Monday, May 7, 2012

Tool #5




Wordle

Here is a link to a Wordle on the last chapter of The Great Gatsby.  Many classics are online and can be copied and pasted into Wordle to do this.  By doing this in an English class, students can see where the author's focus in throughout an entire novel or on a specific part, as I have below.  This give the students insight as to what the author felt was most important and what was less significant.  many times students focus in on details, characters, or events that have vague importance to the work as a whole.  This will allow them to find out for themselves what is deemed more significant by it's repetition.
<a href="http://www.wordle.net/show/wrdl/5254769/Gatsby_Last_Chapter" title="Wordle: Gatsby Last Chapter"><img src="http://www.wordle.net/thumb/wrdl/5254769/Gatsby_Last_Chapter" alt="Wordle: Gatsby Last Chapter" style="padding:4px;border:1px solid #ddd"></a>

The website won't allow me to embed the image, but that may be because I didn't sign up.  it allows you to create a Wordle to print and access from their global library without signing up,, so I've never done it.  


Xtranormal

I love this website and kids have had great fun on it.  I used it first when we were doing persuasive speeches.  The speeches were very dry and boring to watch, so I decided to have kids create a cartoon of their speech.  They had to put in pauses, change camera angles, add music to set the mood, etc.  It made the process much more fun and they actually learned much more through having to make so many choices keeping the audience in mind to make the video.  I extended it to other types of papers and it always made writing much more interesting to the kids.

I had planned to add my Xtranormal movie after it loaded, but it never loaded!  It has been quite some time and it shows up on my account as still being "rendered." If I go back to edit the movie, I can watch it.  I tired to do it at home on my PC, but it still wouldn't work.  I plan to figure out a way to make it work though.  It has gone through many upgrades and such, so this may just be one of those periods where it doesn't work well for a while then they fix it.

At the time I began using it, it was free.  It became a pay website, then they extended free usage again.  Now you can sign up for an educator account.  I have had trouble with the videos saving when all of the kids are trying to save at once.  We fixed many of the problems when they all had their own account through different arenas.  It allows you to sign on through gmail, Facebook, and Twitter which has made it a bit easier to manage.  However, even with some of the bugs worked out it takes a while to save.  Kids are very impatient, so they need to know it takes time and it won't save in a minute or less.  It can take anywhere from 5-15 minutes to save. 


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