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Zimmer Twins: New site just for schools!

Read my previous mentions of the Zimmer Twins here.  What it is:  The Zimmer Twins movie maker is one of my favorite classroom tools.  Recently, they added a Zimmer Twins at School site that has extra goodies built-in that make it an even sweeter deal for the classroom.  Yesss. I love it when that happens.  On the Zimmer Twin site, students can create really impressive cartoon animations (seriously this is saturday morning cartoon quality). Who are the Zimmer Twins, you might ask?  Edgar and Eva Zimmer are 12-year-old twins who appear normal but have developed psychic powers.  Strange things began to happen when the twins adopted a black cat named 13.  On the Zimmer Twins website, students can create their own cartoon movie endings to a story starter or create their own animated movie from scratch.  Students can create and edit movies solo or “Collab-o-write” and work together creating a collaborative movie. With the free school account, teachers can add 5 students, make 12 movies, visit a profile page for each student and teacher, and have the ability to moderate content.  Very handy for classroom use!  In the past, I had to create an account for every student, work out how to keep track of everyone’s creations and make sure we could share with each other.  Thanks to the new school account, all of this can be handled easily right within one account! How to integrate the Zimmer Twins School into the classroom:  Your students are going to love this site!  They can direct and produce their very own animated movies.  The easiest way to start using Zimmer Twins in the classroom, is to use it as a story starter.  Students can watch a “starter” video and finish the story however they would like.  The first time you introduce the site, it might be fun to complete a video as a class.  Then students can take over and create their own ending to a Zimmer Twins movie.  These video clips make excellent story starters for journal writing even if you can’t take the time to make it into an actual video.  To use as a story starter, show the beginning of the short animation to your students on an interactive whiteboard or projector, then let students take over on classroom computers, working together, or writing a journal entry.  After your students are familiar with the Zimmer Twins website, they can start a story from scratch.  Students could direct “screen plays” of their writing, as a way to publish their finished work.  Zimmer Twins would make an excellent alternative to the traditional book report.  Students could create a movie where the main character is being interviewed, the story is being summarized, or retold.  Students could also create movies about historical events, describing a science experiment or concept, in math as a story problem, to demonstrate understanding of character education or for vocabulary practice.  My students have really enjoyed creating movies to show what they have learned on any topic, it is always a sure winner!  Are you looking for new ways to engage your students? Why not create a Zimmer Twins original yourself to introduce a new topic.  If you are looking for more great ideas for using Zimmer Twins in your classroom, be sure to check out the lesson plans on the teacher page, there are some good ones. Tips: Zimmer Twins School also offers a VIP account with lots of extras including the ability to add 40 students, make unlimited movies, open comments, write blog posts, write polls, enable/disable student comments on videos. Right now a month-long VIP membership is FREE!  You can get a year membership for $89.95. Please leave a comment and share how you are using Zimmer Twins School in  your classroom!

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My Story Maker

Posted by admin | Posted in Fun & Games, Interactive book, Interactive Whiteboard, Language Arts, Primary Elementary, Secondary Elementary, web tools, Websites | Posted on 15-06-2009

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What it is:  My Story Maker is an amazing interactive website created for the Carnegie Libraries of Pittsburgh.  My Story Maker is an interactive story book where students are in charge of creating a story.  Students choose characters, and a genre and then begin telling a story.  The students create the story by dragging and dropping characters, objects, and backgrounds into their story.  The characters can have emotions and perform actions with the different objects and interact with each other.  As students drag different elements to the story book, a story is written for them based on what is happening in the pictures.  When they are finished, they have created an interactive book that they can read and share with friends.

How to integrate My Story Maker into the classroom:   My Story Maker is a fantastic interactive tool to get students creating a story.  What I love about this website is the way that it encourages students to create by first thinking about the elements of a story (who will it be about?, what kind of story will it be?, what happens first?, what happens next?).  This is a great tool to use to help students understand the importance of beginning, middle, and end, setting, supporting details, and dialogue.  My Story Maker would be fun to use to create a whole class story using an interactive whiteboard.  Students could take turns adding elements to the story and reading the story aloud.  As students create the class story, be sure to keep them thinking about the setting, plot, and characters.  My Story Maker can also be used individually on classroom computers or in a computer lab setting.  The written story will be very basic “Fox threw a ball to lion.”  Encourage students to embellish their stories with vivid verbs, adjectives, and adverbs.  When students are finished with their story they can download it, share it with others, preview it, or print it. 


Tips:  I learned about this site from Kevin Jarrett‘s excellent blog.  Check it out for great tips and inspiration for your classroom!

Leave a comment and tell us how you are using My Story Maker in your classroom.

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