GradesK to 3
In the ClassroomThis site is terrific for use on interactive whiteboards. Challenge students to create entertaining sentences using as many different colored backgrounds as possible. Then ask them to identify the parts of speech. See how long it takes them to notice that all nouns are the same color! This is an excellent resource to share during Poetry Month. Why not make a poetry center on your interactive whiteboard for students to work with a partner? For create-your-own magnetic poetry at a higher level, try Triptico's free, downloadable software, reviewed here.
Grades2 to 12
In the ClassroomAfter checking with your administration about submission policies, have your class submit group or individual reviews of books they are reading. Also, students can check to see if books they've read have a review. If not, have them write one. Bookmark the site on a classroom computer so students who finish work early can look for a new book to read. Put a link to this site on your teacher page for parents and students for access at home.
Grades4 to 12
In the ClassroomAdd intrigue and mystery, to your science unit on electricity, motion, or inventors as you study the life and accomplishments of Nikola Tesla. Excellent lesson plans include a concrete understanding of potential energy, mechanical energy to electrical energy. Use on an interactive white board to begin your unit or create a "Who Dunnit" with electricity or radio. Follow the structure of ideas presented to create an online "famous scientist" wiki, blog or PowerPoint to add to your class website. Use a Socratic seminar to debate which scientist should get credit for the induction motor, radio, and even the Industrial Revolution. Use the readings for older students, advanced readers, or gifted students, as they are far above the reading level of elementary and early middle school students. In language arts, writing topics could include "What a shock electricity is in my life" and "Will the true inventor of electricity please stand up?" The ideas and resources are electrifying!
Grades1 to 12
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In the ClassroomUse Word Dynamo to explore or study new words. Create lists of words to learn. Have students keep track of their progress by creating their own page. You may want to post the address for this program on your website or wiki, and bookmark it on the classroom computers. There is no need to sign up to simply play games.
Be careful! The Greek and Latin root games on this site are fakes and do not offer the benefits that real root-learning does. Also, even the definitions of elementary level words contain many much harder words, meaning that students may get an inaccurately low reading.Ellisha, , Grades: 0 - 12
Grades6 to 12
In the ClassroomHidden Hereos is an excellent site to use for nonfiction reading assignments or to inspire future scientists and industrial designers/engineers. Include it in reading practice or in a unit on inventions and design. The reading level of the page is about tenth grade, so it would be a suitable site to share with your advanced readers, high school students, and gifted students. Share this site with your students, and allow them to explore as many inventions as they want. You may want to assign small groups to read about certain inventions each day and then share with the rest of their group until your class has gone through all. Then have them think of an everyday item not listed here and research that item. You might want to consider contacting the developers of this site; ask them to research and display their findings on the object your students suggested.
Grades1 to 12
In the ClassroomUse Pagefin at school for individual or group projects. Create webpages to use for anticipatory guides, polls, or even study guides. Allow students to build a content review page to demonstrate mastery. The ease of use allows even novice technology users, as well as younger students, to create their own webpage (parent permission strongly advised!). You or your students can create beautiful presentations with images, text, and links. Each website created has a private URL. Students can use this tool at home for presentations and email you the URL for their completed work. Compile the presentation URLs on your class blog or wiki so all students have access. Integrate all subjects into Pagefin. The simplicity of this site would make it an easy tool for younger students to create eportfolios with links to and explanations of their various projects located elsewhere on the web.
Grades8 to 12
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In the ClassroomUse this presentation tool to have students express themselves creatively in your classroom. Have them share their projects with Projeqt as an alternative to a writing assignment or other traditional method. Set requirements for how much and what types of information they must have, and watch what they develop. They may just surprise you! Have students create an end of year portfolio to share during spring fairs or open houses. Save Projeqts for fall open house to share the work students will be doing! Students can present in person or link their presentations to a media site that has a recording of them giving a summary. Projeqts could also be used to showcase a long-term community service project or show off a season's accomplishments for a sports team.
Parent permission advised before posting student work created using this tool
Includes Interaction w general public/ public galleries with unmoderated content
Includes social features, such as "friends," comments, ratings by others
Requires registration/log-in (WITH email)
Premium version (not free) includes additional features or storage
Products can be embedded
Products can be shared by URL
Grades3 to 12
tag(s): earth (230), earthquakes (47), ecology (138), energy (207), environment (322), extinction (4), forests (28), hurricanes (39), landforms (48), maps (294), mountains (16), natural disasters (20), natural resources (59), ozone (10), pollution (64), religions (67), transportation (42), tsunamis (17), volcanoes (64), water (130), wetlands (11)
In the ClassroomExplore one of the subtopics on GeoCube with your class on the interactive whiteboard. Discover different aspects of the world through the subtopics. Use the text as a basis to find another text, either narrative or expository, and compare and contrast the knowledge. You might want to allow students to investigate the different topics on their own at a learning station. Language arts, social studies, and science teachers can use the information found on GeoCube to build background knowledge for students before studying a unit. Introduce a unit on the environment by reading and viewing the videos for waste and pollution, water resources, energy resources, deforestation, species extinction, and climate change. Physical science teachers can use GeoCube as a unique way to introduce volcanoes, tsunamis, hurricanes, and conflicts in the earth's systems. These are just a few of the 54 subtopics your will find on GeoCube. ESL/ELL and learning support will all enjoy and benefit from viewing and reading GeoCube.
Use the GeoCube idea for students to present information they research on any science or social studies topic. Adapt it slightly, having students create foldable visual aids using FoldPlay, reviewed here, or interactive video cubes using YouCube, reviewed here. YouCube needs to access YouTube, so may not be accessible at school.
GradesK to 12
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In the ClassroomThis would be a great site to share during your poetry unit as a resource for rhyming words. Create a list of student-generated rhyming words before using this site to discover words missed. Challenge students to use lesser-known words found through the site. Share with your school's music teacher to use when writing songs with students. Have students create rhyming word clouds using a tool such as Wordle (reviewed here), Tagxedo (reviewed here), or WordItOut (reviewed here). Hang printed word clouds on the classroom walls during poetry units so students see many choices or share them on a class wiki.
Use the text of nursery rhymes to create class interactive books using Bookemon reviewed here, or make student-illustrated "big books" using PowerPoint to create and print. (Copyright is NOT an issue for this public domain text.)
In world language classes, share a translated nursery rhyme each day as a challenge for students to decipher and guess the "real" nursery classic
GradesK to 8
In the ClassroomUse this site to create a "think outside of the box" space in your classroom. Keep the area stocked with materials and activity sheets. Use the area as a place for students to go when they finish up work. Better yet, make design thinking part of your science curriculum by tying in some of these challenges with curriculum topics such as gravity, forces, materials, and more. Set one Friday a month aside as "think outside of the box" day, and use the activities from the site. Send home an activity as extra credit homework and create a museum of student's creations. Make this link available on your class web page for parents to access during school breaks or snow days.
Grades9 to 12
In the ClassroomOpen a new world or way of thinking by using these activities. Show students how environmental content is useful in understanding the world around them. Students can use these ideas to teach each other and present to the class. Click on the Resources tab and have small groups of students choose a topic from the list. Have them conduct their research and then present their findings using one of the presentation tools suggested on the TeachersFirst Presentation page here. If you are preparing students for reading tests, try using some of the informational texts and activities found on this site to double dip classroom time: learn reading and environmental topics.
GradesK to 6
In the ClassroomMark this one in your favorites as you plan for the first week of school.
Grades1 to 6
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tag(s): authors (123), dyslexia (7), literacy (107), literature (273), parents (59), phonics (72), reading comprehension (124), reading lists (79), reading strategies (50), speech (92), spelling (167)
In the ClassroomReading Rockets is a fantastic resource for teachers, librarians, parents, and principals. Be sure to sign up for the newsletter for the latest information, blogs, thoughts, and ideas for teaching reading. Use this website as a resource for your classroom, library, or even with you school action committees. Provide a link to this site on your class webpage. Install widgets for reading, and find the latest apps to support literacy. Join reading blogs, and add widgets to make your reading strategies complete. : If your district blocks YouTube, the videos may not be viewable. You could always view them at home and bring them to class "on a stick" to share. Use a tool such as Freemake Video Converter, reviewed here, to download the videos from YouTube.
GradesK to 5
tag(s): addition (223), DAT device agnostic tool (177), division (159), ebooks (43), fluency (25), game based learning (128), grammar (210), literacy (107), multiplication (210), numbers (195), patterns (88), phonics (72), preK (294), puzzles (203), spelling (167), subtraction (184), time (139), vocabulary development (128)
In the ClassroomEnroll your class in Skoolbo then create a link to the site on classroom computers. Monitor students' progress and provide parents with up to date information. Share this site with parents through your classroom website or newsletter as a resource for practicing math and literacy skills at home. Assign practice on the site for weekly homework. One great benefit of the site is the report containing suggested activities for student improvement; share this information with parents as an aid to improving student performance. If you have access to iPads in your classroom, download the app from the site for students to access on the mobile device. Find the teacher's guide by clicking on Downloads and then "web browser" at the top of that page. This is in PDF format, and you can begin using the Skoolbo site and see an overview of skills covered.
GradesK to 12
tag(s): text to speech (18)
In the ClassroomThis would be great for ESL/ELL learners; have them type a short sentence and listen to the playback to verify that the sentence is correct. It would also be a great practice for beginning readers. Use your interactive whiteboard and have the class tell a very brief story or say a sentence. After typing the sentence into the program, user a pointer for each word as the synthesizer reads it, or have students take turns pointing out the words. Share tonight's homework on your class web page as a link to an audio reminder simply by typing or pasting in the assignment and copying the link to place it on your web page.
When I tried to use it with Safari on a new Mac in 10.7, it said I needed to use only Firefox or Chrome Too bad.Constance, RI, Grades: 0 - 12
Note from the editorial staff: thank you for your comment. We have added this information to the review.
GradesK to 12
tag(s): drawing (84)
In the ClassroomYou can avoid the public galleries entirely by creating the space for your students to use. It takes only seconds, and they can join directly by url. Have students collaborate on the creation of story webs or classroom presentations. Encourage visual prewriting for the students who "think in pictures." Allow students to use this site as their visual during speeches. Have young students use a whiteboard to draw out ideas before they can even write entire sentences. If you know an artist, cartoonist or illustrator, invite him/her to visit your classroom virtually to share his/her drawing process while you class uses the chat to ask questions.
Grades9 to 12
In the ClassroomBe sure to check whether YouTube is blocked at your school. If your district blocks YouTube, you could always view/download them at home and bring them to class on a USB drive to share. Use a tool such as KeepVid reviewed here to download the videos from YouTube. Show on an interactive whiteboard for the whole class. Use to reinforce concepts taught in class or as an introduction to a unit of study. Interested in flipping your classroom? Use the videos with a few questions for students to answer before coming to class or allow students to take notes and ask questions of their own to drive in-class discussions. Teachers of gifted will appreciate the availability of advanced video options for self-motivated students.
Grades5 to 12
In the ClassroomUse a whole class account if you are working with students under 13 or if school policies prohibit student accounts. Experiment with Easel.ly on a projector or interactive whiteboard (let the students do it!) using different design "themes," making changes without having to configure the whole Infographic. After creating Infographics as a class, review the other types to show basic design principles. Students can create Infographics of a classroom topic, relationships and definitions of major terms, information from labs, and more. Find data and information that connects your content to the outside world, such as the statistics and causes for endangered species. Consider assigning the creation of an Infographic as an assignment to understand any curriculum content and connect it with the real world. For example, show the many ways electricity is used in the world or the impact of slavery on an economy. Or have students explain an experiment and report the results with graphical information to provide meaning. Learn about food groups (now displayed as myplate) by dissecting a food, diary, or a typical school lunch in terms of meeting daily requirements (and other nutrition topics).
If your use literature circles in your classroom, making an Infographic about a novel the group read would be a great conclusion for the lit circle project, and it might entice others in the class to read the novel. Post the infographics on your web page for all your students and their parents to enjoy.
To challenge your gifted students, have them research and create infographics depicting the tough issues or "flipsides" related to your curriculum topic: Major court cases and issues involving freedom of speech (during your Constuitution unit), risks and benefits of nuclear power (in a physics class), how an author's experience influences what he/she writes, lead-ups to a current events crisis, etc.
GradesK to 2
In the ClassroomUse the story section to model how to write a story. Have students create their own environmental stories and submit them to the website. Using an interactive whiteboard, have students play one of many games. Bookmark the site on your classroom computer, and use it as a center during language arts time. Be sure to click Guide for additional classroom activities.
Magic Town is no longer available, as of 5 May 2013 when I looked. There is a new App called My Story World for ipad.Donna, IN, Grades: 0 - 8
Note from the editor: we checked this site on May 6, 2013 and it appears to be working fine. Thank you for your comment and we will keep our eyes on this site to make sure all is working properly.
Grades7 to 12
In the ClassroomUsing controversial topics that have more than one side is a great way to develop critical thinking and problem solving. Find issues on this site that relate to your curriculum and use them as an entry point for a new unit. Use the teaching resources found under the Teacher's Corner. Use this site to teach how to distinguish facts from opinions, using information to write essays or create speeches, or hold a class debate. Help students develop flexibility in their thinking by having them argue a side they do NOT agree with. Focus on critical thinking with your students to develop skills needed for life. Use as a whole class activity or for individual students to find an issue of interest to them. Gifted students often think deeply on such issues at an early age and will find these topics of great interest. Use this site to guide a deliberate discussion or debate.
I also love this site, but I don't see any advertising on there at all. The site is free. Not sure how they stay afloat but I'm glad they do. For me, it is better than Opposing Viewpoints database for its depth, ease of use, and lack of registration/passwords. I use it for student debates on current events, and my wife (an English teacher) uses it for persuasive essays and role play debates., , Grades: 0 - 12
I've used this and it's great! Balanced, has good resources. Helps students see both sides of an issue.Frances, CT, Grades: 6 - 8