Author Archives: Lisa MacKenzie
Study Jams, by Scholastic, is a great site that has a collection of videos and lessons that address math and science content through rich media. Students will enjoy viewing the clear and colourful animations such as the one below:
Study Jams is a great site that I will definitely be using in the classrooms I visit. Depending on where you live, you may just need to check the videos/lessons to make sure that they are relevant to your location. For example, I was looking through one of the fractions lessons and it was discussing distances in miles rather than kilometres. Overall though, there are still many valuable resources that will support your curriculum and that your students should enjoy! 🙂
Frequent users of Apple Inc’s ‘iProducts’ will probably be aware of an application that is available called iMovie. In this blog post I will to focus on the use of the iMovie application in the classroom (rather than a ‘how to’ type blog), with a specific focus on a recent example of how it has been used in the lead up to an advertising unit with the year 6 students at my school.
According to Wikipedia:
iMovie is a proprietary video editing software application sold by Apple Inc. for the Mac and iOS (iPhone, iPad, ipad mini and iPod touch).
This week I have been working with our year 6 classes on the iPads to introduce the iMovie app – specifically the trailers. In the lead up to our Year 6: Unit 3 English, where students will focus on advertising in the media and will create a digital multimodal advertisement, my aim is to work with students to build their ‘digital toolkit’ to draw upon when planning and completing their assessments.
iMovie is not a free app, but the cost ($5.49) is well worth it for the productions that the students can learn to create!
To introduce the concept of an advertising trailer, we began by viewing a tourism iMovie trailer that my husband and I created about a location in our local area. The students viewed the trailer and discussed the persuasive devices that made them feel like they wanted to visit the area. We discussed the type of vocabulary and phrasing used, as well as the type of video footage and photos selected.
Once the students had an idea of what an iMovie trailer was, we then explored the app and each of the iMovie trailer templates.
Students discussed their features and, learning that they now had to create a persuasive movie trailer of their own, picked a space within our school that they wanted to highlight. The students decided on our newly refurbished Learning Hub (formerly known as the library).
To begin the planning process, students brainstormed all the important things they wanted to highlight about the space, and then focussed on words they could use in their trailer to persuade other students that the Learning Hub was a space worth visiting. Once they had their list of persuasive words and phrases, they used storyboard templates to plan out their movie trailers.
A selection of printable iMovie storyboards are available here:
At this point, it was time to turn the activity over to the groups, and let them plan, create and publish their work. Whilst I would love to share with you some of the absolutely brilliant trailers they created, to maintain student privacy, I cannot.
What I can share is that students enjoyed this task immensely, and that it became a valuable tool that was able to reach, engage and inspire even the most reluctant of workers.
Although this week’s work was only a ‘practice run’ leading up to the actual unit, I can now be sure that students have more than one option to choose from when planning, creating and publishing their work. Their digital toolkit just got a new tool! 🙂
Overall, the iMovie application is an extremely fun and easy to use tool to use in the classroom with students of all ages.
This week I have been researching new sites to support the students in my class when I came across a website called Zoo Whiz.
According to the Zoo Whiz website:
Zoo Whiz is a revolutionary new, FREE online learning system for kids, parents and teachers. Zoo Whiz has been designed to motivate kids to learn. Students can work on their computers online at both home and school. Zoo Whiz gives teachers and parents the tools to identify and respond to each child’s learning needs. It draws its educational content from a bank of over 17,000 carefully-crafted, finely-incremented learning activities covering maths, punctuation, spelling, grammar, vocabulary, phonics and reading for kids aged 5 to 15.
Click on the pictures below to view the gallery that shows the step-by-step instructions that students use to access and use the site:
* Note: If you set up your students under a teacher account, you will be able to give them a username and password to login with (so they can skip step one, and avoid giving away any personal information).
Currently, the site is in early release mode. As yet, I am in the early stages of playing with the site myself, but have been impressed so far with the way that it all functions. The interface is bright and colourful, with instant feedback on each task the students complete.
Setting up a class in the site was extremely easy (via bulk upload), and I could then print student sign in cards in the click of a button. Whilst adding my students, I only had to upload their first names under my free teacher login – a huge bonus for maintaining student privacy! I look forward to trialling this site in my classroom this term.
More information on the Zoo Whiz site can be found in these brochures:
or at the Zoo Whiz website – www.zoowhiz.com
Last year, I blogged about the fantastic ABCYa! website. As the site has now been updated, I wanted to not only highlight the update, but another reason that it is a fantastic, safe resource to use in the classroom.
Recently I have been working with a number of classes from prep to year 7, and have noticed that many teachers are now starting to incorporate tools such as Wordle into their classroom. Don’t get me wrong, I love Wordle …… but, on further use and investigation, I have seen dangers of using it in the classroom!
As the gallery of images is updated regularly, there is no way of filtering the information that will appear – not a great function when using it in a classroom! Whilst a high percentage of the time, the content will be appropriate – you still don’t want to have to explain that ‘one time’ a student saw something inappropriate to parents or your administration team! Wordle have addressed this issue on their website:
The Wordle front page will never feature images or links that are inappropriate for classroom use. Therefore, it’s possible to configure an institution’s “site-blocking” software to keep Wordle safe for classroom use.
Simply have your networking administrator block the following base URLs:
and your users will not be inadvertently shown anything that’s not safe for classrooms.If your filtering software only blocks per domain, then you’re out of luck. It’s either no Wordle at all for your school, or Wordle avec des gros mots.
As Wordle recognise, this may not be a ‘fix’ for all schools. If your school falls into that category (or you are waiting for the filters to be put in place), then you should visit ABCYa! word clouds.
This safe and easy to use Word Cloud tool is fantastic to use with students of all ages.
ABCya.com word clouds for kids! A word cloud is a graphical representation of word frequency. Type or paste text into the box … and press the arrow button to view the word cloud generated. The appearance of a word cloud can be altered using the graphical buttons above the cloud. It is also easy to save and/or print the cloud by simply pressing a button.
The tool is very user-friendly, and even comes with instructions for a very common ‘word cloud’ issue of keeping words together. 😉
The next interface in the sequence is extremely easy to use, and allows the students to manipulate their word cloud.
When the students click on ‘save’, the word cloud defaults to a JPEG image.
I love that students can change the colour to black and white for ease of printing on the school printer, but would also like to see colours on a white background too.
Overall, this site is quick and easy to use with no chance of students viewing inappropriate content. The other great thing is that you can safely recommend it for use at home (where your school filters are obviously not in place!) and be sure that all content viewed by your students is appropriate!
Recently I was exploring the Queensland Government Library Services website, and amongst the hundreds of fantastic resources I found there (which I HIGHLY recommend you explore!!), I came across some wonderful – FREE – virtual books.
This interactive book collection uses the latest page flip technology to deliver virtual books. You can zoom in on a page, listen to accompanying audio and discover detailed information.
Please note: not all virtual books include audio.
The books, such as the ‘Rosie and Wallace’ series, are fantastic to display on an interactive whiteboard. If you are an employee of Education QLD, you are also able to download the ‘Rosie and Wallace’ books from the Learning Place as well.
Take some time to explore not only the ‘Rosie and Wallace’ series, but the other fantastic books on offer as well.
Whilst working with teachers at my school recently, I noticed that several year levels are planning units of work that focus on dance. Personally, I have admired dancers for many years …. but just don’t have the knowledge (or rhythm!) to teach a whole unit on it! After consultation with my Twitter PLN (Personal Learning Network), I was directed to the Arts Alive website. The Arts Alive website:
ArtsAlive.ca is a performing arts educational website produced by the National Arts Centre in Ottawa, Ontario, Canada. The goals of ArtsAlive.ca are:
- To engage younger generations of Canadians in information, multimedia resources and activities pertaining to the performing arts, and
- To provide free performing arts-related primary and secondary resources to students, parents and teachers to aid them in learning about and teaching the topics presented.
Not only is there a huge section on dance that includes teacher and student guides, video footage (and a heap of other things!), but there is also a fantastic tool that lets the students compile their own dance in the Virtual Dance Studio.
The Virtual Dance Studio allows the student to compose their own ballet or modern dance. They put together sections of the dance through what they have learned throughout the site, and then select music bring it all together – so fun!
Very engaging for the students! You could even take it a step further and have the students practice and perform their dances as part of a culminating activity.
Really, there is just too much wonderful content to mention individually. Do yourself a favour and head over to the Arts Alive website and explore it for yourself!
Ever wanted to show your class a You Tube clip, but held back because you didn’t want all the ‘extra’ stuff that surrounds the clip? Too scared of what may pop up in the suggestions area, or in the comments section? Well, there is something you can do to remove all of those hassles …. just be quiet! 🙂
When You find a You Tube video you would like to use, simply go to the address bar and type the word ‘quiet’ in front of the You Tube in the address. This would mean your address would go from this:
What this does, is remove everything else from the page …. easy!
Below is an example of the normal You Tube, and then what you will get if you use Quiet You Tube:
PS. The You Tube examples above are WELL worth watching. Just amazing what can be done with You Tube!! 🙂
The Screen Actors Guild Foundation is proud to bring you Storyline Online, an online streaming video program featuring SAG members reading children’s books aloud. Each book includes accompanying activities and lesson ideas.
The site has some wonderful activities, and a great selection of books and readers:
- To Be a Drum, by Evelyn Coleman; read by James Earl Jones
- Guji Guji, by Chih Yuan Chen; read by Robert Guillaume
- Sebastian’s Roller Skates, by Joan De Deu Prats; read by Caitlin Wachs
- Sophie’s Masterpiece, by Eileen Spinelli; read by CCH Pounder
- Stellaluna, by Janell Cannon; read by Pamela Reed
- Wilfrid Gordon McDonald Partridge, by Mem Fox; read by Bradley Whitford
- No Mirrors in My Nana’s House, by Ysaye M. Barnwell; read by Tia and Tamera Mowry
- The Night I Followed the Dog, by Nina Laden; read by Amanda Bynes
- Thank you, Mr. Falker, by Patricia Polacco; read by Jane Kaczmarek
- My Rotten Redheaded Older Brother, by Patricia Polacco; read by Melissa Gilbert
- Knots on a Counting Rope, by Bill Martin Jr. and John Archambault; read by Bonnie Bartlett and William Daniels
- Brave Irene, by William Steig; read by Al Gore
- A Bad Case of Stripes, by David Shannon; read by Sean Astin
- Private I. Guana, by Nina Laden; read by Esai Morales
- Somebody Loves You, Mr. Hatch, by Eileen Spinelli; read by Hector Elizondo
- The Polar Express, by Chris Van Allsburg; read by Lou Diamond Phillips
- Me and My Cat, by Satoshi Kitamura; read by Elijah Wood
- Dad, Are You the Tooth Fairy, by Jason Alexander; read by Jason Alexander
- When Pigasso Met Mootisse, by Nina Laden; read by Eric Close
- White Socks Only, by Evelyn Coleman; read by Amber Rose Tamblyn
- Romeow and Drooliet, by Nina Laden; read by Haylie Duff
- Enemy Pie, by Derek Munson; read by Camryn Manheim
What a fabulous way to encourage the students to add expression and variety of pitch and tone to their reading.
You could even take the idea further by having the students record themselves reading their favourite story books and make them available on the server for students from the school to access. Perhaps they could create a compilation of authors or stories in a Powerpoint file that they could load on junior school computers. What a great project! 😉
The students of my class have really enjoyed listening to these stories, and I hope yours will too!
As with many events in our world, our students watch the news and sometimes struggle to understand how such an event could occur. The recent Earthquake and Tsunami in Japan has students curious about these natural disasters, and what causes them. The resources below are a collection of resources to view and use with those students who are eager to find out more:
Japanese Tsunami Videos
- Helicopter footage of Tsunami
- Tsunami moving across the countryside
- 10m wave moves through town
- Evacuees on Airport rooftop
- Large waves move whole port inland
- News Helicopter footage of aftermath
- News Report: Nuclear Reacctor explosion
- Rooftop rescues plus tsunami footage
- Animation from NOAA’s Environmental Visualization Laboratory showing the tsunami wave height across the globe
General Earthquakes Resources
Japanese Earthquake and Tsunami Information
- How Shifting Plates Caused the Earthquake and Tsunami in Japan
- Japanese Earthquake – News for kids, by kids
- Before and after photos of the Earthquake & Tsunami
- Japan’s Strict Building Codes Saved Lives
- What caused Japans Earthquake and Tsunami?
- Teachable Moments from the Japanese Earthquake & Tsunami
Games and Interactives
For those beginners out there, I just wanted to share with you a fantastic site that has some basic information and ICT worksheets for you to work through with your students. Computer Kids is an Australian site that has been created by Cheryl Hill of Lindfield East Public School in NSW.
With over 10 years experience in devising customised computer skills lessons, Cheryl is currently contracted at Lindfield East Public School in Sydney, where students engage in technology rich activities including movie-making, web design and digital animation (in addition to core skills, word processing, spreadsheets, multimedia & presentations and internet usage).
The site is very basic, and easy to navigate. It has several sections that include a gallery, typing, teachers and an about section.
A great feature of the site is in the teachers section where there is a link to loads of free (.. and you know I love that word!!) ICT worksheets that range from care for equipment to how to use Microsoft Word. The resources provided cater for most primary school students – with K-2 and 3-6 worksheet sections. Below is an example of the worksheets provided (click to enlarge):
As well as the worksheets, the site also has some great touch typing links for you to use with your students. If you have a lower school class, you may even like to join and take part in the ‘Tooth Tally Project’.
Overall, the site is great starting point to creating student ICT journals that the students can refer back to if they need help on how to complete a task that you have previously covered. I have used the ICT worksheets in a student journal in the past with fantastic success! Another bonus is that, if you have limited ICT resources in your classroom, you can have the students working on these activities whilst they rotate through the stations you may have set up for them.