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Friday, October 24, 2014

Your Life On Earth - How the World Has Changed In Your Lifetime

Your Life On Earth is a feature of the BBC's Earth website. Your Life On Earth shows you how the world has changed during your lifetime. Enter your birthdate and Your Life On Earth will show you things like how much the world's population has grown, how many new species have been discovered, and how many earthquakes and volcanic eruptions have occurred since you were born.

Applications for Education
Like Larry Ferlazzo wrote, I think that kids will enjoy seeing how much the world can change in a period of time that they can easily relate to. After using Your Life On Earth to see how many new species have been discovered in their lifetimes, have your students pick a species to research and share with their classmates.

If you're nervous about entering your birthdate into the site, do what I did and just select your birth year and enter a fake month and day.

Explore the Planets and Their Moons in Google Earth

Google Earth has included moon, mars, and sky imagery for quite a while. You can find that imagery by simply selecting it from the drop-down menu within the Google Earth toolbar. To explore imagery of other planets and their moons you have to find it in a Google Earth file and open it. The SETI Institute offers nineteen Google Earth files that you can use to explore other imagery of other planets and their moons.

Recent enhancement to the Google Maps gallery has made it easier to access Google Earth files. You don't have to have Google Earth installed in order to view the imagery published by the SETI Institute. You can view the SETI Institute's Google Earth imagery by selecting a file in the Google Maps gallery. If you do have Google Earth installed on your computer you can download and open the files. The benefit of using Google Earth to open the files instead of just viewing them online is that you can combine your use of the SETI Institute's files with other files that you own.

Applications for Education
For the most part the SETI Institute's Google Earth files for planets and their moons are not the kind of files that you'll use for general exploration. The files are best suited to advanced lessons on a space science in which you have a specific feature for students to look for or you have a specific analysis task for them to complete by using the imagery.

H/T to the Google Earth Blog

An Interactive Comic and Video Versions of The Pit and the Pendulum

Halloween is just a week away and a lot of teachers may using this occasion to introduce their students to Edgar Allan Poe's classic The Pit and the Pendulum. Here are a couple of resources that can be used to introduce the story to your students.

The Pit and the Pendulum is available as an interactive comic book created by Poe in the Pit. If you view the comic book online you can click symbols within it to open videos, additional images, and additional background and analysis of Poe's work. If you choose to print the comic book you can us the QR codes embedded within it to access the videos, images, and additional info on your mobile device.


I was sick, sick unto death with that long agony... from Into ThePit on Vimeo.

Another way that you might introduce The Pit and the Pendulum to students is through Flocabulary's rap of the story. That video is embedded below.

ReadWorks Offers Reading Comprehension Lessons Aligned to Popular Books

ReadWorks is a helpful service that I have featured a handful of times since its launch. ReadWorks has cataloged hundreds of lesson plans and nearly two thousand reading non-fiction and fiction passages aligned to Common Core standards. The latest enhancement to ReadWorks is the launch of reading comprehension units.

The ReadWorks reading comprehension units are available for students in Kindergarten through sixth grade. Each of the units contains a series of lesson plans arranged around popular children's stories like Stone Soup and young adult novels like The Bridge to Terabithia.  Each unit includes pacing guides, questions to facilitate close reading, and alignment to Common Core standards. The units arranged around children's stories also include graphic organizers.

Applications for Education
In addition to the reading comprehension units, ReadWorks offers vocabulary lists for popular children's stories and young adult novels. You can search for those lists by selecting a passage or a lesson in ReadWorks. After making that selection you will find a list of key vocabulary words to go with your selection.

With a free ReadWorks account you can search for lessons and reading passages by grade level, lexile score, reading skill, subject area, and text type (fiction or non-fiction). In your ReadWorks account you can create digital binders of the lesson plans and reading passages that you want to use.

Thursday, October 23, 2014

Try the New Add-ons for Google Forms

A few weeks ago Google Forms was updated with some long awaited features like question shuffling. This afternoon another great feature was added to Forms in the form of Add-ons for Google Forms. Add-ons can add helpful features to your Google Forms. For example, the Form Limiter Add-on enables you to have your Form automatically stop accepting responses at a day and time of your choosing. 

You can find Google Forms Add-ons by opening the new Add-ons menu that appears at the top of your Form editor. After opening that menu select "get add-ons" to browse the gallery of Forms Add-ons. 

Applications for Education
The Form Limiter Add-on mentioned above is useful for delivering timed assessments. Form Limiter can also be used to close the form when you a designated number of submissions have been made. That option is useful when you're using Google Forms to create capped registration lists.

gMath for Google Forms is another that teachers will find useful. gMath allows you create and insert graphs and mathematical expressions into your Google Forms. That feature is one that math teachers have wanted for years. 

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