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Monday, August 11, 2014

Literacy in Action - Model Lessons from Read Write Think

Read Write Think is one of the websites that I frequently consult when someone asks for a recommendation for good language arts lesson resources. Today, I visited Read Write Think and noticed a new (to me anyway) section for videos. Within the video library there is a collection titled Literacy in Action. Literacy in Action features videos of teachers modeling and explaining instructional methods. One of those videos is embedded below.




Applications for Education
The Literacy in Action videos could be good resources to share with pre-service teachers who are developing their instructional skills. Hopefully, more videos will be added to the collection soon.

Seven Web-based Tools for Delivering Flipped Lessons

This fall there will be teachers trying the flipped classroom approach to lessons for the first time. In the right setting the flipped classroom model can work well. My favorite tools for creating flipped lessons include the option to insert questions for students to answer while watching the video instead of waiting until the end to answer a series of questions. I also like tools that provide students with the opportunity to submit questions to their teachers while they are watching videos. These tools offer those options.

eduCanon is a good service for creating, assigning, and tracking your students' progress on flipped lessons. eduCanon allows teachers to build flipped lessons using YouTube and Vimeo videos, create questions about the videos, then assign lessons to their students. Teachers can track the progress of their students within eduCanon. To create lessons start by identifying a topic and objective then searching YouTube and Vimeo from within the eduCanon site. Once you've found a suitable video you can build multiple choice questions throughout the timeline of your chosen video. You can create as many lessons as you like and assign them to your students at any time. The video below provides a short overview of eduCanon.



Teachem is a service that uses the TED Ed model of creating lessons based on video. On Teachem teachers can build courses that are composed of a series of videos hosted on YouTube. Teachers can write questions and comments in "flashcards" that are tied to specific parts of each video and display next to each video. Students can take notes while watching the videos using the Teachem SmartNote system. Creating a Teachem course a straight-forward process of choosing a video URL then writing corresponding questions. When you create a Teachem course you can make it public or private. Public courses can be accessed by anyone that has address for your course. Teachem contains an option to collaborate with colleagues on the creation of courses.

VideoNotes is a neat tool for taking notes while watching videos. VideoNotes allows you to load any YouTube video on the left side of your screen and on the right side of the screen VideoNotes gives you a notepad to type on. VideoNotes integrates with your Google Drive account. By integrating with Google Drive VideoNotes allows you to share your notes and collaborate on your notes just as you can do with a Google Document. You can use VideoNotes to have students submit questions to you and each other while watching videos. Of course, you can insert questions into the conversation for your students to answer too.

Blubbr is a neat quiz creation service that I have raved about since I tried it for the first time nearly two years ago. Through Blubbr you can create interactive quizzes that are based on YouTube clips. Your quizzes can be about anything of your choosing. The structure of the quizzes has a viewer watch a short clip then answer a multiple choice question about the clip. Viewers know right away if they chose the correct answer or not.

Zaption is a tool for creating video-based quizzes. Unlike some services like TED-Ed that have students watch a video then answer questions at the end, Zaption allows you to display questions for students to answer as they watch a video. To create a quiz on Zaption you start by creating a "tour" in your account. A tour is a combination of videos, images, and text arranged into a sequence. To add a video to a tour you can search and select one within Zaption. Zaption pulls videos from YouTube, Vimeo, PBS, or National Geographic. After choosing your video, start watching it then pause it when you want to add a question. You can add questions in the form of multiple choice, open response, or check box response. When students watch the video they will see your questions appear in the context in which you set them. Take a look at the Zaption showcase for some great examples of Zaption tours that incorporate video, images, and text.


EdPuzzle is a neat tool that allows you to add your voice and questions to educational videos. On EdPuzzle you can search for educational videos from Khan Academy and Learn Zillion. Once you've found a video that you like, you can add your voice comments to it. You can also create a series of questions to go along with your chosen video. Questions are inserted along a timeline that matches the video. That means that your students don't have to wait until the end of a video in order to answer the questions.

Blendspace makes it easy for teachers to organize and share educational materials in a visually pleasing format. On Blendspace you arrange videos, links, images, and files around any topic of your choosing. Blendspace has built-in search tools so that you do not have to leave your Blendspace account in order to locate resources. When you share a set of Blendspace materials with your students they can give you feedback to show that they understand the materials or they can ask questions about the materials. You can also see if your students actually looked at all of the materials that you have shared with them. Using Blendspace can be a good way to create and deliver flipped lessons. In fact, Blendspace offers a recorded webinar about that topic. The recording is embedded below.

Free Webinar - Back to School With Socrative

The folks at Socrative, many teachers' favorite informal assessment tool, will be hosting a free webinar this week. Join the webinar on Wednesday at 5pm EST to learn the ins and outs of using Socrative in your classroom this year. If you haven't yet tried version 2.0 (all accounts were transitioned to version 2.0 over the summer), this webinar is for you. Prior registration is not required in order to attend the webinar, just hit this link to join on Wednesday at 5pm EST.

Check out the videos below for a little pre-webinar introduction to Socrative version 2.0.




Disclosure: Socrative's new parent company, MasteryConnect, is an advertiser on this blog. 

Dozens of Math Games for Primary / Elementary School Students

The math section of the Woodlands Junior School's games website offers dozens of mathematics games for elementary school students. The games are organized according to skill sets. The categories are measuring skills, number skills, shape and space skills, and data skills. Many of the games that you will find on the Woodlands Resources site are appropriate for use on interactive whiteboards and touchscreen computers.

In addition to the mathematics games Woodlands Resources includes sections for science and literacy games. The first couple of science games links that I clicked led to pages that had been moved so I'm not sure how often the science section is updated. The literacy section features games that use British English so teachers of American students may not find them all that useful.

Applications for Education
Elementary school teachers that are looking for some good mathematics games to add to their lists of resources would do well to check out the links on the Woodlands Resources site. While none of the games are ground-breaking in what they offer, they are fine as fun practice activities for kids.

Get to Know Your New Students Through Comics

As every teacher knows, it can take a while for new students to open up to each other and to you. One way to get them to share stories about themselves is to have them put it into a fun comic story. Through creating comic stories you can have students share favorite stories from their summer vacations. In the process students learn how to use a new tool, practice developing storylines, and they let you in on a little bit of who they are as people.

Here are a few web-based tools that your students can use to create comic stories to share with you.

Comic Master is a free tool designed for students to use to create comics in the "graphic novel style" that is popular with a lot of kids in the ten to fourteen years old age range. By using Comic Master to create their stories about their summer adventures students can turn themselves into the "super hero" of their stories. Comic Master provides a drag and drop interface for students to build their comics on. Students using Comic Master can select from a variety of layouts, backgrounds, characters, effects, and fonts. Students can create free accounts on Comic Master to save their works and edit them whenever they like. Comic Master gives students the option to create and print multiple page stories.


Storyboard That provides templates in which you can create your stories in a comic strip style. To help you create your story Storyboard That provides dozens of scenes, characters, and text bubbles to fill your storyboard's frames. Each element that you drag into your storyboard's frames can be re-sized, rotated, and re-positioned. Storyboard That has free and paid plans. The free plan allows you to create three and six frame stories. The free plan also limits you to three storyboards per week. A paid classroom account offers options for managing student accounts, limiting sharing to classroom members only, and a classroom account offers more frames per storyboard.

Make Beliefs is a free comic strip creation tool that provides students with a variety of templates, characters, and prompts for building their own comic strips. Make Beliefs provides students with a pre-drawn characters and dialogue boxes which they can insert into each box of their comic strip. The editing options allow users the flexibility to alter the size of each character and dialogue bubble, bring elements forward within each box, and alter the sequence of each box in the comic strip. Students that have trouble starting a story can access writing prompts through make beliefs. Most impressively, Make Beliefs allows users to write their comic strip's dialogue in English, Spanish, French, German, Italian, Portugese, or Latin.

Disclosure: Storyboard That is an advertiser on this blog. 

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