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Tag Galaxy: Visual Word Relationships

What it is: Tag Galaxy is a neat little tool that helps students to explore relationships between words and ideas as well as view pictures related to that word.  Type in a word to search and immediately you are transferred to a galaxy with the original word at the center and the associated ideas orbiting around it.  When you click on the word in the center, a globe populates with pictures from Flickr that are tagged with that word. Click on one of the orbiting words and tags related to that word start to orbit.  Tag Galaxy is a very neat way to view information! How to integrate Tag Galaxy into the classroom: Tag Galaxy is a brilliant way to visually  explore word relationships.  Students can use it to type in spelling or vocabulary words and discuss the relationship the related tags have to the original word.   Students can click on the original idea to get a visual understanding of the word in the form of a picture globe.  The connection with Flickr helps students to visualize words, ideas, and concepts by providing a variety of pictures that match the tag.  Tag Galaxy would make for a fun story starter.  Students can type in a word tag to get them started, view related words, and then click on the globe of pictures to spark creative writing ideas.  Tag Galaxy can be set up on classroom computers as a creative writing centers, or used for  whole class inspiration  with a projector-connected computer or interactive whiteboard. Check out science, math, art, or geography vocabulary on Tag Galaxy, the resulting collection of images will help your students attach meaning to those tricky science concepts like my photosynthesis example above. As a side note, Tag Galaxy also offers a pretty good visual aid for learning about orbit 🙂 Tips: ***Very important***  Whenever you are using tools that pull from other sites to populate, it is important to test out the words prior to using with students.  You never know how people will tag an image and the image might not be appropriate for all age groups.  When using Tag Galaxy with elementary students, have them suggest words that you test before using with the class.  In my classroom, whenever students wanted to do an image search, I had them fill out an “image wish list” first.  On the wish list students write down words they would like to search. I would do a quick test of the words and sign off on them.  This worked well as there were a lot of similar requests (i.e. animals!) 🙂 Please leave a comment and share how you are using Tag Galaxy in your classroom.

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Virtual Author Series

Posted by admin | Posted in Interactive book, Language Arts, Middle/High School, Primary Elementary, Secondary Elementary, Teacher Resources, Virtual Field Trips, Web2.0, Websites | Posted on 13-03-2008

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What it is: Simon and Schuster Publishing is offering a new unique experience to schools, a virtual author series. The electronic author visit brings bestselling and award-winning authors and makes them easily accessible to students and teachers. S&S creates a website specifically for each author visit that provides teachers with background information that will help prepare students for the author visit and provides interactive material that relates to the subject discussed in the author’s book. The program also includes a series of classroom activities and curriculum binders. The live web broadcast is the culmination of the virtual author experience. The 45 minute segment will include a presentation from the author, a reading from the book, and a question and answer session in which the author answers questions from the students.

How to integrate Virtual Author Series into the classroom: Bring popular author Andrew Clements (Frindle) into your classroom by signing up at the My Visit website http://www.bsu.edu/myvisit/ You need to sign up your class ASAP if you would like to participate in the first in the Virtual Author Series which takes place on March 18th. This is an outstanding opportunity for classrooms, libraries, and schools. Bring reading to life for your students with a virtual author visit. If you, like me, are on spring break during the first author in the Virtual Author Series be sure to check back for future Virtual Author events.

Tips: Check back for future Virtual Authors. The next Virtual Author will be D.J. MacHale (PENDRAGON) on April 29, 2008. This is an awesome way to bridge literacy and technology!

Please leave a comment and tell us how the Virtual Author Series went in your class. Specifically, I want to hear all about it since I won’t be able to participate!

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