Cool Stuff

These are some interesting sites/things I want to share. Some have limited educational value, but for a rainy day or the last five minutes on Friday, you may find a use.

Item #1 - Name Picker
An easy and fun way to choose a student is to use the Fruit Machine wheel at It's fully functional right here on this page so you can give it a try, or click on the link and get a full-screen version. Try the Typewriter or the Fruit Machine and see which one works best with your students.

Item #2 - Jig Saw DoKu
As you may infer from the name, this is an online sudoku puzzle. You can adjust the difficulty by opting for pictures or letters instead of numbers and you can adjust the size of the grid from as small as 4 x 4 to 9 x 9. The 'hint' key will lock in any tiles that are correct and allow you to kick out any incorrect tiles. Your kids will be hooked.

Item #3 - Wordle
One of the word cloud generators out there, Wordle will create beautiful colourful word displays where the size of a word is based on the number of times that it appears in the text. You can adjust the colours, format, direction, et cetera until it is exactly how you want it.
Below is a wordle I created using a feed from Will Richardson's blog. Not surprisingly, the biggest word is LEARNING!
Item #4 - Tagxedo
Tagxedo is another world-cloud generator. This time, I used the exact same word set, from Will Richardson's blog, but when I took a screen capture, I showed the adjustment tools, too.
Item #5 - This is Sand
Yes, it is. It is sand. (Well, digital sand, luckily.) If you have this on your interactive white board, a finger placed anywhere on the board will cause sand to fall. A mouse click will do the same on a computer screen. Pressing C on your keyboard will bring up a colour palette where you can choose a new colour or a range of colours. Amazingly hypnotic.
Obviously there are those with way more artistic skill with sand manipulation than I. Below is an sample from the thisissand gallery.
Item #6 - SET daily puzzle
It takes a little bit of time to figure out how to build sets, but there are instructions. After that, a new puzzle is put online every day. The site will time how long it takes you to find all six sets if that information interests you.

Item #7 - Uncross the Lines
It's math, but it's fun. The object is to move the vertices until none of the lines cross each other. This site, called 'Math is Fun' has other games, as well. Explore.

Item #8 - Wallwisher
Okay, so let's just imagine that you want to gather ideas for the next reading minutes reward, or the location of the next staff party. Wallwisher could be the solution. Once you set up the page, which is basically as simple as asking your question and giving out the address, your job is done. Come back later and see the responses. The survey below is from the site:

Item #9 - Posterous
You can post anything you want at Posterous. You don't even have to create an account first. If, however, you want to use it to post your students' work so that they can show it off at home, it's helpful to first set up an account so you have some control. I make a separate page for every new assignment I want to post, but keep them all under one account so that I can manage them from one location. The link above takes you to Posterous, but the link below will take you to one of my Posterous pages where you'll find two examples of a project created by some grade 10 students in a beginning French class a couple of years ago.