TeachersFirst Edge - Digital storytelling

 

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Figment: Write Yourself In - Jacob Lewis and Dana Goodyear

Grades
6 to 12
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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 ...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 (225), 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 (53), 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
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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...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 (54), scientists (69), space (214)

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
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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...more
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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.
This site includes advertising.

tag(s): creative writing (168), digital storytelling (154), expository writing (45), narrative (23), persuasive writing (55), poetry (225), six traits of writing (7), songs (53), stories and storytelling (32), word choice (27), writers workshop (32), 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
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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 ...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 (72), video (270)

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.

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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
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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 students can record or write their own...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 students 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. VoiceThread explains how to set up a classroom account and has some 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. Your ed.Voicethread account works in both places.

tag(s): DAT device agnostic tool (167), digital storytelling (154), speech (92)

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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Youblisher.com - Youblisher

Grades
K to 12
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Have you ever wanted to share your class books online? Youblisher offers a wonderful, visual method for uploading pdf's to an online location and making them look like pages turning...more
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Have you ever wanted to share your class books online? Youblisher offers a wonderful, visual method for uploading pdf's to an online location and making them look like pages turning in a book. If you don't create with Acrobat, not to worry! You just need to scan your documents to convert them to a pdf file. Once you know how to generate pdf files, you are ready to go. Explore whether your computer can "print" to pdf files or learn how to use the scanner. If you use a Mac, the option to "print" from your word processor or other program to pdf is built right in. Once you have a file as pdf, upload the files to this site. Youblisher makes your files flippable like the pages of an interactive book. You receive a link (url) to add to your website. Check out the introductory video on the homepage. Students, teachers, and parents (and grandparents) will all love seeing classroom creations in this easy to view format.

tag(s): book reports (37), digital storytelling (154)

In the Classroom

Share interactive books created online for students to read at learning centers. Create a lesson via pdf files and share it on your interactive whiteboard or projector. Scan/convert and save students complete research projects, upload the pdf's as a way to share all information. Create a class book, or newsletter, including images, and upload the pdf "book" or newsletter to Youblisher. Then include the the url on your website to share with friends and family. Challenge students to create their own books (in cooperative learning groups) about a specific topic being taught in class. Have upper elementary or middle school students create online "little buddy books" they can share online with lower grade classrooms. If your interactive whiteboard program generates pdf files from in-class activities, why not share them in flippable form on your class web site for review or absentees?

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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 (43), multimedia (62), news (262), podcasts (54)

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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Little Bird Tales - Little Wings

Grades
K to 8
1 Favorites 0  Comments
   
It's as easy as one, two, three to create an online story book that uses your own artwork, photographs, text, and voice. Little Bird also has an "art pad" so ...more
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It's as easy as one, two, three to create an online story book that uses your own artwork, photographs, text, and voice. Little Bird also has an "art pad" so you don't have to scan and upload drawings; you can create the drawings in the program. Little Bird Tales has a short video explaining each step on the home page. Once the stories are complete, you can place a link to the story on a web page or wiki, or email it to parents, students, etc. This is a great way to publish student writing. This program is free and was created specifically for ages 3 to 14 as a safe, advertisement free web environment.

tag(s): creative writing (168), descriptive writing (42), digital storytelling (154), expository writing (45), narrative (23), persuasive writing (55), preK (288), stories and storytelling (32), writing (363)

In the Classroom

The possibilities for using this program are limitless. Choose a story from the public section of the program, or create your own. Use your interactive whiteboard and projector to show students the story and how easy it is to put their story on this program. Little Bird can be used in science and math for students to demonstrate their knowledge of a unit learned, by explaining it in three ways: verbally, drawing, and using text. Create myths and stories in language arts classes, or students can review a book they've read. In social studies, students can create reports on a country, time period, or famous person. Students can work individually, in pairs, or in small groups. You might want to have this program open on a computer in your classroom for students to use when they are finished with other work. Share the urls of student reports and stories on your web page or wiki.

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Fraboom Online Children's Museum - Flying Rhinoceros

Grades
K to 8
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Inspire the cartoonist in your class. Fraboom free Daily Doodle live page provides online art teachers, learning communities, video tutorials, and interactive activities. Fraboom TV...more
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Inspire the cartoonist in your class. Fraboom free Daily Doodle live page provides online art teachers, learning communities, video tutorials, and interactive activities. Fraboom TV has videos on how to draw faces, noses and mouths as well as educational videos about dinosaurs, ants, outer space and much more. There are also engaging interactive books to listen to and view.
This site includes advertising.

tag(s): animation (65), artists (76), comics and cartoons (72), creative writing (168), drawing (79)

In the Classroom

Inspire expressive writing with cartooning. Play the video lessons about drawing cartoon faces as part of a writing mini-lesson. Encourage students to incorporate evocative facial features in their story illustrations. Afterward, prompt students to include expressive language in their writing that supports their drawings. Be sure to preview the online learning space before allowing students to participate. Fraboom monitors all chats and content before posting. An adult needs to enroll students in order for them to participate in the online drawing classes. Check your school policies on allowing students to participate in online discussions. Spell out permissible use and consequences in advance. This site may or may not be fully accessible inside your school filtering. Be sure to screen all portions of the site before implementing it in class and check if it is available when using your school's network.

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Thinkport tools - 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.

tag(s): museums (50), patterns (85), reading comprehension (116), timelines (64), 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
42 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 in this site, students (or teachers) can select to create from a blank start or using 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 thing online, either among an audience of "just my friends" or publicly. They also offer the embed code to place your books in 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.
This site includes advertising.

tag(s): creative writing (168), 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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Kizoa - Kizoa

Grades
2 to 12
3 Favorites 0  Comments
   
Create animated slide shows from uploaded pictures or those on Facebook. Use this free online image suite to store and organize photos. Edit photos using a variety of effects. With...more
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Create animated slide shows from uploaded pictures or those on Facebook. Use this free online image suite to store and organize photos. Edit photos using a variety of effects. With this easy to use uploader, store photos in your own online library. An excellent idea for backup of photos or to share photos with friends by sharing a link. Create slideshows from your library of photos. Add effects and pieces of music to enhance your photo slideshow. Use the online software to send links to friends. Use the embed code to add to blogs, wikis, or sites in order to share the content. With the paid premium version, burn your slideshows to DVD.

tag(s): images (275), photography (161), slides (65), video (270)

In the Classroom

Users must have knowledge of finding and uploading photos as well as navigating this easy to use site. Take time to play a little with this site and learn about all the functions and effects.

Use this site to add information to pictures for class and student projects and creations. Add attributions (copyright info and sources) directly to the photo. Add student responses to pictures of class experiments. Create artistic effects with student pictures. The ideas for picture taking, creating, and sharing are endless. Make this a link from your class wiki so students can cut down file sizes before uploading large photos or make edited composites to communicate their message visually. As you study propaganda, have students create propaganda images to share on a class wiki or classroom bulletin board. Art teachers will love the ability to teach photo montage without expensive software. Make creative bulletin board displays from multiple digital pictures of special events, adding text and captions right into the photo. ESL/ELL, language, and special ed teachers can ask students to label images with sentences including correct vocabulary and grammar. Have students in your reading class create visual idiom images using digital pictures.

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podOmatic - podOmatic

Grades
1 to 12
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Create simple audio podcasts using this online tool and the free space they provide. Simply put, this tool lets you create and place sound recordings online for people to listen ...more
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Create simple audio podcasts using this online tool and the free space they provide. Simply put, this tool lets you create and place sound recordings online for people to listen to and/or download from the web. There are MANY free podcasts in a variety of subject areas (art, health, technology, music, business, and more.) We have linked this review directly to the K-12 area within the site. The site includes some social networking tools, so some schools may have it blocked. The site is a "general public" site, so the home page has links to recent podcasts that may not be appropriate for young people. Attach a mike or use your built-in computer mike; create the podcast by clicking a record button, (you may have to tell your computer to "allow" the site to access your mike). Choose a background for your podcast page. Share it with others using one of several sharing options on the "My Podcast" tab, including copying the link. Listeners can listen to it online or download to their MP3 player. See and hear a sample we made for you.. You can also create a "minicast" with a simple upload of images and audio that turns your images into a short video. Transitions are also available for your minicast. Share through a blog, twitter, a link or directly to Facebook. There are limits to the amount of file storage for free accounts. The site will tell you how much space each podcast takes and how much you have left. Podomatic does not allow memberships for those under 13. Podomatic now has a free iOS and Android apps.

tag(s): DAT device agnostic tool (167), podcasts (54)

In the Classroom

Podomatic does not allow memberships for those under 13. Teachers using this tool with younger students should do so under supervision and with a teacher-controlled account. You will want to supervise or establish consequences so students do not spend time on the public areas of the site and instead proceed to creating their podcasts. This is an opportunity to teach about digital citizenship and safety, such as steering clear of interaction and avoiding sharing any identifiable information about yourself in a podcast. You may want to share the links to class podcasts only with your students and parents. If you have students record podcasts as assignments, you may need multiple accounts because the free accounts have limited file space. An elementary teacher might have enough space for 25 students to keep a limited number of products on his/her own account, depending upon length.

Create regular or special podcasts to share on your class web page or wiki. Create a minicast of images taken during a lab or a portfolio of images from a photography, art, or any other class. Add music and share as part of a digital portfolio. More ideas: record class assignments or directions; record story time or a reading excerpt for younger ones to listen to at a computer center AND from home! Have readers (perhaps older buddies) build fluency by recording selected passages for your non-readers. 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 students create "you are there" recordings as "eyewitnesses" to historical or current events; make a weekly class podcast, with students taking turns writing and sharing the "Class News;" have students create radio advertisements for concepts studied in class (Buy Dynamic DNA!); have students write and record their own stories or poetry in dramatic readings; language students or beginning readers could record their fluency by reading passages; allow parents to hear their child's progress reading aloud, etc. Compare world language, speech articulation, or reading fluency at two points during the year. 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.

If you have gifted students who lean toward the dramatic, this tool is simple enough for them to create dramatic minicasts without needing a video camera. They can collect images (think Compfight) and write a drama to accompany them, showing what they have learned in independent learning beyond the regular curriculum.

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Storybird - Storybird Inc.

Grades
K to 8
9 Favorites 0  Comments
   
Write your own story or collaborate and create a story using pictures, themes, and other prompts generated by the site. Students and families also can view stories created by others....more
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Write your own story or collaborate and create a story using pictures, themes, and other prompts generated by the site. Students and families also can view stories created by others. The final story is available for sharing via URL or email (or keeping private) and printing it is an option. Basically, write text and titles, create a book cover, add graphics, and pass the product to a co-writer (if collaborating) who adds more until both feel the story is complete. A demo video explains the basics. A special section for artists encourages art contributions and explains how to use the art to enhance the stories. an Education area provides a way for teachers to set up accounts for a class with or without student email. If your district blocks YouTube, the video may not be viewable. You could always view the video at home and bring it to class "on a stick" to share. Use a tool such as KeepVid, reviewed here, to download the video from YouTube.

tag(s): stories and storytelling (32), writing (363), writing prompts (93)

In the Classroom

Have pairs of students create a story by working collaboratively after you have explained and demonstrated the basics. Encourage your older students to use this tool for projects created in response to research or extra study. This is a great find for gifted students who want to include art work and use their creativity in productive ways. ESL/ELL students can use the site to recreate folk tales and recreations from their home countries.

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ThumbScribes

Grades
3 to 12
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Want to create a class or group poem, story, or novella-- even a song? At ThumbScribes (in beta) you can do that easily. There are many genres from which to ...more
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Want to create a class or group poem, story, or novella-- even a song? At ThumbScribes (in beta) you can do that easily. There are many genres from which to choose, and you can be public or private. When using ThumbScribes privately, you will invite your students via email to join in the writing. Scribes are collaborative works, created and passed between ThumbScribes' authors, where each adds a new section to the story, poem, novella, etc.

tag(s): poetry (225), writing (363)

In the Classroom

Challenge your students to collaboratively write a story, poem, or novella using Thumbscribes. Use ThumbScribes in conjunction with Story Writing Tips for Kids (reviewed here), to have students write create a story together. Write a story or poem about a topic being taught in science, a current event, math concept, biography of a hero, or nearly any other subject area. Create a class book at the beginning of the school year to collaboratively share what your students did during the summer months.

Through the "Sneak Peak" you can read any public poem, story, etc. In order to write or "co+create" you will need a screen name and e-mail. Once you've signed up, you can start by creating a new scribe. All you need to do is click on the "Start Writing" button at the top of the page.

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Bitstrips - Core Matrix

Grades
3 to 12
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Bitstrips lets you create comics. You will also find comics to read or remix, created by others in the Bitstrips community. Create professional-looking comics in minutes. Choose the...more
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Bitstrips lets you create comics. You will also find comics to read or remix, created by others in the Bitstrips community. Create professional-looking comics in minutes. Choose the number of panels, type of characters, style of speech bubble, and various props and settings. Several actions are available: clicking and dragging the items to go into the comic strip, typing dialog into the bubbles, scaling items in the frame, rotating items, and more. There is a "Bitstrips for Schools" link; this feature does offer a 30-day free trial, however it is fee-based after 30-days.

tag(s): comics and cartoons (72)

In the Classroom

Have small groups of students each create one panel as a summary of something you just read in class. Use comics in math and turn a word problem into a comic strip/cartoon. In social studies create a comic strip/cartoon about a historic event, person, place, or speech. In language arts take a novel or non-fiction book and create a comic strip/cartoon about the characters and plot. You can also have your students write summaries of current events or responses to reading assignments. With younger students, use an interactive whiteboard or projector to create a class comic on a current topic of study, such as the different parts of a plant or the planets.

Register and play with the simple tools to choose how many frames, settings, people, dialog bubbles, and props. Save your work to come back later or you may "publish" right away. You have a choice about whether others are allowed to view and "remix" your work. You also have the option to edit work or embed it in a website, blog e-mail or wiki. It would be wise to preview whatever you wish to share with your students since the general public can create comics with their own ideas. Students should submit their work without identifiable names and location, according to your school policy, (since you own the master account).

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Six Word Stories - Pete Berg

Grades
5 to 12
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Six Word Stories challenges students to create a meaningful "narrative," book summary, reaction to a movie, or other literary reflection in just six words. Based on a famous one by...more
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Six Word Stories challenges students to create a meaningful "narrative," book summary, reaction to a movie, or other literary reflection in just six words. Based on a famous one by Ernest Hemingway, the site collects the writings of amateurs and professionals. Readers can search it by theme or by genre or author (including famous ones). Links include places to try similar endeavors including 2-sentence stories and fifty-word stories. Please preview: at the time of this review, there was one inappropriate comment with a curse word.

tag(s): writing (363)

In the Classroom

Have a contest and challenge your students to submit the best 6-word story after finishing a novel, play, or poem. Try creating some together on interactive whiteboard, brainstorming first to generate possible words from which to choose, then dragging to rearrange them into a meaningful story. Make a six word story "sidebar" at the side of your class where students can work together with a partner on the IWB to generate new stories as summaries for an act of a Shakespeare play or in response to a sonnet. In a journalism class, try this for a twist on headline writing. Introduce poetry writing by having your students try their hand at expressing an emotional experience in just 6 words. ESL/ELL students often create unusual combinations in writing; why not have them display their creativity here in an acceptable form? Share this site with world language teachers also.
 
 This resource requires Adobe Flash.

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Photo Timelines - LIFE - Life Magazine

Grades
6 to 12
1 Favorites 0  Comments
 
This site allows you to view, create, and share interactive timelines. Browse timelines from the 1900s (or before) through the present on various topics and current events. Scroll to...more
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This site allows you to view, create, and share interactive timelines. Browse timelines from the 1900s (or before) through the present on various topics and current events. Scroll to the bottom of the page to search by decade. A series of pictures centered around a theme in a specific time period accompanies a short summary of what is happening in the picture. There is also the option to create your own unique timeline and share it by URL or by embedding in your class blog, wiki, or web page. Click "Log-In To Life" to get started creating your own timeline. To create a timeline you MUST register at the site. Login requires a Facebook, Twitter, Google, or Yahoo account.

tag(s): timelines (64)

In the Classroom

If you only plan to VIEW timelines, no extra skills are needed. Step by step directions are provided. You will also need to choose a username to create your timeline.

There are many uses for the ready-made timelines: use your interactive whiteboard or projector to learn about historical events, research literature, learn about different decades and events throughout the world, and more. Have students create timelines for research projects using Photo Timelines. Use this tool to make a timeline of your class,''''?,"'''? school year for younger classes who are just learning the graphical representation of time. Create author biographies, animal life cycles, or timelines of events and causes of wars. Challenge students to create a timeline of the plot of a novel, interspersed with the ways themes appear throughout the novel. If you teach chemistry, have students create illustrated sequences explaining oxidation or reduction (or both). Elementary students could even interview grandparents and create a class timeline about their grandparents,''''?,"'''? generation for Grandparents' Day. Why not create a timeline highlighting students' family events for a special gift for Mother's Day, Father's Day, or other holidays? You may need to assign students to do some investigative work first (years of births, marriages, vacations, etc.). In world language classes, have students create a timeline of their family in the language to master vocabulary about relatives, jobs, and more (and verb tenses!). Students can learn about photo selection, detail writing, chronological order, and photo digitization while creating the timelines of their choice. Making a timeline is also a good way to review history and cultural developments.

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Penzu: Write in Private - Alexander Mimran and Michael Lawlor

Grades
4 to 12
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Penzu offers a FREE service to write journals or diaries online with exceptional privacy options. As an added benefit, you can add images or your own artwork as illustrations. There...more
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Penzu offers a FREE service to write journals or diaries online with exceptional privacy options. As an added benefit, you can add images or your own artwork as illustrations. There is a very short demo video on the home page. On Penzu you can keep everything completely private or share selective posts by email or URL. Perhaps share selections on a class wiki page? Don't have a wiki? See the TeachersFirst Wiki Walk-Through for practical management and safety tips for a class wiki. Note: Premium service is available, but this review is for the free version.

tag(s): DAT device agnostic tool (167), homework (46), journals (21), writing (363)

In the Classroom

A class journaling program has limitless possibilities. Engage students in discussions using a topic from current events, current social issues, independent reading, literature, and more. Any class using a journal can use Penzu. For example, science lab write ups or the problem of the week in math. Penzu can even be used for homework. Just think, no more lugging heavy boxes full of notebooks around! In language arts have students journal daily and harvest from their musings and ideas to create a short story or a poem. They can even use Penzu to develop their brainstorms and rough draft. For social studies classes, students can write posts and ideas about famous people or daily life in a time period being studied, then create a "diary" for the famous person in Bookemon or a poster about daily life. For either of these ideas, once they are ready to present a final project have them use Bookemon, reviewed here, or Piktochart, reviewed here, to share with their peers and others and possibly add other media. See more ideas for student blogging/journaling at TeachersFirst's Blogging Basics for the Classroom. Share journals with parents as appropriate by URL. Be sure to respect student privacy before sharing.

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