Saturday, July 16, 2016

A Compare & Contrast Essay Map for Young Students

Read Write Think's Compare & Contrast Map is a template for creating a comparative essay. Using the template students are guided through writing three styles of comparison essays. To get started students identify two things that they wish to compare and or contrast. Then they choose if they want to write a "whole to whole" essay, a "similarities to differences" essay, or a "point to point" essay. Whichever essay type they choose, students are guided through the types of information they should put in each part of their essays. When their essays are complete students can share them via email or print them.

In the video below I provide an overview of RWT's Compare & Contrast Map.


Applications for Education
For younger students who need help formatting an essay, the Read Write Think templates can be very helpful. If you haven't spent much time exploring the resources on Read Write Think's classroom resources page, I encourage you to do so.

The Week in Review - Camp Week

Good morning from Maine where my friends Kris and Beth Still are visiting for the week. Beth, a Google Certified Teacher, will be helping me with the Practical Ed Tech Chromebook Camp that starts on Monday. Yesterday, we went on an unsuccessful back roads drive to look for a moose. We'll try again this evening after a traditional Maine supper of lobsters prepared outdoors.

Here are this week's most popular posts:
1. Character Scrapbook - A Template for Reflecting on Stories
2. Zaption is Closing - Try These Alternatives
3. Two Easy Ways to Add Accent Marks in Google Documents
4. 10 Ways to Use Adobe Spark in School
5. 7 Free Timeline Tools Compared In One Chart
6. Alphabetimals - A Dictionary of Animal Sounds
7. Sugar Scanner Shows You How Much Sugar You're Consuming

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Please visit the official advertisers that help keep this blog going.
Practical Ed Tech is the brand through which I offer PD webinars.
BoomWriter provides a fantastic tool for creating writing lessons. 
Storyboard That is my go-to tool for creating storyboards and cartoon stories.
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PrepFactory offers a great place for students to prepare for SAT and ACT tests.
FrontRow offers adaptive online ELA and Math practice activities.  
Teach n Go is a comprehensive platform for teaching online courses.
The University of Maryland Baltimore County offers graduate programs for teachers.
Boise State University offers a 100% online program in educational technology.
EdTechTeacher is hosting host workshops in six cities in the U.S. in the summer.
Buncee offers a great tool for creating visual stories.

ABCD Wordie Analyzes Text and Creates Vocabulary Lists

ABCD Wordie is a handy tool for evaluating the level of the vocabulary in a passage of text. To use ABCD Wordie you simply paste a chunk of text into the ABCD Wordie site and then choose one of nine levels that describe the reading skills of your students. Once that selection is made ABCD Wordie will create a list of vocabulary words pulled from the text provided. You can customize the list by selecting words to delete from the list. All vocabulary lists can be printed.

Applications for Education
ABCD Wordie could be a good tool for creating vocabulary study lists based on texts that your students will be reading in your classroom.

Friday, July 15, 2016

Three Good Options for Creating eBooks in Your Web Browser

Creating a multimedia ebook can be a great way for students to showcase examples of their best work. Writing a multimedia ebook can also be a nice way for students to illustrate and or further explain portions of fiction and non-fiction stories that they compose. The following three platforms make it possible for students to create and publish multimedia ebooks in their web browsers.

Widbook is a platform designed to help people collaboratively create multimedia books. The service is part multimedia book authoring tool and part social network. Mashable called it "the YouTube of books." On Widbook you can create a digital book that contains text, images, and videos. Widbook is collaborative because you can invite others to make contributions to your books. To use Widbook you have to create a profile on the service. The books that you create become a part of your profile. If you allow it, other Widbook users can add content and or comments to your books. Likewise, you can search for others' books and  make contributions to their books. Due to the public gallery of books I would only use Widbook with students of high school age or older.

Storybird provides templates and artwork for creating digital stories. To use Storybird you simply select a theme (layout) then drag and drop the drawings you like into your story. Once you've selected drawings for your story, you then write in the text of your story. Using Storybird, anyone can create great-looking digital picture book stories regardless of your drawing skills or lack there-of.

Little Bird Tales is a nice site intended for younger students to use to create digital stories. Little Bird Tales walks users through each step of creating a multimedia story. Users can upload images, draw images, or record from their webcams. Stories can be written with text or narrated by students using microphones connected to their computers

How to Create Custom Word Clouds

Word cloud generators provide students with a nice way to visualize the most frequently used words in a passage of text. There are plenty of word cloud creation tools on the web. There is even a Google Docs Add-on for making word clouds. One relatively newer tool for making word clouds is found at WordClouds.com. In my video embedded below I demonstrate the features of WordClouds.com


Watch my video embedded below to learn how to make word clouds in Google Documents.