TeachersFirst Edge - Digital storytelling

 

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Night Zookeeper - Joshua Davidson

Grades
K to 5
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Enter a fantastical online world in which you create your own magical animals. Read and create stories, play games, create fascinating (and funny) facts about your new animal, and more...more
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Enter a fantastical online world in which you create your own magical animals. Read and create stories, play games, create fascinating (and funny) facts about your new animal, and more while learning about animals. Explore creative writing and art activities. Read the story of the night zookeeper or listen by choosing the audio play button. Your completed animals can be uploaded to include with the story and suggestions are offered for describing the animals such as where does the animal live, and tell about what makes it special. You can also download a sample unit that includes literacy and art lesson plans. Simple registration of a username and password is required to access activities.

tag(s): creative writing (169), creativity (119), digital storytelling (154)

In the Classroom

Share this site on classroom computers for students to read and listen to the Night Zookeeper story then encourage students to create their own animal to be added to the zoo. Use the included graphic organizer to help students design their animal. Create a link to the site on classroom computers and allow students to explore and discover site activities. Use an online tool such as Interactive Two Circle Venn Diagram (reviewed here) to create a visual comparison of animals included in the zoo or imaginary animals vs. real animals.

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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 (38), learning styles (20)

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 8
3 Favorites 0  Comments
   
Encourage your students to do their best writing at BoomWriter. Once students submit their writing, share it with the class or a small group to create a book. Here's how ...more
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Encourage your students to do their best writing at BoomWriter. 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. 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 (169), digital storytelling (154), interactive stories (28), short stories (25)

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. Create new books as different writing concepts are introduced such as dialogue, foreshadowing, etc. to help making learning fun. Have students create online posters using Check This (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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Write It - Scholastic

Grades
7 to 12
1 Favorites 0  Comments
   
At this publishing site for secondary students, you have many opportunities to learn the craft, view other writers in action, have work critiqued, and interact with other student writers....more
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At this publishing site for secondary students, you have many opportunities to learn the craft, view other writers in action, have work critiqued, and interact with other student writers. You can take a master class with featured writers that include conversations with authors discussing their challenges and triumphs. There is a chat forum to post work and get input from fellow students with suggestions for revision (participation in chat requires registration to the site; however, the chat logs can be viewed without registration). An online portfolio can be created after registration on the site. The "Authors in Action" section is a wonderful resource to view short videos of student authors performing their own work and is sorted by genres.
This site includes advertising.

tag(s): creative writing (169), descriptive writing (41), poetry (221), process writing (46), writers workshop (34)

In the Classroom

Share videos from the site with students when discussing the writing process. The master classes are perfect for use on interactive whiteboards or a projector as a way of starting classroom discussions on the writing process and different techniques and methods used by authors. Have students read their own finished works of writing and share them using a tool such as SchoolTube reviewed here. If you do Writers Workshop in your classroom, use videos and information from the site to demonstrate writing and critiquing methods.

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Issuu - You Publish - Issuu Inc. 2009

Grades
9 to 12
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Issuu is an online publishing tool where you can upload documents to be published in magazine, presentation, or paper format. Share your voice with the world. Then see who reads, ...more
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Issuu is an online publishing tool where you can upload documents to be published in magazine, presentation, or paper format. Share your voice with the world. Then see who reads, likes, or links your documents. You can integrate your publications or other's publications on your own webpage. Or simply use the site as a place to read others' publications. You can follow other publishers and bookmark the things you enjoy. You may want to preview anything you wish to share with your class, as the content is always changing.
This site includes advertising.

tag(s): digital storytelling (154), writing (363)

In the Classroom

Use this website to publish information for your students or by your students. Have older students create their own accounts to publish their papers, laboratory reports, and research projects. Have students read and evaluate the quality of different publications from this website to develop critical thinking skills. Use for polished projects in any subject area.

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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 (169), digital storytelling (154), interactive stories (28)

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 of 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 SuperLame, 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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Docs Teach - The National Archives

Grades
6 to 12
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Explore collections of primary documents from US History enhanced with tools for teaching. This site adds the ability to manipulate primary documents to build informative and challenging...more
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Explore collections of primary documents from US History enhanced with tools for teaching. This site adds the ability to manipulate primary documents to build informative and challenging lessons. While a few of the documents and lessons are available for the casual visitor to the site, you need to register (and it's free!) in order to make full use of the amazing resources here. Once you have registered, you can access all the documents and use the activity builder to create lessons which use primary documents to teach sequencing, mapping, weighing evidence, interpreting data, and seeing the big picture. Please note that you do not HAVE to create anything, you can simply use what is already here. (And they do already have a lot to offer.) You will need to create a project if you want to package an activity that you can use now and again later.

tag(s): american revolution (85), civil war (142), digital storytelling (154), great depression (27), industrial revolution (26), primary sources (92), westward expansion (31), world war 1 (57), world war 2 (139)

In the Classroom

If you teach history or social studies, you know what a great emphasis is being placed on the use of primary documents in helping students develop an awareness of the perspectives of those who lived during a particular era. Use this site to develop sophisticated lessons using primary documents on US History with the activity builder. Use the ready-made activities (the majority of which are available once you've registered), on an interactive whiteboard or projector for the whole class or assign groups of students to work independently at a computer workstation or at home. These activities encourage higher order thinking among students rather than simply the memorization of facts.

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SuperLame - Superlame.com

Grades
4 to 12
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Super-hero your images! Use this image editor to add speech and thought bubbles to photos and images. Upload your image (such as a photo from your digital camera or a ...more
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Super-hero your images! Use this image editor to add speech and thought bubbles to photos and images. Upload your image (such as a photo from your digital camera or a copyright safe image), add a text balloon, insert a sound effect (like kaboom!), and change the background or border. Save to your computer or email to yourself or others (note that the image is deleted from the website after 24 hours.)
This site includes advertising.

tag(s): bulletin boards (20), comics and cartoons (62), digital storytelling (154), images (283), photography (156)

In the Classroom

This would be a great way to make comic strips using images from class! Use in any subject area and for any topic to add a twist to your digital storytelling project. Have students create a comic rather than a traditional book report. The main character or a minor character could "talk" about the book. Or have students create comic strips to go along with science topics, math concepts, historical figures, and more. Have students email you the images/comics. Share the finished products on your projector or interactive whiteboard. Share the saved images on a class wiki or make a student generated bulletin board of comics.
 This resource requires Adobe Flash.

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obooko - Tony Stanton, Sarah Bainbridge, Tim Johnson

Grades
7 to 12
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Join the writers and readers of obooko, the free site to publish and read ebooks. Readers' Choice Awards of 2011 winner for free eBooks , obooko offers a platform to ...more
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Join the writers and readers of obooko, the free site to publish and read ebooks. Readers' Choice Awards of 2011 winner for free eBooks , obooko offers a platform to share your work and read the works of others. Become a reviewer and write comments on other ebooks. As authors, you retain all rights with no charges or contracts. This site is legal and does not infringe on copyright laws. There are numerous categories to choose from: Romance and Women, Crime, Religion, Thriller, Mystery, Teens, and much more! This site is not intended for children under 13. Some of the content may not be appropriate for the classroom. So be sure to preview.
This site includes advertising.

tag(s): creative writing (169), ebooks (39), mysteries (23), novels (23), poetry (221), religions (69)

In the Classroom

For your language arts class, obooko contains many examples of contemporary writing. Selections for critiquing and editing are readily available without hurting any class member's feelings. Look at examples for current ideas and places to begin brainstorming. Included are free templates for different types of writing. Have each member of your class become a published author! Use the titles as writing prompts or read only half of the story and have students finish it in their own way. Bring each student's story into the lives of many. Assign critiques using obooko. You might even create a school or class obooko literary magazine during poetry month.

Library/media specialists may want to select certain ebooks to load on school iTouches for students to read and review. Start an obooko reading club with these free options.

If you are uncomfortable sharing here or school policy prohibits it, have your classes create a similar website (wiki) with published pieces from your school or class. Not familiar with wikis? Check out the TeachersFirst Wiki Walk-Through.

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Zinepal - Zinepal

Grades
5 to 12
1 Favorites 0  Comments
 
Create a magazine, PDF, or eBooks from any online content you choose. Select content from a blog or blogs, RSS feeds, or other websites. Enter the address of the site ...more
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Create a magazine, PDF, or eBooks from any online content you choose. Select content from a blog or blogs, RSS feeds, or other websites. Enter the address of the site where the content exists. Choose whether entire posts or previews are used in the creation of your ezine. Select or deselect the stories to be portrayed and choose fonts and sizes. Continue editing by customizing eBook or finalize your eBook when you are finished. Use this website to turn the chosen content into a printable PDF or an eBook that can be used with eBook readers. Email to your friends or provide the subscription feed. Broadcast your eBook through Facebook or Twitter. If you simply want to take online content with you when going somewhere "offline," Zinepal allows you to collect it all into on printable pdf. Note that the free version only allows up to 5 stories per book.

tag(s): blogs (84)

In the Classroom

Create an eBook for each student's individual blog or from a class blog. Create an eBook from a class wiki or other feed. Create eBooks about class projects, topics for units of study, sharing student work, and more. Share with parents or other classes. Make a class eBook on a current unit topic to be read on iPads or eBook readers. Teachers can make social studies topics into eBooks for reading practice in time-crunched elementary classrooms. Make the eBook yet another alternative for sharing projects and presenting information. For a high-level thinking challenge, have students create eBook collections of different political leanings to compare during an election year. By selecting and grouping content from multiple sources into one eBook, students can show relationships between disparate content. In world language class, have students collect and generate eBooks with cultural or recipe information in their new language.

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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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Underlined - Penguin Random House Books

Grades
6 to 12
1 Favorites 0  Comments
 
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 ...more
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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 (154), persuasive writing (55), poetry (221), short stories (25), writing (363)

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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PrimaryPad - Primary Technology

Grades
2 to 12
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Primary Pad is a web-based collaborative word processor perfect for students (both elementary and secondary.) The tool is straightforward and easy to navigate. Up to five people can...more
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Primary Pad is a web-based collaborative word processor perfect for students (both elementary and secondary.) The tool is straightforward and easy to navigate. Up to five people can simultaneously collaborate in real time on a single web document using a free, public account. Each contributor's text is highlighted in a different color. There is a side chat window that allows for dialogue. A free Primary Pad Public account allows you to save up to ten revisions of a document for 30 days. The "timeslider" feature replays the sequence of edits and the development of the text. This makes it easy to assess the contributions of each team member. Share and edit text files by importing them directly into a Primary Pad document. With a Public account, documents are read only files. Send private invites to people you want to have "read and write" privileges. It is possible to access Primary Pad in eighteen different languages. Once a document is complete, export it as a PDF, Word doc., and HTML file directly onto a desktop.

There is a free three-month trial account that allows files to be either public or private. After three months, you will be notified and asked if you'd like to continue your account as a paying customer. Paid accounts offer additional features. Such as the paintbrush tool, and the file switches into "Primary Paint" mode. The paint mode lets users draw, insert shapes, use background colors, capture a website screenshot and search for images on Flicker. Upload PowerPoint, PDFs, JPGs, GIFs or PNGs from your desktop and use them in a "Paint" document. Use the embed code provided to share the results of a Primary Pad document on a class or personal website. Share a document via url so designated individuals can immediately begin "real-time" collaboration. Send invitations out to participants through email or simply write down the URL.

tag(s): chat (50), writing (363)

In the Classroom

This site may or may not be fully accessible inside your school filtering. You will want to be sure that all portions you plan to use are available when using your school's network. No login or account sign up is necessary for a "Public" account. You or students can simply click the "Create a Public Pad" button and start typing. Discuss acceptable uses and consequences before introducing the site. The downside of this is that anyone who has the link can access a document, and the work is not password protected. Make sure students understand not to share the link with anyone they do not trust or want contributing. Have students use initials or assign logical pseudonyms (Ex. MsGper2-12, MsGper2-13, etc.) for their user names. Keep your own record of their user names for accountability in case there are any problems. The free public pad option saves a single file for 30 days, so plan accordingly!

All academic subjects can benefit from "real-time" document creation. Student teams can communicate and create presentations after-school, when sick at home, traveling, or even in-class. Divide students into cooperative learning groups to explore the site. In science class, have students draft their observations and results from an experiment together. Let students assume the persona and dialogue of a designated character from a literature study book and add an additional scene. Have students re-write a fable with another student(s). Develop a peer-tutor writing program with older students at a different school site. Provide immediate feedback to students as they write drafts. Use the "timeslider" to assess contributions each team member is making to group projects. Embed the finished product onto the school website for others to read. Writing teachers will love viewing and debriefing time-lapses of the writing/revision process using the slider.

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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 (57), scientists (69), space (226)

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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Protagonize - Taunt Media

Grades
5 to 12
2 Favorites 0  Comments
 
As of June 2017 Protagonize is no longer updated, however there is a note that all contents remain for those who would like to explore. Protagonize was originally a ...more
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As of June 2017 Protagonize is no longer updated, however there is a note that all contents remain for those who would like to explore. Protagonize was originally a site for collaborative story creation. However, now you and your students can create your own "linear" or solo stories, poems, song lyrics, etc. Stories are available for others to comment on or add to. You can easily specify two endings like the "Choose Your Own Adventure" series or leave the story's ending unfinished. Alternatively, choose to create different "chapters" of a story. Before writing, choose from many different story genres. If you prefer not to have outside input on the story, you can select "solo" writing. It is easy to change solo to collaborative writing, however. There is also an option to digitally link the chapters. The site is very flexible, and you can write poetry, drama, song lyrics, and writing exercises including role plays. Before writing, students set up "story guidelines" so that future contributors can see the parameters of the piece. Students can also view the work of others. Mature content is marked with a "Mature" marker. Students and other writers have an obligation to report inappropriate content. PDF format or RSS feeds allow the created work to be saved to another format.
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tag(s): creative writing (169), digital storytelling (154), expository writing (40), narrative (19), persuasive writing (55), poetry (221), six traits of writing (7), songs (53), stories and storytelling (33), word choice (28), writers workshop (34), writing (363)

In the Classroom

You may wish to set up a group or class account, so that you can keep a careful eye on what outside additions are made (use an RSS feed!) . Students would then need to sign their writing or their comments on other class members writing, with a code known by you. Or you can invite students through email, and then create a group on the program that would include your students; however this group would also be open to the public.

Create groups of students who would like to work together on a "Choose Your Own Adventure" story connected to a science or social studies topic. Have the students create the story guidelines and parameters. Once the students have started the story, have them use your projector and interactive whiteboard and get feedback from class members about the different directions the story could take. Publish the final adventures by using the page flipping publishing program, Youblisher, reviewed here.

Have your students create "solo" stories, and then have them switch to "collaborative" to receive comments and input from other members in their writing group or class. Publish the final adventures by using the page flipping publishing program, Youblisher, reviewed here.

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Dvolver - Movie Maker - Ben Rigby

Grades
7 to 12
1 Favorites 1  Comments
   
Dvolver creates animated movies online. In no time at all, there is an animation of your topic. No membership is needed to create movies. Membership is free. Some content choices ...more
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Dvolver creates animated movies online. In no time at all, there is an animation of your topic. No membership is needed to create movies. Membership is free. Some content choices may be inappropriate for the classroom. The scene descriptions include things like "freeze your butt off" at the mountain scene, so less mature students will not manage this tool well. Always preview or use under supervision, depending on your teaching situation and students' maturity level. Here is a sample Dvolver movie made by our review team. Tip: email the finished movie to yourself to obtain the url or find it amid the embed code, if you are enough of a "geek."

Devolvr content may be problematic in some middle school/junior high settings, depending on community standards and student maturity levels. Teachers should preview to determine suitability at their own school or use only in a teacher-supervised setting.
This site includes advertising.

tag(s): comics and cartoons (62), video (272)

In the Classroom

Model how to use this site safely on your projector or interactive whiteboard so students can learn how to act wisely online. Doing this also provides you with the ability to point out specific features students should not use and to spell out consequences. Some districts may filter this site. Follow district policy to see if you can request it be unblocked for educational purposes. Have students create commercials for any or all content areas. The videos are short and limited in the number of characters for text. This means they take very little time to create which makes the tool very versatile. Use this to create beginning of the year "do's and dont's" for your classes instead of rule lectures. Try one for open house to let parents know quickly what is going on in your class. Embedding results in a class wiki or web page will avoid issues with students venturing into undesirable areas of the site. Primary teachers could make quick "movies" as a class using sight words in the speech bubbles so students can practice reading them at a center.

Comments

Not appropriate for elementary or middle school students. Options suggest or lend themselves to inappropriate content. Characters are overtly sexual and scantily clad. Editors Note: Thank you for your comment. We have raised the grade level and added a strong warning. Dwight, , Grades: 3 - 7

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VoiceThread - VoiceThread

Grades
K to 12
23 Favorites 0  Comments
  
Voicethread allows you to upload images (from your digital camera, scanner, or even paint program). You can also upoad PowerPoint slides. Then, as longas your VoiceThread is public,...more
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Voicethread allows you to upload images (from your digital camera, scanner, or even paint program). You can also upoad PowerPoint slides. Then, as longas your VoiceThread is public, you can give students the URL so they can record or write their own comments and/or narration about the images/slides. Other listeners can "comment" back, as well. Access to the ed.voicethread site (as opposed to www.voicethread) is restricted to grades K-12 students, educators, and administrators and is not free. VoiceThread explains how to set up a classroom account and check out their ideas for classroom use, as well. Ideas from the TeachersFirst Edge review team are listed below, under "In the classroom."

Voicethread also offers a free iOS app for iPhone, iPad, and iPod touch. It is free through the iTunes app store. Projects work seamlessly on both computer and mobile iOS devices, so projects started on one machine can be edited and/or viewed on another. The ed.Voicethread account works in both places.

tag(s): DAT device agnostic tool (177), digital storytelling (154), speech (87)

In the Classroom

You will be logged into your account immediately after you fill in the registration form. You must "apply" to designate your account as an educator account once it is set up. Click on "browse" to see many examples, including tutorials. Watch the "One Minute Voicethread" to get a very quick overview of how easy it is to create a digital story. Set up student identities. Use first names only. You need to know how to locate and upload saved pictures or PowerPoint files. If you want to use audio, the COOL tool, you WILL need a microphone, either plugged into your computer or built in. Once you create a Voicethread, it can be shared by clicking "share" from the menu or at the end of viewing it and copying the URL to send via email or other means, inviting others to comment back. Ed voicethreads have comment moderation turned on by default and are private by default. As the teacher, you can change these settings.

Invite parents to share in the results (The VoiceThread classroom page tells you more about this). TeachersFirst does not recommend using actual, identifiable pictures of children. Let them draw a picture or take a digital picture of an object that somehow represents them (middle schoolers will love that idea!). If you allow others to "comment" on student Voicethreads, the experience can be both wonderful and a bit intimidating. Use this opportunity to promote ethical and kind interaction with other students and their projects.

Of course, you should be sure that you have the RIGHTS to any images you upload. Fair Use does not apply when you put an image on the web! Elementary classes can create or take pictures, then ask each child to talk about the images. Each child can comment on the SAME pictures, creating a collaborative collection of responses. After a field trip or special class event, you can assign groups of students to explain each of the digital pictures you took and how they relate to curriculum topics. In art class, students can critique works of their own or of fellow students. In language arts classes, students can scan and comment on writing pieces as part of a reflective phase of the writing process. Or post an image as a prewriting activity and allow students to respond orally in an idea-generating phase. In social studies, have students provide a picture of a grandparent then narrate what they learned about that grandparent from interviewing him/her. Have students create narrated pictures as gifts (for parents or other care givers) for special occasions, winter holidays, Thanksgiving, Valentine's Day, Mother's Day, Father's Day, etc.. During a science experiment or demo, have a student take pictures of the steps. Then ask students to "narrate" them by commenting on what is happening. The narration assignment could even be a center activity or an assignment on a few classroom computers for students to rotate through. What a great way to review and apply key vocabulary! Be sure they identify their voices if you are using a single class account and want to be able to assess understanding. Other ideas: narrated local history projects (pictures of local sites), audio "museum tours" of artifacts (photos) or war veterans telling their stories along with images of their uniforms or old photos. Speech/language, ESL/ELL or early childhood teachers could use this tool to promote vocabulary development and oral expression.

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Yudu - Yudu.com

Grades
5 to 12
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Yudu is more than an online library to read and explore. You can get your own writing published. It's as simple as uploading your PDF, Word, or PowerPoint document. These ...more
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Yudu is more than an online library to read and explore. You can get your own writing published. It's as simple as uploading your PDF, Word, or PowerPoint document. These are automatically turned into the Yudu page-turning format. You don't even have to register to read or listen to a book, magazine, podcast, or brochure. It's free. Aspiring authors can register and publish your writing here, for free. You can also publish digital content beyond digital magazines and brochures. You can publish podcasts, music, audio clips, and photos. You can use Yudu as a visual bookmarking program, too. Once registered, you can create a library to store, share, & promote your digital content. Share your digital, page-turning publications for free or you can keep them private for you, friends, and family. There is an introductory video to get you started. The Yudu "plus" version (for a fee) has additional features.

tag(s): digital storytelling (154), ebooks (39), multimedia (62), news (258), podcasts (57)

In the Classroom

If you have a classroom newsletter, this would be the perfect place for you to publish it. You can then embed it on your website or wiki for parents and students to read.

If your class is studying a certain time period and/or area in the world, have your students produce brochures or newspapers (called a magazine on Yudu) using Yudu. Have your students create their brochure using Word, and then upload it to Yudu for a very polished look. You can then publish these by embedding them, or sharing the url on your wiki or webpage for your class and their parents to view.

In science or math students could make a small magazine with pictures to describe a concept or equation to their peers, to younger students, , or as a final assessment. Instead of a book report, create a Yudu! In English (or L.A.) have students write creative stories or step by step instructions and publish them via Yudu. At the beginning of the school-year, create a class Yudu introducing everyone in the class (name, favorite subject, favorite sport, highlight of their summer, etc..). Share the books with parents online or at Back to School Night.

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Thinkport - Maryland Public Television and John Hopkins University

Grades
2 to 12
3 Favorites 0  Comments
 
This site provides sample student activities and "how to" instructions for students to create timelines, museums, pattern makers, and more. Explore the tools to give students ownership...more
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This site provides sample student activities and "how to" instructions for students to create timelines, museums, pattern makers, and more. Explore the tools to give students ownership over their learning. Create your own activities or use the sample activities given with each tool. Use the Timeline Builder to easily create a simple but customizable timeline. Examine text for better understanding with the Annotate It! tool. Build spatial sense with the Pattern Builder that combines art and geometry in a fun to use tool. Create your own Museum is a great learning tool to decide what to showcase in any type of museum. Besure to check out the Learning Resources tab at the top for great digital activities for all ages!

tag(s): museums (46), patterns (86), reading comprehension (127), timelines (57), writing (363)

In the Classroom

Use these tools for any subject area and for any content. Be sure to look at the sample activities that are great to use as is or can stimulate thinking into your own projects. Use the timeline as an introduction to the first year by discussing their summer activities, major events in a students life, inventions or technology that made a difference in their life, events in their favorite book, and more. To understand content in perspective, create a timeline to be sure students understand why some events happen at particular times. For example, our understanding about biology greatly changes after the invention of the microscope. A great sample activity to Create your own Museum is the celebration of neighborhoods which can create a greater understanding about different people. Create a museum for each different kind of biome that showcases what would be found there. Create a museum for a time period in history but created by a specific group of people. View each of the museums and note the differences in what is portrayed using the lens of that various segment of the population. Create writings or blog posts portraying the differences in the museums and why these differences exist. Even young students can make a simple timeline of their own life of the life cycle of a butterfly to build the concept of linear representation of time.

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Bookemon - Bookemon, Inc.

Grades
K to 12
45 Favorites 1  Comments
 
Write your own original books, add images and artwork as illustrations, and read your published books in interactive, online form. There is no fee for the online publication and sharing....more
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Write your own original books, add images and artwork as illustrations, and read your published books in interactive, online form. There is no fee for the online publication and sharing. This is the ultimate in "digital storytelling." Click "Explore" to browse many "public" examples on the templates page of books created by others. Take advantage of the free apps that make Bookemon even easier to use with any device! Use Bookemon Reader to READ books you created in Bookemon or Bookemon edCenter (available for both iOS and Android). BookPress for iOS devices only allows you to CREATE books from scratch, including using photos from your iPad/iPhone. InstaPress (for iOS only) offers options to make books from documents, pdfs, etc. to be shared on mobile devices as eBooks. Here is an example of a book created by the TeachersFirst Edge editors. Once you set up free membership on this site, students (or teachers) can select to create from a blank start or to use the templates provided. You can also create a book starter of your own as an example so students can follow the prompts you have created. The book creator allows you to upload your own images and to create books from a Word document or PowerPoint file you have already made. EdCenter users can collaborate on books.

After you save and publish the work, share the URL so people can read the entire book online, either among an audience of "just my friends" or publicly. They also offer the embed code to place your books on a class or school web page, wiki, or blog. The easiest option is to copy the address of the new window displaying the interactive book. There is an option to have the book printed for a fee, but this is not required. You can also read books created by others (if they make them public). Use the fully-public option to create learning materials for classes to access year to year for at-home review or reading practice.

This site requires a simple registration. Teachers can set up an edCenter for their school or class in accordance with school policies. See more detailed suggestions "In the Classroom" below and in our sample book! Newer mobile device options include players to view your books on iPads and more.
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tag(s): creative writing (169), digital storytelling (154), writing (363)

In the Classroom

SKIP the profile and friends areas to get to the book creator to play with the tools a bit. Before you get too involved, create an edCenter to minimize advertising and create books in your own teacher-friendly class environment. Use the edCenter to register students and establish privacy settings for your class. No student emails are required.

On the Create Books page, choose from using a blank book, starting from a file, or using a template. Choose "school" to see projects from other classes or a sample created by you or a student team working in advance along with you. Explore ready-made themes (seasonal, topical, etc.) or use "open theme." Choose book dimensions (match layout shape to any uploaded files, such as PowerPoint slides). Enter settings and description of your book (editable later), including who is allowed to "see" it: everyone, just friends, or private. Again choose a "theme" - more of a category where Bookemon will list your completed book. A logical option is "school." Experiment with tools to upload files (within file limits), add images, add text, etc. Written help is offered as you go, but there is no video demo. SAVE often. Turn margins on to avoid chopping content. To share the book, you must "publish" it (i.e. finalize).

Once published, locate the book under "My Books" and use options to share (by email--and see the URL to copy from there), "Make a new edition" to create a new version--also useful for treating the original as a template for later books), Post to Other Sites offers embed codes. The BEST option is to click the book COVER which opens a new window without ads or "stuff," and copy the ADDRESS of that window to paste into email, etc. You can also mark that clean window view as a Favorite on a classroom computer!

Use your edCenter settings to manage social networking features. This will avoid the "public" Bookemon features such as opportunities to share address books, use social tools such as Facebook to share your books, etc. Teacher-controlled edCenter accounts are probably the easiest option for managing within school policies.

With younger students, have them begin their work in PowerPoint then upload for whole-class books. See an example, created by the TeachersFirst Edge editors . The example is full of ideas for classroom use from Kindergarten to high school, including science concept tales, poetry books, general writing, math problem solve-its, and more. ANY grade can use this tool, depending on the amount of direction by the teacher. (By the way, the correct answer to the problem in the sample book is c. 27.) Another idea: have students create personalized books for their parents or grandparents for special occasions (Mother's Day, Father's Day, or Grandparent's Day).

Use the mobile device features offered in your BYOD classroom to make and share books, PDF's, and more. Tip: Use this site for a guided introduction to social networking as a class, an excellent teaching opportunity for digital citizenship in the context of a project.

This is one of the best creative tools for gifted students to go above and beyond regular curriculum. Don't let the "juvenile" appearance fool you. Even older students can write and include images to create and share books of any length. Any independent research or writing project can become an interactive book. Even advanced science experiments and lab reports can be shared online using this tool. Once you have one book, you can use that as a template for others. Inspire your gifted students to create literary magazine or even a personal online "portfolio" of writing, artwork, or photography presented in interactive book form.

Comments

This is one of my all time favorite creative tools. Very versatile. Great for making "buddy books" or for teacher-created learning "books." Make one as a whole class to summarize a science unit in primary grades. I even use it personally to make fee online "gifts" for children I know. I did purchase one print version, and it looked great. Thinking, PA, Grades: 5 - 10

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