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Gynzy, handy beyond the whiteboard (and a list of other goodies)
My very dear friend, Eileen Welsh teaches kindergarten.
This morning I asked her, “What’s the most effective teaching tool you’ve discovered for your little ones?”
Without hesitation she answered Gynzy.
When it is time to create collaborative groups or partners in my Kindergarten classroom, I no longer use the “popsicle stick” method to randomly set the groups, I use Gynzy. Gynzy is a web based interactive whiteboard software system that has many tools for use in a classroom. One such tool is a partner choosing tool. Teachers enter student names, designate how many students will be in each group, and Gynzy randomly sets the groups. The fun thing about this is that the students choose the groups by tapping on objects to reveal who will be in the group from the preset list. So, now whenever groups are to be set, the children all ask will we do it the Gynzy way.
Gynzy allows teachers to create their own lessons or to access lessons created by others covering topics in Math, Language Arts, Science and Social Studies. Teachers can use the lessons that are in Gynzy and manipulate them and use them in their own way.
Gynzy also allows for YouTube videos, photos and PDFs to be embedded into lessons that teachers create. The ideas developed by Gynzy come from teacher suggestions and feedback. It is very simple to use and very user friendly.
I got a little lost playing around.
The platform is standards-aligned, web-based, and there’s virtually no learning curve. Eileen and I are using the trial. I have a query in regarding the time frame. Reasonable pricing is listed here.
Lessons can be prepared ahead of time, stored in folders and favorites.
There’s a huge arsenal of useful classroom tools–timers, a calculator, chart maker, task planner, clock, protractor, scoreboard, dice, timetable, curtain, spotlight, graphic organizers, the partner picker Eileen loves, and much more.
You’ll find paper options to meet every teacher’s need, including the music teacher’s. The webcam option makes it easy to digitally project print work.
Lessons may be browsed by core discipline–languages arts, math, science, social studies–or searched and filtered by grades K through 8.
Oh, and there’s a birthday cake to digitally decorate and blow out.
The image tool leads to resources from a large image library, a Google image search, or a search of your own imported images.
The social studies resources, for instance, share a handy array of interactive maps and timelines.
Here’s the Human Body interactivity from the science section.
Eileen mentioned her kiddos were especially fond of the cute Hangman game that can be played with or without your own words.
Sure, you can find lots of this stuff free in other places, but it’s very nice to have so much pulled together in one convenient platform customized for the needs of your own classroom or library.
BTW, you don’t really need a IWB to find this stuff useful.
Other teaching tools portals:
- Scholastic Tools and Organizers
- Discovery Teaching Tools
- 19 Pencils
Interactive Whiteboard resources:
- Scholastic Whiteboard Resources
- PBS Smartboard Games
- Eduscapes list of resources
- Promethean Planet Teaching Resources
- Mimio Connect Lesson Plans
- BrainPOP Interactive Whiteboards
- IWB UK
- Sheppard Software Web Games
About Joyce Valenza
Joyce is an Assistant Professor of Teaching at Rutgers University School of Information and Communication, a technology writer, speaker, blogger and learner. Follow her on Twitter: @joycevalenza
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