Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Online Game Creation!

This year I have a few 6th grade boys who are really interested in creating their own video game.  So through a little research I have found two great options for kids to try out.  The first, Kodu Game Lab, provides an environment for designing and playing your own creation.  Here are some key features (courtesy of Microsoft):
  • High-level language incorporates real-world primitives: collision, color, vision

  • Runs on Xbox 360 and PC

  • Interactive terrain builder

  • Bridge and path builder

  • Terrain editor - create worlds of arbitrary shape and size

  • 20 different characters with different abilities

  • The student in my class who has started using it said there is a learning curve, as with everything, but is not particularly difficult to figure out.
    The second online game creator is called Sploder.  This site offers the opportunity to create flash games to play right on your PC.  I personally played around with it bit, and I must say that it is pretty cool.  The site provides many options for character develpment, background, etc.  Sploder does however regquire users to register.  So if you have younger students who are interested, parents or teachers could provide their email address.  This option might be useful in that he/she would then know that students password and username.

    Monday, March 14, 2011

    Making Grammar Fun!

    We have all heard the moans and groans while teaching grammar in the classroom.  There are times when it is difficult to get students excited about practicing grammmar.  Hopefully the following sites will encourage them to work on these skills.
    Grammar Ninja-Beginner, Skilled, and Master Levels
    Grammar Gorillas-Beginner (nouns/adjectives), Master (all parts of speech)
    IKnowThat-Great resources! (PreK-6)
    Grammar Blast-(Grades 2-5)
    Grammar Bytes-(For teachers--Exercises, Presentations, Handouts, etc.)

    Wednesday, March 9, 2011

    Interactive Timers

    As our district is switching to Mimio software we are finding the lack of interactive timers within its gallery.  All teachers previously had access to Smart Notebook 10, but that is no longer the case.  If you are in the same position we are in, or would like additional options for interactive timers, here are some alternatives: Timer
    Class Tools Timer
    30 Second Countdown Timer
    Virtual Stop Watch
    Online StopWatch
    Another Stop Watch w/ Hour Glass Included

    Hopefully you can find a timer that works for you from the list above!

    Tuesday, March 1, 2011

    Capzles and E Portfolios

    While contemplating what to use for the students' e portfolios, a colleague on Twitter, Kelly Tenkley suggested Capzles.  You can follow her blog iLearn Technology here.  I had never used it before, but was eager to try it out. Capzles is an interactive time line in which you can upload word docs, pdf docs, excel files, jpegs, and videos.  There is even a blog feature available to the user. Below is a student example. She did a great job!
    The assignment I gave my students involved creating a Capzle to share with parents during p/t conferences.  I provided the students with certain criteria that had to be followed.  They had a great time sharing writing pieces, Animoto videos, and blog posts.  I am also encouraging the students to continue to add to their Capzle as they progress through high school.