Friday, June 5, 2015

Google Adds More Underwater Imagery to Street View

For a couple of years now Google has offered Street View imagery that takes you underwater around the Galapagos Islands, the Maldives, and a handful of other places around the world. This week Google announced an expansion of underwater imagery. Calling it Street View imagery is a bit silly so let's call it Sea View imagery.The expansion includes 40 new destinations around the world.

The Sea View imagery will let you virtually swim with dolphins and whales, explore reefs, and dive with sea turtles. You can find all of the Sea View imagery in the Oceans Street View collection.

Applications for Education
After exploring the Sea View imagery students have students dive deeper with Marine Explore. Marine Explore is an open data community in which scientists and others share data sets about oceans. As a member (membership is free) you can search for data sets according to location and type of data (temperatures, sea ice extent, pollution, etc).

Teaching The Hunger Games with Storyboards

Disclosure: Storyboard That is an advertiser on

Storyboard That is continuously building new teacher guides. Their guides provide dozens of lesson plans for teaching language arts skills through the use of storyboards. The latest additions to Storyboard That's teacher guides include lesson plans on The Hunger Games and Fahrenheit 451.

The Hunger Games teacher guide includes plans for teaching point of view, cause and effect, and character analysis. The plans call for students to create storyboards to illustrate their understanding of the characters, themes, and plot of The Hunger Games. Like all Storyboard That teacher guides, the lessons in The Hunger Games teacher guide are aligned to ELA Common Core standards.

To learn more about how to use Storyboard That in your classroom, take a look at the recording of this webinar that I hosted back in February.

Champion Reader - A New Reading Game on Teach Your Monster to Read

Teach Your Monster to Read is a series of fun game designed to help students improve the speed and accuracy with which they recognize letters and sounds. Students play the games as a friendly monster avatar. The latest update to Teach Your Monster to Read comes in the form of new game called Champion Reader.

Champion Reader provides the third level of difficulty in the Teach Your Monster to Read series. The game introduces students to alternate pronunciations of letters and multiple ways of representing the same sounds. Like all of the Teach Your Monster to Read games Champion Reader sends students on a quest to complete by accurately recognizing words, letters, and sounds.

Teach Your Monster To Read - Champion Reader from Dina Makanji on Vimeo.

Applications for Education
Teachers can create and manage their students' accounts on Teach Your Monster to Read. Creating Teach Your Monster to Read accounts for all of your students is a simple process. Just register yourself as a teacher then enter your students' names (first names only) or upload a CSV file of your students' names. Teach Your Monster to Read will automatically generate a password for each student. As the teacher you can log-in anytime to see your students' progress. You can also turn off the password requirement during your class. Turning off the password requirement during class could be helpful when you want to get students into the activities as quickly as possible.

Our Story - an App for all Levels

This week I am hosting some guest bloggers. This is a guest post from Susan Myers.

A group from an intellectually disabled class visits the media center once a week. During the year, we made bird houses, conducted science experiments, used the catalog to locate books, and listened to stories. I thought that these students could be authors and walked them through the different parts of a book. The students spent about five library sessions creating their stories. After watching the students make books using construction paper and markers, I looked into having them use the technology they just received - iPads (we are 1:1 with Macs, but the intellectually disabled students have a cart of iPads in their room).

The Our Story app starts by allowing the user to create a new story or using an existing one. The next screen is divided into four areas. Along the top, icons allow for sharing, printing, or saving. The left side gives access to the camera roll and to previously saved stories. Students will mostly use the main area which shows photos from the camera roll and the bottom area which is the storyboard area. Photos can be dragged into the storyboard and moved around within the storyboard. Clicking on a photo lets you type in text or speak your caption.

The Our Story app worked better than I expected for creating a story with the students. I decided to ask them to create a story about the school. The students really enjoyed walking around the school, taking photos of areas they found interesting. I found the option of typing or speaking for each photo extremely helpful as some students barely know the alphabet while one young man reads and writes on about a second grade level.

The app does require a hold down and drag action to move photos down into the storyboard area. Students with low motor skill abilities (like some of the students involved in this activity) may need one on one assistance.

The app allows students to share their work by printing (PDF format) or by placing the story on Dropbox, iTunes, or emailing it. For more information about the Our Story app, visit

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