Thursday, March 25, 2010

ToonDoo Spaces

My fourth graders have been creating cartoons at school and at home in our password protected ToonDoo Space for several months now. It has given them an alternative way to publish their writing in a "public" space where their classmates can comment on their work. They have made toons about themselves, about their theme, about how to have good sportsmanship in P.E., about their cat, and about books they've read. They've made up stories about ninjas, space travel, the Oscars, superheroes, and the Olympics.

We've had great conversations about Internet safety, commenting etiquette, and appropriate social networking behavior.

Recently, the staff at ToonDoo Spaces asked if my class would create a testimonial for them to run on a loop in their booth at a conference in Singapore. When I pitched the idea to the class, the response was a unanimous "YES!"

Each child created three slides in Keynote, created some toons especially for their slides, and worked to clearly communicate what they like best about ToonDoo. Having an authentic audience outside of our class lifted the level of their work in a way I never would have expected.

My favorite story from our testimonial project is the slide that shows the graph. The student who created it found a slide with a placeholder graph in the masters for the theme he had chosen. He was going to use that slide in his set. "You can't use that slide," I told him. "That's fake data. That doesn't say anything real about ToonDoo. If you want to have a graph, you have to gather some data."

So he did.

He interviewed the class, tallied up his results, went back to the slide with the graph, and with just a little help from me, got it to show his REAL data. How often do we get to hand a child a challenge that perfectly matches their skills and their will to meet or exceed our expectations?

Fun stuff.

Here is a short version of what we sent to our ToonDoo friends:


  1. Way cool! Love the authenticity, the collaboration, and the sharing of a global community. You RoCK!

  2. Great stuff, Mary Lee. Your kids are awesome! Thanks for sharing.

  3. I'm glad I saw your post, because they asked me to do something too, and I FORGOT because I lost the email in my files. Doh. I did finish my video but I wonder if it is too late? I'll send it anyway and blog it (and link to yours).

  4. Hi MaryLee,

    Thanks for sending in the video and thanks for all the effort the kids put in!

    We loved it!

    @Kevin Thanks for sending yours in too. The conference started today so, better late than never!

    ToonDudette from

  5. Just wanted to say I LOVE your blog! I've been reading it for a month now and have gotten great ideas for my own classroom. I also have read 3 of your professional books and LOVE those too :)

  6. Thanks everyone!

    A special welcome to Amy -- go check out her new blog, Inspired to Read:

  7. How exciting! I always love what you're doing, Mary Lee!

  8. Well said - authentic audience. How powerful is that?!!


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