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The Bookshelf Muse: Emotion, Setting, Color/Shape/Texture, Symbolism T

What it is: The Bookshelf Muse is a must add blog to any writing classroom toolbox.  On The Bookshelf Muse, students will find several thesauruses: emotion, setting, color/shape/texture, weather, and symbolism.  The emotion thesaurus offers alternatives for showing character emotion through physical action.  The Setting Thesaurus offers sensory descriptions that can help paint the picture of a setting.  The color/shape/texture thesaurus helps students include sensory information that helps convey images in specific ways.  They symbolism thesaurus helps students utilize symbolism to leave a lasting impression on their readers.  To use a thesaurus, scroll down and choose an emotion, setting, color/shape/texture, weather, or symbolism topic from the right side bar.  Suggestions will appear as a blog post.  Each thesaurus is regularly added to, there is something new each week! How to integrate The Bookshelf Muse thesauruses into the classroom: The Bookshelf Muse thesauruses are a must add to a writer’s toolbox.  All writers experience periods of writers block.  The Bookshelf Muse thesauruses can help students break through that block.  Bookmark the thesaurus on classroom computers for quick access during writing as a writing/publishing center.  Students can access the center as needed to help fire up the creative writing process.  This blog will have your students thinking carefully about word choice and how different parts of speech color writing. Before students begin using the emotion or setting thesaurus, visit the blog as a class using an interactive whiteboard.  Using the annotation feature, invite students to the board to highlight words based on the parts of speech.  This will help students identify vivid verbs, adjectives, and adverbs that add life to writing. Consider creating a writer’s toolbox for your students using a tool like symbaloo or weblist.me.  Add writing tools like rhyming dictionaries, The Bookshelf Muse Thesauruses, writing prompt generators, a Flickr picture dictionary , Color in Motion, Tag Galaxy, Lightning Bug, What if Questions for Stories, The Story Starter Jr., PinBall-bounce ideas around, Poetry Idea Machine and other writing resources.  Create another Symbaloo page or weblist.me for web tools that students can use for writing (Little Bird Tales, Kerpoof, Figment, Picture a Story, pic lits, Story Bird, Zooburst, Myths and Legends, Glogster, Graphic Novel Creator, My Story Maker and Picture Book Maker). Use the Bookshelf Muse thesauruses as a launching point to create a class thesaurus.  This can be done for setting, emotion, senses, weather, etc.  Make the thesaurus easily accessible by creating it as a blog or wiki. Tips: The Bookshelf Muse has just started adding to a weather thesaurus, so far the only entry is blizzard but it should get your students thinking about how they can describe weather. Please leave a comment and share how you are using The Bookshelf Muse Emotion thesauruses in your classroom!

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The Answer Pad: BYOD Student Response System

Posted by admin | Posted in Apply, Classroom Management, collaboration, Evaluate, Interactive Whiteboard, iPod, Knowledge (remember), Middle/High School, Primary Elementary, Secondary Elementary, Subject, Teacher Resources, Understand (describe, explain), video, web tools, Websites | Posted on 16-04-2013

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What it is: The Answer Pad is a student response system…only better!  What makes it better?  The ability for use with BYOD (Bring Your Own Device) classrooms and the ability to collect student responses outside of your typical, limited multiple choice answers that most student response systems are limited to.  The Answer Pad is really made up of two parts.  1. The student response piece that lets students go interactive with outstanding drawing features.  2. The answer sheets that score and capture data from existing paper exams including full online reporting, the ability for students to show their work, and a variety of question types. The Answer Pad is available for the iPad, Android or from any web browser.  Download the TAPit Free app for the iPad!

The free version of The Answer Pad is pretty robust for teachers and students.  Premium features are available at a reasonable price that take it to the next level.

How to integrate The Answer Pad into the classroom: The Answer Pad is a really useful addition to the formative assessment puzzle.  I LOVE that it doesn’t limit teachers to gathering low-level data in the format of multiple choice answer (although this feature is available for those times when you want to check for entry level understanding).  The Answer Pad lets students draw and type out answers, making the feedback they give to you during a lesson that much more valuable.  The fact that it isn’t limited to the basics is GREAT!  Imagine a math lesson where students are able to actually show and demonstrate their understanding (not just their amazing guessing skills).  The instantaneous feedback is wonderful for adjusting lessons and providing more individualized instruction based on what you are seeing.

In addition to collecting more valuable math feedback, The Answer Pad also gives you valuable feedback for any subject, a blank template lets students free write/draw their understanding.  This might even be a great way for students to take notes during learning, you can give your students feedback on their note taking during a lesson.  I am always amazed when I look at student notes, some of our students really don’t know what is important enough to write down and how to organize themselves best for later reference.  Using the free draw in The Answer Pad would give you good insight into a student’s thinking process and help you to guide and direct them appropriately.

The reporting feature is also really helpful, being able to look not only at student answers, but also at the written work that led to the answer is SO valuable.  This embedded feature makes Answer Pad more than just a self-grading platform, this is feedback and data that you can really use to drive instruction.

Tips:  Premium features include: custom frameworks for scoring tests, ability to bundle assessments together for side-by-side comparison and reporting, advance functions for test scenarios, an additional drawing palette for the Go Interactive portion, support by phone, and access to black-line template library.

Thank you to @dkapuler for introducing me to The Answer Pad!

I’ve been nominated for a Bammy Award for Educational Blogger.  I’d appreciate your vote to help spread the word about iLearn Technology.  Vote here.  Thank you for your continued support!!

Leave a comment and tell us how you are using  The Answer Pad in your classroom.

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