Grades6 to 12
In the ClassroomIntroduce 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.
Grades6 to 12
tag(s): shakespeare (131)
In the ClassroomIntroduce 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.
Grades2 to 12
In the ClassroomCheck 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.
Grades6 to 12
In the ClassroomStudents 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.
Grades6 to 12
In the ClassroomFor security and safety, be sure to instruct students about copyright laws regarding the use of photos from the World Wide Web, and follow your school's internet security policies for use of social networking sites, such as Facebook and Flickr albums that are available from this web page. Students can use this tool to organize photos and images for numerous creative photo projects, such as report covers, to illustrate their interpretation of a theme, to analyze a character's traits, or to visually represent a topic or concept. For adventurous technology users, try pairing the Mosaic Maker together with another one of Big Huge Labs free photo projects, such as The CD Cover Maker reviewed here for designing an amazing way to "package" a book report, research project, or other assignment. In lower grades, use mosaic maker for teacher-made collages of words that start with a certain letter or of animal classifications and hang them on bulletin boards for students to guess. 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.
Grades3 to 12
In the ClassroomUse these resources together with your class to help students find ways they can contribute to a greater good after such a devastating event spreads across the news. Extend the opportunity to teach about persuasive writing (letters to legislators or the editor), careers in environmental science, and more.
GradesK to 12
This site includes advertising.
In the ClassroomUse Mixbook to create collaborative projects, yearbooks, or to give writers workshop publishing a professional flare. History teachers may enjoy letting students photograph a re-enactment of a scene from the past and then write accompanying text. Combine yearly research reports with this multimedia option. Have students create collaborative projects that access fantastic photography collections from sites such as the Library of Congress . Primary school teachers can photograph student illustrations of familiar songs, poems, or rhymes and create "class" books. Project these books onto an interactive whiteboard or projector and revolutionize shared reading. Create parent education books that communicate how to help with their student's reading at home, or explain the stages of project-based learning. Students can also author books in a foreign language. Mixbook is useful for all areas of the school curriculum. Remember to embed student books into the school website for family and friends at home to enjoy.
Parent permission advised before posting student work created using this tool
Includes Interaction w general public/ public galleries with unmoderated content
Includes social features, such as "friends," comments, ratings by others
Requires registration/log-in (WITH email)
Premium version (not free) includes additional features or storage
Products can be embedded
Products can be shared by URL
Multiple users can collaborate on the same project
GradesK to 12
Visit this website to find out exactly what the national K-12 standards are for English language arts and literacy in history/social studies, science and technology, as well as mathematics, and to find out if your state is one many states (at the time of this review) that have already committed to adopt the Common Core State Standards. Watch videos and the recorded webinar, and read about the key points and rigorous curriculum standards, including the content and skills related to the use of media and technology for critical analysis and production.
tag(s): commoncore (94)
In the ClassroomTake a look at exemplars and sample performance tasks and students' writing to consider how you can integrate these ideas into your own planning to prepare students for the growing challenges of today's world. You can also sign up to receive updates via email. For more information about the Common Core and implementing it in your classes, see TeachersFirst's Common Core: The Fuss Over Non-Fiction, a Q/A article for elementary teachers, and TeachersFirst's resources tagged Common Core for many helpful sites.
GradesK to 12
In the ClassroomUse these award winning ideas to commemorate September 11 in a lesson to demonstrate unity or build worldwide understanding. Use the concepts as a springboard to a collaborative project. Ideas vary from sending chains of origami cranes as a wish for peace, composing and singing a song for unity with an online tool such as Woices (beta) reviewed here), writing letters to local politicians, creating poems and transforming them into digital videos or multimedia presentations using ThingLink, reviewed here, or taking responsibility for the environment while creating a sense of community by planting gardens. Choose from many ways to inspire students to recognize the importance of September 11 and to involve them in working together to become a more tolerant society. You might be so amazed with the results that you will want to submit your students' projects to be considered for next year's Tribute Center September 11th Teacher Awards. The annual award ceremony takes place on February 26, to commemorate the 1993 first attack on the World Trade Center.
Grades7 to 12
In the ClassroomDisplay the photograph of the September 11th attack on the World Trade Center on your projector or interactive whiteboard. Create a wiki of questions students might have (or want to ask) survivors or those who lost loved ones on that fateful day. Perhaps have them respond to each other's questions with what they believe the responses might be. Not comfortable with wikis? Have no wiki worries - check out the TeachersFirst's Wiki Walk-Through .
Grades4 to 12
In the ClassroomDisplay this pictorial interactive September 11th timeline of the attack on the World Trade Center on your classroom projector or interactive whiteboard. After reading real accounts of what happened, have students work with a partner to create podcasts (news broadcasts, mock interviews with survivors and others involved, or even a student perspective of how that day changed the United States forever). Have students create podcasts using a site such as PodOmatic (reviewed here). Alternatively, have them narrate an image using ThingLink, reviewed here.
Grades7 to 12
In the ClassroomProvide this link as a resource to your students. Allow them the opportunity to learn techniques to move and manage their online information. Consider putting this link on your class website for students (and parents) to access at home.
GradesK to 12
tag(s): word choice (26)
In the ClassroomThis would be a great way to have your older students study word choice! Start by going to the "Writing Fix For Kids" (reviewed here) and look at the left column index to find "Six Traits" click on "Word Choice." At this site you will find several recommendations for picture books and chapter books to use with your students so they can analyze good word choice. Read a few of these, and ask the students to point out the descriptive writing that stands out for them. Then use a wordless picture book and have your students write a short story for an 8 to 11 year old that doesn't rely on the illustrations. From there your students can write their own short story, and have an 8 to 11 year old student read it while being video taped. You might consider pairing up with a local elementary or middle school teacher to have one of their students do the reading.
For younger students, use your projector or interactive whiteboard and project the student reader full screen. It would be like having a visitor come to your classroom at story time!
Grades5 to 12
In the ClassroomAs educators, keeping those stories and their impact alive is crucial for our students' understanding of what brought us to that point in history. Use this media based resource kit in its entirety or as individual units where each story serves as a catalyst for students' awareness about the events and examining the context of how history is made. Experience the stories by personal connection by listening to and projecting them, pausing periodically to try some of the Connect and Reflect activities. Students can answer the questions individually, or the questions can be used in a teacher led class discussion. Use a class wiki to display the questions and answers. Not comfortable with wikis? Have no wiki worries - check out the TeachersFirst's Wiki Walk-Through. Provide a link to this site on your class web page to make its timeline of events and other research resources easily accessible for individuals or groups to conduct further investigations.
Grades2 to 12
tag(s): terrorism (49)
In the ClassroomInclude one or more of these sites as your observe September 11 in your classroom or make the link available on your class web site for students who ask about the events of this pivotal day. You will find many specific project or class activity ideas within the reviews themselves.
GradesK to 12
In the ClassroomBring history lessons about the 20th century alive by reviewing World War II photographs, videos, and interviews with survivors from the United Kingdom. Then ask your class to upload photographs of artifacts, people, film clips or conduct interviewers with survivors in their own community. Record the interview with a site such as Vocaroo reviewed here. Compare and contrast the experiences of both groups during the War. Have students in family and consumer science research fashion, clothing, food, and/or drink from various locations and time periods. Enrich an anticipatory set about William Shakespeare with photographs of his birthplace, Macduff's castle, the Globe Theatre, and his cottage in Stratford. Younger children will enjoy the numerous digital images of animals and antique toys. Prepare a series of topic albums for students to access and use for research by using the sites "My Album" feature.
GradesK to 12
In the ClassroomWitness great storytelling techniques in action. Discuss these techniques with your students. How do storytellers use their voices to convey mood, tone, emotion, and sound? How can storytellers use descriptive language to paint a picture in the mind of the listener? How can onomatopoeias and sensory imagery make stories come alive? What can students infer from a story based on tone and verbal expression? What lessons and morals do some stories imply? Encourage visualization by asking students to sketch story events, create portraits of characters, or paint the setting. With younger children, help them learn to identify character, problem, and setting. Discuss story sequence and plots common to folk tales. Diagram how a circle story plot starts and ends in the same place. Search for stories that contain common themes of self-acceptance, friendship, transformation, or personal journeys. Let students use individual computers to listen (with headphones) to the stories.
After examining stories told on Story Bee, have students create and practice their own storytelling skills. Demonstrate how to compose modern versions of familiar tales, or retell family stories and recent events. Use plot diagrams to assist in the organization of their own stories. Record and share class stories with tools such as Woices (beta) (reviewed here). This site allows students to create audio recordings AND choose a location (on a map) where the story takes place. Have cooperative learning groups create podcasts of their stories by using sites such as PodOmatic (reviewed here). Help students create a checklist or rubric to use for self-evaluation or peer review. Use this same document to help students make constructive suggestions for story revisions. Post a link to Story Bee on your class web page or wiki so that students can access it both in and out of class.
GradesK to 12
tag(s): creative commons (21)
In the ClassroomAddress the needs of the visual learner and include media files as part of the research process. Wikipedia Commons offers a way for students to gain an understanding of content through images, sounds, and video. Give students the opportunity to communicate their knowledge by narrating a slideshow of images found on Wikipedia Commons or create multimedia presentations on a site such as Glogster (reviewed here). These free media files will also help ELL or ESL teachers explain concepts and key vocabulary. This site is a valuable resource for imagery useful when creating presentations, lectures, digital stories, reports or to include on a class websites. Students learning a foreign language may benefit from using Wikipedia Commons to learn about more about the culture and lifestyle of the country whose language they are studying.
GradesK to 12
In the ClassroomEngage your class in real world learning while building fluency and reading skills. "Voices in the Dark" is always looking for people to contribute to their on-line library of audio books. Consider having your class submit an audio recording of their own to the collection. First choose a genre to focus on such as Fairy Tales or Aesop Fables. Review the page that contains directions on how to select stories, create a recording, and submit work. There is a list of links full of public domain books from which to choose. They provide tips on how to record your reading and directions on how to submit your work. Sites such as Audio Pal reviewed here may be helpful in creating your recordings. Of course, check with your administrator before attempting this project and obtain parent permission before sharing or posting student work.
GradesK to 12
tag(s): creativity (109)