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Twine is an open-source program for writing choose your own adventure stories. You can use Twine online or you can download the software for Mac or Windows. I used Twine online to create a short story.



To write a choose your own adventure story with Twine online start by giving your story a title. After titling your story you will be taken to a grid canvas on which you can write short passages in a series of sticky notes. Each sticky note should be given its own title. To link elements of your stories you place brackets around the title of note within a note. Each note can be linked to two or more other notes in your story. When your story is complete you can read through it and click through it in your browser.



If you use Twine online there are a couple of things you should know before you start. First, there is not a log-in or registration option. Your work is saved in your browser. To save your work permanently, use the "publish to file" option to download your work. Your Twine file can be opened later in your web browser where you can edit it further or simply read through your story. Second, to share Twine stories you will have to email the file to the person you want to read your story.



Applications for Education

Writing choose your own adventure stories in Twine could be a great way to get kids interested in creative writing. Building a good choose your own adventure story requires a lot of planning around possible story turns and endings. The visual nature of Twine's sticky note interface could help students see how parts of a story work together.

I have t-shirts made from recycled plastic bottles and I bet that your students do too. How did those bottles become the material for t-shirts? Why didn't the recycling company just make more bottles out of the recycled bottles? And why are those numbers on the bottom of the bottle important? Those questions and more are answered in a new Reactions video, How Plastic Recycling Actually Works.



Planet Nutshell is a video production company that produces short, animated videos to explain products, services, and concepts. Within their education section you will find videos addressing topics in  mathematics, physics, climate science, and cyber safety.



Their series of videos about Internet safety consists of eighteen videos for K-12 students. The series is called NetSafe and it has eighteen episodes covering topics like protecting personal information, responsible posting of pictures, and mobile location privacy. The videos are labeled with grade levels so that students in high school don't watch videos designed for K-3 students. A video for K-3 students and a video for high school students are embedded below.








Yesterday's blog post about the Chronicling America collection of digitized newspapers prompted Daniel Bassill to ask me about options for newspapers printed after 1963. My suggestion was to try the Google Newspaper Archive. In that archive you will find hundreds of digitized copies of newspapers printed around the world. In the archive you fill find newspapers published in the 19th, 20th, and 21st centuries. In the following video I provide a demonstration of how to search Google's Newspaper Archive.



Last week Clint Heitz asked me for a suggestion for tools that students can use to make magazines online. He has used Lucid Press and was looking for other options to try. There were two tools that I suggested. One suggestion was to try Book Creator and the other was to try Canva. In the following video I demonstrate how you can use Canva to collaboratively create and publish documents.



There was a time when navigating the website of the Library of Congress was a bit of a chore. Collections of digitized artifacts were mixed with collections that simply listed availability of artifacts. Thankfully, in recent years the LOC has made a marked improvement in the ease which you can find digitized artifacts that are available to view and download. The best way to find those artifacts is to head to the Digital Collections section of the LOC. It was there that I found the Chronicling America collection and the Historic American Buildings Collection.



Historic American Buildings is a collection of more than 44,000 pictures, drawings, and documents about buildings in the United States. Within the collection there is subset of artifacts from the Historic American Landscapes Survey. It was in that collection that I found the featured image for this post. The image, View About Five Miles South of Chisana, Alaska, was taken as part of the survey.



You can browse and search the Historic American Buildings collection according to location, subject, format (PDF or image), and contributor.



Applications for Education

This collection could be useful to history students in need of some archival imagery to use in presentations and reports. I can also see this collection being of interest to art teachers looking for images to use illustrate changes in architecture over time and location. 

Chronicling America is a great resource provided by the Library of Congress. On Chronicling America you can find more than 2,600 digitized copies of newspapers printed in the United States between 1789 and 1963. You can search through the collection according to date, state in which the newspaper was published, and keyword.



All of the digitized newspapers in the Chronicling America collection can be viewed online, downloaded as PDFs, or printed. When viewing the digitized newspapers online you can zoom-in to read and view the details of each page. Chronicling America provides a clipping tool that you can use while viewing a newspaper to clip and print an enlarged section of a page. That could be useful for distributing printed copies of columns to your students to read in your classroom.



Applications for Education

On Friday and again this morning I spent some time browsing through the collection of Maine newspapers in the Chronicling America collection. I got sucked into reading first-hand reports from the Civil War that were published in The Portland Daily Press beginning in 1862. It is the first-hand stories published in those papers that could make a Chronicling America a valuable resource for teachers of U.S. History and their students.

On Friday I wrote an overview of a new backchannel tool called Yo Teach! It's a great alternative to the much-loved, but now gone, TodaysMeet. To help more people get started on Yo Teach! I made the tutorial video that is embedded below.



Before you watch the video here are a couple of highlights of Yo Teach! to note. You and your students can use text and image notes in a Yo Teach! room. Students can also give a "thumbs up" to their favorite image and text notes in the discussion.



Poetry 180 is a Library of Congress project that was created when Billy Collins was the U.S. Poet Laureate. The purpose of the project is to provide high school teachers with poems for their students to read or hear throughout the school year.



Collins selected the poems for Poetry 180 with high school students in mind. I didn't look at every poem in the list, but of dozen or so that I looked at, none would take more than a few minutes to read in a classroom. Speaking of reading in class, Collins encourages teachers to read the poems aloud or have students read the poems aloud. To that end, here's his advice on how to read a poem out loud.







I have t-shirts made from recycled plastic bottles and I bet that your students do too. How did those bottles become the material for t-shirts? Why didn't the recycling company just make more bottles out of the recycled bottles? And why are those numbers on the bottom of the bottle important? Those questions and more are answered in a new Reactions video, How Plastic Recycling Actually Works.



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