GradesK to 12
In the ClassroomShare one thought a week with your building's teaching staff or teachers you mentor for motivation throughout the school year. Share this site with classroom tutors when training them to work with students. New teachers or student teachers will also benefit from this clever compilation of tips. With older (or more advanced) students or psychology classes, have cooperative learning groups research one of the topics at this site and create a multimedia presentation. Challenge students to move past PowerPoint and create an online Prezi presentation (reviewed here) or another reviewed presentation tool from the TeachersFirst Edge to explain the topic.
Grades7 to 12
Be aware: at the time of this review, a few of the links were no longer active. What remains is quite worthwhile, however.
In the ClassroomBe sure to bookmark this website in your favorites for your study of Shakespeare. Post a link to it on your class page to give students access to the literary works at home. Not only will they be able to have an entire copy of Shakespeare's works on hand, they will also be able to click on links for summaries, analysis, and assistance with nearly everything they will need to know about his life and writing. This is a great resource for you and your students to refer to for review, research projects, or just for reading the text, both in and out of your classroom. Are you looking for more Shakespeare sources and ideas? Save yourself plenty of time by visting TeachersFirst Shakespeare Resources reviewed here, where you will find almost everything you are looking for within this rich collection of valuable materials.
Grades4 to 12
tag(s): search engines (65)
In the ClassroomShare on your projector or interactive whiteboard to give kids an overview--or explore yourself to learn all the options! This is a great resource for searching through different tools. Students could each take one of the sites for video and dissect it to look for things like intended audience, subject matter it's best for, and advantages and disadvantages of the site as a source. This is a great link to share on your class website for students (and parents) to use at home.
TV and Yearbook Classes: The links under "Copyright-friendly" would be a great starting point for a dialogue on what is fair or unfair to use, and would be a wealth of resources for students as they work to complete projects and pages. TV: The student video portion as a go-to for high-quality student-produced content is a must for any class in production. Have students share news from around the world posting on your class Wiki. Not familiar with wikis? Check out the TeachersFirst's Wiki Walk-Through. Have student groups "Advertise" different Google tools by doing a live demo on projector or interactive whiteboard for the class. Then use a poll such as Flisti, reviewed here, to find out which tool students vote as "most useful."
Grades2 to 12
In the ClassroomUsers must be able to copy/paste the link to the poll or know how to use embed codes if placing in a wiki, blog, or site. Since this service is free and does not require signup, use this site whenever a quick and easy poll is needed.
Be sure that students use the poll appropriately and that personal information is not given out in poll responses.
Use this site anywhere quick answers are needed. Have students create a poll about what they are interested in and allow time to analyze responses and report findings. Use this site to vote for correct answers in math class, project ideas for science or social studies, social issues in current events, and practically any other subject area. In an elementary math class, collect quick data to show how graphs can be used. Provide options for students to gain confidence in generating and analyzing statistics they have created. Make a quick parent poll to include on a class web site to keep the lines of communication open.
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.
GradesK to 12
In the ClassroomSpecial education teachers, school psychologists, and the Special Education department will appreciate being able to download these pdfs for handy references that can be shared with parents and teachers. You may want to distribute them as an attachment to the student's IEP in order to make that document more meaningful and understandable. Another valuable way to use this resource is to send the link and description of this site via email to the entire faculty to use as a means to become familiar with the expectations of students with disabilities included in regular education placements and as a checklist as to whether a referral for intervention or full blown multidisciplinary evaluation is warranted.
GradesK to 12
As an FYI, TeachersFirst/The Source for Learning is a partner in the Global Education Conference effort -- another free, non-profit effort to support teachers and students using technology effectively for THINKING and learning.
tag(s): cross cultural understanding (115)
In the ClassroomMark this one in your favorites to use for inspiration and connection as you plan upcoming units. You can join for free -- requires email. Just click "Sign up" in the upper right. Then tiptoe in or take a plunge. If you have been looking for ways to connect your classroom with others across the country or around the world, this is a great place to start. If you have never participated in a Ning, just click on the various headings to find your way around.
Grades4 to 12
In the ClassroomUse the handouts and resources as part of a schoolwide anti-cyberbullying campaign. Have a parent information night, and provide them with the Parent Information Handbook that can be found in the "Articles and Reports" section. Send articles home with your weekly newsletter to keep parents informed about the latest information on cyberbullying. Have students create anti-cyberbullying glogs using GlogsterEDU (reviewed here) or traditional paper posters.
Grades4 to 12
In the ClassroomThis site is a one stop shop for information on cyberbullying. Use the resources from this site to put together a parent information night on cyberbullying. Teachers, librarians and counselors can use the videos and present them at a staff meeting. Purchase copies of the book "Bullying Beyond the Schoolyard" and run a book club. Post the links to the resources for students on your website for students to access from home or during library time. Include this resource as part of a schoolwide anti-cyberbullying campaign, challenging students to make their own anti-cyberbullying posters, glogs, or songs.
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.
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.
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 (142)
In the ClassroomFind great project ideas from educators who have used Voicethread in the classroom. For example, in Math find great projects about measurement, probability, and problem solving. In Science, view stories about Astronomy. View projects about Ellis Island and the Reconstruction along with other Social Studies examples. Find great projects on these subjects as well as Language Arts, Foreign Language, Information Technology, Professional Development, and Performing Arts. Have a great project using Voicethread? Join the community and submit your as well.
GradesK to 12
In the ClassroomTwurdy is useful for all grades and subjects. Teachers can spend hours looking for age/grade appropriate websites to display on classroom whiteboards, include in webquests, and recommend for usage with assignments. Save valuable time by finding the information that is most appropriate for your students. This will mean that more time can be spent actually getting the assignment done, rather than clicking through material that is either too difficult or too simplistic to use. Bookmark this site in your favorites and provide the link on your class web page to save yourself and your students a lot of time finding what you are looking for. Remember that you can "organize" recommended sites for students using a tool such as LiveBinders (reviewed here, share them with readability tips using Diigo reviewed here, or even color code them by reading level for younger students using Symbaloo reviewed here.
GradesK to 12
tag(s): wikis (19)
In the ClassroomUsers must have a Google account or sign up for an account. View the controls in Google sites before creating to get an idea of usable features. Find great hints and tips about using Google sites here.
Click "Create a new site" to name your site and begin the process. Choose from a variety of templates and begin building your pages. Click "Edit" on your page to bring up the editing options. Use the buttons on the editor bar to change font sizes, color, etc. Click "Insert" to view a drop down menu of a variety of content that can be included on the page. Use the other tabs such as "Format," "Table," and "Layout" to change other aspects of the page. Be sure to click the "Save" button when finished editing a page. Create a new page within the site by clicking "Create a page." Choose from a variety of pages that have different formats suited for a web page, announcements page, file cabinet, or list. Be sure to select where the page will be found such as the top level menu or as a subpage under a different page in the site. Click on "More actions" to bring up other menu items such as "Manage Site," changing page settings, moving or deleting a page, and more. Share your site with others and invite users who can also make changes on the site.
Use a Google Site to create a simple web page for communication with students and their families at any grade level. In middle and high school, use student-created site(s) as a way for students to collaborate and share with many of the same features as a wiki.
Parent permission advised before posting student work created using this tool
Requires registration/log-in (WITH email)
Products can be shared by URL
Multiple users can collaborate on the same project
Includes teacher tools for registering and/or monitoring students
Very versatile for portfolios. Does take some work, not particularly well-documented.Frances, CT, Grades: 6 - 8
GradesK to 12
In the ClassroomIf using student created video, please check with district policy about sharing student work on the Internet. If using with students, be sure to discuss what is considered appropriate/inappropriate annotations to make on videos. These videos may not play in districts where You Tube videos are blocked. As EmbedPlus uses its own wrapper around the You Tube video, it may be viewable in your district depending upon the filter being used. Be sure to test this before using with students. Note: The "real time reactions" option pulls in and displays public comments when you click it. Use the "enhanced embed" wizard and be sure to click the checkbox that deactivates this feature. You may wish to monitor these for possible inappropriate content.
Use the controls to add annotations or student thoughts to sections of the videos. Students can make these comments on their own videos or on a different groups contribution. Use this just to add playback controls that allow for greater viewing of You Tube videos. Have students find a video (or assign one) and annotate it with curriculum related discussion, criticism, vocabulary, etc. Students can then embed this product in his/her blog or a class wiki or site. Consider creating a glog using GlogsterEDU, reviewed here. Make an annotated video with question prompts in annotations and embed in wiki or glog to share with your classes. Playback using the slow motion and zoom would be a great item to show on a whiteboard or projector.