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60 Inspiring Applications for Educators

Here is a list of 60 inspiring applications compiled by Aaron Hansen and Ray Birks for a presentation at WAETAG (Washington Association of Educators for Talented and Gifted) 2012.

Our free Journal Jar App made the list at #6 in the writing app category!


Free Educational App: Journal Topics and Writing Prompts

Journal Jar App – Ideas, Questions, Topics and Prompts for Journal Writing

App: Journal Jar

Subject: Journal Topics, Creative Writing, English, Composition, Literature, Language Arts

Level: Elementary School (Grades 1 to 5)

Cost: Free

Platforms: Smartphones (Apple iPhone, Android, etc.), Mobile Devices (iPad, iPod Touch, etc.) and Desktops

Start Writing!: Click here to access the Journal Jar App for free

Description: Journal Jar is designed to challenge your student to think critically, creatively and honestly with a variety of questions that will inspire and amuse. Use the Journal Jar App to provide thought-provoking questions in the classroom, at home or on the go. With over 150 journal prompts, there’s something for everyone.

What will you write about today? Let your imagination run wild!

Easy to Use: The Journal Jar App is fun and easy to use! Shake, Spin or Press to find an exciting, new topic:

  1. Shake – Shake your device and a new topic will pop up
  2. Spin – Open the Journal Jar, spin the wheel and see which topic you land on
  3. Press – Press the “Shake” button and a new topic will pop up

VIDEO: See Journal Jar App in Action – How To Get Journal Topic Ideas


Hands-On Learning – Museum Month 2011

Museum Month 2011 – Hands-On Learning at a Discount Price

It’s time to get out of the classroom and into a Museum! February is Museum Month in San Diego! It’s your chance to discover the treasures that await you at the various San Diego museums for half off the regular price of admission!

Museum Month is the time of year where San Diego individuals, families, students, visitors, adventurers – everyone! –  can visit any of the 40 participating San Diego County museums and institutions for half price all month long with a free Museum Month Pass.

A long standing San Diego tradition, Museum Month was created to promote awareness of San Diego’s museums, historical sites, educational institutions and cultural offerings. The promotion has grown to become a cultural tradition on a level witnessed by very few cities in the country. Last year more than 23,000 people used the Museum Month Pass to visit museums at 50% off the regular price of admission.

You can pick up your Museum Month Pass from any Macy’s Department Store in San Diego County, Temecula or Imperial Valley starting February 1, 2011. The Pass is free of charge – no purchase is necessary – and is valid from February 1, 2011 to February 28, 2011.

Once you’ve picked up your Museum Month Pass, take it to any of the 40 participating museums and institutions and enjoy 50% off the regular price of admission. Guests with a Pass may bring up to three people with them to any participating museum to receive half-off, too.

Museums and institutions participating in San Diego Museum Month 2011 include:

  • Birch Aquarium at Scripps
  • Maritime Museum of San Diego
  • Museum of Contemporary Art San Diego
  • Museum of Making Music
  • Oceanside Museum of Art
  • Old Town San Diego Historic Park
  • Reuben H. Fleet Science Center
  • San Diego Air & Space Museum
  • San Diego Automotive Museum
  • San Diego Botanic Gardens (formerly Quail Botanical Gardens)
  • San Diego Hall of Champions Sports Museum
  • San Diego Model Railroad Museum
  • San Diego Museum of Man
  • San Diego Natural History Museum
  • The New Children’s Museum
  • The San Diego Museum of Art
  • USS Midway Museum

and many others!

Museum Month 2011 is a great way to immerse your student in the culture, history and heritage that surrounds us. Enjoy!


Brain Game #13: Sudoku Puzzle 102

Brain Game: Sudoku

Subject: Math, Logic, Number Sense

Level:  Beginner

Get your brain buzzing with this simple Four Square Sudoku Puzzle. This Four Square version is a great way to introduce young children and novices to the game of Sudoku.

Instructions: Fill the 4 x 4 grid with the digits 1, 2, 3 and 4. Each digit will appear only once in each row, column, and 2 x 2 sub-grid (“box”). Click on the following link for more detailed instructions on How To Play Four Square Sudoku

Printable Version: Click on the following link to download a printable version of the brain game (with answer key) – Sudoku Puzzle 102


Brain Game #12: Sudoku Puzzle 101

Brain Game: Sudoku

Subject: Math, Logic, Number Sense

Level:  Beginner

New to Sudoku? Try this simple Four Square Sudoku Puzzle to warm up your brain. This game is great for young children as well!

Instructions: Fill the 4 x 4 grid with the digits 1, 2, 3 and 4. Each digit will appear only once in each row, column, and 2 x 2 sub-grid (“box”). Click on the following link for more detailed instructions on How To Play Four Square Sudoku

Printable Version: Click on the following link to download a printable version of the brain game (with answer key) – Sudoku Puzzle 101


How to Play Four Square Sudoku

Fill the 4 x 4 grid with the digits 1, 2, 3 and 4. Each digit will appear only once in each row, column, and 2 x 2 sub-grid (“box”).



Mathematics: Classification of Algebra

Mathematics: Algebra Classification

  • Universal algebra (sometimes called general algebra) is the field of mathematics that studies algebraic structures themselves, not examples (“models”) of algebraic structures. For instance, rather than take particular groups as the object of study, in universal algebra one takes “the theory of groups” as an object of study.  Subject area topics include:
    • Basic idea
    • Varieties
    • Basic construction
    • Some basic theorems
    • Motivations and applications
  • Algebraic geometry is a branch of mathematics which combines techniques of abstract algebra, especially commutative algebra, with the language and the problems of geometry. It occupies a central place in modern mathematics and has multiple conceptual connections with such diverse fields as complex analysis, topology and number theory. Subject area topics include:
    • Zeros of simultaneous polynomials
    • Affine varieties
    • Regular functions
    • The category of affine varieties
    • Projective space
    • The modern viewpoint
    • History
    • Applications
  • Functional analysis is the branch of mathematical analysis concerned with the study of the vector spaces in which limit processes can be defined, and the linear operators acting upon these spaces that are (in some way) compatible with these limits. Subject area topics include:
    • Normed linear spaces
    • Banach spaces
    • Hilbert spaces
    • Banach algebras
    • Normed algebras
    • Topological algebras
    • Topological groups
  • Elementary algebra is a fundamental and relatively basic form of algebra taught to students who are presumed to have little or no formal knowledge of mathematics beyond arithmetic. The major difference between algebra and arithmetic is the inclusion of variables. While in arithmetic only numbers and their arithmetical operations (such as +, -, ×, ÷) occur, in algebra, one also uses symbols such as x and y, or a and b to denote variables. Subject area topics include:
    • Real number system
    • Constants
    • Variables
    • Mathematical expressions
    • Equations
    • Intermediary algebra
    • College-level algebra
  • Abstract algebra is the subject area of mathematics that studies algebraic structures, such as groups, rings, fields, modules, vector spaces, and algebras. The phrase abstract algebra was coined at the turn of the 20th century to distinguish this area from what was normally referred to as algebra, the study of the rules for manipulating formulae and algebraic expressions involving unknowns and real or complex numbers, often now called elementary algebra. Subject area topics include:
    • Algebraic structures
    • Groups
    • Rings
    • Fields
    • Axiomatically
  • Linear algebra is a branch of mathematics concerned with the study of vectors, with families of vectors called vector spaces or linear spaces, and with functions that input one vector and output another, according to certain rules. These functions are called linear maps (or linear transformations or linear operators) and are often represented by matrices. Linear algebra is central to modern mathematics and its applications. Subject area topics include:
    • Vector spaces
    • Matrices
  • Algebraic combinatorics is an area of mathematics that employs methods of abstract algebra, notably group theory and representation theory, in various combinatorial contexts and, conversely, applies combinatorial techniques to problems in algebra. Subject are topics include:
    • Enumerative
    • Matroids
    • Polytopes
    • Partially ordered sets
    • Finite geometries
  • Algebraic number theory is a major branch of number theory which studies algebraic structures related to algebraic integers. This is generally accomplished by considering a ring of algebraic integers O in an algebraic number field K/Q, and studying their algebraic properties such as factorization, the behavior of ideals, and field extensions. In this setting, the familiar features of the integers – such as unique factorization – need not hold. The virtue of the primary machinery employed – Galois theory, group cohomology, group representations, and L-functions – is that it allows one to deal with new phenomena and yet partially recover the behavior of the usual integers. Subject area topics include:
    • Basic notions
    • Major results

Source: Wikipedia

Need to brush up on Algebra? Get a Math Algebra Subject Matter Expert.


Brain Game #11: Word Search Chrysanthemum Printable

Word Search: Chrysanthemum

Subject: Language Arts

Grade Level: one

Three facts about the word Chrysanthemum:

  • Chrysanthemum is a type of flower.
  • There are 13 letters in the word Chrysanthemum – half of the total number of letters in the alphabet!
  • Japanese Emperors loved Chrysanthemums – they sat on thrones made of the flower!

Instructions: How many words can you make using the letters in the word Chrysanthemum?

Word Search - Chrysanthemum

Printable Version: Click on the following link to download a printable version of the brain game (with answer key) – Word Search Chrysanthemum

Here are some of the words we came up with – share your own!

  • a    am    an    ant(s)    antsy    are    arm(s)    art    as    ash    at
  • can(s)    car(s)    care(s)    cat(s)    cent(s)    chant(s)    char(s)    charm(s) chat(s)    chest    churn(s)    cram(s)  crane(s)    crash    cream(s)    creamy cry
  • ear(s)    earn(s)    east    eat
  • ham(s)    hare(s)    harms    hart    has    haste    hat(s)    hay he    hear(s)    heart(s)    heat(s)    hem(s)    hen(s)    hey
  • man    mare    mart    mash    mast    mat(s)    mate(s)    may mean(s)    me    meant    meat(s)    men    met    must
  • near(s)    neat    nest    net(s)
  • ran    rant(s)    rash    rat(s)  rate(s)    ray(s)    ream(s)    rest rum    run(s)    rune(s)    ruse    rust    rye    rut
  • same    sat    say    scent    scream    sear    seat    sent  set    she    smear    star    stare    stay    steam    sue  sure sum
  • tan(s)    tar    tare    team(s)    tear(s)    ten(s)    than    the them    then    they    trash    tray(s)    try    tummy    tune(s)
  • use   us
  • yam(s)    yarn(s)    year(s)    yearn(s)    yes    yet

Brain Game #10: Unscramble Science Words – The Five Senses Printable

Unscramble Words: The Five Senses

Subject: Science

Grade Level: Grade One

Instructions: Unscramble the following Science words related to The Five Senses


Printable Version: Click on the following link to download a printable version (with answer-key) of the brain game – Unscramble Science Words: The Five Senses


10 Tips to Stay Smart This Summer

Staying Smart Over the Summer: How to Have Fun Staying Smart

Checking out of school shouldn’t mean checking out from learning altogether. Learning doesn’t have to be boring – there are a variety of ways to incorporate learning into your summer schedule. The key is structure and dedication – this summer, have your children set aside a few hours a week for some learning time and it’ll help keep your child smart over the summer!

Here are some ideas on How Your Kids Can Stay on Top this Summer:

  1. Turn your Vacation into an Adventure – Heading out of town this summer? Encourage your children to help plan the trip by researching the history behind the sights, brush up on math by converting currency, or research and recreate local recipes.
  2. Train the Brain – Crosswords, Word Scrambles, Sudoku…brain games are a great way for your children to stay mentally fit. You can find age appropriate brain games, printables and worksheets online.
  3. Pen a Masterpiece – Encourage your children to let their imaginations flow! Guide them as they create characters, settings and a plot. Help them develop their ideas into a play or a novel. Make a date for them to present the final product to family and friends.
  4. Start a Book Club – Some of this summer’s most anticipated movies started off as books. Pick up Rowling’s Harry Potter, Meyer’s Eclipse or even Cleary’s Ramona – form a book club or discussion group and help your children get to know the stories behind the big screen productions.
  5. Bring out your Inner Mad Scientist – Try out some cool science experiments (search keywords: “science experiments at home”) with everyday household products such as vinegar, oil and water. Can you really cook an egg on the sidewalk? How about turning a liquid into a solid with the flick of your finger? Stick a needle in a balloon without popping it? Be sure to keep a log of all the experiments, and the science behind these great experiments.
  6. Create a Scavenger Hunt – Spend some time researching a local point of interest such as the zoo, a historical landmark, or even a grocery store, and put together a scavenger hunt! Come up with some clever clues or a treasure map to teach your children problem solving and navigation skills.
  7. Go Green – Plant a garden and watch it grow. Enjoy the fruits of your labor – literally – with fresh herbs, a summer salad or a bouquet of wild flowers.
  8. Enter the Blogosphere – Is your child passionate about something? Do they want to shout it out for the whole world to hear? Here’s their chance: start a blog! Your child could write reviews about movies, books or their favorite skate park…or all three! You can build your own blog for free at wordpress.com and blogger.com.
  9. Get a Job – ok, not exactly. Summer is a great time to seek out job shadowing, mentoring or interning opportunities. Let your child learn what it really means to work!
  10. Pay it Forward – Volunteer! Have your child become a Reading Buddy at your local library or take the family pet to an elderly care facility – your child can make a difference by becoming a positive influence in someone else’s life.

The possibilities are endless this summer. Take advantage of the break from school to help your children apply what they have learned in school. With a little structure and a lot of creative freedom, your child will enjoy a productive summer.


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