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Story Top

  What it is:  Story Top is a simple comic strip creator.  Students can create an account on Story Top where they can save, share with classmates, and print out comic strips that they create.  Students can choose from a set selection of backgrounds, images, and text bubbles (they aren’t able to upload their own images).  Using the Story Top clip art and backgrounds, students can create a fun comic strip about almost any topic with a simple drag-and-drop interface. How to integrate Story Top into the classroom:  Comic strips are an outstanding way to get your reluctant writers writing (especially boys!)   The comic format usually isn’t as daunting as a blank piece of paper.  With just a little guidance, your students will be writing and creating comic strips in no time!  Use Story Top as a classroom computer writing center where students can take turns publishing their own comic strips (these are fun to use in a class newsletter home at the end of the week or on a classroom website).  In the computer lab setting, give students a topic and have them create a comic strip based on the topic.  Story Top would also be excellent to use with a projector or an interactive whiteboard.  Instead of giving your students a bulleted list of notes to copy down on a subject, why not make it fun and create a comic strip that includes all of the notes.    Comics are a fun way to mix up the classroom routine and students are much more likely to remember the material if it is presented this way.  Happy creating!   Tips:  To use your comic strips on your classroom website or in a newsletter, take a screen shot of the strip to save it as a picture file on your computer (on a Mac it is command+shift+4).    Leave a comment and tell us how you are using Story Top in your classroom.

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512 Paths to the White House Interactive Infographic for the Election #election2012

Posted by admin | Posted in Analyze, Evaluate, Geography, Government, Interactive Whiteboard, Math, Middle/High School, Secondary Elementary, Social Studies, Teacher Resources, Understand (describe, explain), Websites | Posted on 05-11-2012

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What it is: Tomorrow is Election day!  I couldn’t be more excited to see an end to the obnoxious political ads. Living in a swing state means that EVERY commercial I see is a political ad. At this point, all I have been convinced of is that the world may in fact be ending…the choices here are dire. One thing I am now passionate about: campaign reform. I digress.

512 Paths to the White House is a super cool interactive feature on the New York Times website.  Students can test out selecting a winner for the swing states and see the paths to victory available to either candidate.  Students can also mouse over the infographic and see what happens in the breakdown of each option.  According to the infographic, there are 5 paths to a tie.

How to integrate 512 Paths to the White House into the classroom: This really is a cool infographic to explore before the election.  Students can explore this infographic on classroom computers as an Election Day discovery center, as a class on an interactive whiteboard or projector-connected computer, or individually on computers.

This site makes a wonderful opening to discussion about the electoral college, the election process for the US, and why the swing states determine the outcome of the election.  At the bottom of the page, there are some specific scenarios for students to explore.  These scenarios also open up great conversations about economies in different states, beliefs of each party, political advertising, liberal vs. conservative states, etc.

In the secondary math class, students can explore probability, statistics and unpack the data offered here.  It is pretty interesting to see the paths each candidate has to winning based on who wins each battleground state.

Tips: Follow up on Wednesday, November 7th with how accurate the 512 Paths to the White House was.  Students can use this tool as they watch the election to predict who the winner will be.

Leave a comment and tell us how you are using  512 Paths to the White House in your classroom.

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Comments (2)

Dear Mrs. Tenkely,
I think that is a great learning tool. I would have loved to predict the swing states if I would have known about it. Hopefully, I will be teaching in the next election and can use that in my classroom. I bet the ads become so annoying because we are not even a swing state and they drove me crazy!

Hi! My name is Brittany Leavitt, and I am a student in EDM310 at the University of South Alabama. I was assigned to your blog through this class to read and comment on. I have never been very interested in politics myself, but I find this blog post extremely informative. I loved the infographic, and the different ways that you thought to use it in the classroom. Thanks for sharing! Hopefully, as a secondary educator in history, I can use this and similar things to get my students involved in elections and politics! Thanks for sharing!

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