Thursday, November 6, 2008

The Most Dangerous Game in Video

The Most Dangerous Game written by Richard Connell is a popular short story taught in schools around the country. In fact, as I was supervising the lunch room today, I saw a student reading it for a literature class. Seeing that student reading the story is what gave me the impetus to look for videos of story. Below are two videos based on The Most Dangerous Game that I thought were fairly well done.

Applications for Education
After reading The Most Dangerous Game students can watch one of the videos and write a comparison between the video depiction and the original story. Students can also analyze why the film makers chose things to include or omit in their videos.

Detecting Phishing Scams

From time to time I am asked to help members of the "older generation" learn how to use email and navigate the Internet. One of the concerns this group typically expresses is fear of identity theft and similar Internet crimes. Recently, Common Craft released a video giving some tips for identifying and avoiding email scams. The video, embedded below, will be required viewing the next time I am working with new email users.

Applications for Education
This video should be required viewing for anyone concerned about phishing scams. The video is educational for any new email or Internet user.

Five Great Grammar Resources

Online games can be a fun way for students to practice and develop specific skills sets and content knowledge. This is particularly true when students are developing content knowledge and skills that are best learned through repetition. On that note, here are five places to find grammar games to use in the classroom. All five of the following are free of advertising.

1. The Houghton Mifflin Company produces Grammar Blast. Grammar Blast offers 35 interactive grammar activities for students in grades two through five.

2. The Grammar Practice Park produced by Harcourt School Publishers provides 12 games for students in grades three, four, and five.

3. The British Council's Learn English website offers 69 interactive activities for learning the rules of grammar. The activities are not listed by grade level so you will have to preview them to determine which activities are best suited for your students.

4. Scholastic Inc. has a page for elementary age students called Maggie's Learning Adventures. On Maggie's Learning Adventures visitors will find five grammar activities as well as activities for learning Spanish, Math, and Science.

5. The BBC's Skillswise website is a great resource for a wide variety of content areas. On the grammar and spelling page there are 21 activities suitable for students of middle school and high school age.

Google Earth as an Almanac

One of the things that I enjoy about Google Earth is the myriad of creative files that people have developed and shared on the Internet. Today, I found a useful file on the Google Earth Blog that is essentially an online almanac of world data. Contained in the file are flags serving as placemarks for each country. Clicking on each placemark reveals information and links to stories about that country. Most of the data is drawn from the CIA World Factbook. You can access the file here.

Applications for Education
This Google Earth file is a good way for students to associate the names of countries and pertinent data about those countries to a geographic location.

Geography and Science Lesson Plans Using Google Earth

Google Earth and Google Maps are two of the free resources that I enjoy using with my students because they learn by creating when using Google Earth and Google Maps. Right now four of my students are creating videos about their community which will be added to a Google Map.

Rich Treves has posted, on his Google Earth Design Blog, two detailed lesson plans based on the use of Google Earth. One lesson plan deals with flooding in the Brahmaputra Plain and the other addresses Hawaiian volcano activity. Both lesson plans are suitable for use with high school students.

Applications for Education
Both of the lesson plans developed by Rich Treves could be used in geography and or Earth Science courses. The lessons do require users to have previous experience with Google Earth. Prior to attempting either of these two lessons you may want to spend a class or two with simpler assignments to introduce or refresh Google Earth use.