Data Doing Double Duty It’s just odd questions people have asked that you can vote on. Everything from your weapon choice in a duel to choosing your favorite time period. The nice thing about this site is it taps into student interest in couple of ways. They can participate by voting. The questions are odd enough to be interesting. It’s social in that it allows you to see how others are voting. It’s dynamic. Questions have a limited life, so new stuff is always moving in. How would I use it? Just looking at charts, graphs and data for discussion would be useful. You could work in more math by having them keep track of the class response and compare it to the web response (ratios, percentages etc). I might also use the questions and data as writing prompts. – Why did you choose the _______ period as your favorite period to live in? Why do you think so many others agreed/disagreed? It’d be a fun icebreaker for the first few days of school.

Discover Magazine Opens Its Archives

Discover Magazine has opened to the public (no subscription needed) complete issues of their magazine dated back to 1992. The website gives you the options to browse, search by keyword, or use a simple list of subjects to look through the archive. What is more, each article has a side bar with related articles. (via MetaFilter)

Ira Glass Talks About Elements of Great Storytelling

Ira Glass, host of This American Life, has taken the time to talk about the keys to great storytelling. In these videos (linked below) Glass shares tips on presentation and development of stories. I think I caught him saying “hell” twice, but the rest of the discussion is very relevant for anyone teaching storytelling. Videos (via Your Daily Awesome)

Sound Seeker Google Maps Mashups

Sound Seeker is a project of The New York Society of Acoustic Ecology. They are geo-caching sounds from all over the city. Imagine doing the same with your students. Using Google Maps API you could have a collection of sounds captured in your city, district, or the neighborhoods your students live in around your school. This exciting activity could be a lesson in GPS caching, a sociological experiment, a creative writing prompt, or a lesson in biology (capture the calls of animals or birds). Tom is borderline manic about the potential of Google Maps in the classroom. Tom, I give you more fuel for your fire! via BoingBoing

Design a Space Pennant for NASA

NASA has announced a contest to design a pennant to be flown into space on the STS-818 shuttle mission. From the official site: The STS-118 flight of the Space Shuttle Endeavour will be the first spaceflight of an Educator Astronaut, mission specialist Barbara Morgan. STS-118 is also an important step in the ongoing assembly of the International Space Station. It’s not enough to just come up with a creative design. Students must research their topic, and use what they learn to design their pennant. Then, they must write essays explaining their designs. The essays must tell how the pennants reflect the research about STS-118 or the Vision for Space Exploration. Entries are being accepted now through April 10th by students ages 6-12. See NASA’s official announcement for details. Via BoingBoing



Ficlets A fun writing site (although I can’t promise content appropriateness). Basic premise, you publish a short story (minimum character count 64, max 1,024). Then people add on prequels or sequels. Once you’ve written and shared your ficlet, any other user can pick up the narrative thread by adding a prequel or sequel. In this manner, you may know where the story begins, but you’ll never guess where (or even if!) it ends. You could set something similar up for your class (school, or district) without much effort. It’d give you far more flexibility and possible collaborators than using traditional paper “pass the story around” activities.

Looking for ways to procrastinate?

Some Friday fun: Lifehackerposted “a mathematical formula for procrastination” awhile back. Sorry it took me so long to pass it on to you. Oh, and speaking of procrastination, here’s a tenacious young man who tried with all of his might to nail jello to the wall. (via BoingBoing) Now get out there and do something! (or just wait until later…)

Creating stop action movies

Lifehacker has a couple of helpful resources for creating a stop-action movie for Windows and Mac. Nothing like digital storytelling with “old school” charm! Pictured above: a single frame from my upcoming epic–Captain Limespear.

Create an rss feed with magic

Ok, not magic, but with Feedity. From time to time I come across a website I would love to get updated content from, but the site doesn’t offer a feed. This has frustrated me in the past, but not anymore! Punch in the URL and wahh-laa (or Abracadabra), you have a dynamic feed. via Lifehack