Monday, April 23, 2012
Sunday, April 22, 2012
How do we build a community of writers and readers in our classrooms? How do we teach students to give, receive and apply feedback? Storymash.com can help students experience the writing process first hand!
First, students post their writing in the form of a draft. Each draft posted is considered a chapter regardless of the genre. Storymash.com attaches a discussion forum to the post so any reader on the site can post feedback, or even provide extension ideas for the piece. Any reader can also choose a featured draft and take the storyline in a different direction or change the genre completely. Hence, the name storymash.com since all visitors to the site can potentially "mash" their stories.
Once a student receives feedback, students apply the feedback and repost the revised piece, making it available for further peer review and ranking, but best of all, for the possibility to earn MONEY!
In the draft stage of the writing process on storymash.com, only the student can edit the piece, but once the student has edited the piece, he/she will repost the piece as "published. As a "published" piece on storymash.com, writing can no longer be edited by students, but readers can still comment, and rank the writing. If the piece becomes popular, then students earn revenue for their writing through the page advertisements. Storymash.com also offer writing contests with prices over $500! (Please visit storymash.com for a more detailed explanation on how revenue potential works. I could definitely see how a school could create an account and use the revenue for school needs, or how students can create personal accounts with parent permission and see how they can earn money through their writing.)
Storymash.com helps students understand writing requires reflection, collaboration and revision. I hope writing will be a smash in your classroom at storymash.com!
(Disclaimer: This site is open to anyone, so teachers should ask for parent permission/school approval before registering since content of published stories will vary, and may include mature themes. Teachers can still use storymash.com to have students post their own stories, but monitor what stories students read on storymash.com.)
Wednesday, April 18, 2012
Everyone loves a good story, and now students of all ages can write their own using storyjumper.com. Students can customize their stories using their original ideas or use storyjumper.com's templates which provide settings or pictures of characters to prompt students to write original storylines. Storyjumper.com gives students several publication options. Students can embed their stories in a website, share it through social media, print a paper copy, or purchase a hard copy. For $24.95, students can purchase a copy of their storybook including a hard cover and pages in color. Storyjumper.com has an intuitive interface students of all ages can easily use. There is tool bar at the top of the screen showing each individual page of the storybook in a timeline format. On the left of the storyjumper.com screen, students have several options for their story: Props, Scenes, Photos and Text. Each of these tabs have pre-selected options organized by theme, or students can choose to upload their own pictures of people and places to personalize their storybook even more. In the scenes tab, students can choose different settings or upload their own picture of a place and time to add that personal touch. Of coure, all of these props, scenes, photos and text can be edited or resized to create a desired effect.
How much fun it would be to have students take their own pictures of people and places in their community, or even from places they have visited and incorporate these images into a story.
Storyjumper.com is not just a elementary tech tool. I can see the potential for middle or high school students to use Storyjumper.com to retell a complex plot using the page timeline. In chronological order each of the pages could help them retell the most important plot events, climax, falling action and denouement of a piece they may be having difficulty reading.
Storyjumper.com has a free sign-in and provides various handouts for helping teachers teach plot and character development. Storyjumper.com not only jumpstarts students' attitude toward writing, it also encourages students to use their imagination and creativity.
Check out my storyjumper.com story at http://www.storyjumper.com/book/index/5182782/-It-Came-From-Outer-Space- ! Watch the tutorial video by eduTeacher! Let your class jump right in to WRITE their own story!
Friday, April 13, 2012
No offense to Jiminy Cricket, but this time, we'll leave the stars shining in the night sky and make our wishes on www.wallwisher.com. This brilliant site will make every teacher's dreams come true!
Wallwisher.com is a virtual bulletin board of sorts to post and share what you want--text, images, videos, and links. It's a great tech tool for informal or formal assessments at all levels of Bloom's taxonomy.
It's a free site with a no registration option, and it's easy to build a wall in minutes. Teachers can build a wall by registering. However, if you do not register, you will not have editing abilities. Teachers will want to register to be able to receive emails for screening student posts and offer feedback for post revisions. Once registered, you are prompted to create a unique URL for your wall so you can share it, and determine who can view and post on your wall. Wallwisher.com allows you to personalize the wall by picking a color theme and image or uploading your own. Most importantly, you can add a title and subtitles at the top of your wall so contributors to the wall know what they should or shouldn't post. Titles and subtitles serve to state the wall's purpose, and can be in the form of questions, descriptions, thought-provoking quotes, or whatever purpose you want the wall to serve.
Here's how I have used wallwisher.com:
1.) I have used wallwisher.com to practice vocabulary. I have asked students to post original sentences for their assigned set of vocabulary words, and include an image, video, or link to illustrate the word's definition and connotation. Since students see each others' contributions, it's great practice for students to click on each others' posts to read other original sentences and see the attachments illustrating each of the definitions.
2.) I have used wallwisher.com to assess reading comprehension for pre-reading, during reading and after reading practice. At different stages of reading instruction, I have asked students to stop reading, reflect and post predictions, connections, inferences, personal interpretations, comparisons, cause and effect examples, and more. Students have posted what they believe to be the themes of a piece; they have identified the tone and mood of a reading piece and then included a post with an image, video or link expressing that particular tone or mood.
3.) My students have used wallwisher.com to have virtual sticky note conversations by responding to each others' posts. Students have practiced how to elaborate, agree or disagree with each other and how to provide textual support for their arguments in the form of images, links, videos they attach to their virtual posts.
A classroom wall can be theme based or can be used for brainstorming. Teachers can post content for students to edit on the wall, and students can always include additional links, videos, or images to elaborate, extend and support whatever they post. All posts are limited to 160 characters which also teaches students to be succinct.
As a virtual bulletin board with unlimited postings, there are as many possibilities for wallwisher.com's uses as there are stars in the sky to wish upon. Not only can wallwisher increase student engagement, but it is a great tool to encourage a sense of collaboration and community in the classroom.
"When you wish upon a Wall,
Makes no difference who you are
Anything your heart desires will come to you..."
As Jiminy always says, "Let your conscience be your guide" when you design ways to use www.wallwisher.com in your classroom. Feel free to share how you have used this stellar tech tool!
Check out a video from eduTeacher on how to use wallwisher.com, and my Fearlesstech4teachers Wallwisher to post how you will use this tool in your class!