Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Spooktactular Story Writing Resources

It is the time of year again when the ghosts and goblins come out and the spooky stories get written in classrooms.  So here is a presentation that I gave recently that shares some online, Web 2.0 tools, as well as some iPad apps, that can be used to create some "spooktacular" stories with your students.  Turn those boring handwritten or Microsoft Word stories into graphic or video masterpieces!

Friday, October 5, 2012

Create Your Own iPad Games with Sketch Nation Studio

I don't consider myself a developer at all and I created a game in under 5 minutes with Sketch Nation Studio!  This iPad or iPhone app walks you through the steps of creating a simple or more advanced game.  When creating your app, you can draw your own characters, props, and backgrounds on the screen as you go, or you can can import images by taking a photo with the camera.  Beginning developers can create games in which characters jump up platforms, jump down platforms, jump across platforms, run across the screen, or fly across the screen.  Yes, those are the only choices, but you can be very imaginative within those parameters, I assure you!

Today's students are so creative, I know that they would be engaged using this app to create games.  In the classroom, game development can be used to teach cause and effect and problem solving.  Students can also create games based on curricular topics.

If students create accounts, they can share games among one other.  It is even possible that if a great game is created, it could be sold in the iTunes App Store!

Thursday, October 4, 2012

Poster My Wall!

I am LOVING PosterMyWall!  I have to thank my colleague Jennifer Morrison for sharing this great resource on our Discovery Education Edmodo site because it is a real find.

PosterMyWall is an online site that will allow you or your students to instantly and FREELY create wonderful quality posters.  You can use the pre-loaded backgrounds and clipart or upload your own.  Plus you can upload your own images and the program comes with some awesome fonts and font effects.

As a teacher I often find many occasions to create posters.  But, think of all the reasons that you can also have students create posters in the classroom.  Posters are wonderful projects for end of unit reports for students to show what they know; and they can be used for any subject area.  This tool is extremely easy to use.  Teachers can also upgrade their account to a FREE teacher account after signing up for the initial account.  Just go to: and upgrade your account.  Then your students can save their work without any need to have an account of their own.

The only negatives are publishing and saving options.  The posters do not reside online.  Finished projects can be downloaded and and printed or added to other documents such as MS Word.  Or, projects can be published to social media sites such as Facebook or Pinterest.  Regardless, this is a great site for creating posters for you and your students!

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Silhouette Memoir Writing with Tagxedo

Our fourth grade students were writing about a special event that had happened in their lifetime and the fourth grade team asked me for an idea to integrate technology into the lesson in a unique way.  I thought about it and I envisioned the students' special story residing in their mind and I though that words floating around in their heads would be interesting.  But, to make it personal, a silhouette rather than just a head would make each student instantly recognizable.  So, we decided to created Tagxedo word cloud images from each student's silhouette.  Each student would pull in the most important, visual worlds from their memoir that would tell their story.  Here are some of our projects:
The most difficult part is creating the silhouettes for Tagxedo.  I started with photo images of the students taken against a plain, white paper background.  I then edited them in Corel to remove all detail by removing the background and removing all brightness until just a silhouette remained.  For those less technical, I would suggest tracing the students silhouette on black paper and simply taking a photo of the black paper to upload to Tagxedo.
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