TeachersFirst's Summer Sparklers
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!
Grades4 to 12
In the ClassroomThis site is fairly simple to use. Join the site (free) and log in. Navigation of the site is simple. Click on Tree to start your family tree (or Timeline to use that free resource. For the family tree, arrows are provided to add family members. The arrows pointing up indicate a parent, arrows to the left or right are used to add a wife/husband or brother/sister, and arrows pointing down are used to add a son or daughter.
This site allows users to set-up their family tree or timeline as PRIVATE. It allows you to control who can and can't view your profile, family tree, and other information. For more information about this feature, visit the Settings link (on the top right corner). Before you plan your family tree project, be sure to get parental permission.
Possible Uses: Use this site to create family tree projects in elementary or middle school classes. Have high school students create family trees as part of an immigration unit studying patterns in social studies classes. In science class, have students create fictitious "people" as they study genetics. With younger students, create a class timeline sharing important dates for individuals (i.e. birthdays) and class dates (field trips, tests, or other special events). Have students share their family trees on an interactive whiteboard or projector. Be sure to "advertise" this project on your class website (and newsletter, if applicable) so students have time to gather names, birthdates, and other information about family members. In world language classes, have student create a family tree using the correct vocabulary for relatives and talk about it as they share it on the interactive whiteboard. When researching famous people, reading biographies, or even reading literature have students create a family tree illustrating their discoveries about their famous person, writer, artist, musician, explorer, literary character, etc.
Parent permission advised before posting student work created using this tool
Includes Interaction w general public/ public galleries with unmoderated content
Requires registration/log-in (WITH email)
Products can be embedded
Products can be shared by URL
Multiple users can collaborate on the same project
Grades7 to 12
tag(s): poetry (224)
In the ClassroomIf you are looking for something worthwhile as a quarter ending or are deeply involved in poetry, this site is great. Billy Collins reading "The Lanyard" is tough not to love and you can choose any of the included features to use or not. Because the site uses Quicktime, you have the option of replaying the video or pausing for discussion where you choose. Share the video on your interactive whiteboard or projector. This is wonderful as a class discussion. Another use for this site is to assign different poems to small groups of students and have them explicate them and then present them to the class. You could even shock the world of traditional English class or school video news announcements with a video "poetry break" during Poetry Month (April). Why not video the presentations and share them using a site such as Teachers.TV reviewed here.
Grades4 to 10
In the ClassroomIntroduce your music students to various rhythms and the interesting tools available to create music. Use an interactive whiteboard or projector (and speakers) to demonstrate the program. Then have students work with a partner to create their own music. Students can save and send recordings to friends, but this uses email addresses. Check your school policies or have them "send" the recordings to your teacher email for sharing. They might even "turn in" a music assignment that way!
Grades2 to 12
In the ClassroomTry a few words in another language with your class as you study world geography and history! This site is especially useful in ESL, ELL, and world language classrooms. Have your students plan a pretend vacation and study a few words of the target language before they go. Ask students to go beyond the games by guessing the answers before they appear on the screen.
Grades2 to 10
In the ClassroomUse this site as a kick-off when students return to write their "What I Did on my Summer Vacation" papers. If you're teaching research skills, this site is a good place to start, since it is highly visual but definitive. ESL and ELL students can independently use this site since the vocabulary is limited to names, regions, and sizes. Biology teachers can use this site as a reference when teaching about classification.
Grades2 to 8
In the ClassroomIntroduce the website (or a specific activity) on an interactive whiteboard and then have students work in pairs to "try their hands" at the many activities. This website is perfect for gifted students looking for an extra challenge. This is a great link to provide to parents in a class newsletter or on your class website.
Grades1 to 8
In the ClassroomQuickly search this site for a unique but well-explained art or craft project to serve as a culminating activity a unit. Invite your students or a parent to share a favorite art activity by breaking it down into steps and photographing each step, thus creating your own "art attack." Share your "art attacks" on a class wiki as chance for students to practice writing sequenced directions.
Grades5 to 12
tag(s): grammar (213)
In the ClassroomWhat a fabulous grammar website to use with all students. Use your interactive whiteboard to share the "grammar story of the week." Challenge your students to find the grammar errors and help Grammarman "save the day." Use the free, downloadable templates to have students create their own Grammarman comics featuring their personal grammar "demons." Have another teacher judge the entries and allow the "winner" to wear the Grammarman "cape" for the week (or earn a homework pass).
Grades4 to 10
In the ClassroomThis is a wonderful website to incorporate into a science unit about levers, gears, and simple machines. Or use this website as a mind stretcher for the entire class.
Share this creative website on an interactive whiteboard (or projector). Be sure to turn up the volume, students will enjoy the background music and sounds provided at this website.(You may end up turning it OFF after a while, too!). Or have students work in pairs on laptops to solve a level and analyze their success, including drawing and labeling the parts of their machine.
Grades3 to 12
Interact with musical instruments or create your own music and share your composition with others on the web. Lively, crisp sounds echo from this site so use your best musical "ear." Teachers can find many ways to collaborate with others around the world by clicking "Find music teaching resources," an area that even includes Sound Junction activities created by other teachers. Free membership allows you to save music you create and save your "journey" through the site's tools so you can retrace your steps another day. If high school music students are allowed to use personal accounts, they can create music individually or in small groups. Even working together as a class is a remarkable experience from beginner to professional level. This site requires Flash. You can get it from the TeachersFirst Toolbox page.
In the ClassroomBe sure to hook up speakers or headphones to share in class. Music teachers who have access to an interactive whiteboard or projector can enjoy composing music together with the whole class, then posting to the web for the school community to enjoy. Elementary students will develop a better "ear" just from the Music Explorer which will "feature" different voices from within a piece of music. Both Explorer and Composer require a "Sequence Xtra" plug-in (offered for free download). Teachers of gifted will want to share this resource with their talented musicians. There is so much in this site it could take months to discover it all.
GradesK to 4
tag(s): dinosaurs (55)
In the ClassroomShare this link on your teacher web page during a unit on dinosaurs or for your dino-maniacs to explore for enrichment during school breaks. You could also use it as a source for student research; even non-readers can learn using the audio self-profiles. Play a dino sound file for your students as a listening activity!
GradesK to 12
In the ClassroomUse one of these on an interactive whiteboard as a brain warm-up at the beginning of class or as student enter the room. If you have a difficult group in a study hall, this site could keep them busy in a positive way. Substitutes will also love it! Include this link in your class's newsletter, classroom computer, or teacher web page for extra challenges and enrichment. Teachers of gifted can challenge their students to write "how to" directions for how to solve these puzzles, once they have figured them out!
Grades3 to 12
In the ClassroomIf you don't have time to spend on these in class as often as you would like, print out a single lateral thinking or logic problem each week for your bulletin board and let the students argue about it all week. Or include this link on your teacher website for the students to access outside of class. This site is a life-saver for your study hall the day before a vacation!
GradesK to 3
tag(s): reading lists (79)
In the ClassroomKeep your primary students interested in reading even during summer vacation by sharing this resource with parents before the end of the year.
GradesK to 6
In the ClassroomTake your students on this language-rich adventure using an interactive whiteboard or projector. Mark your calendar now to visit this site during April, when Poetry Month is celebrated. Download your free poetry kit from the poetry month link. Of course, Shel Silverstein's whimsical and slightly dark humor can be enjoyed any month. There is a link for Teachers and Parents with lesson ideas, printables, and more. This is a great site to share with parents and students for summer breaks.
GradesK to 5
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