I was at a conference last fall where a presenter showed the crowd a large collection of web 2.0 tools to use in the class. One of those was called Kerpoof. Kerpoof is a site created by Disney that allows members to make artwork, cards, stories and animated movies. It is a fee based site for the average Joe, but for educators, it's FREE! Teachers can establish an account here and build a classroom within the site where your students are able to do some different things, including connecting with each other on a message board, asking you questions directly, etc. It is all moderated by the teacher. The site has links to the educational standards of your state and teachers can create student accounts to link to his/her own so students.
According to the site, it is geared for elementary and middle grades, but after I looked at it, I really think elementary is more suited. Some of the graphics are rather juvenile and I can't see my eighth graders using it without making fun of the pictures. I could be wrong, they may like the concept enough to work on it.
One of the great parts of this site is downloadable lesson plans that are developed by other users to share. You can also submit lessons to post on the site. There is also free tech support if you have questions or issues with the site.
A few potential ideas with this:
1. Story creator. Students can use the graphics and write a story to share with the class.
2. Movies. Foreign Language could really benefit here. Have students record a small animated film using the target language. They could work in pairs of alone (commercials maybe). It would be a different way to accomplish a necessary skill. Maybe your elementary students can make a movie that relates to a topic you covered in History or Science or animate their book. Have the students write a movie, teach them to make a storyboard, a
script and record it on Kerpoof to share with the class. They could tie
all of the
3. Cards. Some standards in Elementary require students to write letters. This could be a more graphic way to do that. Have them make a card for someone and share it virtually. They could adopt a class somewhere and send them cards, send a card to a local nursing home resident, maybe make some cards to send to a hospital.
4. Art study. If you have an art class, kids could use this to build a virtual art project. There are even lists of lesson plans ready to go for an art class.
5. Collaborative project. Have the students mentor another class and make a project. Some schools are using the daily 5 to master reading, maybe this could be a way to read to another person?
Check Kerpoof out, I think kids will enjoy using it and still learn at the same time.