years 6-7

100 Word Challenge

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100 word challenge

 

The 100 Word Challenge website founded by Julia Skinner was developed to give students an authentic audience for their creative writing. Each week there is a creative writing challenge prompt posted either in words or a picture. Students then need to set about composing their writing in response, up to 100 words. Once they have completed their writing students must publish their writing in a blog post usually via their classroom blog. Then to enter the challenge a link to that blog post needs to be entered on the 100 Word Challenge website (more information on how to do this, including a video tutorial can be found on the website). Then comments are made on the student entries giving them feedback on their work. Julia has also set up ‘Team 100 WC’, a volunteer team of adults to assist with trying to ensure that students work gets feedback.

The 100 Word Challenge is a great idea, not only to give an accessible task to students, but it is an excellent way to get students involved in blogging and becoming a part of an online community.

What has been your experience with using the 100 Word Challenge website and what benefits have you seen for your students? Please respond by leaving a comment.

linkhttp://100wc.net/

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Poetry Interactives

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The following Poetry Interactives come from a site called readwritethink.org. They would be very useful on an Interactive Whiteboard to help introduce different types of poetry or as a follow up activity for your students.

acrosticpoem

 

linkhttp://www.readwritethink.org/files/resources/interactives/acrostic/

 

themedpoems

 

linkhttp://www.readwritethink.org/files/resources/interactives/theme_poems/

 

diamentepoems

 

linkhttp://www.readwritethink.org/files/resources/interactives/diamante/

 

 

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BoomWriter

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BoomWriter is a creative writing website. It works by teachers creating a story starter and choosing how many chapters the story will have. Then students continue the story starter and write a chapter of the book. The chapters written by the students are then submitted anonymously and are then voted on. The winning chapter is then added to the story and the process continues until the story is complete. Once the story is complete it can then be published.

You can sign up your school and then encourage students to sign up. It would be nice if they had included a better way to sign up your class from a class list rather than waiting for students to sign up individually. Below is a short YouTube clip explaining a bit more about BoomWriter.

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NAPLAN 2012

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With NAPLAN coming up soon teachers will be looking for resources to help students prepare for the NAPLAN tests. Being a teacher of year 3s it will be the first time for these students to see questions presented in the manner they are in the NAPLAN tests. From experience it is important to prepare these students for the format in which the questions will be presented to them. Visiting the official NAPLAN website I discovered that they have now removed past NAPLAN test papers and replaced them with example tests. You can access these example tests by following the link bellow.

http://www.nap.edu.au/NAPLAN/The_tests/index.html

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The Amazing Word Tamer

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The Amazing Word Tamer is a great tool to develop further your student’s writing talents. Word Tamer is centred around a ‘Funfair’ where you can explore and play around with ideas and hopefully get inspirations that can be included in your stories.

The activities you can expect are….

‘Wild Words’ has you catching random words that come out of the clouds. It then invites you to use these words as inspiration for your writing.

‘Capture a Character’ is where you start developing ideas for your characters attributes. Using the robotic hook, you need to capture the characteristics you want.

‘Prowl Through Plot’ explores what happens to your stories plot when you make changes. Once you complete this activity it gives you a great story starter to base a story on.

‘Snare a Setting’ has you shooting at clown faces to choose your setting. Once you have chosen four words to describe your setting you are then taken to a screen where you can type up your ideas for the setting based on your four words.

‘Grapple with Genre’, looks at what the possibilities are for the writer if you combine different genres. For example a Science Fiction Adventure. Then you are asked to start writing down ideas based on your selections.

Overall ‘The Amazing Word Tamer’ is an inspirational tool for students to develop their writing in detail.

http://www.wordtamer.co.uk/

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Toontastic

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Toontastic is a fantastic cartoon creation tool on your iPad. This is a very accessible tool that can be used by children as young as five and be enjoyed just as much by big kids such as myself. Toontastic’s interface is separated into 5 easy steps to create your own cartoon.

Step 1: Story Arc

In the Story Arc you develop your story structure. This is a great aspect of toontastic and really introduces the concept of how a good narrative story should be structured. You start with the ‘setup’ where you introduce your characters and the story setting. Then the ‘conflict’ where you create a problem for your main character. The next aspect is the ‘challenge’, where you can if you choose to make the problem even more difficult. Then comes the ‘Climax’ and ‘Resolution’. All of these scenes are interchangeable and you can add more scenes if you wish.

Step 2: Setting

Once you have chosen a scene to edit from the ‘Story Arc’, it is time to choose a setting for that scene. There are a few standard settings to choose from or you can draw your own scenes. You can also purchase more play sets that includes scenes and characters.

Step 3: Characters

After you have chosen your setting you then need to pick your characters. Again you can choose from the characters that come with the app or draw your own. You can also purchase more by getting a play set via an in app purchase.

Step 4: Animation

This is the most exciting bit, animating your characters and giving them a voice. First you can place your characters where you would like them to start within your scene. You then press the ‘Start Animation’ button and go about moving your characters around narrating your story or speaking for your characters to tell the story. When you’ve finished click ‘Stop Animation’. Then move onto your next scene.

Step 5: Music

After animating your scene you a brought to the ‘Music’ section. Here you choose an appropriate emotion that coveys the essence of your scene. You then need to decide on the degree of that emotion to convey. This will determine the strength of music that will appear in each scene.

Once you have finished with your cartoon you can sit back and enjoy what you have created. Cartoons can be shared on ‘Toontube’  once you have created an account. An email will be sent to the parent’s account for approval of a cartoon before it can be viewed online.

I can see ‘Toontastic’ being used successfully in a classroom to assist students with developing their narrative story telling skills. This app could greatly assist reluctant writers or those students needing to build their vocabulary in describing a story.

Below is a promotional video from Launchpad toys the creators of Toontastic.

Toontastic from Thushan Amarasiriwardena on Vimeo.

 

iTunes link: http://itunes.apple.com/us/app/toontastic/id404693282

Admongo

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Admongo.gov

Admongo is an online resource to help students become critical thinkers about advertising in all it’s different forms. The program is aimed at students aged 8 to 12. The goal of the program is to get students to ask three key questions:

# Who is responsible for the ad?

# What is the ad actually saying?

# What does the ad want me to do?

Admongo consists of an online game, sample ads that can be used in the classroom, free lesson plans and teacher training videos.

 

Below is an introductory video to help explain more about Admongo.

http://www.admongo.gov

Persuasion Map

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Persuasion Map is an online tool that you can use with your students to help plan their next exposition or persuasive writing efforts. It’s simple to use and it enables you to save your work or print it off. You can also print off a blank copy pictured above.

http://www.readwritethink.org/files/resources/interactives/persuasion_map/

ZooWhiz

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ZooWhiz is produced by the team at EdAlive. ZooWhiz is a free online learning system that covers Maths, punctuation, spelling, grammar, vocabulary, phonics and reading in a fun and creative way. Teacher’s are able to sign up fro free and then set up accounts for their students to use at school or at home. Students start by choosing their avatar and then can go about completing the more that 17,000 learning activities, either selected by their teacher, parent or themselves. Students earn coins for completed activities that they can spend at the ‘Biodome’ to purchase animals for their Zoo or go to the arcade to play mini games. If you have used any of EdAlive’s products before then the learning activities will be familiar to you. My class has started using this, and they have been highly motivated to use ZooWhiz. ZooWhiz is in public beta at the moment, so not all features are enabled yet. It is very usable in it’s current form and requires a very small amount of time to setup. I really appreciated the fact that ZooWhiz has a print option, to print out username and password cards for your students.

To view a video tour of ZooWhiz please visit this link: http://www.zoowhiz.com/tour

To view samples of the activities please visit: http://www.zoowhiz.com/educational-content/sample-activities

http://www.zoowhiz.com/

Writing Fun by Jenny Eather

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Writing Fun by Jenny Eather is a great resource that can be used when you next introduce a specific genre to your class. The website covers Information Reports, Procedures, Recounts, Explanations, Persuasions (expositions), Discussions, Narratives, Responses, Descriptions and Poetry. It also explores everyday texts such as letters, emails, invitations and news. There are downloads and printables available as well. Each genre area is clearly explained with several examples given. Students are then given the opportunity to create their own work within that genre using a planning template. Once the students have completed their efforts they can then be printed off.

UPDATE:

Unfortunately Writing Fun by Jenny Eather is now part of Spllodrome and is no longer freely available. To access the content you will need to subscribe to Spellodrome.

http://www.writingfun.com/
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