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Ideas and Resources for Substitutes - TeachersFirst

Grades
K to 12
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This collection of ideas and resources is selected to help both substitute teachers and regular teachers leaving instructions for a substitute. ...more
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This collection of ideas and resources is selected to help both substitute teachers and regular teachers leaving instructions for a substitute.

tag(s): substitutes (21)

In the Classroom

Mark this in your Favorites for your own use and for any substitutes who may help out in your absence.

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State Departments of Education - TeachersFirst

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K to 12
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Find handy links to all the state departments of education (and the District of Columbia) across the U.S. ...more
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Find handy links to all the state departments of education (and the District of Columbia) across the U.S.

In the Classroom

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State Education Standards - TeachersFirst

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K to 12
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Find handy links to all the state and major professional group standards for education in the U.S. and other informative sites about the Standards process, including the Common Core...more
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Find handy links to all the state and major professional group standards for education in the U.S. and other informative sites about the Standards process, including the Common Core standards.

tag(s): commoncore (94)

In the Classroom

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Professional Organizations involved in Education - TeachersFirst

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K to 12
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Find handy links to all the major professional organizations involved with education in the U.S. ...more
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Find handy links to all the major professional organizations involved with education in the U.S.

In the Classroom

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Online-Calculator - Online-calculator.com

Grades
K to 12
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This free, fast loading, online calculator can be viewed full screen and operated by your mouse or keyboard. Various types are available from the most basic one to the scientific ...more
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This free, fast loading, online calculator can be viewed full screen and operated by your mouse or keyboard. Various types are available from the most basic one to the scientific or BMI calculator. There is also a stopwatch tool available. If you speak a language other than English, simply click to change to the language of your choice - it's that easy.

Be aware: this site does include advertisements.

tag(s): latin (22)

In the Classroom

There are many uses for this practical online tool, beyond the obvious ones for math class. Bookmark this site on your own computer for projection on an interactive whiteboard and make the link available on your class web page for students to access from individual computers. You can shrink the calculator window in the corner of your interactive whiteboard to use as needed. Use this tool in social studies class for quickly calculating years or months from important timelines or when figuring out geographical distances. In English or L.A. classes, quickly figure out the life span of authors or how long ago a story took place. In health or science classes, use the BMI calculator or get other accurate measurements. The stopwatch tool can be useful for any in-class, timed assignment.
 This resource requires Adobe Flash.

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English Online - New Zealand Ministry of Education

Grades
K to 12
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English Online is a premier resource for all elementary and secondary teachers of English. It includes what students need to know, what teachers need to know, and even a section ...more
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English Online is a premier resource for all elementary and secondary teachers of English. It includes what students need to know, what teachers need to know, and even a section on how our teaching impacts learning. This site was created and is based and maintained by the New Zealand Ministry of Education; however its uses are internationally sound and practical. Whether you are searching for language and literature resources, teacher exchange of ideas, assessment tools and processes, strategies, or sequential units and models, you will find all of the offerings to be plentiful. The website is also available in various language dialects of New Zealand.

In the Classroom

Bookmark this site in your favorites for when you are planning objectives and learning activities, searching for materials, or looking for fresh, reliable ideas. No matter where you are on the career ladder, this site provides a storehouse of quality digital content from early childhood through senior year and beyond, which you can embed and blend into your existing program, use to support learning across the curriculum, download, print, project on your interactive whiteboard or projector, or have students use individually or collaboratively on individual computers.
  This resource requires Adobe Flash and PDF reader software like Adobe Acrobat.

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Jigsaw Classroom - Elliot Aronson

Grades
2 to 12
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Click on 10 Easy Steps to find out how to implement this tried and true technique for cooperative learning in a classroom studying any subject. Basically, teachers divide classrooms...more
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Click on 10 Easy Steps to find out how to implement this tried and true technique for cooperative learning in a classroom studying any subject. Basically, teachers divide classrooms into groups of 5 or 6 students and appoint one as the leader to direct and report on the group's activities. Teachers divide the day's learning into as many groups as there are in their classrooms. Students read their parts. Groups may exchange expert learners to report on what is going on in other groups. Back in the original groups, each group reports on its part and students have some type of evaluative activity, like a quiz or other summary activity.

In the Classroom

Have the students prepare a quick online presentation of their findings, results, summaries etc. Have each student or each group prepare one or two quiz questions to share with the entire class. Be sure help your weaker readers and ESL students by sharing the vocabulary words prior to reading, either on a handout or by projecting on an interactive whiteboard (or projector) and highlighting them in the text as you come to them. Balance your group selection by ensuring each group has strong and weaker students, girls and boys, students from different ethnic groups or nationalities, etc. Use this activity also as a way to review before tests. Have students present their findings in a multimedia presentation. Why not have students create an online book using a tool such as Bookemon, reviewed here.

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Edupic Graphical Resource - William Vann

Grades
K to 12
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This large variety of drawings and photographs is a great resource for K-12 students and teachers. Either choose from drawings or photographs related to science, social studies, math,...more
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This large variety of drawings and photographs is a great resource for K-12 students and teachers. Either choose from drawings or photographs related to science, social studies, math, and language arts. These images will support classroom instruction, presentations, multimedia projects, websites, or reports. Useful tags will help you search for images. Educational use of Edpic images is free of charge.

tag(s): animals (276), digital storytelling (144)

In the Classroom

Create classroom lessons that are interactive and visual. The images on Edupic are useful for creating interactive whiteboard lessons such as sequencing the life cycle of a frog, labeling the phases of cell mitosis, or adding the dots on a the back of a ladybug. Visual representations will help ELL or ESL teachers explain concepts and key vocabulary. Use imagery to enhance multimedia posters on Glogster EDU, reviewed here, create digital stories, or bring a PowerPoint presentation to life.

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Skype for educators - Marie Rush

Grades
K to 12
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Excited about Skype and looking for others to connect with? Find a list of educators who are looking for others to connect with. Add your name to this list as ...more
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Excited about Skype and looking for others to connect with? Find a list of educators who are looking for others to connect with. Add your name to this list as well and be sure to contact those who are of similar grade levels or topics. Be sure to read more about Skype here.

tag(s): skype (12)

In the Classroom

Be 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

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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 (359)

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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Poll everywhere - Poll everywhere

Grades
6 to 12
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Create polls that can be answered online or through the use of text messaging. Voters submit answers by sending SMS messages to a short number. Poll everywhere tallies the responses...more
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Create polls that can be answered online or through the use of text messaging. Voters submit answers by sending SMS messages to a short number. Poll everywhere tallies the responses which can then be accessed and viewed. Use the free plan for no more than 30 votes. Create a powerpoint or keynote slide of the poll results and create charts that can be embedded into a web page. Simple and easy to use!

tag(s): quiz (85), quizzes (97)

In the Classroom

Users must be able to determine the question and possible responses to generate the poll online. Practice creating your first poll even before creating a login. Enter the suggested question and possible responses to see how the codes are generated and displayed. Respondents text the code word to a specific number displayed on the screen. Be sure to check out the easy to use controls along the side of the screen.

Ask a question. Voters choose from the responses and use the SMS code with their mobile phone to send their vote. Cast a vote also using Twitter or on the Internet. Click the gear icon next to the poll to change the size and color of various aspects of the poll. Use the panel along the side to view either a static or live chart, summary table, or response history. Be sure to click on the tab "Ways People Can Respond" to check not only SMS but other methods as well: Web Voting, Twitter, and Smartphone. Twitter uses @poll followed by a keyword to tabulate responses. Use the "Download as Slide" tab to choose the type of slide you would like to create. "Share and Publish" using Posterous, Twitter, or Blog/web page.

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.

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.

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Get your students talking about what you want them to talk about - Kevin Jarrett and Mary Ann Devine

Grades
5 to 12
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This article gives practical hints and how-to suggestions for using backchannnel chat in your classroom. It is a good accompaniment for TeachersFirst's review...more
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This article gives practical hints and how-to suggestions for using backchannnel chat in your classroom. It is a good accompaniment for TeachersFirst's review of Todaysmeet.

tag(s): chat (51), microblogging (44)

In the Classroom

Mark this one in your favorites to revisit before you try backchannel chat and afterward as a refresher to improve the process. You might even want to share it with other teachers in your school.

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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 (44), social media (16), social networking (112)

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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School Video News - John Churchman

Grades
6 to 12
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School Video News provides valuable resources and on-going professional guidance for educators developing technical expertise in video production. Their free monthly magazine is full...more
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School Video News provides valuable resources and on-going professional guidance for educators developing technical expertise in video production. Their free monthly magazine is full of technical articles written by industry professionals. The web site posts examples of student projects, production tips, school profiles, and product reviews. The teacher page contains articles that focus on issues common to educators, provides legal tips on copyright laws, book suggestions, video tutorials, information about grants and competitions. An especially good feature is the excellent lesson plans and activities that come complete with an email contact for questions or feedback. Subscribe to their monthly magazine or follow their twitter posts @schoolvideonews.

This site is a fantastic professional development resource to enhance educator's technical expertise in video production. There are articles and a wealth of information about possible grants and competitions. Those who have grant money to spend will find the informative product reviews helpful for making equipment decisions. The discussion board is great way to reach out to other professionals and develop a personal learning network. Facilitators of school television productions or broadcast journalism will find not only informative technical advice but also guidance about ethical decision-making and how to handle controversial subject matter. It is worth it to subscribe to this site, everything is here.

tag(s): journalism (46)

In the Classroom

Divide students into cooperative learning groups to explore the site. Have student's jigsaw various articles from the "Production" page and research the stages in production and the responsibility of each team member's role. After assigning positions to student, ask them to do more in-depth research about the expectations of their particular job. Have students create multimedia presentations about their job, such as having students create an interactive online poster ("glog") using Glogster EDU, reviewed here.

Recommend video tutorials or articles on subjects such as how to build dollies, create green screens, lighting, design backdrops, shoot angles or how to monitor a sound track. Help students take incentive for their own learning by merely directing them to informative on-line resources.
 This resource requires PDF reader software like Adobe Acrobat.

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Smilebox - Smilebox, Inc.

Grades
5 to 12
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This resource allows you to create slide shows, greetings, scrapbooks, invitations, collages, and more. The download is free, but there are paid upgrades available if desired. For educational...more
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This resource allows you to create slide shows, greetings, scrapbooks, invitations, collages, and more. The download is free, but there are paid upgrades available if desired. For educational purposes, the upgrades are not needed. Photos, videos, and music can all be added to your creations. A Smilebox template must be used to make your creations. Products made with this program can be shared to web pages and blogs, social networking sites, emailed, saved, or printed for free. All themes are free. This is a free download, so make sure you have computers that have the capability to download before creating a lesson with this tool. See the reviewer's sample here.

tag(s): blogs (88), images (266), movies (65), photography (160), slides (63)

In the Classroom

You will need to be able to download this program, and you will need 4 MB of space on your computer to do so. The program will automatically pull some photos from Windows Media or iPhoto depending on what your computer uses for photos. You can save web images or use screen shots, as well, to be used in your creations. Watch copyright! Check out the review of Jing reviewed here for details and a down-loadable screen shot taker. (It is what our reviewer used to capture extra images for the sample!) From here, it is easy to simply click and follow the on screen instructions. The program is simple to navigate and very user friendly for those who are accustomed to web tools.

With the variety of formats, this program has a wide variety of applications in any type of classroom! Use in history class to have students create collages of different periods of time such as the American Civil War. Create topics such as the Lincoln's Election, the Gettysburg Address, Battle of Antietam, Emancipation Proclamation, Battle of Gettysburg, and Lee's Surrender. Have pairs or groups of three select topics at random, and then have them create a collage or "scrapbook" of the event. Try having students choose a role from which to create their assignment such as a Rebel soldier, a Union Soldier, a volunteer nurse, a mother or father of children fighting on different sides of the war, etc. Have students collect copyright free images online for their use or create their own by reenacting and creating visuals to take pictures for their productions. Unleash student creativity by showing them this tool as resource in creating presentations and projects for your class and others. What a fabulous tool to use on the first day of school (as a welcome), beginning of a new unit, or back to school night with the parents! Elementary classes could create whole-class scrapbooks of curriculum projects, such as their science garden or Colonial Days celebration.

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A Very Old Place - N Bosch

Grades
6 to 12
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Created by a former elementary gifted education teacher, this is a blog that focuses on primary source documents and websites. Because it's a blog, the site has a series of ...more
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Created by a former elementary gifted education teacher, this is a blog that focuses on primary source documents and websites. Because it's a blog, the site has a series of keywords down the right margin, and features dated entries about various topics. Like other "old places," it's made to explore, noodle around in, and generally lose yourself. While the site might not necessarily be a great resource to students themselves, teachers will find it fascinating and possibly inspiring for teaching ideas and student projects, all using primary sources. Inspire a love of history with the "things" that bring it to life.

tag(s): primary sources (86), resources (112)

In the Classroom

Add this site to your Favorites and use it for an ongoing source of ideas and interesting websites to bring into the classroom and to explore. Challenge students to make a digital collection of "primary source" materials about your school or local community as they come to appreciate the value of such documents and artifacts through a historical eye.

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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 (109), safety (92)

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 (32), writing (359)

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
2 Favorites 0  Comments
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 (100)

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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CD Cover Maker - Big Huge Labs

Grades
6 to 12
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Use digital photographs or images to create an authentic-looking CD or DVD cover. Follow the illustrated step-by-step instructions to upload your own photos or images from other sites...more
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Use digital photographs or images to create an authentic-looking CD or DVD cover. Follow the illustrated step-by-step instructions to upload your own photos or images from other sites such as Facebook or Flickr, (be sure to instruct students on copyright laws regarding the use of photos from the World Wide Web and follow your school's internet security policies). You can then add a title, which will appear on the back flap, and text which will appear just below it. Easy to follow instructions are provided for printing, cutting, and folding your customized CD cover.

tag(s): book reports (35), collages (17)

In the Classroom

Students can use this cover to hold a music CD or DVD movie that relates to a literary work, but there are a lot of other great extensions you can implement as a means to assess critical thinking skills, especially when it comes to synthesizing and assimilating concepts. Rather than assigning a book review, literary essay, or standard research paper, adventurous technology users could burn a CD of PowerPoint slides or use the CD cover to hold a DVD slideshow of narrated photographs. Slightly less adventurous technology users could use it to house a written assignment related to plot, theme, or character study, or to illustrate a poem or narrative. Big Huge Labs offers other similar tools, such as Magazine Cover Maker reviewed here and Mosaic Maker reviewed here, which could be used in conjunction with the CD Cover Maker to make your projects even more amazing. Check out the Big Huge Labs educator account. Easily pre-register students to avoid creating logins, view and download their creations, and view the site advertisement free. You will find information about the Educator Account here.
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