TeachersFirst's Gifted in Any Classroom: Connecting and Collaborating

Other TeachersFirst Special Topics Collections

Start • Helpful BackgroundDifferentiating Academic ContentRespecting CreativityPersonalized ConnectionsOrganization for a Sane Classroom

As gifted students curate their own collections of subject-related interests or collect their writings, they are ready to collaborate with other gifted students outside their own class. These connections will challenge their thinking, question their choices, and open dialog at a higher level than they might have opportunities to experience otherwise. The resources below offer ways for teachers to find connections and forge connections with other teachers who have gifted students and with professional scientists and others who are willing to provide real world expertise. Imagine having a professional engineer willing to comment on your gifted student's building designs done as a math project or having a professional writer or publisher make suggestions about your gifted student's writings.

Common Core digital writing standards call for students to collaborate on writing using online interactions to revise, respond, publish, and revise based on responses from others. Gifted students may need outside collaborators to push their thinking to a level that challenges them. Some of the writing communities below offer just that opportunity. Don't miss the idea for a blog hop. You might find this tool helpful if you start one.

Of course, you will want to be sure that interactions are safe and that parents have granted permission for these interactions. Use the customizable permission forms and student agreements on the Respecting Creativity page to establish expectations and gather permissions.

Twitter is an invaluable tool for teachers seeking connections, as are various Twitter hashtags. Resources below will help you leverage Twitter. To learn more about Twitter, see Twitter for Teachers.

 

 

0-16 of 16 

16 Results | sort by:

Less
More

A List of Twitter Educators by Subject Area - Alice Keeler

Grades
K to 12
1 Favorites 1  Comments
Are you looking for other educators to follow on Twitter? Check out this lengthy list of educator Twitter handles arranged by subject. The easiest way to view the full document ...more
Here is the direct link to share this resource review. Feel free to copy and paste this URL into an email or place it on your web page or blog so others can read this TeachersFirst review:

 Close Link

Are you looking for other educators to follow on Twitter? Check out this lengthy list of educator Twitter handles arranged by subject. The easiest way to view the full document is to click the link located under the heading "A Twitter Win." This link leads to a Google document with headings for all content areas as well as Ed Tech, Counselors, Administrators, and more. Use the scroll bar at the bottom of the document to view all categories. Add your own Twitter handle in the appropriate category for inclusion on this document.
This site includes advertising.

tag(s): social networking (112), twitter (50)

In the Classroom

Explore the site to discover and follow educators who match your interests and needs. Read the Tweets about what is happening in other classrooms to gain some fresh, new ideas. Looking for more ways to use Twitter in the classroom? If you are the only person in your building who teaches a particular subject, such as gifted or learning support, this list can help you find like minds to share ideas or to set up collaborations between your students. Read more about Twitter at TeachersFirst's Twitter for Teachers page.

Comments

what a great resource Susan, NY, Grades: 6 - 12

Add your comments below (available only to members) | Become a Member

Rating (click star to set rating):

Close comment form

You must be registered and logged in to add items to your favorites.
Use the form at the top of the page to log in, or click here to join TeachersFirst (it's free!).

Close

Less
More

Classroom Authors - Classroom Authors

Grades
1 to 12
1 Favorites 0  Comments
 
Classroom Authors uses four easy steps to publish an e-book or a printed book: writing, editing, proofing, and publishing. Teachers create an account and a project. Have students join...more
Here is the direct link to share this resource review. Feel free to copy and paste this URL into an email or place it on your web page or blog so others can read this TeachersFirst review:

 Close Link

Classroom Authors uses four easy steps to publish an e-book or a printed book: writing, editing, proofing, and publishing. Teachers create an account and a project. Have students join the project with a code. Every student with the project code will have a chapter to create. Student accounts require email, but they can use a parent email address or an "+" extension of the teacher's email address, for instance, myemail+studentname@myschool.org. All students invited to the project can be working on their section, on multiple computers, at one time. Adding content is as easy as using a word processing program and uploading images to the gallery. Drag and drop the images into the chapter. Students can view the entire book, but only edit their own chapter. Teachers have complete control over editing, style and leaving comments. There are default templates so the books created are professional looking. Customize to give the book your own look. Classroom Authors is not only a vehicle for publishing; this tool will fulfill the Common Core Standard requirements for using technology for collaborating and writing across the curriculum. The best part of this site: it is EASY to use! Classroom Authors uses ePub to format e-books and offers one free printed book for each published project that has 10 or more students collaborating. Beyond that, there is a cost for printed books. E-books are FREE.

tag(s): creative writing (166), descriptive writing (41), ebooks (41), process writing (42), writing (358)

In the Classroom

Research proves publishing improves writing skills. Use Classroom Authors for class newsletters, an anthology of student written stories, and creating "choose your own adventure" type stories. Use this tool for research or opinion pieces in world language classes, science, math, or social studies. Some teachers have their students write novels for National Novel Writing Month, and at Classroom Authors they will be able to publish them.

Add your comments below (available only to members) | Become a Member

Rating (click star to set rating):

Close comment form

You must be registered and logged in to add items to your favorites.
Use the form at the top of the page to log in, or click here to join TeachersFirst (it's free!).

Close

Less
More

Meeting Words - Meetingwords.com

Grades
5 to 12
0 Favorites 0  Comments
 
Use this simple, online collaborative writing editor with up to 32 people! No registration is required. Create a free meeting room, and share the link with others or send an ...more
Here is the direct link to share this resource review. Feel free to copy and paste this URL into an email or place it on your web page or blog so others can read this TeachersFirst review:

 Close Link

Use this simple, online collaborative writing editor with up to 32 people! No registration is required. Create a free meeting room, and share the link with others or send an invitation email. Use the chat space along the right to comment to one another, perhaps explaining why you made the changes you made to the text. Save versions, view and revert to earlier versions, import/export, and use simple editing tools. Be sure to use or edit at least once per week, if you intend to keep your project. The site is clear on its intention to be a real-time collaboration tool among up to 32 people, not meant for long-term storage. "Pads" may be deleted if they haven't been edited in more than seven days. Be sure to mark the url for your pad as a Favorite or send it to yourself so you can find it again (before the seven days run out).

tag(s): editing (60), proofreading (19), writing (358)

In the Classroom

Have your students set up collaborative groups for projects, lab data, and more. Anything students can do on a single computer, they can do collaboratively on this tool, accessing their work from any online computer. Be sure to test out this tool before using with your class. It may be a good idea to set up the groups with the teacher as a "member" but have students work from home for group projects. Make sure you are protecting the safety of student work and identity and are within your school's Acceptable Use Policy.

Create an innovative, exciting revision experience for students to suggest revisions to each other's writing and instantly engage in the peer review process by using Meetingwords. This tool facilitates teacher comments on student essays by not having to wait until students turn in their papers. Have them share links with you to their works in progress. Check essays online, monitor progress, and even make suggestions for revisions to provide feedback along the way and drive successful evidence support, proofreading, and editing skills. Challenge gifted students on their drafts and push their thinking further, adding questions or responses. Since most if us do not have time to provide such individual challenge throughout the writing process, why not connect them with other gifted students to collaborate and debate beyond just your classroom? Obviously, this tool is also fabulous for collaboration among students or teachers creating a shared writing piece at any level. You could even use it for parent input into draft IEPs.

Add your comments below (available only to members) | Become a Member

Rating (click star to set rating):

Close comment form

You must be registered and logged in to add items to your favorites.
Use the form at the top of the page to log in, or click here to join TeachersFirst (it's free!).

Close

Less
More

Young Authors Guide - Denise Hill

Grades
2 to 12
1 Favorites 0  Comments
The Young Authors Guide provides an extensive list of contests and online literary magazines that accept submissions from student authors. Each entry includes a short synopsis of the...more
Here is the direct link to share this resource review. Feel free to copy and paste this URL into an email or place it on your web page or blog so others can read this TeachersFirst review:

 Close Link

The Young Authors Guide provides an extensive list of contests and online literary magazines that accept submissions from student authors. Each entry includes a short synopsis of the publication's target audience and genres. Click the link directly under the Publications title to view contests for student writing. Scroll through all entries, or view by monthly deadline dates. All entries include a direct link to the website offering contests or submissions. Be sure to check out the link to an article with advice on how to submit work for publications and how to avoid contest scams.

tag(s): competitions (16), creative writing (166), poetry (227), short stories (25)

In the Classroom

Encourage students to submit writing for publication throughout the school year. Use this resource to find magazines and publications to fit individual student strengths. Share a link to the Young Authors Guide on your class website for students to access (and submit publications) from home. Use the Young Author's Guide as a resource for finding ideas to use as writing prompts for stories, poems, and more. Share this site with your gifted students to extend their writing reach beyond the classroom and school community. Be sure that they have parent permission to submit, and have them keep a record as part of their personal writing portfolio of what they submit where.

Add your comments below (available only to members) | Become a Member

Rating (click star to set rating):

Close comment form

You must be registered and logged in to add items to your favorites.
Use the form at the top of the page to log in, or click here to join TeachersFirst (it's free!).

Close

Less
More

Creating Community and Getting Inspired with Blog Hops and Events - Krista Stevens/WordPress

Grades
4 to 12
0 Favorites 0  Comments
Discover blog ideas galore from the "friendly writers" at Wordpress, especially these ideas for connecting your blog with other bloggers via special events, such as "blog hops." A blog...more
Here is the direct link to share this resource review. Feel free to copy and paste this URL into an email or place it on your web page or blog so others can read this TeachersFirst review:

 Close Link

Discover blog ideas galore from the "friendly writers" at Wordpress, especially these ideas for connecting your blog with other bloggers via special events, such as "blog hops." A blog hop is simply a response to the same prompt during a fixed time frame, with links to the other bloggers' responses so you can "hop" to read the many takes on the topic from the original post or prompt. Share writing around a common theme, image, quote, or topic by checking out the offerings compiled here. Note that this collection is intended for the general blogging public (not schools), so some topics may not be school-appropriate. On the other hand, making contact with "real world" people blogging about how they write, do photography, stay fit, and more. Click on the link to the updated list of blogging events to find inspiration and connection, sorted by general areas of interest. Don't miss the detailed information about how to Start and/or Participate in a Blog Hop.

tag(s): blogs (88), writing prompts (92)

In the Classroom

In its simplest use, this is a place to find and READ blogs on curriculum-related topics. You can also find questions and prompts for your students to write about offline. Never again will you need to hunt for writing prompts or ways to connect your science or social studies students with the outside world. Of course this is a time to discuss proper netiquette and digital citizenship/safety for interacting with "strangers." If you do not yet have a class or student blogs, you might want to begin with Blog Basics for the Classroom. Be SURE you get parent permission. If your students have blogs, use these ideas as a model for your own weekly or biweekly blog hops on curriculum topics. Since your math students need to write about their problem solving strategies for Common Core, why not make it more fun with a blog hop? Trying to fire up interest in local history? Pose a blog hop prompt asking which local landmark could be replaced with a shopping mall. Looking for students to support arguments with evidence? Spark an environmental question for a blog hop. Browse some of the special topic blog events for discussions related to your current curriculum. For example, connect your plant study unit with gardeners' blogging events. If you teach gifted students, this is the ideal way to connect your students (even reluctant writers) with an outside world that will raise their level of writing and thinking. If you can connect with other teachers who have gifted students, perhaps via the #gtchat Twitter chat, you can set up a regular connection among students in several locations.. in science, social studies, math, or writing classes. Your gifted ones may pull in other blogging classmates, as well!

Add your comments below (available only to members) | Become a Member

Rating (click star to set rating):

Close comment form

You must be registered and logged in to add items to your favorites.
Use the form at the top of the page to log in, or click here to join TeachersFirst (it's free!).

Close

Less
More

scistuchat - Adam Taylor

Grades
6 to 12
0 Favorites 0  Comments
This grass roots effort by a Tennessee science teacher spawned a monthly Twitter chat between high school science students in MANY locations and practicing scientists in the "real world."...more
Here is the direct link to share this resource review. Feel free to copy and paste this URL into an email or place it on your web page or blog so others can read this TeachersFirst review:

 Close Link

This grass roots effort by a Tennessee science teacher spawned a monthly Twitter chat between high school science students in MANY locations and practicing scientists in the "real world." The site looks plain vanilla, but the topic is dynamite! Find information, preparation, and topics for upcoming chats, basic information about the chat formats, chat archives, past pre-chat prep resources, and Twitter handles for the scientists and teachers who participate in the chats. Don't forget to follow @2footgiraffe, the instigating teacher, and click through to his blog for some of the back story on how he was able to convince school administration to unblock Twitter (and other tales of tech challenges). The TeachersFirst editors met Mr. Taylor at the ISTE conference and knew this was a resource our users would want to know about.

tag(s): twitter (50)

In the Classroom

Even if you do not choose to join this particular Twitter chat with practitioners in the field, mark this simple site as a professional development resource to learn how to plan and organize successful Twitter chats between your students and the outside world. If you teach another discipline, try searching on Wefollow, reviewed here for people in the field that connect to your curriculum: writers, artists, curators, engineers, and more. Need to learn more about Twitter? Start with help from TeachersFirst's Twitter for Teachers page. Extend the curriculum for your gifted students by having them help organize a chat with professionals and write the questions.

Add your comments below (available only to members) | Become a Member

Rating (click star to set rating):

Close comment form

You must be registered and logged in to add items to your favorites.
Use the form at the top of the page to log in, or click here to join TeachersFirst (it's free!).

Close

Less
More

Wefollow - Jeff Hodsdon, LLC

Grades
6 to 12
0 Favorites 0  Comments
 
Use WeFollow to search for Twitter users by interest and sort them by their "Prominence Score," an "objective measure" that WeFollow uses to designate "how established someone is in...more
Here is the direct link to share this resource review. Feel free to copy and paste this URL into an email or place it on your web page or blog so others can read this TeachersFirst review:

 Close Link

Use WeFollow to search for Twitter users by interest and sort them by their "Prominence Score," an "objective measure" that WeFollow uses to designate "how established someone is in the interests they care about." The Prominence score analyzes Twitter patterns to see who "listens" to each person and is useful in finding, following, and learning from prominent people around the world. You can locate experts in any field by entering a search term like "biologist" or "Shakespeare." Find an explanation of this score in the About section. Enter your own expertise information to be part of the ongoing database of Twitter users and their interests! New to Twitter? Learn more at TeachersFirst'sTwitter for Teachers page. Note: As with any tool that involves interaction with the public, searches may bring up unintended results not appropriate for young people. Use this tool under supervision or recommend specific search terms.
This site includes advertising.

tag(s): social networking (112), twitter (50)

In the Classroom

Increase your learning by finding others to follow -- and learn from their tweets. If using with a class, find those who can help with content students are learning. For example, follow scientists, artists, or writers to enhance your class discussion and learn from others outside the classroom. World language classes may want to follow experts on certain cultures. Earth science classes could follow experts on plate tectonics or volcanoes. Library/Media specialists will want to add this to your reference tools to help teachers or students seeking content experts. Be sure to follow the recommendations in the TeachersFirst review of (Twitter). This is a great tool to help students build a personal learning network in an area of interest, especially for gifted students who may have unusual interests and need the challenge of contact and collaboration with "real world" experts.

Add your comments below (available only to members) | Become a Member

Rating (click star to set rating):

Close comment form

You must be registered and logged in to add items to your favorites.
Use the form at the top of the page to log in, or click here to join TeachersFirst (it's free!).

Close

Less
More

Places to Publish for Gifted Young Writers - Carol Fertig

Grades
7 to 12
0 Favorites 0  Comments
This blog post suggests a few places for publishing the writing of your gifted and talented students. Each suggestion offers sites that cater to "real" audiences for young students,...more
Here is the direct link to share this resource review. Feel free to copy and paste this URL into an email or place it on your web page or blog so others can read this TeachersFirst review:

 Close Link

This blog post suggests a few places for publishing the writing of your gifted and talented students. Each suggestion offers sites that cater to "real" audiences for young students, often audiences of their own peers. Explore resources that offer feedback and contests as well as more independent sites that accept submissions from student authors. Although quite short, this post is a great starting point for finding publishing resources for your students.

tag(s): process writing (42)

In the Classroom

Bookmark this article and explore the resources suggested for publishing student work. As you plan for ways to challenge your gifted students, this resource can provide ideas to extend their exposure and collaboration experience with other writers. Of course you will want to have parent permission before allowing interactions from your classroom, but parents of gifted students will probably delight in cooperating and even join in monitoring interactions as needed. Share this resource on your class web page so parents of your talented student-writers can encourage them at home, too.

Add your comments below (available only to members) | Become a Member

Rating (click star to set rating):

Close comment form

You must be registered and logged in to add items to your favorites.
Use the form at the top of the page to log in, or click here to join TeachersFirst (it's free!).

Close

Less
More

Hootsuite - Hootsuite Media, Inc.

Grades
9 to 12
3 Favorites 0  Comments
 
Manage all of your social networks (Twitter, Linkedin, Google+ Pages, Facebook, and more) from one place: HootSuite. This is especially helpful for professional development or for organizing...more
Here is the direct link to share this resource review. Feel free to copy and paste this URL into an email or place it on your web page or blog so others can read this TeachersFirst review:

 Close Link

Manage all of your social networks (Twitter, Linkedin, Google+ Pages, Facebook, and more) from one place: HootSuite. This is especially helpful for professional development or for organizing class learning experiences via Twitter. Learn more about Twitter in this review and TeachersFirst's Twitter for Teachers page. Use Hootsuite to easily and quickly receive updates from followers, direct messages, Facebook updates, and follow hashtag conversations all in one convenient interface. Use this application to follow the multitude of educational chats on Twitter using hashtags. Need help using Hootsuite? Click "Resources" on the site to find help with various issues, as well as video tutorials. Hootsuite is available as an add-in for many browsers as well as an app for mobile devices.

tag(s): DAT device agnostic tool (196), social networking (112), twitter (50)

In the Classroom

Set up Hootsuite by providing information such as your Twitter and Facebook name. Create columns for the various conversations such as "All Friends," "Facebook status updates," "Direct Messages," and more. Create a new Column to follow all the tweets of a particular person or a specific hashtag. Simply enter the username or the hashtag to instantly follow all conversations. Have more than one Twitter account? No problem. Follow all conversations by adding up to five accounts. Click on the picture of each follower for simple commands such as "Reply," "Retweet," "Direct Message," or "Other actions" to manage the user or the Tweet given. Easily follow or unfollow others. Create a column for each hashtag for the best way to keep track of chats on education topics.

Check that Twitter is accessible at school. Twitter is safest used as a whole class activity. If using Twitter with students, be sure you are following the students in order to monitor their use. Set up searches for curriculum-related topics, such as climate change or earthquakes. Use this tool to manage some of the best professional development around. Learn from other like educators, and challenge thinking and learning to greatly impact the lives of your students. Create connections that help you grow as an individual and an educator. Find more ideas in TeachersFirst's Twitter review.

If you teach gifted students, use Hootsuite on classroom computers for them to set up specific searches related to the topics your class is studying. Challenge them to act as your class Twitter curators, checking out related articles and links that will bring more real-world examples to the rest of the class or raise related debates that the gifted student can investigate. Find professionals in the field for your gifted students to ask questions about their science experiments and interests. Be sure to discuss safety and responsible online behavior if you permit students to send tweets on their own. Of course you will be able to "see" what they have sent if they use a class account.

Add your comments below (available only to members) | Become a Member

Rating (click star to set rating):

Close comment form

You must be registered and logged in to add items to your favorites.
Use the form at the top of the page to log in, or click here to join TeachersFirst (it's free!).

Close

Less
More

Draft - Nate Kontny

Grades
6 to 12
0 Favorites 0  Comments
 
Draft is a collaborative writing tool similar to Google Docs with one notable exception: the ability to view and accept changes before they are actually made to the document. The ...more
Here is the direct link to share this resource review. Feel free to copy and paste this URL into an email or place it on your web page or blog so others can read this TeachersFirst review:

 Close Link

Draft is a collaborative writing tool similar to Google Docs with one notable exception: the ability to view and accept changes before they are actually made to the document. The site also features the ability to mark/label major versions of your work as it is produced, allowing the ability to go back and easily view previous versions. Be sure to check out "Hemingway Mode" (explained in Features) which prevents any editing as you write, forcing you to get ideas down to rethink, revise, and edit LATER. This is a great way to prevent the perfectionist in you from paralyzing your writing process! But the BEST part of this site: it is easy to use! Sign up using your email and password and immediately begin creating your document. When ready to share, choose the home icon and copy your document's link to send via email or text (or copy and paste as desired). When changes are made, you will receive an email. You may then view the document to see color coded changes and accept or deny changes as desired.

tag(s): editing (60), proofreading (19), writing (358)

In the Classroom

If individual students are allowed to have accounts (using email address sign up), that's great, but they must share their work with you. If students cannot have their own email accounts, consider using a "class set" of Gmail subaccounts, explained here. This would provide anonymous interaction within your class. Create an innovative, exciting revision experience for students to suggest revisions to each other's writing and instantly engage in the peer review process by using Draft. This tool facilitates teacher comments on student essays by not having to wait until students turn in their papers. Have them share links with you to their works in progress. Check essays online, monitor progress, and even make suggestions for revisions to provide feedback along the way and drive successful evidence support, proofreading, and editing skills. Challenge gifted students on their drafts and push their thinking further, adding questions or responses. Since most if us do not have time to provide such individual challenge throughout the writing process, why not connect them with other gifted students to collaborate and debate beyond just your classroom? Obviously, this tool is also fabulous for collaboration among students or teachers creating a shared writing piece at any level. You could even use it for parent input into draft IEPs.

Add your comments below (available only to members) | Become a Member

Rating (click star to set rating):

Close comment form

You must be registered and logged in to add items to your favorites.
Use the form at the top of the page to log in, or click here to join TeachersFirst (it's free!).

Close

Less
More

Loose Leaves - looseleaves.me

Grades
2 to 12
0 Favorites 0  Comments
 
Loose Leaves is a place to put thoughts that don't quite fit anywhere else. As they put it, "For Thoughts That Don't Have a Home." It is similar to ...more
Here is the direct link to share this resource review. Feel free to copy and paste this URL into an email or place it on your web page or blog so others can read this TeachersFirst review:

 Close Link

Loose Leaves is a place to put thoughts that don't quite fit anywhere else. As they put it, "For Thoughts That Don't Have a Home." It is similar to an instant web page maker. No registration required. Click on the leaf and begin composing your thoughts. Insert a title and begin writing. Edit font style, alignment, indent, and paragraph style using tools provided. Insert images using the image link. Images must already be online so you can point to them by url. Adjust image size, description, and placement in your document as desired. You can even drag images directly into your document from another open browser window! Choose Save to receive the url for your page. You will receive 2 url's: one for sharing and one to use for editing your page. Be sure to save that url in your Favorites or a document so you do not lose it! Collect lines for future poems, figures of speech that you like, or simply thoughts in this "idea bin" for writing.
This site includes advertising.

tag(s): blogs (88)

In the Classroom

Use this site for students to post or collect material for simple projects such as stories, poems, and art projects. Collect a master list of urls to student pages on your classroom website, wiki, or blog for easy access. If students are creating pages, be sure to check with your district's policy on publishing student work. The beauty of Loose Leaves is that there aren't any identifiers such as email address, name, or other information about the user. Publications are completely anonymous, if desired. Create pages for quick link sharing or for upcoming events such as field trips, class party information, school events, science fair, etc. Students can create simple pages to share links to include in presentations so classmates can participate on laptops. If you are beginning a major creative project such as a literary magazine or research project, Loose Leaves is a wonderful place for writers to collect questions and ideas to be developed later. Share this one with your gifted students as a place to collect written ideas or to collaborate on any kind of writing, such as a poem or script. Just be sure your disorganized ones save both the sharing urls: the one to view it and the one to edit it. If they do not mark these and save them to favorites, they will be gone forever! (You COULD start the page for them and give them the url to edit it... but you would not be helping them learn organization skills!)

Add your comments below (available only to members) | Become a Member

Rating (click star to set rating):

Close comment form

You must be registered and logged in to add items to your favorites.
Use the form at the top of the page to log in, or click here to join TeachersFirst (it's free!).

Close

Less
More

Figment: Write Yourself In - Jacob Lewis and Dana Goodyear

Grades
6 to 12
1 Favorites 0  Comments
 
Figment: Write Yourself In is a terrific program for both readers and writers! Looking for something new to read? Want to get your student's or your own writing published? You ...more
Here is the direct link to share this resource review. Feel free to copy and paste this URL into an email or place it on your web page or blog so others can read this TeachersFirst review:

 Close Link

Figment: Write Yourself In is a terrific program for both readers and writers! Looking for something new to read? Want to get your student's or your own writing published? You don't even have to register to read or listen to a book. It's all free. If you or your students are aspiring authors you can register and publish your writing here. Figment also has contests where the community votes for the best piece of writing for a certain prompt. Books are tagged, so you can search by tag. The Figment library has all the genres listed for you to click on and search, a section for "newest additions," "recently updated," and "all the rage." For reading and listening, the only skill you will need to know is to know how to search the site. If your intent is to publish yours or your student's writing, you will need to register. Be aware that Figment is designed for ALL kinds of writers and may include some writing that is not "kid friendly." Click the Educators link in the footer to access newer features specifically for teachers.

tag(s): digital storytelling (142), persuasive writing (55), poetry (227), short stories (25), writing (358)

In the Classroom

There are several ways you can use this site as a place to publish. Some may involve using other tools. For example, with younger students: Once your students have completed a piece of writing, have them submit it to the class using MixedInk reviewed here. The class can then collaborate by choosing ideas from any of the pieces submitted and publishing a "class" approved story, poem, etc. on Figment. With older students: Have them submit their poems, short stories, current event articles, or persuasive writing to MixedInk for peer edit and advice. After the class has collaborated on the writing, submit to Figment for a more general audience. Some teachers have their students write novels for National Novel Writing Month, and at "Figment: Write Yourself In" they will be able to publish them.

Students will need a screen name that is not their real name, and a password. See the Profile area for Scholastic's "You Are What You Read" reviewed here for several suggestions for creating a screen name. For younger students you may want to have a "class account" and supply the password. Be sure you and your students write their screen name and password down. Just make sure they sign their writing with their screen name. With older students you can use the same procedure as above, or students can sign up with their own email. Read tips for safely managing email registrations here.

If school policies and parents allow it, You may want to introduce your gifted student-writers to this site as a place where they can publish and get feedback from a broader audience. The safest way may be to set up groups as a teacher, including other student writers from other classrooms and grade levels. Gifted students interact well in multi-age settings, especially if they have common interests. Have the history buffs work together on accurate historical fiction related to the time periods you are studying or have your advanced science students write up their research collaboratively using Figment. They might even try their had at writing some science fiction based on concepts you are studying.

Add your comments below (available only to members) | Become a Member

Rating (click star to set rating):

Close comment form

You must be registered and logged in to add items to your favorites.
Use the form at the top of the page to log in, or click here to join TeachersFirst (it's free!).

Close

Less
More

MixedInk - MixedInk, LLC

Grades
4 to 12
3 Favorites 0  Comments
   
At MixedInk your students will be able to collaborate while writing. Unfortunately, students must have an email to register in the free version. Savvy teachers can use these...more
Here is the direct link to share this resource review. Feel free to copy and paste this URL into an email or place it on your web page or blog so others can read this TeachersFirst review:

 Close Link

At MixedInk your students will be able to collaborate while writing. Unfortunately, students must have an email to register in the free version. Savvy teachers can use these tips tips to accomplish this. Mixed Ink is a general site for all kinds of writers, but this review directs you to the educator area. You can use MixedInk for any writing assignments, debates, speeches, student council proposals, editorials, and whatever else you can think of. All of MixedInk authorships are tracked automatically and color-coded. Students can comment on submissions and rate different versions to identify the best. There are at least two demo videos, and these can be embedded on your website for student reference. This program uses Java.

tag(s): persuasive writing (55), process writing (42), six traits of writing (8), writing (358)

In the Classroom

Remember the fun activity where students are given a sentence starter and told to write the introduction to the story, students then pass their part of the story to someone else, and the next person writes the next part of the story? Well, MixedInk is this fun activity on steroids! It is so powerful! You can assign your students to write about anything and they can collaborate together, on something as serious as an inquiry project.

If you are using the Six Traits writing program, reviewed here and here this is the perfect place for your students to put their writing and get feedback. Students can suggest different wording and ideas, and all are color coded so you will know what has been contributed and what is original.

If you work with a few gifted students in ANY subject and want them to push their ideas beyond the basics, set up a separate class in Mixed Ink (even if the students are not actually IN the same class). Include gifted students from different classes you and other teachers have -- or even students from other schools if you know their teachers. Challenge them to collaborate on higher level thinking questions, writing challenges that require more research to support their arguments, or real world problems such as convincing a legislator to support a new bill. Have them use Mixed Ink to collaborate on their draft and argue among themselves about the best support for their thesis. For a more creative option, have them write a continuing "story" with each student contributing the next episode-- perhaps using terms and concepts your classes are studying. Imagine them composing "A Month in the Life of a Flea" during your study of insects. Of course, they will need to have email addresses to register, and you will want parent permission for online interactions with students outside you own classroom.

Add your comments below (available only to members) | Become a Member

Rating (click star to set rating):

Close comment form

You must be registered and logged in to add items to your favorites.
Use the form at the top of the page to log in, or click here to join TeachersFirst (it's free!).

Close

Less
More

Cybraryman Educational Chats on Twitter - Cybraryman

Grades
9 to 12
2 Favorites 1  Comments
 
Use this resource to find great educational chats (#hashtags)found on Twitter! View the various hashtags that have been created for a multitude of educator chats in different content...more
Here is the direct link to share this resource review. Feel free to copy and paste this URL into an email or place it on your web page or blog so others can read this TeachersFirst review:

 Close Link

Use this resource to find great educational chats (#hashtags)found on Twitter! View the various hashtags that have been created for a multitude of educator chats in different content areas. Scroll down the page to view a schedule of the various chats organized by day. Be sure to note the times that these chats begin on those days. View the various tools that you can use to "follow" the chats. Follow these chats to find incredible support and ideas for creating positive change in teaching and learning. Consider Twitter one of the best professional development opportunities teachers can participate in.

tag(s): chat (51), social networking (112), twitter (50)

In the Classroom

New to Twitter? Learn more about Twitter and how to set up searches to see these chats on your own time using suggestions and other reviewed resources included on TeachersFirst's Twitter for Teachers page.

Comments

So helpful, very complete Frances, CT, Grades: 6 - 8

Add your comments below (available only to members) | Become a Member

Rating (click star to set rating):

Close comment form

You must be registered and logged in to add items to your favorites.
Use the form at the top of the page to log in, or click here to join TeachersFirst (it's free!).

Close

Less
More

Twitter - Twitter, Inc.

Grades
K to 12
0 Favorites 0  Comments
 
Twitter users enter information to share with their "followers" by creating 140 character "tweets," and "followers" see what they are thinking, favorite links, etc., all from the brief...more
Here is the direct link to share this resource review. Feel free to copy and paste this URL into an email or place it on your web page or blog so others can read this TeachersFirst review:

 Close Link

Twitter users enter information to share with their "followers" by creating 140 character "tweets," and "followers" see what they are thinking, favorite links, etc., all from the brief "tweet." Tweets are much more than messages to share what you are eating for lunch! Use this popular microblogging and social networking tool for a great way to communicate with teaching peers and real world people you may not have a chance to otherwise meet. Reply to others to create conversations for some of the best professional development around. Each "tweet" or message may not seem extraordinary, but using the sum total of tweets from those you "meet" on Twitter can have an amazing impact. Use your profile and settings to add a bio and other information, change your security settings from public to protected, find those who follow you, and more. Post your tweets through the website, mobile devices, or myriad of applications to manage tweets and followers. Keep track of your favorite tweets by starring them. Refer to your favorites list as needed. Wish you could take back a tweet? Click the trash can beside the post to delete (however, others may have already seen and responded.) Find many opinions about Twitter on and off the Internet. Remember you will gain only as much as you put into this service. Build a network of helpful colleagues to become a better learner (and educator). Anyone can learn from Twitter, even a class of elementary students! Still not sure what Twitter is about? Find a great explanation of how it works in this review.

tag(s): microblogging (44), social media (16), social networking (112)

In the Classroom

Bring teaching and learning to new heights by using this service as a great form of professional development. At conferences, use Twitter as a backchannel to expand upon thoughts and ideas during presentations and after. Have a question to ask others' opinion about? Throw it out to Twitter to see the great perspectives given by those who follow you. Start out slowly and look at conversations that catch your eye. Follow people with experience in your areas of interest to gain from the conversations. Start off by following @teachersfirst or @cshively (our leader).

Learn about hashtags -- ways to mark, search, and follow conversations on a specific topic. For example, the #ntchat tag is for new and pre-service teachers and the #edchat hashtag is for all teachers. Participate in these chats which are scheduled at certain days and times or search for their tweets anytime. Find archived tweets from these chats to learn from some wonderful and motivated teachers when it is convenient for YOU. Use other Twitter applications to search or collect specific hashtags.

As a teaching tool, Twitter is amazing! If your school permits access, have a class account to share what you are doing with parents and especially for your class to follow people in topics you study. Studying space? Follow NASA. Studying politics and government? Follow your congressional rep or the White House. Consider using your teacher or class account to send updates to other teachers across the country or across the globe. You can also teach about responsible digital citizenship by modeling and practicing it as a class. A whole-class, teacher account is the most likely way to gain permission to use Twitter in school, especially if you can demonstrate specific projects. That can be as simple as making sure you and that teacher are FOLLOWING each other, then sending a direct message (start the tweet with D and the other teacher's twitter name) or creating a group with your own hashtag for a project such as daily weather updates. Even if you are not "following" someone, you can send them a tweet using @theirtwittername in the body of the message. This is called a "mention" but can be seen by others, too. Compare what your class is observing in today's weather, which topics you will be discussing today, or ask for another class' opinions on a current events issue. Ask for updates about local concerns, such as talking to California schools about wildfires in their area or a Maine school about a blizzard. Challenge another class to tweet the feelings of a literacy character, such as Hamlet, and respond as Ophelia, all in 140 characters or less. Have gifted students? Connect your classroom with the outside world to find greater challenges and connections beyond your regular curriculum.

Learn much more about teaching ideas and tools for Twitter in the many resources listed on TeachersFirst Twitter for Teachers page.

Add your comments below (available only to members) | Become a Member

Rating (click star to set rating):

Close comment form

You must be registered and logged in to add items to your favorites.
Use the form at the top of the page to log in, or click here to join TeachersFirst (it's free!).

Close

Less
More

Skype - Skype Technologies S.A.

Grades
K to 12
2 Favorites 0  Comments
   
Every teen and college student knows Skype, the free tool for making calls from computer to computer anywhere in the world. By downloading and installing free software and setting up...more
Here is the direct link to share this resource review. Feel free to copy and paste this URL into an email or place it on your web page or blog so others can read this TeachersFirst review:

 Close Link

Every teen and college student knows Skype, the free tool for making calls from computer to computer anywhere in the world. By downloading and installing free software and setting up a free account, you can talk and/or make a video call to a similarly equipped computer elsewhere in the world for free. Skype uses a lot of "bandwidth" so is not suitable for very slow networks or dial up connections. It may also be slow at high-traffic times on a good network. Some patience and pretesting is required before you can be sure it will work for your needs. Connect to classrooms, experts, authors, virtual special speakers, or interview subjects using Skype.

tag(s): virtual field trips (48), webcams (6)

In the Classroom

Download and install the Skype software. If you are not allowed to install software on school computers, ask to have a single laptop available that is Skype-capable so you can borrow it or else explain to your principal that you are planning a series of Skype visits in your classroom so your techies will install it in your classroom. You will need a computer with built-in or separate microphone and speakers and optional webcam. If you plan to use a webcam, you must know how to start it. A single teacher-controlled Skype account will work in most school settings.

If you prefer written directions go to Help >> Step by Step Help to get started. Or ask a student to show you (without seeing your password). You will need to explore the tools in Skype to locate where to enter the SKYPE name of the person you wish to call, start the call, and answer calls. Do NOT set your copy of Skype to "remember me" on a school computer! If students are to participate in the Skype call, you may want to have a "hot seat" at the Skyping computer so they can sit at a mike so their questions will pick up better for the person at the other end.

Be sure to set Skype so it does not open every time you start up the computer. Manually start the program when needed and do not leave an obvious Skype icon on the desktop for "clever" students to find. Protect your password -- do not post it on the computer. A teacher-controlled account is best for Skype classroom use to prevent unauthorized calls by students. Your user name will show on the screen for students to see, so be aware of that when you create your account.

Anything you can do by telephone or video call you can do on a projector with your entire class. Connect the Skyping computer to a projector or whiteboard for the entire class to see if you are using video. (The video will be fuzzy, but good enough to follow a person's face.) Use Skype to talk to authors (check out their web sites or this blog for contact information). Have students write questions in advance. Use your contacts, web page "contact us" emails, and parent contacts to find others willing to Skype into your classroom. Interview scientists or government officials, deployed military personnel, or classes far away in a different culture or language. Younger students can compare weather, family life, community events, and more. Learn other ideas for using Skype in your classroom

Add your comments below (available only to members) | Become a Member

Rating (click star to set rating):

Close comment form

You must be registered and logged in to add items to your favorites.
Use the form at the top of the page to log in, or click here to join TeachersFirst (it's free!).

Close

0-16 of 16