Tuesday, March 17, 2015

Writing About Weather

Disclosure: BoomWriter is an advertiser on FreeTech4Teachers.com

The wildly fluctuating temperatures, longer daylight hours, and the whipping wind outside my house are all signs that spring will be here soon. March is a great time to study the weather because we will have so many fluctuations in the patterns throughout the month. This month's featured lesson and vocabulary sheet on WordWriter is all about the weather.

WordWriter's weather-focused lesson plan and vocabulary sheet follows the same pattern as their other monthly features. The lesson plan includes a pre-made list of words for your students to use in the writing assignment that you distribute to them through BoomWriter's WordWriter service. The weather-related vocabulary terms are appropriate for fourth through eighth grade students.

If you haven't tried BoomWriter or WordWriter before, check out my demonstration videos embedded below. The first video shows just the perspective of the teacher. The second video shows the perspective of a student receiving an assignment.

How to Add Annotations to YouTube Videos - Video

Adding annotations to YouTube videos is a good way to add little bubbles of information to a video or to create a series of choose your own adventure videos. A great example of using annotations in student-produced videos can be found here. In the video embedded below I provide directions for adding annotations to your YouTube videos. You can also find screenshots of the process in this post.

Journey to the Centre of the Earth - An Animated Infographic

Journey to the Centre of the Earth is a neat infographic produced by the BBC. As you scroll down the infographic you will see little pieces of information slide into the graphic from the sides. Each of these pieces of information is a fun fact like the maximum depth of a metal detector, the depths of sunken boats, the depths of the layers of the Earth, and the pressure you would feel at various depths below the Earth's surface.

Applications for Education
Journey to the Centre of the Earth provides a good way for students to get a sense of just how far it is the center of the Earth. The depth references made throughout the infographic are ones that most students will understand (how deep an earth worm burrows, for example).

Pair Journey to the Centre of the Earth with Magnifying the Universe to help students see a bigger picture of our place in the world and universe.

H/T to Maps Mania for the BBC infographic. 

Monday, March 16, 2015

The Making of Maple Syrup

One of my favorite signs of spring is seeing maple syrup taps and buckets on the trees around me. Next Sunday is Maple Syrup Sunday here in Maine. If you're in Maine you might take kids to check out the process in person. If that's not an option for, take a look at the resources below for learning about the maple syrup creation process.

Maple Syrup the Modern Way is a three minute video about the process commercial producers use to make syrup.

Pure Canada Maple has a nice little graphic illustrating the maple syrup production process.

And Visit Maine has a little promo video about Maple Syrup Sunday. The video includes some information about the process.

Learn to Read by Writing with WriteReader

This is a guest post from Sabba Quidwai (@AskMsQ) of EdTechTeacher - an advertiser on this site.

Learning to read and write don’t have to be independent tasks with a new app called WriteReader, a literacy based learning platform where children from the age of three can create or participate in creating their own books. WriteReader begins by having students create a book and is designed for children to work with adults. The keyboard is specially designed to speak the sound of the letters as they are being typed.

  WriteReader Keyboard

To further support children, vowels are outlined in blue and consonants are outlined in red. The book has a pre-set template for children to add in images and text as well as adjust the colors.  Students complete the story by writing in their own words. Below what the child has written is a space for the adult to make corrections.  When the child compares his/her writing with the adult’s, then they begin to observe, assimilate and learn words.

WriteReader aligns with Common Core Standards K-5, and you can click here to learn more.


Once a child has written a word, there is an audio button that allows the child to hear the word being pronounced.  Furthermore, the app has a record-and-play function that can help the child listen and remember the pronunciation of the word allowing them by the end to have created an audio version of their story that can be played back anytime.  The app also has a place for students to insert images into their story. They can directly open the camera from the app or choose an existing photo from their library.

Above all, WriteReader allows children to become their own author and to publish their work from an early age.  Books created by the children can be printed, e-mailed and posted to social media directly from the app, allowing young children to have an authentic audience to share their work. You can view the many books children have published using WriteReader here.

You can learn more from Sabba this summer! She will be leading hands-on workshops for EdTechTeacher in Los Angeles and the San Francisco Bay Area.