Charlotte's Web ThingLink

Thursday, February 26, 2015

Using Prompts for Student Writing/EduWin for Carla Dunavan

Sometimes having students find inspiration to find a topic to write about can be difficult. I was always trying to find innovative ways to provide prompts. While there are lots of resources and ideas out there, here are two you might like to try.

Story Starters from Scholastic offers creative writing prompts. The online program asks for a first name, but not an e-mail address. The first name will automatically be entered if your student uses the online feature that allows them to type. Since Story Starter is a web-based program, you can assign it to your students to use on their Chromebooks. The prompts are leveled grades K-6th, and the program does change the prompt choices. There are four themes, Adventure, Sci Fi, Fantasy, and Scrambler. Each comes with a Teacher’s Guide and a Spin Lever you or your students can pull to come up with an interesting prompt.

If the student has accessed the web version, they’ll be able to choose a format, notebook, letter, newspaper, or post car, and can choose to add a drawing. Once the student is finished, the finished product can be saved to their Google Drive account. 

All they’ll need to do is choose “Print.” They’ll then need to make sure the Destination shows that it should be sent to their Google Drive. You’ll see that the Destination shows as Google Drive and that my username is shown. Once it is saved, your student will be able to find it saved as a PDF in their Google Drive. While it can be shared, since it is a PDF, it will not be able to be edited.

Another way I enjoyed giving student writing prompts was by using pictures I had cut out of magazines. I had a huge file of my favorites that my team and I used over the years as homework or in-class prompts that (sometimes, if we were lucky) tied to what we were doing in class. Enter Photo Prompts, a tumblr site with lots of photo prompts that can be filters by topic.

Of course, there are lots of other writing prompt websites. Write About is a great tool and offers a writing community. The site offers beautiful pictures and poses deep, thoughtful questions. Teachers can set up a class by signing up with their Google Apps for Education account. You’ll get a code that makes it easy for students to join your class. Geared more toward the older student, Write About offers students a chance to join writing communities based on their interests. That gives them an authentic audience to share with and receive feedback from. If you are interested, there is lot’s more information here.
EduWin/Carla Dunavan and WeVideo

WeVideo is a great way to use the Chromebooks to have your students create multi-media presentations. Want to get started with WeVideo in your classroom? Carla Dunavan has shared a short Google Presentation she created to use with her class. She shows how your students can install a Chrome extension that makes it really easy for your students to access WeVideo from Google Drive. Thank you Carla for sharing!

Thursday, February 12, 2015

ReadWriteThink/EduWin for Christa Aoto with Google Maps

ReadWriteThink is a website that partners with the International Reading Association and the National Council of Teachers of English to provide quality language arts lesson plans you can use in your classroom. 

Recently, ReadWriteThink (RWT) has begun offering a number of free apps for your iPad, and one for Android tablets. One I recently downloaded from the App Store is Timeline.

The timeline can be organized by date, time or event. Each pin the student creates on the timeline has room for text and images. If students need to leave their work and return to it later, there is a Save Draft function. Next time the student returns to the app, the timeline can be edited. Once the timeline is finished, it can be e-mailed as PDF, or saved as a JPG file to the iPad's Camera Roll.

Another RWT feature is a list of interactive lessons. You can find these under Classroom Resources. There are about 60 interactive activities that span Kindergarten through 12th grade and include lesson ideas. Since ReadWriteThink is web based, it is easily accessed on student Chromebooks. 

I loved using the interactive lessons with my students but often ran into the challenge of having students who weren't able to finish the activity in a class period. Once they logged out, their work was lost. Also, the only way to save finished work was to print it. However, a new feature that 
ReadWriteThink offers in some of its interactive activities is the ability to save student work, and with Chromebooks, it is easy to save directly to your student's Google Drive account. You can find these by looking in the Interactive left-hand navigation bar and looking under Capabilities. 

You will also know when an activity you open has this capability because it will have a Save tab.

Once the student is ready to save their draft or complete work, choose the Save tab. Students should name the file and press Save.

On the next screen, choose Google Drive. If the student has multiple folders, they can open up My Drive and choose the folder they would like to save the file in.

They will receive a notice that the file has been saved.

When they go to My Drive in their GAFE account, it will be saved in My Drive, or in the folder they directed it to.
Next time they go to RWT, they will find their work by selecting the same interactive activity and choosing, Get Started. When the activity opens, choose the Open tab, and then choose Find My File.
Choose Google Drive and find the find the file by opening it from the folder it was saved in or from My Drive if wasn't saved in a folder. This may be a little tricky depending on how the files are ordered. Files can be listed as Last opened by me, Last modified by me, or Last edited by me. Depending on how long it has been and how much has been saved since the last time the file was opened, it might also be found in Recent. Double click on the file. A window will show that the file has been opened and the student will be able to continue editing.

When the activity is finished, it can be saved in Google Drive following the same directions as above, it can be e-mailed, or it can be printed assuming Google Cloud Print has been enabled.
Another feature offered by RWT interactives are nine audio activities. Find these under Capabilities. This one is memory match game.

With all the resources there are, it is sometimes hard to zero in on the one that is best to support your lesson and curricular objectives. RWT has vetted lessons that you can search by grade level, type of lesson, learning objectives, and themes. And now that they offer easy to access, use, and save interactives, it might become one of your favorite places to go.

EduWin for Christa Aoto with Google Maps

Christa Aoto is a TK teacher at Athenour. Recently, her students were a bit puzzled that they could be living in the United States, California, and San Jose. To illustrate this concept, Christa turned to Google Maps. Using the Earth view, she showed her students how they could be living in so many differently named places at once. 

If you or one of your colleagues are doing something in your class that uses edtech tools, please let me know. I'd love to share it with other teachers.

Friday, February 6, 2015

Haiku Deck /EduWin for Leslie Abbott

Haiku Deck is a web-based and iOS tool that makes it easy to create visually stunning presentations, and it is free. While you can upload and use your own photos, Haiku Deck has a huge library of Creative Commons photos for you to use, and it has a great search feature that uses the words of your text to suggest photos. 

Here is an example of how easy it is to find great pictures. Haiku Deck has automatically suggested words to use to search images from the words I entered on the slide. It chose the words valentine, day, holiday, sweets, sweetie, and holiday sweets.

I've selected to use the word "sweets" by clicking on it, and Haiku Deck has returned a number of images. I can always go back to choose a different word to search on, or enter a different word for those on the slide altogether.

The text feature encourages the creator to limit his/her words. This will help teach your students to be precise, and may even build public speaking skills when they don't have lines of text to read when presenting to their class.

Want to use Haiku Deck for math? No problem. There are also graph templates to use. 

Haiku Deck offers suggestions to teachers on creating an account for their class here:

Haiku Deck Accounts: Best Practices in the Classroom - Created with Haiku Deck, presentation software that inspires

There are lots of ways to integrate Haiku Deck into your curriculum. Leslie Abbott, a second grade teacher at Guadalupe, recently shared, "In my enrichment RTI group we read about cheetah adaptations in a National Geographic for KIDS, made a thinking map/tree map, and now on Monday I'll have them make the Haiku Deck on their chrome books." This is the one she made as an example. 

Cheetah - Created with Haiku Deck, presentation software that inspires

Here are a few more ideas to get you started using Haiku Deck in your classroom:
  • illustrate vocabulary
  • tell a story
  • holiday messages
  • illustrate poems
  • examples of a concept
If you are using Haiku Deck in your classroom, please e-mail me your ideas and I'll happily pass them on.

If you or one of your colleagues are doing something in your class that uses edtech tools, please let me know. I'd love to share it with other teachers.