Thursday, April 1, 2010

Writing with Avatars (2)

In Writing with Avatars (1), I discussed using avatar builders as a way to lure kids into writing. Some kids love to write, but for others, you need to find a hook, and something to sweeten the activity. Kids can borrow a trick authors use, and visualize their story characters with an avatar. They can also use the resulting picture of their avatar as a focus for their writing, perhaps listing character traits next to it, or letting their imagination roam while developing adventures for their creation.

Here are some more places to create avatars online.

What's Your Dark Ages Character?  Sadly, that page doesn't seem to exist any more. 

I have to admit, I was a little peeved with this exercise. wanted me to be realistic, and I wanted weaponry! Because I picked a Viking girl, all I could have was a broom, or a pair of shears, not much good for defending my honour against marauders.

The nice side was, I got a profile to read about myself, which helped me put my avatar into historical context. I also got an embed code, which actually only embedded the link (see below - Dark Ages profile link), or the chance to share my creation with friends.

The very cool part is you can upload your own face photo to include in the avatar. I had two tries, because the boy gear is so much more fun. (It is ever thus, ladies.) You can see Sir Chook above. 

Kids could print their dark ages character and have some fun constructing their own profiles, perhaps modelled on the one the site suggests, or creating one more to their own liking.

Check out my Dark Ages profile!


Characters is a quick notepad for outlining character details, plus a cute editor to choose physical features for your character. Just click on the face, head, clothes etc at the right of the screen to scroll through available features. Great for younger kids.

Dumonde's Gadget Maker

Dumonde's Gadget Maker is part of the website. Making a gadget is a simple matter of drag, drop and customize with the sliders. Once you're happy, you can preview your creation, which involves giving it a name and describing what it can do. You can share or print, or take a screen grab like I did.

This could be handy if young writers want a machine to star in their writing.

The Hero Factory

Thanks to Keith Schoch from Teach with Picture Books for reminding me that The Hero Factory is another great avatar builder, and loved by boys and girls alike. You can read more about it at my post, My Hero.

The Book Chook will be taking a few days holiday over the Easter break, but will be back, filled with enthusiasm and chocolate in a few days.


  1. Great ideas! The kids love creating avatars and many times in my computer lab, I will hear them weaving a tale about their avatar as they create them.

  2. Book Chook01 April, 2010

    I think of them as a digital version of paper dolls, which I loved as a kid. What fun to be able to use your own picture for the face!

  3. Great idea. Will pass it on to teachers at my school.

  4. Book Chook01 April, 2010

    Thanks, Ed.

  5. Terry Doherty03 April, 2010

    I'm going to have to side with, sweetie. A chook with weapons. Oh my, what a mess we'd have in the henhouse. 8-)

  6. Terry Doherty03 April, 2010

    Oh, and I missed the chocolate. Can't wait for that! =-X

  7. Book Chook03 April, 2010

    Ha! I got the weapons anyway because I pretended to be a boy. There's more than one way to pluck a chicken!

  8. Book Chook03 April, 2010

    Me too!

  9. carlylennox04 April, 2010

    What a super idea! The links are super. I can see this being a great hit with the boys in our school, thanks!

  10. Book Chook04 April, 2010

    That's great Carly, thanks for the feedback!


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