Sunday, December 26, 2010

Little robots

Every once in a while something truely good shows up. The Scrabble Flash game is one of those addictive learning games that cimbines hands on learning with vocabulary. I instantly want multiple sets for my classroom. Student can wirk in pairs recording all the words and then finding the meanings of those that they don't know. I remember seeing the presentation of the designer of these little wonders on TED, and thinking how good they would be for education. Thanks to the toy company they are now in the mass market. It just shows that a great presentation can spark real inovation and that educational tools can come from providers outside the educational sphere. Hopefully some one will also market a math version in the future. I have a fealing we will be seeing more tiny robots in the classroom in the future.
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Thursday, December 9, 2010

Presenting Through Historic Fiction Blog Stories

In order to teach teach blogging to my students about blogging as a digital storytelling strategy, I assigned my students to write a series of blog posts about the effects that America's great wars had on our society. They had to write a blog entry for each time period and all the posts had to be connected through family lines. The characters represented journals had to be the decedents of the characters from the earlier posts.  I wanted to make sure that I had the chance to model the strategy and the best methods of presenting  information using blogging as a presentation medium.  I decided to do the activity with my students and as I wrote my own entry I came up with the idea not to just type the story and set pictures around my text but to create a hybrid format.  With a little of creative editing and creative commons images I produced the following entry.  Once we have all the entries completed I will have my students create digital ebooks through YUDU or some similar service.

December 5, 2010 ~ 0 COMMENTS       Edit this Post
My parents came to the New World to make a new start.  My father and mother came from Scotland in 1735. My father a surveyor and trader moved my mother and older brothers and sisters to the western edge of the Carolina frontier at the foothills of the mountains.  They built a small farm and my father made a kept them well trading with the Indians and selling the maps that he made of the country. 

 I was born in the winter of 40 and grew up on the frontier.  Life was hard but the land was plentiful and my father traded fairly with both the colonists and the Indians  so we didn’t have much trouble with them.
Things change though,  over time more people arrived and began to fill up the country.  Many of them didn’t want to share the land with the Indians.  They thought that they could just take it because nobody owned it.  I remember my father trying to explain how the Indians used the land to the settlers and then having to turn around and explain the to the Indians why more people kept moving in.  Most people on both sides walked away just shaking their heads.  I was about 15 when things started getting bad.  Stories where coming into the the trading post about how Indians were attacking farms and taking people.  Folks said the French over the mountains were getting them to do it.
When the fighting broke out my father and older brothers left to fight because we lived on the edge of Indian land my father said they were going to help track the French and the Indians that where fighting with them.  It seems that some of the Indians were fighting with us and my father was helping to translate for the British commanders.
Most of the fighting took place up North and in the Ohio Country.  That is until the Cherokee War.  In 1758 things got bad again between us and the Cherokee.  They had been friends to the settlements, or at least tolerable for the most part.  But then over time things got worse.