Let’s Talk About: Practicing Creative Communication with Students

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June is Effective Communication Month – the perfect time of year to practice the Creative Communicator ISTE standard with students. Students consume media messages a lot more frequently than they create them.  June has a few silly “holidays” that can be used as fodder for student practice.  Let’s talk about how to make the best of these opportunities.

Garfield the Cat Day is celebrated on June 19th. Consider having students create cat memes to share.  Challenge older students to research the overweight tabby and give younger students a short biography to make sure they have enough background knowledge to be creative. Creating a Garfieldesque meme would be an easy project to facilitate using BigHugeLabs (reviewed here) or Adobe Spark post (reviewed here). Include a mini-lesson on copyright so that students know how to responsibly find and use images to make their creations. This TeachersFirst®️ curated collection is an excellent place to start looking for images. 

June 19th is also International Box Day. Ask students to create an infographic about how people use and reuse boxes.  The Canva infographic maker (reviewed here) has a lovely assortment of templates. Use Animoto (reviewed here) or Microsoft Sway (reviewed here) to create a Public Service Announcement about the need to recycle boxes.  Help students remember to keep their audience in mind as they produce their work – customizing a message helps to make it more effective.

Use June 20th to practice a little digital citizenship, in addition to communication.  Ugliest Dog Day, while amusing, could quickly devolve into something unkind.  An authentic activity might see students creating social media posts to help place dogs from an animal shelter.  An interactive made with Genially (reviewed here) can help students focus on positive attributes rather than a negative one. Using Synth (reviewed here) or Vocaroo (reviewed here), students can make a quick podcast instead of a visual.  

A number of these tools offer additional features for schools for free.  Be sure to check out the education areas for BigHugeLabs, Adobe Spark, Canva, and Animoto.  If you are already using these tools in your class, we’d love to learn about what you are doing.  Leave us a note in the comments!

About the author: Ruth Okoye

Dr. Ruth Okoye is the Director of K12 Initiatives at The Source for Learning. As a long-time technology coach, Ruth shares ideas and strategies for professional learning and thoughts on how to motivate yourself to “dig deeper” into educational technologies.

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