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Pinky Dinky Doo

What it is:   Pinky Dinky Doo is a site I was destined to review, I saw the show advertising the website while channel surfing one day, and on the very same day, Kevin Jarrett Tweeted about it.  Needless to say, I checked it out and was immediately hooked.  This is a great website for pre-k through first grade students.  The site is based on a PBS show of the same name.  The website has fun activities for kids to take part in including word games, story podcasts, videos, and a place for students to create their own story podcast.  Pinky Dinky Doo loves making up stories and teaches students that every story has a beginning, middle, and end.  The stories are often full of metaphores and similes and often have a great message for kids too.  Every story also has one giant fancy word like “collaborate” or “gracious” teaching students rich vocabulary as well.  I love the way that this site expands student vocabulary! How to integrate Pinky Dinky Doo into the classroom:  Put your students listening skills to work, listen as a class to a podcast story and discuss parts of a story together afterward.  Every story has a distinct beginning, middle, and end.  Students can draw and visualize the story while they listen to it.  The podcast stories would also make an excellent listening center in the classroom.  Pinky Dinky Doo is a great way to teach students new vocabulary, each story has a ‘fancy word’ that will expand your student vocabulary.  It would be fun to use the ‘fancy word’ from the story as  the classroom word of the day.  See how many times your students can use the ‘fancy word’ correctly during the day.  I love the section where students can create their own story podcasts.  Set up a story station in the one or two computer classroom where partners can create a story and listen to a classmates story.  Students in a computer lab setting could create story podcasts of their own and play the word games independently.  The site is easy enough for students to work independently.     Tips:  Check out the grownups section on Pinky Dinky Doo for some great offline activities.  They even have directions for creating a Fancy Word box of your own and directions for playing the circle story game.    Leave a comment and tell us how you are using Pinky Dinky Doo in your classroom.

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Piktochart: Create your own infographics

Posted by admin | Posted in Analyze, Art, Create, Evaluate, Geography, Government, History, Math, Middle/High School, Science, Secondary Elementary, Social Studies, Technology, web tools, Websites | Posted on 09-10-2012

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What it is:  Piktochart is a great web app that makes it easy to create your own infographics.  Piktochart has free and premium options.  With the free version, there are a handful of themes to choose from.  Premium themes are also available, if you are so inclined.  After you choose a theme, the next job is to change the mood and edit the information on the chart.  Students can add shapes, graphics (uploaded), theme graphics, and text to the infographic.  Students can add a chart where they manually input data or upload a cvc file.  This is especially helpful if they have been data collecting in another program.   There are some features that are only available to pro users.  Not to worry, there are enough available for free that you can make a pretty rockin’ infographic that gets the point (or data) across.

How to integrate Piktochart into the classroom: Piktochart is a superb way for students to work on those statistics/probability standards.  Being a visual learner myself, I love the way that infographics seem to make data easier to digest.  Piktochart can be used to display any type of statistical or mathematical data in new ways.  Students can show what they are learning in history, about the world population (miniature earth), science, in the book they are reading, geography statistics, etc.

The way that infographics allow students to blend learning across the subject areas is fantastic.  It isn’t just math; it is math, and art, and science/social studies/history/geography/technology.  Any time we can help students recognize the overlaps that exist in learning and subject area, it is a win!

A few weeks ago, students at Anastasis discovered that America’s biggest export is trash. They started digging and found statistics about the amount of trash Americans throw away each day (7lbs/person) and how much was recycled vs. what ended up in a landfill.  They also looked at statistics of what receiving countries like China and India did with the waste being imported.  It was fascinating!  Students created infographics showing what they had discovered in their research.  It was eye-opening when they translated that trash per person into a year’s worth of trash and figured out how many football stadiums that it would fill.  When they could see it graphically, it had an impact on their thinking.  The result was: “it is up to us to change this…”

Pretty amazing when the conclusion to learning is transformation…change.

Tips: In the free version:  Basic themes, 5 image uploads, Piktochart’s watermark. Pro version ($29.00/mo): 80 themes (and growing), additional customization, more image uploads, no watermark.

Leave a comment and tell us how you are using  Piktochart in your classroom.

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