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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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Host an RSCON4 Meetup Party- Introduce Colleagues to Your PLN!

Posted by admin | Posted in collaboration, education reform, Grade Level, inspiration, Reform Symposium Conference | Posted on 01-10-2013

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Reform Symposium Free Worldwide Conference

If you have never attended an online conference, you should definitely take the opportunity to try one out on October 11-13 for the Reform Symposium Conference.  The line up of keynote speakers, presenters, and panel discussions is FANTASTIC.  It is like traveling around the world for inspiration from the comfort of your living room.  I really can’t say enough about how excited I am for this awesome weekend of learning!  Please join us for as much as you can, you will not be disappointed!  Plus, what could be better than learning with a bunch of friends from your living room?  You don’t even have to worry about what attire you should wear (I’ll be in PJs for sure!).

Be sure to join @michellek, @nancybabbitt and me for our session Connections Through Inquiry on Sunday! We’ll be talking up strategies that we use at Anastasis Academy as teachers and learners.  Check out the online schedule in your timezone and plan to join us!

If you are an online conference regular who is constantly working to get other teachers at your school to attend (with no luck), why not consider hosting a Reform Symposium Conference meetup party?  If they won’t engage in online community on their own, bring the community to them!  This would be a great way to help those who are less tech savvy get involved in some professional development in a way that feels ‘safe.’  Choose a location with good wifi (this could be a room at school, your living room, a local coffee shop), load up on fun snacks, invite some friends and learn together!  I have done this in the past with great success! It is all kinds of fun and adds a level of safety for first timers.  Use this event as an opportunity to introduce your offline colleagues to your online PLN (personal learning network).  I find that people are more likely to engage online for learning when they feel like they have a connection to others going in.  When they start a great conversation during a session, help them continue it by signing up for Twitter.

If you want to get really fancy, share my Twitter posters as a party gift.  Help those who haven’t signed up to sign up and connect to those they met during the conference.  Following the conference, send others at your school a “Learning Moment of the Day” along with a link to the community (member) that shared it with you.

Sometimes all it takes to connect people is a new approach to the invitation delivery. :)

 

We are still looking for volunteers to help with the conference!

Volunteer to Moderate Sessions for the Reform Symposium E-Conference (RSCON4)

RSCON would not be so inspiring without a highly devoted group of volunteer moderators to keep the conference running with as few hiccups as possible. Moderators play one of the most important roles by jumping into various sessions and helping presenters and participants have a great experience. Additionally, volunteers get to meet our inspiring presenters and introduce them to the audience. To become part of this super amazing team, sign up at http://www.futureofeducation.com/group/2013-rscon-volunteers and use the booking calendar to schedule volunteer time, http://rsconvolunteers.youcanbook.me

Also, attend one of our Blackboard Collaborate training sessions so you are familiar with the platform, http://bit.ly/rscon4trainingpg

Thank you for helping us inspire educators worldwide!

If you have questions about volunteering for the conference, one of our volunteer organizers would be happy to help!  Tweet your questions to one of the awesome organizers listed below!
Peggy George (@Pgeorge), Marcia Lima (@Bamarcia), Chiew Pang (@AClilToClimb), Jo Hart  (@JoHart), Phil Hart (@PhilHart)

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