Sunday, April 10, 2016

An Interactive Build a Body Lesson

A few years ago Sponge Lab Biology won a National Science Foundation award for its interactive Build a Body activity. Spend a few minutes using Build a Body and it is easy to understand why it was recognized by the NSF.

In Sponge Lab Biology's Build a Body students construct a human body system-by-system. To build a body students drag and drop into place the organs and bones of a human body. Each organ and bone is accompanied by a description of the purpose of that bone or organ. The systems that students can build in the Build a Body activity are the skeletal, digestive, respiratory, nervous, excretory, and circulatory systems.

Build a Body has a case study menu in which students can read about diseases, disorders, and and other concerns that affect the human body. In each case study students are given a short description of the concern followed by a question that they should be able to answer after completing the Build a Body activity.

Applications for Education
Build a Body was designed with high school students in mind. Build a Body could be an excellent resource to pair with Biodigital Human or Healthline's Body Maps. Have students use the Body Maps and Biodigital Human to study the construction of the human body then use Build a Body to test their knowledge.

30 Days of Shakespeare Presented by the New York Public Library

The New York Public Library is marking the 400th anniversary of Shakespeare's death by publishing 30 recordings of NYPL staff members reading their favorite Shakespeare speeches, monologues, or sonnets. One recording per day will be published throughout the month of April.


April is National Poetry Month in the U.S. These recordings could provide a nice model for your own "poem a day" classroom project. You could have students each take a turn reading their favorite poems this month. SoundCloud makes it easy to record and assemble a playlist of spoken recordings. Take a look at the video below to learn how to record on SoundCloud.


H/T to Open Culture for the NYPL recordings.

Three Google Apps Updates You Might Have Missed Last Week

Last week Google added a convenient polling option to Google Classroom. That update proved to be a huge hit as comments that I saw about it on Facebook and Twitter included, "finally," "sweet," and "woo hoo!"

The update to Google Classroom wasn't the only update to Google Apps that should be of interest to teachers. Last week a new task reminders function was added to the browser-based version of Google Calendar. The new reminders option in Google Calendar will let you create task reminders within the browser-based version of Google Calendar. Reminder tasks that you don't complete on a given day will automatically forward to the next day until you complete the task.

Microsoft Outlook users will be happy to learn that the Google Drive plug-in for Microsoft Office now supports Outlook. Screenshots of the new features can be seen on the Google Apps Update Blog.

Learn more about Google Classroom and Google Apps for Education at the Practical Ed Tech Chromebook Camp this summer in Portland, Maine.


Saturday, April 9, 2016

Poetry Vocabulary Sheets Containing Examples

Disclosure: BoomWriter is an advertiser on this blog. 

April is National Poetry Month in the U.S. BoomWriter offers a good resource for those teaching poetry this month. On BoomWriter's free resources page you will find a set of poetry vocabulary sheets that you can share with your students. In those vocabulary sheets you will find lists of key terms, definitions, and examples of different types of poems.

After reviewing BoomWriter's poetry vocabulary sheets to your students you can use BoomWriter's poetry anthology activity. In the poetry anthology activity students individual write poems then work together to assemble an anthology of the poems created by their peers. Students can organize the classroom poetry anthology according to poem types and topics. As a teacher you can monitor the construction of the anthology from your teacher dashboard in BoomWriter. BoomWriter is completely free to use for this activity.

Learn more about BoomWriter in my instructional video embedded below.

The Week in Review - A Walk in the Woods

Good morning from the Free Technology for Teachers world headquarters in Woodstock, Maine. It's a beautiful early spring morning for walking in the woods with two loyal dogs. As the sun is rising earlier now so too are my dogs rising earlier in the morning. We've already had one short walk this morning and we'll soon head out for a longer adventure. Before we do that I have this week's list of the most popular posts to share with you.

Here are this week's most popular posts:
1. New Polling Feature Added to Google Classroom
2. Click to Spin - A Fun and Free Random Name Picker
3. A Short Overview of 12 Tools for Creating Flipped Classroom Lessons
4. Capture Student Ideas with VideoNot.es & Google Classroom
5. 11 Backchannel & Informal Assessment Tools Compared in One Chart
6. Try the Google Newspaper Archive to Locate Old Articles and Images
7. Mozilla Releases an Interactive Web Literacy Map

Spring and Summer PD Opportunities With Me
More registrations for the Practical Ed Tech Summer Camps arrived this week. One month is left to grab your seat at the discounted rate. If coming to Maine isn't an option for you, take a look at the online workshops I'm hosting throughout the spring and summer.

Would you like to have me speak at your school or conference?
Click here to learn about my professional development services. 

Please visit the official advertisers that help keep this blog going.
Practical Ed Tech is the brand through which I offer PD webinars.
BoomWriter provides a fantastic tool for creating writing lessons. 
Cloudschool is a great online LMS and course creation tool. 
Google Forms in the Classroom is a good book on all things Google Forms. 
Storyboard That is my go-to tool for creating storyboards and cartoon stories.
Discovery Education & Wilkes University offer online courses for earning Master's degrees in Instructional Media.
PrepFactory offers a great place for students to prepare for SAT and ACT tests.
The University of Maryland Baltimore County offers graduate programs for teachers.
Boise State University offers a 100% online program in educational technology.
EdTechTeacher is hosting host workshops in six cities in the U.S. in the summer.