Quote of the Month

When love and skill work together, expect a miracle. John Ruskin

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Pull the Lever, Flick the Switch

An engaging, interactive instrument for igniting those creative writing fires can be found at the Scholastic website section for Teachers.   In addition to this application known as Story Starters  on site educators will find:  an introduction, learning objectives, activity ideas and several reproducibles.  Story starter sentences by professionals in the field are included as well.

Designed like a magical machine, at the initial screen users are invited to type in their name and select the appropriate grade level.  When the grade level button has been clicked, a new page directs users to spin the wheel with a mouse click to get their story starter.  By combining the four results found in the columns, left to right, a story starter appears in the line above.

If any of the four results do not suit the user, the individual buttons can be click to change only that column.  When satisfied with the story starter pick the Next button at the base of the machine.  The next screen asks users to choose a format:  notebook, letter, newspaper or postcard. 

Users can decide whether they wish to include a drawing or not before proceeding to the next screen.  Depending on the chosen format this next screen is where the real work of writing and/or drawing takes place.  The option buttons to the right of the work space allow the user to:  print the format (blank or completed), start with an all new story starter, shift to another format, add extra pages or by clicking the help icon watch a short tutorial.

To add an image,  a pencil tool is provided for drawing, giving the user a choice of line width, color and the ability to erase. 

Having students use this individually, with a partner or as a class on a Smartboard, the results will be as varied as the imaginations of the authors.  This is yet another example of an online writing tool promoting creativity in a manner that students will enjoy.  

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