Link Things with ThingLink


I know I have introduce a couple of presentation tools so far, but I think it is important as a teacher to have a wide range of these tools, because it is a way to keep students attention. From my personal experience as a student I know that a good presentation tool makes all the difference between being interested versus falling asleep. This is why today I decided to introduce you to ThingLink. The concept behind ThingLink is to create interactive images. It is possible to take any image and to add links to whatever website (YouTube, Twitter, SoundCloud, etc.) When your creation is complete, it is possible to share it on the website and allow people to comment, re-share it, and even modify it!


People can modify your picture once it is share. It brings another dimension to this educational tool, because you can have your students collaborating on the same project from their home or from their own device. Collaborating skills are becoming more and more important in today’s educational curriculum. For educators and students, a special stream has been implemented so that users with a student status will only see the pictures of users with teacher or students status. This way the teacher and the students can collaborate easily.

In an article on Teaching History website, Jannelle Legg, a Ph.D student in the History department at George Mason University, mentions that what she likes the most about ThingLink is its flexibility. For example, she says that she likes to have students working together and presenting their research information to their classmates. I think it is an interesting way to create a study report. Instead of writing a boring paper, they could use a picture linked to the subject of their study and use tags and links to presents their information. Tags may be use full to break down information into smaller pieces. After the presentation, all the students as well as the teacher have access to the content of others. This is only an example of ThingLink application in an educational context.

On another website,  10 ways are proposed to integrate ThingLink in the classroom. Here are my 6 favorite just for you !

1. Have students illustrate research about a local landmark on a picture of that landmark and then link it to a ThingLink map of your community.

2. Have students illustrate the events of a story on a ThingLink map with images from Google Earth.

3. Have students create autobiographical ThingLinks using photos of themselves.

* Have them add links of websites they like, illustrations of their favorite hobbies, their favorite music and some places they would like to travel to.

4. Have students define a word or concept by linking to examples on the web.

5. Have students create a call-to-action persuasive ThingLink that links to evidence for the student’s claim.

6. Have students create a character analyses of major characters or historical figures.


A Little Bird Told Me a Story with Storybird !


In the context of a Computer Application course at University, the teacher asked us to explore and use the web tool of our choice from a list he had written on the board. I chose to look at StoryBird. I began by exploring what other people had done with this website to get a broad idea of the tool. At first, I thought it was really nice. The stories people wrote were looking good and kind of inspired me. I signed in and began to invent my own story.

Overall, the tool was great and I have been able to publish my story on the website, so people could read, comment, like and share it.

A point I disliked, however, is that you have to choose a set of images from an artist and that you are stuck with these images to write your story. Sometimes, it gets annoying not to find the perfect image to fit your idea.



StoryBird had been designed for parents who desired to write stories with their children. However, more and more teachers are beginning to use StoryBird in their classes. For example, Stephen Davis, an 8th grade teacher from California tried and used StoryBird with his students. According to him, StoryBird gives students the chance to express inner feelings that they could not express in another way through stories and images . I totally agree with what he said as I experienced it myself.

I think that writing a story is a good way to get students to use their creativity and their imagination. It also brings a feelings of pride to invent something that is meaningful to you. Students will like to write about something they know or experienced and share it with their peers, their parents and the world because they can publish it on the Internet and get feedback and comments.

Another teacher, this time from Ontario, used StoryBird in her class. Aviva Dunsigner reports that she had students make a story so they could apply what they learned about story elements into a real context. I think this is a very good way to make learning more concrete and more interesting to students. I would definitely to the same kind of activity with my classes.

Writing stories is not only a way to practice writing skills, but also a way to practice reading skills as you may want to have students read each other’s story.

On her blog, Erin Klein answers to the questions of a certain Marty who has trouble keeping the motivation of his students when writing a story with StoryBird, because students often don’t find the words to fit the artwork provided. Here are my two favorite answers from Erin:

1. She suggests to have students write a story before actually using StoryBird. It becomes easier then to chunk their sentences and modify them to fit the images rather than starting from zero and building something.

2. Do a model with the whole class before having them work individually.

I definitely liked these two solutions because I think it easily triggers students’ creativity before actually doing the task. It becomes easier for them and easier for the teacher to manage 30 students because they know what to do.

I truly plan to use StoryBird in my future classes, because I enjoyed my personal experience with it and because there are many ways it can be used pedagogically.

** Here is a link to my first story made with StoryBird

Organize your day logically with Schoology


During my practicum, my cooperating teacher kept telling me that preparation is the key to successful teaching and to avoid loss of time in the classroom. I learned my self that being prepared also make you more comfortable with what you have to do, when, in what order and so on. But when a teacher has 4 classes of two different levels to take care of, how can he/she manage all the work that it implies ? For sure, having an agenda is a starting point. Folders are another way to keep all the papers, activities and other stuff organized. However, if I tell you that you can do all this and even more with Schoology do you believe me ? Well you should ! Because this online platform will allow you to do everything in one place… and also because it has been rewarded by the American Association of School Liberians. Posting assignments, maintaining calendar, recording grades, and communicating by e-mail with the students is a fast eye-in to some of the basic feature of the tool… Schoology is thought to be “the most robust course management and active, personalized learning that both educators and students care about on the devices they want to use”.

I can already imagine myself working with Schoology in with my classes.The basic features of this tool are very interesting. It would allow me to keep all my stuff in the same place and all organized into folders without the “paper” part. One online folder for each class. Done with messy teacher’s desks !

Another thing that I would do with Schoology to facilitate my task as a teacher would be to create custom pages for each group and for each activity. This is actually a very good idea because this way, students can find everything they need on their group page (Links, homework, activities, grades, calendar, etc). Nowadays, students are always connected to a technological device, therefore having a page on the Internet with everything they need is perhaps THE way to make sure they have everything they need at their fingertips. (It is interesting to note that Schoology is also available as an application for Windows tablets and iPads). Schoology can be used with Google Docs and Turnitin. It is also possible to access the Schoology App Center for the most effective educational applications available.With the discussion boards integrated in the platform, students could interact with each other in a controlled environment, ask each other questions about homework, projects, exams, and ask me for clarifications and further explanations.

There are several learning management system (LMS) available on the Internet for teachers, however, I will give you one  more reason to choose Schoology before anyother platform: IT’S FREE ! Great isn’t it ?


Violets are purple, Roses are Red, and Literature is FUN !


During my practicum, I have had the opportunity to observe several classes of different levels doing various activities. Moreover, in my personal experience as a student; I took over 10 English courses during my studies and I am not done with it (Future English Teacher oblige!) However, even after all those years, I was wondering “How can we make literature fun to the students?”

Surfing the net in quest of an answer, I ended up finding a number of tools that will certainly make the life of English Literature Teacher easier. (And of course that will make learning situations more interesting for students.)



The first we site I found was a Website from BBC (the TV channel). The actual web page is called Bitesize KS2. It does not only contain cool stuff for English teachers but also for math and science teachers. What I found particularly interesting about this web page is that there are a number of activities for beginners and intermediate students. It is possible to find activities and exercises to practice reading, writing as well as spelling and grammar. In the reading section, there is information about poetry such as information about what narrative poems are, the patterns found in poems and figures of style. I found particularly interesting that there was a little video/game in which students can review the basics of poetry and test their knowledge at the same time ! It is simple, interactive and fun. Students will like it ! Ps. It is possible to add subtitles if students have problems understanding what is said.



Lit2Go website is also very nice ! It is a bank of literary texts, stories and MP3 audio files. It is interesting to note that the all passages come with a word count, citations, playing time as well a reading strategies. PDF versions of the passages can also be downloaded for further reading and review. From the website, students can access to information about some of the major authors in English literature and from an author’s page it is possible to access work pieces of the author. (e.g. William Blake). Passages are also classified by genre and collections which makes it easy to search for particular texts. I thought it was a great website because of the amount of work available on it. Students will be able to work and analyze texts and poems from home or from school without having to bother about carrying a book. Also, the MP3 audio files available is useful because it allows students to practice their reading and listening skills as well as their vocabulary and pronunciation (they will learn new words and hear them in context).



My StoryMaker is another fun website I also found. It is an tool with which your students will be able to create their own stories and cartoons. This kind of activity would be a good writing practice for students particularly for beginner and intermediate learners of English. I tried it myself and at first it seemed a little complicated, however, I discovered that it is possible to access a tutorial while creating your story. It is very important for tools like that to provide tutorials because the task can get very challenging. Fortunately, the tutorial for creating a story in My StoryMaker are simple, efficient and clear. Choose a character, a goal and another character and let your imagination do the rest. It is also interesting to mention that there is no need for subscription to make a story.

I found another version of this tool that has more features and that could be used for intermediate and advanced learners. Unfortunately, PlayTown: My StoryMaker is an application and can not be used on a computer. However, as discussed in my last post many schools are now equipped with iPads, therefore activities and story creation is still possible!

Of course there are many more websites available for English Literature teaching, surf the web and found out the one you prefer and that best fits your interest, your students interests and their language level. Go outside the textbook and have fun !!

Save Trees ! Use iPads.

ipad-3-school As you may have noticed, I am not a huge fan of technology even tough I believe that Internet can be a very useful tool for teacher. After one of my course at University, I was surprised to find myself wishing to possess an iPad ! During the lecture, it appeared that the iPad can allow a teacher to conduct an impressing number of activities and projects with your class. It must be mentioned that a growing number of schools and school boards buy iPads for the students and that those iPads can be borrowed on demand by teachers. If it is not the case in your school, you can go on the Apple website and sign in for offers. Most web sites I talked about so far in this blog are available on iPads, iPhones, and stuff, but there are many, many applications that you can download on the iPads to personalize the activities and contents to be learned. There are applications available for any grade you are teaching, so because I am not yet a teacher, I decided to look for 2 specific applications I would use with any group of elementary or high school grade.

First, I found Endless Reader. screen568x568 This application is perfect for ESL teachers in primary school because it offers introduction to sentence construction and spelling. There are interactive puzzles in which students can see the words, recognize them and memorize them more easily. screen568x568-2screen568x568 It is then easy for a teacher to get activities and small practice for students with this app. Working in teams to the construction of sentences sounds to me like a simple and fun task that elementary students would like. This way they can help each others and learn at the same time. The iPad then becomes a collaboration tool. Despite working in teams, what is more fun than little cute monsters everywhere, huh ?! Nothing !

The app is free, but you can purchase packs (see the left-hand side of the page “Top In-App Purchase”) that give access to more words. The same developers did another application for alphabet learning it is called Endless  Alphabet. This application also targets elementary students.

The second application I came across is Comics in the Classroom. screen480x480This app is perhaps more appropriate for high school students. It is a good tool for students to learn about historical events and famous people and to practice their reading comprehension skills at the same time. It is probably an application for individual work or whole-group questions and answers type activities.


At first, students can see short movies about the chosen event and after they can take a look back at the story and fill speech bubbles to put their new knowledge to action. It must be noted that the application has comic titles from various periods of time, and different continents. With the read-along feature, students get to practice their reading and listening skills. This application would bring a diversity in class that the students will appreciate.


For teachers, resources are available to download. These resources include PDF’s versions of the comics packed with research tasks, and ideas to  introduce comics in the classroom.


Both applications presented here are only a small example of what can be done with iPad applications in class. There are also several applications made for the teacher such as presentation, organization and gradation tools. For ideas, or advices regarding iPad apps, click here

I Wix !

wix idea

In the context of a course at University, I have been asked to build a WebQuest which implies to build a website from scratch (To see what a WebQuest looks like, click here ). As the “technologically-retarded” person that I am, I spent a quite important amount of time trying to figure out how to create a web page. I finally found a very handy tool on the Internet. It is called Wix; it is a website, to create website ! Not bad isn’t it ?

Even better is the fact that Wix is really easy to use. First, create a free account on the Wix site. You can also log in via your Facebook or Gmail account. Once you signed up you can access your account from any technological device because the platform is cloud-based meaning that you don’t save you project on a computer hard drive, but rather on the Internet itself.


So, now that you are logged in there are several things you can do before creating your own website: you can explore some websites made on Wix or you can take a look at the different features that could help you starting your own web page. Among those features, there is a support center available 24/7, and hundreds of free templates to help you start your project. It is also interesting to note that Wix has a learning center with tutorials and step-by-step demos.

When you are ready to begin the creation of you website you will see that there are many things you can add to your page. For example, it is possible to integrate videos, music songs, documents, links to social site or applications such as Facebook or Google Maps. Wix can also be used for blogs.

wix-1gnhsl5 - copie

I am using Wix to create a WebQuest, however, you can use it in many different ways if you are a teacher (or a future teacher). Have your students create a webpage or a blog about their passion or their favorite hobby and evaluate their writing skills at the same time.

Take a look at my finished work with Wix !!



I looked on Internet for more tools that could be great for me to have in my toolbox as a future teacher. I found out a very interesting website for video editing; WeVideo. This site caught my attention because it is a tool I would have appreciated to know about when I was in high school. In secondary 2, the teacher had us doing all sorts of videos in teams of 2 to 4 students. We had to write scenarios, film the scenes, edit it and present the final product to the class. I particularly liked to do the videos and present them because it was less nerve racking than doing oral presentation. However, the editing part was very challenging because most of us did not have a video editing tool on their computer (most of the time I had to do it because my dad had a very complicated software to transfer videos from VHS into DVDs). It would have been nice to know about WeVideo at this time, because it is easy to use and the Internet version can be used from any electronic device. There is even an application for Smartphones !

On the WeVideo webpage for schools, it is promoted that having students to do videos encourages collaboration among the students, creativity and storytelling. When students are working on a video they have become producers of knowledge; they explore the subject in depth and go beyond textbooks to produce something good and entertaining to present. Creativity, critical thinking, communication and collaboration are all skills that are involved in the creation of a video.


WeVideo is pretty simple to use. I did a little bit of exploration with the tool and I discovered that it is easy to film the scenes, download them into your WeVideo account, drag and drop them into the timeline. Then, you have your video ! It is also possible to build a storyboard from images, add music or sounds and share your projects with Google Drive, Facebook or Youtube. Enjoy 3 editing modes: Timeline, storyboard or advanced timeline. With any mode it is possible to add themes to your videos, bubbles and texts. Students can be up to 5 working on the same project from different computers. For more features and tutorials, the company has a Youtube channel to help you (and your students) in your projects.

–> WeVideo Overview

It is possible to access WeVideo for free on the Internet, but it is also possible to get an advanced version for a minimum of 3$ per months. There are other version that allow teachers to create an account for a whole class, it is possible to subscribe for a year and all students will have access to a WeVideo account.

Try it !