Friday, March 7, 2014

Vocabulary with Text Here and Pic Collage

I have been having quite a fun time working with first graders at Rome City Elementary. Ms. Ruse and Ms. Doyle are utilizing technology into their vocabulary instruction and doing it with two different resources. This is all with a focus on a "word of the day." They then have students look up the word using digital resources. Next, students record their results in an application that allows them to be creative. Lastly, the students post their results on Kidblog.org.

Ms. Ruse is using Freesaurus to collect synonyms and antonyms. I often have teachers asking for a dictionary that is more age appropriate. Freesaurus starts out as a thesaurus, but you are also able to find the definitions of words as well. This is good practice for the first graders as they were able to look up the work for themselves and make suggestions for synonyms and antonyms.

Next, Ms. Ruse provided pictures that matched the synonym and antonym for their "word of the day" through email. The students download those pictures and import them into Pic Collage. They also have to write their name, word of the day, and the synonym and antonym. Lastly, they match the words to the picture to show their understanding of the vocabulary words. When it was all said and done, they either email it or upload it to Kidblog.

After working with Ms. Ruse's students, we also saw some issues with special needs students being able to complete the task in a timely manner. One modification that can be made is to give just the word of the day, a synonym, and an antonym so that they are not overwhelmed with choosing a word from a list.


 
 
Ms. Doyle's class did a similar activity except they utilized two different tools. Instead of using Freesaurus and Pic Collage, we used Wordinare and Text Here.
 
Wordinare is extremely easy to use and simple enough that first graders can function fairly well with it. However, some of the synonyms do not always match according to the context. It is a little difficult for the students at such a young age to determine the context. This certainly provides a learning opportunity for students as they look up the words themselves and filter through the words.
 
Next, the kids download a picture from the teacher through email, and use Text Here to post synonyms for the word of the day. They also either use the circle or arrow tool to mark the actual "word of the day," and use the captioning tool for their name and synonyms. Lastly, it is posted on Kidblog so that all students and parents can view the captioned images.
 
 Text Here is an app that I came across a couple weeks ago. It was free for a day or so, so I very quickly installed it on all our student iOS devices before it became paid again. :) The teachers that have used it have commented about how quickly and easily students can create content with the app. Since classrooms are so busy, apps like Text Here tend to be welcomed. The app allows you to easily place captions, arrows, and circles on a picture. It has a comic book feel as you view the works.