If you have a lot to do today, you may not want to click this link. Isle of Tune is an amazing game that allows you to turn a simple neighborhood landscape into a musical journey. Each element (buildings, trees, cars) has its own sounds that can be manipulated and blended. It’s a fascinating combination of architecture and visual layout with music. It’s a very cool way to connect patterns to music, and to visualize different musical concepts. It’s also just plain fun. Be sure to check out some of the isles made by other users, especially the one for “Boys of Summer!”
I never realized exactly how small the annex that Anne Frank and her family hid in was until I saw it for myself a couple of years ago. If you can’t make it to Amsterdam, though, the Anne Frank House website (the official site of what is now a museum dedicated to Anne’s life and legacy) has an incredible 3D rendering of the space. Beyond being able to truly see the dimensions of the house, the rendering is interactive, meaning you can virtually walk through the rooms and click on various extras that will give you even more information. It’s an amazing way to supplement readings of the book, as these extras feature excerpts from the text and photos.
I will admit that the graphics wouldn’t work for me in Safari, but worked perfectly in Chrome.
I received a special request for resources on foreign languages, specifically grammar. Now, while the internet is teeming with games and resources on vocabulary, there is very little when it comes to grammar. Fortunately, I found the BBC Languages site.
This site basically provides language learning courses online. Interactive lessons are available in both audio and video for languages like French, Spanish, German, Italian and Portuguese. There are tons of other resources on the site, like information on culture, quizzes and slang guides.
The interactive lessons are perhaps the most useful, as they present material via video, and then use interactive games to quiz on those same concepts. Here is the program for learning French, called Ma France. For the Spanish language course, Mi Vida Loca, go here.
I absolutely love the videos on this site. Microsoft, while promoting a contest, created a series of videos on the do’s and don’ts of PowerPoint presentations. These videos are really funny, and they point out the five most common errors people make when creating PowerPoints. They’d be great to show before assigning a PowerPoint presentation.
Because 2011 is the 40 year anniversary of the Freedom Riders, the brave participants are being celebrated in many ways (they were even on Oprah!). PBS created a documentary on the brave men and women who risked their lives by riding buses into the South at the height of the Civil Rights movement. This film is actually available for viewing on PBS’s website, along with a great deal of accompanying features. There is an interactive map of the route, a complete roster of Freedom Riders with background information on each, and a great deal of background on the movement itself. This is a really rich source of information, and the film is just icing on the cake.
Print-Bingo is a website that addresses a very specific problem: creating nicely-formatted, randomized bingo cards using your own wordlists. A lot of teachers create bingo games based on a certain lesson, theme, or unit, and bingo can be a fun way to review vocabulary or concepts. This website just makes it that much easier to create your own game, print it out, and get playing. First, fill out a (somewhat complicated) form to specify font, headers, and words. When you click “Submit,” a PDF will be generated with 2-4 cards per page that you can print out and use.
The website for PBS’s NOVA is filled with cool lessons and interactives. This one allows students to actually see how various substances (water, carbon dioxide, and hydrogen) change as pressure and temperature are altered.