Sites of the Week [Week 9]

21 10 2011

9.1 Stone Soup: The Magazine by Kids

Today’s site is dedicated to the young author. Stone Soup is a magazine for kids by kids. All of the poems, stories and illustrations are created by children 13 years and younger. If you are looking for something for your classroom that connects kids to kids, this might just be a place to explore. For those with young budding authors and artists in their classes, you might consider having them submit work to Stone Soup for possible publication in a future issue. They produce 6 issues per year and one of those could contain works from some of your students. Stories may be any length up to 2500 words. Young authors can submit their stories without illustrations and young illustrators will create the images for their story or you can send them in already illustrated as either author illustrated or by a friend. In either case, there are opportunities for those handy with the written word or a paintbrush. The following note comes from their site and also must be considered as it seems they get many submissions per week.

We’re always looking for new writers and artists, and we really want to encourage all our young readers to send us their work. However, please keep in mind that we receive an average of 200 submissions a week; we are only able to publish a small percentage of the work we receive. Send us your work with a spirit of adventure, and try not to be too disappointed if we can’t use it.

Here are a few features of the site to check out:

Follow these guidelines when helping your young author and artist get published

Guidelines for Stone Soup Contributors (How to be a young author or illustrator for Stone Soup)

9.2 Twitario

Yesterday I shared about a way your young students can publish in a wonderful children’s magazine. Today I bring you Twitario- a way to convert your tweets into a Journal/Diary format. Believe it or not, Twitter can be much more than talking about the burger you are eating or how you are trying to pick out ice cream at 31 flavors. For those not sure about this, let me challenge you to take a look at Twitter as a way to journal through the day. You can even have your students set up Twitter accounts and challenge them to use it for quick journal entries with the goal of collecting them at the end of the year. It is interesting what story a year of tweets can tell. These journals can be viewed electronically through a URL sent via e-mail or placed on a website.

You can also print them as a PDF. If you have a Kindle, Nook, Sony Reader or iPad, you might be interested in creating an eBook using the standard ePub format. I have created a journal from 200 of my tweets from the past year that you can explore.


Personal Reflection

The following are different formats of a diary of 200 of my tweets from the past year. I have looked these over and it I must tell you that it is an interesting reflection on the year. I can see just about every place I sent the tweet and what I was doing at that time. It also brought back moments of reflection triggered by 140 characters or less. Many wonder about the power of 140 characters. Give it a try and you will have another visualization of the journey that is your life. Here is some of my journey.

Link to electronic version on Twitario [Diary of Tweets by Chris Bigenho]

Link to PDF version that can be printed

eBook Format (ePub)

9.3 Wordle

Welcome to the world of visualization. Wordle is one of many tools (I shared another earlier this year) that will create a word cloud from text. A word cloud represents the frequency of words through text of different sizes. The more frequently a word is used in a text, the larger that word will appear in the word cloud. This is a fun way to visualize text. For your enjoyment, try the following comparisons presidential state of the union addresses. How do the resulting images mirror what was happening in our history at that time? What do the images indicate was important? How do they represent the change in the use of language over time? What was going on in the world?

Simply follow the link, copy and paste the text into the Wordle box and click go. Compare yours with the one I created by clicking the image link directly below the text link.

James Madison 1812
[Image 1812]

Abraham Lincoln 1863
[image 1863]

Franklin D Roosevelt 1944
[Image 1944]

John F Kennedy 1961
[Image 1961]       

George W. Bush 2002
[Image 2002]

For more fun, you can check out the complete list of SOTU addresses or explore the visualization of Inaugural Addresses over time.

9.4 Graphwords

Keeping up the theme of visualization, Check out Graphwords. This is a very simple tool that will create a visualization of any word you enter. The example provided here: I entered the word debate. From there it created several nodes with words at the end of each node.

If you hover over the connecting node, you get a popup with that node defined providing the linkage between the target word and those on that node. Check this out with other words and explore the way words and different meanings are connected and related.

9.5 CBS Radio Mystery Theater

Welcome to my childhood! Now, I must first say that I was unusual among my friends and most people I know. While born in 1963, I did not grow up with a TV in the house. For those who know me, this may explain a lot. However, I did become a huge fan of the CBS Radio Mystery Theater. I remember driving home from the ice rink as a kid and waiting in the driveway for the commercial break so we could run into the house and catch the end of the story without missing a word. Friends would come over to the house and I would invite them to sit around the radio and listen to the stories. Of course, this became fodder for some good ribbing as my friends would pretend to adjust the color and tint of my radio. If you have not enjoyed one of these little stories or would like to visit a period in time I like to think of as not that long ago, check out the stories at CBSRMT-Shows. They have the complete set from 1974 to 1982 for your listening pleasure.

Might I suggest that you try No Hiding Place or The House Without Mirrors? Oh yes, and as a bonus, enjoy the commercials and news promos from the past that might be embedded in the recordings.

No Hiding Place

The House without Mirrors

You might consider listening to these and finding some that match some of what you are exploring in your classes. While video seems to be all the rage, consider having your students prepare their own radio mystery show supplying the script, voices and sound effects.




One response

31 10 2011

Those were the days!

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