Grades7 to 12
Spruz provides an online space for forums (threaded discussions), blogs, "friends," groups, personal spaces for members, and more. As the administrator, you can control the actual set-up. Make your space private or set to public. Members still have to join to be part of the site. Assuming you can access the URL at school, this tool can provide a PRIVATE online space for your classes or teaching team as an electronic home for use in and out of school. This site touts that they have beefed up their business model in order to continue to offer free services.
In the ClassroomBefore you start, make sure filtering on the school network will not block your specific URL. See some of the tips from the Edge team. Set up a network, including name, URL, and description. Be sure to choose Private to limit viewing of your network to those you INVITE to join. Drag your desired features to create your layout. You can always change it later. Make appearance choices. Click on the parts of the site you wish to create such as chat, forum, blog, links, bookmarks, files, etc. Be sure to check the box that requires approval from the account owner for members to join. Change profile questions and options available to members easily.
A class social network has limitless possibilities. Engage students in discussions on current events, independent reading, literature, and more. Create groups for students to work on projects and use the space as a forum to work out tasks, scheduling, and file sharing. Get creative and ask students to play the role of a historical figure on a social network across time: Ben Franklin networks with Harry Truman to argue about the atomic bomb. Use the site as a forum for any simulated or real task. Invite parents to join to give their points of view on upcoming elections or public policy issues. Include the principal or superintendent in your class discussions of students' rights as you study the Constitution. Your students themselves will suggest ways to use this all-too-familiar tool from their world. Imagine the "profiles" they could create as characters from fiction or inventors from history! Create incredible discussions of environmental, political, or economic issues. Inviting members from another school or community provides incredible perspective into a variety of different beliefs and values. Definitely plan to model and use this tool in lessons about Internet safety and the "lasting" nature of one's Internet presence. Social networking is part of life today, and the opportunity to learn about it in a private space is important for today's students.
Parent permission advised before posting student work created using this tool
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 shared by URL
Includes teacher tools for registering and/or monitoring students
Grades8 to 12
tag(s): vocabulary (324)
In the ClassroomChange the way students learn and study vocabulary by giving it to them the way they want it with interactive videos, flashcards, and self assessment quizzes. Demonstrate with the whole class on the interactive whiteboard or projector and use it that way periodically whenever you have a few teachable moments to fill. Embed it on your class web page for students to access frequently. You may do all of this without registering; however, joining the free membership provides plenty of extra perks. Challenge students to create some of their own vocabulary interactives using a site to narrate a photo, such as ThingLink, reviewed here.
Grades3 to 12
tag(s): authors (120)
In the ClassroomOne of the ideas presented is the "Interview." Use your interactive whiteboard for students to create questions to ask the author or an expert about the book or the subject of the book. Video the interview, or save the video conference, and have students reflect on the quality of the questions once the students have had the opportunity to illicit answers to their questions. Use your interactive whiteboard to have students brainstorm what they would do differently next time as far as developing good questions.
GradesK to 12
In the ClassroomSave this site in your favorites on your class computer or TeachersFirst membership. Open the doors to engage students in the active reading process to enhance levels of comprehension between the text and the reader. The flexible framework lets you choose to use any of the strategies as a stand-alone, ready-to-present on the interactive whiteboard, or as a lesson for whole class viewing. Many familiar literary works are used as examples, or you may easily apply the strategy to any literary work that your class is currently reading. Videos and Power Points for modeling and practicing the strategies are embedded, so all you have to do is click to start and let them work their magic. Follow up by downloading the printable study guides, graphic organizers, and other handouts to use before, during, and after reading.
Grades3 to 12
tag(s): flash cards (47)
In the ClassroomCreate flashcards for any subject to review material being learned in class. Use this as a review for vocabulary before tests. As a pre-assessment, create a study list to use on the interactive whiteboard or projector to find out what students already know. Provide this link on your class website for students to use to create flashcards both in and out of your classroom. Learning support teachers may want to show students how to create their own cards. The process of creating the will actually reinforce skills, as well.
Grades2 to 12
In the ClassroomUse a whole-class account created using a teacher (memberships) email for students to create comics that can be easily monitored/managed by the teacher. Click on buttons to learn the basics that can be used to create the comic. To use, click "Create" and then on "New drawing." Use the tools to create shapes, draw lines, change points, and drag segments easily. Click on the camera icon to take or upload a picture. Click Text tab to add caption bubbles and text. When finished, easily save your comic by adding a title and description. Comics can also be marked private, if you wish. Share completed online comics by copy/pasting the URL of the "finished" comic. Be sure to KEEP a record of these URLs or manage them using "My Comics."
Provide only the link to the "Create" portion of the site to remove possible viewing of public comics. If desired, require students to take a screenshot of their comic instead of saving to the site. Take a snapshot using the print screen (PrtScrn) button on a PC or using the screenshot shortcut in a Mac (apple/shift/4.) Images can then be uploaded to a blog, wiki, or other site for display.
Use Chogger to explain vocabulary words or other concepts from any class or subject area. Use comics to write summaries of current events, responses to reading assignments, expressions of teen problems, and creative works of humor. With younger students, use an interactive whiteboard or projector to share or create a class comic on a current topic of study, such as the life cycle of the frog or ways to conserve energy. Use this site to integrate an art and writing lesson. Why not have students create comics to demonstrate a concept in science or social studies, rather than a traditional paper/pencil quiz? World language teachers and ESL/ELL teachers will love the chance for students to demonstrate written language skills in the "context" of their comic situations. Emotional support /autistic support teachers and students can create comics to help explain social interactions.
Grades9 to 12
In the ClassroomThese short film clips are perfect for introducing lessons with a quick attention-grabbing recap. The clips preview material that you can discuss more in depth as you analyze the works in question, and provide a useful review for students throughout the unit. It may be tempting to treat them like all the other on-line cheats for students who don't actually want to read the book, but these are more likely to help focus attention and clarify main points. They would also be good for less-able readers as a way to increase interest in the classics. The clips are perfect for your interactive whiteboard or projector. As a special challenge, assign students to create their own 60 second recaps of works they have read and share them on TeacherTube reviewed here or SchoolTube reviewed here.
Grades5 to 12
In the ClassroomUse your interactive whiteboard or projector to take your class on a virtual field trip to Amsterdam to visit the Secret Annex where they can realize what it was actually like for Anne Frank's family and four others to live inside a hidden space, with the constant fear of being discovered by the Nazis. Help the words in Anne's diary come alive by showing what the outside and inside of the building looked like, by viewing the painstaking ways that were taken to keep them safe, and by looking at the space where Anne ate, slept, and hung her pictures. Students will be more likely to relate to Anne as a real person, instead of a fictional character, and admire her optimism, courage, and resiliency. Use this to initiate journal entries for students to reflect on how they would handle two years of hiding and sharing a small space with others, as well as what they would do to remain positive, or use the online exhibit to shed some light on a dark period in history and to strengthen the personal account of the hiding period and the deportation to the camps. Assign class members to read about one of the house members or helpers to research, then have them write a diary (or blog entry) from that person's point of view. Assign teams to debate who was the most important member of the household or if this situation could take place in today's society. Not comfortable with wikis? Have no wiki worries - check out the TeachersFirst's Wiki Walk-Through.Have groups compare two people they learned about using a tool such as the Interactive Two Circle Venn Diagram (reviewed here). Create a class wiki for students to share their journal articles and respond to others.
GradesK to 12
In the ClassroomIntroduce this site on your interactive whiteboard or projector. Then have students explore this site independently or in small groups. Use it to introduce color names and primary and secondary colors with students as young as kindergarten or ESL/ELL students. It would also be a great resource to support a poetry unit or mini-lessons on elaboration. Two of the interactive activities give students an opportunity to create stories with colors. This site will help older students understand the evocative nature of color. This knowledge may help them create more engaging presentations or designs that are cognizant of mood and tone. There are several on-line interactive activities to use on an interactive whiteboard. All creations made on-line are printable. Include this site on your class web page for students and parents to access as a reference.
GradesK to 12
In the ClassroomUse this site as an anticipatory set to a poetry unit. Share this site during Poetry Month in April! Students can peruse the collection to find a poem that intrigues them and then share with the class using an interactive whiteboard or a document camera connected to a computer. Select poems to evaluate with your students and have them develop a criteria for what makes a good poem.
Grades1 to 12
In the ClassroomThis is a great site to help students sequence, brainstorm, and organize information. Use on an interactive whiteboard or projector and fill out organizers after a lesson. Print out organizers and have students use them in cooperative reading groups. Use the organizers to differentiate for students who need extra scaffolding or for students who need extension activities. As students get older and learn which study skills help them best, they will want to access this site on their own to study for tests. Be sure to save this site in your personal favorites!
Grades4 to 12
tag(s): poetry (225)
In the ClassroomDelight your students by projecting digipoemon your classroom projector or interactive whiteboard to demonstrate how the words in poems create visual images. Then, be amazed at how quickly this will motivate them to write poetry. Take them to the computer lab or use a class set of lap tops, and put a link to this site on your class web page. Younger students should first type their poems into a Word document with a built in spell check, and then copy and paste them into the website's text box.
Grades4 to 12
tag(s): poetry (225)
In the ClassroomDemonstrate how simple it is to find a word that rhymes on your projector or interactive whiteboard and then, provide a link to Rhyme Brain on your class web page for your students to have easy access to this tool. Have your students share their created poems on an interactive online poster ("glog") using Glogster EDU, reviewed here.
It's a real time saver. Use it to fascinate elementary students with the numerous single and multi-syllabic rhyming words and various spelling combinations that are generated. Older students will enjoy the play on words that it quickly reveals, saving them time to do the higher level thinking that the figurative language of poetry requires.
Grades2 to 12
In the ClassroomThis site can be used as a teacher tool if you are unsure of a definition or simply looking for a new way to teach a literary concept. It can also be used as a terminology resource for students. Be sure to provide this link on your class website for students to access both in and out of the classroom. Have young students use this site in cooperative learning groups and create online books providing the definitions to several new vocabulary words, along with examples they collect or create. Use a site such as Bookemon, reviewed here.
Grades6 to 12
tag(s): poetry (225)
In the ClassroomThe goal of Read Write Poem is to use the power of the internet to create an interactive and collaborative virtual space for poets of all levels to learn about and share poetry. Due to school privacy policies where membership is required on a web site that links to other social networking sites, the teacher should use discretion and keep this as a resource for selecting activities to share in the classroom, such as weekly writing prompts, and "rules of critiquing etiquette" for peer reviews of classmates' poems.
Grades10 to 12
In the ClassroomPlotting the patterns of poetic meter and rhyme can be as hard to study as learning a foreign language. It takes long hours of practice to develop an ear and a feel for the kind of verse that was standard during Chaucer's time. At For Better for Verse poetry enthusiasts practice by trial and error opportunities, and receive instant feedback as they analyze the syllables' stress, without becoming too stressed, themselves. How do you know where the slacks and stresses fall? You listen; so instead of relying on repeating the verse out loud, click on the audio to hear it read. Listening to a vocal performance is helpful in the early stages of the tutorial. Students build confidence as they turn their stride into a gallop and waltz across the poem with their mouse and curser. Soon they will progress to using their eyes, rather than their ears to "listen" to the poem.
Grades4 to 12
tag(s): creative writing (167)
In the ClassroomThis poetry activity opens the doors to so many learning objectives. In a social studies or history classroom, you could direct your students to search for newspaper or magazine articles on topics that you have been studying, or current events. Suddenly you have social studies poetry! In an English language arts lesson, you might instruct students to blacken out all the words that are not nouns or verbs, or select other parts of speech. You could change the task to eliminate any word that is not part of the simple subject or predicate, and simultaneously teach or reinforce main idea. For classrooms with individual computers, students could access articles online. Copy the text into a document. Then, Instead of blackening out words with markers, they could get the same effect by highlighting over them with black, or changing the font color of the text to white, and printing them or saving a screenshot image. Another option is for students to email their Newspaper Blackout poems to the teacher. Each poem could then be put into a Power Point slide show for the class to see on a projector or interactive whiteboard. Use this site to offer your students a new twist on Poetry Month (April). Take your new poetry collection to the world by uploading the PowerPoint to ThingLink, reviewed here, and having each student record a reading in his/her own voice. Make poetry a participatory experience, no matter what the subject. If your school permits, have students take photos of their paper poems -- or screenshots of ones done on the computer --and share them on this site.
Grades5 to 12
In the ClassroomThis is a great way to introduce a poetry unit to a class. It is also ideal for Poetry Month (April). This read-a-thon can also be used throughout the entire semester. A teacher guide is included as well as a student log. If used throughout the semester, teachers can start out each lesson period with one or two students sharing their responses with the class. Teachers can also choose a poem and assign students a particular response focus. Students can then compare and contrast each other's responses to the same poem. Have cooperative learning groups share their poems on a podcast using PodOmatic (reviewed here).
GradesK to 12
tag(s): poetry (225)