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eField Trips

What it is: eField Trips are a neat idea for students to ‘travel’ virtually to learn about the world.  These virtual eTrips are composed of 4 parts.  The first part is a pdf called the Trip Journal.  Teachers download and print out the trip journal to guide students on their journey and to give them a place to record what they are learning on their trip.  Second is the virtual visit, this is a flash video where students go on the actual trip at their own pace.  Generally trips take about 15 minutes to complete.  Third is a form where students can ask experts questions they have about the trip they took.  Actual experts will respond to the question in 1 to 2 days.  The fourth is a live chat.  These chats allow students to interact with the experts in a live session at a scheduled time.  Available eField Trips include: Pearl Harbor, bats, underwater ecosystems, brown vs. board of education, butterflies, western exploration, caves, climbing Denali, desert dwellers, Dred Scott, Earthquakes, mountains, and glaciers, fires roll in an ecosystem, Glacier Bay, Grand Tetons, invasive species, whales, renewable energy, sea turtles, mammals of Denali, manatee, reptiles and amphibians, wetlands, and more.  I would categorize eField Trips more like a webquest than a virtual field trip.  These are great webquests! How to integrate eField Trips into the classroom: These eField Trips would be an excellent extension (or replacement) for text book reading.  Students can work through the eField Trip at their own pace in the computer lab setting.  I like the Trip Journals that guide students on their journey and keep them thinking critically about what they are encountering.  For younger students, take an eField Trip as a whole class using a projector or an interactive whiteboard.  Each student could still fill out a Trip Journal as the class goes on the journey.  Because the etrips require reading, struggling readers may be paired up with confident readers or a helper.  I really like the interaction that students get with experts after the field trip.  As students are going on their journey, they are bound to come up with additional questions.  Students always love sending and getting mail, eField Trips gives students the opportunity to do both. Tips: One thing that I don’t love about this site, it is hard to navigate back to the homepage.  This isn’t a problem for students completing the trips, but it is a little frustrating as a teacher planning a trip.   Leave a comment and tell us how you are using eField Trips 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!

Hi,

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.

Thanks,
Nathalie

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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