Category Archives: Videos

Make Science Come Alive with the Website ARKive!

I am surprised that I have not run across ARKive before.   I recently learned about this Website through my librarian listserv.  I am so glad that this information was shared with me so I can in turn share it with you.

ARKive is a not-for-profit initiative from the charity Wildscreen.  Its purpose is to use information contributed by the world’s best wildlife filmmakers, photographers, conservationists and scientists and present the material in a fun and interesting manner.  You do not need to create an account and the site is free.  Material is presented across age groupings from 5 through 18.  Of course adults can find plenty on the site to stimulate their interest as well.

You can search for information by species, places or topic designation.  Each category has multiple sub-categories so you can broaden or narrow your search as much as you need.   Photographs, news articles and videos are available to all users.

In addition to the prior methods of presentation, ARKive endeavors to make learning fun as well.  There is a blog where readers can read about and view quick facts with up-to-date news about wildlife from around the world.   You can sign up to have the blog sent to your e-mail whenever there is a new post.  The blog can be searched by recent posts or by category if there is something specific you are looking for.

ARKive also presents Team Wild.   You can join this “squadron of superheroes” as they work to protect and conserve the plant and animal species on our planet.  There are four teams you can join:  6 or under; 7-10; 11-13 and 14+.   Information is presented in an interesting and interactive manner.

Users can also choose to play Survival  – an endangered species game.  Players race against the clock as they go through a number of mini-games to discover the identity of our most endangered animals.  The game has beautiful color photographs and users will have to use all their skills in order to become a top survivor.

For those of you who are “arts and crafty” there are even activities that you can download for fun.  Be able to create origami of different plant and animal species, go on treasure hunts, create a shoe-box habitat  and  find links to other safe hands-on adventures.

So whether you are  looking to learn about science, have a fun interactive for your students or child or just having some fun while viewing spectacular images from around our planet, ARKive may be just the site for you.

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Filed under Free, games, lesson planning, research, Science, Videos

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

Common Core Standards, Lesson Plan Ideas and Videos All in One Place

A library peer of mine just shared a wonderful Website that you can use for multiple purposes in your classroom.  It is The Teaching Channel and it is free for you to use.  All you have to do is register an e-mail address.

The mission of this site is to provide reliable video resources that teachers can use for lesson planning, Common Core connections and to find ideas.  You can also tap into your professional peers for methods that have provided successful results in their classroom.

Have you ever heard of a fantastic lesson, but can’t remember exactly how it went?  Odds are you can find information about it at  The Teaching Channel.  Did you see something that would be great for a lesson you are doing four months from now, but are afraid you will forget about it?  You can have the site send you an e-mail reminder at exactly the time you need it.  Just fill out the quick boxes and put it out of your head.  When the time comes, you will get that reminder with the notes you created when you had the idea.

Say you see specific moments in a video you wish to share with your grade or subject team.  You know they are busy and do not have time to watch the whole video.  You are given the tools to highlight the exact moments you wish to share so everyone can collaborate on the ideas as soon as possible.

Does your school have a program that the teachers use to post assignments and links for student work?  You can post the videos you find right on that page for your students to use as well.  Teaching Channel provides embedding codes for each video.  Just click on the “Embed Video” link and a code will be provided for you to copy and paste on any Website you wish.

So whether you are looking for a great lesson plan idea, information about the Common Core Standards or a video you can share with your students, The Teaching Channel may be just the page for you.

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Filed under Common Core, lesson planning, Videos, Websites for sharing

Educational Videos and YouTube Videos

Many teachers have been there.  You’ve seen a great video you want to share with your class, but the DOE blocks the showing of YouTube as well as other video sharing sites.  Just when we find a workaround site, it is taken down or blocked in turn and you are unable to incorporate the video into your lesson.

WatchKnowLearn.org is a free Website available in both English and Spanish and can be an excellent resource to use in your classroom and for your children at home.  It is a non-profit organization that wants to make educational videos available to students, teachers, librarians and parents at home and in an educational setting.  The videos are chosen for children from ages 3 – 18.  There are literally tens of thousands of videos available for watching.

There are videos available on ALL school subjects, including the Common Core Curriculum.  A directory is provided to create better ease of accessibility in finding just what you want.  Videos are provided from: TeacherTube; YouTube; graspr; School Tube; Internet Archive; slideboor; hulu; slideshare and brightstorm.  WatchKnowLearn.org also partners with Citizendium and Curriki.

If you are worried about who is “behind the scenes” deciding what videos get posted, you are provided with a list of the Advisory Committee along with their backgrounds and affiliations.  A number of the members are teachers or have connections to an educational institution.

While the site may not have the exact video you were looking for, it is still a nice back up to check for something that will help inspire your students or make a connection to their personal lives.

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Filed under Common Core, lesson planning, Videos, Websites for sharing