Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Heyzap - Strategy Games for Your Class Website

heyZap is a newer website that hosts games of all types submitted by game developers. TechCrunch describes heyZap as "YouTube for flash games." heyZap provides customizable widgets for embedding any of the games on the site into your blog or website.

Applications for Education
heyZap doesn't have a category dedicated to educational games, but it does have categories for strategy games and puzzle games. The puzzle games category is where I found games about the US states and capitals. The strategy game category is where you can find games like Chess. The customizable game widget allows you to select specific games to add to your class website or blog.

Here are some related resources that may be of interest to you:
Ten Fun Educational Games for K-8 Students
The Math Arcade on Fun Brain
Study Stack - Build Your Own Review Games

The News About the News - Short, Fun TED Talk

While exploring the TED Talks website this afternoon I came across a short, fun talk given by Alisa Miller. In her talk Alisa Miller shares information about the news that Americans see and how Americans see it. Miller also explains why some global stories don't get the coverage that they should receive. During the talk Miller presents excellent visual representations of the type of news stories that are popular and where they are popular. The four minute talk is embedded below.

Reminder, if you need subtitles for this talk visit the TED website directly. On the TED website you can get subtitles and a transcript of this talk in eight languages.

Applications for Education
This TED Talk is short enough and effective enough to be an excellent starting place for a classroom discussion about what is news and what makes a story popular. If you work with ESL/EFL students it might be interesting to have those students exchange ideas about this topic with native English speakers.

World Food Programme - Lesson Plans and Games

The United Nations' World Food Programme's website has excellent resources for learning about world hunger and fighting world hunger. On the website teachers can download lesson plans for use in grades four through nine. These lesson plans call for a mix of online and offline activity. The lesson plan that teaches students what it's like to live on less than two dollars per day struck me as being a potentially powerful lesson for some students. Before using the lesson plans, you may want to have students review Hunger 101 on the WFP's website. In Hunger 101 students will learn basic world hunger statistics and vocabulary.

In addition to lesson plans, the World Food Programme's website offers students a large selection of educational online games and activities. The games are categorized by age group. Some of the games, like Food Force, are about world hunger while other games are more general in nature.

Applications for Education
The WFP's website looks like a great place to find resources for elementary and middle school classrooms.

Here are some related resources that may be of interest to you:
The Places We Live - Images and Sounds of Slums
Resources for UN Human Rights Day
Kids Around the World - Culture Lessons for K-5

Google Maps for More than Social Studies

I've mentioned Google Earth and Google Maps in more than 100 of the 1700+ posts published on this blog. Many of those posts highlight uses of Google Maps and Google Earth in the social studies classroom. The uses of Google Earth and Google Maps doesn't stop at the social studies classroom door, there are uses for these tools in math, science, and literature. Google for Educators highlights a dozen ways to use Google Maps and Google Earth across the curriculum.

Here are some other ideas and methods I've suggested for using Google Maps and Google Earth outside of the social studies classroom.
Google Lit Trips - The Greatest Road Trip Stories
The Travels of Odysseus in Google Earth
Monitoring and Mapping CO2 Emissions
More Real World Math
World Sunlight Map
Oral History of Route 66
Search Paintings Around the World
Stimulate Imagination With a Books and Google Maps Combo

The New Carnival of Education is Posted

The new Carnival of Education is posted on Siobhan Curious: Classroom as Microcosm. If you've never looked at it, you should because it is a good place to find some of the best user-submitted blog entries of the last week or so. You can find blog posts like mine about lesson plans for teaching Brown v. Board of Education and blog posts like Scott McLeod's about the way that educational leadership faculty are seen by those they serve.

The Importance of Supreme Court Nominations

Today's episode of CNN Student News leads off with a segment about President Obama's selection of Sonia Sotomayor for Supreme Court Justice. The segment explains why the appointment of Supreme Court Justice is so important to the US government. Last week I posted a list of lesson plan resources for teaching about the Supreme Court and the branches of government. You may want to take a look at that list after watching the video embedded below.