Digital Storytelling

I love Storybird. That is all I can say. I just love it and here is why. Sometimes it is difficult to get students writing. We have all heard the words “I hate to write,” but Storybird is a resource that allows students to create stories from pictures.

I was introduced to this resource by a teacher who used Storybird in her elementary classroom. She was struggling to get students to write about a topic, a lot of the students simply couldn’t come up with anything to write about. This teacher decided to use Storybird and the results were incredible. Simply, by giving students pictures, stories were more vivid and descriptive. Students were begging to write and use this tool. In my mind, anything that elicits a love of writing, is safe and easy to use, is a winner.

Storybird allows you to create accounts for your students, moderate students comments, and allows for collaboration amongst peers. It is easy to use and free. Students pick a picture that connects with their topic and begin writing, other students can make comments on the work, or you can have a safe classroom discussion about a writing topic. You can even create a hard copy version of your book for parents or classroom libraries.

Click here for Video Tutorial 

Find References Easily

Do you ever wish you could check your email, search the internet using multiple web browsers, read daily headlines, and learn a new word, all in one place? Well, I have a site for you! Refdesk is an amazing site that allows you to search the internet for the best resources available. As a teacher, I found Refdesk very useful for instructing students on researching topics. Not only does Refdesk have links to the most reputable news resources, it has a reference desk that includes grammar tips, citation resources, and even a homework helper organized by subject.

Refdesk is a wonderful resource, that is totally free! If you use this resource in your classroom, let me know what you think by posting a comment.

Video Resource Review

Word Clouds

“The Raven”-Created in Tagxedo

Tagxedo is a free tool that allows the user to create “word” pictures. When I learned about Tagxedo I was skeptical. While this is a nice way to showcase different pieces of writing, will it really be useful for instruction? Little did I know what a big impact this tool could have on my students.

There are so many ways to use Tagxedo in your classroom. Lets say you have a student who struggles with redundancy in their writing, Tagxedo identifies which words are used most often and those words are larger in the picture. This means a student can visually see what word they are using too often or identify the main idea of their writing.

Tagxedo is also perfect for famous speeches and poetry. You can have students create a Tagxedo on the Gettysburg address and identify what words are used most often and how those words relate to what was happening during the time the speech was written. The possibilities are endless!

Below you will find a link to both Tagxedo and Daily Tagxedo, a website dedicated to creating Taxedos on different current events.

Marzano Connection: Nonlinguistic representations, Identifying Similarities and Differences
Tagxedo

Daily Tagxedo

Read Write Think

Over the years I have collected many resources for classroom use, but Read Write Think is one of the best.  I think that my love for this website stems from the ease of use.  Not only can I find lesson plans for almost any language arts lesson, but all the lessons come with resources and standards for learning. I can use this website to find cross curricular lesson plans, professional development, and after school activities.  My students especially loved the interactive resource tools.  Tools such as the Essay Creator that allowed students to organize their writing in a specific way, was very useful for technical writing. Once students finish using any of the interactive tools they simply download or print their final product. Read Write Think even has resources for parents.
Oh by the way, did I mention this incredible resource is completely FREE! I know I’m gushing a bit, but this is one tool I couldn’t live without. Try Read Write Think for yourself and let me know what you think.

Check out Read Write Think

Read Write Think Video Review