Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Buffering Blues

Ever been watching a video only to have it stop right in the middle so it can buffer?  Buffering can be a frustrating experience for a classroom teacher.  Not only do you have to wait for that video to buffer, but you have to deal with antsy students who don't do well with dead time.  Here are two options for eliminating those "Buffering Blues."

Option #1:  WonderShare

Wondershare is a free YouTube Downloader.  Start by installing the application -  (Make sure you select your computer type before downloading.)  During the installation process it will install a downloader on all your browsers , so if you have any of them open they will be closed.  Once installed, you can access Wondershare through your applications folder.

To Use the Program:
  1. Open Wondershare
  2. Go to YouTube via a web browser
  3. Find a video you want to use in the class
  4. Copy the web link (URL)
  5. In Wondershare, click on Paste URL (left side of the window)
  6. Your video will download
  7. Once downloaded, click on the video image to start playing the video
Benefit - your videos are all in one location
Drawback - you can't open it in full screen.

Option #2:  Easy YouTube Video Downloader
  1. Go to the following website -
  2. Click on Add to Firefox
  3. Restart Firefox
  4. Go to YouTube
  5. Find a video you want to use in class
  6. You should now have a button under the video labeled Download.  Click it.
  7. Choose MP4 format - this will download your video either on the desktop or into your downloads folder.

Benefit - you can open in full screen
Drawback - image might be distorted in full screen view & you will want to start a folder for your videos to help keep them organized

Website Wednesday

Posted from Diigo. The rest of my favorite links are here.

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Playing with SmileBox

I was browsing some teacher websites and saw something cool to share.   Check it out at

(Here's the teacher website -

So, I decided I had to play around with SmileBox.  I clicked on the Make a SmileBox link on the first website above.  It asked me to download SmileBox to computer, so I did.  It walks you through the process and opens SmileBox right up after downloading.  You do have to create and account, but it is free - don't pay for the premium.  Once you've created your account, you can start creating.  The program takes you through each step from choosing your template to uploading pictures from your computer.  Please note - some of the templates are only available for premium accounts, so choose a free template.

I finished my slideshow in less than 10 minutes, wrote up this blog post and embedded my SmileBox in 20 minutes.  It is a simple tool for dressing up those class photos, showcasing student projects or giving parents a tour of your classroom.  You'll look like a tech guru in no time!

Click to play this Smilebox slideshow
Create your own slideshow - Powered by Smilebox
Create a slideshow

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Humor for the Week

It is the day before Thanksgiving vacation and I have nothing truly inspiring to feed your minds.  So, enjoy a little technology humor.

(Click the comics below for a bigger image.)

Happy Thanksgiving!

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Website Wednesdays

  • An assortment of fun classroom timers. Project them up on the whiteboard or screen for timer activities. Kids love the countdown!

    tags: timers stopwatch smartboard

  • View 100 Primary sources chronicling United States history from 1776 to 1965.  You can view the original document, a transcript of the document, a print-friendly version of the document and additional information about the document.

    tags: History primarysources reference government

  • Oodles of lesson plans centered around the various Google tools. You can search by the Google tool, subject and age range.

    tags: google lesson plan

  • This site has lesson plans and resources geared toward the Common Core Standards and the newspaper. You do not need a copy of the newspaper for most of these lessons and activities.

    tags: lesson plans newspaper commoncore

  • Educational computer games and activities for students grade K-5. Includes math, keyboarding, reading, holiday activities and more. No subscription needed.

    tags: Interactive Elementary technology

  • Take a look at what students are capable of creating and the direction education is heading. It is a whole new way of processing information. Note also the photos he emphasizes. That would make for a great class discussion - what are the most significant or important events in our history?

    tags: history videos technology

    • Some good food for thought here. Great for class discussion centering around the images that are emphasized and what are the most significant events in our history. - post by Gwen Lehman
    • It is a different world from when older generations used linear editing systems.
    • non-linear editing is the standard of today.
  • This site provides free lesson plans, video writing prompts, printables and more for the classroom teacher.  Resources are avaialble for all grades and the core content areas.

    tags: lessonplans resources videoclips

Posted from Diigo. The rest of my favorite links are here.