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The Princeton Review Vocab Minute Podcast - Princeton University

Grades
6 to 12
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One of the sites on the Princeton University web, this offers an interesting take on junior and senior vocabulary as offered through song. You do need a media player for ...more
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One of the sites on the Princeton University web, this offers an interesting take on junior and senior vocabulary as offered through song. You do need a media player for this to work, but Windows Media Player works great. The podcasts are one minute in length with the first 6 seconds of each taken up with the "commercial" credit. Since the groups are divided into junior and senior, it is easy to tailor it for the grade you teach.

tag(s): vocabulary (323)

In the Classroom

Research says that we remember things we hear in songs, so this might be a fantastic jumping-off spot for students-- particularly reluctant ones-- to learn some vocabulary. After listening to and commenting on a few of the ones offered here, students could come up with their own short songs with any vocabulary words you have in mind. Have them work in pairs to teach their song to the class or record it as their own podcast. Vocab with music can be fun!

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Cornell-Notes.com - Ryan Stewart

Grades
4 to 12
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Create ready-to-go notetaking sheets for your students or have them create their own using this online tool that generates pdf (Acrobat Reader) files to your specifications. Once you...more
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Create ready-to-go notetaking sheets for your students or have them create their own using this online tool that generates pdf (Acrobat Reader) files to your specifications. Once you choose the options you want under Create Your Personal Notepaper (blank, ruled, etc), click Submit to see your "perfect notetaking sheet" in Acrobat Reader. Click "Save a copy" to keep it or simply print it out on the spot. Results require Acrobat Reader. Get it from the TeachersFirst Toolbox page..

This resource was featured in a recent New Teacher Hotline Podcast as one of the Tech Toolbox resources. Hear more about it on the podcast .

tag(s): note taking (32)

In the Classroom

If you require a notebook for your course, this is the perfect tool. Share the link from your teacher web page so students can create their own, customized sheets. Be sure to demonstrate how it works, then "write" a sample set of Cornell-style notes by sharing it on your interactive whiteboard so students can see how to use them! Learning support and study skills teachers will love this one. Middle school science and social studies teachers should encourage a consistent note-taking system like this so all students can find what works for them. Perhaps try different variations until students figure out which is best.
 This resource requires PDF reader software like Adobe Acrobat.

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Alphabet Organizer - Read Write Think (Iron Monkey Interactive)

Grades
K to 12
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This Alphabet Organizer makes learning words and terminology exciting-- and organized. All levels may use this--from primary students learning the alphabet to secondary students learning...more
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This Alphabet Organizer makes learning words and terminology exciting-- and organized. All levels may use this--from primary students learning the alphabet to secondary students learning advanced vocabulary. On the interactive keypad, key in the beginning letter of a word. Key in the rest of the word on the blanks provided. You also have the option of typing in the word's meaning. When your list is entered, you may choose a booklet or a chart format for the presentation of your information. Studying content-area words or vocabulary meanings have never been so easy.

tag(s): alphabet (92), vocabulary (323)

In the Classroom

Think outside the 'box' when considering this application. Teachers may opt to teach the elements of the story through entering character traits, setting, plot events, etc., then printing a chart to teach those concepts. Special Ed or ESL/ELL teachers and teachers will love using this organizer to help students organize new words they must learn. If students use a three-ring notebook, new words can be added over time. Mark this tool as a favorite on your classroom computer for students to access as needed.
 This resource requires Adobe Flash.

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Auto English - Bob Wilson

Grades
K to 12
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This is a wonderful new "labor of love" resource for second language learners and ESL teachers created by an English teacher living in Spain. It includes the typical ...more
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This is a wonderful new "labor of love" resource for second language learners and ESL teachers created by an English teacher living in Spain. It includes the typical grammar lessons, flash cards, worksheets, phrasal verb practice, and idioms, but also less typical links to many video lessons and a few audio mp3's. Many of the sections have unique applications; for example, the vocabulary section has both online interactive practice and printable materials for the same lesson. The puzzles and games section includes a variety of printable worksheets. This site requires Flash. Get it from the TeachersFirst Toolbox page..

tag(s): grammar (216), idioms (44)

In the Classroom

This is a good overall site you can rely on for a variety of ESL purposes. Use it to find lessons and review activities for your ESL students.
  This resource requires Adobe Flash and PDF reader software like Adobe Acrobat.

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ESL Monkeys Story Room - Mary and David Monkey

Grades
1 to 12
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This site offers many readable stories; short, long, and classic stories are available in full by clicking on the links on the opening page. There are also tools for using ...more
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This site offers many readable stories; short, long, and classic stories are available in full by clicking on the links on the opening page. There are also tools for using current events selections. A reading tool allows students to copy and paste a puzzling text into a box and get definitions from words in that text by clicking on the unknown words. For teachers, there are many "teaching reading" hints and links to lesson plans. Although the site focuses on ESL students, the variety and number of short stories makes it useful to all aspiring readers.

tag(s): short stories (25)

In the Classroom

Use the selections from this page to teach specific reading skills on an interactive whiteboard or for students to practice reading and language skills independently at a computer center or on laptops. If you allow students to select their own stories (ages are noted to help them find the appropriate level), they may be more interested in the story, as well.

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Lazy Readers' Book Club - Dr. Danny Brassell

Grades
2 to 12
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This site offers reviews of ten new books each month in three categories; Children, Young Adult, and Adult. Selected books are easy to read and short enough to be ...more
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This site offers reviews of ten new books each month in three categories; Children, Young Adult, and Adult. Selected books are easy to read and short enough to be read without losing their appeal. Users can search for appropriate titles by author, title, number of pages, level, and rating. When searching the young adult section by pages, readers can find young adult books that range from 32 pages to full length. After searching, each display page contains 10 books with a short summary and a picture of its cover.

In the Classroom

Use this site to encourage reluctant readers to choose their own short books with subjects that interest them! For children who can't choose, encourage them to use the "Random Shuffle" feature. Share the link on your teacher web page for students and parents ot access from home. Start a "Lazy Readers" club in your own classroom, with students writing reviews you can post on a bulletin board or a reading wiki.

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Neil Gaiman - Harper Collins

Grades
6 to 12
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Neil Gaiman offers readings and videos of many of his novels and stories on this site along with essays, interviews (including one of his daughter interviewing him) and detailed answers...more
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Neil Gaiman offers readings and videos of many of his novels and stories on this site along with essays, interviews (including one of his daughter interviewing him) and detailed answers about details of his writings organized by title (see FAQs). Additional features include a blog, "Where's Neil?", biographic and award details, and press releases.

tag(s): comics and cartoons (74), novels (24), short stories (25)

In the Classroom

Share this site with reluctant readers as a way to interest them in reading more stories and comics about kids like themselves. If you keep a list of author sites for independent reading and book reports, add this one to the list! Tag it "author."

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Illustrated Vocabulary - Institut de la Providence

Grades
1 to 10
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This illustrated word list, grouped by category, offers users the chance to test their vocabulary knowledge of basics in English, French, Danish, and Dutch. Simply select a language...more
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This illustrated word list, grouped by category, offers users the chance to test their vocabulary knowledge of basics in English, French, Danish, and Dutch. Simply select a language and category, and the graphics in the category ask for a word choice. Immediate feedback in the chosen language indicates a percentage of correct choices and allows users to guess again.One unfortunate note: since the site creators are French, they did not capitalize the months of the year--even in English. You probably will not want to use that section of the site.

tag(s): french (88), vocabulary (323)

In the Classroom

Use this site as a review for ESL students. French language students will also enjoy this quick way to check their knowledge. Speech and language teachers or primary reading teachers who are teaching simple reading vocabulary or spelling words may want to make this site as center in their classrooms.

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Learning Style Inventory - Brett Bixler

Grades
5 to 12
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This visually "plain vanilla" learning style inventory, created by an instructional designer at Penn State, is simple enough to use in a middle or high school classroom without explaining...more
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This visually "plain vanilla" learning style inventory, created by an instructional designer at Penn State, is simple enough to use in a middle or high school classroom without explaining elaborate personality traits and indexes to preteens and young adults. (There is one unfortunate mention of smoking, since the inventory was designed for college students. You may want to point it out and make an active disclaimer. about not promoting smoking!). This free, simplified inventory is short enough to complete and discuss during one class period. NOTE: the results of the inventory come up in a small pop-up window. Make sure your pop-up blocker is not preventing you from seeing them. The Google and Yahoo toolbars block pop-ups! In Internet Explorer, you can temporarily turn off the blocker by RIGHT-clicking on the narrow yellow bar that appears at the top of the web page window.

tag(s): assessment (100), learning styles (19), multiple intelligences (11)

In the Classroom

Regular ed and learning support teachers from middle school up will want to share this resource with students and parents to help students find the most effective ways to study and retain knowledge. Include the link on your teacher web page (with a note about the unfortunate mention of smoking!) or plan a start-of-the year in-class time to help students get off on the right foot. Even teachers of gifted (whose students are notorious for inconsistent study methods because they have not "needed" to study) will find this resource helpful when students "hit the wall" in challenging courses. As part of a study skills unit, have students self-assess and create a single database of the class members' learning styles and subject strengths so they can find peer-tutors during study halls.

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A Periodic Table of Visualization Methods - Ralph Lengler and Martin J. Eppler

Grades
8 to 12
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Who says the chemistry department can monopolize the periodic table? This site highlights various charts, graphic organizers, tables, and other ways to express information visually....more
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Who says the chemistry department can monopolize the periodic table? This site highlights various charts, graphic organizers, tables, and other ways to express information visually. The presentation makes the sell (or better grade). Teachers, especially secondary school, will appreciate this page to show the various ways to make their students' presentations more meaningful. Those who teach advanced reading skills and how to interpret visual data will love all the examples, as well. Hold your mouse over each square of the periodic table to view each type of visual.

tag(s): design (83), periodic table (50)

In the Classroom

Viewing this with the entire class will be more effective with the interactive whiteboard or projector. Teachers in any subject will find this site invaluable in teaching how to make strong visuals for oral or written presentations. What powerful evidence for multiple intelligences! Your visual/spatial students will LOVE this one, and others will learn to build that intelligence. Try these same strategies in YOUR PowerPoint presentations to communicate ideas visually, without being "powerpointless" at back to school night!
 This resource requires Adobe Flash.

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Quizlet: The End of Flashcards - Brainflare: Andrew Sutherland

Grades
3 to 12
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This easy to understand web and mobile app tool allows you or your students to enter vocabulary terms and definitions to create electronic flashcards and quizzes to enhance word study...more
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This easy to understand web and mobile app tool allows you or your students to enter vocabulary terms and definitions to create electronic flashcards and quizzes to enhance word study in any language or a content area. Students may choose to create electronic tests, or the networking page allows them to interact and learn with other users who have the same words. Teacher or students can create groups to share word lists. See a sample matching activity about TeachersFirst created by our editors to show a variation on using this online tool for simple words/definitions. Use this tool from any device or move between several devices and still access your work. The iOS and Android apps practice tests can be multiple choice, true/false, or written questions. Turn on "Instant Feedback" (new feature for the apps) that will give real-time feedback on right/wrong answers as you go; or wait and get your score at the end. As wonderful as this technology is, the coolest thing about Quizlet might be in its history--its creator was a high school student who tells his inspiring story and shares his blog through links at this site.
This site includes advertising.

tag(s): DAT device agnostic tool (198), quiz (84), spelling (168), vocabulary (323), word study (80)

In the Classroom

Membership asks for an email. Email allows you to notify others that you want to share a word list or activity with them. If students cannot have their own email accounts, consider using a "class set" of Gmail subaccounts, explained here, this tells how to configure Gmail subaccounts to use for any online membership service. This would provide anonymous interaction within your class. KEEP A LIST of students usernames (non-identifying) and passwords, incase they forget them! If you already use Google Classroom with your students, it only takes a few minutes to get them set up with a Quizlet Class.

There is a very thorough "Help Center" to get the idea of how the site works. Save your "sets" and decide whether you want them to be entirely public, just for you personally, or shared with a "group." Create your own groups for each class or subject. Be sure to note the fact that you can upload vocabulary lists by copy/pasting from various formats--- a time real saver! Use this tool easily in your byod classroom since all students will be able to access it for free, no matter what device they have.

Content and English teachers may set up their personal network of users. Pretest your gifted students and allow them to "test out" of material they already know. Learning support teachers will want their students to create their own Quizlet sets and help learn them in the process! Teachers may create your own sets of words, or let students do the work for themselves and each other. Use the interactive whiteboard for quick flashcard or electronic testing using your sets. World language and ESL/ELL teachers will find many word sets already built and ready to use at this site. If you team teach with others at your grade level, take turns making the online Quizlets to accompany your science or social studies chapters. Be SURE to share this tool on your teacher web page for students to use at home.

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World News - WN Network

Grades
4 to 12
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This is a wonderful compilation site of news from all over the world. Users can read the home page or search news of a specific geographic region. An ...more
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This is a wonderful compilation site of news from all over the world. Users can read the home page or search news of a specific geographic region. An excellent plus here is the ability to choose to read the news in a variety of languages. World Photos today, multimedia, global weather, and sports are just a few of the many attractive sections that add to this site's appeal.

tag(s): news (261)

In the Classroom

Share this site with your school's foreign language teachers. Have students do comparisons between English and foreign language versions of the news. If you teach writing, you can find controversial topics as writing prompts for persuasive writing among the articles, as well, and have students find facts to support their positions. Make this site available from your teacher web page for current events assignments. Reading teachers will want to use the articles on an interactive whiteboard to teach main idea and summarizing: highlight key words to use in a main idea or summary sentence you write together below the article.

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Kids Book Club Book - Judy Gelman and Vicki Levy Krupp

Grades
2 to 12
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This site, a companion to a print book, focuses on ideas and activities for book clubs, including short summaries of books, recipes, and activities paired up with featured books. ...more
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This site, a companion to a print book, focuses on ideas and activities for book clubs, including short summaries of books, recipes, and activities paired up with featured books. Books included are of many levels and genres, all of high interest for children. Children's authors write some of the book reviews; book club members are welcome to list their book club, book descriptions, and activities on the site as well. Links include an author section with a comprehensive list of authors who will speak to your book clubs by phone and authors and illustrators willing to visit your school.

In the Classroom

Find food ideas and activities to promote reading on this site! Mention this site to your school librarian for use with school book clubs. FCS teachers may want to coordinate some of the recipes with books featured in language arts class. Parents would appreciate the link on your teacher web page or newsletter so they can encourage reading at home. Your school parent organization can find great ideas, as well. Make this link part of your family literacy treasury.

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Proverbia.net - Vicent Jorda

Grades
3 to 12
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Finally, a rich resource of proverbs to use for classroom bulletin boards, quotes of the day, and, most importantly: teaching figurative language and idioms. Find proverbs alphabetically,...more
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Finally, a rich resource of proverbs to use for classroom bulletin boards, quotes of the day, and, most importantly: teaching figurative language and idioms. Find proverbs alphabetically, by topic, or by author. Click for the Spanish version of the site, as well. Spanish teachers will love this way of teaching the nuances of the language. If you teach about Ben Franklin, you could spend a full class on his proverbial sayings found here. ESL/ELL students will benefit from exposure to the idioms included in the proverbs, as well.

tag(s): figurative language (16), franklin (12), idioms (44), spanish (108)

In the Classroom

Ask students to find three proverbs unknown to them and explain them visually on a PowerPoint slide (can easily be printed into a big book or poster). Feature a proverb a week in your classroom or on a bulletin board to build analogous thinking, cultural literacy, and inferencing skills as you ask students to explain what it means. This will gently ease your concrete thinkers into broader understanding.

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ToonDoo - Jambav

Grades
3 to 12
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Create your own one to three panel comic strips or --even better- have your students create them using this simple online tool. The libraries include many cartoon figures, voice bubbles,...more
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Create your own one to three panel comic strips or --even better- have your students create them using this simple online tool. The libraries include many cartoon figures, voice bubbles, and more. You can also upload your own photos using the Imaginr(or pieces from them) and create your own characters using the Traitr. For a longer story, make a TOONBOOK instead of a single TOONDOO strip. See a sample made by our techno-savvy editors in just a few minutes. The "published" products can be shared online with the world, shared with a limited audience (probably the safest for students), or kept completely private (visible only to you when logged in).
This site includes advertising.

tag(s): comics and cartoons (74), digital storytelling (144), images (266)

In the Classroom

Play with the "Create Your Own" tools to make a TOONDOO or TOONBOOK, including locating characters, resizing, re-ordering, entering text, etc. IF you are feeling adventurous, try upload an image to include. When you are ready, publish the product, publicly by sharing the URL or to opt for a limited audience.

Potential safety concerns: If you are having students create their own TOONDOOS, you will want to prohibit their accessing the links to "popular" TOONDOOS and others available to the public, since the site is open for anyone's idea of "funny" content. Our editors did not see anything objectionable, but you never know.

How can you use this in the classroom? Once you have laid the ground rules, have students create strips with characters explaining a science concept. Or show the steps in a process or procedure, such as the water cycle. Older students can create political satire cartoons. If you have students work from your account, you can provide the "raw materials" of some digital pictures for them to make cartoon explanations of lab safety procedures or nature species. Even little ones can write sentences. Have them work with a partner---and LIMIT their choices to 3 character options so they do not keep changing their minds!

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Karin's ESL PartyLand - Karin M. Cintron

Grades
4 to 12
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Originally written for ESL students to practice language skills, these interactive quizzes are very useful for allowing all levels of students to test their skills online in a nonthreatening...more
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Originally written for ESL students to practice language skills, these interactive quizzes are very useful for allowing all levels of students to test their skills online in a nonthreatening way. These interactive quizzes seem to touch on all bases from business English to grammar to vocabulary (including idioms), making them great for either pretesting, practice or review. They also allow the teacher to individualize what students need from a variety of choices.

tag(s): grammar (216), quiz (84), quizzes (96)

In the Classroom

Assign individual or mini-lesson practice on laptops or a computer cluster in your classroom after grading writing assignments or while studying grammar. Learning support and ESL teachers will also like the extra practice options to help students with grammar skills and idioms. Since there is no "scoring" function, you may want students to raise hands and SHOW you how they did as they complete activities.

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Newpapers in Education - Capital Newspapers

Grades
2 to 12
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This wonderful, time-tested collection of lesson plans and activities using local newspapers offers a wide variety of motivating plans including how to use different sections of the...more
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This wonderful, time-tested collection of lesson plans and activities using local newspapers offers a wide variety of motivating plans including how to use different sections of the newspaper for educational purposes, how to include multicultural programming when reading them, and how to match curricular content with various newspaper activities (Curriculum Guides). Although these activities originally went with WI newspapers, the activities are flexible. A Special Programs section offers timely, short-term projects that correspond with holidays and seasons and current hot topics. One example of an activity for younger children is the Newshounds Activity Guide for grades 4-6, downloadable in pdf format. The goals of this guide include meshing reading, writing, vocabulary development, and understanding the different parts of a newspaper. Other guides are equally well-developed.

tag(s): comics and cartoons (74), fashion (10), news (261), newspapers (94), sports (97)

In the Classroom

Although some of the lessons described here require actual hard-copy newspapers, many can be adapted for the online versions of newspapers, as well. If your schools does not have the means to receive actual newspapers, consider using this resource or this one to find online papers and conduct some of the same lessons. In the course of the discussion, you will inevitably run into some of the differences between hard copy and online newspapers, a topic of basic information literacy in the 21st century as printed papers are rapidly supplanted by online editions.
 This resource requires PDF reader software like Adobe Acrobat.

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Women in Poetry - Carolyn Kohli/The Academy of American Poets

Grades
9 to 12
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This unit (an extensive set of lesson plans) uses both critical writing and the Internet to explore women in poetry. It helps to make students familiar with the work of ...more
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This unit (an extensive set of lesson plans) uses both critical writing and the Internet to explore women in poetry. It helps to make students familiar with the work of women poets and confident in understanding poetry. Students get practice reading poems critically, learn technical poetry vocabulary, do research on the web, write responses, and more. Examples of themes explored in the unit include "Entering the Darkness Out of Childhood," "Voices of the Mothers," and "The Body Electric." The culminating project is creating a webpage. The lesson plans are very detailed, so that even teachers reluctant about teaching poetry will engage their students with this literary form.

tag(s): poetry (228), women (101)

In the Classroom

Choose the lesson options that best meet your needs and time limits or simply use the research and project portions. Although the site suggests making a web page on your school server, a wiki would be an easy place to create the culminating projects.

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Braingle: Brain Teasers, Puzzles, Riddles and More - Braingle

Grades
3 to 12
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Exercise your gray matter by solving one of the 12,000 'braingles' at this site. It purports to be the largest collection of puzzles, riddles, mind games, etc, on the ...more
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Exercise your gray matter by solving one of the 12,000 'braingles' at this site. It purports to be the largest collection of puzzles, riddles, mind games, etc, on the Internet. Once you explore the site, you trust their word. The site is mobile phone and wii-friendly. Don't miss the section with SAT vocab (in Mentalrobics). There are articles on study skills and strategies such as clearing your mind before studying, "chunking" when reading, or various strategies to memorize material. Engage students into math and reading exercises through the endless riddles and puzzles at this site. They won't even be aware they are 'reading' or 'solving math.'

tag(s): brain (72), puzzles (208), riddles (15), vocabulary (323)

In the Classroom

Start class with a "warm-up" brain teaser. Or include this link on your teacher web page (with a caution about parental supervision for younger ones). Site creators claim the entire site is family-friendly, safe for classroom use. Portions of the site require membership, and the membership level that displays ads is free. You may want to set up a CLASS account and use it under controlled circumstances since there are forums and chat rooms, however. Or ask your tech folks to block the portion of the site that includes "community" in the URL (http://www.braingle.com/community/) to avoid having to deal with forums, chat rooms, etc.(If you are lucky enough to have such helpful tech support, make them cookies once in awhile!)
 This resource requires Adobe Flash.

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Simple English Wikipedia - Wikipedia Foundation

Grades
3 to 10
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Simple English Wikipedia is a new production of Wikipedia, focused on readers and learners with less vocabulary than native speakers of English. According to the producer, the pages...more
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Simple English Wikipedia is a new production of Wikipedia, focused on readers and learners with less vocabulary than native speakers of English. According to the producer, the pages featured here contain simpler words and shorter sentences than the regular Wiki pages. The number of pages is more limited as well, though this should grow with educators and learners contributing information. Another difference is that any slangs or idiomatic language is carefully explained to accommodate the ELL reader. The HELP pages explain how to write and submit articles for Simple English Wikipedia and have suggestions for simplifying English.

tag(s): writing (359)

In the Classroom

Share this site with your school ESL teachers as well as classroom teachers who may have ESL students who are involved in researching and possibly even writing new articles. Bookmark this for your classroom computer. If you do recommend wikipedia as a source for research, be sure to have the discussion about its unknown authorship and usefulness as a general information tool but not as a "scholarly" resource. As a challenge to your better writers, consider asking them to write entries that you can submit to this encyclopedia on classroom topics in simpler English. They will have to analyze their own language and writing style with far greater scrutiny than ever before. Or have the class create a two-version wiki glossary of your own on curriculum topics in any discipline, using this as a model for the "easy reading" side.

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