Saturday, April 28, 2012

Literally, in the nest.

Just found these amazing live videos of a Red-tailed Hawk and Great Blue Heron nest from the Cornell Lab of Ornithology. I'm a bit of a "bird nerd" so I could sit and watch this for hours (don't judge me). I can't wait to show my kids this on Monday, especially the RTH nest. It might be a little graphic (lots of small dead things in the nest) for some younger kids, but I really believe that if you prepare your kids for what they may or may not see, then they will not be shocked or horrified by the image on the screen. I wish I had known about this site earlier. I would have had my kids keep track of the  progress in both nests from Day 1. There is also a running chat on the right side of the page. I find it to be super distracting, so I usually switch to full screen mode.

I'd like my kids to listen carefully to what they hear. This is clearly in an urban/suburban (Ithica, NY I believe) area. So, how does that affect what is available for food? How are the chicks interacting with each other? Can you identify some of the things in the nest besides the three little chicks? What are some different ways that you could incorporate these live streams into your curriculum? Oh, gotta go, it's feeding time!

cornellhawks on Broadcast Live Free

Friday, April 20, 2012

Finding and Creating Angles with Skitch

I'm a huge fan of the Skitch IPad app. I use it all the time in school, and find it very easy for my students to use. In fact, there have been times when they have been able to show me some features that I was unaware of.

My most recent experience with the app was while we were learning about the different types of angles. To assess their new vocabulary and understanding of the different angles, I sent them out of the room in small groups to search for real examples of acute, right, obtuse and reflex angles. Each student was responsible for a different angle.

First, they would take a picture of an angle within the app. Skitch then allows the photographer to chose whether or not they want to use the photo. This is a great feature because it avoids a huge confusing stockpile of blurry images with an errant thumb halfway covering the lens. Next, the students will draw the angle using the arrow tool, tracing over the part of the image that represents their angle. It is important that the student starts drawing from the vertex of the angle, otherwise the arrows will appear to be pointing towards the vertex. Next, using the text tool, they would name the angle. Finally, I printed each photo to display on our hallway bulletin board.

My students thoroughly enjoyed this activity, and were very creative with what they chose to represent their respective angles. Here are just a few examples of what they were able to produce.