TOI Lead India “Tree”

I keep thinking of videos that I would like to share, so I thought I would make that my theme this week.  This particular one could lead to great conversation in the classroom, despite the fact that many of us do not understand the language in it.  Some possible topics for discussion:  apathy, being the change we wish to see in the world, working together.  Every time I watch this video, I am motivated to make a difference.

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Ira Glass on Storytelling

Ira Glass, the radio host of This American Life on NPR, gives his opinion of how to become great at your art.  Although he is speaking of writing, this could be a great motivational tool for anyone who has ambition in a particular field. David Shiyang Liu created the typography to go along with Ira’s words.

Bubble Ball

Bubble Ball is one of my favorite iDevice apps.  It is a free download, and has 48 levels.  You can purchase more after you finish the 48  for  99 cents.  The purpose of this game is to use the various materials that appear on the screen in each level to direct a ball to roll toward a flag.  I don’t usually like to recommend game apps for the classroom, because students seem to get enough of those at home.  But this Physics challenge encourages problem solving and creative thinking.  Many of the levels have more than one solution.  This could be a fun center in which the students could take screen shots of their solutions and explain them using the free Screen Chomp app or other methods.  It would be interesting to compare the different solutions groups develop, and have them explain their thought processes.  Of course, I highly recommend that you play around with the app yourself – just to get familiar with the levels, of course 😉

Draw a Stickman

Larry Ferlazzo offered a new link on his blog for a site called Draw a Stickman that I think could be really fun for the classroom.  The key to this site is the “Share” option.  At the end of the interactive story, a message appears.  When you choose to “Share”, you can determine the message.  You can then e-mail it to yourself and/or others.  If you want to use this to introduce a topic, you can e-mail it to yourself, save the link, and have your students help you create the stickman that brings the message.  You could also create several different messages, differentiating for your students, and offer them as links on your student server or on a teacher website.  If your students have e-mail addresses, such as e-pals, and are corresponding with someone for class, this would be a fun message for them to create and send.

The Amazing Word Tamer

This is an awesome site brought to you by author Judy Waite.  It is designed to immerse students in the writing experience through interactive experiences that introduce them to:  plot, genre, character, and settings.  In her own words, “I wanted to utilise all the benefits that image, sound and animation can bring, connect this with creative exercises that have been proven to enhance children’s creative writing skills, and package it with a work of fiction that would support all these aspects.” I guarantee it will appeal to your students’ imaginations and enhance their writing.

Museum Box

Museum Box is an intriguing resource for a different type of student product.  The site describes itself this way, “it allows you to build up an argument or description of an event, person or historical period by placing items in a virtual box. You can display anything from a text file to a movie. You can also view the museum boxes submitted by other people and comment on the contents.”  Unfortunately, the site does not work with iOS, but if you have internet access, and your students are doing research, this is a unique way for them to collect their supporting materials in one place.

The Kid Should See This

This collection of videos on various topics is described by the author as “off the grid-for-little-kids videos and other smart stuff collected by Rion Nakaya and her three year old co-curator.”  There are lots of fun, interesting, and educational productions to choose from in her archive, as well as on her main page.  These videos would be great to use for research, as starting topics for writing, or just as “hooks” to get your students’ attention.  The best thing is, although I guess we can never be certain of this, that most are probably appropriate for the classroom if they have been approved by a 3 year old.

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