Iditarod 2016 - Bringing the Race into the Classroom

If you're looking for an exciting and engaging way to introduce project based learning into your classroom, I highly recommend immersing your students into the Iditarod Race which begins March 5. Students can learn social studies, math, reading, science, and 21st century skills through this real-world experience.

Eanes Elementary in Eanes ISD located in Austin, does just that. For the past several years, Eanes Elementary teachers have traveled to Alaska to get first hand knowledge of the Iditarod and skype and blog with their students about their experience.

This year, Eanes Elementary fourth-grade teacher Laurie Wright will bring the Iditarod to her students and school. Laurie was chosen from educators across the nation to be the "Teacher on the Trail." Iditarod Education emphasizes the importance of literacy. To prepare for the race, Eanes even had a snow day! The school brought in artificial snow for the students to experience. Laurie will actually ride with a musher the first 11 miles of the race and then fly high in an airplane from base to base observing the race. You can follow Laurie from this LINK.

The Iditarod race lasts from 9 -15 grueling days. Racers travel a total of 975 miles checking in and resting at 24 different checkpoints. This video gives you a little insight of what the race is about.

1. Students can learn about the History of the Iditarod. The race is held to preserve the dog sled culture and huskies and to preserve the Iditarod Trail between Seward and Nome. The race actually ends in Rome. There are some excellent books about the Iditarod, too.  Ariak: A Tale From the Iditarod by Robert J. Blake.

2. This is a great activity about Time Zones. Just click on this link and watch the video.

3. Calculate distances from checkpoint to checkpoint. Use Google Maps to zoom in to see more about each one. The race begins in Anchorage. Students can learn about this important city. Below is checkpoint 2 which is Campbell Airstrip.

4. Check weather conditions. As the Iditarod begins and racers travel from day to day, students can check the weather conditions at each base.

5. Choose a Musher. Students can study the bios of the 2016 Iditarod Mushers and select one to follow. Students can fill out info on their musher and share why this person was chosen. I suggest that they follow someone who has a website. It's listed with the profile. I selected Kristin Knight-Pace. Kristen is from Texas so I thought it would be fun to follow her. Plus, she has a good website. Students can check in on the musher each day to see what place the team is in, conditions of the dog, and more...

6. Choose a favorite dog. From your musher's dog team, select a favorite dog. Most of the mushers will introduce their team of dogs and give some insight of their personalities. This is an example of Kristin's team. Research sled dogs.  Students will be surprised that they are compiled from a variety of breeds.
This video is great in learning about the dogs that race in the Iditarod.

7. Visit the Iditarod website's education portal. There are lots of fun activities for your students to enjoy.


Creating Videos With Videolicious

Videolicious is an app for making videos. It's so easy to use with your students. Just follow the step-by-step instructions.With Presidents' Day, Black History Month and Women's History Month in March, students are researching famous people in history. For a neat presentation, have your students create a video with an app called Videolicious. It is so easy to use and the app guides you through the process of making your video.

Before you begin using Videolicious, take any photos and video clips you need for your video. There's a narration part to your video that you'll add when you're using the app.

Videolicious is an app for making videos. It's so easy to use with your students. Just follow the step-by-step instructions.

You will be asked to select your photos from your Camera Roll or Photo Stream.

Videolicious is an app for making videos. It's so easy to use with your students. Just follow the step-by-step instructions.

Make sure to select your photos and videos in the order that you want them to occur in your video. I couldn't figure out how to change the order without starting over. Your photos can be edited, too! After you complete that step, click on Save.

Videolicious is an app for making videos. It's so easy to use with your students. Just follow the step-by-step instructions.

This is where you can be a reporter and tell about your subject, video clips and photos. If do not wish to video yourself but keep your voice, you can select the photos or video clips you want to display while you are talking. Another idea is to show yourself at the beginning and end but display the photos and videos in the middle of the presentation. Just tap on the photos and video clips when you want them to show up on your timeline.

Click on the red button to record and stop recording. When you are through recording, just save. You can record other people besides you!

Videolicious is an app for making videos. It's so easy to use with your students. Just follow the step-by-step instructions.

Add music to your presentation. There are so many to select from for your background music. 

Videolicious is an app for making videos. It's so easy to use with your students. Just follow the step-by-step instructions.

Videolicious is an app for making videos. It's so easy to use with your students. Just follow the step-by-step instructions.

After you make your selection, decide on the level of loudness for your video. If you have no voice in your video and only music, I would select a louder sound. Select Save. Now, you are ready to preview your video.

Watch Matt. He'll go through the steps for you. This video will give you an idea of how the app works.

Take a look at this video. I love Videolicious because there is a website just for tips and ideas in using the app. Make sure to visit the Videolicious Academy. They even give you the steps so you can print them for your students.

Think of ways this video can be adapted for your classroom projects. 


Scan Your Way to Digital Learning Day

Welcome to Stop #4 of our Digital Learning Day blog hop. As you may now know, we're celebrating Digital Learning Day which is on February 17. I'm teaming up with Tech With Jen, The Techie Teacher, iLive2learniLove2Grow, and ERIN*tegration to share our tips in using QR Codes in your classroom. If you're just beginning the hop, you can begin with Tech With Jen.

I love using QR Codes. They are so easy to use and can be implemented in the classroom in many different ways. One of the most popular ways to use QR Codes is with url's. Students don't have to worry about typing websites incorrectly and teachers know that the students are going directly to the selected websites.

Digital Learning Day
When reading informational text passages or books about a certain subject, students may want to learn more. Try using QR codes at a learning station with an informative book. A perfect example is We're Roaming in the Rainforest. This book comes alive by using QR Codes that link to different websites about the rainforest.

We're Roaming the Rainforest Book Study

This beautifully illustrated book takes students through the rainforest as they learn about exotic animals and their habitats. Students can learn even more by scanning the QR Codes and going directly to websites about the rainforest and the animals living in the rainforest. I created a Google Site with the url transformed into a QR code. Then, I attached the QR Code to a page in the book. Students can then have book and website resources.

Rainforest Animals Google Site
Rainforest Animals QR Code to Google Site
I created additional QR codes that link to a rainforest song, text, video of the other rainforest animals, Google Map of the rainforest, and a pdf slideshow. These QR Codes can be placed on different pages of the book. As students read the book, they can scan the QR Codes to bring the book to life.
We're Roaming in the Rainforest with QR Codes

We're Roaming in the Rainforest with QR Codes
Here are the steps in linking a QR Code to a website:

1. Determine the website url you want to change to a QR Code. Try this website about different rainforest animals. 
2. Copy your url into your QR Code Generator. I'm using QR Code Generator which is another very simple online application you can use.
Steps in making a URL QR Code
3. Click on "Save." A QR Code is created on the right.
4. Select "PNG" for the digital format of the QR Code, name the file, and then "Save." The QR Code will immediately download and you can drag it to your desktop and inserted into your document. I use QR Codes on task cards all the time.

Steps in making a URL QR Code

Try this free product with your students. It's free during the week of the blog hop. Just click on the image below.

We're Roaming in the Rainforest book study

Scan the QR Code below to find out the fourth clue for your chance to win an iPod. Then, move on to The Techie Teacher. I hope you're learning all the different ways you can learn about QR Codes on Digital Learning Day.

Scan the QR Code for the special word

the techie teacher-button

STEM with Inventions and Inventors

Students can learn more about inventions and famous inventors. Videos, books and ideas provided.

There are so many ideas for your students on inventions. With the focus on STEM, I want to share some of my classroom resources.

President for a Day Activities With Freebie

The month of February is filled with so many different holidays and celebrations including Black History Month, Ground Hogs Day, Chinese New Year, Presidents Day and Valentines Day. I believe February is a perfect time to teach biographies. There are so many important people that need to be recognized for their impact in our country's history. So, let's start with Presidents' Day Activities with a fun FREEBIE.

Would you like to be president for a day? In this FREE mini-unit, elementary and middle school students can follow the schedule of the president, learn about the president's cabinet, and more. Writing is included.

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