Friday, January 19, 2018

Google Lit Trip

Can you imagine what it must have felt like trying to escape the southern states with Harriet Tubman in the novel Freedom Train? Wouldn’t it be interesting if you could actually take the perilous journey with her? Google Lit Trips (http://www.googlelittrips.org/) is a nonprofit website founded by educator Jerome Burg, which uses Google Earth to take students on virtual literature tours. Students and teachers will have the opportunity to travel with characters from a particular piece of literature through their adventures and journeys.

While reading a story, students make several “stops” at actual locations in the book. At each stop, there are place marks with pop-up windows containing a variety of resources including essential reading questions, thinking-about-the-story conversation starters, vocabulary words, related pictures and video. Through these Lit Trips, students will be able to jump into the story and tie literary content with place and time.

To begin a Lit Trip tour a teacher must complete a membership registration. Once registered, Lit Trip content will be made available by simply submitting a request form using a registered email address. Using the Lit Trip Library, users may browse the titles available either by grade level or alphabetical order. There are currently 81 book titles to choose from. As soon as you decide on the title you will be working with, you may visit the Lit Trip store, request for the trip, and will quickly receive an email with further instructions.

Lit Trip Tours are not limited to the books available on their website. As an educator, you may also create your own virtual tours to share with your students and include in the site library. Created tours are submitted, reviewed, and posted on the Lit Trip website if approved. To help with this process, submission guidelines and various tutorials are made available if interested.

Lit Trip tours is a great addition to any literacy lesson. Adding a virtual “field trip” is an excellent way to immerse students in historical evidence and the geography of our earth. Using Google Earth allows you to transport your class to any location in the world instantly. Cities, terrain, monuments, museums and historic locations. It’s a great way to enhance any story by providing an interactive experience while taking a literacy adventure.

*ED638 Contribution by Christian Bais

Story Jumper

StoryJumper, which can be accessed at https://www.storyjumper.com, is a website that helps bring out the inner author in anyone. It is a free online book creator and publisher that offers clever tools for writing and illustrating stories. Parents and teachers will find it useful for sharing stories and presenting information, while students will find an encouraging means for reading and writing themselves.

Conveniently for 4th and 5th grade teachers, StoryJumper provides a sample lesson plan supported by common core standards with downloadable resources to go along. However, StoryJumper is for everyone! The interface, tools, and endless ideas make it easy to be utilized by parents, teachers, students of all grade levels, and in every school subject. Students can write narratives or reflection journals, demonstrate their understanding of a skill by teaching it through pages, introduce themselves with an all about me style, co-author by collaborating with classmates, and more! For younger kids, safety may be of concern, but all of this can be done with the highest level of information and identity protection as assured by StoryJumper.

When creating a book, users can select a template or simply start from scratch. Afterwards, they will be taken to the editor where they can explore and create away. In the editor, there are options to add text, upload photos, and insert audio recordings. StoryJumper also offers a ready set of images, props, and scenes that can be filtered through. The editor uses a drag-and-drop style with further editing options that makes it so user friendly, but for those who are interested, StoryJumper offers a how-to video to help get started. In the end, completed books can be professionally published and ordered. Although creating a book requires computer access, users are free to read StoryJumper books on any device.

All in all, StoryJumper is a great website for promoting reading and writing that is safe for children. Students can read ready-made books or get creative with one of their own through an easy and intuitive experience. All that is needed is an idea to get started.

*ED638 Contribution by Kristine Madrazo

Saturday, January 13, 2018

Happy New Year!


Biba Anu Nuebu!  May the year 2018 bring you much love, joy, peace, and happiness!