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OK2Ask'®: Great Ideas July 2013 - TeachersFirst

Grades
K to 12
0 Favorites 0  Comments
This recording of an OK2Ask online professional development session from July 2013, opens in Adobe Connect. Great Ideas: Exploring the Resources of TeachersFirst 3.0 to Plan Effective,...more
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This recording of an OK2Ask online professional development session from July 2013, opens in Adobe Connect. Great Ideas: Exploring the Resources of TeachersFirst 3.0 to Plan Effective, Technology-Infused Lessons! Discover TeachersFirst 3.0 to inspire new ways of thinking about lessons, student learning, and the web. This session will briefly share the teacher-friendly features of TeachersFirst 3.0 to help you save time and envision new ways for students to learn using the tools of the web. Participants will be encouraged to seek specific solutions and ask questions to meet their own classroom needs. It's OK2Ask'''®

As a result of this session and through individual follow-up, teachers will: Locate resources within the new TeachersFirst to provide real-world learning experiences for their students; Locate and evaluate effective, web-based tools and resources in support of teaching and learning, both for themselves and for their students; Evaluate TeachersFirst membership features applicable to their individual technology expertise and teaching situation; Find solutions to individual questions or practical problems of their teaching situation by exploring TeachersFirst and/or asking live questions during the session; and (follow-up) Use the features of TeachersFirst's value-added reviews to plan technology- infused learning experiences for students that promote learning and creativity. Applicable NETS-T standards (2008)*: 1b, 2a and b, 3d * The text of these standards is copyrighted. Please read the full text at ISTE's NETS-T page.

In the Classroom

Not overly familiar with TeachersFirst? This is a great introduction. Learn how to search efficiently on the site, saving you time! Learn about some hidden treasures available from TeachersFirst. Learn about our ready to go lessons, units, resources, and more. Share the resources page with a friend. Or better yet, attend the webinar together! Take a look at the resource page full of GREAT ideas! >. Learn more about OK2Ask and upcoming sessions here.
 This resource requires Adobe Flash.

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Questions and Thinking in Common Core; Part 1: Teachers as Questioners - TeachersFirst

Grades
K to 8
1 Favorites 0  Comments
  
This installment is part of a series of articles about implementing Common Core. This article examines the role that questioning can play in the Common Core, and offers some tips ...more
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This installment is part of a series of articles about implementing Common Core. This article examines the role that questioning can play in the Common Core, and offers some tips for teachers as questioners from elementary grades and up. The ideas are easily adapted as appropriate for middle and high school grades. A separate article, Part II of Questions and Thinking in Common Core will discuss Students as Questioners. The article is intended for elementary teachers as part of our Help! I lost my library/media specialist series.

tag(s): commoncore (97), questioning (33), thinking skills (18)

In the Classroom

Read lesson ideas and explore the question repertoire sources as you begin to implement Common Core. Mark this article in your Favorites. Many of the suggested resources may be helpful during curriculum planning sessions with other teachers. Click the "share" widget to send them to others!

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Teachers' Common Core Planning Toolkit: A guide for elementary teachers - TeachersFirst

Grades
K to 5
0 Favorites 0  Comments
  
This installment in a series of articles about implementing Common Core in elementary guides teachers through the steps of re-visiting and planning their teaching units to incorporate...more
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This installment in a series of articles about implementing Common Core in elementary guides teachers through the steps of re-visiting and planning their teaching units to incorporate Common Core reading and writing. This article will guide you through the Common Core planning process and assist you in adding rigor and addressing instructional shifts as you prepare a unit of study. It presents some planning considerations and then offers an example of what this might look in one classroom's September calendar. The article is intended for elementary teachers as part of our Help! I lost my library/media specialist series.

tag(s): commoncore (97), professional development (132)

In the Classroom

This is perfect for teachers' summer reading or collaborative planning. As you face the daunting task of re-visioning your plans, find a process that you can grasp.

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Deep Space Sparkle - Patty Palmer

Grades
K to 6
1 Favorites 0  Comments
 
Deep Space Sparkle is an out of this world site that provides art lesson plans, student examples, tutorials, tips, and techniques. Are you looking to become art smart? Are your ...more
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Deep Space Sparkle is an out of this world site that provides art lesson plans, student examples, tutorials, tips, and techniques. Are you looking to become art smart? Are your students craving creativity? These ideas are classroom tested and teacher approved. Perfect for art or classroom teachers in grades K-6, this site was developed by an elementary art teacher. Lesson plans are organized by subject, grade, and techniques. Use the search box to find specific lessons. Visit the "Art Basics" section to build your background or review art vocabulary found in the lessons. Go "Inside the Art Room" for information on classroom management, organization, supplies, and how-to videos. The posts are detailed and provide insight with authentic classroom experiences. Don't forget to dig through the "Scrap Box" section of the site for more great art information! Blog posts, book reviews, and art shows are just a few of the items located in the "Scrap Box" section. At the time of this review, there were also a few Common Core and the Arts blog posts. Deep Space Sparkle is free, but offers eBooks and eCourses for purchase. This review was for the FREE portion only. Don't forget to subscribe to the Deep Space Sparkle mailing list to receive updates.
This site includes advertising.

tag(s): architecture (84), art history (72), artists (76), design (82)

In the Classroom

If you're looking to "draw" students into a creative classroom, this site will be your go-to source. Teaching art can be an arduous process for classroom teachers. Bookmark the "Art Basics" page for your students to access the vocabulary collection. Your one stop shop for lessons by grade, subjects, and techniques. Find lessons to support writing assignments, science instruction, and literature. Work on research skills to write biographies on famous artists. Inspire your students' visual-spatial intelligence with these options. Background information on the lessons provides nonfiction reading opportunities for students before completing the hands-on activities. Looking for the best supplies for the activity? Use the resource pages under the "Scrap Box" section of the site to make sure your classroom is ready to create. Partner with a classroom a few grades lower for older students to teach younger students from the detailed plans. Students can teach the class a lesson pertaining to their artist.

Share this site with parents via your class website to find ideas for birthday parties and school vacations. Your PTO/PTA can also find after school club activities ready to go on this site.

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SearchyPants - Safe Search for Kids - SearchyPants

Grades
K to 6
7 Favorites 2  Comments
Looking for a safe way for young students to search? SearchyPants provides a safe search environment. You can customize a safe search page with a background and add links. You ...more
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Looking for a safe way for young students to search? SearchyPants provides a safe search environment. You can customize a safe search page with a background and add links. You can search the entire web or narrow your search to just images, videos, or games. Add a custom message for users of your search page to read before searching or using links. Note that search result pages do display ads, just as Google does, so you will want to show young users how to distinguish and avoid these links.
This site includes advertising.

tag(s): search engines (64)

In the Classroom

Create a SearchyPants page for use on classroom computers. Demonstrate HOW to use this site on your interactive whiteboard or projector. Even younger students can search for topics using the links that you provide. Be sure to include graphics for your non-readers. With upper elementary students, have them access the web through your page for safe searching. Include links for specific games or websites for classroom use.

Comments

Great tool to use with young students!! Melissa, , Grades: 0 - 5
Good searching for young children connie, , Grades: 0 - 2

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Tableizer! - Danny Sanchez

Grades
4 to 12
2 Favorites 0  Comments
 
Tableizer is a "cool tool" for creating HTML code to show spreadsheet data in table format. No one wants to learn how to write HTML (web page code) to make ...more
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Tableizer is a "cool tool" for creating HTML code to show spreadsheet data in table format. No one wants to learn how to write HTML (web page code) to make tables, but adding a table to your blog is sometimes a must to line up information into columns. Copy and paste your cells from Excel, Calc, or other spreadsheets into the box provided. Choose options such as font size and style and color. Click the Tableize it! button to view the HTML code along with a preview of the results. Copy and paste the HTML code into any web page you create, such as your blog or wiki. The best part: no registration is required.
This site includes advertising.

tag(s): blogs (89), data (148), spreadsheets (17)

In the Classroom

Tableizer is an excellent tool for easily displaying data on your web page or blog. Use anytime you want to display information from a spreadsheet. Share with students for use in displaying lab results, scientific data, budgets, etc. Use this to list a schedule of events, requirements, etc. in a clear table on your class blog.
 

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Kaizena - Kaizena

Grades
1 to 12
13 Favorites 0  Comments
   
Do you wish you had enough time in your schedule for one-on-one personalized writing conferences with your students or writers you know? Kaizena (previously 121Writing) can make that...more
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Do you wish you had enough time in your schedule for one-on-one personalized writing conferences with your students or writers you know? Kaizena (previously 121Writing) can make that dream a reality. Kaizena allows you to give feedback on writing via an audio recording. Writers often have difficulty reading the margin notes from teachers or other readers, or they need more explanation. An audio recording of the feedback provides a personalized experience to enhance the writing process. Kaizena works best by synching with your Google Drive account. There is an option at the bottom of the page to sign up by sending in your name and email address. However, this can take a while, so plan ahead! Sign in with your Google account to watch a helpful video and learn how to connect to your Google Drive account or school Google Apps account.

Start by highlighting a text selection, hit record, and provide your feedback. Writers will be able to listen to your feedback and revise or edit their writing as though you were face to face. Tag your highlighted text with keywords that can be tracked in a mastery-based rubric. You could tag conventional errors, mistakes, or selections that are amazing. Verbal feedback can be played on an iPad so students can listen in the best learning environment to meet their needs. Writers will progress as you enhance the writing process with explicit audio feedback. Kaizena can enhance feedback for written work for any school subject or even outside of school.

tag(s): editing (66), process writing (45), writing (364)

In the Classroom

Editing and revising are better with audio feedback. Provide explicit details to improve student performance. Students can record peer edits and share audio recordings with classmates. Classroom time is more efficient and effective when students can listen to your feedback before meeting face to face. Have students highlight passages of text and provide their reflections on the selection. World language classes can speak text or respond to questions in their new language. Learning support students will better understand audio feedback on their writing than detailed comments written in "teacher-ese." This is a great tool for students to highlight poetry and record their thoughts and feelings on the text. Students can highlight and record their thought process as they solve math word problems. Highlight and record opinions on current event articles. Highlight an entire passage of text to model reading fluency. Students can listen and read along with the recording to help with phrasing and expression. Highlight text and model fluency for ESL/ELL students. Highlight assessment questions or text for lower-level readers to provide a level playing field in the classroom. Challenge students to provide audio feedback to their peers on passages where they would like to know more, questions they have as readers, and positive feedback on passages they enjoy.

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Youtopia - Simeon Schnapper, Brett Singer, and Demian Krentz

Grades
K to 6
6 Favorites 0  Comments
 
Youtopia is an online management system to record and track student behaviors and more. Use pre-built templates, or build your own set of activities for students to perform. When activities...more
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Youtopia is an online management system to record and track student behaviors and more. Use pre-built templates, or build your own set of activities for students to perform. When activities are completed, award points and badges are given to acknowledge positive accomplishments. Set up your own activities and reward systems to your own specifications. Managers confirm accomplishments before points or badges are rewarded and may add comments or notes to each activity. Up to 50 students may be included in a class under the free program. Under the free option you can also have 20 activities and 3 goals, along with simple reports. With such limited numbers, this tool is likely more useful for elementary teacher who have fewer students, though it could be used at any level.
This site includes advertising.

tag(s): behavior (47), classroom management (148)

In the Classroom

Award points for positive behaviors such as participation, helping others, creativity, hard work, or whatever is applicable to your class. Using Youtopia for group behaviors will give immediate feedback to students if projected on your whiteboard or projector.

Are you a regular education teacher with special education students included in your classroom? Use Youtopia to privately keep track of student behaviors and send a report to special education teachers or parents. This could be invaluable to a life skills, autistic support, or emotional support teacher who needs to track the behavior of each of the students as part of an IEP. Alternative education programs may find this tool very useful, as well, up through high school.

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English For Everyone - The Read Theory Team

Grades
1 to 12
4 Favorites 0  Comments
EnglishForEveryone.org is a great resource for printable English/Grammar worksheets. This site contains hundreds of worksheets that are broken down by category. Each category contains...more
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EnglishForEveryone.org is a great resource for printable English/Grammar worksheets. This site contains hundreds of worksheets that are broken down by category. Each category contains a lesson explanation with links to PDF worksheet with answers.

tag(s): grammar (214), grammar review (38), spelling (166), worksheets (61)

In the Classroom

English, writing, and language arts teachers: use the worksheets to reinforce skills taught in class. Project the PDF on your interactive whiteboard and use the whiteboard pens to complete the worksheet with the whole class. Have your students complete a word search and crossword puzzle when they finish their classwork. Civics teachers give your students the US Citizen test and see how they do.
 This resource requires PDF reader software like Adobe Acrobat.

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QuizSlides - London South Bank University

Grades
3 to 12
1 Favorites 0  Comments
   
Create your own slides for a quiz using PowerPoint or PDF. Upload them to this site to be shared via your personal url or link to any website. Create a ...more
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Create your own slides for a quiz using PowerPoint or PDF. Upload them to this site to be shared via your personal url or link to any website. Create a quiz including a title and end slide. Each question should include four possible choices for an answer with one correct response. Up to 40 questions can be posted. Take the test yourself to identify correct responses; then the quiz is ready to share. Options include quizzes for anonymous users with an "answer until right" format or exam mode where you identify yourself at the start and are given points based on responses. The introduction video is hosted on YouTube. If YouTube is blocked at your school, be sure to view the video at home for more instruction about how to use this site.

tag(s): quiz (88), quizzes (99), slides (65), test prep (96)

In the Classroom

Create quizzes for review before tests. Share the link with students to use at home. Have students create their own PowerPoint quizzes and upload for sharing with other class members. Use as a pre-test at the start of a chapter or unit. Identify misconceptions or basic knowledge to help determine instruction. Identify interests of students at the start of the school year by asking quiz questions. Do the questions as a whole-class activity on your projector or interactive whiteboard with students contributing the portions of knowledge they do know toward solving the question. Using teamwork and thinking aloud can often help the group reach a conclusion that no single member could do alone. Learning support teachers can have small groups create review quizzes as a way of studying without realizing it!

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Newsela - Matthew Gross

Grades
2 to 12
13 Favorites 1  Comments
Newsela is a data base of current events stories tailor-made for classroom use. Indexed by broad theme (e.g. War and Peace, Arts, Science, Health, Law, Money), stories are both student-friendly...more
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Newsela is a data base of current events stories tailor-made for classroom use. Indexed by broad theme (e.g. War and Peace, Arts, Science, Health, Law, Money), stories are both student-friendly and can be accessed in different formats by reading level. Use Newsela to differentiate nonfiction reading. Newspaper writers rewrite a story four times for a total of five Lexile levels per story. Many stories also have embedded, Common Core aligned quizzes that conform to the reading levels for checking comprehension. In addtion, each article has a writing prompt which is also designed to assess reading comprehension. An account is required to use Newsela, both for teachers and for students, but students sign up using a teacher or parent provided code rather than an email address. Teachers can create classes and assign reading-level specific articles to individual students, or download printable PDF copies of the article in any of its reading-level versions. There is an upgraded fee-based Pro Version which allows teachers or administrators to track reading progress, but most of the features are free and there is no advertising.
This site includes advertising.

tag(s): differentiation (49), guided reading (47), independent reading (130), news (262), reading comprehension (118)

In the Classroom

Achieve two goals here: help students improve their reading comprehension and keep them current with what is happening in our nation and the world. When assigning articles, choose to have the class read at one reading level, or choose individuals and set the reading level for them. There are five categories from which to choose. You may want to set up different articles at different learning stations on the computers in your room. Have the students rotate daily through the stations, completing one or two a day until they have completed all five articles. Since Newsela is cloud based, even absent students can complete the missed work easily. Teachers of gifted students can use this site to accelerate or enrich reading for students. Find each students individual levels for reading nonfiction. Teachers of Learning Support and ELL students will love this alternate way for their students to meet current events requirements.

Comments

This is an excellent site and allows differentiation while everyone is reading the same text. Renee, NC, Grades: 0 - 5

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OutWit.Me Twitter Tweet Games - outwit.me

Grades
8 to 12
2 Favorites 0  Comments
 
Find creative ideas for using Twitter to study and in class using OutWit.Me. View directions for many games to play with friends on Twitter. The games on this site were ...more
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Find creative ideas for using Twitter to study and in class using OutWit.Me. View directions for many games to play with friends on Twitter. The games on this site were created by Twitter users. Suggested games include TweetQuiz, Word Connections, Crack the Code, and others.
This site includes advertising.

tag(s): social networking (115), twitter (51)

In the Classroom

Use OutWit.Me to review information before tests or exams. Invite students to become experts at a certain game and to explain it to the class. Use the ideas on the site to create your own Twitter handle and create directions for your own class game. Better yet, challenge cooperative learning groups to create their own games. Create a TweetQuiz for important characters or events in history, play Crack the Code as an anticipation guide for a new unit, or play TweetWords providing clues to vocabulary words. Looking for more ways to use Twitter in the classroom? Read more about Twitter at TeachersFirst's Twitter for Teachers page.

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Actively Learn - Jay Goyal and Dr. Deep Sran

Grades
7 to 12
3 Favorites 0  Comments
   
Teach students how to develop close reading skills with Actively Learn. Choose from over 150 commonly taught texts that include embedded Common Core aligned questions and multimedia....more
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Teach students how to develop close reading skills with Actively Learn. Choose from over 150 commonly taught texts that include embedded Common Core aligned questions and multimedia. Choose from any public domain texts or any article from the Internet and be guided through creating your own Common Core aligned questions. Also, embed your own multimedia or images. Reading "school texts" becomes much more personalized when students are able to write notes, questions, or respond to their reading directly on the page they are reading. This is like the old way of using paper and pencil to annotate the text in the margin. Others can respond to questions and notes written by peers reading the same text. Actively Learn makes it easy to set up an assignment by having a "help" button for each area that will show a video for help, or download a PDF to read the instructions. Not only will you find poetry, drama, and stories, but also nonfiction for the sciences and the humanities. The introduction video requires Flash. The rest of the site does not.

tag(s): guided reading (47), reading strategies (47)

In the Classroom

Choose a piece to use with your students and model for them how the program works on your interactive whiteboard (or projector). Then assign students to read a piece with a partner in class. Once students are familiar with the format and tools, assign reading for them to complete on their own. Upload current event articles into Actively Learn and write open ended questions for students to answer. Include images or video to go with the article. Use a tool like the Question Generator, reviewed here, to create some intriguing questions and writing prompts. This is a great tool to use for students with learning differences and ESL/ELL students due to the ability to adjust the text size, color and background, include audio, and the built in dictionary. Besure to check out the blog for ideas about teaching divisive topics, an infographic for close reading stategies, and more.
  This resource requires Adobe Flash and PDF reader software like Adobe Acrobat.

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wireWax - interactive video tool - wireWax.com

Grades
6 to 12
3 Favorites 0  Comments
   
Use wireWax to add interactive elements to online or uploaded videos. Each "tag" links to another video or image url you supply. However, the unique feature of wireWax is that ...more
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Use wireWax to add interactive elements to online or uploaded videos. Each "tag" links to another video or image url you supply. However, the unique feature of wireWax is that you view links from within the original video, not to a location outside of the original. View the samples of consumer videos from clothing companies to get the idea. Create a log in using email or Facebook to begin. Drag a video from your computer or insert a YouTube or other online video url. After your video processes (may take 15-30 minutes to upload and process), start adding tags as desired. Advance video to the desired spot. Create a box around the area to tag, and choose a name, image, or video url to use for your tag. Choose colors for boxes around tags to identify like items. When done, choose from sharing options of public or private video. Share completed videos using the embed code provided or with the unique url provided. Since this site uses YouTube videos, if your school blocks YouTube, you may not be able to create projects using YouTube videos at school, depending on how your web filter works. You can use videos hosted at Vimeo and other video sharing sites, as long as they offer urls for video sharing. This tool does require some experimentation to figure out. There is limited "help."

tag(s): video (273)

In the Classroom

wireWax is a great tool for adding new layers of information to educational videos such as those found at YouTube EDU, reviewed here. Create videos for your students or have older students create videos to share with others. "Tag" key points at which students might have questions. At those points insert tags that reveal clarifying information from another video, a web page, an image, or an audio recording. If using student-created videos or having students create the wireWax video, check your school policy about sharing student work on the Internet. If using with students, be sure to discuss appropriate/inappropriate annotations to make on videos. Also discuss the fact that you are using someone else's video and should give proper credit for it. Use this tool to highlight the "important" stuff from several videos accessed from only one tagged wireWax video.

Your middle and high school gifted students will love this tool. Be sure to allow them some time to "play" and learn how it works (but not TOO long!). Challenge them to debunk (or support) information in a YouTube video by tagging it with sites offering conflicting or supporting evidence. Have them create a multimedia critique of a political ad by tagging it with counterpoints. If they are really ambitious, have them create their own video on a curriculum topic, such as a famous person, a constitutional concept, or local history site, then tag it with related resources carefully curated to add another layer of information. Add images of artworks to illustrate what an artist says in a video interview, for example. Add images ad links to toxic waste dumps to a video about plastics. These videos could end up being future teaching materials for your course!

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Quest - Alex Warren

Grades
5 to 12
1 Favorites 0  Comments
   
Create text-based adventure games and interactive fiction using Quest! No programming language required. You can also play games already designed by others. Choose the "play" option...more
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Create text-based adventure games and interactive fiction using Quest! No programming language required. You can also play games already designed by others. Choose the "play" option from the top of the web page to view and play games such as The Mansion or Shipwrecked. Play games online or download to your Windows computer. Design your own games online using your web browser or download software to your Windows PC to work offline. Create an account in Quest to begin creating activities. View the video tutorial for an overview of the activities and creation processes. Create rooms and objects or tasks for each room. Create more complex games by following complete instructions found in the web browser version of the game system creator. Add sound files and even videos to games in addition to tasks. An option allows players to choose their own endings to games. There is a documentation wiki and a forum to get help. This site may require some tinkering around to figure it out! But it is well worth the time. Note: since games available for Play are created by the general public, you will want to preview for appropriateness.

tag(s): interactive stories (34), process writing (45)

In the Classroom

Challenge students to create games when studying process writing of essays. Instead of writing a dry essay, create an object of entertainment with an interactive story. Use steps of the game to provide supporting evidence for the essay. Create simple text games to show the typical patterns of stories. Have a contest to see which group of students in your class can imagine the best game scenario. In science class, have student groups create games that follow the life of a plant or animal where players collect all the needed nutrients or conditions the plant/animal needs to survive. In civics/government class, have students create a game around getting elected, passing a bill, or ending Washington gridlock! Don't have time to have your students actually CREATE a game? Create your own "review" game for your students to use to prepare for the big test. This would be ideal if it is a unit that you teach yearly; you can reuse your game! Share some of the ready-made games on your interactive whiteboard or projector. Share this link with parents on your class website. Students may enjoy the challenge of creating a game during summer break.

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Can Do Street - Campbell Development Group

Grades
K to 3
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"Can Do" Street offers interactives, activities and videos for young children. There are also lists of Kid Friendly Restaurants and recipes. Everything at the site is geared towards...more
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"Can Do" Street offers interactives, activities and videos for young children. There are also lists of Kid Friendly Restaurants and recipes. Everything at the site is geared towards character development and early childhood academic skills. There are also links for parents and teachers. Follow links from the clubhouse to activities to learn how to tell the time, count money, and basic mouse skills. Choose from several activity sheets, certificates, and coloring sheets to print in PDF format. Be aware: a few of the sites recommended do have a fee, but most are free.
This site includes advertising.

tag(s): addition (238), alphabet (90), money (190), preK (290), puzzles (207), time (141)

In the Classroom

View the video, Hector's Being Selfish, on your interactive whiteboard (or projector) with students at the beginning of the year when setting up classroom rules and behavior expectations. Show again as needed as a reminder of proper behavior. Visit the Parents/Teachers link for more specific ideas. View the games to select those that are appropriate for your classroom. Download activity sheets and certificates as needed throughout the year. Create a link on classroom computers to activities for students. Be sure to share with parents for practice at home.
  This resource requires Adobe Flash and PDF reader software like Adobe Acrobat.

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FatURL - FatURL.com

Grades
K to 12
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Collect and share several links at once with this handy sharing tool! Make a list of your links to share, and FatURL creates one URL to share all of them ...more
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Collect and share several links at once with this handy sharing tool! Make a list of your links to share, and FatURL creates one URL to share all of them together. Copy links onto each line along with a short description or site name. Share up to 3 dozen sites at one time. Click the scissors icon to create your sharing page with a list of short codes to share. Use any of the links provided to view your page. View an example created here) with links to some TeachersFirst resources. No registration is needed to use this site! However, more options are available with a free registration.

tag(s): bookmarks (62), organizational skills (129)

In the Classroom

Use FatUrl to create one url (a page) with links for all the sites for a particular unit instead of creating a long list on your website or blog. Have students create and share their own page of links with resources for research. Use FatUrl to share professional links with colleagues quickly and easily. In primary grades, use this tool to share classroom favorites or topic-specific practice sites for students to access at home via one click. If your students create online presentations, use this site to share up to 36 at once with families. (Of course anytime you are posting student work online, be certain to have parental permission!)

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My So Called Secret Identity - Broker, Zaidan, Shore

Grades
10 to 12
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This groundbreaking, narrative comic just might catch the interest of your older students not so thrilled with reading. Cat is a new "superhero" who is not the typical superhero female...more
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This groundbreaking, narrative comic just might catch the interest of your older students not so thrilled with reading. Cat is a new "superhero" who is not the typical superhero female we see in other comics. She is a police officer's daughter working on her PhD. She is ordinary in every way except her intelligence and her powers of observation. These and her knowledge of Gloria City, where she lives, give her an advantage over the terrorists and other super heroes who also live there. Usually when you think of the super-heroine you picture a gorgeous, shapely woman in tight spandex. Not so for Cat. She is depicted as a college student and "regular" girl, and could certainly be a good role model for the older female student. The art work in My So Called Secret Identity at first appears simple. But on a closer look you realize the details that bring this comic to life! This comic is accompanied by a "Lookbook" where you can learn about the artist's thoughts about the characters and how they should be portrayed.

tag(s): comics and cartoons (72), graphic novels (7), independent reading (130), media literacy (58)

In the Classroom

When teaching character development in writing, lead students in a discussion about the "Lookbook" with this story to gain insights into decisions and changes the writer and the author made. If discussing gender bias in advertising or literature, My So Called Secret Identity is a great place to start. Discuss the qualities of popular female superheroes and the unconventional way Cat represents the genre as a superhero. If discussing gender associations or bias in your classes, consider using The HTML 5 Gendered Advertising Remixer (reviewed here as an introduction. When teaching a unit on creating comics or helping students develop their style in art, My So Called Secret Identity is a good place to start. Encourage students to examine the "Lookbook" to gain insights about the creative process.

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Draft - Nate Kontny

Grades
6 to 12
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Draft is a collaborative writing tool similar to Google Docs with one notable exception: the ability to view and accept changes before they are actually made to the document. The ...more
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Draft is a collaborative writing tool similar to Google Docs with one notable exception: the ability to view and accept changes before they are actually made to the document. The site also features the ability to mark/label major versions of your work as it is produced, allowing the ability to go back and easily view previous versions. Be sure to check out "Hemingway Mode" (explained in Features) which prevents any editing as you write, forcing you to get ideas down to rethink, revise, and edit LATER. This is a great way to prevent the perfectionist in you from paralyzing your writing process! But the BEST part of this site: it is easy to use! Sign up using your email and password and immediately begin creating your document. When ready to share, choose the home icon and copy your document's link to send via email or text (or copy and paste as desired). When changes are made, you will receive an email. You may then view the document to see color coded changes and accept or deny changes as desired.

tag(s): editing (66), proofreading (23), writing (364)

In the Classroom

If individual students are allowed to have accounts (using email address sign up), that's great, but they must share their work with you. If students cannot have their own email accounts, consider using a "class set" of Gmail subaccounts, explained here. This would provide anonymous interaction within your class. Create an innovative, exciting revision experience for students to suggest revisions to each other's writing and instantly engage in the peer review process by using Draft. This tool facilitates teacher comments on student essays by not having to wait until students turn in their papers. Have them share links with you to their works in progress. Check essays online, monitor progress, and even make suggestions for revisions to provide feedback along the way and drive successful evidence support, proofreading, and editing skills. Challenge gifted students on their drafts and push their thinking further, adding questions or responses. Since most if us do not have time to provide such individual challenge throughout the writing process, why not connect them with other gifted students to collaborate and debate beyond just your classroom? Obviously, this tool is also fabulous for collaboration among students or teachers creating a shared writing piece at any level. You could even use it for parent input into draft IEPs.

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dotEPUB - Xavier Badosa

Grades
3 to 12
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Convert the content of any webpage into an e-book format to read on your tablet, phone, or other e-reader device using dotEPUB-- even offline! Install the browser bookmarklet in Firefox,...more
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Convert the content of any webpage into an e-book format to read on your tablet, phone, or other e-reader device using dotEPUB-- even offline! Install the browser bookmarklet in Firefox, Safari, Opera, Mozilla, or Chrome to begin. In Chrome and Mozilla use the dotEPUB browser extension to create documents. Once installed, click on the bookmarklet or browser extension while on any page to convert the page and send to your e-reader. Choose from either epub or mobi (Kindle) format for use in e-readers. View the instructional videos for complete directions on how to use the bookmarklet or extension. This site is also available in Spanish. The instructional videos are hosted on YouTube. If your district blocks YouTube and you wish to share the videos in class, they may not be viewable. You could always download the videos at home and bring them to class "on a stick" to share. Use a tool such as KeepVid reviewed here to download the how-to videos from YouTube.

tag(s): DAT device agnostic tool (167)

In the Classroom

What a great find for BYOD programs! Use dotEPUB for students to take content from your course blog or website and put it on their e-readers for easy access wherever they go. Have students download informational texts from web sites to annotate in their e-reader software as you build comprehension and "close reading" skills a la CCSS. Elementary teachers will need to help students learn to use this tool. Use dotEPUB to create an ePub portfolio of your students' blogging efforts. In Spanish class, convert your website into an e-book for students to practice language learning. Make ePubs of any web content for portability and annotation tools available on e-readers.

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