Tuesday, August 19, 2014

The Black Death - A TED-Ed Lesson

One of my favorite examples of using video to teach short lessons is the Black Death in 90 Seconds. It's a simple video that demonstrates that you don't have to create a fancy video to deliver a quality lesson. While the video is good, it's not a complete lesson on its own. To extend the lesson take a look at this new TED-Ed video, The Past, Present, and Future of the Bubonic Plague.

Larry Ferlazzo's Hand-outs on Student Motivation Available for Free

Larry Ferlazzo has written two books on motivating students. The third book in his series will be out in 2015. I was not aware of this until Larry's reminder earlier today, you can download all of the student hand-outs from his books for free. You do not have to have purchased the ebook or the print book in order to access the hand-outs. Of course, you'll probably get more out of the hand-outs if you read the books. Click here for Larry's directions on downloading the hand-outs.

Global Schoolyard Bioblitz - A Global Nature Lesson from Project Noah

Project Noah is a global project to which anyone can contribute. On Project Noah you can share pictures and stories of the plants and the animals that you observe in your neighborhood. Project Noah has a section titled Missions in which you can find projects that you can contribute to. The Missions ask people to make contributions of images and observations about a specific animal, plant, or region.

Project Noah for Teachers allows you to create and manage Project Noah accounts for your students. You can also use Project Noah for Teachers to enroll your students in "missions" or projects on Project Noah. A great Project Noah mission for students that is currently running is the Global Schoolyard Bioblitz. The Global Schoolyard Bioblitz was created by the National Environmental Education Foundation and National Geographic Education. The mission is to have students collect and share wildlife observations from their schoolyards around the world. Contributions to the mission don't have to be exotic because what is normal to you is exotic to someone else.

Project Noah offers iOS and Android apps that you can use to record and share your observations on the go.

Monday, August 18, 2014

Activities for Teaching Students How to Research With Google Books

Google Books can be a good research tool for students if they are aware of it and know how to use it. These are the activities that I often use to teach students and others about the features of Google Books.

1. Search for a book by using the "researching a topic?" search box.
2. Use the advanced search menu to refine your search to "full view only" books.
3. Use the advanced search menu to refine a search by date, author, or publisher.
4. Search within a book for a name or phrase.
5. Download a free ebook.
6. Share an ebook via the link provided or by embedding it into a blog post.
7. Create a bookshelf in your Google Books account and add some books to it.
8. Share your bookshelf with someone else.

The following video and slides provide directions on using Google Books.

Human Footprint Interactives from National Geographic

National Geographic offers a couple of neat interactive charts that illustrate the environmental impact of individual choices. The Personal Energy Meter is a tool for evaluating your personal carbon footprint. The meter asks for your location then asks a series of questions about your energy consumption. The result compares you to the average person in your region.

The Human Footprint Interactive shows you how you compare to others around the world when it comes to consumption of foods and consumer goods. Pick any of the ten items like eggs, bread, or soda pop to see how much you consume compared to people in other parts of the world. You can also compare your water consumption to that of others around the world.

Applications for Education 
Both of these interactive charts could be useful in starting lessons about energy and natural resource consumption. Have students use both interactives to see how they compare to others. Then ask students to identify opportunities for reducing consumption.