DocsTeach brings together more than 3,000 primary sources and seven online activities, each designed to reinforce specific historical thinking skills. Register for free, search or browse the primary sources, and bookmark any that interest you. Head over to the "Activities" section to plug sources into any of the site's seven activity templates, and then save new activities for use in the classroom—or publish them to share with other DocsTeach users. To add a twist, ask students to make, present, and take activities of their own—activity creation is simple enough and web-savvy students should be up to the task.
Story Builder - build stories on Google Docs
Google Docs can be used in a collaborative setting, so that multiple users edit and add on to each others' comments. Story Builder allows students to create a narrative around those changes by animating the discourse between fictional writers on a Google Doc. The app provide an easy way to create and edit lines of dialogue, set them to music The result is a story in the form of a sharable film.
Sample Applications for the Reading/Language Arts Classroom:
- Two of a book's characters can describe a shared event, told from their unique perspectives. For example, two fairy tale or fable characters can each explain their side of a story, contradicting and correcting each other as they go.
- Given a quote from a novel, two or three of the novel's main characters can begin discussing it, and possibly modifying it, to express their individual world views.
- In the book Flipped by Wendelin Van Draanen, we hear dual first person narratives of the book's events. Google Docs Story Builder would be the perfect tool for telling both protagonists' point of view in a novel such as this. You might even consider having students work in pairs, with each taking on the role of one of the book's characters.
PaperRater.com is a free resource, developed and maintained by linguistics professionals and graduate students to help students improve their writing. It analyses documents in real-time and provide in depth analysis. Some of the features include:
• Plagiarism Detection
• Auto Grader
• Spelling and Grammar Check
• Style and Word Choice Analysis
• Readability Statistics
• Title Validation
• Vocabulary Builder tool
The service does not keep track of submitted papers so its plagiarism detection does not rely on past submissions. This is a web-based service: all processing takes place on the server and the results are displayed in the user’s browser.
The premium version, now in development phase, will offer improved accuracy in plagiarism detection, additional grammar checks and an increased max length for documents.
WriteCheck is designed for students to check grammar, style, usage, mechanics, spelling and originality of their works. The aim is to help them to improve and check their writing abilities and to ensure that they are not unintentionally plagiarizing.
WriteCheck presents users with easy to interpret results showing which sections of a paper appear to be unoriginal and that the writer should verify as properly cited, summarized or paraphrased. The plagiarism checking engine searches and compares papers against a database of more than 20 billion current and archived web pages, 200 million student papers and 110 million periodicals and scholarly publications. The grammar checking engine uses machine learning and natural language processing.
The service is not for free.
BibMe is a free automated citation creator and bibliography generator. It uses external databases to fill citation information: after that it compiles the bibliography and formats references following the guidelines specified by the most recent editions of each style guide. It is also possible to enter citations manually. A citation guided is also provided to students for them to learn about style guidelines for citing references.
BibMe provides with the possibility to save as many bibliographies as wanted and to access and edit them on the Web at any time. Bibliographies can be shared and downloaded in a .rtf file. It is also possible to assign categories and tags to individual citations in order to find them easily and filter citations across all compiled bibliographies.
It started in January 2007 as a student project with the aim to avoid passing hours on formatting bibliographies, thus saving time, better served working on the paper.
At present the web site is somewhat overloaded with advertisement and it may be less attractive to use with students.
3 Epic Classroom Created Animations and Films
This blog post introduces and gives a good example for each of the three broad creation types you see in teaching film and animation technique in schools (live action realism film, stop motion animation and finally rotoscope animation). Each technique features story telling at the core but uses very different creative and planning skills.
All of the films mentioned in the blog post have been created by CCEA Moving Image Arts students who study the course at Wallace High School.