TeachersFirst Edge - Digital Storytelling

 

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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.
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tag(s): creative writing (130), text to speech (17), writing prompts (67)

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.
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tag(s): book reports (30), creative writing (130), social networking (86)

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 (36), DAT device agnostic tool (167), journalism (67), newspapers (93), writing (294)

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.
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tag(s): comics and cartoons (45), emotions (42)

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
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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....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."
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tag(s): creative writing (130), digital storytelling (132), narrative (13), persuasive writing (52)

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
6 Favorites 0  Comments
   
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 (42), directions (15), fitness (53), makerspace (33), photography (140), sequencing (24), speeches (17)

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 (130), creativity (98), digital storytelling (132), gamification (77), mysteries (21), puzzles (174)

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 (167), images (264), slides (52)

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 (130)

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. The Terms of Use for About.Me prohibits creating fictitious personas.

tag(s): college (46), internet safety (118), portfolios (20), social networking (86)

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. 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 Privacy and Internet Safety, 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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Spreaker - Spreaker Online Radio

Grades
1 to 12
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Create a live Internet radio show -- free -- with Spreaker! This super easy online tool creates podcasts instantly for you to share with your own URL, on Facebook, Google ...more
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Create a live Internet radio show -- free -- with Spreaker! This super easy online tool creates podcasts instantly for you to share with your own URL, on Facebook, Google +, Soundcloud, Twitter, or add to the Spreaker website. Follow others, or invite others to follow your podcasts. With a click of a button you are creating a live podcast. To create a podcast you do not need Flash. However, there are several tutorials, and these tutorials require flash. There is a free version and a more deluxe premium version. This review is for the free version.
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tag(s): podcasts (61), radio (25)

In the Classroom

Enjoy a live radio show from your classroom! Publish written pieces of writing, science reports, social studies reports, and any other reports you would like to share. Create a New Book or Book Review podcast for the media center. Link to your podcast URL on your class website. Publish directions to projects, explanations for difficult concepts, or even a radio show of you reading your favorite books for your students. Have upper elementary students take turns reading aloud for a podcast aimed at little reading buddies in kindergarten. Allow students to podcast to "pen pals" in faraway places. Record your school choir, orchestra group, poetry club, or drama club doing their best work or dramatic readings of Shakespeare soliloquies. Take your school newspaper to a new level with recorded radio articles. Be sure to include interviews with students, teachers, principals, parents, authors, artists, and almost anyone. In younger grades, use to save an audio portfolio of reading fluency, expression, or to aid with running records or even include writing. Be sure do this regularly throughout the year to analyze growth. Have fun at Halloween with your Halloween station filled with favorite spooky stories! Welcome your students to a new school year by sending them your message. Create messages for classmates who move away. Bring your foreign language classes an extra resource of your pronunciations whenever they need more practice. ESL/ELL, special education classes can often benefit from the extra explanations, practice, and elaborated instructions given at their own pace. The possibilities are endless! The site itself is a "web 2.0," social networking style site, so some schools may have it blocked. Ask about unblocking just YOUR teacher account so you can have students access it while at school and under your supervision.

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DIY - DIY Co

Grades
1 to 12
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Discover a free online portfolio or collection place specifically created for children to showcase things they make: projects, work, videos, and pictures. Upload videos or pictures...more
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Discover a free online portfolio or collection place specifically created for children to showcase things they make: projects, work, videos, and pictures. Upload videos or pictures of the projects from your computer or iOS app to the website. With an animal avatar identity and different name, children are not identifiable to outsiders. When a project is shown online, viewers can add stickers to show support. An Android app is "planned." Parents or teachers have a dashboard for reviewing all activity on the account. Students under 13 must provide a parent email for their parents to verify tha they give permission for the membership.

tag(s): portfolios (20)

In the Classroom

Leap into the age of technology by making your student portfolios digital. Use DIY for student portfolios of class projects, explorations at home, and family fun. To get started, make a whole-class account to share class accomplishments. Then move to having each student create his/her own. The digital portfolio includes an extra bonus: parent involvement. Using parent emails, the work shared brings a close home-school connection going beyond just parents to extended family and friends. Have basic standards and requirements for posting to encourage quality control. Excite and motivate students using this easy portfolio. Use for an after school club, such as book club, photography club, Lego club, Odyssey of the Mind, chorus, or news team to keep a digital record of events, ideas, or projects. During science fair or any long-term project, record step by step progress. Use as a presentation tool, data notebook, or reflection tool. Teachers of gifted (or teachers who have gifted students in their class) can encourage these students to start collecting a portfolio of their best work, especially projects that go beyond the regular schools curriculum or school year. If a student has a special interest in poetry, rocketry, or forestry, encourage him/her to start documenting accomplishments with explanations, pictures, and links.

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Storyboard Generator - Australian Centre for the Moving Image

Grades
4 to 12
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Try out this interactive tool demonstrating storyboarding concepts. You can build your own storyboard using resources from the free media library. In the 'Choose Your Script' version,...more
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Try out this interactive tool demonstrating storyboarding concepts. You can build your own storyboard using resources from the free media library. In the 'Choose Your Script' version, select from three genres: horror, comedy or romance. This storyboard can then be published and saved, shared, embedded, or linked. In the 'Build your own' version, photographs can be uploaded or used from the Free Media Library to build personalized visuals using silhouette characters. Your created script that can be embedded, linked, or shared. Be sure to check out the many instruction videos included on the site for tips on creating storyboards. Registration with email is required to share and save storyboards.

tag(s): comics and cartoons (45), digital storytelling (132), images (264)

In the Classroom

Demonstrate how to create and use a storyboard using this tool on your interactive whiteboard (or projector). View stories from the gallery for inspiration before attempting to have students create their own. Create a storyboard and share when teaching creative writing techniques or story mapping. Have students tell the story they have viewed. Challenge students to create a storyboard of readings recently finished in class as a review of characters and story plot. Use storyboards as the first step in planning larger projects from plays to videos.

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Faces of Learning - Q.E.D. Foundation

Grades
8 to 12
1 Favorites 0  Comments
   
Discover a community about how people learn. Attractively packaged, the site encourages you to share your experiences and thoughts about what makes a learning environment and how you...more
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Discover a community about how people learn. Attractively packaged, the site encourages you to share your experiences and thoughts about what makes a learning environment and how you learn. Don't miss the self-assessment activity called "Your Learner Sketch" to discover strengths about your own learning and potential problem areas. This is a wonderful site to find others with similar experiences and concerns. After joining the website community, you can submit sketches and photos, add to blogs, and learn about other resources and activities. Record stories orally for others to hear. Explore stories via tags in a tag cloud. Explore links to other sharing stories experiences like Story Corps.
This site includes advertising.

tag(s): communities (36), learning styles (18)

In the Classroom

Encourage students to do a project about learning and post their results here, if policies permit. Share this link on your class web page and/or in a parent newsletter so they can better understand the nature of learning and its challenges. Use the self-assessment with any class -- without joining the site -- as you talk about study skills and finding individual strengths for studying and learning. Consider letting students form study groups based on the results. This is an ideal activity for early in the school year.

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BoomWriter - BoomWriter Corp

Grades
2 to 10
3 Favorites 0  Comments
   
Encourage your students to do their best writing at BoomWriter. Register as a Teacher, and create your classes. There are five different ways to create student accounts, then create...more
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Encourage your students to do their best writing at BoomWriter. Register as a Teacher, and create your classes. There are five different ways to create student accounts, then create an assignment (all genres of writing) and journals, or collaborate on a story (includes pre-written prompts or create your own). The writing toolkit also has a section for vocabulary. Once students submit their writing, share it with the class or a small group to create a book. Here's how it works: Provided with a "starter chapter," students continue the story by writing additional chapters. Students vote on chapters submitted (anonymously), and the chapters receiving the most votes are included into a book that students, teachers, and parents can choose to have published by BoomWriter. After registration, students can see and begin contributions to a project with teachers able to oversee each student's writing, comments, and edits of other students' work. When all contributions are complete, the class reads the submissions and votes. Writers' names aren't revealed until after the voting, thereby eliminating any "classroom politics" that could happen in the voting stage. Want to score the writing yourself? No problem! Use standards based rubrics to help, and track individual progress. New features include resources for remote teaching and a parent app. There is a short video on the home page introducing BoomWriter and how to get started with the program.
This site includes advertising.

tag(s): creative writing (130), descriptive writing (37), digital storytelling (132), expository writing (33), interactive stories (23), persuasive writing (52), short stories (17), writing (294)

In the Classroom

Use this site to excite students as writers. Encourage students to read other students' writing for ideas about what makes a story interesting. Create a friendly competition within your grade level by starting a book and choosing a winner. Invite other teachers to your BoomWriter classes (great for your IEPs and ELL/ESL students). Create new books as different writing concepts are introduced such as dialogue, foreshadowing, etc. to help making learning fun. Enhance learning by having students create online posters using Design Bold, reviewed here, or by having students create interactive, multimedia posters using Lucidpress, reviewed here. Science and other curricula teachers could have students review a unit just studied by creating their own texts or story books on the curriculum topic.

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Draw A Stickman - drawastickman.com

Grades
1 to 10
12 Favorites 2  Comments
 
Draw A Stickman is a delightful, entertaining site that encourages creativity and fun! This is a mini interactive story that has students reading and following directions, solving...more
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Draw A Stickman is a delightful, entertaining site that encourages creativity and fun! This is a mini interactive story that has students reading and following directions, solving mysteries, thinking creatively, and solving problems. To begin the adventure, you draw a simple stick figure and then bring him or her to life. Your figure is faced with several challenges; you must follow directions and draw several props for your stick figure to use. You will love the hero of the story (the character you created) and the villain (a dragon). Finished stories can be replayed or shared on Facebook, Twitter, or email. There is also an online gallery for students to explore and view others' creations.

tag(s): creative writing (130), digital storytelling (132), drawing (65), interactive stories (23)

In the Classroom

Aside from just fun practice at following instructions, Draw a Stickman would be a great fictional story prompt. Students have the bones of a story and can fill in details, vivid verbs, adjectives, etc. to tell the story. This would be a good practice activity with writing sequences of "first, then, and next." Students can elaborate on their hero, the plot of the story, the details, the setting, etc. Students can write a moral for a story to add in the customized ending. These stories would be fun to share as a class...how wide a variety can come from the same basics? Share finished stories with a talking avatar using a photo or other image (legally permitted to be reproduced). The avatars can "read" the story. Use a site such as Blabberize, reviewed here. Teach story mapping easily with this activity: On an interactive whiteboard (or projector), students can go through the stick figure story together, labeling the different parts of the story (beginning, problem, climax, resolution, ending). This interactive can help students identify story elements, including setting, characters and plot. This site would also be perfect for ESL/ELL students for practice in reading and following directions or for speech/language students to practice retelling a story from the visual prompts. Another idea: use this activity for verb/vocabulary practice in a world language class.

Comments

This will be a great fill-in activity when my students finish their assignments. I can't wait to use it! Beverly, TX, Grades: 6 - 12
Love this! So creative. I know the kids will love it too and I think the learning activities sound very promising too. Jeannie, MI, Grades: 0 - 5

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Flipsnack - Smartketer LLC

Grades
5 to 12
12 Favorites 0  Comments
 
Use FlipSnack to create a free, online flip book from PDF documents. Create a Flip book when you want to embed a book, magazine, catalog, newspaper, portfolio, or other kind ...more
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Use FlipSnack to create a free, online flip book from PDF documents. Create a Flip book when you want to embed a book, magazine, catalog, newspaper, portfolio, or other kind of document into a website, wiki, or blog and have viewers flip through the pages interactively. Upload your PDF document and choose a title. (Choose carefully, since it is the title of the book.) Choose a template and customize by dragging elements and changing colors and then Publish. Now any content can become an online "book."

In the Classroom

Make a flipbook of a presentation as an engaging alternative to a web page or PowerPoint. If you have a Word doc or image instead of a PDF, not to worry! Use PDFaid, reviewed here, to convert them to PDF format. Share classroom information such as rules and expectations in an easy to read format. Use for a great way to bring digital storytelling up front in your classroom. Make photosynthesis a story instead of bits of equations and information. Portray a time period in history or create books of different political or societal opinions. Create a flipbook with the viewpoints and personalities of characters in a story. Practice a different language by creating a themed flipbook. Lower grades can combine writing into a class flipbook to be shared online or read aloud. Any written assignment can easily be re-visioned as a flipbook! Make your literary magazone a flipbook or build new poetry collections during poetry month. Share all your flipbooks on individual laptops, or the interactive whiteboard or projector. Create simple flipbooks of Dolch words for beginning readers.

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Write Comics - Write Comics

Grades
K to 12
8 Favorites 0  Comments
 
You can make your very own comic right now! At Write Comics, you will be able to create your own comics using the figures, backgrounds, animal, aliens, and dialogue bubbles, ...more
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You can make your very own comic right now! At Write Comics, you will be able to create your own comics using the figures, backgrounds, animal, aliens, and dialogue bubbles, supplied by Write Comics. This site is extremely easy to use. There is no need to sign up or register. Once you click Finish, you will be given a link. Go to your link and print your comic or upload it to your webpage.

tag(s): comics and cartoons (45)

In the Classroom

Create a comic to put on your website. You might want to use Write Comics to display the vocabulary word of the day, the math puzzle of the week, a concept your students are learning in social studies or science. Have students create comic strips for dialog-writing lessons, summarizing, predicting and retelling stories. Use comic strips for literature responses. For pre-reading students, create a comic of pictures and have students tell the story based on the pictures/scenes. Make a class book of the comics created throughout the year. That book will become the most read classroom book of all in an elementary classroom. Use comics to show sequencing of events. When studying about characterization, create dialog to show (not tell) about a character. World language and ESL/ELL teachers can assign students to create dialog strips as an alternate to traditional written assessments. Have students share all of their comics on your interactive whiteboard or projector.

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Underlined - Penguin Random House Books

Grades
6 to 12
1 Favorites 0  Comments
 
Underlined (formerly known as Figment: Write Yourself In) is a terrific program for both readers and writers! Looking for something new to read? Want to get your student's or your ...more
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Underlined (formerly known as Figment: Write Yourself In) is a terrific program for both readers and writers! Looking for something new to read? Want to get your student's or your own writing published? You don't even have to register to read or listen to a book. It's all free. If you or your students are aspiring authors you can register and publish your writing here. Figment also has contests where the community votes for the best piece of writing for a certain prompt. Books are tagged, so you can search by tag. The Figment library has all the genres listed for you to click on and search, a section for "newest additions," "recently updated," and "all the rage." For reading and listening, the only skill you will need to know is to know how to search the site. If your intent is to publish yours or your student's writing, you will need to register. Be aware that Figment is designed for ALL kinds of writers and may include some writing that is not "kid friendly." Click the Educators link in the footer to access newer features specifically for teachers.

tag(s): digital storytelling (132), persuasive writing (52), poetry (195), short stories (17), writing (294)

In the Classroom

There are several ways you can use this site as a place to publish. Some may involve using other tools. For example, with younger students: Once your students have completed a piece of writing, have them submit it to the class using MixedInk reviewed here. The class can then collaborate by choosing ideas from any of the pieces submitted and publishing a "class" approved story, poem, etc. on Figment. With older students: Have them submit their poems, short stories, current event articles, or persuasive writing to MixedInk for peer edit and advice. After the class has collaborated on the writing, submit to Figment for a more general audience. Some teachers have their students write novels for National Novel Writing Month, and at "Figment: Write Yourself In" they will be able to publish them.

Students will need a screen name that is not their real name, and a password. See the Profile area for Scholastic's "You Are What You Read" reviewed here for several suggestions for creating a screen name. For younger students you may want to have a "class account" and supply the password. Be sure you and your students write their screen name and password down. Just make sure they sign their writing with their screen name. With older students you can use the same procedure as above, or students can sign up with their own email. Read tips for safely managing email registrations here.

If school policies and parents allow it, You may want to introduce your gifted student-writers to this site as a place where they can publish and get feedback from a broader audience. The safest way may be to set up groups as a teacher, including other student writers from other classrooms and grade levels. Gifted students interact well in multi-age settings, especially if they have common interests. Have the history buffs work together on accurate historical fiction related to the time periods you are studying or have your advanced science students write up their research collaboratively using Figment. They might even try their had at writing some science fiction based on concepts you are studying.

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DIY Podcast - NASA

Grades
K to 12
6 Favorites 0  Comments
   
Create a podcast using audio and videos clips featuring NASA scientists! Follow the steps to create the podcast, including writing a production script, downloading clips, recording...more
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Create a podcast using audio and videos clips featuring NASA scientists! Follow the steps to create the podcast, including writing a production script, downloading clips, recording your narrations, and editing. Use a digital recorder, camcorder, or your computer to record the audio. Download a brochure or bookmark to remember the links for creating the DIY Podcast. Click on the links along the right side of the page for great resources such as the DIY Podcast Blog for some great ideas. Several examples along the side include creating a fitness podcast, lab safety, Newton's Laws, Rocket Science, and Solar Arrays.

tag(s): podcasts (61), scientists (66), space (222)

In the Classroom

Provide example topics to your class once they have tried this site, and let them go! Podcasts can be used in any subject area. In math, have students "teach" the class a new skill via podcast. Rather than a traditional book report, have students create a podcast highlighting the main character, plot, conflict, or storyline or a book. In current events, have cooperative learning groups create a podcast debating a current area of dispute. You could record your assignments or directions; you can record story time or a reading excerpt for younger ones to listen to at a computer center AND from home! Have better readers record selected passages for your non-readers (perhaps older buddies). Launch a service project for your fifth or sixth graders to record stories for the kindergarten to use in their reading and listening center. Have your Shakespeare students record a soliloquy! Write and record a poem for Father's or Mother's Day (or other special events) and send the URL as a gift to that special person. Create great podcasts that can be shared on your wiki site, or blog!

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