Character Analysis Meets the Techie Teacher’s World

Character Analysis Meets the Techie Teacher’s World

“You have to be willing to meet them where they are and take them where they need to go.”

I’m not really sure who said this to me, but it has been a statement I return to often as I attempt to guide students into the future, toward careers—some of which do not exist today.   What we do know as educators is that students will need to be able to analyze, problem solve, and communicate in increasingly diverse manners. Analyzing characters in literature provides an opportunity for students to practice those skills that they will later transfer into the workplace.

Meeting Them Where They Are

The students we meet in the classroom today have never known a world without technology. As educators we cannot ask them to power down in order to function in our classroom.  We must power up to allow them to experience a classroom that is a meaningful authentic experience or we will never get the buy in we need to move where they need to go.  One of the many ways my teaching partner and I attempt to meet them where they are is through the use of web lessons.

Taking Them Where They Need To Go

This summer, my teaching partner, Angela Drake, and I began to explore a way to improve student mastery in regard to analyzing how a character changes or responds to the plot as the story moves toward resolution.  We decided that a good starting point would be to engage students in familiar picture books and charging them with analyzing the characters as they move through the plot elements.  Together we created a web lesson that would allow students to select one of three stories to analyze.  You can find our web lesson at www.characterschange.weebly.com.

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Step One Selecting a Picture Book

The SAG Foundation offers a wonderful site called www.storylineonline.net which features popular actors reading a variety of picture books.  This allows students to engage with the story of their choosing in a new and exciting way.  Every student loves choice and Storyline Online offers something for everyone.  We selected three books which offered students an opportunity to analyze how and why a character changes as the story progresses.

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Step Two The Graphic Organizer

The second tab of the web lesson provides a link to the graphic organizer we would like the students to use to gather their evidence to support their analysis of how and why the character changes.  Read Write Think offers a wonderful graphic organizer specific to our purpose.  You can find this resource and many others at www.readwritethink.org.

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This is the graphic organizer we selected from www.readwritethink.org.

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The direct link to this organizer is http://goo.gl/zCJYPo.

Step Three The Writing Plan and Google Docs

Google Drive offers a variety of tools and the best part is it’s all free to use and you are given the extra benefit of your documents, slides, forms, and spreadsheets being at your fingertips wherever you go.  Upon finishing the reading and finalizing the details in their graphic organizer, students are then instructed to create a Google Document to record their analysis of the character.  Students are expected to describe what the character is like at the beginning of the story, how they change, why they change, and then finally, a description of the character at the conclusion of the story.  They then meet with their peer editing partner to review conventions, make suggestions for revision, verify they have met the expectations of the assignment, and review the piece to make sure it makes sense to the reader.  After final revisions have taken place, students can then move on to the next step—creating a Voki to share their analysis.

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A Brief Digression

Teaching students to communicate in diverse ways is an important part of our instructional goals. Using a talking avatar of their own creation gives students the sense of choice and control they need and provides even the quietest student with a voice to share their knowledge.  In fact, Voki became my hero last year when a student who seldom spoke in class created a Voki Book Talk that left me astonished at the insight and depth of knowledge he possessed, but had been previously unable to express.  Here is that sweet book talk  http://goo.gl/CEU5PL.

 

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Step Four Creating Your Character Analysis Voki  

The final step in our web lesson instructs the student to create a Voki to share their analysis.  I’ll let my Voki avatar tell you about this step. http://goo.gl/q9xzSj

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Using the Vokis created by your students as a formative or summative assessment of the CCSS RL 6.3 standard is an excellent example of “meeting your students where they are and taking them where they need to go.”
Where to Find Me

Please join me on Twitter @cariehinkle and visit my website  at www.cariehinkle.weebly.com to hear about the latest adventures in this techie teacher’s World. Also, look for me on Instagram at carieh5 and periodically, as a featured class on EdTech Baton.

A Thank You

Special thanks to my teaching partner, Angela Drake, who is always willing to join me on any adventure.

 

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Beverly Burks Shares a Few of Her Favorite *Voki* Things

Beverly Burks Shares a Few of Her Favorite *Voki* Things

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In my position as a district-level trainer, I get to experience and use Voki in a lot of different ways.

As a technology trainer, I use Voki to add interest to my presentations.

Vokis are great because my audience gets to experience different personas when I present, not just me.

I also create and demonstrate Voki to teachers to use in the classroom. I encourage teachers to create and have their students create Vokis that go with a variety of subject areas.

For ELA, my Gramma Eula Voki is a Voki where Gramma Eula speaks about her “Chicken Sunday” character.

For Social Studies, a Voki was created to tell about the Alamo.

We use Vokis in math to demonstrate and explain math problems.

Each one of the Vokis created for “Chicken Sunday”, The Alamo and the math demo contained corresponding lesson suggestions. If you are a Promethean ActivInspire user, you can download the flipchart with the lesson idea here. https://goo.gl/JEQNNH (the giveaway on this flipchart is over).

Here’s a static copy of the flipchart in PDF form. https://goo.gl/JdkkT8

The uses for Voki are limitless. My last newsletter for this school year was pretty much devoted to Voki.

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I believe the introduction of the Voki app is only going to make Voki more popular. Being able to create Vokis on mobile devices is a big step forward. I am looking forward to diving deeper into Voki Presenter so that I can share those features with our teachers next school year.

When the school year starts back up, I am thinking that will be a good time to have a create a “Back to School” Voki challenge.

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Beverly is a district level technology trainer with the Fort Worth Independent School District in Fort Worth, TX. She has an undergrad degree in Education from Western Michigan University and a Masters of Technology and Cognition from the University of North Texas. Beverly is a longtime Voki user and is very excited to be a Voki Ambassador.

Your Mid-July Catch Up on the Classroom

Your Mid-July Catch Up on the Classroom

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Here at Voki, school is on our minds even in the dog days of summer. That’s why we continue to create lessons and hooks and to improve our products so you can use them without breaking a sweat (we’ll leave that one up to the sun). Teachers, we hope you’re basking in the glory of summer break, but we got you covered when you’re ready to start thinking about the classroom again (no rush though).

How to Balance Staying in the Know and Enjoying Summer Vacation

Just because it’s summer, you don’t have to turn off the school sphere of your brain completely. Reading about relevant education news and potential school projects might be just the right dose you need to tap into your teacher self. Our latestblog rounds up sites that will keep you abreast of what’s new in education so you’ll be in-the-know when it’s back-to-school.  

Bastille Day is July 14!

Who can forget how the people of France stormed the Bastille for their independence? We’re putting a sweet touch on the French equivalent of America’s Independence Day by having students make a French-themed e-card in the shape of a cake. We’re betting the enthusiasm won’t be lacking for this hook activity.

EdTech 10: Gotta Catch ‘Em All

We made Getting Smart’s  Top 10 Tweet list for ed tech news. No surprise it was regarding our post on teaching politics with avatars.

“The Road to the White House” featuring Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump Voki avatars

Speaking about teaching politics with avatars, have you seen our hook that brings students through the stages of the presidential election? Its nonpartisan approach covers bigger themes like democracy and government. But, we’re not going to lie, the Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton avatars are not to be missed (especially their uncanny voices).

The Voki App is now available on the iOS Appstore.

Our new app makes creating a Voki avatar easier than ever.  With a few taps of the fingertips, you can customize your own Voki avatar from a library of characters and accessories. Just like the online desktop experience, you can type your message or record your voice. Voila! Stay tuned for the Android version coming soon this summer!

Voki 2.0 is better than ever.

Our site recently went through some major upgrades. We introduced both monthly and annual subscription options, a sleeker Voki Presenter design, and easier navigation so you’re able to seamlessly share your Voki avatars with a friend, classmate, or teacher. We have an even bigger upgrade in the works—let’s just say it will make life as a teacher a lot easier.

Has Voki had a positive impact on your student’s life?

If so, we would love to hear about it and inspire others! Please email feedback@voki.com and share your story with us. If your story is featured, we will provide your classroom with a free, one-year level 3 subscription valued at $100.

Stay cool, Voki  fans! Hope the rest of your week is great!

Sincerely,

Catherine Alvino, Digital Marketing Coordinator

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