Saturday, February 25, 2017

All About American Bison

There is a chilling scene in Dances With Wolves in which Kevin Costner's character and the Lakota Indians come over a hill to see hundreds of bison carcasses left to rot on the plains. I have, on occasion, shown that scene to students. It's a good illustration of what Americans did to the bison herds that once roamed the west. It is remarkable how bison populations have rebounded from near extinction. This topic is covered briefly in a recent SciShow Kids video titled Meet the American Bison.

Meet the American Bison does a fine job of showing younger students basic facts about bison. If you look carefully, you'll also notice that it does a great job of modeling how to cite the sources of images used in a video.


Older students who want to learn about bison should turn to the resources available on the Yellowstone National Park website. Those resources include the following video about the challenges of bison conservation.

Friday, February 24, 2017

Quill Connect Helps Students Understand Sentence Structure

Quill Connect is a new feature on the Quill writing lesson platform. Quill Connect presents to students a collection of short sentences that they then have to combine to create a new sentence with the same meaning. Quill Connect also gives students run-on sentences that they need to correct. Students receive immediate feedback upon completion of each Quill Connect activity. Try a Quill Connect activity here.

A short demonstration of the Quill Connect feature is included in the video embedded below.


There are three other activity categories within Quill. Those activities are Quill Proofreader, Quill Grammar, and Quill Writer. In Quill Proofreader students are shown students passages that have grammatical errors placed in them. Students have to identify and correct the errors in the passages that they read. Quill Grammar requires students to complete short exercises in which they finish the construction of sentences by inserting the correct words and or punctuation marks. In Quill Writer activities students work together to construct sentences from a shared word bank.

Two More ClassTools Templates for Showing Content Connections

Last week I shared the Hexagon Learning Template offered by ClassTools.net. That template is great for helping students make connections between topics in a subject area. The Hexagon template is not the only one of that style that you'll find on ClassTools.net. The Diamond 9 template and the Jigsaw template will also help students make connections between topics.

The Diamond 9 template has students write text into nine boxes that form a diamond shape. Students have to sort the boxes into order of importance and connection to ideas in other boxes. A space is provided for students to write a justification for placement of each box.

The Jigsaw template has students write keywords or phrases into jigsaw pieces. Students then arrange the pieces to show the connections between the keywords in the those pieces. Students can color code each piece in their puzzles.

Applications for Education
The Hexagon, Diamond 9, and Jigsaw templates on ClassTools.net all provide excellent formats for students to use to illustrate their understandings of how topics are connected within a subject area. All of these templates can be saved online so that students can revisit and revise them as needed.

TinyTap Handbook - Tutorials for Making Interactive iPad Activities

TinyTap is a great tool for creating interactive, educational activities that your students can play on their iPads, on their Android tablets, or on their laptops. I have recommended TinyTap to at least five people in the last week. If you're looking for a way to create iPad games, TinyTap is the first tool that I'd try. To get started, take a look at the videos in the TinyTap handbook to learn all of the formats in which you can create activities for your students. The TinyTap handbook playlist is embedded below.

Thursday, February 23, 2017

Pattern Matcher Helps Students Prepare for ACT and SAT

Pattern Matcher is a feature of PrepFactory's free ACT and SAT preparation service. Pattern Matcher is a game that students can play after they have completed the eight interactive strategy lessons in PrepFactory. The game is designed to help students recognize the types of questions that they will see on the ACT or SAT. After identifying the type of question students can try to match the strategy they should use to the questions they are seeing.

Applications for Education
The next ACT test date is just a week away. Reviewing the types of questions and the strategies needed to answer them is a good way for students to sharpen their skills before the ACT.

Learn more about PrepFactory in the videos embedded below.



Disclosure: PrepFactory is an advertiser on FreeTech4Teachers.com