Live Video Feeds of Animals Around the World! Spark Students!

As spring begins to roll in it is time to take notice and utilize some of the great Live Video Feeds of Animals around the world.  Take advantage of the great outdoors (no, not the John Candy movie) by bringing animals into your classroom without the threat of them attacking you in the wilderness.  Except for spiders--they're are everywhere and they are watching us.

There are multiple live video-fed websites to choose from around the ol' internets, but today I'm mainly focusing on which has over 30+ video feeds to pick from.  Earlier today I watched pups from a Great Dane Rescue facility chase each other in the snow.  There's also the grizzly bears in Alaska that catch salmon all day or the eagles--we can't forget about the eagles (Amurca!).  And owls, bees, pandas, penguins, yada, yada, yada.


These are great for incorporating real-world learning in the classroom (and really quickly too).  Think of this as your own Magic School Bus adventure.  Take you kids out of the textbooks and into the world.  There's a feature that allows users to capture snapshots of the video at just the right times.  People can then share those and comment (if you feel so inclined).

Below is a live feed of bees that I've embedded.  If you can't tell is a pretty user friendly site (which is always appreciated in educational circles).

Live streaming video by Ustream

So jump over and check out all the options and videos you can use in your classroom.  I've used a few in my class for student motivation, interest, and to take kids outside of their (sometimes typical) suburban lifestyle.  

Just watch out for those BIG BEARS!

Today's post was brought to you by the always wonder Joanne at Head Over Heals For Teaching to SPARK Student Motivation in the classroom.  She's always has tremendous ideas and so many other bloggers join in too.  Go see what's up!

Screenshots from

Bright Ideas: Digital Brain Breaks for Whole Classes & Individuals

Welcome back to the Bright Ideas Blog Hop!  Hopefully everyone has gotten a bunch of great ideas to use in the classroom.  On today's very special webisode I'm going to be sharing DIGITAL BRAIN BREAKS!  Now I know what you're thinking, "We already do brain breaks in the classroom."  And you're right.  You are totally correct and I know you do a terrific job.  BUT have you thought about moving those breaks to computers and/or mobile devices so your students can become capable digital learners?

Personally, I think that sometimes brain breaks become a bit plain--so what I've done is combed the entire internet (okay, that might be stretching it) looking for unique treats. I've found some sites that focus on art, music, science, engineering, NASA, and coding and can be utilized for terrific brain breaks.

Dance Party! Digital Brain Breaks!

I've also created a Symbaloo Board where you can find these sites are all in one place.  Speaking of Symbaloo, if you've never used this tool you're missing out.  It's a great digital resource where you can place websites on tiles and students simply click on them to access a site.  It's easy, clean, fast, and perfect for elementary kids.

So follow me down this rabbit hole of digital brain breaks and at the end you'll have a wonderful resource to use in you classroom.  Let's go look at this eclectic bunch of sites.

Get your kids to code.  Start with a tutorial from Tynker.  I've included a couple of different coding tutorials on the Symbaloo board.  Coding is an excellent way to have students problem solve (while also learning to code).  These tutorials are taken from the Hour of Code that took place in December.

IncrediboxStudents create their own beatbox and music.  SO COOL.  
I dare you not to like this. 

Build Your Wild Self.  Students recreate themselves as wild animals.  They have tons of options.  (You can see what I was building below)  I think I was beginning to creep myself out--which means the kids will love it.

NASA for Kids.  Science.

No title for this one, but someone created musical tiles.  Students can create different sounds by clicking on titles.  Each one has a particular musical note and they can see how it sounds when bouncing off one another.  Be warned--this is a very soothing web app and you could end up taking a nap if you listen for too long.  I almost have.

Control the Whale.  Simple, yet very interesting as students simply move their cursor to make the orca move around the screen.  Hypnotic.  This is a challenge and there's not an ultimate goal, it's just a fun site to visit.

Weavesilk is an easy to use art site that mixes symmetry, color, and more to make great art.  I made this one below in about 30 seconds.  Students will like the artistic styles they create and how easy it is to use.  You could also use this in math as part of your symmetry unit!

Hippo Paint find coloring pages across the internet on subjects kids want.  Then they can paint them.  They found me honey badger coloring sheets (which I loved), so then I wondered if the 80's favorite alien, ALF, would be an option...yes!

Draw A Stickman and watch him get animated.  Students create the stickman and then will be tasked with drawing more during an interactive story. This is one of my go-to breaks for kids.  I love it!

MORE Coding for kids!  Angry Birds and Zombies to teach students how to code.  
You can't go wrong with this.

Flappy Bert.  Sesame Street just turned this iOS fad into a fun little online game.  Well done.  I know it extremely simple and silly, but kid like it.

All images are screenshots from Incredibox, NASA, Sesame Street, 
Imgur, Draw a Stickman, Weavesilk, Hippo Paint,, 
Wildlife Conservatory Society, and Tynker.

This is only about half of the sites that are on the Symbaloo board (below) I've created for this Bright Ideas Blog Hop.  If you want to check out the rest of these digital brain breaks just scroll down a little bit more.  If you want to see the entire board there's a little link at the bottom of this.

Next up on the Bright Ideas Blog Hop Trail is 
Valerie from All Students Can Shine and she's going to be
sharing some of her GUIDED READING TIPS in the classroom.


Thanks so much for stopping by and check out these ideas.  Make sure you look at the 180+ posts on this too.  So. Many. Good. Ideas.  Brain.  Melting.

Scrumblr: Digital Whiteboards & Index Cards For Group Collaboration

Index cards and Whiteboards.  The educational equivalents of PB&J minus jelly because jelly is disgusting and possibly minus the peanut butter if you have a nut allergy.  Oh man--I've got so off track.  This is what happens when you take a couple of weeks off.  Let's start over...

Just over a week ago I attended a meeting where we used the website, an online collaboration tool that combines multiple users, a virtual white board, and index cards to creating an interactive board of ideas that can instantly added to, deleted, or organized with the click of your computer.  Index card and whiteboards, two staples of education around the world, working together to build ideas and create a faster form of collaboration.

In the meeting there were actually fifteen different users adding ideas to the board.  Each user can then move ANY card they want, where ever they want.  It takes a little to get used to, and user can steal each other's cards as they pop up, but it's an effective way to share and communicate ideas without having a single member stand in front of a whiteboard and write down ideas.

What's even better?  It's completely free and you can create your own unique site ID in seconds.  Here is the url I created for the one below (look how easily students or teachers could type it in).

This is the extremely intellectual board I created called "80's Movies Rock".
I made it in about two minutes, so I'm sure I forgot some really great films.

edit:  If you want to change the board title you will double-click in the area where the words are.

So here's what you need to do:
1.  Go to (not tumblr)
2. Name your board and make a simple url
3. Create a board (and see how easy it is to use)
4. Use it in your class with your students.  Try having them write their favorite movie, book, TV show, or subject.  

So easy a baby can do it! you can too.

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