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World Spelling Day

What it is: World Spelling Day is brought to you by the same folks who hold World Math Day. This year (2011) World Spelling Day is taking place on March 3.  Don’t wait, sign your kids up now and they can start practicing!  World Spelling Day is a world-wide competition between students where they engage in live games of spelling.  Each game lasts for 60 seconds and students can play up to 100 games to earn points for their personal tally.  Students can play more than 100 games during the event but only 100 count toward the Spellometer.  Students who answer the most correct question will appear in the World Spelling Day Hall of Fame.  World Spelling Day has 5 levels to play and 20 games at each level.   Just like World Math Day school age students (4-18 years old), individual children, and homeschoolers can register and participate. Register as many or as few students as you want (for free!).  Even better, if you already registered for World Math Day, your login credentials will work on the World Spelling Day website! How to integrate World Spelling Day into the classroom: It couldn’t be easier to get your students involved, just sign them up by registering, pass out usernames and passwords and away you go.  Students can play in a computer lab setting (they like to try to login at exactly the same time so they can play against each other in games) or on classroom computers in 60 second rotations.  The 60 second time limit on games makes it easy to pass all of your students through a World Spelling Day center on classroom computers.  In addition, students can take their login information home with them to play at home.  World Spelling Day takes place every March, now that you know it is coming, plan to make it an Olympic type event in your classroom.  I have been known to hold opening ceremonies in my classroom prior to the event. Since your students are competing against students from around the world, why not use the competition to practice using a map and identifying countries?  Since I had a Promethean board, I did this digitally with a Google Map.  Each time a student competed against a country, they would come up to the board and put a “pin” in the map.  Don’t have an interactive whiteboard? The paper map and actual pins are just as fun! Tips: There is a free World Spelling Day app for the iPad, you can get it here. Please leave a comment and share how you are using World Spelling Day in your classroom!

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Maxwell for Google SketchUp

Posted by admin | Posted in Apply, Art, Create, Math, Middle/High School, Science, Secondary Elementary, Software | Posted on 21-11-2011

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What it is:  If you aren’t familiar with Google SketchUp-you should probably start here and here.   SketchUp is an incredibly powerful, FREE 3D modeling software that lets your students create impressive 3D models.  Maxwell takes SketchUp to a WHOLE new level.  Maxwell for Google SketchUp brings students advanced rendering in an easy-to-use package for free.  The best part: Maxwell is fully integrated so that you don’t have to export or use an external application to render an image. Rendering happens in “real-time” so as your students are adjusting their SketchUp models, they can see the changes in Maxwell.  Maxwell is compatible with Windows and OSX!  With Maxwell students can create materials, set lights and cameras and render 3D scenes.  These are incredibly powerful tools…I cannot believe that they are free (I’m a little nervous to say that too loud in case they decide to change their minds!).

How to integrate Maxwell for Google SketchUp into the classroom: Maxwell takes student work in Google SketchUp and polishes it up to a professional level.  Truly, the results are akin to what the professionals turn out!  The SketchUp/Maxwell combination are wonderful for graphic art classes, math and geometry modeling, advertising lessons, engineering classes, architecture, science models, etc.

Don’t let the impressive results fool you, I’ve had 3rd grade students who made some amazing models using SketchUp.  I look forward to introducing them to the Maxwell plugin so that students can see their work come to life in ways that they couldn’t do before.

At Anastasis Academy, we have several students from 2nd through 8th grade who are extremely interested and passionate about architecture.  Google SketchUp is where I send them!  Students can plan, create and build.  Maxwell will allow them to visualize their creations in totally new ways.

I don’t understand why more schools don’t put these types of tools in the hands of students more often.  Exposing students to tools like this, gives them the opportunity to explore their passions and interests.  The tools are getting easier and easier to use and the number of tutorials is astonishing.  You (the teacher) don’t have to know how to use these tools inside and out, your job is to let your students know they exist, and help them find the resources to use them.  No excuses!

Tips: Using rendering tools teaches students about materials, light sources, shadows, etc.  Use Maxwell to teach students these science concepts!

Please leave a comment and share how you are using Maxwell for Google SketchUp in  your classroom!

Comments (1)

Totally agree, Kelly. I hope more and more teachers embrace the role of guide on the side, as parents make it clear to the policy makers this is what they want for their kids. Maxwell sounds fascinating!

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