Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Interactive and Collaborative Story Writing Smartboard Lessons

SMART and Scholastic have worked together to create a series of Smartboard lessons that teach students the process of story writing and analysis. There are a series of four lessons that cover:

1. Planning Stories

2.  Story Styles

3. Creating Characters

4. Re-inventing Stories

The lessons are designed for students in grades 2 or 3 but may be modified for other grade levels. Each lesson is fully interactive and includes a page turning audio story book. These are really great activities for teaching students not only the process of developing stories, but how to analyze the parts of the story. Some of the activities focus on the various reading strategies that pair well with the stories.


Thursday, November 18, 2010

Resources for Teaching about Thanksgiving

Here is a small collection of websites and smartboard activities for teaching about Thanksgiving: Click on the names of the sites to visit them.

Smartboard Lessons for Grades K-6 - The smart exchange has a nice collection of teacher made smartboard lessons about Thanksgiving. You can preview them before you decide to download them. Once you do download them you are able to edit them to your liking.

Smartboard Lessons for Grades 6-12

The First Thanksgiving by Scholastic - This is an excellent site full of interactive activities that can be used to teach students about the first Thanksgiving. This site will work very well on an interactive whiteboard.

You are the Historian - This is a fully interactive adventure in which students learn about the first Thanksgiving. It comes with a teacher's guide that should be used to facilitate the adventure. The application is available for download which will help avoid slow service because of a high volume of users.

BrainPop - Thanksgiving Movie - Our school login info is required.

BrainPop Jr. Thanksgiving Movie - Our school login info is required.

History Channel Videos on the History of Thanksgiving

Teacher and Student Resources for the American Indian Perspectives on Thanksgiving - From the National Museum of The American Indian

Google Docs Editing on Mobile Devices

Google has just announced that they will begin supporting the editing of Google Docs on mobile devices. For a while now Google Docs could only be viewed on mobile devices such as Android Phones, the IPhone and IPad.  Google as announced that they will be supporting editing of documents by the end of this week.

Here is a snippet from Information Week Magazine:

"According to Google, Android devices running 2.2 Froyo and iOS devices running 3.0+ will be able access these new feature from their device's browser. Users will need to navigate to and sign into their account. Once a document is open, users will have to toggle an "Edit" button in the nav bar to have access to editing features (as long as they have permission to edit that particular document).

Editing features include inline changes to text, the ability to edit tables, and, for Android users, the ability to input text via spoken dictation. Users will also be able to edit spreadsheets." Zeman , Eric. "Google (Finally) Brings Docs Editing To Mobile Devices
InformationWeek." InformationWeek | Business Technology News, Reviews and Blogs. N.p., n.d. Web. 18 Nov. 2010. <>.

Our district has recently begun an implementation of Google Apps for education. This new feature set will offer many opportunities for us as we explore the integration of IPADS, IPOD Touches, and Android based tablet computers.  Imagine being able to read and comment on student work while waiting in a doctors office from your phone. How about typing and editing a lesson plan while a passenger in a car from your phone?  How about writing curriculum on a shared Google Document with 4 other colleagues simultaneously within a Google Doc from a chair on the beach with your smartphone or Ipad! You can even quickly review or respond to a shared document from anywhere in our schools with a phone or tablet computer.


Monday, November 8, 2010

Publish your own page turning book with Story Jumper

Story Jumper is a web 2.0 site that allows students and teachers to create their own page turning, online story book.  You can make adventure stories, fairy tales, treasure maps, photo books, calendars... whatever you can imagine! The software is easy to use and comes with a complete set of directions.

As a teacher you can setup your classes to access story jumper from home or from school. The classroom edition provides:

  • An interface to manage and review student work

  • Enable kids to share stories between the classroom and home

  • Maintain strict privacy controls over student information

  • Enable educator discounts when ordering books

When a teacher created his/her account they are able to create a class password as well as user names and passwords for each student. The software provides the teacher with a printed handout for each student that will supply the directions and information for accessing the software at home and at school.  There is even settings to control the duration of time that the students may login.

Upon completion of the storybook the student may share and view online. He or she may also order the book in printed form. Discounts are available for class purchases. There is also an option to print a paper copy of the book for free.

If you would like to see an example of a Story Jumper book click the link below:

For complete directions to setup your class and student accounts click this link:

Classroom Applications:

  • Story Jumper is a great resource to allow students to publish their writing for an audience. Students will be able to author their very own children's book and share it.

  • Students in Middle and High School may write a  book that teachers younger students about a topic. An example might be a book that explains what composite numbers are or the life cycle of the plant. Research has proven that students better comprehend material when they teach it to someone else.

  • Teachers may use the software to write stories that can be used to teach reading skills. These books may be read on a Smartboard or individually in a center activity.

  • As part of the universal design for learning framework, students may be given the opportunity to create a Story Jumper book on any assigned topic in order to demonstrate knowledge of a topic/subject.