Unbelievably simple, yet incredibly entertaining: this sign generator from redkid.net is my favourite. There are other sites, but I found them a bit trickier to use – not as classroom-friendly. Here, you have a choice of 55 signs or images. You just type in your text, press generate and your new image appears! Some images allow for only a word or two, while others can fit a bit more. You can then save the image to your computer. Give it a try – it really is that simple!
My students have used it to create mock book covers to illustrate the ideas or themes covered in their creative writing pieces, titles to upload with their audio boo podcasts, and personalised images to introduce projects. We are all so used to seeing these types of signs in our day to day lives. It’s fun putting your own personal stamp on them.
It’s not just fun, however. Students have to come up with a good title for their stories or podcasts and try to pick a picture that is somehow connected to the title or that they feel fits their work. Deciding what title or message to use takes a bit of thought and if the words don’t fit, students have to start looking for synonyms.
I’m sure there are lots of other ways of using it in class. Let me know how you get on!
Have you tried the Chirp app? It’s all about ‘singing’ information from phone to phone. It’s a great way of sharing – fast, fun and most importantly, simple to use.
I think there is huge potential for using Chirp in the classroom. The idea of sending links, messages and photos to students in seconds is quite exciting. It takes a lot of hassle out of sharing information. I don’t need to waste time emailing 30 plus students, and they don’t need to write anything down, friend me or open an email – the other methods I have used for sharing articles, links and other information with them.
So far, students have reacted positively towards Chirp, mostly because it’s a novelty and admittedly, very cool.
I’m planning on utilising it further in the coming semester by doing some of the following…
- Role play task instructions – 2 chirps, one for all the As and one for the Bs
- Divide students into groups of 3 and assign each a number. Chirp 3 different images, one for each ‘number/group member’. Students take it in turns to describe their picture to their partners, and then try to decide what the link between the pictures is. They could then try to write a story which includes their pictures.
- Chirp Homework information. No need for them to write it down, and no chance of them saying they ‘couldn’t remember where they wrote it/ lost the page/ wrote it down wrong’ or whatever inventive excuse they usually offer you. (Some of my students have wild imaginations and think I’m incredibly gullible.)
- Chirp out a funny message at the end of class as they go home for the weekend, or a group photo of all the students at the end of a course.
- Send a chirp with an extra task for students who finish their work early. Something to read, or a link to a site with grammar ‘games’ would work well.
- Give students the homework task of taking a photo somehow related to whatever topic you are working on in class. They chirp it to the group and take a few minutes to explain what the picture is, where they took it and why they feel it relates to the topic. What a great idea for ‘show and tell’!
This would also be great during a lecture, staff meeting or presentation. And of course, it doesn’t just have to be the teacher chirping. Students can easily share with friends. One idea would be to have students take a screenshot of their homework or project to share with the group. Everyone could discuss the work and offer feedback without having to email it to everyone or use a projector.
We’ll all soon be chirping away happily!