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The Differentiator - Ian Byrd

Grades
K to 12
4 Favorites 0  Comments
Differentiating activities for all learners has become easier with this tool. Use this free Bloom's Taxonomy tool, created by an educator, to develop great objectives for differentiated...more
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Differentiating activities for all learners has become easier with this tool. Use this free Bloom's Taxonomy tool, created by an educator, to develop great objectives for differentiated instruction. Move through developing your goal on this site by choosing a level of Bloom's Taxonomy and a thinking skill. Then move on to your content, resources, finished product expected, and what kind of grouping you want. These are all tabs at the top of the page. Watch the sentence at the top of the screen change as you create your objective.

tag(s): blooms taxonomy (9), critical thinking (110), differentiation (49), newbies (18)

In the Classroom

As an example, use a verb from Bloom' taxonomy such as "evaluate." Click on the part of the sentence at the top, in parenthesis, to enter your content such as "patterns of environmental issues." Choose the resource you want students to use, the product you want them to make, and the number of students in a group by clicking on the tabs. Example objective: Students will evaluate the patterns of environmental issues using websites to create a news report in groups of two. Save your objective by copying and pasting it into any document or online tool. The Differentiator will give you many project ideas that you may not have thought of yourself, and serves as a welcome reminder of different activities and expectations you can use in your classroom. Take a look at this site at the beginning of the school year or when creating a new unit (or project). Find new ways to differentiate for your gifted students using this creative and powerful tool. If your gifted students test out of your current math lessons, use this site to find new material to challenge their minds. This site is deceptively quick and simple, but it could be very useful when writing detailed, powerful lesson plans.

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Free Music Archive - WFMU

Grades
5 to 12
1 Favorites 0  Comments
 
This site provides a clearing house for legal, copyright-safe, free music available for download and podcast use. Students looking for pod-safe audio, music remixes, and background...more
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This site provides a clearing house for legal, copyright-safe, free music available for download and podcast use. Students looking for pod-safe audio, music remixes, and background music will be relieved to find this marvelous library of recordings. Students or teachers do not need to join to listen and/or download the MP3 files, but they can join if they'd like to submit their own legal files. We recommend that teachers be the only ones to upload music (with parent permission if you are sharing music performed or written by students). Students who have serious musical ambitions and repertoire may want to join at home.

NOTE: Music on this site is submitted by the general musical public and may include lyrics inappropriate for school. The "Hip Hop" genre includes some inappropriate offerings, so teachers will want to decide the best way to handle use of this site by students. Each genre has its own URL, so it is possible to make only certain areas available. The "classical," "jazz" and other instrumental areas are safer. Depending on the maturity and trustworthiness of students, teachers may want to directly supervise use of this site.

Listeners can find their favorite music by browsing through the many genre categories or trying some of the daily featured artists.Besides music files, there are artist and album profiles, and listeners can star favorites.

tag(s): air (163)

In the Classroom

Students 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. If your students are mature enough, share the link to this site via your class web page (with a disclaimer about possibly inappropriate lyrics). Music teachers with talented composer/performer students may want to share the site as a potential place for students to share their work (with parent permission).

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H1N1 Flu (Swine Flu): General Information - Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

Grades
K to 12
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This site, created by the CDC, offers general information about the H1N1 Flu (Swine Flu). Learn what to do if you get flu-like symptoms, how to take care of a ...more
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This site, created by the CDC, offers general information about the H1N1 Flu (Swine Flu). Learn what to do if you get flu-like symptoms, how to take care of a sick person in your home, facemask and respirator use, and more. This site also includes audio and video resources.

tag(s): h1n1 (13)

In the Classroom

Provide this link on your class website for students and parents to access to learn more about the Swine Flu. Have cooperative learning groups investigate one of the articles/topics presented at this site and create a multimedia project to share with the class. How about creating a class wiki to discuss the groups' findings? Not comfortable with wikis? Have no wiki worries - check out the TeachersFirst's Wiki Walk-Through.
 This resource requires Adobe Flash.

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2009 H1N1 Flu: The Next Pandemic - PBS

Grades
10 to 12
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This lesson plan, created especially for students in grades 10-12, offers background information, activities, and critical analysis of the H1N1 Flu. Learn more about the flu, causes...more
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This lesson plan, created especially for students in grades 10-12, offers background information, activities, and critical analysis of the H1N1 Flu. Learn more about the flu, causes of the flu, participate in a class simulation, learn about vaccines, and much more. National standards are provided.

tag(s): h1n1 (13)

In the Classroom

Divide your class into cooperative learning groups and delve into this lesson plan! Have groups read and review the handouts together. Challenge groups to create a multimedia presentation to share with the class. Provide some choices to share what they learned: an interactive map, online book, or even a group wiki. For interactive maps (showing WHERE H1N1 has hit) have students use a mapping tool such as Mapskip (reviewed here). This tool allows you to add audio stories and pictures. Use Bookemon, reviewed here, for online stories. Not comfortable with wikis? Have no wiki worries - check out the TeachersFirst's Wiki Walk-Through.
 This resource requires PDF reader software like Adobe Acrobat.

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H1N1 (Swine) Flu: What you need to know - The United Federation of Teachers

Grades
K to 12
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This site offers "what you need to know" about the swine flu, specifically for schools. Topics include General Information, School Closure, What to do in your School, and Additional...more
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This site offers "what you need to know" about the swine flu, specifically for schools. Topics include General Information, School Closure, What to do in your School, and Additional Information. Each topic has several "sub-topics." This resource provides a TON of information and is frequently updated.

tag(s): h1n1 (13)

In the Classroom

If your students are learning about the swine flu, use this site to answer their many questions. Or better yet, have students work with a partner and research this site together. Have the groups create multimedia presentations. How about having students create a concept map organizing the various information using a tool such as bubbl.us (reviewed here).

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H1N1 Flu (Swine Flu): Resources for Child Care Programs, Schools, Colleges, and Universities - Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

Grades
K to 12
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Take a look at this site, complete with resources for schools. Some of the articles (at the time of this review) included "Preparing for Flu: A Communication Toolkit for Schools ...more
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Take a look at this site, complete with resources for schools. Some of the articles (at the time of this review) included "Preparing for Flu: A Communication Toolkit for Schools (K-12)," "Guidance for State and Local Health Officials and School Administrators for School Responses to Flu during 2009-2010 School Year," "Infections Alert for Institutions of Higher Education," and a few others. The articles are frequently updated, so be sure to check back often!

tag(s): h1n1 (13)

In the Classroom

Use this site to find guidance on how to handle flu season. This is a great site to list on your school website.

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Pixenate - Sxoop Technologies

Grades
2 to 12
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Use Pixenate for quick online photo editing. This free resource requires no registration as there is no image storage, only editing for saving elsewhere. Upload pictures from your computer...more
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Use Pixenate for quick online photo editing. This free resource requires no registration as there is no image storage, only editing for saving elsewhere. Upload pictures from your computer or enter the web address from somewhere on the Internet. Pixenate cautions users to follow copyright when editing web pictures. Once uploaded, use simple tools to edit the picture such as: undo, select, zoom, crop, resize, flip, rotate, color balance and tools, smooth, brighten, straighten horizon, remove red eye, brighten teeth, or draw lines and shapes. Choose more entertaining effects such as lomo effects, lens filters, adding clip art, creating heart shaped photos, and other effects. Edited pictures can be uploaded to flickr or saved to disk.

Be aware: students should be cautioned that the site sells services to make the photo into a gift (obviously, for a fee!). Other ads may appear on the page, as well.

tag(s): editing (66)

In the Classroom

Many times, pictures taken in the classroom need to be edited in some way, and this online photo editor provides many of the options needed plus a few fun effects. Since no registration is required, students can upload a picture, create effects, and save again on their computer. Advise students to use pictures that they have permission to alter. Using their own photos is one way to ensure this. Be sure to check your school's acceptable use policy. Students should be aware of how to upload and then find their creation. Use this service any time pictures are used for classroom projects, lessons, or activities.

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Find a Book - lexile.com

Grades
1 to 12
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This site allows teachers and students to go through four simple steps to find a book that has a lexile rating. The steps include entering a lexile range (if unknown: ...more
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This site allows teachers and students to go through four simple steps to find a book that has a lexile rating. The steps include entering a lexile range (if unknown: enter grade level and ease of reading), interests (similar to a keyword search), search of all items that come up, and list-making.

One disadvantage of the site is that you can only enter a keyword when you get to the third step. After a book list based on interests appears, then you can search by keyword to make the search zero in on specifics. When teachers or students select books for a reading list, they can then click to see the complete list of books they have selected. Clicking on a book title leads to another screen, but it does not contain a book summary; instead, it has a list of other keywords for the book along with other book data.

tag(s): book lists (132), independent reading (130)

In the Classroom

This site is great for teachers searching for books at specific lexile levels. Learning support and ESL/ELL teachers can find books to accompany units in content area classes but on the correct lexile level. Students can also use the site by entering their grade levels and what kind of readers they are. Use this site to differentiate the learning experience for all levels of students. Rather than having students complete traditional book reports, why not have them complete a multimedia project? Provide some choices such as a podcast, using PodoMatic (reviewed here), interactive venn diagram comparing characters (reviewed here), or online book using Bookemon (reviewed here).

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Bookshare: Books without Barriers - Bookshare

Grades
2 to 12
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This site allows FREE access to a number of books, newspapers, and magazines, all using adaptive technology. After a free registration (available to participants with documented limited...more
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This site allows FREE access to a number of books, newspapers, and magazines, all using adaptive technology. After a free registration (available to participants with documented limited vision), members can download books, textbooks, and newspapers in a compressed, encrypted file. They then read the material using adaptive technology, typically software that reads the book aloud (text-to-speech) and/or displays the text of the book on a computer screen, or Braille access devices, such as refreshable Braille displays. The advantage to this site is that it offers newer books and other written materials than many other online digital libraries. Besides written items, a number of videos are available which assist or focus on typical Bookshare users, many featuring them as success stories. A special page of information for teachers with limited vision students includes information such as other resources, reading lists, and handouts.

tag(s): air (163), disabilities (20), vision (86)

In the Classroom

If you have students with limited vision or certain specific qualifying learning disabilities in your class, be sure to save this useful resource in your favorites. List this link on your class website or wiki or email it to parents of these children. If possible, share this site with those teachers working with students with limited vision and qualifying disabilities.
 This resource requires Adobe Flash.

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Supalogo - Supalogo

Grades
3 to 12
2 Favorites 0  Comments
Need to create a quick logo? This logo generator is fast, easy, and free to use. No registration is required. Enter your text and click "options" to customize your logo. ...more
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Need to create a quick logo? This logo generator is fast, easy, and free to use. No registration is required. Enter your text and click "options" to customize your logo. Options include a list of fonts, two gradient colors, and one outline color, and text sizes. View your logo before downloading as a png image or generating an embed code. You will need to know how to navigate finding images saved on a computer or using embed codes with various sites or blogs. Here is an example created by the TeachersFirst editorial team:

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In the Classroom

Students can create custom logos for class blogs or site. Logos can also be created for use with multimedia projects and presentations. Have groups design logos for their project or for your class, then use them throughout the year to promote pride of ownership in class projects and accomplishments. During the first week of school, have students design "personal" logos that tell about themselves and include them on your class web page. Demonstrate this site on your interactive whiteboard or projector. Then have students try out the site on their own.
 This resource requires Adobe Flash.

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Color Scheme Designer - Petr Stanicek

Grades
2 to 12
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Need help determining colors for a project, website, blog, bulletin board, or (if fashion challenged like me) today's outfit? Use this great site to determine colors that look great...more
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Need help determining colors for a project, website, blog, bulletin board, or (if fashion challenged like me) today's outfit? Use this great site to determine colors that look great together for your next project. Point and click on the portion of the color wheel to pick a central hue of your choosing. Decide among the following choices: monochromatic, complementary, triad, tetrad, among others to choose a selection of colors. View examples of your choice as it would appear on a web page. Use the RGB values for entering into the color number for your web page. RGB values are six characters (numbers and letters) following a # sign. Save your scheme ID number for future reference.

tag(s): colors (80)

In the Classroom

Art teachers can teach basic design and color wheel principles using this tool on an interactive whiteboard or have students experiment with different color schemes to demonstrate their understanding of color concepts. Be aware that some monitors and projectors may not have the color responsiveness that other hardware has, making it more difficult to "see" the subtleties on this site. Use this tool for creation of coordinated website, wiki, or blog pages. Students will find an unlimited number of color schemes to choose from in the creation of their projects. Not sure what a "wiki" is? Have no wiki worries - check out the TeachersFirst's Wiki Walk-Through.

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The Fun Works - Educational Development Services, Inc.

Grades
6 to 12
0 Favorites 1  Comments
 
Learn about careers that YOU might like. Answer the quiz to uncover possible interests for future careers. You can choose categories such as Music or Sports to view possible careers...more
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Learn about careers that YOU might like. Answer the quiz to uncover possible interests for future careers. You can choose categories such as Music or Sports to view possible careers that many you might not think about. Click on Teachers and Instructors to view Lesson Plans and other activities, Resources, or Career Counseling.

tag(s): careers (133), design (82), sports (97)

In the Classroom

Introduce this site on your interactive whiteboard or projector. Have students explore this site independently. Many students are not aware of careers associated with Math, art, music, technology, and Science. Create a greater awareness through use of the quiz and lesson plans/activities. Interest in careers may create a spark of interest in topics by your students.
  This resource requires Adobe Flash and PDF reader software like Adobe Acrobat.

Comments

What a neat and helpful site! Lee, , Grades: 0 - 12

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Tales from the Public Domain: Bound By Law - Center for the Study of the Public Domain (Duke Law)

Grades
9 to 12
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An online, interactive graphic novel(formerly known as comic book) created at Duke Law explains the highly-sophisticated concepts of "public domain" and other intellectual property...more
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An online, interactive graphic novel(formerly known as comic book) created at Duke Law explains the highly-sophisticated concepts of "public domain" and other intellectual property issues related to using film clips, artwork, Broadway shows, and more in a documentary. In the digital world of the 21st century, copyright is a concept most foreign to our students, and this interactive book may only fan the flames of their outrage at such limitations to the "rights" they perceive in today's connected world. As one panel in the book itself says, "To many artists, the question of 'Fair Use' can seem like a game of blind man's bluff." These concepts are very challenging, even to adults, but this interactive comic book can at least alert users to what some of the legal issues involved with intellectual property may be. This site requires Flash. You can get it from the TeachersFirst Toolbox page.

tag(s): air (163), copyright (49), media literacy (58)

In the Classroom

Since this content requires concentration and understanding of concepts beyond the typical high schooler, you may want to share selected frames from the book on your interactive whiteboard or projector as discussion starters or inspiration for debate on copyright issues. Whether you are introducing a research project that requires adherence to Fair Use and proper documentation, are coaching a debate team, or prompting a piece of persuasive writing on this hot topic, this resource will provide fodder for discussion. Don't expect mastery of the legal concept, but you will certainly hear opinions as students navigate this "book."
 This resource requires Adobe Flash.

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Cobocards - Cobocards

Grades
K to 12
2 Favorites 0  Comments
   
This site allows you to create flashcards, and includes sharing and group capabilities. Many teachers will be able to navigate this free site very easily. Enter vocabulary terms and...more
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This site allows you to create flashcards, and includes sharing and group capabilities. Many teachers will be able to navigate this free site very easily. Enter vocabulary terms and definitions as well as any html (web page language), such as images and charts to create electronic flashcards and quizzes for word study to use in language or other content areas. Create individual sets of flashcards, or invite others to interact and learn the same words. Teacher or students can create groups to share word lists. As with other collaborative tools, the revision history is easily accessible.

tag(s): flash cards (47), grammar review (38), word study (79)

In the Classroom

Sharing with friends for collaboration does require the sending of an email invitation.

Explore the guided tour to learn an overview or find answers to specific use questions. Save your "sets" and decide whether you want them to be completely public, just for you personally, or shared with a "group." Create your own groups for each class or subject. Publish your cards for others to use. Published sets can be altered to create a new and personalized set.

Teachers in lower grades will want to create cards their students can use and perhaps have more techno-savvy help with the process. Content and English teachers may choose to set up their own network of users. Learning support teachers could suggest that their students create their own flashcard sets to assist learning of the concepts. Use the interactive whiteboard or projector for quick flashcard or electronic testing using your sets as a whole class or in small groups in the classroom. Collaborate with other teachers to create useful sets for all to use. Rotate responsibility each marking period among student groups in your class to create a set for each chapter/unit/week for the rest of the class to use as review. Give a special award (or bonus points) for the most creative, complete set that marking period.

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Diffen - Diffen

Grades
2 to 12
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Do you sometimes just want to compare two things and not need a lengthy explanation of either? Diffen offers the simple goal of entering two terms and instantly receiving the ...more
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Do you sometimes just want to compare two things and not need a lengthy explanation of either? Diffen offers the simple goal of entering two terms and instantly receiving the similarities and differences in a table format. View simple definitions under the information table. Need more information? Wikipedia style entries of information area also available on the page. There is a Top 5 list. At the time of this review, the Top 5 included "Gross vs. Net," "Affected vs. Effected," "Meiosis vs. Mitosis," "DNA vs. RNA," and "Fruit vs. Vegetable. While not ALL topics are included, the variety is impressive. You can add your own comparison of terms to the list. You may want to discuss with your class the fact that the information here is only as reliable as the people who submitted it, and ask them whether they agree with the comparisons you find here. NOTE: If you explore some of the ready-mades or requested topics, there are some topics "compared" that are not school oriented, such as comparisons of popular television characters. Preview before turning students loose or simply direct them to a specific "diffen."

tag(s): vocabulary (325)

In the Classroom

The options are endless. Search the differences between two types of soils, mitosis and meiosis, presidents or those running for office, of geometric figures, artists or musicians, places to visit. As a way to build higher order thinking skills, this site is ideal, since comparison of attributes requires analysis.

Try creating some lists of your own as a class after using the ready-made ones here. This activity would be easy to do on an interactive whiteboard, with students hand writing the characteristics and dragging them into Similarities and Differences columns before entering them into Diffen. This site could be used in nearly every subject area. Share this site on your class blog or website, for students to access both in and out of the classroom. This is definitely one to save in your favorites.

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Swine Flu: What you Need to Know - Nemours

Grades
K to 12
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Nemours' balanced approach makes this explanation of swine flu very helpful for parents, teachers, and kids alike. Not only does the article share the basic facts and simple strategies...more
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Nemours' balanced approach makes this explanation of swine flu very helpful for parents, teachers, and kids alike. Not only does the article share the basic facts and simple strategies fo staying healthy. Included are links to related articles for kids and for teens. In the lower area of the page (just below the clickable page numbers), look for "More on this topic" and click on the tab "For Kids" or "For Teens." The common-sense approach will help prevent spread of the disease and reassure frightened students in terms they can understand.

In the Classroom

Share this resource with your building principal and with parents to help control any panic about a possible pandemic.

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Brain Breaks - Dave Sladkey

Grades
4 to 12
5 Favorites 0  Comments
  
Here is a useful blog created by a high school teacher who saw the value of "Brain Breaks" in his own classroom. Many of the activities could be used with ...more
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Here is a useful blog created by a high school teacher who saw the value of "Brain Breaks" in his own classroom. Many of the activities could be used with older elementary and middle school students. The blog contains postings from several teachers. Each posting consists of a write-up of the activity as well as a video of the actual activity. The link provides practical uses and allows you to add your own as well. Breaks are archived so you can look at previous months. You can also download them. There are some great "breaks" at this site. The site does require Flash. You can get it from the TeachersFirst Toolbox page.

tag(s): back to school (58)

In the Classroom

"Brain Breaks" is an Learning Focused Schools ™ buzzword, but we all know students sometimes just need a 5-minute break with a built-in way to refocus at the end. Brain Breaks can be especially helpful when teaching on block schedule with longer classes. Here are some ideas to do that. Share one of the examples on your interactive whiteboard or projector. Take a 5-minute "brain break" and have cooperative learning groups brainstorm additional "brain break" ideas to use within your classroom.
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Educators' Top 100 Children's Books - NEA

Grades
K to 12
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As a result of a teacher survey in 2007, NEA has compiled this list of 100 Best Books for Children from an online survey The list is unfortunately not labeled, ...more
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As a result of a teacher survey in 2007, NEA has compiled this list of 100 Best Books for Children from an online survey The list is unfortunately not labeled, as the 1999 listing from NEA was, with age/grade ranges. You will find many classics as well as some newer entries onto the shelves.

In the Classroom

Share this list with parents via handout or a link from your teacher web page or use it to help make selections for you classroom library. If you provide independent reading incentives, be sure to make this list available to your students as they make book choices. Perhaps you would like to let them "review" books from the list on a class reading wiki or include student mini-reviews on your teacher web page. Or print the list out in a large font and cut strips for books appropriate for your class in general. Allow any student who reads and reviews one of the books to sign the strip and hang it, along with a review, on an "Our Reading Accomplishments" bulletin board.

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Video: Twitter in Plain English - Common Craft

Grades
5 to 12
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Are you "twying" to understand the "tweet" world of Twitter. Watch this short (less than 3-minutes) video about the "Twerrific" world of Twitter. This social networking site asks the...more
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Are you "twying" to understand the "tweet" world of Twitter. Watch this short (less than 3-minutes) video about the "Twerrific" world of Twitter. This social networking site asks the question, "What are you doing?". This site shares how to use Twitter to stay connected. Despite a paid membership model, Common Craft still offers this video for free, but it does have a watermark saying, "For evaluation only." If you wish to share this with a group, they will need to view it on individual/partner computers (or IOS devices) or on a projector that has a zoom function to enlarge a selected area of the screen.
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tag(s): chat (53), social networking (115), twitter (51)

In the Classroom

This is a great site for professional development and further understanding of the current microblogging "twend": Twitter. Share this site on your interactive whiteboard or projector. Use Twitter in the Classroom (with parental permission). Have students create writing prompts and share them on Twitter. Have your government students follow the "Twitter News" of politicians they can find on Twitter. Have students in science class follow the Twitter Feeds like Science News. Challenge students to create their own virtual collective Twitter scavenger hunt. The possibilities are endless! You can also use Twitter as a springboard for discussions about the changes in the political landscape and society with the advent of social networking tools. Ask them: are there any negatives or cautions to sharing your life on Twitter?
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Video: RSS in Plain English - Common Craft

Grades
K to 12
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Wondering what an "RSS" is? Or maybe why you would want to use this time saver/ real world connection in your classroom? This short video (less than 4-minutes), shares ...more
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Wondering what an "RSS" is? Or maybe why you would want to use this time saver/ real world connection in your classroom? This short video (less than 4-minutes), shares WHAT an RSS is and HOW it saves you time by having your desired web content ready for you instead of your going and searching your favorite blogs and websites on YOUR time. Choose a reader (our editors like Google reader), set-up a connection between your reader and your favorite websites (subscribing; look for the orange RSS icon), and have the updates sent to your reader (rather than wasting your poking around and searching the web). Despite a paid membership model, Common Craft still offers this video for free, but it does have a watermark saying, "For evaluation only." If you wish to share this with a group, they will need to view it on individual/partner computers (or IOS devices) or on a projector that has a zoom function to enlarge a selected area of the screen.
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tag(s): time (141), video (272)

In the Classroom

This is a great site for professional development. Once you set up a reader, you can subscribe to topics that fit in your curriculum: Google blog searches for inventions for your science class or current events feeds about the continent you are studying in social studies, for example. Administrators might consider sharing this time-saver with teachers during a training. With middle school students and older, share this video on an interactive whiteboard or projector (don't be surprised if they teach you MORE about the RSS options). Then have students set up a reader on an assigned topic to fit your curriculum or collaborate to set up a reader for the entire class.
 
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