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Professional Learning
Services
Pixie Icon

Pixie

Software for student publishing and creativity.

Wixie Icon

Wixie

Online student publishing and creativity platform.

Frames Icon

Frames

Create animations, digital stories, and stop-motion.

Share Icon

Share

Create web sites, epubs, and presentations.

Tech4Learning Blog
Tech4Learning Blog
Tech4Learning Blog
Tech4Learning Blog

Five ideas for creative classroom centers

Posted by Carolyn Daly on Sep 9, 2019 9:24:43 AM

Are you ready to take your classroom technology center to a new level of student engagement and productivity? Instead of having students complete a skill and drill activity, ask them to apply their learning in a creative and meaningful way.

Students can use Wixie to combine text, images, original artwork and voice narration to explore ideas, demonstrate understanding, and share their learning. Because Wixie works online, you can view their work remotely and even assign a template or prompt to each student to support independent and differentiated learning

Use these five ideas to jump start center work and provide meaningful tasks that move students beyond drill and kill.

1. Write using image prompts

Writing a story on a blank page can be daunting for emergent and reluctant writers, especially second language learners. Make writing less intimidating by providing a collection of background images that students can use to layer text and images.

Create your own assignment by starting a new file and using the Image button on the toolbar to add a background image that aligns to a story or curriculum unit. Use a single page template to get students thinking and writing about nonfiction or add multiple pages to prompt ideas for storytelling.

wixie-habitat-sentence

If students finish writing before center time is over... have them use the Page button to add a page to the project, add additional text, and include supporting images.

Once students know how to do this project... assign a new project consisting of a title and blank page. Add instructions that direct students to add their own backgrounds and images to prompt their writing.

2. Design vocabulary trading cards

New vocabulary words “stick” better when students can associate them with images and words they already know. Printing and sharing vocabulary cards with peers engages them in the process by providing purpose for their efforts.

wixie-trading-card-gigantic

To make the process easier, assign a vocabulary card template, such as a Frayer-model diagram, you want to use. You can search for “vocabulary” or “trading” in the field at the top of your Wixie teacher home page to find existing examples in the templates libraries.

If students have access to a printer, have them go to the File menu, choose Print, select Trading Card and make sure the Repeat Pages box is selected, so that the printed page includes nine copies of the trading card.

wixie-print-trading-cards-repeat

If students finish writing before center time is over... instruct them to go to the Edit menu and choose Duplicate and create a second page. 

Once students know how to do this project... have them create trading cards for people you are studying in history or animals you are learning about in science.

3.  Create poetry with Dolch sight words

You probably have sight words or vocabulary terms posted on a word wall or other area of your classroom. In addition to their efforts to memorize these terms, have students practice using these words in their writing! 

wixie-dolch-poetry

If students finish writing before center time is over... instruct them to go to the Edit menu and choose Duplicate to create a second page and write another poem. 

Once students know how to do this project... have them write other forms of poetry such as acrostic or haiku. To simplify the skills they need to know in Wixie, assign one of the "poetry" templates that include directions and pre-existing text boxes.

Wixie-poems

4. Write a friendly letter

Ask students to write a friendly letter to a character in a book they are reading to motivate them to not only practice this writing format, but to consider a character’s traits, thoughts, and motivations.

If students finish writing before center time is over... provide instructions for adding a stationary background image to their letter. Image button>Backgrounds>Stationary. 

Once students know how to do this project... have them use the text and imaging tools in Wixie to retell important events in a story. 

5. Review a favorite book

Since students love to share their opinions, ask them create book reviews to help their classmates find that “just right” book to read. Students can always create reviews from scratch, but Wixie includes several templates to make a book review easy to implement! 

sample-book-review-cube-1

If students finish creating before center time is over... have students print, cut, and glue the review cubes for display in your classroom or school media center. 

Once students know how to do this project... have them use the cube template to create blocks that share information about a topic, such as Native Americans

Getting savvy with Wixie templates

Assigning a specific Wixie template for each student to use at a station, means you can limit the number of Wixie skills they have to know. While students can always use the Text and Images buttons and paint tools to write and illustrate a poem, assigning the Dolch Poetry template allows students to see exactly the file you want them to work on when they log in. Students only have to know how to click and drag the mouse.  

You can also customize a template's instructions to make it more appropriate for independent center work. If you open a template before you assign (Customize), go to the Edit menu and choose Instructions to add step-by-step directions and avoid questions like, “Teacher, what do I do next?" For example, if students are creating vocabulary trading cards, you can paste the list of terms they can choose from into the instructions and they will show on the right as students begin working.  

You can also assign a default folder of images to any template (File menu, Project Settings). When you set a default category, a specific folder of images from Wixie's Stickers library will show immediately when students use the Image button. So if your template is about money and making change, the Image button would open directly to the Money library to show different coins.

Click here for more best practices for designing Wixie templates.

 

Topics: Wixie, center

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