Sunday, September 23, 2012

Subscriptions and Sign Ups

What Subscriptions and Memberships Are Worth The Time and Money?

As always, this blog post is aimed at, but not limited to, the EPSB K-3 educator. This blog post is a work in progress. I would love feedback as to what educators recommend and I will incorporate any feedback into the post.


Your Feedback

I would like to get feedback about the websites listed below. In your comments please rate any site you discuss out of 5. Once we have enough feedback I will add stars to each link to indicate the overall rating.


TIME - Free Websites That Require A Username

The Internet is a time saver and a time waster. I am hoping with the help of our greater PLN that we can save you some time. The Div I Edtech bloggers have created a Top 5 section to help get you started on narrowing down websites to check regularly. What I am hoping to do with this post is focus on those websites that require you to have a username. Are they worth the time it takes to sign up?

I am going to skip the free worksheet focused websites. I am going to list the ones that I commonly stumble upon when I search the web for classroom activities and ideas.

Glogster
Glogster is a great Web 2.0 tool. It is relatively simple to use. I have used it as a teacher to make interesting content to share on my class blog. I did not like that I would have to create an account for all my students for them to use it. I did not think in grade two that we would use it enough to warrant the effort.

Lesson Plans 
I am looking for anyone who has used this site?

SMART Exchange
I recommend getting a username for this website. Creating Notebook files can be time consuming. Downloading a file that someone has made on a topic you are working on can be a great jumping off point. 

Teachers' Domain
I really like this site but often forget about it. It it is digital media for the classroom. It provides content for many subject areas but I find it is most useful for science. I used it more as a division II teacher. 

MONEY - Subscription Based Websites

Now there are many great websites that are subscription based. Unless your school or district has deep pockets, it is not possible to have a membership to every great site. I am hoping to compile a list of recommended (by me and others) subscriptions that include some comments to help you decide. Some of these websites have a free component. Many memberships/ subscriptions have whole school options. 

ABC Teach
ABC Teach offers limited access for free. I have never signed up for their membership package. I like that they provide interactive content.

BrainPop
BrainPop offers limited access for free. The content they have for free is engaging and effective. Our school is currently looking into purchasing a membership this year. I'll provide a more thorough review if we do.

Learning A-Z Products
Learning A-Z provides a variety of different products:
I have been using Raz Kids for the last four years. I find it is a great support to the home reading program. It is also a great reading centre that you can individualize. The quizzes are challenging for weaker readers but in general provide a good accountability check for students.

Mathletics and Spellodrome
Our school has been using Mathletics for three years. As a grade two teacher, I use it for centre work. I like that I can differentiate for each student (if I so wish) so that when they are at the Mathletics centre they are getting what they need.

We just started using Spellodrome at the end of last year as part of a promotion by 3PLearning. Again, I like it for centre work but find it is less functional currently for individualization.

Spelling City
I highly recommend signing up for the free membership. It is an easy to use site. I have never used any of the subscription only activities. 

TumbleBooks
Our school has had TumbleBooks for a number of years and the staff really like it. We provide the username and password to families to support the home reading program.  BookFlix, provided by LearnAlberta is an equally great program but has more steps involved in accessing it. TumbleBooks is a little easier to get to for the younger student.

Quia
Quia is a great place to create your own interactive content that you want to make available on the Internet. I had a membership for years and found it very useful with grade 3s and higher. I stopped renewing my Quia membership as I started using Spelling City, Google Docs and Notebook (Smartboard). 

Website Log

A time saving tip is to have a place where you have your log in information for all your memberships in one place. I use a website log. I created it as a Google Doc so that I can access it from anywhere. I have created a Google Doc that you can use as template - Website Log.