Friday, May 27, 2016

The Origin and Meaning of Memorial Day

Memorial Day is on Monday. Here are a couple of quick resources that you may want to include in a lesson about Memorial Day.

The Meaning of Memorial Day is a two minute video covering the origins of the holiday in the United States. The video is embedded below.

The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs offers the following video overview of the history of Memorial Day.

For more resources for teaching about Memorial Day, visit Larry Ferlazzo's list of resources.

Thursday, May 26, 2016

Mentimeter Adds a Quiz Option to Their Polling Service

Mentimeter is a nice service that allows you to pose a question to your audience and get instant feedback on that question through cell phones, tablets, and any other Internet-connected device. I reviewed the service a few years ago. Since then Mentimeter has added some more options for teachers.

The latest option added to Mentimeter is a quiz component. Like other quiz game systems, teachers create questions that students have to answer quickly and accurately. Mentimeter gives you the option to show immediate feedback on each question. There is a time limit that you can set for the questions. Students play along by either entering a quiz code on their phones, tablets, or computers or by scanning a QR code that you display to them.

Another neat response option in Mentimeter is the word cloud response. This lets you create an open-ended question for your students to respond to. Their responses are displayed as a word cloud on your screen. Mentimeter includes a profanity filter to preserve a classroom-friendly environment. Again, students join this activity by using a class code or by scanning a QR code.

Applications for Education
Mentimeter, like Socrative and Kahoot, is a good tool for collecting informal feedback from your students. You could use Mentimeter to ask students simple questions like, "do you feel ready for the quiz on Friday?" then use that information to formulate your next lesson plan. Tools like Mentimeter are also good to use as exit ticket systems at the end of a class meeting. Again, you can use the information collected through those exit tickets to influence how you design your next day's lesson plan.

Storyboard That Now Offers Customizable Scenes

Storyboard That has become a popular digital storytelling tool over the last few years. That popularity is due in large part to their response to feature requests from teachers. One of the newest features added to Storyboard That is the option to customize the background scenes in each frame of a storyboard.

Now when you drag a background scene into a frame on Storyboard That you can edit the scene by adjusting the color scheme, by changing the lighting (time of day), and by adding or removing elements from the scene.
Applications for Education
Watch this recent webinar recording to learn more about the many ways that Storyboard That can be used in your classroom.

Disclosure: Storyboard That is an advertiser on this blog. 

Wednesday, May 25, 2016

Listening Effectively - Tips from a Student

The head tilt says, "I'm listening."
Last week I stumbled upon an older Life Hacker article about how to improve your listening skills. It's a good article that students should read. After reading the article I did a YouTube search for videos on the topic. I found plenty, but none that I thought were worth sharing here. So I headed over to Next Vista to see if there were any student-produced videos about listening skills. Sure enough there was one.

The following student-produced video explains the LEAP technique for effective listening.

How to Use ReadWorks Digital - Create, Share, & Grade Reading Assignments

A few weeks ago ReadWorks teased the launch of a new platform called ReadWorks Digital. Yesterday, ReadWorks Digital finally launched to general public.

ReadWorks Digital is built upon the popular ReadWorks service for finding articles aligned to grade level, lexile, and Common Core standards. ReadWorks articles are accompanied by reading comprehension questions, vocabulary lists, and discussion questions. The ReadWorks Digital platform makes it easy for you to distribute articles and assignments to students in an online classroom environment. Within ReadWorks Digital teachers can track students' progress on assignments, see responses to questions, and grade students' responses to questions.

In the video embedded below I demonstrate the teacher side and student side of ReadWorks Digital.