Thursday, September 8, 2011

Story Corps Animated Stories of 9/11

In 2005 Story Corps began their 9/11 initiative to record a story for every life lost on September 11, 2001. Recently, they published three animated versions of these stories. If you're looking for some moving stories to use in your lessons about 9/11 you should watch these.

Motivate Students to Write Their Best With Boom Writer

Last spring I wrote about a neat collaborative writing service for students called Boom Writer. Since then I've learned a little more about it and I am really quite pleased with it. Here's what Boom Writer is: Boom Writer provides a "starter chapter" for a story and students continue the story by writing additional chapters. The chapters submitted (anonymously) by students are voted on and the chapters receiving the most votes make it into a book that students, teachers, and parents can choose to have published by Boom Writer.

Here's a short video introduction to Boom Writer.

WGBH Boston ran a ten minute feature on Boom Writer in schools last year. You can watch that video below.

What People Don't Get About My Job - Share This With Students and Parents

The Atlantic has a great article titled What People Don't Get About My Job.The article is comprised of 26 contributions from readers explaining what most people don't understand about their jobs. There is one job for every letter of the alphabet. In the article you will find jobs like Kindergarten Teacher, IRS employee, zookeeper, and even unemployed.

Applications for Education
Part of my responsibilities with my homeroom group (we call it Common Block in my school) is to talk with the students about their post-secondary plans. I'm thinking about having my students read this article next week as a way for them to see that there is more to many jobs than what they see from the outside. A good companion to What People Don't Get About My Job is iCould - True Career Stories.

Page Flip Flap - Add Page-turning Effects to PDFs

Update April 2020: The resource mentioned in this article is no longer online. 

Page Flip-Flap is a simple tool for turning your Word documents, PDFs, and images into an online book with page-turning effects. Page Flip-Flap is similar to tools like YouBlisher that I've previously highlighted. To use Page Flip-Flap you create your documents as you normally would. When you're ready to publish just upload your document to Page Flip-Flap and they will convert it into a document that you can display with page-turning effects. You can share your finished document via url or by embedding it into a webpage.

Applications for Education
If you're looking for a nice way to highlight your students' best writing try a service like Page Flip-Flap. You might consider combining all of the best writing for a marking period into one large ebook for parents and others to view on your classroom website or blog.

Interactive Civil War Poster

At this time last fall I received a great poster from that featured a roadmap for conducting historical research. This year they're back with another quality free poster for history teachers. This year's poster is about the US Civil War. The poster is titled How Do You Piece Together the History of the Civil War? This 24"x36" poster demonstrates some uses of primary documents and artifacts for reconstructing the history of the Civil War.

How Do You Piece Together the History of the Civil War? has an interactive companion site. The interactive version of the poster allows students to zoom-in on different parts of the poster and click through to find more information about those artifacts and their roles in the Civil War.

Applications for Education
I learned about How Do You Piece Together the History of the Civil War? from Glenn Wiebe who suggested getting the poster for your classroom and using the interactive site at the same time. Through both the poster and the site you can introduce students to the idea that a historical artifact is more than just an object, it can be the start of a great story.

After students explore the poster and interactive site, you could have them create their own interactive Civil War posters by using Glogster EDU.