Posts Tagged ‘language arts’
There is a current breath-of-fresh air movement (in my opinion) in some education circles that is known as Maker Education or the DIY Movement. I wrote recent post on this topic, STEAM and Maker Education: Inclusive, Engaging, Self-Differentiating.
The hands-on, interdisciplinary, student-interest driven nature of Maker Education has always been a focus in my classroom environments. Because of the current interest in Maker Education, I wanted to revisit and share a semester long Maker-Enhanced Writers’ Workshop project I did with a group of gifted elementary students a few years ago.
Students began by developing their characters and plot – I am used selected sections from the free downloadable Young Novelist Workbook – http://ywp.nanowrimo.org/workbooks to guide them in this process.
Each learner developed a character using the Young Novelists Workbook to guide the character development. Their characters were further developed through drawing them,
An option for Character Development using a web tool is Scholastic’s Creature Creator – http://www.scholastic.com/underlandchronicles/creaturecreator.htm
Students were asked to group themselves by similarity of their characters. They had to clearly be able to articulate the commonality among their characters. [Interestingly, many of them really attempted to group themselves by similar characters rather than working with their friends, which I expected.] Groups contained two to four writers.
The groups spent several weeks of the Writers’ Workshop developing their story plot using the activities from Young Novelist Workbook – http://ywp.nanowrimo.org/workbooks. I, as the teacher, acted as the sounding board and feedback giver. Representatives from the different working groups would come to me to pitch their stories and would return to their groups to report on the feedback I provided.
In conjunction with their plot development, students created a 3D storyboard setting with “natural” objects. They then “wired” them with PicoCricket to have programmable movement, lights, and sounds.
An online version of the story’s setting can be created using http://www.citycreator.com/ or Minecraft.
Students made eBooks using their story line and plot from in the Young Novelist Workbook, scanned sketches and images of the characters, and the pictures of the 3D setting.
(Note: We used Tikatok. They changed their user agreement and we lost all of the books.)
A theme song was written and recorded for their stories. It was introduced as having them develop a song for their stories like a TV theme song. They used Songsmith http://research.microsoft.com/en-us/um/redmond/projects/songsmith/. UJAM http://www.ujam.com/ is another option for students to record their own story theme songs.
Here is an example from three 5th graders’ book the Three Islanders:
Reader’s theater scripts were written in a scripting format using a Word program. Students practiced reading their scripts and then created a podcast using a web tool such as http://vocaroo.com/ or https://soundcloud.com/. See ReadWriteThink’s Readers Theatre about the logistics of creating one.
I have written about the power of Comic and Animation Technologies in the Classroom. Because of the Academy Awards, I was introduced to the beautiful, animated The Fantastic Flying Books of Mr. Morris Lessmore that has so much potential for classroom uses. What follows is the 15 animation and a description of the iPad storytelling app that tells the interactive story.
As is my tendency, I tweeted and Facebooked my excitement for this animation and others responded.
Extension Activity with an Interactive Storytelling iPad App
Through the creators’ ingenuity, they developed an amazing iPad app to go along with the video.
There are lovely filmic perspectives on each page, hand drawn illustrations that fade to 3D digital animation and the interactivity makes you feel like you are part director of your own animated short (The Fantastic Flying Books of Mr. Morris Lessmore is a Game-Changing eBook App).
The app includes pages of the story with text and 3D animated illustrations with an option to have audio narration of text.
The text can be translated into various languages.
Each page also has a “secret” embedded interactive that the user needs to discover. This one is a keyboard where the user can follow along and play Pop Goes the Weasel.
One of my hobbies and frankly, passions, is finding free, exciting, and engaging resources to enhance the curriculum at my K-8 school. Here are my finds for this week:
Got Brainy – Got Brainy features user-generated visual-based vocabulary definitions. These include Brainypics (photo/image definitions) and Brainyflix (video definitions). Students can create and submit their own Brainpics/Brainflix for their own vocabulary words. If there is enough school-wide interest in this project, we can create our own site of student visual definitions.
International Children’s Digital Library has a digital library of outstanding children’s books from around the world. The search engine for these online books include categories based on age level, genre, types of characters (kids, imaginary, animals), length, and picture-chapter books.
Tools for Educators offers free word search generators, word search makers, worksheets and programs for preschool, kindergarten teachers, elementary school teachers and language teachers to make word search puzzles to print, games for lessons, lesson plans and K-6 printable materials for classes.
Zooburst is a digital storytelling tool that lets anyone easily create his or her own 3D pop-up books. I tried it and what I liked is that I can upload my own images into the 3D book. I think the students are going to love it.
PBS Kids: Sid the Science Guy is a science web site appropriate for our K-2 students. It includes three discovery zones: the Super Fab Lab at Sid’s school, the playground and Sid’s family kitchen.
National Geographic Creature Features allows kids to search through photographs and videos of all kinds of animals. The photographs are stunning. This was used with 1st and 2nd graders this past week, all easily staying occupied for their 45 minute technology course.
Golems is a 3D recreational physics simulator. Some of the older students, Junior High, have expressed an interest in 3D rendering. I plan to offer this as a choice project later in the year as the Junior High students will be asked to identify technology projects they would like to produce.
Google Apps in the Classroom is a Google site I created that contains an aggregate of Google Presentations on Google Docs, Calendars, Sites, and Maps/Earth. We have Google Apps for Education for our school. These resources will, hopefully, get more teachers to utilize these resources.
Stupeflix Studio is a video creator similar to Animoto. Pictures, video, titles, and music are mixed together to create a video. They are planning a version for educators. Animoto has become a very popular tool for the teachers and students at our school. It will be nice to offer them another option for video mash-ups.