Monday, October 1, 2012

Answer Garden - P. Chapman

 I wanted to share Answer Garden. Answer Garden is a great online tool for brainstorming. It can also be embedded to a website or blog to be used as a poll or guestbook. Once you've accessed the site, you simply click "Create an Answer Garden." Then, you enter a topic or question. By adding your email address, you can access the garden later to view or make changes. When you continue, a simple box pops up where you can start submitting answers. The answers then appear in the blank space creating a sort of word cloud. 

I have used Answer Garden in my third grade classroom. At the beginning of the year, I used it as a brainstorm tool where students generated ideas about how they'd like our classroom to be. With my Epson Projector, students could watch as I entered each response as opposed to writing their ideas on the board or on chart paper. They were very engaged. I also used Answer Garden at the beginning of a science unit on plants where I submitted student responses regarding their background knowledge about plants. I wanted to see what my student already knew, so we created an Answer Garden. I have not yet embedded this tool to a website or blog, but I think it would be a great way to communicate with parents and/or get others ideas. In older grades, getting on the Answer Garden and submitting a thought about a reading or a quick response could even be a homework assignment. I think the possibilities are endless. 

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