Website of the Week: Pictolang (Gr. 5-12)

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.

INTEGRATE

  • 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.

screenshot-pic match game German

What Most Schools Don’t Teach‚Ķ

What Most Schools Don’t Teach – A YouTube video

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)

Website of the Week: Slide Speech (Gr. 3-12)

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.

INTEGRATE

  • 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..

SlideSpeech Screenshot

Thanks to TeachersFirst for sharing this resource.

Website of the Week: Rutgers RIOT (Gr. 6-12)

Rutgers RIOT – Research Information Online Tutorial

Rutgers RIOT is a set of interactive tutorials designed to train students on how to access and be efficient in their use of online researching tools and services. With guidance from Kate, a library and science major, students can become trained in good research skills by progressing through 5 training videos. Video topics include:

  • Selecting a topic
  • Finding sources
  • Selecting keywords
  • Identifying citations
  • Evaluating resources

Videos vary in length from 4 to 9 minutes. Each video includes interactive components to help keep students engaged with the material. Take note of the ‘Summary’ and ‘Helpful Links’ buttons located in the bottom-left corner of the window to access additional explanations and resources.

INTEGRATE

  • This site could be a helpful introduction to a new unit where research skills will be critical.
  • Contact your school library media specialist to help connect the concepts from the site with the resources that your school already have in place.

Screenshot of RIOT's video directory

Thanks to TeachersFirst for sharing this resource.

Website of the Week: Cuban Missle Crisis (Gr. 6-12)

Cuban Missile Crisis – Role-play as President JFK

This simple and straight-forward site asks students to sit in the ‘big chair’ as President John F. Kennedy at the time when the United States was facing the Cuban Missile Crisis in 1962. Students will need to consult with each of their cabinet of advisers to get their perspective on the matter by navigating the image map on the page. Students should also consult the brief put together by the CIA. Finally, based on the data they have collected students must choose from five possible actions to take.

INTEGRATE

  • Use this site to develop personalities and scripts in order to role-play the event in the classroom. Have students gather research on the major players so that they may better portray them in the simulation.
  • Ask students to hypothesize¬† how our current president might have handled the situation differently.

A screenshot of the main page with the 5 possible choices listed

Website of the Week: Logical Fallacies (Gr. 5-12)

YourLogicalFallacyIs.com – Thou shall not commit

A logical fallacy is “usually what has happened when someone is wrong about something.” The YourLogicalFallacyIs website provides 24 examples of logical fallacies, within which you will find a definition, a description, and an example of the particular fallacy in action. Do you know what a ‘strawman’ is? How about a ‘Texas sharpshooter’ or ‘the loaded question’ fallacy? This site will answer these questions and help you understand how they are used.

INTEGRATE

  • A free poster is available for download and print so that you can add this resource to your classroom bulletin board.
  • Have students provides their own illustrations or icons to represent a particular fallacy.
  • Collect a series of stories, political speeches, or other pieces of work and ask students to conduct a scavenger hunt looking for particular fallacies. Turn the activity into a bingo game by creating game boards with the site’s free poster or design your own.

Screenshot of the Logical Fallacies homepage

Many thanks to Richard Byrne over at FreeTech4Teachers for re-tweeting this find from Lee Lefever.

Website of the Week: The Literacy Shed (Gr. K-12)

The Literacy Shed – Where storytelling and technology meet

The Literacy Shed is a collection of visual resources gathered over a ten year period by a fellow educator and primary school teacher. The goal of the site is to use digital media resources to help facilitate discussions about plot, character development, scene construction, voice, etc. Each ‘shed’ comes with a list of suggested discussion topics, then a list of writing prompts and possible ways students can explore or expand upon the theme. There are currently over 30 sheds to choose from with themes such as The Ghostly Shed, The Inventors Shed, The Authors Shed, and many more.

INTEGRATE:

  • One of may fondest memories of writing class was when my teacher did a whole unit on writing the conclusion to unique and sometimes weird scenarios. With this site students who are struggling with writer’s block can get a little extra push to jump-start their imaginations.
  • Encourage students to look beyond the traditional paper and pencil to continue the stories, utilizing mediums such as a podcast, iMovie, eBook, and more.