Tuesday, October 13, 2015

Teaching Halloween Lessons With Storyboards

Storyboard That is constantly developing new lesson plans and guides for teachers. The latest addition to their collection of guides is a series of activities about Halloween. In the series you will find guides to using storyboards to teach Halloween safety and ideas for using storyboards as Halloween story starters.

If the Halloween story starters or safety guides aren't for you, you might want to take a look at the option to use Storyboard That to create Halloween cards. Storyboard That offers a variety of templates for creating cards for a variety of occasions. In the video embedded below I demonstrate how to use Storyboard That to create a greeting card.

Disclosure: Storyboard That is an advertiser on FreeTech4Teachers.com.

MoocNote 2.0 - More Features for Creating Video Lessons

Last month I wrote a review of free video lesson creation tool called MoocNote. At the time it allowed you to add time-stamped comments, questions, and links to videos. Today, I learned that MoocNote has added a bunch of new features that teachers will like.

You can now build video lessons on MoocNote by using videos from your Dropbox or Google Drive account. This is a huge enhancement for teachers who work in environments that block YouTube. It's also great for anyone who has made his or her own videos and wants to add interactive question elements to them.

The latest version of MoocNote includes an option for creating groups or classes. You can create public or private groups with which you share your video lessons. You can arrange all of your videos into courses then share those courses with the group. If your course is a work in progress, you can add to it as needed and everyone in your group will see the additional content as you add it.

Finally, students no longer have to create accounts on MoocNote in order to view lessons that you make public. If you make your video lesson public, anyone can view it. If you want to keep your video lesson private, students will have to register to view it. MoocNote now supports using a Google Account to log-in.

Three Examples of Using Instagram in K-12 Settings

In the past I've written about using Instagram as part of an effort to promote a school event. That post focused mostly on encouraging others to use a hashtag for your event. There are other good ways to use Instagram in K-12 settings. Just a few minutes ago I was reminded of this by looking at one of Stephen Veliz's Instagram posts.

Stephen Veliz is a history teacher that I have followed on Instagram for more than a year. I'm drawn to his account because during the school year he posts some great history questions for his students. The questions are, obviously, connected to a picture. Students can earn extra credit for answering the questions correctly. Below you will see a screenshot of one of Stephen's recent posts for students.
Click image to view full size.
Tim Lauer is an elementary school principal in Oregon who uses Instagram to share pictures and videos highlighting the good things happening in his school. I've always thought that if schools shared the good stories of their schools more often, they'll build better community support and engagement. Tim seems to be doing this. Check out his Instagram account here.

Goose Creek Consolidated Independent School District's tech department has an Instagram account that showcases the work they're doing to support teachers and students. I particularly like this post from earlier this fall in which they're encouraging teachers to build websites with Weebly.

Three Uses for Student Audio Recordings

Yesterday, on the Free Technology for Teachers Facebook page I shared a post featuring some tools that students can use to create podcasts. There are other ways to use audio production tools instead of publishing full-fledged podcasts. Here are three ways that I frequently see teachers using audio recordings with students.

1. Recording dialogues and monologues to practice speaking a second language.
Students record themselves speaking so that they can play it back to identify mistakes. Often teachers will have students share their recordings with them so that they can provide students with feedback on things like pronunciations and verb conjugations.

2. Recording an interview with a family member. 
The StoryCorps Great Questions List can help students choose and or create questions to use in an interview. If your students have iOS or Android devices, the StoryCorps.me App has many interview questions and a script for students to follow as they conduct interviews. The app will record the interview.

3. Audio reflections on an event or series of events.
During election season there is no shortage of televised debates for students to watch. In a social studies class, I would ask students to record short reflections/ responses to what they saw and heard during a debate. Install the SpeakPipe widget on your blog and students can submit responses directly through the blog. If you don't want to install a recording widget on your blog, consider using AudioBoom as a recording tool for students.

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