TeachersFirst - Featured Sites: Week of May 29, 2016
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 go to the Featured Sites Archive
Share TeachersFirst's weekly Featured Sites automatically on your teacher blog, wiki, edtech resource page, or educator web page. Use our Featured Sites embeddable widget offered here.
In the ClassroomUse this site to excite students as writers while still incorporating classroom goals of vocabulary development. Encourage students to read other students' writing for ideas about what makes a story interesting. Create a friendly competition within your grade level by starting a book and choosing a winner. Create new books in any content area and use for review throughout the year.
Parent permission advised before posting student work created using this tool
Includes social features, such as "friends," comments, ratings by others
Requires registration/log-in (WITH email)
Includes teacher tools for registering and/or monitoring students
Grades3 to 10
In the ClassroomCreate your own class story starter then have students add on additional chapters. Ask each student to create a story and have other students add to their classmate's writing. Create a link to completed stories on classroom computers as a reading center for younger students. If your class has a pen pal or works with a "little buddies" class throughout the year, use Story Wars as an enjoyable writing project together. In science or social studies class, have students write nonfiction pieces for others to complete with historically or scientifically accurate information. Make recounting history or explaining science interactive and social! In world language class, promote written language and vocabulary development by creating cooperative stories. For English vocabulary development, have students use the words of the week in a new chapter of a continuing story.
GradesK to 12
In the ClassroomWhile this site is ideal for any student learning new vocabulary, it is especially useful for ESL/ELL students or speech/language students with vocabulary deficits. Share selected videos in primary grades to help students see how new words are defined and spelled. Challenge your gifted students to find new vocabulary words to share with the class. Use in any classroom as a model (sharing on your interactive whiteboard or projector). Then assign cooperative learning groups to create Vidtionary inspired videos of their own to explain curriculum terms, world language vocabulary, or SAT words. Use a tool like Moovly, reviewed here, and share them on a site such as TeacherTube, reviewed here.
Grades6 to 12
In the ClassroomThis is a fantastic tool for vocabulary development in any subject area! Create flashcards for your classes or have them make their own using individual or a whole class Google account. Use them as an introduction to a concept, then again in the practice of the concept, and again as a final review. It is a nice three-for-one deal! Use with science terms or for standardized test preparation. Have students create flashcards and share with each other to quiz themselves within their own groups. Encourage students in upper grades to create their own spreadsheet and flash card sets. Show them how to carefully read through their classroom notes and underline the most important word or words in a sentence. Then have them leave out the most important words for their flashcards. Learning support teachers might want to have small groups create cards together to review before tests. Have students create flash card sets to "test" classmates on what they "teach" in oral reports. Create and collect sets of vocabulary cards for your world language or ESL/ELL classes.
GradesK to 8
This site includes advertising.
In the ClassroomAlthough created for English language learners, this is an excellent site to develop vocabulary (and computer skills) for younger students. It also helps with speech/language vocabulary development and grammar reinforcement for special ed. Share this site on your interactive whiteboard or projector. Complete the activities as a class with a student operating the board. Create a link on classroom computers and challenge students to increase their speed in completing games.
Grades4 to 12
tag(s): antonyms (26), dictionaries (55), prefixes (16), reading comprehension (113), root words (13), spelling (169), suffixes (14), synonyms (38), thesaurus (24), vocabulary (322), vocabulary development (127), word study (80)
In the ClassroomAny vocabulary development unit needs to include lessons about how dictionaries and thesaurus' work. View videos on your interactive whiteboard (or projector) as part of your dictionary/word-study unit. Use on an as-needed basis to address classroom deficiencies in particular areas. Have students complete the web lessons on their own during computer center time. Create links to particular videos on your class website or blog for students to view at home. Check out the Teachers portion of the site to find activities for specific skills along with ideas for using the videos in the classroom. Challenge students to create a talking avatar using a photo or other image (legally permitted to be reproduced). The avatars can be used to provide suggestions on improving vocabulary and writing skills. Use a site such as Blabberize, reviewed here.
Grades4 to 12
In the ClassroomRoot words are at the heart of any vocabulary development unit, or should be! Project this vocabulary website using your classroom whiteboard and projector, and share one of the root words. Have a student demonstrate how to navigate the different types of media to help them understand and learn the root. To assign certain roots for study, post their distinct URLs on your website, blog, wiki, or bookmark on the classroom computers. Once you are on the page for one of the roots, you will see a link that says "See an example word page." Show your students this example word page and analyze the parts together. Then assign individuals or small groups to develop word pages for words based on the roots you are studying. An engaging, visual way for them to present their results would be to use Sharalike, reviewed here , or Zeetings, reviewed here.
Grades2 to 12
This site includes advertising.
In the ClassroomUse this site for vocabulary development and word study assignments, such as writing sentences, paragraphs, or essays using new words. Since the site permits translation, this would be a valuable tool in world language classes, ESL/ELL classes, and more. Introduce this site on an interactive whiteboard and elicit examples to show the class how quickly it works. Have students create their own word walls with synonyms, antonyms, sentences, and more for their latest vocabulary words. Try a tool such as Padlet, reviewed here, for each student to create an online "wall" with words aligned to color coded stickies for synonyms. antonyms, etc. Alternatively, have students create class challenges for their peers with color coded matching activities for the interactive whiteboard matching words to synonyms, antonyms, and an appropriate fill in the blank sentence. Share this as a favorite on your teacher public page for handy reference any time students encounter an unknown word. Even subject area teachers such as science and social studies will find this tool handy for students with weaker vocabulary levels.
Grades4 to 12
This site includes advertising.
In the ClassroomThis is a classic tool to promote "before reading" strategies and vocabulary development. Use WordSift to preview text to be used in class and define vocabulary before reading to increase reading comprehension. Have students use WordSift with different portions of text to identify key words and vocabulary for class presentations. Use WordSift to discuss different meanings of words using images presented through the site. This site isn't only for English teachers, share with Science and Social Studies teachers to use in their classrooms with reading texts in their content areas. ESL/ELL and learning support teachers will want to share this as a support for any reading assigned in regular classes. Be sure to show students how to copy/paste to WordSift texts from informational web pages and news stories on the web, as well. Share this link as a Favorite on your public page so students can use it anytime.
Grades7 to 12
In the ClassroomUse this site as a learning center or station for students who finish their work early. Be sure to mark the site on classroom computers, making it easier for students to navigate there. Or, if you have access to multiple classroom computers, you may want to start your language arts lessons with five to ten minutes of work on Vocabulary.com. Once students have learned this program they can be totally independent. This is one to list on your class website for students/parents to access at home for additional practice.
Grades5 to 12
In the ClassroomTry this activity at the start of class on your interactive whiteboard or projector; it's perfect for vocabulary development with a lively twist! Offer this site to your students who are trying to assess and/or improve their vocabulary for standardized tests such as the ACT or SAT. ESL/ELL students may also enjoy the challenges and additions to their vocabulary. Share this site on your class webpage or blog for students to access (and practice) at home.
Grades4 to 8
In the ClassroomWord Mayhem is a wise choice for a quick, easy to try, vocabulary development and reinforcement activity. The instructions are simplistic and students can compete against themselves or other players. When students are working on individual technology based assignments in the classroom or computer lab, this is a good link to make accessible to keep them on task and engaged when they finish the assignment a few minutes before the end of the period.
GradesK to 12
In the ClassroomUse this tool easily in your Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) classroom since all students will be able to access it for free, no matter what device they have. Students can use this when researching alone or in groups, sharing files, videos, and pictures quickly from one computer to another. Have students write tasks for each member of the group on a sticky so that everyone has a responsibility. Show them how to copy/paste URLs for sources onto notes, too. Use Lino as your virtual word wall for vocabulary development. Use a Lino for students to submit and share questions or comments about assignments and tasks they are working on. Use it as a virtual graffiti wall for students to make connections between their world and curriculum content, such as "I wonder what the hall monitor would say finding Lady Macbeth washing her hands in the school restroom... and what Lady M would say back." (Of course, you will want to have a PG-13 policy for student comments!) Encourage students to maintain an idea collection lino for ideas and creative inspirations they may not have used yet but do not want to "lose." They can color code and organize ideas later or send the stickies to a new project board later. In writing or art classes, use lino as a virtual writer's journal or design a notebook to collect ideas, images, and even video clips. In science classes, encourage students to keep a lino board with (classroom appropriate) questions and "aside" thoughts about science concepts being studied and to use these ideas in later projects so their creative ideas are not 'lost" before project time. A lino board can also serve as a final online "display" for students to "show what they know" as the culmination of a research project. Add videos, images, and notes in a carefully arranged display not unlike an electronic bulletin board. This is also a great tool to help you stay "personally" organized. Use this site as a resource to share information with other teachers, parents, or students.
Grades2 to 12
Important technical note: Lingro cannot "see" words included in Flash interactives such as the "What's New" rotating content on the TeachersFirst home page. If you RIGHT click on an area of text and see "About Adobe Flash Player...," this means that the text is displayed in Flash and not "legible" to Lingro. Often pages offer a non-Flash version as an alternative.