Students are always eager to get hands-on training in how to use new tools. In this exercise, I was inspired by the “Cool Word Vocabulary” activity published by Tech4Learning to create an opportunity to use the company’s software, Pixie, with my 2nd grade students. I love using Pixie with my students (see, for example, biography research, how-to tutorials, and states research) as it allows them to be creative while also exploring the features of a great digital tool.
Using an organizer, students each chose a word from their current spelling lists and wrote a sentence or two using the word in context.
In Pixie, students searched the copyright-friendly images available from Pics4Learning for images that represented the meaning of their chosen word. In some instances, this required them to think more broadly. For example, one student’s word was “stirrup”. Since there were no pictures of a stirrup, he had to think of other pictures that represent the meaning of the word and settled on “horse”.
Before students began working in Pixie, I modeled the steps and showed them an example. I also gave them the step-by-step instructions in writing. Most students did very well working independently to create their cool word vocabulary words.
As Pixie was new to this group, they really enjoyed playing with some of the software’s creative features, including the paint can tool. Some of the background students created were quite amazing. The finished products were exported as image (.jpeg) files. In sum, this exercise expanded both traditional and digital literacies. Liquid Literacy at work! And we had fun.