Some of us have yet to see a flake so far this season, while others have already had to break out the boots, gloves, and shovels. Regardless of where you are on the winter scale, Google is here to help usher in the season with Magnetic Poetry. Similar to the Halloween post I shared back in October, the winter version uses Google Slides instead of Drawing to create a digital version of the magnetic poetry once found solely on the kitchen refrigerator. In addition, this template comes with a word bank so you can see the list of words that are already present. Use this link to make a copy for yourself and then distribute the template to your students.
The word bank is extensive so students may need to go digging in search of specific words. Of course, since it is a Google Slides file students can make their own ‘word magnets’ if needed using the shapes tool. Project the file onto an Interactive WhiteBoard (IWB) and have students work in teams to see who can craft the best poetry piece.
My thanks again to Kasey Bell for sharing this resource.
While I was building a lesson on plagiarism and citations, I decided that I wanted to expand it and talk with my students in more detail about Copyright and Creative Commons licensing. And then our school librarian shared with me this story: “PETA suit claims monkey holds copyright to famous selfie.” I felt like I had just struck gold! This story is a great classroom discussion starter on the topic of ownership and how sticky this can sometimes be, especially when it comes to digital artifacts.
- What is your take on this situation?
- Who do you side with?
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.
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!
Book Drum – All the knowledge behind your favorite books
The website Book Drum is a digital library containing a wide variety of book titles that can be searched by keyword, title, or genre. Where the site really shines is in the additional search tools and information provided. For example, search for book titles by geographical location using a Google Earth interface. All book titles provide a traditional text-based summary, but more and more contributors are adding multimedia components to the entries including photos, videos, and maps that can be both digital and scanned in paper. Many entries include a glossary section defining important words and phrases used in the book, as well as an about-the-author tab as well. Finally, if you’re favorite book isn’t listed, send a request to the site to have a book profile created. You can even volunteer to be a contributor and provide the profile content yourself!
- Students can use the bonus multimedia content to help them select the next book to read.
- Students can use the site while they are reading the book to help them with vocabulary, visualizations, and understanding the point of view from the book’s author.
Thanks to TeachersFirst for sharing this resource.
Provided by the website Scholastic.com, Character Scrapbook is an online tool for students to document information they have on a character from a book that they are currently engaged in reading. First, students provide the book title and the name of the character they wish to profile. On the next page of the scrapbook students use the interactive tools to construct a visual portrait of their character, assigning features such as hair, eyes, nose, mouth, and clothes as well as modify the skin tone. Once the portrait is complete, the scrapbook has six pages within which students can provide additional biographical information on their character:
- ten things I know about the character,
- ten words that describe the character,
- ten details about his/her appearance,
- ten facts about his/her personality,
- ten challenges he/she faced,
- ten accomplishments he/she achieved.
Students can type right into the book and can flip through the pages as they work, deciding under which page a particular fact or observation would best be listed. When complete, the scrapbook pages can be printed like a screenshot.
- Unfortunately, the scrapbook is not designed to be printed as an actual book, but is still a great artifact to include in a portfolio.
- Some characteristics may fit comfortably on more than one page. As a result I found it challenging at times to come up with ten entries for each page, forcing me to think deeper about my character and flush out additional and more specific descriptive words.
- Each page does not require all ten entries to be filled. Also note that each entry is programmed to allow for up to two lines of text comfortably.
Thanks goes to FreeTech4Teachers.com for sharing this find.
Pictolang – Language and cultural learning content through authentic imagery
Pictolang is a site dedicated to helping students with their language studies using real images from locations where the particular language is used. The site is broken down into four activity levels:
- Visual Word Trainer – See the word, see the corresponding image
- Picture Match Game – See the word, choose the correct matching image
- Word Match Game – See the image, choose the correct matching word/phrase
- Analyst Game – See the image, identify the language/culture it comes from
Once you choose a game type, you are asked to make a language selection, choosing from up to 15 possible choices including Arabic, French, Spanish, Japanese, and Ukrainian. You will also be asked to select a category topic such as clothing, food, nature, house & home, sports, and more. Your score in both number and percentage correct are kept track of at the bottom of the window.
- This site is an obvious choice as a review tool for students to test their vocabulary acquisition while at the same time be exposed to authentic images from locations around the globe.
- Have students create their own visual vocabulary guides from their own culture(s) using images from their communities.
Edutopia – Games to teach financial literacy
April is financial literacy month, and the website Edutopia has put together three interactive websites that combine financial savvy and fun games for students to practice and improve upon their financial knowledge. Check out the article for descriptions on each of the three sites selected. Here are my thoughts on the sites:
This site is based on the idea of running/managing a night club for vampires. The game asks students to manage both club income and expenses. And, to add a little realism the site also adds some hefty debt into your financial portfolio right from the get-go in the form of student loans and credit card debt, both of which have high interest rates. What I like best is that the game can be played with or without a login (creating an account will let students save their place and keep track of their progress).
From the Council for Economic Education, this site is geared toward middle school level students, and is designed more as a follow-up activity where students put their knowledge and skills to use. While not as interactive as Bite Club, this site does challenge students to have a mastery of financial terms and problem-solving skills. The site provides tutorial videos to help students orient themselves to the game. An account is required in order to play.
Thanks to a partnership between Visa and the NFL, this site uses financial literacy questions to advance the game. Students choose their teams, their age bracket which will determine the level of difficulty, and how long their game play will be. At each turn students have a preset list of plays to choose from, then must answer a multiple choice question before the play is carried out. A correct answer will result in a play completion; an incorrect answer will result in an incomplete or worse, possible interception. There is no login required to play, but students will need to be patient with some of the animation as the site sees a lot of activity.
Provided by the site Code.org, this YouTube video talks about the potential available to our students who are exposed to the world of computer programming and coding. Listen to interviews from high-profile players in the technology world such as the makers/creators behind Microsoft, Facebook, Dropbox, Twitter, and more. Watch as educators, athletes, and musicians talk about common misconceptions and barriers that people have created around computer programming, why they got into coding, and how you can get started. If you are looking for resources to support a STEM initiative, this video would be a good addition to your toolbox.
Watch the video here (9:34)
I Fake Text – The first iPhone text message screenshot generator
I Fake Text is a simple web tool that allows you to create custom text message conversations that looks like they actually took place on an Apple iPhone device. Select the phone service carrier you would like displayed at the top of the iPhone, then provide the character names and dialog in the box provided. It is important to verify that your text adheres to the formatting example provided. Click the ‘Create Your Screenshot’ button to complete the transformation.
NOTE: If you’d like to go high-tech and have a fake conversation with Siri, check out the website: I Fake Siri.
- Use this tool to create authentic cyberbullying, phishing, and other examples of bad netiquette as part of an Internet Safety unit.
- Have students create conversations with this 21st century tool between characters from other time periods. For example, what sort of texts would Paul Revere have sent during his midnight ride to warn that the British were coming, or Napoleon to his captains within the Spanish Armada?
Thanks to TeachersFirst for sharing this resource.
Slide Speech – Presentations with voice
Slide Speech is a free, web-based tool that allows you to add voice narration to a presentation using their text-to-speech engine. Presentations usually provide only key points and concepts with the presenter providing the narration to fill in the details and help connect ideas and concepts during the event. This web tool allows the presenter to include those narrations by adding them as text to the Presenter Notes area on each slide within the presentation. Slide Speech will read the text entered into this area and covert it to speech, with you selecting which computer-generated voice you’d like to have narrate. Once this is complete, you have several options for how you’d like to share this with your audience including by link, embed code, video, social media, and/or QR code.
- Use this site to add your classroom narration to your presentations. You can then make both items available to students to use when they need to review content, need extra support due to a reading deficiency or ELL challenges, or need to catch up on class developments due to an absence from illness.
- The site will only accept Microsoft PowerPoint-formatted presentations, but other applications like Keynote and Open Office can export their projects to .ppt format prior to uploading. Here is an example of a presentation I put together on how to get started with Slide Speech where Keynote was the presentation tool I used..
Thanks to TeachersFirst for sharing this resource.