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UDL Book Builder

What it is: UDL Book Builder is a site where you can create your own interactive digital stories.  The books have built in coaches that can support diverse learning needs.  The coaches direct student learning even when students are working independently.  The digital books can include text, images, audio, glossary terms (that are linked within the story), and coaches that can provide hints, prompts, and modeling.  The published books can be viewed online, downloaded to a computer, saved to a CD, or shared with others in the UDL library.  Both teachers and students can use the UDL Book Builder to create interactive digital stories. How to integrate UDL Book Builder into the classroom: Use the UDL Book Builder to create interactive stories for your students that meet their specific learning needs.  Include students and familiar locations in your stories to boost reading motivation.  Students love starring in their own stories.  As you are creating a book in the Book Builder, be sure to devleop the coaches within the book.  The coaches can offer reading hints, strategies, and model good reading.  Start a school library of teacher created digital books.  As the digital library is devleoped, be sure to note which reading skills are being emphasized so that other teachers can quickly sort through books that will match their students learning needs and interests.  Students can also create digital books from their writing.  The writing should be ready to publish (correct spelling, grammar, etc.).  These stories can easily be shared online with other students in class, in the school, and with pen pals.  UDL Book Builder would be a great tool for creating stories as a class using the interactive whiteboard. Tips: The UDL Book Builder site has a great section with tips for authors and illustrators using the Builder.  These tips are helpful for any adults creating a book, but are also worth sharing with students using the tool. Leave a comment and tell us how you are using UDL Book Builder  in your classroom.

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NBC Learn: Science behind the news

Posted by admin | Posted in Analyze, Evaluate, Interactive Whiteboard, Language Arts, Math, Middle/High School, Primary Elementary, Science, Secondary Elementary, Teacher Resources, Understand (describe, explain), video, Websites | Posted on 08-05-2013

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What it is:
NBC Learn has some fantastic free resources for teachers and students.  One of these freebies is called Science Behind the News.  In partnership with the National Science Foundation, NBC explores the science, technology and engineering found in current events.  Here, you will find a collection of videos that introduce students to the science found in the world around them and current events.  Students can learn about everything from quantum computing, to predictive policing, to crowdsourcing and weather phenomenon.  Each video is around 5 minutes long and are well produced.

How to integrate NBC Learn into the classroom:  I am a HUGE fan of embedded learning.  Learning that is in context just makes sense.  The learning is richer because students are able to make real connections to the foundational understandings that they already have.  In addition, this type of learning gives them an idea of how the learning that happens in the classroom is connected to life.  With Science Behind the News, students are able to see connections to the world right now.  These clips encourage students to be curious about the world around them, and to dig into the bigger “why” of how things work.  I like the thinking that is encouraged here.  It is really modelling curiosity beyond just passively listening to a news story.

These clips are a wonderful way to kick off a new science unit, as a resource during inquiry, or for students and classes just to explore.  Students can use these clips as a starting point for further research, a “spark” for more learning.  Each student could choose a different video to watch and then conduct some research to learn more.  Where else is the science used?  How has our thinking about a topic changed over time as we have learned more about it?  What math is involved?  Help your students to see that subjects don’t happen in isolation in real life.  Science is connected with social studies, math, literacy, history, sports, art, economics, discovery, etc.  Can they find the overlaps in learning?

Tips:  NBC Learn has other outstanding resources including: science in golf, science in hockey, science in football, chemistry now, fishing the dream, sinking the titanic, science of the winter Olympics, science of the summer Olympics, writers speak to kids and science in innovation.  Check them all out!

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

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