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Tikatok

    What it is:  Tikatok is a great website to excite your students about writing.  With Tikatok each of your students can become a published author, create, share, and gain an authentic audience for their writing and illustrations, and receive writing support through the StorySparks system.  StorySparks are a framework that gives students prompts at the bottom of their screen as they are writing their story.  They are tips such as “the beginning of the story is where we define a setting, where does your story take place?”  StorySparks come in different levels depending on your student ability.  Using Tikatok, students can build literacy skills such as: writing, story structure, reading, comprehension, imagination, creativity, character development, story development, critical thinking, organization, drafting, and technology skills (typing, uploading pictures, saving, collaboration, and communication).  Students have options when creating a story, they can choose a topic and idea to start a story or they can start from scratch with a blank story.  The first option allows students to get help with the hardest part of story creation, thinking of an idea and beginning a story.  Students fill in blanks about their story and get a basic story that they can embellish and add to.  In the second option, students create a story from scratch.  Teachers can register classes and keep track of the stories their students are creating.  Teachers can also send students messages and comment on stories.  There is also an option for students to work collaboratively on a story.  Students can adjust their stories template, colors, text, and images.  When students are finished, their story can be viewed online, printed out from a PDF file, or published and purchased for $15-20. How to integrate Tikatok into the classroom:  Tikatok is an excellent tool to bring into your writing classroom.  It can be used as a publishing center for finished pieces of writing, as a collaborative writing project, or as a place to keep all written work.  The ability for students to use story starters is outstanding for those kiddos who are forever saying “I don’t know what to write about”.  They absolutely won’t be able to use that excuse here!  Even if you don’t have the ability for all of your students to write stories on Tikatok because of limited computer access, use the story idea starters using a projector as students write in journals.  I love the ability for teachers to keep track of all student writing in one place.  Since Tikatok is online, students can work on their stories from any Internet connected computer making it especially useful for those students who are slow or those students who like to write novels.    When students are finished writing stories, have a reading day where students can read other student stories and leave comments and feedback.  Only have access to one or two classroom computers?  Have the whole class take part in a collaborative story.    I love Tikatok for several reasons but the ability to view ‘published’ work online in book form is handy for the environment (it is green), for families who want to see their childs work, and the sense of authentic audience that it brings students.  Student work is always higher quality when they know their audience base is larger than the teacher!  I also love that the stories can be saved as PDF files and printed for classroom libraries or the school library.  The ability to purchase bound books is motivating for many students and parents love to have their kids work officially published.   In my classroom I will leave the stories online and send home a flier to parents about how to purchase a bound book if they would like to.  So neat!   Tips:  Tikatok has the ability to upload student illustrations, if you don’t have a scanner at your school, students artwork can be sent to Tikatok and will be uploaded within 24 hours.  I like the idea of using a computer based drawing tool like Skitch for illustrations.  Sign up for a teacher account today, it is so simple to get started!   Leave a comment and tell us how you are using Tikatok  in your classroom.

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Inklewriter: interactive story designer

Posted by admin | Posted in Analyze, Create, Evaluate, Government, History, Interactive book, iPod, Language Arts, Math, Middle/High School, Science, Secondary Elementary, Teacher Resources, Understand (describe, explain), web tools, Web2.0, Websites | Posted on 05-02-2013

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What it is: Inklewriter is a great digital tool that lets students (and teachers if you are so inclined) write and publish interactive stories.  Inklewriter lets students create choose-your-own-adventure type stories, story lines can come with choices and then be linked back together.  Inklewriter makes this process easier by keeping track of which story paths have been finished and which still need work.  There is no set-up required, no programming language to learn and no diagrams.  Inklewriter is free to use and easy to share with the world when it is published.  When a story is finished, it can even be converted to Kindle format!

I found the Inklewriter format to be pretty intuitive and easy to use.  I think intermediate elementary and older will have no trouble using this tool for creative and informative writing.

How to integrate Inklewriter into the classroom: Inklewriter is a great digital tool for creative writing.  Students can explore multiple plot lines and what-if scenarios in their fictional writing.  I also like the idea of using Inklewriter to ask kids to explore the “what-ifs” in history.  What if we lost/won this war/battle?  What if the other guy (or girl) had been elected president?  What if the Berlin wall hadn’t come down?   These types of stories are fantastic opportunities for students to explore their curiosities and, in the process, learn more about the event they are exploring.  After all, you have to know something about how an event actually went in order to write alternate endings.

Inklewriter would be a fun way for students to come up with alternate endings to a novel they are reading.  Our students wrote a variety of endings for The Giver.  Each student wrote a different ending that picked up from the last chapter of the book.  Inklewriter would have been a great tool to use for all of these endings to be available in one place.  Students could copy/paste the last paragraph of the actual book and then offer their alternative endings as options.

In science, students could use Inklewriter as a tool to record their hypothesis. Students can write out the objective and steps in their experiment and make a new “alternate ending” for their various hypothesis.

In math, students could create story problems where they lead others down the path to discover the correct answer.

Tips: These interactive stories are MADE for your tablet devices…if you have some in your classroom, take advantage of them!

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

Comments (2)

Iv’e never seen anything like the InkleWriter! It is a very unique and interesting way to tell a story! With all of the link words and phrases, it can really keep a reader on his or her toes. It is easy enough for students to use and can help them to write better, and come up with unique story lines. Thank you for sharing this program with the world! I enjoyed reading about the InkleWriter.

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