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Visual Dictionary Online - Merriam-Webster and QA International

Grades
3 to 12
2 Favorites 0  Comments
Be sure to save this site in your favorites for your visual learners! As its name implies, this dictionary 'defines' the word a student types by providing a detailed, labeled ...more
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Be sure to save this site in your favorites for your visual learners! As its name implies, this dictionary 'defines' the word a student types by providing a detailed, labeled graphic. In 15 category themes, there are over 6000 images and 20,000 definitions available. Use the index for easy access to the words you need locate. Once the image is seen, click on the audio button to hear the correct pronunciation. Scroll down the page to find words and phrases that relate to the word being investigated. This site requires Flash. You can get it from the TeachersFirst Toolbox page.

tag(s): images (275)

In the Classroom

Science teachers will love this site. Most of the 15 categories revolve around science terminology that benefit from images. ESL and learning support students who have difficulty with verbal definitions will also find this resource helpful. Speech and Language teachers can use the Clothing and Articles categories to build student vocabulary. Use your whiteboard alongside your science text to clarify terms. Encourage students to study for tests by perusing this site.
 This resource requires Adobe Flash.

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refseek - refseek.com

Grades
4 to 12
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RefSeek is a different search tool (beta--new in Nov, 2008) for beginning researchers as well as those already knowledgeable about the process. Although this search engine appears "plain...more
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RefSeek is a different search tool (beta--new in Nov, 2008) for beginning researchers as well as those already knowledgeable about the process. Although this search engine appears "plain vanilla," it is a great option for research purposes. As they explain it, they "search the entire Web for freely available academic information, providing relevant results while filtering out most commercial content." This is different from Google's standard search. RefSeek looks through web pages, books, encyclopedias, journals, and newspapers for your chosen topic. With special search features, students can also limit searches to specific web pages, search two topics (either-or option) at once, and even include search words usually dismissed by academic searches (like "the" and "if"). After starting a search, click on Directory to limit searches to certain types of publications and resources, including quotations, almanacs and teacher resources.

tag(s): news (264), newspapers (97), search engines (64)

In the Classroom

Use this site to compare the validity of various types of reference material sources. Compare results of searches to teach critical reading skills and 21st century information literacy. Compare info from sources on this site to those in print materials. Encourage your students to use this tool for individual as well as group projects. Encourage ESL and ELL students to find sources with lower reading levels that still give the necessary information.

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Art and Architecture Thesaurus - Getty Museum

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6 to 12
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The Getty museum has compiled a very complete, easily used thesaurus of art and architecture terms. Type in a generic search word related to art and architecture, and this handy ...more
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The Getty museum has compiled a very complete, easily used thesaurus of art and architecture terms. Type in a generic search word related to art and architecture, and this handy research tool will provide its definition, related terms, and position within the site's hierarchical database. Art teachers and students will find this one a valuable research and study tool for understanding art terminology and vocabulary. This is a text-only resource, but useful for clarifying concepts and styles.

tag(s): architecture (83), thesaurus (24), vocabulary (325)

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Think Tank - ALTEC at the University of Kansas

Grades
4 to 8
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The next time a research project comes along, send students to this site to help them get organized. Think Tank is designed to assist in the development of topics and ...more
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The next time a research project comes along, send students to this site to help them get organized. Think Tank is designed to assist in the development of topics and subtopics for reports and projects. After defining their subject or perusing a list of suggestions, students are asked to narrow the scope of their project by choosing from a collection of subtopics. Results may be printed.

tag(s): air (150), science fairs (26)

In the Classroom

Share this site with your students before a new research project is assigned. Have students explore the site on individual computers while you model how to navigate the site on a projector or interactive whiteboard. Use this site to help students narrow down their research topic.

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Define It Fast - WordNet 3.0 Princeton University

Grades
K to 12
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The goal of this website is to become the easiest, fastest online dictionary available. Is it? Try it, you'll be impressed. An exciting tool is the audio component, allowing ...more
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The goal of this website is to become the easiest, fastest online dictionary available. Is it? Try it, you'll be impressed. An exciting tool is the audio component, allowing you to listen to the English pronunciation for selected words ( the triangular "play" button will show next to the word on the entry) . DefineItFast.com has a bookmarklet that you can drag and drop to your browser's link bar (if your computer is not "locked down" at school). When you look up definitions, highlight the word and click the linkbar button or you can directly type the word by clicking the button and click 'OK'. View the tutorial video to learn more about the bookmarklet feature. This site requires Flash, you can get it from the TeachersFirst Toolbox page.

Note: The dictionary, like many real-world dictionaries, includes words that may not be classroom-appropriate. Decide how you will handle students who make inappropriate choices in using this tool.

tag(s): dictionaries (57)

In the Classroom

Definitely investigate the free Search Engine download that's available to make this tool even more useful. This may become your favorite dictionary-- bar none. You may want to save this site in your favorites on your class computer(s), but see the cautionary note above about the FULL database of words available.
 This resource requires Adobe Flash.

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YourDictionary - LoveToKnow Corporation

Grades
K to 12
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A definitive authority on words, this free site gives you definitions, thesaurus entries, spellings, pronunciations, and etymology results. Add to that list an audio pronunciation system...more
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A definitive authority on words, this free site gives you definitions, thesaurus entries, spellings, pronunciations, and etymology results. Add to that list an audio pronunciation system that allows you to hear the word as well. YourDictionary also provides resources to help you find foreign language translation sites. It even directs you to medical, computer, or electricians' dictionaries, and many more. Haven't you always wanted to say a tongue-twister in the Asante language? Words have never so much fun. This site does include some advertisements.

tag(s): thesaurus (24)

In the Classroom

Send students to this site to look up those difficult words. ESL and ELL students can use this site to practice the pronunciation of new words. Be sure to mark this site as a favorite or share on your teacher web page for easy access.
 This resource requires PDF reader software like Adobe Acrobat.

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Look Way Up Dictionary/Thesaurus - RES Inc.

Grades
3 to 12
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This online dictionary claims to correct misspelled entries, so ESL and ELL students might want to try it. The spelling correction is a bit quirky, however, often suggesting an alternate...more
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This online dictionary claims to correct misspelled entries, so ESL and ELL students might want to try it. The spelling correction is a bit quirky, however, often suggesting an alternate word that is NOT the intended word. Students can download it to any web browser including those on cell phones. The dictionary itself is extensive; each item shows a series of definitions. Students can then click to see the word used in a sentence, synonyms, and related terms. There is also information on homonyms. Finally, definitions sometimes include a link to more information on the subject, including links to outside sources. The site can translate to and from German, Spanish, French, Portuguese, and Dutch. Note that there are Google ads on the page, so you will want to be sure that students know to avoid these. The necessary plug-ins for installation on other web browsers are included on the web page.

tag(s): homonyms (11), thesaurus (24)

In the Classroom

Mark his site as a favorite on your classroom computer for ESL and ELL students who have problems looking up words in the dictionary. Make a game with this site: have students deliberately misspell words and see what they come up with. Give prizes to those who can find the worst guesses in the dictionary. Have them calculate how many times the dictionary actually finds the words they were looking for. This will help students understand how important context clues and contextual "does this make sense" strategies are. Students can also opt to sign up for "word of the second."

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Lingro - lingro.com

Grades
2 to 12
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This study tool and open content dictionary allows you to enter a web address (URL) and make all of the words on that page clickable for definitions and translation. A ...more
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This study tool and open content dictionary allows you to enter a web address (URL) and make all of the words on that page clickable for definitions and translation. A clicked word immediately displays its definition from the Lingro dictionary pages. The website looks visually the same within the Lingro window, but all words become clickable. You can also use Lingro to translate to and from English, Spanish, French, Italian, German, and Polish with more languages to be added. When students use the translation/definition tool, the site keeps a short-term record of their words and web pages, allowing them to study their own wordlists and to play games with these words. The wordlist and history feature only works short-term and at the SAME computer, unless you register, for free, to be able to take your personal history to any computer. With the translation capability, you can read websites in other languages. If you spell a word incorrectly, Lingro has a "best match" feature which finds likely definitions for your word of choice. There is also a tool to create electronic flash card type games from your saved wordlists.

Important technical note: Lingro cannot "see" words included in Flash interactives such as the "What's New" rotating content on the TeachersFirst home page. If you RIGHT click on an area of text and see "About Adobe Flash Player...," this means that the text is displayed in Flash and not "legible" to Lingro. Often pages offer a non-Flash version as an alternative.

tag(s): french (92), german (67), germany (28), italian (35), spanish (110), vocabulary (325), vocabulary development (125)

In the Classroom

When your ESL/ELL, learning support, or weaker readers do Internet research on sites above their independent reading level, have them open Lingro first and then enter the URL (web address) they wish to read. Use Lingro for vocabulary development in any subject. Mark this site as a favorite on your classroom computer or on your teacher web page so that ESL/ELL, world language students, or weaker readers can use the definition and translation feature and benefit from instantly-created word lists. If your school permits individual student accounts on web tools, this is a good one. If not, create a single teacher account to compile class word lists.

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Researching A Story - CBBC

Grades
4 to 9
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This website offers excellent tips about researching a news story. The contents include an interactive quiz, educational game, and a tutorial. Learn about the important job of a journalist...more
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This website offers excellent tips about researching a news story. The contents include an interactive quiz, educational game, and a tutorial. Learn about the important job of a journalist - getting the facts straight, and writing a trust-worthy story. The interactive challenges provide "fill in the blank" questions and specific (BBC) links to use for the research. NOTE: If you seek to join the site (for free), you must be 15 years old or younger. You do not need to join to do the interactive quiz, play the game, etc. This is a safety measure to protect children from online predators. Many of the activities require FLASH. You can get it from the TeachersFirst Toolbox page..

tag(s): careers (140), journalism (54)

In the Classroom

What an intriguing website to include in a journalism or English class. Use an interactive whiteboard or projector to share these activities with your students. Use this website as an anticipatory set for a "real world" research assignment. Write a weekly research question on your class blog and have students respond using the techniques learned through this activity.
 This resource requires Adobe Flash.

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Word Reference - wordreference.com

Grades
2 to 12
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This series of free translating dictionaries allows students to search to/from English in these languages: French, Spanish, Italian, Russian, and German. Once a definition comes up...more
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This series of free translating dictionaries allows students to search to/from English in these languages: French, Spanish, Italian, Russian, and German. Once a definition comes up in English, there are links to other dictionary pages where the word appears in a sentence. You can click on the audio button to hear the word spoken in both languages. This feature is only available in more commonly used words

There are also immediate clicks to other languages, so a student could check the same word in Spanish and French very easily. In addition to the translation dictionaries, there are also "English Dictionaries" (non-interactive) available in Portuguese, Polish, Romanian, Czech, Turkish, Chinese, Japanese, Korean, and Arabic (coming soon). Many of the foreign language dictionaries will increase in volume as the site developers add more vocabulary.

Be aware: this site does include minor advertisements. There is a link to Language Forums. It is probably best to advise students to stay away from the forums.

tag(s): chinese (52), dictionaries (57), italian (35), japan (61), japanese (44), korea (15), portuguese (20), russia (37), russian (29)

In the Classroom

Save this site in your favorites on your classroom computers for use by ESL/ELL and foreign language students or for use when studying derivations and word families in English (compare the same word across several languages to see how close they can be!). Students can take an active role in vocabulary preview work by using this site in prior to reading. Be sure to list this site on your class webpage so students can access this information both in and out of the classroom.

If you are introducing new vocabulary words to your foreign language class. Have them use this site to find the appropriate translations. Then have the students work in cooperative learning groups to create online vocabulary guide books using a tool such at Bookemon (reviewed here). Have the groups share the online books on your interactive whiteboard or projector. Be sure to keep the links for future students to use the guides, as well.

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Hunt the Fact Monster - Education World

Grades
2 to 8
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Weekly printable Hunt the Fact Monster activity sheets encourage students to build research skills and internet literacy as they use the Fact Monster search engine to find the answers...more
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Weekly printable Hunt the Fact Monster activity sheets encourage students to build research skills and internet literacy as they use the Fact Monster search engine to find the answers to the questions in the activity. There are separate sections for grades 2-3 and grades 4-8. This site requires Adobe Acrobat Reader. Get it from the TeachersFirst Toolbox page..

tag(s): search strategies (29)

In the Classroom

This site can be used for individual students, in a technology class, or as a parent-and-student together assignment. Be sure to see the Ideas for Using Hunt the Fact Monster in Your Classroom page for tips on using the hunts in your classroom. Before you launch your research project with younger students, use this exercise to solidify research basics or as a pretest to be sure everyone is ready. Challenge your more able students to create their own Fact Monster hunts on individual research topics and share them with classmates. Reading teachers can also use these activities to help students practice skimming and scanning.

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Hoax or Not? - Chris Clementi

Grades
5 to 8
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This web quest offers guided practice for students to research on the Internet and evaluate sites. Students review given sites and research facts to determine if the information is...more
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This web quest offers guided practice for students to research on the Internet and evaluate sites. Students review given sites and research facts to determine if the information is fact or fiction. For a final project, students create a creature and use creative writing skills to write a hoax about the creature. A KWL chart, web site rating, final project rubric, and a tutorial for the final project are included. This site requires Adobe Reader for some pages. Get it from the TeachersFirst Toolbox page..

tag(s): creative writing (170)

In the Classroom

This activity would work well for individual or pairs of students in a lab or on laptops. Before you assign a research project on your middle school team, take the time to work through this webquest. Every student on the team will benefit when it comes time to do research in ANY subject. Perhaps you can "divvy up" the webquest tasks and time across multiple subjects so no one class needs spend too long on this foundation experience.

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Bibme - team exibeans

Grades
6 to 12
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BibMe is a one-stop source for all kinds of bibliography needs. It is a great online tool for bibliographies--and more. It even has a function for those students who ...more
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BibMe is a one-stop source for all kinds of bibliography needs. It is a great online tool for bibliographies--and more. It even has a function for those students who don't remember all the information for the source you cited. BibMe allows you to search from a database of millions of entries to find your source and autofill in the information. If you have the source in front of you, you can enter your entries manually. BibMe also offers resources to help you cite your work properly in the 'Citation Guide' section. It offers examples in MLA, APA, and Chicago formatting, making it useful for a wide variety of schools. Set up a free account for yourself so you can "save" bibliographies.
This site includes advertising.

tag(s): citations (37)

In the Classroom

This is a great tool for students who are both learning to cite correctly and as a helpful tool for those who forget some of the "little" things that count when writing a bibliography. It offers a great example, too, of the difference between what is in a "Works Cited" page and what actually appears in the text as a citation. Teachers can use this on a Smartboard or simply through a computer lab or projector to demonstrate the correct way to cite as well as mistakes to avoid. Be sure to include the link on your teacher web page for students finishing reports in the wee hours of the morning on the due date. Set up a free account for yourself so you can "save" example bibliographies. If you assign independent projects to your gifted students (or any student), be sure to make Bibme part of your instructions so they learn to organize their sources early on. If students are allowed to set up individual accounts, this tool is worth the time! They must be 13 or have parent permission.

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Visuwords - Paul R. Dunn

Grades
6 to 12
7 Favorites 0  Comments
 
This graphical online dictionary will make looking up words and figures of speech addictive, and visual learners will start to understand meanings as never before. The dictionary pulls...more
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This graphical online dictionary will make looking up words and figures of speech addictive, and visual learners will start to understand meanings as never before. The dictionary pulls it information from Princeton's WordNet, an opensource database built by University students and language researchers. A WORD OF WARNING: because the source of the words is a university, where speech is completely open, there are word included in this "dictionary" that are NOT classroom appropriate. Use it only under teacher monitoring.
The color-coded word "entries" display like a mind-map or graphic organizer, showing parts of speech in different colors and showing related words and phrases, as well. Be sure to look at the color key at the bottom to understand all the information presented. This site requires FLASH. Get it from the TeachersFirst Toolbox page..

tag(s): dictionaries (57), thesaurus (24), vocabulary (325)

In the Classroom

Introduce new vocabulary before reading or starting a new unit, using this site on an interactive whiteboard or projector. The distinctions, examples, and relationships the site features for new words will help students build better connections and understanding as they read and study the words in classroom context. English teachers will love this as a learning tool for teaching distinctions between similar words. Just remember to use it in a monitored situation (see above).

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Online Etymology Dictionary - Douglas Harper

Grades
6 to 12
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as the author explains, "Etymologies are not definitions; they're explanations of what our words meant 600 or 2,000 years ago." Use this quick online reference to locate the point in...more
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as the author explains, "Etymologies are not definitions; they're explanations of what our words meant 600 or 2,000 years ago." Use this quick online reference to locate the point in time when a word entered into usage the way we know it-- or to find out what it used to mean, such as in Shakespeare. Use the richness of these historical meanings to understand literature or to illustrate the living nature of language.

tag(s): vocabulary (325)

In the Classroom

Mark this one in the Favorites on classroom computers or in links on your English teacher web page. Feature a word a week on a projector before you start your lesson to help students think about the evolution of language.

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One Look Reverse Dictionary - Doug Beeferman

Grades
5 to 10
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Designed with ESL students in mind, this dictionary allows students to type in phrases and questions. The dictionary comes up with lists of related words, definitions, and a link ...more
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Designed with ESL students in mind, this dictionary allows students to type in phrases and questions. The dictionary comes up with lists of related words, definitions, and a link to other dictionaries. Although the list of definitions is extensive, the tool reminds the user that the first words found are the most useful.

tag(s): synonyms (38)

In the Classroom

Customize search results to meet your classroom needs! Make this site available in your Favorites for ESL/ELL students to access as needed.

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Heinle's Newbury House Dictionary of American English - Heinle Newbury House Publishers

Grades
3 to 8
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Designed especially for the limited English speaker, this easy-to-use dictionary contains definitions in simple language ESL learners can understand, and each word is used in a sentence....more
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Designed especially for the limited English speaker, this easy-to-use dictionary contains definitions in simple language ESL learners can understand, and each word is used in a sentence. Other features include pronunciation, synonyms, part of speech, word of the day, and activities; browsing and advanced search options are also available.

In the Classroom

A great dictionary to bookmark for your ESL learners on your classroom computer for handy reference anytime.

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The Cook's Thesaurus

Grades
6 to 12
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This online encyclopedia provides definitions, pronunciations, descriptions, and uses for nearly every imaginable ingredient and kitchen tool - beyond the most basic - that students...more
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This online encyclopedia provides definitions, pronunciations, descriptions, and uses for nearly every imaginable ingredient and kitchen tool - beyond the most basic - that students may encounter in a cooking class. Viable substitutions are also discussed. Use this site as the basis for a recipe-specific Web hunt before turning them loose in the kitchen. Search by keyword or category.

tag(s): cooking (35)

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Internet Picture Dictionary - pdictionary.com

Grades
3 to 12
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This visual dictionary available in English, French, German, Spanish and Italian is a gem of a site for ESL or world language students. Visitors can choose a topic, view the ...more
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This visual dictionary available in English, French, German, Spanish and Italian is a gem of a site for ESL or world language students. Visitors can choose a topic, view the associated words and pictures, then test themselves using the activity links on the left side of the page. Interactive practice options include flashcards, fill-in-the-blanks, "stinky spelling" (fix the mistakes), and more.

In the Classroom

Use this site as a learning center or station. Have students complete the activity individually, allowing students to better pace themselves and not rely on a partner. To show what they have learned from this site, challenge students to create an online graphic to share using Tabblo reviewed here. Reflection is always a great way to reenforce a lesson in student's minds.

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Identifying High Quality Sites - CyberSmart!

Grades
5 to 8
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Teach your students to be savvy Internet users with this lesson plan that stresses the importance of carefully evaluating sites used for research. Using specific criteria and a checklist,...more
Here is the direct link to share this resource review. Feel free to copy and paste this URL into an email or place it on your web page or blog so others can read this TeachersFirst review:

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Teach your students to be savvy Internet users with this lesson plan that stresses the importance of carefully evaluating sites used for research. Using specific criteria and a checklist, students must "grade" informational sites using a downloadable checklist.

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