I’ve found Thanksgiving to be the perfect season for…persuasive writing. This year’s writing prompt involved point of view and persuasive techniques. Students wrote from the perspective of the turkey with the task of convincing me not to chop off their head and eat them for Thanksgiving dinner.
Our initial writing used the OREO graphic organizer for persuasive writing. I found the idea and graphic organizers on Our Cool School. The premise is simple: each paragraph has an Opinion, Reason, Explanation, Opinion. We of course Double Stuf or Triple Stuf our Oreos to create multi-paragraph essays!
I motivated my students to finish this writing quickly by giving the kids two options for publishing. They could either publish using the iFunFace app or Mad Lips. iFunFace creates a talking head using whatever image the user uploads. Mad Lips asks the user to record their own lips on an image. Both of the apps allow the student to record themselves reading their work. Below I’ve uploaded the video we spliced together of each students’ work. Their persuasive reasoning was hysterical. From turkeys who stink because they wash gym shorts daily to turkeys who are diseased from running around without shoes, this writing was the best example of voice I’ve gotten from these kids all year. I loved being able to hear their expression as they read aloud their written work.
Obviously, I took my summer vacation seriously – and did not lesson plan at all. Okay, at least not on paper. I did, however, do lots of research on apps. I write app reviews for a great website called Fun Educational Apps. Our focus is educational apps for children of all ages. I got to use a ton of new apps and found some great ones that I’ve already brainstormed some lesson ideas with. We also do a Top Five series a few times a month. My most recent blog post for that site featured my Top Five Talking Head Apps. What is a Talking Head app you ask? I consider it any app that either records or mimics your voice and as a bonus, you can add your own photo too. I love creation based apps and these are some that allow my students the freedom to express themselves in any way they want. I’d like to invite you all to check out the post as it features an iLesson idea with each of the apps. You can find the post here:
We’ve been working on figurative language the past few weeks, and I have to say that tying technology into figurative language has been a lot of fun! With my love of creation based apps, these activities have been a perfect match. I hope to post several small iLesson plans in the near future showcasing some of our great projects.
We started with alliteration as our first skill. To start off the lesson, we of course did some note-making. Instead of using a podcast this time, my students explored the app Baby’s First Monsters: ABC. The app features the Alliteration Academy. Each letter of the alphabet is represented by an alliteration about a mythical monster or legendary creature. After making sure that my students knew that I didn’t want to know anything about the actual monsters, they were given the purpose of defining the word alliteration using just this app.
Our next activity hooked my students immediately because they got to listen to music. Using the iPods, students had to listen to Louis Armstrong’s “What a Wonderful World”. The rule, as always, is to listen to the song twice. The first time is always just to listen. The second time students played the song, they had to write down as many alliterations from the song as they could. I set a timer, and allowed them ten minutes to do this. After coming up with a few – and the obvious title of the song – I put a copy of the lyrics up on the Smartboard. Students used highlighting tools to identify the alliterations they heard and any others that we missed.
Our last activity used a new app that I just discovered, iFunFace. The app uses pictures either from an album or using the camera feature and creates talking bobble heads. The students developed their own alliterations and then created mini-movies of their talking heads. While the app I used is the full version, there is a free version available – it just has less of the accessories and voices. Students chose to either use a photo of themselves, or to locate a Creative Commons photo that represented their alliterations. The results were hilarious! Check out a couple of our videos: