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Thursday, April 2, 2015

5 Resources for National Poetry Month

April is National Poetry Month in the U.S. Writing and or understanding poetry can be a challenge for those of who don't consider ourselves the creative writing type. Surely we have students who feel that way too. Here are five resources that can help us understand and create poetry.

ReadWorks has a new selection of famous poems available on their website. The selection is organized by grade level. As with every passage on ReadWorks, each poem is accompanied by a set of guided reading questions.

BoomWriter has put together new vocabulary sheets for Poetry Month. The poetry vocabulary is part of a larger poetry lesson plan for elementary and middle school students. You can download the vocabulary words and lesson plans as PDFs. (Disclosure: BoomWriter advertises on FreeTech4Teachers.com).

The Poetry Foundation offers some helpful resources for teachers and students. One of the resources that immediately jumped out at me when I visited the Poetry Foundation's Learning Lab was the glossary of poetry terms. Students can search the glossary alphabetically, by form & type of poem, by rhyme & meter, by schools & projects, by technique, and by theory or criticism. The Poetry Foundation offers a free mobile app for iOS and Android. The app allows users to search for poems, save poems, and share favorite poems with their friends. You can search for poems by poet, by title, or by entering a line or two of a favorite poem.

Word Mover is a free iPad app and web app from Read Write Think. The app is designed to help students develop poems and short stories. When students open the Word Mover app they are shown a selection of words that they can drag onto a canvas to construct a poem or story. Word Mover provides students with eight canvas backgrounds on which they can construct their poems. If the word bank provided by Word Mover doesn’t offer enough words they can add their own words to the word bank.

Scholastic has assembled a big list of lesson resources for teaching poetry this month. One of the resources that I really like is the Poetry Idea Engine. The Poetry Idea Engine is a simple, interactive tool that helps students create four types of poems; haiku, limerick, cinquain, and free verse. To create poem on Poetry Idea Engine students select one of the four formats. If they pick one of the first three format students will be given a short explanation of the pattern before completing the template to create their poems.

What Does Your Thyroid Do? - A TED-Ed Lesson

How does the thyroid manage your metabolism? is the question driving a TED-Ed lesson about the importance of the thyroid in the human body. The short video provides a good definition of metabolism then goes on to explain how the thyroid influences metabolism. Explanations of and examples of hypothyroidism and hyperthyroidism conclude the lesson. The complete lesson and guiding questions can be found here.


Applications for Education
I've added this video to a playlist of five other TED-Ed lessons about how the human body works. The playlist could be helpful as introductory material for a middle school or high school biology class.

How to Create Custom QR Codes

Last night I wrote about Russel Tarr's QR Code Treasure Hunt Generator. That is one fun way to use QR codes in your classroom. Regina Schantz shared this picture (embedded in the Tweet below) of her students on a QR code treasure hunt.


A treasure hunt is just one of many uses of QR codes in classrooms. If your students use iPads or other mobile devices in your classroom QR codes make it easy for you to get every student to a webpage. A QR code can be used to distribute Google Documents, to distribute notes, contact information, and even a calendar event. In the video embedded below I provide a demonstration of how to use QR Droid Zapper to create custom QR codes.

Free Webinar This Evening - Backchannel and Informal Assessment Tools

This evening I am hosting free webinar on the best backchannel and informal assessment tools for teachers. This webinar is based on my popular in-person workshop of the same name. This is going to be an interactive webinar so come ready to participate. The webinar will be held at 7pm Eastern Time. Registration is limited to the first 200 people. Click here to register.

The webinar will be recorded. You do not need to email me to get the recording, it will be posted on FreeTech4Teachers.com and included in next Sunday’s Practical Ed Tech newsletter.