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Tuesday, April 12, 2016

Scribeasy Offers Great Visual Prompts for Creating Short Stories

Scribeasy is a free iPad app that offers a fun environment in which students can write short stories. Students create stories on Scribeasy by first selecting a background image then dragging and dropping additional pictures onto their chosen background images. When students select objects to add to their backgrounds, a narrator reads the name of the object aloud. Students can move and resize all images to create a visual story in Scribeasy.

Once the visuals are in place on Scribeasy students then write a story about the scenes they've created. The next step is where Scribeasy shines. Scribeasy gives students a list of suggested words to use in their stories. The writing process is a timed activity. Students can choose to write for a short, medium, or large amount of time (they can extend the time if needed). Completed stories are saved in the app. Students can also save their stories to the camera roll on their iPads.

Applications for Education
Scribeasy could provide reluctant writers with a comfortable way to get started on the writing process. The image selection process could trigger a bunch of story ideas for students to write about.

How to Create a Vocabulary Sorting Game on Classtools

Classtools.net, developed and maintained by history teacher Russel Tarr, offers lots of great templates that you can use to create review activities for your students. Recently, I received an email from a reader who was having trouble with the Dustbin game template on Classtools.net. To help her out I created the video that you see embedded below.


Applications for Education
Playing the Dustbin game could be a good way for your students to review key vocabulary terms. In a science classroom you could create a game in which students sort animal names into the categories of mammal, reptile, fish, and bird. In a geography classroom you could create a game in which students sort city names according to state, province, country, or continent.

Why Are Airplane Engines So Big? - How Jet Engines Work #STEM

Minute Physics recently published a great new video about jet engines. In Why Are Airplane Engines So Big? viewers can learn why jet engines have gotten larger over time, why they biggest engines don't always go on the biggest or fastest airplanes, and the basic principles of jet propulsion. The video briefly explains the mathematics involved in determining at which point an engine becomes too big or too small to be efficient. It is a fast-paced video so your students may need to watch it a couple of times to catch everything.


Last year I had the privilege to fly on an A380. The A380 is the largest commercial jet in the world. As I saw the plane towering over the jetway in Dallas I couldn't help but be amazed at the engineering that makes it possible for something so large to fly across the Pacific in one shot.  The explanation can be found in a Minute Physics video that Airbus recently sponsored. How Do Airplanes Fly? explains the roles of wings, propellers, turbines, and wind currents in making a plane fly.



These videos could be the basis of a flipped science lesson. In this post I provided an overview of how to use five services to create flipped video lessons.

How to Use Facebook to Bookmark Links

Almost every day I see a Facebook friend or two tag herself/ himself in the comments on a Facebook post purely for the purpose of "saving for later." Perhaps you have a friend that does the same. There is an easier way to save items in Facebook. That is to simply open the drop-down menu in the upper-right corner of a Facebook post and select save. All links are automatically organized for you in your "saved" section in Facebook. Take a look at my video embedded below to see how that works.