TeachersFirst's Editors' Choice Online Tools and Timesavers

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This collection of Editors' Choice FREE, reviewed resources from TeachersFirst is selected to help teachers and students save time using handy online tools that get the job done and make your classroom run smoothly. Find tools for organizing and communicating, managing your classroom, do-it-yourself creating, sharing links, useful utilities, saving paper, and much more.

Think of this as a handpicked list of "friendly favs" from the Thinking Teachers at TeachersFirst. For a more extensive collection, see our full listing of online tools. For more sophisticated tools to create full blown projects and more (conveniently sorted into categories), see the TeachersFirst Edge.  

 

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Instant Classroom Seating Chart - Instant Classroom

Grades
K to 12
10 Favorites 0  Comments
This free site makes classroom management easier by letting you create a seating chart easily. There is also a Random Name Generator and a Classroom Group Maker. You can create ...more
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This free site makes classroom management easier by letting you create a seating chart easily. There is also a Random Name Generator and a Classroom Group Maker. You can create many groups with up to 100 students in each group.

tag(s): classroom management (134)

In the Classroom

Use this site at the beginning of the year to create a seating chart for your classroom. Use the drag and drop technology to configure the desks the way you want them. Use the Random Name Generator to choose a student for an activity or to answer a question. If you need to create groups of 2, 3 or more, use the Classroom Group Maker to automatically split your class into even groups.
 This resource requires Adobe Flash.

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Answer Garden - Creative Heroes

Grades
2 to 12
5 Favorites 0  Comments
  
Plant a question and watch it grow! This is a very easy to use poll creator that can be linked through class websites, blogs, wikis or any other online application. ...more
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Plant a question and watch it grow! This is a very easy to use poll creator that can be linked through class websites, blogs, wikis or any other online application. Simply type in a short question then copy the link to your site. All responses show up in the answer box below the question in a word cloud type of format. AnswerGardens can be customized to allow unlimited responses and a password. Although anyone with the link can answer a question, polls can be edited by the owner if any unwanted content is added. So watch carefully!
This site includes advertising.

tag(s): antonyms (26), polls and surveys (48), speech (92), vocabulary (324)

In the Classroom

Create online polls of virtually anything! Build creative fluency. Ask students to type in an adjective, noun, or part of speech for language review. When learning about states, students can type in attributes associated with that particular states. Studying plants? Students can type in processes associated with plant growth. Studying fractions? On your interactive whiteboard add vocabulary terms associated with fractions to your AnswerGarden or assign students to add a term for homework. Embed your AnswerGarden question on your website or wiki, or share a direct link with the url by email. Finished polls can be exported to Wordle reviewed here or Tagxedo reviewed here to make beautiful word clouds for printing and displaying.

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Moreganize - Stay Organized - Tom Frey, Attila Frey and Dominik Skrobala

Grades
K to 12
3 Favorites 0  Comments
 
Moreganize is a tool for scheduling and organizing collaborative events around busy time schedules. Create an event with a title and description. Add an optional deadline for responses....more
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Moreganize is a tool for scheduling and organizing collaborative events around busy time schedules. Create an event with a title and description. Add an optional deadline for responses. Other options include adding a map or files. Provide contact information. Add possible dates and times for the event. There is an option to include multiple times on each date offered. Send the completed information via url, on Facebook, or via the email link provided on the site. The link takes you to the appointment survey page where you enter your name and e-mail address (kept private from all other attendees). Select which dates and times work for others and which selections are preferred. After confirming choices, a page gives the opportunity to change/correct details. A link is sent via email so your responses can be revisited and changed at a later date.

tag(s): calendars (44), organizational skills (122)

In the Classroom

Use this site to schedule staff meetings, PTA events, Science or Math fairs, club or student council events, parent volunteer meetings, and more. Student groups of busy high schoolers may want to use it to schedule work sessions. Create a potential list of dates and send a survey using Moreganize to gather data for the best time for all involved. This is a great tool for teams of teachers to use to stay on the same page!

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Skloog - Skloog, LLC

Grades
K to 12
4 Favorites 0  Comments
 
Use this visual bookmarking program to help you keep your online favorites/bookmarks organized. Choose to make shortcuts (tiles with the logo of the site you are bookmarking) for places...more
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Use this visual bookmarking program to help you keep your online favorites/bookmarks organized. Choose to make shortcuts (tiles with the logo of the site you are bookmarking) for places you visit repeatedly. The tiles make it visual and so easy to use! Can't find the logo? Submit a site by clicking on a button at the bottom of the home page. Access and add to your Skloog bookmarks from anywhere using any computer, your mobile phone, or email. Make Skloog one of the tools on your browser's tool bar in order to add to your favorites quickly and easily. Add or change the preset category tabs that show at the top. Search your favorites by tags, URL, or website name. An added feature is the Skloog tab in the upper right corner of the menu on your short cut page. Click to find some of Skloog's favorite sites.

tag(s): bookmarks (60), resources (112)

In the Classroom

This resource is best used as a teacher sharing tool for sharing links, RSS feeds, and other resources for students to use on specific projects or as general course links. Use this site to share with other professionals, team members, or parents. Use the categories to save bookmarks for different units you have in your classroom. Make your Skloog page the homepage for your computer, too.

Consider having a category for student use for webquests, tools you want them to use, and creative commons images, music, etc. Also, create a category where students update with suggestions from class members. Use different colored alphabet tiles on a Skloog for younger, non-reader students. For example, give each subject its own distinctive color. They will also recognize logos well before they read!

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ClassDojo - Sam Chaudhary and Liam Don

Grades
K to 8
17 Favorites 0  Comments
   
Manage behavior and boost involvement in class quickly and easily. ClassDojo allows you to recognize desirable behaviors and accomplishments in real time. Use it on any Internet connected...more
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Manage behavior and boost involvement in class quickly and easily. ClassDojo allows you to recognize desirable behaviors and accomplishments in real time. Use it on any Internet connected device in your classroom: computer, smartphone, iPod Touch, iPad, or tablet. There are app versions for both iOS and Android. You can choose an avatar for each student. Student behavior records are automatically created, updated, and reports generated with just one click by you. You can even write comments to parents about why a student lost a point. Weekly summaries are automatically emailed to parents. The wording on their site indicates that ClassDojo is free and will stay free for "early adopters," so start your account (and parent accounts) before they change their minds! Please be aware that ClassDojo falls under the FERPA laws for "directory information" and "educational records." Any school getting funds from the Department of Education (public schools) is required to disclose to parents and get written consent to use ClassDojo with their child. Be sure to click the Privacy Center or Terms of Service link at the bottom of any page and read more about FERPA and ClassDojo.

tag(s): behavior (46), classroom management (134), DAT device agnostic tool (196), game based learning (103), gamification (65)

In the Classroom

Consider using this program to reward a group of the week. Award points for positive behaviors such as participation, helping others, creativity, hard work, or create your own categories. Using ClassDojo for group behaviors will give immediate feedback to students if projected on your whiteboard or your projector. Use this tool to help your unfocused students stay on task. Share this site with students on the first day of school as you go over class expectations and your behavior plan for your classroom. Use ClassDojo to offer both negative and positive feedback to parents and students.

Are you a regular education teacher with special education students mainstreamed into your classroom? Use Class Dojo to privately keep track of student behaviors and send a report to special education teachers or parents. This could be invaluable to a life skills, autistic support, gifted, or emotional support teacher who needs to track the behavior of each of the students as part of an IEP/GIEP. Alternative ed programs may find this tool very useful, as well, even up through high school.

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Password Bird - Kevin Sheurs and Andres Galante

Grades
K to 12
0 Favorites 0  Comments
 
At a loss for a new password? Use this simple online tool to make easy-to-remember passwords that offer decent security and are safe. Answer a few quick questions such as ...more
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At a loss for a new password? Use this simple online tool to make easy-to-remember passwords that offer decent security and are safe. Answer a few quick questions such as your name, a special word, and date that has significance to you. Click "Create Password" and PasswordBird creates a one of a kind password for you. Note: These passwords may not be unbreakable but do offer a level of security better than using the same passwords over and over or using exact words and numbers.
This site includes advertising.

tag(s): organizational skills (122)

In the Classroom

Use this tool to generate passwords for tools being used in class by you or your students. Be sure to keep a record of the passwords generated for students for access when they forget (we do too!) Create passwords for class logins used by a number of students. Share this link on your class web page for students (and parents) to use, too!
 

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The Readability Test Tool - David Simpson

Grades
1 to 12
5 Favorites 0  Comments
Test any website's readability using The Readability Test Tool. Test readability by URL or direct text input from any source (such as copy/paste of student writing). Simply enter...more
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Test any website's readability using The Readability Test Tool. Test readability by URL or direct text input from any source (such as copy/paste of student writing). Simply enter the web address (URL) and get the readability of the site on several scales. You can also check your own webpages by using the "referer" section. You will get a score for the most used readability indicators: Flesch Kincaid Reading Ease and Grade Level, Gunning Fog Score, Coleman Liau Index, and Automated Readability Index (ARI). The tool also includes explanations of each scale. These tell much more than a simple "grade level."

tag(s): independent reading (126), readability (8), writing (358)

In the Classroom

Use this tool to offer differentiated resources for the different reading levels in your class. At the beginning of the year, as you learn your students' capabilities, use this tool to find reading at the appropriate level to eliminate frustration. This is perfect for finding the "just right" level for your highly advanced/gifted students and those needing extra remediation. If you do discover that a website you want to use is over your students' independent reading level, you can still use it, just open Lingro reviewed here first; then enter the URL you want them to read. Lingro is a study aid and open content dictionary that makes all of the words (on a particular website) clickable for definitions and translation. Of course, if the sentence length or complexity is at a much higher reading level, simple word definitions will not make it "readable" for struggling readers.

Why not have students put in the URL for their blog or wiki (or simply paste in a writing sample) to see the level at which they are writing? This is one way to encourage writing as a craft and challenge students to include more varied vocabulary and sentence structure in their writing.

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Mail Catch - Net-Core.org

Grades
5 to 12
5 Favorites 0  Comments
 
Mailcatch quickly creates a "disposable" email address to use with web tools that require email registration. This could be your solution to using free, membership-required sites where...more
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Mailcatch quickly creates a "disposable" email address to use with web tools that require email registration. This could be your solution to using free, membership-required sites where students must sign up individually using an email address. This is the spam, update, and junk email dumping ground! Files are deleted on a regular basis. If there is something you need to check for site log in purposes, be sure to check it the day that the email is sent and save the information to a document on your computer. The genius of this site is that it is temporary but completely functional for protecting individual identities. Protect your own "real" email, too! Note that any "disposable" email address can be used by others at any time, so using a more unique address will decrease the likelihood that others have used the same one. Be clever!
This site includes advertising.

tag(s): internet safety (108)

In the Classroom

Have students choose a "Mailcatch" address in the beginning of the school year as part of your introductory lesson on acceptable use procedures. Once that email is chosen, they can use it every time they need to sign up for a website that requires an email. After they have used it in your class, show them how to check the mail by typing in their "address" into the web page. Here they can see their email, such as membership confirmations.
 

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Sign up genius - Skylark Productions

Grades
K to 12
4 Favorites 0  Comments
 
Create private or public sign ups for easy creation of snack lists, volunteer sheets, party planners, parent/teacher conference planning, or project preparation. Sign up for free using...more
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Create private or public sign ups for easy creation of snack lists, volunteer sheets, party planners, parent/teacher conference planning, or project preparation. Sign up for free using an email address (email verification not required.) View your created sign ups under "My Account." Be sure to view the Frequently Asked Questions for help in using this simple resource. Find complete guides for an even smoother sign up process under the "Planning Resources" tab. Follow the directions for creating your sign up including all the details. "Invite" and "Publish" to set your privacy options as well as enter the email information to send to others. Add a web button to your site to take users directly to your home page to find active sign ups (find this function under "My Account").

tag(s): charts and graphs (195)

In the Classroom

The possibilities are endless. Use this for planning parties, bringing in materials for projects, and any other activity that requires coordination. If you have limited technology availability, this is a great way for teachers or students to sign up for time slots to use laptops, iPads, video cameras, or a podcast recording station. Go paperless with your signups! Share this tool at Back to School night (and with your room parent or PTO). Organize your parent/teacher conferences. Plan student research of class projects using this resource. Help students build organizational skills by having them "plan" a mythical event such as a museum opening for their Famous Americans exhibit.

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Disposable Web Page - disposableWebPage.com

Grades
K to 12
0 Favorites 0  Comments
 
Disposable web page offers the convenience and freedom of sharing information on the Internet with little hassle. Each disposable webpage has a count down clock. Set the clock to count...more
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Disposable web page offers the convenience and freedom of sharing information on the Internet with little hassle. Each disposable webpage has a count down clock. Set the clock to count down anywhere from 90 days to 0 days from the time the page is created. When the remaining time reaches 00:00:00:00, the page is automatically set for disposal and will exist for 2 more weeks before being "incinerated." Features that can be included on the page are bookmarking, rich text editor, uploading up to 5 images, and sticky notes with sticky notes player. The page creator receives an editing "key," and can generate a new key for editing by others.

Unlike other web page and online project creators, this tool erases your digital footprint when it is no longer needed!

tag(s): homework (44)

In the Classroom

Create pages for quick link sharing or for upcoming events such as field trips, class party information, school events, science fair, etc. Pages will automatically disappear after the event without any effort on your part. Create a page to countdown to standardized testing and allow students to add tips and advice on the page as the countdown goes on. This site could be used during long term projects to help students "stay on track." Students can create simple pages to share links to include in presentations so classmates can participate on laptops.

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Print what you like - printwhatyoulike.com

Grades
K to 12
6 Favorites 0  Comments
 
Hate to waste paper? Use this free resource to print web pages without wasted white space, ads, or extra pages. Enter the URL (web address) of the website you wish ...more
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Hate to waste paper? Use this free resource to print web pages without wasted white space, ads, or extra pages. Enter the URL (web address) of the website you wish to print, rearrange the elements, and print! To rearrange, edit the items on the left navigation bar. Choose to show or hide the background, images, or margins. Change the font or font size. Save your changes as a pdf for later viewing. Create an account for more features such as "change sets" which allow your formatting options to be applied to other pages from the same website and clips. Use the clips or pieces from various web pages to create a simple page that houses them all. Add the bookmarklet to your browser by simply dragging it to your toolbar. Be sure to check out the demo and videos.

tag(s): conservation (127)

In the Classroom

Use in the classroom to save paper and printing ink. Teach students to remove unwanted images and change margins to fit the content on a page. Be sure students save the page as a pdf to view and print again later if needed. Model an environmentally friendly classroom with the use of this resource. Be sure to check with your tech department on the ability to add bookmarklets to the browser toolbar. This resource can be used without signing up - a bonus for the classroom! Use this when technology access is low or you want to print an activity for students to do when you are not there to supervise the technology use. Create in-class reading from blogs or other websites appropriate for your classroom. Make a pdf that can be opened on your interactive whiteboard without all the ads and clutter of the web page so students can annotate, highlight, and even practice reading comprehension skills such as "main idea." List this link on your class website for families to try at home! Use it to share articles with parents, as well--as long as you model proper behavior by giving credit. Best practice ALWAYS includes a url and title/author on any printed article from the web.
 This resource requires PDF reader software like Adobe Acrobat.

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Yacapaca! - Chalkface Project

Grades
4 to 12
8 Favorites 0  Comments
  
This easy to use site allows you to make interactive online quizzes or use pre-made quizzes sorted by subject. You can upload classes, assign quizzes, and receive scores (if students...more
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This easy to use site allows you to make interactive online quizzes or use pre-made quizzes sorted by subject. You can upload classes, assign quizzes, and receive scores (if students are registered.) Current quizzes available range from Drama to Law to Math (and all core subjects). The format allows for any topic, and the enjoyable characters help to maintain student interest. Note: This site was created in the United Kingdom and follows the curriculum of the United Kingdom. You may notice slight spelling/pronunciation differences.

tag(s): assessment (99), quiz (85), quizzes (97)

In the Classroom

You can create and/or assign quizzes for any topic. You need not register students to simply assign an activity, but registration is required to keep and report scores. You simply check which countries to include to narrow activity searches, so decide whether alternate spellings might be an issue for your curriculum topic. Students can use quizzes either at home or in school. Use this site to help students review concepts and receive immediate feedback on their performance. There is a direct link in the quizzes to send a link to registered students or to share on social networking sites such as Facebook, iGoogle and Blogger. Assign small groups of students to create their own quiz for any topic you might be studying. Students can challenge their peers as a review.

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View Pure - Veetri

Grades
K to 12
2 Favorites 0  Comments
  
View Pure enables you to search YouTube and show videos from it without the annoying "extras" on your screen. Wishing you could "just show" YouTube videos to your classes? Looking ...more
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View Pure enables you to search YouTube and show videos from it without the annoying "extras" on your screen. Wishing you could "just show" YouTube videos to your classes? Looking for a way to take away the clutter and often inappropriate related videos that always pop up on seemingly innocent searches? Trying to find a way to share videos and still follow the acceptable use policy? There are three ways to go about this process. You can use the search tool to find and then show a video. You can copy and paste a link from YouTube into the page, or you can install the tool into your bookmarks and click on it to "purify" the videos. A special *note*: this site claims to be useful with video sites other than YouTube, however after trying a number of different video sites, the only successful one was YouTube. The main page for the View Pure site does include some minor advertisements.

tag(s): safety (92)

In the Classroom

How often do you find great clips and video shorts from YouTube and you can't show them or are afraid to show them even if you can get them through the school filter? Try using this to show clips or long videos from to your class via the interactive whiteboard or projector. There are some great, clean "Bill Nye" video portions that can be found and shared using this site for science class.

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Todoist - Todoist

Grades
4 to 12
13 Favorites 1  Comments
   
Todoist is a simple, free, task manager. Your students need to know about time management skills. Todoist will help you teach them and give them practice. It has a built ...more
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Todoist is a simple, free, task manager. Your students need to know about time management skills. Todoist will help you teach them and give them practice. It has a built in calendar, and you can create sub-projects and sub-tasks easily. Set up free accounts in minutes.
This site includes advertising.

tag(s): calendars (44), DAT device agnostic tool (196), organizational skills (122)

In the Classroom

Any student would appreciate having an online time management account, but learning support students and disorganized gifted students need one. You may want to model using this online tool to help middle and high school students learn better personal organization. Share this site on your interactive whiteboard or projector the first week of school to help students set-up their own accounts. Parents may appreciate learning about this site also. Use this site professionally to keep yourself organized! Make a demo account for a mythical student and organize his/hers together so students can see how it works.

Comments

What a fabulous organizational tool for teachers and students! Melissa, , Grades: 0 - 5

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