Thursday, December 15, 2016

Media Literacy & Fake News - A Lesson Plan

C-SPAN Classroom has a new lesson plan that is quite timely given all of the recent stories about fake news stories created and shared through social media. Media Literacy & Fake News is a free lesson plan that is based on five C-SPAN videos featuring authors and other experts talking about the role of media in influencing how people think about political topics. The last video in the lesson plan features writers from The Onion talking about why they're disappointed when people believe their stories are real.


Media Literacy & Fake News can be viewed on the C-SPAN website or as a Google Doc here.

This lesson plan could easily be expanded by asking students to identify fake news stories that are circulating in their own social media echo chambers.

Three Ways to Create Multimedia Year-in-Review Timelines

The year is almost over and for many of us this is a time to look back at the year. Creating a year-in-review is a great way to celebrate our successes and learn from our failures. Creating a multimedia timeline is one way that your students can structure a year-in-review. They can make personal year-in-review timelines or make a timeline to review the biggest news stories of the year. The following three tools all provide a good way to create multimedia timelines.

The History Project provides a fantastic platform for creating personal year-in-review timelines. The History Project lets you upload your own pictures or import pictures from social networks to add to your timeline. Each event on your timeline can include multiple pictures. After adding a picture to a timeline event you can record audio to add to that event. You also have the option to upload an existing audio recording. Of course, like any good time tool, The History Project lets you write in notes, dates, and locations. When you write in a location a Google Map of that location is added to your timeline event. A video overview of The History Project can be seen on my YouTube channel.

Timeline JS offers nearly unlimited flexibility for including media in a timeline. Timeline JS timelines can include pictures, videos, audio files, and maps. Students can collaborate on the creation of multimedia timelines published through Timeline JS. The video embedded below provides an overview of how to use Timeline JS.


Read Write Think's timeline creation tool is a great choice for elementary school settings. Students don't have to create accounts in order to use the tool. It can be used on Chromebooks, laptops of all varieties, iPads, and Android tablets. The only limitation to it is that students can only use pictures and text in their timelines.



More ideas and directions for developing and using multimedia timelines will be shared in Teaching History With Technology starting in January.

Wednesday, December 14, 2016

PBS LearningMedia's Digital Innovator Program Seeks Applicants for 2017

PBS LearningMedia is hosting their Digital Innovators program again in 2017. The program recognizes K-12 teachers who excel at using digital media in their classrooms. There is also a leadership component of the program as PBS is searching for people who can be leaders in helping other teachers utilize digital media. Teachers selected as PBS LearningMedia Digital Innovators will receive a trip to San Antonio, Texas for the PBS LearningMedia Digital Innovators Summit and the ISTE conference in June, 2017.

The deadline to apply for the PBS LearningMedia Digital Innovators program is February 13, 2017. The application does require that you create and submit an original video. A sample from one of 2016's Digital Innovators is embedded below. The full application requirements can be found here.

Snot, Poop, Puke, and the Lessons They Teach

This post was inspired by my daughter whose snot, poop, and puke have been on me at various points in the last few days.

Who Pooped? is one of the most Pinned resources of all time on this blog. Who Pooped? is an interactive site in which students learn about various animals by guessing which animal created which pile of poop. Believe it or not, there is actually some good information about the animals that follows each round of guessing who created which poop. Cows are one of the that animals you can learn about on Who Pooped? (give the site some time to load in order to view all features).

In the video below a Rube Goldberg machine is used to show how a cow's digestive tract works.



Cow from Nova Jiang on Vimeo.

The Cleveland Clinic offers an infographic titled The Color of Snot. The infographic breaks-down what the color of your nasal mucus indicates about your health. The infographic might be of interest to health teachers and school nurses to print and post for students to read. You can read more about the infographic on the Cleveland Clinic's website or grab the PDF of the infographic here.

What is an owl pellet? That is the topic of the latest SciShow Kids video embedded below. Unfortunately, most students don't get the experience of walking in the woods and finding owl pellets. You can order owl pellets from a science lab supply company or you could have your students virtually dissect an owl pellet. Kid Wings is a website all about birds. The site includes a virtual owl pellet dissection activity. In the virtual owl pellet dissection students pick apart an owl pellet, examine the bones inside it, then match those bones to the skeleton outline they've been provided. The names of the bones are read aloud to students when they click on the bones in the virtual activity.




Let PrepFactory Help You Teach SAT & ACT Strategies

As more schools and states require all high school students to take either the ACT or SAT, you may find yourself having to teach SAT or ACT test-taking strategies. In fact, I had to do this in my homeroom when Maine required that all students take the SAT.

Trying to work SAT or ACT test-taking strategy sessions into your already crammed curriculum is frustrating. When I did it, it hardly seemed adequate. I did my best to help my students when they were with me and provided them with some online resources that they could use independently. PrepFactory is one resource that I wish had been available to me back then.

PrepFactory provides students with ACT and SAT strategy tutorials before each set of review activities. The tutorials are a mix of video and text instruction. Students can work through the tutorials as complete sets or skip to a specific section that they want to focus on at the moment.

One of the nice things about PrepFactory's approach to review exercises is that they rotate a variety of question formats so that students don't get bored by slogging through twenty multiple choice questions in a row. Each set of review exercises includes a mix of multiple choice, sorting, and fill-in-the-blank activities.

Disclosure: PrepFactory is an advertiser on FreeTech4Teachers.com