What it is:Grmr.me is a great site for middle school and high school English teachers (and anyone else who edits student writing). This site was built by, and for, English teachers to help students learn how to fix the most common grammar and punctuation errors found in writing. Topics include: Pronoun disagreement, subject verb agreement, pronouns with compound word groups, commas and clauses, comma splices, direct address, usage of words, passive voice, literary present tense, iambic pentameter, and dramatic irony. It’s like having @michellek107 in your pocket! 🙂 For each topic, there is a short video explanation of the problem and how to fix it.
How to use Grmr.me in your classroom: I would have so appreciated this site when I was a student! (Let’s be honest, I still appreciate this help.) I’ve always loved writing, but would often get feedback about comma splices or run on sentences. This feedback was less than helpful because while it identified a problem with my writing, it didn’t help me understand how to fix it. With Grmr.me, you can not only help your students see the problem in their writing, you can offer a quick link of immediate support. Grmr.me empowers students to take your edit notes and understand where the problem is and how to fix it. Rather than just writing “comma splice” on student writing, add grmr.me/csp/ in the margin. Now those edit notes make sense, and give students the instruction to re-write with confidence that they understand where and what the error is.
Tips: Points to anyone who comments with links to the videos I should have consulted when writing this post!
Being an educator is a FULL time job. Nights, weekends, and everything in between seems to be fair game. It isn’t always assigned work. Education is more than a career, it is a worldview. You see everything through the eyes of an educator and are constantly dreaming of how that non-educational thing you saw could relate to something you are doing in the classroom. It’s the sparks of…maybe-THAT-would-work, that occur in the shower. Not to mention the dreams! We’ve been on summer break for 3 weeks and every single night I’ve dreamt about school or students.
This is just one of the reasons that educators find it laughable when someone mentions how nice it must be to get out of work in the afternoon and have summers off. None of those things have ever happened. They are a rarity. Ask my husband about what a summer off looks like! “Seriously, you work more hours during the summer than the school year.” I love the summer time. I love that it makes my schedule more flexible, makes it possible to use the bathroom whenever I want (teachers understand the luxury of this!), go to the grocery store in the middle of the day when they put out the fresh produce and you don’t have to pick through the left over sad and bruised produce. I love that I can sit and dream up curriculum and lesson plans at Starbucks and come home to read a new edubook in the sunshine. Happy!
I’ve never felt the need to get an additional summer time job. I appreciate the flexible days and I need the time to breathe. This year that changed. I found something that allows me to be flexible, own my own business, and make some great extra money on the side. The best part is that when the school year kicks back into gear, I don’t have to give it up and it still makes mail money (that’s the money that just shows up in your PayPal account, it’s pretty much the best kind of money!) You can do this, too! But first, a story.
There is something about being in your 30s that flips a switch. You’ve finally nailed your skin-care routine and things are mostly balanced and easy. Just when you think you’ve finally got the skin figured out, 30 comes along and is like, “don’t you think a few little wrinkles would make us look distinguished? Sun Spots, you come too!” This is particularly annoying because 30 also insists on trying to hold on to youth and includes breakouts the likes of which haven’t been seen since 13. I mean really?! The emergence of sun spots, wrinkles, WITH breakouts. Not fair at all. I think I could have handled any one of these issues, but throw in all 3 and I have NO idea how to deal. The sun spots creeping in are supremely frustrating, because I’m the queen of dutifully applying sunscreen as part of my daily routine since the age of 10. I mean sun spots? I did all the right things to keep those puppies from ever existing.
I have always been a sucker for the newest miracle cream in drugstores and magazines. Sort of a, “Well, she looks amazing, this must be the fountain of youth!” I’m kind of a beauty store product junkie. “This time, this will be the one! I think as I pour over the directions of exactly how to use it (because heaven forbid I put the cream on wrong and THAT is the reason it doesn’t work). I’ve found a few standbys over the years, but I wouldn’t say that they did a great job of living up to their promises. They are more like that old robe that you keep around because it’s kind of comfortable and has just always been fine.
I started a school 4 years ago, about this time of year. I’m one of those dreaded millennials, the one who doesn’t really fit Gen-X or millennial neatly, and believes they can totally change the world, and wonders why everyone else is just sitting around doing what has always been done. Cut to 4 years later and INTO my 30s and suddenly it makes sense why not everyone is trailblazing like there’s no tomorrow: it’s hard. It sucks every ounce of time and energy. The shiny veneer of changing the world starts to wear off when ANOTHER email pings in (a good day is less than 900…email is from the devil). Then you start to wonder if the fatigue you see in your face isn’t really about 30, maybe it is all the other stuff aging me. I definitely blame email.
Then I found it (or rather, it found me), the miracle answer that takes care of all three of 30’s “gifts” and gives me back the manageable skin of 25. A teacher friend of mine has been telling me about Rodan and Fields for years. I paid little attention until her Facebook feed started filling up with before and after pictures of people I actually knew. Holy smokes!! Dramatic differences. They looked rested. I was half convinced that they had somehow found an extra 8 hours in the day to get a good night sleep. Then I started seeing the posts about matching her teaching income as a consultant. Then I started seeing Rodan and Fields products pop up in the beauty magazines I flipped through while getting my hair done. These weren’t ads, but beauty editors touting R+F products as the favorite. My friend and I met up for coffee so that I could beg her to be our long-term sub solution. I hadn’t seen her in person since I started Anastasis Academy, and was excited to catch up. She looks AMAZING. She was always stunning but her skin looked younger than it did the last time I saw her. Glowy, gorgeous, and makeup free. As I was leaving, she handed me a little pack of goodies to try.
SOLD. The pack of goodies turned out to be the Micro Dermabrasion Paste which polishes skin with a sugar-salt scrub with vitamins C and E, a “magic” blue pill (Redefine) night serum, and a “magic” grey pill (Redefine) lip serum. Holy smokes, my face hasn’t felt like that since I was 2 or 3 years old! Honestly, the results were immediate in the way that my skin looked and felt. Some of my glowy came back. The next day I messaged my friend and told her that I needed to order this miracle to have on hand. She graciously gave me the link to purchase but followed with a, “you know, if you are a consultant you get 25% off.”
I run a school. I honestly have NO extra minutes in my life to add anything else. Initially, I told her no. I do not have time for one more thing and I assumed that being a consultant meant that I had to sell a minimum each month for the discount or had to carry product. My assumption was wrong. There is no minimum monthly orders, there is no product to carry. To become a consultant, you purchase the product you are already planning on purchasing and fill out the form to be a consultant. There was no catch. Honestly, you can start a business for as little as $45 (depending on what products you want to order). I’ve been enjoying my vastly improved, evened out skin, and have the added bonus of 25% off for two months now. These skincare products are designed by two of the most respected dermatologists in the country with a legacy of delivering on what they promise. Using these products is about as close as you can get to visiting a dermatologist without an appointment. It truly can change your skin (and even comes with a 60 day money back guarantee…always a good bet).
The thing about good products is that you tend to talk about them. Obviously, I’m someone who naturally shares the things I find and love (this whole blog is based on that premise!) When people ask if I’ve gotten extra sleep, I tell them about Rodan and Fields. When people ask what I use, or lament about a skin care problem they are having, I naturally want to share my find. The bonus, if they try it, I get that mail money I mentioned above. You know what kind of email I don’t mind? The kind that pings in and tells me that money has been transferred to my PayPal account.
The unexpected bonus that came with being a Rodan and Fields consultant: I get access to a whole library packed full of business advice, brand equity, marketing ideas, business presentations, templates, training, etc. Because my worldview is education, I think about how I could apply some of these tools to my school. How could this kind of communication better help me communicate with parents? How could I use this idea to build a lesson in finances? How could I use a similar method to help students set and meet goals? I had no idea that this would be such a treasure trove of new approaches to teaching/learning! A happy bonus.
My friend started her Rodan and Fields business just a few years ago. In that time she has matched and surpassed her teaching income, she has travelled the country on business trips, and she has earned a Lexus. It is inspiring! Her goal at the time was to raise a little extra spending money for her growing family. She has met that goal and then some! My goal began very simply: prolong the even-tempered skin of my 20s. After being on the “inside” and seeing success stories of my friends and new friends, my new goal is to help other educators make some mail money and to use my own mail money to help fund projects that I am wildly passionate about (The Learning Genome Project). It doesn’t feel like extra work because I only talk about R+F as it naturally comes up in conversation. I buy what I need (it lasts way longer than the beauty store brands that I had been using), and don’t think about it until I have time or want to put energy into it. I’m not punished when I’m swamped with school and can’t think about it, and I have an incredible support system of others when I want to put energy into it.
So, if you are looking for a summer job (that doesn’t feel anything like a job), want to keep your skin looking and feeling amazing, and want to start something now that could impact the rest of your year: Rodan and Fields is worth a serious look.
If you are interested in learning more about the product, click here for your free consultation to find out what products are best for your skin.
If you are interested in learning more about starting your own business, leave contact information in the comments below, or you can email me directly through my contact form. Currently this opportunity is only available to those in the US and Canada. (Sorry my overseas friends…soon!)
If you have questions, I’ll be happy to answer them.
What it is: Stormboard is a super beautiful virtual sticky note brainstorming and collaboration application that lets classrooms or teams share online whiteboard space. In addition to virtual sticky notes, Stormboard makes it simple to add quality and usefulness to your shared space with photos and video. Each idea that gets added to a Stormboard has a comment thread attached to it, this ensures that everyone’s voice gets heard and conversations about specific ideas don’t get lost. Users can also vote on ideas, this is a quick way to get feedback. Stormboard lets you instantly generate “innovation” reports so that all ideas can be easily captured and saved as a spreadsheet or pdf. Shared space is flexible, you can share both synchronously or asynchronously. Stormboard works on any internet connected device making it ideal for a BYOD (bring your own device) classroom, and seamless regardless of what platforms your school uses.
How to use Stormboard in your classroom: I’ve seen lots of sticky note type applications over the years. Stormboard is hands down the most flexible and the most aesthetically pleasing. It gets all of that without being difficult to learn, it has a really great intuitive interface. Stormboard is a great way to capture learning that happens. In an inquiry classroom, we are regularly brainstorming, asking questions, following bunny trails of important thoughts and ideas, and sharing photos and video. Stormboard would be such an ideal place to capture all of this thought during an inquiry unit. I love the way that it threads conversations so that everyone’s voice gets heard and captured as it relates to an idea.
At Anastasis, our kids are constantly discussing big ideas. Stormboard would be a great way for the students to take notes and capture those ideas all together. As they go through literature, research, current events, science experiments, etc. they can capture all of their ideas, quotes, related images and videos in one place. When it comes time to write a report, reflection, summary or do some design thinking with their learning, students will have all relevant information in one place that THEY created together. This could be huge! Our Jr. High has been going through a book chapter by chapter throughout the year. So many of the discussions they have should be captured, the deep thinking is truly awesome! Stormboard would be a great place for this to happen. Learning and thinking process recorded.
Stormboard would also be perfect when you are implementing design thinking in the classroom. It is the perfect place for the ideation and research phases of the project to be captured.
Students can use Stormboard to work collaboratively with others in their class or with other classes in their school. It would also be a great tool to use with a collaborating school. Because it has options for sharing synchronously or asynchronously, it can be used with schools in different time zones around the world for collaborative projects.
Teachers can use Stormboard to collaborate on units or lessons with other teachers, make plans for new team undertakings, or just as a place to share or capture ideas.
Classrooms can use Stormboard on classroom computers OR on an interactive whiteboard or projector-connected computer to capture learning each day. This would make a cool living “textbook” where students could gather materials, resources, share ideas and conversations. Each day assign a different set of students to be in charge of the record. If you have a one to one device situation, each student can collaborate in this process together. At the end of the day, download the PDF or innovation report and save it. What a cool yearbook of learning and insight into your classroom.
As a school, plan new initiatives with your administrative team. We are currently dreaming of our own building (right now we lease space). This is the perfect place to share that dreaming with all stakeholders and capture conversations and thinking along the way.
I think it is awesome that Stormboard works on all devices, but also provides the option of downloading your work. This way you aren’t SO reliant on a tool that if it disappeared, all would be lost.
Tips: Stormboard is free to use. However, the free account is limited to 5 collaborators at a time. I’ve got my fingers crossed that when they see the awesome way that educators are using Stormboard, they will consider offering a free education account with enough for a class or two to collaborate. For $5/month/user you can add as many as you want. For $10/user/month you get unlimited users and unlimited administrators.
What it is:Wordsmyth is a fantastic online dictionary for kids. WILD is Wordsmyth’s Illustrated Learner’s Dictionary. It is a truly well done young reader’s dictionary for k-3 readers or ELL students. WILD is a simple-to-use visual dictionary that includes definitions for 1500 words, developmentally appropriate sentences for each word and for each meaning of the word, integrated visual environments that help kids really explore language, audio for each word, and fun activities that promote literacy. Wordsmyth has a dictionary for intermediate elementary and middle school students called Word Explorer Children’s Dictionary. The Word Explorer includes a related-words feature where students can see concept maps, easy-to-read and understand definition, word histories, Language Notes, and thousands of images and animations to help students build literacy. Finally, Wordsmyth has a comprehensive dictionary suite with easy to read entries and definitions, illustrations, synonyms/similar words/antonyms under each definition, audio pronunciation and thousands more images. Wordsmyth has different options for use. There is a free subscription available to everyone that will allow students to freely access all 3 dictionary suites, advanced search options, puzzles, words of the day, look up history, customized pronunciation and dictionary formats, and a glossary maker. MOST of the site is totally free to use with the free registration! For $9.95/year, you can also purchase an individual subscription that gives some additional features such as the ability to customize the dictionary and gain access to premium features.
An educational subscription allows access to ALL tools including teacher tools. Best of all, it is FREE for schools for the 2013-2014 school year. Worth taking advantage of this option!
How to integrate Wordsmyth into your classroom: I’m seriously impressed with the Wordsmyth dictionaries. They are truly an impressive option for a digital dictionary in the classroom. The downfall of this site: the illustrated dictionary (WILD) is flash-based. This means that it is not easily accessible on iDevices in the classroom. It also means that it takes a bit to load each page if your Internet connection isn’t great.
What I appreciate about this dictionary, is the accessibility for emerging readers, non-readers, or ELL/ESL students. The dictionary is really easy to use, the definitions are easy to understand, and the accompanying audio and images are fantastic!
If you have a dedicated writing space in your classroom, make sure to include Wordsmyth in it. Bookmark it on classroom computers, send it home to parents, include it on your classroom blog/website, etc. This is a wonderful place for kids to be empowered during their writing and literacy time.
If you are lucky enough to have a 1:1 device setting, this site is worth making a web clip for to make it easily accessible to everyone.
Right now our students are inquiring into how we express ourselves. Our intermediate students are looking at different mediums and methods that people use for self-expression. Part of that exploration has led them into a study of words. Wordsmyth is a great way for them to explore in a place that is developmentally appropriate and helps them see the way that language is connected and can be used for expression.
Wordsmyth has words separated by topic. As you begin a new unit, give students the opportunity to explore the vocabulary on the front end. You can do this as a class using a projector or interactive whiteboard or individually on classroom/personal devices. As you go through a class book or unit together, create a custom glossary that students can refer to.
Tips: Be sure to sign up for the free educational group subscription for the 2013-2014 school year. With the subscription you get unlimited making/using/saving/sharing activities, customize the dictionary, access premium dictionary features, and access to the teacher tools.
What do you think of Wordsmyth? How do you plan to use it in your classroom?
What it is:The Office of Naval Research has a great interactive site filled with science and technology exploration for students. On the site, students can explore oceanography, space, and blow the ballast. Each section of the site has sub categories that let students narrow down their focus. The majority of the site is purely informational with accompanying images and short quizzes. My favorite portion of the site is the seasonal constellations. It really is the star of the site (no pun intended). The constellation interactive focuses on the constellations that can be viewed during each season. When students click on a season, they will see the constellations and options to show/hide the pictures, lines and names of the stars. The explanation of constellations and the seasonal impact on what students will see in the night sky is fantastic. In the Teacher’s Corner, you will find great animations for each topic (space, oceanography, and submarines). These are fantastic visualizations of complex concepts made simple for students.
How to integrate Science and Technology Office of Naval Research into the classroom:The Science and Technology Office of Naval Research isn’t the flashiest site I’ve seen. In fact, it looks a whole lot like a site that was created in 1995. I recommend it, in spite of the aged design, because of the wealth of information that it offers students and the student-friendly language and explanations it uses. This is a great site for students to conduct a research project in the early years. The information is concise, easy to understand, and offered in bite-size chunks. Students can approach the topic of oceanography, submarines and space independently.
As I said above, the constellations based on season is pretty neat. It shows students the constellation and allows them to overlay the image with additional information as they want it. If your students are studying seasons or constellations, this is a nice visual and description. Students could explore the constellations on classroom computers, or better yet, together as a class on a projector-connected computer or interactive whiteboard. Google Sky is amazing, but sometimes it can be overwhelming with detail before students understand the basics of what they are looking for in the night sky. The images on this site are a great first step that can lead to a next level of detail in sites like Google Sky. I love that technology lets us bring the whole universe into our classrooms as a smaller scale planetarium. As a side note, if you have an iPad…go download Go Skywatch now. You will thank me!
Be sure to check out the animation section, these are wonderful for introducing students to complex concepts. The animations would be great on classroom computers as part of a science center rotation. They are perfect for sharing with the whole class on an interactive whiteboard! At Anastasis, students keep a running vocabulary collection where they create a “glossary” that they can refer back to. They do this in Evernote, these animations are perfect for linking to within the glossaries so that they can refer back to an illustration of the word.
What it is: Goal Book is a platform, currently in beta, that helps educators come together to create and track student goals. The interface is very Facebookesq in feel. Teachers can create and track student goals from within Goal Book, sharing those goals with any other team member that works with the student. Each time a goal or progress of a goal gets updated, the entire team that works with a student is updated. Educators can keep each other updated with progress of goals, celebrate students, and share messages in Goal Book. In addition to updating educators, parents are now in the center of the conversation. They can see all progress, communicate with the education team that works with their child, celebrate successes and send private messages from within Goal Book.
How to integrate Goal Book into the classroom:Goal Book is a fantastic way to keep every part of an education team up to date with IEP goals and progress. No more keeping track of email threads, assuming someone else is taking care of a particular portion of the goals, or wondering what progress a student has made with another team member. Goal Book brings all communication to one, easy to manage place. I like that teams are fluid in Goal Book. Here, the assumption isn’t made that every student has the same group of educators working on their goals. The students you have input in are listed in one place and the team members associated with that student show up as well.
Goal Book isn’t just for students with IEP’s, all students benefit from creating and tracking learning goals! Ask your students to think of a goal they would like to make for themselves for the semester/quarter/trimester in each discipline. Record the goals and progress with students throughout the semester/quarter/trimester. Celebrate with students when they have reached their goals and share these with parents.
At Anastasis Academy, we hold parent/teacher/student conferences at the beginning of each block. We call this conference “Meeting of the Minds”. This is a time where parent, teacher and student come together to write learning goals for the upcoming block based on the progress that was made the previous block. Students play a big part in creating their learning goals. One thing I would like to see from Goal Book is the ability to include students in the goal making/tracking process. It is important to include students in the planning and tracking of THEIR learning goals. Kids have to have ownership in their learning!
Tips: The Goal Book blog is worth subscribing to and following if you plan to use Goal Book at your school or in your classroom. The blog will keep you up-to-date with the latest updates and information about Goal Book.
Please leave a comment and share how you are using Goal Book in your classroom!
What it is: Ideas to Inspire has been a favorite of mine for years, it recently got a design boost that makes it even more useable! Ideas to Inspire comes to us from @markw29, Mark invites teachers from around the world to share their inspiring ideas for using technology in the classroom. These are pulled together as a presentation that teachers everywhere can benefit from. Ideas to Inspire has a handy new filter tool that let’s you find the exact resources and ideas you are looking for easily. Inspiring ideas include: Amazing art, A to Z of ITC, audio, books to engage boys, ideas for classroom blogging, games to enhance learning, creative geography, geography gaming, get to know your new class, GIS and GPS, Google forms, Google maps, Google search, ICT control and modelling, ICT in the early years, interesting images to use in the classroom, incredible science, inspiring writing, interactive math, Internet safety, iPad, iPod Touch, learning platforms, making your lessons ESL/EAL friendly, mobile phones, Moodle, netbooks, Nintendo DS and DSi, Non-tech strategies, ways to present Internet research, Prezi, Primary Pad, Purple Mash, QR Codes, student voice, super science investigations, super snow day activities, supporting math, supporting spelling, techy tips for non techy teachers, things to do with digital images, Twitter, using backchannels in the classroom, using video conferencing to support the use of quality texts, Wallwisher, webcams, web conferencing, Wii, wikis, Wordle, document cameras, supporting writing, search engines, marvelous music, interactive whiteboards, Google docs, ICT shopping list, creative curriculum topics, pocket video cameras, teaching reading comprehension, Voicethread, YouTube and (if you can believe it) more!
The new filter let’s you filter by curriculum linked presentations or interesting ways to use: hardware, software or online tools in the classroom.
This great resource is not to be missed!
How to integrate Ideas to Inspire into the classroom: Sometimes we could all use a little inspiration. Ideas to Inspire is just the place to stop for some guaranteed inspiration! I love that the ideas shared on Ideas to Inspire are collected from classrooms and teachers around the world. That tool you have been using forever in your classroom? Someone, somewhere has thought up a great new innovative way to use it in your classroom for learning! Does not get better than that!
For those of you who are enjoying the last few weeks (gulp) of summer, be sure to stop by Ideas to Inspire while you have some time to be inspired and make plans for the upcoming school year.
Tips: Fair warning: this website will suck you right in and make you want to spend hours exploring. 🙂
What it is: Every year, Learning A-Z celebrates Teacher Appreciation week with an open house where teachers can explore all that Learning A-Z has to offer for FREE!! Each day you can access another portion of the Learning A-Z tools. This is one of those sites that I have paid for and used since I started teaching. I love Reading A-Z because it has books that my students can print off and take home with them for every reading and interest level.
All week: Raz-Kids is a student-centric site where kids can practice reading online anytime and anywhere.
May 2, 2011- Reaing A-Z is a fantastic collection of printable and projectable books and resources that spans 27 reading levels.
May 3, 2011- Vocabulary A-Z has 12,000+ words that are organized by categories and give teachers the ability to create customized vocabulary lists.
May 4th, 2011- Science A-Z has science curriculum resources spanning more than 60 units, all are written to three reading levels.
May 5th, 2011- Writing A-Z has many of the resources you need to teach writing in your classroom.
May 6th, 2011- Reading tutors provides more than 400 reading resource packets that can be used for one-on-one tutoring.
How to integrate Learning A-Z into the classroom: If you teach in an elementary classroom, you should take advantage of these resources during the free open house week. Find new resources for your classroom and explore what Learning A-Z has to offer your students. I think you will be impressed by the resources available here!
As a new teacher, I relied heavily on Reading A-Z to help bulk up my classroom library. Students loved being able to color in and take home the Reading A-Z books.
Set up your classroom computers with Raz Kids for the week, students can have fun practicing those reading skills in a fresh new way all week long!
Hunt down your science units and download resources that teach important concepts while being accessible to students of all reading levels.
Tips: Don’t forget to visit and explore each day this week! Everyone who registers for the open house will be eligible to win a free classroom license of Learning A-Z, 5 teachers will be selected each day!
Please leave a comment and share how you are using Learning A-Z in your classroom!
What it is: Science Fix is a fantastic video blog that I learned about from my friend and PLN colleague Kyle Pace. The videos are all recorded science experiments and demos from middle school science teacher Darren Fix. The majority of the videos are chemistry related but there is also some good physics videos in there as well. The videos are hosted on YouTube so if you don’t have access, you may have to use one of those tricky ways to download and save from home. (See Tips below for ways to do that.)
How to integrate Science Fix into the classroom:Science Fix is a great place to find demos and science experiment videos to share with your students. These videos will help your students better visualize and understand the concepts that they are learning in your class. We don’t all have robust resource budgets, sometimes we have to pick and choose what we will be able to demo for our class live. These videos are a big help in bringing those experiments to our classrooms when budgets don’t allow us to do it live. There are great descriptions and additional links and resources along with each video.
Tips: For those of you who don’t have access to YouTube in your building, you can still use these awesome videos in your classrooms with a little bit of pre-planning. Download and save YouTube videos so that you can show them at school without accessing the YouTube site. UseKeepVid, YouTube DownloaderHD, Kick YouTube, SaveVid, or Zamzar. Some of these tools will even let you download at school if you know the YouTube url. The downloaded video should have no trouble playing at school!
What it is: Thanks to a tip from Jan, an iLearn Technology reader, I learned about the History for Music Lover’s YouTube channel yesterday. Oh. My. Goodness. Instant love. Seriously, if I had learned history this way, I would have rocked it! As it turns out, I actually met @amyburvall, the genius history teacher behind History for Music Lover’s at ISTE 10 in Denver and didn’t make the connection (feeling like a jerk for not figuring that out!). I starred in a video with one of the stars of the MansaMusa video “Magnus” the fashion police guy at ISTE. Small world. You MUST check out this YouTube channel, even if YouTube is blocked in your building. (As a side note…someone remind me WHY we block students from learning opportunities??)
History for Music Lovers is a collection of music videos (high quality I tell ya!) centered around events and people in history set to popular songs. Amy Burvall, IB high school history teacher, is the creator and star of the videos. Coolest history teacher ever. My high school history teacher sang one song to us: I’ve Been Working on the Railroad. True story. It was not engaging, inspiring, or helpful in my learning of history.
On the History for Music Lovers YouTube channel you’ll find:
I think it is awesome that the 80’s is so well represented in this list 🙂 that Amy Burvall is one talented girl!
How to integrate History for Music Lovers into the classroom: This is my new favorite way to introduce a history topic. If this doesn’t grab student attention and leave them wanting to learn more, I don’t know what will. The collection of videos is a fantastic place to start learning. The lyrics give students just enough information that when they begin fleshing out the period or figure in history with additional reading or research they will have a solid base to build from. The lyrics are catchy, students will forever associate William the Conqueror with Sexyback.
Students can embed these videos in their own history Web 2.0 creations and presentations. I’m currently using Capzles with a group of 8th graders and imagine them embedding these videos in their timelines along with images, and their blogged reflections.
Are your students as inspired by music as Ms. Burvall is? Encourage students to tackle a figure or historical time that hasn’t been done yet and create their own historical song parody.
Tips: For those of you who don’t have access to YouTube in your building (again I have to ask why?) you can still use these awesome videos in your classrooms with a little bit of pre-planning. Download and save YouTube videos so that you can show them at school without accessing the YouTube site. Use KeepVid, YouTube DownloaderHD, Kick YouTube, SaveVid, or Zamzar. Some of these tools will even let you download at school if you know the YouTube url. The downloaded video should have no trouble playing at school!
Also, did you know you can become a fan of iLearn Technology on Facebook? It’s true! I don’t have a fancy dancy Twitter account especially for iLearn Tech but feel free to follow me on Twitter. I like talking education, technology, and am in general a geek 🙂
** This is the LONGEST it has ever taken me to write a blog post, I got sucked right in and watched each and every video. On the bright side my knowledge of history has increased substantially today.
Please leave a comment and share how you are using History for Music Lovers videos in your classroom!