HD_Links: Five Websites to Inspire Your Students

I’m sharing five of my favorite tools for the classroom to inspire kids to get creative. Check them out!

1. Aviary: This site can really do it all!  Photos can be edited instantly online and saved right back to your hard drive!  You can create music with it.  There is even a design option that allows you to draw!  I think this is one of those sites that could come in handy in almost any project.  Imagine if students are making a digital story and one member of the group is the “Musician” and gets to design the music?  Or, if they are working on a poster for an Earth Day project and they take their own photos outside of your school and edit them in the classroom.  I love Aviary most because it’s one of those sites that is ready to use.  There is not much to read or figure it… it’s just click and get creative! Perfect for the classroom. :)

2.  Wonderopolis This site gives kids LOTS to think about.  There is a brand new “Wonder” posted everyday.  You will learn things here you didn’t even realize you wanted to know.  It’s a great site for kids with writer’s block or kids who just love to learn…and really…what kid doesn’t love to learn?  I would bookmark this one on your classroom website and let kids visit whenever they’d like.  It can inspire them to learn about new things and think more creatively about everything they study!

3.  Cartoonster & Fluxtime:   Cartoonster has several tutorials that take kids step by step through the artistic process of creating a cartoon.  It will teach them about the simple act of making a flip book, adding perspective to drawings, and how to spruce up a cartoon.  Fluxtime is another site that they can use to draw and create their own animation!   Making an animation could be a wonderful way to summarize a book, demonstrate cause and effect, make a public service announcement for a cause that students have researched, or just to create a story!

4. Incredible Art Department: I spent just a few minutes at this site, and with a couple of clicks, there are tons of links to explore.  Beware of Google Ads cleverly placed around the pages, but the content here is wonderful.  I visited a site to make a Jackson Pollock of my own.  When the Pollock page loads, it’s white, click around to throw paint – okay, it’s EVEN fun for the teachers. :) .  I also discovered a Van Gogh project I think I know a few students would love.  There are lots of project ideas organized and I  found a list of tons of creative art sites for kids.

5. Glogster.edu: Glogster is a great tool for getting students in the creative mode. It has tons of fun, flashy moving graphics, colorful designs, and the ability to put music, video, and voice audio right onto your page.  You can create a digital poster that can be published for the world to see or kept private for your classroom only.  Text and links can also be added.  It would be a fun way to make a ‘book report’ or use as a place for gathering research for a collaborative project.

Hope one of these fits right into your classroom…. now I’m going to go finish my Jackson Pollock painting…   Afterall, it is summer.     If you have any favorite tools, please leave a comment, I’d love to hear about them! :)

Post by guest contributor Krissy Venosdale of TeachFactory.com. Veteran eMINTS teacher, gifted education teacher, Tweeter, photographer….. and that’s just her day job. Original post August 2, 2011 on TeachFactory.com.

HD_Links: Graphic Novels or Comic Books – Whatever you call them they are WRITING!

Saturday morning cartoons on TV, the newest X-Men comic book, or even the Sunday morning comics in the newspaper can captivate kids and adults alike?  Allowing students to create authentic products like these may engage some more than simply asking them to write a story.

These tools focus on writing and illustrating comics/cartoons. These resources allow students to create their own comic strips or custom animations to be integrated into writing projects across the curriculum.

What kinds of projects using these tools might engage your students?

Brooke Higgins is an instructional specialist with the eMINTS National Center. You can read more at her blog Higgins Helpful Hints Blog.