Monday, April 27, 2020

The Empty Throne

Here is a quick lesson for you to use.  It is a reading excerpt from Bernard Cornwell's book, The Empty Throne.  Cornwell is known for his historical fiction and this book is from the series dealing with Uthred, made famous in the Netflix series.

This particular excerpt has him talking about Beowulf from a contemporary perspective.

Use this for test prep or if you just need some more at home work during this shut down. 

If you are into all that Anglo-Saxon jazz, I highly recommend this series.  Pick up the first book, The Last Kingodm, and read it here:

Or watch The Last Kingdom series on Netflix.  It is not a completely spot on retelling, but it is still a good one. 

Tuesday, April 21, 2020

Tech Tuesday: How to Add a Pause to Your Google Slides Animation

Adding animation to presentations can be a fun way to keep your lessons dynamic.  Having to click the screen or mouse every time you want the next animation to begin is annoying, though, and makes you look less than extreme when standing in front of the class waiting for the animation to begin (especially after you just clicked to change to a new slide).

Google Slides does have the ability to make your animations start by click, with the previous animation (or slide change), or after the previous animation.

My problem came in that I wanted, for this particular presentation, a cloud with words or an image to float by, pause for the student to read it, then automatically move on off the screen without anyone having to click anything.

I could easily make it move in with an animation and then I could easily make it move out with an animation set to AFTER PREVIOUS.  The problem was I could not make it pause long enough for the students to read it. 

My solution was to add a transparent  image and give it animation.  I set my transparent image to move as slow as I thought I needed. Here is the set up:

Cloud Image - Flies in from left (after  previous)
Transparent Image - Flies in from left (after previous)
Cloud Image - Flies out to right (after previous)

I set the transparent image animation to slow (5 seconds).  For text that I thought students needed more time to read, I just added a second transparent image animation for another up to 5 seconds.

This way, several bits of information and images flow across the screen and move on in the time span I want without having to constantly click the screen. 

This is useful for students doing work at their own pace or at home.  It is also useful for having images come up when you want them to while giving a lecture.  You just have to time your lecture right.

Or sometimes it is just more aesthetically pleasing to have a little bit more time between movements on screen.

You can use my transparent image.  It is centered below.  Just hover over it, right click it and save.

Next week's tip - adding music to your Google Slides.

So, what tips or tricks have you used to make your Slides better?

Monday, April 20, 2020

Memes for Monday

So this year I teach seniors.  Our state has decided that seniors have passed the course if their grade is 60 or above as of March 13th.  The only grades we could give were makeup assignments given prior to March 13th.

Now as we move forward, we are expected to give seniors more assignments.  However, these assignments will not be graded.  We will give feedback, but they can in no way help a senior improve their GPA (passing is passing whether the student had a 65 or 95) or cause them to lose their passing status.

The people way above teachers in the education hierarchy said that students will want to continue their education for learning sake. 

Of course, we are teachers!  We will deal with this extra obstacle and move forward.  LIKE WE ALWAYS DO.  We teach students despite the good intentions of politicians.  However, this new - give-them-them-work-but-do-not-grade-it has inspired me to make a meme or two (or several) to encapsulate it.

All in jest, of course.  

All memes made with:

Friday, April 17, 2020

Break Out Your Classroom (or home office...)

I got this from my librarian today and thought I would check it out:

So I tried it - and it  was fun!  The way this works is you are given a random puzzle in four parts.  You have a very limited time to answer it.  The puzzle I tried was on authors (lucky break!) and it would give all sorts of images and I had to put in the name of the author of the book that these images represented.  One person who gets all four puzzles finished gets a prize.  The whole thing took less than ten minutes.

The prize the person gets is a home breakout puzzle that you can do with your family and a breakout kit you can add to your collection or your library's collection.  We have some in our library, but they are worn out, so I am going to try and win one to replace some of the broken ones.

Will I use this in my class?  I think I will, especially in this time of online learning.  I can pick a day and say whoever can send me the answers to the four questions will get some sort of prize or recognition as smartest student or something. 

When students win, they get the home kits for themselves and the teacher gets the school kit.

They also have many breakout puzzles to pick from on their website.  Some are locked (I assume because I do not have a paid account, but I should check to see if my library does) and some need a kit, but there are a few that are digital only.  I started on this one about King Lear:

If I found one on a book or concept we were studying in class, I would use this as some sort of competition assignment.  I am hoping I'll find some mythology related ones to use in my class.

I'm curious to hear if any of you are using this or plan to try the daily puzzle.

Tuesday, April 14, 2020

The Movie Report

In an effort to come up with assignments that can be done at home, I created a movie report.  Now, there's nothing unique about creating a book report for other media, but I just wanted one that suited my needs.

One thing almost all students have access to is TV and streaming media.  For my assignment, I allowed students to choose the movie, as long as parents approved.  Some students picked high brow movies, some pop culture, and a few picked Disney cartoons.  To me, the level of the movie did not matter as much as the student's response to it.

In my version, I had students tell the plot summary, identify the protagonists and antagonists, and find two different literary terms used in the movie.  That's pretty standard stuff.  I also had them tell me if it would be a good movie for me.  This allows them to practice audience awareness.  I also had them analyze the movie poster for a little author's purpose.  I followed it up with a walk-through on how to write an MLA citation in a step-by-step guide.

It's an easy assignment to grade and not too taxing on the student while still giving them something of value. Plus, for a student who is not motivated to read on their own, this assignment is great for getting them to think out literary concepts. 

On my TPT store, I put up a copy of this.  With it, I put a variation of it that pairs the movie to the book it is depicting.  The concept is similar and has the MLA ending, but a few of the  questions are changed to get the  student thinking about what was different and more importantly, why did the director make the change.  This gets them thinking about author's purpose.  Also, by giving a student who struggles at reading a chance to watch the movie version, you give that student not a shortcut int he reading process, but rather a visual that they can build off of.  I have found that many of my students who watch the movie version of a book we are reading in class will come up to me before or after class to discuss what was different.  These kids are more active in the reading.

If you want the pre-made copies (they are Google Docs so that you can easily edit them for your needs), you can find them on my store page at:  I found it useful for an activity to give while my students are stuck at home and will likely continue to use it for supplemental assignments for struggling readers in future years.

If you have similar type assignments in your class, share the types of questions you like to put in to get kids thinking about literature.