Ok, so the days are finally getting longer here in New England and the end of the school year is within sight…but I still feel like there simply aren’t enough hours in the day to get everything done and the students are growing restless by the day. So, as usual, I’ve been digging about on the web, looking for resources to keep my students busy and learning as the weather grows warmer and their attention spans shrink. While digging, I came across a site from the UK that is an impressive social network for teachers called TES Connect.
TES Connect call themselves the world’s largest “social network that allows teachers to network, share resources and search for jobs.” Once you sign up for a free account, you will gain access to a very large collection of shared ideas from teachers. It’s very well organized by subjects and grade levels. The secondary English section offers an impressive collection of materials including “Internet” resources and “Multimodal Texts” where you will find plans, templates, power point presentations, and more for integrating all kinds of multimedia into your language arts classrooms.
In the Classroom
So what about Facebook and Twitter, right? Well, that’s how I ended up at TES…because of an idea I got from reading about Facebook and Twitter updates and literature…about blending social networking and reading lit. What if you have students create Tweets or Facebook status updates for characters in the books you are reading? If your school is like mine, Facebook is strictly blocked and prohibited, but I found lots of Facebook-style templates for Microsoft Word at TES and elsewhere on the web. You could post it on your classroom website for download, create wiki pages (www.wikispaces.com is free for teachers), or allow students to create their characters’ Facebook and Twitter updates on your classroom blog (check out edublogs.org). If you don’t have the time or skills for wikis or blogs, don’t worry, just print and copy the templates and have students create Facebook pages for their characters with pens, markers, and colored pencils. I’ve posted a bunch of links below to resources to help you get your students started with this. Oh, and here’s the article that got me thinking in the first place. It’s quite clever and funny: http://mcsweeneys.net/2008/7/30schmelling.html
Be creative and enjoy!
Facebook Templates at TES Connect (remember you have to create a free account but it only takes a minute)
Microsoft Word Facebook Template Online
Internet Resources at TES Connect
Multimodal Text at TES Connect