Cham Tower, Vietnam
Cham Tower, Vietnam

LearnNC is building a collection of multimedia resources and lesson plans that help students understand different cultures around the world.

LEARN NC offers a collection of more than 2,000 high-resolution photographs and audio recordings from Asia and Latin America. All include detailed descriptions or transcripts, and most include historical or cultural context to help you use them in your classroom. We’ve also developed slideshows that incorporate many of these resources, and we’re developing lesson plans around them that encourage higher-order thinking and develop visual literacy.

The media collection can be found at I used the search box with the term “World Multimedia” and it took me right to the collection. The collection is here:

You can also go directly to multimedia resources or a particular country by going to the Multimedia Collection at LearnNC and then clicking a link in the Tag Cloud : (scroll down to see tag cloud)

LearnNC is also developing lesson plans that incorporate this multimedia. Many of the lessons are written for middle or high school but could easily be adapted to elementary. Lesson plan collection is here:,teacher’s+guide

These are excellent resources for our Global Scholars!


SMART Board training video

October 25, 2008

This 30 minute tutorial video is very good. It takes you to the next level with SMART Board Notebook software.

Halloween is almost upon us. Here are a few Halloween resources for you (borrowed from Larry Ferlazzo and anne marie).

History and Reading Passages:

CBBC Newsround Halloween Guide: A series of very accessible short texts describing Halloween that include images. They give a very good overview. Look to the right for short articles.

History Channel Halloween focus: Watch  good, short video clips about halloween history.

Halloweens Around The World: You can get a good understanding of how different countries recognize and celebrate Halloween.

Festivals of the Dead from Around the World – Great descriptions of Festivals of the Dead from places like Japan, Cambodia and Mexico.

5 Minute English: has a short reading passage with comprehension questions about Halloween history.


Safety is a big concern when our students are out at night taking candy from strangers.

Hershey has a Halloween Safety Quiz– discusses Halloween saftey using an interactive quiz format

Halloween Saftey game– in line with the previous site–a game to quiz students about what they should do if certain situations arise when trick or treating.

New Literacy: Search

October 22, 2008

SEARCH is one of the new basic literacies. I was reading this post at Cool Cat Teacher Blog and I couldn’t agree more.

We know the world our students are growing up in is just getting more and more complex. With so much information to deal with we have to teach them how to find useful information quickly.


Vicki says that search strategies, especially google’s define: tool [example – define: communicate] are part of the new digital literacies, in her words,

Stop viewing Search Literacy as “tricks”
The sad thing is that so many people view the define function as just that, a trick.  It is not!  It is part of being an efficient, effective human being in the 21st century.  It is part of being literate.

This can start in elementary school. Defining good key words, narrowing results with simple logic, simple operators like define: and scanning results beyond the first page are all within reach of elementary students.

We know they are going to use google. Let’s help them use it well.

I just found out about Google’s collaborative project with Life from David Warlick’s 2C Worth. This is another example of the power of being search literate.

Timeline Worthwhile Task

October 22, 2008

I am on lately about worthwhile tasks. I think a few quality tools could be used well as repeated worthwhile tasks. Repeated is a key word there. It takes some effort to train students to be self sufficient with a technology tool. So it makes sense to pick a tool that you can use over and over.

Timetoast is one of those tools. []

This free site allows you to make timelines. This is all done on the web, including text and images, and they look very nice.

Here is a quick example I made on the history of Asheville:

What is Digital Literacy

October 21, 2008

So what is digital literacy?

And what should teachers do about it?

I got a better idea of how teachers are doing worthwhile tasks the other day during an afternoon professional development session. I took two big ideas away from this, 1) worthwhile tasks need to be educationally rich [as opposed to the filler to keep the kids busy while the teacher pulls groups] and 2) students need to do worthwhile tasks independently.

Voicethread is a tool that could easily lead to rich learning and at the same time be easy to do in the classroom. Teachers can sign up for free here

Here is a description from the VoiceThread site:

A VoiceThread is a collaborative, multimedia slide show that holds images, documents, and videos and allows people to leave comments in 5 ways – using voice (with a mic or phone), text, audio file, or video (via a webcam). Share a VoiceThread with friends, students, and colleagues for them to record comments too.

How would you use this as a worthwhile task? You would upload images that students would then take turns looking at and commenting on. The image could be anything you can get onscreen. You could have students discuss something they are reading, make observations about images of butterfly life cycle, or pose wonder questions about an historical image, etc, etc…

Here are a few examples

Of course, just like any worthwhile task, you would need to teach the students how to do it before you put it in practice. But once they get it down, you would have a rock solid worthwhile task that many students would be eager to participate in.