Monday, February 27, 2012

The Fantastic Flying Books of Mr. Morris Lessmore

The Fantastic Flying Books of Mr. Morris Lessmore just won the Oscar for Best Animated Short Film.  I did a little searching on this film short and happened to find the full film on YouTube.  While I was watching the film, I started reflecting on the storyline and what made this film special enough to win an Oscar.  Then I thought, what a great classroom discussion.  You could use one of the following essential questions:

Why did this film win an Oscar for Best Animated Short Film?  - I could envision students researching the criteria for an animated short film and how it is evaluated.  They might also research reviews and critiques over the film to help support their response.

What is the main theme of this film?  Students would need to discuss and evaluate what the story is about and what the main theme should be.  You could turn it into a bit of a debate if you had differing theme ideas.  Students would need to support their argument with examples from the film.

What specific elements of the film support the following statement, "This story is inspired, in equal measures, by Hurricane Katrina, Buster Keaton, The Wizard of Oz and a lover for books."

The Fantastic Flying Books of Mr. Morris Lessmore is also available as an interactive eBook app on iTunes created by Moonbot Studios.  Also available from Moonbot Studios is Numberly, a story about the origin of the alphabet.

Friday, February 24, 2012

Advanced Google Image Search

Needing images for a project or presentation?  When you do a basic Google search you can get thousands of pictures, but they are not all fair game for use in your project or presentation.  Many of them are copyright protected and are not free to use even for an educational project or presentation.  (I'll write more on this in a future post.)  The video below will show you how to search for images on Google based on their usage rights.

This would be a great video to share with your students prior to them looking for images to use for a class project.

Once you have your image, don't forget to give credit to your source.  The best format I have seen is as follows:

Source: "image name," site published on, user/artist, Creative Commons License (if applicable), comma and URL

Here's a sample:

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Website Wednesdays

Posted from Diigo. The rest of my favorite links are here.

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Make an iPhoto Slideshow in 15 Minutes or Less

We are all notorious for taking pictures at special events or on trips, but not doing anything with them after we put them in iPhoto or some other photo storage software.  If you're like my aunt, you may not even get them off your camera before the memory card is full.

Well, iPhoto offers a quick way for you to take those photos and put them into a slideshow that will amaze your friends.  They will think you spent hours working on it, when in reality you finished in 15 minutes or less.

Let's get started!
First, upload your photos from your camera into iPhoto.  (This step could take the longest if your memory card is full.)  Now follow the steps below:

Here's a sample of a completed slideshow

Monday, February 20, 2012

Weekly Websites

Posted from Diigo. The rest of my favorite links are here.

Monday, February 6, 2012

New Apps!

Cost:  Free

Description from iTunes:  In this hilarious educational game you will be shown a fraction and your job is [to] estimate the decimal equivalent by placing a nest on a number line.  Our hens are mathematical experts and they will fire their eggs towards the correct answer.  If your estimate is good the eggs will be caught in the nest but if you're too far out it all gets very messy.

This game was demonstrated at my Tech Integration Group (TIG) this past Friday.  We played it as a whole group and found the math challenging, especially when you get to the higher levels.  This would be a great game for individual and whole group practice.

Cost:  Free

This app is a companion to the WatchKnowLearn website which provides free educational videos from grades K-12.

You can look for videos based on featured, category or subject search.  However, I did not find a way to create a playlist like you can in YouTube.  Hopefully, this will be a future update to this app.

Cost:  $0.99

Description from iTunes:  KAKOOMA is deceptively simple:  from a group of numbers, find one numbers that is the sum of two others.  Seems easy, right?  But looks can be deceiving.  There will be times when you can't find the number, even though it's sitting right in front of you.

This game was demonstrated at TIG this past Friday.  We played it as a whole group and found it semi-challenging.  It was recommended to use this game with the whole class as an exit activity before recess or lunch.  It keeps your brain thinking and the problem solving/math skills fresh.

Sunday, February 5, 2012

Funding Available

 I received the following this weekend from our local Bank of the West:

Thanks to support from the Bank of the West, classroom project requests from local teachers will be funded this spring, delivering at least $500,00 worth of supplies and resources to classrooms across the United States.

All public school teachers in your district who submit requests by February 14th are eligible to be considered for this funding!

If your classroom needs resources (notebooks, pencils, calculators, you name it!) let us know by submitting your request on by February 14th.

Teachers:  Get Started Now!
  1. Log into your account.  (If you're new to, you can learn more and sign up at
  2. Submit requests (for up to $800 in materials each) to help support your students by February 14th to be considered for funding.
  3. If you project qualifies for Bank of the West funding, you'll be notified around mid-March with additional details from the bank.  If not, never fear - it's still eligible to be funded by the thousands of citizens, companies, and foundations that support teachers on each year!