TeachersFirst - Featured Sites: Week of Jan 22, 2017
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
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Grades5 to 8
In the ClassroomSkimcast would be the perfect tool to show students how to take notes for a report or speech or create a study guide during, or at the end of a unit of study. Work together as a class and read the sentences that are just the relevant facts. Then show students how to pull out just the important words - deleting all prepositions, articles, and connector words. Resource teachers can use Skimcast to make reading from core classes shorter and easier for their students. ESL/ELL teachers can use this tool to make the text more understandable to limited English speakers. Before introducing Skimcast to students, you may want to review Fact Fragment Frenzy. You will find this linked in Research Building Blocks, reviewed here.
GradesK to 12
In the ClassroomUse Thought Plan to plan and organize your yearly schedule. All students will appreciate having an online time management account, but learning support students and disorganized gifted students need one. This is also a great tool for ESL/ELL students to help learn organization skills with very simple features. You may want to model using this online tool to help middle and high school students learn personal organization. Share this site the first week of school to get students started on the right foot! Make a demo account for a mythical student and organize his/her daily schedule together so students can see how it works. Share the steps on your interactive whiteboard or projector. Alternately, this idea will work with group projects where students need to learn to manage their project time.
Grades4 to 12
This site includes advertising.
In the ClassroomUse Add Text to add captions to images to create memes or posters for your bulletin boards. Use this easy tool with students during back to school time as a way for them to get to know each other. Have students upload a picture of themselves doing their favorite activity and label it with amusing text or a favorite quote (or song lyrics?). Have them upload images that represent their interests and character traits. Print the images with text for a back to school bulletin board. Use after a field trip for students to write captions on the photos they took. Be sure to share the photos on your class webpage, blog, or wiki. Haven't started blogging yet? Check out TeachersFirst's Blog Basics. For other uses, have students practice new words in a world language class by labeling and identifying images in that language. Help ESL/ELL learn English by labeling the images. Create writing prompts using several annotated images. Have students create annotated images to explain key terms in science class. In ELA class, make homophone or vocabulary images to show the correct word along with a picture that explains it.
Grades8 to 12
In the ClassroomExplore this site with students using an interactive whiteboard or projector. Sometimes students ask a question that stumps you. Use StackExchange English & Usage to get the answer. There are times when we know the approximate meaning of a word we want to use but not the word. That is when this tool will come in handy. ESL/ELL students will find this site helpful when it comes to understanding the idiosyncrasies of the English language. Put a link to this site on your class website for students and parents to use. Share with other staff members and teachers on your campus.
Grades7 to 12
In the ClassroomBookmark (or save in your favorites) on your classroom computers for ESL/ELL students to use when they are working on their own. Pair up ESL students and native speakers, having the better English speakers follow the tutor guidelines. Learning Support teachers will find many activities suitable for middle and high school students to reinforce grammar and writing skills. Share this tool on your class website for ESL families to explore and learn together and for ALL students to use for extra practice.
GradesK to 2
In the ClassroomEven if your students have been reading basic sight words for a while, this site offers practice in speed and fluency. You could create a learning center out of this site and have four different students competing on laptops. If you only have one computer and an interactive whiteboard, set up a learning station! Students can work in groups of two or individually to see their speed. If you choose to have students work in partners, be sure to partner each child with a student of similar reading level, so one student isn't providing all of the answers. This is a great simple site to provide for summer practice of sight words.
Grades4 to 12
In the ClassroomUse these activities with ESL/ELL students or learning support students to reinforce vocabulary visually and with sounds. Speech and Language teachers can use the Word Explorer to illustrate many words with video, sound, and spoken/written sentences. Share the many interactives and/or video clips on your interactive whiteboard, projector, or in a learning center. World language teachers might want to use the word explorer as a model for students to create their own vocabulary reinforcement activities created on video or even using a simple slideshow tool such as PowerPoint, or another presentation tool from the Edge. This is an excellent site to share on your class website so students (and families) can check it out at home.
In the ClassroomIntroduce this site to your class on an interactive whiteboard or projector. Make a shortcut to this site on classroom computers and have your ELL/ESL students use it as one of your learning stations. Short stories and other interactive features of the site would work well with weaker readers and learning support students, too. Encourage your ESL/ELL students to share their writings on Learn English Teens (if allowed by school policy).
Grades1 to 12
In the ClassroomUse Speakit as your teacher's helper. Be sure to test it out on classroom computers and devices before using it with students. During research or computer explorations, allow students to use this read aloud feature. Honor the students who heavily rely on hearing as their preferred form of comprehending material. In lower grades, research on computers now becomes an easier task. This extension is perfect for ESL/ELL or learning support students to help with vocabulary development, comprehension, fluency, and repetitions.
Grades2 to 12
In the ClassroomTeachers and students on all grade levels will love usingSnappy Words for all subjects. Demonstrate it on your classroom whiteboard or projector, bookmark it in your favorites, and make it directly available to students from your class webpage. Elementary students will enjoy defining their spelling words or content area vocabulary. They can categorize their words by parts of speech or create a list of synonyms. Students can then create their own word "maps" for new vocabulary words using drawing tools or online graphic organizers like bubbl.us, reviewed here. Middle school, high school and adult learners can use it as a valuable tool for vocabulary specific to a literary work or subject area, preparing for a standardized test, or while reading assigned material or a book, poem, or article of choice. Whether you are writing content for an article, a blog, a letter, or any assignment, minimize this website and play with words to avoid repetition, choose precise meanings and kick your vocabulary up a notch! Share this one on your class web page, for sure.
Grades1 to 12
In the ClassroomPrimary or resource reading teachers may want to use this site for students to practice reading fluency "side by side" with the online avatar. World language teachers and teachers of limited English speakers will love this website as reinforcement for language learning. Students can listen as they read. They can also practice their pronunciation and compare it with any selected avatar. Use the oral readings on an interactive whiteboard or projector (with speakers turned up) for class dictations and discussion starters. Preview the vocabulary words in any file or website by selecting the read/edit option before students listen to it. Check school policies regarding individual student accounts on web sites. Here are some tips on managing student memberships that require email. Beware - if you are having students use this site, "inappropriate" words will not be filtered, and anything typed is pronounced. So be sure students are aware of guidelines and consequences.
Grades3 to 12
In the ClassroomEstablishing membership requires an email account. Check your school policies about accessing/sharing student email on school computers. If you plan to have students register individually, you may want to create your own Gmail account with up to 20 subaccounts for each group of students (by code name or number) within your classes. Here is a blog post that tells how to set up GMail subaccounts to use for any online membership service. You will want to join and explore the site before assigning students to use it so you know how to navigate.
Assign specific "lessons" for your ESL or world language students, but be aware that the free version does not permit you to monitor progress on student accounts.Therefore you will want to use this as a practice site more than a formal assessment tool. Demonstrate the navigation on your projector or interactive whiteboard before assigning students to work independently. If you have mp3 players available, you can load a listening assignment for students to "take out." Be sure to include this site on your teacher web page for students to access both in and outside of class for further practice. Refer your ESL students to this page if they are impatient to become fluent quickly.