Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Penzu: applying it to my classroom

How I would use Penzu:

I would use this as way for students to record a summary of what they learned in the day’s lesson or a week summary.  It would be useful to use this when it comes time to review for the benchmark at the end of each quarter.  They can also write what questions they still have and then I can respond to them.

You can also do a writing project with this tool.  You can give students an selection of images to upload to their website that they can choose from to write a story about.  This can be a very motivating technique and can inspire them to use more descriptive words.

Here are some other great ideas-

Penzu: but wait! There's more!

The following video shows you how sign-up and use the website-which I found was pretty easy.

This video shows how to enter an entry, which would be a great instructional video for your students when they first start out writing their journals.

Penzu Helpful Videos

These are some short videos on how to use Penzu.  The first videos shows how to communicate with clients in the industry.  The second video is more of a promotional video.  Check it out!

Penzu Introduction

A online journal that allows students or adults to save their journals online.  They can add images to your journals as long as you upload it to the website first, so you can choose from the left column of your selection of images.  When students are done writing their journals, they can email the journal to you or print it out.  It is such a great way to keep track of your student’s journals or work in this sort of online writing portfolio.  There is no way that the teacher can edit their writing, only the author has full access to the writing.  



David, the instructor on the video, shows you how you can use this program to send a video message to your students.  This program allows you to add an attachment such as a document or a video file.  With the free account, you can add up to 50 email address in your list.  This might not work with the younger age, unless you get permission from their parents, I see this as a tool that can be used in high school or higher education.  It’s a quick way to send out a video message to your students to let them know about an upcoming event, assignment, or even class change. 

Would this tool be helpful for you to use in your classroom?

Writing Prompts


This is not the greatest web 2.0 tool I have seen, because at first glance, it is not interactive.  I love this website though because it provides so many writing prompts that I can use for classroom.  I am always looking for creative writing prompts that would grab my middle school students.  Though it's has not been updated since 2002, it provides an enormous selection of prompts to choose from.  I also love the graphics/pictures that go with each prompt.  The creator of the website tried to sort the prompts by most used, prompts about education, about reading, about personhood, and an option to randomly choose a prompt.  Check it out!  We are always looking for new ways to promote writing.

Check out the first prompt on the top of the page.

Sunday, June 24, 2012

Tikatok: how to use in my classroom

When visiting this website and playing around with different features, I came up with a great idea on how to use this website.

Our county is always talking about "how are you going to DI this lesson?"  Well, this website provides a way just to do exactly that.

For my needy students, they can create a story by browsing a subject they want to write about and pick a story that is already created.  They can go through the story and make it their own, and even change the parts of the story they did not like.  At least this gives them a head start, which they need a lot of times.

For my advanced students, I would require that they start a story from scratch, which is not a big deal to them.  They always want to write a story of their own.  If some of them still need help, they can browse the already created books to come up with ideas.

Tikatok: how to navigate the website

I find this YouTube video very helpful as well that is provided by Radford University.  It shows you how to navigate the website and they should you the different features that Tikatok has on their website.

Tikatok: How to create a story

Here is a tutorial provided by Radford University on how to create a story on Tikatok

Tikatok Introduction

This is a great website where students may create their own story and upload their own images to create the story.  This website is very unique because you can have students pick one of the three options to create a story: pick one that already exist and add their pictures and name to it, get help starting a new story, or start a story from scratch.  I found it cool that students can upload their drawings to the site so they can use it in their books, I find this very personal and fun.  When students are done making their book, they can buy it and have it mailed to them.  I think parents would love to have a book created by their child.

As a teacher you can add a child to your account or you can have a link to their account.  I did not see the limit for this option.  This website is free, which is a great plus for teachers.

Additional feature: you can bookmark other books that you liked.

Zooburst tutorial

In case you still have questions, I found this video on YouTube that gives you a tutorial on how to use Zooburst

Zooburst: Science

Here is a science book about the greenhouse effects


Zooburst examples

Check out the gallery for different examples of popup story books


The following link is a popup book about the Midwest.  As you can see, you can create a popup book that can be informative. It can be a great way to do a presentation on a subject.


Zooburst is a storytelling program that allows students to create popup books online that can be seen on the computer or iPad using the Zooburst app.

This website also allows you to interact with your popup book by using a webcam and hand motions.  

The basic package is free to anyone.  Teachers can sign up to use it in the classroom for unlimited books starting at 9.99 a month or 49.99 per month.


WordSift: Hatchet Lesson

I teach the novel "Hatchet" in my Language Arts 6th grade class.  I can use wordsift to review chapters we read.  I am going to use the example of reviewing Chapter one of the novel.

become belt brian bring case concern containing control conversationcouldnt doesnt father gas handle hatchet jim just know led left like livemake man mechanical mother named north pain pilot plane rearremember right secret seem shoulder sick small smell suddenly summer talktell thing think thought time totally worse

I can have my students tell me why the words that are big are important to the chapter.

I can also go over vocabulary they should know such as hatchet and mechanical.  I can use the word hatchet in the visual dictionary and also look at the various example sentences that uses it in novel.

This would be a great review because the chapters for the novel are very long and I want to make sure my students understand what they are reading.

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

WordSift: Science Lesson

This is another demo on how to use WordSift.  This time it gives you an idea on how to use it for a Science Lesson.

WordSift-Social Studies Example

This is a great video about how to use WordSift for a social studies lesson on Martin Luther King Jr.'s letter from Birmingham Jail.




I found this great website called WordSift.  What you do is copy a text that relates to your lesson you are teaching.  You paste it into the text book and click Sift.  As a result, it enlarges words that were used mostly in the text and keep words that were not used as much smaller.

Another feature: it gives you Google images and videos for, at first, words that were found a lot in the text.  You can also choose the word from the list at the top.

Another feature: you can choose one of the words and it will give you a visual dictionary.

A great feature: it gives you the sentences from the text that uses the word you chose to highlight.  This is an awesome feature because you can go through the sentences and discuss with the students context clues or different ways the word is used.

Monday, June 18, 2012


Welcome to my blog.  After a very yummy lunch from Wegmans I am ready to get my blog started.  Hope you enjoy and I look forward to looking at your blogs as well.