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Educational Videos

  What it is:   Educational videos can be expensive, out of date, or hard to find.  Happily there are a few sites working to make it easier to access educational videos for free.  PBS has always been known for their great educational material.  They have hosted videos on their site for some time but they were not located in one place where they could be easily sorted through.  Now PBS has PBS video, all the great PBS material in one easy-to-search place.  You can browse these videos by program, topic, or keyword search.  All videos are on demand, I have been impressed with the quality!  Another great website for on demand free videos is American History in Video by History Education.  American History in Video has more than 5,000 titles in its collection!  The videos allow students to analyze historical events, and look at the events over time through commercial and governmental newsreels, archival footage, public affairs footage, and important documentaries.  Students and teachers can search videos by year, historical event, people, places, subjects, and by keyword.  This is an outstanding collection of free on demand history video! How to integrate Educational Videos into the classroom:   Video is an amazing medium for teaching.  It brings textbooks to life and helps students to relate to history and science in new ways.  Kids often find history boring and I believe one of the reasons is that they haven’t had enough life experiences to relate what they are learning to prior knowledge.  Video helps them make connections that reading a textbook can’t do.  Use these videos as an introduction to learning, as a reinforcement during learning, or embedded in lessons.    Tips: Always make sure you watch a video in its entirety before showing it to a class.  Sometimes content may not be age appropriate or as on topic as you would have guessed.   Leave a comment and tell us how you are using Educational Videos  in your classroom.

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BoomWriter: Collaborative story writing

Posted by admin | Posted in collaboration, Create, Evaluate, Interactive book, Language Arts, Middle/High School, Primary Elementary, Secondary Elementary, Teacher Resources, Web2.0, Websites | Posted on 12-06-2012

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What it is:  I just learned about this fantastic site from fellow edublogger @dkapuler, thanks David!  Boom Writer is a fun site that gives you a new way to engage your students in creative writing, and will have them assessing themselves in a new way.  Using Boom Writer, you (the teacher) choose or produce your own story starter.  Each student follows this prompt letting their imagination take over.  One chapter at a time, student write, read and vote on the submissions they like the most.  The winning chapter gets added to the story and the process continues.  You can determine how many chapters will be completed.  When the collaborative story is finished, the book can be read online or published and turned into a published print copy.

How to integrate BoomWriter into the classroom: BoomWriter is a great tool for creating collaborative stories as a class. I like that BoomWriter has students not only creating, but critically evaluating each other’s work. Students work on their own creative writing while building each other up as writers.  Begin by creating a prompt.  Give it to your students to think about.  They can write their “what happens next” chapter of the book and submit it for approval.  This is your chance to edit or return to a student to continue development of the story or idea. After student writing has been approved, students can read each other’s addition to the story and vote on their favorite (they won’t see who the author was and they won’t be able to vote on their own).  The chapter with the highest votes gets added to the story and the process repeats.  You can choose as many chapters as you would like the finished story to have.

This would be a fun whole-class project, but if you have a large class, you might split your class into smaller groups so that each student has the opportunity to get “published” in the book.  Groups could start with the same prompt or each have a different prompt.  Rather than the group voting on their own story, they could vote on another groups story.

BoomWriter isn’t only for creative story writing, students could share what they know about a specific topic or unit of study.  Each student can add a chapter about what has been learned.  Students can essentially create their own collaborative textbook.

BoomWriter is a great tool to help students understand writing with purpose and audience in mind.  It is also a helpful way to get students to think critically about their own writing and evaluating other’s writing.

Tips: Books can be read online or purchased and added to your classroom library.

Please leave a comment and share how you are using BoomWriter in  your classroom!

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