Summer Must Reads

Are you looking for some great literature to read this summer.  I’m going to be sharing some of my favorite books.  The Great Kapok Tree by Lynne Cherry is one of my all time favorite books.  I read this book to my class every April around Earth Day.

There are many activities you can do with this book.  After reading the story, have your kids research one of the animals in the story on a tablet.  National Geographic Kids is a great place to start.  Check out San Diego Zoo for kids for some fascinating and easy to read information about jaguars.  For a higher reading level try Animal Fact Guide.  Go to Ranger Rick and find out how to make rain music.  Go to YouTube and search for RAINFOREST sounds for kids.  Your kids can hear what the rain forest must have sounded like when the story begins.

You can let your kids make animal masks or puppets.  They can act out the story.  You can research what is happening in rain forests around the world.  You can take a walk around your neighborhood and pick up trash.  There are endless activities you can do with this book.

I hope you love The Great Kapok Tree as much as I do.

How To Create a YouTube Playlist

Do you use YouTube in your classroom?  Do you use Google Classroom?  Here is a quick tutorial on how to create a YouTube playlist and upload the playlist to your Google Classroom.  I’ve been doing this for quite some time.

One word of caution though, I alway preview the videos I add to the playlist.  I don’t always remember to view old playlists before allowing students to view them.  I recently got a surprise when something inappropriate showed up on a playlist I made last year.  Always remember to view before your students view.

Blendspace-An Amazing Resource

I’ve been using Blendspace for a couple of years now.  Blendspace is a wonderful resource offered through TES.com.  TES is for teachers.  There are a variety of lessons and resources available and membership is free.

Blendspace is one of my favorite resources.  I can quickly and easily create a lesson to add to my Google classroom using Blendspace.   You can drop and add as many media resources as you like into your Blendspace.

You can search Youtube, Flickr and Google for resources.  You can add from your Google Drive, or Dropbox.  You can add a webpage.  You can even add your own video and media.

blendspace-media

I usually research Youtube beforehand so I will know exactly which videos I want to use in my Blendspace.  I often make a Google slide beforehand so that it is also ready to go.  Then you drop and add to each slide in the Blendspace.

blendspace-slides

When you are finished creating your Blendspace, there are several options available for sharing or publishing your lesson.

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My favorite way to share Blendspace lessons with my students is to create a Google Slide with the link to the Blendspace lesson.  I load the slide into my Google Classroom for students to access.  This is the method I have had the most success with in my classroom.  My students can access the Blendspace with iPads, desktops, laptops, and in our Computer Lab.

Editing is easily accomplished, even within and already shared lesson.

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Just click the pencil in the bottom right corner and begin editing.  You also have the option to delete a slide altogether.  This is sometimes necessary when media from other sources changes after you’ve created your lesson.

My students love learning by video.  Blendspace gives me the ability to create lessons for my whole class, small groups, and even individuals.  It is truly one of my favorite teaching resources.

Here are a few of my Blendspace lessons.  Feel free to use them with your students.

Election 2016

Texas

DIY Book Trailers in iMovie

My second graders love making Book Trailers with iMovie.  This is a favorite reading response in my classroom.  Here is a tutorial on how to use iMovie to make a book trailer.

Here is the Nana in the City (Lauren Castillo) Book Trailer I made for the tutorial.

My students have made book trailers for Fairy Tales, author studies, Reading Responses, and Caldecott books.

Here are some of the Book Trailers made by my 2nd graders.  Click on the link to view the trailers.

Zoom Broom

Fly Guy

Goldilocks

Falling For Rapunzel

Have your students create their own book trailers. They will love them!