Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Daryl Cagle's Pro Cartoonist Index and Lesson Plans

Daryl Cagle's political cartoons are frequently featured on MSNBC. In December I posted a link to a MSNBC year-in-review slideshow that included Cagle's political cartoons. Today, I learned that Daryl Cagle has section of his Political Cartoonist Index dedicated to lesson plans for elementary school, middle school, and high school teachers. The lesson plans include activities for learning to decode the meaning in political cartoons and political cartoon games. Right now the there are not a lot of lesson plans on the site, but those that are present are quite good and provide numerous links to additional resources.

Applications for Education
Daryl Cagle's lesson plans page is a good place to find materials for introducing your students to political caroons.

Leximo - The World's Multilingual Dictionary

Leximo is a multilingual dictionary constructed of words and definitions contributed by Leximo users. As of this writing, there are more than 93,000 words in at least ten languages. It appears that most of the words on the website right now are English or Hindi words.

Applications for Education
The Leximo concept could have some potential as a resource in foreign langauge or ESL/EFL classrooms. The definitions are contributed by users of the Leximo website so there is potential for the definitions to reflect a more casual or slang definition of a word than is found in a standard dictionary.

Track Class - Assignment Tracking for Students

Track Class is a relatively new entry into the online student organizer category of free educational resources. Track Class offers all of the features that we have come to expect in online student organizers. Through Track Class students can keep a schedule of courses, track assignment dates, write and save notes, and maintain a calendar of events. Inside Track Class students can also save files like essays they've written and slideshow presentations they've created. One feature that Track Class doesn't appear to offer is a text reminder service like that found on Soshiku.

Applications for Education
Track Class could be a good tool for middle school and high school students looking for an online planner. There are a number of services on the market that aim to help students organize their academic lives. Different organization services may work better for some students than others so it's worth showing students a variety of online planners.

Here are a few other planning tools that students can try:
Sticky Screen
Wipee List

Add Google News to Your Blog

Yesterday afternoon Google announced the release of a widget creation wizard that you can use to add Google News headlines to your blog or website. The Google News wizard makes it easy to customize the look and the content displayed on your blog. Once you have selected the news content you want displayed and the size of the display, simply copy the code generated for you and paste into your blog editor.

Applications for Education
If your curriculum calls for students to be aware of current news stories, displaying the Google News headlines on your classroom website will help students to meet expectation being knowledgeable about world news.

Displaying the Google News headlines is one way that you can attempt to make your classroom blog or district website "sticky" and keep parents and students looking at it longer.

The Tuskegee Airmen and Black History Month

Today's episode of CNN Student News includes a short segment about notable African-American aviators including the Tuskegee Airmen. The episode is embedded below and the segment appears around the 7.5 minute mark.

Here are a couple of additional resources about the Tuskegee Airmen.
American Visionaries - Tuskegee Airmen
Tuskegee Airmen Inc. Giving History a Future

For some excellent, free videos about great African-Americans check out the current front page feature on Snag Films.

For an extensive list of resources for teaching African-American history please visit Larry Ferlazzo's collection of links on the topic.