Tuesday, December 16, 2008

You Don't Need to Break the Bank

Podcasting has been my big push this year. So, I was upset when I found out that SoundSnap, my favorite website for downloading free copyright-friendly music and sound effects, was changing their policy. As of the last week, SoundSnap now requires users to create an account. Also, each account receives only 5 free downloads a month. Not very clssroom friendly.

To be honest, I was slightly devastated. I did not know of any website that could replace it. However, I was determined to find a replacement site. So, I began scouring the web and I found a great alternative. Royalty Free Music offers a free library of their professional quality music and sound effects to schools.

Here is a flyer that provides all the information necessary to sign-up to receive free access to this music library. After e-mailing the company with my information and then posting a link to their website on my site, I was given a username and password to provide to my students - no creating accounts and no cost - just free music/sound effect downloads!

Move over SoundSnap . . . here comes Royalty Free Music!

Monday, December 8, 2008

Poetry in Pictures

What is poetry, but pictures made of words. So, when I found a website that married the two, I was thrilled. I have already shown one of my fifth grade teachers PicLits and she will be using it during her poetry unit. It is very easy to use, which makes quick (even spur-of-the-moment) implementation possible.

One of the qualities I love about PicLits, is that (while preferable) you do not need to create an account to use it. When I see web applications like that, I cheer, because I know using it with students will be so much easier.

Also, PicLits includes a Learn It section that provides lesson ideas for using PicLits in the classroom. They are best suited for high school students, but could be modified for use by younger students.

There are two methods: the drag-and-drop and the freestyle. Drag-and-drop is exactly like magnetic poetry. However, the words provided you are tailored to the picture that you have chosen. I think this is fun, however, I see more potential in the classroom for the freestyle method. By choosing freestyle, students can type in whatever they want to say.

PicLit from PicLits.com
See the full PicLit at PicLits.com
PicLit from PicLits.com

See the full PicLit at PicLits.com

Classroom Ideas:
1. matching a student-created poem with a powerful picture
2. using pictures for inspiration to creative writing or writing poems
3. writing sentences that include vocabulary words or grammar concepts and choosing pictures that best express the meaning of the word and/or sentences
4. teaching students about nouns, adjectives, adverbs, verbs (a possible alternative to mad-libs)

Photo by http://www.flickr.com/photos/surrealmuse/4757004/