Thursday, March 24, 2011

Vokis for Nonfiction

I know: another post about vokis. But the more I use them, the more different ideas I have for how to use them. We're working with some students on reading nonfiction and I'm wondering if this could be a way for them to share their facts, thoughts and questions about what they read. In one fifth grade class, we read a short article from the Comprehension Toolkit (great resource!) about war. In a seventh grade class, we're reading about financial literacy. Here are my examples from my own reading:

Thursday, March 10, 2011

xtra normal again

I was trying to use voki to work on my ESL student's writing skills, but she became so obsessed with changing her avatar's hair and clothes that it distracted her from the writing, which was the real purpose. (Quite possible the distraction was also avoidance, since she knew writing was the next step and is a reluctant writer.) I'm wondering if xtra normal would push the writing more, since you naturally want the characters to have a dialogue. Here's a sample that I'm going to show her to introduce her to the web site. (I heart pawz!)

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

The power of modeling once again!

I was taking a webinar with Sharon Taberski (great experience!) and Solana was out of school on break. Since the webinar was an hour long and I had come into the office to take it, I wanted Solana to be occupied, so I put her on a web site with videos of one of her new obsessions, “the Swat Kats.” Every so often, she would come over to my desk to see what I was doing, and I would glance back to make sure she was okay. I had my notebook out and was jotting notes and ideas down from the session. When it was time to leave, I noticed that Solana had been taking notes on her video (see above). “How cute,” I thought and showed it to my husband that night. He immediately pointed out the power of modeling. This was just another reminder to me about how important it is to model with our students.

We can also make use of modeling by referring to series such as the Magic Tree House, where we see the main character taking notes from nonfiction texts. Since so many students have read the Magic Tree House series, this is something to draw on when we model notetaking for older students. Some fantasy books, such as How to Train Your Dragon and Dragonology (dragons are popular in our house!) also have notetaking pages: even though they're on a fantasy subject, you can make the analogy to notetaking for research.

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Vokis for paragraph writing

I'm working with some teachers who are using voki to work on the goal of having students write a complete paragraph that sticks to one topic. I modeled brainstorming about my interests, family, and experiences and had students help me choose the most interesting ones to use for my paragraph. They helped me write a first draft of an "About Me" paragraph last week. Next week, I'll show them these final drafts. If we had more time, this would lead really well into digital storytelling. (I had a little difficulty getting my voki to say "La Mega se pega," but I think she got close enough.)