This nice website provides FREE animated storybooks for primary students! Though it has a limited library, it is sure to grow and the concept is quite nice. The book is animated and narrated- and phrases are highlighted as they are read aloud. Students can also click on any word to hear its pronunciation. The characters are somewhat animated on each page spread (though their mouths don’t move or anything like that). You won’t find any Disney princess stories or mainstream books, but these original titles are sure to meet the needs of students. Here’s a screenshot inside one of the books:
It is Flash-based, so forget about viewing these on any iPad or iPod for now. Stories automatically play in full screen with automatic page turns, but there are controls at the bottom for pause, play, next, etc. Overall, I nice site- go check it out for yourself!
When I found Little Bird Tales I couldn’t stop playing with it. Little Bird Tales allows your students to create a story, animate it, narrate it, and publish it! It’s strong point is simplicity! You do have to register for an account, but I discovered that the piggyback method with a gmail account works just fine. After you create an account, you are ready to create your story.
You can then create the cover either by uploading an image, or drawing one using the built-in drawing tools. You can even draw over or annotate on your uploaded image. How cool is that?
I know, it sounds like one of those websites that should be blocked at your campus, but take a closer look. We all know and love Flickr (see our previous post). This site monopolizes some “random” images to get students writing! Here’s how it works:
The user (no registration required) is shown five images from which they must choose one. This is repeated four times so that the user ends up with five images. Then the user writes a story based on the sequence of five images. The story and images are saved to the site where others can read it (or use the same images to write their own stories).
Recently I presented a workshop, and I needed my participants to be able to view some documents that we would be discussing and working with. I made paper copies (I know, how old fashioned of me!), but I wasn’t sure how many people would be attending. I didn’t want to bring a lot of extra copies just in case, so I decided that I’d hand out what I had and anyone who came in late and didn’t get one could retrieve the materials online.
Then came the dilemma of “where do I post them?”. I already had the documents in .pdf form, but I didn’t have a quick easy place to store them. I looked around and found www.issuu.com.
Today I received an email from the folks at www.piclits.com (along with everyone else who attended CA CUE I guess!) telling about their Web 2.0 product. I decided to check it out, and really enjoyed working with it.
The idea is to select a photograph from their collection, then use the suggested words to write a sentence, a poem, a haiku, or whatever about the photograph. There is wide variety of photographs and each one has a range of nouns, verbs, adjectives, and adverbs specific to the photograph, as well as an assortment of universal words such as a, the, has, my, etc. Think of it as refrigerator poetry on steroids! Continue reading
OK, so I kinda already worked this into the blog a few months ago (see the Letterpop entry) but never really addressed the tool that I used to display the document. So if you haven’t seen or heard of Scribd by now, you’re probably not wasting enough time on the web- or maybe you just haven’t noticed. Here’s the deal- you have a document you want users to be able to view but don’t want to bother them with downloading it and using some kind of reader or third-party application (unless they just really want to). Just put it up on Scribd and embed the online viewer into your blog or website like this:
This is the place to go to create snazzy online newsletters that can either be mailed or printed! These aren’t your standard newsletters from Microsoft Office templates! No- rather they have their own set of 289 templates (arranged by theme) for you to use. You simply upload some photos (from say, Flickr) then let the dragging & dropping begin.
OK, so we all know and love Google Docs. As a matter of fact, that’s how Susan and I collaborate on our book outlines, planning sessions, workshop outlines and such. It does what it says- and for the most part what we need. Etherpad is so cool! When I say real-time collaboration, I mean that if you and I were on the same pad (the same URL) I would see exactly what you type when you type it!
So you talk about motivating kids to write together! This is the greatest thing ever! Imagine three students editing or revising a paragraph together… brainstorming… elaborating… writing! This will kick the dust off some of those boring lessons! And that’s not all…