Tuesday, October 25, 2022

The Differences Between Crows and Ravens

Edgar Allan Poe's The Raven gets read a lot in schools at this time of year. Why you should read Poe's work is explained in one of the Halloween-themed TED-Ed lessons that I shared a few days ago. What's not explained in those lessons is the difference between a raven and a crow. To answer that question, turn to a couple of resources from The Cornell Lab's Bird Academy

Caw vs. Croak: Inside the Calls of Crows and Ravens is an interesting three minute explanation of the differences between the calls that crows and ravens make. The narrator of the video even explains what some of the different calls mean to the birds. 

American Crows and Common Ravens is a reference page that describes the physical differences between crows and ravens. At the bottom of the page there is a short and fun quiz to test your crow and raven identification skills. 

Applications for Education
If you're fortunate to live in an area that has both crows and ravens, take your class on a little walk to see if they can spot the each and identify them by sight and or sound. 

A Fun Tool for Creating Avatars

The internet is full of websites on which you can make little icons and avatars. What it's not full of is free sites for that purpose that aren't littered with pop-up ads and similar annoyances. That's why I was happy to find Mustachio. Mustachio is a free site that anyone can use to create a simple avatar. 

To create an avatar on Mustachio simply go to the site and click on the flashing avatar until you see one that you like. You can then customize the basic avatar you've chosen. Some of the many customization options include changing the jawline of your avatar, adding or removing wrinkles, changing ear shape, and changing hair, skin, and eye colors. Watch this brief video to see how easy it is to create and download a free avatar on Mustachio

Applications for Education
Using a custom avatar can be a good alternative to using the stock avatars that students are assigned by various sites that they use for your class. It's also a good alternative to using their actual pictures. And creating a custom avatar is a quick and fun process that can be used as a reward or incentive in for reaching a goal in your classroom. I know some elementary school teachers who start the year with students using standard avatars and then as the year goes on students will get to create their own avatars when they've reached a particular goal for the class. 

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