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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Bookemon - Bookemon, Inc.

Grades
K to 12
42 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 users 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.
This site includes advertising.

tag(s): creative writing (166), digital storytelling (144), writing (359)

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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Story Jumper - storyjumper.com

Grades
2 to 8
8 Favorites 0  Comments
Story Jumper helps you write and illustrate stories in just seven steps-- then share them online. Begin by selecting a story format and accompanying graphic. Manipulate the text and...more
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Story Jumper helps you write and illustrate stories in just seven steps-- then share them online. Begin by selecting a story format and accompanying graphic. Manipulate the text and add other items to the picture that forms with each addition to the story. You also change the background and upload photos. Add original drawings, as well. When finished with a particular scene, go on to the next page by clicking the arrow. In order to save and share stories online, writers must complete a free registration. Although there is an option to buy the finished story in print format, this is not necessary to use the site. There is a complete guide for the teacher-friendly Classroom Edition offering detailed directions for setting up class accounts, etc.

tag(s): writing (359)

In the Classroom

Although the sentences and graphics available appear juvenile, the fact that writers can delete the text and add their own original text, photos, and drawings makes this site flexible enough to use with older students, as well. This activity would work well for individual or pairs of students in a lab or on laptops. Ask your students to visit the site and create an online book with their original writings, drawings, and photos. ESL and ELL students will be able to use the site easily, and will learn appropriate sentence structure and add to their vocabulary by selecting new items to put into the graphic. Older students can also create "little buddy" books for younger students to read and share.
 This resource requires Adobe Flash.

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Tate Kids - Tate Gallery

Grades
1 to 6
0 Favorites 0  Comments
   
Winner of a 2009 Youth Webby Award, Tate Kids connects the art of the past and present to the world of blogging, on-line activities, storytelling, and craft making. Each project ...more
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Winner of a 2009 Youth Webby Award, Tate Kids connects the art of the past and present to the world of blogging, on-line activities, storytelling, and craft making. Each project cleverly weaves in a child friendly art history or theory lesson. Features such as "Tate Paint" invite viewers to create and share their own animated masterpiece on-line. Students can select pieces from the Tate Kids Collection or upload their own artwork into the "My Gallery" space and create a personal virtual museum available to visitors around the world. This site screens all submissions before they appear on-line and provides safety tips for children to review with an adult. Signing up for the "My Gallery" option requires a username and password, but no email address is required. Create a sunset reminiscent of Joseph Turner's paintings or experiment body movements suggestive of Bruce Nauman's performance art. Activities such as these and many more craft ideas are located on the "Tate Create" page. The site includes a complete list of materials, procedures, and helpful hints needed for the activities. Each lesson is kid tested at the Tate Gallery itself and corresponds to works of art either on display at the Tate or a part of their permanent collection. The site was created in the UK, so some of the pronunciations and spellings may differ from those in American English.

tag(s): creativity (109), dance (28), england (57)

In the Classroom

You will also find a complete list of materials, procedures, and helpful hints needed for the activities. Connect these tasks to a literature study unit or as art projects. The website's on-line activities and films are all compatible with an interactive whiteboard. Some lessons contain black line masters of artwork that are available for download. If you plan on using the "My Gallery" feature with your class, check with your administrator to be sure that your school allows students to set up individual accounts on on-line sites. Be sure to include this site on your class web page for students to access during summer break or for creative family activities at home.
 This resource requires PDF reader software like Adobe Acrobat.

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Reading Suggestions - TeachersFirst

Grades
K to 12
7 Favorites 0  Comments
This site, created by our teacher-editors, offers a reading list for students in all grades. Simply click on the grade level that you wish to explore and a book list ...more
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This site, created by our teacher-editors, offers a reading list for students in all grades. Simply click on the grade level that you wish to explore and a book list will be provided. Most books offer a short description and some link to other titles by the same author. New titles are added frequently, so be sure to check back.

In the Classroom

Save this site on your classroom computers' favorites, so students can easily access the site to find new books to read! Share this link on your class website. This is an excellent resource to provide for summer reading.

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Computer Lab Favorites - Scholastic

Grades
K to 5
9 Favorites 0  Comments
  
All of the activities at this site are designed to take 15-30 minutes and include language arts, math, science, social studies, and Spanish. You can also choose your grade levels: ...more
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All of the activities at this site are designed to take 15-30 minutes and include language arts, math, science, social studies, and Spanish. You can also choose your grade levels: k-2 or 3-5. There are over 50 interactive stories and activities here to share. Examples of activities include Rhyme with Reggie, Myth Brainstorming Machine, Practice Counting Stars, Figure out a Pizza Puzzle, Tour the Mayflower, Build a Plane, Build a Dinosaur, Play Sports on the Moon, Make Weather Happen, and countless others.

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.

tag(s): dinosaurs (57), pilgrims (17), poetry (228), preK (281), spelling (168)

In the Classroom

Save 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.
 This resource requires Adobe Flash.

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Johnnie's Story Page - Johnnie Wilson

Grades
K to 12
1 Favorites 0  Comments
  
This website offers a compilation of links to interactive stories designed in the categories of Beginning Readers, Classic Stories, and Older Readers. The site was created by Johnnie...more
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This website offers a compilation of links to interactive stories designed in the categories of Beginning Readers, Classic Stories, and Older Readers. The site was created by Johnnie Wilson, a mentor math coach and former 5th grade teacher. He has found the "best of the best" interactive stories and activities on the web! The reading levels vary, so preview the stories before sharing them with your students.

tag(s): spelling (168)

In the Classroom

What a fabulous way to share classic stories, fables, fairy tales, and myths! Use your interactive whiteboard or projector to introduce your students to these wonderful stories. Use this website in your language arts classes, special education classes, with your ESL and ELL students to share these classic stories, or the other topics provided. Challenge your gifted students to create new "classics." Have students investigate the sites on their own (using headsets). Save this site as a favorite on your classroom computers. With elementary students use this site during your language arts block, use this website as a learning center for students to explore independently. (Be sure to provide headsets). Don't forget to list this link in your class newsletter or on your class website, so students can practice their reading skills at home or maintain skills during vacations.
 This resource requires Adobe Flash.

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Digger and the Gang - BBC

Grades
K to 6
5 Favorites 0  Comments
  
This site offers an eclectic mix of topics (and interactives) divided up by age level. All ages include science, math, language arts, music, art, and more! Ages 5-7 will enjoy ...more
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This site offers an eclectic mix of topics (and interactives) divided up by age level. All ages include science, math, language arts, music, art, and more! Ages 5-7 will enjoy Nash's Adventures: spelling, counting, sinking and floating interactives, and more. For ages 7-9, there is Flick's Adventure. This exciting "adventure" includes several interactives, many revolving around "adventures" (through a haunted house, riding a roller coaster, and walking up a mountain). Sprat's Adventures offers interactives and more for ages 9 to 11. The activities takes students virtually to a museum, a circus, and outer space! In addition to the numerous interactive activities, there are also printable pages, comics, songs, e-cards, and more. Attention Teachers - there is a link with lesson plans, printable pages, lesson ideas, and more available if you click on Home and then Teachers . Be aware, since this site was created by the BBC, you may notice some slight spelling and language differences. Nearly all of these activities require Flash. You can get it from the TeachersFirst Toolbox page..

tag(s): addition (251), charts and graphs (195), counting (120), money (193), spelling (168)

In the Classroom

This site can easily be differentiated using the specific age ranges provided. Use this site to differentiate for your special education, ESL, or ELL students.

Be sure to visit the Teachers Link for some excellent ideas. All of the activities are perfect for learning stations, individual computers, or on an interactive whiteboard or projection screen. The offerings available are so diverse, that this website could be used throughout several language arts, math, science, art, and music lessons. Feature this website in your class newsletter or on your website so students can practice these educational activities at home.
  This resource requires Adobe Flash and PDF reader software like Adobe Acrobat.

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Arcademic Skill Builders - Arcademics

Grades
1 to 9
2 Favorites 0  Comments
   
Looking for engaging interactives for math, language arts, geography, and even more? Look no further than this colorful site. These activities are great ways to build skills and work...more
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Looking for engaging interactives for math, language arts, geography, and even more? Look no further than this colorful site. These activities are great ways to build skills and work on math and language arts concepts for all students. The activities are divided into multi-player and single player games in such categories as "Addition and Subtraction," "Multiplication and Division," and "Fraction and Ratios." There are also language arts interactives! Looking for how teachers can find success with these games? View the "Success Stories" at the bottom to find innovative ways that teachers have used the games in classrooms. Click the "Play on the Wii" link for great games optimized for use with this gaming system. Some schools may find problems with the multi-player games playing correctly. Step by step instructions for troubleshooting are available on the "FAQ: Firewall Info" link. Access information for Standards, Research, and a game manual across the top of the website. To choose a game, roll your mouse over it to see its title, then click. Read the quick introduction to understand the activity. Provide direction in whether students should enter a player name or use the randomly generated name from the site. Choose to create a new game or join an existing game. Create a private game if you wish, which requires password creation. No email address or personal information is required for these excellent practice activities.

tag(s): addition (251), division (172), fractions (239), multiplication (227), ratios (53), subtraction (208), verbs (41), vision (87), vowels (13)

In the Classroom

Use these games for individual practice for students who need extra help. The instant feedback provides great learning opportunities for students and builds confidence. Group students in multi-player games that is engaging and interactive. Focus on students' honing skills, building confidence and working together as a group of learners. Use these activities with an interactive whiteboard or projector to elicit large group participation or when computers are limited. Provide this link on your class website, for students to access both in and out of the classroom.
 This resource requires Adobe Flash.

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The Hunt - ThanksUSA

Grades
4 to 12
0 Favorites 0  Comments
ThanksUSA is a site dedicated to raising money to support the families of those serving in the armed forces. The centerpiece of the site is a virtual treasure hunt focused ...more
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ThanksUSA is a site dedicated to raising money to support the families of those serving in the armed forces. The centerpiece of the site is a virtual treasure hunt focused on the history of the United States. Each year there is a new theme. This year the focus in on the histories of Arkansas, Colorado, Delaware, Georgia, Maryland, Montana, North Dakota, Oregon, and Rhode Island, along with the histories of the U.S. Air Force and U.S. Marine Corps and the history of ThanksUSA. There are crosswords, wordokus, word searches, kakuros, anagrams and more at the end of each chapter as you try to unlock that chapter's treasure chest. Although the site requires registration to access the treasure hunt (FREE), the game can be played on line, or by downloading materials and printing them out. This site requires Flash and Adobe Acrobat. Get both from the TeachersFirst Toolbox page.

In the Classroom

The long term nature of the treasure hunt would make this a good enrichment activity or extra credit project for students. Alteratively, the class could act as a team and undertake one chapter at a time as an ongoing project. The project might also make a good summer enrichment opportunity for students, be good for home schools, or work well with summer day camp groups.
  This resource requires Adobe Flash and PDF reader software like Adobe Acrobat.

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Starfall - Starfall Education

Grades
K to 3
2 Favorites 0  Comments
 
Find interactive reading activities for emergent/beginning readers at Starfall. It combines instruction in letter-sound relationships, word recognition skills, and reading comprehension...more
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Find interactive reading activities for emergent/beginning readers at Starfall. It combines instruction in letter-sound relationships, word recognition skills, and reading comprehension strategies. Seasonal activities can also be found on the main page. The four "levels" of reading at Starfall include "ABCs," "Learn to Read," "It's Fun to Read," and "I am Reading." There is also a premium option, this review is only for the free interactives. The APP (available on iOs, Google Play and Kindle Fire) offers more free intereactives than the web version.
This site includes advertising.

tag(s): DAT device agnostic tool (200), phonics (75)

In the Classroom

This website could be used for an entire class using your interactive whiteboard or projector. You could also set up a learning center for use during your L.A. block. Use this site to differentiate reading levels for your students. Be certain to save this site in your class favorites and list this site on your class website for students to access both in and out of the classroom.
  This resource requires Adobe Flash and PDF reader software like Adobe Acrobat.

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Johns Hopkins University CTY Program - The Johns Hopkins University

Grades
2 to 12
1 Favorites 0  Comments
Created by the Institute for the Academic Advancement of Youth at the Johns Hopkins University, this site contains comprehensive information for teachers of gifted students in upper...more
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Created by the Institute for the Academic Advancement of Youth at the Johns Hopkins University, this site contains comprehensive information for teachers of gifted students in upper elementary grades through middle school. Highlights include information about summer programs for students in grades 2-12, summer employment opportunities for elementary and middle school teachers interested in becoming involved in CTY summer programs, the CTY talent search, student application information, ability and achievement testing, recommended publications and resources, and available services for interested schools and teachers.

tag(s): gifted (96)

In the Classroom

Share this link with your parents of gifted students.

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C Beebie's Stories and Rhymes - BBC

Grades
K to 2
0 Favorites 0  Comments
  
This collection of online written and oral interactive stories features British pronunciation, but the story clips are short and easy to understand. Many of the characters are also...more
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This collection of online written and oral interactive stories features British pronunciation, but the story clips are short and easy to understand. Many of the characters are also on American television (64 Zoo Lane, Teletubbies, Jakers, and others). Students will enjoy learning clicking to the next page of the story as they view the animation and frequent rhyming sequences. Some of the stories also require readers to click on elements of the story in order for it to continue, or to hear special dialog. All the stories are also available in print format. The home part of the site keeps track of the places readers have looked at and offers games and links to other C Beebie features.

This site requires Flash and Windows Media or similar player. The printable pages require Adobe Acrobat. Get them from the TeachersFirst Toolbox page.

tag(s): interactive stories (32), rhymes (33)

In the Classroom

Add 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!
  This resource requires Adobe Flash and PDF reader software like Adobe Acrobat.

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AlgebraLAB - Mainland High School

Grades
7 to 12
0 Favorites 0  Comments
  
AlgebraLAB highlights the connection between algebra (and many other math subjects) and science. Although this website may appear as an in-depth informational algebra site, there...more
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AlgebraLAB highlights the connection between algebra (and many other math subjects) and science. Although this website may appear as an in-depth informational algebra site, there is A LOT more to explore! AlgebraLAB includes 10+ links to various topics: Lessons, Practice, Careers (how Algebra and science are used in countless careers), Directions (offers insight on how to use this site), Word Problems, Study Aids, a Glossary, and several others. Many activities are interactive. This site requires Windows Media Player. You can get it from the TeachersFirst Toolbox page.

tag(s): calculators (41), coordinates (32), equations (155), vectors (25)

In the Classroom

This informational site is a MUST HAVE in any secondary math class. Be certain to save this site in your favorites. The site highlights countless algebra topics (and other math areas). Share the information on your interactive whiteboard or projector. Share the link on your class website so students can access the site both in and out of the classroom. Have cooperative learning groups explore one of the topics presented at the lessons or activities link. Have the groups create a video to share what they learned. Share the videos on your interactive whiteboard or projector using a tool such as TeacherTube (explained here). Differentiate! You can easily find extension activities for your more-able students to do while you reinforce the basics with others.

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Kidscamps.com

Grades
K to 12
0 Favorites 0  Comments
This comprehensive directory lists thousands of summer learning opportunities for kids of all ages. Day and overnight camp choices include those focusing on sports, special needs, family,...more
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This comprehensive directory lists thousands of summer learning opportunities for kids of all ages. Day and overnight camp choices include those focusing on sports, special needs, family, self-improvement, arts, adventure, and academics. The site also includes advice for parents about selecting, paying, and packing for summer camp.

tag(s): summer (12)

In the Classroom

Provide this link on your class website during the Spring.

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KENKEN - Nextoy, LLC

Grades
4 to 12
4 Favorites 0  Comments
  
The KENKEN craze is spreading quickly across the world! Created in 2004 by Japanese Math Teacher, Tetsuya Miyamoto, these puzzles are fun, educational, and addictive. At first, these...more
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The KENKEN craze is spreading quickly across the world! Created in 2004 by Japanese Math Teacher, Tetsuya Miyamoto, these puzzles are fun, educational, and addictive. At first, these puzzles appear very similar to Sudoku puzzles. They have a few added components (more math and logic required). There are various levels of difficulties (3x3 puzzles through 9x9 puzzles). For 3x3 puzzles, you use only numbers 1-3, for 4x4 puzzles you use only numbers 1-4, and so on. At the time of our review of this brand-new puzzle, the 3x3 puzzles had not been created. But they add new puzzles daily, so check back! The rules are simple: each number can only be used once in any row or column. There are also "cages" which are represented by heavily outlined sets of squares. The goal is to produce the target number (in the corner of the cage). Numbers can be repeated within one cage, just so the number is not already in the row or column. Want to learn more? View the How to Play link that includes written instructions and a tutorial video. Puzzles are also PRINTABLE. Don't miss the link for teachers. This site requires Flash. You can get it from the TeachersFirst Toolbox page.

tag(s): addition (251), division (172), logic (235), multiplication (227), puzzles (208), subtraction (208), sudoku (18), vision (87)

In the Classroom

Introduce this site on an interactive whiteboard or projector. Then have students explore the puzzles on their own. Use this site to differentiate for various students. Be certain to save this site in your favorites and check back often. List this link on your class website so students can "play" both in and out of the classroom. Have older students attempt to create their own KENKEN puzzles. It's not as easy as you think.
 This resource requires Adobe Flash.

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Vacations - Myvocabulary.com

Grades
3 to 9
1 Favorites 0  Comments
Explore vocabulary and word activities related to vacations on this extensive site for vocabulary, roots, and more. Find interactive vocabulary activities the same list of using vacation...more
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Explore vocabulary and word activities related to vacations on this extensive site for vocabulary, roots, and more. Find interactive vocabulary activities the same list of using vacation vocabulary words. There are printable crosswords, fill in the blanks and more, all using the same theme words. This and other "themes" available on the site will make vocabulary development fun.

tag(s): back to school (58), vocabulary (324)

In the Classroom

Share the puzzles on your interactive whiteboard or projector. Have students work with a partner to try out the puzzles on their own. Have students (or groups) create their own word puzzles to share as a class challenge as a student-run interactive whiteboard activity or share them on a class wiki.

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Big Huge Labs: Map Maker - John Watson: Big Huge Labs

Grades
2 to 12
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Create maps -- for multiple reasons -- with ease. As you 'travel' through your geography or history course, create an ongoing map of the places you've visited and embed/post it ...more
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Create maps -- for multiple reasons -- with ease. As you 'travel' through your geography or history course, create an ongoing map of the places you've visited and embed/post it on your blog or any webpage. Simply type in the title of your map, choose the land masses you wish to include, and then click on the correct boxes for your particular locations. When finished, click the You're Ready box at the bottom of the screen. Now scroll to the top to see what your map will look like. The embed code (geek-speak term for computer gobble-dee-gook that tells your computer how to find and display the map you have made) for your map is ready to copy and paste into your webpage. You can find the embed code to the right of the map. There is also a button to Reset and Start Over.

tag(s): maps (287)

In the Classroom

Create a map to track where your students went on summer vacation (or have ever traveled). Create a map of places you have visited in a work of literature, or where students have written about going on fantasy vacations. Share the maps on an interactive whiteboard or projector. Have cooperative learning groups work together to create maps related to lessons in your social studies, history, or literature classes. Embed multiple student project maps in your class wiki along with student writings that accompany the maps. Check out the Big Huge Labs educator account. Easily pre-register students to avoid creating logins, view and download their creations, and view the site advertisement free. You will find information about the Educator Account here.

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PicLits - PicLits.com

Grades
K to 12
9 Favorites 0  Comments
  
The title says it all: "Inspired Picture Writing!" Use this free drag and drop literacy tool to create great sentences inspired by beautiful pictures. Or add inspirational or humorous...more
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The title says it all: "Inspired Picture Writing!" Use this free drag and drop literacy tool to create great sentences inspired by beautiful pictures. Or add inspirational or humorous captions to pictures.

NOTE: Our editors regret that PicLits occasionally allows advertising on their home page to include images that are not classroom-friendly. Teachers should preview to determine whether or not your students can ignore the ads.

"Learn It" provides learning opportunities and examples for creating captions, compound sentences, or paragraphs. Advanced lesson plans for teachers are viewed in the "Learn It" tab as well. "View the Gallery" to see already-created PicLits as well as comments and ratings. After selecting a picture (or using the one they provide) and dragging a word onto the screen, choose different forms of the word by using the drop-down menu next to the word. Move your words anywhere on the screen for creative writing. You can also click "freestyle" instead to type in your own words instead of choosing from their list. Word lists change, depending on the image selected. Note: Advertisements run alongside the PicLits screen. Caution students to ignore these. Here is an example:
See the full PicLit at PicLits.com
This site includes advertising.

tag(s): creative writing (166), digital storytelling (144), images (266), sentences (52)

In the Classroom

Users of PicLits must be able to navigate tabs on sites, manage logins, and use URL's and embed codes to share results on websites and blogs. Play to learn the tools before or after joining. Help also provides a short-and-sweet text explanation of the tools.

Registering for a PicLits account requires the use of an email address. PicLits can be used without an account but users are unable to save or blog about their creation without an account. A class account can be created instead of individual student accounts. However, it does not show which work is attributable to which student. You may want to require that students initial their contributions in order to get credit. All work on the site can be seen without a login. All projects are public.

You may want to create a word doc, Favorites folder, or other "collection" of the URLS to all your students' projects in one place for easy work at grading time. Some teachers use a class wiki or blog with links to all projects from there. You may allow students to self-register, but be sure to keep a written record of their passwords for when they "forget." It may be worth your time to do advanced registration for your younger students or simply use a whole-class account.

Share a PicLit on your interactive whiteboard at the start of a grammar or writing lesson to discuss word choice, figures of speech, or vocabulary. Use the visual picture prompt for journal or blog writing, allowing each student to compose a unique poem or haiku. Even science classes can write about concepts illustrated in the many nature photos. Emotional support teachers will love the chance to discuss feelings and how to describe facial expressions in the pictures. Make a collection of PicLits for a curriculum topic or as a literary magazine online. ESL students can create PicLits to learn new vocabulary. Have students create PicLits for special occasions and special people (mom, dad, grandparents, school nurse, or others). Use the embed code to place your creations on many other sites, including your class wiki or blogs. Share your PicLit by using a URL or code for an embedded widget.

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Story Starters - Scholastic

Grades
K to 6
1 Favorites 0  Comments
   
Type your name and choose your grade level (K-1, 2, 3, or 4-6). Then get ready for the wheel to spin! You can spin four wheels to get a very ...more
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Type your name and choose your grade level (K-1, 2, 3, or 4-6). Then get ready for the wheel to spin! You can spin four wheels to get a very specific writing prompt. For example, Describe a vacation with a skinny cactus who loves country music. Each wheel produces a different part of the prompt. Each time the wheel spins, a new prompt is created. The prompts are created for the specified grade level and are highly creative. Be sure to check out the Teacher's Guide that offers learning objectives, specific lesson ideas, and printables.

Be warned: the "spinning" page has some rather loud audio sounds. Either turn up the volume and enjoy, or hit the mute button! This site requires Flash and Adobe Acrobat. You can get both from the TeachersFirst Toolbox page.

tag(s): creative writing (166), writing (359)

In the Classroom

Whether you are looking for a daily prompt for your students, or individual prompts for writing stations, you will find some creative ideas here. Share how to use this site on an interactive whiteboard or projector. Set up writing stations and have students use this site to find their prompts. Use this site to differentiate for your gifted students by allowing them to choose a prompt at a higher grade level. List this link on your class website for some writing practice or extra credit writing exercises.
  This resource requires Adobe Flash and PDF reader software like Adobe Acrobat.

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Sharp Brains - Sharpbrains

Grades
6 to 12
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Do you see the gorilla? Use the basketball mind stretcher to find out! This site offers some traditional and not so traditional mind stretchers. The general topic areas include How...more
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Do you see the gorilla? Use the basketball mind stretcher to find out! This site offers some traditional and not so traditional mind stretchers. The general topic areas include How Your Brain Works, Attention, Memory, Pattern Recognition and Planning, Visual Workouts, Visual Illusions, Language and Logic, and others. Some of the activities are quick (less than a minute) while others require more time. The activities could be used in many subject areas; there are language activities, math, general logic, and even some for physical education.

Be aware: each mind stretcher activity includes a blog. Some of the blog comments may not be appropriate, so be sure to READ any blogs that you plan to share. You may want to make these activities a group challenge, rather than individual exploration. Many are interactive and require Flash or Java. You can get it from the TeachersFirst Toolbox page.

tag(s): brain (72), logic (235), puzzles (208), stress (14)

In the Classroom

Start your class (any subject area) with a mind stretcher or include this as part of a psychology or biology lesson on how the brain works. Share the puzzle or challenge on an interactive whiteboard or projector. Challenge your students to create their own logic activities and create a class "Logic" wiki.
 This resource requires Adobe Flash.

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