Sunday, August 26, 2012

Downloading Videos

I frequently come across videos on websites that I think would make a great part of a lesson, but the website is blocked by an internet filter (i.e. YouTube).  When I come across this situation, I turn to a very helpful Firefox add-on called "Video Downloadhelper." This little utility adds the ability to download to your hard drive most videos on webpages.

The add-on automatically detects when a video is present, and the three colored spheres in the logo begin to rotate. Just click on the animated spheres and you will see the name of the video file playing. Click on the file name, and the video will immediately begin downloading. On sites like YouTube, you will even be presented with different file types and video qualities for the same clip. You can then put the video file on a flash drive and use it as part of your lesson.

Video Downloadhelper


Video clips can often serve as great introductions to units, concepts, or literary themes. Unfortunately, it is difficult to locate quality clips that meet the needs of the lesson you might be teaching on a given day. That is where Wingclips comes in.

This website has a large collection of clips from popular movies, past and present, arranged by theme. When you visit the website, one of the first things you will see is a slider on the left-hand side of the webpage. Simply drag the slider up and down to locate the theme you need. Once you click on the theme, you will be taken to a list of clips that fit that topic. Each clip is playable and can be viewed full screen. Downloads of clips can be purchased on the site. But for most classroom needs, simply playing the clip in order to stimulate discussion about a topic is probably enough.

So the next time you are looking for a video clip to help your students engage in a topic, give Wingclips a try.

Sunday, August 19, 2012

Creating Classroom Posters

Last year one of my students wore a t-shirt with a thoughtful quote: "Hard work beats talent, when talent doesn't work hard." I immediately wanted to put the quote up in my classroom so that students would read it and be challenged by its message. I thought of making a poster, but realized that our poster making machine no longer worked. But then I remembered the website This great web tool easily creates a poster from any image a user uploads. The poster is "blocked," that is the image is pixelated when viewed up close, but looks excellent when viewed from a distance. A quick search on Google images provided a large number of pictures with the quote. I downloaded an image and immediately got to work creating my poster. walks you through three easy steps to create your poster. First, you upload the image from your hard drive. Next, you choose how many pages wide you want the poster to be and what size of paper you will use. Finally, you download a PDF containing your image. I would recommend checking the PDF file to make sure your poster was created correctly and then find a color printer to actually print out the file. It takes some time and patience to assemble the sheets of paper, but when you are finished you have a pretty good poster for your classroom.

Below I have included a link to the poster that I created using the quote mentioned in this post.

Hard Work Beats Talent Poster