GradesK to 12
In the ClassroomTwurdy is useful for all grades and subjects. Teachers can spend hours looking for age/grade appropriate websites to display on classroom whiteboards, include in webquests, and recommend for usage with assignments. Save valuable time by finding the information that is most appropriate for your students. This will mean that more time can be spent actually getting the assignment done, rather than clicking through material that is either too difficult or too simplistic to use. Bookmark this site in your favorites and provide the link on your class web page to save yourself and your students a lot of time finding what you are looking for. Remember that you can "organize" recommended sites for students using a tool such as LiveBinders (reviewed here, share them with readability tips using Diigo reviewed here, or even color code them by reading level for younger students using Symbaloo reviewed here.
GradesK to 8
In the ClassroomThis site will work well for classrooms with individual spelling lists as students can input their own list to create printables and online activities for spelling practice. Watch the animated biographies on your interactive whiteboard as part of your President's Day activities. Make a shortcut to this site on classroom computers and use it as a center. Share the link to the site on your classroom website or blog for students to access from home.
GradesK to 12
tag(s): wikis (20)
In the ClassroomUsers must have a Google account or sign up for an account. View the controls in Google sites before creating to get an idea of usable features. Find great hints and tips about using Google sites here.
Click "Create a new site" to name your site and begin the process. Choose from a variety of templates and begin building your pages. Click "Edit" on your page to bring up the editing options. Use the buttons on the editor bar to change font sizes, color, etc. Click "Insert" to view a drop down menu of a variety of content that can be included on the page. Use the other tabs such as "Format," "Table," and "Layout" to change other aspects of the page. Be sure to click the "Save" button when finished editing a page. Create a new page within the site by clicking "Create a page." Choose from a variety of pages that have different formats suited for a web page, announcements page, file cabinet, or list. Be sure to select where the page will be found such as the top level menu or as a subpage under a different page in the site. Click on "More actions" to bring up other menu items such as "Manage Site," changing page settings, moving or deleting a page, and more. Share your site with others and invite users who can also make changes on the site.
Use a Google Site to create a simple web page for communication with students and their families at any grade level. In middle and high school, use student-created site(s) as a way for students to collaborate and share with many of the same features as a wiki.
Parent permission advised before posting student work created using this tool
Requires registration/log-in (WITH email)
Products can be shared by URL
Multiple users can collaborate on the same project
Includes teacher tools for registering and/or monitoring students
Very versatile for portfolios. Does take some work, not particularly well-documented.Frances, CT, Grades: 6 - 8
Grades2 to 12
tag(s): maps (287)
In the ClassroomAssign students various countries, regions, or continents to make comparisons. Identify the biological, geographical, cultural, and social issues that exist in the world, based on what the pictures show and what their research uncovers. Bring a greater understanding to current economic and environmental issues in many countries. World language (or World Cultures) classes can help students understand the cultures of the countries where the language is spoken. Compare specific attributes of two countries using an online Venn Diagram, such as the one reviewed here. Another idea: have cooperative learning groups use this resource to create online books about the country of their tour using a resource such as Bookemon,
Grades7 to 12
In the ClassroomThere is no doubt that you will want to bookmark this site in your favorites and put a link to it just about everywhere...on your computer's desktop, on your portable USB drive, and maybe even in your email...it's just that good! Use it as a teaching tool itself, for practice, and as a go-to site to project examples of various types of writing assignments on your classroom whiteboard. There will be no more excuses for not knowing how to write an attention grabbing opening, thesis, and main idea statements, supporting details and elaboration, and conclusion and call for action. When assigning a specific writing project to students, or when preparing for the written portion of standardized tests, including SATs and other college entrance exams, providing a link to this site on your class web page or wiki is like giving your students an easy place to get plenty of extra help.
GradesK to 12
In the ClassroomIf using student created video, please check with district policy about sharing student work on the Internet. If using with students, be sure to discuss what is considered appropriate/inappropriate annotations to make on videos. These videos may not play in districts where You Tube videos are blocked. As EmbedPlus uses its own wrapper around the You Tube video, it may be viewable in your district depending upon the filter being used. Be sure to test this before using with students. Note: The "real time reactions" option pulls in and displays public comments when you click it. Use the "enhanced embed" wizard and be sure to click the checkbox that deactivates this feature. You may wish to monitor these for possible inappropriate content.
Use the controls to add annotations or student thoughts to sections of the videos. Students can make these comments on their own videos or on a different groups contribution. Use this just to add playback controls that allow for greater viewing of You Tube videos. Have students find a video (or assign one) and annotate it with curriculum related discussion, criticism, vocabulary, etc. Students can then embed this product in his/her blog or a class wiki or site. Consider creating a glog using GlogsterEDU, reviewed here. Make an annotated video with question prompts in annotations and embed in wiki or glog to share with your classes. Playback using the slow motion and zoom would be a great item to show on a whiteboard or projector.
Grades6 to 12
tag(s): writing (363)
In the ClassroomThis is a fabulous resource for augmenting generic textbook accounts of history with primary source material. Whether we like it or not, our students are more visual than we were; they will love the film clips and photo montages from recent events. Use these on an interactive whiteboard or projector for full impact (although the film clips are fairly small to maintain resolution). If you teach social studies, this is a site you'll want to bookmark and visit often. English teachers will want to use the teenage diaries as inspiration for creative writing assignments, or even as a source of ideas for college admissions essays. Challenge students to create their own visual complements to the audio essays using a tool such as GlogsterEDU, reviewed here.
GradesK to 12
In the ClassroomSave this site in your favorites to integrate new technologies for 21st century learning. Then make a point of stopping to explore the new ideas on this site regularly -- or whenever you need inspiration. Challenge yourself to start by using one of these new writing ideas per marking period. You may get hooked. Teaching writing is undoubtedly undergoing a huge change, and the models, tips, and information from Digital Is can help you discover how to use digital writing as a means to develop critical thinking, strategies, and skills that enrich learning beyond just the traditional. An added bonus to trying these ideas is that your students will see writing as something "now" not something "required." Make digital writing part of your teaching vocabulary.
Grades3 to 12
In the ClassroomAsk students to write their own questions about snow and research the information on this site. This is a perfect site to include with any winter activities. Ask students to locate the places mentioned in the gallery on a map. Have students research a historic snowstorm from a specific geographical location and use an online mapping tool to tell the class about the winter event (and location). Try a tool such as MapSkip (reviewed here). Use the site when teaching a unit on weather (or winter Olympics) for factual information about snow using the resources link. Extend the snow "storm" with snowflake interactives such as Make a Flake, reviewed here.
Grades2 to 8
In the ClassroomThese daily wonders are perfect to use while students are waiting for homeroom to begin. You could have them projected on a whiteboard for students to work on. Use these for an enrichment/curiosity center. They are perfect for the gifted student who finishes his work early. Use the provided vocabulary in your language arts or science curriculum. Place this link on your webpage for parents to use at home. In addition, this site would be a great place for students to go for science fair ideas or research project ideas. Please note that some videos are on You Tube so be sure to check to see if the videos might be blocked in your district. Consider adding a student-submitted "wonderopolis" page on your class wiki or a bulletin board for students to post their own thoughtful questions and build creativity. Make student questioning a part of your classroom life.
Grades7 to 12
In the ClassroomStart off by asking students to write a journal entry to answer and explain, "Do you ever think that you might have it easier compared to some other kids?" Show the video on your classroom whiteboard or projector. Have students use one of TeachersFirst online compare/contrast graphic organizers such as the Venn Diagram tool (reviewed here) or another one of your choice that can be printed from Freeology (reviewed here) to juxtapose their way of life with the way of life of people their age who have very little compared to them. Teenagers need reality checks when it comes to their wants verses their needs. As a follow up, have students work in groups to brainstorm ways that they could actually make a difference for children who endure lives of poverty. Check with your school nurse or social worker to see if there is a family in the community that could use some extra kindness and have your students come up with a plan that your class could put into action right now. Let them experience the enduring lesson and joy that comes from helping others.
Grades2 to 12
tag(s): writing (363)
In the ClassroomUsing photos as prompts is good for the students who have writers block, are having problems visualizing what they want to convey in words, or for young writers just starting out. Giving students a photo helps them to form a story and makes their ideas more concrete. Use your projector or interactive whiteboard to project one of the photographs and have students envision the photo as a video that has been put on pause. Ask students to come up with ideas for what happened in the video before it was paused, and what will happen once the video is on "play" again. Have students annotate the picture with the ideas the class comes up with, and then let them get started writing their story to go with the photo. You could do several of these and make a class book of the students' writing. For this you might want to use Mixbook reviewed here to publish student writing to give your writers workshop publishing a professional flare.
Grades3 to 12
In the ClassroomYou can easily click on the current month and display a particular journal entry starter on your whiteboard or choose to project a few to provide your students with options. They can be used to "get the ball rolling" at the beginning of class, as daily or weekly warm-up activities to practice general writing or skills that you are focusing on, preparing for state assessments, free-writing, or as an "anytime" or "when you're finished with your work" activity. They can be easily printed to use as "emergency" or substitute lesson plans.
Grades2 to 12
In the ClassroomCreate a Madlib using Madlibber and share it with your class using your interactive white board and projector to reinforce curriculum topics such as types of plants or famous inventors. Either show the students how to make one about the curriculum topic, or have students operate the board/computer while others suggest words to fill in the blanks in one you have prepared. Madlibs can be used in so may ways: teaching parts of speech, reviewing for a quiz, introducing a new subject, or even as a "Cloze" reading story. Use this site as a station on one of the computers in your class. Put the direct web address (URL) for your Madlibber on your class web page, since some of the public Madlibbers may not be appropriate for your students. Give extra credit to those who work outside school to create classroom-appropriate madlibbers for others to use as review (and share the direct links on your class web page).
Grades3 to 12
In the ClassroomHelp your students demonstrate their ability to generate words related to themes, categories, synonyms and antonyms, or use this clever tool to see how many words students can create that begin or end with a given prefix or suffix, or various parts of speech. Try "verb" as the big word and fill with small verbs! Try "vertebrate" as the big word and fill it with the names of many vertebrates. Enter "smog" as the big word with human behaviors that generate smog as the small words. Create visual poems depicting a feeling or abstract noun as the big word and lists of thought-provoking "small" words. Bookmark this site in your favorites and make it available on your class web page for easy access when students are working on a class cluster of computers or in the computer lab. If students want to save or print their images, they must first capture it as a screenshot (Prnt Scrn key in Windows, Command+shift+4 in Mac). Paste the screenshot into a PowerPoint slide or word document to play with it further. More advanced technology users may then want to paste it into an image editing program to crop it, save it, or print it.
Grades2 to 12
In the ClassroomUse this site when discussing world cultures or economics. Use this site as an anticipatory set or "activator" to introduce a unit or lesson on a projector or interactive whiteboard. To avoid displaying certain content, you can selectively take screenshots (CTRL+PrtScrn on Windows, Command+Shft+4 on Mac) or copy images temporarily into PowerPoint slides or a whiteboard file-- with credit--to show them alone. Use it to jump off into a discussion or unit on some of the countries displayed here. Have students create original photo essays online following this model, using Have students create original photo essays online following this model, using Slidestory, reviewed here. Slidestory allows you to narrate the slides and images. Challenge students to find photos and then narrate the photos as if in a news report. To find Creative Commons images for student projects (with credit, of course), try Compfight, reviewed here. Other areas where this website might be useful are when you do units on world education, world poverty, etc. Have students do comparison/contrast essays using these photos as introductions to the differences between classrooms. Or have students compare/contrast using a site such as Interactive Two Circle Venn Diagram (reviewed here). The many small details that differ from place to place would make getting details and examples easy. Ask students also to extrapolate differences in teaching methods just by viewing these photos.
GradesK to 12
In the ClassroomUsers must be knowledgeable about embed codes and how to use them in a site, blog, or wiki. Be sure to test out embedding a picture on your site to anticipate problems when students use Wylio. Use Wylio to find copyright-free pictures for teacher use in any subject area or for student use as soon as they learn to copy/paste embed codes. This tool would be a great asset to a photography or art class but can be used in any subject area. Use pictures that showcase life around us or in a Math class to show various Math functions in man made structures and nature. Use this site to take your geography class around the world (virtually). Have students create presentations in any subject area and narrate the pictures rather than doing a traditional oral report. Use a site such as Slidestory, reviewed here, to narrate the pictures. Speech and language in lower grades or ESL/ELL teachers could use pictures for vocabulary development and allow students to add words or sentences to go with the pictures. In Science, find pictures that represent various concepts and encourage explanations of these concepts for better understanding. Embeddable pictures also work very well in "glogs" (online posters made using GlogsterEDU, reviewed here) or on your class wiki. Note: embedded picture only show on computers connected to the Internet since the embed command "goes and gets" the pictures using the web.
Grades6 to 12
In the ClassroomHelp your students understand why Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. was assassinated and raise their awareness of discrimination and the struggle for civil rights by involving them in active viewing of A Class Divided projected on your classroom interactive whiteboard or projector. You can view the film in its entirety, or in separate chapters followed by the Discussion Questions. You may want to give students a specific task to do during the film. For example, you might ask them to listen for a particular issue or the answers to a set of questions, or take notes in preparation for one of the post-viewing activities. Replay the video or pause for discussion whenever you choose for focused, in depth exploration. Depending on your students' background knowledge and grade level, you may want to review or introduce some of the basic tenets of the United States Constitution that provide the legal grounding for equality and protection of individual rights. Explain that there are examples in American history when individuals' rights were denied and that many civil rights activists were arrested for either challenging, demonstrating, or breaking rules that they thought were unfair. Pose some of the questions for written assignments and discussion. This is a perfect lesson for Black History Month! Divide the class into groups to brainstorm situations that exist today within our own communities, and how they would feel and deal with it if they were the subjects. Students can easily create mind maps using free tools from Teachersfirst, such as TUZZit, reviewed here, or ProcessOn, reviewed here. Have students choose words from songs to explore themes of freedom and equality, using Stories Behind the Songs reviewed here. High school students could extend this to a reading and study of the final chapter of "One America in the 21st Century," the 1998 report of President Bill Clinton's Initiative on Race, which lists 10 things that every American should do to promote racial reconciliation. Ask students to add anything they think is missing and make a commitment to continue the crusade to end discrimination.
Grades6 to 12
In the ClassroomThese questions present a wealth of challenging writing prompts, class discussion starters, or extension/enrichment activities for gifted students or high ability writers in science or social students classes, in debate club, or in enrichment programs. Access the site yourself and cherry-pick your favorite questions. Alternatively, provide a link to the site and ask students to explore possible questions they'd like to answer or discuss. Finally, collaborate as a class to develop question prompts of your own as a group project and then post them to the site. Bookmark this site as one of those you go to when you have unexpected time to fill in class, or as a resource for a substitute teacher-led discussion. Science teachers can use technology issues to connect science with real world topics for students who may not otherwise see value in mastering concepts. Assign groups to explore a topic of their choice from this blog and present it in open-ended debate once a month in your science class or as part of a science careers unit.
This is a treasure trove of prompts to ponder and spur editorial/argument writing. I LOVE THIS!Patricia, NJ, Grades: 6 - 12
Grades6 to 12
In the ClassroomCreate a new map by entering the details such as a title. Choose from the template styles given. Preview the template, zoom in and out, and scroll around the mindmap using the simple tools. Click the "Edit Content" tab to change each node in your mindmap. Edit the name of the node, the description, and upload or link to a picture. Nodes can also link to a You tube video. When done, click preview to not only see the finished mindmap, but to publish on the Spicynodes site or copy the embed code for placing on a wiki, blog, or other site.
There are countless possibilities at this mental mapping site. Demonstrate the activity on an interactive whiteboard or projector, and then allow students to try to create their own graphic organizers. Use this site for literature activities, research projects, social studies, or science topics of study. Use this site to create family trees. Have students collaborate together (online) to create group mind maps or review charts before tests on a given subject. Create a site map that guides users throughout the features of your class website.
Collaborative Projects: Have small groups research together a topic such as unsolved mysteries of the world, planets, legends from their countries, plants, famous mathematicians, or any topic that can be broken down into parts. Each student would have their own node and color and would then upload pictures, videos, links, and other information they have found about their part of the topic. If the whole class is researching a topic, students with the "like" assignments could get together to share information and create their part of the small group node (also know as jigsaw in cooperative learning). Once all the nodes are completed, the original small group would share information with each other. There are a variety of ways students could use this mindmap. You could just leave it at the small group share out. Or, you could have the groups decide what information is important enough to present to the class and put their ideas on a Writeboard document reviewed here. A third step could be that once they've honed down the information, they could create a presentation for the class in a variety of formats: Glogster reviewed here, or Animoto reviewed here are only two of the many presentation formats we have reviewed on TeachersFirst.
Student project ideas: Have students... organize any concepts you study; color-code concepts to show what they understand, wonder, question; map out a story, plotline, or LIFETIME; map out a step-by-step process (life cycle); map a real historical event as a choose-your-own-adventure with alternate endings(?) based on pivotal points; plan a "tour" for a "thought museum."
Use this mapping website as an alternative to a traditional test, quiz, or homework assignment in literature or social studies: have students demonstrate their understanding by completing a graphic organizer about the main points. Be sure that they RENAME it before they start work to an individual name so you know who did it (they could EMAIL it to you!) or have them print their results to turn them in.