Sunday, March 1, 2015

Daily tool/resource & apology 1 March 2015 (Tunefind)

Good morning! I'm back with another cool resource for using in your classroom/lessons.

I'm going to start with the apology - when school began, time got pretty tight. But then I got word that my mother is ill - very ill - and I've been consumed with phone calls, documents, travel arrangements, emails, and it's taken all my mental space. But I'm determined not to let my blogging fall by the wayside, so I'm back! I will not be posting every day; I simply cannot keep that commitment while I'm running around. But I'll do the best I can.

So here's today's resource: Tunefind.

Ever heard a song in the background of a television show and thought: "wow, that's really effective?" Or "I love that song!" Or "gee, I wonder who that was?" But you have trouble finding that kind of thing on (and excellent resource for film and television, btw, and easy to use - maybe another post later)? Well, Tunefind can bring you right to that song, where you can listen or download!

Here's how it works (so easy!).

Step 1: go to

Step 2: Choose the show you want to look into via the browse or search functions.

Step 3: Choose what season the episode it is (you can find this in your online tv guide or through I looked for the finale of Grey's Anatomy, because I feel in love with Snow Patrol through a scene on there!

Tunefind will list all the seasons, so pick the one you need, and then it will take you to the list of episodes:

If you scroll down, you can see that the site is community managed; you can ask/answer questions and submit music.

I actually meant to choose Season 1, and missed, so pardon the "season 11" at the top of that pic. What I discovered is that I misremembered that episode, and so I went to Season 2. The mini-synopsis of each episode was a real help with this.

As you can see, the song I wanted was the second one on the list (I could tell from the synopsis of what was happening when the song was playing, though I think this particular one could be better). When I clicked on it, I got this:

It is playing the song at this point, and offers options for purchasing/downloading the song for my use.

Pretty nifty stuff, especially if you're wanting to just listen or engage emotion, say, when teaching how a certain song can set the tone of a scene.

Sunday, February 8, 2015

Daily tool/resource 3 February 2015 -

Some people still use just their browser's bookmarks/favourites to save sites they want to remember. However, there is a better way! Social bookmarking is a terrific resource for several reasons, and I settled on using Diigo ("Digest of Internet Information, Groups and Other stuff"). about 7 or so years ago because:

  1. you can access your bookmarks anytime, anywhere, on any device.
  2. you can sort/order your bookmarks in a more user-friendly manner (I like to list and sublist, because I'm weird, but at least with diigo I can satisfy that need!) as well as with tags - plus, I see they've just started a new organising thingie called "outliners" which I'll have to look into.
  3. you have access to others' shared bookmarks, which is great because rather than doing a google search for something and getting a trillion results, you can search other teachers' bookmarks for resources for a particular study.
  4. you can subscribe to others' bookmarks.
  5. you can join bookmark groups and subscribe to the groups' bookmarks.
  6. you can easily import bookmarks from all the random places you've been keeping them.
  7. you can annotate any webpage and share those annotations (great for researching and collaborating - I'm looking at you, Level 3s!).
  8. you can share folders with students/others.
  9. the amount of folders you can make is, as far as I can tell (I have heaps) unlimited.
  10. diigo has its own community/ies where you can have discussions.
Just add the diigolet to your extensions bar and you're good to go. Access your bookmarks, anywhere, anytime, and share with anyone you choose.

Daily tool/resource 5 February 2015 - youtube

ok, i know this one seems like a no-brainer - everyone knows about youtube!. but seriously, there is more to youtube than cat videos and "my reaction to xx trailer." i've used youtube to:

  • learn how to tie a half-windsor knot for my husband's tie (while i was at it, i learned 3 other knots!)  extra note: this guy had the best how-to video on ties out there. too many others assumed i'd tied a tie before and glossed over important aspects! this one was truly step by step.
  • replace the charging port on my samsung chromebook (easy as 1-2-3)
  • how to ice a layer cake into a "swirl rose cake" (daughter's 21st) - it was ombre on the inside, too 
  • to view the annual xmas cartoons from my childhood on xmas eve (who doesn't miss the heat miser and the snow miser? and rudolph, and, of course, the grinch!)
  • to rethread my overlocker, and also how to change the foot on my sewing machine

to name a few.

when it comes to teaching, i've used youtube to (random selection, not exhaustive!):

  • demonstrate how cinematography made the ending of the sopranos totally obvious (!)
  • how an aural bridge from credits/black screen to first image sets the tone of a film (darn, these have been deleted :(  )
  • how/why directors choose songs for lyrical meaning (essential for the opening scene of hot fuzz. also good for teaching homophones)
  • to publish student book trailers
  • as a place for students to make a file of video shorts for a speech when embedding them into something else wasn't optional/reasonable (for whatever reason)
  • teaching advertising through jingles
  • public speaking demonstrations (particularly voice, but also structure and content)
  • to repeat (over and over) an excerpt of film we are studying
  • pronunciation (like chiaroscuro, for example) 
  • to share documentaries, like that of murdered teen emmett till, in order to bring forward wider ideas from a text
  • to develop the concept of national identity through lyrics (the muttonbirds, but lots of pre-teaching here)
  • doodle 4 google
  • to discuss how astronauts use the toilet when watching apollo 13 (i, too, was curious!)
youtube is a fantastic resource for teaching and learning. i haven't even touched on the resources for khan academy, TED, SXSW, flipped classrooms, etc. you can learn how to do just about anything on youtube. 

Tuesday, February 3, 2015

Daily tool/resource 4 February 2015 - edchat

Of course, twitter is an invaluable resource. If i'da been smart, I'd have used twitter as a daily resource :)

edchat/edchatnz and subject chats are great ways to jumpstart your teaching ideas. Meeting new folks,
accessing new links, being energized...that's what edchat is all about.

Do a search for your subject edchat too; you'll be glad you did!

In NZ:


I couldn't find an ICTchatnz, but there is a #ictchat.  Here is a shared doc of other various international chats. Feel free to add chats in the comments section!

Monday, February 2, 2015

Daily tool/resource 2 February 2015 - QR Codes

QR Codes have come and perhaps gone, but I still find them useful and engaging at times. I learned about using QR codes from @daikinane at uLearn11. Here are the collaborative notes from that year,
and the notes from our session are about halfway down. The following page details uses in education.

I use qrstuff to make my codes, and then use them to link kids to my ncea flashcards, homework assignments, readings, etc. They generally get a kick out of it (though more so if they already have downloaded a reader).

I refer my kids to QRreader at the play store. It's free, and doesn't make an annoying noise every tine they scan a code.

I even use a QR code on my cv these days! They take literally a second to make, and are quick, easy, and fun. Give it a go!

Daily tool/resource 30 January 2015 - Kahoot!

Last year I was introduced to Kahoot at #SecondaryHB Unconference. It was wildly appreciated, and I think everyone in my department used it for revision.

Kahoot is an interactive competition/game that classes of all ages (including adults) enjoy. It keeps score and does all the tallying for you, and it even has countdown music. And you don't even have to make your own; there are heaps of already-made games available! You create/choose your game at the main website, and it gives you a PIN. Students go to to play. You don't to have a laptop; we take our kids to the library, have them connect to the wireless on their phones, and off they go!

Highly recommended.

Thursday, January 29, 2015

Daily tool/resource 29 January 2015 .pdf to .jpg

Today's tool, which I just used for the umpteenth time, is a free online converter, pdf2jpg.

Our school's scanner scans everything into pdf, and I quite often need them as a form of picture, so being able to quickly convert them is necessary to me. I just scanned our University of Otago Sheilah Winn Shakespeare Festival poster so that I could pop it into publisher and add the entry details. I started with this:

and converted it so that I'd only need about 20 seconds or so to make this version.

Nifty note: pdf2jpg plants a tree for every 5000 conversions!