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Five Sentences - Five Sentences

Grades
K to 12
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Use this exceedingly simple idea to manage your time handling email or to generate writing prompts that are meaningful in today's world. The site itself simply explains the rationale...more
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Use this exceedingly simple idea to manage your time handling email or to generate writing prompts that are meaningful in today's world. The site itself simply explains the rationale for limiting all email responses to five sentences, saving you time digging through the mailbox and increasing the likelihood that others will actually read your response.

tag(s): writing (364)

In the Classroom

Adopt 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!)

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Twitter - Twitter, Inc.

Grades
K to 12
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Twitter users enter information to share with their "followers" by creating 140 character "tweets," and "followers" see what they are thinking, favorite links, etc., all from the brief...more
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Twitter users enter information to share with their "followers" by creating 140 character "tweets," and "followers" see what they are thinking, favorite links, etc., all from the brief "tweet." Tweets are much more than messages to share what you are eating for lunch! Use this popular microblogging and social networking tool for a great way to communicate with teaching peers and real world people you may not have a chance to otherwise meet. Reply to others to create conversations for some of the best professional development around. Each "tweet" or message may not seem extraordinary, but using the sum total of tweets from those you "meet" on Twitter can have an amazing impact. Use your profile and settings to add a bio and other information, change your security settings from public to protected, find those who follow you, and more. Post your tweets through the website, mobile devices, or myriad of applications to manage tweets and followers. Keep track of your favorite tweets by starring them. Refer to your favorites list as needed. Wish you could take back a tweet? Click the trash can beside the post to delete (however, others may have already seen and responded.) Find many opinions about Twitter on and off the Internet. Remember you will gain only as much as you put into this service. Build a network of helpful colleagues to become a better learner (and educator). Anyone can learn from Twitter, even a class of elementary students! Still not sure what Twitter is about? Find a great explanation of how it works in this review.

tag(s): microblogging (45), social media (17), social networking (115)

In the Classroom

Bring 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.

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Digital Citizenship: Using Technology Appropriately - Mike Ribble

Grades
1 to 12
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This site contains all the information that educators and parents need to know about keeping kids safe online. There are resources, publications, and links to help teach children about...more
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This site contains all the information that educators and parents need to know about keeping kids safe online. There are resources, publications, and links to help teach children about digital citizenship. The site also breaks down digital citizenship into nine themes.

tag(s): internet safety (105), safety (91)

In the Classroom

Share this link on your class web page and/or in a parent newsletter to help parents learn about internet safety. Use the lessons that are found in the resources section with your students. The activities are cooperative and scenario based. Use the activities for adults to run a parent information night. Use the general internet safety presentation and present it to your staff or at back to school night. Have the students and parents both sign the family contract of digital safety.
 This resource requires PDF reader software like Adobe Acrobat.

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Writing Exemplars and Scoring Guides - Jen Farr

Grades
K to 12
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Writing Exemplars and Scoring Guides provides descriptions and links to authentic writing samples organized and evaluated by grade level, as well as scoring guides and rubrics....more
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Writing Exemplars and Scoring Guides provides descriptions and links to authentic writing samples organized and evaluated by grade level, as well as scoring guides and rubrics. Samples, also referred to as anchor papers, include narrative, informative, and creative writing. Although scoring guides and rubrics may vary between states and school districts, they share a similar criterion that incorporates the various traits of writing. This is one of the many useful pages from the Farroutlinks blog site, which continues to post new ideas on an ongoing basis.

tag(s): rubrics (33), writing (364)

In the Classroom

Save this site in your favorites and use it to select samples of students' writing that represent various performance levels. Use your classroom projector and interactive whiteboard to display some of the samples to show your students a solid idea of what is expected from them to write an outstanding paper. Pair this with one of the many scoring rubrics to choose from, including your state scoring guidelines. This will provide excellent preparation for all grade level state assessments, college entrance essays, SAT writing or just some of your own classroom writing assignments. Some of the more familiar links that you may access right from this page, such as Bakersfield Writing Prompts and Scoring Guides (reviewed here), and the 6+1 Writing Traits (reviewed here).
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Rubric Gallery - RCampus

Grades
K to 12
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This site contains links to many different sources for rubrics. You can search by grade level, subject, or type making it easier to find an appropriate rubric. ...more
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This site contains links to many different sources for rubrics. You can search by grade level, subject, or type making it easier to find an appropriate rubric.

tag(s): assessment (106)

In the Classroom

Use this site to search for rubrics for any type of assignment or classroom use. Material isn't limited to academic use, it also includes attendance, homework, and other types of rubrics.

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Common Core State Standards - Common Core State Standards Initiative Team

Grades
K to 12
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The Common Core State Standards Initiative is a nationwide effort led by the National Governor's Association and the Council of Chief State School Officers to establish a common set...more
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The Common Core State Standards Initiative is a nationwide effort led by the National Governor's Association and the Council of Chief State School Officers to establish a common set of educational standards which aligns benchmarks and expectations across state lines. This system builds on what states are already doing by providing an opportunity to share experiences, best practices, and lessons, while maintaining high expectations that insure the quality of education across America to enable our students to maintain a competitive edge in the global economy.

Visit this website to find out exactly what the national K-12 standards are for English language arts and literacy in history/social studies, science and technology, as well as mathematics, and to find out if your state is one many states (at the time of this review) that have already committed to adopt the Common Core State Standards. Watch videos and the recorded webinar, and read about the key points and rigorous curriculum standards, including the content and skills related to the use of media and technology for critical analysis and production.

tag(s): commoncore (97)

In the Classroom

Take a look at exemplars and sample performance tasks and students' writing to consider how you can integrate these ideas into your own planning to prepare students for the growing challenges of today's world. You can also sign up to receive updates via email. For more information about the Common Core and implementing it in your classes, see TeachersFirst's Common Core: The Fuss Over Non-Fiction, a Q/A article for elementary teachers, and TeachersFirst's resources tagged Common Core for many helpful sites.
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Wikimedia Commons - Wkimedia Foundation

Grades
K to 12
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Wikimedia Commons is a huge database of free media files (images, sound, and video clips) available in a wide range of languages. You can both access or contribute files. Using ...more
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Wikimedia Commons is a huge database of free media files (images, sound, and video clips) available in a wide range of languages. You can both access or contribute files. Using the same technology as Wikipedia, you can edit, upload, and embed media file projects into any Wikimedia project. Every media file comes with a description, name of the author and complete licensing details. Search for videos, images, or sound media by keyword, content categories, nature, science, or society. This is an amazing resource to use when searching for any multimedia content.

tag(s): creative commons (22)

In the Classroom

Address the needs of the visual learner and include media files as part of the research process. Wikipedia Commons offers a way for students to gain an understanding of content through images, sounds, and video. Give students the opportunity to communicate their knowledge by narrating a slideshow of images found on Wikipedia Commons or create multimedia presentations on a site such as Lucidpress, reviewed here. These free media files will also help ELL or ESL teachers explain concepts and key vocabulary. This site is a valuable resource for imagery useful when creating presentations, lectures, digital stories, reports or to include on a class websites. Students learning a foreign language may benefit from using Wikipedia Commons to learn about more about the culture and lifestyle of the country whose language they are studying.

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Kinder Site - Joel Josephson & Ziv Avidor

Grades
K to 6
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This international, award winning site provides a large collection of games, stories and songs for pre-school and kindergarten age children. They are beginning to extend similar services...more
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This international, award winning site provides a large collection of games, stories and songs for pre-school and kindergarten age children. They are beginning to extend similar services for children age seven to twelve. English Language learners may be able to access the site in their primary language as the site is available in seven languages. Some stories, songs, and games on the English speaking site are in Spanish. You can search for material by age, content, or by "educational," "playability," or "fun" value. Save appropriate activities on your "my page" for future use. There are some advertisements and a few video ads before interactive activities meant for older students. Ignore the advertising; the site content is worth it. Every link and site on Kindersite conforms to "Department of Children, Schools and Families" (UK) guidelines for safe sites for children.

Kindersite collaborates with outside institutions to develop educational projects that compile resources, generate new curriculum models, create training materials, and implement teacher-training seminars. Researchers can gather user data from Kindersite that represents varying population sizes, geographical groupings, and languages.

General Tips and Reminders: Some sites originate from the UK, so some of the pronunciations and spellings may differ from those in American English. There is some advertising on the right side of the page. Some links may direct students to sites that also contain advertising. Warn your students to avoid them.

tag(s): literacy (107)

In the Classroom

Invigorate shared reading with Kindersite's songs and stories. View the colorful illustration and text on an interactive whiteboard or projector. Some stories and songs highlight the tracking of words. Other sites provide character voices when you click the text in quotations. The animation will definitely engage everyone even those who wiggle on the carpet. Differentiate computer centers with the "my page" function. Save interactive tasks that target the instructional needs of students. Make a shortcut to the "my page" site collections on classroom computers and use it as a center. Be sure to take advantage of the professional resources Kindersites provides as well. Post a link to this site on your school website for parents to access at home.
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Quiznator - Quiznator

Grades
2 to 12
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Quiznator is a free, web-based worksheet, test, and any other type of learning document creator. Membership is free and is promised to always be free. You are able to access ...more
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Quiznator is a free, web-based worksheet, test, and any other type of learning document creator. Membership is free and is promised to always be free. You are able to access your creations online from anywhere! Email is required to join, however, verification is not required. Add your documents, test questions, and worksheets and let Quiznator organize and update them for you. This makes creating multiple version of the same exam quick and painless. This is a great way to back up files on the web for school!

tag(s): worksheets (61)

In the Classroom

Upload your test questions during the summer and feel free to add more as your school year progresses, but use this tool to save a bundle of time on test and quiz creation. Put your worksheet or activity sheet questions into the program and use the questions on quizzes.
 This resource requires PDF reader software like Adobe Acrobat.

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A New Way to Lecture - Michael Zimmer

Grades
4 to 12
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At this site you will find a slide show with at least fourteen different programs you can use instead of PowerPoint for your lectures. Are your PowerPoint lectures boring you ...more
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At this site you will find a slide show with at least fourteen different programs you can use instead of PowerPoint for your lectures. Are your PowerPoint lectures boring you and your students? Take a look at this online slide show, and choose one of fourteen different programs to convert just one of your PowerPoint lectures. Not only is each program explained, but many have suggestions for integrating your lectures with the program. Take a look. Learn about some great web 2.0 sites (Prezi, TypeWith.me, Animoto, ToonDoo, and many others). Note that many of the tools mentioned are also reviewed on TeachersFirst in greater detail if you want to learn more.

tag(s): chat (53), comics and cartoons (72), digital storytelling (156)

In the Classroom

Surprise your students and yourself with how effective any one of these programs can be with your material or THEIR presentations. Create a comic strip to replace a traditional grammar lesson. Use a class wiki to discuss and debate topics in history class. Once you see a tool that sounds interesting, read its full review on TeachersFirst to find even more ways to use it.
 

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Bingle.nu - bingle.nu

Grades
K to 12
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Use Bingle to search topics of interest and find results from both Bing and Google. Simply enter your search term. Narrow your search for shopping, images, news, videos, etc. ...more
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Use Bingle to search topics of interest and find results from both Bing and Google. Simply enter your search term. Narrow your search for shopping, images, news, videos, etc.

In the Classroom

Provide different search engines for students to use. Many students will obviously prefer one over the other and this is one more search engine that students can use. As an introduction to searching, provide a list of search engines and provide the task to rate each search engine and the results that are obtained. Discuss the top results as well as features of each search engine that make it user friendly, etc. Rate the top results to determine relevance to the search term as well as use in class.
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Web Resizer - webresizer.com

Grades
2 to 12
1 Favorites 1  Comments
 
This site is quick, easy, requires no registration, and FREE. Upload your image to this site in order to create a smaller file size for use on other sites and ...more
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This site is quick, easy, requires no registration, and FREE. Upload your image to this site in order to create a smaller file size for use on other sites and applications as well as adding effects such as corner rounding, rotating, tinting, changing contrast/brightness, or adding borders/edges. Upload an image up to 5 MB to alter easily with this site. Web resizer automatically reduces the file size to create an optimized image. Be sure to click "apply changes" once you have finished making selections. Click "start over" to remove previous changes. Download the image easily in a JPEG format.

tag(s): images (277)

In the Classroom

Provide the link to this site for students to use in altering and resizing images for use in presentations and online applications. Be sure students understand the file size needed for the various sites that are used in class (for example, wikispaces has a 20 MB file size limit.)
 
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Comments

Use this all the time. Easy to use and SO helpful. You can use online, don't have to download. Frances, CT, Grades: 6 - 8

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Signed Stories

Grades
K to 5
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The goal of Signed Stories is to increase the literacy of deaf children; however, it is a great resource for all children. After choosing a story, you will see the ...more
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The goal of Signed Stories is to increase the literacy of deaf children; however, it is a great resource for all children. After choosing a story, you will see the text, hear the story and see it in sign language. Almost 100 titles are available and can be searched by topic or by browsing all titles. Some stories offer more options than others. Many stories have pause and rewind buttons, so you can replay to see signs again.

In the Classroom

Use stories on the interactive whiteboard or projector to teach story elements - pause as the story is read to allow students to retell details to the stopping point then make predictions of what will happen next. Help students understand disabilities and adaptations to disabilities through watching the stories being told in sign language. This is also a great resource for students with deaf/hearing impaired parents or students/teachers trying to learn or practice sign language. In sign language classes, consider creating your own signed story videos for children's books and share them on a tool such as TeacherTube reviewed here.
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Curriki - Global Education and Learning Community

Grades
K to 12
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Curriki is a website that has been designed to help educators connect online - the name comes from "curriculum" and "wiki". Teachers can search and find resources and lesson plans ...more
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Curriki is a website that has been designed to help educators connect online - the name comes from "curriculum" and "wiki". Teachers can search and find resources and lesson plans in all subjects. In addition, educators can share their resources within the community. After becoming a member you can save favorite resources to your favorites page for easy access anywhere. Resources can be rated and reviewed to help narrow down search findings. Curriki also offers online communities that can be created and joined by its members.

tag(s): resources (112)

In the Classroom

Use Curriki as a resource to find materials to use in your classroom. Join communities of educators with common interests to share and find resources.

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Cyberbullying Help: Preventing Bullying in the Digital Age - CyberBullyHelp.com

Grades
3 to 12
1 Favorites 0  Comments
   
This site contains all of the information that educators and parents need to know about cyber bullying. It contains resources, publications, lessons and links to help teach students...more
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This site contains all of the information that educators and parents need to know about cyber bullying. It contains resources, publications, lessons and links to help teach students about cyber-bullying.

tag(s): bullying (50), internet safety (105), safety (91)

In the Classroom

Share this link on your class web page and/or in a parent newsletter to help parents learn about cyber bullying. Assign students Olivia's Letter lesson as a homework assignment. Using the ABC's of cyber bullying, have students work in cooperative groups and create their own cyber bullying ABC book using information from the site. Challenge students to create an online book using a tool such as Bookemon, reviewed here. Though the curriculum needs to be purchased, the site does include a scope and sequence for the cyber bullying curriculum. It is a great place to start if you are thinking of implementing a cyber-bullying curriculum. Use the downloadable PowerPoint slides for a parent information night. You can also listen to an interview with the books authors.
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Wired Safety - Parry Aftab, Esq

Grades
K to 12
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This site contains all of the information that educators and parents need to know about keeping kids safe online. It contains games, resources, publications and links to help teach...more
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This site contains all of the information that educators and parents need to know about keeping kids safe online. It contains games, resources, publications and links to help teach students about internet safety and cyber bullying. Click on the link for parents, tweens, kids, educators, or teens. The site challenges students to learn about the rules of cyber world and find their inner superhero. This site provides wonderful information to educators on a variety of "cyber" topics. For students to fully use this site, they must register (via snail mail). However, many of the informational links are available online with no registration required. Please note the link to their safe search engine was broken at the time of this review, but there were links to other safe search engines. In addition, the site of the week seems to be from 2005. Even so, there is a lot of useful information available at this site for students, teachers, and parents.

tag(s): bullying (50), internet safety (105), safety (91)

In the Classroom

Share this link on your class web page and/or in a parent newsletter to help parents learn about internet safety and cyber bullying. Educators use the site as a place to gather information to create a cyber-bullying curriculum. Have your students visit the kids or tweens section and have them read the articles written by real kids. After reading have your students choose a topic and write their own article. Have them publish the articles to a blog or use a Web 2.0 tool like Bookemon, reviewed here, to create an online book. Have students take the quiz to find out if they've ever been cyber bullied.
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Ad Out - adout.org

Grades
K to 12
2 Favorites 0  Comments
 
Make any web site advertising free using the cool tool. Tired of directing kids back to the web site they should be using due to accidental clicks on ads? ...more
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Make any web site advertising free using the cool tool. Tired of directing kids back to the web site they should be using due to accidental clicks on ads? Use this free resource to make the page you are using ad free. Paste the web url into the field on this site to view your site in an ad free manner. To share the adfree resource, simply copy the new web address that is now ad free to share with your students. Note that some websites may be blocked by adfree. Check on your school computers to see if adfree is blocked or whether district filters already block ads. Missing ads show up as blank spaces on the pages.
This site includes advertising.

tag(s): advertising (33)

In the Classroom

Use this resource to use sites without ads to keep students on track and not be distracted by information that is not content Be sure to share this link on your class website for families to use at home..
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Using Videoconferencing to Support the Use of Quality Texts - Mark Warner

Grades
3 to 12
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This site has some very clever ideas for using videoconferencing to help students delve deeper into quality texts, or extend their knowledge of a topic of study. As the creator ...more
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This site has some very clever ideas for using videoconferencing to help students delve deeper into quality texts, or extend their knowledge of a topic of study. As the creator of this site says, "Some of the ideas shown could easily be used as drama activities but there are some which would be improved by bringing in an outside helper using videoconference." Another very special aspect of this site is the book titles used, and the variety of age groups represented. This is a must see site!

tag(s): authors (121)

In the Classroom

One of the ideas presented is the "Interview." Use your interactive whiteboard for students to create questions to ask the author or an expert about the book or the subject of the book. Video the interview, or save the video conference, and have students reflect on the quality of the questions once the students have had the opportunity to illicit answers to their questions. Use your interactive whiteboard to have students brainstorm what they would do differently next time as far as developing good questions.
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Reading Strategies for All Ages - Jen Farr

Grades
K to 12
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This collection of reading strategies will make you feel like you just hit the jackpot for the best ways to teach reading strategies that are sometimes difficult to explain or ...more
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This collection of reading strategies will make you feel like you just hit the jackpot for the best ways to teach reading strategies that are sometimes difficult to explain or for students to grasp and apply. This site is full of activities directly linked to printable guidelines and worksheets. Better yet, there are Power Point Presentations and Videos in ready-to-show formats all organized, described, and available from the home page. You will find a wide variety suitable from elementary to secondary, earmarked by grade levels, as well as ideas for how and when to use them effectively. Whether you are searching for a fresh approach to the tried and true, such as brainstorming or think aloud strategies, or for more innovative approaches, such as interactive notebooks or sociograms, you will be delighted with this discovery.

tag(s): brain (71), brainstorming (25), reading strategies (47)

In the Classroom

Save this site in your favorites on your class computer or TeachersFirst membership. Open the doors to engage students in the active reading process to enhance levels of comprehension between the text and the reader. The flexible framework lets you choose to use any of the strategies as a stand-alone, ready-to-present on the interactive whiteboard, or as a lesson for whole class viewing. Many familiar literary works are used as examples, or you may easily apply the strategy to any literary work that your class is currently reading. Videos and Power Points for modeling and practicing the strategies are embedded, so all you have to do is click to start and let them work their magic. Follow up by downloading the printable study guides, graphic organizers, and other handouts to use before, during, and after reading.
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Creative Commons Search - Creative Common

Grades
4 to 12
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Find digital images that are available for use without violating copyright. This search tool finds images licensed for use under Creative Commons licensing. While most major search...more
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Find digital images that are available for use without violating copyright. This search tool finds images licensed for use under Creative Commons licensing. While most major search engines have advanced features the allow you to filter out content by copyright privileges, the CC search website makes is easy and convenient. Be sure to READ the information about verifying licensing. The results are somewhat cluttered but provide extensive options that can be legally (and ethically) used in wikis, blogs, reports, and more, as long as you provide the attribution information. What a fabulous tool for students to use for interactive or traditional projects!

tag(s): air (163), copyright (49)

In the Classroom

Teaching students to understand and respect copyright of digital information can be difficult and overwhelming. The first step in helping students understand digital copyright is to get them to explore the terms of use and copyright of a variety of information. Create a scavenger hunt for students to find the terms of service and/or copyright for common websites. Once they realize that not all information is "free" for them to use, introduce the Creative Commons website and the symbols that are used to describe how the content is licensed by the owner. Use an interactive whiteboard or projector to demonstrate searching using the CC search site. Perform searches that yield results that show several different types of licenses. Discuss each type using scenarios of how the information can and cannot be used. As an extension activity for this site, students can create their own work and publish the work using a creative commons license. The work can be as simple as using a digital picture or as complex as creating their own derivative artwork, such as a collage or "photoshopped" image. It can be published on a commercial site such as flickr or on your school webpage. Make sure to follow any school guidelines before publishing student work. Perhaps you can create a class wiki of annotated creative images created by students with explanations of where they found the "parts" and how they created the original works from these parts. What a wonderful model to share with future students, as well. Teachers will also appreciate being able to find images you can freely use on class web pages and in online project samples, etc. (with attribution).

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