Tag: boys literacy

App #5 of “10 Apps to Countdown Season”

App #5:   Many of us have our students write stories and then illustrate the text.  While the artists in the bunch do flips and cartwheels (and I’ve had those students),  what happens to those who struggle with drawing the simplest shapes.  You know what I mean… somehow my tree just doesn’t quite look like a tree. Having a teacher say, “just do your best” doesn’t make me feel any better when I stare at my ‘stick tree’.  How about giving the gift of storytelling without the struggle of drawing?

Storybird is a site that captures the imagination and allows a writer to focus on writing.  Starting with selections of beautiful images (drawn by artists), you craft your story.  The images serve to anchor your ideas as they unfold.  A slider at the bottom of the screen shows the sequence of each page – handy for keeping the flow of beginning, middle and end. The finished products are short, art-inspired pieces of text that can be shared on any device.


Teachers can create free class accounts without the need for emails (please be careful about using student names). Options for sharing allows the story to be published on the site or embedded in blogs, wikis, or other platforms.

How can you use this site to grow your writers?

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App #3 of “10 Apps to Countdown Season”



App #3:  What happens when you bring together an ipad, an app, words, thoughts, and sound?  Why Book Creator of course. This app for the ipad is a thing of beauty when it comes to creating ebooks.  Images can be drawn or photographed and inserted along with text.  As well, audio can enhance both the background environment and allow student voice. ibooks_shelf

Several options are available for the published copy – email, export as pdf, sent to iBooks shelf or opened via other online apps.

Imagine using Book Creator to merge your research projects, collaborate on a writing series, produce an e-portfolio, create library bank of work for others to read. I think there might be a “passion project” in this?
How would you use this app?

Nov-Dec Newsletter Out in the World



Our November-December newsletter is now published.  Read what’s new and exciting in our district.   As well, you might not have been aware that you can take advantage of purchasing MS Office at home (for only $11).
Or select the tab > News to find all issues.

[gview file=”http://blogs.sd41.bc.ca/learningtech/files/2012/11/news_2013_11.pdf”]

To find all previous NEWS, select the tab > News

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Book Love



Book Love by Penny Kittle shares stories on how readers develop depth, stamina and passion. Though written with adolescents in mind, the message is absolutely appropriate for elementary age. She states that the path to difficult reading begins with books that students enjoy. To build capacity for reading requires practice and lots of it to build stamina. This reminds me of exercise. Anyone who’s tried distance running can attest to the need of gradually increasing exercise over time. Building stamina to get over that hill and then add another hill the following week takes energy and committed focus.

Kittle does a great job of offering strategies integrated into the day to achieve the desired effect – passion for reading.  A great read for those who are interested in supporting the reading process.

Reading The Impossible

Many of you have asked me if there is support for those who struggle with reading digital content especially when it is written above instructional reading levels.  Every time a class attempts research out on the web, students are faced with information they cannot comfortably read. For the brain to have enough neuronal resources to devote to comprehension they must be able to read at their independent reading level (*that’s an extremely high accuracy rate).

A handy site [no downloading] that I’ve shared is Rewordify.  This online tool allows you to copy a text or website link into a box area.  It locates and converts difficult words into more commonly understood words.


 For example, I copied/pasted the definition of “Autumn”.  Rewordify highlights the difficult words in purple and inserts the common words in yellow. rewordify_result

Additional features in Settings, offers some ability to customize.

Differentiation is attained without losing sight of the original text.  You can even work on building vocabulary at the same time!  Let me know what you think and how you’ve used it in your classes.


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