TeachersFirst Edge - Digital Storytelling

 

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Classtools Twister: Create Fake Tweets - Classtools

Grades
8 to 12
8 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 (160), social networking (94)

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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750 Words - Buster Benson

Grades
4 to 12
3 Favorites 0  Comments
 
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 (21), gamification (83), journals (21), process writing (42), writers workshop (36)

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 (31), 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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Phrase.it - phrase.it

Grades
3 to 12
12 Favorites 0  Comments
 
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.

tag(s): bulletin boards (18), comics and cartoons (58), images (270)

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. Even elementary grades can make captions of an animal talking about his habitat or a "community helper" talking about his/her role, though you may have to do it together as a class to upload the image. 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 PhaseIt 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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UtellStory - utellstory.com

Grades
1 to 12
15 Favorites 0  Comments
 
UtellStory is a multimedia storytelling and sharing community. Easily create and share stories with audio, image, video, and words. Create an account using email information or login...more
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UtellStory is a multimedia storytelling and sharing community. Easily create and share stories with audio, image, video, and words. Create an account using email information or login with Facebook to begin. Upload slide(s) from your computer, create a text slide, or insert YouTube or Vimeo video links. Free accounts may make up to 24 slides. Arrange slides in your preferred order after upload. Add background audio or change background style. Record your own audio for each slide or choose from existing mp3 files on your computer. Insert when finished. Audio in the free version is up to 30 seconds per slide. Preview and make changes as desired. Save to your account and return if not finished. When complete, choose from publish as a story or publish as a topic. Publish as a topic allows others to share and add to the story. Share your story using your custom URL, embed into your website or blog using the code provided, or share using social media buttons provided. This site could be used with all ages. However, with younger students, an adult would need to offer a lot of support. At the time of this review, all of the stories on the homepage were "kid-appropriate." However, be sure to preview before you share! The educator tools for managing student registrations are not free.

tag(s): digital storytelling (144), images (270), multimedia (51), slides (53)

In the Classroom

UtellStory is a great way to enhance students' learning to create and share short stories about things that they photograph. Have students take pictures during field trips to use in a UtellStory report about what they saw and learned on the trip. Photograph steps of a science experiment. Or have students search for Creative Commons and Public Domain images to use as part of an audio slideshow biography about a notable person in history or tell the story of the water cycle or other process. Try using 4 Free Photos, reviewed here, or Compfight, reviewed here, to find free images. Create a UtellStory to use for review of classroom topics or to demonstrate how to perform different steps in a math problem. Have students redefine their learning and create UtellStory presentations by using the multimedia features demonstrating learning in any subject area such as Civil War Events, different characteristics of animals, etc. Create a UtellStory for your elementary classroom: upload a picture that each student has drawn and have students narrate the picture in their own words.

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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 (41), elaboration (2), paragraph writing (14), parts of speech (70), sentences (46)

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
2 Favorites 0  Comments
 
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 (160), local history (15), virtual field trips (57)

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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Docs Demo: Master's Edition - Google

Grades
9 to 12
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Try collaborative writing with great authors using this Google Docs demo. You write a few words, and then a great writer intervenes, writing along with you in his/her own inimitable...more
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Try collaborative writing with great authors using this Google Docs demo. You write a few words, and then a great writer intervenes, writing along with you in his/her own inimitable style. The writing "collaborators" might delete some of your words and change to their own vocabulary or phrasal selections. A writer might add an adjective or change your verb to a more colorful and literary one! Writers include Emily Dickinson, Dostoyevsky, Shakespeare, Nietzsche, Charles Dickens, and Edgar Allan Poe. Your completed document will often have parts by several of the famous dead authors, color coded so you know who is who. You can save and send your document, if you sign into your Google account.

tag(s): authors (118), creative writing (160), dickens (10), literature (262), poetry (222), shakespeare (110)

In the Classroom

Demonstrate this site on your interactive whiteboard or projector. Ask high schoolers to identify exactly what makes the famous writer's intrusions specifically his/her own. Challenge students to write their own passage that will be edited. Once edited, have students save, print, or email their document. Take it a step deeper and have students explain WHY a specific author would have made a specific change. Have them find the original passage where the author used a certain phrase or quotation and explore its context there. Use this site during Poetry Month for students to create their own poems, to be edited by a famous author (or poet). Have pairs of students collaborate on creating a piece of writing and share after saving using a tool such as Crocodoc reviewed here.
 

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mailDiary - mailDiary.net

Grades
3 to 12
5 Favorites 0  Comments
 
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 (80), creative writing (160), journals (21), writing (361), writing prompts (85)

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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Findery - Makes Places Come Alive! - Caterina Fake

Grades
3 to 12
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Findery lets you place notes and images on a virtual map that others can see (if you make it public.) Type in a location to go anywhere in the world. ...more
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Findery lets you place notes and images on a virtual map that others can see (if you make it public.) Type in a location to go anywhere in the world. Google map technology shows that location along with any notes that exist there. Add your own notes and images after registering on the site. Use the regular search bar for other searches of places such as Great Wall and countless other locations. Since the general public can add notes to locations, previewing is a good idea!

tag(s): DAT device agnostic tool (171), earth (226), map skills (77), maps (296), virtual field trips (57)

In the Classroom

Use this site anytime you discuss a world location. Search the site to find notes placed by people and images of the actual location. Have your class take pictures and upload your own notes of your school and community. Use this in world language classes to explore other countries and cultures. Going on a field trip? Search Findery to see if there are notes about the location. You may find some interesting information to have in mind before leaving! Upon your return, have students place their own images and write notes for others to view. Create a class account then ask students to find items placed on the maps. Next, have them save as favorites to use with a larger project or to be included as part of a newspaper article about their topic using the Newspaper Clipping Generator.

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I Fake Text - iFakeText.com

Grades
2 to 12
3 Favorites 0  Comments
 
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 (160), text to speech (16), writing prompts (85)

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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Fakebook - Class Tools

Grades
4 to 12
14 Favorites 0  Comments
   
Create a "fake" Facebook-style page for anyone or anything! No membership required! Give your page a title and add an image from your computer. (They insert an image for you ...more
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Create a "fake" Facebook-style page for anyone or anything! No membership required! Give your page a title and add an image from your computer. (They insert an image for you if you do not select one.) Of course you will need to use a Creative Commons or other copyright-safe image. You can also use autoselect from a websearch, edit the profile, and your page is almost ready. You must add at least one post and one friend to save work. Choose "save" from the options on top right 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. Here is an example created in less than a minute. Page creation is quick and easy with a small learning curve. Flash is needed only to watch the introduction video, not use the site/tool. There is a downloadable Word doc "startup guide" for those who prefer written, illustrated directions.
This site includes advertising.

tag(s): book reports (34), creative writing (160), social networking (94)

In the Classroom

Engage and create interest in classroom learning with Fakebook. This site is wonderful for creating interest in many subjects. In social studies, instead of a typical biographical report have students create a Fakebook page about their famous person. Write about presidents, founding fathers, famous scientists or artist, a civil war soldier, and much more. Have students create a timeline of any historical event (the page should be named for the event). Use Fakebook to outline the plot of a book, play, or film, then share with students while studying the material. To use Fakebook to study literature, create a page for the central character, book's author, or the setting of the book or play. For a unique twist is 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 who have parent permission to post work to the web. We could pretend that they do not know what Facebook looks like, but we would be deluding ourselves!

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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 (40), DAT device agnostic tool (171), journalism (67), newspapers (99), writing (361)

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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Stripgenerator - Stripgenerator

Grades
4 to 12
5 Favorites 0  Comments
 
Create simple and easy cartoon strips. Add frames, characters, balloons for speech text, and other items. The drag and drop interface makes it easy to create a comic strip. Share ...more
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Create simple and easy cartoon strips. Add frames, characters, balloons for speech text, and other items. The drag and drop interface makes it easy to create a comic strip. Share by URL or embedding into your wiki, blog, or site. If you plan to share this site with students, you must preview. There are unmoderated "latest" comics on the home page.
This site includes advertising.

tag(s): comics and cartoons (58), emotions (40)

In the Classroom

Because of the public content, be SURE to tell students to go directly to the creation tools (and not to explore the public strips). If you cannot monitor/trust individuals, use a whole class account and have one group at a time work where you can monitor. Instead of writing boring summaries, why not assign a rotating scribe to summarize class through a comic strip. Make a class wiki collection of the comics created throughout the year. Use comics to show sequencing of events. When studying about characterization, create dialog to show (not tell) about a character. Another idea - why not use the comic strips for conflict resolution or other guidance issues (such as bullying). Emotional support and autistic support teachers can work with students to create strips about appropriate interpersonal responses and/or feelings. Sometimes it is easier for students to write it down (or create pictures) than use the actual words. World language and ESL/ELL teachers can assign students to create dialog strips as an alternate to traditional written assessments.

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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! Here is a sample to show just ONE way to use Inklewriter besides the obvious use for storytelling. 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."
This site includes advertising.

tag(s): creative writing (160), digital storytelling (144), narrative (19), persuasive writing (53)

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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Snapguide - Heavy Bits

Grades
2 to 12
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Looking for an easy to use "how to" guide? You must visit Snapguide! Find various topics: Sports & Fitness, Technology, Cooking, Music, Arts & Crafts, Gardening, and countless others....more
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Looking for an easy to use "how to" guide? You must visit Snapguide! Find various topics: Sports & Fitness, Technology, Cooking, Music, Arts & Crafts, Gardening, and countless others. You can view all of the content of this site without joining. Create your own "how to" guide on any topic. It's a "snap" to create the directions with pictures. Use your computer or iOS device to create a guide. Download the app onto your iPhone or iPad to create a guide for explaining anything! Each page contains a picture and text to explain the parts for your guide.

tag(s): computers (102), crafts (40), directions (19), fitness (49), makerspace (26), photography (145), sequencing (29), speeches (19)

In the Classroom

Share the ready-made snapguides in various classes: family and consumer science, music, art, photography, science, computer, and more! Create your own snapguides to share with your class on any subject matter. ESL/ELL and other special needs students will learn better seeing the photos along with the instructions. Use Snapguide to explain a lesson or a project that has multiple directions. Use Snapguide for directions for parents. Create a snapguide for your students when leaving plans for a substitute teacher. Students can also create their own snapguides to use as presentations and even for sequencing practice. These are the perfect prompts for writing and giving informative, how-to speeches. Students can explore the guides available and follow directions or even evaluate their effectiveness. Have cooperative learning groups create their own snapguides to share a new topic with the class. Encourage students to use Snapguide to illustrate their math solutions, discuss the completion and science behind a lab experiment, or show cause an effect.

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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 watch the...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 watch the tutorial on the home page that also teaches you how to navigate the stories themselves. By clicking on the "Learn More" when you're signed out, or the "About Us" when you're signed in, 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 (160), creativity (115), digital storytelling (144), gamification (83), mysteries (23), puzzles (203)

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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Slide.ly - EasyHi

Grades
7 to 12
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Easily create a slideshow of your photos! Simply upload your photos or pull your Flickr, Instagram, or Facebook photos into your slideshow. Create beautiful slideshows by adding music...more
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Easily create a slideshow of your photos! Simply upload your photos or pull your Flickr, Instagram, or Facebook photos into your slideshow. Create beautiful slideshows by adding music and then sharing them with others. Connect all the accounts that you use for your photos. Click on the photos from any of your sources to be included in your slideshow. Drag your photos around to put them in the order you want. Add music to the show by using YouTube videos or SoundCloud music. Finish by adding a few effects to your show to liven it up a bit. Embed the slideshow on your site or share it on Twitter, Google+, Pinterest, or Facebook easily. There are public slideshows created by others on this site. Some may not be appropriate for the classroom setting so please preview..

tag(s): DAT device agnostic tool (171), images (270), slides (53)

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. Students can use Slide.ly to create projects for class. Be sure to add the link to your blog, wiki, or site for easy access when needing a tool for projects.

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Scribophile, the Social Writing Community - Scribophile

Grades
10 to 12
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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...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 (160)

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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About.Me - Tony Conrad, Ryan Freitas, Tim Young

Grades
6 to 12
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Promote yourself for college or future jobs by creating your own "me portfolio" website. No matter your age or stage in life, in today's world you are what Google shows ...more
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Promote yourself for college or future jobs by creating your own "me portfolio" website. No matter your age or stage in life, in today's world you are what Google shows about you. Take control of your online presence to show your chosen audience what YOU want them to know. You are more than your FaceBook persona or Linked In profile. About.Me allows you to create a "hub" with links to your online projects you want visitors to see. Upload a photo, write a short piece about your interests, then link to your online content and social networks. There is also an Assets page where you can download the About.Me logo and colors to add to other pages and projects you have on the web so visitors will link back to the hub and discover your other projects. Before creating your About.Me website, you might want to read about "branding" yourself on the Student Branding Blog reviewed here. The information on the Branding Blog applies to any adult, too. The Terms of Use for About.Me prohibits creating fictitious personas.

tag(s): college (47), internet safety (121), portfolios (23), social networking (94)

In the Classroom

Counselors and teachers could work together to have high school students make About.Me the place they use as a "branding" home for themselves online. Start by making your own About.me page to mange your own professional presence and use as an example. Suggest to students that they use a "me portfolio" on About.Me for college apps, employment apps, etc. You might want to have students look at the "branding" suggestions from the Student Branding Blog before creating their page. Using About.Me is also the perfect opportunity to talk with students about their online presence and how outsiders might interpret what they decide to post on About.Me or any social network. Along with that discussion you'll want to review Internet safety and privacy. Consider using Internet Safety: Rules of the Road for Kids reviewed here. If you teach gifted students (13+) who are working beyond your regular curriculum, start by having them create a real world presence using About.Me, with parent permission of course. Use this space for them to publish links to their best work, especially projects that take on a life of their own long after the assignment ends. Have a student interested in international politics? Maybe STEM cell research? Have the share the class project that got the started along with essays about where they see themselves in ten years or portfolios of their related accomplishments, including those outside of school. This portfolio site is not something to "pile up" with everything. It is for them to present their best face to the public. Encourage them to take ownership of it.

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