Wednesday, April 26, 2017

Let me introduce you to my new best friend...Google Drawings!

I've been in love with Google Drawings lately because it's such a versatile tool. It's also easy to use since is has the same tool bar as Docs and Slides.  It actually lives alongside all the other Google apps we use all the time like Docs in Google Drive.

Here's why I think you should jump on my Drawings bandwagon:
  • Drawings is actually a PUBLISHING TOOL, which means you can create flyers, brochures, infographics, postcards - just about anything with it. Size-wise it is completely customizable. 
  • Drawings is also an IMAGE EDITING TOOL (like a low-end Photoshop). Upload your pic and then crop, recolor, add overlays, add text, shapes...You can actually do some pretty sophisticated stuff and there are plenty of videos out there to help you figure it out. 
  • Drawings is also a DIAGRAMMING/GRAPHIC ORGANIZER TOOL that can be used to create visual representations of more-abstract concepts such as life-cycles, fractions, and travel over distances. I had third graders create concept maps about people they interviewed. 
  • Drawing offers a way for students to create VISUAL ANSWERS on assessments, even when using a Google Forms assessment. Here's how to do that.
Take 10 minutes to check out this Google Drawings 101 video and see if you don't think Drawings is the best thing since April vacation as well. 

Here are some examples of what other's have done in Drawings. How do you see yourself using Drawings in the classroom?

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Wednesday, April 5, 2017

3 Great Tools that Make Writing Fun

Here are three (free) writing tools that are proven winners with the Kinder - Grade 5 crowd. I like how these tools ignite creativity in even reluctant writers, can be used to reinforce learning in any subject, and how they allow for several different publishing options such as printing or getting a link.

Writing Digitally by Jennifer Rowe BBRSD  

StoryMaker on is the free form option that lets younger students create a picture and then write about it using a lined paper template to reinforce those early writing skills. Kids can either print or save their creations. Potential use: Have kids describe the science or math lesson they just had. 

Mystorymaker from the Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh guides kids through the process of creating a short story while also letting them act out the story using characters, actions, moods, settings, and objects. Stories can be saved and accessed via a link. Potential use: Have kids reenact an event they just learned about in history or social studies. 

Storybird uses beautiful artwork to inspire creative writing in the form of poetry, long stories, or picture books with captions. Sign in is required but students can use their Google accounts so the process is simple and because Storybird is an educational tool, student won't be spammed later with promotional emails. Potential use: Have kids keep a weekly journal using the chapter book format. Kids can select images that match their emotional profile for the week  and write about it (good way to reinforce social/ behavioral awareness too!).