I really like a good story and so do my students. Stories are fun to tell and fun to listen to. However, according to my grade 8s, they’re a bit less fun to read – and a lot less fun to write. This attitude is about to change. Armed to the teeth with the tools the wonderful Janet Bianchini gave us yesterday, I intend to woo and wow them, bring them to their knees and make them see the error of their ways… (Janet’s session was on idioms – can you tell whether it’s rubbed off on me yet?)
Because I’m really interested in web 2 tools and technology, and not so much in teaching idioms, what I most enjoyed about Janet’s presentation were the links to, and demonstration of all the different web 2 tools she uses to tell stories.
My teenage students somehow forget that they don’t like writing when a laptop is placed before them. To boot, web 2 tools motivate them no end. What I learned from Janet’s session is therefore really going to help me in my day to day teaching. Thank you Janet!
Most of the tools she demonstrated were totally new to me; fodey, makebeliefscomix, dvolver, bitstrips, maxmydream, toondoo and photofunia. The rest were “old” favorites, such as GoAnimate, Imagechef, bookr and Voki.
Janet’s slide show presentation with the links to all the tools and the examples is available at Brighton Online. Download now!
Here’s a full list of the resources from Janet’s session:
Amanda Wilson and Susan Dempsey seriously wowed the jam-packed conference room at the Brighton Center yesterday. Their presentation “Web 2.0 for IELTS Speaking and Writing Success” was everything I could have hoped for and more. The presentation itself was entertaining and enjoyable, very well prepared and set up, and I left the room feeling like I’d just been handed a basket full of new exciting toys and tools for learning that I really can’t wait to try out on my guinea pigs erm. grade 8s at home!
One of the great things about Susan and Amanda’s presentation was that they provided us with a little booklet at the beginning of their session. It contained a list of all the tools they’d cover, along with a description of each one, the web-link and other notes. This booklet is available at Brighton Online. Go get your copy! It may also be available at the authors’ personal blogs, check out Susan’s blog here and Amanda’s blog here.
Here are my notes from the super session:
* All of the web 2 tools have been tested with 16-18 year old students.
* Susan and Amanda use blogs as their learning platform with the students but I think Moodle can be used with advantage too. I believe all of the web 2 tools they described can be linked to from Moodle or embedded even, – time will tell.
* Of all the web 2 tools they covered, my favorite so far must be the Vocaroo; a quick online voice recording application where you can record voice messages and afterwards share them with others via email. The students need a microphone only, no need to download or install anything, it’s free and impossibly easy to use! Imagine assigning reading homework to your students and picking it up in the morning from your email account – then choosing a “good one” and playing it to the class as you start the day! Or, imagine having the students use it to read in a news broadcast they created/wrote in groups, or a commercial ad or…. The possibilities are endless (I’m excited – can you tell?)
*The other tools that were mentioned were: Google Wonder Wheel, Linoit, Audacity, Five Card Flickr, Storify, Typewithme and Jing. These have now officially been added to my “to do list” and I will report back with my findings after I’ve had a chance to test them out. If any of you know of blog posts that have already covered any of these please let me know! Also, if you happen to test them out before I get a chance please let me know so that I can learn from you!
Now I gotta go … I have a long day of learning – and fun – in front of me!
Here’s another gem from the in-service training by Andrew Harvey that I enjoyed last week . It’s a way to teach story writing that supports the learner every step of the way, helping even the least confident and timid among them produce nice, well-structured fairy tale like stories.
A Girl in Red, a Wolf, a Grandmother and a Basket of Peanut Butter Cookies. on Storybird Step#1: Introduction. The T starts by telling the Ss a story. The example Andrew Harvey gave us was “The Big Red Hen”. If you prefer, the Ss can listen to an audio-recording or watch a video of someone telling the story too. This step is repeated as many times as necessary depending on the age/level of the students. The point here is that the Ss should become very familiar with the story before you move on. The Ss are “ready” for the next step when they can tell you what comes next when you suddenly pause mid-sentence.
Step #2: Imitation. Ss reconstruct the story. This can happen as a full class, group or pair activity. The way Mr. Harvey described this made me think of dictogloss. In the end all Ss should have a copy of the story in front of them. This can be done in steps by offering the Ss the text cut up in pieces for them to sequence, and/or by providing a cloze of the text for them to complete. Before you go on to the next step though, the Ss should be able to write down the text from memory.
Step #3: Innovation. Ss are asked to change a few key elements of the story, perhaps the names of the characters, the conflict and/or the way the story is resolved but keep the rest as is.
Step #4: Compare/Contrast. Ss share the stories and with the T’s help compare and contrast them, perhaps by listing similarities and differences between them or by using a Venn Diagram.
Step #5: Invention. Ss ”rewrite” the story but change everything except the basic structure.
I’d like to add a few final steps of my own:
Step #6: T collects the stories and edits them for accuracy
Step #7: Ss are taken to the computer lab and asked to publish their stories by using a suitable Web 2 tool such as Storybird or My StoryMaker. I used Storybird to create the storybook I’ve used to illustrate this post.
I haven’t yet tried this method with my grade 8s. If only Mr. Harvey had visited a few months ago as I was starting the module on Fairy Tales! Oh well, I’ll just have to save this gem for next year’s class. In the meantime I’d love to hear from anyone who has had experience using this method and or Storybird/My StoryMaker with their kids. Do you think the plan is as fool-proof as it seems?
Inspired by my blogger friends, most recently Eva who wrote a post about using a glog as a pre-reading exercise , I decided to have a look at what Glogster and Glogs were all about. I had been told it was “great for creating interactive posters” and that “you can get an edu-account and manage the students on the site as well” so I set the following tasks for myself:
1. Create my own interactive poster to use with my students.
2. Get an edu-account and have my students use it to create their own posters.
Step one is hereby accomplished. It wasn’t difficult at all! I got the hang of it almost immediately and that tells me that my techno-savvy grade 8 kids will have no problems with it. I created a glog about Paris because I’ll be travelling there next week to visit a school and (I hope) sight-see around town as well. The visit is part of a Comenius project that my school is involved in.
My plan for the Paris Glog is to embed it into a Moodle Module Quiz. The students will have to explore the Glog, i.e. watch the videos, take the virtual tour and check out the links to be able to answer the questions on the quiz correctly. Putting the questions in Moodle means the program will mark the student attempts and the kids will get instant feedback on their work. That will keep them on task even without me in the room! You see, I want this activity to be assigned to the kids by their sub-teacher while I’m away in Paris.
If I didn’t have a Moodle I could of course have supplied the students with a traditional worksheet to go with the Paris glog, but then I’d have had to collect the sheets afterwards and either marked them or gone over the answers later. That would have been less fun – especially for me! Now all I’ll have to do is have a nice conversation with the kids about Paris when I arrive from France – and what they’ve learnt from the Glog-Activity will probably make for a more fun and informed discussion. Don’t you think?
Task 2 will have to wait until I come back from Paris. In the mean time – do any of you glogsters out there have any experience with using Glogster for Educators that you could share with me? Pretty Please?