Grades1 to 12
tag(s): readability (7)
In the ClassroomThis site can be helpful in a variety of ways. Primary and secondary classroom teachers can check students' work or have students check their personal work by placing their own text in the box. Reading specialists, classroom teachers, ESL and ELL teachers, and special education teachers can check readability levels of various books to find the right fit for each student. E-books and on-line literature is easy to check with the cut and paste option! Note: if the text is available as a complete web page, you can also use this tool. Student word processing can also be analyzed using the Grammar tools in Word (tools menu), but these two tools yield slightly different information.
Grades3 to 12
In the ClassroomClassroom applications abound. Imagine your class chatting with pen pals in Crete or Amsterdam, and asking them current events questions. Imagine practicing foreign language skills using this tool. Send messages to experts in other countries as your class researches their culture. Travel around the world virtually, through discussions with other classrooms in foreign countries. Use two laptops and you and your ESL or ELL student can chat while learning each other's language, since all translations are on screen. Caution: As with all instant messaging, you would want to only talk with pre-approved people. This is not a program you would want your students to use unsupervised. There are forums, a blog, and chats already set up (look in your "room drawer" after you log in). Preview these to select the best venue for your class' purposes. Since the site requires a membership, you will most likely want to use a single class account so you can monitor how it is being used and avoid inappropriate contacts. If you do use student accounts, check your school policies on using student email to register and make sure classroom use is within approved school policy. This beta is constantly adding new features. Check the blog for the latest.
GradesK to 4
In the ClassroomEncourage beginning readers, ESL, ELL, and special ed students to read along with texts in hand as they listen to the stories and the pronunciation of possible new words. Check back with this site frequently to see new stories that have been added. Include this site on your teacher web page for students and parents to access as encouragement for extra reading. Save this site in your favorites and use it as an L.A. learning center (don't forget the headsets). Play an audio story with the speakers turned up and lights turned off for a quiet listening activity.
Grades1 to 6
Be aware: this site does include some advertising. This site requires Quicktime. Get it from the TeachersFirst Toolbox page.
In the ClassroomCheck with your administrator about students submitting their own names or making comments about the stories. You may want to give the students a classroom name so their identities remain anonymous. Use this site to find stories that represent cultures of the students in your classroom, whether they are ESL or students with different ethnic backgrounds. Use this site also to find stories for various school holidays. Play a story aloud on your speakers, then allow students to record their own stories with musical backgrounds.
Grades2 to 12
In the ClassroomYou need to know how to copy/paste. No email registration needed to create. Click Create to get started. Copy/paste text, type into a text box, or paste in the URL of the page you wish to "cloud." Play with options under Layout, Color, and Font menus to change the look. When done, choose to Print, take a screen shot of it in New Window view (PrntScrn on Windows, Command+shift+4 on Mac) or save to public gallery. Once it opens in the gallery view, be sure to copy the URL and keep a record of the exact URL of wordles you save to the Gallery. You will never be able to find them again without it! 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.
The public can enter text and create their own Wordles, some of which appear on the home page for "recent" Wordles. Teachers should preview the Gallery and home page immediately before sharing this site with a class. TeachersFirst's review team has not witnessed any objectionable examples. In today's world, a brief lesson or honest discussion on ignoring, clicking out of, or avoiding the inappropriate on the web might be worthwhile, depending on the age and maturity of your students.
This is a terrific visual tool to share on an interactive whiteboard or projector. 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 wordles 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 text, 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.
Another idea: use this site during the first week of school. Have students create "Wordles" about themselves and create a "Wordle" bulletin board introducing your students (and yourself). Or use Worlde for a whole-class positive statement as shown in this example. Remember that the most frequently appearing words will appear larger so plan accordingly.
So versatile and easy to use. Needs supervision because of what some people post in the galleries. Kids find it very easy to use. Nice for quick analysis of text (love to use with Shakespeare).Frances, CT, Grades: 6 - 8
Grades3 to 9
In the ClassroomShare this with students who need to review their grammar but are impatient with "boring" grammar exercises. This site assumes students know some grammar and some vocabulary; it is a tool to check how accurate their understanding is. Save this site in your favorites, and check back often (new material is added monthly). List this site on your class website for students to use for at-home practice.
Grades2 to 6
The site does have some advertisements, most of which relate to the topic and are not distracting from the content. This site requires Flash and Adobe Acrobat. Get them from the TeachersFirst Toolbox page.
tag(s): vocabulary (325)
In the ClassroomUse the vocabulary section to reinforce very basic vocabulary with ELL and ELL students in your class. It's great for them to hear several people pronouncing each word. Share this site on an interactive whiteboard or projector. Then have students work with a partner to try the activities (don't forget the headsets).
GradesK to 3
tag(s): literacy (107)
In the ClassroomMerpy stories will be a wonderful addition to your computer literacy lab. Share the stories on an interactive whiteboard or projector and read the stories together as a class. Individual or paired reading would also work well. After reading several Merpy stories, students may be able to create their own 'Merpy-esque' stories using PowerPoint and animated clipart. For the Spanish learner or ESL/ELL student, check out the four Merpy Spanish versions.
GradesK to 8
In the ClassroomSign up for the newsletter to receive new information every month. Provide the link to this site in your class newsletter or on your class website, so parents can sign-up for the newsletter also (and use the free resources).
Grades1 to 4
Although this site uses British English, this activity is useful to practice American English. At the time of this review, all words were common in both forms of English. The site requires Flash and Adobe Acrobat. You can get it from the TeachersFirst Toolbox page.
tag(s): punctuation (43)
In the ClassroomDemonstrate this activity on an interactive whiteboard or projector. Then, create a learning center for students to use this website, or provide individual laptops or computers. Be sure to provide headsets. Use the three difficulty levels to differentiate for your students. You may want to list this website in your class newsletter and on your class website so students can practice punctuation at home.
Grades1 to 2
The website also features a "full screen" option, printable worksheets, engaging sound effects (with an option to turn the music off), and animations. Although this site uses British English, this activity is useful to practice American English. At the time of this review, all words were common in both forms of English. Be aware: the animation of this activity can be a bit distracting. The site requires Flash and Adobe Acrobat. You can get it from the TeachersFirst Toolbox page.
In the ClassroomUse the three difficulty levels to differentiate for your students. Share this website with your class on an interactive whiteboard or projector and show the students HOW to use the program. Then, create a learning center for students to use this website, or provide individual laptops or computers. Be sure to provide headsets. Why not split your class into two teams and make this activity a class competition. Have students create their own Kung-Fu Sentences (minus the "karate kid") using WORD or good old fashion paper and pencil.
You may want to list this website in your class newsletter and on your class website so students can practice creating sentences at home.
Grades1 to 4
This site offers three levels of difficulty. The website also features a "full screen" option, printable worksheets, engaging sound effects (which can be turned off), and animations. The site requires Flash and Adobe Acrobat. You can get it from the TeachersFirst Toolbox page.
In the ClassroomSynonyms can be tough for young learners. Use this site to make synonyms simple. Use your interactive whiteboard or projector to share this website with your class. Use the three difficulty levels to differentiate for your students. This site is ideal to use with younger ESL and ELL students, and any class learning about synonyms. Create a learning center for students to use this website, or provide individual laptops or computers. Be sure to provide headsets. Why not print off the worksheet for additional practice or enrichment.
You may want to list this website in your class newsletter and on your class website so students can practice at home.
Grades1 to 3
The website also features a "full screen" option, printable worksheets, engaging sound effects (which can be turned off by clicking "music OFF"), and animations. Although this site was created by the BBC, at the time of this review, all words included were used in both British English and American English. The site requires Flash and Adobe Acrobat. You can get it from the TeachersFirst Toolbox page.
tag(s): grammar (214)
In the ClassroomPronouns can be tricky! Use your interactive whiteboard or projector to share this website with your class. Use the three difficulty levels to differentiate for your students. This site is ideal to use with younger ESL and ELL students, and any class learning about pronouns. Create a learning center for students to use this website, or provide individual laptops or computers. Be sure to provide headsets. Why not print off the worksheet for additional practice or enrichment.
You may want to list this website in your class newsletter and on your class website so students can practice pronouns at home.
Grades1 to 5
The website also features a "full screen" option, printable worksheets, engaging sound effects (which can be turned off), and animations. The site requires Flash and Adobe Acrobat. You can get both from the TeachersFirst Toolbox page.
tag(s): spelling (166)
In the ClassroomUse the three difficulty levels to differentiate for your students. This site is ideal to use with younger ESL and ELL students. Create a learning center for students to use this website, or provide individual laptops or computers. Be sure to provide headsets. Why not print off the worksheet for additional practice or enrichment.
You may want to list this website in your class newsletter and on your class website so students can practice spelling at home.
Grades3 to 12
In the ClassroomEstablishing membership requires an email account. Check your school policies about accessing/sharing student email on school computers. 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. You will want to join and explore the site before assigning students to use it so you know how to navigate.
Assign specific "lessons" for your ESL or world language students, but be aware that the free version does not permit you to monitor progress on student accounts.Therefore you will want to use this as a practice site more than a formal assessment tool. Demonstrate the navigation on your projector or interactive whiteboard before assigning students to work independently. If you have mp3 players available, you can load a listening assignment for students to "take out." Be sure to include this site on your teacher web page for students to access both in and outside of class for further practice. Refer your ESL students to this page if they are impatient to become fluent quickly.
Grades4 to 12
In the ClassroomSimply login and click create. Choose a scene you wish to start with. Change your characters from a variety of option. When the comic loads, your chosen character may not show immediately but will appear as you edit each frame. Change sizes of caption bubbles, fonts sizes and types with easy to use sliders. New characters can be added in each frame as well as a variety of additional props such as sports equipment and furniture. Change the background set to a variety of indoor, outdoor city, and outdoor country landscapes. Change background colors easily too. Comics can be saved, scenes can be deleted, and changes made can be reverted to the previous idea easily with on screen controls. Below the comic, buttons for "Save for later" and "Publish Now" quickly save or publish works. If the scene is not ready for publishing, Pixton requests further edits to complete the process.
Consider creating a class account that students can use. Track comics made by students by placing initials in a small caption bubble to identify created comics to a specific student. There are some safeguards in place to be sure students use appropriate language and actions. It would be wise to preview whatever you wish to share with your students, however, since the general public can create comics with their own ideas. Students should submit their work without identifiable names and location, according to your school policy. You will also want written parent permission before allowing students to create comics that can be seen online.
Capture and use your students creativity in storytelling using this exciting tool! Using small amounts of texts to frame a story or to deliver information creatively allows students the opportunity to work deeply with information and use a creative outlet for a variety of projects. Use for students to provide information learned with personal thoughts on subjects ranging from historical events, environmental issues, discussion about plants, animals, and ecosystems, as well as other topics in Art, Math, English, Health, and others. Use in Foreign language classes for short stories created in the language and translated then by other students in the classroom. Use comics to write summaries of current events, responses to reading assignments, expressions of teen problems, and creative works of humor. With younger students, use an interactive whiteboard or projector to create a class comic on a current topic of study, such as the life cycle of the frog or ways to conserve energy. Use this site to integrate an art and writing lesson. Why not have students create comics to demonstrate a concept in science or social studies, rather than a traditional paper/pencil quiz? World language teachers and ESL/ELL teachers will love the chance for students to demonstrate written language skills in the "context" of their comic situations.
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)
Premium version (not free) includes additional features or storage
Products can be embedded
Products can be shared by URL
GradesK to 4
In the ClassroomWhy not introduce a word activity on your interactive whiteboard or projector. Complete the "Captain Huggy Face's Freeze Frame Game" as a class. Then create a learning center using this website and allow students to view the interactive stories and play the games during your language arts block. And don't forget about the ready-to-go lesson plans. Use these plans to help simplify the complexities of the English language (synonyms, antonyms, onomatopoeia, etc.). Be sure to list this site on your class website and in your class newsletter so students can have some Word Girl fun at home. at home.
Grades2 to 6
In the ClassroomTry these activities in a mixed class containing some ELL and ESL students. Sometimes, their slightly different take on language results in beautiful creations. Save this site in your favorites and try one of the suggested activities as part of your poetry unit.
Grades4 to 12
In the ClassroomIf you need ideas to get students reading for fun and to help develop their confidence, try this site. Highlight this on your class website so parents can try the activities with their older students. When doing author biographies, share this site with your class using an interactive whiteboard or projector. Be sure to check out the "Classroom Strategies" link for even more literacy ideas.
Grades1 to 3
tag(s): communities (36)
In the ClassroomUse this during your unit about neighborhoods and community. Share the site on an interactive whiteboard or projector. Then either set up a social studies computer station or have students explore on individual computers. If you plan to visit the library or town hall, preview it with a visit to this site. Have your students draw other community buildings and explain their functions by using a map or go floor by floor, as in the library visit. You could even create a class wiki "tour" using digital pictures. You might want to list this site in your class newsletter or on your class website for parents to share with their students.
ESL and ELL students learning names for community locations will appreciate this site for helping things come alive. Use this site to increase and strengthen vocabulary. Ask students to compare these locations with parallel offerings in their home communities.