TeachersFirst's Interactive Audio Books
These educator-reviewed resources from TeachersFirst offer audio books in interactive form so all students, including emerging readers and ESL/ELL learners, can experience reading with audio and visual prompts or interactivity to reinforce and inspire literacy skills and enjoyment as they read. Be sure to explore each site, as many include multiple types of activities, including the interactive books. The helpful reviews suggest ideas for ways to use the interactive books in the classroom or outside of school to reinforce literacy skills, improve English skills, or study literature in new ways. See TeachersFirst's full collection of audio book resources and collection of audio books with accompanying text.
GradesK to 5
In the ClassroomMany of the games would be terrific as literacy centers or on an interactive whiteboard or projector to reinforce basics. Make this link available on your class web page for parents, students, and younger siblings to access from home. Parent notifications on games and contests with prizes and required parental consent for students to join make this a very safe site. Teachers may want to offer some of the writing contests as regular classroom activities or for enrichment or to adapt them for use with newer technologies. The visual poetry idea, for example, would work well as an interactive book created using Bookemon, reviewed here. Each student could make a visual poem and illustration in a whole-class book.
GradesK to 4
tag(s): comics and cartoons (65)
In the ClassroomIntroduce this site on a projector or interactive whiteboard. Have students read aloud together to practice choral reading. Use this site for D.E.A.R. reading or other free time reading (be sure to provide headsets). Allow students to choose from the books. Even non-readers can use this site! Identify information, story lines, and grammar components within the stories as groups. Create story boards that outline the telling of the stories. Use a graphic organizing (online) tool such as bubble.us (reviewed here). Compare and contrast stories or characters using an online Venn diagram creator (reviewed here). Students can re-write endings or the sequels that would follow these books. Use these books as inspiration for student-made cartoon books in world language classes. Have the class or individuals create online books to share using a site such as Bookemon, reviewed here.
Grades2 to 12
In the ClassroomWhat a fabulous site for ESL, ELL, learning support, and students learning Spanish! Introduce this site on your interactive whiteboard or projector. Share this site with Spanish students who do well at working on learning independently. ESL and ELL students will also benefit from going through the lessons, individually or in pairs. Teachers can register independently from their students and keep track of learner progress and participation. As students learn new vocabulary words, challenge cooperative learning groups to create an online book sharing their newfound vocabulary. Use a tool such as Bookemon (reviewed here).
GradesK to 5
If you click on the Student View a spinning wheel will appear. Students can spin to choose a random activity! Many of these activities require Flash. You can get it from the TeachersFirst Toolbox page.
In the ClassroomSave this site in your favorites on your classroom computers. Introduce this site on your projector or interactive whiteboard. If a student finishes early and needs some enrichment or is struggling and needs some extra practice, look here for some interactive help! Share this site on your class website for students to access outside of the classroom.
GradesK to 2
This site requires Flash and Windows Media or similar player. The printable pages require Adobe Acrobat. Get them from the TeachersFirst Toolbox page.
In the ClassroomAdd this link to your classroom computer for students to use for extra reading practice. Share this site on your interactive whiteboard or projector. Set this site up as a learning center (or using individual computers, if available). Don't forget the headsets! List this link on your class website. Use free printouts to reinforce what was learned in the stories and for students to take home or do as homework. The "Watch and Listen" link at the left will take parents to a page where they can download podcast versions of the stories to take in the car!
Grades4 to 12
Be sure to check out the videos, which include commercials from the 1960s! Many of the video and audio features require Flash. You can get it from the TeachersFirst Toolbox page.
In the ClassroomThis site has so much to offer, the possibilities are endless. Obviously, this site is handy with ESL and ELL students. But there is SO much here to explore for teachers of elementary (social studies or language arts), AND secondary teachers trying to reinforce grammar skills, connect history and writing, and more.
Share portions of this site on your interactive whiteboard or projector. With primary students, set up learning stations. Have cooperative learning groups explore the site together. Have groups investigate a specific area of this site and create a multimedia presentation to share with the class: wiki, blog entry, podcast, online book, or video. Need some "technology tips?" How about having students create a podcast using Podomatic (reviewed here). Share the "student-created" videos on a tool such as TeacherTube (explained here). Have students write online books using a tool such as Bookemon, reviewed here.
Grades3 to 8
Click on the Teachers link to explore lessons and other resources. Your class may wish to leave comments after they listen to the stories. Check out the Gallery, which shows photos of the actual setting for the myth. Unsure of the archaic terms? Then use the glossary that's provided for each myth and legend. Flash is required and can be gotten here: TeachersFirst Toolbox page.
In the ClassroomShare this site on your interactive whiteboard or projector. With younger students, use this site in your listening/computer corner for students to listen and read along the multitude of stories at this site. Your class may opt to write their own story of local myths or legends, and then submit it to this site. Have students write online legend or myth books using a tool such as Bookemon, reviewed here.
GradesK to 3
Be aware that this site does include some appropriate advertisements. The site requires Flash. You can get it from the TeachersFirst Toolbox page.
In the ClassroomShare this fairy tale on your interactive whiteboard or projector. Turn down the volume (or turn it off), and have students take turns reading the pages to the class. Challenge your students to write new endings for the story. Use the story to teach students about plot, characters, conflict, setting, and other key elements in a story. Create a story map on your interactive whiteboard, pausing to switch between the interactive version and your story map as the story plays aloud!
Grades3 to 8
In the ClassroomMake sure to address the simple rules, located on the homepage, with students prior to assigning projects. Based on the fact that this is a collaborative project and other children from around the world contribute to it, students must be open to varying opinions and works of art. Have students complete book talks individually or in small groups and then submit presentations for assessment. Check out the classrooms that used this as a medium for a summer reading program! Students could conduct book talks over holiday breaks or while on educational trips, as well. Allow for students to discuss books among each other as homework assignments. Have parents read and view their child's work and comment on it. Do not forget to obtain permission prior to submitting student work on-line.
This site uses a wiki tool as its foundation. To learn more about wikis and find logistical tips, see the TeachersFirst's Wiki Walk-Through.
GradesK to 4
In the ClassroomWhy not introduce a word activity on your interactive whiteboard or projector. Complete the "Captain Huggy Face's Freeze Frame Game" as a class. Then create a learning center using this website and allow students to view the interactive stories and play the games during your language arts block. And don't forget about the ready-to-go lesson plans. Use these plans to help simplify the complexities of the English language (synonyms, antonyms, onomatopoeia, etc.). Be sure to list this site on your class website and in your class newsletter so students can have some Word Girl fun at home. at home.
GradesK to 2
tag(s): phonics (71)
In the ClassroomDemonstrate how to use this website on your projector or interactive whiteboard. Then have students work on at their own pace on individual computers or with a partner to read/listen to the story. Be sure to include headsets! An audio version of the story is provided, so even non-readers can easily navigate this website.
GradesK to 2
In the ClassroomTurn up your speakers and use your interactive whiteboard or projector to display these engaging activities, and get ready for some excited students! Once the site is introduced, set this website up as a learning center (with headphones!) during your language arts block. Go to Super Stuff for printable language arts pages to use for extra practice. Share this link with parents via your teacher web page so they can help struggling readers enjoy learning.
GradesK to 2
tag(s): phonics (71)
In the ClassroomDemonstrate how to use this website on an interactive whiteboard or projector. Then have students work at their own pace on individual computers or with a partner. Don't forget the headsets! An audio version of the story is provided, so even non-readers can easily navigate this website.
GradesK to 2
tag(s): phonics (71)
In the ClassroomDemonstrate how to use this website on an interactive whiteboard or projector. Then have students work on individual computers at their own pace. (Headsets would work best). An audio version of the story is provided, so even non-readers can easily navigate this website. This story is a perfect activity for the first week of school!
Grades1 to 12
Material created can only be viewed within the program. Drawings are not saved as a JPG or pic file. However, a "snapshot" of the screen can be created by using these keys in Mac: apple, shift, and 4 and click/drag to surround the portion to save. In PC use: control/print screen. These snapshots can be uploaded or used as a picture in other applications.
In the ClassroomQuick start: Click stage and in the center pane, click on backgrounds. Click on paint to make a new background. Different colors, pens, and materials can be used to create the background or an image can be brought in from your computer. Objects in Scratch are called a Sprite and can be added in by choosing the folders below the screen. By clicking the script tab, blocks can be moved in to create motion, add sounds (even record your own message), and change the look of the Sprite. Blocks are linked on to each other to create a series of events. A control block dragged to the top of the blocks control which key starts the event. Advanced options include adding variables and other controls.
Be sure to check with your Technology Department, as many districts require authorization to download or install new applications. Projects can be shared online; however an account is required.
Work is saved to the computer itself and only shared online via an account. To avoid problems concerning content made by outsiders or issues with sharing, save the work locally and either create your own gallery on a supervised class website/wiki or set up a single account where you share the "best" projects online via your own log-in. Remind students of the school's Acceptable Use Policy and consequences of violations, if you do allow them to join/share. Images used should adhere to all copyright rules. Use pictures taken in class or those with Creative Commons licensing (and provide attribution!).
Practical tips: Students quickly catch on to this program when allowed to play and easily see what they can make from it. Provide a simple assignment with defined rules/tasks to learn the tools. Younger students may familiarize themselves more easily working with a partner. Have students use a storyboard to write down what they will do/draw/say in their creation in order to keep tabs on what students and their creations.
Possible uses: For the lower grades, Scratch provides unlimited possibilities. Use as a new way to show vocabulary usage. Use the paint program to add information to a picture from your class field trip or science experiment. Use Scratch to help in storytelling a concept in a new and unique way, such as how rocks are formed. In the upper grades, use Scratch to show complex material in a new way. For example, students can draw DNA and show replication, etc. through their drawings and storytelling. Draw the different movements of landforms in plate tectonics. Draw or illustrate solutions to Math problems.
GradesK to 1
In the ClassroomYour students will find the easy navigation at this site a bonus. Give them a laptop to read these books in their cozy reading spot (with headphones), or choral read with the entire classroom or group using an interactive whiteboard. Individualized reading opportunities abound using these books. For computer savvy parents, assign this as extra homework reading. They will not complain about this homework assignment.
GradesK to 1
In the ClassroomUse the site with or without audio (don't forget headphones or speakers). Use this website as a learning center for small groups of students to explore together. Or make the journey a class adventure by using an interactive whiteboard. This website could also be used to teach basic geography vocabulary, awareness of geographic locations (Australia), and reading skills together.
GradesK to 12
Be sure to try the model books and read the tips for writers and illustrators. Take the time to learn the tool. Click to see a sample we made for you and placed on our site.
In the ClassroomLocate or create your own copyright-free text and images for which you have the rights to make more than one copy (Fair Use does not apply!). Copy/paste the text and resize/upload the images--following simple directions to create the pages and accompanying hints. Be sure to learn about the three interactive characters who teach the strategies! Publish and download the files of the finished "books" and save on your computer. Extract the zipped files and save locally, on your network, or burn to CD so your students can access them directly.
The uses of this one are endless. If you take the time to get permission from the publisher to use text from some of your textbooks or reading books, you could create interactive versions to use in your classroom or with special ed students. More simply, use student-written stories and artwork (scanned -- or created in Paint) to create the "book." Imagine creating a class "book" at the end of a unit on Communities or Animals, and including images you take with your digital camera. If you copy the CD's, students could sign out the "book" and read it to relatives using their home computer. You can keep the "library" of past books to help future classes. Or ask your middle/high school or gifted students to create books as writing/service project for struggling readers to use.