Monday, October 6, 2008

Imagination Prompt Generator

Sometimes the hardest part of teaching creative writing or starting a creative writing assignment, is generating a story idea. This is where the Imagination Prompt Generator comes to your aid. The Imagination Prompt Generator randomly generates prompts for starting a fictional story.

Imagination Prompt Generator is part of the Creativity Portal which offers ideas for free creative projects. Most of the project ideas in the kids section of the Creativity Portal are appropriate for elementary school and possibly middle school age students.

If you're looking for more writing prompt resources, consider The Story Starter and Writing Fix.

Applications for Education
The Imagination Prompt Generator and the Creativity Portal are good resources for teachers looking for fictional writing ideas or classroom projects. The only drawback to the Creativity Portal is the poorly placed advertising might be a distraction for some students.

The Best Video on Viddler

Today, I found the best video on Viddler. I actually didn't find it on Viddler, it's hosted on Viddler, I found it on Blogging on the Bay. This is a video of an awesome presentation given by Chris Lehmann about the things that schools need to change in order to help students learn in today's world. I strongly encourage you to watch this five minute video and comment on the things that Mr. Lehmann has to say. I've already inserted a comment and I would love to see what other teachers have to say. (In case you're unfamiliar with Viddler, Viddler's comment system allows you to insert comments directly into the video stream). Below the video are my five favorite quotes from Mr. Lehmann's presentation.

Here are some of things Mr. Lehmann said that caught my attention.
1. "Technology needs to be like oxygen."
2. "Good data costs a lot more than we want to spend. Good data is the work kids do every single day, it's not the answers they get on a test."
3. "We teach kids, not subjects."
4. "You want to see what kids have learned, give them a project."
5. "We have one thing left to teach and that is... wisdom."

What are your thoughts about Mr. Lehmann's presentation? Leave a comment on this blog or better yet, register for a Viddler account and comment directly on the video for the whole world to see (as opposed to just the visitors to this blog). I want to see that video loaded with comments from teachers.

Parents Can Stay Involved Using School Pulse

School Pulse is a new service designed to help parents, teachers, coaches, and advisers stay connected. School Pulse is free service through which parents, teachers, and coaches can establish a group calendar to plan and coordinate student activities. In addition to offering a group planning calendar, School Pulse hosts a discussion forum in which parents can share ideas about topics relevant to the activities in which their children participate. For example, one of the current discussion topics is sharing fund raising ideas.

Read an official press release from School Pulse about the service they offer. (PDF file)

Applications for Education
School Pulse could be a good service for PTA's and "classroom parents" to coordinate plans. The service will probably be most useful for parents and coordinators of young student groups that need to plan car pooling to get students to various extra-curricular activities.

The News in Many Languages

The BBC is one of my favorite news services because it offers coverage of a very wide variety of topics and interests. Last Thursday the BBC announced that they are planning to offer six new news channels on YouTube. By the end of the year the BBC will be offering news videos through YouTube in Spanish, Russian, Persian, Arabic, Portuguese, and Urdu. (View the BBC's current offerings on their YouTube channel).

Applications for Education
The addition of news video offerings in new languages should be of use to ESL/EFL teachers who are trying to incorporate current news into their curriculum.