Google Timeline

A really amazing looking tool from Google with some interesting educational potential. It’s worth checking out. Found via Digg.

Millenial/Zombie Horde Mash Up

>>>>Edit- I added a page and fixed the spelling of millennials (doh!- thanks Greg) I’m working on an Internet safety overview for teachers in our county. I want it to be fun and entertaining but still get the message across. I also have to give a brief overview of the idea of millennials (which feels a little played out to me but that may be because I read too many edtech blogs). So I’m thinking of going the zombie route for the millennials intro. It kind of works if you think about it and I’ll redeem them in the end (I promise) but I thought it might be a fun way to go about this. Check out the quick intro below and let me know what you think. I’ve been known to go overboard. Is this too much? Click on the image for a large view. Click on the image for a large view.

Whirligig on MyMaps

I’m working on do something similar to the awesome work over at Google Lit Trips using Google’s myMaps. The novel is Whirligig by Paul Fleischman- very powerful book that’s a quick read. It’s a great novel for this type of project (fiction but almost all real locations). The main character travels to the four corners of the U.S. (on a Greyhound Bus) as an act of atonement for killing a young girl in a DUI accident. I’ve got the main locations mapped (some real specific information in Chicago) as well as most of the route. It will continue to expand as the students progress through the novel. Check it out if you’re interested. I’ll take requests as well, so let me know if you feel something is missing. Now, what makes this useful? I figure you’ve got two options. You use it as a ancillary material to help get the students more involved in the novel. Let them explore the map and get them involved in explaining things and interacting with the information- otherwise it’s just a fancy map. You have the students add the information for the placemarks in Google Earth. Let them decide what is important at each location and

Muppets and the Computer…

This has touched my “inner-geek” and forced me to find out how much the first season of The Muppet Show would set me back. Within the range of possibility… YouTube BT (warning: 5 min/9.7MB) via BoingBoing

Students Explore Poetry Through Hyperlinks

I was trying to find a new way to make poetry more engaging last month. As I searched for intersections between poetry and technology, I found the genre of poetry that, along with innovative web comics, inspired this experiment. I created a website with a couple poems peppered with hyperlinks. The links point to clues both informative and intriguing. My hope was make exploring a poem more of an adventure than a chore. It seemed to be successful. My students were able to articulate the concepts and themes of the poems. The discussion was more informed and, therefore, more interesting.

“My Maps” from Google (an actual example)

I figured after being so gushy about the My Maps option from Google I ought to make a good example. So here is a good start on a territorial acquisition map of the United States of America. I did it free hand based on a number of different maps I found on wikipedia and a few other places- so it’s not perfect and it still needs some work but I think it shows what you can do with little effort. Yes, I promise the writing will improve :). The map took about 45 minutes or so to make. Most of that time was spent looking at various maps. I also increased my speed after I figured out I could move points in polygons after I finished rather than having to start all over. I also made a quick screencast covering the basics of the My Maps tools.

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Integration Video – It’s ok to be scared

Since the embed isn’t working here’s the link. Thanks for responding, not sure this video was worth this much effort but what’s the Internet for if not wasting time. 🙂 An attempt at a semi-amusing video that Jim and I made earlier this year. It focuses on the fact that integration is difficult and can be overwhelming but we’re lucky enough to have people here to help (although talking to me can be a hardship in and of itself). The embed from teachertube doesn’t seem to be showing up for me. I’m not sure why. If you’re wandering by please let me know if you can see the video in the post. Thanks, Tom

Onomatopoeia- A Hook

The following post is my attempt to clarify how I go about conceiving and constructing lessons. If you’d just like the source files and could care less how I think (which I imagine is the majority), they are linked at the bottom of the page. This is how I ended up with this fairly interesting introduction to onomatopoeia. Yesterday, I found a tutorial on how to make cartoon style lettering for comics using Photoshop at EEight.com. It looked like fun and I figured since Jim was going to be hitting poetry pretty soon, and I had some time during Spring Break to try things, I’d give it a shot. I think I found it using StumbleUpon which is a great site that lets you find some really odd things and that in turn tends to inspire me to make some interesting lesson. I try to keep the question “Can I use this to teach something?” in the back of my head at all times. http://www.flickr.com/photos/46555636@N00/398812150 The first thing I did was brainstorm all the onomatopoeia words I could think of. The main one that kept coming to mind was crash and that led to the association with crash course- finally! an excuse to use the crash sound in a presentation. With that title, “A Crash Course in Onomatopoeia” in mind […]

Bad Fortune, Good Writing Prompt

Bad Cookie, a fun site that gives fortune cookie fortunes. It makes a great opening line for a story or set the fortune as the character’s destiny and build the story around making the fortune accurate. It both makes writing the story more difficult and easier. More difficult in that the story now has constraints but it also gives you a starting point which helps defeat that “I don’t know what to write” feeling. You could also compose a haiku based on the fortune, make it a line in a limerick or translate it into the voice of various characters you’re reading or from the media.