Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Create Holiday Cards from Google Docs Templates

Today, the Official Google Docs blog reminded readers of the many templates available for Google Docs users. Of particular relevance as the holidays near (whichever holidays those may be for you) is a selection of holiday themed greeting card and mailing label templates. Google Docs users will also find templates for holiday newsletters (the kind that always include updates about people you haven't heard from in a year) as well as templates for holiday party invitations.

Applications for Education
The Google Docs holiday themed templates could be used to have students create holiday greeting cards and newsletters through which they can develop letter writing skills.

On a related note, the Google Docs templates for students and teachers contains good templates for creating quizzes, attendance rosters, grade books, research reports, bibliographies, and many other useful templates.

Science Projects and Posters for Elementary Schools

Science Buddies is a great resource for science teachers and students. For teachers there are free lesson plans as well as a free poster about scientific method. For students there many ideas for science fair projects as well as tips for creating a great looking science fair presentation. If you or your students are having trouble deciding what type of science fair project to undertake, there is a topic selection wizard that will help you narrow down your list of choices.

Applications for Education
Science Buddies covers materials for elementary school, middle school, and high school.
The topic selection wizard could prove to be a valuable resource for students struggling to choose a topic.

What's In That Wagon? - An Oregon Trail Activity

I feel like I haven't shared enough elementary school resources lately so this one is for all of the elementary school teachers out there. What's In that Wagon is a part of a Think Quest activity about the Oregon Trail. The Oregon Trail is included in most elementary US History textbooks. Like the famous video/ computer game The Oregon Trail, this interactive activity give students an opportunity to plan for and travel the trail.

If you're looking for other interactive activities regarding the Oregon Trail and settlement of the western United States, History Globe has an interactive map as well as a virtual tour of the Oregon Trail.

I Made You a Beard - A Demonstration in Craftiness

I Made You a Beard is a fun blog that I came across through Twitter. The blog is written by Erin Dollar who creates costume beards of all shapes, sizes, and colors. She then posts pictures of the beards and posts a short blurb about the beard.

Applications for Education
I Made You a Beard is a fun demonstration of blogging and of craftiness. While you won't find specific directions for making the beards you might find some inspiration for an arts and crafts project with students.

Vocaroo - Create Voice Recordings Without Software

Vocaroo is a free service that allows users to create audio recordings without the need to install any software. All you need to provide is a microphone. I used the microphone built into my MacBook to make the recording below. What I like about Vocaroo besides the ability to record without installing software is the option to embed the recording anywhere. After completing your recording, Vocaroo gives you the choice to publish it or to scrap it and try again.

I've embedded a short greeting below.

Applications for Education
Vocaroo is an easy, free service that teachers and students can use to create audio recordings for use in slide shows or in blogs and websites. I recently saw one instance of Vocaroo being used to embed audio recordings into Google Earth place marks.

Comiqs - Create Comics to Play as Slide Shows

Comiqs is a new website for creating and sharing comic strips. The difference between Comiqs and similar websites is that Comiqs displays your creations in slide show style. I have put comic strips into slide shows in the past (see this example), but I did the creation with a drawing program then put each drawing into individual slides. The Comiqs program removes the step of transferring content from a drawing application to a publishing application. Using Comiqs I can now create my comic and publish it as a slide show in one place.

Comiqs users can import images or use the Comiqs gallery of images to create the characters for a comic. Comiqs provides a variety of conversation bubbles and text styles for users.

Applications for Education
The terms of service for Comiqs stipulates that users must be at least 13, therefore it is limited to students in grades eight through twelve. Comiqs could be used to have students create comic slide shows about a historical figure, a biology concept, or the main idea of a story.