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Creative Writing Practice for Secondary Students - TeachersFirst

Grades
7 to 12
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Find ideas and quotes to prompt secondary students to write, write, write. These evocative ideas and questions will give even the most uninspired student something to write about....more
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Find ideas and quotes to prompt secondary students to write, write, write. These evocative ideas and questions will give even the most uninspired student something to write about. Included with the prompts are some tool suggestions to encourage writing process that moves beyond "I'm done!"

tag(s): essays (21), expository writing (44), process writing (45), writing (362), writing prompts (94)

In the Classroom

Share these prompts one at a time or as options for essay writing. Some of the results may end up being strong enough to warrant revision and submission as college essays. Extend the idea of quotes as writing prompts by creating a class "quote graffiti" wall on a wiki or on paper so students can offer their own quotations as possible writing prompts.

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Free English Lessons Online - esolcourses.com

Grades
2 to 12
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At this site you will find free interactive listening activities, reading exercises, quizzes, and more. Though developed with the ESL/ELL teacher and student in mind, any language arts...more
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At this site you will find free interactive listening activities, reading exercises, quizzes, and more. Though developed with the ESL/ELL teacher and student in mind, any language arts teacher will find activities here to help differentiate language skills in your classroom. This is an extensive site with several levels in each language arts strand. Every strand and level also has numerous activities to choose from.
This site includes advertising.

tag(s): grammar (214), listening (92), reading comprehension (118), vocabulary (325)

In the Classroom

You may want to complete some of the selections with a projector and your interactive whiteboard for the whole class as there are listening activities, reading activities and quizzes about holidays, etc. You could differentiate by having small groups of students or individuals listening and reading at their different levels while you work with another group, or small groups of students can listen at a station that is one of several literacy stations in your classroom. Since each of the selections has activities in several language arts strands, one selection could make up your student's instruction for the day, or week. Students could rotate through a station for listening, one for vocabulary development, etc.

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Here on Earth - NPR

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5 to 12
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This NPR site offers the weekly schedule and recorded programs in its "Here on Earth" series, offering cultural news from around the world. The programs are often part of a ...more
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This NPR site offers the weekly schedule and recorded programs in its "Here on Earth" series, offering cultural news from around the world. The programs are often part of a larger series, the archives of which are easily accessible as well. Previews for the five weekly programs, Monday through Friday include enticing photographs. Links on the pages of the programs offer opportunities for more information and links to related programs. Students also have the opportunity to see short, related videos and comment on ongoing programs. Programs cover a wide variety of subjects and fields.
This site includes advertising.

tag(s): comics and cartoons (71), radio (27), religions (67)

In the Classroom

Teachers may want to preview the upcoming programs for each week to connect their ELL/ESL students with the programs that concern their part of the world. Students could do an introduction to their countries before the class listens to an appropriate program. Ask your students to visit the site, listen, research, and create a multimedia presentation using one of the many TeachersFirst Edge tools reviewed here.

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Viewbix - Qoof, Ltd.

Grades
6 to 12
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Create interactive videos from existing You Tube videos. The creations can be used on your site as well as other sites (driving traffic back to your site). Create a free ...more
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Create interactive videos from existing You Tube videos. The creations can be used on your site as well as other sites (driving traffic back to your site). Create a free account and then create a new interactive video. Watch the video demo for an example. Link the button on the tool to a page on your site. Add photos, pricing (just an option,) and/or descriptions. Note that this tool will not work if YouTube is blocked in your school.

tag(s): movies (70), video (273)

In the Classroom

Use custom videos to sell materials at school for your clubs or organizations. Drive people back to your site when students make creative projects on a curriculum topic and host them on YouTube.

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Road to Grammar - Road to Grammar

Grades
5 to 12
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This site provides quizzes, interactives, and extra grammar help for older learners. Students can choose from over 300 grammar quizzes. Topics range from "Adjectives and Prepositions"...more
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This site provides quizzes, interactives, and extra grammar help for older learners. Students can choose from over 300 grammar quizzes. Topics range from "Adjectives and Prepositions" to "AM, IS, or ARE" to "Currencies of the World" to "Zero Infinitive" to hundreds of other topics! Whatever grammar topic you are learning about or teaching, chances are very good that it is here. Though originally meant for ESL/ELL learners, this site is appropriate for all learners. The site also includes downloadable resources for teacher and student use.
This site includes advertising.

tag(s): grammar (214), grammar review (38), parts of speech (67), prefixes (16), sentences (50), suffixes (14), synonyms (38), verbs (41), writing (362)

In the Classroom

Use this site on a projector or interactive whiteboard as a fun way to introduce students to different types of grammar. In addition, use this as a way to discuss and informally assess prior knowledge as you start your study of a particular grammar topic. Post this on your class webpage for students to use at home or use it in the lab or classroom when students finish an assignment early. Be sure to check out the downloads section. Provide students with the confusing words handout and have them paste it into their writing notebooks. They will never confuse affect and effect again.
  This resource requires Adobe Flash and PDF reader software like Adobe Acrobat.

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Youblisher.com - Youblisher

Grades
K to 12
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Have you ever wanted to share your class books online? Youblisher offers a wonderful, visual method for uploading pdf's to an online location and making them look like pages turning...more
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Have you ever wanted to share your class books online? Youblisher offers a wonderful, visual method for uploading pdf's to an online location and making them look like pages turning in a book. If you don't create with Acrobat, not to worry! You just need to scan your documents to convert them to a pdf file. Once you know how to generate pdf files, you are ready to go. Explore whether your computer can "print" to pdf files or learn how to use the scanner. If you use a Mac, the option to "print" from your word processor or other program to pdf is built right in. Once you have a file as pdf, upload the files to this site. Youblisher makes your files flippable like the pages of an interactive book. You receive a link (url) to add to your website. Check out the introductory video on the homepage. Students, teachers, and parents (and grandparents) will all love seeing classroom creations in this easy to view format.

tag(s): book reports (37), digital storytelling (155)

In the Classroom

Share interactive books created online for students to read at learning centers. Create a lesson via pdf files and share it on your interactive whiteboard or projector. Scan/convert and save students complete research projects, upload the pdf's as a way to share all information. Create a class book, or newsletter, including images, and upload the pdf "book" or newsletter to Youblisher. Then include the the url on your website to share with friends and family. Challenge students to create their own books (in cooperative learning groups) about a specific topic being taught in class. Have upper elementary or middle school students create online "little buddy books" they can share online with lower grade classrooms. If your interactive whiteboard program generates pdf files from in-class activities, why not share them in flippable form on your class web site for review or absentees?

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Podiobooks - Evo Terra, Tee Morris, and Chris Miller

Grades
6 to 12
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Podiobooks is an online library of audio books available for free download. There are categories for children and young adults, and several different genres. Click on the "Browse our...more
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Podiobooks is an online library of audio books available for free download. There are categories for children and young adults, and several different genres. Click on the "Browse our Titles" link to search for children's books. Many titles are classics and appropriate for middle school and teen readers. You can download to your computer, get an RSS feed, or download to an MP3 player. Options for listening include downloading one chapter at a time or getting the entire book. Authors donate their works to this site which also includes books already in the public domain, such as The Wizard of Oz. Some works are in the process of being recorded. Listeners have to wait for remaining chapters.

Without registering, you can download items manually. All you have to do is navigate to a book page, scroll down and click on the name of any episode. Play it on your computer or save it to your hard drive for later. Registering allows Podiobook to build a custom podcast feed just for you. They will customize each feed so that it is updated once a week. You can change that to once a month, or once a day if you need to. Be aware: the titles on the main page (at the time of this review) were not appropriate for elementary students. There is an option "Erotica" in the search options. So be sure to preview what you wish to share AND be certain that students know where they are allowed to search and the consequences for not following the rules. Adults may want to download for the students and offer the files offline. Joining and designing a "feed" of teacher-selected books avoids the complicated issue of monitoring content.

tag(s): audio books (31), literature (276)

In the Classroom

Teachers and parents need to supervise title selection or do the downloads themselves. Send students directly to the children's or young adult categories to ensure age appropriateness for your students. Find appropriate books for students to use at a listening learning center. Have an actual hard copy of the book; then use this site for your learning support students or weaker readers to help them build fluency, increase their vocabulary and pronunciation of new words. Provide this link ( maybe the link to just the children's section) on your class website for students (and families) to access out of the classroom.

Make a listening center or load the mp3 files on a set of iTouches for student listening. If you choose to register, an email address is required. Rather than using your personal email address (or professional), sign up for a gmail account (FREE).
 This resource requires Adobe Flash.

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Aaron's Awesome Adventure - Metmuseum.org

Grades
2 to 7
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This interactive story revolves around a young boy's reactions each time he visits the Metropolitan. Sara Bradshaw, the winner of the Metropolitan Museum of Art story-writing contest...more
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This interactive story revolves around a young boy's reactions each time he visits the Metropolitan. Sara Bradshaw, the winner of the Metropolitan Museum of Art story-writing contest in 2007, is the author. The story focuses on Aaron's fascination with; Ancient Egypt's "Temple of Denbur", the painting "Washington Crossing the Delaware," ancient funerary masks from Peru, and European coats of arms. Additional links provide students more background information and reference materials about the pieces mentioned in the story. You can choose to read the text themselves or have it read to them.

tag(s): egypt (70), pyramids (29), washington (36)

In the Classroom

Project this story onto an interactive whiteboard or projector for shared reading or have students listen to it in small groups at a computer station. Ask students to explore the "About the Art" tab, and research one of the four artworks featured in the story. Afterwards, have them present their findings to the class. Integrate the study of Art with writing lessons by inviting the class to compose an additional chapter and research page to this story. Let students decide what additional awesome adventures Aaron might have with other pieces of art in the Metropolitan. Let students choose artwork found in their database collection. If you are lucky enough to live within field trip distance to the Metropolitan, have students select a work of art while touring the museum. Consider having students post their stories on Thinglink, (reviewed here), or create a comic strip version of their chapter with Comic Creator, (reviewed here). Include a link to this site and the class stories on your class webpage.
 This resource requires Adobe Flash.

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The Harvard Writing Center - Harvard Writing Center

Grades
7 to 12
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The Harvard Writing Center is a collection of online "handouts" that you may download and print. This series provides ready-made one page resources on topics that range from How to...more
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The Harvard Writing Center is a collection of online "handouts" that you may download and print. This series provides ready-made one page resources on topics that range from How to Read an Assignment, Outlining, Developing a Thesis, and many others including revising, editing, and Tips on Grammar, Punctuation, and Style. The information cuts right to the chase, and provides examples that demonstrate the explanations and enhance understanding.

tag(s): expository writing (44), grammar (214), punctuation (43), writing (362)

In the Classroom

Save this site in your favorites and provide a link on your class web page to give students access to review and consult expert advice any time it is needed for drafting, revising, and editing essays and other writing assignments. You will want to project a few of the handouts on your classroom whiteboard or projector to make students aware of the offerings, how easy they are to access, and how useful they are to use as a reference. You may even want to print a class set of particular handouts. Be sure to list this link on your class website for students to access both in and out of the classroom. Challenge cooperative learning groups to create their own online "resource" posters dealing with a topic you are studying. Have students create a simple online posters using PicLits (reviewed here).

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Phrasemix - Aaron Knight

Grades
3 to 12
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This blog teaches English to international students by offering a "phrase a day." Common words and phrases are explained in context; several examples of each usage make the meaning...more
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This blog teaches English to international students by offering a "phrase a day." Common words and phrases are explained in context; several examples of each usage make the meaning clear. Many of the situations described are those experienced by adults or older teens, not children, such as giving a speech or shopping alone. Of course, this site could also be used in a regular classroom to teach speech/language or grammar. Students can look at the site or have a phrase emailed to them every day. Phrases include commonly used groups of words, idioms, and other typical language of both casual and formal English. To find a list of all phrases in the system, students can click on "Learning Tools." In addition to an index, this section offers explanations of basic grammar terms like parts of speech, stress, and other conversation techniques. Students can also make comments and read the comments of others. No email address is required to comment on the blog posts. (Our reviewers found no objectionable comments from the public, but teachers should always preview.)

tag(s): idioms (44), phrases (6), slang (15)

In the Classroom

Put this link on your classroom blog or newsletter for English learners. Have students try out this site on individual computers, or as a learning center. Have students prepare online projects about phrases they learn, using a tool such as Web Poster Wizard reviewed here or PicLits (reviewed here). Check with your school policies before having students comment on other blog posts.

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What's Your Reading History - NY Times

Grades
6 to 12
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This lesson plan assists students to reflect on what kind of reader they are by going through their own reading histories until they find one that shaped the kind of ...more
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This lesson plan assists students to reflect on what kind of reader they are by going through their own reading histories until they find one that shaped the kind of readers and persons they are today. Students close their eyes and listen to a guided journey through their reading pasts; they then respond to it in a journal. Options include reading the words of a published author who realized she was illiterate and discussing or writing about what she said. A teacher's pdf is included to help students format their writings. McREL standards are included (for grades 6-12).

tag(s): independent reading (130)

In the Classroom

Use this activity both at the beginning and ending of a school year to impress upon the students the importance reading plays in their self-concepts. Use this site as an anticipatory set or "activator" to introduce the idea of regular journal keeping. After students complete their writing segment, have them do a media project that reflects their reading "identities."

Have students create online posters on paper or do it together as a class using a tool such as Web Poster Wizard (reviewed here) or PicLits reviewed here. Use an online poster creator, such as Padlet (reviewed here). Share the results of their writing and posters at open house nights or --even better- embedded in your class wiki or web page. Ask students to find what other celebrities and authors say about how reading has influenced their lives. Collect quotes from famous people about writers and list them on posters in your classroom.
 This resource requires PDF reader software like Adobe Acrobat.

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ESL Holidays Lessons - Sean Banville

Grades
1 to 8
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Look no further for holiday activities for your ESL and ELL students (or for reading/listening comprehension activities you can use with all learners! This site lists conventional and...more
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Look no further for holiday activities for your ESL and ELL students (or for reading/listening comprehension activities you can use with all learners! This site lists conventional and unusual holidays by month. Click the holiday you would like to feature to find a complete lesson including a tape script, an oral recording of the script, and a variety of review exercises. The printable activities include matching, several varieties of fill-in-the-blank, word choices, spelling, reordering events and sentences from the holiday information, and writing activities. An online clickable reading activity presents parts of sentences, so students must select which sentence part comes first. The screen changes when the correct part comes up, and students select the next part.

tag(s): holidays (153)

In the Classroom

Use this site to help ESL/ELL students improve listening, reading, writing, and cultural knowledge. Invite an ESL/ELL student to present a holiday from their home country to the class using an interactive whiteboard or projector. Many of the review activities would also work well as reading comprehension practice on interactive whiteboard, especially if students use highlighters and pens to mark up the text passage to locate key terms, etc.

Have students create online holiday posters on paper or do it together as a class using a tool such as Web Poster Wizard (reviewed here) or PicLits (reviewed here). Share this site with families of your ESL/ELL students to learn more about American holidays.
 This resource requires Adobe Flash.

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Our Documents - National Archives

Grades
6 to 12
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This site, a collaborative effort among the National Archives, National History Day and USA Freedom Corps, highlights the most important documents in US history. Each of these "milestone"...more
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This site, a collaborative effort among the National Archives, National History Day and USA Freedom Corps, highlights the most important documents in US history. Each of these "milestone" documents is detailed and photographed on a separate page; the photo can be enlarged for presentation on an interactive whiteboard. What is most helpful for teachers, however, is the link to tools for educators: a downloadable sourcebook, suggestions for using the documents to meet specific national social studies, economics, English, arts, civics, history, geography and technology standards, and lesson plans. This site was clearly designed with teachers in mind!

tag(s): history day (24), primary sources (90)

In the Classroom

The use of primary sources in teaching has been greatly increased by our digital access to documents like these. Peruse the list of "milestone" documents, and commit to using the photographs on an interactive whiteboard (or projector) when the document comes up in a lesson or discussion. For teachers who are supporting student projects for National History Day, this site also has a link to specific tips, although it appears the site has not been kept up to date with current information on individual competitions. Challenge cooperative learning groups to investigate one of the documents and create a multimedia project of their choice. Looking for some inspiration? How about having groups create a podcast using PodOmatic (reviewed here). Or have students create online posters on paper or do it together as a class using a tool such as Web Poster Wizard (reviewed here) or PicLits (reviewed here). Have students narrate a photo of the document (using a FREE and LEGAL photo) using a site such as Thinglink, reviewed here.
 This resource requires Adobe Flash.

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Blizzard - Missouri Farm Bureau and Missouri State University

Grades
4 to 7
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This unique webquest is based on "The Long Winter" by Laura Ingalls Wilder. The students' task involves learning about the great blizzard of 1881, to prepare for a blizzard ...more
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This unique webquest is based on "The Long Winter" by Laura Ingalls Wilder. The students' task involves learning about the great blizzard of 1881, to prepare for a blizzard that is coming to their hometown in the present! The main task is to be sure all members of your family have food (from all food groups) to eat throughout the blizzard. This site provides a lot of research, interesting graphics and a teacher-created rubric.

tag(s): nutrition (156), snow (22)

In the Classroom

This is a motivating webquest during the cold months of winter. The webquest incorporates literature, science, research, writing and more!

Instead of creating paper posters, make the assignment a little different and have them create online posters for the final product. Try a site like Web Poster Wizard (reviewed here) or PicLits (reviewed here). Students can create them on classroom computers, and can present them via projector or interactive whiteboard!

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Online English Language and Literature Resouces - University of Toronto

Grades
6 to 12
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This site from the library at the University of Toronto offers asignificant collection of electronic literature texts including journals and bibliographies. ...more
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This site from the library at the University of Toronto offers asignificant collection of electronic literature texts including journals and bibliographies.

tag(s): book lists (132)

In the Classroom

Use this resource in study of classical languages as well as cultural world history. Add the site URL to your list of top online libraries. In literature class, share this site and have students (or groups of students) explore one of the many works listed at this site. Challenge the groups to create electronic "posters" or word graphics (about their piece of literature) using a tool such as Piclits (reviewed here).

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Obsurvey - Copenhagen Code

Grades
7 to 12
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Create polls and surveys easily and without ads or limits. Build your survey by using the simple tools to add text and various methods of receiving responses such as radio ...more
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Create polls and surveys easily and without ads or limits. Build your survey by using the simple tools to add text and various methods of receiving responses such as radio boxes, checklists, and short or long text. Add page breaks, copy questions, and move questions in your survey. Use the editor bar at the top of your survey page to save, preview, or collect responses. Use additional formatting including adding links. When saving, choose to have only one response per computer or many from the same computer.

tag(s): statistics (124)

In the Classroom

Users must be knowledgeable of simple formatting and the various choices available for a survey. Follow the simple online guide to make your survey. View the demo on the main page for more information on how to use Obsurvey.

Consider creating a class account for students to use. Students can turn in a word document of questions to be able to attribute work to students. Be sure to spell out appropriate and inappropriate use, consequences, and then be sure to follow through.

Use a survey or poll to find answers to questions that are simple to collect data on (favorite food, color, vacation spot, number of siblings etc.) Use data to show averages, results of small and large samples, graphing, simple statistics, and more. Find results of what people believe about various issues or ideas to introduce in class discussions or debates. Want student input on a unit or possible next activity? Use a poll to find out! Use as a way to check for prior knowledge at the start of a unit. Polls and surveys are applicable for every subject at the beginning, middle, or end of a unit. Uncover misconceptions from students in your class as well as the school community.

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Random Poem Generator - Mathijs1988

Grades
4 to 12
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Anything can be turned into a poem by using this web site! Enter a url for a web page that has text, choose a rhyme scheme (Haiku, ABAB alternating, or ...more
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Anything can be turned into a poem by using this web site! Enter a url for a web page that has text, choose a rhyme scheme (Haiku, ABAB alternating, or AABB), then select "poemize this page." Results will include words from the selected web page in poem form. Examples are included on the main page showing how this can be done with text from Romeo and Juliet, Pokerface by Lady Gaga, and more. After the poem appears, there is a choice for creating a new poem from the same site.

tag(s): poetry (225)

In the Classroom

Introduce your poetry unit by showing this site on your interactive whiteboard and demonstrating the three types of poems created from items known to students. Create poetry from student-created websites for classroom display. Have students create poems from websites then use this site to create poems and compare the different outputs. Choose websites that aren't language arts related such as math, history, or science sites and create poetry from their content. For some interesting, high level discussion, ask students what makes something a "poem" vs. simply a collection of words.

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Biographies of Women Mathematicians - Agnes Scott College

Grades
7 to 12
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These pages are part of an on-going project at Agnes Scott College in Atlanta, Georgia, to illustrate the numerous achievements of women in the field of mathematics. The site includes...more
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These pages are part of an on-going project at Agnes Scott College in Atlanta, Georgia, to illustrate the numerous achievements of women in the field of mathematics. The site includes biographical essays or comments on the women mathematicians profiled, as well as additional resources about women in mathematics. Each time the home page is reloaded, a randomly selected photo is displayed. Click on the image to go to the profile of that woman. The site is also searchable by alphabetical order, chronological order, names by location of birth, the first PhD's in Mathematics of Women before 1930, and prizes, honors and awards for women mathematicians.

tag(s): biographies (88)

In the Classroom

Share this site with students as a resource when writing biographies of famous mathematicians (or women's history.) Share one woman mathematician on your interactive whiteboard (or projector) each day as students arrive in class. Use this site in history class to locate and research famous mathematicians alive during the time period being studied. Challenge students to research one of these famous women and create a multimedia presentation using one of the many TeachersFirst Edge tools reviewed here.

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Zoho Show - ZOHO Corporation

Grades
K to 12
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Zoho Show is an online presentation and document creator tool. This program is somewhat simpler than PowerPoint, but runs on a similar format. Use this tool as you would PowerPoint...more
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Zoho Show is an online presentation and document creator tool. This program is somewhat simpler than PowerPoint, but runs on a similar format. Use this tool as you would PowerPoint with your students. It is very advantageous if you have assigned a project and students do not have access to PowerPoint at home. This can be accessed anywhere with no cost to the student, the parent, or you. Sharing and collaborating is also simple. Upload, edit, and save your documents easily.

tag(s): multimedia (63), slides (65)

In the Classroom

To use this site, you will need to create an account. You will need to navigate using onscreen instructions. There is a video tour of the features if you would like to view it, but it is just as fun and easy to play with the tool. Slide themes are limited, but the tools are simple and it is easy to publish to a URL that can be shared with everyone.

Use this tool to create presentations when students will need more than class time to finish. Have students make individual presentations. Instead of presenting on projector, have them share to the class wiki or within their zoho group to promote discussion and peer review. Assign a round-robin peer review so everyone gets some feedback.

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Quiz Revolution - QuizRevolution

Grades
2 to 12
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Create cool, professional looking quizzes and tests! Quiz Revolution offers a platform for developing online quizzes for your websites and blogs. Multimedia options offer the opportunity...more
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Create cool, professional looking quizzes and tests! Quiz Revolution offers a platform for developing online quizzes for your websites and blogs. Multimedia options offer the opportunity to personalize quizzes and to create a more interesting look for your pages. You can add text, images, video, and html as well as choosing from pre-made "skins." There is a "look and play" section where you will get an idea of this program's capabilities.

tag(s): assessment (106), quiz (88), quizzes (99)

In the Classroom

Create quizzes to use for pre- and post- lesson assessments. Post the quizzes to your class website or blog as assignments. Insert videos, photos, and text into your quiz to reinforce concepts before students take the test. Assign students to create a quiz on a current topic as a wrap-up to a unit. Share the quiz on your interactive whiteboard or projector (use it as a center, rather than a "whole-group" activity. Learning support teachers may want to have students work with a partner to create review quizzes they can use as study aids.

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