Monday, April 26, 2010

Make and Share your own books - StoryJumper

Storyjumper is another site along the same lines as Bookr (which I mentioned in an earlier post) but this new offering has a few extra features that make it a little more user-friendly for classroom projects. Once a student has created an account (must be at least 13 years old), s/he can upload pics and drawings of their own, in addition to searching within a bank of Flickr photos. The user can add what are called "props", as well as background images and text. For the teacher,  Storyjumper would be a great way to  create books on seasonal or topical themes and then view them in class on a Smartboard or digital projector. (Here's one I made as a demo.) Unfortunately, there is no embed code. If you think your book is particularly inspired, a nice extra is to have it professionally printed (for a price), or even print it out on your own colour printer. Take some time to look through the books in the gallery. Some will be perfect as is, and some will even let you "remix" the content for your class.

(See the comment from Blake for more information on how to use Storyjumper with your class.)

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Magnetic Poetry - Smartboard app?

Here are another couple of web apps that are fun to try on your Smartboard. Both are from the "Magnetic Poetry" site. This vendor sells a number of boxed sets of magnetic word games. The idea is to make "found poems" on your refrigerator, filing cabinet or any handy metal surface. Using the app on the site, students can "try before they buy",  make a poem, and then save the final digital product as a screenshot and perhaps use it on a blog or website. You can even view poems others have created, although the quality is..."uneven".

Older kids

Younger kids

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Jeopardy Game - online version

We all know that that the Jeopardy format (questions & answers on a grid) makes an excellent review activity. Kids enjoy competing individually or in teams, in order to score points. And all the while, they are reinforcing concepts they've learned in class. While there is a way to do this using Powerpoint (there are a number of sites with downloadable templates), Jeopardylabs provides an online app for building presentations. When you visit the site, you have the option of browsing or creating your own. Take a look at a couple of samples to see how it works. (sample) Building a new game is easy. After creating an account, follow the instructions to create question grids and then save them on the site. With the resulting link, teachers can encourage students to "play" at home before coming to class for the big competition.

Wednesday, April 7, 2010


Occasionally, you may find you need to generate individualized material to help students build confidence in understanding info-text. You want to highlight certain vocabulary words, certain parts of speech or areas of comprehension. You'd even like to be able to embed a graphic organizer or two to help them take notes or focus on what's important. This can be a big job, but every once and a while, there's web tool that just seems made to order. Take a look at Lessonwriter. This site (free login required to use the features) allows the teacher to paste in a chunk of text and then proceed to tailor activities and questions to his/her class. You can even use the same article and generate 2 or 3 different leveled assignments. While it shouldn't replace all other reading activities, it will be welcomed by many teachers. It's cool, and it's free!