GradesK to 12
Important note: As with many dictionaries, students will be able to find words that are not appropriate for the classroom. A quick check of the web browser's History will tell you what they have been looking up should you notice a bit too much "interest" in looking up words! Wordnik does add an exclamation point graphic next to inappropriate (swear) words.
If you register, you can add notes to each entry for future use, report typos, and enter information about words. You can also create personal wordlists and more.
As a "social" word tool, Wordnik, is a site for any technology user and could serve as a vocabulary hub for your individual students to become wordaholics by sharing, exploring, commenting, and more -- all about words!
In the ClassroomUse wordnik when students are stumped with definitions or uses of a word. Demonstrate how context clues can help readers understand meanings. Increase vocabulary by finding words that are giving students problems during a lesson and assigning those words to be examined by students. Use wordnik to find words of the day. Students can use wordnik to find examples of the word and create technology or conventional displays of information. Have students create online posters displaying their new vocabulary words. Encourage ESL/ELL students and those with weaker vocabulary to use Wordnik often, possibly creating personal word lists, recording pronunciations, or sharing words with each other (see safety concerns). Use an online poster creator, such as Glogster, (reviewed here). Another technology infused idea: create an online glossary book as a class (or in cooperative learning groups) using a tool such as Bookemon, reviewed here.
Since the general public can share, make comments, etc, on this site, use this opportunity to discuss netiquette of commenting, and other appropriate behavior on "social" sites before allowing students to establish accounts. Spell out consequences and be sure you know the usernames and passwords your students use. Less mature students may be very tempted by the opportunities to play with "bad" words or record their voices.
Grades2 to 12
tag(s): authors (120)
In the ClassroomIf you are looking for favorite classic stories to use in your classroom, try this site. Project the text on your interactive whiteboard as examples for grammar exercises, such as highlighting adjectives or punctuating dialog. Practice "main idea" on your whiteboard using passages from a classic. Have students choose a book using this list. Instead of traditional book reports, have students create multimedia presentations. Have cooperative learning groups create podcasts using a site such as PodOmatic (reviewed here). Another idea: have students create online posters using a tool such as Padlet (reviewed here).
Include this site on your website, wiki, blog, or newsletter that promotes summer reading. ESL and ELL students will appreciate having a ready source for extra reading.
Grades1 to 12
One disadvantage of the site is that you can only enter a keyword when you get to the third step. After a book list based on interests appears, then you can search by keyword to make the search zero in on specifics. When teachers or students select books for a reading list, they can then click to see the complete list of books they have selected. Clicking on a book title leads to another screen, but it does not contain a book summary; instead, it has a list of other keywords for the book along with other book data.
In the ClassroomThis site is great for teachers searching for books at specific lexile levels. Learning support and ESL/ELL teachers can find books to accompany units in content area classes but on the correct lexile level. Students can also use the site by entering their grade levels and what kind of readers they are. Use this site to differentiate the learning experience for all levels of students. Rather than having students complete traditional book reports, why not have them complete a multimedia project? Provide some choices such as a podcast, using PodoMatic (reviewed here), interactive venn diagram comparing characters (reviewed here), or online book using Bookemon (reviewed here).
GradesK to 6
In the ClassroomShare this site on an interactive whiteboard or projector. Assign your students some of these stories to read to use as models for their own creative writing. Try the online spelling bee and ask your students to compare that to the live version! Have students read their own creative stories on a podcast. Use a tool such as PodOmatic, reviewed here, or upload illustrations and read the story on ThingLink, reviewed here.
Grades4 to 12
In the ClassroomUse this site to show your students that anyone can become a poet when they balk at reading poetry. Share some of the poetry on your projector or interactive whiteboard. Read some of your required poems and then look at the "Tags" and ask your students to decide where poetry written by others should be placed. Go on to ask them if they can think of other Tags to add. Since many of the poems here have holiday themes, use this as a quick activity before a holiday or to encourage students to reflect on family holiday traditions. ESL/ELL students will not have to worry so much about their grammar when embarking on poetry writing! They'll love to be thought creative. If you are permitted to "publish" your students' poetry, why not go one step further and have them narrate a picture using the words from their poem at a site such as ThingLink reviewed here. Or have students share their poems using a podcasting site such as PodOmatic (reviewed here).
Grades4 to 10
To read/listen to the articles, you must put in an email address. Tip: rather than using your personal or work email, create a free Gmail account to use for memberships. 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.
tag(s): news (261)
In the ClassroomHave students make a vocabulary list of new words they see/hear from the stories each week. Include a story from NFY every week to present a slightly different take on the television news or paper news headlines. Have your students create their own "headline" news and video the projects! Share the videos using a tool such as TeacherTube reviewed here.
Grades2 to 12
tag(s): authors (120)
In the ClassroomIf you are looking for favorite classic stories to use in your classroom, try here. Make a list of those you would like for students to read online with the URLs here. Include this site on your flyer that goes home promoting summer reading. Or list the link on your class website or wiki. ESL/ELL students will appreciate having a ready source for extra reading. Rather than the "same old" book reports, have students create multimedia presentations! How about comparing two pivotal literature characters using on interactive Venn Diagram (reviewed here).
Grades5 to 12
In the ClassroomDisplay favorite literary passages to compare writing styles, vocabulary level, and to do identification quizzes! Use for teaching reading skills such as main idea, looking for transitional and clue words, using context to figure out word meanings, etc. Teach grammar, parts of speech, and use of quotation marks by viewing actual literature using the interactive whiteboard or projector. Read the classics without spending a penny!
GradesK to 6
The "Teachers Section" includes a treasure of information (see the tabs on the LEFT side). Some of the information on other sections of the Teacher Page involves an online course. But there is enough FREE stuff on the left side to make this site phenomenal: podcasts, videos, and many lesson topics. Find lesson plans, videos, teaching tips, research, and more about Prior Knowledge, Making Connections, Questioning, Visualizing, Inferring, Summarizing, Evaluating, Synthesizing, and Using Other Strategies. The Student portion offers interactive, technology-based activities for each of the comprehension concepts. Check out the student-created Visualizing activities, including drawing pictures and adding music using the online tools. This site requires both Flash and Adobe Acrobat. You can get both from the TeachersFirst Toolbox page.
In the ClassroomShare the tools (podcasts, videos, and other interactives) on a projector or interactive whiteboard to introduce students to this site. Then have students try some of the interactives on individual computers or at a learning center! Take advantage of these ready to go lesson plans, printables, and teaching tips. What a fabulous site to integrate into your language arts classes! Have students use this site to create multimedia presentations. Have cooperative learning groups create podcasts demonstrating their understanding of one of the concepts. Use a site such as PodOmatic (reviewed here).
Grades3 to 12
The FAQ section is extremely helpful, explaining how to use the site with different browsers and languages. It also instructs those who use the site how to zoom, change the "Skins" of the site, and how to convert text to html. Once a student or teacher clicks on a specific language, a separate keyboard appears on the screen that features any diacritical markings or other special language features. This page also contains links to relevant search engines, videos, maps, dictionaries, and other reference tools. Be aware: this site does include some advertisements. This site uses Java and Flash. You can get it from the TeachersFirst Toolbox page.
In the ClassroomAs you study English cognates and vocabulary, you can compare the same word in different languages or to make quick comparisons of multiple languages to see the "families" of world languages and etymology. Share this site with your international students and also with students studying foreign languages. They may already know about it as a tool for doing "translation" homework, but you can use it to demonstrate the power of idioms and why direct translation is not so simple! Another strength of this site is in being able to access web-based tools in another language.
Language students will be able to do a complete travel search in another language, for example, search, select, plan, and purchase a trip using another language before writing it up. You can also copy and paste the translations, by clicking "select." Why not have students create a multimedia presentation using this site? Make an online book using the new language (with translations on the next page, if necessary). Or create personal vocabulary books of words from a given language or comparisons of words from multiple languages. Use a tool such as Bookemon (reviewed here).
Grades2 to 12
In the ClassroomShare this site, on your interactive whiteboard or projector, with world language students, particularly independent learners at whom the site is aimed. Students getting ready to take school-sponsored trips to European countries, for example, could benefit from the quick introduction and easy access this site provides to simple language lessons. ESL and ELL students will enjoy using the English podcasts as supplements to their in-school English instruction. Why not challenge students to create their own language podcasts using a site such as Podomatic (reviewed here).
Grades2 to 12
In the ClassroomWhat a fabulous site for ESL, ELL, learning support, and students learning Spanish! Introduce this site on your interactive whiteboard or projector. Share this site with Spanish students who do well at working on learning independently. ESL and ELL students will also benefit from going through the lessons, individually or in pairs. Teachers can register independently from their students and keep track of learner progress and participation. As students learn new vocabulary words, challenge cooperative learning groups to create an online book sharing their newfound vocabulary. Use a tool such as Bookemon (reviewed here).
Grades2 to 10
tag(s): wikis (19)
In the ClassroomAs with any dictionary, this reference book contains all sorts of words including words of a sexual nature. So be sure to preview your search and give students warnings about appropriate use!
Share this site on your interactive whiteboard or projector. This is very helpful for all students. However, especially for ESL and ELL students, who might need a quick picture to help define a type of tree, plant, or food not familiar to them. Why not have students create their own wiki about your current science or social studies topic (or any other subjects). Have cooperative learning groups use vocabulary words, provide the definitions, AND find some photos to share. Not sure what a wiki is? Check out the TeachersFirst's Wiki Walk-Through.
GradesK to 12
tag(s): flash cards (46)
In the ClassroomShare the online vocabulary words on your interactive whiteboard or projector. Students can work in pairs at a computer to enhance the flashcard learning. GED and placement test learners will find this feature most useful. Foreign language learners will find all their flash card needs are met with this site. Share this site on your class website for students to use to practice both in and out of the classroom. Use this tool with ESL/ELL students. Use this site for students to practice new science vocabulary words. Imagine the possibilities!
GradesK to 12
In the ClassroomSharing with friends for collaboration does require the sending of an email invitation.
Explore the guided tour to learn an overview or find answers to specific use questions. Save your "sets" and decide whether you want them to be completely public, just for you personally, or shared with a "group." Create your own groups for each class or subject. Publish your cards for others to use. Published sets can be altered to create a new and personalized set.
Teachers in lower grades will want to create cards their students can use and perhaps have more techno-savvy help with the process. Content and English teachers may choose to set up their own network of users. Learning support teachers could suggest that their students create their own flashcard sets to assist learning of the concepts. Use the interactive whiteboard or projector for quick flashcard or electronic testing using your sets as a whole class or in small groups in the classroom. Collaborate with other teachers to create useful sets for all to use. Rotate responsibility each marking period among student groups in your class to create a set for each chapter/unit/week for the rest of the class to use as review. Give a special award (or bonus points) for the most creative, complete set that marking period.
In the ClassroomKnowledge of use of tags and familiarity with flickr is required. Each picture is labeled with the title and the picture creator's name.
Type in the name of a topic in the tag area or the name of a known flickr user. Entering information into both fields is not required. Pictures will appear in the top area. Choose a picture you wish to use by clicking on it. To add another picture, choose the options in "Add frames." Drag a caption bubble onto the picture and type in your caption. Easily delete pictures by clicking the "Delete" button at the bottom of the picture. When finished, click "Publish." Comics can be deleted afterward, and sharing gives the option for sending an email link or using an embed code to include within a website or blog.
Clicking on "...or visit the archive" takes you to other users' content. The archive of this site includes changing "featured" content.
Consider creating anonymous ways to enter names in order to track student contributions. All projects are public. Check your school policy for posting student work online. Written permission is always a good idea.
Use this site for students to take pictures of lab experiment steps and explain the experiment or the concepts behind the experiment. Students can create a story using pictures taken from home and uploaded to a class flickr account. Any school subject can easily use the comic strip generator to show knowledge learned in class. World language or ESL/ELL students can create dialog strips. Reinforce vocabulary by having students create strips with characters using the new words. Assess student understanding of concepts by providing a collection of tagged photos on Flickr and having the class create a Bubblr strip on the interactive whiteboard (collaborating for a whole-class or group grade). Share completed strips on your class web page or wiki. Example created for review: Angiosperms by Mrs. Maine
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
Products can be embedded
Products can be shared by URL
GradesK to 12
In the ClassroomUse Spezify on an interactive whiteboard or projector as you introduce a new topic in science or social studies or when the class asks "What is ____?" . With very young students or non-readers, use Spezify to help them find information they can understand and to inspire them to try to read some of the short text excerpts alongside the images. Activate students' prior knowledge as they recognize the images and remark, "I didn't know Edison was the one who invented that!" Visually show the "big picture" on any topic. As you teach research skills, try a comparison of Spezify results with Google results for both functionality of the search engine and reputability of the results. NOTE: Preview any search terms you plan to display in class if the terms could possibly bring up inappropriate images. You may need to adjust your terms. Of course your students know what they are supposed to do if something inappropriate comes up when using a search themselves, right? If you have not discussed this, now is the time!
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).
GradesK to 5
If you click on the Student View a spinning wheel will appear. Students can spin to choose a random activity! Many of these activities require Flash. You can get it from the TeachersFirst Toolbox page.
In the ClassroomSave this site in your favorites on your classroom computers. Introduce this site on your projector or interactive whiteboard. If a student finishes early and needs some enrichment or is struggling and needs some extra practice, look here for some interactive help! Share this site on your class website for students to access outside of the classroom.
GradesK to 12
tag(s): spelling (168)