Thursday, January 26, 2017

Sometimes Simple Does the Trick!

Integrating technology does not always have to involve elaborate projects which include robots, green screens, and LEGOs (although those are incredibly awesome!). Sometimes something simple can bring out just as much synthesis, creativity, and critical thinking! As long as the students are doing the creating, learning abounds! One site that provides very simple creative ideas and templates is provides hundreds of lesson plans, student interactives, mobile apps, calendar activities, and printouts. Each of these types of activities can be browsed by keyword, grade level, learning objective, and/or theme. The lessons and activities are available from the Kindergarten level all the way up to twelfth grade. The interactives (templates that walk students through the creation process) are user-friendly and, with a little imagination, can be adapted to anything being learned or practiced in the curriculum! Projects on the site can be saved, printed, screen captured, or emailed, making sharing on Seesaw, a blog, a website, Google Classroom, Padlet, or any other global site easy!

Here are just a few ideas to get you thinking!

Why not try the Cube Creator? This interactive template allows students to build a cube demonstrating their knowledge of characters/people, mysteries, story elements, or they can choose the generic template for whatever they’d like to share (science or social studies concepts perhaps!). Each cube comes with a pdf planning template for students to organize their ideas prior to the creation process.

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Or how about letting your kids design a book jacket/cover to assess how well they understood the plot of a story or to dress up a story of their own? The Book Cover Creator template allows students to choose from various designs. They then use text tools, background tools, and drawing tools to demonstrate their creativity! This template is very basic, and no, there is no uploading of clipart or photos, but it allows students to easily create a product. Students are prompted to “Print” their book cover when finished. Because many of our students don’t have access to a printer on their Chromebooks or classroom computers, in the Print pop up, students can “Save as PDF” or “Save to Google Drive” rather than selecting a printer. Sharing with the teacher then becomes easy, and printing can occur if desired.

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Although there are tons of other cool interactives I hope you’ll check out like the Comic Creator, Compare and Contrast Map, Post Card Creator, and Trading Card Creator, ReadWriteThink also has a simple Webbing Tool that allows students to organize their ideas using flexible rearranging options. For many of these one page tools, students can also be taught how to take a screenshot of their final product, saving it as a picture file, which can easily be uploaded to numerous places!

Webbing Tool 1.PNGWebbing Tool 2.PNG

Are these tools basic? Yes! Are they effective ways to allow your students to create content rather than just consume? Yes! Do they provide a little something different when you are looking to assess your students’ understanding? Yes! Please take a few minutes to browse all that has to offer and allow your students to create! Your DIF can help you brainstorm ideas or be there to assist your students during the creation process, don’t hesitate to ask!

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