GradesK to 12
Tagxedo requires Silverlight. The site will appear as a blank page with the "Install Silverlight Plugin" button if your computer does not have it installed. See your tech folks to allow download and installation of this plug-in if school computers do not have it and/or are "locked down."
In the ClassroomNO membership required to create a cloud, though saving may require a (free) membership in the future, according to developer Hardy Leung. Click "Create" and then "Words." Paste URL to "cloud" words from a web page or copy/paste (or type) a passage of words into the given field. (Repeat words to make them larger). Experiment with various settings and "themes" to create the different colors and shapes of the word cloud. Change the theme, shape, direction, layout, and other parameters easily. Click SAVE to easily download a static image of various sizes or take a screenshot using shortcut keys. Saved images do not have the cool "pop-out" feature (rats!), though the developer tells TeachersFirst that users will be able to download animated versions in the future. You can also save and obtain the direct URL to your animated cloud. Be sure to bookmark it or copy/paste the URL for safe keeping in a document, wiki, etc. During beta, the tool allows you to save and copy embed code, but this feature will cost money later.
In the classroom: This is a terrific visual tool to share on an interactive whiteboard or projector. In primary grades. Enter a group of related words into the text box, such as sight words, words with the same spelling cluster, or vocabulary terms. Then have students roll over the words to read them aloud as they pop out (only works in the ONLINE version of the clouds). Paste in a passage or URL for a political speech to visualize the politician's "message." Analyze advertising propaganda by visualizing the language used in TV or print ads. Create word clouds of historical texts of inauguration speeches as time capsules of the issues of the day. Use this site as a way to help students see and memorize terms and important vocabulary, especially visual learners. Use it also when writing poetry or reading passages of great literature to "see" themes and motifs of repeated words and images. Have students paste in their own writing to spot repeated (and monotonous) language when teaching lessons on word choice. Students will be surprised to see what words appear to be dominant. ESL and ELL students will eagerly use this site since word order will no longer be a problem for them. Have students work in groups to create word posters of vocabulary words with related meanings, such as different ways to say "walk" or "said" and decorate your classroom with these visual reminders of the richness of language. Use themes and shapes that coordinate with the word cloud (for example, use a bird shape when creating a cloud about flight or a heart when interpreting a love poem. Consider using a word cloud as a first week of school activity where students discuss summer vacation or what they did over the summer. As a first day activity, students could also make a cloud with words about themselves, then have classmates guess which cloud matches which person.
For a free gift for special occasions, make word clouds about mom for Mother's Day or Thanksgiving "I am thankful" visual poems. Share them by emailing the URL or in printed form.
Very versatile, creates word clouds in specific shapes. Adds another dimension.Frances, CT, Grades: 6 - 8
Grades1 to 10
In the ClassroomESL and ELL students will find this activity useful for practicing correct English word order. Primary teachers can also use it to teach basic sight words, sequencing, and inferencing skills with short sentences. After typing/pasting in the sentences, copy the scrambled word box on an interactive whiteboard or projector and have students write or type the paragraph in the correct order.
Grades7 to 12
In the ClassroomUsers must be willing to play with this great resource. Drag shapes from the stencil area. Use the Inspector to add text, change colors, change sizes, and rearrange among many other functions. Use the toolbars along the top to upload an image, add items such as lines, take a snapshot, as well as other snapshots (hover over these buttons to read what each item is.) Use the buttons in the upper right, to export as a PNG, save, or share your drawing. Use the Save URL to embed in a wiki, blog, or other site.
Though an email is required, it is not necessary to begin using this resource. The tool does not show which work is attributable to which student. You may want to require that students initial their contributions in order to get credit. If students are using as a group, you may want to spell out specific consequences for project "vandalism," depending on your students. You may allow students to self-register, but be sure to keep a written record of their passwords for when they "forget." It may be worth your time to do advanced registration for your younger students.
Use Cacoo much like other drawing and flowchart software. Use to take notes, create decision-making flowcharts, illustrate concepts, sketch a story/plot pattern, and more. Create classification diagrams on the type of animal being studied. Create dichotomous keys for identifying any kind of object or making a decision. Use to identify roles and responsibilities as pre-planning for a group project. Use as a storyboard as part of pre-production for a movie or podcast to be created by either individuals or a group. Ask students to share their storyboard or group responsibilities with you. Use as an alternative to a quiz by having students diagram a process such as oxidation or the steps from a bill to a law.
Grades3 to 12
tag(s): brain (73)
In the ClassroomThis is a great program to use with an interactive whiteboard and projector with entire class for brainstorming a topic or concept. Ideas can be manipulated and changed as fast as they can be shared. To save time, an outline that has been started and saved as a text file can be copied and pasted into a Text 2 Mind Map. The map can be color coded by branch or level to help organize information. After the map is complete, copy and past the outline in a word-processing program. Save the map as a jpg file. The map and the outline can be used by students as a guide for writing and further research. Text 2 Mind would be a great tool for use small groups to help students organize and manage a project.
Very easy to transform text (outline or list) into a mindmap. Great for visual learners.Frances, CT, Grades: 6 - 8
Grades4 to 12
In the ClassroomGrandparent's day is in September. What better gift to a grandparent than to be able to spend time with their grandchild and tell them a story about an important time in their lives? Of course, you'll want to prepare students with some interviewing skills and questions before they interview their grandparents, and show them how to record the interview with some type of recorder (tape recorder, cell phone, video camera, etc). This recording can then be submitted to StoryCorps and it will then reside at the American Folklife Center at the Library of Congress. Students can also interview parents about their first memories of school, and what they remember about the grade that the student is currently in. Share these interviews during the first week or month of the school year. Not only can these interviews be submitted to StoryCorp, but students could then do a write up of their interviews and publish them in a classroom book of memories. Have students create online books to share with the class about their interview. Use a tool such as Bookemon, reviewed here. Or have students narrate a photo of the person they interviewed using a site such as ThingLink, reviewed here.
GradesK to 8
In the ClassroomIn Science or Math, use the backgrounds to create a large graph paper screen on an interactive whiteboard or projector to explain how to complete an activity. In Math, find a number of backgrounds or manipulatives to illustrate math concepts. For example, use the Equation Charts background to learn solving equations. Allow students to enter the numbers into the equation and solve then in front of the class. Use Base Ten blocks to illustrate area, volume, and other concepts in Math. Follow with actual manipulatives such as blocks that can be stacked for additional reinforcement. Use story boards for any class as ways to brainstorm ideas, solving problems, and creating flowcharts. Use the storyboard pictures as writing prompts or to frame math or science questions for better understanding. After demonstrating any activity with the whole class, use this site as a perpetual math center with different assignments for students to work with manipulatives on their own or in pairs. Post screenshots at the center for the tools students should use for that week's center. No clean up and no lost pieces! Share this site on your class web page for at-home practice, as well.
This is a great tool for young students to learn shapes.Melissa, , Grades: 0 - 5
GradesK to 12
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tag(s): advertising (35)
In the ClassroomUse this resource to use sites without ads to keep students on track and not be distracted by information that is not content Be sure to share this link on your class website for families to use at home..
GradesK to 12
tag(s): poetry (225)
In the ClassroomMake Poetry Month a participatory experience. Have students compose a limerick explaining a science term or historic figure. Have students collect a list of words from your current unit. Then offer extra credit for a poetic interpretation to be shared as a daily "poetry break" during April. Use one of the tools featured here to share poetic visions of biology, geometry, and more during April. Cover a classroom wall with white paper for "curriculum poetry" during April. Encourage students to share poetry graffiti (classroom appropriate, of course). For more poetic ideas check out the "In the classroom" suggestions included in each review.
Grades6 to 12
In the ClassroomAside from the pure "wow" factor of this site's appearance, projected on an interactive whiteboard or projector, it would serve as a good current events warm up for a social studies or science class. Additionally, its very configuration would spark an interesting science or culture discussion. Perhaps more beautiful than practical, it still deserves a place in your bag of tricks. Pull it out when you need something to spark discussion or wake up your class. Have students investigate a story of their choice and create an interactive online poster using Canva, reviewed here. As a higher level thinking challenge, have students discuss the "why" connections behind these articles or use ideas from this site to spark an unusual essay or blogging assignment. Teachers of gifted will want to share this link on their class web page, for sure!
Grades3 to 8
In the ClassroomYou will find these motivating, interactive recipe cards a clever approach to teaching the various forms of writing. Click on a recipe card from the online file box to explore, download, and print out the accompanying worksheets and checklists. Each writing recipe has an assortment of ingredients, including links to online tools and generators, articles, and lessons. If you have been shopping for an easy to follow book report format, you will find a sprinkling of what you have been searching for, so be sure to save this site.
Grades2 to 12
In the ClassroomUse the writing prompts before, during and after reading to foster the reading/writing connection. There are abundant ideas ranging from simple responses and mini essays to constructed responses. The daily writing practice and student choice is a popular page for assigning daily or weekly prompts to your whole class or allowing your students to feel they have a choice in what they can write about, by giving them access to a set of class computers and letting them click the button until they find the prompt that fits them for the day. They can type their responses right on the interactive page, save or print, and come back to it to expand, revise, and edit later.
Another idea is to have students help you incorporate the site into the class. Because many of these prompts are individual, you can have students working on individual projects at once. If you have only one or two computers available, allow students to have (or earn) a 30 second "prompt finder" slot before a writing assignment in class or for homework. Put a timer by the computer. You may find they compete to see who can find the best ideas- FAST. Build a "favorite prompts" list in a document on the classroom desktop -- allowing each student to record (copy/paste?) the idea he/she generated and his/her name. This will give you yet another source for prompts--promptly!
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
Grades3 to 12
tag(s): authors (122)
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.
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)