TeachersFirst's Summer Sparklers

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Whether your want to create something, ignite new learning, or hold on to what you already know, you will savor these safe, reviewer-recommended resources. Be sure to share with your friends, neighbors, and family. Teachers will want to share this page with students departing for summer break.

Summer will never be "boring" again! 

 

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Prodigy Math Game - Rohan Mahimker and Alex Peters

Grades
K to 7
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Prodigy offers engaging interactives for seven to twelve-year-olds to practice their math! Use the anime-style avatars to travel the world and meet wizards and confront challenges....more
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Prodigy offers engaging interactives for seven to twelve-year-olds to practice their math! Use the anime-style avatars to travel the world and meet wizards and confront challenges. As math skills improve, your characters earn new spells that can be used only when math proficiencies are strengthened and expanded. The activities will differentiate, assigning and reviewing new math skills. Track your success and get help in areas where you are struggling. Some of the instruction videos (for parents and teachers) are hosted on YouTube. If your school blocks YouTube, you may want to familiarize yourself with this site at home.

tag(s): addition (213), division (144), fractions (213), number sense (84), numbers (179), subtraction (177)

In the Classroom

This activity would be perfect for practicing math concepts just introduced in class! Share this tool on your interactive whiteboard or projector. This site offers applied experience with math skills and provides critical thinking experience. Students will learn at their pace, and you can get real time reports about how and what your students are doing. There is an option to have the questions read aloud, so have the headphones/earbuds ready. Students will love the multiplayer experience and will forget they are practicing math. Bookmark this tool on your classroom computers and post it on your website for students to use at home. This is perfect to recommend to prevent summer slide.
 This resource requires Adobe Flash.

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TogetheRead - TeachersAndFamilies.com

Grades
K to 12
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Share family reading and activities around a monthly theme using this outstanding series by our partner site, TogetherForLearning. Interwoven into each TogetheRead theme are questions...more
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Share family reading and activities around a monthly theme using this outstanding series by our partner site, TogetherForLearning. Interwoven into each TogetheRead theme are questions and activities based on reading strategies for effective readers. Parents and children of all ages can select books from the annotated lists, read together, and do related free or low-cost activities. Written in language understandable to parents and without education "jargon" so familiar to teachers, these themes will help any child become a a better reader and enjoy sharing family time. Books are grouped into "bands": preschool/picture books, early elementary, upper elementary to middle school, upper middle school to young adult, and mature teen to adult books. Activities accompany each age group, and participants can contribute their own activity suggestions, as well.

tag(s): independent reading (97), parents (44)

In the Classroom

Share this link on your teacher web page or in a newsletter. You might even talk to your parent organization about promoting TogetheRead as a whole-school activity. Maybe even host a TogetheRead family evening in the gym or library.

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Knowledge Adventure - Knowledge Adventure, Inc

Grades
K to 6
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Find educational activities to reinforce skills for preschool through elementary school students at Knowledge Adventure. Browse by grade, subject, or age. View a list of all games in...more
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Find educational activities to reinforce skills for preschool through elementary school students at Knowledge Adventure. Browse by grade, subject, or age. View a list of all games in alphabetical order. Choose any game then read the short instructions before playing. Explore activities to practice typing, sight words, counting, memory puzzles, logic, science, art, color, and more. Most of the activities at the site appear to have been created by Knowledge Adventures, but some were created by other sites and included here (such as JumpStart). The site was created in the UK, so some of the pronunciations and spellings may differ from those in American English.
This site includes advertising.

tag(s): alphabet (88), capitals (21), counting (113), keyboarding (29), logic (202), preK (230), puzzles (181), sight words (31), spelling (160), word choice (25)

In the Classroom

Share (and have a student demonstrate) this site on your interactive whiteboard or projector. Be sure to include this site on your class web page for students to access both in and outside of class for further practice. Create links to specific skill games on classroom computers for center time or indoor recess. There are some advertisements on the right side. Warn your students to avoid them.
 This resource requires Adobe Flash.

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MobyMax: Complete K-8 Curriculum - MobyMax.com

Grades
K to 8
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Practice and improve math and vocabulary skills through pre-testing students and assigning differentiated activities at MobyMax. Pre-tests target areas of struggle and assign...more
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Practice and improve math and vocabulary skills through pre-testing students and assigning differentiated activities at MobyMax. Pre-tests target areas of struggle and assign curriculum based on need. The progress tracking throughout is based on Common Core standards. Adjust assigned curriculum on your own if desired by reassigning a pre-test or assigning your own lessons. Register using your email and school information to begin. Add your student list. Once created students have their own individual login to begin placement testing. Set student IEP goals using Common Core standards. Choose from tabs on the teacher page to view student progress reports, testing, lessons, and IEP progress. There is a PRO account that costs money, this review is only for the FREE portion.
This site includes advertising.

tag(s): addition (213), division (144), fluency (24), multiplication (195), subtraction (177), vocabulary (306), vocabulary development (103)

In the Classroom

Create a classroom account. Use MobyMax for nightly homework, for use during centers, or computer lab time. Share with parents as an excellent resource for practice of math and vocabulary skills at home. Use the pre-testing features at the beginning of the school-year to get students started at the correct levels. Use this tool to differentiate for all students. Your gifted students can pretest out of material already learned and receive activities and instruction at their individual level. Remedial students can use this site to meet IEP goals (already saved on this site). Be sure to bookmark this site to use with all levels of students.

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Times Tables Test - tablestest.com

Grades
3 to 7
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Practice basic multiplication facts at this interactive site. There are six levels that test your knowledge of times tables as well as speed. Earn points for correct answers and speed....more
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Practice basic multiplication facts at this interactive site. There are six levels that test your knowledge of times tables as well as speed. Earn points for correct answers and speed. Use the drop down box to change the language to Spanish, French, and other options.

tag(s): multiplication (195)

In the Classroom

Demonstrate on your interactive whiteboard for a quick five minute introduction. Create a link on classroom computers and have students challenge themselves to increase speed, accuracy, and skill levels. Share a link on your class website or blog for student practice at home. This is a great site to include for students to use to practice during the summer months. It is also useful on BYOD tablets, since it does not require Flash and uses a simple "click" interface.

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Quest - Alex Warren

Grades
5 to 12
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Create text-based adventure games and interactive fiction using Quest! No programming language required. You can also play games already designed by others. Choose the "play" option...more
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Create text-based adventure games and interactive fiction using Quest! No programming language required. You can also play games already designed by others. Choose the "play" option from the top of the web page to view and play games such as The Mansion or Shipwrecked. Play games online or download to your Windows computer. Design your own games online using your web browser or download software to your Windows PC to work offline. Create an account in Quest to begin creating activities. View the video tutorial for an overview of the activities and creation processes. Create rooms and objects or tasks for each room. Create more complex games by following complete instructions found in the web browser version of the game system creator. Add sound files and even videos to games in addition to tasks. An option allows players to choose their own endings to games. There is a documentation wiki and a forum to get help. This site may require some tinkering around to figure it out! But it is well worth the time. Note: since games available for Play are created by the general public, you will want to preview for appropriateness.

tag(s): interactive stories (29), process writing (33)

In the Classroom

Challenge students to create games when studying process writing of essays. Instead of writing a dry essay, create an object of entertainment with an interactive story. Use steps of the game to provide supporting evidence for the essay. Create simple text games to show the typical patterns of stories. Have a contest to see which group of students in your class can imagine the best game scenario. In science class, have student groups create games that follow the life of a plant or animal where players collect all the needed nutrients or conditions the plant/animal needs to survive. In civics/government class, have students create a game around getting elected, passing a bill, or ending Washington gridlock! Don't have time to have your students actually CREATE a game? Create your own "review" game for your students to use to prepare for the big test. This would be ideal if it is a unit that you teach yearly; you can reuse your game! Share some of the ready-made games on your interactive whiteboard or projector. Share this link with parents on your class website. Students may enjoy the challenge of creating a game during summer break.

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Writer Igniter - Gabriela Pereira

Grades
5 to 12
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Writer Igniter is an "easy to use" writing prompt creator to set minds in motion! Choose the shuffle button then watch the four categories spin before stopping to set the ...more
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Writer Igniter is an "easy to use" writing prompt creator to set minds in motion! Choose the shuffle button then watch the four categories spin before stopping to set the scene for a story. Categories include character, situation, setting, and prop. Writer Igniter is also part of a larger website called DIY MFA offering articles and information for Writing with Focus and Reading with Purpose. Designed to encourage and offer tools for writers, it is a wealth of information for any aspiring writer, though it is intended for adults.

tag(s): creative writing (137), writers workshop (19), writing prompts (85)

In the Classroom

Engage students using the Writer Igniter for any creative writing assignment or to help them think about story patterns as you brainstorm as a class to generate a story outline. Click shuffle and let the fun begin! Use the Igniter for all members of a class to begin with the same scenario or allow students to shuffle their own story starter. Have students use Page Flip-Flap (reviewed here) to turn their Word documents, PDFs, and images into an online book. There is even a page-turning effect! Share articles from Writer Igniter to teach writing skills, or assign students to read and share information from articles with classmates. World language students could write tales in their new language.

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Smarty Games - smartygames.com

Grades
K to 4
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Smarty Games offers educational games for pre-kindergarten and elementary students on a variety of topics. Topics include math, reading, coloring, dress-up, and puzzles. Some specific...more
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Smarty Games offers educational games for pre-kindergarten and elementary students on a variety of topics. Topics include math, reading, coloring, dress-up, and puzzles. Some specific topics include counting, time, money, mazes, sudoku, and several others. Choose a topic to begin. Choose your specific activity within that topic (most have varied levels for differentiation). Each option includes a short description of the game and content included. Some options-- such as the dot to dot games --offer the option of printing.

tag(s): addition (213), alphabet (88), colors (70), counting (113), digital storytelling (87), division (144), fractions (213), money (175), multiplication (195), parts of speech (62), preK (230), puzzles (181), subtraction (177), sudoku (17), time (131)

In the Classroom

Smarty Games is an excellent resource for classroom computers or your interactive whiteboard/projector as a center. Create a link on classroom computers for students to explore and play games to reinforce skills. Display games or interactives on your whiteboard. Use the interactive clock located under the time section on your interactive whiteboard to demonstrate telling time. Be sure to share this site with parents via your class website or newsletter as an excellent site for educational games at home. Kids are having so much fun, they don't realize they are learning.
 This resource requires Adobe Flash.

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Montage - Fuse Labs

Grades
4 to 12
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Montage will create a visual display of search results for any topic you choose. The result is a highly professional looking display of web pages, RSS feeds, Twitter, Bing News, ...more
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Montage will create a visual display of search results for any topic you choose. The result is a highly professional looking display of web pages, RSS feeds, Twitter, Bing News, and YouTube videos (based on your search). The first page that comes up looks similar to a newsletter, but if you do not like that display, you can click next to view more display options. For each of the Montage pages, you can edit, add, or delete widgets. "Widgets" are what Montage calls the pieces of information on a page. You do not need to register to create a Montage, just type in your topic. In order to save a Montage, you will need to sign in and create an account with your Facebook, Twitter, or Windows Live I.D. Share your Montage via Twitter or Facebook or from the url you get when you "Publish" it. It is also intriguing to look at what other people have searched and the resulting Montage. Note that this is public content, so preview before showing to a classroom or children. The introduction video requires Flash, the rest of the site does not.

tag(s): bookmarks (59), creativity (95), flexibility (7), images (215), news (169), search engines (58), visual thinking (12), vocabulary (306)

In the Classroom

Introduce any topic or unit by creating a montage or creating book talks by using Montage. Spark a quick discussion to assess prior knowledge using this visual display. It might be best to use a whole class Twitter account to set up a Montage account and more easily supervise students using this tool. Since this is a public site that displays searches from others, it is best to monitor what the students are searching or browsing in the gallery. At first you may be more comfortable using it on your interactive whiteboard (or projector). You could also preview what is on the page for that class period. Students can explore different current events to see different points of view, and practice their informational reading skills. They can also use the visual as an introduction to a speech. This might be a good program to teach layout and design in an art, yearbook, or journalism class.

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Digital Booktalk - Florida Gulf Coast University

Grades
K to 12
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On the Digital Book Talk site, you will find high quality book trailers that will whet your appetite for a good book. Search for books by content level and interests. ...more
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On the Digital Book Talk site, you will find high quality book trailers that will whet your appetite for a good book. Search for books by content level and interests. Then click on a book to be taken to the book's page. Included on each page is a short video (some created by students), book synopsis, lexile level, publication date, number of pages, genre, and ISBN number. Teachers and library/media specialists can join the project and contribute videos. Read the "UB the Director" area ( UB=You Be).

tag(s): book lists (102), independent reading (97)

In the Classroom

This is an excellent place for students to start their search for a book that will hold their interest. Find a book trailer to introduce a novel that the whole class will be reading or set up classroom computers with a link to Digital Book Talk where students can be inspired to find their next read. Have students create their own book talks and share the videos using a tool such as TeacherTube reviewed here. Share this site on your teacher web page for students and families to access during summer.
 This resource requires Adobe Flash.

Comments

What a terrific summer resource for students and parents! Patricia, NJ, Grades: 6 - 12

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The National Gallery of Art NGAKids Art Zone - The National Gallery of Arts

Grades
K to 8
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Find an incredible number of activities that will challenge, amuse, entertain and engage young artists for hours on end. Tools include a collage machine, 3-D twirler, still life, paintbox,...more
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Find an incredible number of activities that will challenge, amuse, entertain and engage young artists for hours on end. Tools include a collage machine, 3-D twirler, still life, paintbox, and much more. Scroll down the home page to find links to activities with a short description of the activity along with directions on use. Some activities require Shockwave plugins, and some include a link to print finished products or save as an image file on computers. Adobe Shockwave for Windows will download automatically with your permission. Mac users are advised to download the desktop version. There is now a free iPad app with nine new activities.

tag(s): collages (16), drawing (68), painting (60)

In the Classroom

Demonstrate different representations and forms of art on your projector or interactive whiteboard. Art teachers will like the ability to simulate many art techniques without purchasing materials!Let students choose one of the activities to create images for use with summarizing and retelling stories. After creating images which they download, have students create an online book of images and captions using a site such as bookr (reviewed here). Have students create and download an image then write a story about the picture.
 This resource requires PDF reader software like Adobe Acrobat.

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I Want to Know! Helping students explore a wonder-filled summer - TeachersFirst

Grades
K to 6
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This installment in the Help I lost my library/media specialist series offers lessons and resources to send your students off for the summer ready to explore their "I Wonder" lists....more
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This installment in the Help I lost my library/media specialist series offers lessons and resources to send your students off for the summer ready to explore their "I Wonder" lists. Written by an experienced elementary library/media specialist, the feature includes ideas for making an "I Wonder" notebook or journal, kid-friendly search tools, and tools for teaching effective web searching. Help your students look ahead to a summer of self-directed learning, just for the fun of it!

tag(s): search strategies (23)

In the Classroom

Make "I Want to Know" the theme for your final month of the school year as you reinforce lifelong learning. The tools in this article are must-shares for parents to know about. Include them in your final newsletter or web page update for the year as students venture off for the summer.

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Zoodles - Mark Williamson & Rich Humphrey

Grades
K to 3
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Zoodles offers a safe web platform for kids that includes fun and educational games, videos, and activities. The BASIC membership to this tool includes countless activities in a variety...more
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Zoodles offers a safe web platform for kids that includes fun and educational games, videos, and activities. The BASIC membership to this tool includes countless activities in a variety of subject areas. Many of the activities come from other sites (Starfall, PBS kids, etc.). But this is a nice compilation of subjects and activities. The safety in this program is that once it is downloaded and opened, children don't view the regular computer toolbars anymore. Thus they can't search the web on their own. To exit the program, click QUIT and OK.

There is a parent play-along mode that helps guide learning experiences in a more personal way. Zoodles has been created to work on virtually any type of computer, including tablets and smart phones. Games are searchable by age (toddler to 8 yrs old), and subject. Many games will also have parent ratings with the educational and fun value of the activity. Creating an account is easy and requires simple user information including email and the child's age. This is used to populate age-appropriate games. There is a premium membership with more features.
This site includes advertising.

tag(s): addition (213), body systems (53), constitution (69), counting (113), grammar (209), numbers (179), operations (101), phonics (69), preK (230), subtraction (177)

In the Classroom

Create 2 or 3 (or more, as needed) classroom accounts with different age levels to provide diversity for students. Each account then be bookmarked on classroom computers for student use. Share this site through your classroom blog or newsletter as a resource for learning games at home. Use activities from the site on your interactive whiteboard or projector as a classroom activity. Provide this link to parents to use on rainy days or during the summer.
 This resource requires Adobe Flash.

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24/7 Science - The Lawrence Hall of Science

Grades
K to 6
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24/7 Science by The Lawrence Hall of Science has interactives and hands-on activities for elementary school students. Some (such as Oobleck) are even appropriate for the pre-kindergarten...more
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24/7 Science by The Lawrence Hall of Science has interactives and hands-on activities for elementary school students. Some (such as Oobleck) are even appropriate for the pre-kindergarten crowd. The game section contains 25+ online educational interactive related to space, seasons, car design, body functions, Whale Sounds, and more. The hands-on activities area has numerous science learning activities that may require supervision: How Old is Your Penny?, Measure Yourself, Parachute Drop, Oobleck, and others. Be sure to scroll down past the activity, as many of them also include suggestions for related videos. The site contains a link to an educator's section that is coming soon.

tag(s): animals (219), human body (89), measurement (145), planets (105), plants (112), preK (230), seasons (34), STEM (59)

In the Classroom

Share activities on your interactive whiteboard with students. Then allow them time to explore and practice on their own. Create a link on classroom students for students to try the educational "games," then journal about what they learned. Use these activities for Science nights at your school or as part of a STEM family focus. This is a great site to include for summer sites for students to explore!
 This resource requires Adobe Flash.

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Arcade Diner - Pomegranate Software

Grades
K to 10
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Arcade Diner offers some interesting and unusual "edutainment" for practicing math, science, and problem-solving skills. "The irRegular Game of Life" leads you through 42 levels of...more
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Arcade Diner offers some interesting and unusual "edutainment" for practicing math, science, and problem-solving skills. "The irRegular Game of Life" leads you through 42 levels of cell-placing and evolving pattern placement. "Milo Physics" demonstrates concepts of physics by dropping objects and collecting stars to proceed to different levels. Also included are board games such as chess and mahjong, number games, and puzzle games. There are a great many logic activities and much more. Most activities include a visual tutorial. The site offers a sign-up for posting high scores; however, it isn't required to play games. Note: Some games play an approximately 30 second advertisement before loading.
This site includes advertising.

tag(s): atoms (50), cells (94), critical thinking (65), fractions (213), geometric shapes (124), logic (202), number sense (84), numbers (179), patterns (75), problem solving (184), puzzles (181), symmetry (49)

In the Classroom

Create a link to this site on classroom computers to use as a center. Share this site on your classroom website or blog for students to use at home. This is a fabulous site to provide to students/families to use over summer break!
 This resource requires Adobe Flash.

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ABCya - ABCYA.com, l.l.c,

Grades
K to 5
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ABCya.com, developed by a web developer turned computer teacher, aims to provide educational games and activities for elementary students. Nearly every subject is included. Simply click...more
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ABCya.com, developed by a web developer turned computer teacher, aims to provide educational games and activities for elementary students. Nearly every subject is included. Simply click on your grade level (K-5) and find what is available under language arts, math, and other subjects. Specific topics range from basic typing activities to creating word clouds to grammar games (at all levels) and so much more. The interactives are teacher approved and offer colorful and attention grabbing ways for learning. Opportunities for sharing on Facebook, tweeting, and sharing on social bookmarking sites are incorporated. This is a MUST SEE site for elementary teachers looking for some great practice sites for basic skills!
This site includes advertising.

tag(s): alphabet (88), decimals (116), drawing (68), fractions (213), geometric shapes (124), keyboarding (29), latitude (13), literacy (84), longitude (13), number sense (84), numbers (179), operations (101), preK (230)

In the Classroom

Share this site on your interactive whiteboard or projector, demonstration how to use the specific tool/activity. Create a learning center AT the whiteboard or on individual laptops and allow students to try it out on their own. List this as a student and parent resource on your classroom website. Use this site to informally assess skills to tell you which students to allow to do alternative work or go ahead. Allow your gifted students to explore new concepts while providing necessary reinforcement for those learners that need a technology-inspired method to help master learning goals. This is an excellent tool for differentiating. Provide as an anticipatory guide for new units.
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VoiceThread - VoiceThread

Grades
K to 12
14 Favorites 0  Comments
 
Voicethread allows you to upload images (from your digital camera, scanner, or even paint program). You can also upoad PowerPoint slides. Then students can record or write their own...more
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Voicethread allows you to upload images (from your digital camera, scanner, or even paint program). You can also upoad PowerPoint slides. Then students can record or write their own comments and/or narration about the images/slides. Other listeners can "comment" back, as well. TeachersFirst is providing the link to the VoiceThread home page but suggests that you first watch this quick explanation about two types of FREE educator memberships being offered for classroom teachers (one free, the other with premium features and more students, but at a cost). You can click to go to the home page from there. Access to the ed.voicethread site (as opposed to www.voicethread) is restricted to grades K-12 students, educators, and administrators. VoiceThread explains how to set up a classroom account and has some ideas for classroom use, as well. Ideas from the TeachersFirst Edge review team are listed below, under "In the classroom."

Voicethread now offers a free iOS app for iPhone, iPad, and iPod touch. It is free through the iTunes app store. Projects work seamlessly on both computer and mobile iOS devices, so projects started on one machine can be edited and/or viewed on another. Your ed.Voicethread account works in both places.

tag(s): digital storytelling (87), speech (88)

In the Classroom

You will be logged into your account immediately after you fill in the registration form. You must "apply" to designate your account as an educator account once it is set up. Click on "browse" to see many examples, including tutorials. Watch the "One Minute Voicethread" to get a very quick overview of how easy it is to create a digital story. Set up student identities. Use first names only. You need to know how to locate and upload saved pictures or PowerPoint files. If you want to use audio, the COOL tool,you WILL need a microphone, either plugged into your computer or built in. They can be purchased for less than $10 at a discount or electronics store. Once you create a Voicethread, it can be shared by clicking :share" from the menu or at the end of viewing it and copying the URL to send via email or other means, inviting others to comment back. Ed voicethreads have comment moderation turned on by default and are private by default. As the teacher, you can change these settings.

Of course, you should be sure that you have the RIGHTS to any images you upload. Fair Use does not apply when you put an image on the web!

Invite parents to share in the results (The VoiceThread classroom page tells you more about this). TeachersFirst does not recommend using actual, identifiable pictures of children. Let them draw a picture or take a digital picture of an object that somehow represents them (middle schoolers will love that idea!). If you allow others to "comment" on student Voicethreads, the experience can be both wonderful and a bit intimidating. Use this opportunity to promote ethical and kind interaction with other students and their projects.

Elementary classes can create or take pictures, then ask each child to talk about the images. Each child can comment on the SAME pictures, creating a collaborative collection of responses. After a field trip or special class event, you can assign groups of students to explain each of the digital pictures you took and how they relate to curriculum topics. In art class, students can critique works of their own or of fellow students. In language arts classes, students can scan and comment on writing pieces as part of a reflective phase of the writing process. Or post an image as a prewriting activity and allow students to respond orally in an idea-generating phase. In social studies, have students provide a picture of a grandparent then narrate what they learned about that grandparent from interviewing him/her. Have students create narrated pictures as gifts (for parents or other care givers) for special occasions, winter holidays, Thanksgiving, Valentine's Day, Mother's Day, Father's Day, etc.. During a science experiment or demo, have a student take pictures of the steps. Then ask students to "narrate" them by commenting on what is happening. The narration assignment could even be a center activity or an assignment on a few classroom computers for students to rotate through. What a great way to review and apply key vocabulary! Be sure they identify their voices if you are using a single class account and want to be able to assess understanding. Other ideas: narrated local history projects (pictures of local sites), audio "museum tours" of artifacts (photos) or war veterans telling their stories along with images of their uniforms or old photos. Speech/language, ESL/ELL or early childhood teachers could use this tool to promote vocabulary development and oral expression.

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TeachersFirst Brain Twister - TeachersFirst

Grades
3 to 9
25 Favorites 0  Comments
These ten question quizzes, written by Thinking Teachers, change each Friday and are ready to go with one edition for middle school students and one for elementary students. The quiz...more
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These ten question quizzes, written by Thinking Teachers, change each Friday and are ready to go with one edition for middle school students and one for elementary students. The quiz presents ten questions, one at a time. You have only ONE try to pick the correct answer, so think carefully. You get points for each correct answer, totaling up to a possible 100. When you finish, you see your score and how long you spent. Questions are intended to stretch your thinking. Printable versions are available along with answers to the previous week's Twister. A new version of the Twister is mobile-friendly and adjusts to any screen size. Take the Twister with you wherever you go!

In the Classroom

Since elementary and middle school curriculum content varies from location to location, it is unlikely that every question will fall within the scope of your school's curriculum. High point questions may fall outside standard classroom fare. Five point questions tend to be at the knowledge/comprehension/application level of Bloom's taxonomy and closer to "normal" content. Ten pointers are more likely cross-curricular application/analysis, and twenty pointers require analytical thinking and a wider experience level, such as knowledge of current events or information beyond normal curricula. Twenty pointers may require more than one student's input.

Do the questions as a whole-class activity on a multimedia projector or interactive whiteboard with students contributing the portions of knowledge they do know toward solving the question. Using teamwork and thinking aloud can often help the group reach a conclusion that no single member could do on his/her own. They can each test different math answers to see which one is correct. This process will not only foster thinking aloud and group communication, but also model test-taking skills for multiple choice.

Alternatively, do the Twister in small groups, with one student an answer entry but others as researchers on neighboring computers to find out what the group does not know. It may be helpful to assign roles: moderator (assigns what to find out and helps the group reach consensus), keyboarder (enters responses, may conduct research in a new window), or researchers (find information as assigned). Use the Twisters to model ad teach information literacy skills in a high-motivation activity. Or offer the Twisters as an enrichment challenge or extra credit option for students to do at home. Ask parents to be on the honor system to sign a note indicating the score their child achieved. Since parents may be overly interested in helping, you may want to simply give extra credit for anyone completing the quiz, no matter the score. Be sure to mark this ready to go exclusive in your favorites and share it on your teacher class web page.

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100 Best Books - TeachersFirst

Grades
K to 12
8 Favorites 0  Comments
TeachersFirst offers a listing of 100 of the best books for children, along with links to TeachersFirst's content about some of those books. Check out this list for some new ...more
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TeachersFirst offers a listing of 100 of the best books for children, along with links to TeachersFirst's content about some of those books. Check out this list for some new literature ideas! The original list came from an NEA member poll. Many newer books have been suggested since then, but this list remains a solid offering of "classics."

tag(s): reading lists (66)

In the Classroom

This is a great starting point for reluctant readers. Provide this list (or link) to parents to use during the summer months to help with the "I'm bored" days. Why not challenge your students to read their way through the list during the school year by setting a personal goal and documenting their reading journey in a reading journal, blog, or class wiki with one page per student? They will enjoy looking back over their reading year!

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Bookemon - Bookemon, Inc.

Grades
K to 12
34 Favorites 1  Comments
 
Write your own original books, add images and artwork as illustrations, and read your published books in interactive, online form. There is no fee for the online publication and sharing....more
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Write your own original books, add images and artwork as illustrations, and read your published books in interactive, online form. There is no fee for the online publication and sharing. This is the ultimate in "digital storytelling." Click "Explore" to browse many "public" examples on the templates page of books created by others. Take advantage of the free apps that make Bookemon even easier to use with any device! Use Bookemon Reader to READ books you created in Bookemon or Bookemon edCenter (available for both iOS and Android). BookPress for IOS devices only allows you to CREATE books from scratch, including using photos from your iPad/iPhone. InstaPress (for IOS only) offers options to make books from documents, pdfs, etc. to be shared on mobile devices as eBooks. Here is an example of a book created by the TeachersFirst Edge editors. Once you set up free membership in this site, students (or teachers) can select to create from a blank start or using templates provided. You can also create a book starter of your own as an example so students can follow the prompts you have created. The book creator allows you to upload your own images and to create books from a Word document or PowerPoint file you have already made. EdCenter uers can collaborate on books.

After you save and publish the work, share the URL so people can read the entire thing online, either among an audience of "just my friends" or publicly. They also offer the embed code to place your books in a class or school web page, wiki, or blog. The easiest option is to copy the address of the new window displaying the interactive book. There is an option to have the book printed for a fee, but this is not required. You can also read books created by others (if they make them public). Use the fully-public option to create learning materials for classes to access year to year for at-home review or reading practice.

This site requires a simple registration. Teachers can set up an edCenter for their school or class in accordance with school policies. See more detailed suggestions "In the Classroom" below and in our sample book! Newer mobile device options include players to view your books on iPads and more.

tag(s): creative writing (137), digital storytelling (87), writing (313)

In the Classroom

SKIP the profile and friends areas to get to the book creator to play with the tools a bit. Before you get too involved, create an edCenter to minimize advertising and create books in your own teacher-friendly class environment. Use the edCenter to register students and establish privacy settings for your class. No student emails are required.

On the Create Books page, choose from using a blank book, starting from a file, or using a template. Choose "school" to see projects from other classes or a sample created by you or a student team working in advance along with you. Explore ready-made themes (seasonal, topical, etc.) or use "open theme." Choose book dimensions (match layout shape to any uploaded files, such as PowerPoint slides). Enter settings and description of your book (editable later), including who is allowed to "see" it: everyone, just friends, or private. Again choose a "theme" - more of a category where Bookemon will list your completed book. A logical option is "school." Experiment with tools to upload files (within file limits), add images, add text, etc. Written help is offered as you go, but there is no video demo. SAVE often. Turn margins on to avoid chopping content. To share the book, you must "publish" it (i.e. finalize).

Once published, locate the book under "My Books" and use options to share (by email--and see the URL to copy from there), "Make a new edition" to create a new version--also useful for treating the original as a template for later books), Post to Other Sites offers embed codes. The BEST option is to click the book COVER which opens a new window without ads or "stuff," and copy the ADDRESS of that window to paste into email, etc. You can also mark that clean window view as a Favorite on a classroom computer!

Use your edCenter settings to manage social networking features. This will avoid the "public" Bookemon features such as opportunities to share address books, use social tools such as Facebook to share your books, etc. Teacher-controlled edCenter accounts are probably the easiest option for managing within school policies.

With younger students, have them begin their work in PowerPoint then upload for whole-class books. See an example, created by the TeachersFirst Edge editors . The example is full of ideas for classroom use from Kindergarten to high school, including science concept tales, poetry books, general writing, math problem solve-its, and more. ANY grade can use this tool, depending on the amount of direction by the teacher. (By the way, the correct answer to the problem in the sample book is c. 27.) Another idea: have students create personalized books for their parents or grandparents for special occasions (Mother's Day, Father's Day, or Grandparent's Day).

Use the mobile device features offered in your BYOD classroom to make and share books, PDF's, and more. Tip: Use this site for a guided introduction to social networking as a class, an excellent teaching opportunity for digital citizenship in the context of a project.

This is one of the best creative tools for gifted students to go above and beyond regular curriculum. Don't let the "juvenile" appearance fool you. Even older students can write and include images to create and share books of any length. Any independent research or writing project can become an interactive book. Even advanced science experiments and lab reports can be shared online using this tool. Once you have one book, you can use that as a template for others. Inspire your gifted students to create literary magazine or even a personal online "portfolio" of writing, artwork, or photography presented in interactive book form.

Comments

This is one of my all time favorite creative tools. Very versatile. Great for making "buddy books" or for teacher-created learning "books." Make one as a whole class to summarize a science unit in primary grades. I even use it personally to make fee online "gifts" for children I know. I did purchase one print version, and it looked great. Thinking, PA, Grades: 5 - 10

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