Reading in the Content Areas

TeachersFirst offers this collection of web resources well suited to teach reading in the content areas, especially in science and social studies classes, but in almost ANY subject area. See "In the classroom" ideas and strategies for teaching reading across the curriculum and find texts to use on the computer, in print, or in interactive whiteboard/projector. Sometimes using web-based texts can be more engaging, and often these are more up-to-date. Practice with these resources is certain to help student mastery of informational texts.

 

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News English Lessons - Sean Banville

Grades
4 to 12
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This site, created by Australian Sean Banville of "Breaking News English" (reviewed here), has high interest, "easier" news for students to read and...more
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This site, created by Australian Sean Banville of "Breaking News English" (reviewed here), has high interest, "easier" news for students to read and many teaching materials to go with them. Though the look of the site is cluttered with advertising and plain text, the content is worthwhile. Developed for ESL/ELL students and teachers, the site would also work well in a subject area, learning support, or reading classroom. There are MANY articles "ready to go," including mp3 audio files to listen to the articles. At the time of this review there were 200+ new additions! Each article includes several types of activities such as "online gap fill" (a Cloze reading activity), vocabulary flashcards, and hangman, and matching. A full script is available in pdf form. There is also an online, interactive quiz for students. The articles, and a lot more activities, can be downloaded and printed, too.
This site includes advertising.

tag(s): diseases (66), listening (92), news (261)

In the Classroom

The articles are short and interesting, a perfect match for non-fiction reading comprehension. With so many different activities to choose from, it will be easy for the classroom teacher to differentiate. There is an mp3 audio version of each article so students can listen as they read. Assign small groups of students to present the news each week, using the interactive whiteboard to show others the country and city from which the article originated. Make the newscasting experience even more real by having students read scripts of these news stories or their own original stories using a Easyprompter, reviewed here. Students can then go to another news source such as "Mapeas" (reviewed here) and click on the country of origin to see what else is happening in the news there. For a project, have the small groups create a "talking map" using a site such as Woices (beta) (reviewed here). This site allows students to create audio recordings AND choose a location (where their article/story took place). What a fabulous way to share the article with the rest of the class!

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Environmental news network - Environmental news network

Grades
8 to 12
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View and read top stories about aspects of environmental education from wildlife, agriculture, and ecosystems to green building, lifestyle, and health. View top stories in each section...more
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View and read top stories about aspects of environmental education from wildlife, agriculture, and ecosystems to green building, lifestyle, and health. View top stories in each section or search for articles related to a specific topic. Click on the orange RSS button to receive automatic feeds to a reader. Articles feature clickable definitions which help in understanding.
This site includes advertising.

tag(s): agriculture (54), climate (92), conservation (127), environment (317)

In the Classroom

Use these articles as a springboard for further research, participation in the creation of editorial articles by students, and topics for public service announcements either created conventionally (posters, bulletin boards) or using technology (blog or wiki posts.) Use this site as a resource when planning environmental education topics and activities. Follow a specific topic over time and discuss how new procedures and techniques of obtaining data can change how a topic is viewed. Use for reading comprehension practice. Encourage the use of Wordle (reviewed here) or mind mapping to identify known and problematic words. Students can work in groups to ferret out important information which can be presented and discussed with the class.

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WordSift - Stanford University

Grades
4 to 12
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WordSift helps anyone easily sift through texts -- just copy and paste any text into WordSift and you can engage in a verbal quick-capture! The program helps to quickly identify ...more
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WordSift helps anyone easily sift through texts -- just copy and paste any text into WordSift and you can engage in a verbal quick-capture! The program helps to quickly identify important words that appear in the text. After entering text several items will appear, first a word cloud will display the 50 most frequently used words in the text. The most frequently used word will display as a word web in a visual thesaurus. Google image and video search results are also shown. One interesting feature is the ability to click on any of the words in the word cloud to display it in the thesaurus and Google image and video searches. A great way to understand the WordSift tool is to try one of the sample texts offered, such as Martin Luther King's "I Have a Dream" speech. Be sure to check out the "About" link to discover many ideas for use in the classroom. Tips and videos are also available as guides. If you type in a shorter sentence, the site still creates a word cloud using their own related words (not in your original text). Be aware of the advertisements that appear with the word clouds. Advise students not to click on the ads.
This site includes advertising.

tag(s): dictionaries (55), reading comprehension (114), reading strategies (43), thesaurus (24), vocabulary (323), vocabulary development (126), word clouds (10), word study (80)

In the Classroom

This 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.

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Science Daily - ScienceDaily LLC

Grades
6 to 12
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Looking for collection of current science research articles? This is your one stop shop! Science Daily is current, searchable, and interesting! Encompassing many, if not all, areas...more
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Looking for collection of current science research articles? This is your one stop shop! Science Daily is current, searchable, and interesting! Encompassing many, if not all, areas of science, this site could make your classroom science research easy. The major categories are: Health & Medicine, Mind & Brain, Plants & Animals, Earth & Climate, Space & Time, Matter & Energy, Computers & Math, and Fossils & Ruins.
This site includes advertising.

tag(s): animals (277), brain (70), climate (92), computers (78), data (149), earth (228), energy (197), fossils (44), matter (56), medicine (67), news (261), planets (122), plants (143), space (206), time (144)

In the Classroom

Use this site as a research tool or to provide practice reading informational texts in the content areas. Choose an article relevant to what you are teaching, post it on your website or wiki, and have your students discuss what the article means and how it made them think. Since the articles are heavy with text, you may want to have students work in small groups to read the article you have selected for them, and use a tool such as Mindmeister (reviewed here) or bubbl.us (reviewed here) to create a concept map of the important ideas and their details for the article. Each article has several related links. Have each group choose a different one to explore, and create a concept map to share on your interactive whiteboard or projector so all can benefit from the related articles. Once created, the concept maps can be posted as links or embedded on your teacher website or wiki for review and to share with parents. If the text of the articles is simply too challenging without some "before reading" help, show students how to preview it using WordSift, reviewed here.
 This resource requires PDF reader software like Adobe Acrobat.

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Books Should Be Free - BooksShouldbe free

Grades
K to 12
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Acquaint student's with the classics (and more) with these free public domain audio books. Most of these novels are written by authors such as: Mark Twain, L. Frank Baum, Lewis ...more
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Acquaint student's with the classics (and more) with these free public domain audio books. Most of these novels are written by authors such as: Mark Twain, L. Frank Baum, Lewis Carroll, Louisa May Alcott, Jane Austin, J.B. Barrie, Hugh Lofting, and Beatrix Potter. Some audio tracks are available in different languages. The most significant collection appears to be in French and German. Download MP3 files for each chapter in one zip file (333 MB) or directly into iTunes. Search for books by genre, author, title, or keywords. Suggest this site to students who have difficulties with reading, including with ESL/ELL students. Be sure to include this site on your class web page for students to access both in and outside of class for further practice. Share this site with your teaching colleagues who work with your learning support, foreign language, or ESL/ELL students..

tag(s): ebooks (40), fluency (23), french (89), german (65), literature (275), spanish (108)

In the Classroom

Upgrade your literature circles and include e-readers that are speech enabled. Share the stories (or full text) on your interactive whiteboard or projector. Books Should Be Free provides links to the free text that accompanies the audio track. Sites such as Project Gutenberg (reviewed here) contain free versions of the full text. Students can simultaneously listen and read books on either a classroom computer, iPad, Kindle, Nook, Sony Reader, iPhone, iPod Touch, Android, or other mobile or cell phone. These recordings will also boost fluency instruction by serving as an oral reading model. Audio-assisted books will encourage students to read with expression, improve reading comprehension, stimulate vocabulary development, and provide a way for students to read text beyond their reading level.

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5 Minute Mystery - Mystery Competition, LLC

Grades
4 to 12
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This mystery reading game helps increase reading comprehension and critical thinking skills in an innovative way. The basic game is free. You can sign up to have two mysteries a ...more
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This mystery reading game helps increase reading comprehension and critical thinking skills in an innovative way. The basic game is free. You can sign up to have two mysteries a week sent to you, or you can use their archive. There is a "How to Play" section where you can view a video, open pdf instructions, or look at the instructions online. After reading a mystery you select the correct sentences that are clues, and select a character that the clue either exonerates or implicates. Points are awarded for each clue you get correct. For a fee, you can get a premium account that has graphic organizers, questions, and writing suggestions, however, this review is for the free, basic version. Even with the basic program, you can look under lesson plans and find objectives and ideas for your classroom and for creating leagues.

Bonus: There's an app for that! For the iphone, of course!
This site includes advertising.

tag(s): critical thinking (92), mysteries (25), reading comprehension (114), short stories (26)

In the Classroom

Use your projector and interactive whiteboard to show your students the directions for getting points by selecting the correct clues and solving the mystery. To begin with, as a class, read a mystery and discuss what the clues might be and whether they implicate or exonerate each suspect. Once the students have volunteered their ideas for which sentences are clues, submit them to see the score. The program will highlight the answers you should have had, if you got any wrong. Model for your students a discussion about why those are the correct answers and why the ones they submitted weren't. Eventually have this disscussion by themselves in small groups. Those of you with multiple classes will want to create a league for each class.

Eventually you can have small groups of students compete against each other by creating leagues. Have your students come to consensus about the clue sentences and who the real perpetrator is by voting using Thinkmeter reviewed here.

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Kids Know Your Rights - American Library Association

Grades
6 to 12
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This pdf document explains in clear language the concept of intellectual freedom. Use this site as an extra resource when teaching the Bill of Rights. It is an excellent reference ...more
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This pdf document explains in clear language the concept of intellectual freedom. Use this site as an extra resource when teaching the Bill of Rights. It is an excellent reference resource for ideas that older Americans assume kids know about. Subtopics include the history of intellectual freedom, the first amendment, an explanation of the role of libraries in exercising intellectual freedom as it applies to written materials and records of who's reading what, how the concepts of privacy and confidentiality apply to the use of intellectual materials, and what respecting the needs of others means. It ends up with an well-researched bibliography of further materials on the subject of intellectual freedom and the right to read. These books are fiction and non-fiction and focus on ages 10 and older.

tag(s): bill of rights (28), constitution (79)

In the Classroom

Share this pdf on an interactive whiteboard or projector as part of a class discussion (great for reading comprehension in the content areas, too!). Then allow students to use it and other resources for a class debate on the pros and cons of intellectual freedom. The consitution will come to life in a context students care about.
 This resource requires PDF reader software like Adobe Acrobat.

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Sidevibe - Basis Applied Technology, Inc. and SideVibe

Grades
3 to 12
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Improve student focus and work flow in the classroom by creating interesting learning activities accessible on the web with your directions, prompts, and more. SideVibe offers very...more
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Improve student focus and work flow in the classroom by creating interesting learning activities accessible on the web with your directions, prompts, and more. SideVibe offers very versatile features from simple to elaborate. Students read the information on the linked web page and answer questions, makes observations, or complete tasks.

Register and install the browser add-on to instantly create any page into web content. This is not mandatory, but very helpful in creating your activities. Click Open Companion to begin making a Vibe. After creating your account, view tutorials, enter an item into the help section, make a Vibe, give student feedback, and view example activities. Activities include discussion Vibe activities, online video concepts, web page activities, and blog or wiki interactions. Click the How To Vibe along the top right for more information or Activities to watch a video of the features. Create Vibes about topics in your content area. Simply use the link to launch students on guided web explorations from anywhere on your website and bring them back again. Schedule and organize web learning activities for your students and turn your existing web page into a learning hub. Students enter Sidevibe and click on "Students." They enter the teacher code to see all assignments.

Browse websites to be included and add them using the companion. Click Save Changes or Keep browsing. Choose between an Activity Vibe (Multiple Choice, Ratings Response, or Written Response) or a Discussion Vibe. In the next step, add a title and instructions (you will be unable to use your Vibe without these.) Assign by creating a course (be sure to enter the course title in the field at the top.) Click Save Changes. Your Side Vibe page is updated to show the assignment. Use the Permalink to assign to students and give the teacher code for students to work on the activities. Student responses are kept in Side Vibe. Print out PDF activity reports.

Note: The free account limits the number of students to 50 one time student accounts.

tag(s): reading comprehension (114), webquests (29)

In the Classroom

Use as a guide to any web-based classroom content or activity. Create webquest type activities or discussions about controversial issues ranging from politics, economics, the environment, and more. Or simply assign web-based reading with reading strategy prompts and questions to ensure better comprehension. Create a more robust interaction with the content by keeping students within SideVibe to stay on task and look at all resources of the activity. As all student responses are kept within the SideVibe window, collecting of information, commenting, and grading is much simpler. Learning support teachers will want to add Side Vibes to assigned web pages to help students focus on necessary content and avoid clicking off into neverland. If you are trying to build comprehension for informational texts, SideVibe can provide tools to direct and build better readers.

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Diary of a Worm - Jim Sheese

Grades
K to 7
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Here you will find a video, narrated by Jim Sheese for the book Diary of a Worm by Doreen Cronin. You might want to use this video in conjunction with ...more
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Here you will find a video, narrated by Jim Sheese for the book Diary of a Worm by Doreen Cronin. You might want to use this video in conjunction with this lesson plan from Scholastic or this Scholastic Discussion Guide. Although both of these are for grades K-4, they can be adjusted to use with older students. Learn more about the history, anatomy, and food preferences of worms at the Adventures of Herman website reviewed here.

tag(s): earth (228), ecology (135), worms (5)

In the Classroom

Elementary teachers could use this site to support reading comprehension lessons. Teach students how to distinguish fact from fiction. Use online graphic organizers from sites such as Gliffy (reviewed here) to sort and record the fictional and non-fictional details in "Diary of a Worm."

Middle school teachers could use this site with both language arts and science students to write research papers. Have students pick a topic, research the topic, become the topic, and write a 10 day diary using Diary of a Worm as their model. To make this even more interesting for your students, use an online tool such as Bookemon, reviewed here. Depending on the age of your students, this project could also be completed with cooperative learning groups.

After you save and publish the work, share the URL so people can read the entire diary online, either among an audience of "just my friends" or publicly. Bookemon also offers the embed code to place your books on a class or school web page, wiki, or blog, but at the time of this review, this code was not working properly. The BEST, free option is to copy the address of the new window displaying the interactive book.
 This resource requires Adobe Flash.

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EtherPad - A. Iba, D.Greenspan, J.D. Zamfirescu, D. Clemens & D. Cole

Grades
2 to 12
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Ether pad is a tool for writing and instant collaborating in real time between up to 16 different contributors-- without erasing or overwriting each other's work! This tool starts up...more
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Ether pad is a tool for writing and instant collaborating in real time between up to 16 different contributors-- without erasing or overwriting each other's work! This tool starts up instantly, requiring no log-ins, tricky features or difficult tools. If you can type (and choose your favorite color), you can work on an EtherPad, a "pad" of virtual paper out in space on the Internet. The free version allows you to invite others to join you, either by sending them an email or, even easier, giving them the URL to your "pad." Unlike Google Docs, this tool does not require user accounts or email addresses, so even young students can participate in an EtherPad. The timeline feature allows users to "watch" the progress of a draft and the various changes made to it, a very cool way to SHOW writing process and group interaction. [Editor's note: in late 2009 Etherpad "disappeared," but its return under a slightly different URL is a boon to loyal Etherpad users.]

tag(s): writing (355)

In the Classroom

Have students make multiple "pads" to comment and write on several class topics. Ex. students add responses to questions, evaluations of web links, or critiques of passages assigned for in-class perusal and discussion... create an Etherpad collaborative "study guide" for the passages. A social studies teacher could provide links to seven articles on Iran today and students respond, explaining what they think is important about each article (a "pad" for each). Use Etherpads to evaluate web site/blog authority or bias. Younger kids could write cooperative stories on the pad(s) to use vocabulary, grammar skills, practice punctuating dialog, etc. World language teachers could have students compose dialog or scenes to act out on video. In Reading class, have students collaborate to compose a "main idea" statement or summary of a written passage, including in higher level content area reading. Pass-the-pad: use the pads to "jigsaw" summaries or explanations of new content knowledge between expert groups. Keep a master list of the pad URLs so groups can access and change as they learn. Eventually publish the "final" version by exporting it. Cooperative writing groups can revise drafts (copy/paste in from other docs) - then export the version the writer likes best. BRAINSTORM in real time or across times and places. Write cooperative lab reports. "Meet" with another class (or screenpal) using Skype reviewed here to talk and Etherpad to write, making notes together of your plans for an upcoming event or working together to compose a story, letter, or script. Write cooperative stories or poems. Keep student council or club "minutes' and plans.

Simply click "Create a new pad" or click/paste the link for an existing one, and away you go. Enter a name for yourself in the box at the right of the pad and click the colored square to set a color for the highlighting on your typing. Type away. Delete, add, etc. To Save, click "Save revisions" and SAVE NOW. Be sure to click SHARE and copy the URL (Ctrl+C to copy), so you can keep it in your favorites or recorded somewhere. Or you can email it to yourself. It will be impossible to find your "pad" without it! Up to 16 others can work on the pad at the same time, and their work will show in their own colors. When you and your collaborators are done with your "pad," click "Export" to save it as a word doc or other option. Try looking at the different versions you can "revert" to as your group works, too!

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CNN Student News - Journalists and Educators at CNN

Grades
5 to 12
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The CNN Student News WEB site is the companion to the daily CNN Student News show and is offered free of charge with no subscription. These ten-minute programs and commercial-free ...more
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The CNN Student News WEB site is the companion to the daily CNN Student News show and is offered free of charge with no subscription. These ten-minute programs and commercial-free streamed videos produced by journalists and educators at CNN provide a great alternative to YouTube. A wealth of teacher materials accompanies each video, such as transcripts for each show, discussion questions, the Media Literacy Question of the Day, detailed learning activities, downloadable maps, and additional support materials to help students understand the news. A selection of documentaries is also accessible, with discussion guides for educators. You can sign up for emails to receive Daily Education Alerts to see what information and major stories are being covered that day or choose from previous dates and news stories from the archives. Remember to preview the program before showing it to your class.

tag(s): news (261)

In the Classroom

Choose whatever fits your curriculum or as a daily warm-up for current events. This provides a great alternative to reading news articles and is especially motivating for visual learners and students who struggle with reading comprehension. After your class views the video, use the daily discussion activities designed to promote critical thinking. You are also able to print the learning activities to assign as group work or for homework. There is even a news quiz. You may want to distribute copies of the transcripts for ESL students to refer to, for use as a research source, or to use for practicing reading comprehension for state exams and other assessments. Challenge cooperative learning groups to research one topic at this site and share their findings with the class by creating an interactive online poster ("glog") using Glogster EDU, reviewed here.
 This resource requires Adobe Flash.

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The Contemps - 21 YA Authors

Grades
7 to 12
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This site offers book reviews, recommendations, and up-to-date news. The goal is to keep readers current on what YA books come out and what YA books have real topics relevant ...more
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This site offers book reviews, recommendations, and up-to-date news. The goal is to keep readers current on what YA books come out and what YA books have real topics relevant to today's teens. Interested parties can follow their frequent updates on Twitter and other social messaging entities. The topics, which are of interest to teens (sex, drugs, depression, etc.) are certain to generate interest, and a teacher should select carefully to be sure there will not be an issue about such content and topics being shared. Any teacher or librarian who uses this site will want to read the "about" page to understand the site's position on possibly controversial topics. Find both independent reading suggestions and writing (or blog) prompts) at this site.

tag(s): reading lists (72)

In the Classroom

Use this site to select books yourself to recommend to mature teens. Be careful about simply including the link on your web page; consider your community and parents before tactfully "recommending" the topics discussed here in a blanket fashion. For classroom use, pull excerpts from specific posts and share them on a projector or whiteboard for reading comprehension skills such as inferencing or context clues.

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Vocab-u-lous! - Education World

Grades
7 to 12
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Use Education World's Vocab-u-lous! features to help build your students' vocabulary. There are numerous word banks for students to use as they figure out which of the challenging...more
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Use Education World's Vocab-u-lous! features to help build your students' vocabulary. There are numerous word banks for students to use as they figure out which of the challenging words fits in the context of the sentences. The activity sheets are arranged by the words' beginning sound, and by holiday categories, such as Thanksgiving words and Presidents' Day words.

Be aware: this site has several advertisements, some pop-up.

tag(s): sound (100), sounds (68), vocabulary (323)

In the Classroom

Just try to take the dictionaries away from your students when you project a Vocab-u-lous activity sheet on your whiteboard (or projector) or hand them the printable version of the worksheet. These are useful for SAT preparation and other tests that assess vocabulary, as well as building a strong vocabulary necessary for better reading comprehension and oral and written communication. When using this activity with a class set of computers, provide a link from your class web page to a reputable online dictionary. For additional practice, provide this link on your class website for students to access at home.
 This resource requires PDF reader software like Adobe Acrobat.

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Explore the Cosmos - The Planetary Society

Grades
6 to 12
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Become part of space exploration via The Planetary Society's activities, the place to go for space enthusiasts. The society's mission is "To inspire the people of Earth to explore...more
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Become part of space exploration via The Planetary Society's activities, the place to go for space enthusiasts. The society's mission is "To inspire the people of Earth to explore other worlds, understand our own, and seek life elsewhere." Although the site is text-heavy, the society offers many ways to engage with the latest space news, images, and experiences related to space and space exploration. The Kids section (see link at the left) explains ways kids can observe and participate in various space activities. The various projects range from working with space images (using free Gimp software) to following blogs and news of various space projects. The content is quite up to date and covers projects rarely reported in mainstream media. Learn about technologies designed specifically for space experiments (see "Innovative technologies"), such as Mars microphones. Of course, there is the usual information about planets, but it goes into greater depth than a typical "About Space" site designed for schools. There is even a Weekly Planetary Radio Trivia Contest. If Carl Sagan is one of the founders, you know the society is serious!

tag(s): inventors and inventions (103), nasa (40), planets (122), space (206)

In the Classroom

Make this site a link on your class web page during a unit on space or all year round. Gifted students and those with a passion for space will find endless discoveries. Include this site as a research source when assigning projects about space or the planets. If you have more able students in upper elementary of middle school, use this site as a differentiated alternative for them to research at a higher level. Inspire students to read in content areas by sharing space-related "current events" articles from this site. These selections would work well on interactive whiteboards for practice using highlighters to find main idea, context clues, and other comprehension skills. If you assign portions of the site to the entire class, you may need to assign "reading buddies" for weaker readers. Challenge students to narrate space image galleries (search for the blog entry on the "New Flickr collection of historical NASA photos") or design and explain their own devices for space exploration on Thinglink, reviewed here.

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Interactive Folio-Romeo and Juliet - Daniel Fischlin-Canadian Adaptations of Shakespeare Project

Grades
9 to 12
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Read and explore Shakespeare's complete script of Romeo and Julieton your computer screen with this interactive, media rich edition. Take the mystery out of Elizabethan/Shakespearean...more
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Read and explore Shakespeare's complete script of Romeo and Julieton your computer screen with this interactive, media rich edition. Take the mystery out of Elizabethan/Shakespearean English by greatly enhancing students' understanding and enjoyment of the tragedy of two "star-crossed lovers" of Verona by simply clicking on underlined words and phrases for multiple interpretations of the vocabulary in context, including images, video, and audio. You can even have entire pages (or the entire story) read aloud as an audio book. What a brilliant way to increase reading comprehension. Also, enter the Resource section to find a synopsis of the plot, character descriptions, and other critical facts about the play.

tag(s): elizabethan (17), romeo and juliet (6), shakespeare (131)

In the Classroom

Students could work independently or in pairs on a set of class computers while having everything right at their fingertips for reading, visualizing, and fully understanding the dialogue, stage directions, plot, and setting of Shakespeare's Romeo and Juliet. Provide a direct link to the Interactive Folio on your class web page or wiki for students to complete independent reading assignments. Project this site on your interactive whiteboard or projector for a whole class look at specific lines; everything is organized and easily navigated and retrieved by act, scene, or page number. After students' initial reading, use the Resource section, as a study guide and teaching tool. Create a class wiki for students to use to discuss various acts or scenes. To learn more about wikis, check out the TeachersFirst's Wiki Walk-Through.
  This resource requires Adobe Flash and PDF reader software like Adobe Acrobat.

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Physics To Go - APS, AAPT, and NSF-NSDL

Grades
7 to 12
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Physics To Go is an online, biweekly magazine with great ideas for physics related teaching, experiments, and pictures. The site is easy to navigate and is formatted much like a ...more
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Physics To Go is an online, biweekly magazine with great ideas for physics related teaching, experiments, and pictures. The site is easy to navigate and is formatted much like a page out of a newspaper. Archives are accessible through issue and topic organization, subjects under browse, and are fully searchable within the site. Many additional links for more research are available. This could prove to be indispensable for the high school physical science and physics teachers.

tag(s): experiments (71), motion (58), photography (160)

In the Classroom

Use this site to encourage your students to read about science outside of the classroom. Share the link on your website or class wiki. Start by assigning an article to students and have them discuss it in class or on a blog. Or, if you are teaching a unit on something specific, such as Earthquakes, once students have learned essential vocabulary, have them read the issue and follow the links on the page. Have students discuss in class what they have learned. Then, have small group create "Top Five Facts" to summarize what they have learned. Challenge students to create a talking avatar using a photo or other image (legally permitted to be reproduced). The avatars can be used to explain the "Top Five Facts" the group wishes to share with the class. Use a site such as Blabberize (reviewed here). Reading teachers can also use the articles on this site for reading comprehension practice with nonfiction selections.
  This resource requires Adobe Flash and PDF reader software like Adobe Acrobat.

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Just Free Books - justfreebooks.info

Grades
2 to 12
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This site is an aggregator for most of the known digital libraries including Gutenberg, Google Books, Wikibooks, and archive.org. Entering search terms like "children's books," for...more
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This site is an aggregator for most of the known digital libraries including Gutenberg, Google Books, Wikibooks, and archive.org. Entering search terms like "children's books," for example, leads to a list of links that offer free online reads. Other features include books in other formats including those that upload to many different players including PDF, TXT, MS Reader, MS Word and ODT, RTF, Palm Reader eBooks, Html, Epub, Kindle, Mobipocket, Isilo, Audio books, Plucker, and more. Besides searching in "only English," you can also select Spanish, French, and/or Portuguese to search for books in those languages. In addition to the digital collection, there are also featured, donated books.

tag(s): literature (275)

In the Classroom

Offer this site to students who wish to use digital devices to read. Keep in mind that many of the selections are older, in the public domain due to the expiration of copyright. ESL and SPED students may benefit from being able to hear or see books in a different way. Use these texts as language to analyze or manipulate on your interactive whiteboard to teach reading comprehension skills, parts of speech, transition words, vocabulary study, and writing style. Allow students to copy/paste text into the whiteboard software so they can "work with words" from literary works instead of worksheets.
 This resource requires PDF reader software like Adobe Acrobat.

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Mr Nussbaum's Language Arts - Greg Nussbaum

Grades
K to 8
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This site was developed with the idea that crucial concepts, themes, ideas, and fact sets taught in the classroom can be enhanced over the internet through interactivity. Furthermore,...more
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This site was developed with the idea that crucial concepts, themes, ideas, and fact sets taught in the classroom can be enhanced over the internet through interactivity. Furthermore, for teachers to have a reliable k -8 internet site to use in the computer lab or in the classroom, that likely covers one or many themes currently being taught. The Language Arts portion of the site contains several activities that can supplement any Language Arts program. Spelling Central allows teachers to input their own spelling words then converts the list into a word search, abc order practice, missing letter practice and a mixed up word activity that can be printed or practiced by students online. In addition, there are Language Arts games, reading comprehension exercises, story units, practice with commas, abc order, nouns and pronouns and more. Be sure to check out the animated biographies of George Washington, Benjamin Franklin, and Abraham Lincoln. Students will need to be cautioned to ignore the ads on the right hand side of the page when exploring the site.

tag(s): alphabet (92), alphabetical order (19), presidents (129), spelling (168)

In the Classroom

This site will work well for classrooms with individual spelling lists as students can input their own list to create printables and online activities for spelling practice. Watch the animated biographies on your interactive whiteboard as part of your President's Day activities. Make a shortcut to this site on classroom computers and use it as a center. Share the link to the site on your classroom website or blog for students to access from home.
 This resource requires Adobe Flash.

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Jewish - Holidays - Chanukah - Jacob Richman

Grades
K to 12
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This hotlist of Chanukah/Hanukkah sites has everything you might want to learn about the holiday, Jewish culture, and traditions. In addition to sites in English, there are sites in...more
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This hotlist of Chanukah/Hanukkah sites has everything you might want to learn about the holiday, Jewish culture, and traditions. In addition to sites in English, there are sites in Hebrew, Russian, and other languages, all about the holiday. You can even find sources for Chanukah/Hanukkah clip art. Although TeachersFirst does not normally review "hotlists," this collection is comprehensive and updated regularly as a "labor of love."

tag(s): hanukkah (16), holidays (147)

In the Classroom

Make this treasury a starting point for multicultural study of holidays around the world or for a more in depth study of Jewish traditions. Assign student groups to learn about specific aspects of the holiday and share their findings on a class holiday guide wiki. ith younger students, share specific links on a projector or interactive whiteboard and give students a chance to share and compare their own holiday traditions with the ones mentioned. You could even use some of these resources in upper elementary or middle school as reading comprehension exercises during the holiday season: write a summary or formulate a statement of a text-based site's main idea.

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Webklipper - Webklipper Technologies Private Limited

Grades
K to 12
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Use Webklipper to highlight, comment, annotate, or choose parts of a website to share. Use this tool easily to share. Create an account with Webklipper and name your new klip...more
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Use Webklipper to highlight, comment, annotate, or choose parts of a website to share. Use this tool easily to share. Create an account with Webklipper and name your new klip including custom url. Enter the URL of the page you wish to annotate or highlight. The webpage opens with a new URL. Highlight or comment anything you wish on that page using a handy toolbar that appears. Your comments are saved and can be shared with others through email or a custom URL to share. Those you share with can comment to the klip as well. Additionally, you can install the plugin for Firefox or Chrome and create klips from your browser's toolbar. Webklipper is making ongoing improvements to their tool, so keep an eye on this one.

tag(s): browser (6)

In the Classroom

Users must have a knowledge of finding and uploading documents, copying/pasting URL's, and creating a comment or annotation with the service is required. Consider creating a class account for use by students, however work attributable to each student will not be available. Students can initial their entries to keep track of participation. Discuss appropriate and inappropriate comments with students prior to using. Be aware that students can use this service to create a proxy server to view blocked pages while at school.

Use this tool to share citations within academic groups or to discuss design changes on a class or group page such as a wiki or blog. Use Webklipper to create a brand new page for your use. Use to review a movie or book, create silly jokes or stories, and more. Use this site to help ESL/ELL students learn new language skills by highlighting certain phrases. With Webklipper it is easy. Receive a unique URL with your content highlighted in the exact manner you wish. Use with classes to allow students to comments to any page you assign for discussion. Students can find pages of interest about a specific content topic and comment their likes and dislikes. Look at various political, environmental, or ethical viewpoints by adding URL's for both sides of the argument and allow time for commenting and voicing of opinion. Collect direct URLs to student "klips" on a wiki page for a specific topic such as water conservation or examples of executive powers. Teachers can share "klips" via links on the class web page to steer student reading of a web page. Include guiding questions to build reading comprehension or to connect reading to concepts being studied. Learning support teachers may want to create "klips" together with students, annotating assigned text to show understanding and learn target vocabulary.

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