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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’...

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Flash & Thunder- Part graphic novel, part game, all fun and learning

Posted by admin | Posted in 5Sigma, Analyze, Anastasis Academy, Apply, Evaluate, Geography, Government, History, Interactive book, Interactive Whiteboard, iPod, Language Arts, Primary Elementary, Secondary Elementary, Technology, Websites | Posted on 30-11-2015

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INVICTA-Challenge- graphic novel/game/maps

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What it is: INVICTA Challenge combines technology (in the form of an action-packed video game), a graphic novel, maps, an operation packet and an action figure that inspires kids to read and problem solve. Each INVICTA Challenge collection builds problem solving and leadership skills for students 8-14. Part story, part game, students are placed in historical situations where they get to make the decisions that will determine success or failure. The first challenge, Flash & Thunder lets students walk in the shoes of an American Hero.

How to Integrate INVICTA Challenge in your classroom: These challenges are a fun and new way to foster literacy, history, and leadership skills in your classrooms. Stories are highly visual and have enough action and adventure to keep even your reluctant readers engaged. The game component of the challenge almost takes on a choose your own adventure feel as it pairs with the graphic novel, maps, and missions. The first challenge, Flash & Thunder tells the true story of a Native American paratrooper’s D-Day leadership. The way that this combination puts students in the middle of the story is fantastic. Students aren’t passive readers…it is impossible! With Flash and Thunder, students are in the middle of the action, analyzing options, making decisions, evaluating the decisions and building comprehension and understanding of history all the way.

The INVICTA challenge is like a smart recombination of the things I enjoyed most from my own childhood: American Girl dolls/Books, Oregon Trail…only with a major upgrade.

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At Anastasis, we’ve been working on an inquiry unit about change makers and the power of one. The INVICTA challenge has been a fantastic launching off point for students as they consider what it means to be a change maker, and what characteristics make up a change maker. This interactive challenge/book/game put students in the middle of thinking like a change maker, building leadership traits like integrity, nobility, valor, initiative, curiosity, tenacity, and accountability.

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This challenge would be an excellent addition to your classroom library. You might want a few copies so that students can read together and work through the game and missions together in a book group. The video game component will be available on iOS, Android, and online here. Take a look!

Tips: The INVICTA Challenges can be purchased at Barnes and Noble for $34.99. For all that is included in this kit, it is truly a great value! I’m so excited for the other challenges to come out, some very exciting stories and characters are on their way!

Full disclosure: INVICTA sent me the Flash and Thunder challenge so that I could review it for you all here. But…

You can win your own Flash and Thunder challenge at the 5Sigma Education Conference in February! If you register for the conference today, you can save 20% using the code: CYBERMONDAY at check out. Not only will you get the opportunity to win one of these great challenge kits for your classroom, you also get a conference experience like no other!

Graphic Novel Creator: Comic Master

Posted by admin | Posted in Art, Create, Foreign Language, History, Interactive book, Language Arts, Middle/High School, Primary Elementary, Science, Secondary Elementary, Teacher Resources, web tools, Websites | Posted on 27-09-2010

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What it is: The Graphic Novel Creator: Comic Master is a portion of the Read Me program (learn about it here).  This is a really cool online comic creator, the interface is fun to use and very intuitive.  It is obviously geared toward students with a great look and even an embedded music player.  I love the details on this site, including the headline “Reading isn’t only in books, it’s everywhere!”.  Using the Graphic Novel Creator, students can create their own multi-page graphic novels with interesting backgrounds, characters, props, and customized text.  The graphic novels can be saved and printed out.

How to integrate Graphic Novel Creator: Comic Master into your curriculum: Graphic novels are becoming increasingly popular reading material, particularly for boys.  They have even the most reluctant readers excited to pull out a book.  Now those kids who love reading graphic novels, can create their own.  A graphic novel is a great way for students to show what they know.  They can create a graphic novel re-tell of a story as a book report, describe a science experiment, re-tell a portion of history with a superhero twist, practice another language by telling a story, even define and demonstrate understanding of vocabulary words.

Tips: Be sure to check out the read me site for great teachers notes, ideas, and additional resources for teaching with the Graphic Novel Creator.  A special thank you to @thebookchook for introducing me to this tool!

Please leave a comment and share how you are using Graphic Novel Creator: Comic Master in your classroom!

Read Me

Posted by admin | Posted in Analyze, Apply, Blogs, Character Education, Create, Evaluate, Language Arts, Middle/High School, Music, Secondary Elementary, Teacher Resources, Understand (describe, explain), video, Websites | Posted on 27-09-2010

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What it is: Do you want your students to become deep thinkers?  Read Me is an incredible set of engaging resources that will have your students thinking deeply about who they are and how learning and thinking is vital to their life.  The resources have been designed to reach 11 to 14-year-old boys, to excite them about reading in and out of the classroom.  I can tell you that as a girl, I am enjoying these resources just as much,  I think that would be true of girls in the 11 to 14 age range as well.  Read Me (by the National Schools Partnership) has created six modules that connect with students at their interest level and teach them how to be reflective, deep thinkers and learners.

This is me- covers an understanding of autobiographical texts in traditional (diary) and modern (blog) contexts.  This is me includes teachers notes and presentations that will help students to explore autobiographical texts and self-expression through blogging.

Sport & me- asks students to explore sports websites and media texts by analyzing their structure and presentation.  Students take on the role of a persuasive sports person and ultimately create their own report or website.

Love 4 me- helps students explore different types of love by using texts from a variety of time periods and genres (including images, short extracts, music, lyrics) as well as in Romeo and Juliet.  Students engage with a range of texts that are thematically linked by love.  The culminating activity here is for students to create their own chat show and to create a collage based on love.  (I’m not sure if 11-14 year old boys would be into this topic…but this one will hook the girls for sure!)

Film + me- students use film trailers and titles to develop an understanding of how meaning is created through a combination of words, images, and sounds.  After students have analyzed film trailers and titles, they are asked to present a novel as a trailer.

Graphics 4 me- this one is my favorite because it comes with an awesome graphic novel tool (learn about it here) Here students explore how graphic novels work and become familiar with the medium and its complexity.  Students can create their own graphic novel online using this tool.

Music in me- students explore songs, their lyrics, and the impact they have on their audience.  As a result, students understand how society is presented through music and the media and stereotypes and attitudes it can help to perpetuate.

How to integrate Read Me into your curriculum: There is so much learning that will happen as a result of these six modules, but at the heart of Read Me is a goal to excite kids about reading.  Read Me has incredible ideas and resources for the language arts/literature/literacy classroom.  Use these resources to connect your students with story, passion, and understanding of how language is used.  There is something for every kid to connect with here.  Each module contains teachers notes, resources, links, and tips.  This is a truly incredible resource and collection for this age group.  Read Me encourages students to understand, analyze, evaluate, apply, and create.

Tips: This site includes a graphic novel creator.  I am writing about it separately because it deserves its own post.  You can find it here.

Please leave a comment and share how you are using Read Me in your classroom!