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Here on Earth - NPR

Grades
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 (74), radio (27), religions (61)

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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Starship - BBC

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3 to 6
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Following the metaphor of a growing plant, this site helps budding writers create original stories. In an interactive box, students select from several visual choices to create the...more
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Following the metaphor of a growing plant, this site helps budding writers create original stories. In an interactive box, students select from several visual choices to create the parts of their stories. Audio prompts tell the students what to do, and when their selection is made, a voice reads the newly created sentence as the story grows. After adding each sentence, writers hear the directions to click on the watering can to add more sentences. Before selecting from the four choices, writers can hold the cursor over each to see what the resulting sentence will be. As students go through the writing process, the audio support, a firefly, reminds them of what parts they have already selected, i.e., who, what, where, etc. At certain points during the writing, the process stops, and the firefly shows and reads the story as it has been written up to that point. After the story is read, you can print it, read it again, or write a new story. This site was created by the BBC, so you my notice some slight differences in pronunciations.

tag(s): narrative (24), writing (359), writing prompts (92)

In the Classroom

Make this a class activity by sharing the site on your projector or interactive whiteboard. This activity would work well for individual or pairs of students in a lab or on laptops. Since it has audio support, be sure to provide headsets for the students. Use the printables from this site for your bulletin boards. The audio accompaniment makes this a great site to use with ESL/ELL students too!
 This resource requires Adobe Flash.

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Storybooks - Where Did the River Go

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K to 4
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Create your own books for reading on the computer or printing, and test your reading skills with this interactive site. On the main screen are two different stories to choose ...more
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Create your own books for reading on the computer or printing, and test your reading skills with this interactive site. On the main screen are two different stories to choose from (The Journey To Darkest Somewhere or The House of Scary Words). Once you choose a story the fun begins! As each page turns, see options to personalize the characters and text. Click to drag new objects (pictures) into the story. Personalize the story with your own name. All of the red words/phrases can be changed. At the end of the story, choose to print the story or save to pdf. Along with the stories, there are other key components of the site, one of which is the section entitled "Scared of Words," tips for parents to help students with reading. There is a video skills quiz to help identify any weaknesses parents may have in reading skills, reasons for reading, hints and tips for helping children read, and links to online book resources. This site was developed in the United Kingdom, so you may notice a few spelling/vocabulary differences (for example, potato chips are referred to as "crisps.")

tag(s): book lists (128), literacy (103), reading comprehension (116), reading strategies (45)

In the Classroom

Share this site during Literacy nights at school as a resource parents can use at home when helping their students read. Share the site with ESL/ELL and Special Education teachers as a resource. Create a link on classroom computers, and have students create their own stories to print into a classroom book. Use this site to demonstrate how a passage will change through use of different verbs and nouns.
  This resource requires Adobe Flash and PDF reader software like Adobe Acrobat.

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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 (216), grammar review (37), parts of speech (68), prefixes (16), sentences (52), suffixes (14), synonyms (38), verbs (41), writing (359)

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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Visual Recipes - Visual Recipes

Grades
3 to 12
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Teach students about foods, measurement, or nutrition, and find great recipes at Visual Recipes. View a picture of each step of the recipe as you read the directions. English language...more
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Teach students about foods, measurement, or nutrition, and find great recipes at Visual Recipes. View a picture of each step of the recipe as you read the directions. English language learners and new learners to foods will find this a great resource.

tag(s): cooking (34), nutrition (154), sequencing (31), visual thinking (10), visualizations (14)

In the Classroom

Choose recipes to create a menu that meets all of the requirements of the new USDA "MyPlate." Analyze a typical dish to look at calories and the breakdown of the nutrients. Be a food scientist, choosing recipes that are examples of different types of solutions (homogeneous and heterogeneous) or basic chemical reactions. Encourage healthy eating, ethnic exploration through foods, and many other topics with these easy to follow pictures and directions. World language teachers will love this visual approach to foods in another culture and can ask students to "narrate" a visual recipe in the new language while presenting on interactive whiteboard or projector. Use visual recipes to teach sequencing for writing about step by step process using words like "first, then, next." Challenge cooperative learning groups to make their own slideshow/recipe for a favorite dish of their choice using a site such as 280Slides (reviewed here).
 This resource requires Adobe Flash.

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Kathleen, VT, Grades: 0 - 12

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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 (35), digital storytelling (144)

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 (32), literature (275)

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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My Immigration Story - R. Ramos Y Sanchez

Grades
8 to 12
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This site shares real immigrants' personal tales of coming to America. It also shares helpful resources for immigrants. Read unique stories about the many immigrants. With a simple...more
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This site shares real immigrants' personal tales of coming to America. It also shares helpful resources for immigrants. Read unique stories about the many immigrants. With a simple click, a box opens to share a story in writing. Writers only need a name (even just a first name), address, and email address (optional) to register. Also included on the site is an NPR interview with the creator of the site, indicating the site is not political, just a vehicle for allowing immigrants to share their concerns and triumphs. Other features of the website include an interesting quote from Benjamin Franklin concerning the public view of immigrants of his time, and many compelling photos of immigrants from all around the world. This site does include some minor advertising.

tag(s): immigration (58), migration (59), writing (359)

In the Classroom

Have your ESL/ELL students share their stories here (with permission from parents) when doing a biography writing unit. Have all students search for stories of immigrants whose ethnic background resembles their own. Have each student choose one story to read about and share a quick multimedia project with the class, such as a simple online posters using PicLits (reviewed here). Use stories from this site as a writing prompt for a poem or essay about an aspect of immigrant life, asking students to put themselves in the immigrant's shoes.

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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 (128)

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 (147)

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.
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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 (100), quiz (85), quizzes (97)

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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Things to Learn With: Learning Almanac - Cheryl Davis

Grades
6 to 12
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Find meaningful ways to teach 21st century skills in all curricular areas. Spend some time with this collection of lesson ideas that utilize Google Docs, other Google tools, and some...more
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Find meaningful ways to teach 21st century skills in all curricular areas. Spend some time with this collection of lesson ideas that utilize Google Docs, other Google tools, and some 2.0 programs such as wikis and YouTube across the curriculum. Browse through the outstanding resources which are perfect for middle school and beyond.

tag(s): blogs (88), charts and graphs (195), communities (35), experiments (71), geology (81), literature (275), news (261), search strategies (30), spreadsheets (17), statistics (122), tutorials (47), wikis (19)

In the Classroom

For example, use the lesson It's a Statistical World to bring statistics and the use of spreadsheets into the classroom. Follow project ideas, suggestions, and how to's to complete the activity. Specific examples, suggestions, and tutorials for using the resources are given throughout. Find unbelievable ideas that are exceptional for many curricular areas. Mark this one in your Favorites to use when you need inspiration or a new approach to curriculum that never seems to "stick" the way you wish it would.
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iPod user group Wiki - Joe Morelock

Grades
K to 12
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If considering writing a grant for iPods or iPads, then this is a site not to miss. View examples of grant proposals, learn how to develop a management system for ...more
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If considering writing a grant for iPods or iPads, then this is a site not to miss. View examples of grant proposals, learn how to develop a management system for your new acquisition, integrate the iPod or iPad into curriculum, and examine the results others schools have had. There are many resources to explore at this site! The resources here explain how to set-up multiple iPods or iPads, provide syncing tips, directions on how to create meta-playlists, manage school-wide podcast files, create digital portfolios, and practices that will enhance reading fluency. Much of the content may apply to other brands of tablets, as well. Impressive presentations and teacher reflections are free for download. View the hard data of previous school grant results in the form of bar graphs, pie charts, and line graphs. These all clearly demonstrate the positive effect iPods/tablets can have on reading fluency, state standardized tests and ENGAGEMENT! This is also an excellent resource to use when creating dynamic presentations meant to bolster support for innovative programming.

tag(s): grants (19)

In the Classroom

This blog provides examples of grants that serve as wonderful models when writing your own. Most of the examples on this blog are for the iPod touch, but many of the same concepts pertain to iPad use or other tablets as well. Librarians or IT directors will want to access this site for valuable background information on how to manage the maintenance and circulation of e-readers, iPods, iPads, or other tablets. If outside funding or school support is an issue, look beyond the tool and examine their instructional practices. Much of the grant success is due to incorporation of voice recording. Consider having students record their reading or writing by using some of the free web resources TeacherFirst suggests such as PodOmatic reviewed here or Audio Pal reviewed here. Examine how these grants use multitasking in the classroom. Consider using audio books while students engage in less cognitively demanding tasks. ESL/ELL instructors will find the lesson examples and results valuable.
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National TESOL Standards: Online Edition - TESOL

Grades
K to 12
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Read the national TESOL (Teachers of English to Speakers of other languages) standards for ESL. Of particular interest are the Sample Progress Indicators and scenarios that decribe...more
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Read the national TESOL (Teachers of English to Speakers of other languages) standards for ESL. Of particular interest are the Sample Progress Indicators and scenarios that decribe differeing levels of proficiency for ESL/ELL students you may find in your classroom. THIS SITE OPENS SLOWLY Please be patient. TeachersFirst has more information on how you may want to use ESL/ELL levels and tips for working with these students.

tag(s): differentiation (47)

In the Classroom

Save this site as a favorite on your classroom desktop to allow for easy reference later on!

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Stories for Kids - Pitara Kids Network

Grades
4 to 7
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This is a great source for simple, short, and interesting children's stories. The international focus draws the attention of a variety of readers. The display opening page has ten stories...more
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This is a great source for simple, short, and interesting children's stories. The international focus draws the attention of a variety of readers. The display opening page has ten stories of about two pages each, but there are over 10 other pages all containing an equal number of stories. These are "text only" reading stories and some are rather difficult to follow, as there are advertisements throughout the page.
This site includes advertising.

tag(s): short stories (25)

In the Classroom

Keep this site in mind when you have a few minutes at the end of the day. Read one together and then set your students at computers in pairs to take turns reading aloud to each other.

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Independence Day Around the World - Chartsbin

Grades
2 to 12
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This site offers an interactive world map showing Independence Day dates from around the world. You simply hover the cursor over any country that was formerly a colony to see ...more
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This site offers an interactive world map showing Independence Day dates from around the world. You simply hover the cursor over any country that was formerly a colony to see the date of its independence from that country. All countries that used to be part of Great Britain are the same color; color coding for other former empires indicates the empire's former holdings. Data comes from reliable government and other statistical sources. At the bottom of the page, related charts that may be of interest show: Father's Day around the World, Mother's Day around the World, Halloween Celebrations around the world and more.
This site includes advertising.

tag(s): colonial america (107), holidays (147), july 4th (9)

In the Classroom

Keep this site in mind as a reference source when students study world cultures or foreign languages. Challenge students to use this site to create research projects about individual (free) nations around the world. Have individual students or cooperative learning groups create a multimedia presentation using a tool such as Mapskip (reviewed here) to create a map of the country they researched (with audio stories and pictures included)!
 This resource requires Adobe Flash.

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Happy Valentine's Day in Different Languages - Chartsbin

Grades
2 to 12
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This "visualization" is an interactive chart showing the world map. Various ways to say Happy Valentine's Day pop up in different languages as the student mouses over any participating...more
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This "visualization" is an interactive chart showing the world map. Various ways to say Happy Valentine's Day pop up in different languages as the student mouses over any participating country. If a country is multi-lingual, all of the country's language translations appear. Many languages appear in their own script. Data comes from reliable government and other statistical sources. Check out the bottom of the page for more interactive maps on other topics such as space travel.
This site includes advertising.

tag(s): holidays (147), valentines day (14)

In the Classroom

Use this interactive map as an example of how to create a graph in an interesting and unique way. To show what they can compile with other similar holidays, challenge students to create an online graphic to share using Tabblo reviewed here. Or have them create an online map showing the same data using a mapping tool such as Mapskip (reviewed here). Use this map as a jumping off point for ESL/ELL students to talk about other holidays from their cultures.
 This resource requires Adobe Flash.

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Aesop's Fables - Adapted by U Mass students/Aesop

Grades
K to 8
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This charming site (created as a project by University of Massachusetts students) offers Aesop Fables online! The students have reformatted and illustrated the traditional Aesop Fables;...more
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This charming site (created as a project by University of Massachusetts students) offers Aesop Fables online! The students have reformatted and illustrated the traditional Aesop Fables; the project is ongoing, having started in 1994. Today, some of the stories are simply text, while others use FLASH and are more interactive, and some even include audio.

tag(s): animation (63), folktales (65)

In the Classroom

Share these stories on your projector or interactive whiteboard. Set up a learning station using these fables (and headsets, if necessary.) Use these illustrated stories as models for your computer students to illustrate their choice of children's stories and collect a class anthology on the web. Challenge your students to narrate a photo and read the story/fable using a tool such as Thinglink, reviewed here.
 This resource requires Adobe Flash.

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News English Lessons - Sean Banville

Grades
4 to 12
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This site, created by Australian Sean Banville of "Breaking News English" (reviewed here), has high interest, "easier" news for students to read and...more
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This site, created by Australian Sean Banville of "Breaking News English" (reviewed here), has high interest, "easier" news for students to read and many teaching materials to go with them. Though the look of the site is cluttered with advertising and plain text, the content is worthwhile. Developed for ESL/ELL students and teachers, the site would also work well in a subject area, learning support, or reading classroom. There are MANY articles "ready to go," including mp3 audio files to listen to the articles. At the time of this review there were 200+ new additions! Each article includes several types of activities such as "online gap fill" (a Cloze reading activity), vocabulary flashcards, and hangman, and matching. A full script is available in pdf form. There is also an online, interactive quiz for students. The articles, and a lot more activities, can be downloaded and printed, too.
This site includes advertising.

tag(s): diseases (66), listening (91), news (261)

In the Classroom

The articles are short and interesting, a perfect match for non-fiction reading comprehension. With so many different activities to choose from, it will be easy for the classroom teacher to differentiate. There is an mp3 audio version of each article so students can listen as they read. Assign small groups of students to present the news each week, using the interactive whiteboard to show others the country and city from which the article originated. Make the newscasting experience even more real by having students read scripts of these news stories or their own original stories using a Easyprompter, reviewed here. Students can then go to another news source such as "Mapeas" (reviewed here) and click on the country of origin to see what else is happening in the news there. For a project, have the small groups create a "talking map" using a site such as Woices (beta) (reviewed here). This site allows students to create audio recordings AND choose a location (where their article/story took place). What a fabulous way to share the article with the rest of the class!

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