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Little Bird Tales

What it is: I am late on this post, but it is too good to skip a mention!  Little Bird Tales is a new way to digital story tell with primary students.  With Little Bird Tales, students can upload their own artwork, record their voice, add text and email their finished creations to family and friends. Sign up on Little Bird Tales requires an email address for verification purposes.  This can be a parent or teacher email address (the site is geared for 3 to 14-year-old children so a student address is not necessary).  Little Bird Tales includes a built-in art pad where students can create pictures online.  They also have the option to upload photographs and images they have created offline.  Each page give students a place to add a picture, text and voice recording.  Finished books can be saved and accessed online or sent via email. How to integrate Little Bird Tales into the classroom: Little Bird Tales is a brilliant option for digital storytelling in the primary classroom.  I love that it includes both online and offline student creations, as well as student voice recordings.  Students can use Little Bird Tales for creative writing and imaginative stories, as a way to reflect on learning, or as a keepsake for parents.  Students can take pictures of science experiments and create a digital science journal detailing the experiment with text and student voice reflections included. Use Little Bird Tales to create whole class stories where each student contributes a page.  This type of book can be made over a few weeks using classroom computers as a writing center.  This would be a fun way to create an A to Z type book of learning, reflections by students after a unit, a 100 day book, fact vs. opinion book, an interactive glossary, a class book of poems, a phonics book, or a class book about a field trip that students took.  The finished product can be shared with parents and families easily through an email. For a back to school night activity, take a picture of each student to add to a class book and record students sharing what their favorite part of the school day is.  This same idea could be used in preparation for parent-teacher conferences. Students can upload pictures of their best school work, record thoughts about why they are proud of the work they did, and add reflections in the text field.  These can be shared as a starting point for conferences, at the end of the conference, parents have a keepsake. Because of the voice recording capabilities, Little Bird Tales, would be a great way for students to practice a foreign language.  They can illustrate a word or phrase accompanied by the audio.  Classes could work together to create a “living” digital glossary. Do you have a planned absence coming?  Why not create a digital story that your substitute can share with students?  Upload pictures that support learning, text, and your voice. Tips: If you have parent email addresses in Google, Yahoo, or Outlook, they can be directly imported into Little Bird Tales as contacts. Please leave a comment and share how you are using Little Bird Tales in your classroom!

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History for Music Lovers: Brilliance

Posted by admin | Posted in Analyze, Create, Evaluate, History, inspiration, Knowledge (remember), Language Arts, Middle/High School, Music, Secondary Elementary, Teacher Resources, video, Websites | Posted on 08-02-2011

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What it is: Thanks to a tip from Jan, an iLearn Technology reader, I learned about the History for Music Lover’s YouTube channel yesterday.  Oh. My. Goodness. Instant love. Seriously, if I had learned history this way, I would have rocked it!  As it turns out, I actually met @amyburvall, the genius history teacher behind History for Music Lover’s at ISTE 10 in Denver and didn’t make the connection (feeling like a jerk for not figuring that out!).  I starred in a video with one of the stars of the MansaMusa video “Magnus” the fashion police guy at ISTE.  Small world.  You MUST check out this YouTube channel, even if YouTube is blocked in your building. (As a side note…someone remind me WHY we block students from learning opportunities??)

History for Music Lovers is a collection of music videos (high quality I tell ya!) centered around events and people in history set to popular songs.  Amy Burvall, IB high school history teacher, is the creator and star of the videos.  Coolest history teacher ever. My high school history teacher sang one song to us: I’ve Been Working on the Railroad. True story.  It was not engaging, inspiring, or helpful in my learning of history.

On the History for Music Lovers YouTube channel you’ll find:

I think it is awesome that the 80’s is so well represented in this list 🙂  that Amy Burvall is one talented girl!

How to integrate History for Music Lovers into the classroom: This is my new favorite way to introduce a history topic.  If this doesn’t grab student attention and leave them wanting to learn more, I don’t know what will.  The collection of videos is a fantastic place to start learning.  The lyrics give students just enough information that when they begin fleshing out the period or figure in history with additional reading or research they will have a solid base to build from.  The lyrics are catchy, students will forever associate William the Conqueror with Sexyback.

Students can embed these videos in their own history Web 2.0 creations and presentations.  I’m currently using Capzles with a group of 8th graders and imagine them embedding these videos in their timelines along with images, and their blogged reflections.

Are your students as inspired by music as Ms. Burvall is? Encourage students to tackle a figure or historical time that hasn’t been done yet and create their own historical song parody.

Tips: For those of you who don’t have access to YouTube in your building (again I have to ask why?) you can still use these awesome videos in your classrooms with a little bit of pre-planning.  Download and save YouTube videos so that you can show them at school without accessing the YouTube site. Use KeepVid, YouTube DownloaderHD, Kick YouTube, SaveVid, or Zamzar.  Some of these tools will even let you download at school if you know the YouTube url.  The downloaded video should have no trouble playing at school!

Follow History For Music Lovers, historyteacherz on Facebook and Twitter.

Also, did you know you can become a fan of iLearn Technology on Facebook? It’s true! I don’t have a fancy dancy Twitter account especially for iLearn Tech but feel free to follow me on Twitter. I like talking education, technology, and am in general a geek 🙂

** This is the LONGEST it has ever taken me to write a blog post, I got sucked right in and watched each and every video.  On the bright side my knowledge of history has increased substantially today.

Please leave a comment and share how you are using History for Music Lovers videos in your classroom!

Comments (7)

WOW! Thanks for the lovely comments and encouragement! And the student project idea is a good one- I’ve been doing that for a few years and the results are amazing!
More to come!
-Amy Burvall of the historyteachers

[…] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Shelly S Terrell, ktenkely, Kyle B. Pace, nancyrubin, Helen S T and others. Helen S T said: RT @ShellTerrell: History for Music Lovers: Brilliance http://bit.ly/eNA27M by @ktenkely #edtech […]

Thank YOU Amy for such an awesome resource!

I am so thoroughly impressed by all of these videos! I never knew they existed before. I teach 6th grade Social Studies and we work with the Ancient Civilizations. I can’t wait to put some of these up on my Smartboard. Thank you so much for giving directions to download them for schools who can’t use youtube. (I am at one of those schools, sadly)

Aloha from the waves in Hawaii. Great post. How you can be so fashion forward, beautiful and a total geek is a mystery. 😉 “Twitter, like our lives, is neither stagnant nor
stream of conciousness. Neither rehearsed nor improv.
Rather, it is the ever-shifting life in the now,
the creative spawn of the consantly evolving present
moment, fresh and exciting, combined with the steady,
calming presence of our knowledge of the past.” — Mr J aka Magnus Von Magnussen

Magnus all I can say is…it is a gift- ha!

You and me both Stacy! Hope that the download option means that you can share them with your students!

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