Sunday, September 11, 2016

Campaign Comics Templates for Kids

Make Beliefs Comix offers comic strip templates and writing prompts in up to seven languages. The templates and prompts can be completed online or you can print them out to give to your students. Recently, Make Beliefs Comix added templates centered around the 2016 U.S. Presidential election. These new comic templates include prompts for writing theoretical conversations/ debate points between Clinton and Trump, templates for political bumper stickers, templates for writing campaign promises, and a neat graphic organizer for designing your perfect candidate.

Applications for Education
To some students creating a comic feels less daunting than sitting down with a blank piece of paper and being told to write about something. The structure and visuals of a comic can help students craft a story or illustrate a point. These new campaign comic templates could be particularly useful in helping students break a complex topic into smaller chunks to write about. Through their comics students could demonstrate their understanding of candidates' positions on a variety of topics.

How to Create Shared Google Calendars

Last week on the Free Technology for Teachers Facebook page someone asked me for a recommendation for creating and maintaining a shared calendar. My immediate suggestion was to use Google Calendar. Google Calendar can be used in your web browser as well as in its respective iOS and Android apps. In the video embedded below I provide a short demonstration of how to create a shared Google Calendar. In the video I also explain how shared Google Calendars can be used by teaching teams.

Youngzine is Updated for 2016-17 School Year - Great Current Events Resource

Youngzine is a great service that provides teachers with current events articles written for classroom use. I first used the site in 2012 and it has only gotten better since then. Youngzine has been updated for the 2016-17 school year with a fresh and responsive design, new classroom discussion features, and easier sign-in options.

Youngzine articles feature a mix of news, sports, and entertainment stories for elementary school students. A new edition is published weekly. Most articles on Youngzine are accompanied by a supporting video. Articles that reference locations include a map so that students can quickly identify the setting for a story. All articles are accompanied by critical thinking prompts for students. Those prompts can be used in Youngzine online classrooms created by teachers.

In Youngzine online classrooms you can assign articles for your students to read, ask them to respond to articles and discussion prompts, and view their scores on the Youngzine weekly quiz. This year Youngzine added support for sign-in with a Google Account.

Applications for Education
Elementary school and middle school teachers looking for current events materials that will suit their students' reading abilities will find Youngzine to be a great resource. In addition to the classroom blog option featured above, Youngzine also offers students the option to contribute their own reporting to the site through the U-Write section of the site. Students can sign-up individually to contribute to Youngzine's U-Write section or a teacher can register his or her entire class.

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