Welcome back to the Tech Snack Café! I am working hard on getting more yummy snacks to you! Meanwhile, enjoy the first issue of Tech Snacks The Comic! This first issue focuses on four tools that I have previously talked about on this blog. The comic is nice visual summary of the benefits of using these tools! Enjoy!
The act of writing and creating original stories/works has many benefits for our students. If you are a frequent visitor of this blog, you know that I have written about these benefits in various entries. So, on that note, I would like to introduce this week’s Tech Snacks-which as you may have guessed-is a tool that deals with writing/creating stories.
Today’s Tech Snack can be found at the following url: http://www.jellybeanscoop.com/autopub/
What is it and how can I use it in my classroom?
Jellybean Writer is a tool that is part of the jellybeanscoop’s site. Side note: The jellybeanscoop site offers high interest, nonfiction, leveled stories for children. Each story also has audio and content review questions to further student comprehension (hmm, sounds like this site could be a Tech Snack by itself.)
Jellybean Writer is an online tool that lets students create their own online books/newsletters. The interface is simple to use requiring students to click and drag layouts to their publications. ***Note: If you are using Jellybean Writer using your Internet Browser you need to know that it uses flash-which means that it will not open on ipads or similar tablets unless you have the puffin browser downloaded on your device. Puffin is an Internet browser that allows you to play flash content on tablets. To learn more about Puffin, click on my review here. You could also download the Android or IOS app on your tablet, and then you would not need to use Puffin with this tool***
Using Jellybean Writer, students can add text and pictures to their creations. There is no limit to the number of pages a book can have or to the number books/publications you can create. Students can save their work, download to their device and print it out, though a username and password is needed in order to use these functions.
Prior to using Jellybean Writer, demonstrate how to use the tool using the demo version. The demo version has all the same features as the standard version just that you can’t save, print or download your books because you are not signed in.
Jellybean Writer is easy to use, though since you need a username/password to save work, you may want to create a class login for younger students. This tool will work even if multiple people are logged in with the same login information. ***Note: You can make a teacher account on the overall jellybeanscoop site, which will also allow you to make student logins for Jellybean writer(as well as the other features of jellybeansoop). To explore that option click here.***
You could also use this tool to help create a flipped/blended learning environment in your classroom, by having students access their stories from home.
I am a firm believer of not reinventing the wheel, and since teachers are notorious for borrowing from each other, please see the ideas for using this tool as stated in a teachersfirst.com review:
“…At the beginning of the year have students develop stories to tell about their summer and share with classmates. Create a photo story for history, showcasing great people or specific historical events such as the signing of the Declaration of Independence. In the arts, create a photo story of achievements of various artists. In science, create a photo story of famous inventors or have students explain their understanding of cell division.”
In addition, for grades K-6 you can use the scholastic writing prompts tool( found here) to come up with writing ideas for students who "never know what to write about." Perhaps considering using the story starters web app, found here, as well for writing prompts.
Yummy! Until next time at the Tech Snack Café!
Greetings fellow educators! I hope you all are getting ready for a nice holiday weekend with your families as we take time out to reflect on things we are thankful for. When I first started this blog, I would write a new blog entry every week. There have been some gaps in my writing, but I will be going back to writing a new post each week following this holiday week. Here's a glimpse of the upcoming tech snacks:
About the Author
Wendy Torres has been teaching for over 15 years and has a BA in Special Education and a Masters of Education in Instructional Technology. She is currently an Instructional Technologist for Coppin State University.