Tag Archives: Writing

eMINTS Conference: Session 2 (Friday)

Design Patterns 2.0

Our good friend Bernie Dodge presents on how the best WebQuests are those built around tasks that resemble the authentic work that people do outside of school. Design patterns provide us with a way to describe that work and make it easier to create WebQuests that better prepare our students for life. This session will be the world premier (since yesterday’s session) of a new set of design patterns that will kick lessons up a notch.

Journals, Blogs and Wikis to Enhance Reading and Writing

Presenter Denis Knight provides participants an opportunity to gain a better understanding of various web-based instructional opportunities to use to enhance reading and writing skills. Participants learn how to use online journals, blogs and wikis to develop innovative ways to not only communicate with students, but provide an avenue for creative written expression. Teachers can generate online journals for students to reflect on classroom activities; blogs for addressing constructive response questions and article reviews to address reading comprehension. Participants learn to create a classroom wiki to provide opportunities for interactive discussion and peer evaluation. When used with appropriate assessments, these online sources can give teachers the flexibility to use internet sites as a way to move from the paper and pencil past to a new and exciting learning experience.

Personalize Your PD

Presenter Stephanie Madlinger helps teachers expand and take ownership of professional learning by creating a PLN (Personal Learning Network). Having a PLN allows one to learn and share with others around the world, 24/7. A PLN is a reciprocal network created and based on your interests and needs. Generate multiple opportunities to learn from, connect with, gather information and resources, then create and share with people like you. Participants learn which online tools to use to personalize their own PD. They explore online learning communities like Google Groups and SchoolTown; social networks like Facebook and Twitter; and social bookmarking like Delicious and Diigo.

Put Some WOW into Your Website

Krissy Venosdale of Hillsboro R-3 School District helps teachers explore ways to use the classroom website to enhance the learning environment. Using various Web 2.0 tools, sprucing up certain areas of one’s site, and encouraging interaction on the classroom site will enhance learning both in and out of the classroom. Digital portfolios, online projects, and weekly contests can all be used to engage students in a site and most of all, in learning.

Class, get out your cell phones please for bellwork. Seriously!

Presenter Roger Brallier of Mexico Public Schools help participants learn how to use cell phone technology to add an extra spark to bell work or preassessment in the classroom. Roger demonstrates how to reduce “under the table texting” and unlock the power of the cell phone (which may be greater than some of our older computers). Additionally, participants learn the basics of “Poll Everywhere” – a free online tool that shows real time results using the texting feature of a cell phone. Even without a phone, one can still use a webpage link.

The Flipped Classroom Approach in an eMINTS Classroom

Presenter Melody Paige of Monett School District presents a flipped classroom approach that entails “flipping” instruction in which students watch and listen to lectures for homework or at other non-instructional times. This gives learners control to pause or rewind lessons for understanding. Precious class time is then used for what typically was done as homework: tackling difficult problems, working in groups, creating, collaborating and researching. The concept is simple; but how does one make the “flipped” approach work in the real classroom? What software is needed? In this session, teachers watch videos of this concept in action and provide many resources for creating flipped content. There are many free completed lessons and videos ready for use in the classroom.

eMINTS Conference: Session 4 (Thursday)

Return of the Speed Geekers!

eMINTS National Center staff Doug Caldwell, Ruth Henslee, Jen Foster, Amy Blades and Brooke Higgins lead this fast-paced and exciting session. Participants benefit from the knowledge of others in the field and walk away with a plan for incorporating 2.0 tools in meaningful ways. Workshop participants view actual, practical and rich examples of online technology tools and hear about implementation strategies used to enhance communication, collaboration, and cognitive thinking. The workshop’s activities are delivered in a “speed-geeking” format. Five stations are set up and participants rotate through each station in timed intervals.

Beyond Blogs and Wikis: Technology Tools for the Writing Classroom

Kerry Townsend presents how teachers of writing will learn new ways in which the collaborative writing process can be taught in the modern, technology-enhanced classroom. Web-based applications such as Google Tools, Twitter, Evernote, Prezi and Weebly are discussed as well as AV software and tools such as iPads/iPods, webcams, document cameras, Audacity, iMovie, etc.

Student and Class Created e-books

Cathie Loesing of the eMINTS National Center shows participants how easy it is to create ebooks and share ideas for classroom use. Creating books in the classroom to support developing reading skills, to share learning and as a component of writing instruction is not a new idea. However, eBooks make sharing those projects easier and more rewarding than ever. See how you and your students can use a free online program to create and share e-books that may be read on smart phones, iPads and other eReaders.

SMART Notebook Math Tools

Laura Brockman from SMART Technologies helps participants create, explore and evaluate math concepts with SMART Notebook™ Math Tools. This add-on to SMART Notebook collaborative learning software combines all the tools you need to teach math concepts and solve equations in a single application. It keeps everything at your fingertips, so you can easily incorporate shapes, measurement tools, graphs and tables into lesson activities.

eMINTS Conference: Session 3 (Thursday)

Google Docs in the Classroom

Presenter Stephanie Madlinger presents online collaboration & instructional strategies using Google documents, providing a 24/7 global approach and differentiated instruction for all learning styles. Participants create, share and edit online by using the basic abilities of word processing, presentation, and spreadsheet software. Additionally, teachers create an online form to collect information, chart and graph in a snap. As a Google Certified Teacher, Stephanie Madlinger shows us how to open up one classroom to new learning today! All one needs is a Google account to get the most out of Google Docs.

Sites Worth Quacking About!

Glenda Admire and Ashley Sutherland of Lebanon R-III show us how using technology to enhance existing lessons doesn’t have to be difficult. Quick and free sites easily adapt for classroom use in a matter of minutes. Sites shared range from classroom management to tools that will help enhance lessons through use of technology.

Journals, Blogs and Wikis to Enhance Reading and Writing

Presenter Denis Knight helps participants gain a better understanding of various web-based instructional opportunities to use to enhance reading and writing skills. Educators learn how to use online journals, blogs and wikis to develop innovative ways to not only communicate with your students, but provide an avenue for creative written expression. Teachers generate online journals for students to reflect on classroom activities; blog for addressing constructive response questions and article reviews to address reading comprehension. They learn to create a classroom wiki to provide opportunities for interactive discussion and peer evaluation. When used with appropriate assessments, these online sources give the teacher the flexibility to use internet sites as a way to move from the paper and pencil past to a new and exciting learning experience.

SMART Board: More Than Just a Fancy Whiteboard!

Heidi Beatty of Horace Mann Laboratory School demonstrates how to make one’s SMART Board/SMART Notebook work for teachers to motivate students, promote peer interaction and independent success! In this workshop, participants explore SMART Notebook and how it can work to enhance lessons and engage students. Students should be comfortable using the SMART Board and by attending this presentation, teachers are more confident in their own skills as well as letting a 6-year old or a 12-year old use this expensive piece of equipment! The presenter models and assists in guided practice.

Friday 4ALL: Speaking with Conviction

This has been making the rounds, but it’s worth posting here. Poet Taylor Mali’s “Totally like whatever you know?” has been animated by Ronnie Bruce, a film student. The resulting video has been a hit throughout social media outlets over the last week+.

What follows is Mali’s lament over language that speaks with little to no authority through the use of discourse particles such as “y’know”, “whatever”, and “like.” Watch and listen…

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7kdrsPRZnK8

Like, that was so powerful…just kidding.

Mali’s poem (brought to life through Bruce’s animation) declares the importance of speaking with authority and power. This is an important lesson for young writers and speakers to learn. A thesis or declaration in a speech is so much more meaningful without the discourse particles.

How might you use this video with your students? How might you students create a product with the same impactful imagery of our words driving the point home? What message do you take away from Mali’s poem?

Zac Early is like an instructional specialist or whatever with the eMINTS National Center, y’know?

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.

HD_Links: Lucky 7 Online Writing Tools

It's time to write

Here are seven online tools and resources for helping your students in generating their best creative work.

  • Remember “choose your own adventure” books when you were growing up? Well, now there’s a collaborative writing project called One Million Monkeys Typing where you can help write such adventures. Follow the routes already set by previous writers or add your own twist.
  • Another collaborative writing project is FoldingStory where contributors are limited to 120 word “folds” in order to complete a narrative.
  • Remember Magnetic Poetry? Still have those magnetic tiles with a variety of words allowing you to create poetry on your refrigerator? Now, there’s an online version for your students to write their own poetry. Check out Magnetic Poetry’s Kids’ Poetry Page and see for yourself.
  • Lightning Bug provides young writers a writing partner when they need some feedback or ideas in writing a story. This could be an excellent tool for those students who find themselves out of school and writing workshop for an extended period.
  • Besides the need for writing partners, young writers also need graphic organizers. Writing Fun by Jenny Eather is your one stop for an interactive graphic aid resource.
  • Games and writing prompts that can spark creative writing can be found at Language Is a Virus.
  • Sometimes, the best way to make the dialogue in creative writing seem more authentic is to add a flavor of a local dialect. “The Dialectizer” is such a tool. Enter a URL or selection of text and choose a generalized dialect to transform dialogue into a conversation that looks the way you want it to sound.

What are some online tools and resources you use to help your students with their writing?

Zac Early is an instructional specialist with the eMINTS National Center. He wants to give a big H/T to PD4ETS graduate Diane McCormack, a tech facilitator for Affton Schools, for pointing out these and many other great online resources.

Tuesday’s Tool: StoryBird

Know any teachers who have reluctant readers or writers? Are you looking for an online tool to jumpstart all students’ imagination? If the answer to either question is yes, then you need to check out Storybird!
What is Storybird? Basically, it’s an online, collaborative, storytelling tool that uses artwork for inspiration. Students can read Storybirds from the “public library” or create stories of their own.
It all starts with the click of a button. First, browse through the artwork. It’s fantastic! Some submitting artists are professional illustrators. How often have your students had the opportunity to collaborate with professional artists?! Once inspired by an artists’ work or a theme, it’s time to let the imagination go and create a Storybird. But students don’t have to work alone;  everything is in place to collaborate on a Storybird.
To make the process even easier, you can create a class account and add students so that you can make assignments and build libraries.
This is one of those rare tools that is great for both older and younger students! No matter what you teach, it will be easy to find relevant uses for Storybird.
Debbie Perkins is an instructional specialist with the eMINTS National Center.