Let's go on a journey. We're going to go to a 3 day teacher workshop/convention. While you are there, you'll collect knick-knacks, bags, and flyers from vendors and workshop facilitators until your suitcase is bursting at the seams. During that time you will see and hear a wealth of information that will undoubtedly make you a better classroom teacher. You feel excited to be a teacher and you've got a new energy that should last you until May...OK maybe January.
When you get back to the classroom, you spend time going over the handouts with links to cool websites that will make lesson planning and creation easier and less time consuming. Except...each site you go to is either a dead link or it takes an extra half hour to figure out what was so cool about it to begin with.
Have you ever felt this way? Teachers often tell me they don't know what to do with their IWB (Interactive Whiteboard) once they have it. Short of creating a lesson with software you know little about, it becomes a backdrop for videos. So I often get asked if I know of any cool interactive websites that could be used with an IWB. As I have said in earlier posts, one of my jobs as part of The Eighth Floor is to maintain a wikispaces site devoted to web tools for IWBs. To take the guesswork out of finding these supplemental activities, the 8th Floor Smartwiki is divided by subject area and provides a short list of some interesting sites that can get kids interested and interactive with your subject. Just click on your subject area and you'll see a list of sites with a short description of that site. Each link takes you directly to the described activity. No more guesswork.
The reason this site was established was to help jumpstart the new user, but also to get teachers doing exactly what IWBs were intended for, which is to create a hands on experience for students. If you have a particularly stale subject and your finding it hard to get kids involved, try one of the links on our site. But don't stop there. Do a Google Search to find your own activities or as you feel more comfortable, create some of your own. Remember, anything you can do with a mouse or keyboard can be accomplished on an IWB.