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Rustle the Leaf

What it is: Rustle the Leaf is an enchanting site that I learned about from @alexgfrancisco’s excellent blog ZarcoEnglish-Tool of the Day.  Rustle the Leaf is a collection of online comic strips that teach about the environment.  The comics star Rustle the Leaf (don’t you just love the name?) and his friends.  Each comic is designed to help kids think about and understand their relationship to the planet and how their actions affect the Earth.  The site has a great collection of teaching resources that include lesson plans, offline games, and comics.  In the kids fun section, students will find Earth Day e-cards, printable cards, computer desktops, printable posters, and book downloads. How to integrate Rustle the Leaf into your curriculum: I feel like when I was in elementary school (in the 80’s), that protecting the environment was a much bigger theme in schools than it is now.  Maybe it just isn’t as widely taught at the schools I am in, or maybe it has been cut out of curriculum because it isn’t tested on.  Regardless, the environment is as important to teach today as it was when I was growing up.  Rustle the Leaf is a fun way to help your students think about and understand environmental issues.  Use the site as the basis for a unit around Earth Day or help your students understand that everyday is Earth Day by reading and discussing a new comic every day.  The comics would be great discussion starters at the beginning of the day.  The resources on Rustle the Leaf are really well done, these can be used throughout the year, monthly, or all together as a focused unit.  Set the desktops on classroom computers with Rustle the Leaf wallpapers as a daily reminder of how to care for the environment. I have a feeling that students will fall in love with the Rustle the Leaf character.  If this is the case for your students, they may enjoy creating their own Rustle the Leaf comics about the environment.  They could even create a Rustle the Leaf comic reminding others to turn off the water or lights to be posted next to sinks and light switches in the classroom. Tips: At the bottom of the Rustle the Leaf homepage in the left sidebar, you will find links to animated shorts starring Rustle the Leaf.  These are entertaining and have a great message that tie directly into the comics and lesson plans on the site.  Don’t miss them! Please leave a comment and share how you are using Rustle the Leaf in your classroom! // //

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A Periodic Table of Visualization Methods

Posted by admin | Posted in Analyze, Art, Classroom Management, collaboration, Create, Evaluate, Interactive Whiteboard, Language Arts, Middle/High School, Primary Elementary, Secondary Elementary, Teacher Resources, Understand (describe, explain), Websites | Posted on 16-06-2011

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What it is: The Periodic Table of Visualization Methods is a brilliant collection of visualization methods for displaying, understanding and using information.  The periodic table is broken down into data visualization, information visualization, concept visualization, strategy visualization, metaphor visualization, and compound visualization.  Each “element” of the table includes information about the element such as if it is a process visualization or a structure visualization.  Each “element” also includes cues about what kind of thinking the visualization requires (divergent or convergent).  As you move your mouse over the table, an example of the “element” pops up.  As I said, brilliant!  The Periodic Table of Visualization is an excellent way to help students (and teachers) understand and explore visual literacy.

How to integrate A Periodic Table of Visualization Methods into the classroom: A Periodic Table of Visualization is a great place to start helping your students understand how to decode visual information as well as how to create visual representations of information.  I’m a HUGE fan of infographics, graphic organizers, charts, graphs, mind maps, etc.- definitely a visual learner!  Students often come across visual information graphics in their reading for the classroom.  Unfortunately, we don’t always spend time helping students understand that visual information because we are SO focused on the text.  The Periodic Table of Visualization gives you a one-stop-shop to discuss the different kinds of visual data, helping students understand how to “read” and decode that information.  These are great critical thinking activities because they ask students to process information in a different way.  Use the Periodic Table with an interactive whiteboard or projector-connected computer to expose students to examples of different types of visual information.  Talk about each one and how information is being conveyed.  If you have interactive whiteboard software, use the annotation feature to “stamp” or keep track of the different kinds of visual data students come across during the year in their reading.  Make it a year-long goal to find an example of each type of visualization.  This will keep your students looking for and engaging with visual literacy.

Take it a step further and encourage your students to create their own information graphics and visualizations.  After some learning that was completed, ask students to choose one of the “elements” from the table of visualization and create their own graphic or table.

I love the way that a Periodic Table collects and organizes information.  Currently I am working on the first unit of inquiry for students at Anastasis Academy.  From first through eighth grade, all of the units are focused around community.  I thought it might be fun to create our own periodic table of community.  Each student can add an “element” that makes up community.  Instead of just pictures popping up on our periodic table, I thought students could add video, photos, text, or audio.  Each student will add to the community periodic table and we will use this as part of our school code of conduct.  Here is what I am thinking: Each student will learn about community and choose a method of sharing what they learned (video, audio, text, photo).  They will create their “element” using their iPad and add it to their online portfolio at edu 2.0.  I can easily access all files from one place (edu 2.0) and add the projects to a periodic table of elements that I create on Wix.com.  I’ll link from the Table to the student projects and voila, a Periodic Table of Community.  I’ll let you know how it works in practice :)

Another related idea: create a Periodic Table of Students during the first weeks of schools.  Add each student’s picture to the periodic table along with their class room number and initials as their Element information.  This can be printed out and turned into a bulletin board for the classroom or shared on an interactive whiteboard or projector-connected computer with parents at back to school night.  If you have “star” students in your classroom (or VIP) you might add the student picture to the periodic table when it is their week to share and shine.

Tips: Thank you to my friend @artysteph26 for sharing this awesome resource on Twitter yesterday.  Thanks Steph!  **Reminder: if you don’t have a personal learning network on Twitter, I highly recommend spending some time on that this summer.  That small time investment is worth it’s weight in gold I tell ya!

Please leave a comment and share how you are using  A Periodic Table of Visualization Methods in your classroom!

Comments (2)

I love the idea of creating a community periodic table, and wix.com is amazing. Hope you share the end result! Would love to see it in action.

I will do that when I can Kim!

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