All thinks skool: Fun stuff on the internet to use for learning

Sunday, November 27, 2005

20 Questions
Here's a whole other thing: Have you seen this toy, sold at Walmart?
It asks you to "think of something" and then proceeds to 'deduce' what it is you're thinking of through a series of questions to which the player can respond 'yes', 'no', 'sometimes' or 'rarely'.
Its a great demonstration of how 'concepts' are built. The designers have used a decision tree to allow the mechanism to arrive at a conclusion. What would the data bank, decision tree, or 'map' look like if kids drew it out?
In elementary school it could stimulate great '20 question' games in small or large groups. In secondary school, it fits right into Computer (data bases), Science & Math (algorithms) and English (literacy / concept attainment) curricula.
Community Involvement Projects

Here's a fun project to inspire teachers: "Kids with Cameras"'Kids with Cameras' is a non-profit organization that teaches the art of photography to marginalized children in communities around the world. They use photography to capture the imaginations of children, to empower them, building confidence, self-esteem and hope. .But why not try your own? Or how about a community web site? 'Our' neighbourhood?Interesting Toronto 'take' / connection on this idea: a web site like great idea that uses the community to teach. See also Wianassa Hills story.

Seniors Telling Youth Lefie Experiences

Sunday, October 23, 2005

Online Activities for Literacy
Turn it on & go:
OSSLT, ENG 1P, 2P, 3C & ESL development courses
The Best one I’ve seen for the courses above is from CBS. Its totally free, totally organized, high interest and current. Go to current stories. The links on the left provide vocabulary teaching (by Quiz), cloze passage (word selection), multiple choice comprehension quiz, a sequencing exercise and a writing response activity. An outline view is included with the story.

This site is spectacular! It is targeted at high school kids and models literacy remediation strategies (like those used in “Stepping Out”). Teachers can use these in the classroom as paper lessons (you’d have to do a little cutting and pasting) or online to reinforce reading process. You can have students research information to use in conjunction with other projects while giving them the reading reinforcement they need. Use it as a model for subject specific reading assignments.

Check the archives. All the stories still work, and its really fun for kids to see their responses added. Most links in the archives still include streams of the original broadcast.

Because of the way they’re set up all of the stories meet the expectations for these courses. You can also see the instructor page for support
Pitara’s Quizomania links teach while requiring kids to read and interact with the computer. Appears to be based out of India, or have an Indian interest but its content has universal relevance.
“Browsing the Net”, “Film Making”, “Film Jargon” “Proverbally Your” , “Holi’s Here”, “Meaningful Flowers”, “Whose Who”, “StageoMania” and “Cinema, Cinema” can all help you meet expectations in the curricula listed above. Students can test their knowledge and get feedback.
Downside: The initial content delivery is not given as text. There is no mechanism for feedback to teachers. You would have to ask students to report if it mattered to you.

Friday, October 14, 2005

Juz' wanna make sr u know about . . .
Hit 'em! You won't regret it.

Tuesday, October 11, 2005


World Wildlife Organization "Wildfinder" is a highly engaging interactive search mechanism leading users to information on species, including its ecological status. The database is searchable by place via maps or species via a search bar. USe the FAQ/Help bar to get the most out of the site.

Religious Tolerance at is the site of Ontario's Religious Tolerance Consultants, an agency of volunteers who make it their mission to dispel myths founded on prejudgments about 'other peoples' beliefs. The site includes essays and useful links.

Amnesty Interantional's Youth Page is a great primer for young activists. The toolkits are there to start a youth amnesty branch in schools or neighbourhoods. There are also resources for information on international issues.

* is the 'what's what' of activist activity. Its a compendium of current campaigns on hot issues. Up to the minute. includes kits and ideas for teachers who want to promote and support youth activism.

Sunday, September 25, 2005

Efforts of the last few weeks have been directed at the building of a school library site, which will be an ongoing process. In a summer AQ course, I learned to think of the web in a slightly different way. I have a little more acuity. With it I am finding richer and richer sites for specific purposes. Here are some examples:

Archives Canada
Digital Earth Science Library
Underwater History by Franck Goddio
The Advertising Icon WalkThrough Museum
The Media History Project

Next post: Activist Sites

Wednesday, May 11, 2005

Thinking about CONCEPT MAPPING:
What if I used the templates in SMART IDEAS (lesson templates and others) to organize a lesson and then gave my 1P's and 3C's - who seem to have some difficulty pulling it all together - the map (maybe filled; maybe not . . .)? If they had that schema would they be a little more successful? It seems they have difficulty making those connections. What is implicit to us as teachers seems to have to be made explicit for them - not just in terms of content and skills but also in terms of delivery.

I was thinking concept maps could be used for 2 didactic purposes, primarily - to consolidate and to generate. I've tended to use them mostly to consolidate - after a unit, or lesson. Now I want to see how much more powerful concept mapping can be than webbing or mind mapping for generating ideas. The power would lie in the linking words and in the building of clusters.

I tried having my 3C's make a concept map on media. At first it wasn't going so well - a lot of "MEDIA is . . . . radio, TV, etc." After a few days it hit me: "What happens when you change 'is' to 'influences' or 'reflects'?" The change in the students' level of thought was astounding. This is in the Beyond Monet book but - ya know . . . - I just wasn't ready to 'see it' before!