Grades3 to 12
In the ClassroomHow many times have your students used the same word over and over again, accidently typed an entire response in all CAPS, or spent more time counting how many words they used than they did writing their essay? Demonstrate some of these text manipulation tools on your projector or interactive whiteboard and make the link readily available from your web page or class wiki and have students bookmark it in their favorites. They will love having these helpful tools when completing assignments on the computer. Although some of them are customized on word processing programs, they are often "hidden" or "well-kept secrets." The Text Mechanic takes the time and guesswork out of manipulating text.
Some of the tools are just plain fun to experiment with and make good time fillers when your students are using the computer lab or a class set of netbooks and some of them finish the assignment before others. For elementary grades, use some of the tools to scramble the letters on weekly spelling words or to generate scrambled sentences.
Grades3 to 12
In the ClassroomUse this site for your own background information and to help students make smart choices and learn the rules and responsibilities of using copyrighted work and technology safely. You will find a wide range of materials that may be shared on your interactive whiteboard or projector or adapted to meet the needs of your class, including quizzes, games, and suggested lessons designed to teach the skills and raise awareness for the risks they face online while searching for information, blogging, or engaging in other internet activities. Have students work with a partner and research various facets of this site and then create a multimedia presentation to share their findings. How about having students create a word cloud of terms about cyber-ethics and/or cyber-safety using a tool such as Wordle reviewed here.
Grades2 to 12
tag(s): independent reading (130)
In the ClassroomShare HOW this site works with students using your interactive whiteboard or projector. Make a shortcut to this site on classroom computers for students to use to find independent reading. Share the site with school librarians. Use this site as the starting point for literature circles on a theme. After reading, challenge students to create their own comics to highlight their book using comic-creation tools from this collection.
Talk with students about what makes certain books "similar." Ask them if they have other suggestions of similar books. Share this link on your class website for students to access at home.
GradesK to 12
In the ClassroomThe resources on this site are useful for ANY grade level. Each lesson lists how it connects to UK learning standards, which are not unlike those in the U.S. The workshops and videos integrate beautifully with a diverse range of curriculum topics such as: science, poetry, math, history, and much more. Connect a unit about plants and photosynthesis to the collaborative work by Loop.PH. Liven up the process of publishing a writer's workshop book with workshops modeled after bookmaker and illustrator Sarah Dyer or Jane Ray. Take a unit about birds of prey and examine how Sulky Best creates animations of their flight. View the workshop videos on laptops, interactive whiteboard, or a projector before beginning one of ArtisanCam's suggested lessons. These videos are an engaging way to give directions and provide wonderful overview of the activity. Each lesson includes clear systematic directions and suggests practical guidelines for teachers to follow. Share this link on the class website for enrichment or even a fun homework assignment. Teachers of gifted can find inspiration for many extension activities from this site.
Some of the activities ask the students to enter their name, age, and town before submitting them to their online gallery. Be sure not to include any identifiable information that outsiders could trace to an individual students. Consider asking students to leave these fields blank or assign initials and logical pseudonyms (Ex. MsGper2-12, MsGper2-13, etc.) for their user names. Of course, you will want check school policies and get written parent permission before submitting student work. Spell out both permissible use and consequences before you send students to this site.
Grades1 to 8
tag(s): geology (82)
In the ClassroomChoose your subject and use your interactive whiteboard and projector to introduce your students to the topic using a game, or a movie. After students have completed the study of the subject, have them create their own movie to show their understanding of the topic. Use xtra normal (reviewed here) for a project like this. During your study of the Middle Ages in Europe (or any other time period) have your students read the short texts at Kids Know It (History Textbook), then divide the students into groups of four or five and divide the topics listed under the Middle Ages. Give one or more topic(s) to each group to research for more in-depth knowledge. As a final assessment have the groups create a Glog (reviewed here) to teach the class about their topic. Have them create videos about an interesting aspect or person from their topic to upload to their Glog. Have them choose whether to use xtra normal (reviewed here) or Animoto (reviewed here) for the video they will upload to their Glog.
GradesK to 12
tag(s): maps (291)
In the ClassroomArounder adds an extra resource to make your studies come alive. Extend math with real life math problems involving distances, planning routes, costs of tours are illustrated on this site. Try language arts activities to teach setting using world travel. Enrich discussions in ESL/ELL or world language classes by sharing the detailed visual image on a projector or interactive whiteboard. Challenge gifted students to plan a world highlights trip or around the world in 80 days adventure!
Grades2 to 12
In the ClassroomThis site is great to give students a brain break while still keeping them focused. The website is a great tool to use as a center or to provide a student reward. Use this site to help your students build their concentration and language skills. You can also use the site to help students develop important study skills. Psychology classes may want to analyze why the games promote better brain skills. You do need to register for the free trial in order to access the games. If students register individually they will be able to track their progress. If you plan to have students register individually, you may want to create your own Gmail account with up to 20 subaccounts for each group of students (by code name or number) within your classes. Here is a blog post that tells how to set up GMail subaccounts to use for any online membership service. You could also just create a class login that students could use to access the additional games.
Grades4 to 8
Every year, people across the country pause on April 15 to celebrate the historic event that marks the anniversary of Jackie Robinson breaking the color barrier in baseball in 1947. Use this educational program to bring the significance of Jackie Robinson's legacy to your classrooms. Although Breaking Barriers centers around an essay contest, you may choose to simply use the ideas to offer and assist your students in learning opportunities to teach them values that will enable them to face their own barriers and express themselves in written form. There are lessons, printables, book lists, and more that align with language arts, math, and social studies national standards.
tag(s): civil rights (120)
In the ClassroomShare the video of Jackie Robinson's daughter, Sharon Robinson, on your interactive whiteboard or projector. Listen to her personal story of her famous baseball player Dad's courage, determination, integrity, and persistence to break the color barrier on and off the playing field. Use an online tool like bubble.us reviewed here to engage students in whole class brainstorming of some of the real life barriers that students face today, and then lead into a journal writing activity for students to think about how to use Jackie Robinson's values to face and overcome barriers in their own lives. Whether you are celebrating the anniversary of Jackie Robinson Day, Black History month, a unit on courage and heroes, or introducing these concepts anytime during the year, the downloadable and whiteboard ready materials will increase the richness of your class discussions and broaden students' understanding of how to make a difference in their own lives and the lives of others.
GradesK to 5
In the ClassroomIntroduce this site on your interactive whiteboard or projector and then ask students explore it independently or in small groups. Connect this activity to literature study books such as Lois Elherts "Snowballs," and ask students to label or write about their online creation. It is possible to print directly from the site. To save on paper and ink, simply take a screen shot and save it to the desktop ("Prnt Scrn" key on Windows, Command+shuft+4 on Mac --- then paste into a document or slide). These images could be incorporated into a class book in programs such as Mixbook reviewed here or using PowerPoint. Exercise your students "fluent" creative thinking skills by asking them to brainstorm items that developers could add to the snowman options. Soon students will be generating their own ideas for unusual snow characters.
Grades4 to 12
tag(s): inventors and inventions (95)
In the ClassroomFind information for science and technology reports on this site. Allow students to view the dates of many of the inventions to determine what scientific principle was just known to push technological thinking. Create a timeline of inventions to determine the impact of science, economy, and society on inventions. Use a site such as TimeRime reviewed here. Choose an invention and research other forms of that model, alternatives before and after, and what we are using today. Discuss environmental impacts, how the invention changed society, and other impacts.
GradesK to 12
This site includes advertising.
In the ClassroomUsers must have a Flickr account and be able to navigate the authorizing of flickr as well as choosing an album to publish. Be sure to create titles in Flickr since these are imported as well.
Be sure to check district policy about creating student accounts and publishing student pictures and/or other material before using this tool. Note that by choosing Public in creating the magazine, the magazine is viewable online. Check your District policy. When browsing existing magazines, note that these may not be monitored and check for possible classroom-inappropriate material (though none was detected at the time of the review.) Consider creating a class Flickr account for students to upload class and group pictures.
Use a class Flickr account to keep track of day to day happenings in the classroom (especially for younger grades). Create albums of specific events such as field trips, service projects, hands-on activities, field experiences such as watershed studies, and more. Uploaded photos can easily be manipulated into an online album. Art and photography classes can use the magazine format as a portfolio. Create a magazine of photos that portray different history and social topics, set the scenes for novels or stories, or explain a specific science concept. Anywhere photos can be used to showcase achievement or explain a concept, this service would be a great resource. Special ed teachers, speech teachers, or world language teachers can collect images into "magazines" for students to practice/develop speech and vocabulary.
Parent permission advised before posting student work created using this tool
Includes Interaction w general public/ public galleries with unmoderated content
Requires registration/log-in (WITH email)
Products can be embedded
Products can be shared by URL
Multiple users can collaborate on the same project
Grades3 to 12
In the ClassroomStudents have become "copy and paste" fanatics, but do they know the answer to, "If the material is on the Internet can I use it?" Even though they might not see a copyright notice on a website, that doesn't mean they're free to copy whatever they see or hear. Project these no-nonsense, impressionable videos on your classroom whiteboard or projector to set the tone for expectations when doing research and other projects, or use the printable versions, (these may be more adaptable and appropriate for older students), to emphasize your position on plagerism. Be sure to provide this link on your class website.
You may want to take it full circle by having the class compose and submit a song, poem, or other work to the Library of Congress to register a copyright. Be aware that there is a fee to submit the application, so you might want to consider doing a whole class project to send as one registration.
GradesK to 12
In the ClassroomUse this tool easily in your Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) classroom since all students will be able to access it for free, no matter what device they have. Students can use this when researching alone or in groups, sharing files, videos, and pictures quickly from one computer to another. Have students write tasks for each member of the group on a sticky so that everyone has a responsibility. Show them how to copy/paste URLs for sources onto notes, too. Use Lino as your virtual word wall for vocabulary development. Use a Lino for students to submit and share questions or comments about assignments and tasks they are working on. Use it as a virtual graffiti wall for students to make connections between their world and curriculum content, such as "I wonder what the hall monitor would say finding Lady Macbeth washing her hands in the school restroom... and what Lady M would say back." (Of course, you will want to have a PG-13 policy for student comments!) Encourage students to maintain an idea collection lino for ideas and creative inspirations they may not have used yet but do not want to "lose." They can color code and organize ideas later or send the stickies to a new project board later. In writing or art classes, use lino as a virtual writer's journal or design a notebook to collect ideas, images, and even video clips. In science classes, encourage students to keep a lino board with (classroom appropriate) questions and "aside" thoughts about science concepts being studied and to use these ideas in later projects so their creative ideas are not 'lost" before project time. A lino board can also serve as a final online "display" for students to "show what they know" as the culmination of a research project. Add videos, images, and notes in a carefully arranged display not unlike an electronic bulletin board. This is also a great tool to help you stay "personally" organized. Use this site as a resource to share information with other teachers, parents, or students.
Grades1 to 3
tag(s): spelling (166)
In the ClassroomUse this site as independent practice or for reviews. Have students pair up and work on it together for additional practice. Provide this link on your class website for students to access both in and out of the classroom.
GradesK to 12
In the ClassroomThis site will be great to use with a projector or whiteboard to have a visual time reminder for students. Use the three timers to track science experiments. It is a great way to track intervals. Use the timers for clean up time, students have to be cleaned up by the time the third bell rings. Use for games or group work. Set all the timers to the same time, divide your class into three groups and give them a challenge problem. See who finishes in the fastest time. If you often use the same times, set the timers and add the page to your favorites. Now you have timers set up ready to go. Your students will probably have some creative ideas for using the timers, as well. Primary grade teachers introducing concepts of time and clocks can challenge students operate the timers themselves as a center, maybe timing how long it takes to tie a shoe or read a page, then reading the timer or writing the words for the time.
GradesK to 12
In the ClassroomUse the resources from this web site to plan and implement lessons that students will relate to, and help to bring an end to harmful name-calling and "dissing." Select some of the many safe Web 2.0 tools reviewed by TeachersFirst Edge, such as Automotivator, reviewed here for designing digital posters that can be printed, or PhotoPeach, reviewed here for creating a digital slideshow that includes music, captions, and more. TeachersFirst also has an entire collection of on line resources to create comic strips, available here to drive home the message that bullying is never a laughing matter.
GradesK to 12
In the ClassroomMark this in your professional favorites for planning and finding webquests. The webquest format has been around for years and can be adapted many ways. Start from this collection and consider designing a webquest "Task" that uses a collaborative, web 2.0 tool such as those reviewed in the TeachersFirst Edge listings. Today's students will love the authentic, creative tasks and collaboration made possible by today's tools. TeachersFirst Edge reviews include ways to use the tools safely and within school policies, for a learning "win-win." You might even want to have student groups design their own webquests for classmates to try as a new twist on "jigsaw" learning.
GradesK to 12
In the ClassroomUsers must be able to determine the question and possible responses to generate the poll online. Remember to Publish your quiz to be able to share it.
This tool does not show the individual votes of students. Though this tool can be used by students, it may be best used by a teacher. Students using this tool, need an email to register.
Use polls created using Polldaddy on a projector or interactive whiteboard to discuss and informally assess prior knowledge as you start a new unit, asking questions about the material. Discuss in groups why those in class would choose a particular answer to uncover misconceptions. Use for Daily quiz questions to gain knowledge of student understanding and a means of formative assessment. Have student groups alternate to create a new poll for the next day. Place a poll on your teacher web page as a homework inspiration or to ask questions to increase parent involvement. Older students may want to include polls on their student blogs to increase read involvement or create polls to use at the start of project presentations. Use polls to generate data for math class (graphing), during elections or for critical thinking activities dealing with interpretation of statistics. Use "real" data to engage students on issues that matter to them.
GradesK to 12
In the ClassroomUsers must be able to determine the question and possible responses to generate the poll online. Remember to Publish your quiz to be able to share it. This tool does not show the individual votes of students. Though this tool can be used by students, it may be best used by a teacher. Students using this tool, need an email to register.
In the classroom: Use this site on a projector or interactive whiteboard to discuss and informally assess prior knowledge as you start your study by asking questions about the material. Discuss in groups why those in class would choose a particular answer to uncover misconceptions. Use for Daily quiz questions to gain knowledge of student understanding and a means of formative assessment. Place on a teacher web page as a homework inspiration or to ask questions to increase parent involvement.
GradesK to 12
tag(s): digital storytelling (156)