TechToolThursday: Tools for Read Across America Day

Each year on Dr. Seuss’ birthday, schools the country celebrate Read Across America day.  This year, on March 3rd,  teachers will come dressed as the Cat in the Hat, Oh the Places You’ll Go will be read to 5th graders in preparation of moving on to middle school, and millions of Seuss-like characters will created in the minds of our students.  In this edition of TechToolThursday, I’m going to cover an app, Chrome extension, and website that will help you make your Read Across America activities awesome!

The app:  ChatterPix Kids by Duck Duck Moose

I am having a ton of fun with this app!  You can take a picture or choose one from their gallery, then draw a line across the mouth or other area.  After choosing you image, you then have 30 seconds to record your voice, sound effects, etc.  The apps then calibrates your voice to the image.  The outcome is a hilarious rendering of your image “talking” to what you recorded.  For R.A.A. day, I would have my students find pictures of Dr. Seuss characters, then record themselves reading their favorite Dr. Seuss quote or their favorite page from a Dr. Seuss book.  You could even have them research Dr. Seuss, then make a picture of the icon to deliver a report.  Here’s a sample a made using a page from my son’s favorite Dr. Seuss book, Hand Hand Fingers Thumb.

The extension:  Clearly

If I were an language arts, science, or social studies teacher, I would definitely have this extension installed on my Chrome browser.  I am a big fan of using online articles detailing current events in the classroom.  It allows teachers to help their students make connections to what they’re learning and the real world.  What I am NOT a big fan of are all of the advertisements that usually go along with websites that have these great articles.  That’s where Clearly comes in.  Developed by Evernote (my favorite content curation tool, by the way), Clearly allows you to remove all of the distractions on a website to get to the content that’s so important.  Here’s a before and after screenshot.  Notice on the “after” shot that you have the options to highlight, clip to one of your Evernote notebooks, and if you’re an Evernote Premium user, you can utilize a text to speech feature that will read the article to you.before_clearlyBefore

after_clearlyAfter

My “go to” sites to find articles for the classroom are:

The Week

Time For Kids

The Learning Network by the New York Times

Popular Science Kids Section

The website: Seussville

Although not found in the Chrome webstore, if you remember from my introduction post to TechToolThursday, Chrome apps are nothing more than websites.  Seussville is the perfect website to explore on R.A.A. day.  My favorite place to visit on the site is the “Author” page.  Here students can click on objects around Dr. Seuss’ office to learn more about the man who created our favorite books and characters.  There are also games and activities to play, watch preview videos made from his books, and explore different worlds created by Dr. Seuss.  Students can create avatars and earn points, called Dooklas, to redeem for items to decorate their avatars.  So much fun to be had on this site, so you should definitely check it out with your students.  This site would be awesome and engaging displayed on an interactive whiteboard as well!

I hope you found at least one helpful tool from this post.  If you plan to use any of these to enhance your Read Across America activities, or if you have other tech tools that you plan to use, please share in the comments section below.