How to exclude activities from the textivate menu

If you click on the "Extras" tab and scroll down to the bottom, you will see a section called "Exclude activities from menu", as shown in the image above.

By default, all textivate activities are available via the menu screen, provided the resource meets the requirements of each activity in terms of number of words etc. (And obviously, text activities are not displayed for match resources and vice versa...)

You can use this "Exclude activities from menu" section to exclude particular activities from the menu screen. 

Simply select the activities that you wish to exclude, and those activities will not be available via the textivate menu screen.

Your list of excluded activities appears in the "Show all" tab, looking something like this:

###startexclude###
3x5, 4x4, 3x6, 4x5, 4x6, hz6, hz8, h10, hza, par
###endexclude###

Why exclude activities?

Why would I want to do this? I hear you ask. Well there are lots of reasons for wanting to remove activities from the menu. Some examples below:

e.g. 1. Avoiding unformatted display of poems, songs etc

You have a poem, with no end-of-line punctuation, and you want to avoid activities that run the lines together or don't display the text formatted as a poem. In the example below, the activities removed are:

  • All of the "tiles" and "horizontal" activities, which split the text into blocks of roughly equal numbers of words
  • Football, 3 in a row, Invaders and Snake, all of which display a block of unformatted text with words missing

>> Poem example <<

e.g. 2. Avoiding output activities:

You want students to do the activities that rebuild chunks of text, but you don't want them to spend lots of time on activities that require them to type in letters. Here the activities excluded are the "letters" activities, and the games "Snake" and "Invaders" which are based filling in missing letters. (I've also excluded the "Word invaders" activity in this example, because it doesn't deal with the whole text.)

>> No output example <<

Other reasons for excluding activities

  • to avoid "gamey" activities
  • to avoid activities which don't work well with your particular content
  • to avoid activities which don't sit well with your particular approach
  • to avoid activities which don't display well, such as the "Paragraph" activity for long songs or poems
  • to limit activities to just a handful
  • to force students to choose output activities
  • to avoid text-entry match activities in a Challenge where the match order is L2>L1 (which would mean students score lots of points for typing English words...)

Especially useful for CHALLENGES...

Excluding particular activities is especially useful for resources which are used in a CHALLENGE, as it allows you to limit the range of activities available and steer students towards the sorts of activities that you want them to do, whilst at the same time offering them a choice of activities which can score points on the challenge scoreboard.

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