Posts Tagged search

Technology Tuesday – Supporting Differentiation in the Classroom

Differentiating Content:

Here are a few tools to help in finding content suited to the different levels in your classroom.

Twurdy – – Need to find content to help in differentiation in the classroom?   Twurdy searched the internet and labels results with a readability score.  The darker orange the background of the result is the higher readability level it has.  This would be great when searching  for materials for struggling readers and for the gifted students who need more of a challenge.   The have their own scale system so be sure to check out the feature to turn the age level to understand their system.

Google Reading Level – Google also has a search filter that will sort results based on Basic, Intermediate and Advanced Reading Levels.   Type in your search term(s) and then click on the reading level you want to focus on to see the websites that fall in that category.

Text Compactor  – – Create a summary of your text by pasting in the passage, drag the slider to show how much of the text you want to keep in the summary and then view the results.   You can also cut and paste the results into a text to speech program or into a language translator to help process the information even more.  This could be used for those ELL students or for struggling readers to comprehend the text.  Or use it in the writing process as students pasting in their own writing and determining if the created summary really reflects what was intended by the student.

Sweet Search – – A search engine designed to give results based on analyzing the credibility of the website so students will have access to information that is more accurate than random sites.   This website also contains widgets that you can place on your website so that students can use it as a launching point for searches in class and at home.


Differentiating Product

This is easy with Web 2.0 technology tools.  Students do not need to all create the same product, but choices can be given to allow them to choose a method that is more in alignment with their intelligences.  All these tools help students create.  According to the Digital Bloom’s taxonomy – creating is on the high end of the spectrum of critical thinking tools.  You don’t have to be an expert in all of these tools.  Tutorials already exist in youtube or by talking to other teachers who have the how-to papers ready to go.  Students are ready to learn the program to accomplish the product so let them try!


This list is not comprehensive, but this should get you started.

Management of Differentiated Products:

Worried about grading all these different products?   With the design of a good rubric grading can be easy as the content should always be what you are looking for no matter what the packaging is.   Rubistar is a great place to start in designing a rubric.

Tammy Worcester had a great idea of how to gather all the links/products into one place with a digital dropbox.  Using a google form, create a place for students to turn in their links for easy access to all products posted online.



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Web Wandering Wednesday – Apps

WolframAlpha – –  describes itslef as ” the world’s first and only computational knowledge engine.”  Enter in a location and learn the population, elevation, unemployment rate, etc for the area.   Enter in a math problem and see the solutions appear.  The help page give examples of searches to try.  This is also available as an ap for iPhones and Androids, so download the ap on the school iPod Touch for a good resource for students.

While we are on the subject of  apps…

Top 50 Free Education Apps: – pulled from iTunes – this site lists the best/most popular free apps for education.   Some seem a little more gamey than educational, but the list is worth a look.

Droid does Education – – ISTE compiled a list of the best android apps for education.

Free Education Apps for Android OS – – this list is broken into grade levels.

What are you favorite sites and apps?

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Google Search Tricks

Google is a powerful search engine and can do so much more than just return websites that have the info you are looking for.  I thought I would find a few of those tricks and pass them along.

 8 Google Search Tricks:

1. Specialized Information Searches:

  • Definitions: You can get a word defined in by using “define:warriors”
  • Want to find food in a hurry?  Type in the type of food and the zip code or city and the closest business are returned in the results.  ex.  pizza 78664
  • Weather:  find local weather by typing in weather and the city or zip code.

2. Restrict Information:

  • Search Within a WebSite: If you put a word/term and then “site:” and then the domain name  you can conduct a search within that web site.  For example if you put “podcast”  you would be searching for podcasts within this website only.
  • Search within a range of numbers.  Ex  BIll Cosby parenting 2007 2008  will return anything posted from Bill Cosby on parenting between 2007 and 2008

3. Calculator – Basic Math Operations: Type in a equation and google will do the math for you  ex. 12 + 34 – 56 * 7 / 8. 

  • Functions include: + – * /
  • Percentages  – % of
  • Raise to the power of ^ or **  ex. 2^5 or 2**5
  • Convert currency:  Enter the conversion you want Google to preform:  ex: currency of Mexico in USD or 40 USD in Euros

4. Filetype – Want to find pdf files, or just have powerpoints returned?  type in the search terms and add “filetype:ppt”

5. What Time is it?  Find out the time anywhere by asking “what time is it in Zimbobwe

6. Track Flight Status:  No need to go to the airlines page – just type in the airline + Flight + flight number.  ex. Southwest Flight 805

7. Search for Related Terms – adding a ~ will opens results to terms that are related to the search word. ~education returns results with schools, universites, teachers, etc.

8. Phone Book – type in the name and city, state to return phone numbers

Not a Search Trick  – But did you know:  Google Maps now contains 360° views at the street level – Type in your address and look around your street. 

Do you have any favorite tricks in Google to share?

Resources used to prepare this list:

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