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UPM Forest Life

What it is: UPM Forest Life is an excellent interactive site that lets students explore a forest virtually.  This is the next best thing to actually being in a forest, I can almost smell the pine trees!  UPM Forest Life aims to teach about forest sustainability through an outstanding ‘hike’ through the forest.  Along the way, students can click on points that will reveal videos, pictures with information, and sounds.  Students will learn about forest planning, harvesting, regeneration, respacing, thinning, transport, recreation, training, berry picking, bird watching, hunting, fishing, natural forests, valuable habitats, deadwood, forest structure, water, and native tree species.  Students will also learn about the various animals that call a forest home.  This is an outstanding way for students to learn about tree species, habitat, and animals because it is learning through exploration. UPM Forest Life will teach them in a way that no textbook can. How to integrate UPM Forest Life into the classroom: Although I am sure we would love to take our students on a field trip to a forest to explore and learn first hand, it isn’t always practical or possible.  UPM Forest Life is a fantastic virtual substitute.  It is so realistic and well done that your students will feel as if they have taken a trip into a forest.  This would be an excellent site to use with an interactive whiteboard.  Allow students to take turns being ‘tour guides’ for the journey.  They can click on the various videos, pictures, and information embedded in the forest.  Create an observation journal where students can jot down observations of trees, animals, and sounds that they expereince while in the forest.  This site would also be a great one for students to visit individually in a computer lab setting.  Be sure that students are equipped with headphones so they can enjoy the full experience of the site.  After students explore the forest, discuss what it means to have a sustainable forest and why it is important.  This site is perfect for the science classroom or Earth Day but it would also work well in the language arts classroom.  Students could use the UPM Forest Life as a writing prompt, after exploring the forest they could write a story with the forest as the setting, or use one of the animals in the forest as a character in the story.  The scenery and sounds in the Forest are so peaceful and restorative, this may be a good site to have going in the background while students silent read…almost like reading above the trees in a tree house! Tips: I have really enjoyed exploring this site and haven’t closed it since I opened it.  I learned about the UPM Forest Life site from @atkauffman on Twitter, I highly recommend a follow!  Andrew often has great resources for teachers and shares them on Twitter. Leave a comment and tell us how you are using UPM Forest Life in your classroom.

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Addison Tales: Ignite Your Student’s Imagination

Posted by admin | Posted in Art, Create, Evaluate, Interactive book, Interactive Whiteboard, iPod, Language Arts, Primary Elementary, Secondary Elementary, Web2.0, Websites | Posted on 17-10-2013

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Addison Tales: Activate your student's imagination in descriptive writing

What it is: Addison Tales is an interesting interactive site that asks your students to contribute content.  This ongoing competition challenges students to invent an imaginative story character for Addison’s Tales.  When students visit the site, they will be introduced to Mr. Cornelius Addison.  If students click on the sparkly stars, they can visit the story’s characters.  When students click on Mr. Cornelius Addison, they will be taken to a story called “The Dream”.  The story is about Mack’s wild and imaginative store where he sells characters.  The story urges students to add characters to the store and then to “trap” their characters inside finished stories so that they don’t just remain figments of the imagination.  When students create their own characters, they make them “real” like the solid characters in the cottage that can be discovered inside the apps that are available from Addison tales in the app store.  The challenge is for students to write and draw interesting characters.

How to integrate Addison Tales into your classroom:  I think the way that Addison Tales combines technology, writing, drawing, story and imagination is brilliant!  Read “The Dream” with your students using classroom computers, an interactive whiteboard or projector-connected computer.  For those of you with iPads in the classroom, “The Dream” is also available as a free app.  After reading the story, talk about the types of characters described in “The Dream.”  This is a great way to get your students thinking about description and imagery!  Ask students to write down the adjectives and descriptive words that they remember from the story.  Students can choose a character from the story to draw.  For a fun class activity, invite students to all draw the same character and see what similarities and differences exist between student drawings.  (This can lead to some fun discussion about artistic license!) 

After students try their hand at describing characters from the story, they can work on creating their own character.  Students should think carefully about word choice and imagery.  Through December (2013) Addison Tales is running a competition where students can submit their characters.  Each week, Mr. Addison will frame a select number of characters on his wall with the artist’s nickname, country and character name for everyone to see.  At the end of the month, one of the most curious of the characters submitted will be turned into a plush toy and sent to the lucky artist.  Pretty great reward!

Tips: The contest portion runs every month through the end of December.  Even without the contest, the site offers a great way to introduce your kids to descriptive writing and imagery!

What do you think of Addison Tales?  How do you plan to use it in your classroom?

Comments (6)

Addison Tales would be incredibly motivating in the classroom. I am always looking for new ways to inspire my second graders to explore their creativity and let their imaginations run wild. They are so used to writing non-fiction stories, that when it comes time to write fiction stories, they have trouble coming up with that initial idea. Addison Tales would help jump start their minds and guide them in creating descriptive characters and intriguing story plots.

I really like the contest component to this website. It gives students a chance to showcase their best work and teaches them to take pride in what they produce. The website itself evokes mystery and curiosity. Even though the content of The Dream may be a bit advanced for second graders, I can already envision ways of adapting it to make it something they understand and want to take part in. Thanks for a great post!


I like Addison Tales to a certain extent. I feel that it is limited in the sense that it would only be useful to a certain age group(elementary students). However it contributes a lot to that particular age group as listed above. This post was very informative and definitely something fun for today’s student.


One lovely aspect not mentioned above is the musical component of Addison’s Tales. If you click on little Vincent the mouse leaning out of his mousehole, you will find that he hands out the sheet music from Addison’s Tales. Kids can turn their tablets vertically and place them on the music stand to play directly from the screen. If music teachers want to motivate their (probalby more advanced) students further, they can record class recitals and upload to youtube, then send a link to the given email address. Vincent will rig his projector to showcase the recital. The good thing is that the tunes are actually very catchy (in an Irish kind of way), so the kids should defintely have a lot of fun here too.

Love that! I missed it on my first visit. Thanks JB!

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