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The Fun Works - Educational Development Services, Inc.

Grades
6 to 12
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Learn about careers that YOU might like. Answer the quiz to uncover possible interests for future careers. You can choose categories such as Music or Sports to view possible careers...more
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Learn about careers that YOU might like. Answer the quiz to uncover possible interests for future careers. You can choose categories such as Music or Sports to view possible careers that many you might not think about. Click on Teachers and Instructors to view Lesson Plans and other activities, Resources, or Career Counseling.

tag(s): careers (132), design (83), sports (97)

In the Classroom

Introduce this site on your interactive whiteboard or projector. Have students explore this site independently. Many students are not aware of careers associated with Math, art, music, technology, and Science. Create a greater awareness through use of the quiz and lesson plans/activities. Interest in careers may create a spark of interest in topics by your students.
  This resource requires Adobe Flash and PDF reader software like Adobe Acrobat.

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What a neat and helpful site! Lee, , Grades: 0 - 12

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Design by the Book - New York Public Library

Grades
6 to 12
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How does an artist find inspiration, even in less likely places? This collection of four videos draws on real artists to open our eyes to inspiration from a library building ...more
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How does an artist find inspiration, even in less likely places? This collection of four videos draws on real artists to open our eyes to inspiration from a library building and its contents. The New York Public Library inspires this series of four videos about real artists and how they find new artistic ideas within the Library: from its books, its map collections, its light fixtures, and more. This site requires Flash. You can get it from the TeachersFirst Toolbox page.

tag(s): creativity (111)

In the Classroom

Share one or more of these videos on your projector or interactive whiteboard as you talk about artists and art history, and-- perhaps more importantly -- about what "inspires" your students to their own creations. Share digital pictures of a local library or landmark on a projector as inspiration for in-class artwork after watching one of these videos. As you study famous artists, compare the experiences of these New York artists, talking about their own creative process, with accounts by Van Gogh's diaries or authors' writing journals. As your art students prepare portfolios, use these videos as a model for blog entries (or videos of their own) sharing students' thoughts on their own creations and what inspired them. Have students make whole-class or individual wiki portfolio pages with digital pictures of their art projects and reflecting on the ideas behind their work in written text or embedded video clips. Use a safe video sharing site such as SchoolTube reviewed here to post student video; then "embed" them in a class wiki collection.
 This resource requires Adobe Flash.

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Creative Curio: The Color Wheel and Color Theory - Lauren

Grades
5 to 12
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This blog post, written by a graphic designer, shares ideas and basics about color theory in very user-friendly language. The full blog holds many other ideas on graphic design principles,...more
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This blog post, written by a graphic designer, shares ideas and basics about color theory in very user-friendly language. The full blog holds many other ideas on graphic design principles, as well. Note to teachers: there are links to off-topic posts, but the discussions of design principles apply to web pages, print projects, 2D artwork, and more. There are also posts and discussions about computer design programs such as InDesign and Quark. Whether you teach art or advise the school newspaper, this "real world" blog by a professional can help students make connections between theory and authentic tasks.

tag(s): design (83), graphic design (35)

In the Classroom

With younger students, share the discussion on an interactive whiteboard or projector to teach basic color terminology in art class, then have them design their own color schemes for a traditional art project, class wiki (great for portfolio sharing), or multimedia project in PowerPoint. You could even use basic shapes and colors on the whiteboard to create and "drag and drop" color swatches to illustrate the ideas. Middle and high school student groups could use this blog as a reference in designing brochures or web pages or critiquing publications in print or on the web. Have students take "screenshots" of web pages and analyze the colors used, posting the images and analysis to a wiki. Better yet, have more techie-students embed web content such as flickr photos within their wiki and analyze it in a caption below the "live" content. Assign an authentic graphic design task such as some of those mentioned in this blog. Teachers of advanced art students will want to share this link on their class web page for students to access both in and out of class as a reference and discussion starter.

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Frieze Patterns - NCTM Illuminations

Grades
4 to 12
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This site offers seven simple interactives that demonstrate various classes of Frieze patterns (patterns of symmetry). Students can experiment at this site with Glide Reflection and...more
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This site offers seven simple interactives that demonstrate various classes of Frieze patterns (patterns of symmetry). Students can experiment at this site with Glide Reflection and Rotation, Horizontal and Vertical Reflections, and Translations. Click on the small red circles to transform the figures, use the red "s" to stretch or shorten the pattern. Some of the terminology is even applicable in elementary math.

There is a link to a detailed lesson plan (including a few lesson plans, printables, and interactives). This site is aligned to national standards. The site requires both Flash and Adobe Acrobat. You can get both from the TeachersFirst Toolbox page.

tag(s): rotation (13), transformations (17)

In the Classroom

Share this site on your interactive whiteboard or projector during a unit about rotation and/or reflection. Have students work with partners to explore this site together. Have students create their own patterns using graph paper or a drawing program with lines of symmetry and simple "flip horizontal" or "flip vertical" commands. Take advantage of the ready to go lesson plans, printables, and more.
  This resource requires Adobe Flash and PDF reader software like Adobe Acrobat.

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Bubblr - Pimpampum.net

Grades
2 to 12
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Create free comic strips from flickr pictures. Search tags in flickr or search by user to choose pictures then add words in the caption bubbles. If you use flickr ...more
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Create free comic strips from flickr pictures. Search tags in flickr or search by user to choose pictures then add words in the caption bubbles. If you use flickr reviewed here, you can set up your own tagged collection of images for students to use, as well. Quickly publish, email, or embed your comic strip.

tag(s): comics and cartoons (74), images (269), photography (160)

In the Classroom

Knowledge of use of tags and familiarity with flickr is required. Each picture is labeled with the title and the picture creator's name.

Type in the name of a topic in the tag area or the name of a known flickr user. Entering information into both fields is not required. Pictures will appear in the top area. Choose a picture you wish to use by clicking on it. To add another picture, choose the options in "Add frames." Drag a caption bubble onto the picture and type in your caption. Easily delete pictures by clicking the "Delete" button at the bottom of the picture. When finished, click "Publish." Comics can be deleted afterward, and sharing gives the option for sending an email link or using an embed code to include within a website or blog.

Clicking on "...or visit the archive" takes you to other users' content. The archive of this site includes changing "featured" content.

Consider creating anonymous ways to enter names in order to track student contributions. All projects are public. Check your school policy for posting student work online. Written permission is always a good idea.

Use this site for students to take pictures of lab experiment steps and explain the experiment or the concepts behind the experiment. Students can create a story using pictures taken from home and uploaded to a class flickr account. Any school subject can easily use the comic strip generator to show knowledge learned in class. World language or ESL/ELL students can create dialog strips. Reinforce vocabulary by having students create strips with characters using the new words. Assess student understanding of concepts by providing a collection of tagged photos on Flickr and having the class create a Bubblr strip on the interactive whiteboard (collaborating for a whole-class or group grade). Share completed strips on your class web page or wiki. Example created for review: Angiosperms by Mrs. Maine

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Papervision 3D Aquarium - Papervision 3D

Grades
K to 12
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View an aquarium through your computer screen. (Note: this site loads SLOWLY!) Easily rotate with your mouse or trackpad to see the fish swimming around you. Change the view by ...more
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View an aquarium through your computer screen. (Note: this site loads SLOWLY!) Easily rotate with your mouse or trackpad to see the fish swimming around you. Change the view by clicking on the fish at the bottom which allows you to follow the shark's movement through the space. This site requires Flash. You can get it from the TeachersFirst Toolbox page.

tag(s): fish (25)

In the Classroom

Use the aquarium on a projector or interactive whiteboard before beginning any unit on animals, classification, behavior, or biomes. Students can make observations about how different fish act, the ecosystem of the fish, adaptations of fish to their environment, or any other information. Use these observations to begin the discussions of the concepts in your unit. Teach Art or English? Use this site for inspiration for writing poetry, stories, or other forms of artwork.
 This resource requires Adobe Flash.

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Diffen - Diffen

Grades
2 to 12
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Do you sometimes just want to compare two things and not need a lengthy explanation of either? Diffen offers the simple goal of entering two terms and instantly receiving the ...more
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Do you sometimes just want to compare two things and not need a lengthy explanation of either? Diffen offers the simple goal of entering two terms and instantly receiving the similarities and differences in a table format. View simple definitions under the information table. Need more information? Wikipedia style entries of information area also available on the page. There is a Top 5 list. At the time of this review, the Top 5 included "Gross vs. Net," "Affected vs. Effected," "Meiosis vs. Mitosis," "DNA vs. RNA," and "Fruit vs. Vegetable. While not ALL topics are included, the variety is impressive. You can add your own comparison of terms to the list. You may want to discuss with your class the fact that the information here is only as reliable as the people who submitted it, and ask them whether they agree with the comparisons you find here. NOTE: If you explore some of the ready-mades or requested topics, there are some topics "compared" that are not school oriented, such as comparisons of popular television characters. Preview before turning students loose or simply direct them to a specific "diffen."

tag(s): vocabulary (324)

In the Classroom

The options are endless. Search the differences between two types of soils, mitosis and meiosis, presidents or those running for office, of geometric figures, artists or musicians, places to visit. As a way to build higher order thinking skills, this site is ideal, since comparison of attributes requires analysis.

Try creating some lists of your own as a class after using the ready-made ones here. This activity would be easy to do on an interactive whiteboard, with students hand writing the characteristics and dragging them into Similarities and Differences columns before entering them into Diffen. This site could be used in nearly every subject area. Share this site on your class blog or website, for students to access both in and out of the classroom. This is definitely one to save in your favorites.

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Photography - myvocabulary.com

Grades
4 to 12
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As part of their extensive site for vocabulary, roots, and more, MyVocabulary.com has added a themed area for photography. Find interactive vocabulary activities using photography vocabulary...more
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As part of their extensive site for vocabulary, roots, and more, MyVocabulary.com has added a themed area for photography. Find interactive vocabulary activities using photography vocabulary words. You will also find 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): light (46), photography (160)

In the Classroom

During your unit on light in science class or your study of photography, have students work in cooperative learning groups, divide up the vocabulary words, and have each group find the definitions for their assigned vocabulary words. This is a powerful way for them to master the vocabulary of photography, light, and lenses. Have the groups share their words and definitions in an online book, using a tool such as Bookemon (reviewed here). Have the groups share the online books on your interactive whiteboard or projector. And of course, don't miss the interactive word puzzles!

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This I Believe, Inc. - Jay Allison, NPR, et. al.

Grades
7 to 12
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This site offers essay-writing tips, podcasts, and more. Useful across a wide array of humanities topics, including English, social studies, art, music, religion, and speech, this site...more
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This site offers essay-writing tips, podcasts, and more. Useful across a wide array of humanities topics, including English, social studies, art, music, religion, and speech, this site is an inspiration to students and can serve as an essay starter, a discussion starter, or contemporary information about politics, economics, and the world. On its home page it states that this is "an international project engaging people in writing, sharing, and discussing the core values that guide their daily lives." There are essays from the 1950's when the first incarnation of this idea was heard on the radio from famed journalist Edward R. Murrow. There are essays from those who are famous and those you never heard of. All of the essays are short--usually no more than 400 words. You can hear some of them as they were first broadcast on NPR, and there is a general podcast you can play which defines the site. Anyone can submit their own "This I Believe" essay as long as it follows the guidelines given, and they include essay-writing tips and advanced essay searches to assist anyone interested. The site includes special features which deal with specific topics and there are ideas for educators, students, and community leaders. The printable curricula require Adobe Acrobat. You can get it from the TeachersFirst Toolbox page.

tag(s): 1950s (12), writing (365)

In the Classroom

Searching the "For Educators" page gives you a wide variety of ideas for using this site and these essays. Since students enjoy using first person point of view in their writing, this might be an inspiration for some. You can use some of these essays as conversation starters on topics you are studying in class. (Example: Penn Jillette wrote his essay stating that he believes there is no god. This could be related to many books studied, such as 1984 or Brave New World.) Have students write their essays as blog entries or record them as podcasts using a tool such as Podomatic, reviewed here, or as an illustrated essay using ThingLink, reviewed here. Spanish teachers will want to explore the options to listen to or write essays in Spanish, as well.
 This resource requires PDF reader software like Adobe Acrobat.

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Geometry Games - Jeff Weeks

Grades
K to 12
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Download free shareware games to encourage thinking and practice identifying geometric shapes. Many of the downloads are games, while others provide opportunities to view computer art...more
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Download free shareware games to encourage thinking and practice identifying geometric shapes. Many of the downloads are games, while others provide opportunities to view computer art and find the hidden geometry or for students to create their own! There are also activities connecting math to physics and astronomy.

Be sure to check with your technology department about the ability to download these applications to school computers. Many districts have restrictions on the ability to download. Click on each game icon to read a description of the games included and some uses. Games are Mac and Windows compatible. Read their FAQ link with each set of games for the most asked questions about the shareware. Once downloaded, to "stop" a program, click Esc. If you are not allowed to install software on your own, share these powerful games with your math or art supervisors so they can advocate for you with the tech folks.

tag(s): geometric shapes (164), symmetry (55), tessellations (6)

In the Classroom

Use many of the images as an introductory inquiry activity to get students thinking about shapes and space. In art class, use the tiling activity and others on a projector before having student create their own on paper. Share the activities on your interactive whiteboard or projector. Provide images to groups to explore and identify the underlying math concepts present in the artwork. Provide an opportunity for some groups to create their own work with a geometric shape that they are investigating. Follow up with student projects of the geometric shape or photographs of geometric shapes in nature and man-made structures.

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Padlet - Padlet

Grades
2 to 12
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Padlet (formerly Wallwisher) is a free application to create an online bulletin board that you can use to display information for any topic. Easily create an account and build a ...more
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Padlet (formerly Wallwisher) is a free application to create an online bulletin board that you can use to display information for any topic. Easily create an account and build a new board. You can add images, links, videos, and more. You can return to add more later. Installing Padlet Mini in your browser allows you to add the page you are browsing to your Padlet and gives you a shortcut to view your Padlets. Settings allow you to make your wall completely open for public contributions, completely private, or moderated by you (you approve all contributions before they show). This is a device-agnostic tool, available on the web but also available for free as both an Android and iOS app. Use it from any device or move between several devices and still access your work. App and web versions vary slightly.

tag(s): bulletin boards (16), DAT device agnostic tool (159), gamification (70), images (269)

In the Classroom

Use a Padlet to collaborate in collecting ideas, brainstorming, and more. Use this tool easily in your Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) classroom since all students will be able to access it for free, no matter what device they have. Padlet does not show which work is attributable to which student, so you may want to require that students initial their contributions in order to get credit. If allowing all students to post to the wall or make comments, you may want to discuss internet safety and etiquette and establish specific class rules and consequences. Making the setting private again will prohibit content from later being replaced by classmate "vandalism."

Use a Padlet to collect webquest links and information to share with students. By leaving the wall open to comments, solicit input, discussions, or viewpoints from students. They can even contribute other sources they find. Color code resources to indicate different reading levels or "high challenge" sources for your more able students. Assign a student project where students choose their theme and design a wall around it. For example, have students create a wall about an environmental issue. They can include pictures, audio or video, links, and other information to display. Use as a new format for book reports. Do your students have favorites such as music or sports? Create a wall around these favorites or hobbies. Use a wall for grammar or vocabulary words. Create walls for debates or viewpoints. Post assignments, reminders, or study skills on a wall. Do you use student scribes or reporters? Use the Padlet site to create a wall with the goings-on in class. Embed your walls in a blog, wiki or website. See a similar tool (and more ideas to use either tool) in the TeachersFirst review of Lino here. Decide which one you prefer! Unfortunately, the Padlet embedded viewer is very small but can be scrolled in both directions.

Use Padlet as a class space during snow days and school breaks. Share the link to a teacher-created, public wall where students can share notes about what they did during the snow day or respond to a thought-provoking question.

Encourage creativity and organization by having your gifted students (or anyone doing independent projects) create Padlets to collect ideas, images, quotes, and more in an "idea bin." Require them to share a brainstorming Padlet to show you the ideas they considered before they launch into a project. Have them brainstorm (and later sort/color code) the possibilities for a creative problem solving or "Maker Faire" project. In writing or art classes, use Padlet as a virtual writer's journal or design notebook to collect ideas, images, and even video clips.

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Video: Online Photo Sharing in Plain English - Common Craft

Grades
K to 12
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This short video (less than 3-minutes) about the subject of online photo sharing. This site refers to Flickr, reviewed here), but other services...more
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This short video (less than 3-minutes) about the subject of online photo sharing. This site refers to Flickr, reviewed here), but other services are also named. Learn how online photo sharing keeps your photos safe from fire (and even computer crashes). Learn ways to share and enhance your photos. Despite a paid membership model, Common Craft still offers this video for free, but it does have a watermark saying, "For evaluation only." If you wish to share this with a group, they will need to view it on individual/partner computers (or IOS devices) or on a projector that has a zoom function to enlarge a selected area of the screen.
This site includes advertising.

tag(s): photography (160)

In the Classroom

This site could be used in many capacities: sharing students' work online (with parental consent, of course), sharing this video clip at in-service trainings for teachers to use both professionally and personally, providing the link on your website for families to view and use at home, and many other possibilities.
 This resource requires Adobe Flash.

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Mother's Day - Myvocabulary.com

Grades
2 to 10
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As part of their extensive site for vocabulary, roots, and more, MyVocabulary.com has added a themed area for Mother's Day. Find interactive vocabulary activities using Mother's Day...more
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As part of their extensive site for vocabulary, roots, and more, MyVocabulary.com has added a themed area for Mother's Day. Find interactive vocabulary activities using Mother's Day vocabulary words. You will also find 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): mothers day (12), 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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CLEO: Draw the Buddha's Face - Cumbria and Lancashire Education Online

Grades
4 to 12
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Come along on this drawing adventure with Andy Weber, artist extraordinaire. This site presents a detailed Flash presentation showing students how to draw Buddha's face using a grid....more
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Come along on this drawing adventure with Andy Weber, artist extraordinaire. This site presents a detailed Flash presentation showing students how to draw Buddha's face using a grid. At this site you can print off drawing sheets (Word documents) of a blank grid or a grid with Buddha's face. Other links allow you to watch the artist's technique, learn how to add color, an "About the Buddha's Face" link to learn more about the characteristics of the face, and more! This site requires Flash. You can get it from the TeachersFirst Toolbox page.

tag(s): drawing (77)

In the Classroom

Share certain links on your interactive whiteboard or projector. Print off the drawing sheets for students to try on their own. Have students work in cooperative learning groups to research various "themes" about Buddha or Buddhism in general. Have them draw a picture to narrate (and share what they learned) using a site such as UtellStory, reviewed here.
 This resource requires Adobe Flash.

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Make Beliefs Comix - Bill Zimmerman

Grades
2 to 12
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Make comics to prompt writing, assess understanding, or as digital storytelling. Looking for an alternative to a quiz or an assignment of boring vocabulary definitions written on notebook...more
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Make comics to prompt writing, assess understanding, or as digital storytelling. Looking for an alternative to a quiz or an assignment of boring vocabulary definitions written on notebook paper? Trying to find a way to prompt students to write even short passages? Trying to teach simple dialog to ESL/ELL students? Working on appropriate language and interpersonal skills with emotional support students? Looking for a creative way to make clever newsletter additions, bulletin board items, or class rules? Use this great online tool for both students and teachers to create web-based or printed comic strips from a selection of characters and voice bubbles-- and with your OWN text! Our editors made a sample for you to see.

This site also features writing prompts. To find the writing prompts, click to Enter The Site and then scroll to the bottom of the page. The link for Writer Prompts can be found on the bottom right side of the site. The Writer Prompts link will lead you to the creator's blog, with many writing prompts (with new prompts added often). This site requires Flash. Get it from the TeachersFirst Toolbox page.

tag(s): comics and cartoons (74), digital storytelling (150), writing (365), writing prompts (93)

In the Classroom

This one is ideal for an interactive whiteboard or projector. Demonstrate the tool on the whiteboard or projector and allow the class to create a strip together before you share the link on your teacher web page. Have students create strips as a quiz or other assignment and email the links to you. No more papers to carry around and grade! Build a collection of comics on different curriculum topics to use as anticipatory sets/activators or to spark discussion. Have younger students make comic strip greeting cards for Mother's Day. The possibilities are endless.

The site creators tell us that Makebeliefscomix accepts accent marks and characters from Spanish, French, Italian, German, Latin, Portuguese, in addition to English, they hope soon to add Chinese and Japanese.

Use the writing prompts to excite reluctant writers. Visit often, as new prompts are added weekly.
 This resource requires Adobe Flash.

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The Teachers' Corner - The Teachers' Corner

Grades
K to 12
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This is a great site to mine for quick lesson plans, ideas on thematic units, or simply daily writing prompts. There are detailed lesson plans available for math, arts and ...more
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This is a great site to mine for quick lesson plans, ideas on thematic units, or simply daily writing prompts. There are detailed lesson plans available for math, arts and crafts, nutrition, health, music, math, reading, physical education, technology, writing, science, and social studies. Visit the Seasonal Items link to find even MORE resources related to Read Across America, 100th Day ideas, Daily seasonal writing prompts, and much more! Many of the links will take you to other sites, but the onsite printable worksheets and calendars make it worth a visit. Note: the site is laden with advertising, something TeachersFirst users may not appreciate! This site requires Adobe Acrobat. You can get it from the TeachersFirst Toolbox page.

tag(s): fractions (239), nutrition (153), parts of speech (68), phonics (74), speech (92), themes (12), writing (365)

In the Classroom

Although this site has a TON to explore, one of the best places on this site is the daily writing prompt section (find seasonal prompts at the Seasonal Items link). You can share them on your interactive whiteboard or projector with a picture and fact about the day and a question requiring a written answer. This is a great discussion starter or activating strategy with any grade level and it can already be posted when the kids enter the room or used as a prompt for blogging. Whatever subject area you teach, if you are looking for some new strategies to reach your students, check out this site.
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Befuddlr - Erik Kastner and Amy Hoy

Grades
K to 12
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Add some fun to your pictures by making them into puzzles using this free site. This easy-to-use, free site offers choices of Flickr picture groups to choose from, such as ...more
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Add some fun to your pictures by making them into puzzles using this free site. This easy-to-use, free site offers choices of Flickr picture groups to choose from, such as "Patterns," "Hello kitty," "Water drops," and many others. Choose a picture you wish to "befuddlr." Pieces of the original picture are moved around in a new order. Continue to choose a different combination, change the lines that divide segments of the picture, and even drag a button to your toolbar to "befuddlr" any picture. Once done, use the snapshot function of your computer to take a picture. In Mac, use apple-shift-four to take a snapshot. In PC, use the print screen (Prt Sc key) function to "copy" the picture and then paste it into a document or elsewhere. You are able to submit your own photos to the site (found on Flickr, of course). Learn more about flickr, a photo storage and sharing site, in the TeachersFirst review here.

tag(s): images (269), puzzles (209)

In the Classroom

To use the pictures provided, simply chose a "group" title, such as water drops, and click to befuddlr it. If you wish to befuddlr your own pictures, you must first upload them to Flickr, so you will need to learn that simple tool. Be sure to TAG your pictures so you can FIND them again! No membership or saving are available on befuddlr. Its is an on-the-spot tool. Be sure to use your own images or copyright free images and images that are available to be built upon. If students click to choose other pictures from Flickr, they could encounter ANYTHING that someone has uploaded, so be sure to guide them to the pictures you want them to use and have a stated policy and consequence for those who wander off into inappropriate places. Flickr does have anti-porn policies, but girls in bikinis, for example, are still available! Use snapshots of animals, numbers, letters, or other pictures and have students scramble the pieces. Befuddlr a picture on your interactive whiteboard to start a language lesson! Students can create their own and provide hints using a variety of constraints such as no more than 5 words, a poem, using adjectives only, etc. in order to help those guessing the original picture. In Art, create new patterns for analysis. Use befuddled pictures to practice new vocabulary for young ones or for ESL and world language students. Accompany student poetry with befuddled pictures
 
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PicLits - PicLits.com

Grades
K to 12
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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...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 (169), digital storytelling (150), images (269), 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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NASA Digital Learning Network - NASA

Grades
K to 12
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Learn firsthand from experts and specialists at NASA! Join free and interactive video-conferencing events or view podcasts for use in classrooms. Use the "Event Catalog" to find events...more
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Learn firsthand from experts and specialists at NASA! Join free and interactive video-conferencing events or view podcasts for use in classrooms. Use the "Event Catalog" to find events for specific grade levels, science subjects, or topics. View the event's focus and description as well as downloading Adobe pdf files of introductory activities and complete educator guides for different grade levels. A variety of webcasts are available. For example, in 2009, NASA's offerings include "Exploring Other Worlds," "The Earth System," and "Global Warming, Causes and Consequences." Educators must create a login and register for events. Access to video conferencing hardware is necessary for the live video-conferencing events. Download applications needed for viewing the webcasts from the "Tools and Plug Ins" page. The tools are also available at the TeachersFirst Toolbox page.

tag(s): air (163), earth (228), environment (317), nasa (39), space (206)

In the Classroom

Educators can view professional development webcasts from NASA's education experts. Download the pdf documents for use in class, and introduce concepts for students and formulate questions in class. Use several students to record fine points of the lectures, collect the most requested questions prior to the video-conference, and begin discussions following the event either in class or using web 2.0 tools such as a blog or a wiki. In lower grades, use the webcasts to introduce science concepts visually on a projector or interactive whiteboard.
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Visions of Christmas - American Antiquarian Society

Grades
2 to 12
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Original illustrations of classic Christmas memorabilia highlight this no-frills site. If you need a quick explanation, with photos, about the origin of Christmas, Christmas trees,...more
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Original illustrations of classic Christmas memorabilia highlight this no-frills site. If you need a quick explanation, with photos, about the origin of Christmas, Christmas trees, and evolution of Santa, this site will suit your purpose well. The four main topics include: Origins of Christmas, Evolution of Santa, The Christmas Tree, and Twas the Night Before Christmas. Students researching old customs will appreciate the simple approach.

tag(s): christmas (66), trees (30)

In the Classroom

Art teachers, enlarge the antique photos and engravings by double clicking on the small picture. The enlarged image can be printed to be included in a vast choice of art projects. Around the holidays, project one of the pictures on your interactive whiteboard or projector for students to use as a writing prompt, as they write a story about what they feel the picture portrays.

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