Friday, October 24, 2014

ReadWorks Offers Reading Comprehension Lessons Aligned to Popular Books

ReadWorks is a helpful service that I have featured a handful of times since its launch. ReadWorks has cataloged hundreds of lesson plans and nearly two thousand reading non-fiction and fiction passages aligned to Common Core standards. The latest enhancement to ReadWorks is the launch of reading comprehension units.

The ReadWorks reading comprehension units are available for students in Kindergarten through sixth grade. Each of the units contains a series of lesson plans arranged around popular children's stories like Stone Soup and young adult novels like The Bridge to Terabithia.  Each unit includes pacing guides, questions to facilitate close reading, and alignment to Common Core standards. The units arranged around children's stories also include graphic organizers.

Applications for Education
In addition to the reading comprehension units, ReadWorks offers vocabulary lists for popular children's stories and young adult novels. You can search for those lists by selecting a passage or a lesson in ReadWorks. After making that selection you will find a list of key vocabulary words to go with your selection.

With a free ReadWorks account you can search for lessons and reading passages by grade level, lexile score, reading skill, subject area, and text type (fiction or non-fiction). In your ReadWorks account you can create digital binders of the lesson plans and reading passages that you want to use.

Thursday, October 23, 2014

Try the New Add-ons for Google Forms

A few weeks ago Google Forms was updated with some long awaited features like question shuffling. This afternoon another great feature was added to Forms in the form of Add-ons for Google Forms. Add-ons can add helpful features to your Google Forms. For example, the Form Limiter Add-on enables you to have your Form automatically stop accepting responses at a day and time of your choosing. 

You can find Google Forms Add-ons by opening the new Add-ons menu that appears at the top of your Form editor. After opening that menu select "get add-ons" to browse the gallery of Forms Add-ons. 

Applications for Education
The Form Limiter Add-on mentioned above is useful for delivering timed assessments. Form Limiter can also be used to close the form when you a designated number of submissions have been made. That option is useful when you're using Google Forms to create capped registration lists.

gMath for Google Forms is another that teachers will find useful. gMath allows you create and insert graphs and mathematical expressions into your Google Forms. That feature is one that math teachers have wanted for years. 

PicMonkey + Thinglink = Interactive Collages

A couple of nights ago my friend Joe, a middle school social studies teacher, sent me a Facebook message about creating multimedia collages. My suggestion to Joe was to use PicMonkey and Thinglink. In the video below I demonstrate how to do that.

The Sounds of Silence Around the World - And How to Make Your Own Sound Maps

MoMA's Share Your Silence map is an interactive display of recordings of silence around the world. We often think of silence as being devoid of all sound, but that is often not the case. The hum of a lightbulb or the rustling of leaves often appears in the background of silence. MoMA's Share Your Silence captures those hidden noises in silence at places all over the world. You can contribute to the map here.

If the silence of MoMA's Share Your Silence is too much, listen to the sounds of nature on the Nature Sound Map. Nature Sound Map provides a wonderful way to explore the soundscape of the natural world. On the Nature Sound Map you will find placemarks containing recordings of nature. The recordings have been added to the project by professional sound recordists. Some of the recordings you will find feature the sounds of just one animal, the sounds of a jungle, sounds of a marsh, sounds of a storm, or sounds of oceans and rivers.

Applications for Education
You and your students could create your own sound maps by using a combination of Sound Cloud and Thinglink. To do this have your students record sounds using SoundCloud. SoundCloud can be used to record through a laptop, on an Android device, and on an iPad. After capturing sounds through SoundCloud have students place them on an ThingLink image of a map. The ThingLink remix option allows you to upload one image to start the project then have students make their own copies to edit. People viewing the completed project will be able to click the SoundCloud icons on the map to listen to the recordings.

H/T to Maps Mania for the info about Share Your Silence. 

Updated Flickr CC Attribution Tool

Alan Levine created a great tool for formatting Creative Commons attributions for Flickr images. That tool is called the Flickr CC Attribution Helper. In August I published a short tutorial on how to use it. This week Alan published a small update to the Flickr CC Attribution Helper. The update added a link to the CC license type along with the link to the image source.

This update doesn't change the way that the Flickr CC Attribution Helper works. If you already have it installed in your browser, you won't have to change a thing. Alan explains it all here.

For more information about Creative Commons licensing, check out this visual guide.