Category Archives: social media

This Website is VITAL for Your Classroom

Are you looking for one Website that provides access to digital media, the Common Core AND covers all subjects and grade levels?  Then look no further –VITAL NY is the Website for you.    This Website contains video resources which support the core standards across all subjects.  There are  over 33,000 videos to chose from as well as interactive presentations, games, primary source documents and much more.   Even the subject with the smallest amount of resources – Health, has over 990 resources to chose from.

Upon accessing VITAL NY you will be asked to create a free account (accounts are free if you are associated with a New York State school system).  Registration is easy and takes less than two minutes  If you would like to explore the Website first, you are allowed to view three items before you create an account.  You can also create accounts for your students either assigning them all the same password or individual passwords so they can look at material you have saved or perform assigned work.

Once you are registered you can search by grade level, subject, standards, collections or keywords.  While this Website is a fantastic resource, they did run into one issue.  Much of their collection actually applies across many topics, but it is listed under only one.    They recognized this issue and have hired a librarian to make searching more productive.  If you do not find what you are looking for under a particular subject heading, try doing a general browse utilizing keywords to find what you need.

The videos are “purpose built.”  This means instead of you having to watch an entire documentary or video to find what you are looking for, the material has been edited to cover the exact subject, lesson, idea that you found in your search.  Most of the videos are 3-7 minutes long and perfect for implementation in a lesson.  For example, say you are performing a lesson on Kinetic and Potential energy.  There is a video of circus performers practicing their acts.  Students will see the performers flipping in the air, work out bands snapping and contracting, bodies at rest, etc.  As they are watching, a voice over is explaining exactly what is happening with the energy transference taking place.  The students SEE the concept in action.

Most of the material is able to be downloaded.  This will enable you to embed the material in Power Point and SMARTBoard presentations.  It is also a nice feature if you are showing material somewhere where Internet access might not be readily available.  Another piece of good news, as far as they know ALL of their videos are view-able across school filtering systems, unlike YouTube.  Much of the material comes from PBS affiliates like NOVA.  If by chance you do come across a video that is blocked, contact them and they will usually have it rectified within 48 hours.

Lessons come with a variety of resources.   All come with some of the following resources: Do now activities, exit activities, framework set ups, anchor vocabulary, activation of prior knowledge, summation, questions to ask to elicit higher order thinking, standards connections, teaching tips and study guides.  You can also create folders that the teachers across your genre or grade level can access and add too.  There are “notes” sections where you can type out reminders to yourself for future lessons.

As for the Common Core connections, here are the main ones; however, I am sure you can find many more.  The videos are non-print text resources.  You are providing multiple sources of information in diverse formats. Information is gained from a variety of resources.  If you are new to the Common Core, there are even videos on the Website explaining the Common Core standards and showing you how you can apply the resources to specific subject area Common Core standards.

So whether you are looking to find material for an entire unit plan or just one lesson, VITAL NY is an absolutely amazing resource for you to use.

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Filed under Common Core, ELA, games, Health, lesson planning, Math, research, Science, social media, Social Studies, The Arts, Videos

Back On Site with a New Tool for Your Delight

I know it’s been awhile since my last posting.  Unfortunately there was a family illness that I needed to attend too and then I had to catch up on regular life.  Now I’m back – bigger and better than before :).

For my first posting this scholastic year, I thought it would be nice to share a feature that can be used for the classroom, your personal and your professional life.   Today, I will be discussing how you can create your own blog on a site that is not blocked by most servers.  It can even be viewed in NYC DOE schools.  It is Blogger.com.

This option is offered by Google in their suite of tools.  It is free; just sign into your Google account.  If you don’t have one, just go to Google and click on the “sign up” tab in the upper right hand corner.  This also gives you access to a free e-mail account. Once you have your Google account and have an active e-mail address (it does not have to be Google’s), you can set up your blog.  You can even set up multiple blogs.  You can create one for your students, one for your personal life, one for your travel posts, etc.  You get to decide who views each blog.

“Is blogging still relevant?” you ask.   Yes it is.  While there is plethora of different types of social media available, there are many benefits to having a blog that can benefit you and your students.  Blogging allows you freedom in how you present your material and how long your post is.  Many of the social media sites control how the information is presented and limits you on the number of words you can use.   On a blog, you can get into the meat of your topic and provide many more details for discussion.  In addition, while social media sites are blocked in most schools – they are also frowned upon for you to use to connect with students outside of the classroom.  If you are using your blog for educational purposes, most principals will give permission for your students to respond to your postings.

Once you create your blog account you can set up your profile.  You may wish to provide a picture of yourself or perhaps one someone else made that you feel represents your character (following copyright law of course). Choose backgrounds that you like and feel are beneficial.  Then you can post topics, pictures, videos, etc.  The blog will not be posted for viewing until you say it is ready.  This will enable you to start a project and come back to it later if another issue pops up.

“If Blogger.com is so wonderful, why are you on Word Press?” you ask.  The simple fact is that I found WordPress before I knew about Google’s offering.  They both are free and offer similar features.  I’ve been very happy on WordPress, so I don’t feel it is necessary for me to start fresh.  Both are great sites.  Why not try each one and see which fits your needs the best?

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Filed under lesson planning, social media

Is it real or is it Photoshop?

The New York Public Library recently posted a great article.  Many times we see an image through e-mail or various forms of social media that amazes and astounds us.  How can you tell if the image is accurate or has been modified using some form of software?  Two great Websites are Tineye and Google Reverse Image Search.

These are great resources to use whether checking to see if that photo your friend posted on Facebook is real or if your student altered an image to better support the position they took in their paper.

Here is a link to the original article – Factcheck Your Friends: Misinformation on Social Media.

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Filed under Photo reliability, social media