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Poet at Work: Walt Whitman Notebooks 1850s-1860s - Library of Congress

Grades
8 to 12
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This rare collection offers digital access to the Walt Whitman Notebooks and cardboard butterfly that were donated to the Library of Congress by Thomas Harned, all of which have been...more
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This rare collection offers digital access to the Walt Whitman Notebooks and cardboard butterfly that were donated to the Library of Congress by Thomas Harned, all of which have been conserved through a delicate scanning process. The notebook pages appear just as Whitman wrote them, with no table of contents or index. You are able to browse the notebooks page by page; however, because there is no subject index for the collection, a page turner function has been added to help. The Learn More About It documents will assist you in conducting a quicker search by providing links to specific passages, such as Whitman's extensive historical details on the life and death of President Abraham Lincoln, who symbolized for him the best in the American national character and inspired some of his greatest poetry. There is also a feature to save or print the Collection Connections.

tag(s): civil war (145), lincoln (86), literature (275)

In the Classroom

Use this online exhibit for an in-depth study of Walt Whitman. Have cooperative learning groups investigate one of the notebooks available at this site and create a multimedia presentation to share their findings. Have students create podcasts using a site such as PodOmatic (reviewed here). Or create a class wiki dedicated to the poetry of Walt Whitman. Not comfortable with wikis? Have no wiki worries - check out the TeachersFirst's Wiki Walk-Through .
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Twitter - Twitter, Inc.

Grades
K to 12
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Twitter users enter information to share with their "followers" by creating 140 character "tweets," and "followers" see what they are thinking, favorite links, etc., all from the brief...more
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Twitter users enter information to share with their "followers" by creating 140 character "tweets," and "followers" see what they are thinking, favorite links, etc., all from the brief "tweet." Tweets are much more than messages to share what you are eating for lunch! Use this popular microblogging and social networking tool for a great way to communicate with teaching peers and real world people you may not have a chance to otherwise meet. Reply to others to create conversations for some of the best professional development around. Each "tweet" or message may not seem extraordinary, but using the sum total of tweets from those you "meet" on Twitter can have an amazing impact. Use your profile and settings to add a bio and other information, change your security settings from public to protected, find those who follow you, and more. Post your tweets through the website, mobile devices, or myriad of applications to manage tweets and followers. Keep track of your favorite tweets by starring them. Refer to your favorites list as needed. Wish you could take back a tweet? Click the trash can beside the post to delete (however, others may have already seen and responded.) Find many opinions about Twitter on and off the Internet. Remember you will gain only as much as you put into this service. Build a network of helpful colleagues to become a better learner (and educator). Anyone can learn from Twitter, even a class of elementary students! Still not sure what Twitter is about? Find a great explanation of how it works in this review.

tag(s): microblogging (44), social media (16), social networking (112)

In the Classroom

Bring teaching and learning to new heights by using this service as a great form of professional development. At conferences, use Twitter as a backchannel to expand upon thoughts and ideas during presentations and after. Have a question to ask others' opinion about? Throw it out to Twitter to see the great perspectives given by those who follow you. Start out slowly and look at conversations that catch your eye. Follow people with experience in your areas of interest to gain from the conversations. Start off by following @teachersfirst or @cshively (our leader).

Learn about hashtags -- ways to mark, search, and follow conversations on a specific topic. For example, the #ntchat tag is for new and pre-service teachers and the #edchat hashtag is for all teachers. Participate in these chats which are scheduled at certain days and times or search for their tweets anytime. Find archived tweets from these chats to learn from some wonderful and motivated teachers when it is convenient for YOU. Use other Twitter applications to search or collect specific hashtags.

As a teaching tool, Twitter is amazing! If your school permits access, have a class account to share what you are doing with parents and especially for your class to follow people in topics you study. Studying space? Follow NASA. Studying politics and government? Follow your congressional rep or the White House. Consider using your teacher or class account to send updates to other teachers across the country or across the globe. You can also teach about responsible digital citizenship by modeling and practicing it as a class. A whole-class, teacher account is the most likely way to gain permission to use Twitter in school, especially if you can demonstrate specific projects. That can be as simple as making sure you and that teacher are FOLLOWING each other, then sending a direct message (start the tweet with D and the other teacher's twitter name) or creating a group with your own hashtag for a project such as daily weather updates. Even if you are not "following" someone, you can send them a tweet using @theirtwittername in the body of the message. This is called a "mention" but can be seen by others, too. Compare what your class is observing in today's weather, which topics you will be discussing today, or ask for another class' opinions on a current events issue. Ask for updates about local concerns, such as talking to California schools about wildfires in their area or a Maine school about a blizzard. Challenge another class to tweet the feelings of a literacy character, such as Hamlet, and respond as Ophelia, all in 140 characters or less. Have gifted students? Connect your classroom with the outside world to find greater challenges and connections beyond your regular curriculum.

Learn much more about teaching ideas and tools for Twitter in the many resources listed on TeachersFirst Twitter for Teachers page.

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Free Classic Audio Books - Free Classic Audio Books.com

Grades
6 to 12
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This site has a collection of free classics in the public domain downloadable for mp3 and m4b audio book format for iTunes and iPods. Of special interest at this ...more
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This site has a collection of free classics in the public domain downloadable for mp3 and m4b audio book format for iTunes and iPods. Of special interest at this site is the recently added section where readers may find books that are not available at other free book download sites. Also distinguishing this site is that some books offer "human narration" and some have "text to speech" technology doing the reading.

In the Classroom

Make a shortcut to this site on classroom computers as a reference. Suggest it to students as something they can use on their IPODS. Share this link on your class website for students to access at home.

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Only Connect - BBC

Grades
6 to 12
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This fast paced, highly interactive activity will keep students interested while developing vocabulary and thinking skills. Sixteen words are presented on a board, the goal is to sort...more
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This fast paced, highly interactive activity will keep students interested while developing vocabulary and thinking skills. Sixteen words are presented on a board, the goal is to sort them into four groups of four related words in three minutes and then name the word that connects all of them together. Patience and thinking outside the box are needed to be successful. There is no need to register to play for fun, and there are choices of many walls. Tournament play is also included; however, registration is required. Only Connect walls can be created for any subject or topic discussed in the classroom.

tag(s): puzzles (208), vocabulary (324)

In the Classroom

Try this activity together as a class on the interactive whiteboard or projector to encourage discussion of vocabulary presented on the wall. Ask students to create their own Only Connect wall to share with peers.
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Smilebox - Smilebox, Inc.

Grades
5 to 12
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This resource allows you to create slide shows, greetings, scrapbooks, invitations, collages, and more. The download is free, but there are paid upgrades available if desired. For educational...more
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This resource allows you to create slide shows, greetings, scrapbooks, invitations, collages, and more. The download is free, but there are paid upgrades available if desired. For educational purposes, the upgrades are not needed. Photos, videos, and music can all be added to your creations. A Smilebox template must be used to make your creations. Products made with this program can be shared to web pages and blogs, social networking sites, emailed, saved, or printed for free. All themes are free. This is a free download, so make sure you have computers that have the capability to download before creating a lesson with this tool. See the reviewer's sample here.

tag(s): blogs (88), images (265), movies (64), photography (160), slides (63)

In the Classroom

You will need to be able to download this program, and you will need 4 MB of space on your computer to do so. The program will automatically pull some photos from Windows Media or iPhoto depending on what your computer uses for photos. You can save web images or use screen shots, as well, to be used in your creations. Watch copyright! Check out the review of Jing reviewed here for details and a down-loadable screen shot taker. (It is what our reviewer used to capture extra images for the sample!) From here, it is easy to simply click and follow the on screen instructions. The program is simple to navigate and very user friendly for those who are accustomed to web tools.

With the variety of formats, this program has a wide variety of applications in any type of classroom! Use in history class to have students create collages of different periods of time such as the American Civil War. Create topics such as the Lincoln's Election, the Gettysburg Address, Battle of Antietam, Emancipation Proclamation, Battle of Gettysburg, and Lee's Surrender. Have pairs or groups of three select topics at random, and then have them create a collage or "scrapbook" of the event. Try having students choose a role from which to create their assignment such as a Rebel soldier, a Union Soldier, a volunteer nurse, a mother or father of children fighting on different sides of the war, etc. Have students collect copyright free images online for their use or create their own by reenacting and creating visuals to take pictures for their productions. Unleash student creativity by showing them this tool as resource in creating presentations and projects for your class and others. What a fabulous tool to use on the first day of school (as a welcome), beginning of a new unit, or back to school night with the parents! Elementary classes could create whole-class scrapbooks of curriculum projects, such as their science garden or Colonial Days celebration.

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Mutapic - Wotoco

Grades
K to 12
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Use this online picture generator to draw and create original art. Create logos, patterns, or other elements. Click on the green button to begin. Create a new picture by combining ...more
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Use this online picture generator to draw and create original art. Create logos, patterns, or other elements. Click on the green button to begin. Create a new picture by combining two others. Mutapic randomly generates pictures so choices are different each time. Choose the two pictures in the space at the left side of the screen. Click the green button to generate a new picture. Change any of the aspects listed such as tint, brightness, symmetry, and more to change aspects of the picture. Some features such as Save and Import are only available with the professional version. Work can easily be saved using the print screen function (Print Screen -- PrtScrn key -- in Windows or Apple/Shift/4 in a Mac). Your image can then be "pasted" into a document, slide, or elsewhere, using Ctrl+V (Command+v on Mac).

tag(s): design (84), drawing (78), elements (36), images (265)

In the Classroom

Use to generate original artwork which can be shared with the class on a blog, wiki, or site. Use the designs to discuss aspects of art such as line color, balance, shape, texture, etc. Recreate drawings in class using media found in the classroom. Challenge students to create their own projects in cooperative learning groups. Have students operate this tool on an interactive whiteboard to demonstrate design principles in Art class. Make creative bulletin board displays or visual writing prompts, simply by asking "what is it?" or "what does it do?" next to your new designs. Decorate student-made greeting cards using images as part of an informal letter-writing activity.

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Library of Congress Read.gov - Library of Congress

Grades
K to 12
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Here you will find the English teachers dream come true! Read.gov is from the Library of Congress and is a new website for readers of all ages. The site offers ...more
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Here you will find the English teachers dream come true! Read.gov is from the Library of Congress and is a new website for readers of all ages. The site offers pages specifically designed for kids and teens, as well as adults, educators, and parents. There is so much here: Contests, books online, book lists, and more. The webcast section is truly extensive. There are Webcasts from famous authors such as R.L. Stine, Jon Scieszka, Jan Brett, David Baldacci, John Grisham, Neil Gaiman, and many more. These webcasts also include interesting topics like "Mystery Writers Discuss Their Craft" and "The Nuts and Bolts of Historical Fiction" among others.

A special feature of the site is an exclusive story, called "The Exquisite Corpse Adventure." The Exquisite Corpse was a game in which someone would start a story, fold over their part, and the next person would add to the story and on it would go until the last person ended the story. For this Exquisite Corpse, Jon Scieszka started the story and passed it on to Katherine Patterson, who passed it on . . . and so it goes for 18 episodes. The entire story will take a year to write to the finish. There is an illustration that goes with each segment.

tag(s): authors (120), writing (358)

In the Classroom

Check out "The Exquisite Corpse Adventure" and have students listen to the stories. As a challenge ask students to look at the differences in writing style for each of the authors. Project a chart about the plot and the writing style on your interactive whiteboard or projector, and have students list the differences and similarities in writing style. Students could also keep a chart of similarities and differences for the illustrators. Another idea for an activity is to have the students read the poem "If" by Rudyard Kipling and then have them read the very touching national contest winner letter to the author about his poem. Students could then write their own letters to an author of a favorite book or poem. Have students create podcasts to read their letters to the authors using a site such as PodOmatic (reviewed here).

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Copyright-Friendly and Copyright Left - copyrightfriendly.wikispaces.com

Grades
K to 12
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Concerned about copyright in the classroom? Use this list as an outstanding way to learn more about copyright. Note: We don't usually review "hotlists," but this list is extensive and...more
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Concerned about copyright in the classroom? Use this list as an outstanding way to learn more about copyright. Note: We don't usually review "hotlists," but this list is extensive and outstanding on the subject of copyright. This site is a source for creative commons images to use in not only student projects but also for teacher work. Be sure to check out all links for great information and a source of copyright free images.

tag(s): copyright (47), creative commons (21), images (265)

In the Classroom

For use by all levels and subject areas. Teach students about basic copyright laws and how to use images and materials correctly as part of everyday work in every single classroom. Introduce in the classroom and allow students the opportunity to review a variety of these sites to determine the ones they are most comfortable with and the specific attributes of each that are worthwhile for different needs. Be sure to discuss these in class as they bring to light many copyright issues.

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Jungle Photos - R.Harris

Grades
4 to 12
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Jungle photos is more than what is inferred by the title. At this site you will find not only photos, but articles about the people, animals, plants, insects, reptiles, etc. ...more
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Jungle photos is more than what is inferred by the title. At this site you will find not only photos, but articles about the people, animals, plants, insects, reptiles, etc. of the jungle. The site focuses on Africa, the Amazon, and Galapagos. Here you will find some truly beautiful photography.

tag(s): africa (180), amazon (9), jungles (7)

In the Classroom

There are so many ways a teacher could use this site. Make it a learning station, where students look at the photos and read the captions and articles about the various aspects of life in the jungle. Students could have a special notebook where they summarize, or write an opinion about, what they learned from "Jungle Photos" that day. Young children could use the information to make a picture book of their own, summarizing what they read (or had read to them).

Older students need to know background information about a topic in order to decide what they would like to know more about. Students could use this as a springboard to decide what topic they would like to investigate for more information.

Language arts and ESL/ELL teachers could have students write their own description of the pictures and then compare their captions to those on the site. Students could also write a fictional story about what is happening in one of the pictures. Why not make it more interactive and have students create an online poster "glog" using Glogster EDU, reviewed here.

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Poem Flow - Apple

Grades
4 to 12
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Since February 1, 2010, poetry.org has been adding one poem a day to display in Poem Flow. The poems appear line by line (on a cell phone background) in a ...more
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Since February 1, 2010, poetry.org has been adding one poem a day to display in Poem Flow. The poems appear line by line (on a cell phone background) in a fairly slow cadence so that each word of the poem can be appreciated. The poems are mainly classics by renowned authors. They begin as early as the 1500's with Shakespeare and continue through lesser known contemporary poets of 2010. The date of the poem's publication is included with the title. Students or teachers can choose to read the poem all at one time in full text as well. Designed to be used as an APP on the iPhone/iTouch, the website allows anyone (without an iPhone) to see the poems appearing slowly and thoughtfully.

tag(s): poetry (227)

In the Classroom

Share a poem a day on your interactive whiteboard or projector. Have students participate in a poetry wiki to share their thoughts on the daily poem or write their own responses in student blogs. Not comfortable with wikis? Have no wiki worries - check out theTeachersFirst's Wiki Walk-Through. Use this site to get your students' eyes on a poem. As they anticipate what is coming, they will all be at attention. Use the daily offering at "poetry break" time every day so the students can anticipate and look forward to each new poem!
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Dipity - Underlying, Inc.

Grades
3 to 12
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Dipity is an online timeline creator that allows you to create, view, and share timelines in several different ways. When viewing timelines the default mode is the classic timeline...more
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Dipity is an online timeline creator that allows you to create, view, and share timelines in several different ways. When viewing timelines the default mode is the classic timeline display. With just a click the same information can be shown as a flipbook, map, and list. Sharing is simple through widgets that can be embedded on blogs or websites as well as quick links to common networking sites.
This site includes advertising.

tag(s): timelines (62)

In the Classroom

Click on "add an event" and complete as much information as you can about the event. Types of information that are provided include: title, date, description, picture, link, location, and video Url. If you do not have a complete set of information, the event will still look good in the timeline! Also, please note that you cannot create imaginary locations. The site does verify the place entered as location is a real place.

Use a created, identifiable to the outside world team name to preserve student internet security. This way, students do not need to create their own accounts. Be careful when having students enter locations, if it is historical project, real dates and times are safe to use. However, if students are creating personal type timelines, use general locations like city and country or even just country. You can control who can see the timelines, and who can edit the timeline. Use caution here!

Create a timeline of classroom events throughout the school year. During a unit on inventions, having different students add each invention to the timeline along with pertinent information to create a very visual display of the chronology of the introduction of each item (great for review!). Use for an author study to compare and contrast lives of authors and add historical events to put each author's works into perspective. In science class, have students create a timeline of scientific discoveries or the life of a plant, animal, or scientist. Challenge students to create cross-disciplinary timelines showing historic, scientific, and artistic events during the same time period, such as the Renaissance or a decade during the 20th century, so they can see trends. Make timelines of environmental concerns, such as the Gulf Oil Spill--or a history of environmental disasters. Create timelines for historic events -- local or global. Make family histories in world language classes using vocabulary and grammar skills to describe family members in the new language. Create a class timeline to add to your classroom wiki and have students add information as the year advances so that they can look back on all that they have accomplished.

Need a challenge for your gifted students? as the study history or a scientific discovery, have them make a timeline that shows other events happening in the world at the same time. Have them create a "family tree" for endangered species using this timeline tool. Add pictures, locations, and names of related species and causes for the threat to that animal. Have them map out the steps leading to a war or civil rights event, adding the more subtle causes and people not included in the regular curriculum.

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Spy Letters of the American Revolution - Clements Library, University of Michigan

Grades
4 to 12
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This fascinating site is based on an exhibit of American Revolutionary spy letters from the William L. Clements Library, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, Michigan. The Gallery of...more
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This fascinating site is based on an exhibit of American Revolutionary spy letters from the William L. Clements Library, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, Michigan. The Gallery of Letters provides a brief description of each letter and links to more information about the stories of the spies in the letter or the secret methods used to make the letter. This site is rich with primary sources, taking students back in time!

tag(s): evolution (100), primary sources (86)

In the Classroom

The use of spy letters shows students a different perspective of the Revolutionary War. Have your students use the information about the spies and write a biography. Add a little mystery to your classroom and have students write spy letters from the perspective of people on each side of the war. Have students use the images and information from the site and create a poster using Glogster reviewed here. Post the letters on an interactive whiteboard or projector and use the letters in an English class to discuss letter writing, grammar, and sentence structure. The whiteboard tools can be used to highlight and annotate. Several more examples of fun activities including writing with disappearing ink can be found in the Teacher's Lounge.

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Writing Exemplars and Scoring Guides - Jen Farr

Grades
K to 12
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Writing Exemplars and Scoring Guides provides descriptions and links to authentic writing samples organized and evaluated by grade level, as well as scoring guides and rubrics....more
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Writing Exemplars and Scoring Guides provides descriptions and links to authentic writing samples organized and evaluated by grade level, as well as scoring guides and rubrics. Samples, also referred to as anchor papers, include narrative, informative, and creative writing. Although scoring guides and rubrics may vary between states and school districts, they share a similar criterion that incorporates the various traits of writing. This is one of the many useful pages from the Farroutlinks blog site, which continues to post new ideas on an ongoing basis.

tag(s): rubrics (32), writing (358)

In the Classroom

Save this site in your favorites and use it to select samples of students' writing that represent various performance levels. Use your classroom projector and interactive whiteboard to display some of the samples to show your students a solid idea of what is expected from them to write an outstanding paper. Pair this with one of the many scoring rubrics to choose from, including your state scoring guidelines. This will provide excellent preparation for all grade level state assessments, college entrance essays, SAT writing or just some of your own classroom writing assignments. Some of the more familiar links that you may access right from this page, such as Bakersfield Writing Prompts and Scoring Guides (reviewed here), and the 6+1 Writing Traits (reviewed here).
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Rubric Gallery - RCampus

Grades
K to 12
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This site contains links to many different sources for rubrics. You can search by grade level, subject, or type making it easier to find an appropriate rubric. ...more
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This site contains links to many different sources for rubrics. You can search by grade level, subject, or type making it easier to find an appropriate rubric.

tag(s): assessment (99)

In the Classroom

Use this site to search for rubrics for any type of assignment or classroom use. Material isn't limited to academic use, it also includes attendance, homework, and other types of rubrics.

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Windows to the Universe - National Earth Science Teachers Association

Grades
4 to 12
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Though Windows to the Universe is basically a science site, it has many links that will connect science with language arts, history and math. Find an abundance of information and ...more
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Though Windows to the Universe is basically a science site, it has many links that will connect science with language arts, history and math. Find an abundance of information and activities for your classroom. There are numerous science categories, and within each category you can choose "Beginner," "Intermediate," or "Advanced." This site has excellent visuals and numerous topics, and several educational interactives (under "Games"). Don't miss it!

tag(s): geology (81), planets (123)

In the Classroom

You will want to preview the categories and levels your students are to explore. Investigate categories with your students, using your interactive whiteboard or projector. Then have small groups of students choose a subcategory to further explore. Have your students create an interactive online poster ("glog") using Glogster EDU, reviewed here to share what they learn.
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conjugation.com - Best Practice

Grades
5 to 12
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See the conjugation of any English verb for free. This site conjugates over 15,000 verbs in all 3 forms: affirmative, interrogative, and negative, and in all tenses, genders, persons,...more
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See the conjugation of any English verb for free. This site conjugates over 15,000 verbs in all 3 forms: affirmative, interrogative, and negative, and in all tenses, genders, persons, voices, and moods. An added advantage at this site is you can see the definition of the verb. Other nice features are an example of the verb used in a sentence and a synonym of the verb used in a sentence. If you are a world language teacher, you may want to check back at this brand new site. They say they will next be developing pages to conjugate verbs in languages other than English.

tag(s): grammar (216), parts of speech (68), speech (92), verbs (41), writing (358)

In the Classroom

This site has a source code you can embed on your own wiki or website. In class you can use your interactive whiteboard or projector to show students conjugation.com and have them suggest verbs to be entered and conjugated. They will also learn the names of the verb forms and tenses. Have the ESL and ELL students in your class use this site to check their writing. Underline the verbs in their writing that are not conjugated correctly and let them make the corrections using conjugation.com.

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Shmoop: Biographies - Shmoop

Grades
6 to 12
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Shmoop, the study site created by Stanford grad students, now has an entire section of biographies of famous people, and they are not just famous authors! Click on the tabs ...more
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Shmoop, the study site created by Stanford grad students, now has an entire section of biographies of famous people, and they are not just famous authors! Click on the tabs at the top to read a summary, biography, or even a resume. You don't need to have an account to see the information on Shmoop. However, signing up (for free) gives you the ability to "clip" files and keep them in a folder. Registration does require an email address. Tip: rather than using your personal or work email, create a free Gmail account to use for memberships. If you plan to have students register individually, you may want to create your own Gmail account with up to 20 subaccounts for each group of students (by code name or number) within your classes. Here is a blog post that tells how to set up GMail subaccounts to use for any online membership service.

tag(s): biographies (86), famous people (19)

In the Classroom

Introduce any of the authors biographies before reading a literary work or studying that famous leader or scientist. You could have the students go through the tabs and take notes on interesting facts, trivia, etc. Then have a class game where all students stand and the first student reads a fact from their notes and crosses it out. All other students have to cross that fact out, too. Then the next person states a different fact and every one else has to cross the fact out. Proceed in this manner until there is only one (or however many you want) students left standing. They are the winners. Another idea: Have your students create an interactive online poster ("glog") about an individual using Glogster EDU, reviewed here.

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Shmoop: Shakespeare - Shmoop

Grades
6 to 12
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Shmoop has an entire section just for William Shakespeare. If you click on his name at the top you'll be taken to his biography page. This address will also list ...more
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Shmoop has an entire section just for William Shakespeare. If you click on his name at the top you'll be taken to his biography page. This address will also list the Learning Guides that Shmoop has developed for Shakespeare's works. All you need for your Shakespeare unit on one page!

tag(s): shakespeare (131)

In the Classroom

Introduce Shakespeare before reading any of his works by having the students do a jigsaw. Have students number off in groups of four. Three of the students should investigate two tabs each (exclude Citations and Opinions). One student should look only at "Best of the Web" since it is rather extensive. Have students get in their expert groups based on the tab(s) they will read and jot down notes. Once everyone has completed the work have them report out to their original group what they found that was important or interesting. Have groups create multimedia presentations to share with the class. Have your students create an interactive online poster ("glog") using Glogster EDU, reviewed here. Another idea, have students create podcasts using a site such as PodOmatic (reviewed here). Challenge students to narrate a picture of Shakespeare using a tool such as ThingLink, reviewed here.

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English Club - Englishclub.com

Grades
2 to 12
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English Club provides ESL and ELL resources and lessons for both students and teachers. There are also games, further resources, idioms, and even the "Learning English Video Project."...more
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English Club provides ESL and ELL resources and lessons for both students and teachers. There are also games, further resources, idioms, and even the "Learning English Video Project." Students can compare their English-learning experience with students from around the world; they can also create their own page to be hosted by the site. Lessons include the standard vocabulary, grammar, pronunciation, and reference tools. By providing both chat capability and an English question "hotline," the site would work for students learning in groups as well as individually. Games on the site are language based, educational, and designed to reinforce the language lessons. Other interactive features include a weekly news summary and activities and an opportunity to discuss via ESL forums. Free registration ensures students can take advantage of all the site offerings. Students may select their native language for website directions if needed; languages include standard European and Asian ones as well as Arabic.

tag(s): grammar (216), speaking (24)

In the Classroom

Check with administrators to be sure policy allows for students to create their own web pages attached to this site, to participate in chats with other students and teachers, and to be a member of a conversation forum. You should also obtain written parent permission. To fully register with the site you need a valid email address. Tip: rather than using your personal or work email, create a free Gmail account to use for memberships. If you plan to have students register individually, you may want to create your own Gmail account with up to 20 subaccounts for each group of students (by code name or number) within your classes. Here is a blog post Here is a blog post that tells how to set up GMail subaccounts to use for any online membership service. If you have a number of ESL/ELL students, make a shortcut to this site on classroom computers or share it on your class web page to use it as a center. This site's activities would work well for individual or pairs of students in a lab or on laptops.

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CD Cover Maker - Big Huge Labs

Grades
6 to 12
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Use digital photographs or images to create an authentic-looking CD or DVD cover. Follow the illustrated step-by-step instructions to upload your own photos or images from other sites...more
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Use digital photographs or images to create an authentic-looking CD or DVD cover. Follow the illustrated step-by-step instructions to upload your own photos or images from other sites such as Facebook or Flickr, (be sure to instruct students on copyright laws regarding the use of photos from the World Wide Web and follow your school's internet security policies). You can then add a title, which will appear on the back flap, and text which will appear just below it. Easy to follow instructions are provided for printing, cutting, and folding your customized CD cover.

tag(s): book reports (36), collages (17)

In the Classroom

Students can use this cover to hold a music CD or DVD movie that relates to a literary work, but there are a lot of other great extensions you can implement as a means to assess critical thinking skills, especially when it comes to synthesizing and assimilating concepts. Rather than assigning a book review, literary essay, or standard research paper, adventurous technology users could burn a CD of PowerPoint slides or use the CD cover to hold a DVD slideshow of narrated photographs. Slightly less adventurous technology users could use it to house a written assignment related to plot, theme, or character study, or to illustrate a poem or narrative. Big Huge Labs offers other similar tools, such as Magazine Cover Maker reviewed here and Mosaic Maker reviewed here, which could be used in conjunction with the CD Cover Maker to make your projects even more amazing. 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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