Tuesday, March 26, 2019

Theme Poems and Shape Poems - Activities for Poetry Month

April is National Poetry Month here in the United States. This is a good time to remind you or introduce you to a couple of good resources from Read Write Think about poetry.

RWT's Theme Poems interactive provides students with 32 pictures to use as the basis for writing short poems. To write a poem students launch the interactive then choose a theme. Within each of the five themes students will find related images. Once they choose an image students are prompted to write the words that come to mind as they look at the image. Students then create poems from those words. The finished product can be saved as a PDF and or emailed to a teacher from the RWT site.

Shape Poems is a simple poem generation template hosted by Read Write Think. Shape Poems provides a template for writing poems in the shape of an object, about that object. Shape templates can be selected from one of four themes including sports, school, nature, and celebrations. Students then select a shape and identify words that they associate with their chosen shape. When completed, students can hear their poems read to them and or print their poems.

Applications for Education
Every RWT interactive has related lesson plans. Visit the RWT Theme Poems interactive page to find a handful of lesson plans appropriate for use in K-5.

Getting students interested in writing poems can be a difficult task. The Shape Poem generator provides a nice selection of templates that may pique students' interest in writing poetry.

Six Good Lessons About Man's Best Friend

As long-time readers of this blog know, I love dogs. Small dogs, big dogs, skinny dogs, and fat dogs, I love them all. And I have a particularly soft spot for older dogs in shelters (I've adopted three in the last decade). So it was with much interest that I watched the latest TED-Ed lesson about dogs.

A Brief History of Dogs traces the evolution of dogs from their origins as wild wolves to their current state as domesticated lap dogs. In the lesson you'll also learn how dogs and humans came to be as bonded as they are today.


A Brief History of Dogs isn't the first lesson that TED-Ed has published about dogs. How Do Dogs "See" With Their Noses? was released about four years ago. It provides a great explanation of how dogs' noses work. The most interesting part of the video is the explanation of how dogs' senses of smell allow them to identify friends, foes, and potential threats. The video is embedded below. You can find the full lesson here.



If you've ever wondered why dogs tilt their heads in response to a question or other prompt, SciShow has some answers for you in the video embedded below.



Why dogs pant is another question your dog-owning students may wonder about. SciShow Kids has that answered in the following video released last week.



Whether its from a deer, a moose, a horse, or any other mammal, my dogs have a hard time not scooping up a mouthful of poop. While I don't like the habit, thanks to Why Do Some Animals Eat Poop? I know why they do it. Why Do Some Animals Eat Poop? explains why and how some animals get nutrients from eating the excrement of other animals. The video also mentions why the feces of some animals has more nutrients than that of other animals. Like all MinuteEarth videos, the description notes on YouTube for this video include a list of the references used in producing the video. Watch the video on YouTube or as embedded below.



"why do animals have tails?" SciShow Kids has the answer to that question in their latest video. The video explains how some animals use their tails to communicate and some use them for balance. The video also explains why humans don't need tails.

Free Webinar Tomorrow - Best of the Web 2019

The last few Wednesdays I have hosted a live Q&A session in which I answer questions from you, my awesome readers. Tomorrow, I'm going to mix it up and instead of hosting a live Q&A I'm going to host a free live webinar featuring the highlights from the latest version of my Best of the Web presentation.

The webinar will be held tomorrow at 4pm ET and will run for roughly 35-40 minutes. You can register for tomorrow's Best of the Web webinar right here.

It will be recorded for those who cannot attend the live presentation. The recording will be posted on this blog on Thursday. You do not need to email me to get the recording.

Monday, March 25, 2019

How to Measure Distance in Google Earth

Last year Google added a measuring tool to the web browser version of Google Earth (the desktop version always had one). While it worked, it didn't have as many options as the measuring tool in the desktop version. Since then Google has added some more options for measuring distance in the browser version of Google Earth. It's still not as feature-laden as the desktop version, but the web version of Google Earth is definitely improving. Here's my updated video on how to measure distance in the web version of Google Earth.




Check out Tom Barrett's Maths Maps for ideas on how to incorporate the measuring tools of Google Earth and Google Maps into mathematics lessons.

How to Create an Activity Tracker With Google Forms & Sheets

Last week I gave a presentation at the MACUL Conference titled 5 Ways to Blend Technology Into Outdoor Lessons. One of the topics within that presentation is the idea of tracking time spent exercising or playing outside. One fairly easy way to do that is to create a Google Form that students or their parents can use to submit the number of minutes that they spent playing outside. In this video I demonstrate how to make an activity tracker by using Google Forms, Google Sheets, and a pivot table within Google Sheets.