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Think.com

   What it is: Think.com is a FREE online community for learning. Learning is social, think.com engages and inspires students by providing a wider (but protected) audience. It turns students into multimedia authors for their classmates and allows them to think and learn together. This is more than a blog and safe! Only teachers and students from your school can enter this password protected learning community (or you can open it up a little so that other schools can communicate with yours… like pen pals). Think.com allows members to use websites and interactive tools to publish their ideas, collaborate on projects, and build knowledge together. How to integrate think.com into your curriculum: Think.com is incredibly motivational for students. It can be integrated into any subject and any curriculum. Give students a writing assignment and have them brainstorm together on think.com. Have them post projects they have been working on and encourage them to view each others projects and sites (you won’t have to prompt too much!) Students will use this tool outside of school and naturally extend learning on their own. They can create their own “homework help” pages where they are the expert. Learning a new language? Think.com offers the interactive learning tool to thousands of schools around the world in 8 languages, get real world language experience for your students! This tool is really limitless and can be used with students as young as second grade. Tips: Think.com has tutorials for teachers, you can quickly and easily learn how to use the tool. Think.com also offers teacher-created lesson plans that incorporate think.com.        

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BoomWriter: Collaborative story writing

Posted by admin | Posted in collaboration, Create, Evaluate, Interactive book, Language Arts, Middle/High School, Primary Elementary, Secondary Elementary, Teacher Resources, Web2.0, Websites | Posted on 12-06-2012

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What it is:  I just learned about this fantastic site from fellow edublogger @dkapuler, thanks David!  Boom Writer is a fun site that gives you a new way to engage your students in creative writing, and will have them assessing themselves in a new way.  Using Boom Writer, you (the teacher) choose or produce your own story starter.  Each student follows this prompt letting their imagination take over.  One chapter at a time, student write, read and vote on the submissions they like the most.  The winning chapter gets added to the story and the process continues.  You can determine how many chapters will be completed.  When the collaborative story is finished, the book can be read online or published and turned into a published print copy.

How to integrate BoomWriter into the classroom: BoomWriter is a great tool for creating collaborative stories as a class. I like that BoomWriter has students not only creating, but critically evaluating each other’s work. Students work on their own creative writing while building each other up as writers.  Begin by creating a prompt.  Give it to your students to think about.  They can write their “what happens next” chapter of the book and submit it for approval.  This is your chance to edit or return to a student to continue development of the story or idea. After student writing has been approved, students can read each other’s addition to the story and vote on their favorite (they won’t see who the author was and they won’t be able to vote on their own).  The chapter with the highest votes gets added to the story and the process repeats.  You can choose as many chapters as you would like the finished story to have.

This would be a fun whole-class project, but if you have a large class, you might split your class into smaller groups so that each student has the opportunity to get “published” in the book.  Groups could start with the same prompt or each have a different prompt.  Rather than the group voting on their own story, they could vote on another groups story.

BoomWriter isn’t only for creative story writing, students could share what they know about a specific topic or unit of study.  Each student can add a chapter about what has been learned.  Students can essentially create their own collaborative textbook.

BoomWriter is a great tool to help students understand writing with purpose and audience in mind.  It is also a helpful way to get students to think critically about their own writing and evaluating other’s writing.

Tips: Books can be read online or purchased and added to your classroom library.

Please leave a comment and share how you are using BoomWriter in  your classroom!

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