Wednesday, December 23, 2020

Fun Facts About Reindeer

My daughters are at the age that they believe in Santa Claus. For weeks they've been talking about snacks for Santa and his reindeer. They're a little too young for this SciShow Kids video about reindeer, but if you have kids who are in elementary school you might want to show them 4 Facts to Know About Reindeer. 

4 Facts to Know About Reindeer explains why reindeer are called caribou in North America. The lesson also teaches students how reindeer have adapted to find food and stay warm in cold weather. The video concludes with an explanation of why reindeer migrate.


Older kids and adults who want to learn a bit more about reindeer should watch this clip from BBC Earth. The video explains how reindeer stay warm in the coldest of conditions. 

How to Remake and Reuse a Padlet Wall

Padlet has been one of my go-to multimedia tools for more than a decade. I've used it for everything from discussion prompts and backchannels to digital portfolios and image galleries. This week a reader sent me a question about reusing Padlet walls. Like a lot of questions, the answer is easier to explain in a screencast video than it is in text. That's why I created this new video about how to remake and reuse Padlet walls. 

The "remake" feature in Padlet lets you copy everything from one Padlet wall and reuse it on another with just one click. The remake feature can also be used to copy just the layout and color scheme of an existing Padlet wall without copying the notes that are on the wall. In this video I demonstrate how to use the remake feature in Padlet so that you can reuse a wall in its entirety. 


Applications for Education
The example that I gave in the video is remaking a wall of discussion prompts to use the same prompts for two different sections of class. 

If you're new to Padlet, you can learn more about all of its features in this playlist of Padlet tutorial videos. One of my favorite features is the option to create multimedia maps as is demonstrated here

Tuesday, December 22, 2020

Get the Wiggles Out With Sworkit Kids

Sworkit Kids is a free app that I've been using and recommending for a few years. It provides prompts for one to five minute physical activities that kids can do in their classrooms or at home relatively small spaces. These activities are great for short brain breaks or to "get the wiggles out" during a long class. Recently, I discovered that you can use Sworkit Kids without installing the app on your phone

Whether you use Sworkit on your phone or in your web browser at https://app.sworkit.com/collections/kids-workouts the content is the same. You can choose from nineteen categories of activities. The categories are arranged by age group and activity type. After you've selected a category you can then choose the length of the activity. Once you've made those two selections Sworkit will show a demonstration of the physical movement to be done and set a countdown timer for doing the activity. If you've chosen an activity length of more than a minute you'll be shown a few different physical movements to complete. 


Applications for Education
The activities in Sworkit Kids are great for students of all ages, but are particularly good to use with elementary school students who need a break during a Zoom session. Consider using a Sworkit activity as the transition between two topics or tasks during a Zoom session. 

Future Me - A Good End of 2020 Activity

The end of the year is near and, if my scrolls through social media are an indicator, many of people are ready to put 2020 in the rearview mirror. Before kissing 2020 goodbye consider taking a few moments to write out what you want to accomplish in 2021. Of course, you could have your students do the same. FutureMe is a service designed to get people to write down what they want to do and where they see themselves in a year, three years, or five years from now. 

FutureMe is a free service that anyone who has an email address can use to write a letter to their future selves. When you write the letter you can pick a delivery date in the future. Then on that date you’ll get an email on that date with the letter you wrote to your future self. 

Letters that you write in FutureMe can be completely private or you can choose to have them added to a gallery of public, but anonymous letters. My choice is to keep them private. 

Applications for Education
Generally speaking, 80% of New Year’s Resolutions are abandoned by the end of January. Using FutureMe could be one way to help yourself and your students stick to a New Year’s resolution goal. Since most students change teachers between spring and fall, I’d have students in my classroom now write letters to be delivered at the end of the spring.

FutureMe could easily be replicated by using the scheduled send feature that is built into Gmail/ G Suite email. That feature is demonstrated in the video below.

Monday, December 21, 2020

My Two Go-to Places for Free Sound Effects and Music

Some of my students are currently using the MIT App Inventor to create their own Android apps. It's a great way for students learn some programming concepts and have a working app at the end. I figured that some other teachers would like to know how it works so I published this tutorial last week. In that tutorial I demonstrated using Sound Bible to find free sound effects to use app projects and other multimedia projects. 

Sound Bible is one of my two go-to resources for free audio files. The other is Dig CC Mixter. My students use both of these resources to find music and sound effects to use in their projects. 

Sound Bible is a good place for students to find all kinds of free sound effects recordings. Students can download files as MP3 or WAV files. And best of all, students don't need to register on the site in order to download the files. But they do need to remember to cite the source of the sound effects as most are labeled with a Creative Commons license. Learn more about Sound Bible in my short video embedded below.



Dig CC Mixter offers thousands of songs that are Creative Commons licensed. The site is divided into three main categories. Those categories are Instrumental Music for Film & Video, Free Music for Commercial Projects, and Music for Video Games. Within each category you can search according to genre, instrument, and style. Here's a little video overview of Dig CC Mixter