Tuesday, October 22, 2019

Fall Back! - Lessons on the End of Daylight Saving Time

Fall is full of great things like colorful leaves, fresh apple pies, and Halloween candy! But there is one thing that I don't like about fall in Maine. That is the lack of sunlight in the morning. As I write this at 6:37am it is still dark outside and I have to leave for school in 20 minutes. I'm a morning person so at this time of year I look forward to turning the clocks back. That will happen in about 12 days from now.

You may have some students who, like me, like turning the clocks back. More likely you have students who complain about turning the clocks back (except for the extra hour of sleep on Sunday morning). Either way, here are a few videos about Daylight Saving Time and timezones.

The following videos offer concise explanations of Daylight Saving Time.

Although it's not about daylight saving time, this TED-Ed lesson about the standardization of timezones is worth watching.

A Halloween Writing Contest for Middle School Students

A couple of weeks ago I shared a selection of Halloween-themed ELA articles available through ReadWorks. As Halloween gets closer, it's only nine days away, consider having your students participate in a Halloween writing contest that ReadWorks is hosting in collaboration with Quill.

How the Run Should End is a writing contest for middle school students. The contest asks students to write their own endings to the zombie cliffhanger series The Run. The Run is comprised of seven connected short stories. Like all stories on ReadWorks, students can read or listen to The Run. A list of key vocabulary words and reading comprehension questions are included with the stories.

To enter the contest students need to write an alternate ending for The Run. The ending should be less than 800 words. The winning entry will be published on ReadWorks. The contest is open to students in fifth, sixth, seventh, and eighth grades. Submissions are due by November 1st.

Quill and ReadWorks have published some helpful reading and writing tips along with the complete contest details right here.

Sunday, October 20, 2019

Kami - Annotate PDFs in Google Drive

Thanks to an email from a reader named John I was alerted to a video missing from an older blog post that I published about Kami. So that prompted me to publish this updated post about Kami. Kami is a service that enables users to annotate and comment on PDFs. You can do this directly on the Kami website or in Google Drive with Kami's Chrome extension. Kami also works with Word and Pages files.

Here's a couple of updated videos about how Kami works.

Kami's core service for drawing, commenting, and annotating PDFs is free for all users. Kami does offer the option to upgrade to a premium account. The premium version includes options for adding voice comments and video comments to your PDFs. The premium version also supports conversion and use of Word documents.

Saturday, October 19, 2019

A Couple of Fun and Simple Map Games for Students of All Ages

Ian Fisher is a software engineer at Google. In addition to his work at Google he's developed a couple of fun map games. The games are How Many European Cities Can You Name? and How Many US Cities Can You Name?

Both of the games are played the same way. Simply open the game map and start typing the names of cities. When you enter a city it will appear on the map. The object is to name as many cities as you can without stopping. When you're done you'll see a list of the cities that you named and the populations of the five biggest cities and the five smallest cities that you named.

Applications for Education
What I like about these games is that there isn't a points system. It's simply a challenge for students to continue to recall the names of cities that they have learned about or at least heard about. For students who have heard of city but aren't sure where it is, the game shows them the location. And as a bonus, students don't need to register to play the games.

H/T to Maps Mania

Maps, Games, and SumoBots - The Week in Review

Good morning from Maine where it's cold outside and quiet in my house. In other words, I'm up early before anyone else. It's a perfect time to drink coffee (black, dark roast) and write.

This week some of computer science students worked on programming SumoBots to do battle. While SumoBot kits provide a lot of documentation and directions there is a still a lot for students to figure out on their own. It has been a fun challenge so far.

A couple of weeks ago a reader reached out to me asking if I had any plans for a webinar about Google Earth. So this week I hosted Google Earth & Maps - It's More Than Social Studies. The recorded version of that webinar is now available here.

These were the week's most popular posts:
1. topoView - View and Download Thousands of Historical Maps
2. How to Create Vocabulary Games on Educandy
3. The Globe of Extremes - An Interactive Map
4. Slido - Create and Run Polls Within Your Google Slides
5. How to Add Folders to Wakelet Collections
6. Educandy - Quickly Create Educational Games from Word Lists
7. How to Share Videos Through OneDrive

I'll come to your school in 2020! 
I'm already booking my 2020 workshop and conference schedule. This will be my tenth year of speaking at schools and conferences. Click here to learn how to bring me to your school or conference.

On-demand PD
On PracticalEdTech.com I have seven professional development webinars available to view whenever you like.

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