Category Archives: Language Arts

WordFoto

WordFoto is an iApp ($1.99) with a lot of potential for creative minds.  The app allows the user to either take a picture or load a photo from the device’s Photo Gallery.  Once loaded, the designer can then crop the picture if necessary.  The main appeal, however, is adding words to the picture.  There are sets of words already provided, or a creative mind can provide his or her own.  You can also choose the style by selecting from different themes or creating your own.  In addition, there are some fine-tuning tools to tweak things a bit more.  Below you will find an example of an original photo by one of my 4th graders, and her interpretation using WordFoto.

Original Photo
WordFoto Version

Thanks to Laura Moore, who first brought this app to my attention in her blog!  Be sure to check out her post for ideas on how to use WordFoto in the classroom.

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Tic-Tac-Connect

This idea is one of several provided in an article on Scholastic.com entitled Making Connections/Self-Monitoring: A Differentiated Learning Centers Unit Plan.  You may want to check out the entire unit.  Or, if you have less time, be sure to visit this section, which gives you suggestions for using the above reproducible to encourage your students to make connections to the text they are reading.  The students could use this independently or in a game format in pairs.  This lesson is excerpted from Differentiated Literacy Centers by Margo Southall.

Writing Prompts

This site has interesting prompts with great graphics that will inspire your students to be creative.  Great for a center or whole-class activity, each post is thought-provoking and sure to spark interest.  I almost got side-tracked, myself, as I was getting information for this post.  I have not viewed all of the over 200 prompts, but please remember, especially if you are an elementary teacher, to preview the topics and pics before you choose to link to them or use them in class.

Ira Glass on Storytelling

Ira Glass, the radio host of This American Life on NPR, gives his opinion of how to become great at your art.  Although he is speaking of writing, this could be a great motivational tool for anyone who has ambition in a particular field. David Shiyang Liu created the typography to go along with Ira’s words.

Bubble Ball

Bubble Ball is one of my favorite iDevice apps.  It is a free download, and has 48 levels.  You can purchase more after you finish the 48  for  99 cents.  The purpose of this game is to use the various materials that appear on the screen in each level to direct a ball to roll toward a flag.  I don’t usually like to recommend game apps for the classroom, because students seem to get enough of those at home.  But this Physics challenge encourages problem solving and creative thinking.  Many of the levels have more than one solution.  This could be a fun center in which the students could take screen shots of their solutions and explain them using the free Screen Chomp app or other methods.  It would be interesting to compare the different solutions groups develop, and have them explain their thought processes.  Of course, I highly recommend that you play around with the app yourself – just to get familiar with the levels, of course 😉

The Amazing Word Tamer

This is an awesome site brought to you by author Judy Waite.  It is designed to immerse students in the writing experience through interactive experiences that introduce them to:  plot, genre, character, and settings.  In her own words, “I wanted to utilise all the benefits that image, sound and animation can bring, connect this with creative exercises that have been proven to enhance children’s creative writing skills, and package it with a work of fiction that would support all these aspects.” I guarantee it will appeal to your students’ imaginations and enhance their writing.

Resources and Lessons for Fiction Reading

I actually found the link to Beth Newingham’s blog post on another blog, KB Connected.  When I clicked on the link, I was immediately impressed by the creative ideas and the higher order thinking skills each activity included.  In addition, Beth Newingham provides photos of each activity and printables that are simple but attractive.  It has links to her website showing several of the fiction genre lessons in action.  This is the kind of classroom in which kids thrive!