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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 (362)

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 (130)

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.
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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 (106), quiz (88), quizzes (99)

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 (89), charts and graphs (196), communities (36), experiments (73), geology (82), literature (276), news (265), search strategies (29), spreadsheets (18), statistics (124), tutorials (47), wikis (20)

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.
 This resource requires Adobe Flash.

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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 (49)

In the Classroom

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

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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 (108), holidays (152), july 4th (8)

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)!
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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.
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tag(s): holidays (152), 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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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 (69), listening (92), news (265)

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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LITCHARTS - Get Lit - LitCharts

Grades
6 to 12
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LitCharts is an online site similar to the familiar Cliffs Notes but with their own spin. Charts are available for literary classics such as Romeo and Juliet, Lord of the ...more
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LitCharts is an online site similar to the familiar Cliffs Notes but with their own spin. Charts are available for literary classics such as Romeo and Juliet, Lord of the Flies, Jane Eyre, and several more. Charts can be viewed online, downloaded in a PDF file, or accessed through an iPhone app (apps are 99 cents each). Each chart offers a side by side summary and analysis of story events making events easier to follow and understand than typical summaries. In addition, they include a color coded theme tracker to help follow themes throughout the book. Each LitChart is 10 pages or less, making them concise and easy to use.
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tag(s): literature (276), summarizing (14)

In the Classroom

LitCharts is a great resource to use with ESL/ELL and intervention students to reinforce concepts in texts provided. It is also helpful for students who lack experience with challenging literary classic. Share a LitChart with your class when reading one of the books on the site then have students create their own LitChart for the next book or to improve on the ones offered here. Provide a link to LitCharts to students to use as a study resource for end of novel assessments. Hint: make sure any assessments you use ask questions that go beyond what these charts offer, or students will not even try to read the actual texts! An intriguing challenge would be to ask them what else they would include in a study guide for the work.
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Paper Rater - paperrater.com

Grades
6 to 12
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At Paper Rater you can check your grammar, detect plagiarism, and find writing suggestions all at one place. Use this site for sixth grade writing and above. With the free ...more
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At Paper Rater you can check your grammar, detect plagiarism, and find writing suggestions all at one place. Use this site for sixth grade writing and above. With the free version you are able to check for plagiarism, grammar, vocabulary, word choice and style (transitions). No login is required. PaperRater offers a premium version for a fee.

tag(s): book reports (37), editing (66), essays (21), grammar (214), plagiarism (34), proofreading (23), writing (362)

In the Classroom

Users must be able to find their document and copy and paste into the correct fields. Follow the easy directions to determine grammar errors and create a better document. Use without a login or sign up.

Have students use Paper Rater to check their rough drafts. Have students work in pairs, as a peer review, to help each other improve their papers using the suggestions given by Paper Rater. Provide this link on your class website for students to access both in and out of the classroom.

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WordTwist - PuzzleBaron

Grades
3 to 12
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WordTwist is an online version of the word game, Boggle. The idea is to create as many words as possible in the 4X4 or 5X5 grids. Play can be done ...more
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WordTwist is an online version of the word game, Boggle. The idea is to create as many words as possible in the 4X4 or 5X5 grids. Play can be done without registration; however, registration allows you to keep track of your scores and compare yourself to other players. Scores are based on the number and difficulty of words found on the game board. There are two versions of the game, a Flash version and one that doesn't require Flash.
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tag(s): game based learning (112), spelling (166), vocabulary (325)

In the Classroom

Create accounts for your students and let them compete against each other for points. Read tips for safely managing email registrations here. Display this site on your interactive whiteboard or projector to create words as a class. Challenge students to create lists of new words they learn from WordTwist.
 This resource requires Adobe Flash.

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Melanie , KS, Grades: 0 - 12

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WordSift - Stanford University

Grades
4 to 12
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WordSift helps anyone easily sift through texts -- just copy and paste any text into WordSift and you can engage in a verbal quick-capture! The program helps to quickly identify ...more
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WordSift helps anyone easily sift through texts -- just copy and paste any text into WordSift and you can engage in a verbal quick-capture! The program helps to quickly identify important words that appear in the text. After entering text several items will appear, first a word cloud will display the 50 most frequently used words in the text. The most frequently used word will display as a word web in a visual thesaurus. Google image and video search results are also shown. One interesting feature is the ability to click on any of the words in the word cloud to display it in the thesaurus and Google image and video searches. A great way to understand the WordSift tool is to try one of the sample texts offered, such as Martin Luther King's "I Have a Dream" speech. Be sure to check out the "About" link to discover many ideas for use in the classroom. Tips and videos are also available as guides. If you type in a shorter sentence, the site still creates a word cloud using their own related words (not in your original text). Be aware of the advertisements that appear with the word clouds. Advise students not to click on the ads.
This site includes advertising.

tag(s): dictionaries (57), reading comprehension (118), reading strategies (47), thesaurus (24), vocabulary (325), vocabulary development (125), word clouds (11), word study (79)

In the Classroom

This is a classic tool to promote "before reading" strategies and vocabulary development. Use WordSift to preview text to be used in class and define vocabulary before reading to increase reading comprehension. Have students use WordSift with different portions of text to identify key words and vocabulary for class presentations. Use WordSift to discuss different meanings of words using images presented through the site. This site isn't only for English teachers, share with Science and Social Studies teachers to use in their classrooms with reading texts in their content areas. ESL/ELL and learning support teachers will want to share this as a support for any reading assigned in regular classes. Be sure to show students how to copy/paste to WordSift texts from informational web pages and news stories on the web, as well. Share this link as a Favorite on your public page so students can use it anytime.

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Yudu - Yudu.com

Grades
5 to 12
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Yudu is more than an online library to read and explore. You can get your own writing published. It's as simple as uploading your PDF, Word, or PowerPoint document. These ...more
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Yudu is more than an online library to read and explore. You can get your own writing published. It's as simple as uploading your PDF, Word, or PowerPoint document. These are automatically turned into the Yudu page-turning format. You don't even have to register to read or listen to a book, magazine, podcast, or brochure. It's free. Aspiring authors can register and publish your writing here, for free. You can also publish digital content beyond digital magazines and brochures. You can publish podcasts, music, audio clips, and photos. You can use Yudu as a visual bookmarking program, too. Once registered, you can create a library to store, share, & promote your digital content. Share your digital, page-turning publications for free or you can keep them private for you, friends, and family. There is an introductory video to get you started. The Yudu "plus" version (for a fee) has additional features.

tag(s): digital storytelling (155), ebooks (42), multimedia (63), news (265), podcasts (55)

In the Classroom

If you have a classroom newsletter, this would be the perfect place for you to publish it. You can then embed it on your website or wiki for parents and students to read.

If your class is studying a certain time period and/or area in the world, have your students produce brochures or newspapers (called a magazine on Yudu) using Yudu. Have your students create their brochure using Word, and then upload it to Yudu for a very polished look. You can then publish these by embedding them, or sharing the url on your wiki or webpage for your class and their parents to view.

In science or math students could make a small magazine with pictures to describe a concept or equation to their peers, to younger students, , or as a final assessment. Instead of a book report, create a Yudu! In English (or L.A.) have students write creative stories or step by step instructions and publish them via Yudu. At the beginning of the school-year, create a class Yudu introducing everyone in the class (name, favorite subject, favorite sport, highlight of their summer, etc..). Share the books with parents online or at Back to School Night.

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Old Radio World - OldRadioWorld.com

Grades
4 to 12
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Find a treasury of old radio shows from the 1930's, 1940's and 1950's. There are seven genres from which to choose (comedy, mystery, western, drama, etc..), and each genre has ...more
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Find a treasury of old radio shows from the 1930's, 1940's and 1950's. There are seven genres from which to choose (comedy, mystery, western, drama, etc..), and each genre has at least ten different old radio shows for your selection. There is a miscellaneous section that has such treasures as "Voices From History," "World War II News Broadcasts," and "Fireside Chat with Franklin D. Roosevelt." To listen to this program you will need to have QuickTime on your computer. Download of the mp3 files takes a while, so be patient.
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tag(s): 1930s (15), 1940s (13), 1950s (12), listening (92), oral history (12), radio (27), world war 2 (141)

In the Classroom

As a class, listen to a couple of radio shows, taking note about the sound effects heard. Use your interactive whiteboard or projector to list the sounds. Have the class speculate about what objects could have created each sound. Post the radio site on your web page and assign the students to determine what household objects are responsible for the sounds for homework. Back in class the next day, use your interactive white board to share the student discoveries. From here it would be natural to have your students create a two or three minute radio show for a topic being studied in history or science. Students could also turn part of a short story into reader's theater (including sound effects) and record it as a radio broadcast. Use a site such as PodOmatic (reviewed here).

Another idea would be to introduce a unit on the 20th century, the Great Depression, or WWII or by having the class listen to a broadcast from that time period. Have them experience radio as it was, with everyone huddled around to listen (and no multitasking!).Talk about how the changes in entertainment formats have changed the way we interact in our homes.

To hone in on listening skills, you could create a worksheet with questions to answer, or have students take two column notes, asking questions about what they are hearing in the left column.

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SuperKids Vocabulary Builders - Super Kids

Grades
3 to 11
1 Favorites 0  Comments
 
This site offers vocabulary enhancement activities in a variety of neat ways. Words of the day are available on three levels, upper elementary, junior high or middle school, and PSAT/SAT...more
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This site offers vocabulary enhancement activities in a variety of neat ways. Words of the day are available on three levels, upper elementary, junior high or middle school, and PSAT/SAT prep. Hangman, wordfind, scrambled words, and other conventional word games are also available.
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tag(s): logic (237), puzzles (207), vocabulary (325)

In the Classroom

Use this site to review pertinent vocabulary by making FUN activities for your students! Share the activities on your interactive whiteboard or projector.

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English Idioms - Wayne Magnuson

Grades
3 to 10
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Here you will find a dictionary of slang words and phrases that is organized into three sections: idioms alone, idioms that contain a specific word (like "get"), and idioms explained...more
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Here you will find a dictionary of slang words and phrases that is organized into three sections: idioms alone, idioms that contain a specific word (like "get"), and idioms explained by a specific word. Simply click on the letter of the alphabet to find the word or phrase they are looking for. The definitions of the idioms also contain links to other idioms with similar meaning. Another helpful feature is the use of the idiom in a sentence. A version of the dictionary is available as a book as well. Try looking up idioms containing the word "dog" as an example.
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tag(s): dictionaries (57), idioms (44), slang (15)

In the Classroom

This is a great resource for mixed classes with limited English speakers or students with very literal language skills.

If your state testing requires understanding of idioms, be sure to include this link on your teacher web page and as a Favorite on your classroom computer for students to "play" with whenever they have a chance.
 This resource requires Adobe Flash.

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Fairrosa Cyber Library for Children - Roxanne Hsu Feldman

Grades
K to 12
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This site offers a well organized and comprehensive collection of links to online literature, classics, folk tales, poetry, reference materials, magazines, and professional journals....more
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This site offers a well organized and comprehensive collection of links to online literature, classics, folk tales, poetry, reference materials, magazines, and professional journals. There is also access to a library of websites organized and maintained by a librarian. Reference shelf links give access to professional articles and other resources for children's literature including information about authors. The archive section leads to archives of discussions about materials for students.

tag(s): authors (121), ebooks (42), literature (276)

In the Classroom

Whether you're reading the classics or folk tales in your classroom, students can access these stories online in school or at home. Since many of the genres have an extensive collection, you might consider reading one as a class, and then having small groups choose different titles to read and present the story or folktale in picture book format. You can easily have them do this online using a tool such as Bookemon, reviewed here. Once the project is done these books can be posted to your website for students in class to read through, and for parents and family to view.

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5 Minute Mystery - Mystery Competition, LLC

Grades
4 to 12
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This mystery reading game helps increase reading comprehension and critical thinking skills in an innovative way. The basic game is free. You can sign up to have two mysteries a ...more
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This mystery reading game helps increase reading comprehension and critical thinking skills in an innovative way. The basic game is free. You can sign up to have two mysteries a week sent to you, or you can use their archive. There is a "How to Play" section where you can view a video, open pdf instructions, or look at the instructions online. After reading a mystery you select the correct sentences that are clues, and select a character that the clue either exonerates or implicates. Points are awarded for each clue you get correct. For a fee, you can get a premium account that has graphic organizers, questions, and writing suggestions, however, this review is for the free, basic version. Even with the basic program, you can look under lesson plans and find objectives and ideas for your classroom and for creating leagues.

Bonus: There's an app for that! For the iphone, of course!
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tag(s): critical thinking (111), mysteries (25), reading comprehension (118), short stories (25)

In the Classroom

Use your projector and interactive whiteboard to show your students the directions for getting points by selecting the correct clues and solving the mystery. To begin with, as a class, read a mystery and discuss what the clues might be and whether they implicate or exonerate each suspect. Once the students have volunteered their ideas for which sentences are clues, submit them to see the score. The program will highlight the answers you should have had, if you got any wrong. Model for your students a discussion about why those are the correct answers and why the ones they submitted weren't. Eventually they can have this discussion by themselves in small groups. Those of you with multiple classes will want to create a league for each class.

Eventually you can have small groups of students compete against each other by creating leagues. Have your students come to consensus about the clue sentences and who the real perpetrator is by voting using Tricider, reviewed here, or Decide Already, reviewed here.

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