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Enter the Group: Making Group Project Easier

What it is: Enter the Group is a fabulous online tool that makes it simple to work with, and organize, groups online.  The tool has similar functionalities to Wiggio. Enter the Group includes shared calendars, site email, file sharing, instant chat and message boards, the ability to create private groups and classrooms, tasks and assignments, polls, blogging, Twitter, and question/answer forum, and best of all: it is totally free!  Enter the Group has some really nice classroom features that other online group management sites like Wiggio don’t have.  The built in blog feature is useful for the classroom setting, it provides students with a place to reflect that can be set as “private” so that it is a closed network for your classroom or school.  This is especially helpful in schools where administration and the school community is hesitant to enter the world of blogging! Enter the Group Classrooms provides a virtual classroom space that can act as an extension of the physical classroom.  Teachers and students can interact, keep track of due dates and special events, share files, post messages, and more.  Students can take their learning with them anywhere and access the resources they need anytime.  Enter the Group is easy to use and has really helpful tips and video guidance throughout the tool.  No matter what your technology ability level is, Enter the Group has made it easy to get started. My favorite thing about Enter the Group?  They understand that the classroom is about learning, from the classroom page: “What do we do in classrooms? Simple answer is we learn. The longer answer is we; listen, ask questions, start debates, get group feedback, work on assignments, take tests and exams, present our work and perhaps many other things I haven’t thought of as well. Should all these things stop once the bell sounds and the students walk out the door? We all know the answer is no.”  Enter the Group isn’t about the technology, but about the learning opportunities that it enables. How to integrate Enter the Group into the classroom: Enter the Group is a way to extend learning beyond the walls of your classroom.  Use it to extend conversations, debates, and offer support through online discussion; help students (and parents) keep track of assignments and classroom events, keep track of and share files so students who are absent are never left behind, to collect shared resources and information (a kind of “digital textbook” that you create for/with your students); to expand on class topics with video; and to create a collaborative learning environment.  Students can use Enter the Group to plan and organize projects that they are working on in groups, providing a virtual meeting space outside of the classroom to collaborate.  Enter the Group is perfect for students who are out with an illness or to continue learning opportunities when pandemic illness or bad weather keeps us from the physical classroom (anyone had SNOW problems this year? ) Enter the Group provides a platform where students can continue learning and collaborating from any Internet-connected computer. Do you have students collaborating with another class in another state? Another country?  Enter the Group is a great place for students to work together, discuss, debate, and share.  The ability to create a private network adds a layer of security and manageability to the online group. Enter the Group also makes a great platform for working with colleagues and for professional development.  Share important dates, files, and reflections within the group.  Enter the Group is a nice way to gather and share resources from one centralized location making it easy to add to, and grow, year after year.  No more, “remember that great lesson we used last year? What was that site/resource again?”  (I cannot tell you how many times I have had THAT conversation!) Tips: Enter the Group provides a few options for sign-up.  Teachers, parents, and students can sign up with an email address (don’t forget to use tempinbox.com or mailinaitor.com for temporary inboxes for students who don’t have an email account), Twitter, or Facebook.  It would be nice if Enter the Group had a feature like Wiggio where group members could join without registering-this is really helpful in elementary classrooms. Please leave a comment and share how you are using Enter the Group in your classroom

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Addison Tales: Ignite Your Student’s Imagination

Posted by admin | Posted in Art, Create, Evaluate, Interactive book, Interactive Whiteboard, iPod, Language Arts, Primary Elementary, Secondary Elementary, Web2.0, Websites | Posted on 17-10-2013

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Addison Tales: Activate your student's imagination in descriptive writing

What it is: Addison Tales is an interesting interactive site that asks your students to contribute content.  This ongoing competition challenges students to invent an imaginative story character for Addison’s Tales.  When students visit the site, they will be introduced to Mr. Cornelius Addison.  If students click on the sparkly stars, they can visit the story’s characters.  When students click on Mr. Cornelius Addison, they will be taken to a story called “The Dream”.  The story is about Mack’s wild and imaginative store where he sells characters.  The story urges students to add characters to the store and then to “trap” their characters inside finished stories so that they don’t just remain figments of the imagination.  When students create their own characters, they make them “real” like the solid characters in the cottage that can be discovered inside the apps that are available from Addison tales in the app store.  The challenge is for students to write and draw interesting characters.

How to integrate Addison Tales into your classroom:  I think the way that Addison Tales combines technology, writing, drawing, story and imagination is brilliant!  Read “The Dream” with your students using classroom computers, an interactive whiteboard or projector-connected computer.  For those of you with iPads in the classroom, “The Dream” is also available as a free app.  After reading the story, talk about the types of characters described in “The Dream.”  This is a great way to get your students thinking about description and imagery!  Ask students to write down the adjectives and descriptive words that they remember from the story.  Students can choose a character from the story to draw.  For a fun class activity, invite students to all draw the same character and see what similarities and differences exist between student drawings.  (This can lead to some fun discussion about artistic license!) 

After students try their hand at describing characters from the story, they can work on creating their own character.  Students should think carefully about word choice and imagery.  Through December (2013) Addison Tales is running a competition where students can submit their characters.  Each week, Mr. Addison will frame a select number of characters on his wall with the artist’s nickname, country and character name for everyone to see.  At the end of the month, one of the most curious of the characters submitted will be turned into a plush toy and sent to the lucky artist.  Pretty great reward!

Tips: The contest portion runs every month through the end of December.  Even without the contest, the site offers a great way to introduce your kids to descriptive writing and imagery!

What do you think of Addison Tales?  How do you plan to use it in your classroom?

Comments (6)

Addison Tales would be incredibly motivating in the classroom. I am always looking for new ways to inspire my second graders to explore their creativity and let their imaginations run wild. They are so used to writing non-fiction stories, that when it comes time to write fiction stories, they have trouble coming up with that initial idea. Addison Tales would help jump start their minds and guide them in creating descriptive characters and intriguing story plots.

I really like the contest component to this website. It gives students a chance to showcase their best work and teaches them to take pride in what they produce. The website itself evokes mystery and curiosity. Even though the content of The Dream may be a bit advanced for second graders, I can already envision ways of adapting it to make it something they understand and want to take part in. Thanks for a great post!

Hi,

I like Addison Tales to a certain extent. I feel that it is limited in the sense that it would only be useful to a certain age group(elementary students). However it contributes a lot to that particular age group as listed above. This post was very informative and definitely something fun for today’s student.

Thanks,
Nathalie

One lovely aspect not mentioned above is the musical component of Addison’s Tales. If you click on little Vincent the mouse leaning out of his mousehole, you will find that he hands out the sheet music from Addison’s Tales. Kids can turn their tablets vertically and place them on the music stand to play directly from the screen. If music teachers want to motivate their (probalby more advanced) students further, they can record class recitals and upload to youtube, then send a link to the given email address. Vincent will rig his projector to showcase the recital. The good thing is that the tunes are actually very catchy (in an Irish kind of way), so the kids should defintely have a lot of fun here too.

Love that! I missed it on my first visit. Thanks JB!

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