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Story Top

  What it is:  Story Top is a simple comic strip creator.  Students can create an account on Story Top where they can save, share with classmates, and print out comic strips that they create.  Students can choose from a set selection of backgrounds, images, and text bubbles (they aren’t able to upload their own images).  Using the Story Top clip art and backgrounds, students can create a fun comic strip about almost any topic with a simple drag-and-drop interface. How to integrate Story Top into the classroom:  Comic strips are an outstanding way to get your reluctant writers writing (especially boys!)   The comic format usually isn’t as daunting as a blank piece of paper.  With just a little guidance, your students will be writing and creating comic strips in no time!  Use Story Top as a classroom computer writing center where students can take turns publishing their own comic strips (these are fun to use in a class newsletter home at the end of the week or on a classroom website).  In the computer lab setting, give students a topic and have them create a comic strip based on the topic.  Story Top would also be excellent to use with a projector or an interactive whiteboard.  Instead of giving your students a bulleted list of notes to copy down on a subject, why not make it fun and create a comic strip that includes all of the notes.    Comics are a fun way to mix up the classroom routine and students are much more likely to remember the material if it is presented this way.  Happy creating!   Tips:  To use your comic strips on your classroom website or in a newsletter, take a screen shot of the strip to save it as a picture file on your computer (on a Mac it is command+shift+4).    Leave a comment and tell us how you are using Story Top in your classroom.

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Send Your Name to Mars

Posted by admin | Posted in Fun & Games, Interactive Whiteboard, Middle/High School, Primary Elementary, Science, Secondary Elementary, Teacher Resources, Virtual Field Trips, Websites | Posted on 30-03-2009

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What it is:  This is your chance to send your students to Mars!  Okay, maybe not literally but you can send their names to Mars.  NASA has done this before, you may have sent your names to the moon in the past.  Now you and your students have the opportunity to send their names to Mars by way of a microchip on the Mars Science Laboratory rover heading to Mars in 2011.

How to integrate Send Your Name to Mars into the classroom:  This is a great way to get your students excited about a space unit!  Students can start the space unit by sending their name in to be put on the microchip going to Mars and print out the “official” certificate.   Follow up this activity by exploring the NASA website or NASA Kids to learn more about the Mars Science Laboratory rover and the mission.  If you don’t have access to a computer for each student, you could send your class name to Mars and explore the NASA site as a class using a projector.  As an extension activity, you can have students write about what they think it would be like to go to Mars.

 

Tips:  Take a look at the participation map, it is interesting to see who is going to Mars!

 

Leave a comment and tell us how you are using Send Your Name to Mars in your classroom.

Comments (1)

[…] I have to admit I’ve had students in my classes who I would occasionally like to send to Mars, but NASA has a neat activity where you really can send them there! As NASA’s site says “This is your chance to go to Mars! Fill in your information below and your name will be included with others on a microchip on the Mars Science Laboratory rover heading to Mars in 2011!”  Students can then print-out the official certificate, and explore the site to learn more about the Mars Mission (thanks to iLearn Technology for the tip). […]

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