This is a continuation of part 1-in this post I’ll show some more free online generators that will also inspire learning in your classroom.
As with every piece of new technology or Web 2.0 tool, the learning runs alongside the stimulus. I interweave the generators within a learning process, often using them at a time when I feel the students need a little creative push to help them produce more interesting work. It’s essential to use generators like this, too often educators use them as a ‘starter’,the students quickly lose their enthusiasm and the very reason that the web tool was used in the first place becomes a reason not to use them!
Anyway back to the inspiring generators!
We’re doing Monsters! as our topic in Y2 this term so here are some fabulous generators that I will use to inspire some learning!
The great thing about generators is their ability to infuse kids imagination with a few clicks. I have found that this benefits students that struggle with creating an initial idea-even an adult finds creating original concepts hugely challenging. I used this generator as a project kickstarter-kids generated a name-drew pictures, used adjectives, made Top Trump cards etc,etc –several lessons worth, just from a name!
This flash-game is a great way of generating a monster themed acrostic poem-just enter your name. Again, this led to several pupil ‘tries’ and using the generator opened the eyes of pupils to the creative possibilities of acrostics.
The TV channel Nick Jr has a great monster generator, with the added bonus of having categories to write some information about. I find this is great for students to make notes on and then use as a stimulus to create a longer piece of writing.
It’s a site where students don’t need to have an account to use-but beware of the print facility, it will only print out the monster picture and not the text! My students used the ‘PRTSC’ (Print Screen) button and pasted into Microsoft Powerpoint.
Next is my favourite- Giant Battle Monsters! Used in conjunction with the Monster name generator it provides the students with a ready-made scenario for a battle between two student-generated monsters.
The fantastic aspect of this generator is that it not only produces a fabulous description for the students to use in their writing but creates statistics like ‘Top Trumps’ cards. I have used it in Maths lesson, with pupils in a playing an imaginary Monster Tournament.
For younger children there are a number of ‘build a monster’ sites that are fantastic for instructional writing.
The first one is from the excellent British Council Learn English kids website ‘Make your Monster’.
It has a brilliant ‘listen’ button which when pressed, says aloud in a monster voice,an instruction to find ‘Green ears’ or a ‘Red Nose’. A great way to get students to write instructions.
There’s this great ‘Create a monster’ game where you can flip, bring to front, change colour and enlarge body parts. Very good for descriptive writing or just creating characters for a story about Mythical beasts.
You could write a set of instructions for the students to follow or print a picture and ask them to produce an exact copy, then write instructions about how they made their monster. Students could play a barrier game and work in pairs to instruct what to do next.
Finally I’ll save the best till last- The Children’s Museum of Pittsburgh has an excellent ‘Build a Monster’ game which has a narrative back story of helping a monster find his body, arms and legs.
All his parts are hidden around the museum, students have to use clues and search different rooms around the building. There’s some great games to play along the way and a great surprise when you find all his body parts.
Well that’s the end of Part 2. I hope I’ve inspired you to use these websites to stimulate writing in your classroom. I was only going to do 2 parts but it looks like I’m adding to my ‘Generators collection all the time! In part 3 I’ll write about Pokémon and how you can inspire more great writing in the classroom with free web tools.
As always comments welcome-be great to hear if anyone has actually used any of the stuff I write about!Written by Julian S Wood - www.ideasfactory.me/about/"rel="author"