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We Choose the Moon

What it is: This site has been around for a few years, I am constantly using it with students and assumed (wrongly) that I had shared it on iLearn Technology.  I think sometimes I use a site so often that I think that it is common knowledge or that I have already posted about it.  I’m redeeming myself today and sharing the truly INCREDIBLE site, We Choose the Moon.  The site drops students right into history where they get to witness, and take part in the Apollo 11 launch and mission.  Time travel might not exist yet, but I’m telling you, this site is the next best thing.  Students actually hear all of the chatter from Mission Control, control the launch, view all 11 stages of the mission, read mission transmission, and follow the mission  in “real-time”.  I cannot say enough about how truly awesome this experience is for students.  At each stage, students can explore more in-depth by looking through actual pictures from the mission, videos (including JFK’s We Choose the Moon speech), and a “map” of the stages Apollo 11 took to get to the moon.  I wasn’t alive to witness this piece of history first hand, but I can tell you that this interactive gives me goosebumps, makes me appreciate the giant leap that our country took, and makes me swell with pride. Not something a textbook can deliver. How to integrate We Choose the Moon into the classroom: We Choose the Moon plops students right in the middle of the action.  Students can experience this solo in a one-to-one computer lab setting where each has access to their own computer.  Students can explore at their own pace and “rabbit trail” for more information as needed.  My favorite use of this site is as a whole class using a projector-connected computer or interactive whiteboard.  The site has such a sense of nostalgia and it gives the opportunity to remember how the nation stopped and focused on the monumental moment in time.  Children everywhere were riveted to their TV sets watching men being launched into space to travel to the moon. Students born after the era of the space race have a hard time recognizing just what an event this was.  Viewing the site as a class gives students the opportunity to discuss the fashion, technology, and viewpoints of the day.  It gives students the opportunity to “witness” history first hand as if they have traveled back in time.  Take time to look through the photos, watch the videos, and reflect with students.  Turn the interactive into a creative writing opportunity where students choose a view-point (of JFK, a child, an astronaut, someone in mission control, etc.) and write about their reflections and thoughts as they witness and are a part of this history. Don’t be afraid to let your students “rabbit trail”, click here to see where students I worked with took the learning. If you have students who are still crazy for more “moon” experience, check out Google Moon and NASA’s Moon virtual tour.  I cannot get over how amazing technology is!  Do you ever just stop and marvel at what we have at our finger tips? Wow. Tips: Do you have parents or teachers who fail to see the brilliance of technology in the classroom?  I defy any parent or educator to experience a site like this and not have their minds changed.  This is one of those sites that upon stumbling on, I immediately sent to my dad.  He LOVED it. Please leave a comment and share how you are using We Choose the Moon in your classroom

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Camp Virtual by Common Sense Media

Posted by admin | Posted in For Teachers, inspiration, Middle/High School, Primary Elementary, Secondary Elementary, Subject, Teacher Resources, Websites | Posted on 28-06-2013

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What it is:  Summer time always seems to be a much-anticipated time for a little rest and relaxation.  Over the years I’ve heard from hundreds of parents how much they enjoy the summer months with their kids…until they reach July.  This is when the “I don’t know what to do” sets in and boredom can take over.  Common Sense Media is here to help with those in-between moments when it is too hot to play outside and you prefer that they do something more meaningful than plop in front of the TV for a few hours.  Send them to virtual camp!  The virtual camp is a library of apps, games and websites that will help your kids retain all of the skills they built up over the school year and even build some new ones in anticipation of the new school year.  Recommendations are broken up by age (2-17) and have been further divided by categories including: Outdoor Exploration, Scavenger Hunt, Arts and Crafts, Campfire Friends, Indoor Activities, and Talent Show.  Each recommendation is rated with books.  You are looking for 3 books for an engaging, exceptional learning activity!

How to integrate Camp Virtual by Common Sense Media into the classroom: Camp Virtual is a great way to keep kids learning throughout the summer.  Parents will be extra appreciative of the recommendations for worth-while and safe places for their kids to play while they are at home.  Each activity includes a learner rating and gives a great description of the activity as well as the learning that is tied to it.

Camp Virtual has a guide that can be downloaded and sent home with students at the end of the school year.  Too late for that?  Send a “hope you are having a wonderful summer” email with the guide and a link to the site.

When the weather is nice, I am a HUGE fan of kids getting out and enjoying experiential learning.  However; I know that like all of us, they hit the point of no return when they are hot, tired, crabby and just need a change of activity in a cooler location.  These recommendations of games and activities is a great reprieve for those moments!

Tips:  I love that at the bottom of each page there are some recommendations for parents to continue the learning beyond the game or activity.  Things like “Encourage kids to come up with as many different solutions as they can with each game. Ask them which solutions are most efficient.”

Are you using Camp Virtual?  Share your experience in the comments below!

Comments (6)

I believe that it’s important to keep up your childs learning during the summer.

However, this doesn’t mean shoving books down their throats and telling them to study, I believe that this means engaging them in something that really excites them, that they love doing.

I’m a teacher on http://www.chalksy.com and teach Spanish, and I encourage my high school students to take up online classes in topics that really interest them.

That’s how we created a brilliant generation of young minds!

Sounds like a great resource, thanks for sharing!

[…] “Camp Virtual by Common Sense Media” @ktenkely ilearntechnology.com/?p=5036 […]

[…] website that I can encourage my students to learn over the summer! The blog post is named, “Camp Virtual by Common Sense Media.” Basically, the author pointed out that she was tired of hearing parents complain that their […]

Completely agree. Last summer I wanted my kids to learn something new and found http://www.learnbycam.com – My son decided to take online guitar lessons with them and my daughter chose French classes. I must admit this works really well. I am able to supervise the lessons as they take place via Skype and dont have to worry. Importantly they are learning from great teachers. Would recommend to any parents wanting to help their children learn more.

That is fantastic Matt! What fun!

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