Saturday, June 13, 2015

TWIC: Writing, teaching and mental illness

Shelly Terrell has long been a Computer-Assisted Learning advocate and I've followed her for years.  Relevant to this blog, she finds and organizes tools and Apps that help students create.  These tools are often useful to teachers and other creatives as well.
15 Ideas and Resources for e-book creation.
During one of my teaching internships, my mentor had us create books we read to children from the Boys and Girls Club. I still have my construction paper book with my poor drawings. My artistic abilities didn’t matter to the kids who were just excited to have someone spend time with them. Our learners have the power to greatly impact others with their creations. This holiday season we can get them to create digital books that help others. Fortunately, several free web tools and apps help students quickly and easily create and publish digital books. Keep scrolling to access my bookmarks of free web tools and apps for creating digital books on any device. I’ve included some ideas below and a slide presentation with tips and resources to get students creating digital books that help those around them while learning.
Additional Tips and Ideas
Have students map out their books and create outlines
Students will need to conduct research and curate their research
I recommend these tools and apps for students of all ages: Little Bird Tales,
Storybird, Toondoo, StoryKit, and Book Creator. Find more in the book marks below.
Get students to help you create a digital textbook. You can use tools like Google Docs or iBooks Author. Find examples of student created textbooks in the presentation above. Some impressive examples are these iBooks by 5th grade special education students (, the interactive field guide of created by 7th graders (, these German student iBooks (, Google Doc books created by English language learners in Argentina (, the WordPress Living Textbook by middle school students (, the history book created on a Wiki ( and the geography and science textbooks created by 3rd graders using Livebinders (
Terrell on Inspiring Writing.
Jeff Bullas has a list similar to Terrell's.
Write or Die looks interesting.
 So does, although I am a big fan of Coggle for mind-mapping.
Lessons from Pratchett:
* You can always come home again, but that doesn’t mean you’re moving backwards.
* There is never a bad time for a pun.
* There’s also never really a good time for a pun.
* You might as well just stay braced for a pun at all times, and ride them when they come with as much grace as you can manage.
* The fact that you can replace ‘pun’ with ‘disaster’ in the last three rules says a lot about the human race.
There's no such thing as writer's block.
Peter Orullian discusses, briefly, his thoughts on writer's block. The link is to a video -and podcast available for download - and he mentions writer's block from 8:00 to 12:00. and 20:00
Just as GRRM is not your bitch, Scalzi doesn't have to be outraged by the things you are.
Is there a connection between creativity and schizophrenia and autism?  Scientific American investigates
The paper shows a link between artistic engagement and the genes underlying schizophrenia and bipolar disorder. To be sure, the effects are really small (the genes explain less than 1% of the variation in artistic engagement), and the results do notmean that if one has a mental illness they are destined for creativity (or that creative people are destined for mental illness). Nevertheless, the results are consistent with other solid studies showing there is a real and meaningful link between the schizophrenia spectrum and artistic creativity (see here, here, here, and here).

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