Focus on towers and skyscrapers

Continuing with our work on Buildings and Bridges (Science & technology), this term Stage 2 will focus on towers and skyscrapers. Here are some useful Youtube clips, which we will be comparing using a SCUMPS matrix:

Skyscrapers of New York City – Great attractions, USA

Empire State Building: New York CityPASS attraction, USA

Centrepoint Tower commercial (1980s), Sydney, Australia

Eiffel Tower, Paris, France

Using Photo Peach safely with students

I have had a few questions recently, from teacher librarians asking about aspects of student safety and group dynamics with Web 2.0 resources, such as Photo Peach.

There are definitely a few points to consider with Photo Peach: ie. use it as judiciously as you would a series of Youtube clips. Don’t permit students to do open browsing; Photo Peach is a Web 2.0 facility that is open to anyone, and the slideshows are “unrated”. (Once, I accidentally stumbled onto a Spanish bride’s hens’ party where the male strippers went all the way. Eeeeek!)

To use with a class during a session, I am the only person who knows the password. I have the IWB, or one computer, logged in as me. Students work in small groups, sometimes offline using blackline storyboards, then come to me at the computer to upload pics (or to select Creative Commons images), sort or re-sort photo order, or choose the music and speed. Photo Peach will be blocked for NSW DEC students’ usernames by the firewall.

Also, if you notice that new public comments have been added to a slideshow you’ve made, please always preview the slideshow again before using it with students so you can monitor (and moderate/remove) any unwanted comments (or close off comments altogether). These restrictions might be annoying but they are also a valuable teaching point. Get the students thinking about the potential dangers (eg. anonymous people using the comments to cyberbully creators, as often happens on Youtube) that can happen with Web 2.0.

I don’t yet have a paid subscription to Photo Peach (which enables you to add your own or Creative Commons music, a wider range of transitions, and the capacity to download slideshows to your hard drive, web space, Youtube or a CD), but I’ll probably get one eventually. I’d hate Photo Peach to close unexpectedly and all our work just vanish.

These URLs from the DEC CLIC raps and book raps lead to some great resources when using similar creative online tools:

Have fun!

Eeeek! More puppets – enough, enough?

Chick & Duckling puppets
The chick puppet (above left) was probably originally a duckling, too, but when I found a different duckling (right) a few months later, I sewed the beak of the first one into a point.

Zoo puppets
An assortment of puppets from Taronga Park Zoo’s souvenir shop.

Coat of Arms puppets
Emu and kangaroo puppets: Australia’s coat of arms!

Students at school helped to display the (now-huge) puppet collection!

Puppets group

Puppets group 2

Now we just need to complete that puppet theatre.

What’s cookin’?

What's cooking?

Any idea what’s bubbling away on my cooktop? I’m dyeing two customised puppets!

Giraffe/dog composite & spare tiger puppets
And this becomes…

Bat & Panther
… this!

Yes, they are a pair of customized puppets, now dried in the washing machine spin-drier. The completed bat has wings cut from brown felt and the new eyes are flat beads in a pink plastic, Supaglued over the original black giraffe eyes. 50 cents for a packet containing lots (of future replacement eyes?) I love bargain shops!

The panther’s eyes are some teardrop-shaped yellow plastic “jewels”, originally bought for a different project. The only reason for turning a tiger into a panther was to give the bat a dunking buddy, and use up the leftover dye.

Cat & Frog
These two new additions (above) look rather sedate after the cooking pot episode!