TeachersFirst Edge - Digital storytelling

 

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Popcorn Maker - Mozilla

Grades
4 to 12
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Remember the PopUp video (of VH1 fame?) This tool will "mashup" content to any video. Enter the embed code of a YouTube video to use or search for a video ...more
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Remember the PopUp video (of VH1 fame?) This tool will "mashup" content to any video. Enter the embed code of a YouTube video to use or search for a video directly within Popcorn Maker. Drag and drop the video into the screen. Add layers of any live content to the video. Add photos, maps, links, social media feeds such as Twitter, Wikipedia pages, and more. Use this tool to remix the "remixes" of others! Unfortunately, you cannot mix two videos, and videos must come from YouTube. Due to the range of content types, endless combinations are available for remixing. Access Help from the small multi-line rectangle icon next to the log in space for great directions and ideas. If your school blocks YouTube, you could create a remix at home, but this tool will not work in the classroom without YouTube.

tag(s): digital storytelling (144), images (266), video (254)

In the Classroom

Depending on the age you teach and your school policies, you may want to use a class account with a teacher-controlled email address to create with Popcorn Maker. Use a video from a presidential debate and add layers that fact check the statements made or view the media consensus at the time. Use this tool to create a video of a science experiment while creating pop ups of relevant information. Create a remix of a popular play or story that includes pop ups of information about the characters. Include their motivations or give the reactions of the readers with each story. Do you have a snippet of a discoverer? Add layers that show map routes, legends, unintended consequences on local peoples, etc. Use videos of sports teams to overlay stats, congratulation tweets, and more. Use world language videos with overlays of translations, dictionary references, and help in understanding. Analyze commercials (for example, foods targeted at children) with facts about the food and relation to diet and health. Create elevator pitches and upload to YouTube. Invite classmates to overlay the pitches with comments and suggestions. Use student created or existing YouTube videos that help to explain math and science concepts. Further enhance their helpful potential with overlays that elevate the learning. Pose a problem in the form of a YouTube video and invite students to remix the video to include possible solutions. Students can create presentations using this tool and show their reactions to current events or other world problem. Allow other students to remix and comment upon the presentation and add their own thoughts. Share the remixes on your interactive whiteboard or projector. If permitted, share the links to students' remixes on your class website or wiki. Teachers of gifted will love the creative (and critical) challenges this tool offers.

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MapStory - MapStory Foundation

Grades
6 to 12
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This tool is an interesting way to visualize geographic information by telling it in a story format. You organize knowledge in MapStory by becoming storytellers who create, share, and...more
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This tool is an interesting way to visualize geographic information by telling it in a story format. You organize knowledge in MapStory by becoming storytellers who create, share, and collaborate. You can help to improve understanding of worldwide issues over the course of history. MapStory is much like Wikipedia. It is a global database to tell stories over time using maps. View fascinating maps such as trends in US poverty, the spreading of diseases such as the Swine Flu, and the increasing use of the US Postal Service. View many topics from endangered species to economic development -- anything you can place on a map! By clicking on the "play" button, you can see the change over time through an unfolding story. Hover over the tabs along the top of the toolbar to select a category of stories. Be sure to also notice as maps scroll across the top of the screen. Click on maps of interest and view tools for saving in favorites or embedding in a site. Search the site for StoryLayers. The StoryLayers are data that have been uploaded to the site to apply in maps. Be sure to check out the YouTube videos which explain how to use this fascinating site. If your district blocks YouTube, then they may not be viewable. You could always view the videos at home and bring them to class "on a stick" to share with your class, if needed. Use a tool such as KeepVid reviewed here to download the videos from YouTube.

tag(s): interactive stories (32), maps (287), stories and storytelling (33)

In the Classroom

Find great MapStory maps to introduce a concept or explain a portion of the concept that may be difficult to introduce in class. Use one to show initially, eliciting thoughts and questions from students. Because it is an open database, maps could contain errors. Have students be on the lookout for any possible errors. Students can fact check, research, and rewrite information as needed. Consider creating an assignment that shows a change in information over time. This project would be applicable to any subject area. Consider creating a class account to maintain the MapStories created by your students. Imagine new information being added every year with new updates to the map! World language (or world cultures) classes could collaborate to create a map story about a specific culture.

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Alice - Carnegie Mellon University

Grades
6 to 12
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Alice will have your students in wonderland as they use this innovative 3D programming environment targeted to middle and high school students. Be the director of a movie or the ...more
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Alice will have your students in wonderland as they use this innovative 3D programming environment targeted to middle and high school students. Be the director of a movie or the creator of a video game. 3D objects appear in an on-screen virtual world imagined by the creator and move around according to the directions you give by dragging and dropping tiles. The drag and drop technique provides a more engaging programming experience for first time programmers. Alice provides exposure to object-oriented programming. Alice has practical value for students to learn how computers think. The instructions correspond to standard statements in a production oriented programming language, such as Java, C++, and C#. While using Alice, programmers are able to immediately see how their animation program runs and the behavior of the objects in their animation. Manipulate camera angles and lighting to make further enhancements. Alice is a revolutionary method to teach programming, especially to first-time learners. It allows students to understand programming concepts, a 21st century skill.

tag(s): animation (63), digital storytelling (144), video (254)

In the Classroom

Be sure to check with your Technology Department, as many districts require authorization to download or install new applications. Plan ahead as you request that this application be installed on your classroom or laptop cart computers. Alice provides an opportunity for students to create and learn how to problem solve. Subscribe to the teacher list to receive updates and integration ideas for Alice. The purpose of this list is to provide an easy way to ask questions and collaborate with the Alice teaching community. View and use activities to increase programming knowledge and the use of the Alice program.

Students quickly catch on to Alice when allowed to play and easily see what they can make from it. Provide a simple assignment with defined rules/tasks to learn the tools as well as the drag and drop interface. Have students use a storyboard to organize their creation in order to keep tabs on students and their creations. Build games to review curricular material for assessments. Have students create videos or digital stories to bring a subject to life. Teachers of gifted can turn their students loose to create animations about individual interests or research projects.

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FanFiction - FanFiction/FictionPress

Grades
6 to 12
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Disappointed that your favorite book or TV series has ended? Satisfy your craving on FanFiction. Discover FanFiction stories written by up-and-coming writers based on your favorite...more
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Disappointed that your favorite book or TV series has ended? Satisfy your craving on FanFiction. Discover FanFiction stories written by up-and-coming writers based on your favorite comic, cartoon, movie, book, television show, or other genre. Read and vote for your favorites or even write your own. Whether you are a fan of fiction or like to dabble with writing, take a look at FanFiction. Fanfiction authors write new stories about characters from their favorite books (movies, TV series, etc.). Read to your heart's content and leave a comment without even signing in. To create and submit your own writing you need to sign up with an email. Click on the genre of your choice to get started! This site can be accessed in a variety of languages. Click the small "mobile forum" icon at the top to use on mobile iOs or Android devices.
This site includes advertising.

tag(s): creative writing (166), novels (24), short stories (25), writing (359)

In the Classroom

It is amazing how students will polish their writing for an authentic audience! Demonstrate how to use FanFiction with your projector or interactive whiteboard. Show students the different genres and have them read a selection or two from an amateur writer to see how it works. Have student pairs or trios work together on a piece for a favorite book. There is also a miscellaneous category you could use to have students add a different ending or write from a different point of view based on any short story you use in class. They can also submit in the poetry category. Use 121 Writing reviewed here to proof student writing and make suggestions (verbally if your choose to) before they submit to FanFiction. For students to develop and polish their writing skills, use a program such as Slick Write reviewed here. Create a FanFiction account with a class email and have students work on their piece using a nickname or acronym. Since FanFiction can be accessed in several languages, this program would work well in an ESL/ELL classroom.

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Tour Builder (Beta) - Google

Grades
5 to 12
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Put any story on the map using Tour Builder (by Google). A Gallery shares examples. You would be wise to preview the Gallery before sharing since these are created by ...more
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Put any story on the map using Tour Builder (by Google). A Gallery shares examples. You would be wise to preview the Gallery before sharing since these are created by the general public. To create a tour, choose locations, add text, images, and videos to create a story to share with the world. Add up to 25 items to each pinned location. Options include three different types of storylines. You can decide how others view your story/tour and how your story will progress. Linear tales move the story along a line. The hub option tells the story from a central location. You can disable lines completely so stories are not tied to a specific sequence or timeline. Finished stories default to private view. You may share privately with friends and family or make public for anyone to view. The Google Earth plugin and a Google account are required to use Tour Builder. Some of the introduction/explanation videos are hosted on YouTube. If your district blocks YouTube, then they may not be viewable. You could always view the videos at home and bring them to class "on a stick" to share. Use a tool such as KeepVid reviewed here to download the videos from YouTube.

tag(s): digital storytelling (144), maps (287), timelines (62)

In the Classroom

Create a simple tour to share (or find one in the gallery). Share the tour on your interactive whiteboard or projector. Create tours of events from history, famous battles, scientific discoveries, biographies, and much more. The possibilities are endless. Create a timeline of famous people or a hub of locations related to a topic such as toxic waste sites or habitats for a certain animal. Tour settings for Shakespeare plays or an author's life. Tour Van Gogh's painting sites or map landforms such as glaciers. Have students who have Google accounts build a Tour of important events in their lives (or use a teacher-controlled account). In world language classes, create cultural tours in your new language. Scroll through the gallery for ideas on how others have used Tour Builder. You may just find some neat tours to share in the gallery.

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Twitter Magnets - twittermagnets.com

Grades
3 to 12
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Have fun creating sentences or short messages (like tweets) using drag and drop words at Twitter Magnets! Twitter Magnets calls them poems, though the length limit is a real challenge...more
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Have fun creating sentences or short messages (like tweets) using drag and drop words at Twitter Magnets! Twitter Magnets calls them poems, though the length limit is a real challenge for poets! Choose from the words offered. Drag and drop the magnets into the message area at the bottom -- up to 120 characters. The tool keeps a character count for you. Need different words? Click the swap words link for new choices. Click submit to view your message/poem and decide whether to submit to Twitter Magnet's Twitter feed or not. You can also link to send from your own Twitter account. Note that clicking to see the Twitter Magnets feed will show you "messages" and poems created by the general public. Steer clear or preview to be sure these are appropriate in your setting.

tag(s): creative fluency (8), microblogging (44), poetry (228), twitter (50), writing prompts (92)

In the Classroom

Create a message or "poem" of the day as a class to send from your class Twitter account. Use as a center activity or have student groups create their own messages about what you have learned today in any subject area class. Have ELL students create simple messages to reinforce language skills. If you don't have a Twitter account, just have students create offline messages. Take a quick screen shot, then write, illustrate, and share on your classroom bulletin board! Generate creative messages as a class to use as writing prompts. Have students tell the story (or nonfiction news account) about what caused the message. Looking for more ways to use Twitter in the classroom? Read more about Twitter at TeachersFirst's Twitter for Teachers page. You can also use this site as a tool to teach about digital citizenship and the etiquette of tweets.

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Medium - Ev Williams

Grades
10 to 12
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Medium is a site for sharing personal writing and stories. The focus is on the actual writing, rather than the extras like images, widgets, and other website clutter. You can ...more
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Medium is a site for sharing personal writing and stories. The focus is on the actual writing, rather than the extras like images, widgets, and other website clutter. You can use images to illustrate your point; however, the focus remains on the words. Upload your writing, and then link with other similar ideas to become more collaborative. One unique feature is the "get help before you publish" button. This allows others to engage and offer suggestions before publishing your work. If using the site for reading, options include following writers and finding articles with similar content through the use of tags. At the time of this review, a Twitter account is required to sign up for a Medium account. This tool is intended as a community for sharing among serious authors, not as a "school tool," so adult supervision is recommended. Not all topics are appropriate for the classroom. So be sure to PREVIEW.

tag(s): creative writing (166), independent reading (128), persuasive writing (55), writers workshop (31)

In the Classroom

Medium is similar to an ever changing and updating magazine. Talk about the etiquette of interacting as authentic writers, not "just a student." Use Medium to find and share interesting pieces of writing with students for independent reading or class discussions. Each article shows a suggested reading time, making it easy to choose a length that is appropriate for your needs. Have students create and share their writing using Medium as a resource for finding a broader reading audience. Have students locate and read articles of interest on Medium and write and post a response of their own. Common Core requires teens (grades 10-12) to write, respond, and revise based on input from a digital audience, and Medium could be an ideal tool for such interaction. If you are new to Twitter or looking for more ways to use Twitter in the classroom? Read more about Twitter at TeachersFirst's Twitter for Teachers page.

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Cube Creator - Read Write Think

Grades
2 to 12
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The Cube Creator offers four different options for creating and personalizing a printable cube for summarizing or story-telling: Bio Cube, Mystery Cube, Story Cube, or Create your Own...more
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The Cube Creator offers four different options for creating and personalizing a printable cube for summarizing or story-telling: Bio Cube, Mystery Cube, Story Cube, or Create your Own Cube. Follow prompts to create the cube. The planning sheets help you collect information before making the actual printable cube. Once you have entered all your information, print and follow directions to assemble the paper cube. Follow links to find lessons that use this interactive as well as suggestions for other uses. There are lessons for grades 3-4 up through grades 11-12. Note: Read Write Think has added the capability for students to save their work to continue later. In the last paragraph of the Overview, there is a link to watch the video: Saving Work With the Student Interactives.

tag(s): biographies (87), mysteries (25), printables (38), summarizing (13), word study (80)

In the Classroom

Use the Cube Creator for virtually any lesson or activity. Try printing on heavier card stock so cubes are durable. Create a cube to practice math problems, describe habitats, outline important story events, and much more. Have students create a cube and share with other students to practice retelling, summarizing, adding synonyms, or review for tests. Have each of your students create an All About Me cube for parents to view at Open House or to get to know each other during the first week of school. Have others guess which cube belongs to which classmate. Create a cube review game where others must answer the question that comes up when you "roll" the cube. The possibilities are endless. Challenge your gifted student(s) to create a "Who Am I?" cube about a famous person they research. Use the Bio Cube option with one variation: DO NOT include the person's real name. Share the cube as a game for the rest of the class to guess (and then create their own similar cubes). Your gifted students may also come up with new ways to Create Your Own Cube that could become a class game! Invite them to try their creativity.
 
  This resource requires Adobe Flash and PDF reader software like Adobe Acrobat.

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Culture Street - culturestreet.org

Grades
K to 5
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Culture Street introduces young people to contemporary writers, artists, and film makers and offers the opportunity to create unique work with the site tools. Choose from the many activities...more
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Culture Street introduces young people to contemporary writers, artists, and film makers and offers the opportunity to create unique work with the site tools. Choose from the many activities such as Paint Studio, Picture Book Maker, Super Action Comic Maker, and many others. Explore each of the four channels for an in-depth look at art, film, stage, and books. Scroll through the latest information to read about different artists and organizations. You must register to ACCESS this site. This website is funded in the United Kingdom. However, users outside of the UK are welcome to use all parts of the site once registered. .

tag(s): comics and cartoons (74), creative writing (166), digital storytelling (144), preK (281)

In the Classroom

Create and share picture books using the Picture Book Maker Tool and the Super Action Comic Maker. Once students have created books, print to use at reading centers or create links on classroom computers for reading online. With younger students, have them create pages and then add their weekly spelling words scattered on the pages. This will give them practice both writing (typing) and reading their spelling words! Create short stories about a story's main character, setting, conflict, etc. instead of book reports. Images are limited, but text of any kind can be added.

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Buncee - Marie Arturi

Grades
K to 12
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Buncee is a digital canvas for adding multimedia to tell and share stories. Give your canvas a title. Choose from tools to add interest such as photos, videos, audio, ...more
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Buncee is a digital canvas for adding multimedia to tell and share stories. Give your canvas a title. Choose from tools to add interest such as photos, videos, audio, stickers, and backgrounds. The free accounts allow for unlimited slides. Adjust privacy settings for private or public viewing and allowing comments. Publish and share using social networking options such as Facebook, Twitter, or email. Unfortunately, the teacher tools are not part of the free version. Use Buncee on the web on your computer or use iOS. The introduction video is hosted on YouTube. You may want to preview the "how to" video at home. If you wish to share it at school, bring the video to class "on a stick" to share. Use a tool such as KeepVid, reviewed here, to download the video from YouTube.
This site includes advertising.

tag(s): digital storytelling (144), multimedia (56), slides (63)

In the Classroom

Create simple, yet effective, interactive lessons for viewing on your interactive whiteboard or projecter. Include video clips, images (JPGs only), and web links. Use Buncees in your flipped classroom for student viewing at home. Have students create and share their own Buncees for classroom presentations. Create an interactive Buncee for Open House and Meet the Parent sessions. Create a short story or a flip book (using Buncee) for your students to view on individual computers or your interactive whiteboard.

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Quadblogging - David Mitchell

Grades
2 to 12
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Give your student writers an audience... possibly an international one! Sign up for Quadblogging and be guaranteed that your students will have at least three other classrooms...more
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Give your student writers an audience... possibly an international one! Sign up for Quadblogging and be guaranteed that your students will have at least three other classrooms to read and respond to their blogs. We all know that having an audience for our writing makes us better writers. The creator of this program has hard evidence of that. His students (in the UK) were scoring at 9% on the British writing achievement test before Quadblogging. After a school year of using Quadblogging, his students increased their scores to 60%. In subsequent years, these students continued to have their scores grow by two grade levels per school year. There are two short videos on the home page. One video explains the concept of Quadblogging, and the other is the creator speaking at BETT, the world's largest ed tech conference. You will also find the form to fill out to have your class join others in Quadblogging.

tag(s): blogs (88), cross cultural understanding (115), writing (359)

In the Classroom

If you never blogged before, you might want to check out TeachersFirst Blog Basics for the Classroom. Have your students choose a question from Thought Questions reviewed here. Have students respond to the question, and then have them ask the reader to respond to their writing and answer the question from their point of view, too. The benefits go beyond just writing. You can also build cultural understanding and world language skills through blogs. Help your students become aware of environmental issues or how to live "green" for our planet. Try Greenlearning.ca, reviewed here, or choose something from the Environmental News Network, reviewed here, for students' Quadblog projects.

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Throwww - throwww.com

Grades
2 to 12
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Throwww is a quick and easy one-time blog creator with NO REGISTRATION NEEDED! Click to create a title then start writing in the body. Use tools to add images or ...more
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Throwww is a quick and easy one-time blog creator with NO REGISTRATION NEEDED! Click to create a title then start writing in the body. Use tools to add images or videos using url links, format text, or add code. When complete, post anonymously or via Twitter to receive the unique url for your post. Share via Facebook, Twitter, or copy the link for sharing in email or other methods. Other features include comments, responses, and statistics on your completed page. Note: The "Discover" area of the site leads to public content. Adults will want to preview or steer students clear of this area.

tag(s): blogs (88)

In the Classroom

Use this tool as an easy to use blogging tool for the classroom and every subject area. Use in language arts classes to strengthen students' writing ability and 21st century skills. Teach about proper commenting etiquette on simple first blog posts. Use for student-written book reviews for the school library. (Why not add a QR code on the book's cover to lead to the review?). Use as a tool for class or parent communication. Engage students in discussions on current events, independent reading, literature, and more. Ask students to play the role of a historical figure and write about their viewpoints or experiences. Use the site as a forum for any simulated or real task. Invite parents to join to give their points of view on upcoming elections or public policy issues by commenting on student posts. Share a blog in even the youngest of classes, for parents to use to learn about a specific unit of study, field trips, and more. Use this site in world language classes to have students write a blog entry in the new language. Include the principal or superintendent in class discussions of students' rights as you study the Constitution. Create incredible discussions of environmental, political, or economic issues. Create a standing assignment for elementary and middle schoolers on snow days. Have students write a post about the snow using Throwww and share the url on a class wiki. Post the various links on the class web page so students can comment on each other's posts after they come in from sledding.

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Active Textbook - Evident Point

Grades
K to 12
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Create your own interactive version of any PDF document or text using Active Textbook. Don't let the term "textbook" fool you. This tool can work with fiction and non-fiction or ...more
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Create your own interactive version of any PDF document or text using Active Textbook. Don't let the term "textbook" fool you. This tool can work with fiction and non-fiction or ANY combination. Add an existing document to begin. Use the site's tools to enhance with multimedia, links, notes, bookmarks, and more. Use social networking tools to exchange ideas and questions with other readers. Customizing features allow for private viewing, tags, inclusion into courses, and enabling or disabling comments. Save up to 500 pages or 50MB using the free version of the site.
This site includes advertising.

tag(s): digital storytelling (144), ebooks (42)

In the Classroom

Upload any PDF document to create an interactive book for class use. Create one together as a class as you move through a unit or topic, adding images and ideas you students suggest, creating a class "book." Use in a flipped classroom to deliver course information. Have students convert any document to PDF format using PDF Converter reviewed here. Assign several student groups the same pdf and have each group create their own multimedia versions as they learn more about the topic. Make a digital bookshelf of all the versions and invite the class to vote for the best. Challenge your gifted students to enhance the "standard" class text with additional material they discover by going deeper and learning about related topics. In lower grades, create teacher-made ebooks for your young readers, perhaps adding audio of your own voice reading the text.

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Classtools Twister: Create Fake Tweets - Classtools

Grades
8 to 12
7 Favorites 0  Comments
 
Create a fake tweet and Twitter wall quickly and easily by entering minimal information. Enter a (fake) user name, full name of the person you are impersonating, your tweet, and ...more
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Create a fake tweet and Twitter wall quickly and easily by entering minimal information. Enter a (fake) user name, full name of the person you are impersonating, your tweet, and a date to show on the tweet. Your tweet will appear on a wall with an image of that person ready to share through links provided at the bottom of the page. Twister also includes several ideas for consideration when creating an update such as possible hashtags and most important moments to include. Share via social networks or simply COPY the url of your finished Twister page to share it. There is also an option to save as pdf for easy printing.

tag(s): creative writing (166), social networking (112)

In the Classroom

Share examples found at this site on your interactive whiteboard (or projector) to demonstrate possible uses. This site is wonderful for creating interest in many subjects. It is perfect for the social studies classroom as a quick end of class review or homework assignment to summarize each day's lesson. Write about presidents, founding fathers, famous scientists or artists, a Civil War soldier, and much more. Use Twister to study literature, create an update for the central character, book's author, or the setting of the book or play. For a unique twist in science class, create a Twister update for a periodic element or another science topic. Use the update to describe "the life" of that atom or element. The possibilities within the classroom are endless (as is the creativity and motivation)! In World language classes, have students do this activity (about themselves) in the new language they are learning. Create a Twister update for the first day of school to introduce yourself to students or at Open House for parents. In the media center, have students create twister pages for authors or about favorite books. Challenge students to create and share an update about themselves during the first week of school.

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News Action - News Action

Grades
4 to 12
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NewsAction shares student-created news stories from around the world. Scroll down the page to view recent stories or browse to recent or popular stories and videos. Have your own story...more
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NewsAction shares student-created news stories from around the world. Scroll down the page to view recent stories or browse to recent or popular stories and videos. Have your own story to add? Sign up (requires email), choose your region, and scroll down to find your dashboard. Create posts and polls and upload images or video using the Word Press software. Since this is student-created, you may want to preview before you share with your class.

tag(s): blogs (88), digital storytelling (144), journalism (46), news (261)

In the Classroom

View articles posted on the site together on your interactive whiteboard or projector to use as discussion starters or to view examples of student writing. These are student written informational texts perfect for close reading or for instruction about writing skills. Have students create their own articles to share on your class website. Have students create blogs using Throwww (reviewed here). This site allows you to create "quick and easy" blogs to be used one time only. There is no registration necessary! Create a class account on NewsAction to post stories, videos, and images from your classroom. If your school policies permit, you may want students over 13 to each create their own accounts.

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Metta - Dragontape Ltd

Grades
5 to 12
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Metta is a multimedia presentation tool that allows you to combine videos, pictures, and text to create short movies. Create an account using your email address or Facebook to begin....more
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Metta is a multimedia presentation tool that allows you to combine videos, pictures, and text to create short movies. Create an account using your email address or Facebook to begin. Start with a title, choose to build a story from scratch or an RSS feed, and click create. Follow prompts to drag images from your computer or insert video URLs. Add new chapters (slides) and reorder as desired. Trim video clips using the tools provided with the editor. Add text or record audio using your computer's microphone in any chapter. Save and publish when finished. Share using the URL provided or embed code.

tag(s): images (266), multimedia (56), video (254)

In the Classroom

Use to create educational videos and projects to introduce and interest students in a topic. Use to generate questions prior to the discussion of topics. Create a multi-image slideshow where students brainstorm how the images are all connected. Have students create projects for class using Metta. Be sure to include this tool on your blog, wiki, or public page for easy student access. You may want to consider allowing your older students to create their own accounts, depending on school policies. Read tips for safely managing email registrations here. Upload pictures and videos once a month to share through your classroom website or blog, or allow a group of students to create each month's review. Create a project site for students to upload images and videos found when studying any subject. Upload images with squares, triangles, rectangles, etc. when learning about shapes. Upload pictures of plants for a science unit, etc. Have students upload family pictures when learning about families. World language students can create digital photo stories to narrate using new vocabulary. Present teacher professional development or an end of year display for the school media center. Have other staff members upload images and videos from the year of school activities.

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Current - Your Private, Daily Diary - current.im

Grades
7 to 12
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Current is a completely private online diary using just 140 characters (a la Twitter). Login with a user name, password (email address needed), and begin typing. Current keeps a daily...more
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Current is a completely private online diary using just 140 characters (a la Twitter). Login with a user name, password (email address needed), and begin typing. Current keeps a daily record of writing along with a time stamp, making it a simple and private tool for short journal writing.

tag(s): creative writing (166), journals (21)

In the Classroom

Share this site with students to create their own private diary or journal. Because it is only 140 characters, Current may be a good option for students to use for prewriting and brainstorming before beginning writing projects. Create your own account and use Current as a tool for reflecting on lessons and classroom activities each day. If you have individual laptops for students, or are in a byod school, why not begin class with a Current entry each day. Have students keep a simple, year-long journal of the highlights of their learning. Use Current as lesson "closure" using today's 140 character format.

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750 Words - Buster Benson

Grades
4 to 12
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750 Words is a private place to write your thoughts, clear your head, scrawl a rant, or brainstorm ideas. You might ask yourself, why not just blog? Blogs have a ...more
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750 Words is a private place to write your thoughts, clear your head, scrawl a rant, or brainstorm ideas. You might ask yourself, why not just blog? Blogs have a "keep private" button, and if you forget to click it who knows who will be reading your most private thoughts. This program is based on the idea that getting your thoughts on (digital) paper every morning can clear your head, focus your ideas, and organize and energize you for the rest of the day. Inspired by the book The Artist's Way, and its hand-written "Morning Pages" exercise, the creator of this program converted that exercise to our 21st century tools. If you care about such things, there is also a point system where one can compare constancy of writing and words written with others.

tag(s): brainstorming (23), gamification (65), journals (21), process writing (42), writers workshop (31)

In the Classroom

To write daily is a good idea for students. It helps them clarify their thoughts and questions, and get in touch with their feelings. 750 Words would be perfect for any writing program or with gifted students who often feel very strongly about fairness and/or world issues well beyond their years. Students can get their thoughts and ideas written down without having to worry about a grade or someone chancing upon their writings in a school notebook. Here's an idea for any grade level. Have your students do free writes (stream of conscientiousness writing) starting with 5 minutes or more a day. Ask students to count their words daily when time is up, always trying to increase the word count. After a couple of weeks have them use 750 Words and complete the stream of writing on a computer or mobile device. (This shouldn't slow many of them down since most are quick at texting!). After the first day, and again after the second week, using 750 Words have a class discussion about which format they like better and why. Use a backchannel program like Meetings.io reviewed here, or Today's Meet, reviewed here, for the class discussion. Using one of these programs ensures that even your shy students have a chance to say what they think about 750 Words. Challenge your students to complete the 750 words at home. They can earn points, and you know how competition can inspire some of them! Resource students and ESL/ELL students could increase their writing skills and fluency by keeping an online, private journal daily with 750 Words. Emotional support, autistic support, or alternative ed students may find this private space to work out feelings very therapeutic.

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Quest - Alex Warren

Grades
5 to 12
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Create text-based adventure games and interactive fiction using Quest! No programming language required. You can also play games already designed by others. Choose the "play" option...more
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Create text-based adventure games and interactive fiction using Quest! No programming language required. You can also play games already designed by others. Choose the "play" option from the top of the web page to view and play games such as The Mansion or Shipwrecked. Play games online or download to your Windows computer. Design your own games online using your web browser or download software to your Windows PC to work offline. Create an account in Quest to begin creating activities. View the video tutorial for an overview of the activities and creation processes. Create rooms and objects or tasks for each room. Create more complex games by following complete instructions found in the web browser version of the game system creator. Add sound files and even videos to games in addition to tasks. An option allows players to choose their own endings to games. There is a documentation wiki and a forum to get help. This site may require some tinkering around to figure it out! But it is well worth the time. Note: since games available for Play are created by the general public, you will want to preview for appropriateness.

tag(s): interactive stories (32), process writing (42)

In the Classroom

Challenge students to create games when studying process writing of essays. Instead of writing a dry essay, create an object of entertainment with an interactive story. Use steps of the game to provide supporting evidence for the essay. Create simple text games to show the typical patterns of stories. Have a contest to see which group of students in your class can imagine the best game scenario. In science class, have student groups create games that follow the life of a plant or animal where players collect all the needed nutrients or conditions the plant/animal needs to survive. In civics/government class, have students create a game around getting elected, passing a bill, or ending Washington gridlock! Don't have time to have your students actually CREATE a game? Create your own "review" game for your students to use to prepare for the big test. This would be ideal if it is a unit that you teach yearly; you can reuse your game! Share some of the ready-made games on your interactive whiteboard or projector. Share this link with parents on your class website. Students may enjoy the challenge of creating a game during summer break.

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Themeefy - themeefy.com

Grades
4 to 12
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Create and publish your own e-magazine of web content using Themeefy! Curate information from around the web or create your own content. Click Browse to see examples. Choose "start...more
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Create and publish your own e-magazine of web content using Themeefy! Curate information from around the web or create your own content. Click Browse to see examples. Choose "start creating" to begin. Add a title and a brief introduction to your magazine. Choose to import information from Google searches, Flickr images, YouTube, Facebook, or Twitter. Add your own content as desired. Explore results using the Read More icon or use the arrow to include in your magazine. Use the Change Content Order option to drag and drop information into the desired order. Edit articles imported to weed out any extra text or images not wanted for your magazine. Add your own text or questions. Publish your magazine when finished, but you must be logged in to publish. You can password protect magazines to limit access. Share using the url provided or links to social networks such as Twitter and Facebook. Not ready for publishing? Browse ready-made magazines around your interests. There is a LONG demo video at the Tools menu. A classroom version with additional teacher controls (currently free) is in beta testing. Click at the Classroom Beta to sign up and learn more. A bookmarklet to add to your browser makes it easy to "collect" things from around the web to use in a Themeefy magazine.

tag(s): digital storytelling (144), portfolios (28)

In the Classroom

Use Themeefy to create student-navigated lessons or review materials for any topic. Have students work together in groups to create their own e-magazine instead of a traditional book report or research project. Challenge students to use an e-magazine to explain the life cycle of various plants and animals. Create stories about famous events or people from the past. Demonstrate a new math concept. Write a magazine about all of the main characters from a book recently read or for an author study. Create a class study guide for students to access to (via the Internet) before the big science test! Make a "Meet the Class" book to share with families on your class website. You can password protect it to avoid safety issues. Publish students' photos (drawings) and stories about themselves. (Of course you would want parental permission and possibly a password before posting student work on the Internet.) Even the youngest of students can draw a picture to be shared in a whole-class e-magazine! To find Creative Commons images for student projects (with credit, of course), try PhotoPin, reviewed here. As the classroom beta features evolve, this may be a tool you want to use more. Students who have created many projects across the web could collect them into an annotated "me-portfolio" using this tool. They could even share them as part of job or college applications.

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