Have you ever used Checkthis? It is an amazingly easy way for students to share information with others. Checkthis makes it very easy to create and share colorful text and images. Students can write-up a quick reading response, an explanation to a math problem, a quick report on a topic, or even their own multiple choice quiz for a unit of study (using the poll feature). The fun part for kids is being able to read their friend’s posts. The thing I love about this site? NO LOGINS! No need for a user name, password, or email address. Don’t be fooled when you go to this site and it says “SIGN UP”…just click where the plus sign and then click create a post online. Below are some samples of my kiddos trying out Checkthis for the first time. For this, I just wanted them to experiment with the format, so for this purpose, it was a topic of their choice. When students are finished showcasing information, creating a quiz, or creating a digital report, then they can publish their site and receive a link to share with others. Normally, I will write down all of the links and upload them into a Google Doc so that I can email that document with the links of the entire class out to the parents. It is great for parents to see what their students are doing, especially utilizing amazing technology resources!
Options with Checkthis.com
At my school, Digital Citizenship is just as important as any other subject. I spend a great deal of time talking about this with my students. One of the ways they show their learning at the end of our unit of study is by creating videos in iMovie. Students worked with a partner on this project and each team had a different topic to showcase in the area of Digital Citizenship and Internet Safety. I structured these as more of a Public Service Announcement (PSA) so the students could take on more of a leadership role by teaching other kids the seriousness of each topic.
Websites for research:
RESOURCES for RESEARCH:
All About Cyber-Safety
Kids Safety Tips
Guide to Copyright and Creative Commons
Common Sense Media
10 Great Tips
Here are a few of the final results:
My students working with Endless Alphabet App
Endless Alphabet is a powerful letter recognition and vocabulary building app for the iPad. Plus the graphics, sounds, and the way students can interact with this is priceless. When students tap on a letter to drag it into the correct placement within the word, each letter makes its own unique and fun phonetic sound. The kids love it, plus it teaches them great new vocabulary. One of my favorite stories associated with this app is when I did this activity with one of my kindergarten classes and one of the little girls came and told me the following week that she burped at dinner and politely told her family, “I’m so sorry for the belch.” Her mom and dad looked at her quizzically and asked, “When did you learn that word for the word burp?” To which she replied, “In technology with the iPad.” Purely awesome.
My 3rd grade students working with the Story Spine app
The Story Spine is an app that provides a structure for creating a story with a series of connecting sentences that help students understand the overall structure of a good story. The Story Spine is a free app designed for the iPhone, but works just as well on the iPad. What I love about this app is that it giving writers a structure with which to write and even the youngest of students have a great time coming up with stories. You can have students write their own fictional stories or you could have them use this app to write a fun response to something they’ve read or studied in class. Students fill in the blanks and then your story is generated. The only drawback to this app is that there is no way to export a story once finished. One of my students learned the hard way, when he got up to use the restroom he pressed the home button and then when he started the app again, his work was lost. Since I only have my students for a limited amount of time, the students read their work out loud. The kids really enjoyed doing this and it was interesting to them to see how each person had a totally different story with the exact same format.
The Story Spine format