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Ed Tech Ideas

Tech Integration for Busy Teachers

Category Archives: Writing

Easily Create a Free, Virtual Flipping Book!

There’s a great website called Flipsnack that allows you to create really slick looking flip books from any pdf or jpg file that you have. I use this with third graders so they can publish their writing from Google Docs to their Blogs in a new and fun way.

Below are the steps – you can also click here to view full-page directions.

From Google Docs to Flipping Books

Download Your Google Doc as a PDF

  1. File
  2. Download as
  3. PDF Document

Document will be saved in your Dowloads folder

Download Your Google Doc as a PDF

Go to http://www.flipsnack.com

Click Sign in

Go to www.flipsnack.com

Sign in with Google

Sign in with Google

Enter your SAS email and password

After entering your login credentials, click “Accept”

Enter your SAS email and password

Choose make your first flipping book

Choose make your first flipping book

Import your PDF (or Jpg)

You may select a file from your computer, or drag the file from its source

(if dragging, make sure you see the green plus before releasing)

Import your PDF (or Jpg)

Title and Description

  1. Change the title to your liking
  2. Add a description
  3. Click on Advanced Settings (optional)
Title and Description

Templates

You can select different templates and preview what it will look like.

Templates

Settings

Lots of customizations here, so have a play.

Things to note:

  1. Change custom size to W: 550 so that the book will fit in a standard blog post
  2. If you want to change the cover, select Show title on the first page

Click Finish when done

Settings

Sharing: Link / Embed

  1. To share the link, select copy, or send email
  2. To embed select the embed button
Sharing: Link / Embed

Embedding

After choosing embed from previous step, select Use free (with watermark)

Embedding

Copy Embed Code (with watermark)

Select copy and then close

Copy Embed Code (with watermark)

Embed Flipping Book into Blogger Post

Log into your Blogger account and create new post

  1. Switch to html
  2. Paste flipsnack embed code into post
  3. Add title and labels and publish
Embed Flipping Book into Blogger Post

View Blog to Enjoy Your Flipping Book!

View Blog to Enjoy Your Flipping Book!
Click here to view these directions in a Flipping Book
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8 Great Sites for Reluctant Writers

1. Storyjumper

Storyjumper allows you to create online books using a plethora of characters, scenes, and props. Teachers can, for free, create classes to register students so they each have their own account. As of this writing, there does not seem to be a limit as to how many student accounts you can create.

2. Read Write Think Printing Press

ReadWriteThink creates a lot of great educational resources. With Printing Press students can create a booklet, flyer, brochure, or newspaper fairly easily. There is a nice guide that walks you through the process and the focus is on writing. There is a place within each publication for a picture, but not one that you can add from your computer. This space is reserved for students to draw a picture after printing.

3. Kerpoof

Kerpoof is an online story and comic-creator which allows students to create comic scenes and stories, as well as animated movies, cards, drawings, doodles, and pictures.  Educators are able to sign up for a class account and assign usernames and passwords for each student to have their own individual accounts. There are no ads or inappropriate content and the art work is fun and lively.  Finished products may be saved, printed, or emailed.

4. Story Starters

Story Starters is a fun activity to inspire students to write. They first spin the story starter wheel (they can then spin individual wheels to adjust their story starter), choose a format (notebook, letter, newspaper, postcard) and then begin writing. There are options to print and draw a picture as well. There is a nice teacher section that lists objectives for the lesson as well as several ideas for integrating the activity into your current RLA focus. Being that students can’t save their work, I often just have them spin the wheels to create a starter and then simply have them write their stories in Word.  This would also be a good site to have projected on the screen (or on a classroom computer station) first thing in the morning. Each day a new student can spin the wheel and you could have a quick morning creative writing session, comparing and sharing stories.

5. My StoryMaker

My Storymaker allows students to create a story book with fun characters and settings. When complete, you can print, or save to the public gallery which allows you to download the file as a pdf. I recently introduced this to a 5th grade class and it went extremely well. The students created epic and creative stories and had a really fun time writing! The one drawback I found is that there is no option to save and come back to edit, so students have to start and complete their story within one class period. One idea I’ve come up with is to have the first session be an explore session where the students learn about the site, the characters, setting, etc. Then, they can write out a rough draft before the second session so that when they access the site the second time, they are ready to roll, and time is not as much of a factor.

6. Writing With Writers

Part of the larger Scholastic site, Writing With Writers provides an excellent resource for writing. There is an excellent section for kids called, Computer Lab Favorites (Teacher View Here |Student View Here), that has a variety of writing tools like Story StartersMyth Brainstorming Machine, and Poetry Idea Engine; as well as learning games like, It’s Greek to Me (great for Real Spelling connections), and Fish Up Word EndingsAlong with all the great writing tools and activities, there are also sections for MathScienceSocial Studies, and Spanish that require no prep and can be completed in 15-30 minutes.

7. Zoo Burst

Zoo Burst is a digital storytelling tool that allows you to create lively 3-d pop-up books with sounds and actual pop-up effects when you turn the page.  You first create a free account, and then use the simple interface and tools to begin creating your book.

8. Bitstrips

My favorite comic creator, Bitstrips allows students to create fun comics on any topic of their (or your) choice. Students can use Bitstrips for free, but the $78 annual subscription allows teachers to create a classroom with individual student accounts and create assignments that students submit to you when they are finished.

EdTechIdeas: These sites can be great tools to help struggling writers, as well as kids who love to write.  I’ve seen my students so excited about story writing with StoryJumper and Kerpoof. The Printing Press makes it quick and easy for elementary kids to create nice looking publications. Story Starters is a quick go-to tool when you’re in need of prompts.

Collaborative Writing – Fifth Graders and Google Docs

I cannot tell you how excited my 5th graders were to write today. Each of our students in grade 5, for the first time, now has their own Google Apps account and today we dove straight in to collaborating on a personal narrative piece they had previously written in Microsoft Word. The process was as follows: Upload, share, advise, revise.

Upload

After logging in, the students first uploaded their document into Google Docs, named it, and read over it to make sure that everything looked good.

Share

The students then added their collaboration partner by giving them the ability to view and comment on their document. 

At this point, they also added their teacher.

Advise

Each student then went back to their Google Docs account and found a new document from their friend waiting for them. After opening it, they were then able to read through and make comments.

Revise

The best part of the day was seeing how enthusiastic the kids were to go back in to fix and improve their writing. After the students made changes to their original piece, they asked if they could add more editors to their document who could review and make comments on their piece. Here’s a short, raw video of part of the process. My favorite part is at 1:25 when a student enthusiastically yells out to the class, “Everybody, everybody, get on mine!”

That’s exciting writing!

Cool Tools for Writing – Part V

This is part V in a series dedicated to free, online writing tools for kids. You can view part I here, part II here, part III here, and part IV here.

Story Starters is a fun activity to inspire students to write. They first spin the story starter wheel (they can then spin individual wheels to adjust their story starter), choose a format (notebook, letter, newspaper, postcard) and then begin writing. There are options to print and draw a picture as well. There is a nice teacher section that lists objectives for the lesson as well as several ideas for integrating the activity into your current RLA focus. Being that students can’t save their work, I often just have them spin the wheels to create a starter and then simply have them write their stories in Word.  This would also be a good site to have projected on the screen (or on a classroom computer station) first thing in the morning. Each day a new student can spin the wheel and you could have a quick morning creative writing session, comparing and sharing stories.

My Storymaker allows students to create a story book with fun characters and settings. When complete, you can print, or save to the public gallery which allows you to download the file as a pdf. I recently introduced this to a 5th grade class and it went extremely well. The students created epic and creative stories and had a really fun time writing! The one drawback I found is that there is no option to save and come back to edit, so students have to start and complete their story within one class period. One idea I’ve come up with is to have the first session be an explore session where the students learn about the site, the characters, setting, etc. Then, they can write out a rough draft before the second session so that when they access the site the second time, they are ready to roll, and time is not as much of a factor.

The Super Sentence Machine helps kids develop sentence writing abilities and improve their voice and writing expression. This would be a good site to use as a whole-class activity to show students how to write more grammatically complex sentences.

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