Tuesday, February 3, 2015

Feeling Tour-iffic!!

While exploring new modes of delivery in my classroom, I've discovered Google Tour Builder, an outstanding way to put multiple varieties of content  (websites, text, video clips, images) into my students hands so they can explore and learn at their own pace....and it's tour-iffic!!

If you haven't seen Google Tour Builder, I recommend taking a look at this Egypt Tour that I made for Sixth Grade Social Studies:


Here are a couple of sample screen shots:

When creating this tour, I used my existing content for Egypt and 'packaged' it into a Tour of the Nile.  Students  click one link to access the tour, take notes on the tour as they read text, visit locations, watch videos and view images.  (***please note, tours cannot be used on i-pads at this time***)  At each stop, students record critical vocabulary, view essential questions and complete a 3-2-1 Postcard documenting their experiences.....3 facts, 2 opinions and 1 question.  It's a GREAT way to make curriculum self-directed, engaging and interactive.

Here is a link to my note taking sheets and 3-2-1- Postcard Template.

What is TourBuilder?  What can it do?

Tour Builder is a way to show select places using Google Earth platform.  It lets you pick locations right on the map and add photos, text, links and video and then share your creation.

Google Tours are great for any event that spans multiple locations.  It creates a path or demonstrates a journey in a visual interactive way.

Some examples of great Google Tour ideas:

  • Literature Trips - Mark the journeys of characters in novels on the surface of Google Earth.  So MANY have already been created!  http://www.googlelittrips.com/GoogleLit/Home.html
  • Travel Summaries - Have students tell the story of their own travels
  • Story Telling - Have students write their own stories involving several locations
  • Biographical Events (Here's one I created featuring the architectural works of Frank Lloyd Wright)
  • Retelling of Historical events
  • A collection of locations (i.e., museums, football teams, historical monuments, etc)
How do I create using Tour Builder?

Watch this tutorial:

Access this website for Google's own tutorial pages:  http://www.google.com/earth/outreach/tutorials/tourbuilder.html

No matter what you choose to include in your tour, I KNOW you'll use Your Smarticles!!!

Friday, January 9, 2015

Classroom Cagers That AR-n't Mediocre!

Finding ways to integrate technology into the classroom in purposeful, meaningful ways is a slam dunk!.  With a little ingenuity, just about any app can be ad'app'ted to meet the needs of your classroom.

Yesterday our focus word of the week was MEDIOCRE.  It's neither a good word, nor a bad one. Nonetheless, in my flipped classroom concept, the students interacted with the vocabulary word by viewing a video (via Edmodo) and completing a Word Activity Sheet. They do this with the promise that in class we will play a class game featuring the word of the week.

For the word, MEDIOCRE, our class game involved the FREE augmented reality app called:  AR Basketball.

My muse for this lesson came from a video the students had seen featuring the reading strategy of context clues and the word MEDIOCRE.  Here's the video from Learning Upgrade  In the video, the singer states that Zac is a mediocre basketball player.  He is neither a good player, nor a bad player.  You can say he is somewhere in between.  
In the end our objective was to determine the most MEDIOCRE basketball players in the classroom using AR Basketball. When you open the AR Basketball app, AR Basketball provides a target that you aim the ipad towards.  When the target activates, a virtual basketball net appears.

 Here's how the class game works:

-Open the AR Basketball App

-Activate Single Player Mode (no log-in or account needed)
-Enter Training Mode

-The time is set to 5 minues
-Students take turns shooting to obtain a score. To shoot, pull back on the small basketball and release....it works best if you use a mediocre amount of force!!
- At the end of 5 minutes, record every team's scores.
-Calculate the mean to determine the most MEDIOCRE team!!

AR Basketball for vocabulary is an alley oop using Your Smarticles!!

Friday, December 19, 2014

Jenga Vocabulary Game Stacks Right Up!

Wooden it be nice to find ways to occupy your kiddos this time of year?  I have the solution to any of your creativity blocks. It's Jenga...and it's knot a problem!

We used Jenga to help us review our vocabulary word of the week.  To do this, I created a game that corresponds with turns taken during a Jenga game.

Here's How it Works!!


  • Provide each team with a Jenga Block Set (or the FREE Jenga App)
  • 3-5 members per team
  • One looseleaf sheet of paper and writing utensil needed  

Round #1:  The Tranquil Round
-Must SILENTLY complete 4 new levels (move 12 blocks) without knocking tower down
-Block penalties WILL be applied if anyone talks

Round #2:  The Synonym Round
-Students must brainstorm synonyms for a key vocabulary word.
-For each synonym they come up with, they may remove a block and stack it.  Record the synonyms on a looseleaf sheet of paper.
-This is a timed round (2 minutes)
-Block penalties may be applied

Round #3:  The Antonym Round
-Students must brainstorm antonyms for a key vocabulary word.
-For each antonym they come up with, they may remove a block.  Record the antonyms on a looseleaf sheet of paper.
-This is a timed round (2 minutes)
-Block penalties may be applied

-Tallest tower wins
-Block penalties will be applied at the end of game.  One block is removed for each block penalty thus reducing tower height
-Teams MAY stop at any time to secure their tower height.
-Team is eliminated if tower falls  (Optional:  Team CAN rebuild and start from scratch)

Optional Round: The Sentence Round
-For each sentence they come up with, they may remove 4 blocks.  Record the sentence on a looseleaf sheet of paper.

In my classroom I DID use actual Jenga block sets, however, there is a FREE app that is also suitable for this game!!  

I promise your students will not be board with this game using YOUR SMARTICLES!!