Google
 

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Most Popular Posts of the Year - #11, Fake Facebook Profiles

Like a lot of other people are, I'm taking this week to relax a bit and do some things that I haven't had time for lately. Therefore, all this week I'm rewinding the year by republishing the 25 most-read posts of the year. I hope that those of you who are also on vacation this week, enjoy every moment of it. See you (virtually) in the New Year.

Creating a fake Facebook profile for a character in a book or of a famous person in history could be a good way to get students interested in writing about that person. Doing that on Facebook.com is a violation of Facebook's terms of service, but there are some ways to create fake Facebook profiles without using Facebook.com. Here are three ways to create fake Facebook profiles.

My Fake Wall is a tool for creating a fake Facebook wall for a fictitious or historical character. To create a Fake Wall you do need to register for a My Fake Wall account. After registering you can upload images, write wall posts, even create "likes" and comments on fake posts. Click here to see the beginning of the Fake Wall I created for my dog.

Derrick Waddell created a Facebook template for historical figures. This template, available through the Google Docs public template gallery, asks students to complete a Facebook profile for famous people throughout history. The template has a place for pictures, an "about me" section, a friends column, and a map to plot the travels of historical figures. Please note, this template will not result in an actual Facebook account being created. Check out Derrick Waddell's blog Teach the Cloud where he has shared a video tutorial on using the Historical Facebook Template among other useful Google tutorials. The video is embedded below.


The Wall Machine allows users to generate a series of fake Facebook updates. You can add pictures to the fake profiles you create using The Wall Machine. The downside to The Wall Machine is that you have to sign in using your real Facebook account. So if Facebook is blocked in your school, The Wall Machine probably won't work for you. Watch the short video below for an overview of The Wall Machine.

The Wall Machine - Demo from kais on Vimeo.

Most Popular Posts of the Year - #12, 11 Social Studies Resources

Like a lot of other people are, I'm taking this week to relax a bit and do some things that I haven't had time for lately. Therefore, all this week I'm rewinding the year by republishing the 25 most-read posts of the year. I hope that those of you who are also on vacation this week, enjoy every moment of it. See you (virtually) in the New Year.

All week I've started each day with a list of eleven good resources to try in different content areas. On Monday I shared mathematics resources. On Tuesday I shared science resources. On Wednesday I shared language arts resources. And today I bring you eleven good social studies resources to try in 2011.

TimeRime allows users to create timelines that include text, images, audio, and video. One of the better features of TimeRime is that you can have more than one type of media for each event on your timeline. TimeRime users can also select which media type they want as the feature piece of each event. As we've come to expect with any web 2.0 tool of this type, you can embed the timeline in a blog or share it via email. TimeRime can be used in English or Spanish.

Historypin is a service developed by We Are What We Do in partnership with Google. Historypin allows anyone with a Google account to place images within the setting of current Google Maps Streetview imagery. If you don't have images to add, you can simply explore the imagery added by others. To explore the imagery on Historypin, zoom in on a location then select a range of dates on the Historypin timeline. Learn more about Historypin in this video.

If economics, particularly personal finance, is a part of your curriculum then you should check out some of Common Craft's work. Common Craft has three videos that could be used in a business class, economics class, or in any setting that requires students to have an understanding of banking practices. Here are direct links to each of the three videos: Investing in Plain English, Borrowing in Plain English, Saving in Plain English. (Disclosure, I have an in-kind affiliation with Common Craft).

The European Virtual Museum is the product of collaboration between twenty-seven European museums. The European Virtual Museum makes artifacts of European history available in interactive 3D form. Through the use of QuickTime technology the artifacts in the European Virtual Museum can be rotated for optimum viewing. Visitors to the European Virtual Museum can browse through the collections by chronology, geographic area, object type, contributing museum, routes, and tour itineraries.

Scribble Maps is a fun and useful application for drawing and typing on Google Maps. Using Scribble Maps anyone can draw and type on a map. All of the zoom options and most of the search options available on Google Maps are available when using Scribble Maps. You can zoom in on an area and then type text, draw a circle or a box around an area, you can even doodle stick figures or whatever you like on your map. Scribble Maps Pro allows you to import KML files, import spreadsheets, and import SHP files. Importing KML files allows you to add free hand drawing on top of files that you may have already created for Google Maps or Google Earth. Importing spreadsheets makes it easy to quickly add placemarks to a large number of places. SHP file importation allows you to add custom shapes to your maps. Watch this video to see these options in action.

Google Earth. The possibilities for using Google Earth in a social studies classroom are almost limitless. In Google Earth students can tour ancient Rome, explore WWI and WWII battle sites, learn about contemporary news stories such as events in Afghanistan, or use Google Earth as an almanac of facts. Students, of course, can use Google Earth to create digital stories. Students can create tours of military campaigns, trace the lives of famous people, or map the expansions and contractions of political borders. If you're looking for some directions to get started with Google Earth, please see Google Earth Across the Curriculum and or the official Google Earth help pages.


The Center on Congress at Indiana University has a good collection of interactive, role-playing activities for learning about how the United States' government functions. Each activity allows students to experience the roles and functions of different members of Congress. One of the activities that my Civics students have really enjoyed in the past is the "How a Member Decides to Vote" activity. In "How a Member Decides to Vote" students take on the role of a Congressman or Congresswoman for a week. During the simulated week, students receive phone calls from constituents, read newspaper headlines, meet with constituents, meet with lobbyists, and attend meetings with other Congressmen and Congresswomen. The "How a Member Decides to Vote" activity makes students account for their personal feelings as well as the influence of constituents and lobbyists.

Angela Cunningham is a high school school Social Studies teacher in Kentucky that I've had the pleasure of meeting at the last two ISTE conferences. Through her blog ChangeED Angela has shared some great ideas and resources for teaching history, civics, and geography. One of the great resources Angela has posted on her blog is a Google Map of placemarks representing more than 60 webcams and virtual tours. Click any placemark on the map to find a link to a virtual tour or webcam for that location. You can view the map here.

Snag Learning offers free access to high quality documentary films from notable producers like National Geographic and NOVA. Snag Learning categorizes documentaries by grade level and content area. Additionally, Snag Learning offers a series of guiding questions for each film. You can embed previews of each video into your blog, but you have to watch the full-length versions on Snag Learning.

Most of the social studies teachers I know, like to show a good documentary every once in a while. Instead of watching videos why not have your students make documentaries? One of the services that I really like for this purpose is JayCutJayCut is a free, online, video editing service. To use JayCut online you will need to join the JayCut community. Once you've joined you can immediately start creating a video. The JayCut editor allows you to use two video editing tracks, an audio track, and a transitions track to create your video. JayCut provides some stock video and stock transitions that you can use, but the best option is to upload your own images, video clips, and sound tracks. Earlier this fall JayCut also introduced new options for slow motion effects, direct recording from your webcam, a green screen, and color editing. The videos you create can be published online on the JayCut site, published directly to YouTube, or downloaded to your computer.

Ten by Ten is a unique program that links images with news stories. Every hour the top 100 news stories from around the world are linked to images on a ten by ten grid. The stories are ranked according to current popularity and importance. Clicking on an image in the grid will provide you with more information including links to more articles about the story. (You must allow pop-ups for the article links to work).

Most Popular Posts of the Year - #13, Five Crossword Builders

Like a lot of other people are, I'm taking this week to relax a bit and do some things that I haven't had time for lately. Therefore, all this week I'm rewinding the year by republishing the 25 most-read posts of the year. I hope that those of you who are also on vacation this week, enjoy every moment of it. See you (virtually) in the New Year.

A quick search of the Internet will reveal hundreds of free crossword puzzles and other word games. Another adding the word "maker" or "builder" to the same search will return many free programs for building your own crossword puzzles. The problem with about half of those results is those websites have pop-up ads or are otherwise littered with obtrusive advertising. The following are five crossword puzzle builders that offer simple and effective user interfaces without obtrusive advertising.

1. Read, Write, Think offers a crossword puzzle builder as well as pre-made crossword puzzles designed for all grade levels K-12.

2. Just Crosswords has a new puzzle maker with which you can build crossword puzzles, save them, print them, or embed into your website or blog. Just Crosswords also has more than 300 categorized, educational crossword puzzles.

3. Variety Games hosts a free crossword puzzle maker. You can select the dimensions of your puzzle or allow your puzzle to be auto-formatted. To use the puzzle in your classroom you will have to print the puzzle.

4. Armored Penguin has a very flexible crossword puzzle builder. You can select from a simple puzzle maker or large puzzle maker depending on the number of clues that you want to include. Armored Penguin's program also gives you the option of including or excluding an answer key.

5. Ed Helper has a basic crossword builder that accepts up to thirty words. Ed Helper has other basic puzzle builders for free. To use the more advanced options, like larger puzzles, you will have to subscribe to the service.

Most Popular Posts of the Year - #14, Edmodo The Total Classroom Solution

Like a lot of other people are, I'm taking this week to relax a bit and do some things that I haven't had time for lately. Therefore, all this week I'm rewinding the year by republishing the 25 most-read posts of the year. I hope that those of you who are also on vacation this week, enjoy every moment of it. See you (virtually) in the New Year.

In a digital world where we can easily "find an app for that" to help solve many problems, rarely do teachers have a one stop shopping place for all their classroom digital needs. There are many individual tools that can aid a teacher in retrieving student's digital work, polling/quizzing students or assigning work, but each of these tools usually requires a separate account. However, there is one, free, Web 2.0 app that brings everything together that you need for your classroom, including a social learning environment. The app that does all of this is called Edmodo. Here are just a few features that make Edmodo so great for teachers and students:
  • A place to assign and turn in work: The teacher can attach any file they may need for an assignment (rubric, worksheet, etc.) and students can upload any file to turn in their work. Links and embed codes can also be used to publish and share work easily.
  • A calendar to help students keep up with important dates: Assignment due dates, dates you'll be out, holidays, classroom birthdays or anything you can think of to post. Studentscan also add their own personal notes to dates that only they can see. The notes the students add to the calendar are not published to the class.
  • A digital library that will replace a student's flash drive: They can upload files into their "digital backpack" and download them when on any computer. The teacher can add necessary files to their library as well.
  • A place to post messages--urgent or not: Only teachers and students can interact with one another, student to student messages are not allowed. This feature is the most powerful and it's what makes Edmodo a "social LEARNING network." This feature looks and works a lot like a "wall" on Facebook.
  • A parent connection: every student is assigned a parent code so that parents can connect with the teacher on Edmodo, check grades and see posts to the class by the teacher and their child.
  • Groups: Teachers can create groups for classes, parents, study groups or connecting with distant classrooms. This feature keeps students safe and contains content only specific to certain groups. When students sign up for an account they don't need an email address, just the group code to join groups set up by their teachers.

Although, there are a lot more features to discuss, these are the cornerstone of what makes Edmodo so great for the classroom! Did I mention it looks a little like Facebook? Here is a screen shot of my 3rd period's Edmodo page:

If you would like to see some examples of how we've been using Edmodo in the classroom, here is our public page.



You might be asking, "where do all the great online tools I use everyday fit into using Edmodo?" Well, that's easy...any Web 2.o tool that allows your students to create a project and generate an embed code to publish it on a website, can be shared on Edmodo. Animoto, Glogster, Wallwisher, Cover it Live, Voki and many other great Web 2.0 apps can be incorporated into Edmodo, which brings it all together in the classroom. Here are some suggestions of ways to use these awesome tools within Edmodo:
  • Embed Wallwisher walls into the notes area for a brainstorming session
  • Post Animoto videos or Glogster posters into the notes area, then have students reply to at least 3 seperate posts to give peer to peer feedback on other students work
  • Embed a Cover it Live, live blogging, window to engage students in a moderated session where everyone shares their thoughts while watching a live event (presidential speech, classroom video, etc.)
  • Embed a Fotobabble in the notes area to reflect on a field trip that the whole class can hear. Each student can listen to each person's reflection to hear different experiences and perspectives of the trip.
I really do love Edmodo and my students enjoy the interaction it brings in the classroom. Whether you're a math teacher or an art teacher, Edmodo can be used effectively to accomplish your objectives. So if you haven't jumped on the Edmodo bandwagon, now is the time or your classroom is going to be left behind!

Resources:
Kim Munoz is a middle school Technology teacher at Jane Long Middle School in Bryan, Tx. Jane Long is a Title 1 campus that has been apart of a 1:1 laptop program. She has presented at TCEA as well as at the EdTech Unconference, an online conference that is now called the Teacher Learning Community. You can find her sharing resources on her classroom blog as well as on Twitter (@techmunoz) and Skype (kmunoz98).

Most Popular Posts of the Year - #15, 10 Grammar games

Like a lot of other people are, I'm taking this week to relax a bit and do some things that I haven't had time for lately. Therefore, all this week I'm rewinding the year by republishing the 25 most-read posts of the year. I hope that those of you who are also on vacation this week, enjoy every moment of it. See you (virtually) in the New Year.

1. Grammar Ninja is a fun game for students to play as they develop a working knowledge of the parts of speech. Grammar Ninja has three levels for students to work through. As long as you answer questions correctly, they continue through the game, but answer incorrectly and the words explode.

2. Mad Libs offers a widget that you can install on your blog to allow visitors to play Mad Libs. I've always thought that having a "fun element" on your classroom blog is a good way to keep students actively visiting the blog without prompting from you. If you're an English teacher, the Mad Libs widget might be something to consider adding to your blog.

3. Great Source iWrite from the Houghton Mifflin Harcourt company features an awesome animated and narrated glossary of grammar terms. In this glossary you will find animated, narrated videos explaining the use of punctuation. You can also find the same type of video explaining the parts of speech and mechanics of writing.

4. Grammar Bytes is a great website for Language Arts teachers. Grammar Bytes offers teachers and students a glossary of terms, handouts, interactive exercises, and slide show presentations. There are eighteen slide show presentations available for free download from Grammar Bytes. Each slide show is accompanied by a handout for students to complete as they view each presentation.

5. Daily Writing Tips is a blog that I've mentioned in the past as a good source of content about writing in English. Recently, they announced the release of an ebook about English grammar. The ebook is 34 pages long and is free to anyone that subscribes to their email newsletter. Visit Daily Writing Tips for all of the details about the ebook.

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

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

8. 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.

9. 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.

10. 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.

Image credit "The Grammar Police" by Flickr user the_munificent_sasquatch

LinkWithin

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...