National Hot Dog Day, Kindergarten Math, and More

National Hot Dog Day, Kindergarten Math, and More

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 “I’d rather hear it from an avatar.”

Who’s with us? We know the millions of teachers who use Voki worldwide can agree, but we’ll speak for ourselves—avatar technology rocks. No doubt about it, a new chapter of teaching and learning is making an indelible mark in the classroom—and Voki is helping write the story. Read on to learn our ed tech developments—it’s a page (er, paragraph?) turner.

Character Analysis Meets the Techie Teacher’s World

ELA was never so animated. This four-step lesson plan—story selection, graphic organizer completion, written reflection, and Voki creation—will get your students analyzing character development on a whole other level.

Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump Avatars Teach Kids About Democracy

Bring current affairs discussion into the classroom using the Voki Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton avatars. It’s never too early to teach the merits of democracy.

Kindergarten Math: Shapes and their Characteristics

Can you classify a shape without using its proper name? Learn how to use your observe and describe skills in this all-new Voki Teach lesson for your kindergarten kiddies. Geometric vocabulary, including ‘side,’ ‘corner,’ and ‘curve,’ is discussed.

National Hot Dog Day is July 23!

You don’t have to tell us twice. In this hook activity, lend your ear to our Voki hot dog avatar and support his cause—post a picture of a frank on July 23 with hashtag #NationalHotDogDay!

Voki 2.2 Coming Soon

Did you like the above hook activity? Well, there’s good news for more than just our frankfurter fans: our Voki 2.2 edition is due out later this summer. What does this mean for you? More time, less search. Voki Teach will now house all Common-Core aligned lessons, hook activities, and tech projects organized by subject area and grade level and with the same layout as our favorite video resource, Youtube. Share links to these resources, and Level 3 users, edit lessons and hooks to your liking.

The Voki App is Now Available in the iOS App Store

Create Voki avatars at your fingertips with our Voki app. It’s the perfect tool for students to work on projects and assignments. Download it here.

Tune in for Live Coverage of the School Technology Summit, NYC

Voki is attending the Department of Education School Technology Summit on July 27! Catch live updates on our Facebook and Twitter pages to get the scoop on ed tech news from inside the event.

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!

Sincerely,

Catherine Alvino, Digital Marketing Coordinator

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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.