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Lit2Go

What it is: Lit2Go is a FREE online collection of stories and poems in Mp3 (audiobook) format from Florida’s Educational Technology Clearinghouse.  With Lit2Go teachers and students can download files to an iPod or Mp3 player, listen to the Mp3 files on the computer, view the text on a webpage and read along with the audio, and print out the stories and poems to create a customized book.  Lit2Go can be searched by author, tiltle, or searched via the database (by authro, keywords, title, or reading level).  Each reading passage can be downloaded as a PDF and printed for use as a read-along or supplemental reading material for your classroom.  Many of the selections can be downloaded directly to your iTuens library making it a simple transfer to one or many iPods.     How to integrate Lit2Go into the classroom:  Lit2Go is a fabulous resource for all readers, but is especially valuable for struggling readers.  Set up a Lit2Go listening center in your classroom.  You can either download the audio to a Mp3 player or let the students listen from the computer.  Each audio file has a PDF text version that can be downloaded and printed out as a read along.  If students are listening from the computer they can also view the text online.  Lit2Go would be a great help for a reading buddy program.  Send your struggling readers home with a Mp3 player loaded with level appropriate stories or poems and the PDF print out.  Students can practice reading anywhere, even if a parent or sibling isn’t available to read with them.  Reading levels range from .10 to 53.  You are sure to find something for every student!  This is an easy way to help differentiate instruction.   Tips: Search Lit2Go in the iTunes store or visit the Lit2Go website to get started.   Leave a comment and tell us how you are using Lit2Go in your classroom.

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NASA’s Be a Martian

Posted by admin | Posted in Fun & Games, Geography, History, Interactive Whiteboard, Middle/High School, Primary Elementary, Science, Secondary Elementary, Virtual Field Trips, Websites | Posted on 22-02-2010

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What it is: I have always been intrigued by space exploration.  NASA’s Be a Martian feeds this intrigue by giving an up close view of Mars exploration.  Here students can virtually explore and learn about the human-robotic partnership that makes virtual exploration possible.  Students can become citizens (this requires them to create an account) or explore with an “Anonymous Tourist Visa”, which is how I explored.  Students can send virtual postcard messages to the Spirit Rover in her new home.  After composing their own message, students are taken to a virtual Mars where postcards with messages rain down.  Students can click on a postcard to read what others around the world have written.  In the map room, students can watch a video detailing the history of mapping and learn how NASA scientists map today.  Students can become virtual map makers by matching up map image fragments, and counting craters.  In Two Moons Theater, students can watch videos starring NASA scientists, explorers, and Mars.    Students can ask and vote on questions that they would like to see answered in the Polling Place.  In Tourist Mars Atlas, students can explore the surface of Mars and learn that there is more to Mars than a giant expanse of tan.   

How to integrate NASA’s Be a Martian into the classroom: Feed your students curiosity about space exploration and Mars with this great interactive environment.  Students have the opportunity to learn about the work that NASA scientists do, practice their observation skills in map making, and learn some great history about space exploration, and map making.  I really like that NASA has included a place for students to ask and vote on questions that they would like answered.  What a neat way to help students understand that we don’t have all the answers and that scientists ask questions, explore, and experiment to learn more.  I think that younger students (primary elementary) would really enjoy the crater counting activity.  Do this activity as a class using an interactive whiteboard/projector or individually as a center.  This will help students to look for detail and practice counting together.  Older students will enjoy trying their hand at mapping Mars and learning more about the history.  Have students learn about the Spirit Rover and her job on Mars before sending a message.  Some of the postcards include location information, it might be fun to track the locations of the postcards in Google Earth with placemarkers.  Then, explore Mars using Google Earth or Google Space.  The Google tools complement this site nicely.

Tips: There is an impressive contest section on NASA’s Be a Martian site, the deadline for entries is April 16, 2010.  The contest challenges us to come up with videos about Mars, interactive software or games, or write an efficient image processing application.  NASA is including us all in the exploration of Mars.  These challenges would be outstanding for older students to take part in…talk about authentic learning!

Please leave a comment and share how you are using NASA’s Be a Martian in your classroom.

Comments (5)

What an excellent way of teaching and learning about space. Way cool!

This looks like a great site to use in the classroom or at home for kids who enjoy space. In my child’s school, they have a “Project Fair” each year and this would be a great idea to help with a project dealing with space.

Authentic learning indeed! It’s wonderful when entities like NASA encourage kids to become involved. AND acknowledge that we certainly don’t have all the answers.

This looks like so much fun. I’m so annoyed that these tools are available to these kids and I was stuck with poorly copied images from an out of date textbook. Great find and share.

I know, I am always bummed that I didn’t get to learn with these tools when I was a kid. That is probably why I geek out about them so much now…gives me a chance to learn like a kid!

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