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.
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.
Provided by the Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, the Molecularium is a digital theme park dedicated to the exploration of atoms, elements, molecules, and their interesting and diverse properties. Once you enter the Hall of Atoms and Molecules, click on the center dome to view the current molecule on display. Click on the atomic symbol on the wall above to watch a video with your host Mel the computer and his friends Hydro and Oxy as they introduce you to the park. Underneath there are four images on the wall, each leading to a different area of the park that contain videos, interactive experiments, and other activities to explore. To the far left is the entrance to the theater where you can watch episodes of “Molecules to the Max!” To the far right is the entrance to the arcade, where there are five arcade-like games to choose from including Ion Storm, Electronz, Mission to Bond, and more!
- This site is huge, with a wealth of information and activities to choose from. It would be easy to break this site up into multiple exploratory activities and spread them throughout a unit of study.
- The site has a sign up feature if students want to be able to save their progress and create their own Atom Face. Sign-up is free and does not require an email address.
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.
ChemReference – Periodic Table & Reference tool
ChemReference’s interactive Periodic Table tool allows students to explore and investigate the current inventory of elements. Use the colored buttons just above the table to isolate different groups of elements, from nonmetals to halogens and noble gases. Click on any element to view a detailed description of that element in the right-hand control panel. Click on the various descriptors within the panel to view relationships with respect to mass, melting/boiling points, electronegativity, and more. Don’t forget to check out the navigation bar on the far-right side of the window to access a visual map of the element as well as links to Wikipedia and other supplemental materials. NOTE: This sit does contain ad banners.
- This is a great resource to use with lessons that ask students to compare and contrast elements based on a variety of attributes.
- Some of the information in the element descriptor box may be challenging for students, but could also be used in conjunction with a Google ‘jockey’ assignment to see who can come up with a friendly definition first.
Thanks to TeachersFirst for sharing this resource.
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.
- 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.
Thanks to TeachersFirst for sharing this resource.
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.
- 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.
Many thanks to Richard Byrne over at FreeTech4Teachers for re-tweeting this find from Lee Lefever.
In an article from EducatorsTechnology.com, the author shares two posters designed for the classroom that have been graciously shared by the site LearningToday with the online community. The first is depicted on a butterfly’s wing with the Blooms stages spreading out from the body in colorful waves. The second poster looks like a cross-section of an orange with each wedge containing vocabulary words to help students connect their actions with the appropriate category. Use the link provided above each poster on the EducatorsTechnology.com site to download a full-size version in PDF format.
“I AM A BLOOMING BUTTERFLY”
“A BLOOMING ORANGE”
Word Cloud Generators – The Best 10 Free Word Cloud Tools for Teachers
A Word Cloud is a great way to take a group of words or a piece of text and display them in a different, visual way. Many generators use the frequency that a word appears to determine the font size of that word in the final product (e.g. a word that appears 10 times in a piece will be larger than a word that appears only twice). This article from EducatorsTechnology.com lists 10 of the best word cloud sites they’ve found and a quick description of their site and services. Some of the sites are free while others require an account to use.
- Most Word Cloud tools will provide you with a web link or embed coding so that you can add the word cloud to your website or blog for easy sharing.
- I love tools that allow the classroom teacher to expose students to content in a new way that also can double as a medium in which students can also use them create their own content.
- Below is a word cloud I made using the site Wordle. The question: What makes someone a possible target to be bullied and/or cyberbullied?