Tag Archives: app

Using the Third and Long Documentary and App for Black History Month

Third and Long documentary app

The Third and Long student app

Baseball may be considered the national pastime, but given the revelry that occurs every year leading up the Super Bowl, it seems that Americans love football just as much. Yet, the story behind the integration of professional football has received less attention in our classrooms. Today, African American players account for more than 60% of the NFL, and the 2013 season featured a record number of Black quarterbacks. But such recognition did not come easily. Most students (and Americans in general) know that Jackie Robinson integrated Major League Baseball in 1947. But many of those same people don’t know that Kenny Washington and Woody Strode integrated professional football the year before. These fine athletes faced many of the same struggles as did the first African American baseball players, so their stories also deserve to be a part of Black History month curricula.

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Green Light Learning Tools has partnered with T-Time Productions to create an interactive student workbook for their outstanding documentary, Third and Long: The History of African-Americans in Pro Football. The documentary includes interviews with football legends, such as Jim Brown, Willie Lanier, and Deacon Jones, plus contemporary greats, including Ray Lewis, Ozzie Newsome, and Tony Dungy.

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The workbook breaks the documentary into five parts, each of which can easily fit into one class period. Each part of the workbook contains additional images and information to provide context for the film. Features include historical gems ranging from excerpts of  presidential speeches to iconic images from the civil rights movement. The workbook also includes timelines and vocabulary activities to get students involved in the action.

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The student app is now available for free on the App Store. An iBook version of the film is available on the iBookstore for $3.99. (Android versions are currently in progress.) For teachers without tablets, a PDF version of the workbook will soon be available for free download at thirdandlong.tv.

How to use the app in your classroom

  • Have students watch each part of Third and Long and then read and complete the workbook at home.
  • After watching the film, have students break into small groups to complete the workbook.
  • Have students complete the workbook as homework to prepare for watching the film.
  • Use the film and workbook as a starting point to discuss the civil rights movement and the role of sports in American society.

For more information on obtaining a copy of the Third and Long documentary, contact T-Time productions.

3 Must-Haves for Interactive Ebooks

by Luz Chavez

Interactive ebooks on iPad

Image courtesy of adamr / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Trying to practice fluency in a bustling hallway with kids whose ages have yet to reach double digits takes skill. And an iPad. The iPad mini is my hook, a way to keep the kids engaged and give them something to look forward to in our next session.

Choosing the iPad was easy. The kids were already intrigued with my iPhone and Macbook, two tools I used to time their read-alouds and calculate and track their CWPM. What wasn’t easy was finding the right apps worth gobbling a slice of my 16 gigs. As a fluency tutor in a dual language school, I need a variety of ebooks in Spanish and English (preferably both) for second and third graders. The App store has hundreds of them. So to guide me through the haystack, I needed to come up with some strict criteria:

3 Must-Haves for Any Interactive Ebook

1. Storytelling trumps interactivity.

If you wouldn’t read the story in print form, don’t waste time downloading the app. Students need to be engaged because they are reading a compelling story, not poking their way through a shnazzy app.

2. Interactivity has a purpose.

Interactivity either moves the story forward or plays a subtle role in piquing readers’ curiosity without distracting them. That’s a fine line to walk. Think of a good interactive reading app as a digital pop-up book. Creative pop-ups blend in with the story and enhance readers’ comprehension of the story.

3. Students can choose to read aloud or listen to the story.

Having this choice allows you to use the app with a wider range of readers. For example, while more fluent readers can jump in and answer comprehension questions, less fluent readers can hear the story several times before attempting to read it on their own. Watch out for apps that use automated voices; choppy robotic voices are exactly what we don’t want kids to model! Also, find apps with built-in read alouds that highlight the words as they’re read aloud. Having the option to record is a feature kids love!


My Favorite Interactive Ebooks

The pickier you are about sticking to these criteria, the more delighted you’ll be when you find some real gems. Check out a few of mine:

1. Who Stole the Moon? This award-winning app includes 17 languages, a must-have for any teacher with a diverse EL population. The engaging story, vibrant illustrations, and subtle intuitive interactivity make this ebook my all-time fave.

2. The Adventures of Peter Pan This ebook includes 7 languages and has a built-in movie that can be turned on and off, words that are highlighted as they’re read aloud, pop-up images that illustrate vocabulary and characters, and even a font tool that lets you select the font most comfortable for the reader. The developer Chocolapps has a variety of books in a similar format available in multiple languages.

3. The Dog and His Reflection This is another award-winning app based on a popular Aesop fable and includes interactivity that enhances the story. It’s only available in English, but this lovely app is still high on my list. Anything by developer Mindshapes is a winner.

Check out these ebooks and let me know what you think! Share some of your faves as well!

Luz Chavez is a consultant for Green Light Professional Development.