MAT Blog

Pearltrees Makes Organizing Your Favorite Websites Simple and Orderly

Posted by Marygrove MAT on Sep 18, 2014 10:03:35 AM

logoPearltrees2What do you do when you come across a useful website and want to bookmark it? You probably hit control + b and add the page to your Internet browser’s bookmark tool. I used to do this, but after getting tired of never being able to find what I was looking for, I switched over to Pearltrees and it’s made my life a whole lot easier.

Basically, Pearltrees is a visual bookmarking tool that makes organizing your webpage shortcuts intuitive and orderly. So instead of having to sort through Firefox’s clunky bookmarking tool that looks like this:


You get a sleek, well-organized collection of folders that looks like this:


When you download the free application, Pearltrees will add a little icon to the top of your Internet browser. If you want to bookmark a website for later, simply click on the icon and select the folder you’d like to drop the site into.

Pearltrees also allows you to sync your account with Facebook, Twitter, email, or your own personal blog. This is ideal for collaborative learning projects; it’s also useful for teachers who want to share course content with their students.


Pedagogy with a Personality

Tags: apps for educators, apps for teachers

Randomly select students with these online classroom management tools

Posted by Marygrove MAT on Sep 11, 2014 10:57:00 AM

If you’ve ever had a student protest that you’ve called on him or her too many times or favor so and so, take yourself entirely out of the equation and blame it on one of these online classroom management tools.

online classroom management toolsRandom Student is available for Apple and Android devices. Once you input the student names in each class, you can do typical things, like track behavior, but you can also track things like the number of correct/incorrect answers a student gives when called upon. You can use the Random Student feature and have the app speak the students' names so that it's truly random. It can also assign random groups from 2-6 students to take the load off you!

online classroom management offers three free randomized name selection games including a Typewriter, which unscrambles names, a Wheel of Fortune, and Slot Machine.

online classroom management toolsIn addition to randomly selecting students, Stick Pick offers a variety of question starters (based on Bloom’s taxonomy) and records how well students respond during classroom discussions. Let’s say that Jenny consistently scores high on the questions; simply change the difficulty of the questions to ensure that she stays challenged and engaged!


If you’re looking for a hefty collection of online classroom management tools, check out our free downloadable guide, 15 Indispensable Classroom Management Apps for Educators.

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Tags: classroom management, apps for educators, apps for teachers, classroom management apps

5 of Our Favorite Digital Storytelling Apps for Teachers

Posted by Marygrove MAT on Aug 29, 2014 10:01:00 AM

Storytelling is an indispensable human activity, one that we use not only to convey our identity and experience, but also to convince others of our arguments. Because storytelling is so important, we believe it’s important that we encourage students to tell their stories—and in a way that challenges and inspires them. One way to get students excited about storytelling is by using a medium that they not only love, but are completely comfortable with: technology.

As with  traditional storytelling, students must write, but what makes digital storytelling engaging—and often less intimidating—for students is that it gives them the ability to add computer-based images, text, recorded audio narration, video clips and/or music. If you’re looking for a few applications to get your storytellers started, we’ve got 5 of them!

5 of Our Favorite Digital Storytelling Apps for Teachers

tellagamiTellagami is a free app that allows users to create short animated movies called "Gamis.” Here’s how it works: After you choose your character, you can alter his or her mood, swap out backgrounds, doodle, record your voice, or add text. When you’re satisfied with your work, all you have to do is save and publish it to your favorite social media site, blog or website.


zooburstZoo Burst (free) gives students the ability to create their own 3D pop-up books. Arrange your characters and props and customize your 3D world by using uploaded artwork or items found in the Zoo Burst database, which contains over 10,000 free images and materials.

We should also mention that readers who have a standard webcam installed on their computer can also experience any ZooBurst book in augmented reality. This feature gives readers the ability to interact with the book and turn pages simply by waving their hands!

superhero_comic_book_makerSuperhero Comic Book Maker ($1.99) is an award-winning app that helps students create personalized, animated comic books with monsters and superheroes. Choose from 27 unique background scenes and over 170 animated stickers with sound effects. Students can also illustrate their work and narrate it.

puppet_palsPuppet Pals 2 (free) builds on many of the features available in the first version of the application, giving users more flexibility and a wider variety of choices. Choose from a collection over 30 unique “puppets,” which include historical figures like Shakespeare and Abraham Lincoln, or design your own character from scratch. As with real puppets, users can flex their digital puppets’ joints and alter their poses. If you have access to a microphone, you can also make your puppet speak when you tap on it.

toontasticToontastic Jr. Shrek Movie Maker (free) is always a class favorite, especially with younger students. This app allows students to “remix” and the classic Shrek movie by picking a beginning, middle, and ending for the movie, and recording their voice. Whether you choose to storm the Dragon’s castle, rescue Princess Fiona, or battle Lord Farquaad, the decision is entirely up to you.


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Tags: digital storytelling, apps for educators, Writing, writing fluency, apps for teachers, K-6 writing strategies

Crowdfunding for Teachers: A Free New Guide from Edutopia

Posted by Marygrove MAT on Jun 27, 2014 9:36:50 AM

In an era of shrinking school budgets, it is increasingly difficult for schools to purchase even the most basic supplies. Although car washes and bake-offs are tried-and-true methods of raising money, there are also many crowdfunding tools out there that will save you time, help you reach a wider audience, and potentially help you earn more money for your classroom. In Edutopia’s most recent downloadable guide, you can learn all about crowdfunding for teachers and many of the online tools at your disposal.

To download the PDF guide, simply click on the image below.


A Teacher's Guide to Summer Travel

Tags: apps for educators, apps for teachers, Crowdfunding for Teachers,

5 of the Best Interactive Map Generators for Teachers

Posted by Marygrove MAT on Jun 26, 2014 9:23:24 AM


If you’re artistically challenged like I am, you’re probably getting tired of looking at hand-drawn maps that barely resemble their topographical subject. Perhaps it’s time to re-energize and refocus your students—and yourself—with these five interactive map generators.

map generatorMy Histro gives users the ability to customize their interactive maps and timelines by adding text, pictures and video to them. Once you’re satisfied with your work, you can either embed it, convert it into a PDF file, or export it into Google Earth format for offline storage.

map generatorTripline is a nice little web application designed to help users document their travel adventures or plan a trip itinerary. There are a few ways you can plot out your trip: One, you can use your smart phone to “check-in” at various locations; two, you can simply add markers by plotting them directly on the map; three, you can use Foursquare or Twitter to geo-target your location.

map generatorU Mapper allows you to choose a map provider—Bing, Google, Yahoo, etc.—or upload your own customized image. Once you’ve selected your map, you can add images, audio, and choose from a variety of objects to tack onto your map.

map generatorStatPlanet is an award-winning application that allows users to create interactive maps, graphs, charts and infographics. StatPlanet is intuitive to use and allows you to easily post your work on the web. To see some stunning, user-generated maps, click here.

map generatorIf you’re a creative type, you should know that Mapfaire doesn’t give you a lot of options—but it is an ideal application for younger or less tech-savvy students. No registration is required to use the app, but you will need to have a Google account.

A Teacher's Guide to Summer Travel

Tags: apps for educators, history teachers, social studies teachers, apps for teachers, interactive maps

Travel Our Solar System With This Interactive Infographic

Posted by Ryan O'Rourke on Apr 24, 2014 9:57:00 AM

Space Race is an animated infographic that takes users on a scrolling adventure that begins on Earth and ends at the edge of the solar system, some 21 billion kilometers away. Comprehending the enormity of our solar system is difficult, but Space Race certainly helps put it in perspective.

Space Race

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Tags: STEM careers, STEM jobs, STEM curriculum, apps for educators, apps for teachers, science curriculum, science and engineering education

The Best of the Week: Volume 1

Posted by Ryan O'Rourke on Mar 7, 2014 9:46:00 AM

best of the weekThere’s never enough time to blog and reblog all of the interesting resources we find during the week, so we decided to start a Best of the Week List where we share all of the education-related blogs, articles, apps and resources we come across every week.

Classroom Management

Reading and Language Arts

Technology in the Classroom

Random Links

Tags: reading comprehension, classroom management, apps for educators, classroom procedures, reading strategies, reading instruction, apps for teachers, Classroom Reading Strategies, Best of the Week, classroom technology, classroom organization

5 Resources to Help You Teach the Salem Witch Trials

Posted by Marygrove MAT on Jan 29, 2014 11:43:00 AM

salem witch trialsFebruary marks the anniversary of the beginning of the Salem Witch Trials, an infamous series of hearings and prosecutions of people accused of witchcraft in Massachusetts between February 1692 and May 1693.

Below we’ve gathered five of our favorite resources to help you teach this historical event.

5 Resources to Help You Teach the Salem Witch Trials

Crash Course Video by Scholastic
If time is of the essence, this whiteboard animation video packs in a lot of information—and it does so in less than two minutes!

Salem Witchcraft Hysteria
Experience the 1692 Salem witch-hunt through this interactive online trial. As you navigate your way through Salem, you’ll learn about important events and key players—you’ll also have to answer a few unsettling questions: “Are you a witch? How long have you been in the snare of the devil?”

Salem Witch Trials: Documentary Archive and Transcription Project
Browse court records, personal letters, sermons and diaries of the era. In addition to this, you’ll find maps of Salem Village and learn all about the “afflicted,” the executed, the accused, the defenders, and the critics who took part in the Salem trials.

Salem Witch Museum
The Salem Witch Museum has a lot of useful information, but we found their interactive map of Salem to be particularly useful.

Discovery Education’s Salem Witch Trials: The World Behind the Hysteria
This is a useful resource to give students a sense of context about the lives and the social mores of those who lived in 1692 Salem. Here students will discover:

  • Some of the daily challenges, fears, and pressures of life in 17th century
  • The state of Salem Village as a part of the Massachusetts Bay Colony
  • Problems faced by Puritan farmers
  • Three major factors behind the witch trials
  • The stories of six individuals—from a “bewitched” young girl, to the accused witches, to town leaders—whose lives were touched by the events

In Search of History: A History Channel Documentary
This documentary ventures back 300 years to unravel the truth from the legends about the events at Salem. Students may be surprised by some of the facts revealed in this 68-minute film—we certainly were.

Photo credit: Christine Zenino


Surfing for Substance II Download

Tags: salem witch trials, apps for educators, history teachers, social studies teachers, apps for teachers, classroom technology

5 Resources to Help You Commemorate Martin Luther King, Jr. Day

Posted by Marygrove MAT on Jan 17, 2014 10:23:00 AM

You’re probably already aware, but Martin Luther King, Jr. Day is less than a week away! To help you and your students commemorate Dr. King and the Civil Rights Movement, we’d like to share five of our favorite online resources with you.

5 Resources to Help You Commemorate Martin Luther King, Jr. Day

Civil Rights and the 1950s: Crash Course US History
Crash Course is one of our favorite video series. In less than 12 minutes, John Green guides viewers through the economic expansion of the 1950s, the Civil Rights movement, and the early careers of Martin Luther King, Thurgood Marshall, Rosa Parks and Earl Warren.

In addition to this, viewers also learn about Brown vs. Board of Education, and the lesser known Mendez vs. Westminster, the Montgomery Bus Boycott, and a whole lot more.

An Interactive Civil Rights Chronology
This interactive timeline is an online companion to Professor John M. Balkin's What Brown v. Board of Education Should Have Said (NYU Press 2001). The chronology explores civil rights issues from 1502 to 2000.

Martin Luther King, Jr. DayBefore the Boycott
This eLearning activity invites students to travel back in time and play the role of a school newspaper reporter assigned to ride the Montgomery bus system in 1955.

This activity is intended to help students understand the complex and inconsistent rules of riding the bus during that period in history.

At the end of the assignment, students are asked to describe their reaction to the tour. From that, a customized news story is generated from the students’ perspective.

Click here to launch the activity.

Martin Luther King, Jr. DayWe Shall Overcome: Historic Places of the Civil Rights Movement
This website was put together by the National Park Service. Here students will find an interactive map that includes 49 important civil rights locations and substantive descriptions of each. 

Freedom Riders
Here you’ll find a collection of civil rights resources including an interactive map that allows users to retrace the Freedom Rides of 1961 and information about important events that occurred between 1942 and 1961.

Martin Luther King, Jr. DayIn addition to this, you’ll find Freedom Riders, a two-hour documentary about the courageous band of civil rights activists who, in 1961, creatively challenged segregation in the American South.


Martin Luther King Jr Lesson Plans

Tags: Martin Luther King Jr., Day, apps for educators, apps for teachers

5 Free Apps to Help You Teach Coding

Posted by Marygrove MAT on Dec 12, 2013 10:24:00 AM

Many of us have become so accustomed to clicking or dragging and dropping our way around digital media that we’ve completely forgotten the fact that someone (a coder) is the reason it all works so effortlessly for us.

Coding is literally everywhere we look, touch, tap and scroll—and considering our increasing reliance on digital technology, it’s safe to say that the world is going to need more code speakers to make it all work!

More and more educators realize this and have started using free applications to teach their students how to speak this language. If you’re not sure where or how to begin your coding lessons, check out these five free coding apps below.  

5 Free Apps to Help You Teach Coding

teach codingScratch can be used by anyone who wants to learn coding, but this app specifically targets eight to sixteen year olds by teaching them how to program interactive stories, games, and animations. Once students are satisfied with their final product, they can share it with the Scratch community or simply browse and connect with other users on the site.

teach coding 2The closest thing we can think of to compare Hopscotch to is a digital version of Legos. This app has been designed specifically for touch screens, so there’s no typing involved. All you do is drag and drop blocks of code and watch your characters spring into action.

teach coding 3Tynker is a bit like Scratch, but unlike most coding apps, Tynker has been designed with teachers in mind. The app features starter lesson plans, classroom management tools, and a dashboard where you can track your students’ progress. While you will have to upgrade your account to access the entire catalog of lesson plans, Tynker makes starter lessons available for free.

teach coding 4Daisy the Dinosaur can tear up a dance floor like you’ve never seen—but you’ll have to solve the challenges by dragging and dropping the right code into place to help her do it. This app is a fun and intuitive way to learn basics of object coding, sequencing and looping events.

teach coding 5The Fuzz family crashed their space ship on Smeeborg and only you can code them through the planet’s Technomazes. Kodable has been designed for students ages five and up and comes with 30 free levels of coding challenges.





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Tags: apps for educators, apps for teachers, technology in the classroom, digital tools that empower students, coding apps, teach coding

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