Grades4 to 12
In the ClassroomSimply login and click create. Choose a scene you wish to start with. Change your characters from a variety of option. When the comic loads, your chosen character may not show immediately but will appear as you edit each frame. Change sizes of caption bubbles, fonts sizes and types with easy to use sliders. New characters can be added in each frame as well as a variety of additional props such as sports equipment and furniture. Change the background set to a variety of indoor, outdoor city, and outdoor country landscapes. Change background colors easily too. Comics can be saved, scenes can be deleted, and changes made can be reverted to the previous idea easily with on screen controls. Below the comic, buttons for "Save for later" and "Publish Now" quickly save or publish works. If the scene is not ready for publishing, Pixton requests further edits to complete the process.
Consider creating a class account that students can use. Track comics made by students by placing initials in a small caption bubble to identify created comics to a specific student. There are some safeguards in place to be sure students use appropriate language and actions. It would be wise to preview whatever you wish to share with your students, however, 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. You will also want written parent permission before allowing students to create comics that can be seen online.
Capture and use your students creativity in storytelling using this exciting tool! Using small amounts of texts to frame a story or to deliver information creatively allows students the opportunity to work deeply with information and use a creative outlet for a variety of projects. Use for students to provide information learned with personal thoughts on subjects ranging from historical events, environmental issues, discussion about plants, animals, and ecosystems, as well as other topics in Art, Math, English, Health, and others. Use in Foreign language classes for short stories created in the language and translated then by other students in the classroom. Use comics to write summaries of current events, responses to reading assignments, expressions of teen problems, and creative works of humor. With younger students, use an interactive whiteboard or projector to create a class comic on a current topic of study, such as the life cycle of the frog or ways to conserve energy. Use this site to integrate an art and writing lesson. Why not have students create comics to demonstrate a concept in science or social studies, rather than a traditional paper/pencil quiz? World language teachers and ESL/ELL teachers will love the chance for students to demonstrate written language skills in the "context" of their comic situations.
Parent permission advised before posting student work created using this tool
Includes Interaction w general public/ public galleries with unmoderated content
Includes social features, such as "friends," comments, ratings by others
Requires registration/log-in (WITH email)
Premium version (not free) includes additional features or storage
Products can be embedded
Products can be shared by URL
GradesK to 12
tag(s): literacy (106)
In the ClassroomShare this site on your class website so parents can learn about this free resource. Include links to specific publications tha fit your class' needs. Or choose helpful information with your particular parents/students and share the pdf files as print-outs at conferences or via email to help parents.
Grades4 to 12
In the ClassroomIf you need ideas to get students reading for fun and to help develop their confidence, try this site. Highlight this on your class website so parents can try the activities with their older students. When doing author biographies, share this site with your class using an interactive whiteboard or projector. Be sure to check out the "Classroom Strategies" link for even more literacy ideas.
Grades7 to 12
In the ClassroomAllowing students to choose among these books may encourage them to read. Having students "teach" their book to the rest of the class after they have finished it might be an activity that would urge other students to pick up those books, too. Have students share their books creatively: write a blog post as a character, make a video to post on TeacherTube or SchoolTube, or make a podcast "interview" of the main character, played by a classmate. Bring reading into the 21st century reality of your students and watch the two worlds "mash" together.
GradesK to 12
tag(s): wikis (20)
In the ClassroomThis is listed as a TeachersFirst "edge" entry, but our step-by-step walk-through takes the edge off and makes your wiki a walk in the park. Check it out now, while there is still FREE classroom wiki space available from the three wiki tools we review in detail.
Grades1 to 10
In the ClassroomShare samples of students' writing on an interactive whiteboard or projector. Be sure to preview for content inappropriate for your classroom. Have your students create cover art and write stories, book reviews, or poetry to submit to this site. Of course you will want written parent permission before submitting student work to this online magazine. Students should submit their work without identifiable names and location, according to your school policy.If your school prohibits using blogs to post student writing, this is a middle ground alternative to get their works in front of a wider audience.
GradesK to 12
tag(s): thesaurus (24)
In the ClassroomSend students to this site to look up those difficult words. ESL and ELL students can use this site to practice the pronunciation of new words. Be sure to mark this site as a favorite or share on your teacher web page for easy access.
Grades4 to 12
Be aware, there are minor unobtrusive advertisements at this website. Nearly all of the interactive stories require Flash. You can get it from the TeachersFirst Toolbox page..
In the ClassroomThere are many ways to use this site in your classroom. Share the stories on an interactive whiteboard or projector. Or have students investigate the sites on their own (using headsets). Save this site as a favorite and list this site on your class web page. earning support and ESL/ELL teachers will love the variety of options for aural stories, as well.
Grades4 to 10
In the ClassroomUse this site if you want your students to do additional reading. Project the topic, story, and questions on an interactive whiteboard or projector for group discussion. Have your students make up their own questions to go with the site. Have your students write up a similar subject relevant to their own culture and present it, along with questions to check for comprehension. This is a fabulous site to list on your class website for students to use for at-home practice.
Grades3 to 10
tag(s): humor (15)
In the ClassroomHigh intermediate and advanced ESL and ELL students will enjoy the stories and review their grammar usage at the same time when using this site. Reading teachers looking for a way to practice with context clues will find this site a refreshing change. Use this site as a complement to reading stories using sentence strips. Have your students create their own story building activities following the format of this site.
Grades3 to 12
tag(s): resources (112)
In the ClassroomIf you have budding writers in your class, make sure you check out the Young Writers link. Scores of websites open their doors to student publication. You must obtain parent permission before submitting any student work to such sites, however. Why not create a bulletin board, "Smart Writers," to highlight your own smart writers?
Grades2 to 12
tag(s): literature (275)
In the ClassroomCombine your students' love of technology with the joys of reading by letting them select from your download library. These books (in Acrobat form) also provide text selections for teaching about grammar, language structure, and reading comprehension on your interactive whiteboard.
GradesK to 12
In the ClassroomTeachers, make sure your librarian and even parents know about this wonderful web tool. This could be set up as the homepage for several computers in the library, so students can plug in their levels, their interests, and then enjoy the book recommendations. Librarians, use Scholastic's online library evaluator tool to evaluate your current collection. Teachers, take the Book Wizard Tour for an easy explanation of this helpful service.
Grades6 to 12
In the ClassroomTeachers or students seeking some basic demographic data about their own town or city, or wishing to compare it with another location, will find this site useful. Civics, government, or economics lessons could be enriched with local data which might be compared to the more general information offered by textbooks in answer to the question "How do we compare to this?" Math teachers and reading teachers who teach graphical data analysis might get some mileage out of using the graphs and tables from their own towns or communities for computations rather than using generic information from a textbook. Project the graphs on a whiteboard and have students manipulate to explain the meaning of changes in the visuals. Think of the higher level thinking questions you could generate during a political year! Of course, the terminally curious can probably waste a good hour or two just noodling with the data.
Grades5 to 12
In the ClassroomEnglish teachers, create your own TeenInk publication in your classroom. Work with your school's technology teacher to have students set up an online publication like the one at this site--perhaps on a wiki. Don't dare call it a literary magazine these days. Use TeenInk as a prototype of an edgy, creative outlet for your students. Put Shakespeare on the shelf for a few weeks and consider using the TeenInk site's content to show story elements and literary devices. If school policies prohibit publishing content online, make the wiki private and share the password with invited guests. Learn more about wikis at the TeachersFirst's Wiki Walk-Through.
Grades2 to 12
In the ClassroomInstead of writing boring summaries, why not summarize through a comic strip. It's much like storyboarding, but the drawing has been left to the Comic Creator pros. Make a class book of the comics created throughout the year. That book will become the most read classroom book of all in an elementary classroom. Use comics to show sequencing of events. When studying about characterization, create dialog to show (not tell) about a character. Another idea - why not use the comic strips for conflict resolution or other guidance issues (such as bullying). Sometimes it is easier for students to write it down (or draw the pictures) than use the actual words. World language and ESL/ELL teachers can assign students to create dialog strips as an alternate to traditional written assessments.
Grades5 to 12
In the ClassroomStudents can update reports and research by accessing newspapers from around the world. Any of your favorite newspaper learning activities can transfer to a newspaper in another part of the USA or world. Foreign language teachers and students will enjoy using the foreign presses for authentic learning. Social Studies teachers can assign students to compare points of view on world issues or perceptions of the U.S. via various newspapers.
Grades1 to 10
In the ClassroomUse an interactive whiteboard or projector to introduce this website. Read the "science" section together and demonstrate some of the activities. Then allow your students to try their hand (and brain) at the activities on individual laptops or in the computer lab. These activities offer excellent enrichment for your gifted students. Provide this link in your class newsletter (if applicable) and on your class website for students to use at home.
GradesK to 12
tag(s): independent reading (129)
In the ClassroomMake sure you post this site's link to your teacher web page to encourage family reading on April 12. Teachers, click on the "request materials" link to find free teacher resources supplied by Harper Collins to promote D.E.A.R. If you have a D.E.A.R. celebration, you may wish to submit photos at this site as well.
Grades1 to 12
Material created can only be viewed within the program. Drawings are not saved as a jpg or pic file. However, a "snapshot" of the screen can be created by using these keys in Mac: apple, shift, and 4 and click/drag to surround the portion to save. In PC use: control/print screen. These snapshots can be uploaded or used as a picture in other applications.
In the ClassroomQuick start: Click stage and in the center pane, click on backgrounds. Click on paint to make a new background. Different colors, pens, and materials can be used to create the background or an image can be brought in from your computer. Objects in Scratch are called a Sprite and can be added in by choosing the folders below the screen. By clicking the script tab, blocks can be moved in to create motion, add sounds (even record your own message), and change the look of the Sprite. Blocks are linked on to each other to create a series of events. A control block dragged to the top of the blocks control which key starts the event. Advanced options include adding variables and other controls.
Be sure to check with your Technology Department, as many districts require authorization to download or install new applications. Projects can be shared online; however an account is required.
Work is saved to the computer itself and only shared online via an account. To avoid problems concerning content made by outsiders or issues with sharing, save the work locally and either create your own gallery on a supervised class website/wiki or set up a single account where you share the "best" projects online via your own log-in. Remind students of the school's Acceptable Use Policy and consequences of violations, if you do allow them to join/share. Images used should adhere to all copyright rules. Use pictures taken in class or those with Creative Commons licensing (and provide attribution!).
Practical tips: Students quickly catch on to this program when allowed to play and easily see what they can make from it. Provide a simple assignment with defined rules/tasks to learn the tools. Younger students may familiarize themselves more easily working with a partner. Have students use a storyboard to write down what they will do/draw/say in their creation in order to keep tabs on what students and their creations.
Possible uses: For the lower grades, Scratch provides unlimited possibilities. Use as a new way to show vocabulary usage. Use the paint program to add information to a picture from your class field trip or science experiment. Use Scratch to help in storytelling a concept in a new and unique way, such as how rocks are formed. In the upper grades, use Scratch to show complex material in a new way. For example, students can draw DNA and show replication, etc. through their drawings and storytelling. Draw the different movements of landforms in plate tectonics. Draw or illustrate solutions to Math problems.