Tuesday, October 14, 2014

How Do Vitamins Work? - A TED-Ed Lesson

How Do Vitamins Work? is a new TED-Ed lesson that could be used in a science class and or health class. The lesson includes an explanation of how our bodies absorb vitamins and the differences between lipid-soluble and water-soluble vitamins. Check out the "dig deeper" section of the lesson to find additional resources that you could use to introduce the topic to your students.

New Features Added to Google Classroom

If you're using Google Classroom, you may have noticed some new features added today. There are new features for students, for teachers, and for adminstrators in Google Classroom.

Students in your Google Classroom classes now have the option to mark assignments as done even if there is not a document or file to submit. For example, if you assign "read chapter 5" to your students they can mark that assignment as done after completing the reading.

Teachers can now set different permissions for their classes and students in Google Classroom. Teachers can mute individual students in the comment stream or prevent an entire class from commenting. Along the same line, teachers now have the option to sort students by first or last name. Finally, teachers now have the option to download all grades for an assignment at once.

Google Groups can now integrate with Google Classroom. Administrators now have the ability to pre-populate classes using existing Google Groups.

Video - How to Embed Remind (101) Messages Into Blogger and Google Sites

Remind (formerly known as Remind 101) is a great tool to use to reach students and their parents via text messages. But not all parents and not all students will want to opt-in to receive messages on their phones. If you embed your Remind text messages into your blog, those parents and students who choose not to receive messages on their phones can still see the information that you're sending through Remind. In the video below I demonstrate how to embed Remind messages into Blogger and Google Sites.

Monday, October 13, 2014

Wiki Summarizer Can Help Students Start Their Research Projects

Wiki Summarizer is a site that allows you to search Wikipedia, have articles summarized by key points, and provides lists of articles that are related to your original search. Wiki Summarizer also offers expandable webs of related articles. For example, I searched for "Maine" and a web of related terms was created. Clicking on the "+" symbol next to each term opens a new element of the web. The final summary aspect of the Wiki Summarizer is the hyperlinked word clouds for every Wikipedia article. You can click on any word in the word clouds to jump to the corresponding Wikipedia article.

Applications for Education
Wiki Summarizer could be a good tool for students who are just starting a research assignment and are not quite sure what terms to use or what topics to explore. By using the Wiki Summarizer web view or word cloud view students will be able to find some terms and topics that could help them alter and or direct their searches. In other words, Wiki Summarizer could help students who have a very broad research topic narrow down their searches.

15 Second Vocabulary Videos - A NY Times Learning Network Contest

Thanks to Larry Ferlazzo this morning I learned about a neat contest that The New York Times Learning Network is hosting. The 15-Second Vocabulary Contest asks students to create a short video in which they pronounce, define, and illustrate (animation, drawing, acting, claymation, stop-motion) the meaning of one of the words from this list of the Learning Network's Words of the Day.

The contest is open to students worldwide between the ages of 13 and 19. Submissions are due by November 11. Complete contest rules are available here.

A winning video from last year's contest is embedded below.


Applications for Education
Even if your students don't enter the contest, the concept of creating 15 second vocabulary videos is one that you can incorporate into your language arts lessons. If you want to create a gallery of vocabulary videos that your students make, consider using Google Drive to make a private gallery of videos.