GradesK to 12
tag(s): word choice (27)
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 (22)
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.
Grades3 to 8
In the ClassroomUse this site as additional independent practice during center time or have students work in pairs to edit the sentences together. Place the site on an interactive white board or projector and correct the sentences during whole-group work time. This would be a great Opening activity for the start of the school day.
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 (116)
In the ClassroomGrabba Beast offers an opportunity to improve the imaginary talent of students and stimulate their ability to produce several creative ideas. The site provides the opportunity to continually modify and change beasts. This demonstrates to students that new ideas often originate from combining of materials and characteristics in different ways. Have students describe the attributes of their monster, create a character profile, or write clues to help others identify their beast. Push student's creative abilities even further by asking them to adjust their monster so that it can perform various tasks. You can also have them create beasts that fit mythical environments through adaptations, thus reinforcing science concepts creatively. This activity would work well for individual or pairs of students in a lab or on laptops.
Grades4 to 8
In the ClassroomDivide students into cooperative learning groups to explore the site then send them on a treasure hunt through the Colonial House site. Ask them to find quotes demonstrating friendship, frustration, determination, resentment, or feelings of isolation in the Colonist interviews. Gather photos or screen shots while locating artifacts, household items, historical documents, or identify various architectural elements and art forms. As they answer each clue, students can begin to create an interactive poster known as a "Glog," using GlogsterEDU, reviewed here of what they found. Each found object or quote can include background information, a short description, and reasoning for his or her answer. Issue new clues on student Glogs with each new entry.
Check with your administrator to be sure that your school allows students to set up individual accounts on on-line sites such as Glogster. Be sure to preview this Website and the broadcast program before sharing it with the class. Some of the material is not appropriate for young students.
GradesK to 12
tag(s): creative commons (22)
In the ClassroomPre-select clipart and save to albums meant for students use. A complete library will be useful for multimedia presentation, digital storytelling, reports, and presentations. This is a great site for ESL/ELL students and special education students working on speech and language. Visual representations will help ELL or ESL teachers explain concepts and key vocabulary. Open Clipart is a valuable resource for imagery to use when designing language-teaching flashcards, game cards, directions, illustrating songs and poetry, or including on class websites.
Grades3 to 8
In the ClassroomThis site would be a great center choice or independent work time option. Use this site for enrichment for those students who like a challenge. List this link on your class website for students to access at home.
Grades4 to 12
In the ClassroomSurprise your students and yourself with how effective any one of these programs can be with your material or THEIR presentations. Create a comic strip to replace a traditional grammar lesson. Use a class wiki to discuss and debate topics in history class. Create an online poster "glog" on using Glogster to demonstrate a new math concept. Once you see a tool that sounds interesting, read its full review on TeachersFirst to find even more ways to use it.
Grades5 to 12
tag(s): literature (275)
In the ClassroomUse the list to find literature you can use in your classroom. You may want to choose short stories or poems and their music so students will get the idea of how music and literature can fit together. Then have students choose appropriate contemporary music for an independent reading novel presentation or report. Have students figure out how they would divide up the book into sections. Then select a piece of (school appropriate) music that they think captures the feel or tone of each section. They record the pieces and possibly do voice-overs explaining what is happening in the novel during the piece of music and why they felt this piece of music fits the section of the novel. As a choice, students could use "podOmatic" to create podcasts, reviewed here. Or have students create ThingLinks, reviewed here. Be sure to PLAY the music out loud as the student is talking. If you want students to "mix" music with their own computer, check out Garage Band (Mac) or Audacity (free download) available on Mac or Windows. Looking for more ways to use these audio tools? Take a look at a webquest explaining how these programs work, reviewed here.
In the ClassroomYou also must be able to locate files on your computer to upload. Follow onscreen instructions to create a project. The instructions are very easy to understand. In a few short steps, there is a finished product. Share the finished show by URL or embed code (for those who know how to copy/paste this code).
Use this site in science class to make a slideshow of a completed lab as an alternative to a laboratory report. Use this in history class to create short videos about different people and places in history. Use in math to have students explain a word problem or complex algebra problems in a slide by slide (step by step) manner. In lower grades, use a whole class account to create a slideshow about a class project or special event such as pumpkin day and all the calculations you do with pumpkin seeds, the weight of pumpkins, etc. Share the slideshow as an embedded object on your class web page/wiki or share the link with parents so they can ask their child about the activity and reinforce the concepts simply by having him/her talk about it at home.
If students create their own shows using images from the web, be sure they are using Creative Commons licensed photos or images without copyright restrictions, sine the products are shared online. Of course you will want to require a credit for any photo used to be included in the show.
Parent permission advised before posting student work created using this tool
Includes Interaction w general public/ public galleries with unmoderated content
Requires registration/log-in (WITH email)
Products can be embedded
Products can be shared by URL
Grades5 to 12
In the ClassroomNo special skills needed except the ability to create a name for your chat and to share the URL with others. Create "room" by giving it a name; decide how long you want it to last; and add a Twitter hashtag (optional). The room name becomes part of the URL. For example, The room called tfedge has URL http://todaysmeet.com/tfedge. Give participants the room URL. They join in simply by entering a name (or initials, to keep it safe) and clicking Join.
Use backchannel chat on laptops during a video or student presentations. Pose questions for all to answer/discuss in the backchannel, or ask students to pose their own "I wonder if..." questions as they watch and listen. Keep every student engaged and THINKING as an active listener. The first time you use backchannel, you will want to establish some etiquette and accountability rules, such as respectful language and constructive criticism. Assign students to watch a news program or political show and have a backchannel chat during the broadcast. Revisit the chat on a projector in class the next day or post the chat transcript to a class blog or wiki and have students respond further in blog posts or on the wiki discussion tab. The advantage of backchannel chat is that every student has a voice, no matter how shy.
In world language classes or even autistic support class, have students backchannel descriptions of what they see as classmates act out a scene from a video, using new language vocabulary and/or describing the feelings of the actors. In studying literature, collaborate with another class to have students role-play a chat between two characters or - in history class - between soldiers on two sides of the Civil War or different sides of the Scopes Money trial. Make brevity an impetus for well-focused thoughts and use instantaneous response as an incentive for engagement.
Grades3 to 12
In the ClassroomIntroduce this site on your interactive whiteboard or projector. Have students use this story writing site to summarize historical tales or to creatively imagine and display what might have been if historical events had gone in a different way. Have students write a blog entry from the perspective of a male, female, or even animal during this time period. Use this site as an inspiration for developing student's own system of pictographs for story-telling.
Grades4 to 8
tag(s): brain (71)
In the ClassroomExplore this website to determine which learning activities are worthwhile and will help your students learn or reinforce a skill. Include this site on your class webpage and save it in your favorites on your classroom computers. Be sure to tell students not to sign up for membership; just click on the "play now" button. Having a number of easily accessible, motivational activities keeps students engaged while using technology, when others may still be working on an assignment.
GradesK to 8
In the ClassroomExplore the tools and project suggestions by grade for your individual use as a teacher or work together with others in your school to build literacy across all subjects and grades by systematically adopting and repeatedly using a fixed collection of tools so students master the tool skills as an aside to reading, writing, speaking, and listening. Try the practical suggestions for implementing this model in your school or grade level team.
Grades2 to 12
tag(s): images (271)
In the ClassroomProvide the link to this site for students to use in altering and resizing images for use in presentations and online applications. Be sure students understand the file size needed for the various sites that are used in class (for example, wikispaces has a 20 MB file size limit.)
Use this all the time. Easy to use and SO helpful. You can use online, don't have to download.Frances, CT, Grades: 6 - 8