I like to create a word cloud with terms related to the content we will be learning. I allow students to try and identify what we are learning and what the Unit topic is. I enjoy providing students an opportunity to consider what we will learn without just "being told."
This is our next unit. What might we be learning and/or doing in this unit?
Carolyn, I like Wordle.net in addition to Tagxedo, and find that when I work with students I use Tagxedo more because of the ability to create word clouds into images. One little known fact is that Google Spreadsheets can be used to create word clouds with their Advanced Word Cloud Gadget Template (again, you should be signed in to view it: Google Cloud Gadget . You can also add the Gadget by inserting the gadget directly into the spreadsheet.
With Google Cloud Gadget, you can essentially have students answer questions (or share their essays) in a Google Form and then you can apply the Word Cloud Gadget to their response (or have them do it) - viola! Word Cloud from their responses and or words. It's a great way to help analyze main idea and do text analysis of over used words!
Here are some blog posts that explain uses of it: Analyzing Student Surveys Using Word Clouds and Using Google Forms for Formative Assessment - Tech Integration and my example: Google Word Clouds
and a How-To Video for turning Google Surveys to a Wordle Cloud if you would rather do that. The steps in this video are very good, and very detailed.
Turning responses into word clouds using the Wordle, Tagxedo and Google Gadgets methods will give you similar outputs - sometimes I use one over depending on where the visual will ultimately be shown.
I like to engage students in a collaborative K-W-L-W chart - What Do I Know, What Do I Want to Know, What Did I Learn? What Do I Still Wonder? I have students engage in a collaborative Google Docs and then have them update as they discover new things.
Here's a sample template from the public template gallery in Google Drive. Simply click on Create, From Template, Select the Public Gallery tab and then search for KWL. I add an additional column for Still Wonder:
If you are signed into Google you can click here: Template
Vialogues is my new favorite way to introduce new concepts to students. Imagine that you have a video (new concept) on the left side of the page and then questions for students to address or instructions to help frame their learning on the right. As in this example created by my collague Debbie Perkins.....
Students can type their responses directly on the page. Here is the link to create your own Vialogue.
I had not heard of this resource, and I'm liking it capabilities of keeping it private for blogs and discussions. Video can easily be embedded and it allows for that discussion/blog piece to be on the same screen. Great for school use.
I love the fact that there are also videos that have been shared.
Thank you for this great resource!!!!
I just found Greg's Educational on Vimeo. This series of videos are designed to show science examples to music. I like the challenge of providing the material without "explaining it first." This could be a very useful tool for science (and perhaps language arts) to introduce concepts. I'm sure the videos could promote some fun writing assignments.
The resource I really like is Capzles. It is timelining that allows you to place videos, text, pics, music in your project. I have shared this with tons of teachers. I recently taught my daughter and she used it for her end-of-the year project.
I just found Thing Link. Imagine an engaging visual image tied to the subject matter and loaded with related links to, music, video, text, and audio. It seems like a great way to get students thinking about the new content!
I am a math teacher and I often introduce new units by arranging Skype interviews with professionals who use the math concepts as a regular part of their job. Students love using Skype, and it really helps make the content meaningful and relevant for them. Working with professionals in this way also helps to give me project ideas! Students also gain greater perspective, exposure to a variety of careers, and teaches students relevant skills such as effective communication, body language, and interview skills.
I am with Glen in using word clouds, but what I like to do, is use it as a class activity. Basically I will access prior knowledge by giving out the unit topic (age of exploration) and have students call out terms that the topic makes them think of. While the class is brainstorming, I type the terms and phrases into wordle and then when we run out of time or ideas, I hit create and let the class decide what perameters to use in creating the cloud, generate the cloud and then print it. I will then display all of my sections word clouds above the word wall for the duration of the unit.