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What it is:  Another fantastic visual dictionary, Visuwords shows a graphical representation of words and word relationships.  Students can view word meanings and associations.  Search for any word and immediately get word connections, find out which words are similar, an instance of, a substance of, a part of, a member of, a verb group, an opposite, a causes, entails, and offers suggestions for other words to see.  Parts of speech are color coordinated so students can tell at a glance which part of speech the word is.  When students hover the mouse over a word the definition pops up on the word. How to integrate Visuwords into the classroom:   Visuwords is a great way for students to learn vocabulary.  Leave Visuwords projected on an interactive whiteboard or on a projector during any whole class reading session.  As students come upon unfamiliar words, they can use Visiwords to look up the word.  Discuss the word relationships and meanings as a class.  Visuwords is a lot like Lexipedia, it may be more visually friendly for primary grades.  Set up Visuwords on classroom computers as a writing center.  During writing, students can visit the center and search for synonyms and antonyms that will enhance writing.  Visuwords can be used as an introduction to any new learning, type in key vocabulary from new learning.  Encourage students to guess what the new learning may be about based on the word connections.    Tips:   Visuwords uses Prinston University’s WordNet, an opensource database. Leave a comment and tell us how you are using Visuwords 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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