GradesK to 12
tag(s): skype (12)
In the ClassroomBe sure to check school policies and obtain parent permission before using Skype in the classroom. Discuss appropriate and inappropriate behavior and the consequences. Anything you can do by telephone or video call you can do on a projector with your entire class. Connect the Skyping computer to a projector or whiteboard for the entire class to see if you are using video. (The video will be fuzzy, but good enough to follow a person's face.) Use Skype to talk to authors (check out their web sites.) Have students write questions in advance. Use your contacts, web page "contact us" emails, and parent contacts to find others willing to Skype into your classroom. Interview scientists or government officials, deployed military personnel, or classes far away in a different culture or language. Younger students can compare weather, family life, community events, and more. Learn other ideas for using Skype in your classroom
GradesK to 12
tag(s): skype (12)
In the ClassroomFamiliarize yourself with Skype and how to use the tool. Be sure to read information on this site and the review of Skype mentioned above. Add your name to the list of teachers who are willing to Skype into classrooms. Be sure to check your district policy on using this tool with your students. be sure to seek parent permission as well. Connect with the teacher to discuss objectives of the Skype visits. Be sure students understand what is considered acceptable and unacceptable use of this tool and reinforce consequences.
Possible Uses: Anything you can do by telephone or video call you can do on a projector with your entire class. Connect the Skyping computer to a projector or interactive whiteboard for the entire class to see if you are using video. (The video will be fuzzy, but good enough to follow a person's face.) Use Skype to talk to authors. Have students write questions in advance. Use your contacts, web page "contact us" emails, and parent contacts to find others willing to Skype into your classroom. Interview scientists or government officials, deployed military personnel, or classes far away in a different culture or language. Younger students can compare weather, family life, community events, and more. Learn other ideas for using Skype in your classroom at this site.
Grades1 to 6
In the ClassroomUsing Mugshots, have students work in small groups to complete the writing activity. Have students put together information in a text document. Read each group's mugshot (without noting the authors to prevent biases) and vote on the one that offers the most creative and developed character. Highlight what made winning mugshots using an interactive whiteboard or projector. Continue using this process to encourage character development in student writing. Challenge students to create their stories into online books using a tool such as Bookemon, reviewed here.
GradesK to 8
In the ClassroomStudents will enjoy working on these sites together as a whole-group activity. After modeling the activities as a whole group, allow students to work on the same activities in small groups during center time. Use as a reinforcement or enrichment with core curriculum lessons. You may want to provide this link on your class website for students to access both in and out of class.
GradesK to 12
tag(s): writing (365)
In the ClassroomAdopt this idea in your professional life as you correspond with parents (or suggest it to your administrator). Try adopting Five Sentences as your New Year's resolution. Though students today rarely USE email, share emails with them -- and the Five Sentences limit -- as writing prompts for a five sentence response to teach concise, purposeful writing and 'netiquette. (Note that this review, not including this aside, is 5 sentences!)
Grades1 to 5
tag(s): spelling (169)
In the ClassroomDemonstrate how to use this site on your interactive whiteboard or projector. Make a shortcut of this site on classroom computers and use as a center to practice weekly spelling words.
Grades3 to 12
In the ClassroomUse the activities and resources on this site to help students connect global and individual events, and realize that a positive attitude is possible despite terrible misfortune. Use the online resources to help you select the topics, activities, and articles that center around the themes you want to emphasize as a preview or follow up to reading The Diary of Anne Frank. Let the students collect and save their information on a class set of computers, (groups of three students work well.) Work toward one or several of the suggested final products, such as creating a wall poster, collage, or mosaic by using one of the online tools reviewed by TeachersFirst. Have students create an interactive online poster ("glog") using Glogster EDU, reviewed here. Challenge students to use Mosaic Maker reviewed here. You might want to start by having students brainstorm a list of past or present acts of discrimination of which they are aware. Develop their brainstorming list on an interactive whiteboard or projector using bubbl.us, reviewed here, and ask students to think about and associate feelings of the victims of these acts. How might those feelings look in graphic form? Have each student or groups of students choose one example from the list, along with a few words about the feelings that accompany the acts of discrimination, and select online images that reflect those emotions. When students express their feelings onto visual media, it helps them relate to what Anne did by writing in her diary. For more adventurous technology users, all individual or group work can be merged to create an online scrapbook that can be shared with the entire class and families, using Smilebox (reviewed here).
GradesK to 12
In the ClassroomAllow students to choose and use activities to enhance and improve their learning of classroom material. Here are a couple of examples of Whiteboard tools: Whiteboard quiz generator and Whiteboard quiz generator 2 team. Be sure to use resources where students are manipulating the interactives and using the resources for their learning. These resources are best used when they are student centered (student chosen and student run) instead of an activity the teacher performs for the class.
GradesK to 12
In the ClassroomUse this site in ways to maximize student involvement. For example, assign the creation of quiz questions for units and chapters to the students. Use these questions for quizzing of the entire class. Reinvent your role in this process by not being the reader of the question. Instead, take the role of the judge panel needed to arbitrate when judgement calls are required. Provide the top student who has earned the right to skip quizzing to be the emcee. This job can also be rotated among all students (the role of the emcee could also be to explain why answers are right or wrong.) Be sure to have students reflect on correct and incorrect answers to identify misconceptions and correct knowledge.
This will be great to use in the classroom prior to taking a quiz or test.Veronica, NC, Grades: 5 - 12
Grades4 to 12
In the ClassroomUse as an enhancement to research projects of family, historic events, and world cultures by finding and uploading pictures to the map. Use Historypin as a resource to compare and contrast different time periods in the same geographic area. Demonstrate on the interactive whiteboard or projector how different places have changed over time. Have individual students or cooperative learning groups create podcasts using PodOmatic (reviewed here) to go along with the maps. ESL students will appreciate the ability to upload pictures and/or learn about their country of original.
GradesK to 12
In the ClassroomExpose your students to different levels of the learning spiral by challenging them to use problem-solving skills for increasingly difficult obstacles. Students can work in small groups to foster cooperation and teamwork as they sort, graph, follow and give directions, and discuss ideas. Of course you will need some LEGOs, so you might try raiding your own children's toy boxes, include a request in your classroom newsletter for donations, look around for LEGO kits collecting dust on classroom shelves, or put it on your school's PTA wish list. Be sure to have cooperative learning groups video their activities to share with the rest of the class using a site such as SchoolTube (reviewed here).
GradesK to 3
At the time of this review, there was one cartoon available which was entertaining - however, not particularly educational.
In the ClassroomMark this site in Favorites on the computers in your classroom. Pair students on individual computers to try some of the activities. If individual computers aren't available, share the activities on your interactive whiteboard or projector or make an IWB "center" for small groups. Share this site with ESL or special education students who need to catch up on alphabet or math skills. This is a fabulous site to list in your class newsletter or on your class website or blog for extra practice at home.
GradesK to 12
In the ClassroomBring teaching and learning to new heights by using this service as a great form of professional development. At conferences, use Twitter as a backchannel to expand upon thoughts and ideas during presentations and after. Have a question to ask others' opinion about? Throw it out to Twitter to see the great perspectives given by those who follow you. Start out slowly and look at conversations that catch your eye. Follow people with experience in your areas of interest to gain from the conversations. Start off by following @teachersfirst or @cshively (our leader).
Learn about hashtags -- ways to mark, search, and follow conversations on a specific topic. For example, the #ntchat tag is for new and pre-service teachers and the #edchat hashtag is for all teachers. Participate in these chats which are scheduled at certain days and times or search for their tweets anytime. Find archived tweets from these chats to learn from some wonderful and motivated teachers when it is convenient for YOU. Use other Twitter applications to search or collect specific hashtags.
As a teaching tool, Twitter is amazing! If your school permits access, have a class account to share what you are doing with parents and especially for your class to follow people in topics you study. Studying space? Follow NASA. Studying politics and government? Follow your congressional rep or the White House. Consider using your teacher or class account to send updates to other teachers across the country or across the globe. You can also teach about responsible digital citizenship by modeling and practicing it as a class. A whole-class, teacher account is the most likely way to gain permission to use Twitter in school, especially if you can demonstrate specific projects. That can be as simple as making sure you and that teacher are FOLLOWING each other, then sending a direct message (start the tweet with D and the other teacher's twitter name) or creating a group with your own hashtag for a project such as daily weather updates. Even if you are not "following" someone, you can send them a tweet using @theirtwittername in the body of the message. This is called a "mention" but can be seen by others, too. Compare what your class is observing in today's weather, which topics you will be discussing today, or ask for another class' opinions on a current events issue. Ask for updates about local concerns, such as talking to California schools about wildfires in their area or a Maine school about a blizzard. Challenge another class to tweet the feelings of a literacy character, such as Hamlet, and respond as Ophelia, all in 140 characters or less. Have gifted students? Connect your classroom with the outside world to find greater challenges and connections beyond your regular curriculum.
Learn much more about teaching ideas and tools for Twitter in the many resources listed on TeachersFirst Twitter for Teachers page.
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)
GradesK to 12
In the ClassroomMake a shortcut to this site on classroom computers as a reference. Suggest it to students as something they can use on their mp3 players. Share this link on your class website for students and parents to access at home. Learning support teachers may want to use selections from this site as alternatives to reading print literature selections. Play a story on your computer speakers as a listening activity in younger grades.
GradesK to 12
Be aware: you must register for this site. Once registered, it is rather time consuming finding the FREE resources. The free audio stories are described as having "bearable quality" however, our reviewers found the quality fine. Most stories are available for free, just be sure to click on the correct box to ensure they are free!
tag(s): audio books (31)
In the ClassroomWith younger students, it may be best to share the audio books on your projector or interactive whiteboard (as the Free ones can take some time to find and use). Share this link on your class website for parents to explore at home with their students.
Grades1 to 7
tag(s): independent reading (129)
In the ClassroomMake a shortcut to this site on classroom computers and use it as a center, or post the address on your teacher website so students and parents can access the program at home, too. Set reading goals for individual students or the class.
Grades2 to 12
In the ClassroomCreate more compelling graphics for presentations, multi-media projects, reports, yearbooks, newsletters, or class websites. When publishing student writing, liven up the "About the Author" page with a more artistic photograph of the author. Instead of using a dull student mug shot for the class job board or for class routine charts, replace it with photo illustrations. Share class rules through interesting "characters" speaking on the bulletin board! The speech bubble option may help students learn to write in the first person narrative, or reveal the unspoken thoughts of a character from a book or point in time. Use BeFunky characters in a center for creative writing or as visual writing prompts for the entire class. Use the images for creating political posters for fictitious candidates and their platforms. Photograph a reenactment of scenes from a fairy tale or folktale. Transform these photos into illustrations for a wordless interactive online book using a tool such as on Bookemon reviewed here. Students participating in a social network for class such as a blog or wiki, will enjoy using Befunky to create entertaining profile pictures. Use 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. Many schools prohibit use of "social networking" sites. Check your school policies and/or obtain parent permission before allowing students to use social features. Spell out specific permissions and consequences. Of course you will also want written parent permission before submitting student work to this online gallery.
GradesK to 6
In the ClassroomKeep your students thinking about their favorite characters and stories by printing the many available games, puzzles and other activities. Take a break and project one of the many choices on your whiteboard to start a lesson. Include literature connections to some of these classics in your classroom computer center as you feature the same works in read-aloud time. You will find math, language arts, and other subject based activities all revolving around the books' adventures. They make great homework or independent assignments that will give you class time to meet with individual students. Be sure to provide this link on your class website for students to access both in the classroom and at home.
GradesK to 12
In the ClassroomUse to generate original artwork which can be shared with the class on a blog, wiki, or site. Use the designs to discuss aspects of art such as line color, balance, shape, texture, etc. Recreate drawings in class using media found in the classroom. Challenge students to create their own projects in cooperative learning groups. Have students operate this tool on an interactive whiteboard to demonstrate design principles in Art class. Make creative bulletin board displays or visual writing prompts, simply by asking "what is it?" or "what does it do?" next to your new designs. Decorate student-made greeting cards using images as part of an informal letter-writing activity.
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.