This is our daily warm up, wherein students work with two or three Latin roots per day. The resource that I use to get my roots is Perfection Learning's Everyday Words from Classic Origins.
Every day, when the students arrive, I have two Latin roots on the SmartBoard. Their job is to generate as many words as they can that contain the roots, and they try to guess what the root means. After I give them about five minutes, we share words and I tell them what the root means.
The students compile these daily activities in their class journals. After every twelve roots, they take a test on the roots themselves and a set of words that contains them.
Animoto is a fantastic tool for creating short presentations. Since we have been working with symbolism for a few lessons, I decided to have the students use this technology to demonstrate their understanding of one of the symbols.
I decided to pair the students up and have them choose a symbol from Call of the Wild that they wanted to explore. Their assignment was to use pictures, quotations and music to depict that symbol in a way that was consistent with London's portrayal.
When I discussed this with my students (like most teachers, I talk all around the slides while I am presenting them,) I stressed that I was looking for much more than dogs and snow. One of the problems that can come up with eighth graders dealing with visual media is that they become very enamored of images that they like and forget that they are supposed to have a "higher" purpose.
So, the students worked together to find quotations and pictures. Working in pairs was a good idea, because they could split the work. Animoto is free as long as your video is under thirty seconds. This presented a real challenge for some groups, because they had trouble working in everything that they wanted to include. Also, the less tech-savvy students had trouble getting their quotes in, because there is character limit for the titles of slides. (You can get around this by dropping the image into Paint and putting the text on top of it.)
When the Animotos were finished (for me this was the next day, but it could be done in a single day,) the students shared at their tables (six person tables, three Animotos per table) and chose the best one to be shown on the SmartBoard.
This approach took MUCH less time than if everyone had shared, though I do like the students to have an outlet for their creativity and to share with their peers. However, if you decide to have everyone share, keep in mind that each student has to log in to Anomoto individually, so it takes time. If we were in the computer lab, a really great extension would be to do a gallery walk, with students traveling to different computers and evaluating the presentations.
All in all, it was a useful and fun assignment. Were there too many pictures of dogs and snow DESPITE my many warnings? Of course. But there were a few great ones, too.