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Planet in Action

  What it is:    I just learned about this site from @jdornberg on Twitter; even though I have a long list of sites waiting for a post, I had to write one on Planet in Action right now.  This is an incredible site that uses Google Earth as a basis for interactive journeys around the earth.  Students can take a virtual helicopter ride above the Grand Canyon, explore Mount St. Helen, sail a virtual ship in Port of Rotterdam, take a helicopter tour of Manhattan, or Disneyland Paris.  As students explore, they can grab a snapshot and create their own virtual post card.   How to integrate Planet in Action into the classroom:   Virtual field trips just got a lot more realistic thanks to Planet in Action!  Planet in Action will take students on a tour of the different virtual places or students can take control and explore on their own.  This is an amazing site to use when studying famous landmarks or places.  Use this site with an interactive whiteboard or a projector-connected-computer.  Take your whole class on a virtual field trip to places that they are studying in class.  This is an outstanding way to bring some life to lessons.  Watch the recorded tour and discuss different landmarks as you see them.  Then ‘hire’ a helicopter ‘pilot’ who can navigate the trip for the class.  Allow students to play tour guide and explore.  Create postcards and virtual tours that can be saved and re-played.  In the computer lab setting, each student can create a virtual tour that can be shared with classmates (complete with a postcard greeting!).  In addition to the virtual tour, students can navigate by using a Google Map to see exactly where they are in the virtual tour.  In the Port of Rotterdam instead of flying using a virtual helicopter, students will actually sail a ship.  Students can choose their ship, blow the whistle, and navigate from port to port seeing actual images from Google Earth.  Your students will want to spend hours learning and exploring here!  Integrate Planet in Action into other learning opportunities, after exploring the world virtually, students could create a brochure for the place they visisted, write a postcard, or even create a short travel video. Tips:  This site takes a few minutest to load, be patient, it is well worth it! Leave a comment and tell us how you are using Planet in Action in your classroom.

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Trapped! Punctuation: Punctuation Practice for October

Posted by admin | Posted in Apply, Knowledge (remember), Language Arts, Primary Elementary, Secondary Elementary, Understand (describe, explain), Websites | Posted on 15-10-2012

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What it is:  I’ve long been a fan of the BBC’s Bitesize games and activities.  They continue to grow and continue to impress me.  I recently ran across the BBC Bitesize Trapped! Punctuation game.  It couldn’t be a more perfect way to practice punctuation in October.  It has all the elements that students will enjoy: a challenge in the form of a story, spooky characters and setting (but not too spooky), a built in extra game challenge to get from one level to the next.  The game begins with a short animation explaining how students got trapped in a tower and how they will solve punctuation puzzles to get free.  Students have to choose the correct punctuation to complete each puzzle.  After they have chosen the punctuation, they have to use some physics/experimentation to get an apple into a hole to move on to the next level.  This is FUN punctuation practice!

How to integrate Trapped! Punctuation into the classroom: Trapped! Punctuation is a fun way for students to practice placement of punctuation in writing. This beats worksheet practice hands down.  I like that the site puts students in the middle of a story and challenge.  Students will have to consider why a punctuation mark is appropriate in each place.  After students choose the punctuation to complete the puzzle, students have an additional challenge of getting an apple into a hole.  There are some very basic physic principles introduced here.  Students have to use the mouse to choose the angle and speed to shoot the apple to get to their goal.  The puzzles get increasingly difficult and add the additional challenge of extra twists and turns to get the apple through.  The second challenge asks students to choose the correct form of punctuation by “herding” crates with the mouse.

I like that these games are not your typical drill and kill.  They aren’t simply choose the right answer and move on.  There is an additional problem solving component built into each game.  Can’t beat that!

Trapped Punctuation would be a great challenge for kids in a one to one computer setting.  Don’t have that luxury? The games are quick enough to be used as a center activity in the one or two computer classroom.  Set up Trapped! Punctuation as one of the centers in the classroom for students to visit as part of their rotation.

Tips: This practice is fun and challenging enough that students may want to continue practice at home.  Be sure to share this link with parents, they are always looking for good uses of home computer time!

Leave a comment and tell us how you are using  Trapped! Punctuation in your classroom.

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Comments (3)

Game sounds perfect for my students!

What is the site address?

Hi Jackie, in all of my posts all you need to do is click on the name of the site (it is a live link) and it will take you to the correct url :)

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