*Note* I apologize for looking down in this video many times I was dealing with an injured neck.
I always get asked why the U and the P are capitalized in the UP in Dice UP the Classroom. The UP stands for: Unconditional Passion. After all, Dice UP the Classroom is about finding your unconditional passion in education and bringing it out in your students. Now, many say that’s an abbreviation but it really isn’t. While most people know an abbreviation usually, but not always, consists of a letter or group of letters taken from a word or phrase to shorten it. UP is actually an acronym. Acronyms are regarded as a subgroup of abbreviations formed from the initial components in a phrase or a word. Usually these components are individual letters or parts of words or names like UP or in a hashtag or in a message and email. Words are very powerful and even a single word can have several meanings in it and words can motivate students and teachers to create and learn in many ways and in this episode of Dice UP the Classroom I’m going to show you just some of the ways you can turn a word into something truly magically in the classroom. So, get ready to find out: “What’s the WORD?”
Episode Five for June 2015, hi everyone, I’m Ryan Read and welcome to Dice UP the Classroom. Summer is here and while we are taking a deep breath from another amazing school year we know that little extra sleep, family vacations or just a little bit of summer fun will be on our minds but before we all know before long we will be sitting down and looking up or practicing new ideas for the school year again and that’s where we are going to start. The original idea for this episode came from my cousin who shared a magazine article from Oh Baby! Magazine about a family who loves to do fun stuff during the summer but knows that having kids might lead to some of those lazy hazy crazy days of summer. This family made a simple white board using Bored as an acronym and their family had to find a new way to use the Bored Board as a way to avoid summer boredom. The first message was spelled out (H)ave you? (B)een creative? (O)utside and play? (R)ead a book? (E)xercised for 20 minutes? (D)one something useful? By the way, I did but I thought: “what an amazing concept!” Incorporate a word during something we deal with every day and turn it into something amazing that benefits a person in more than one way. There was just one problem… this wasn’t the first time someone has done this. In fact, I did a simple Google and Pinterest search and I found over fifty different ways others have done this, in fact, it predates the original article by almost a year. That’s the thing, we see something like this and find out it’s not a new concept but someone has put a new spin on it or looked at it from a new angle. The original reason why I created App Dice is because I wanted students and teachers to look at something from a different angle and unlock learning and that’s what we are going to do right now.
Its real simple, go outside, yes I said go outside, well at least after you finish watching this vidcast. But when you do, look around, what do you see? What do you feel? What words come to you and then write them down. Then on either your mobile or desktop device head over to Name Acronym.net, this is an amazing free service that works on any device. You enter a name and then you pick a subject. You can do a regular default search to the names of prehistoric creatures to see what your word becomes. I chose colors for mine, what’s great about this it isn’t going to give you just the basic colors its going to give you everything from a color to shades and definitions. From there, I decided to create something fun by creating a Thinglink on Complementary colors and then link videos and a Stick Around Puzzle to each part of the Thinglink to teach my students about complementary colors and what is the difference between them and primary colors and even what goes into selecting colors for your art. That’s what is great about this online tool is it really makes you look at a word at a different angle. My lesson was iPad related but it doesn’t have to be on one device. Think about doing a search on prehistoric characters. Students will get creatures they probably have never heard before. They can do a research project on what these creatures are. You can dice things up by putting your student’s name in a random name selector tool or App and then assigning that creature to your students to do the report how they see fit. If they have a problem trying to think of a way to do the report, I discovered a great tool at the Mobile Learning Experience 2015 from Tim Rylands and Sarah Nieda called Thinking Dice. These are an awesome tool, what you do is roll them and they bring up a different way to look at something. Maybe it might ask: “What are some of the problems…?” or “What facts or ideas show…?” They are an excellent tool that will allow your students to look at something at a different angle. As an example, I put in dice in http://www.nameacronym.net and got Dilong, which was a small version of a T-rex but they only got as long as 5ft and around three to four feet tall. Basically the size of a large dog. What I did then was use Google Draw, created a Sketchnote/Infopic on the Dilong from eating habbits to where it fit in the T-rex family, uploaded it to Thinglink and tagged links on each part and then used Blabberize to make Dil as I have named him talk a little bit about himself.
Speaking of infopics how many times have you seen this on a student’s mobile device? (Selfies) You have to ask your students: “how many selfies did you need?” How is the picture of that one spot on the floor that is so interesting that they took 200 pictures of it. Before you start telling them to start cleaning off their camera roll or google drive take a page from Tony Vincent. Challenge your students to make an infopic from those photos. Overlay them with words, sayings, other images that will turn their casual photo into a powerful image. There are tons of digital tools that can transform photos with a touch on a screen or tap of a key. Take this picture of the Phoenix Children’s Hospital during my trip to Arizona. It may seem to be just a regular photo but when you add some words to it. It becomes a powerful thank you message. If you want to go a step farther if you are an iPad user, try Adobe Slate, this free tool can take photos and insert them in amazing ways to create a new type of presentation that might start on an iPad but can be viewed across anything. You can do it from your iPad, an website right from the App, insert hyperlinks and even overlay more photos with text over the existing images too. If your students don’t have a school email available, don’t worry you can create a classroom email and this allows you to not only allow students to keep their work all in one place. Not to mention you can also check the date on each project to make sure your students are working on their slates.
If you are on a chromebook, android or tablet device I highly recommend trying Tagul. Tagul is a word cloud creation resource but like other word cloud creation programs like Wordle and Tagxedo you can import your own images into Tagul and create amazing word clouds from your shapes. What is your word of the day? Have student upload a photo of their word and then have them type in the words associated with it. These can range anywhere from synonyms, homophones, definitions or even sentences using the word. Do some tailoring and then hit the generation button and watch their words take shape in amazing ways that you can share from social networks to your own Google Drive.
Speaking of word clouds many have seen me on twitter use the IOS App, Tweetroot. This awesome App allows you to create word clouds using words associated with a user, hashtag or both from Twitter. All you have to do is type in the user or hashtag, generate and let it go. You can reset the word clouds to be random, horizontal, vertical, change the colors, text and more. You can only make your word clouds from 25-100 words and of course if there aren’t enough words to even reach the minimum, don’t worry Tweetroot will still make up word clouds, even if it’s just one word but sometimes one word can be worth a thousand pictures. You can also do a Tweetroot of the Day, have students create their world clouds using Tweetroot and then pull them into Apps like Book Creator, Google Drive, Keynote, PowerPoint and create digital Word Cloud books to use. A fun one that I’m having my students in the fall is making a Tweetroot a week and basing them around month themes like October. Set the font colors to a fall theme and then use Apps like Google Draw, Pic Collage or even Explain Everything to do digital books telling a story about their word clouds for each month. What the words are about and why they were chosen then dice it up a little bit and have them create blackout poetry using Skitch to create poems based on their word clouds that are created. Its also great if you’re a one device school. Tweetroot is .99 and as of this recording only available on IOS but you can still do the same with Wordle, Tagxedo and Tagul and those are all free.
While we are talking about drawing, many of my students always tell me they wish they could create their own video games but they usually only get to use a Makey Makey to make game controllers. Well, now my students can draw their own video games and bring them to life using Pixel Press Floors. Adam Bellow, the creator of Educlipper recently talked about this great IOS App. If you are an iPad school, Pixel Press allows students to scan in their own drawings and turn them into video games similar to Super Mario Brothers and not only allow students to play them with their IOS device but also share them on Pixel Press’s network. To turn this into a lesson, have students create drawings of words, make sure they connect each letter and add some traps, floors and more just like a real video game. Once they are finished, have them sign in to Pixel Press on an iPad, clip and share their games. As of this recording an IOS device like an iPhone or iPod can only play Pixel Press games not scan them in. If you are only a one device classroom, don’t worry you can set up a classroom account no problem and share. After that, have students play their classmates levels and see how they fly through gamification fun and speaking of flying… They say the bird is the word. Do a daily bell ringer using Chirp on IOS to send out a sound signal that will send out a word, link or image to the students’ devices. After that they just click on the globe or word that appears on their screen and can either be taken to a link or read it on their device. Try a daily bell ringer using Chirp for students to write up haiku poems, mini lessons or just regular answers to question. If you are a chrome user, Tone does exactly the same thing and even better, you can link them back to your Google Drive or classroom. They are both free and incredibly fun to use, so give them a try today.
I’ve thrown the word “curation” around a lot about keeping your App Smashes and creations clean and organized when you are creating across multiple platforms but I always get asked if there was a way for students to pool their resources together but in a more portfolio system rather than something like Pinterest, Livebinders or Edshelf, well don’t worry there is Educlipper for that. Educlipper was started by Adam Bellow to allow teachers and students to explore thousands of pieces of educational content, find lesson plans, resources and videos and search for the most popular content by subject or interest. Now, you’re probably like: “Ryan that’s great but what does that have to do with this vidcast?” Everything, I always want my students to create because that’s where the magic of learning happens. When I see my students create a lesson or project it’s just amazing and Educlipper can help students create lessons for others, especially if you use one word: “Create”. However, lots of times students projects and lessons get lost. They either get buried in their folders or deleted off devices and are never seen again and I know students sometimes wish they could have their past work kept in a place where they could access it when they wanted to and that’s where Educlipper comes in. Have students keep a portfolio of their word creation on educlipper especially if you aren’t a one to one school. Educlipper works across all platforms, have them create their boards and then clip their creation just like on pinterest. They can import their clips from their devices, google drives, drop boxes, etc. Then after that turn the lesson back around and have them “clip” resources to make new lessons based on the resources they find. Have them create their own word lessons and projects and share them with class. In fact, they don’t even need to create a lesson, they can clip resources for word lessons and share them right back with the teacher along with ways they would use them to create the lesson or project. I have seen many teachers just smile when their students give them ideas and resources to make their lessons and projects. Its a great way to create a student lead classroom with the teacher.
Finally, I’m going to flip the use of App or Web resource with my word work here with some of my Appification. What’s Appification you might ask? Its when you combine gamification with using Apps for learning. In this case I’m going to use word tiles. Yes, you heard me right, word tiles, similar to playing Scrabble but with a twist that I call: “Tile Smashes.” Have students play Scrabble and assemble a word. You can create your own or use digital resources to create your world tiles. My favorites to use is google draw, you can easily make letter tiles using the word art tool and then either download or share from your Google Drive through Google Classroom, Schoology or Edmodo to your students. They can crop, clip, download to assemble a word from the tiles. However, once they assemble a word, they have to look at the letters. What Apps start with those letters? Once they think of the Apps or resources that those letters make up, students have to create a lesson or project based on that word. In my example the word: (SHADE) is used. Shadow Puppet, Haiku Deck, Acronym!, Distant Suns, Educlipper. In this case the student could create a lesson about shade using Distant Suns about how light is cast from stars in space. Then the student can use Acronym! to find words associated with Suns. Next, the student can clip resources to use in Educlipper, then use Haiku Deck to create a presentation and then give it life using Shadow Puppet Edu. Just because they spelled shade doesn’t mean that they have to use the Apps in that order. Gamification is about allowing students to enter a gameful experience to support value creation on a deeper level for the students and their teachers and the beauty of it is that it doesn’t matter what you use because in the end you will not only learn you will succeed. These are only a handful of ways you can start to Dice UP your classroom when it comes to words but once you get started you’ll soar. That’s going to do it for this episode of Dice UP the Classroom, I want to thank everyone who has supported my work especially, Tony Vincent, Tim Rylands, Sarah Neida, Felix Jacomino, Wesley Fryer, Jon Samuelson, Rodney Turner, Sara Crawford, Dierdre Shetler, Erin Klein Penina Rybak, Michael Buist, Jenny Ashby, Bart Buckinx, Adam Bellow, Alice Christie and Jonathan Nalder who taught me many of the resources I used in this episode from The Mobile Learning Experience 2015. Thank you again guys and especially to my cousin, Angie for sharing the original Bored Board with me that inspired me to create these lessons. For more information please check out my posts right here at Dice UP the Classroom and of course look for me on twitter @Ryan7Read. I’ll see everyone later and keep on creating because that is always the key. (Key turns to acronym).