Monday, February 11, 2013

Tagxedo Example

I have been exploring today and I wanted to try out my idea of using Tagxedo as a tool to help students summarize a piece of text.  Since you have the option in Tagxedo to make words larger the more often they appear in the text, it would make the names of main characters, key events, and commonly used words stand out.  I tried an example using the story, The Three Little Pigs.  I found an online text version, which I was able to copy and paste into  I chose to have it come up in the shape of a pig and voila!

Just as I had expected, the main characters in the story and key words to help a student tell a summary of the story stand out in larger print compared to the other words in the text. I think that all of my students would enjoy using this online tool, but I think that it would be especially beneficial for my below grade level readers who have a lot of difficulty verbalizing or writing a summary.  I am excited to use this tool in my classroom.

An online resource that helped me with this Web 2.0 tool was a tutorial I found on Youtube.

Another helpful resource was a Frequently Asked Questions page on

Blabberize Example

After playing around with Blabberize for quite a while, I did not find it very user friendly.  It was difficult for me to initially get the mouth to move the way I wanted it to, before I watched an instructional video.

When I was recording my voice, I had to try several times before I got it to work correctly.  I think now that I know to use it, I could demonstrate for the students how to use it and they would probably be able to pick it up quickly.

Another way that blabberize could be used it to write from the perspective of an inanimate object.  The students could write from the point of view of a school supply, recess equipment, a car, or anything else that interests them.  The class could generate a list together.  Once students selected an item from this list, they could think about what the item would say if it could talk.  What would it say to you?  What would it want you to keep doing?  What would it want you to stop doing?  The students would be assigned to write a letter to themselves from the point of view of the object. Once they wrote the letter, they would be allowed to use blabberize to make the object talk and read the letter aloud.  I think that this task would be very exciting and engaging for my students.  I think it would increase their enthusiam about writing.  Below is my example.

Another way Blabberize could be used is to upload a picture of a three dimentional figure.  The students could give the figure a mouth and talk about all of its’ attributes and places where you might see it in real life.  Students would be able to use the script below to pick a different 3D figure and fill in the underlined blanks according to their 3D figure.

Hello kids!  I am a rectangular prism.  I have six faces, eight vertices, and twelve edges.  You can see me everywhere!  I am the shape of a cereal box, a dresser, a tissue box, a textbook, and a chalkboard eraser.  Can you think of any other places where you might see me?

Blabberize is free to use and you do not even need to set up an account to create a talking picture!  Here is some more helpful information in this link

I also found this video of a teacher giving directions of how to use Blabberize very helpful.  At the end she included some of her student's examples using Shel Silverstein poems.  Her students were working on reading fluently and with expression.  Here is her video tutorial


I have been playing around with   We are about to start our poetry unit and I thought it would be a great website to use to allow students to create a shape poem.  I have been playing around with Tagxedo, but I was not able to get the site to allow me to type my poem in their shape so that it still looked like a poem. Even with all of the different options available, I was not able to create a typical shape poem where the words were horizontal and in the order I wrote them. I am still trying to figure out if there is a way to do this that I am not aware of, but I don't think that there is.  You can type your poem into the type text box, but then the tool mixes up the order of your words and scatters them into the space of the shape you picked.

I became very frustrated with Tagxedo to perform the task of creating shape poems, but I think it would be a great tool to use to help students in other ways besides poetry. I think it would be a great tool to use to identify the main idea of an online article or of a story they wrote or are reading.  Once the text of the article or story is uploaded, you can allow for words that are mentioned more often to increase in size.  This would help students be able to use key words to write or tell a summary of the text.

 I think it would also be a useful tool to use at the beginning of a unit to create a list of prior knowledge about a subject or at the end of a unit to allow students to make a list of all of the knowledge they now know about a topic.  I usually create lists on chart paper, but this would be a great tool to use to switch it up.


After viewing the summary that Sam and Liz created on, I started thinking about engaging ways that I could use this web 2.0 tool in my classroom. 

In third grade, we are often talking about the point of view of the person telling the story.  I introduce my students to books like, Jack and the Beanstock told from the perspective of Jack and then I read them, Trust Me, Jack's Beanstolk Stinks, which if from the giant's point of view.  Eric Braun has written a few other books from the antagonist's point of view as well including:
Believe Me Goldilocks Rocks
Honestly, Little Red Riding Hood Is Rotten
Seriously, Cinderella Is So Annoying

If you haven't read any of these books, you should check them out!  They are along the lines of The True Story of The Three Little Pigs, which many people are familiar with.

It was thinking that it would be neat to find a picture of an antagonist from another story to upload on Blabberize and allow the students to write what that character might have to say.  Then I would allow students to record their voice into Blabberize to make the character talk.  Getting students to think about stories from a different point of view helps them grow as readers and writers.  I would also connect it to real life when people get into arguments, it is helpful to try to see the situation from the other person's point of view.

If there was time, it would be fun to take this further and allow my students to create a writing project, where they would get to pick a classic children's story to write from a different character's point of view.

Sunday, February 3, 2013

Glogster Example

I have been exploring Glogster by creating glogs using  Below is the example I created and here is a link to my example  as well.  I created this glog as a fun way to present two dementional shapes to my math class for our upcoming geometry unit.  I found some engaging videos, definitions, and pictures that I posted on my glog.  Many times students think of polygons as the traditional regular polygons that have equal angles and equal lengths of their sides, but polygons are by definition, "a closed plane figure bounded by straight lines" (, 2013).  The pictures on the bottom of my glog would allow me to show the students the difference between regular and irregular polygons.  I would then allow students to work on their own glog in pairs to find other examples of images of irregular polygons.  The students would need to label the polygons that they include on their glog.  They would be allowed to use the images provided on  Teachers have the option to add more images to the glogster image file.

It is free to sign up for an account, but there are options to upgrade for more features.  Teachers get a free month trial period, that can be activated at the time of your choice.  Below is a screenshot of the pricing and what features are included for Educator Free, Educator Light, and Educator Premium options. 

You can make your glogs public with the Glogster Library or keep them private.  You can share the link for a glog in an email, website, or blog.   I do not like the Glogster Library is only available once you pay a monthly fee.  During the free trial or if a teacher or school decides to upgrade, there are a lot of great glogs that are shared for teachers and students to utilize.