with Windows Vista, XP, Me, 98, 95, NT or 2000, but doesn't work under Mac OS X. This program is part of a collection of programs to learn music through games published by Happy Note!

When the program starts, the student may choose the notes that he or she wants to practice. At first, the student can start with only two notes and gradually add more notes. It is also possible to choose the speed of the game: adagio (the slowest), moderato (average speed) and allegro (full speed). The notes appear on the staff and the student must recognize each note. He or she then needs to select the proper name of the note and then shoot a projectile on the note. If it is a miss, the projectile may come back and make him loose one live. There are also explosives that must be avoided. At full speed, the scrolling of notes and the presence of projectiles and explosives make the game very interesting and enjoyable. It is a challenge to complete each level. The student really has the impression of playing a game rather than learning notes. It is possible to either use syllabic names for notes (Do, Re, Mi, etc.) or alphabetical (A, B, C, etc.)

Thursday, May 10, 2007

Videos from the McCord Museum

These videos are taken from the The Photographic Studio of William Notman and are available both in French and English on the McCord Museum Website. They are edited from still pictures and sound and are narrated. The topics presented in these videos include Canadian Confederation, Montreal in 1855, sports, Canadian winter, composite photography, genealogy and Western Canada. It is a very precious source of authentic documents that may be used by your students in history classes. Each video is about 2 to 6 minutes and is available in Quicktime format.

Wednesday, May 9, 2007

From the Warpath to the Plains of Abraham

The Flash animation that I am presenting today is a little treasure for history teachers: « From the Warpath to the Plains of Abraham ». It is very appropriate for history classes in North America, but may also be useful in Europe. In fact, it presents the stakes of the war in Europe and its results on conflicts in North America. The site is sponsored by the National Battlefields Commission. Everything is so well design and illustrated and includes some short videos from time to time presenting actors impersonating historical characters. The activity is very interactive and students are invited to clicks on different parts of pictures to go through all the content.

At the beginning of the activity, students must choose among four characters: the French, the British, the Canadian or the Amerindian. These characters represent the four main chapters of the activity. By clicking on the French, we realize that the King of France, Louis XV was really in a catch-22. By clicking on the British, we get introduced to the king of England, George II and its desire to exercise his power and authority. We get to know him better and we learn about his desire to colonize land west of the Ohio Valley with the Amerindians being a barrier. That is how he realized that he had to fight and start a war to win North America!

By clicking on the Amerindian, we realize that they decided to team-up with the French and they were very useful warriors to support French troupes during the war. They obviously had different combat techniques. Traditional symbols related to the Amerindians are also presented as well as rituals that come with alliances. Finally, we get to see where each tribe were located in North America as well as the ones who were involved with the war in Quebec.

By clicking on the Canadian, we learn a lot about the problems brought by the war in New France and its impacts on Canadians. We realize that they were hungry, discouraged and harvesting was very poor. That is why food was not readily available. In addition, everyday, their chance of winning the war was diminishing. The colony was difficult to defend. On the other hand, rich people could celebrate, take part in festivities and had a lot of food.

This interactive game is a must for anyone who wants to learn more about this period.

Tuesday, May 8, 2007

A virtual trangram

Your students really like to solve problems using puzzles. This « virtual tangram » program will certainly be useful. It includes the seven traditional pieces, that is five triangles of three different sizes, one square and one parallelogram. The objective of this Chinese game is to completely cover a model without overlapping any pieces. The program includes fourteen models and works with Macromedia Flash. If the student finds it too difficult, he or she may also ask for a hint. If you would like to know more about the history of this traditional Chinese puzzle, you can also check out this article in wikipedia.

Monday, May 7, 2007


Based on the same concept as the "Wikipedia" encyclopedia, "Wiktionary" is a free collaborative and multilingual dictionary that everyone can work to improve. The user interface really looks like wikipedia, so students already familiar with the encyclopedia should have no problem using the dictionary. At the time of publishing this blog entry, the dictionary already included 314 049 articles describing English language words as well as words from 648 other languages such as German, French, Chinese, Hebrew, Italian, Japanese, Dutch, Polish and Russian.

Words can be entered in the search bar and the Wikitionary will immediately send you the appropriate page in the dictionary. If you are not certain how to write a certain word, it is also possible to enter it with spelling mistakes and the wiktionary will suggest words that are closest matches It is also possible to search word using the following categories: nouns, adjectives, verbs, adverbs, prepositions, pronouns, determiners, interjections, etc.

The dictionary also includes lexicons by themes on subject such as animals, computer science, health, cooking, fruits, etc. It is a multilingual dictionary so it may be useful to teach English as well as other foreign languages. Despite the fact that the community is trying to make it as complete as possible, there are still some words of the English language that are not recognized yet by the dictionary. In addition, anyone can become an author and write a definition. It is important to be prudent with some definitions and in case of doubt, check in another recognize dictionary.

Sunday, May 6, 2007

Nutrition Explorations

Nutrition Explorations is a website for teachers, parents and students dedicated to health through a balance diet. It is sponsored by the National Dairy Council and although it covers all aspect of nutrition, a big emphasis is put on the importance of dairy products in the diet. The look, music and graphics of the site will please elementary school student and make it fun. In the Educators section, you will find ideas on how to implement a School Wellness program as well as lesson plans to teach nutrition. The material is available on the Web and may also be downloaded as printable PDF. It includes student worksheets and artwork. There is also an interactive pyramid for the food groups.

The section for parents includes a Family Guide to eating healthy with ideas and recipes. There are also some tips for busy families. For the students, there are fun and interactive activities such as "Little D the Dragon" or "Monster Nutrition". They can also use the "Nutrition Tracker" to ensure that they eat food from all the food groups.

Saturday, May 5, 2007

Math-drills worksheet

If your students need extra practice in basic arithmetic, this resource is for you. Sometimes, drill is necessary. You may have spent some time building basic multiplication and division worksheets for your student and unfortunately, the process was long trying to randomize number as much as possible and trying to insert the multiplication or division sign. will provide you with PDF of many different math worksheets and the best about that, it is all-free. For each concept, you can decide exactly what you want, e.g. for division, you may select division by 2, by 3, etc. up to 12. You may also select more random division but limit the highest number it will include to better control how difficult they are. Also, for most exercises, there are five version A, B, C, D, E. If a student needs more practice after completing version A, they may then practice with the other versions. The worksheets also include an answer sheet for the teachers to correct them quickly. These worksheets may also be used by parents to help their child who struggle with basic arithmetic in school.

The math worksheets cover the following topics : multiplication, addition, subtraction, number sense, money, division, fractions, integers, decimals, powers of ten, geometry algebra, order of operations and base ten blocks. It also includes worksheet especially for some Holidays such as Valentine's Day, St. Patrick's Day, Easter, Halloween, Thanksgiving and Christmas. You will also find some of the worksheets available as large prints for visually impaired students. You can also download PDF of imperial and metric graph paper.

Friday, May 4, 2007

Organelles in plant and animal cells

"Animal cell mix and match" and "Plant cell mix and match" are two flash animations written by Karen Hagen and presented by the University of Alberta on their cell biology instructional multimedia website. These two multimedia games will help you review the structures and roles of organelles in cells. Not all of the major organelles have been included.

The activity is presented like a chart with each organelle on top. The first row is called "looks like" and the second row is called "Role". At the bottom of the chart, there are pictures of each organelle and description of the roles. Students are then invited to drag-and-drop each picture and each role at the proper location in the chart. The feedback to correct the answers is not always clear. When a picture or a role is in the proper location, it fades a little bit and can't be moved anymore. It is not always clear for the student. A better signal such as a sound would have been more appropriate.

The multimedia file may be viewed on-line or they can be downloaded on the computer :

Animal cell mix and match (PC / MAC)
Plant cell mix and match (PC / MAC)

Thursday, May 3, 2007

A kind of Youtube for science teachers

This website has been recommended by Charles, a reader of this blog. EduMedia Share is a kind of Youtube especially aimed at science teachers. Any teacher may signup to upload science related videos and other multimedia files. It recognizes many file types including gif, jpg and png for images, avi, mpg, mov and wmv for movies and flash for animations.

If you have multimedia content prepared by you for your own classroom, why not share it with the rest of the world! The site already contains files in the field of physics (including mechanics and optics) and biology, however it is lacking files in other fields of science. If you are teaching the properties of light, the site already contains a lot of files on that topic.

Also, any teacher may access any file uploaded on the website freely for use in their classroom. As the database grows, this website may become a "must" to show multimedia content to your students. Some experiments are just not feasible in elementary and secondary school laboratories. In that case, a video may be reasonable replacement. The search for videos is based on tags, which may sometimes make it hard for people who prefer to use a directory to find the files. A quick note for Mac users : the site works best with Firefox and Camino. It is difficult to use it with Safari.