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Switcheroo Zoo

  What it is:  Switcheroo Zoo is a site I learned about from Kevin Bibo on his outstanding blog Cal Teacher Blog.  Switcheroo Zoo has fun interactive games and activities such as “Make New Animals” where students can create their own animal combinations, “Build an Online Habitat” where students choose animals and match them to the correct environment, “Switch Zoo Puzzles”, “Where do I Live” where students help return rescued animals to their homes, “Sound Match” where students match the animal song to the correct animal, “Meerkat Grab-a-Snack” where students help feed a Meerkat by catching food, and “Catch the Moment” where students take ‘pictures’ of wildlife.  Switcheroo Zoo also has short films, sound clips, and photographs about animals for students to watch and listen to.  Your students also have the opportunity to become a “Switch Zoo Guide” by completing the Switch Zoo Quest.  Students play nine fun animal related games and activities to become a guide.  When they finish, they will receive a Switch Zoo  certificate of merit, a guide badge, and are added to the list of offical guides. How to integrate Switcheroo Zoo into the classroom:  Switcheroo Zoo is an awesome website for students to explore to learn more about animals and wildlife.  This would be a great site to visit when studying animals and their habitats.  There are three educational animal-themed games on the site that teach about animal characteristics and habitats.  Switcheroo Zoo has an educational section that includes lesson plans for art, science, creative writing, and persuasive writing.  In second grade at the school where I teach, students complete animal reports as an introduction to research.  Switcheroo Zoo has on-site research with 142 animal profiles, a US endangered species map, and stories about unusual animal feats on a Zookeeper’s blog.  This site is packed full of fun, useful activities, lessons, and resources!  In a computer lab setting, students can research and play games individual.  In the one or two classroom computer setting, students can visit Switcheroo Zoo as a science resource center.  With the projector or an interactive whiteboard, complete the activities as a whole class or show the animal videos to your whole class.     Tips:  This site does have some Google ads.  I use these as an opportunity to teach my students how to spot ads on a website and discuss what the purpose of advertisements is.   Leave a comment and tell us how you are using Switcheroo Zoo  in your classroom.

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Squad: Collaborative Code Editor

Posted by admin | Posted in Apply, collaboration, Create, Middle/High School, Secondary Elementary, Technology, web tools, Web2.0, Websites | Posted on 05-12-2012

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What it is: We have some students at Anastasis Academy that are CODE crazy! They are really excited to learn how to code (we’ve used Codecademy) and practice with friends.  Squad is a free collaborative code editor.  With Squad, students can access the code they are writing anywhere there is an Internet connection. This means that students can chat and edit files together no matter where they are.  Squad constantly saves the workspace so that they are available even when multiple machines are logged in.  Students can see what teammates are working on, offer recommendations and even work simultaneously on a document.  Even better? If your students have a coding question (and you, like me, can’t answer) they can copy and paste the code in the workspace’s share URL and anyone with the URL can get in to help.  All of the files created on Squad belong to your students.  They can open (and save) local files, access a remote host via FTP/SFTP or grab a file from Dropbox.  The chat feature is searchable so that students can go back and learn from past mistakes or suggestions.

How to integrate Squad into the classroom: Do you have students who want to learn how to code?  What better way for them to learn and practice than together?!  At Anastasis, we have Crave classes.  These are classes that run once a week that students get to elect to take…something they “crave” learning.  One of our crave classes last year was learning to code.  I “taught” it.  No, I don’t really know how to code. We learned together!  You don’t have to be an expert to help your students explore their passions and interests.  We used Codecademy to learn together.  One of the limitations of Codecademy is that there is no where to just practice together after you have learned a skill.  Squad would be the perfect place for students to explore and practice together.

Older or more advanced students might want to create a club or work together to show what they know in another subject by putting their coding skills to use.

Tips: The free version of Squad limits students to 3 collaborators and 1 workspace, this should be plenty for your beginners!

Leave a comment and tell us how you are using  Squad in your classroom.

Comments (2)

If you’re looking for a great site to learn to code, you need to check out http://codehs.com

We’ve made it really fun and accessible to get started and keep students engaged by teaching them to make fun graphics and awesome games, all from scratch!

We have an awesome, in-browser editor that lets students explore and create.

Most importantly, we have live tutors that answer your questions and give you feedback on your code, so you really improve.

Thank you for these resources! After I created my wedding website last year I became interested in coding, most specifically, learning more about using HTML and CSS to design blogs. Since then, I’ve been interested in teaching an elective for 8th graders. These resources and your experience make me even more confident that it’s something I’m willing to do! Thank you!!

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