TeachersFirst - Featured Sites: Week of Jul 28, 2013

Here are this week's features. Clicking the tags in the description area of each listing will present a list of other resources with this topic. | Click here to return to the Featured Sites Archive

 

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3 Important Graphics to Help Parents Teach Their Kids - ForTheTeachersBlog.org

Grades
K to 6
1 Favorites 0  Comments
This site offers three useful, downloadable posters to help parents help their student with Reading, Spelling, and Math. Each poster includes several easy to implement suggestions for...more
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This site offers three useful, downloadable posters to help parents help their student with Reading, Spelling, and Math. Each poster includes several easy to implement suggestions for help at home: letting your student see you read, having your student explain how to solve problems when doing homework, and more. Click on the links provided with each poster to go to the original graphic or to print a PDF version of the poster. Be sure to give proper credit.
This site includes advertising.

tag(s): back to school (58), literacy (103), parent conferences (22), spelling (168)

In the Classroom

Post during conferences. Post in the parent pick-up area of your school lobby. Provide a link from your class web page or print and send home. Share posters with your PTO/PTA for use in planning parent education activities. These posters are an excellent back to school resource. Be sure to share with parents, teachers, and volunteers for ideas when helping students.

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Newsela - Matthew Gross

Grades
2 to 12
13 Favorites 1  Comments
Newsela is a data base of current events stories tailor-made for classroom use. Indexed by broad theme (e.g. War and Peace, Arts, Science, Health, Law, Money), stories are both student-friendly...more
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Newsela is a data base of current events stories tailor-made for classroom use. Indexed by broad theme (e.g. War and Peace, Arts, Science, Health, Law, Money), stories are both student-friendly and can be accessed in different formats by reading level. Use Newsela to differentiate nonfiction reading. Newspaper writers rewrite a story four times for a total of five Lexile levels per story. Many stories also have embedded, Common Core aligned quizzes that conform to the reading levels for checking comprehension. In addtion, each article has a writing prompt which is also designed to assess reading comprehension. An account is required to use Newsela, both for teachers and for students, but students sign up using a teacher or parent provided code rather than an email address. Teachers can create classes and assign reading-level specific articles to individual students, or download printable PDF copies of the article in any of its reading-level versions. There is an upgraded fee-based Pro Version which allows teachers or administrators to track reading progress, but most of the features are free and there is no advertising.
This site includes advertising.

tag(s): differentiation (47), guided reading (47), independent reading (126), news (261), reading comprehension (116)

In the Classroom

Achieve two goals here: help students improve their reading comprehension and keep them current with what is happening in our nation and the world. When assigning articles, choose to have the class read at one reading level, or choose individuals and set the reading level for them. There are five categories from which to choose. You may want to set up different articles at different learning stations on the computers in your room. Have the students rotate daily through the stations, completing one or two a day until they have completed all five articles. Since Newsela is cloud based, even absent students can complete the missed work easily. Teachers of gifted students can use this site to accelerate or enrich reading for students. Find each students individual levels for reading nonfiction. Teachers of Learning Support and ELL students will love this alternate way for their students to meet current events requirements.

Comments

This is an excellent site and allows differentiation while everyone is reading the same text. Renee, NC, Grades: 0 - 5

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Boundless - Ariel Diaz

Grades
9 to 12
4 Favorites 0  Comments
  
Save money, learn faster with free digital textbooks from Boundless. Boundless creates interactive textbooks including flashcards, interactive searches, and highlighting options. It...more
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Save money, learn faster with free digital textbooks from Boundless. Boundless creates interactive textbooks including flashcards, interactive searches, and highlighting options. It includes 18 college level subjects from Accounting through Writing. Choose any subject to begin. Create a free account enabling access to a search engine and additional study tools.

tag(s): art history (69), business (58), ebooks (41), microorganisms (14), politics (99), sociology (22)

In the Classroom

Although geared toward college textbooks, Boundless is an excellent resource for many high school classrooms. Choose sections of books to use as lessons on your interactive whiteboard or assign for students to read on their own. Challenge students to create a presentation using Prezi (reviewed here) demonstrating concepts learned. Use flashcards and quizzes embedded in Boundless books to review concepts. Boundless is an excellent resource for gifted or AP students. Use as a source for enrichment of your current curriculum.

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Flask - flask.io

Grades
1 to 12
2 Favorites 0  Comments
 
Flask is a very simple list maker. Type in your first to-do item and press enter to create a new list. NO membership required! The unique url generates, and your ...more
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Flask is a very simple list maker. Type in your first to-do item and press enter to create a new list. NO membership required! The unique url generates, and your list is ready to use. Continue typing items as needed and change the name of your list if desired. Use the share button to view the url, embed link or to email the list.

tag(s): organizational skills (122)

In the Classroom

Help students organize the specific tasks necessary to finish a project. Use class discussion to create a list of all necessary items or steps. Organize tasks and set due dates to assist students in time management for completing projects. Create weekly lists of due dates and important information to embed on your class website. Use this tool to support students in learning organizational skills. Share this tool at the beginning of the school year for your students to use to organize assignments. Use this tool for your own organizational purposes. Create as many separate lists as needed.

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Current - Your Private, Daily Diary - current.im

Grades
7 to 12
0 Favorites 0  Comments
 
Current is a completely private online diary using just 140 characters (a la Twitter). Login with a user name, password (email address needed), and begin typing. Current keeps a daily...more
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Current is a completely private online diary using just 140 characters (a la Twitter). Login with a user name, password (email address needed), and begin typing. Current keeps a daily record of writing along with a time stamp, making it a simple and private tool for short journal writing.

tag(s): creative writing (166), journals (21)

In the Classroom

Share this site with students to create their own private diary or journal. Because it is only 140 characters, Current may be a good option for students to use for prewriting and brainstorming before beginning writing projects. Create your own account and use Current as a tool for reflecting on lessons and classroom activities each day. If you have individual laptops for students, or are in a byod school, why not begin class with a Current entry each day. Have students keep a simple, year-long journal of the highlights of their learning. Use Current as lesson "closure" using today's 140 character format.

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Class Setup Tool - Scholastic

Grades
K to 12
1 Favorites 0  Comments
Class Setup Tool is a resource for planning and designing your classroom for maximum effectiveness. Click to begin. Follow each step in the planning process beginning with choosing...more
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Class Setup Tool is a resource for planning and designing your classroom for maximum effectiveness. Click to begin. Follow each step in the planning process beginning with choosing your classroom shape. Drag and drop items from that point including windows, doors, desks, etc. If needed, rotate or resize items for proper fit. After all furniture is in place, add student names on the seating chart then drag and drop into place. When finished, choose the print button to print and use your completed classroom setup!
This site includes advertising.

tag(s): back to school (58), classroom management (134), map skills (80), measurement (159), preK (279)

In the Classroom

Use this tool, even before school starts, to experiment with classroom changes without having to drag desks all over your classroom! Trying to separate the more social students? Experiment with different seating layouts until you find the one you think might work. This tool will also make useful diagrams for your sub plans. Flip your classroom a new way by having students "design" a dream classroom as part of a math lesson on measurement or a lesson on simple map skills. Suddenly, the classroom tool becomes a student tool!
  This resource requires Adobe Flash and PDF reader software like Adobe Acrobat.

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Presentain - Neek Kurat

Grades
4 to 12
4 Favorites 0  Comments
  
Connect and engage your presentation audience with Presentain. Create a free account and link to your Google Drive account. Connect your social media accounts through your profile so...more
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Connect and engage your presentation audience with Presentain. Create a free account and link to your Google Drive account. Connect your social media accounts through your profile so presentation participants can view your connections. Access your Google Drive presentations in Presentain or upload a PDF version of a presentation created in PowerPoint or Keynote. Store your presentations in the Presentain cloud. Download the iOS or Android app on your phone or tablet to connect your mobile device. Use your mobile device as a clicker and connect your audience on their mobile devices. The audience can ask questions, take part in polls, send you follow-up requests, share your slides, and more. Record your voice while you present and publish the slidecast to your online audience. Presenting on a laptop that's not yours? Enter a presentation code that doesn't require a login. This is a great tool to involve your audience. Presentain users must be at least 18 years old.

tag(s): DAT device agnostic tool (196), slides (63)

In the Classroom

Use your existing presentations and upload them as a PDF to Presentain. Use the many tools available at the site to engage your students. Use the question feature as a backchannel to address questions and concerns. Collect data using polls to differentiate your instruction. A BYOD school? Connect your students on their mobile devices. Share your slidecasts for student access both in and outside of class for further practice. An excellent site to share your presentations on professional development with your teaching colleagues. A great tool to flip your classroom instruction. Record students' presentations (using your account) to share on a website or blog so families unable to attend can view. Create visual presentations for key concepts or vocabulary. Record descriptions and share the slidecast for student access both in and outside of class for further practice.

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Happy Class - David Cole

Grades
K to 6
4 Favorites 0  Comments
 
HappyClass is a FREE automatic classroom seating chart maker. HappyClass creates charts in minutes based on your students' needs and relationships. Type or paste your class roster into...more
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HappyClass is a FREE automatic classroom seating chart maker. HappyClass creates charts in minutes based on your students' needs and relationships. Type or paste your class roster into the website and configure the virtual desks to look like your physical classroom. The contextual menu provides options to make sure relationship factors are prioritized as well as student needs (like front or back of the room). Need a student to stay in the same seat? Pin them to the seat (not literally of course!). Edit each student's unique needs at any time as your students change throughout the year. The happiness indicator automatically determines if the student is sitting in an ideal situation. A smiley face means all is well, a so-so face means it could work, and an uh-oh face means the current seating configuration could lead to a negative classroom environment. Seating chart results are immediate with one click of a button. Not happy? Generate a completely new configuration with another click. Print your chart in a snap for your lesson plan book. The free version (Lite) includes an unlimited number of students in one editable class roster and one room setup at a time. You can add, edit or delete students, rearrange the room, or change relationships and needs of that one class over and over. The freebie limits make this well suited for self-contained classes, not teachers who see different classes throughout the day.
This site includes advertising.

tag(s): back to school (58), classroom management (134), gamification (65)

In the Classroom

HappyClass is a great site to make sure seating preferences in IEPs /504 plans are met even before the first day of school. Create differentiated cooperative learning groups throughout the day in seconds. Printing charts is quick and easy. Change the configuration of your room by dragging and dropping desks. Clear the chart and start from scratch. More time to focus on instruction! Save this in your "back to school" online files!

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The Music in Poetry - Smithsonian

Grades
4 to 12
1 Favorites 0  Comments
   
The lessons at this site focus on two poetic forms: the ballad stanza and the blues stanzas, and their rhythm. Both of these forms began as song. A sound track ...more
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The lessons at this site focus on two poetic forms: the ballad stanza and the blues stanzas, and their rhythm. Both of these forms began as song. A sound track is included. The sound track has a separate URL from the lessons and is suggested several times in the plans. As with all educational resources at the Smithsonian, the sixteen page lesson plan (unit) is thorough. It includes suggestions for playing music from the Smithsonian's Folkway recordings, an explanation of the metrical unit, iamb, with some humorous examples on the Bestiary of Poetic Terms page, nonfiction reading about the ballad and the blues forms of poetry, and too many others to list here. Through all this, you can review the form of "The Cat in the Hat," and meet Langston Hughes, Bob Dylan, U2, Willie Nelson, William Wordsworth, Lewis Carroll, Emily Dickinson and many other famous poets and song writers.

tag(s): blues (21), dance (28), differentiation (47), gifted (96), poetry (227), rhymes (33), rhythm (20), writing (358)

In the Classroom

There is a ton of information and activities in this lesson plan. This lesson plan is more like a unit plan, so choose to complete the entire unit or pick and choose certain lessons to familiarize your students with the ballad and the blues. You could choose just to do one or the other. Differentiate the activities for your gifted students. The lessons also include suggestions for movement activities and having students create their own poems. Student poems can be displayed creatively by using a poster program like Tackk, reviewed here, and the URLs can be posted on your teacher website in order for parents to see.
 This resource requires PDF reader software like Adobe Acrobat.

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Countdown - Sarah Cherry Rice and Matt Rantz

Grades
K to 8
2 Favorites 0  Comments
  
Countdown is a service for elementary and middle school teachers to plan math assessments aligned to Common Core standards. Begin by creating a calendar using start and stop dates you...more
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Countdown is a service for elementary and middle school teachers to plan math assessments aligned to Common Core standards. Begin by creating a calendar using start and stop dates you choose. Choose holidays and non-instructional days to block out. Add titles and dates of assessments. Once the calendar is created, add names of units, then drag standards from the list to be included with each unit. Hover over each standard for a description before dragging onto the calendar. Use the co-plan or share features to create calendars with others. Create calendars using your district's pacing guide if they have been included on Countdown. If not included, request Countdown to reach out to your district for a copy.

tag(s): back to school (58), calendars (44)

In the Classroom

Use Countdown for your backward planning needs. Plan assessments based on your pacing guide at the beginning of each school year to be sure to include all standards in your planning and assessment. Share Countdown with other teachers in your building as a resource for collaboration and planning of Common Core standards.

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My Classroom Ideas - myclassroomideas.com

Grades
K to 5
3 Favorites 0  Comments
 
Visit this Pinterest-style site for sharing photos of unique classroom ideas such as bulletin boards, reading corners, and seasonal ideas. Search for specific content using the search...more
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Visit this Pinterest-style site for sharing photos of unique classroom ideas such as bulletin boards, reading corners, and seasonal ideas. Search for specific content using the search bar or scroll through images posted on the site. Choose the Classroom Decorating link located in the top left corner to view specific topics such as door decorations or back to school ideas. Create your own account to save and share images via Twitter, Pinterest, or Facebook. Share your own class images on this site or just find ideas.
This site includes advertising.

tag(s): back to school (58), bulletin boards (16), classroom management (134), guided reading (47), preK (279), seasons (37)

In the Classroom

Bookmark this site to find classroom display and decorating ideas for use throughout the school year. Create an account to save and pin items of interest to find them later. This would be a great addition to your back to school file! If you enjoy Pinterest, this is very similar and sure to entertain and inform.

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How Do You Play - howdoyouplay.net

Grades
K to 12
6 Favorites 0  Comments
Don't remember how to play certain games or need to find some new ideas? This is the site for you! How Do You Play contains instructions for many classroom-friendly games ...more
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Don't remember how to play certain games or need to find some new ideas? This is the site for you! How Do You Play contains instructions for many classroom-friendly games and activities. Choose from categories of active games, board games, classroom games, icebreakers, sports, and many more. Find instructions and information for great icebreaker questions/games, how to build the tallest tower, playing spoons, how to play a photo scavenger hunt, egg drop with teambuilding, life timelines, and much more. Each game or activity includes a list of materials needed, number of players, time required, and directions for play. Some directions for strategy games also include strategy options. Although many of the games seem juvenile, the team building and icebreaker options are even good for adults.

tag(s): back to school (58), sports (96)

In the Classroom

Use this site to find games and activities for classroom centers or review activities. Icebreaker activities include options for the first week of school community building. Bookmark this tool for the first week of school or anytime that you want to experience some "team-building" in your class. This is a great site to use if you have weekly classroom meetings to build relationships among students. Share this site with students and have them create their own games based on research projects or as review for major tests. Challenge students to describe their "creations" using the models shown on this site. Share this site with parent helpers to find ideas for classroom parties.

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Inspirational Quotes for Teachers - Windows to the Universe

Grades
2 to 12
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Inspire yourself and your students with Windows to the Universe Motivational Quotes. Although a rather simple site in appearance, there is a lot of "good stuff" here. Add creativity,...more
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Inspire yourself and your students with Windows to the Universe Motivational Quotes. Although a rather simple site in appearance, there is a lot of "good stuff" here. Add creativity, encouragement, and an atmosphere of excellence to your classroom and your life.
This site includes advertising.

tag(s): quotations (23)

In the Classroom

Post in the signature on your email, on your website, or even on your whiteboard! Encourage leadership, hope, and inspiration! Use quotes as a theme for writing prompts or even to relate to the theme of a story. Use the quotes as examples of figurative language. Add quotes to end of year picture CDs/DVDs. Use the quotes to inspire personal or classroom mission statements. Have students include a quote when turning in work, and explain how it inspired or helped them. Add music or art to explain a quote. During the first week of the school year, share this site with students. Challenge students to choose a "quote of the year" for themselves personally. Have students put the quote in their notebook, folder, or as a screen saver. Also, choose a few quotes to hang around your classroom. If you need more quotes, check out TeachersFirst's Bulletin Board Hangups.

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