TeachersFirst Edge - Digital Storytelling

 

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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 (119), novels (31), short stories (18), writing (317)

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.

tag(s): digital storytelling (144), maps (207), timelines (51)

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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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 (119), 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. Are you 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): back to school (63), biographies (95), firstday (22), mysteries (20), printables (37), summarizing (22), word study (58)

In the Classroom

Use the Cube Creator for virtually any lesson or activity as a substitute for a paper and pen project. 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.
 
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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 Impressionist Painting, 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 (54), crafts (54), creative writing (119), digital storytelling (144), painting (55), preK (258), sculpture (21)

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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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 (66), communication (134), cross cultural understanding (155), writing (317)

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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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 (39)

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 your 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. Extend student learning by assigning several student groups the same PDF and have each group create their own multimedia versions as they learn more about the topic. Some tool suggestions are (click on the tool name to access the review): Genial.ly, Animatron, Vibby, and Glorify. 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
6 to 12
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Create a Twitter wall and fake tweet 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 Twitter wall and fake tweet 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 a PDF for easy printing.

tag(s): creative writing (119), digital storytelling (144), social networking (66)

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 engagement)! 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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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 (22), process writing (38)

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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Phrase.it - phrase.it

Grades
7 to 12
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Add cartoon speech bubbles to any photo in seconds using Phrase.it. NO membership required! Choose a photo from your Facebook feed, computer, or from the site's random stock photo collection....more
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Add cartoon speech bubbles to any photo in seconds using Phrase.it. NO membership required! Choose a photo from your Facebook feed, computer, or from the site's random stock photo collection. Pick one of the 5 different types of speech bubbles, drag to any part of the image, and type in text. Change fonts by clicking the text box until satisfied. Change your image by applying one of the optional filters or leave it as is. When finished, click on the Save button and add your email if you want to receive a download link. You are also able to mark your photo PRIVATE. Once the image is saved and rendered, you can simply copy its URL, share via email, Facebook, or Twitter, or download to your computer. The Terms of Use require students to be 13 to use this site.

tag(s): bulletin boards (14), comics and cartoons (54), communication (134), images (256)

In the Classroom

The possibilities are limited only by your imagination. Teach parts of speech and grammar by having students write captions using colorful adjectives, adverbs, or specific sentence structures on a random photo. Make classroom signs and reminders. Caption the homework directions on your teacher web page. Ask your students to create captions for class photos for all sorts of reasons. Use this site for back to school fun. Post a photo of yourself with a caption on your class website introducing yourself to the class during the summer. Challenge each student to find/share a photo of themselves either the first week of school (or even prior to school). You will want parental permission before posting any student photos on your class website. Use photos or digital drawings from your classroom, such as pictures taken during any hands-on activity. Have students draw in a paint program, save the file, and then add a caption. Spice up research projects about historic figures or important scientists. Have literary characters "talk" as part of a project. In a government class, add captions to photos explaining politicians' major platform planks during election campaigns. Caption the steps for math problem solving. Make visual vocabulary/terminology sentences with an appropriate character using the term in context (a beaker explaining how it is different from a flask?). Students could also take pictures of themselves doing a lab and then caption the pictures to explain the concepts. Share the class captions on your class web page or wiki. Leave directions to your class (for when a substitute is there). Use at back to school night to grab parent attention to important announcements. Have students make talking photos of themselves as a visual tour of their new classroom for parents attending back to school night. World language classes can create images explaining and using new vocabulary. Use the site's random photo offerings for clever caption contests in your new language. Have gifted students create Phase.it pictures to explain new knowledge they gain in going beyond the basics. For example, as the class studies plate tectonics, they could make a collection of volcano images "explaining" their own history or describing the Ring of Fire. Gifted students of all ages can make simple Phrase.it images to share their own thought provoking questions about curriculum content, such as "Which figure of speech would Shakespeare be willing to give up?" Be sure to include these thought provokers on a class wiki or blog for others to respond! (No need to single out the "thinker" by mentioning who created it if it would cause ridicule.)

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Telescopic Text - Joe Davis

Grades
2 to 12
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Looking to write with more detail and description? Telescopic Text is a humorous way to demonstrate the art of elaboration. Type a short simple sentence (or line of poetry). Click ...more
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Looking to write with more detail and description? Telescopic Text is a humorous way to demonstrate the art of elaboration. Type a short simple sentence (or line of poetry). Click on a word or phrase and add a little bit more detail. Through this site, you will learn how to identify words or phrases to expand on, creating passages that are more meaningful. Once the sentence (or more likely a paragraph) is complete, replay the writing process. The text can be either "unfolded" (opened up) or "folded" (narrowed down). It is just as easy to reverse the writing process. Start with a long piece of text, and practice how to eliminate words or phrases. This site presents the writing process as a lighthearted play of words. Telescopic Text is an opportunity to generate writing ideas. There is a published library with a few examples posted that are for teacher use. Anyone can write his or her own text without having to register. Register to be able to save, manage, and publish your writing! Be sure to check out the "How to Use" portion of the site for a complete explanation.

tag(s): descriptive writing (38), paragraph writing (15), parts of speech (40), sentences (22)

In the Classroom

Use this site to support a mini-lesson about word choice, meaning, elaboration, or the importance of using detail and description. It would also be a way to build imagery into a poetry writing lesson. Project this site onto an interactive whiteboard or projector for whole class or small group exploration. Use the examples already posted or create your own to demonstrate how the tool works. After the mini-lesson, have students work in small groups to create a telescopic text (or poem) of their own. This website lends itself to a powerful mini-lesson or to craft lessons that will really "stick".
 

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Peek: Create Your Perfect Day - Ruzwana Bashir and Oskar Gruening

Grades
5 to 12
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Visit Peek and "Create Your Perfect Day." Register using email and a password. Pick a city or area to visit. Start planning your day using the prompts provided for morning, ...more
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Visit Peek and "Create Your Perfect Day." Register using email and a password. Pick a city or area to visit. Start planning your day using the prompts provided for morning, afternoon, evening, and night activities. Choose from pictures provided based on your input or upload your own. When finished, publish to share your "perfect day" via it's unique URL or through social media sharing links. This site is part of a travel website. The main page includes many activities (with prices). Avoid the homepage and go directly to "Create Your Perfect Day."
This site includes advertising.

tag(s): creative writing (119), local history (14), virtual field trips (79)

In the Classroom

Although this is not a typical "educational" site, the possibilities for classroom use are unlimited. Have students create their perfect day using the site as a story starter or creative writing prompt. Use the site to plan a virtual field trip anywhere. Have students create a day in the life of a story character, famous person from history, or in the career of their choosing. Retell any important date in history using Peek as a guideline. Teach budget planning by having students research and plan a perfect travel day. World language or world cultures classes can use this to create a day focused on the cultural riches of the country they are studying. Language students can write about it in their new language. After students create their perfect day, create an online folder or wiki page with links to all of the "perfect days" for other students to use as writing prompts (creative or informational). Share all students' perfect days on your interactive whiteboard or projector. Use this site to create a perfect day for visitors to your school or community.

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mailDiary - mailDiary.net

Grades
3 to 12
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Check out this online journal with a twist. Each day the site sends an email with questions about your day to prompt you to write. Respond to the email with ...more
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Check out this online journal with a twist. Each day the site sends an email with questions about your day to prompt you to write. Respond to the email with your entry for automatic posting. Images can also be added to entries. Personalize the site using your choice of color and fonts. View entries as a PDF for easy printing as desired. Register with an email and unique name for your diary.

tag(s): blogs (66), creative writing (119), journals (16), writing (317), writing prompts (57)

In the Classroom

Create a diary with a message to your students each day. Have students keep a diary of their first week at school. They can re-read this at the end of the school year. Have students keep a diary of a famous person for a character in a story that you have been reading in class. Ask students to write a diary about a picture that you have sent to them. Have students write diary entries from the point of view of soldiers, presidents, scientists, and more. Prompt a giving diary during the holiday season with students writing about what they GAVE to someone else each day.

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I Fake Text - iFakeText.com

Grades
2 to 12
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iFakeText is a tool to create fake screenshots of a series of iPhone text messages. Write a name, then choose an operator and write text in the provided box. Click ...more
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iFakeText is a tool to create fake screenshots of a series of iPhone text messages. Write a name, then choose an operator and write text in the provided box. Click the link "Create your Screenshot" to view the picture. Have the operator READ the text message (great for non-readers). Take a screenshot or share via different social networking platforms or via a link.
This site includes advertising.

tag(s): creative writing (119), text to speech (19), writing prompts (57)

In the Classroom

Have two characters from a book or two famous people text each other. Create short poetry using this tool. Provide some opening text and ask students to write their guesses of the other person's answers. Have students practice a dialogue or questions and answers. Create a fake text of a conversation and have students use inference skills to state what happened before and after the conversation. You could even use it as a writing prompt. Teach important texting etiquette using this tool. Use a fake text on your interactive whiteboard (or projector) to display word definitions in a fun way. Use this site with your ESL/ELL students (or those learning to read) and have the site READ the text to the students. The ability to use the "text to speech" makes this an easy tool for any age student to try! Tear down the boundaries of delayed reading. Create fake texts of homework or project reminders and post them on your class wiki or web page.

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Storyboard That - Aaron Sherman and Clever Prototypes, LLC

Grades
4 to 12
20 Favorites 2  Comments
   
Find an easy, interactive tool to create storyboards at Storyboard That. Choose between three and six frame storyboards, and build a storyboard using the free library with drag...more
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Find an easy, interactive tool to create storyboards at Storyboard That. Choose between three and six frame storyboards, and build a storyboard using the free library with drag and drop technology. Before you begin, you may want to look at the example storyboards for business and teachers. With a free account, you can create two storyboards a week with the classic storyboard layout. To share and save storyboards, you must register with an email.
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tag(s): charts and graphs (169), creative writing (119), digital storytelling (144), writing (317)

In the Classroom

Enhance learning and demonstrate how to create a storyboard using Storyboard That on your interactive whiteboard or projector. As you and your students create a class story, show them the different selections of characters, settings, dialogue boxes and more. Show them how easy it is to edit anything in the frame. Have your students use "Storyboard That" for anything from brainstorming for a video story they want to create to a final copy of a story, report, comic, or poem. This is a highly engaging way to teach your students about story elements, dialogue, character development, etc. Challenge students to create a storyboard of a book or short story recently finished in class as a review of characters and story plot and extending their learning. World language students can create storyboards and label the images, or tell the story in the language they are learning. "Storyboard That" has a growing collection of lesson plans and you can also contribute yours. Math teachers can use the interesting storyboard characters to explain word problems and capture reluctant student's interest. Have your students complete biographies for famous people. Tell the story of different famous events in history or explain their understanding of cell division using this easy program that produces entertaining results. Autistic or emotional support teachers can have students storyboard interpersonal behavior skills.

Comments

david, TX, Grades: 9 - 12
As of January 2013 teachers can now create a private classroom where their students data is secure and the teacher has more control. -Aaron (Founder/CEO of Storyboard That) *Editor's Note: this feature is available as part of the Classroom Portal Section which is a paid add on. This review highlights only the free portions of the site. Aaron, , Grades: 0 - 12

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Fakebook - Class Tools

Grades
4 to 12
14 Favorites 0  Comments
 
Create a "fake" Facebook-style page for anyone or anything! It's a good idea to do a little planning ahead of time, then just follow the directions on the landing page. ...more
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Create a "fake" Facebook-style page for anyone or anything! It's a good idea to do a little planning ahead of time, then just follow the directions on the landing page. Give your page a name and add an image from your computer. (They insert an image for you if you do not select one, however, you can change the image by clicking on it and selecting one from your computer.) Of course you will need to use a Creative Commons or other copyright-safe image. You can also add videos and links, edit the profile, and your page is almost ready. You must add at least one post and one friend to save work. Under the "Friends" block, you can add blocks such as Family, Major Speeches, etc. Choose "save" from the options on top left side of the page, enter a password, and your unique URL for your Fakebook page appears. Be sure to copy and save this link as it is the only time it is given in the setup process. If you are prepared with images and links, page creation is quick and easy with a small learning curve. Share your Fakebook page with the link to your page.
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tag(s): back to school (63), book reports (28), creative writing (119), digital storytelling (144), firstday (22), social networking (66)

In the Classroom

Engage and create interest in classroom learning with Fakebook. Fakebook is terrific for creating interest in many subjects. Instead of a typical biographical report in social studies, students create a Fakebook page about their famous person. Write about presidents, founding fathers, famous scientists or artists, Civil War soldiers, and more. Have students create a timeline of any historical event (name the page for the event, such as World War II). Use Fakebook to outline a book, play, or film plot, then share with students while studying the material. To use Fakebook to study literature, create a page for the central character, the book's author, or the book's setting. For a unique twist in science class, create a Fakebook page for a periodic element or another science topic. Use the page to describe "the life" of that atom or element. In world language classes, have students do this activity (about themselves) in the second language they are learning. Create a Fakebook page for the first day of school to introduce yourself to students or at Open House for parents. Challenge students to create and share a page about themselves during the first week of school. Share a Fakebook page with students to demonstrate proper netiquette and social sharing. Be sure to share a rubric with students for all expectations of what should be included on their page. Make Fakebook one of the options for your gifted students doing projects beyond the regular curriculum. With no membership required, this tool is simple enough for younger gifted students with parent permission to post work to the web.

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Mail Chimp - Ben Chestnut

Grades
K to 12
11 Favorites 0  Comments
 
MailChimp lets you create email newsletters, share them on social networks, integrate with services you already use, and track your results. MailChimp handles all of this with lists....more
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MailChimp lets you create email newsletters, share them on social networks, integrate with services you already use, and track your results. MailChimp handles all of this with lists. You can subscribe, edit, and remove yourself from lists as you please. Send your newsletter immediately or schedule delivery for the future. Test the email using the popup window to send to your own email address. Create your own template or choose from one of the many pre-designed templates available on the site. Content is rendered for easy use on mobile devices for viewing and through the app for creating and sending content. The site offers a long list of free features for use if you have under 2,000 subscribers and you can send up to 12,000 emails a month - at no charge! Free features include templates, auto translate into other languages, group creation, Facebook and social media integration, and much more. Import recipient information from your online address book or an Excel spreadsheet. Choose to send your emails to your entire list, or a specific segment of your list. Your newsletters can include images and text, and can be personalized by merging "subscriber" information into the body of your message.
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tag(s): communities (36), DAT device agnostic tool (143), journalism (72), newspapers (91), writing (317)

In the Classroom

This is a great resource for schools and classrooms to manage newsletters. Your class can generate a monthly newsletter or create newspapers from a period in time and share them with parents, school principals, and the school community. Share this site with the person responsible for creating and sharing content at your school. Send a nice end of the year message of thanks to parents with links for summer activities and even a year-end online slideshow. Send an informative beginning of the year newsletter with classroom information and introducing yourself to parents. Send out departmental information to parents through the group feature of MailChimp specifically to those involved. Use the merge feature to make emails personal. How much nicer would it be for parents to see news addressed to Dear Mr. & Mrs. Jones, as opposed to Dear Parent(s)? School counselors can share information about college and career fairs, important deadlines, and more using Mail Chimp.

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inklewriter - Joseph Humfrey and Jon Ingold

Grades
4 to 12
10 Favorites 0  Comments
  
Create interactive, choose your own adventure (branching) style stories with inklewriter. This site is ideal for anyone to create a story and then share with others via a unique URL....more
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Create interactive, choose your own adventure (branching) style stories with inklewriter. This site is ideal for anyone to create a story and then share with others via a unique URL. These stories allow for others to create their own path or choose an existing one. Begin by choosing to read stories or create your own. Type parts of the story including the title, author, beginning, introduction, and add sections as needed. After each paragraph is the option to create different outcomes of the story, offering choices the reader makes. The site contains excellent tutorials for getting started with stories. When finished, share the URL for your story using Twitter or Facebook or copy the URL to share and bookmark as you wish. Of course, your "story" need not be fiction! You could also write an opinion piece with branches for people to ask (click) on questions about facets of your argument! NOTE: When you click to begin writing, you should click SIGN IN and choose to make a new account. Do this before you start writing in order to be able to save. The tool will then save your work as you go along. Although you do not HAVE to sign in before you start, it is risky to sign up later! . Inklewriter has also made it easier for teachers to sign up students WITHOUT student email addresses. Read the directions about how to do this on the landing page by scrolling down and finding "Sign-up and email addresses."
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tag(s): creative writing (119), digital storytelling (144), narrative (14), persuasive writing (55)

In the Classroom

View stories on the site together to understand the components of the site and discuss how different choices in characters and settings lead to different story outcomes. (Be sure to preview stories before sharing, since there is "public"' content.) Watch the tutorials together on your interactive whiteboard (or projector) before students begin to write stories. Use a graphic organizer to "map out" the story before writing. Create a short story together as a class to become familiar using the site. Assign a group of students to create an interactive story each week to share on your classroom website or blog. Have students create a story map before beginning a story on inklewriter; use a tool such as 25 Language Arts Graphic Organizers, reviewed here. Create class stories to teach about literature, geography, reading comprehension, history, science concepts, and more. As a more "serious" approach, use Inklewriter to present opinion pieces where you take a position and allow readers to click on questions about it. They could also click on statements expressing opposing views so you can write counterarguments to their points. This could end up being a powerful way to present an argument and evidence as required by Common Core writing standards. A graphic organizer for planning and organizing evidence is a must! Teachers of gifted could use this for students to develop elaborate fictional or informational pieces. If you work with students who struggle, scaffold with a template for them to organize their thoughts.

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Playfic - Andy Baio and Cooper McHatton

Grades
4 to 12
4 Favorites 0  Comments
 
Create interactive, text-based games with this simple tool. Perhaps you remember a text-based game called "Adventure" from back in the early days of computers. Be sure to use the tutorial...more
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Create interactive, text-based games with this simple tool. Perhaps you remember a text-based game called "Adventure" from back in the early days of computers. Be sure to use the tutorial on the home page that also teaches you how to navigate the stories themselves. By clicking on the "About Us," you can view the "cheat sheet" that will certainly make your first creative attempt at Playfic more enjoyable. Experiment with Playfic games created by others and time yourself. if you get stuck, you can look at the source code. Create your own Playfic for any topic that interests you, whether it's fiction or not. Note that there is no moderation on games created by others, so preview before sharing with young people.

tag(s): creative writing (119), creativity (91), digital storytelling (144), gamification (73), mysteries (20), puzzles (143)

In the Classroom

"Gamification" of learning is a hot topic in 21st century learning. Use this simple tool to make it happen. Use for any digital storytelling: fact or fiction. In social studies, have students create an interactive game based on life during the Depression or any historic era. Have them create a "Where in the world is ..." for geography. World language students could make a simple game (in the language they are studying) about daily life. Gifted students will love creating games on their favorite topics, so make this a research-and-create-a-game approach for independent projects. Science students could make a game about what might happen in certain weather or life as a fossil. Have your language arts students create mystery or survival stories or even a different ending to a story you've read together. Warning: all stories are PUBLIC and your students will be able to view other's stories. You'll either want to have a class account or monitor this closely.

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Scribophile, the Social Writing Community - Scribophile

Grades
10 to 12
0 Favorites 0  Comments
 
At Scribophile you can share your writing with others. It is self-professed as a community that takes writing seriously and wants to both give and receive feedback on writing. Publish...more
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At Scribophile you can share your writing with others. It is self-professed as a community that takes writing seriously and wants to both give and receive feedback on writing. Publish works, read others' work, write critiques of others' work, and interact with other writers. This is a good site for mature, serious writers. Joining is free but necessary to participate fully. The sample blogs given for each day are enlightening and have intelligent ideas presented in thoughtful ways. Within the "Community" section, read the spotlighted work and how others respond to it.

tag(s): creative writing (119)

In the Classroom

Caution is necessary with this site because it is completely open to the public. Be aware of what your district's restrictions are on this kind of activity. Depending on your circumstances and school district policies, this site might best be used under a teacher login. You can put models up on your interactive whiteboard for students to respond to either individually or as a class. You might have reactions to some of the blogs or have students write their own critiques of the spotlighted work before sharing what others on the site have posted. If your students are going to have their own accounts, create groups for your students to post their writing. In either of these circumstances using the "Community" section, you can read the spotlighted work and how others respond to it. That would be great for teaching students to critique each others' work in useful ways. All students would benefit from class or small group discussions of the daily blogs. Using this in class might also encourage students to seek out the writing on their own and may have them bringing in extra work for their classmates to comment on. This site might also be a good venue for students who work together on a high school literary magazine or high school gifted students seeking writing mentors outside teh school community (with parent permission, of course).

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