Grades2 to 12
In the ClassroomFind 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.
Grades3 to 12
In the ClassroomAsk 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.
Grades3 to 12
This site includes advertising.
In the ClassroomPlay 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!
Includes an education-only area for teachers and students
Includes Interaction w general public/ public galleries with unmoderated content
Includes social features, such as "friends," comments, ratings by others
Requires registration/log in (NO email)
Products can be embedded
Products can be shared by URL
Grades4 to 12
In the ClassroomAssign 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.
Grades2 to 12
In the ClassroomAlthough 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.
Grades9 to 12
In the ClassroomChoose 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.
Grades3 to 12
In the ClassroomStart 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!)
Grades3 to 10
tag(s): writing (363)
In the ClassroomShare 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.
Grades4 to 10
tag(s): writing (363)
In the ClassroomThe 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!
Grades4 to 12
tag(s): multiple intelligences (11)
In the ClassroomUse 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.
Grades1 to 10
In the ClassroomAll 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.
Grades1 to 12
In the ClassroomLet 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.
GradesK to 12
tag(s): resources (112)
In the ClassroomHow 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.
tag(s): mind map (25)
In the ClassroomHave 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.
Grades9 to 12
tag(s): book lists (131)
In the ClassroomUnderstanding 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.
Grades6 to 12
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..
In the ClassroomIntroduce 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).
Grades6 to 10
In the ClassroomUse 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.
GradesK to 12
tag(s): literacy (106)
In the ClassroomClick 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.
Grades9 to 12
In the ClassroomWhat 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.
GradesK to 12
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.
In the ClassroomLocate 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.