Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Scrub Club Teaches Kids About Disease Prevention

Scrub Club is a website designed to teach students why they need to wash their hands. The Scrub Club offers videos, comics, and games designed to promote healthy hygiene habits to prevent the spread of diseases like the flu. For teachers, Scrub Club offers free downloads of posters, cartoon books, and lesson plans to promote hand washing. The downloads are available in English, Spanish, and French.

Applications for Education
With the flu and cold season upon us, it's a good time to remind students of the importance of hand washing. The Scrub Club offers some nice resources for sharing those reminders with students in grade K through 3.

Here are some related items that may be of interest to you:
Food Play - Resources About Food and Diet
Sugar Stacks - How Much Sugar is in Your Snack?

Cool Food Kidz Teaches Kids About Diet & Fitness

Cite PDFs and More with iCyte

iCyte is an online bookmark and annotation tool that I've previously reviewed here and recently learned of about some features of iCyte that I hadn't noticed before. The feature that I know some of my students will appreciate is the option to highlight and cite PDFs. iCyte gives users the ability to highlight and cite PDFs found on the web and PDFs from their local computers. The process is very similar to highlighting and citing a webpage, but there are a couple of differences which you can read about here.

When I originally reviewed iCyte it was not available for Google Chrome. Since that time iCyte has added support for Chrome, for Safari, and for iPad.

Another aspect of iCyte that has developed since my original review last year is the option to embed iCyte cites into a blog, wiki, or website. This could be a useful feature when students are contributing to a wiki or group blog. For example, when my students build a wiki about the US Civil War (which they'll be doing in early January) they can embed findings from their research to supplement the other aspects of their writings. Watch the video below to learn more.

Embedding cytes into blogs and wiki's from iCyte on Vimeo.

iCyte is free for educators and students, but the link for the free accounts can sometimes be hard to find. Click here to register for free iCyte accounts. 

Twurdy - A Web Search With a Readability Index

Last week I shared with you directions for refining Google search results by readability. I learned that little trick in Google Certified Teachers group where I also learned about Twurdy. Twurdy is search tool that automatically displays the readability of your search results for you. Twurdy uses a simple color-coded system to indicate how easy or difficult it is to read a particular website in your search results. There are three types of Twurdy searches; Just Twurdy, Simple Twurdy, and Twurdy with Pop. Here's how Twurdy defines the three search types:

Just Twurdy - searches using Twurdy's basic algorithm with medium speed and medium results.

Simple Twurdy - searches using Twurdy's simple algorithm for fast speed but less accurate results

Twurdy with Pop - searches using Twurdy's most complex algorithm which includes looking up the popularity of words within the text. It has a slower speed with more accurate results

Applications for Education
Twurdy could be a useful resource for teachers trying to find reference materials appropriately matched to their students' reading abilities. It could also be used by students to help the refine searches to match their abilities.