GradesK to 12
tag(s): fish (24)
In the ClassroomUse the aquarium on a projector or interactive whiteboard before beginning any unit on animals, classification, behavior, or biomes. Students can make observations about how different fish act, the ecosystem of the fish, adaptations of fish to their environment, or any other information. Use these observations to begin the discussions of the concepts in your unit. Teach Art or English? Use this site for inspiration for writing poetry, stories, or other forms of artwork.
Grades2 to 12
tag(s): vocabulary (324)
In the ClassroomThe options are endless. Search the differences between two types of soils, mitosis and meiosis, presidents or those running for office, of geometric figures, artists or musicians, places to visit. As a way to build higher order thinking skills, this site is ideal, since comparison of attributes requires analysis.
Try creating some lists of your own as a class after using the ready-made ones here. This activity would be easy to do on an interactive whiteboard, with students hand writing the characteristics and dragging them into Similarities and Differences columns before entering them into Diffen. This site could be used in nearly every subject area. Share this site on your class blog or website, for students to access both in and out of the classroom. This is definitely one to save in your favorites.
Grades3 to 9
In the ClassroomShare the puzzles on your interactive whiteboard or projector or make them available as links on your teacher public page. Have students (or groups) create their own illustrated dictionaries of terms using a tool such as Bookemon, reviewed here. As you add more vocabulary lists during the year, have them select their favorite 6-10 terms from each list to add to their "book."
Grades7 to 12
In the ClassroomSearching the "For Educators" page gives you a wide variety of ideas for using this site and these essays. Since students enjoy using first person point of view in their writing, this might be an inspiration for some. You can use some of these essays as conversation starters on topics you are studying in class. (Example: Penn Jillette wrote his essay stating that he believes there is no god. This could be related to many books studied, such as 1984 or Brave New World.) Have students write their essays as blog entries or record them as podcasts using a tool such as Podomatic, reviewed here, or as an illustrated essay using ThingLink, reviewed here. Spanish teachers will want to explore the options to listen to or write essays in Spanish, as well.
Grades7 to 12
In the ClassroomShare this site on your interactive whiteboard or projector. These challenges are interactive, so students can test themselves. This might also be good for extra credit points for those students who are a little more advanced as writers. Challenge students to create their own writing exercise quizzes and share them on a class wiki. Not sure what a wiki is? Check out the TeachersFirst's Wiki Walk-Through.
Grades7 to 12
In the ClassroomUsing some of the given words as a "word-of-the-day" option is good. Share this site on your interactive whiteboard or projector. Then have pairs of students explore on their own. Why not have the groups create an online book sharing the words they discovered, using a tool such as Bookemon (reviewed here).
Grades5 to 12
Visit the official site for the Scripps National Spelling Bee (reviewed here by TeachersFirst). Check out all the links to learn how to study for the Bee, guidelines, and application deadlines. December is the annual deadline for your school's enrollment in the National Bee. This site will have the exact deadline each year. Click on Study Zone to download the Consolidated Word List (a gigantic compilation of 794 pages of words that have been used from 1950 to the present). Students can test their spelling know-how by clicking on the "Test Your Spell It Knowledge" link on the homepage. Flash is required to enjoy the interactive activities, get it from the TeachersFirst Toolbox page.
In the ClassroomShare this site (and word lists) on your interactive whiteboard or projector. As they study different word etymologies, have students sort copy/pasted selections from these wordlists into categories by language of origin as a drag-and-drop activity on your whiteboard. If you have students who are competitive spellers, encourage participation by introducing this site to them and their families. You may want to list this site on your class website for students to use both in and out of the classroom.
For an interactive cooperative learning project. Have cooperative learning groups explore one of the languages shared at this site. Have the groups create a multimedia project to share their new vocabulary. How about an online book created using Bookemon (reviewed here) or their own drag-and-drop activity for the class to use on the interactive whiteboard?
GradesK to 12
tag(s): spelling (168)
In the ClassroomWhat a fabulous way to share classic stories, fables, fairy tales, and myths! Use your interactive whiteboard or projector to introduce your students to these wonderful stories. Use this website in your language arts classes, special education classes, with your ESL and ELL students to share these classic stories, or the other topics provided. Challenge your gifted students to create new "classics." Have students investigate the sites on their own (using headsets). Save this site as a favorite on your classroom computers. With elementary students use this site during your language arts block, use this website as a learning center for students to explore independently. (Be sure to provide headsets). Don't forget to list this link in your class newsletter or on your class website, so students can practice their reading skills at home or maintain skills during vacations.
Grades7 to 12
In the ClassroomPlug in your students to get discussion started about any relevant-to-your-class topic. Students increasingly want to listen through headphones; let them enjoy these entertaining and informative podcasts on language, then use class questions posted on an interactive whiteboard or projector to generate full-class discussion. Language never sounded so good! Have students create similar projects in cooperative learning groups. How about podcasts using a site such as PodOMatic (reviewed here).
Grades1 to 9
In the ClassroomUse these games for individual practice for students who need extra help. The instant feedback provides great learning opportunities for students and builds confidence. Group students in multi-player games that is engaging and interactive. Focus on students' honing skills, building confidence and working together as a group of learners. Use these activities with an interactive whiteboard or projector to elicit large group participation or when computers are limited. Provide this link on your class website, for students to access both in and out of the classroom.
Grades2 to 12
In the ClassroomUse a Padlet to collaborate in collecting ideas, brainstorming, and more. Use this tool easily in your Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) classroom since all students will be able to access it for free, no matter what device they have. Padlet does not show which work is attributable to which student, so you may want to require that students initial their contributions in order to get credit. If allowing all students to post to the wall or make comments, you may want to discuss internet safety and etiquette and establish specific class rules and consequences. Making the setting private again will prohibit content from later being replaced by classmate "vandalism."
Use a Padlet to collect webquest links and information to share with students. By leaving the wall open to comments, solicit input, discussions, or viewpoints from students. They can even contribute other sources they find. Color code resources to indicate different reading levels or "high challenge" sources for your more able students. Assign a student project where students choose their theme and design a wall around it. For example, have students create a wall about an environmental issue. They can include pictures, audio or video, links, and other information to display. Use as a new format for book reports. Do your students have favorites such as music or sports? Create a wall around these favorites or hobbies. Use a wall for grammar or vocabulary words. Create walls for debates or viewpoints. Post assignments, reminders, or study skills on a wall. Do you use student scribes or reporters? Use the Padlet site to create a wall with the goings-on in class. Embed your walls in a blog, wiki or website. See a similar tool (and more ideas to use either tool) in the TeachersFirst review of Lino here. Decide which one you prefer! Unfortunately, the Padlet embedded viewer is very small but can be scrolled in both directions.
Use Padlet as a class space during snow days and school breaks. Share the link to a teacher-created, public wall where students can share notes about what they did during the snow day or respond to a thought-provoking question.
Encourage creativity and organization by having your gifted students (or anyone doing independent projects) create Padlets to collect ideas, images, quotes, and more in an "idea bin." Require them to share a brainstorming Padlet to show you the ideas they considered before they launch into a project. Have them brainstorm (and later sort/color code) the possibilities for a creative problem solving or "Maker Faire" project. In writing or art classes, use Padlet as a virtual writer's journal or design notebook to collect ideas, images, and even video clips.
Parent permission advised before posting student work created using this tool
Includes Interaction w general public/ public galleries with unmoderated content
Includes social features, such as "friends," comments, ratings by others
Requires registration/log-in (WITH email)
Products can be embedded
Products can be shared by URL
GradesK to 8
tag(s): fathers day (12)
In the ClassroomChallenge your students to think about the meaning behind the various quotes. Have students create their own quotes about their fathers. Using a picture (or student drawing) use a program such as ThingLink, (reviewed here,) to have students narrate the picture (sharing their quote or a memory).
Grades1 to 12
tag(s): reading lists (73)
Grades3 to 12
In the ClassroomCompare the banned book list with your curriculum. Find out how many of your students' favorite books (like To Kill a Mockingbird) have been on the list.
Grades5 to 12
This site includes advertising.
In the ClassroomThis is a great site for professional development and further understanding of the current microblogging "twend": Twitter. Share this site on your interactive whiteboard or projector. Use Twitter in the Classroom (with parental permission). Have students create writing prompts and share them on Twitter. Have your government students follow the "Twitter News" of politicians they can find on Twitter. Have students in science class follow the Twitter Feeds like Science News. Challenge students to create their own virtual collective Twitter scavenger hunt. The possibilities are endless! You can also use Twitter as a springboard for discussions about the changes in the political landscape and society with the advent of social networking tools. Ask them: are there any negatives or cautions to sharing your life on Twitter?
Grades6 to 12
In addition to the literary content, there are also photo slideshows that accompany the poems and their authors. The slideshows would be great for readers who may need some assistance in comprehension, or may just need to something to sell the content and heighten their interest. While actually signing up (which is free) gives you the ability to "clip" files and keep them in a folder, you can access the majority of the information without signing up. Registration does require an email address. If you plan to have students register individually, you may want to create your own Gmail account with up to 20 subaccounts for each group of students (by code name or number) within your classes. Here is a blog post that tells how to set up GMail subaccounts to use for any online membership service.
Be aware this site is still in beta. The content is frequently updated, so be sure to check back!
tag(s): poetry (227)
In the ClassroomThere are many possibilities at this website. Use it for reference, share the highlights on your interactive whiteboard or projector, or talk about the constructive use of a site like this without plagiarizing. One activity after reviewing a poem through Shmoop's process might be to have students use a poem not included on Shmoop and make their own entry for it, following the Shmoop template as an example. Why not make your own wiki to include some of the same features for other poems? Not comfortable with wikis? Check out the TeachersFirst Wiki Walk-Through. Note: one popular poem on Shmoop is Poe's "The Raven." Be sure to have students explore TeachersFirst's interactive Raven as yet another rich way to experience the poem along with Shmoop.
Grades5 to 12
In the ClassroomUse this site to enhance your astronomy lessons. The word bank could easily be used as vocabulary words for students to research on their own. Share the word puzzles on an interactive whiteboard or projector. Have students attempt to create their own word puzzles about an astronomy topic that your class is studying. Use an online puzzle creation tool such as Just Crosswords reviewed here or Puzzlemaker, reviewed here.
Grades4 to 10
tag(s): environment (317)