Thursday, December 11, 2008

Nice Translator - Very Simple Text Translation

Nice Translator is just that, a nice translator of text. Nice Translator is one of the easiest-to-use, simplest text translation tools that I've tried. To use Nice Translator simply select the language that you want your text translated into then start typing. As you type the translation of your text appears just below the text you're typing. Nice Translator will translate your text into your choice of 34 different languages.

Applications for Education
Nice Translator could be a good, free web resource for foreign language students as well as for ESL/EFL students.

Five Snow Related Lesson Resources

The first real snow and ice storm of the season has hit us here in Maine. The storm prompted me to take a look around the Internet for snow related lesson resources. Here are a handful that I found interesting.

1. Let It Snow is a lesson plan designed for use in ESL/ EFL classrooms. The activities center around snow. This lesson plan was of particular interest to me because I have a foreign exchange student from Thailand in one of my classes. A couple of weeks ago was the first time he saw or touched snow. The experience was great for him, his classmates, and me.

2. Weather Wiz Kids offers multiple lesson plans, activities, and reference materials for teaching lessons about the formation of snow and weather patterns. The lesson plans are designed with K-8 students in mind.

3. Earth Sky has a long list of weather related lesson plans suitable for all grade levels. Earth Sky also has a page for kids through which they can submit questions to scientists.

4. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration offers a game that teachers can use to help students learn about the water cycle. NOAA has outreach offices around the United States that are willing to work with your students on a field trip or in your classroom. Check the NOAA website to find the outreach office nearest to you. I went on a field trip to a NOAA office when I was in high school and briefly thought that I would be become a meteorologist.

5. National Geographic Kids has an article about avalanches, how avalanches form, and a video of an avalanche in action. You can also watch the National Geographic video embedded below which shows an avalanche started by three skiers.

55 Places for Free Sound Effects

Just in case I haven't mentioned it enough lately, Twitter is a great place to find information. Not a day goes bye that I don't find a dozen or more interesting things that could be used in the classroom. Obviously, I don't write about all of them, but some links I just have to share with you. 55 Great Websites to Download Free Sound Effects, a list compiled by, is a must-bookmark for anyone that teaches podcasting or video creation.

Applications for Education
As podcasting and video creation becomes more accessible to teachers and students the need for sources of free sound effects will continue to increase. This list of sources provides something for everyone.

Life as a Historical Re-enactor

One of my classes watched an episode of the Frontier House today as part of a lesson about the Homestead Act and life in the 19th century. If you teach US History, the Frontier House series and the accompanying website provide some good lessons that get students to compare life in the 19th century with life in the modern world (one of my students referred to it as "old-school Survivor). Coincidentally, this morning on the MSN homepage there was a link to an article written for Slate about life as a historical re-enactor. The article is written by Emily Yoffee about her experience re-enacting in an 18th century setting. A short video accompanies the article. I've embedded the video below.

Applications for Education
The article by Emily Yoffee, the video connected to her article, and the Frontier House lesson plans are all good resources for students to use in making comparisons between life in the 21st century and life in the 18th and 19th centuries.

Speakaboos - Listen to Fables, Nursery Rhymes, And More

I meant to post this yesterday, but I got caught up in my excitement about and forgot to post it.

Speakaboos is a website where children can listen to celebrities reading fables, nursery rhymes, fairy tales, lullabies, and more. The list of celebrity readers includes Kelly Ripa, Clay Aiken, and Kevin Bacon along with twelve others. Children can listen and watch animated versions of their favorite stories for free on the Speakaboos website. Parents and teachers that would like a permanent copy of the recordings for use offline can purchase downloads. 15% of all revenue from downloads purchased goes to the NEA's Creative Coalition.

Applications for Education
Speakaboos provides story guides, worksheets, and art projects that teachers can use the classroom. You and your students can also create your own Speakaboos recordings.

Do You Use a SMART Board?

If you use a SMART Board or similar device in your classroom, you should subscribe to Talking SMART Boards. Every time Anne Marie updates Talking SMART Boards I find a great resource to use with a SMART Board. The last update had a list of ten snowman activities you can do with a SMART Board. Check it out, subscribe, and learn.