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Secret Builders Update

What it is: I have reviewed Secret Builders virtual world before, but some new additions and features deserve another post.  Secret Builders is a virtual world for kids (8-12) that introduces them to fictional characters from history and literature.  Secret Builders has added a host of new historical characters that students can interact with including: Jane Austen, Bach, Alexander Bell, Emily Bronte, Confucius, Marie Curie, Thomas Edison, Hafez, Magellen, Omar Khxyam, Motzart, Issac Newton, Rumi, and Lao Tzu just to name a few.  Students can actually visit the historical figures house, learn more about them, interact with them by asking questions in a virtual chat (answered as the character would answer), and take a quiz to find out how much they know about the historical figure.  Secret Builders allows kids to get up close and personal with history in ways not previously possible.  It allows them to gain a better understanding of historical figures than a textbook offers.  Secret Builders has additional school friendly features like areas for students to write, collaboratively draw and share, and play educational puzzle games.  Secret Builders also has a great Internet safety quiz that tests students on their knowledge of what online behavior should look like.  Secret Builders has just added a Teacher’s Console where teachers can add and manage their students from one central location.  Teachers can also set up an online reward system for students where they can unlock special Secret Builder features by completing “quests” that you assign.  For example, you may be studying Thomas Edison in class.  You could send students on a quest to find and learn about Thomas Edison and give the reward to those students that correctly complete the quiz. How to integrate Secret Builders into the classroom: Secret Builders is an excellent way to bring history to life for your students.  They will understand historical and literary figures better as they interact with them in this virtual world.  Secret Builders is best in a lab setting where every student has access to a computer.  Be sure to sign your class up under a teacher account where you can control and monitor what students are expected to do in Secret Builders.  Encourage students to interact and “interview” the historical figures that they encounter.  They can then write an article about the historical figure for the Secret Builders virtual newspaper.  Secret Builders is a great first stop for learning about important figures in history.  It will leave them wanting more and excited to learn more about these interesting people in history. Tips: Secret Builders also has a program that is connected called “One for All” students can raise money for their school by answering math, logic, geography, and vocabulary questions. Leave a comment and share how you are using Secret Builders  in your classroom.

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Inspiration

Posted by admin | Posted in Character Education, inspiration, Teacher Resources | Posted on 11-09-2008

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 Some school years start out much bumpier than others.  This year has definitely been a bumpy one for me.  Nothing seems to be working the way it should, the kids are disappointed that in the first 4 weeks of school they have not had computers available in computer class.  I am feeling frustrated at the lost teaching time (so many things to fit into a 35 min. once a week class!)  This weekend one of my professors from my college (Colorado Christian University) days spoke at church.   Sid Buzzel was/is one of the most influential educators in my life and one the I deeply respect.  He came to teach about education.  It was exactly what I needed, I loved hearing his passion for education and his explanation to parents, grandparents, aunts, uncles, children why he is an educator.  He reminded me of why I am an educator.  I miss being taught on a regular basis by Sid.  The church recorded Sid’s inspirationalwords.  I highly recommend this podcast.   I’m sure it won’t take long to figure out why this man made such an impact on me and my teaching career.  I’m ready to press on through the problems and teach my students…with or without computers! :)  Take a break, put your feet up and get renewed.  Let me know what you think and tell us about the influential educators in your world.   

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