GradesK to 12
A special feature of the site is an exclusive story, called "The Exquisite Corpse Adventure." The Exquisite Corpse was a game in which someone would start a story, fold over their part, and the next person would add to the story and on it would go until the last person ended the story. For this Exquisite Corpse, Jon Scieszka started the story and passed it on to Katherine Patterson, who passed it on . . . and so it goes for 18 episodes. The entire story will take a year to write to the finish. There is an illustration that goes with each segment.
In the ClassroomCheck out "The Exquisite Corpse Adventure" and have students listen to the stories. As a challenge ask students to look at the differences in writing style for each of the authors. Project a chart about the plot and the writing style on your interactive whiteboard or projector, and have students list the differences and similarities in writing style. Students could also keep a chart of similarities and differences for the illustrators. Another idea for an activity is to have the students read the poem "If" by Rudyard Kipling and then have them read the very touching national contest winner letter to the author about his poem. Students could then write their own letters to an author of a favorite book or poem. Have students create podcasts to read their letters to the authors using a site such as PodOmatic (reviewed here).
Grades4 to 12
In the ClassroomThere are so many ways a teacher could use this site. Make it a learning station, where students look at the photos and read the captions and articles about the various aspects of life in the jungle. Students could have a special notebook where they summarize, or write an opinion about, what they learned from "Jungle Photos" that day. Young children could use the information to make a picture book of their own, summarizing what they read (or had read to them).
Older students need to know background information about a topic in order to decide what they would like to know more about. Students could use this as a springboard to decide what topic they would like to investigate for more information.
Language arts and ESL/ELL teachers could have students write their own description of the pictures and then compare their captions to those on the site. Students could also write a fictional story about what is happening in one of the pictures. Why not make it more interactive and have students use Sway, reviewed here.
Grades5 to 12
In the ClassroomThis site has a source code you can embed on your own wiki or website. In class you can use your interactive whiteboard or projector to show students conjugation.com and have them suggest verbs to be entered and conjugated. They will also learn the names of the verb forms and tenses. Have the ESL and ELL students in your class use this site to check their writing. Underline the verbs in their writing that are not conjugated correctly and let them make the corrections using conjugation.com.
Grades6 to 12
In the ClassroomIntroduce any of the authors biographies before reading a literary work or studying that famous leader or scientist. You could have the students go through the tabs and take notes on interesting facts, trivia, etc. Then have a class game where all students stand and the first student reads a fact from their notes and crosses it out. All other students have to cross that fact out, too. Then the next person states a different fact and every one else has to cross the fact out. Proceed in this manner until there is only one (or however many you want) students left standing. They are the winners. Another idea: Have your students create an interactive online poster about an individual using Lucidpress, reviewed here.
Grades2 to 12
In the ClassroomCheck with administrators to be sure policy allows for students to create their own web pages attached to this site, to participate in chats with other students and teachers, and to be a member of a conversation forum. You should also obtain written parent permission. To fully register with the site you need a valid 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 Here is a blog post that tells how to set up GMail subaccounts to use for any online membership service. If you have a number of ESL/ELL students, make a shortcut to this site on classroom computers or share it on your class web page to use it as a center. This site's activities would work well for individual or pairs of students in a lab or on laptops.
GradesK to 12
tag(s): journalism (53)
In the ClassroomWinkball requires the use of a webcam or video camera. Simply adjust the camera for a good shot and click record. The preview feature allows users to clear away initial takes and start again. Download video camera footage onto the computer and then directly upload it to Winkball. The site supports the uploading of MPEG, AVI, WMV, and QuickTime video files. Enter a title and description for each video clip. Students can also embed videos from Youtube onto video blogs or walls. The maximum size of each file cannot exceed 100MB. The site is intuitive and involves little more than point and click abilities. Create a single class account using your "extra" email address, so you can monitor and submit student work.
Winkball has the potential to extend learning beyond the confines of your school. It can provide learning opportunities for students physically unable to attend class or who need to receive coursework from another school. Students can film various features of a field trip and share them on a video wall. Video chat will allow students to record interviews with people outside of the local community. Coordinate collaborative learning projects by having students share resources on video blog. The video blog could also serve as an on-line journal for phases of a long-term unit of study, experiment, or class project. Record the stages of a student's thinking process when engaging in creative problem solving activities. Share the value of this learning process with parents and family by posting a video wall on the class website. Create a broadcasting club and post regular news reports about school events on the school website. Upload a film clip about a historic event onto a class video blog and include a probing question that asks students take a stand on an issue, express their opinion, or debate one another on-line. Provide homework help by recording step-by step procedures to solve a particular type of math problem at home. Model ways parents can help their student with their reading. Post live coverage of class plays, concerts, and school performances so that parents at work can still be in the audience. Make language learning more authentic by using video messaging to communicate with students across the globe.
Parent permission advised before posting student work created using this tool
Includes Interaction w general public/ public galleries with unmoderated content
Includes social features, such as "friends," comments, ratings by others
Requires registration/log-in (WITH email)
Products can be embedded
Products can be shared by URL
Multiple users can collaborate on the same project
Includes teacher tools for registering and/or monitoring students
GradesK to 12
tag(s): word choice (28)
In the ClassroomThis would be a great way to have your older students study word choice! Start by going to the "Writing Fix For Kids" (reviewed here) and look at the left column index to find "Six Traits" click on "Word Choice." At this site you will find several recommendations for picture books and chapter books to use with your students so they can analyze good word choice. Read a few of these, and ask the students to point out the descriptive writing that stands out for them. Then use a wordless picture book and have your students write a short story for an 8 to 11 year old that doesn't rely on the illustrations. From there your students can write their own short story, and have an 8 to 11 year old student read it while being video taped. You might consider pairing up with a local elementary or middle school teacher to have one of their students do the reading.
For younger students, use your projector or interactive whiteboard and project the student reader full screen. It would be like having a visitor come to your classroom at story time!
GradesK to 12
** This site does contain some materials NOT suitable for all classrooms. Be sure to read the "rating" system, and contribute your own opinions (as the ratings are only as reliable as the pool of contributing voters). Books rated 'E' are meant for everyone but a 'C' means to use caution as it may not be proper material for some. Determine what titles are suitable and save them to the favorites file for students to access.
tag(s): literacy (107)
In the ClassroomIncrease your big book collection ten fold by projecting Tar Heel Readers onto an interactive whiteboard or projector. Use interactive shared reading lessons to strengthen student recognition of common sight words, concepts of print, decoding skills, and use syntax cues and unlock the meaning of text. Ask students to circle known sight words, count the number of words in a sentence, trace capital letters, or point to the first letter of a word during a choral read. Help ESL/ELL students by creating books out of photos from class field trips, events, or experiments. Integrate text that uses key vocabulary words and creates reading materials that are both relevant to grade level curricular standards and match your student's readability level. All books you publish on the web site are public domain and available to all other users. Be sure to get parent permission before publishing student books on-line. In order to create a book, users will need to register. Unfortunately, this requires users to email email@example.com to request of an invitation code. With this code, simply create a username, submit your name, and email address. Set up a single teacher account and have all the students use that login to avoid safety concerns. Be sure to include this site on your class web page for students to access both in and outside of class for further reading practice.
GradesK to 12
tag(s): spanish (110)
In the ClassroomCreate non-verbal task cards or visual directions for assignments with graphics from this library collection. Download imagery from a variety of different categories and create an interactive whiteboard or projector sorting activity. Have students decide what images have in common and then sort them into groups. Use online graphic organizers from sites such as Webspiration reviewed here. to sort clip art. The images are also excellent to design language-teaching flashcards, game cards, illustrate songs, add to worksheets or include on class websites.
GradesK to 12
tag(s): creative commons (23)
In the ClassroomPre-select clipart and save to albums meant for students use. A complete library will be useful for multimedia presentation, digital storytelling, reports, and presentations. This is a great site for ESL/ELL students and special education students working on speech and language. Visual representations will help ELL or ESL teachers explain concepts and key vocabulary. Open Clipart is a valuable resource for imagery to use when designing language-teaching flashcards, game cards, directions, illustrating songs and poetry, or including on class websites.
Grades5 to 12
tag(s): literature (272)
In the ClassroomUse the list to find literature you can use in your classroom. You may want to choose short stories or poems and their music so students will get the idea of how music and literature can fit together. Then have students choose appropriate contemporary music for an independent reading novel presentation or report. Have students figure out how they would divide up the book into sections. Then select a piece of (school appropriate) music that they think captures the feel or tone of each section. They record the pieces and possibly do voice-overs explaining what is happening in the novel during the piece of music and why they felt this piece of music fits the section of the novel. As a choice, students could use "podOmatic" to create podcasts, reviewed here. Or have students create ThingLink, reviewed here. Be sure to PLAY the music out loud as the student is talking. If you want students to "mix" or create music with their own computer, check out Soundtrap, reviewed here. You may wish to take that a bit further and challenge students to record a song using a tool such as UJAM, reviewed here, where you simply record your voice (even talking and not singing!). UJAM is free and synchronizes your voice and its speed to a variety of different background music options.
Grades2 to 12
tag(s): songs (53)
In the ClassroomUse this site for ear training. Play a reverse "Name that Tune" game to see how accurately the site finds songs. Try to find two songs with similar beginnings and see if the site can distinguish the two. Learn about other songs that have similar beginning melodies. ESL and ELL students can use this site and participate without knowing the English words for a song just by humming. Students can introduce their favorite songs this way.
Grades3 to 12
In the ClassroomMake learning how to learn part of your class routine at any grade level and in any subject. Feature one or more new study strategy each month and share this entire list as a link from your class web page for students and parents to access both in and out of school.
GradesK to 12
Tagxedo requires Silverlight. The site will appear as a blank page with the "Install Silverlight Plugin" button if your computer does not have it installed. See your tech folks to allow download and installation of this plug-in if school computers do not have it and/or are "locked down."
In the ClassroomNO membership required to create a cloud, though saving may require a (free) membership in the future, according to developer Hardy Leung. Click "Create" and then "Words." Paste URL to "cloud" words from a web page or copy/paste (or type) a passage of words into the given field. (Repeat words to make them larger). Experiment with various settings and "themes" to create the different colors and shapes of the word cloud. Change the theme, shape, direction, layout, and other parameters easily. Click SAVE to easily download a static image of various sizes or take a screenshot using shortcut keys. Saved images do not have the cool "pop-out" feature (rats!), though the developer tells TeachersFirst that users will be able to download animated versions in the future. You can also save and obtain the direct URL to your animated cloud. Be sure to bookmark it or copy/paste the URL for safe keeping in a document, wiki, etc. During beta, the tool allows you to save and copy embed code, but this feature will cost money later.
In the classroom: This is a terrific visual tool to share on an interactive whiteboard or projector. In primary grades. Enter a group of related words into the text box, such as sight words, words with the same spelling cluster, or vocabulary terms. Then have students roll over the words to read them aloud as they pop out (only works in the ONLINE version of the clouds). 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 word clouds 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 terms and important vocabulary, 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. Use themes and shapes that coordinate with the word cloud (for example, use a bird shape when creating a cloud about flight or a heart when interpreting a love poem. Consider using a word cloud as a first week of school activity where students discuss summer vacation or what they did over the summer. As a first day activity, students could also make a cloud with words about themselves, then have classmates guess which cloud matches which person.
For a free gift for special occasions, make word clouds about mom for Mother's Day or Thanksgiving "I am thankful" visual poems. Share them by emailing the URL or in printed form.
Very versatile, creates word clouds in specific shapes. Adds another dimension.Frances, CT, Grades: 6 - 8
Grades1 to 10
In the ClassroomESL and ELL students will find this activity useful for practicing correct English word order. Primary teachers can also use it to teach basic sight words, sequencing, and inferencing skills with short sentences. After typing/pasting in the sentences, copy the scrambled word box on an interactive whiteboard or projector and have students write or type the paragraph in the correct order.
Grades4 to 12
In the ClassroomGrandparent's day is in September. What better gift to a grandparent than to be able to spend time with their grandchild and tell them a story about an important time in their lives? Of course, you'll want to prepare students with some interviewing skills and questions before they interview their grandparents, and show them how to record the interview with some type of recorder (tape recorder, cell phone, video camera, etc). This recording can then be submitted to StoryCorps and it will then reside at the American Folklife Center at the Library of Congress. Students can also interview parents about their first memories of school, and what they remember about the grade that the student is currently in. Share these interviews during the first week or month of the school year. Not only can these interviews be submitted to StoryCorp, but students could then do a write up of their interviews and publish them in a classroom book of memories. Have students create online books to share with the class about their interview. Use a tool such as Bookemon, reviewed here. Or have students narrate a photo of the person they interviewed using a site such as ThingLink, reviewed here.
GradesK to 12
tag(s): poetry (218)