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Picturing America Part 2

   What it is: I have posted about Picturing America before (March 18th) but I just received my Picturing America kit yesterday and had to post again and make sure everyone was taking advantage of this amazing resource.  I knew that the kit was going to be good but I truly had no idea how AMAZED I would be.  The quality of materials is amazing (there really isn’t another word for it!)  I’ll post pictures of my actual kit so you can get an idea for just what you get in this kit.  Did I mention it was FREE?!  The Picturing America program is completely free for schools and libraries and provides them with 40 high-quality masterpieces, a teacher resources book, and the program website.  The National Endowment for the Humanities gives a grant making this all possible.  As the recipient your only task is to write up a one page report about your experience.  They give almost a calendar year for you to do this.     How to integrate Picturing America into your curriculum: What better way to teach your students American history than actually bringing history into the classroom and providing students with real ties to the past? I wish that I had the opportunity to learn history this way!Picturing America is going to bring authentic conversation into your classroom about American history. It would be the perfect use of web 2.0 collaborative tools where students can discuss the history and the art in Picturing America. Picturing America masterpieces would also be easily integrated into the art classroom or in literacy as writing inspiration. The teacher resource book is going to provide you with wonderful tie ins to your current curriculum. This is an amazing program, I encourage you to take part in it!  These masterpieces will beautify your walls and provide teaching opportunities year round regardless of the age of students you teach.     Tips: Apply for the Picturing America program today. I can’t tell you how completely blown away I am by this program!!!   Please leave a comment and share how you are using Picturing America in your classroom.

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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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