Spark Students: Doodle 4 Google

Google is holding their annual doodling contest for students, Doodle 4 Google 2014.  We've all seen the doodle change on Google's homepage (right now it is olympics), but for the past couple of years they have challenged kids to create their own.  This year the theme is "creating an invention that can help the earth".

In working with a couple of 2nd grade classrooms we first brainstormed how he could help the earth by breaking it down into smaller chunks (such as home, school, environment, community, and animals).  Then we shared examples/ideas of how we could make each place better.  Google then suggested (they have lesson plans) telling the story of how Band-Aids were invented as a small resource for a family, but exploded into an invention used around the world to help everyone.

The kids are so creative with their inventions.

Finally, we spent a little time looking at the doodles that Google has done in the past, hopefully to help spark some ideas.  When the lesson was over it was time to create.  Students did have some difficulty thinking "around the word Google", but once a few got it--they all began to fly with it.

If you do decide to participate in this lesson one word of advice:  Demonstrate how to draw around the word Google.  This takes some practice for the kids, so you should SHOW THEM by making a drawing yourself.  Otherwise students will just trace the word Google.  That is the one change I made from teaching my first class to the second (I reflected on how I could better instruct my kids).

Here is the link if you want to join in:  DOODLE 4 GOOGLE 2014

So that's it for Spark Student Motivation.  I'm hoping to get into a few more classrooms and try it out.  As I've said before, I love seeing the differences in ideas in all grade levels.  It gives great perspective.

Thanks so much to Joanne for the wonderful link-up!  I'm always glad to be a part of it!

Tried It Tuesday: ThingLink

Last week Jen at Tech With Jen wrote a post on how to use the SAMR model in the classroom (great post btw) but she included an interactive image that had me in a tizzy.  Yes, I said "tizzy" because that's better than saying "it left me all aflutter".

That image was actually used through THINGLINK.COM that allows users to take images make them interactive through adding text, video, music, and more photos all as links on the image. What I love the most--it allows images to be the basis for a story through all forms of media on the web.  One image tells a story depending on the types of links/resources a users chooses.  Plus it is very easy to use (simply copy and paste links).  Does that make sense?  No?--okay check below.

To give you an idea I created this one (below) in about 20 minutes.  First, uploaded a photo of a zoo that one of my students was creating (using my Zoo Design).  Next, I jumped on the Al Gore-created Internet and begin looking for images that could fit alongside the animals and locations on the map.  

I found an image of Central Park and a gift shop inside a Rainforest Cafe, then I grabbed a couple of fun videos on gorillas and lions.  Lastly, I moved the markers (these are the icons that are place "above" the image) to the appropriate spots and...then I realized I could add in gifs. (there are two cat gifs at the end of this post for reference)

And now I've shared it with you.  Check it out...(and be amazed?)

I'm a big fan of visual literacy plus bringing a greater understanding and exploration within images.  This is a wonderful resource that adds depth and texture to pictures because every little nook and cranny can tell a story.  

The ability to tag and connect sites, links, videos, and the ease-of-use is a definite plus.  Not to mention--this is free.  You will have to sign up, but you can use FB, Twitter, or email account.  If you were planning on using this as a class I would probably recommend the email account because students could then load their projects all on the same account.  There's also iOS apps for these and they all connect with each other (which is also free).

I'll reiterate that this is fairly new for me so if anyone has any other great tips I'd love to hear them.  Honestly, I've got a ton of ideas for how students could incorporate these into projects and in the classroom--but I've got to be patient.

That's it for Tried It Tuesday.  I suggest that you jump over 
to the rest of links at The Fourth Grade Flipper's site to 
see what other groovy things bloggers have been doing.  
Thanks Holly!

I'll leave you with cats.

Bright Ideas Blog Hop! Save the Cords

Welcome to the Bright Ideas Blog Hop!  Over one hundreds teachers/bloggers have joined forces to share ideas in the classroom from around the world.  Sit back, relax, and enjoy!

For as much as I hate cords--I need them.  I can't quit them.  Me and cords are connected (see what I did there?).  So far, my school hasn't become that flashy cordless community of wireless signals.  We're not the Matrix.  We still have some technology that's over 20 years old which means that we never know exactly what pieces of technology we'll need.  I also can't wait for tech help--I've got to be able to problem solve immediately, rather than put in a work order to get something hooked up.

So, with equipment like that what's a guy to do?  I collect cords.  I'm kind of like an antique cord dealer, only without the weird fascinations with precious moment figurines.

I have my trusty cord bag (actually it's a Sports Illustrated gym bag I got for renewing my subscription) that rests comfortably under my desk that is filled with just cords.  VGA, audio, A/V composite, HDMI, coaxial, 3.5MM headphone, USB, Serial, and DVI.  And on those special occasions that this bag appears it saves the day about 95% of the time. 

IN CASE OF EMERGENCY: Open up the bag.

So what exactly is this Bright Idea?  Save your cords.  Find a bag, a box, or empty drawer and throw them there.  You never know when they will be a life-saver.  

Example of Needs:

  1. Audio/Video set-up for assemblies, movies, presentations.
  2. VGA cords for splitting computer screens.
  3. Extra HDMI cords because kids have broken the previous one.
  4. You can't wait a week for the tech department to bring you a cord.
  5. Be the hero your school needs.

Normally, when technology gets thrown away or refurbished the teachers in my building will throw all the parts in a bin under our mailboxes.  When I walk by everyday I take a little peak to see if anything new has arrived.  I'm the cord repo man.  

If you've read some of my posts before you're probably thinking, "this is in direct contrast of everything that Matt ever writes about."  You would be right in this assumption--but these are purely precautionary measures.  Be proactive, not reactive.  There's nothing worse than trying to set something up and not being prepared because at that moment all the anger you harbor will just roll downhill.

Save the Dolphins.  
Save the Manatees.  
Save the Pandas.  
Save the Condors.  
Save Your Cords.

Teaching Math By Hart
If you're looking for even more ideas and tips head over to Teaching Math By Hart where Kim will be sharing ideas for math manipulatives on a budget.  Or if you want to see the entire link up, just scroll down a little further to see every link-up.

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