What did you do on your holidays?

blank pageWhen you were student do you remember the first day of school. The excitement of seeing your friends, meeting your new teachers, the magical smell of books that had never been used and were a blank canvas, just waiting for you. Then disappointment when a teacher would say – write about what you did on your holidays! As teachers we know the importance of those first few days. Learning about our students, letting them know about us, building relationships and setting the scene for the year.  We need something much more exciting, engaging and open ended than the traditional essay about the holidays. As Alan November wrote, we need “to set the tone for powerful, engaging and self-directed learning”.

Here are a few alternatives using free Web 2 tools that you and your students could use to provide opportunities for creativity and for students to share their stories with their classmates and you.

Screen Shot 2014-01-22 at 4.04.04 pmWORD CLOUDS Students could create word clouds about themselves using their own descriptors or gather words from friends and family . Try Wordle, Wordlin.gs, Tagxedo, or Tagul

Screen Shot 2014-01-22 at 4.20.13 pm

GLOGSTER or MUSEUM BOX – create a multimedia poster to showcase skills, interests and passions

SURVEY students about they interests, skills, goals, hobbies, expertise they could share with classmates or what they would like to learn during the year using Google Docs or Survey Monkey

Screen Shot 2014-01-22 at 4.41.24 pmCOMIC MASTER or MAKEBELIEFCOMIX are simple tools to make great comics. Perhaps this would be a more exciting way for students to retell one aspect of their holidays?

An iMOVIE Trailer about their hopes or goals for the year

Screen Shot 2014-01-22 at 4.48.28 pmStudents could use ANIMOTO to make a short movie about the famous thing they will do, or great achievement they will make in the future.

Screen Shot 2014-01-22 at 4.56.23 pmBLABBERIIZE would be a great way for students to share the most amazing moment of their holiday