What do you stay awake for?

Caribou Coffee–my favorite haunt when I lived in Virginia, has a running event–their coffee sleeves ask : What do you say awake for? Well..whatever it is, I bet you could write about it! Customers send in their responses and the best are printed on their coffee cups. A visual display of writing ideas!


The videos below were created on Animoto where educators can get a free 183 day account for you and/or students to create videos. What a quick and easy way to start digital storytelling! Animoto videos, without your free educator code can run 30 seconds. With your code, around 3 minutes. I assign an Animoto video project for my university preservice teachers as a way to experience digital storytelling.

For your viewing below are three projects that I created. One is titled Domino, and the explanation is below. The second is one I created as a demo for my preservice students–on Mind Mapping. The third one is an intro video that I made prior to meeting my students this fall. This is a GREAT way for students to introduce themselves.

The possibilities for using Animoto with writer’s notebooks are endless. Select an entry and develop it with images and selective text choices. It is the perfect medium for poetry as the Animoto slides do not offer many characters–students would need to condense text and work very thoughtfully on word choice.

If you “youtube” Animoto, you will find that many teachers have students use the videos to create “trailers” for novels they have read. What a great alternative to the more traditional book talk. Create curiosity, yet don’t give the ending away…

So many more possibilities!!! I’m sure you are thinking of some right now–if you are, send me your ideas!

About Domino….

Domino was the class guinea pig in my graduate student Anita’s first grade. Anita was enrolled in my Language Arts class and was keeping a writer’s notebook for the first time, as well as implementing writer’s workshop in her classroom. To build confidence of the emerging writers, she visited one writing group each day and composed a shared writing with them. One group wanted to write a story about Domino; other groups followed. The teacher suggested a “plot”–she wondered aloud…What do you suppose Domino does when we go home at 3:00…..? The end result was a class book about Domino’s “secret adventures,” with a chapter composed by each writing group. You might wonder why the text of the chapter pages is NOT in the children’s own writing….they insisted that the teacher type it up and spell it perfectly so that it looked like a “real” book. The video only allowed for me to share a couple of the pages from the Domino book.

Animoto is quick, easy, and allows for creativity. I made this clip in 15 minutes….

The Secret Adventures of Domino

Mind-Mapping is not just great fun because you get to color and draw–it is also a process used by many huge corporations as a way to think non-linearly, or “out of the box”–and an excellent alternative assessment.

Mind Map

..and..my Hello video

My Literate Life

Finally–saving BEST for last—a project one of my current students, Michelle, created–I think you will find it fascinating!

Stop Bullying

My SimpleBooklet

If you click on the link below you can view a booklet I made at http://simplebooklet.com. I introduce myself to you in this booklet and used this format so that you can see the possibilities for your students. It’s FREE and took me about 20 minutes. The only problem is the s-l-o-w-n-e-s-s of the slide crawl. I found that to speed it up I would need to upgrade. HOWEVER, I include it anyway–your school (or you!) may have resources to purchase an upgrade account, and if so, the possibilities are endless. Primary grade children could do this!


If I Were in Charge….

…this is what I would see in schools:

Writing Program Model

Writing Taught as Process—–Prewriting, Drafting, Sharing (Feedback), Revising, Editing, Publishing–all processes modeled well by teachers. Writing processes taught as the “work” that writers do.

Writer’s Workshop Context—-Teacher modeling of focus (mini) lessons (1/4 of workshop time)—-Students engaged in writing process writing (1/2 of workshop time)—-Sharing (1/4 of workshop time)

Conferences—-Teacher-led; Peer/Partner

Choice—-Student ownership of topics, whenever possible.

Authenticity—-Emphasis on teaching what real writers do, and in teaching the kinds, genres and forms used in the real world

Writer’s Notebooks—-Grade 3 and above

Journals—-Self-initiated, daily time for journals and journal share in K-2.—-Second semester of second grade, writer’s notebooks could be introduced.

Strategic Teaching—-Writing strategies are seen as integral to and used across the writing process

Six Traits—-Using the language that defines good writing as a window into REVISION, and to assess for conventional use (editing)

Reading/Writing Connection—-Literature/text in the real world is central to writing instruction, to include Author Studies and Craft Studies for deep study of craft/technique

Created by Pamela Stockinger, 2010

Artist’s Toolkit

The Artist’s Toolkit is an interactive website that focuses on all elements of art, and fun along with learning. It features an artist’s palette and the rest is left to your imagination and play. All of the arts support writing—learning the basic elements of the visual arts can add wonderful layers to student writing work.

Check it out and play at: http://artsconnected.org/toolkit/index.html


Fun and learning-filled website by Ken Nesbitt, children’s poetry author. At this website, kids can read poems, listen to the author read poem podcasts, sign up for free newsletter, watch videos, play games with poems, download a mobile app for the site, and search his links to other great sites. Colorful and fun site!!