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Avatars – Your Virtual Self

Creating avatars in education can help get the creative juices flowing and create safe images to post of the students online.    Here is a list of ideas for using avatars in classrooms:

  • Create book trailers with the avatars representing the characters
  • Teachers can put their avatar in their powerpoints to get the kids attention.
  • Create a new character and create a story about it. (Great for the Build Your Wild Self website)
  • Write instructions on how to create a character – swap descriptions to see if they can recreate it
  • recreate characters from the novel.  What do you picture that they look like.
  • All about Mii poems with picture of the avatar attached
  • Use the avatar to represent the student online.
  • Put the avatars in famous places and points in history.  Have student write about the place and or event from a first person point of view.

Here are three kid-safe resources for creating avatars:

Mii Avatars

If you are a Wii user you have created a Mii before, the avatar that represents you in playing the games.  There is online option to create Miis that can be saved as jpgs or png files. Export the avatar as a transparent png file and put yourself in famous places. by placing the Mii on top of a photograph.  I’ve used PowerPoint for this since you can group the two images and then save the group as a picture file.

Create your own Mii –

Directions to create famous Miis:

Lego Avatars:

Lego AvatarMini-Mizer

Allows users to create a Lego Avatar complete with accessories custom and backgrounds.  To save the creation you have to do a Print Screen and then paste into another application like PowerPoint to crop the image and save it as an image file.

Become an Animal

Build Your Wild Self – Start off designing yourself as a human then you can add animal parts and set a background.  Final Products can be printed with information about the creature you created and a name for your creature.  Another option is to save a version as a desktop backgrounds.  You can right click on the print version and save the image as well as doing the print screen option as with the Lego character.

This was really my favorite one as the art work is beautiful and the ties into science are amazing.  One idea:  Have students create a creature for their habitat and explain how that creature lives.


I’ll be adding to my avatar resources at:

Any other ideas for using avatars in class?

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TCEA – What I learned today

What did I learn today?  I think I will let the word cloud speak for me.

This was created with wordle from my google docs notes taken during my workshop today with Tammy Worcester.

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Ideas for Providing Feedback

Want to make a difference in your classroom? Let your students know how they are doing!

The most powerful single modification that enhances achievement is feedback. [Hattie, 1992]

According to Robert Marzano’s Classroom Instruction that Works -providing feedback to students can be the single most important change you make in your classroom.  Research shows that:

  1. Feedback should be corrective in nature – Let’s students’ know why what they are doing is right or wrong.
  2. Feedback should be timely – the more the delay the less effective it is
  3. Feedback should be specific to a criterion – Focus on how they are doing based on the skill and not in relation to other students.
  4. Students can effectively provide some of their own feedback – Students can track as their learning occurs – ex.  accuracy and speed

Technology can provide new and innovative ways to provide this for students.

  • Rubrics
  • Online Publishing – Blogs
    • Blogger – hosted by Google – also free to use.  You can take the “next blog link” off the top banner with some simple coding.
    • ePals – provides safe email and blog platforms for schools
    • Edublogs – free blogs for classrooms.  They are running google keyword ads now so be careful.
  • Polls
    • Turning Points – Clickers – RRISD created tutorials for Turning Points –
    • Quia – free 30 day trial version is available
    • Survey Monkey
    • Google Forms – create online quizzes for free.  Responses are stored in a spreadsheet for further analysis.  Must have a Google account.
    • Poll Everywhere create polls that participants can respond to via, text, twitter, smartphone, or web.

Note about Cell Phones:  We are a ways away in our district from asking students to pull out their cell phones to text in answers, but this is a technology worth watching.  The polls on Poll Everywhere allow for web voting as well.   Polls can be embedded into webpages and blogs to see instant results, as well as downloadable PowerPoint slides.

I built some sample text polls with Poll Everywhere to test it out:

All my resources for this post can be found on my diigo account.
I’ll continue to add more as I find them.

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Embedding YouTube in PowerPoint 2007

With the upgrade on campus from Office XP to Office 07 there was a need to rewrite the directions on embedding YouTube into PowerPoint.

Embedding a video allows for the presenter to stay within the PowerPoint environment and to filter out the ads and info that may surround the video on the internet.

Here is a powerpoint with the YouTube Video linked and the video embedded:   embed

Directions to Embed in PowerPoint 2007

Note: Your computer must have internet connection when showing the PowerPoint in order for the video to work.

  1. Look to see if the “Developer” ribbon is available on your toolbar.  If it is NOT:
    1. click on the Microsoft Orb (see red arrow)
    2. Click on “PowerPoint Options” on the bottom of the window.
    3. Under the “Popular” tab check S”Show Developer tab in the Ribbon”
    4. Click “OK”
  2. Open the Developer’s Ribbon and click on the “More Controls” option in the Controls box.
  3. Scroll down and select the option “Shockwave Flash Object” and click “OK.”
  4. On the PowerPoint slide click the mouse and draw a box where you want the video to be.
  5. Right click on the box you have just drawn and select “Properties.”
  6. Open Internet Explorer and find the video you want to embed in your presentation:
    1. Copy the URL in the address bar by highlighting the address and Ctrl + C
  7. Return to PowerPoint
  8. Paste the URL in the Properties Box in the “Movie” section.
  9. Change the URL by:
      1. Delete the “watch?” portion of the address
      2. Replace the “=” with a “/”
      3. Example
        1. From:
        2. To: v/aSVfYwdGSsQ
  10. Other items to change in the Properties Box:
    1. Loop – If you want the movie to play through once and stop select “False”
    2. Playing – If you want the movie to start automatically when the slide loads – “True” – Otherwise change to “False” if you want to click on the movie for it to start.
  11. Save your PowerPoint.
  12. Run the presentation and you should see the movie begin.

Here are the directions with screenshots in pdf Form: Embed a YouTube Video into PowerPoint 2007

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Olympic Lessons

The Winter Olympics are 10 days away.  Soon the TV airwaves will be full ofwinter sports, some of which we only get to see every 4 years.  So how can you incorporate this historic event into your classroom?  I’ve gone through several websites (listed at the bottom of this post) and grouped some ideas into different subject areas to get us started thinking about it.


  • Research the history of the Olympics
  • Compare and contrast the ancient Olympics with the modern day ones
  • Research the customs of different teams at the Olympics or of the Host Country
  • Tie Black History month in with the Olympics by researching African American Athletes – such as Jesse Owen and Muhamed Ali
  • Character Education lessons


  • Explore the engineering of a sport and the equipment that is used in the sport.
  • Anatomy of an Athlete – what makes some people “super” athletes?  Scientists study the human body to understand how it works and how  athletes can be better
  • Weather – track the weather throughout the area.  What influences the weather in that region?  What about the weather in that area makes it ideal for the Winter Olympics to be held there?
  • Check out –


  • Chart the results of the games
  • Use statistics from the games to work math problems.
  • Measurement – How far is it to travel to the games?  How much would it cost?

Language Arts:

  • Write biographies of Olympic Athletes (past and/or present)
  • Summarize the events of the game or the results of an event.
  • Research a sport and how it has developed over the years.
  • Cover an Olympic Event as a sports reporter

Art –

  • create posters to illustrate the history of the game.
  • Design icons for each event
  • Design a tickets to events to represent Canada and the sporting event.


More resources will be added here as I find them.  Be sure to check this Diigo account as we get closer to the games for more ideas.

Diigo Account:

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