A Book Review of a Different Color

Probably been done before but I’m trying to make book reviews/reports a little more exciting. We started with the Byrd Book Review blog and simple audio reviews but my goal is to up the entertainment value for listeners and creators. We still haven’t publicized the site with our students but it’s getting pretty decent organic exposure so far. I made a sample review of The Hobbit through the eyes of Gollum using bits and pieces of audio from the movie and BBC radio play. This gives a nice way to review the book and focus on both point of view and the idea of voice in writing. If you’d like to hear it . . . [audio:http://teachers.henrico.k12.va.us/byrd/woodward_t/gollumn reviews it.mp3]

Cockroaches and Gun Fights

1. Cockroach Algebra– is a game where you have to figure the slope of the cockroach’s path before they can breed. If you take too long you’ll have a whole mess of roaches running around on your screen. Get it right and you can smash them with rockets, lasers or even a shoe. Level one is simple but things get harder fast. It’s pretty fun and there is real satisfaction in killing the roaches. 2. Word Shoot– This is a typing game where your speed and accuracy (in typing) allow you to shoot your enemies. Type in their word and gun them down, fail in that endeavour and you get blasted. Nice, simple and possibly inappropriate for school depending on your grade and geographic location. Go play this game, it’s far better than my screenshot indicates.

Comma Rules and Keynote

We teach 12 comma rules each spring in preparation for our state writing test. In previous years, I have worked off of overheads. My students laughed at me as I repeatedly blinded myself while standing in front of the screen. This year, I decided to save my eyes and put a series of Keynote (PowerPoint) presentations together. My goal was to make the lessons easier for visual learners to grasp. I used consistant color schemes and movement on the screen to show the students methods that helped them break apart a sentence. The truth is, grammar is very technical. There is no beauty of word choice or personal expression in placing commas. Grammar is the math, the logic, side of writing. This makes teaching grammar–well–boring (no offence to math teachers out there). Below you will find links to my first effort at making the grammar lessons more engaging than an overhead and my hand. I started making the Keynotes at Rule 4 and worked my way through the lessons before returning to Rules 1-3. It’s interesting to see how the presentations evolve as I became more comfortable with the software. I ended up exporting the presentations as enhanced Quicktime videos that are clickable. I linked these to my homework blog so students could review the lessons if they were having […]