I’ve written a number of posts over the years Awesome Stories, the excellent site for free accessible student content on many topics.
Now, for an annual fee of $59, teachers can create virtual classrooms using the site and monitor student progress. That’s nice, though a feature that goes along with that is the one I particularly like – the ability for students (and teachers) to create their own “stories” that can then become part of the site’s content. You can’t beat having an authentic audience for student motivation!
The process to create those stories seems workable for students, though it would be nicer if it was a little more simple – I get wary of anything that requires a ten minute instruction video. But, as I said, it seems like students could figure it out.
Of course, reading the site’s content remains free to everybody.
This post is another attempt at bringing a little more sanity to these lists.
I’ve just revised and updated The Best Online Sources For Images, but it’s still pretty massive – plus there are a zillion comments with even more recommendations from readers.
Here are my choices of the best – and easiest – sites to use for legally obtaining free images. They’re the ones I use the most. The links on this list are either direct links to the sites or links to my blog posts about the resources. In the case, those posts include the direct links:
Social media has been awash the last twenty-four hours with a GIF of Olympic gymnast Laurie Hernandez saying “I got this” to herself just before helping the U.S. team win a gold medal with her balance beam routine.
Facebook has worked with a charter operator, Summit Public Schools, to develop what looks like a very extensive “personalized learning” platform. The charter network piloted it last year and they have now – like, I mean, literally “now” – made it available free to any teacher who wants to use it. The article says it had a “steep learning curve,” but one would hope they’ve made adjustments since that time.
In order to register, you have to have a Google Apps for Education account. When you register, you need to be able to upload proof that you’re a teacher, like a pay stub or a letter on school letterhead. They seem to be pretty picky about it — I had to upload an image of my pay stub three times before they accepted it. It was initially rejected because either the date or the entire image wasn’t big or clear enough. They do get back to you within minutes of your upload.
The curriculum itself looks quite ambitious. And the instructions appear fairly clear on how to set-up classes. If you’ve got a one-on-one device program, it would seem to me that fully exploring this new tool could really be worth your time. For those of us without that kind of access to technology, however, I suspect we’ll generally pass – and it’s clearly not directed towards us, anyway.
This new platform will certainly be the talk of ed tech folks for awhile. Perhaps I’m completely out of the loop, but I don’t think a lot of people saw this new tool coming…
In it, he discusses a free collection of very good lessons for teachers of English Language Learners. It’s called eLesson Inspirations, and its organized by the The Global Issues SIG of IATEFL (one of the two biggest international organizations of ELL teachers).
The lessons include videos and student hand-outs, and are designed to get students to think critically about the world around them and, at the same time, develop better English skills.
Read the article to learn more about the collection and then access all the lessons – for free – at the eLessons Archive. There are about twenty-five of them there now. However, I was disappointed to see that it appears they aren’t adding any new ones to the list – the last one was uploaded last December.
My colleague and co-author, Katie Hull, is moving to middle school this year, and she attended some trainings last week. She told me that one of the things she learned about and liked a lot was a “noise-level chart.”
But I don’t think it’s as well known to high school educators, at least the two of us!
Using something like this could be very helpful in my IB Theory of Knowledge classes, which are very large, and we’re all packed into a very small classroom.
Introducing the chart, practicing it, and then explaining what level the class noise level should be prior to each activity (or, even better, asking them what they think the level should be), could be a very helpful strategy.
Again, it’s probable that most readers of this blog already know about this strategy. I wish somebody had told me about it earlier!
Here’s what I’ve come up with for my classroom – tell me how I can make it better, please: