Saturday, February 21, 2009

Movie Clips to Illustrate your point

Are you looking for that perfect 3 to 5 minutes clip to kick off your Math or Science lesson? Or maybe a short discussion starter to keep your students' interest high? I think "The Futures Channel" might be the solution. Each videoclip has an associated page with a lesson idea and a downloadable PDF that you can use with your class. The material is appropriate for Intermediate and above. There are also some interesting Pro-D clips of Kay Toliver and Jamie Escalante speaking about Math instruction, and even modeling a lesson. (sample here)

Monday, February 16, 2009

Math Bits and Bites

The BBC has a number of great Flash-based math games to help introduce or reinforce a concept (or two) on their math focus site.

What's nice about the way the BBC has set this up, is that you can even embed a particular game, review or quiz on your own class site. (The embed code is provided for each activity.) This gives you a little more control over kids being distracted away from the task at hand. And, it means you can point your kids to a practice space on your webpage for at-home review.

(Even older kids might get a kick out of the "cheese-y" graphics!)

Friday, February 13, 2009

A "wiki" alternative = Zoho Notebook

I'm a big fan of wikis because they allow students to co-create work and then share the results with others. Creations can be on-going and truly open-ended. However, sometimes you don't want all students editing everything... especially if you have some cyber-vandalism issues in your class.

One solution is to use something like the Notebook feature of Zoho. When you go to their site, you can see that Zoho has a range of on-line apps (a bit like Google Docs).

The Notebook app has several features that make it ideal for classroom co-construction:

  • Create different types of content
    Create content of type text, image, audio, video, etc.
  • Aggregate your information in one place
    Embed content of any type from multiple applications.
  • Fine grained collaboration
    Share a whole book, page or just an object on a page by granting read/write permissions.
  • Version control
    Keep track of changes not only at the book or page level but also at the object level.

You can create a "book", set up the pages, allow individual students (or pairs) to edit, write, annotate a specific page and leave others fixed. The final product is share-able via an external URL for the whole class to view, and the completed work can even be downloaded as an mht file (readable in Firefox with a plugin installation - UnMht.)

Here's an example: (Mock up of study guide for a French novel)

Start creating classroom resources your students can use.

Thursday, February 5, 2009

Create Your Own Space

[This site is no longer active]

I came across this "fun" site (Design My Room) that allows the user to set up and furnish rooms à la "Designing Spaces". You are given a huge selection of furnishings and furniture, as well as colours, window treatments and lots of doodads and knickknacks.

Be an interior designer, or recreate your parents' living room. Students can be creative and imagine a character's house or use this as a jumping off point for a short story.

While you need an account to save your creations for re-editing later, you can build and design without an ID. Keeping a record of your work can be done by simply taking a screen shot.

This would be a fun way to work on vocabulary, talk about colours and textures, and even look at "art and design" issues for older kids. Have fun!