I have posted before about the iPad app, Puppet Pals, here and here. Yesterday, I was reading a post by Lisa Johnson at techchef4u.com, and saw that there is a brand new Puppet Pals 2 app that was just released in January. So, of course, I had to try it out. Just like the original version, there is a free app, and you can also buy an “All Access Pass” for $4.99. Because I downloaded it to a school iPad, I stuck with the free version. Here are the new features as described in the iTunes store:
• Characters walk and talk!
• Use your own photos for heads!
• Fully pose-able limbs!
• Ride a wide variety of vehicles (camels, giraffes, planes, cars and more)
• Tons of musical soundtracks to set the mood
• Explore different terrains and settings
• Experience low gravity on the moon
So far, I have found that the free version does not allow you to add your own photos (you can add that feature for $1.99, which might be well worth it – allowing you to create as many of your own puppets from photos as you like), and the characters (the set of 3 “Pure Genius” characters – Einstein, Van Gogh, and Twain – costs .99), rides, and locations are limited. The Puppet Shop is fun to look through, though…
One of the best new features is that, if you touch a character while recording, his or her mouth will move along with your words. The movement of limbs is a vast improvement, too.
Be forewarned – your students will want to fully explore this before actually doing an assignment with it. They will need at least 15 minutes to giggle over combining different character heads with different bodies, such as Shakespeare’s head on a ballerina’s body. And they will probably want to play every music sample, too.
Another thing I like about Puppet Pals 2 is the section that is included for Parents and Teachers with suggestions, tips and tricks.
Of course I wish the free version offered all of the bells and whistles, but I have to admit that there is a lot that can be done even with the limited resources on this version. If your students produce any great samples, I would love to see them! E-mail me at email@example.com.
A few years ago, some of my fellow teachers and I started exchanging the link to this video because we thought it would be a great inspiration to our students. So many gifted students get used to putting in minimal effort – because much of the time that is all that was required to do well when they were younger. As they get older, it becomes harder and harder to motivate them to go “above and beyond.” This video, from Simple Truths, might show them why the effort might be worth it.
“Painted Pie” is a video you will probably want to view more than once. The post-Impressionist artwork alone is stunning. But, even better, is the sweet story of a homeless boy who is searching for a human being to connect with him. The moral of the story, that you never know how many lives you can touch with small kindnesses, reminds me of another couple of videos I have featured on here, “The Kindness Boomerang” and “Monsterbox“. The film was created by Havish Thota, Kudzai Gumbo, Mehdi Farrokhtala, and Abdulrahman Alansari. It has already won several awards. The accompanying soundtrack, “Little Person” by Jon Brion is a masterpiece, as well.
In the classroom, I would, of course, ask the students to verbalize the moral of the story. You could ask them to retell this silent movie in their own words. Before even showing the movie, you could play the soundtrack, and ask the students to come up with stories that would go with the music. If you are studying art, you might see if they could write a similar story based on another work of art. Random Acts of Kindness Week is fast approaching (February 11th), and this would be a good way to introduce it.
I found this video on the “Kuriositas” blog. Though the “Kuriositas” blog is not meant for a young audience, I encourage adults to check it out, as it features many interesting videos, pictures, and stories.
Here is the link to the video in case the embedded version does not show below: http://vimeo.com/57146618
The Ark in Space – A Compendium of Creatures is exactly that. If you have any students who are researching animals, or who have any kind of passion for them, this is the site for them. There are astounding photos and videos that will fascinate any nature lover. The articles are short, and certainly not as comprehensive as other sites, but many of them are unique to this site. For example, take a look at Synchronized Swimming in the Animal Kingdom, or Sea Slug Symphony for collections of stunning photographs that I doubt you will find anywhere else. Or, browse the small collection of videos, and you will find Two Unlikely Friends at the Zoo, a touching video that might bring a tear to your eye.
Photographs or videos from The Ark in Space are a sure way to grab the attention of your students!
This delightful animated video, created by students at the French university for careers in design, Bellecour Écoles D’Art, is absolutely enchanting. Monsterbox is only about 7 1/2 minutes long, and tells the story of a young girl who is trying to find a home for her monster – and then another monster, and then another! There is no dialogue, but the graphics and characters tell the story perfectly. Here are some of the ways that it could be used in the classroom:
1. Ask students to either write or tell a summary of the story. Different perspectives might make this a lively discussion.
2. Ask students to determine the theme or moral of the story. Again, I think that there could be quite a few suggestions!
3. Have students design their own monster boxes, or draw monsters and exchange them so they can design boxes for their partners’ monsters.
4. Write a new story with a different plot, but the same theme.
5. Write a new story with the same characters, but a different theme.
UPDATE: I just published a post called “Misunderstood Monsters” that may give you even more ideas for using this great video in the classroom.
“We were created for significance and one of the most dangerous things that can happen to us as individuals, as organizations and as communities – is to get the feeling that we don’t matter.” ~ Angela Maiers
Angela Maiers, who is an author, speaker, writer, and teacher, gave an inspiring speech at TEDxDesMoines in 2011 called “You Matter”. It is about the power of noticing the positive impact of people, and of letting them know that you have noticed them. It is also about recognizing ourselves as people who matter.
For teachers, these are both powerful messages. We matter. We make a difference in people’s lives every day. And one way that we can make a positive difference is to communicate to our students how much they matter.
Her post on “The 12 Most Important Ways to Let People Know They Matter” is a wonderful reminder to all of us, not just those of us in the education profession. It also includes a great video of some teenagers who were motivated by her TEDx speech to investigate the ways that they matter, and their Skype interview with Angela about their project.
This would make a great project for a Student Council or other after-school club. I plan to see how my gifted students will respond to the question, “Why do I matter?” I think that they will have some interesting answers!
It is quite obvious from looking at my blog stats that a lot of people on the internet are searching for inspirational videos for teachers. During this time of year, when many teachers are returning to the classroom to begin a new school year, there is, perhaps, a desire to find some material that will help to motivate and invigorate these educators.
One source for inspirational teacher videos that I discovered recently is a YouTube Channel for DC Public Schools. On this channel, there are several videos that spotlight Washington D.C. teachers who have won D.C.’s “Excellence in Teaching” Award.
Watching each of these teachers in their classrooms, and their obvious dedication to their students, reminds me of the reasons I went into Education – not for the glory of winning an award, but for the absolute delight exhibited whenever I help a child to reach his or her goal.
From what I can tell, every one of these featured teachers embody the principles of Universal Design for Learning, making them shining examples for teachers all over the world.
The video for one of the teachers, Eduardo Gamarra, is embedded below, or you can go to this link: http://youtu.be/vy42aoC49LQ
One of the most popular posts on this blog is the one I did in December about my favorite inspirational videos for teachers. Recently, I saw a post on Edutopia that listed the author’s favorite scenes from “teacher movies” – but they aren’t all inspirational. I added my favorites to my Pinterest Board, including the ones from Dangerous Minds, Stand and Deliver, Dead Poets’ Society, and Mr. Holland’s Opus. The post, by Amy Erin Borovoy, also has some links to other collections of teacher movies, which includes The Top Ten Inspirational Teacher Movies, by Beth Accomando.
Watching some of the clips on the Edutopia post made me realize how far we have come, hopefully, in education. Others worried me, because I think too many people might think that they set the standard for teaching. In the fight scene from Blackboard Jungle, for example, the teacher, in my estimation, throws gasoline on the fire with his handling of one student’s misbehavior. Although I certainly don’t condone the student’s actions, I could list at least 5 things that the teacher did to make things worse.
The clip from Mr. Holland’s Opus is a reminder of what this blog is all about – engaging our students and making things relevant to them so they can discover their own passion for learning.
Born to Learn: Class Reunion is Part 2 of a series of animated videos on the Born to Learn site. This one is my favorite because I think the message is so important – that it is critical to recognize the need for many students to actually participate in their own learning in order for them to truly acquire long-term knowledge.
For more recommended inspirational videos for teachers, you can also go to my Pinterest site here.
For the summer, I have decided to use my Tuesday and Thursday posts to reblog some of my favorite posts that some of my readers may have missed the first time around.
This particular video could lead to great conversation in the classroom, despite the fact that many of us do not understand the language in it. Some possible topics for discussion: apathy, being the change we wish to see in the world, working together. Every time I watch this video, I am motivated to make a difference. Here is the YouTube link in case the embedded video below does not show: http://youtu.be/pFs5vWxW-vc