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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 (324)

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!)
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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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Teaching That Makes Sense - Steve Peha

Grades
4 to 10
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This is an exciting site for teachers because of the practical worksheets and ideas that absolutely fill it. It is geared to writing, particularly writing about what we read. While...more
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This is an exciting site for teachers because of the practical worksheets and ideas that absolutely fill it. It is geared to writing, particularly writing about what we read. While it may seem geared for intermediate and middle school students, it has a lot to offer to older students as well-- particularly ones who are not good writers and need more engaging, closer work to become better writers. In light of NCLB, this is a great site for working with slow or disabled older students or really just any students who need to become better communicators.

tag(s): writing (359)

In the Classroom

The PDF files that are downloadable from this site are great! It is divided into 6 sections that you can use to plan, or you can use portions directly with students in a lab or on laptops. Have students do different parts of the same projects, working from the templates provided. A great exercise for older students is to go through the writing samples and evaluate them as a class. Since there are multiple examples posted, it would be an excellent lesson to work with an interactive whiteboard. The ideas are limited only by your imagination!
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Multiple Intelligences - Birmingham Grid For Learning

Grades
4 to 12
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Help your students to determine their own individual intelligences by using this website. The website provides information about the various intelligences, an interactive quiz (available...more
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Help your students to determine their own individual intelligences by using this website. The website provides information about the various intelligences, an interactive quiz (available in text or audio versions), and a detailed results page. This site requires Flash, get it from the TeachersFirst Toolbox page.

tag(s): multiple intelligences (11)

In the Classroom

Use a computer lab or laptops to help students learn more about how they learn. For many students, this could be part of a plan for how to study and be successful in the new school year. This would be a great "first week of school" activity or part of a unit on study skills. For gifted students finally "hitting the wall" and having to learn to study in high school, this self-analysis could be very helpful.
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Colorin Colorado - WETA

Grades
1 to 10
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This totally bilingual website (a collaboration between Reading Rockets and the American Federation of Teachers) is packed with information for both ELL/ESL and regular classroom instructors...more
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This totally bilingual website (a collaboration between Reading Rockets and the American Federation of Teachers) is packed with information for both ELL/ESL and regular classroom instructors about how to encourage reading. Although the focus is on Spanish speaking students, the information is specific and easily adaptable for all reading learners. Lots of information is available on the site concerning not only reading instructional techniques, but building partnerships with families of Hispanic students, placement and assessment, and important authors. Webcast information programs include accompanying reading and discussion questions. This site is a good resource to help meet the needs of increasing numbers of students born speaking other languages. Videos and webcasts reside on YouTube. If your district blocks YouTube, the they 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.

tag(s): hispanic (18), parents (56)

In the Classroom

All classroom teachers who have ELL/ESL students should consider this a primary source of information about how to teach and help second language learners. Share this link on your teacher web page and/or in a parent newsletter for those who are concerned with the challenges of the increasing number of ELL/ESL students.
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Common Sense Media - Common Sense Media Inc.

Grades
1 to 12
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This site has current movie reviews from the parents' point of view: What current movies are appropriate? What ages are they appropriate for? In addition to current films, there ...more
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This site has current movie reviews from the parents' point of view: What current movies are appropriate? What ages are they appropriate for? In addition to current films, there are reviews of TV programs, new DVD's, games, websites, books, music, etc. The site uses its own rating system: "Appropriate for age," "Know your kid," and "Not appropriate for age." Along with written reviews and Q/A approaches, there are video clips and tips. Each category of entertainment has several recommended and reviewed items with age ranges. There is also a newsletter and in-depth articles on subjects of concern to kids and parents.

tag(s): internet safety (109), movies (65), parents (56), safety (92)

In the Classroom

Let your students' parents know about this site via your teacher web page or class newsletter. You may also want to share it with your school PTO or PTA.

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Protopage - Protopage

Grades
K to 12
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This online tool creates a highly visual "home page" that can incorporate multiple elements simply by dragging and dropping them in place. Not unlike Google's personalized homepage,...more
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This online tool creates a highly visual "home page" that can incorporate multiple elements simply by dragging and dropping them in place. Not unlike Google's personalized homepage, the elements look like little sticky notes or boxes, but there is far greater flexibility and a wider variety of content readily available. You can also make the page local (simply use it as the "home" on your classroom computer), shared by a select group (passworded), or completely public. You can easily make a theme or unit page for quick access of resources, complete with directions.

tag(s): resources (112)

In the Classroom

How would you use this in your teaching? Create a set of RSS feeds for current events or a specific curriculum topic such as weather and make them available for an in-class activity, complete with directions. World language, world cultures, or geography teachers can profile a location on the globe, complete with local weather and news. Make separate tabs for separate activities. Students can access them by password or publicly from outside of class, as well. For primary grades, make simple instructions right on the desktop for a computer center activity. Use color coding of the instructions to differentiate for different children (Sam, I want you to do the yellow one). If your school permits students to set up accounts on web services, have groups make Protopages on an assigned topic, collecting and organizing resources, images, and information: "A Protopage Guide to Cells" or "Shakespeare's Times." Gifted and highly-able students will go crazy!

Skills needed: Join (free). Check out the Intro, Overview, and Quickstart to see how it works. Play to your heart's content, including making tabs. Learn about RSS feeds and other Widgets-- including sticky notes. Share the URL with those you wish to have use it. Note: this works on Internet Explorer 6 and higher and on Firefox. If your users are on older web browsers, the developers recommend upgrading. This may be a problem for some. Check with your end-user computers before you spend too much time making the perfect Protopage!

If you allow students to create their own Protopage, you will need to have very specific rules about content, since there are non-educational elements available.

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Mindomo - Expert Software Application

Grades
1 to 12
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Create collaborative mind maps (graphic organizers) using this online tool. See an example created by...more
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Create collaborative mind maps (graphic organizers) using this online tool. See an example created by our editors. The example gives some ideas for uses of this online graphic organizer tool.

tag(s): mind map (25)

In the Classroom

Have students create graphic organizers in cooperative groups as a study guide for unit content, to collect information for a group research project, or show examples of an important concept. Share and compare the organizers on an interactive whiteboard or projector in class and allow classmates to suggest changes. Skills needed: join the site, practice with the tools (don't miss the notes feature!). Save up to 7 "private" maps and an unlimited number of "shared" maps.

Make a map available online by saving and clicking "yes" for sharing, then clicking the Save by URL icon. This will copy the URL onto your computer's clipboard so you can paste it into a word doc or even your teacher web page. Imagine sharing several student made "study guides" in the days before the unit test.

Note that maps that are shared can be seen by the public, but not altered. You specify members who may collaborate and make alterations. For students to collaborate using this tool they must have individual memberships, requiring an email account. These memberships must be activated from their email. So, if students do not have email that is accessible from school, classroom use BY STUDENTS will be severely limited. Editor's note: we asked the Mindomo folks about spell check and student safety issues. They are still developing this tool, so they MIGHT address these issues at a later date.

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Bookcrossing.com - Humankind Systems, Inc.

Grades
9 to 12
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If you are a booklover, this is a fabulous site and a unique way to connect with other booklovers around the world. The proviso with it is that it is ...more
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If you are a booklover, this is a fabulous site and a unique way to connect with other booklovers around the world. The proviso with it is that it is an entirely open site. Watching the site for several years has proven that it is genuinely populated by people interested in reading and discussing books as well as sharing them with others throughout the world. Ron Hornbaker of Humankind Systems developed this software to make tracking books possible, and a phenomenon began that has grown immensely over the past 6 years. For everything you ever were curious about with the site, click on the FAQ at the bottom. An amazing site for anyone who reads and loves books.

tag(s): book lists (128)

In the Classroom

Understanding that this is an open site worldwide is what puts it into the HS range-- plus the fact that most of the books addressed are adult books (rather than books written for juveniles). As a teacher, it is fascinating to gather information from other places-- and books are released from Afghanistan to Zimbabwe and everywhere in between! There are sites on this web to look at the books and the people who release them. You must register to fully use the site, but it is free. This is definitely worth exploring for a variety of reasons, even beyond teaching reading and English. And if you are a book lover yourself, it is just plain fun! Recomment the site to your mature students to promote independent reading and life-long learning.

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Visuwords - Paul R. Dunn

Grades
6 to 12
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This graphical online dictionary will make looking up words and figures of speech addictive, and visual learners will start to understand meanings as never before. The dictionary pulls...more
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This graphical online dictionary will make looking up words and figures of speech addictive, and visual learners will start to understand meanings as never before. The dictionary pulls it information from Princeton's WordNet, an opensource database built by University students and language researchers. A WORD OF WARNING: because the source of the words is a university, where speech is completely open, there are word included in this "dictionary" that are NOT classroom appropriate. Use it only under teacher monitoring.
The color-coded word "entries" display like a mind-map or graphic organizer, showing parts of speech in different colors and showing related words and phrases, as well. Be sure to look at the color key at the bottom to understand all the information presented. This site requires FLASH. Get it from the TeachersFirst Toolbox page..

tag(s): dictionaries (56), thesaurus (24), vocabulary (324)

In the Classroom

Introduce new vocabulary before reading or starting a new unit, using this site on an interactive whiteboard or projector. The distinctions, examples, and relationships the site features for new words will help students build better connections and understanding as they read and study the words in classroom context. English teachers will love this as a learning tool for teaching distinctions between similar words. Just remember to use it in a monitored situation (see above).

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A Teaching Unit for Treasure Island - Avon Middle School

Grades
6 to 10
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This well-organized teaching plan, originally designed for grade 6, integrates technology and includes day-by-day lessons for teaching Robert Louis Stevenson's Treasure Island ove...more
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This well-organized teaching plan, originally designed for grade 6, integrates technology and includes day-by-day lessons for teaching Robert Louis Stevenson's Treasure Island ove a seven-week period. Plans include eveerything- even printables, web links, and assessments. The site organization is outstanding. Easily adaptable for other time periods, classroom levels, or study emphasis, this unit is comprehensive, complete, and innovative. The teacher's synopsis gives a weekly overview of the lessons.

In the Classroom

Use the full unit or selected activities when studying Treasure Island. Include the Daily activity schedule link on your tecaher web page so students can access their work easily. The teacher's section indicates History Channel movies that complement your study. Even if you do not read this literature, some of the activities would go well with any study of maritime history, pirates, or the 19th century.

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Magazine Literacy - Magazine Publishers Family Literacy Project

Grades
K to 12
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This site highlights a campaign to get magazines into the hands of all children, helping them learn to read and building their self-esteem. A clearinghouse for many organizations with...more
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This site highlights a campaign to get magazines into the hands of all children, helping them learn to read and building their self-esteem. A clearinghouse for many organizations with that same goal, this website connects those in need of literacy with those who can give reading materials and support. Numerous sponsors who have come forward to help children hungry for literacy. Teachers who know of disadvantaged students can find literacy resources here. Links to multiple literacy organizations and an extensive list of children's magazine websites make this site a treasure trove of information.

tag(s): literacy (103)

In the Classroom

Click on "Ideas" for downloadable, personalized labels for magazines. Also at this link, you will find information on organizing a literacy campaign for the homeless in your area. Invole your student service organization -- or even your class- in a literacy campaign that can also help students within your own schools.

Check back in September to learn new ideas on how teachers use magazines in their classrooms. October is Children's Magazine Month and "real" teachers' ideas are featured.
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Research 101 - University of Washington

Grades
9 to 12
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Research 101 is an interactive online tutorial for students needing an introduction to research skills. The tutorial covers the basics, including how to select a topic and develop research...more
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Research 101 is an interactive online tutorial for students needing an introduction to research skills. The tutorial covers the basics, including how to select a topic and develop research questions, as well as how to select, search for, find, and evaluate information sources. This site teaches kids HOW to research so it works with ANY subject matter.Teaching kids how to research and the differences between kinds of sources can be challenging. This site makes it a little easier for you and simpler and more fun for them!

In the Classroom

What is terrific about this site is its interactive capability-- so you can introduce it on a projector or whiteboard at the beginning of class, then let them continue by themselves as you go around and check on individual issues. After each section there is a "review quiz" that students can take right there and get their score immediately. Require them to raise a hand to report a score--or they risk a zero!

This site is a must for your teacher web page during research season.

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CAST UDL Book Builder - CAST

Grades
K to 12
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This fabulous, FREE online tool allows you to create your own interactive "books" to help young readers learn reading strategies to build comprehension. The tool allows you to enter...more
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This fabulous, FREE online tool allows you to create your own interactive "books" to help young readers learn reading strategies to build comprehension. The tool allows you to enter your own text, images, and hints. The finished product is a very polished-looking book in a form that you can save on your computer or burn to a CD and use over and over and over with students for years to come.

Be sure to try the model books and read the tips for writers and illustrators. Take the time to learn the tool. Click to see a sample we made for you and placed on our site.

tag(s): digital storytelling (144), reading comprehension (116), reading strategies (45)

In the Classroom

Locate or create your own copyright-free text and images for which you have the rights to make more than one copy (Fair Use does not apply!). Copy/paste the text and resize/upload the images--following simple directions to create the pages and accompanying hints. Be sure to learn about the three interactive characters who teach the strategies! Publish and download the files of the finished "books" and save on your computer. Extract the zipped files and save locally, on your network, or burn to CD so your students can access them directly.

The uses of this one are endless. If you take the time to get permission from the publisher to use text from some of your textbooks or reading books, you could create interactive versions to use in your classroom or with special ed students. More simply, use student-written stories and artwork (scanned -- or created in Paint) to create the "book." Imagine creating a class "book" at the end of a unit on Communities or Animals, and including images you take with your digital camera. If you copy the CD's, students could sign out the "book" and read it to relatives using their home computer. You can keep the "library" of past books to help future classes. Or ask your middle/high school or gifted students to create books as writing/service project for struggling readers to use.

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Verkaro.net Audiobooks - literalsystems.org

Grades
9 to 12
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This limited selection of well-produced audio books in the public domain is unique in its selection of titles. New classic titles are constantly being added. Professionals read the...more
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This limited selection of well-produced audio books in the public domain is unique in its selection of titles. New classic titles are constantly being added. Professionals read the books. Texts available as of spring, 2007 include: Adventures of Huckleberry Finn; A Tale of Two Cities; Elephant's Child, The;Empty House, The;Excerpt from Don Quijote; Gift of the Magi, The; Goblin Market; Gunga Din; Happy Prince, The; Heart of Darkness; Highwayman, The; Monkey's Paw, The; On the Brighton Road; Red Room, The; Upper Berth, The.

In the Classroom

Use these recordings for a new medium in literature study or for learning support/visually impaired students whose decoding skills hinder their appreciation of the literature. Those with MP3 players can download the files for portable listening.

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KidsSpace Stories - Toronto Public Library

Grades
K to 12
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Mainly intended for the elementary crowd, this collection of online stories includes options of listening online or downloading them for more permanent access. The oral recordings of...more
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Mainly intended for the elementary crowd, this collection of online stories includes options of listening online or downloading them for more permanent access. The oral recordings of the stories are delightful, often featuring the author of the story as the reader. The stories are accompanied by appropriate sounds and songs and are very fresh and appealing. Besides stories in English, listeners can select stories in French and Italian as well. High school world language teachers will enjoy the chance for students to hear a full narrative read well in the language. Requires Quicktime. Downloading the stories offers them in MP3 format.

tag(s): french (88), italian (33)

In the Classroom

Use these delightful stories as opportunities to develop listening skills by playing the story, then asking questions. Or inspire your children to build fluency and expression by creating their own recordings (podcasts) after listening to these. Be sure to place the link on your teacher web page for students to share stories over and over at home, too.

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Google Drive - Google

Grades
6 to 12
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Use Google Drive to create and save your Google Docs. With Google Docs, you can create, edit, reformat, upload, and share documents you've created in WORD or other office applications....more
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Use Google Drive to create and save your Google Docs. With Google Docs, you can create, edit, reformat, upload, and share documents you've created in WORD or other office applications. You can also look at the editing history. Perhaps the best feature is the ability to collaborate on documents and spreadsheets with anyone or with a selected group. Groups share editing capabilities, making collaboration much easier. You can publish newly created, uploaded, downloaded, or revised documents and spreadsheets as well as making links to them on personal blogs. Easy directions and familiar-looking pages make exporting and importing documents simple; Google also helps keep you organized.

tag(s): editing (61), spreadsheets (17)

In the Classroom

A "tour" and simple to understand directions make this site easy to use. Have your students set up collaborative groups for projects, lab data, and more. Or set them up yourself, giving them specific passwords to access their "space." Help your gifted students stay organized (and collaborate) using this tool. Users are normally invited to "join" via an email message. This may be problematic in the many schools that do not permit student email access at school. Note that notifications sent by Google Docs may also land in "junk mail" folders or be blocked by spam filters. We suggest that you experiment with a small group of students to determine what will work in your particular situation. One option is to set up the groups with the teacher as a "member" but have students work from home, using their personal email addresses, for group projects. Make sure you are protecting the safety of student work and identity and are within your school's Acceptable Use Policy. Anything students can do on a single computer, they can do collaboratively on Google docs, accessing their work from any online computer.

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L. (Lucy) M. (Maud) Montgomery - Petri Liukkonen

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4 to 10
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From an international site of author biographies, this is a good one about Montgomery. It gives a good, reliable overview (although not in-depth) biography as well as a chronological...more
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From an international site of author biographies, this is a good one about Montgomery. It gives a good, reliable overview (although not in-depth) biography as well as a chronological listing of all her published works.

tag(s): authors (120)

In the Classroom

A good teacher resource to add information about the author to your repertoire. Include it on your eacher web page as a resource for students doing author study.

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Lucy Maud Montgomery - Uxbridge Online Inc.

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4 to 10
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This up-to-date general biography site is maintained by the town of Uxbridge, Ontario. Montgomery lived near here during her adult life after leaving Prince Edward Island, and this...more
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This up-to-date general biography site is maintained by the town of Uxbridge, Ontario. Montgomery lived near here during her adult life after leaving Prince Edward Island, and this site has good information on where she lived when she wrote her famous books--as well as a chronological listing of the books. This neat Montgomery site gives insight into who the author was and how biographical her works were. There is a link to the Uxbridge Historical Centre.

tag(s): authors (120)

In the Classroom

This site is better for teachers than students to use as a resource. There is a link to Sullivan Movies, the creators of the famous Canadian "Anne of Green Gables" series, at which you can buy resources from DVD's to books, posters, etc. if you can't resist shopping. Find links to four online texts of the Anne books as part of the Gutenburg collection.

Use passages from these online texts for interactive whiteboard activities from parts of speech to analyzing writing style, then introduce the author once the students are "hooked" by the passages!

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Anne of Green Gables - Gov't of P.E. Island, Canada

Grades
4 to 10
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This is an official government website about Prince Edward Island's own Lucy Maud Montgomery. It provides a host of links to sites about Montgomery and links to sources about her ...more
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This is an official government website about Prince Edward Island's own Lucy Maud Montgomery. It provides a host of links to sites about Montgomery and links to sources about her works. Clicking on the links gives you pictures of the actual Green Gables house, and you are able to take a Quicktime tour if you would like. Definitely a site for those interested in Anne of Green Gables, L. M. Montgomery, or P.E. Island.

tag(s): authors (120)

In the Classroom

Students will love the Quicktime tour of the Green Gables house on a projector or as a link from your teacher web page. The site also has some spectacular aerial photos or Cavendish (the actual site of Green Gables) and the beach close by. An exciting place for students to research while or after reading any of the Green Gables novels.

Use this as a model for your students to make a multimedia "author site" about themselves as writers, using digital pictures of their own home!
 This resource requires Adobe Flash.

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