Saturday, July 6, 2019

Mapping Books

Yesterday I published a post about creating multimedia timelines as an alternative form of a book report. Later in the day I was walked past the little book store next to my favorite coffee shop and saw a copy of Louise Dickinson Rich's book, We Took to the Woods. This is a classic in the catalog of Maine literature.

We Took to the Woods is the story of Rich and her husband moving to small cabin in along the Rapid River in western Maine in the 1930's. Throughout the book Rich explains the difficulty and, occasionally, the fun of creating a life in woods long before the days of going on Amazon and having anything you need show up at your door the next day. Some of my favorite parts of her story include traveling to and from their home.

Seeing We Took to the Woods in the window of the book store got me to thinking about how creating a multimedia map could be a good way for students to summarize books like it that have a heavy emphasis on location. StoryMap JS is a free tool that students can use to create a multimedia map combined with a timeline. Students could use this tool to explain the significance of locations while also highlighting the sequence of key events in the story. The following video provides a demonstration of how to use StoryMap JS.

Friday, July 5, 2019

Multimedia Timelines as Book Summaries

A couple of weeks ago I read a fun history book titled Harry Truman's Excellent Adventure. The book chronicles Truman's road trip from Missouri to New York and back in the summer after he left the White House. The book strikes a nice balance between being a serious history book with being suitable for the non-historian. You can enjoy the story without having any prior knowledge about Truman. It's a book that I recommend to anyone who has an interest in Presidential history, cars, and or the development of the highway system in the United States.

Reading Harry Truman's Excellent Adventure got me thinking about the various ways that we have students summarize the books that they read. Making book trailer videos is a popular option these days as is creating Google Lit Trips. An option that is perfect for history books and historical fiction books is to create a multimedia timeline. In the multimedia time students can include pictures, videos, and text for a series of key events in the story.

The two tools that I recommend more than any others for creating multimedia timelines are Timeline JS and Sutori. Sutori is probably the easier of the two to use, but Timeline JS has more formatting capabilities.

How to Use Quillionz - Quiz Questions Automatically Generated from Documents

Quillionz is a new service for quickly creating reading comprehension and quiz questions from passages of text that you provide. As I wrote earlier this week, based the text you supplied, the keywords you've chosen, and the domain/ subject you've chosen Quillionz will generate a set of fill-in-the-blank and multiple choice questions for you. You can approve, delete, or edit any of the suggested questions. In the following video I provide an overview of how easy it is to use Quillionz to generate a set of reading comprehension questions from a passage of text.


Disclosure: Quillionz is currently has a banner advertisement on this blog. 

Create Your Own Mobile-friendly Random Name Picker

For many years now Flippity has offered a Google Sheets template that you can use to create your own random name picker. It's quick and easy to use. You can use it by going to Flippity's website and making a copy of the template or by using Flippity's Google Sheets add-on. Either way you simply have to write in the names that want to appear in the random picker and then hit the publish button on your sheet. This morning the Flippity developers announced that the random name picker is now mobile-friendly.

Flippity's random name picker can be used for more than just selecting names. You can also use it to create random groupings of students and to create seating charts. Watch my new video below to learn how to use Flippity's random name picker template. 

Thursday, July 4, 2019

Plan Safe Running, Walking, and Biking Routes With Strava

Strava is an app that I use to record data about my bike rides and runs. There is a social component to Strava that lets you follow your friends and give them "kudos" for completing a ride or run too.

You can use Strava without planning a route, but if you're going to a new area or you're just the type of person who likes to have a plan then you'll want to use the route planning feature. The route planning feature in Strava will automatically measure distance, calculate elevation changes, and give you an estimate of how long your route will take to complete.

Watch my video below to learn how to plan a safe biking, running, or walking route with Strava.