Move beyond the book report

Posted by Melinda Kolk on Oct 28, 2014 1:08:00 PM

The book report may be the most dreaded elementary classroom assignment of all time. The elementary Common Core writing standard for argument includes opinion pieces about books, encouraging many teachers to incorporate some form of literature review rather than worksheets filled with information.

We do want students to comprehend a book’s who, what, when, and so on, but a book report that is simply a summarization of a book’s plot isn’t really any better than the worksheets we’re all keen to avoid.

A regurgative book report is devoid of thought and presents no argument. Being assigned such a task is an open invitation to copy and paste a summary from a wiki or even the book’s dust jacket. While we can police student work for plagiarism, we can also do much better.

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Topics: pixie, creativity software, Wixie, literature, comprehension,

Wixie or Pixie?

Posted by Melinda Kolk on Sep 25, 2014 10:09:00 AM

“Should I use Wixie or Pixie?”

We often hear this question from educators looking to do creative work in their classroom. Wixie and Pixie seem like they do the same thing, and they aren’t sure which tool they should use.

The answer almost always starts with “Wixie is Pixie in the cloud.” But this response is only part of the picture.

Both Wixie and Pixie provide easy-to-use tools for students to create projects with their paintings, their writing, and their voice. Both Wixie and Pixie give students many options for sharing what they have created.

This is where Pixie ends, but Wixie keeps going. The big differences are how and where students access Wixie and the additional tools teachers have to integrate Wixie into their classroom.

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Topics: pixie, creativity software, Wixie, cloud-computing, iPad, Android, 21st century classroom, chromebooks

Hashtag hoopla - guest post by Dr. Laura Spencer

Posted by Melinda Kolk on Jul 28, 2014 10:49:00 AM

I received this fantastic story last week from our good friend and great educator Laura Spencer. She agreed to share it through a guest blog. Enjoy, Melinda

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I love books! How I get my students to build literacy and love books too

Posted by Melinda Kolk on Jun 19, 2014 9:29:00 AM

This is a guest blog post by Heather Temske, a 4th grade teacher at Sweet Apple Elementary in Roswell, Georgia. You can meet her in person at ISTE 2014 or follow her on Twitter at @htemske.

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Topics: literacy, Wixie, literature

Wixie project ideas for the end of school and all summer long

Posted by Melinda Kolk on May 23, 2014 12:01:00 PM

One of the best parts about Wixie may be that students can use it over the summer if they have access to a computer or tablet. Student log ins should, and generally do, remain the same even if districts switch over to the new school year.

While students who are going to log in to write, draw, and create over the summer may not need help with ideas, you can encourage others by "assigning" a scrapbook template, list of goals, or similar to spark ideas.

Here are few Wixie project ideas to help your students remember this year (if you are still in school!), look forward to next year, think about summer, and keep writing even if/when school is out.

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Topics: common core, Wixie, project, writing