Tuesday, September 4, 2018

Twine - Write Choose-Your-Own-Adventure Stories

Twine is an open-source program for writing choose your own adventure stories. You can use Twine online or you can download the software for Mac or Windows. I used Twine online to create a short story.

To write a choose your own adventure story with Twine online start by giving your story a title. After titling your story you will be taken to a grid canvas on which you can write short passages in a series of sticky notes. Each sticky note should be given its own title. To link elements of your stories you place brackets around the title of note within a note. Each note can be linked to two or more other notes in your story. When your story is complete you can read through it and click through it in your browser.

If you use Twine online there are a couple of things you should know before you start. First, there is not a log-in or registration option. Your work is saved in your browser. To save your work permanently, use the "publish to file" option to download your work. Your Twine file can be opened later in your web browser where you can edit it further or simply read through your story. Second, to share Twine stories you will have to email the file to the person you want to read your story.

Applications for Education
Writing choose your own adventure stories in Twine could be a great way to get kids interested in creative writing. Building a good choose your own adventure story requires a lot of planning around possible story turns and endings. The visual nature of Twine's sticky note interface could help students see how parts of a story work together.

The Process of Plastic Bottle Recycling

I have t-shirts made from recycled plastic bottles and I bet that your students do too. How did those bottles become the material for t-shirts? Why didn't the recycling company just make more bottles out of the recycled bottles? And why are those numbers on the bottom of the bottle important? Those questions and more are answered in a new Reactions video, How Plastic Recycling Actually Works.

18 Great Cartoons That Teach Cyber Safety Lessons

Planet Nutshell is a video production company that produces short, animated videos to explain products, services, and concepts. Within their education section you will find videos addressing topics in  mathematics, physics, climate science, and cyber safety.

Their series of videos about Internet safety consists of eighteen videos for K-12 students. The series is called NetSafe and it has eighteen episodes covering topics like protecting personal information, responsible posting of pictures, and mobile location privacy. The videos are labeled with grade levels so that students in high school don't watch videos designed for K-3 students. A video for K-3 students and a video for high school students are embedded below.

Find & Read Old Newspapers Through the Google Newspaper Archive

Yesterday's blog post about the Chronicling America collection of digitized newspapers prompted Daniel Bassill to ask me about options for newspapers printed after 1963. My suggestion was to try the Google Newspaper Archive. In that archive you will find hundreds of digitized copies of newspapers printed around the world. In the archive you fill find newspapers published in the 19th, 20th, and 21st centuries. In the following video I provide a demonstration of how to search Google's Newspaper Archive.