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Mr. Thorne Does Phonics

What it is: Mr. Thorne Does Phonics is a website and YouTube channel dedicated to teaching kids phonics through videos.  The site has a great tag line, “Where learning to read becomes reading to learn.” The videos are divided up by categories which include: Introduction to Phonics Geraldine the Giraffe Videos Alphabet Letters and Sounds More Alphabet Letters and Sounds Consonant Digraphs Long Vowel Sounds Consonant Blends Alternative Sounds Alternative Spellings 200 High Frequency Words Grammar Christopher Thorne hosts all of the phonics videos with occasional guest appearances from his friend Geraldine the Giraffe (who has her own book!).  The videos are engaging, help students listen for phoneme segmentation, and give them encouragement to replicate the phoneme sounds themselves.  This library of phonics videos is wonderfully comprehensive! How to integrate Mr. Thorne Does Phonics into the classroom: Mr. Thorne Does Phonics is a fantastic introduction to phonics, phonemes, and decoding words. Students can practice word recognition, pronunciation, and phonics rules with fun videos that can be played, paused, and rewound.  The Mr. Thorne Does Phonics site would be a wonderful site to have available for students on classroom computers as a reading center. Students can visit the reading center and pull up the video of the exact phonics skill that they need to practice.  Mr. Thorne Does Phonics would also be a wonderful way to introduce your whole class to a new phonics skill by playing the videos for them using a projector-connected computer or interactive whiteboard. If you have access to a built-in webcam or portable video camera, encourage students to create their own Mr. Thorne inspired phonics videos.  These can be shared with other students in the class, parents, and younger grade levels.  The videos also make a great record of progress throughout the school year. Tips: You can also find Mr. Thorne’s phonics videos on YouTube. Can’t access YouTube at school? Download the videos for offline viewing using a tool like Kick YouTube or Keepvid.

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DIY: a maker site for kids

Posted by admin | Posted in Anastasis Academy, Art, Character Education, Create, iPod, Language Arts, Math, Middle/High School, Music, Primary Elementary, Science, Secondary Elementary, Teacher Resources, Web2.0, Websites | Posted on 08-03-2013

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What it is: I LOVE everything about this site.  It truly embodies everything I love about learning and technology.  DIY is an online club for kids to earn maker skills.  Kids (otherwise known as Makers) share their creations and work with a larger online community and collect patches for the skills they learn.  Each skill has a set of challenges that help kids learn different techniques and create something fantastic.  When a child completes a maker challenge, they can add photos and video to their online portfolio to show off their creation.  DIY is a website where kids get a public portfolio, an app that they can use to upload videos and pictures of their projects, makers can choose to do challenges to earn “Skills” badges, and a parent dashboard where teachers or parents can follow along on all activity.

Maker identities are always secure, children are asked to choose an animal and a nickname to help protect their privacy. Parents get access to see what their kids are posting online.

I love that this site encourages creativity, reflective portfolios and using technology constructively.  It is an outstanding balance of online and offline activity!

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How to integrate DIY into the classroom: At Anastasis, we strive to encourage a maker community.  We do have a 1:1 iPad environment.  For many, this equates to a technology rich environment (it is) where everything is done or consumed on a device.  I can think of nothing sadder than reducing learning to a device!  We most often use our technology to capture and share our learning.  DIY is a fantastic site that makes way for kids to be curious about the world around them, create something new and use technology to innovate.

DIY is a great place to help students discover the love and joy of being a learner and a creator.  It fosters a classroom culture of innovation and sharing of learning and accomplishment.  So many of the challenges incorporate learning that support standards and other learning that is “required” in the classroom.  These challenges would be great to take on as individual makers, in small groups of makers, or to tackle as a whole class.  Don’t think of DIY as an “extra” thing to add into your classroom routine.  Instead, look through the challenges through the lens of how it can enhance the learning objectives in your classroom.  Embrace the maker culture in your classroom and allow room for creativity and innovation.  The inquiry model of learning lends itself beautifully toward this.  DIY could be the catalyst to making the shift away from more traditional learning and into an inquiry based model.

Tips: Instead of assigning “traditional” homework (read: piles of worksheets), assign a challenge from the DIY site.  Better yet, let students choose their own challenge to tackle and make time in the classroom for them to share their creations and accomplishments.

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

Comments (1)

This is fantastic! Thanks for sharing.

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