Friday, December 19, 2014

Three Tools for Creating Last-minute Holiday Cards

In typical form I have done all of my Christmas shopping and card mailings in the last 24 hours. I know I am not the only one that waits until the last minute to get these things done. You may have students in the same boat. You may also find yourself looking for a way to help students create some last-minute holiday greeting cards of their own. The following three popular tools offer options for creating holiday cards.

Canva, PicMonkey, and PicCollage are currently offering holiday-themed graphics that you can use to create cards featuring your own pictures. Of the three Canva provides the most themes and the most options for customization. PicMonkey doesn't require students to create accounts in order to create their cards. And PicCollage is great if you're working on an Android tablet or on an iPad. (Canva also has an iPad app).

How Do Trees Survive the Winter?

It is winter in Maine and as I look through my living room windows I see a mix of leafless maple trees and green pine trees. What accounts for the differences in foliage on these trees? How do the maple, birch, and poplar trees in my yard survive the winter? Those questions and more are answered the Minute Science video, How do Trees Survive Winter?

After watching How do Trees Survive Winter? your students may have questions about the changing colors of leaves. The video below tackles that topic.

And if the talk of maple syrup makes your students wonder how it is made, take a look at Maple Syrup the Modern Way.

Bioman Biology - Science Games and Virtual Labs

Bioman Biology is a nice resource that I learned about from David Andrade. On Bioman Biology you will find dozens of educational games and virtual labs designed to help students learn about topics related to biology. The games and virtual labs are organized into eight topics; physiology, cells, ecology, genetics, classification, life chemistry, respiration, and scientific methods. Most the games are Flash-based but a handful of them are available as free iPad apps. The games and virtual labs are appropriate for middle school students.

Applications for Education
Bioman Biology offers you the option to track your students' game scores. To do this you have to register as a teacher. Then when your students complete a game they have the option to enter your email address and have their scores sent to you. Your students do not need to have email addresses of their own in order to send scores to you.

What Was Your Favorite New App or Website in 2014? - A Survey

Last week on School Library Journal I published a list of my favorite new and or significantly updated apps and websites of 2014. That list was based on my anecdotal evidence of judging reactions from people when I demonstrated those apps in workshops and the web traffic to blog posts about them. But I want to see what all of you think are the best new apps and websites of 2014. To that end I have created the one question survey that is embedded below. I will publish the results on December 23rd.

2014 International News Quiz for Students

The last CNN Student News episode for 2014 takes a look back at ten big international news stories from the year. As always, CNN Student News published a set of questions to go along with the video. You can find those questions here (link opens a PDF). Ask your students to try to answer the questions before showing the video in which all of the answers are revealed. The video is embedded below.

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