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The Stacks

What it is: Scholastic has so many fantastic resources for the classroom.  There is a new addition to the Scholastic website called The Stacks.  The Stacks is currently in BETA but is already packed full of goodies that will have your students excited about reading.  The Stacks is a place for students and their friends to connect around reading.  The site is geared toward 9 to 15 year old students. Students can check out and discuss the various books that they are reading.  This is a great place for students to discover new books that they may enjoy, or to connect over books that they have already read.  Most of the books featured in The Stacks have an accompanying website where students can read what other students thought about the book, play related games, and take quizzes.  These mini sites are very well done and so engaging.  When I was in elementary and middle school, I often wished that my favorite books wouldn’t end.  I remember getting toward the last pages of the book and feeling disappointment over having to say goodbye to the characters I had come to love.  I would have been ecstatic over the mini websites that kept my favorite characters alive, making the book last and last.  Students can also learn more about the authors of their favorite books in The Stacks.  Students can play games that are related to the books they are reading.  They can choose from arcade games, quizzes and polls, puzzle games, make your own games (including choose your own adventure virtual stories), writing games, ecards, and downloads that can be printed for offline play.  Students can create their own profile on The Stacks, allowing them to customize their profile and background.   How to integrate The Stacks into the classroom: The Stacks will have your good readers excited to read more, and your reluctant readers enthusiastic about reading.  Allow your students to use The Stacks to find new reading material, and to interact with other students about the books they are reading.  Many of the activities would make nice extensions to your curriculum. The choose your own adventure game would be fun to play as a whole class on the interactive whiteboard.  If you have clickers (student response systems) have your students vote on the choices throughout the story.  The writing games will lead your students through a variety of writing exercises teaching them how to build a story, write a report, write journal entries, and create their own comics.  The Stacks has some great offline activities for your classroom.  Print out crosswords, connect the dots, coloring pages, word searches, calendars, trading cards, and more.  All of the printables tie in directly to the books students are reading.  This is a FUN social media site centered around reading and books.  The books are familiar and popular reads for students and should create a reading buzz in your classroom. Tips: The Stacks does not require a login unless students want to create a profile.  When students register for The Stacks, they are not asked for any personal information or email, making it appropriate for even elementary students. Please leave a comment and share how you are using The Stacks in your classroom.

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EDpuzzle: Like Video in the Classroom 2.0

Posted by admin | Posted in Analyze, Anastasis Academy, Art, Classroom Management, Create, Evaluate, Geography, Government, History, Inquiry, Internet Safety, Knowledge (remember), Language Arts, Math, Middle/High School, Music, Phonics, Primary Elementary, Science, Secondary Elementary, Social Studies, Teacher Resources, Understand (describe, explain), video, Video Tutorials, web tools, Web2.0, Websites | Posted on 06-02-2014

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EDpuzzle- Making video better: iLearn Technology

What it is:  EDpuzzle is a neat new educational site to help you better utilize video in your classroom for learning.  You can find and crop video to use only what you need, add audio notes within the video or do some voice over work for a video, and you can embed questions throughout the video to track student understanding. EDpuzzle collects data as students watch and interact with the video.  You can see if and when a student watched the video, and see the progress of all students through the answers to embedded questions.

How to use EDpuzzle in your classroom: What makes EDpuzzle great is the level of freedom given in cropping, sharing, and tracking video use in the classroom. EDpuzzle enhances the “flipped” classroom by allowing you to embed formative assessment directly into your videos. As students watch, you can check understanding and ensure active watching vs. passive watching. In a flipped scenario, this gives you the ability to completely tailor a lesson the next day based on the formative assessment results you get from homework. This is truly utilizing assessment to inform instruction (which is the point of assessment!).

EDpuzzle can be used in conjunction with videos that you have made for your students, or with videos that you find.  I like using video to introduce students to a brand new topic or idea.  Well-created video has the ability to quickly and succinctly help students dive into new learning and formulate new questions and lines of inquiry.  For example, when Anastasis Jr. High started our last inquiry block about “How the World Works” and explored the topic of food and farming, they started by watching the documentary Food, Inc.  This was a great way to launch their thinking and lines of questioning about where our food comes from.  Out of that video, students chose different lines of inquiry to explore and research.  EDpuzzle would be a good way for students to help others see where their line of inquiry started from.  Students could grab the clip of the documentary that intrigued them, and embed audio to show their thought process as they watched.  Sort of a Saved-by-the-Bell Zack Morris “Time out” moment where they can describe their line of thinking.

For primary teachers, EDpuzzle could be used as part of a guided reading center.  YouTube has lots of great read-along videos. (You can also create your own based on class reading!) Use these videos along with EDpuzzle to check for comprehension.  As the video plays, embed questions to check for understanding.  Students can independently go through the guided reading (or Close reading) activity, while you work one-on-one with other reading groups.  Rotate the reading groups throughout the week so that each student gets the opportunity to go through the EDpuzzle guided reading activity, and each group gets one-on-one time with you.  This is a fantastic way to maximize your time and get valuable feedback from all student learning.  EDpuzzle could also be used in this way as a science center (with a video pertaining to an experiment or new learning), a math center, etc. I love using center rotations because it ensures that I have time to work closely with each group.

For secondary students, use EDpuzzle is a great way to check for understanding.  It is also a wonderful way for students to create and demonstrate understanding.  EDpuzzle would be ideal for sub days.  I always dreaded being away from the classroom because it was essentially a lost day.  Even if the substitute did EXACTLY what I asked, I missed the opportunity to see my students work and think.  EDpuzzle would give you the ability to “teach” remotely and embed the same questions and promptings you would give if you were live in the classroom.  While you won’t get to hear all of the discussion, you will have some feedback to better understand how your students were thinking.

With documentary-type videos, EDpuzzle can be used to embed writing prompts.  Record a prompt throughout the video so that students can pause and write out their reflections and thoughts.  I find that good documentaries are often SO packed full of good things that by the end of the video, only the last 10 minutes get well-reflected on. The documentary Baraka would be an incredible video to do this with!

Have you seen Vi Hart’s YouTube channel?  I am obsessed! I love the way that she goes through math in a casual stream-of-conscious type approach.  Embed related practice math problems based on the topics that Vi is sharing in her videos.  As students get those light-bulb moments of, “oh, that is how that works!” capitalize on the new understanding by giving them a place to put it into practice and try it out.

Do you record your students learning? EDpuzzle could be a fantastic way to record audio feedback to the videos that they upload.  These can then be shared with parents and students for review.

Tips: Don’t have access to YouTube at school?  No worries! You can still use EDpuzzle with your students. EDpuzzle lets you search for video by topic, or pull video from Khan Academy, Learn Zillion, National Geographic, TED, Veritasium, and Numberphile as well.  LOTS of incredible learning just waiting to happen!

 

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Comments (4)

I think this program would be very beneficial to my future students. I like how if I have a substitute teacher one day for my class, this program can be a teaching component for my class, and I can get immediate feedback from my students’ progress.

I am going to look into using EDpuzzle for attaching assessments to videos. It looks like a simple yet powerful tool that could be very useful in the classroom or library media center. I am taking a graduate level library media technology class at the University of South Alabama and I am going to summarize this post in my school blog on March 4th. Feel free to visit the EDM 510 blog at EDM 510 Class Blog, or my class blog at Anastasia Martin EDM 510 Blog. You can also follow me on twitter @anastasia5360.

Hi, my name is Emily Huff and I’m an EDM 310 student at the University of South Alabama. I loved reading your blog and I learned a lot from it. I have never heard of EDpuzzle until now. I love how EDpuzzle will show you when and if the student watched the video and that you can see the progress of the students from the embedded questions. I also like the idea of using EDpuzzle as a part of a guided reading center, I think this idea would be great for me to use as a future educator. I enjoyed reading your blog and I can’t wait to read more!

I think that EDpuzzle is an extremely beneficial tool for teachers to use. I have never heard of it before I viewed blog however, I plan to incorporate videos from it into my current unit I am teaching. These videos are extremely educational and contain a great deal of information that I teach and require my students know. I teach biology and the concept in my class are often difficult to understand and these videos help make complicated information easier to understand. In addition, the incorporation of questions check points during the video give reflection time for students to check their understanding and review the material. I think that students would be able to relate to these videos because they make several connections to humans. Many times while teaching students need to see the connection to them in order to be interested or remember information. In addition, I think it is great the video plays with closed captions that can help English language learners to follow along when the vocabulary is challenging or hard for them to follow. I plan to share this information with my colleagues because I think it provides students with an entertaining but yet education view on information.

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