Halloween Magnetic Poetry w/Google Drawing

Halloween is only a few days off and teachers are on the lookout for fun and creative activities to get students into the spirit of the holiday. Look no further than this Google Drawing template designed to work like the magnetic poetry pieces one might find on a refrigerator door. Clicking the link will prompt you to “Make a copy…” from the template and save it to your Google Drive. You can then share your copy with your students as well as your peers.

The word bank is extensive so students may need to go digging in search of specific words. Of course, since it is a Google Drawing file students can make their own ‘word magnets’ if needed. Project the file onto an Interactive WhiteBoard (IWB) and have students work in teams to see who can craft the best poetry piece.

A Google Drawing template designed to act like Magnetic Poetry pieces.

My thanks to Kasey Bell from Shake Up Learning who shared this template in the Google for Education Trainer forum for anyone to use and share alike!

The Peanut Gallery (Gr. 5-12)

The Peanut Gallery – Add text dialog to silent movie clips

One of my favorite improv skits from Whose Line is it Anyway? was called “Film Dub” where the cast would have to watch a video clip with the sound muted and provide all new dialog, the results of which would often cause audiences to erupt in laughter. Now, thanks to a Google Chrome extension, students can flex their own improvisational muscles with The Peanut Gallery.

Peanut Gallery screenshot

Before you begin, you will need the following:

  • Google Chrome web browser app
  • An enabled or connected microphone

There are 15 silent movie clips to choose from with themes that range from The Lost World to Phantom of the Opera and Plane 9 from Outer Space. Once you make a selection, verify/approve the extension’s access to your computer’s microphone. When ready, speak the word “Action!” to begin. When you want to add textual dialog, simply speak into your microphone and the extension will do the rest. If you want specific punctuation then include it in your voice command (e.g. “What day is it question mark”). Once complete, you have the option to watch your film with inserted text and soundtrack, start over, or share over social media. If the use of social media is not an option, then copy-&-paste the URL from this screen into an email, Google Form, blog post, etc. to share.

For recording tips, background information on the origins of the Peanut Gallery idiom, and bibliography for the film clips click the ‘About‘ link in the bottom toolbar for the website.

INTEGRATION

  • Use this with students to conduct digital role-playing scenarios.
  • Create a PSA (Public Service Announcement) on a past or current events topic.
  • To maximize speaking opportunities, it might be helpful for students to storyboard out each scene in the video clip so that they can script out the dialog that would like to add.

 

Simon Says…Online (Gr. K-12)

Simon Online

Play the hit memory game Simon from your computer! Simon uses four colored tiles and corresponding sounds to create a pattern that you need to repeat. For each successful pattern you repeat, Simon will add one additional step at the end. Points are awarded for each successful pattern repeat. There’s nothing more to it than that. This site requires Flash.

INTEGRATION

  • Pair Simon with an interactive whiteboard to get the entire class involved.
  • If you have multiple student devices, divide your class into teams and have them compete against one another.
  • Add another level of difficulty by muting the device to remove the audio cues. If you really want to make things challenging, hide the display while Simon plays the next pattern so that students have to rely exclusively on the button sound effects.

Simon game screenshot

Chrome, No Internet Access, & T-Rex

If you’re browsing the Internet and suddenly lose your connectionGoogle's T-Rex then your browser will inevitably display a blank page and perhaps some sort of an error message, neither of which does much to console you or provide an explanation for the outage. The Google Chrome browser is no different, although they do sympathize with your predicament. So, as a consolation prize enter the famous dinosaur Tyrannosaurus Rex (T-Rex for short).

When you see the dinosaur, press the spacebar. T-Rex will jump in the air and then start of on an adventure across the Internet desert in a simple side-scrolling game. Use the spacebar to jump over any objects you encounter (mostly cacti) and try to beat your top score.

Losing access to the Internet is not fun, but if you’re using Chrome then at least you can help T-Rex get some exercise while you wait.

Chrome's T-Rex side-scrolling game

 

PAC-Maps

PAC-MAN & Google MapsScreen Shot 2015-04-01 at 8.20.26 AM

One of Google’s many catch phrases is that they are always “Living in Beta.” This week Google decided to take a trip back in time and visit an old friend from the 80’s. When you navigate to http://maps.google.com and then direct your eyes to the bottom-left corner you will see, in addition to the tool to activate the Google Earth overlay, the option to activate PAC-Maps. PAC-Maps will turn turn the streets of your current map view into a PAC-MAN game board. The whole gang is there including Pinky, Blinky, Inky and Clyde, invincibility wafers, and even the occasional piece of fruit for bonus points. Use the arrow keys to move PAC-MAN around the board. Now, students can take PAC-MAN on a tour of the world’s greatest population centers from Paris to Dubai to Sydney to New York City!

PAC-Maps screenshot

PAC-Maps is also available on iOS and Android devices with the latest download of the Google Maps app. Just click on Settings and choose the “Insert Coin” option. PAC-MAN can only be played in a few places on your mobile device but have no fear, Google has left clues for us to try and figure out where.

 

Bla | Bla | Bla…App

One of my duties as technology coordinator for two elementary schools is to film various student productions. One of the challenges when filming students is getting them to speak loudly and clearly so that the camera can pick up their voices. For someone who hated presenting in grade school, I can sympathize, but public speaking is a part of one’s career as a student.

Enter Bla | Bla | Bla.Bla Bla Bla screenshot

This app comes with a library of 16 faces that will stretch, contort, and otherwise move in response to how loud the student speaks. This gives the student a visual meter that they can use to measure the volume of their voice and adapt accordingly. Right now, it’s a tie between the frog and the cat as the student’s favorite avatar.

  • For iPhone, iPad, and iPod Touch – Download
  • My thanks to Mrs. Keating, Music Teacher at Village Elementary, for introducing me to this app.

Make a Prompt (Gr. K-12)

girl_thinking_TMake a Prompt is a simple web tool that allows you to poll an audience and collect data from their responses. Setup your prompt in three easy steps:

  1. Upload an image
  2. Write a prompt (i.e. finish the sentence, “Drag the red dot to…”)
  3. Give access to the link provided to your audience

The fourth step produces a link for you to access the results collected from your audiences responses. NOTE: Make sure you save both the link to the prompt and to the prompt responses as there is no way to retrieve them once you navigate away from the page.

Here is an example:

Shows a U.S. map with red dot responses

EXTENSION

  • Embed the student URL into a Google Form question as a way to enhance your list of question types. Even better, you could embed the responses URL into a Google Form and ask students to analyze the data collected. Or, you could just embed a screenshot of the responses map into your form question using the insert image tool.
  • Make a Prompt will work on an iOS device…sort of. Trying to grab the red dot from the top-left corner of the image is not as easy as you might think. Reverse-pinching the image to scale it larger before grabbing the red dot is recommended.