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Digital Is: National Writing Project - The National Writing Project

Grades
K to 12
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The Digital Is website hosts resources, reflections, and stories about what it means to teach writing in our digital, interconnected world. This special resource from the National...more
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The Digital Is website hosts resources, reflections, and stories about what it means to teach writing in our digital, interconnected world. This special resource from the National Writers Project looks at what digital writing is, what it might look like in practice, and the many new multi-media authoring tools and websites that redefine the kinds of writing students can compose in our classrooms. Writing today is so much more than pens and paper. Digital Is explores how we write, share, collaborate, publish, and participate today and in the future, and what that means for the teaching of writing. It is an emerging knowledge-base created and curated by its community of educators, kindergarten through university level. In today's world of texting, tweeting, blogging, and social networking, young people need new literacies to succeed in the information rich, fast paced world, and schools need to adapt teaching practices to equip students with the technology-related communication skills they need to thrive in the global workplace.

tag(s): multimedia (56), writing (359)

In the Classroom

Save this site in your favorites to integrate new technologies for 21st century learning. Then make a point of stopping to explore the new ideas on this site regularly -- or whenever you need inspiration. Challenge yourself to start by using one of these new writing ideas per marking period. You may get hooked. Teaching writing is undoubtedly undergoing a huge change, and the models, tips, and information from Digital Is can help you discover how to use digital writing as a means to develop critical thinking, strategies, and skills that enrich learning beyond just the traditional. An added bonus to trying these ideas is that your students will see writing as something "now" not something "required." Make digital writing part of your teaching vocabulary.
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All About Snow - National Snow and Ice Data Center

Grades
3 to 12
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Everything you wanted to know about snow can be found in this informative site. The site is divided into easy to use sections containing facts, questions and answers, a gallery, ...more
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Everything you wanted to know about snow can be found in this informative site. The site is divided into easy to use sections containing facts, questions and answers, a gallery, and other useful links. The range of topics goes from blizzards to snow formations. Especially informative is the question and answer section where readers can find the answer to questions from "How big can a snowflake get?" to "Is it ever too cold to snow?"

tag(s): snow (21), weather (188)

In the Classroom

Ask students to write their own questions about snow and research the information on this site. This is a perfect site to include with any winter activities. Ask students to locate the places mentioned in the gallery on a map. Have students research a historic snowstorm from a specific geographical location and use an online mapping tool to tell the class about the winter event (and location). Try a tool such as MapSkip (reviewed here). Use the site when teaching a unit on weather (or winter Olympics) for factual information about snow using the resources link. Extend the snow "storm" with snowflake interactives such as Make a Flake, reviewed here.

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Snowflake Bentley - Jericho Historical Society

Grades
3 to 8
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This site offers many links to information about Snowflake Bentley and other resources for studying snow crystals. Wilson (Snowflake) A. Bentley is credited with the discovery that...more
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This site offers many links to information about Snowflake Bentley and other resources for studying snow crystals. Wilson (Snowflake) A. Bentley is credited with the discovery that no two snowflakes are alike. His research and studies on snowflakes were conducted in the small Vermont town of Jericho. Snowflake pioneered the science of photographing snow crystals by attaching a microscope to his camera. The most in-depth section of the site offers resources to learn more about snowflakes such as an educational unit on snowflakes, computer recreations of snowflakes and math sites studying patterns and symmetry.

tag(s): pioneers (8), snow (21)

In the Classroom

Use this site as the starting point for individual or group projects about famous pioneers, weather research, or famous characters from books. This site is a perfect addition to any winter activities. Have cooperative learning groups investigate a specific section of this site and share their findings on your class wiki. Not comfortable with wikis? Have no wiki worries - check out the TeachersFirst's Wiki Walk-Through.

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Wonderopolis - National Center for Family Literacy

Grades
2 to 8
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This site provides a daily "wonder" in the form of a question for students to think about. Parents and teachers can choose a topic by category or by day. Each ...more
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This site provides a daily "wonder" in the form of a question for students to think about. Parents and teachers can choose a topic by category or by day. Each question is accompanied by a video, questions to think about, links and activities that students can do. Click on the "Wonders" link to see a list of archived daily "wonders."

tag(s): creativity (108), enrichment (13)

In the Classroom

These daily wonders are perfect to use while students are waiting for homeroom to begin. You could have them projected on a whiteboard for students to work on. Use these for an enrichment/curiosity center. They are perfect for the gifted student who finishes his work early. Use the provided vocabulary in your language arts or science curriculum. Place this link on your webpage for parents to use at home. In addition, this site would be a great place for students to go for science fair ideas or research project ideas. Please note that some videos are on You Tube so be sure to check to see if the videos might be blocked in your district. Consider adding a student-submitted "wonderopolis" page on your class wiki or a bulletin board for students to post their own thoughtful questions and build creativity. Make student questioning a part of your classroom life.
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reencoded - reencoded

Grades
2 to 12
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At reencoded you will find beautiful, interesting photography you can use as writing prompts. The URL for this review is just one of the pages of cool photography you will ...more
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At reencoded you will find beautiful, interesting photography you can use as writing prompts. The URL for this review is just one of the pages of cool photography you will find at this site. Since this is a blog, the front page will change frequently, so be sure to bookmark your favorite pages. Scroll to the bottom of the page and click on "older entries" to find a plethora of material.

tag(s): writing (359)

In the Classroom

Using photos as prompts is good for the students who have writers block, are having problems visualizing what they want to convey in words, or for young writers just starting out. Giving students a photo helps them to form a story and makes their ideas more concrete. Use your projector or interactive whiteboard to project one of the photographs and have students envision the photo as a video that has been put on pause. Ask students to come up with ideas for what happened in the video before it was paused, and what will happen once the video is on "play" again. Have students annotate the picture with the ideas the class comes up with, and then let them get started writing their story to go with the photo. You could do several of these and make a class book of the students' writing. For this you might want to use Mixbook reviewed here to publish student writing to give your writers workshop publishing a professional flare.

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Writing Bugs - Education World

Grades
3 to 12
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Writing Bugs is an online library of writing prompts organized in a timely fashion by months, (for example: Describe snow to someone who has never seen it), as well as ...more
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Writing Bugs is an online library of writing prompts organized in a timely fashion by months, (for example: Describe snow to someone who has never seen it), as well as "Anytime Writing Bugs," such as: Write about a goal that you would like to achieve this year. Stop racking your brain for new writing ideas and start livening up your resources with this variety of topic and story starters. A huge advantage for these writing prompts is that the subjects are categorized month by month so you can be assured that the topics deal with relevant content, or you may choose from the many that are applicable all year round.

tag(s): writing (359), writing prompts (92)

In the Classroom

You can easily click on the current month and display a particular journal entry starter on your whiteboard or choose to project a few to provide your students with options. They can be used to "get the ball rolling" at the beginning of class, as daily or weekly warm-up activities to practice general writing or skills that you are focusing on, preparing for state assessments, free-writing, or as an "anytime" or "when you're finished with your work" activity. They can be easily printed to use as "emergency" or substitute lesson plans.

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Madlibber - Sean Huber

Grades
2 to 12
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Madlibs have come a long way since 1953 when they were invented. This site has an online Madlib creator you can use in many different ways. It's easy to access, ...more
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Madlibs have come a long way since 1953 when they were invented. This site has an online Madlib creator you can use in many different ways. It's easy to access, and there is no registration needed. Just click on "create a new madlib" and you'll be presented with a template. There is a sample story so you get the idea of how to create one. You will also get to put in tags so you can find your Madlibber again. The site also lists current madlibs that others have created. Beware of some of the content of the already created madlibs, if you intend to allow students to use this site independently.

In the Classroom

Create a Madlib using Madlibber and share it with your class using your interactive white board and projector to reinforce curriculum topics such as types of plants or famous inventors. Either show the students how to make one about the curriculum topic, or have students operate the board/computer while others suggest words to fill in the blanks in one you have prepared. Madlibs can be used in so may ways: teaching parts of speech, reviewing for a quiz, introducing a new subject, or even as a "Cloze" reading story. Use this site as a station on one of the computers in your class. Put the direct web address (URL) for your Madlibber on your class web page, since some of the public Madlibbers may not be appropriate for your students. Give extra credit to those who work outside school to create classroom-appropriate madlibbers for others to use as review (and share the direct links on your class web page).

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Big Small - neoformix.com

Grades
3 to 12
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Try this clever, quick, and simple text/shape generator. It displays the letters of any word you enter -- in large text filled with additional words which you enter -- in ...more
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Try this clever, quick, and simple text/shape generator. It displays the letters of any word you enter -- in large text filled with additional words which you enter -- in a smaller font. Creating yourBig Small word is as simple as typing the words separated by commas in the text boxes and then pressing Enter.

tag(s): antonyms (26), synonyms (38)

In the Classroom

Help your students demonstrate their ability to generate words related to themes, categories, synonyms and antonyms, or use this clever tool to see how many words students can create that begin or end with a given prefix or suffix, or various parts of speech. Try "verb" as the big word and fill with small verbs! Try "vertebrate" as the big word and fill it with the names of many vertebrates. Enter "smog" as the big word with human behaviors that generate smog as the small words. Create visual poems depicting a feeling or abstract noun as the big word and lists of thought-provoking "small" words. Bookmark this site in your favorites and make it available on your class web page for easy access when students are working on a class cluster of computers or in the computer lab. If students want to save or print their images, they must first capture it as a screenshot (Prnt Scrn key in Windows, Command+shift+4 in Mac). Paste the screenshot into a PowerPoint slide or word document to play with it further. More advanced technology users may then want to paste it into an image editing program to crop it, save it, or print it.
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Classrooms Around the World - Matador Network

Grades
2 to 12
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This photo essay shows classrooms and conditions in schools all around the world. As might be expected, there is a great deal of variation in comfort, school supplies, facilities, students...more
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This photo essay shows classrooms and conditions in schools all around the world. As might be expected, there is a great deal of variation in comfort, school supplies, facilities, students per room, etc. IMPORTANT NOTE: Preview photo details before sharing this with children as some contain material that you might not find suitable to share. (For example, one photo contains vocabulary terms regarding pornography and sexual addiction!) Also, be aware that there are some advertisements on this page. At the time of this review, one of the particular advertisements was about the "Best Nude Beaches In the World."

tag(s): cross cultural understanding (115), cultures (105), photography (160)

In the Classroom

Use this site when discussing world cultures or economics. Use this site as an anticipatory set or "activator" to introduce a unit or lesson on a projector or interactive whiteboard. To avoid displaying certain content, you can selectively take screenshots (CTRL+PrtScrn on Windows, Command+Shft+4 on Mac) or copy images temporarily into PowerPoint slides or a whiteboard file-- with credit--to show them alone. Use it to jump off into a discussion or unit on some of the countries displayed here. Have students create original photo essays online following this model, using Have students create original photo essays online following this model, using Slidestory, reviewed here. Slidestory allows you to narrate the slides and images. Challenge students to find photos and then narrate the photos as if in a news report. To find Creative Commons images for student projects (with credit, of course), try Compfight, reviewed here. Other areas where this website might be useful are when you do units on world education, world poverty, etc. Have students do comparison/contrast essays using these photos as introductions to the differences between classrooms. Or have students compare/contrast using a site such as Interactive Two Circle Venn Diagram (reviewed here). The many small details that differ from place to place would make getting details and examples easy. Ask students also to extrapolate differences in teaching methods just by viewing these photos.

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Wylio - wylio.com

Grades
K to 12
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Find and use copyright-free pictures using simple tools and copy/paste to get the embed code. Use Wylio to search for a picture in the topic of your choice. Enter a ...more
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Find and use copyright-free pictures using simple tools and copy/paste to get the embed code. Use Wylio to search for a picture in the topic of your choice. Enter a search term, view the possible pictures, and click on your choice. Change the alignment of the picture and the size it will appear using the simple tools. When done, click "Get The Code" to view the embeddable code. Copy and paste the code into a site, blog, or wiki to share with others. What is special about Wylio? The attribution to the picture's author is embedded into the code, so you are modeling ethical use of electronic resources!

tag(s): creative commons (21), images (266), photography (160)

In the Classroom

Users must be knowledgeable about embed codes and how to use them in a site, blog, or wiki. Be sure to test out embedding a picture on your site to anticipate problems when students use Wylio. Use Wylio to find copyright-free pictures for teacher use in any subject area or for student use as soon as they learn to copy/paste embed codes. This tool would be a great asset to a photography or art class but can be used in any subject area. Use pictures that showcase life around us or in a Math class to show various Math functions in man made structures and nature. Use this site to take your geography class around the world (virtually). Have students create presentations in any subject area and narrate the pictures rather than doing a traditional oral report. Use a site such as Slidestory, reviewed here, to narrate the pictures. Speech and language in lower grades or ESL/ELL teachers could use pictures for vocabulary development and allow students to add words or sentences to go with the pictures. In Science, find pictures that represent various concepts and encourage explanations of these concepts for better understanding. Embeddable pictures also work very well in "glogs" (online posters made using GlogsterEDU, reviewed here) or on your class wiki. Note: embedded picture only show on computers connected to the Internet since the embed command "goes and gets" the pictures using the web.
 

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ccMixter - Dig - ArtisTech Media

Grades
K to 12
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This site offers a library of legal, copyright-safe, free music available for download and podcast use. Students looking for pod-safe audio, music remixes, and background music will...more
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This site offers a library of legal, copyright-safe, free music available for download and podcast use. Students looking for pod-safe audio, music remixes, and background music will be delighted to utilize this dandy library of recordings. You do not need to join in order to listen and/or download the MP3 files. Music and sounds are organized by use categories such as podsafe, soundtracks, and general listening. The songs include current hits, historical music from the U.S. and around the world, and much more. Note that the public can submit works, so -- although our editors have not seen any-- the submissions could include lyrics not appropriate for listening in school.

tag(s): copyright (47), sound (101), sounds (68)

In the Classroom

A music site that is not just for musicians and music teachers! Students in all classes can use files from this site when preparing multimedia class presentations that require music or background sounds. Use this site when preparing lessons on plagiarism, copyright, and the open source software concept. Musically inclined students who enjoy this site should check out ccMixter reviewed here for more enriching types of musical interaction and collaboration!

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Word Games - FPS Networks Inc.

Grades
2 to 12
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Word Games has compiled many of the web's best word games into one resource. Games are categorized in several different ways such as typing, word search, puzzles, and others. In ...more
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Word Games has compiled many of the web's best word games into one resource. Games are categorized in several different ways such as typing, word search, puzzles, and others. In addition, the newest and most popular games are identified for easy access. Facebook users can "like" the site and receive daily games to play. This site provides varied activities to help increase word skills at many different levels.

Navigate carefully as this site has many advertisements! But the great interactives make it worth the hassle.

tag(s): logic (235), puzzles (208), sudoku (18)

In the Classroom

Introduce this site on your interactive whiteboard or projector then have students explore this site independently or in small groups. Make a shortcut to this site on classroom computers and use it as a center. Provide a link to these activities on your class website.
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Tripline - Byron Dumbrill

Grades
4 to 12
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Tripline is a great visual for putting stories on a map. It was built to work with Google Maps, then be enhanced by each individual to fit their needs. What ...more
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Tripline is a great visual for putting stories on a map. It was built to work with Google Maps, then be enhanced by each individual to fit their needs. What a fabulous way to integrate literature and geography, history and geography, or many other subject areas. To create a trip, type in a starting point and select it from a suggested list of matching places. Add places to your trip in the same way, places can be rearranged in any order. From this list, a map will be created showing the itinerary. Push play and the map comes to life, stopping at each creation point. To further enhance the experience, pictures can be uploaded that will show as icons as each stop is reached. Maps can be shared with other users, via email, web link, or Facebook.

To create a new trip, you must register at the site. Registration requires a username, password, and valid email address.

tag(s): maps (287)

In the Classroom

Suggested uses on the Tripline site are to use along with moments in history such as Paul Revere's ride and Lewis and Clark's expedition to demonstrate stops along their path. Other classrooms uses would be for students to create a Tripline map of their summer vacation to use as an enhancement to a regular report, map out your favorite sports team's schedule, historic state sites, and much more.

Registration does require an email address. Tip: rather than using your personal or work email, create a free Gmail account to use for memberships. If you plan to have students register individually, you may want to create your own Gmail account with up to 20 subaccounts for each group of students (by code name or number) within your classes. Here is a blog post that tells how to set up GMail subaccounts to use for any online membership service.
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Classroom Libraries - Teachers College Reading and Writing Project

Grades
2 to 12
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This site has a variety of themed booklists developed by educators at Teachers College for K-12 students. The lists display in Google Documents. The themes available are fairly typical...more
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This site has a variety of themed booklists developed by educators at Teachers College for K-12 students. The lists display in Google Documents. The themes available are fairly typical ones, like non-fiction, biography, history, Spanish-language, history, narrative, and multi-cultural among others.

tag(s): book lists (128)

In the Classroom

Teachers can use this as a reference site, especially when preparing a new unit in another subject area and trying to find related independent reading or literature circle options.

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Be The Beat - heart.org - American Heart Association

Grades
K to 10
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This teacher's area of "Be The Beat" provides two lesson plans about heart issues, information, and CPR. Intended use is to enhance current curriculum not create a new one from ...more
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This teacher's area of "Be The Beat" provides two lesson plans about heart issues, information, and CPR. Intended use is to enhance current curriculum not create a new one from the materials presented here. Additionally, check out the "Be The Beat" kids section: here. It has activities to help students understand 100 beats per minute for CPR, Race to the Phone (more for fun, but still reinforces emergency situation response principles), and Snowflake comics on CPR. This site also has information about Jump Rope for the Heart, Hoops for the Heart, and Blogging for the Heart.

tag(s): heart (43), medicine (67)

In the Classroom

Use these lessons in your health classes to help students understand the importance of heart health, CPR, and good emergency responses. Or, go to the comics, find a one that matches your lesson, copy it into a PowerPoint, and show on the interactive whiteboard to start class or as an entry journal topic. Use these resources to prepare your class for Jump Rope for the Heart or the other opportunities provided at this site.
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Kidsreads - Carol Fitzgerald

Grades
3 to 8
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This is the site for anyone that loves to read! Reviews of the latest kids books are available along with trivia, author interviews, and special book features. There are author ...more
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This is the site for anyone that loves to read! Reviews of the latest kids books are available along with trivia, author interviews, and special book features. There are author pages, reviews, podcasts, and audio (coming soon), new and upcoming, books into movies and other sections to discover. Special sections are available for librarians, teachers and parents. Anyone interested in the newest children's literature will appreciate and enjoy this site. Links are provided to purchase books discussed on the site, but you can avoid them and use the library instead. Students will enjoy entering the many contests available on the site and perhaps win one of the book giveaways!

tag(s): authors (120)

In the Classroom

Print out book reviews as examples before having students create their own book review. Use this site to help students find some fresh literature to read. Use trivia questions as quiz questions after reading books in class or during independent reading time. Use the author links to learn about authors popular with students.

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Study English - Australia Network

Grades
4 to 12
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This site, produced by Australian TV, offers oral lessons for intermediate and advanced level English language learners. The TV productions are available online in their entirety; they...more
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This site, produced by Australian TV, offers oral lessons for intermediate and advanced level English language learners. The TV productions are available online in their entirety; they provide listening, pronunciation, and reading and writing practice for LES candidates. Although based on the Australian curriculum and testing called IELTS, the lessons, vocabulary, and practices are appropriate for any learners of English. The accent on the videos is, of course, Australian. Included in the offerings, in addition to the videos, are tape transcripts, study items, and quizzes.

tag(s): grammar (216), video (254)

In the Classroom

Use this site with ESL/ELL learners as designed. Share the lessons on your interactive whiteboard or projector. If individual computers are available, have students view the lessons independently (with headsets) and create multimedia projects to demonstrate what they have learned. Have students create an interactive online poster ("glog") using Glogster EDU, reviewed here. Better yet, if students get used to the video and exercise formats, have them produce similar videos teaching a few lessons about their home cultures! Share the videos using a tool such as Teachers.TV reviewed here.

Special ed teachers and those seeking combination video/text lessons to use to teach listening/reading comprehension may find these lessons valuable, as well.

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Kids Book Blog - Mrs. Phillips' 5th Grade and 6th grade class

Grades
3 to 8
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Kids Book Blog is a site that has been created and is maintained by fifth and sixth grade students. The site houses a book review database for over 500 books ...more
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Kids Book Blog is a site that has been created and is maintained by fifth and sixth grade students. The site houses a book review database for over 500 books with reviews written by students for students. In addition to the database, the site includes Author Study Podcasts, Comic Book Summaries, and Game Show templates in PowerPoint format. Another interesting feature of the site is the opportunity to join on-line Book Clubs. Students read the assigned book and check in weekly to discuss their opinions and share comments about the reading. The students who maintain the site are working on bringing How To videos, such as Inferencing and Cause and Effect, to the site. What a fabulous site to share with students to demonstrate the potential all students possess.

tag(s): blogs (88), literature (275), podcasts (52)

In the Classroom

Allow students to read through the reviews to choose literature. After reading the book, have students write their own reviews. Compare and contrast their reviews with the database write-ups. Have students create their own podcasts reviewing the book using a site such as PodOmatic (reviewed here).

Differentiate reading assignments by assigning Book Clubs in accordance with student reading levels. Teachers who use the Book Clubs with classes should check school policies on posting student comments on-line and obtain written parent permission. Be sure to establish class guidelines for safe commenting and comply with school policies for identifying student (initials? first names?).

Utilize the Game Show formats as study tools for test prep. Have students create their own test prep formats and present to the class in a Power Point presentation.

This blog site is a model for many effective reading projects upper elementary and middle school classes can create on their own: video summaries (using a site such as SchoolTube reviewed here), book club blogs, Power Point "Jeopardy" book quizzes, and more. The blog promises to continue adding new projects in the future. Use the examples here to inspire your own students.

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Kaboose - Walt Disney Internet Group

Grades
K to 6
2 Favorites 0  Comments
  
Kaboose is a potpourri chock full of new ideas for gifts to make for special occasions, holiday crafts and recipes with easy-to-follow directions, slide shows, puzzles, games,...more
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Kaboose is a potpourri chock full of new ideas for gifts to make for special occasions, holiday crafts and recipes with easy-to-follow directions, slide shows, puzzles, games, and more all based on seasonal activities and celebrations. The page is "busy" with lots of links to related resources and advertisements, but with very little exploration you will find entertaining, creative ideas for projects that can be done in the classroom. Be sure to check the copyright restrictions on the bottom of the web page.

tag(s): crafts (40), holidays (147)

In the Classroom

How many times have you taught the siblings of your current students and are now looking for a new project or gift for them to bring home? Bookmark this site in your favorites or in your folder for holiday/seasonal arts and craft ideas. Invite parents in to work with small groups to give you plenty of extra pairs of hands. During classroom celebrations, project a selection of the related interactives on your classroom whiteboard to keep students educationally engaged and prevent them from "wandering" too far from the holiday theme.
 This resource requires Adobe Flash.

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CurriConnects - TeachersFirst

Grades
K to 12
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Use CurriConnects to find books related to curriculum topics or subject areas. Build student literacy skills, reinforce the place of curriculum concepts in other contexts, and help...more
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Use CurriConnects to find books related to curriculum topics or subject areas. Build student literacy skills, reinforce the place of curriculum concepts in other contexts, and help students build the important reading strategy of connecting what they read to prior knowledge. Share CurriConnects as links on your class web page or wiki or share them with school and local libraries where students can select books to accompany what they are studying. Topics include Earth Science, Explorers, Frontiers and Settlers, Geographic Wonders (landforms), Inventors and Inventions, Maps, Math in Use, Medicine and Health, The Artists's Eye (books with outstanding illustrations and books about artists), What Do You Do? (careers). More are being added on an ongoing basis. Grade ranges vary.

tag(s): book lists (128), independent reading (128), reading lists (75)

In the Classroom

Share CurriConnects as links on your class web page or wiki or share them with school and local libraries where students can select books to accompany what they are studying. Explore the many ideas TeachersFirst offers for using CurriConnects in your classroom. Be sure to share these lists with ESL/ELL teachers for reading selections to build student vocabulary and understanding of curriculum.

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