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ClassZone Book Finder - McDougall Littell

Grades
6 to 12
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This is your gateway to the authors, literature, grammar, math, world languages, science, and accompanying skills featured in your grade appropriate curriculums. Follow a few simple...more
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This is your gateway to the authors, literature, grammar, math, world languages, science, and accompanying skills featured in your grade appropriate curriculums. Follow a few simple steps to find online resources full of information, guides, projects, assessments, and other interactive activities. You start by identifying the subject area you are searching for, then add in your state. A list of possible curricula are provided. Click on the textbook that your school uses and the site takes you to a wealth of information and activities.

Although this site is originally intended for McDougall Littell, Houghton Mifflin Harcourt book users, many of the various publishers include the same state recommended core works in their anthologies. Many of the teacher and student tools are only accessible to McDougall Littell/ Houghton/Mifflin Harcourt users; however there is an abundance of materials that do not require a log in. It is worth exploring!

tag(s): authors (120), grammar (216), literature (275), short stories (25)

In the Classroom

Use this site as an extension to your repertoire of literary works, including background information on authors, discussion starters, a variety of graphic organizers custom-tailored for different literary genres, or for motivational ideas. The available resources are flexible enough to use as a teacher-driven tool projected on the classroom whiteboard, or made available on your teacher web page for students to click on the questions they want to ask and get answers from the experts. This is especially valuable for remediation and review. Use the Language Network for grammar, usage and mechanics, writing workshops, practice SAT, ACT English, ACT Reading tests and more. Share this link on your class website for students to access at home.
 This resource requires Adobe Flash.

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Custom Sign Generator - Image Shack

Grades
7 to 12
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Create your own graphics, logos, banners, or headers using your own photos with this free site. Note that ads do appear on this site as well as links to other ...more
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Create your own graphics, logos, banners, or headers using your own photos with this free site. Note that ads do appear on this site as well as links to other graphic generators. Students should be directed and monitored during site use. Click "Choose File" and then "Upload Photo." There is a file upload size limit of 975 KB. Choose from one of these tools once the image is uploaded: Frames, borders, overlays, add figures/props, fake magazine covers, and more. Easily switch back to the original photo, and final image can be saved or create a link or embed code to place on a different site. Photos are saved on the site. Create a login to be able to delete saved photos. Once registered, create a password to manage your photos.

tag(s): images (265), photography (160)

In the Classroom

Users must be able to find, upload, and edit images to this site. Users must also have an understanding of downloading final images or using links and embed codes for sharing. No email is required, but deleting photos is possible only with an account.

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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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Skype (in the classroom) - Shelly Terrell and Ozge Karaogul

Grades
K to 12
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Look to this site for great help and ideas in using Skype in the classroom. View videos, read articles about Skype in the classroom including studies, and other useful links. ...more
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Look to this site for great help and ideas in using Skype in the classroom. View videos, read articles about Skype in the classroom including studies, and other useful links. Click on "Finding classrooms to Skype" for great ideas and a list of teachers who have registered their interest in Skyping and sharing. Unfamiliar with Skype? Be sure to read more about this resource here.

tag(s): skype (12)

In the Classroom

Familiarize yourself with Skype and how to use the tool. Be sure to read information on this site and the review of Skype mentioned above. Add your name to the list of teachers who are willing to Skype into classrooms. Be sure to check your district policy on using this tool with your students. be sure to seek parent permission as well. Connect with the teacher to discuss objectives of the Skype visits. Be sure students understand what is considered acceptable and unacceptable use of this tool and reinforce consequences.

Possible Uses: 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 interactive 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. 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 at this site.

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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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Curriculumbits - curriculumbits.com

Grades
K to 12
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Find great curriculum materials that would be perfect for students to use on standalone computers for individual students or for group and class work using an Interactive Whiteboard...more
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Find great curriculum materials that would be perfect for students to use on standalone computers for individual students or for group and class work using an Interactive Whiteboard or projector. View the "Featured Resources" section or search the variety of subjects listed in the "Subjects" area. View the "Online Resource Library" to find games, quizzes, animations, and videos in every subject area. Search using specific search terms as well. No registration is required to use materials.

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

In the Classroom

Allow students to choose and use activities to enhance and improve their learning of classroom material. Here are a couple of examples of Whiteboard tools: Whiteboard quiz generator and Whiteboard quiz generator 2 team. Be sure to use resources where students are manipulating the interactives and using the resources for their learning. These resources are best used when they are student centered (student chosen and student run) instead of an activity the teacher performs for the class.
 
 This resource requires Adobe Flash.

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Whiteboard quiz scorer - curriculumbits.com

Grades
K to 12
1 Favorites 1  Comments
 
Use this Interactive whiteboard screen to keep score of student teams right and wrong answers for whole class quiz games. Enter the names of the 4 teams. Quiz scorer does ...more
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Use this Interactive whiteboard screen to keep score of student teams right and wrong answers for whole class quiz games. Enter the names of the 4 teams. Quiz scorer does not load or retain any actual questions. Use the up and down arrows to add and remove points from teams in accordance to how you choose to quiz students. View the teacher notes for information on how to use.

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

In the Classroom

Use this site in ways to maximize student involvement. For example, assign the creation of quiz questions for units and chapters to the students. Use these questions for quizzing of the entire class. Reinvent your role in this process by not being the reader of the question. Instead, take the role of the judge panel needed to arbitrate when judgement calls are required. Provide the top student who has earned the right to skip quizzing to be the emcee. This job can also be rotated among all students (the role of the emcee could also be to explain why answers are right or wrong.) Be sure to have students reflect on correct and incorrect answers to identify misconceptions and correct knowledge.
 
 This resource requires Adobe Flash.

Comments

This will be great to use in the classroom prior to taking a quiz or test. Veronica, NC, Grades: 5 - 12

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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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Thought Audio - thoughtaudio.com

Grades
K to 12
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This free audio book site offers classical literature and philosophy books in the public domain for download at no charge. In addition to typical classics, it offers recordings of the...more
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This free audio book site offers classical literature and philosophy books in the public domain for download at no charge. In addition to typical classics, it offers recordings of the Declaration of Independence and the U.S. Constitution, some Mark Twain, and a few Christmas recordings for children including "Twas the Night Before Christmas," "The Gift of the Magi," and "Scrooge: A Christmas Carol."

In the Classroom

Make a shortcut to this site on classroom computers as a reference. Suggest it to students as something they can use on their mp3 players. Share this link on your class website for students and parents to access at home. Learning support teachers may want to use selections from this site as alternatives to reading print literature selections. Play a story on your computer speakers as a listening activity in younger grades.

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Audio Books for Free - audiobooksforfree.com

Grades
K to 12
1 Favorites 0  Comments
 
This site offers free audio recordings of books in the public domain downloadable on computer, mobile phone, PDA, PSP, CD-MP3 portable player, portable MP3 player, portable DVD player,...more
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This site offers free audio recordings of books in the public domain downloadable on computer, mobile phone, PDA, PSP, CD-MP3 portable player, portable MP3 player, portable DVD player, or IPod. The collection is quite comprehensive and includes classic children's literature as well as fiction, non-fiction, philosophy, religion, self-help, humor, travel, and memoirs. All recordings offered at this site are human read.

Be aware: you must register for this site. Once registered, it is rather time consuming finding the FREE resources. The free audio stories are described as having "bearable quality" however, our reviewers found the quality fine. Most stories are available for free, just be sure to click on the correct box to ensure they are free!

tag(s): audio books (32)

In the Classroom

With younger students, it may be best to share the audio books on your projector or interactive whiteboard (as the Free ones can take some time to find and use). Share this link on your class website for parents to explore at home with their students.

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Free Classic Audio Books - Free Classic Audio Books.com

Grades
6 to 12
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This site has a collection of free classics in the public domain downloadable for mp3 and m4b audio book format for iTunes and iPods. Of special interest at this ...more
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This site has a collection of free classics in the public domain downloadable for mp3 and m4b audio book format for iTunes and iPods. Of special interest at this site is the recently added section where readers may find books that are not available at other free book download sites. Also distinguishing this site is that some books offer "human narration" and some have "text to speech" technology doing the reading.

In the Classroom

Make a shortcut to this site on classroom computers as a reference. Suggest it to students as something they can use on their IPODS. Share this link on your class website for students to access at home.

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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 (265), movies (64), 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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Poem Flow - Apple

Grades
4 to 12
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Since February 1, 2010, poetry.org has been adding one poem a day to display in Poem Flow. The poems appear line by line (on a cell phone background) in a ...more
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Since February 1, 2010, poetry.org has been adding one poem a day to display in Poem Flow. The poems appear line by line (on a cell phone background) in a fairly slow cadence so that each word of the poem can be appreciated. The poems are mainly classics by renowned authors. They begin as early as the 1500's with Shakespeare and continue through lesser known contemporary poets of 2010. The date of the poem's publication is included with the title. Students or teachers can choose to read the poem all at one time in full text as well. Designed to be used as an APP on the iPhone/iTouch, the website allows anyone (without an iPhone) to see the poems appearing slowly and thoughtfully.

tag(s): poetry (227)

In the Classroom

Share a poem a day on your interactive whiteboard or projector. Have students participate in a poetry wiki to share their thoughts on the daily poem or write their own responses in student blogs. Not comfortable with wikis? Have no wiki worries - check out theTeachersFirst's Wiki Walk-Through. Use this site to get your students' eyes on a poem. As they anticipate what is coming, they will all be at attention. Use the daily offering at "poetry break" time every day so the students can anticipate and look forward to each new poem!
 This resource requires Adobe Flash.

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Dipity - Underlying, Inc.

Grades
3 to 12
2 Favorites 0  Comments
   
Dipity is an online timeline creator that allows you to create, view, and share timelines in several different ways. When viewing timelines the default mode is the classic timeline...more
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Dipity is an online timeline creator that allows you to create, view, and share timelines in several different ways. When viewing timelines the default mode is the classic timeline display. With just a click the same information can be shown as a flipbook, map, and list. Sharing is simple through widgets that can be embedded on blogs or websites as well as quick links to common networking sites.
This site includes advertising.

tag(s): timelines (62)

In the Classroom

Click on "add an event" and complete as much information as you can about the event. Types of information that are provided include: title, date, description, picture, link, location, and video Url. If you do not have a complete set of information, the event will still look good in the timeline! Also, please note that you cannot create imaginary locations. The site does verify the place entered as location is a real place.

Use a created, identifiable to the outside world team name to preserve student internet security. This way, students do not need to create their own accounts. Be careful when having students enter locations, if it is historical project, real dates and times are safe to use. However, if students are creating personal type timelines, use general locations like city and country or even just country. You can control who can see the timelines, and who can edit the timeline. Use caution here!

Create a timeline of classroom events throughout the school year. During a unit on inventions, having different students add each invention to the timeline along with pertinent information to create a very visual display of the chronology of the introduction of each item (great for review!). Use for an author study to compare and contrast lives of authors and add historical events to put each author's works into perspective. In science class, have students create a timeline of scientific discoveries or the life of a plant, animal, or scientist. Challenge students to create cross-disciplinary timelines showing historic, scientific, and artistic events during the same time period, such as the Renaissance or a decade during the 20th century, so they can see trends. Make timelines of environmental concerns, such as the Gulf Oil Spill--or a history of environmental disasters. Create timelines for historic events -- local or global. Make family histories in world language classes using vocabulary and grammar skills to describe family members in the new language. Create a class timeline to add to your classroom wiki and have students add information as the year advances so that they can look back on all that they have accomplished.

Need a challenge for your gifted students? as the study history or a scientific discovery, have them make a timeline that shows other events happening in the world at the same time. Have them create a "family tree" for endangered species using this timeline tool. Add pictures, locations, and names of related species and causes for the threat to that animal. Have them map out the steps leading to a war or civil rights event, adding the more subtle causes and people not included in the regular curriculum.

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Mix Book - Andrew Laffoon

Grades
K to 12
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Enhance digital storytelling and classroom-publishing techniques with Mixbook. This web 2.0 creating tool lets students collaboratively create beautiful books. Users can simultaneously...more
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Enhance digital storytelling and classroom-publishing techniques with Mixbook. This web 2.0 creating tool lets students collaboratively create beautiful books. Users can simultaneously insert photos, text, and edit from separate computers. Authors can select from a wide variety of thematic designs, layout options, stickers, and backgrounds or design their own. Upload personal photos, scanned illustrations, or free public domain images directly into the image library. Inserting photos is a simple, intuitive process that requires a click and drag. The text comes in a variety of font options, and sizes. A complete transcript of the writing appears below the book. Viewers can enjoy the reading the book without needless advertising or redirection to another site. It is also possible to copy a book and easily create a customized edition for individual students. There is always the option to purchase books directly from the Mixbook. Go directly to this site and immediately create your masterpiece.
This site includes advertising.

tag(s): digital storytelling (142), ebooks (41)

In the Classroom

Use Mixbook to create collaborative projects, yearbooks, or to give writers workshop publishing a professional flare. History teachers may enjoy letting students photograph a re-enactment of a scene from the past and then write accompanying text. Combine yearly research reports with this multimedia option. Have students create collaborative projects that access fantastic photography collections from sites such as the Library of Congress . Primary school teachers can photograph student illustrations of familiar songs, poems, or rhymes and create "class" books. Project these books onto an interactive whiteboard or projector and revolutionize shared reading. Create parent education books that communicate how to help with their student's reading at home, or explain the stages of project-based learning. Students can also author books in a foreign language. Mixbook is useful for all areas of the school curriculum. Remember to embed student books into the school website for family and friends at home to enjoy.

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Common Core State Standards - Common Core State Standards Initiative Team

Grades
K to 12
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The Common Core State Standards Initiative is a nationwide effort led by the National Governor's Association and the Council of Chief State School Officers to establish a common set...more
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The Common Core State Standards Initiative is a nationwide effort led by the National Governor's Association and the Council of Chief State School Officers to establish a common set of educational standards which aligns benchmarks and expectations across state lines. This system builds on what states are already doing by providing an opportunity to share experiences, best practices, and lessons, while maintaining high expectations that insure the quality of education across America to enable our students to maintain a competitive edge in the global economy.

Visit this website to find out exactly what the national K-12 standards are for English language arts and literacy in history/social studies, science and technology, as well as mathematics, and to find out if your state is one many states (at the time of this review) that have already committed to adopt the Common Core State Standards. Watch videos and the recorded webinar, and read about the key points and rigorous curriculum standards, including the content and skills related to the use of media and technology for critical analysis and production.

tag(s): commoncore (92)

In the Classroom

Take a look at exemplars and sample performance tasks and students' writing to consider how you can integrate these ideas into your own planning to prepare students for the growing challenges of today's world. You can also sign up to receive updates via email. For more information about the Common Core and implementing it in your classes, see TeachersFirst's Common Core: The Fuss Over Non-Fiction, a Q/A article for elementary teachers, and TeachersFirst's resources tagged Common Core for many helpful sites.
  This resource requires Adobe Flash and PDF reader software like Adobe Acrobat.

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The Data Liberation Front - Google

Grades
7 to 12
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Do you use various Web 2.0 items and are unsure how to move information from one to the other (or from the cloud to your computer?) Use this site to ...more
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Do you use various Web 2.0 items and are unsure how to move information from one to the other (or from the cloud to your computer?) Use this site to learn how to move information from one area to another. For example, learn how to import and export bookmarks. Also learn how to import, export, or zip google documents to your computer.

tag(s): directions (20), resources (112)

In the Classroom

Provide this link as a resource to your students. Allow them the opportunity to learn techniques to move and manage their online information. Consider putting this link on your class website for students (and parents) to access at home.
 

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Tar Heel Reader - University of North Caroline

Grades
K to 12
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Find free on-line books perfect for emergent readers. The author of the site, the Center for Literacy and Disabilities studies at the University of North Carolina, wants to provide...more
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Find free on-line books perfect for emergent readers. The author of the site, the Center for Literacy and Disabilities studies at the University of North Carolina, wants to provide free resources to give everyone an opportunity to learn to read and write. All books are free and available for download as slideshows using PowerPoint, Impress, or Flash. Book topics include biographies, fairy tales, history, science, math, nursery rhymes, poetry, food, and more! All stories have speech enabling, can come in as many as fourteen different languages, and are compatible with touch screens. Since a wide range of age groups use this site, they have a rating system to suggest what is suitable for younger readers. Tar Heel Reader is also a great way to write books. Upload images from your computer or Flicker, add text, create, and share student stories with an authentic audience of readers. Tar Heel Reader is a great way to engage students with reading material, increase class participation, and create inclusive instruction for those with illiteracy or learning disabilities.

** This site does contain some materials NOT suitable for all classrooms. Be sure to read the "rating" system, and contribute your own opinions (as the ratings are only as reliable as the pool of contributing voters). Books rated 'E' are meant for everyone but a 'C' means to use caution as it may not be proper material for some. Determine what titles are suitable and save them to the favorites file for students to access.

tag(s): literacy (103)

In the Classroom

Increase your big book collection ten fold by projecting Tar Heel Readers onto an interactive whiteboard or projector. Use interactive shared reading lessons to strengthen student recognition of common sight words, concepts of print, decoding skills, and use syntax cues and unlock the meaning of text. Ask students to circle known sight words, count the number of words in a sentence, trace capital letters, or point to the first letter of a word during a choral read. Help ESL/ELL students by creating books out of photos from class field trips, events, or experiments. Integrate text that uses key vocabulary words and creates reading materials that are both relevant to grade level curricular standards and match your student's readability level. All books you publish on the web site are public domain and available to all other users. Be sure to get parent permission before publishing student books on-line. In order to create a book, users will need to register. Unfortunately, this requires users to email gb@cs.unc.edu to request of an invitation code. With this code, simply create a username, submit your name, and email address. Set up a single teacher account and have all the students use that login to avoid safety concerns. Be sure to include this site on your class web page for students to access both in and outside of class for further reading practice.
  This resource requires Adobe Flash and PDF reader software like Adobe Acrobat.

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Voices in the Dark - Sean Puckett and Dawn Keenan

Grades
K to 12
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The website "Voices in the Dark" is a source for audio recordings of classic novels, legends, poems, and essays. There are approximately 150 ageless titles such as Charles Dickens's...more
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The website "Voices in the Dark" is a source for audio recordings of classic novels, legends, poems, and essays. There are approximately 150 ageless titles such as Charles Dickens's "Christmas Carol" and Washington Irving's "Legend of Sleepy Hollow." Each audiobook comes with an accompanying text transcript and are typically short. Receive regular updates by subscribing to their syndication feeds through RSS or podcasts. The audio files come in both low and high bitrates MP3 files that will match your computer's storage space and Internet bandwidth capabilities.

tag(s): fluency (23), literacy (103)

In the Classroom

Engage your class in real world learning while building fluency and reading skills. "Voices in the Dark" is always looking for people to contribute to their on-line library of audio books. Consider having your class submit an audio recording of their own to the collection. First choose a genre to focus on such as Fairy Tales or Aesop Fables. Review the page that contains directions on how to select stories, create a recording, and submit work. There is a list of links full of public domain books from which to choose. They provide tips on how to record your reading and directions on how to submit your work. Sites such as Audio Pal reviewed here may be helpful in creating your recordings. Of course, check with your administrator before attempting this project and obtain parent permission before sharing or posting student work.

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A New Way to Lecture - Michael Zimmer

Grades
4 to 12
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At this site you will find a slide show with at least fourteen different programs you can use instead of PowerPoint for your lectures. Are your PowerPoint lectures boring you ...more
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At this site you will find a slide show with at least fourteen different programs you can use instead of PowerPoint for your lectures. Are your PowerPoint lectures boring you and your students? Take a look at this online slide show, and choose one of fourteen different programs to convert just one of your PowerPoint lectures. Not only is each program explained, but many have suggestions for integrating your lectures with the program. Take a look. Learn about some great web 2.0 sites (Glogster, Prezi, TypeWith.me, Animoto, ToonDoo, and many others). Note that many of the tools mentioned are also reviewed on TeachersFirst in greater detail if you want to learn more.

tag(s): chat (51), comics and cartoons (74), digital storytelling (142)

In the Classroom

Surprise your students and yourself with how effective any one of these programs can be with your material or THEIR presentations. Create a comic strip to replace a traditional grammar lesson. Use a class wiki to discuss and debate topics in history class. Create an online poster "glog" on using Glogster to demonstrate a new math concept. Once you see a tool that sounds interesting, read its full review on TeachersFirst to find even more ways to use it.
 
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