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Oddizzi: where the world comes to life

What it is:  I love those serendipitous moments in life where the stars seem to align and everything that comes your way is tailor made to meet your needs.  This resource filled those needs for me this week!  At Anastasis, our primary students are working on an inquiry unit about how transportation has changed over time and how transportation is used in different locations in the world.  What should appear in my inbox than a little note from the people over at Oddizzi inviting me to take a look at their content.  Serendipitous I tell you.  Oddizzi is a paid-for service but they have sample content on their site to give you a taste of what you can expect.  That sample content is free and has made my day.  It may make yours too, you should head over and have a look!  Oddizzi brings the world to life in a way I have seen few other resources pull off.  Students have access to their very own interactive map where they can view places, physical features, global features, places of interest, my story and class pals.  Students can click on each feature on the map to learn more in popup bubble.  The content below the map is rich including student-friendly text, videos, “secret” facts, images and more.  Oddizzi is a great way to teach about geography, global issues, math, citizenship and multicultural topics.  One feature that I have found to be really useful is the “Sneak-a-Peak” option which condenses a page of content down to one page of easy to read sentences.  Perfect for differentiating for your different reading levels while maintaining a topic thread for the whole class.  Odd and Izzi are fun characters that lead students through the site revealing hidden secrets as they go. How to integrate Oddizzi into the classroom:  Oddizzi is a fantastic way for students to explore geography and culture.  Use Oddizzi sample content to introduce a lesson or unit, as a place for students to gather research, or as a center activity on classroom computers.  In the Sample Content you will find information on Egypt, transportation in India, Rivers and Games (flags from around the world and a game about Egypt). Oddizzi is a great place to spur interest in geography and encourages students to learn more.  We will use the Transport in India content to help students think about questions they can ask about how transportation is used in other countries. Geography is a subject that is often overlooked in schools in the United States.  Oddizzi helps bridge the gap between geography and other disciplines such as reading, writing, communicating, math, social studies, history, etc.  No excuses! Use Oddizzi as a starting point for students to gather facts, information and gain a general understanding of geography and culture.  Students can use that information to create a poem about the country or location.  At Anastasis, @leadingwlove did an incredible project with students where they each chose a country they wanted to learn more about.  After learning about the country, they wrote a poem.  Each made a large thumbprint on an 8.5 x 11 piece of paper and inside the thumbprint left a negative space of the outline of the country.  They wrote their poems on the lines of the fingerprint.  The result was incredible!  Students learned a lot, practiced writing poetry and created a masterpiece to boot!  Since our students are in a one-to-one iPad environment, they took this a step further and took pictures of their finished products and added special photo effects to make a one-of-a-kind digital masterpiece for their e-portfolios.  SO awesome!  You can see the beginning of one of these poems below… Tips: In the subscription version of Oddizzi, you can connect with other classes around the globe in a secure learning environment.  This allows your students to send online postcards to other students around the world so that they can learn first hand what life is like around the globe.  Neat! A curriculum zone offers teachers resources for integrating Oddizzi across multiple disciplines for transdiciplinary learning.  In addition, the subscription version has “Over to you” where students can contribute content to the site.  If you are interested in testing out these additional features, request a free trial of Oddizzi for your class here. Please leave a comment and share how you are using Oddizzi 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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