Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Zookoda-Free Online Email List Management

This email list management software is fantastic. These days my email list is up over 2 000 subscribers which is rather time consuming to manage by cutting and pasting from my email program. Not to mention the spam problems and people signing up their friends to my newsletter unbeknown to them.

Now I think I've found an excellent way to manage my email list. Zookoda. I was playing with it last weekend and think I've got it sorted. It is free and it has many features - the main ones I need are: that it verifies if you really want to receive email from my blog or website - it is customisable ie I can have it send out a bulk email each time I reach a certain number of new blog or website posts. Best of all are the anti-spam features. It includes all my contact details in each email and the option to unsubscribe at the bottom of each email. There is also an automatic way to report abuse in the system.


I'm thinking that for a lot of my readers who are literacy consultants, teachers, homeschoolers and parents who are not keen for the brave new world of rss. This is a great tool to help you keep in contact with whoever your audience are.



Oh yeah, you can subscribe to my webpage update newsletter here :)

Wednesday, October 25, 2006

Pageflakes - The Coolest Possible Homepage

On this Web 2 application you can mash up your Gmail, Blog Feeds, Latest Flickr Photo tag Feeds, Podcast Feeds, Sends free SMS PLUS over 106 other things. I've spent ages playing with Pageflakes.com and I'm hooked.

I feel like I'm creating the perfect homepage just for me. You just log in and begin customizing straight away. You can pretty much pull in all your favourite parts of the web to a few pages.

To name but a few...
* keep up to date with your latest blogs feeds - teachers check out the Librarians Page
* have del.ic.ious (latest bookmarks on favourite topics) delivered
* listen to podcasts
* watch You Tube video
* add your favourite search engines
* add a clock or lava lamp :) - only if you really want to
* have Flickr photos import straight into the page on any topic you want
* add a dictionary and a language translator
* access your g-mail from this page (but not your free Yahoo mail yet),
* subscribe to already existing templates (right at the bottom of the page) eg The Librarians' Feed has heaps of stuff for the modern librarian to keep up to date with info tech. The Student template has tools that might be of use to high school kids.

When you click Add Pageflage, make sure you check out the 160 options and the templates at the bottom.

Oh.... and then you can share your page with everyone else.

Check out what I'm talking about at this page I just set up.

Have fun with it!

Adrian B

Tuesday, October 24, 2006

New Reading Poster

My New Phonics Poster

As my son and I read we often collect words and sounds from his books that he is focusing on. Here is our 'th'word family poster for anyone to use that needs it.

On another note, this is my first go at producing my own graphics with my new wacom tablet. I bought the wacom tablet with money that has been donated to my website by people who are thankful for the free resources. I hope to continue creating my own graphics. In fact, I enrolled in a 6 week cartooning course that starts next Saturday.



Monday, October 23, 2006

Crossword Creation Software

Here is a piece of free Crossword Creation Software that I've been using for a few years now.
You will find if you put the children together in pairs and then have them work on creating their own crossword for their friends there is a lot of engagement and discussion about language features.

I have included a link to the software and a few tips and tricks over at my website.

Go on. Give it a go.


PS You might even find some children downloading it for themselves at home.

Sunday, October 22, 2006

The Social Web and Learning Communities

How cool is it when a teacher in the United Kingdom (a very long way from the Northern Rivers of NSW Australia) likes your site so much that they decide to write a blog post on it :)

Adrian Bruce is an Australian teacher and his website has a truly unique collection of primary teaching resources! There's art ideas (and examples of work), maths games and resources (including a great section on symmetry), reading material (lots of phonics games and posters), science resources (check out the science scripts), a great page with links to free software you can use in the classroom and links to other material such as Adrian's wonderful photography, his class website and their podcasts. I've certainly not seen a collection of material quite like this anywhere else on the Internet and it's well worth checking out.

Especially when the blog itself links to soooooooooo many quality resources.

If you like my site... you'll love the classroom teaching resources available at



Friday, October 20, 2006

Educational Newsletters

In my first year of teaching I remember thinking that a lot of the work that I was doing had already been done by teachers before ie I was just replicating work. Doesn't seem that a whole lot has really changed :) I remember back then thinking that there had to be a better way.

Now with the advent of the Internet I can simply place online the resources I've made that I know work. This way people all over the world can use my stuff and Literacy Consultants like Kimberly in the US can just send out a link to my site in her newsletter rather than having to organise people to make the resources. This technology is amazing!

Here is part of her newsletter...

Hi Teachers, Here are your weekly web sites: http://www.adrianbruce.com/reading/games.htm - This is a great site with printable games and phonics posters for teaching phonics and phonemic awareness. I e-mailed the owner of this site (an Australian teacher) and he e-mailed back to say thank you. I thought that was pretty neat.

Kimberly S
Literacy Facilitator

Thanks Kimberly. I hope your teachers and students like the work :) Adrian

Monday, October 16, 2006

Readers'? Reader's? Theatre? Theater?

science educationOver the last few years I've become very fond of the way Readers' Theatre can contribute to fluency in reading. Today, while digging around on some old disks, I found these 4 science based scripts that the kids love performing. They also get a buzz from the concepts dealt with.

Also while digging around on these disks, I found a few unfinished drafts for other science scripts and a comedy about the Minotaur. I've made a page to house the scripts on now and will get it onto my to-do list to get the other scripts ready.


PS My to-do list is currently a very long list of to-do lists

Sunday, October 15, 2006

New School Term

School starts up again in New South Wales Australia tomorrow and I'm a thinking that a few title pages will be done ;)

Maybe this is a little something you could put up on the school noticeboard.



Saturday, October 14, 2006

Latest Website Award

Adrian's Website Awards

Every now and then I get a bit of a buzz from having my work recognised. This morning another website award arrived acknowledging my contribution to the Internet and the teaching community.

Check out my full list of awards here. You might find one there that you can apply for :)



Maths Shape Game

A 2D Shapes Math Game 4 Kids

When teaching the 2d shapes component of the Math syllabus I like to have the children working on various tasks in rotating groups. This is one of the tasks that I use.

In this game the students have to match the properties of the shape to the shape name. It's so much more fun, and a little more effective, than drawing lines on a worksheet from the shape to its name :)

Download it and give it a go.



Tuesday, October 10, 2006

Children Create Their Own Puzzles

Word Searches / Find-a-Words are funny beasts. Kids love to do them, and are often motivated to do do them, but oh so often they just end up 'colouring in' lessons.

I find a better way to engage the kids is to have them involved in the creation
process of the puzzles for their friends to solve using free software.

Have a look at how to do it and some of my ideas for having your children create their own puzzles. Then implement the idea in your classroom on Monday.



Monday, October 09, 2006

Another Poster to Think About ;)

So often people in our work and private lives say all the right words but lack any appropriate actions or follow through.

I find this poster useful in so many situations as a way of gauging the effectiveness and motives of the people in our world :-)



BTW There are 7 people now on my Frappr map. Are you there yet?

Sunday, October 08, 2006


Every year I have a huge focus on problem solving as a thinking skill and everyone asks for copies of the problems that I've used over the years. This problem is one of my favourites and is the first on the problem solving section of my website.

I usually use this puzzle on my first day with any class then do the 'goldfish bowl' thing where I sit back and watch how they attack it. Some students get focused and manipulate the pieces and think. Some will stare at it and try and visualise a solution. Some will whinge that it is too hard. Some will ask you to show them how to do it in a horrible voice. Some do all of these things in about 2 minutes but the thing that is really nice is to see the look on their faces as they achieve the 'a-ha' feeling.

Feel free to download this puzzle give it out then try and solve it with the kids. Demonstrate being a life long learner :)



BTW this is a great activity if you are a casual teacher.

Saturday, October 07, 2006


I've been thinking about signing my site up for a Frappr account for a while now and today I finally took that first step. So now here I sit with all my friends :)

I'm hoping that this site will serve to give a bit of a human face to my site. I see a lot of games being downloaded and every day I receive emails of thanks but I'm hoping Frappr will add an extra dimension to my site.

Go on... click the Frappr link and add yourself. You know you want to lol


Friday, October 06, 2006

Web 2 Maps

There are so many cool free tools out there on the web. Clustrmaps is a little something you can use for free on your site or blog (I think) to show where the traffic for your site is coming from. As you can see North America likes my reading games site :)

Every now and then someone donates a little money to my site. It's coming in at about one donation every 50 000 games ;) so I might use the last $10 to subscribe to the pay version of Clustrmaps, just to see where people are using my stuff.



Thursday, October 05, 2006

Collaboration Across the World :)

Bill and I have never met. In fact I don't even know what Bill looks like... yet we work together. Such is the beauty of the Internet.

Bill is a reading tutor in Northern Ireland and every now & then he sends me some of the games that he's been making and playing with his students. Today a new one arrived and almost immediately I can post it here so that it is available to teachers of the world to use. How cool is this technology?

If you have QUALITY games that you have made & tested with students, the students have enjoyed them and most importantly have learnt from them, feel free to email them to me and I'll post them on my website with full credit to you.



Wednesday, October 04, 2006

Top Five Teaching Resources

It's the beginning of the month. Time to check out the web stats :)
This month I gave away
73 369 games and posters. Huge!
Here are the top 5 most popular downloads for September 2006.

No 1 - The Magic 'e' Rule
No 2 - 3D Shape Concentration
No 3 - Maths Bingo
No 4 - Two Vowels Walking
No 5 - Reciprocal Teaching Reading Strategy Cue Cards

Feel free to have a look at these and anything else that takes your fancy and then send them on to anyone you think can use them.



Tuesday, October 03, 2006

Motivation to Automacy

The times tables can really be the bane of teachers, parents and students lives. I feel that the traditional rote learning of the tables in order does not efficiently teach automatic recall of individual facts. You'll often see children (& adults) running through the whole table to find one fact.

This game is a heap of fun and fosters automatic recall.

Enjoy it with your students.


Monday, October 02, 2006


Every now and then I receive an email about how people are using the reading resources available on my site that leaves me humbled.
This is one of those emails.

Your games are fantastic. I have only just found them.
I am giving a workshop to some disadvantaged teachers
who work under terrible conditions in the rural townships
in South Africa and they asked me for some games that
they can play with the children (usually 50 children in a class, no computers and no photostat machine. Writing in the sand is not uncommon. Your games will go a long way to helping them learn to read.

Kind of makes you think the whole thing is worthwhile. Especially when you are having a 'bad day'. An email like this can put it all into perspective for you ;)