‘Practic-All’

Pragmatic tools and ideas for the classroom

Digital Magic #13

Digital Story Telling with feature guest Lawrence Mak

Thanks to Lawrence Mak for sharing this great project with us!

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Here is something that I could never have done without wikispaces.

Last year, our class was able to make a collaborative novel. Someone else in the 1 to 1 Laptop program actually published a novel that the class worked on, and it took him all year. I thought that was a pretty cool idea, so when I got the laptops for the second half of last year, I attempted it using a wiki.

We had a group discussion and came up with three different characters (all middle school age so it was easy for them to relate). We came up with a general plot with the theme of conflict resolution (problem solving was a goal last year and still is this year) and bravery too.

So we brainstormed ideas of what things could be happening to these three very different kids. We came up with an overnight camping field trip where these three characters got lost from the rest of the class and had to overcome their differences to make it back safely. We brainstormed other twists & turns, and I took all these ideas and made 25 chapter divisions (one for each student to sign up for) so each chapter dealt with one small part of the story.

Before writing I taught them thoroughly about quotation marks, using direct quotes, and paragraphs. Students then wrote their individual chapters. Then the idea was for students to check and edit each others’ work (especially the one that preceded their own chapter for continuity’s sake). It didn’t work exactly to plan because we ran out of time in the school year. You can check out this “un-named” class novel here.

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Thanks again for sharing this with us Lawrence!

Here are a couple other links to check out for Digital Storytelling:

1. 1001 Flat World (Wiki) Tales

The 1001 Flat World Tales Writing Project is a creative writing workshop made up of schools around the world, connected by one wiki. This blog will be the home to the award-winning stories from each group of schools that participate in the workshop, different topics, different grade-levels, different cultures, brought together by the power of stories. So, enjoy the tales, click around, meet the authors — and check out their blogs!

2. Alan Levine’s 50 Ways to Tell a Story Wiki

You will find 50+ web tools you can use to create your own web-based story. Again, the mission is not to review or try every single one (that would be madness, I know), but pick one that sounds interesting and see if you can produce something. I have used each tool to produce an example of Dominoe story and links are provided, where available, to examples by other people.

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Did you miss an edition of Digital Magic? Is there one you want to look back on again? Here are all the editions of Digital Magic in reverse order, (most recent first).

Have a great week!

October 5, 2008 Posted by | across the curric., digital magic, feature, lesson idea, lessons, teaching, technology, tools, web based, web2.0 | , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Digital Magic #12

Digital Magic #12 :: Big Thinking

Google is sponsoring a contest:

Project 10100 is a call for ideas to change the world by helping as many people as possible.

May those who help the most win!

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Also, here are a few people making a difference:

Students here in our district are using: Kiva.org.

Craig and Mark Kielburger: Free the Children.

Sarah McLachlan: World on Fire.

 

Click for World on Fire Video

Click for World on Fire Video

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Things that make you go hmmmmmm…

Are these ideas worth talking about with students?

How can you use one of these links/ideas in your classroom?

Do our students believe that they can make a difference in the world? 

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Did you miss an edition of Digital Magic? Is there one you want to look back on again? Here are all the editions of Digital Magic in reverse order, (most recent first).

Have a great week!

September 28, 2008 Posted by | across the curric., David Truss, digital magic, education, learning, lessons, Pair-a-Dimes, social responsibility, Social Studies, teaching | , , , , , , , , , , , , | Comments Off on Digital Magic #12

Digital Magic #3

Welcome to Dave’s Digital Magic #3

Here are 5 links for you to explore.

1. THE FEATURE OF THE WEEK!

Periodic Table of Visualization Tools

Periodic Table of Visualization Tools

Click on the link and then put your mouse over any section for a visual example of the tool. Great to remind you of different ways to visually express ideas.

Lesson plan: Students choose one tool from two different categories to demonstrate what they have learned.

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2. LEARNING AND ENGAGING ONLINE

Back to Wiki’s

 

At our staff Pro-D session there were more questions about wiki’s. (Wiki-wiki means Quick in Hawaiian, not ‘clueless’ as I joked) 🙂

I provided a more informational introduction to wiki’s in Digital Magic #1, but this video is much more fun! Think of a word document online, that everyone who is invited can change, that includes a tracking history to see who did what. Or ask an expert, Stan, Sharon, or Lawrence, to show off their wiki’s. Here is one that I did for Science, where I tried to bring Science Alive! Check out the Senses page for a few projects.
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3. GLOBAL AWARENESS

World Mapper

Worldmapper is a collection of world maps, where territories are re-sized on each map according to the subject of interest. The map below is according to Population.

The world drawn to scale according to population

There are now nearly 600 maps. Maps 1-366 are also available as PDF posters. Use the menu above to find a map of interest.
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4. MAGIC

Cyril has a fishy card trick

This is CRAZY! Cyril does his magic trick, ‘oooh-ahhh…’ then he says, “But wait…” and then takes it even further… simply amazing!
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5. THINGS THAT MAKE YOU GO HMMMMMM…

Clarence Fisher, a brilliant Canadian teacher and blogger, wrote this short paper (4 easy-to-read pages), Changing Literacies (PDF).

Being literate is so much more than being able to understand a written text on a piece of paper.

Here is a quote from his section on Access,

“Fast forward to our society and the ability we now have to drown ourselves in
cheap, disposable information from books, television, the internet, radio,
magazines, video, etc. In our time, one of the major skills of being literate is
the ability to access texts in many different forms from many different sources.
Importantly, it is not about searching for texts, it’s about finding them.”

In this article, Clarence describes why I became a ‘technology guy’. Actually, I don’t really care about technology… I just see how these tools, like wiki’s, can engage students in meaningful ways, where they create and share what they have learned in new, interesting ways.

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Did you miss an edition of Digital Magic? Is there one you want to look back on again? Here are all the editions of Digital Magic in reverse order, (most recent first).

Have a great week!

April 20, 2008 Posted by | across the curric., digital magic, education, learning, lesson idea, lessons, Science, Social Studies, teaching, technology, web based, web2.0 | , , , , , , | Comments Off on Digital Magic #3

Multiplying Integers: Why is -3 x -4 = +12?

Here are

‘The Rules’ and ‘The Reasons’,

‘The How’ and ‘The Why’

for Multiplying Integers.

I uploaded a couple pages of my Math Model Book for a ‘Pair-a-Dimes’ post, “Assessment & Rote Learning: Math Conundrums“… and thought I would share these very practical resources here.

The first page has The Rules for Multiplying and Dividing Integers.

Rules for multiplying & dividing integers

Next, using counters, I look at Why the Rules for Multiplying Integers Work*. I call this lesson “Why is a negative times a negative a positive?” and slowly build up to this at the end of the lesson. I enjoy seeing the a-hah moments in students when they finally understand this concept.

*It is very important to have pre-taught the concept of zero before this lesson, (the same negative and positive number together cancel each other out: together -4 and +4 = 0).

But what about division you might ask? I find this harder to show with counters so I usually explain that every multiplication question has two equivalent, related division questions:

If               3 x 4 = 12       Then        12 ÷ 4 = 3         and         12 ÷ 3 = 4

So if,     -3 x -4 = +12     Then     +12 ÷ – 4 = -3     and     +12 ÷ -3 = -4

This makes further sense to students when they realize that multiplying two integers with opposite signs = negative, and they can see that the same rings true for division as well.

March 24, 2007 Posted by | David Truss, lessons, Math, Pair-a-Dimes, teaching, tools | 18 Comments

Numeracy Task 2 – Flipping Hidden Cups

Four CupsA round table has four deep pockets equally spaced around its perimeter. There is a cup in each pocket oriented either up or down, but you cannot see which. The goal of the game is to get all the cups ‘up’ or all the cups ‘down’. You do this by reaching into any two pockets, feeling the orientation of the glasses, and then doing something with them, (you can flip one, two, or none). However, as soon as you take your hands out of the pockets the table spins in such a way that you can’t keep track of where the pockets you have visited are. If the four glasses ever get oriented all up or all down a bell rings to signal you are done. Can you guarantee that you will get the bell to ring in a (maximum) finite number of moves, and if so, how many?

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You can find out more about Numeracy Tasks in my ‘Pair-a-Dimes’ blog.
I will tag all tasks like this with Numeracy so that they are easy to find in one location.

Please feel free to post questions or your best answer in a comment… but do not ruin the challenge for others by explaining how you got to that answer here! If you feel compelled to share your method, please do so by contacting me. Thanks!

January 27, 2007 Posted by | contact, David Truss, lessons, Math, Numeracy, Pair-a-Dimes | 1 Comment

Numeracy Task 1 – The Glass Orb Drop

 

'Sphere_2720' by doviendeYou have two glass orbs of equal strength and a 40 story building.
Your task is to determine the highest floor from which you can drop an orb without it breaking.
What is the least number of drops required to do this?
Both orbs may be broken in order to determine your answer.
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You can find out more about Numeracy Tasks in my ‘Pair-a-Dimes’ blog.
I will tag all tasks like this with Numeracy so that they are easy to find in one location.

Please feel free to post your questions or best answer in a comment… but do not ruin the challenge for others by explaining how you got to that answer here! If you feel compelled to share your method, please do so by contacting me. Thanks!

Image: ‘Sphere_2720’by doviende

January 27, 2007 Posted by | contact, David Truss, lessons, Math, Numeracy, Pair-a-Dimes | 1 Comment

Student Leadership, Service Leadership, and Social Responsibility.

Student Leadership is a passion of mine. One of my favorite quotes, that I borrow from a good friend and mentor, Dave is “I teach leadership not followship”. Most of what follows has a lot to do with Servant Leadership and being socially responsible citizens of the school, and the world.

Here is a link to some Leadership Lesson Plans that I have either used or developed.

Here is a link to some wonderful Teaching Metaphors that I love to use.

Here is a link to my master final paper about Developing a Student Leadership Program in a Middle School.

These are all stored on EduSpaces where I keep my more philisophical blog, ‘Pair-a-Dimes for Your Thoughts’.

January 2, 2007 Posted by | David Truss, education, leadership, learning, lessons, Pair-a-Dimes, social responsibility, teaching | 1 Comment