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The more you read Dr Seuss-web
Creative Commons Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike 2.0 Generic License   by  Debbi Long 

Posted from Diigo. The rest of my favorite links are here.

Useful links

Quote-Creativity is contagious, pass it on – Albert Einstein-web

Posted from Diigo. The rest of my favorite links are here.

The future is here, almost! Machine Wars by Michael Pryor

Stories about future societies, especially dystopian ones, are high on our “most popular books” lists. Most are about surviving in this new somewhat alien worlds, Hunger Games and Maze Runner, and many are read across most year levels. Other favourites include: Bzrk (#1 of series) by Michael Grant, 0.4 (#1 series) by Mike Lancaster, The Hunt (#1 of trilogy) by Andrew Fukuda and Skinned (#1 Cold Awakening trilogy) by Robin Wasserman. 

Michael Pryor‘s book is set at the beginning, when the hero might just have a chance to stop things before society is forced to change and is enjoyed mostly by our younger students, the 12-13 year olds. The setting is now, today and easily believable.

Machine Wars

14-year-old Bram comes home late and as he arrives at the gate senses something is wrong. It is part of the survival strategy that his parents have drilled into him all his life. Bram’s mother is a brilliant scientist who is a world leader in the artificial intelligence world. She has always been aware that things could go wrong in her field and has planned for it. Bram has an elaborately planned survival plan, called “Scatter and Hide”, that has been designed to give his mother time to find a solution to the disaster. She asks Bram to stay out of the clutches of Ahriman (as the AI calls himself) for 3 weeks. He must not be taken hostage if she is to figure out how to overcome the rogue AI. This turns out to be easier said than done. With the help of his friend Stella and Bob, another AI unit, built by his mother and put into his childhood toy duck, Bram works hard to stay free. It is not easy to stay out of the clutches of a being that controls the internet. In today’s world staying off-line and off the grid is difficult especially when so many everyday activities are dependent on technology without you being really being aware of it. Bram teaches Stella to use a slingshot against some of Ahriman’s creations and Bob has some very useful moves as they try to stay ahead of their pursuer.

Bram is intelligent and a bit of a loner due to moving around a lot due to his parents working arrangements. He has developed various coping mechanisms such as using different character voices to hide his feelings. Stella, his new friend, is independent, thinks for herself and belongs to no single group but is friendly with all. Together, along with Bob, they decide that it is sometimes better to attack than just hide. Their days are spent alternatively hiding and planning then carrying out ways to fight back.

There are some humorous moments such as the description of Bram trying to find a way of keeping up with the news without technology and Stella walking across to a newspaper seller to buy the “old-fashioned” option.

View all my reviews

From the authors site, a page that discusses the novel, the story behind, its writing and links to other information.

Teacher Notes from Random House here.

Color Oracle

Color OracleRecently one of our student support teachers did some testing on the students who struggle with the demands of the secondary school curriculum. She was testing how different colour filters affect the ease with which these can read. There was an amazingly high percentage of these boys who suddenly realised that they were not seeing text as others did.

It made me think about how many students (we are a boy’s school) might be colour blind, to varying degrees, and they may not be aware of this. Research has shown that many more males are prone to colour blindness, especially red-green. I have also seen some research that states that women, as a whole, can differentiate  between different shades of colours much better than men.

I like to use images and colour when I am presenting to classes. All sorts of information – be it graphical, maps, whatever – are in colour. How inclusive is this material? Are the colours I am using making it easier or more difficult for my students?

This led me to have a look at the tool Color Oracle, which is a color blindness simulator. It is a free,  runs on Mac, Windows, and Linux operating systems.

When it is installed and you run it, a small icon installs itself on the menu bar. To see your screen the way that a color blind person would, you simply click on the icon and select one of three types of color blindness. You can easily toggle your screen colors to simulate three color blind conditions, deuteranopia, protanopia and tritanopia. By  toggling between the various view modes, your screen is transformed to a new colour palette so you can evaluate how visible the colours you chosen are to everyone.  Once you have done this it is a simple to click on any key to return to normal mode.

Will this make it easier for many of the students at my school? I don’t know but it can only help me make sure that the resources I create offer anyone the best chance of  using them.

Useful links

Discover new oceans-quote

Posted from Diigo. The rest of my favorite links are here.

Useful links

Posted from Diigo. The rest of my favorite links are here.

Jigidi – online jigsaw puzzle tool

I have tried a new tool this week. It is called Jigidi and it creates free online jigsaw puzzles.

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homepage

It is simple to use. You can go to the site to access the expanding library of jigsaw puzzles created by others. You can search for puzzles based on a theme, by puzzle difficulty (easy is 60 pieces or less and challenging puzzles have 240 plus pieces).

In the puzzle work space, you can zoom in or out to give yourself more room to work. The ‘full screen’ mode removes other distractions and helps to focus on the challenge at hand. The site requires the Flash plug-in to make the puzzles interactive.

If you create an account (it’s free) you can upload your own images to make your own jigsaw puzzles to share. This will also remove ads from the puzzle pages. The tool does not require an email address to register.

It is very quick to create a puzzle. Upload your image, decide on the the difficulty (number of pieces) and create.set-up 2

Once created you can add extra data such as title, description, attribution and if you are happy to make it public, category and copyright details.

Click on Solve and the puzzle comes up. You can have a timer added if you want and can enlarge to fit the whole screen.

It is fun to see how many solves you get. my Radcliffe Camera puzzle had 74 in just over an hour and the Ford Anglia from the Harry Potter films had an interesting comment about the car.

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You could use it with classes as a way of introducing a topic via images or as a review activity at the end.

You could have mystery images of places and see how quickly students realise where they are eg. geography or language studies. The timer could be used to see how fast someone can finish the puzzle.

Students could take some relevant (topic) photos, upload their  images and  shared the puzzles with their classmates or even parents.

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