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Chogger - Chogger, LLC

Grades
2 to 12
3 Favorites 0  Comments
 
Create comics easily and simply by drawing, uploading pictures or graphics, and choosing as many frames as possible to complete your project. Registration is not required to use Chogger....more
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Create comics easily and simply by drawing, uploading pictures or graphics, and choosing as many frames as possible to complete your project. Registration is not required to use Chogger. Click "Create A Comic" to get started. The creator will launch in a new window. Note: to FINISH and share a comic by URL, you must establish a free account.

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

In the Classroom

Use a whole-class account created using a teacher (memberships) email for students to create comics that can be easily monitored/managed by the teacher. Click on buttons to learn the basics that can be used to create the comic. To use, click "Create" and then on "New drawing." Use the tools to create shapes, draw lines, change points, and drag segments easily. Click on the camera icon to take or upload a picture. Click Text tab to add caption bubbles and text. When finished, easily save your comic by adding a title and description. Comics can also be marked private, if you wish. Share completed online comics by copy/pasting the URL of the "finished" comic. Be sure to KEEP a record of these URLs or manage them using "My Comics."

Provide only the link to the "Create" portion of the site to remove possible viewing of public comics. If desired, require students to take a screenshot of their comic instead of saving to the site. Take a snapshot using the print screen (PrtScrn) button on a PC or using the screenshot shortcut in a Mac (apple/shift/4.) Images can then be uploaded to a blog, wiki, or other site for display.

Use Chogger to explain vocabulary words or other concepts from any class or subject area. Use comics to write summaries of current events, responses to reading assignments, expressions of teen problems, and creative works of humor. With younger students, use an interactive whiteboard or projector to share or create a class comic on a current topic of study, such as the life cycle of the frog or ways to conserve energy. Use this site to integrate an art and writing lesson. Why not have students create comics to demonstrate a concept in science or social studies, rather than a traditional paper/pencil quiz? World language teachers and ESL/ELL teachers will love the chance for students to demonstrate written language skills in the "context" of their comic situations. Emotional support /autistic support teachers and students can create comics to help explain social interactions.

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Poem in Your Pocket - Michael Bloomberg

Grades
5 to 12
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Poem in Your Pocket is a site dedicated to the annual Poem in Your Pocket Day in April and hosted by New York City for the past several years. The ...more
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Poem in Your Pocket is a site dedicated to the annual Poem in Your Pocket Day in April and hosted by New York City for the past several years. The website provides background information about the day and ways to participate. A variety of unique activities, lessons, and ideas will help bring poetry to classrooms and schools.

tag(s): poetry (228)

In the Classroom

Go through this site with students and then have students read the suggestions for students under the curriculum ideas section. Have students create a plan of action for celebrating Poem in Your Pocket Day for your class or school. Students can present their ideas using a multimedia presentation. Have your students create an interactive online poster ("glog") using Glogster EDU, reviewed here.

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Lulu Poetry - LLEI Inc

Grades
6 to 12
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Lulu Poetry is a place for poets of various ages to connect with others and receive reviews and feedback on their poetry. The site offers a section about great poets ...more
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Lulu Poetry is a place for poets of various ages to connect with others and receive reviews and feedback on their poetry. The site offers a section about great poets and poems in addition to access to resources and reference materials like a rhyming dictionary and a glossary of poetry terms to help compose poetry. This site also offers free poetry contests. Be sure to double check your district's policy on students publishing and posting poems to this website.

To enter poems, students must be registered users (email and password are required). Tip: rather than using your personal or work email, create a free Gmail account to use for memberships. If you plan to have students register individually, you may want to create your own Gmail account with up to 20 subaccounts for each group of students (by code name or number) within your classes. Here is a blog post that tells how to set up GMail subaccounts to use for any online membership service.

tag(s): biographies (87), poetry (228)

In the Classroom

Students can use the rhyming dictionary when writing poems. This would also be a great site to discuss the idea of great poetry. The site lists great poets and poems, which would help incite a discussion on what makes a great poet or poem. Have students select one of the best poems and present it to the class using an interactive whiteboard or document camera. Students can share why they agree or disagree with its status as a great poem. Why not have students read their favorite poem (and offer their own opinions) on a podcast using a site such as PodOmatic (reviewed here).

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Poetry Everywhere - WGBH and David Grubin Productions

Grades
3 to 12
2 Favorites 0  Comments
  
Poetry Everywhere includes a mini biography on numerous poets followed by one of the poet's poems. Be sure to select poets and poems that are age appropriate for students. ...more
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Poetry Everywhere includes a mini biography on numerous poets followed by one of the poet's poems. Be sure to select poets and poems that are age appropriate for students.

tag(s): poetry (228)

In the Classroom

Share several poems with students and then have them create similar poet and poem podcasts using a site such as PodOmatic (reviewed here) to present to their classmates. Post the podcasts to a class wikispace or website. Not familiar with wikis? Have no wiki worries - check out the TeachersFirst's Wiki Walk-Through.

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PS4K - Mark C. Bird

Grades
3 to 12
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Poems and Stories for Kids, created by poet Mark C. Bird, offers collections of poems that speak to kids and focus on relevant themes like holidays, family, being picked last, ...more
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Poems and Stories for Kids, created by poet Mark C. Bird, offers collections of poems that speak to kids and focus on relevant themes like holidays, family, being picked last, and bullies. While Bird's poetry speaks to kids, you will want to be selective in using his poems due to some sensitive issues. Students can also send in their own work and blog with Mark Bird.

tag(s): poetry (228)

In the Classroom

Select one or two poems to share with students using an interactive whiteboard or document camera. After discussing the poems, have students come up with questions for the poet. Post the questions on the blog. Or have students create an online poetry poster using Glogster EDU, reviewed here and list their questions. Leave the URL to your poster on his blog. It is sure to get his attention!
 This resource requires Adobe Flash.

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Kidz Page! Poetry and Verse for Children of All Ages - Emmi Tarr

Grades
K to 12
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Kidz Page! is a compilation of poems by students of various ages from a variety of locations. Poems range from simple to serious. When using with younger students, be sure ...more
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Kidz Page! is a compilation of poems by students of various ages from a variety of locations. Poems range from simple to serious. When using with younger students, be sure to identify pages that may have mature content.

tag(s): poetry (228), writing (359)

In the Classroom

Use this site as an anticipatory set to a poetry unit. Share this site during Poetry Month in April! Students can peruse the collection to find a poem that intrigues them and then share with the class using an interactive whiteboard or a document camera connected to a computer. Select poems to evaluate with your students and have them develop a criteria for what makes a good poem.

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International Children's Digital Library - University of Maryland

Grades
K to 8
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The International Children's Digital Library, consisting of digital books in many languages, aims to inspire students to become members of the global community through literature. The...more
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The International Children's Digital Library, consisting of digital books in many languages, aims to inspire students to become members of the global community through literature. The focus of the digital stories is on identifying materials that help students to understand the world around them. The materials in the collection reflect similarities and differences in cultures and people around the world. Check out the Using the Library section for ideas on how to incorporate the library into your classroom. Note that the books are in text format, not audio. There are three different style "readers" to view the books.

tag(s): air (163), folktales (65)

In the Classroom

Use an interactive whiteboard or projector to share stories and incite discussion among students. Have small groups construct mini lessons about the theme or a reading strategy using one of the digital books, and then teach the class using an interactive whiteboard. Rather than having students complete traditional book reports, try a web 2.0 project such as a podcast about the literature using a site such as PodOmatic (reviewed here).

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The Poetry Archive - The Poetry Archive Panel

Grades
K to 12
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The Poetry Archive is a comprehensive place for bringing poetry to life in your classroom. This resource provides lesson plans and activities for all key stages, built around authentic...more
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The Poetry Archive is a comprehensive place for bringing poetry to life in your classroom. This resource provides lesson plans and activities for all key stages, built around authentic recordings that offer lively, engaging ways of unraveling the mystery of poetry. There are numerous internet sites that provide audio versions of poems; however this site provides access to the actual voice of the poets as they read their poems the way they intended them to be heard. Find out what they say about their own writing and the importance of hearing poems aloud. Browse all poems by title, poet's name, poetic forms, or themes. A full glossary of poetic terms is provided. There are various featured poets in residence, and there is even a link to a Children's Archive with favorite poems for younger students. The Poetry Archive includes a wide range of resources designed to help students learn background information on the poets and understand the context for their work.

tag(s): poetry (228)

In the Classroom

Enrich and enliven your poetry lessons with recordings and videos of some of the world's best loved poets. One of teachers many frustrations, when trying to inspire students to fall in love with poetry, is not being able to call up the voices of earlier poets. Listening to the poet himself has a magical effect in the classroom and makes the very experience that it describes come alive. Start by projecting the poem on your white board while listening to the recording and then ask students to pick out, highlight, and display words or phrases that appealed to them. Introduce various poetic forms and demonstrate how the sound of a poem is as crucial to its meaning as the printed words on the page. Explore, connect, and make new discoveries for themes you are studying. Have students respond to the power and energy of poetic language and appreciate the beauty of the sounds and images, then move towards an analysis of the underlying meaning. Challenge students to try some creative writing that goes beyond the literal meaning and resonates their "voice." Not studying poetry during April (Poetry Month)? Play a quick Poetry Break from this site as a class starter or bonus moment after finishing a quiz. Make your own class poetry archive by having students upload PowerPoint images of their own poems and read them aloud on UtellStory, reviewed here.
 This resource requires Adobe Flash.

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Nutrition - Myvocabulary.com

Grades
4 to 12
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As part of their extensive site for vocabulary, roots, and more, Vocabulary.com has added a themed area for health and nutrition. Find interactive vocabulary activities using nutrition-related...more
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As part of their extensive site for vocabulary, roots, and more, Vocabulary.com has added a themed area for health and nutrition. Find interactive vocabulary activities using nutrition-related (not limited to nutrition) vocabulary words. You will also find printable crosswords, fill in the blanks and more, all using the same 18 theme words. This and other "themes" available on the site will make vocabulary development fun.

tag(s): nutrition (154), vocabulary (324)

In the Classroom

Have students work in cooperative learning groups, divide up the vocabulary words, and have each group find the definitions for their assigned vocabulary words. Have the groups share their words and definitions in an online book, using a tool such as Bookemon (reviewed here). Have the groups share the online books on your interactive whiteboard or projector. If you don't have the time to complete online books, have students share the definitions using a class wiki. Be sure to also check out the interactive word puzzles!

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Music/Fine Arts Vocab - Myvocabulary.com

Grades
4 to 12
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As part of their extensive site for vocabulary, roots, and more, MyVocabulary.com has added a themed area about music and the fine arts. Find interactive vocabulary activities using...more
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As part of their extensive site for vocabulary, roots, and more, MyVocabulary.com has added a themed area about music and the fine arts. Find interactive vocabulary activities using music-related (not limited to music) vocabulary words. You will also find printable crosswords, fill in the blanks and more, all using the same 18 theme words. This and other "themes" available on the site will make vocabulary development fun.

tag(s): vocabulary (324)

In the Classroom

What a perfect addition to music or art class! Share this site on your interactive whiteboard or projector. Have students work in cooperative learning groups, divide up the vocabulary words, and have each group find the definitions for their assigned vocabulary words. Have the groups share their words and definitions in an online book, using a tool such as Bookemon (reviewed here). Encourage them to add terms of their own, as well. Have the groups share the online books on your interactive whiteboard or projector. If you don't have the time to complete online books, have students share the definitions using a class wiki. Be sure to also check out the interactive word puzzles!

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Oceans/Maritime Vocabulary - Myvocabulary.com

Grades
4 to 12
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As part of their extensive site for vocabulary, roots, and more, Vocabulary.com has added a themed area about the oceans/maritime studies. Find interactive vocabulary activities using...more
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As part of their extensive site for vocabulary, roots, and more, Vocabulary.com has added a themed area about the oceans/maritime studies. Find interactive vocabulary activities using ocean-related (not limited to ocean) vocabulary words. You will also find printable crosswords, fill in the blanks and more, all using the same 18 theme words. This and other "themes" available on the site will make vocabulary development fun.

tag(s): biomes (116), oceans (148)

In the Classroom

Share this site on your interactive whiteboard or projector. Use this site during a unit on oceans or biomes. Have students create their own word activities from the same vocabulary list, such as matching or ranking challenges for their peers to try on the interactive whiteboard.

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Ancient Egypt - Myvocabulary.com

Grades
4 to 12
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As part of their extensive site for vocabulary, roots, and more, Vocabulary.com has added a themed area for Ancient Egypt. Find interactive vocabulary activities using Ancient Egypt...more
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As part of their extensive site for vocabulary, roots, and more, Vocabulary.com has added a themed area for Ancient Egypt. Find interactive vocabulary activities using Ancient Egypt vocabulary words. You will also find printable crosswords, fill in the blanks and more, all using the same 18 theme words. This and other "themes" available on the site will make vocabulary development fun.

tag(s): egypt (67), vocabulary (324)

In the Classroom

Share the puzzles on your interactive whiteboard or projector. Have students work with a partner to try out the puzzles on their own. Have students try to create their own word puzzles and share them on a class wiki.

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Kwout - kwout

Grades
1 to 12
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Use kwout to grab a screenshot or quote of any web site to post anywhere else you need. Show snippets of information from anywhere on the web and insert on ...more
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Use kwout to grab a screenshot or quote of any web site to post anywhere else you need. Show snippets of information from anywhere on the web and insert on any site, blog, or wiki where items can be embedded. Add a "my kwout" badge to your blog or website that will display your quoted items in one place. Here is a sample "kwout" of the Kwout site:

kwout | A brilliant way to quote via kwout

tag(s): bookmarks (60), quotations (23)

In the Classroom

Use kwout by adding a bookmarklet to your browser. Users will need to know how to add bookmarklets in the specific browser being used. You can test out kwout by using the demo on their home page, but this will slow down your ability to kwout pages as you browse the web. Network administrators may block download and installation of bookmarklets on district machines. Be sure to check with your IT department on the possibility of adding bookmarklets. Users of kwout need knowledge of using embed codes to display quoted image maps in the site of their choice.

After adding the bookmarklet to your toolbar, find a website you wish to quote. Click the kwout bookmarklet and view the popup screenshot of the webpage being viewed. Drag your mouse to choose the portion of the screenshot wishing to be quoted. Click "Cut out" to cut that portion of the screenshot that will now become an image map and hyperlink. Copy the embed code that is displayed to paste into the site being used to show the image map.

Add the bookmarklet to your browser window of computers authorized to do so. Be certain to only quote items that are appropriate for viewing and use in the classroom. Require students to show work prior to embedding in a blog, wiki, or other site to be certain of appropriateness.

Use as a way to aggregate content in one place. This tool is best suited for teacher use below grade 6 because unless your students are familiar with embed codes! As students find quoted material, use for discussions of different viewpoints or content needed to understand a specific subject area or topic. For example, have students create a wiki collection of kwouts to show different perspectives on an environmental issue such as global warming. Use teacher-made kwouts as prompts for blog posts or free writing activities in the classroom. Find a specific kwout (quote) that students must respond to and embed in a blog, wiki, or site of your choice. After students read the quote, provide time to respond to the quote and post their thoughts in a blog post or other type of writing. If students require more information or wish to read more, advise them to click on the quote to view the entire resource. View snippets or quotes from a variety of sites for students to analyze. Use this idea for many subject areas including history (multiple viewpoints of conflicts), environmental or economic problems, or other issues. You can also use kwouts to provide a collection of links to review and enrichment sites on your class web page. Non-readers will be able to "see" the sites and now where to click.
 This resource requires Adobe Flash.

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Livebinders - Livebinders, Inc.

Grades
2 to 12
5 Favorites 2  Comments
 
Compile and share information from all over the web -- and text and images you add -- with others by creating a Livebinder on a topic or theme. Add tabs ...more
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Compile and share information from all over the web -- and text and images you add -- with others by creating a Livebinder on a topic or theme. Add tabs with specific information, easily accessed across the top of the binder. Interested in sharing information in a new way? Check out this extremely easy and exceptional site that can easily manage digital clutter. Gather and organize links, videos, information, charts, news, etc. in one neat and organized binder. As you update your binder in the future, all your changes automatically show to everyone who accesses the binder by URL or embedded version. Binders can be public or password-protected ("private"), so use of copyrighted images is possible under Fair Use, as long as you limit access to your own students via password (they call it a "key").
This site includes advertising.

tag(s): organizational skills (122)

In the Classroom

Once an account is created, add the bookmarklet to your browser bar for quick access. Check with your IT department to have the ability to download bookmarklets on your computer. Knowledge of embed codes are required to manage Livebinders in other sites. To get a better idea of Livebinder basics, watch the 90 second video tour before you "play."

Click on "start a blank binder," enter a description, tags, category, and mark it private or public. Click yes to "use Google search to fill a binder" to find plenty of information fast. Your new binder will instantly be filled with a new tab for each site matching your search term. After entering "climate change," a new Livebinder was created with tabs that matched research I had previously spent a lot of time to find. Now it can be instantly shared. Click on "edit menu" in the upper right of your binder to change description, title, etc. as well as fonts, tabs, and other details. To share, click on share this binder along the bottom right to share by email, Facebook, Twitter, or embedding via link or embed code. Embed your Livebinder in a blog, wiki, or other site or provide the link for access by others.

Safety/Security: Users must be 13 years of age to create an account. Teachers can create an account and share Livebinders for student use at any age. Create a class account with a global login and password. Students use the same login to access the Livebinder and create tabs on various topics. As each collaborator would not be known, ask students to add initials to tabs they create so you know the source. Check your school policies on whether student work may be displayed online and what information is permitted, then enforce that policy with your students.

Create a Livebinder to assemble information and requirements for a student project. Make the Livebinder the actual ASSIGNMENT sheet. Use a new tab in the binder for each type of resource or topic of information. In English classes, use to offer spelling, writing, or grammar hints for students. Create a binder for specific sports teams that showcase team accolades, resources for increasing skills, or to create snack lists and travel information. Create a Livebinder for groups of students to plan or report on vacation plans, learn about cultures or countries, or maintain information for student projects. Students can use Livebinders to assemble information for group projects that can be discussed with the teacher to track progress. Consider creating a binder for assignments for students that focus on the use of information versus just the searching for the information. Any content or subject area can be easily managed by creating a Livebinder for student learning. Create an art or music gallery easily with a Livebinder. Use each tab of a Livebinder for each cell part necessary for the functioning of a cell. Create tabs in a binder for each battle or campaign in a specific war. Create a tab for each candidate in a specific election. Have students or student groups (13 and over) create Livebinder "tours" or annotated collections on a topic such as the pros and cons of organic foods, a cultural tour of a country, or applications of geometry in architecture. Of course their student-written annotations and commentary will be key to make these collections into meaningful products. They might even create tasks and questions for other students to try to learn about the topic.

If you are simply looking for a way to share technology-infused project assignments with students from grade 2 and up, a teacher-made Livebinder is an easy way to do it, and you can share the assignment with parents and learning support teachers by simply providing the URL.

Comments

I've used LIveBinder successfully at the 3rd/4th grade level to share web pages with students on specific subjects and topics. My students went back to the binders to read more, even when that unit was finished. I also create and fill binders as I am planning and gathering webpages as I plan my units. Linda, IL, Grades: 3 - 4
Takes some getting used to, instructions not as clear as they could be, but very helpful for sharing lots of resources that share a common theme. Frances, CT, Grades: 6 - 8

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Prezi - Prezi

Grades
3 to 12
3 Favorites 0  Comments
   
Prezi is a visual, "zoomable" presentation tool. It is similar to PowerPoint and Keynote, but there is so much more to Prezi! You can graphically arrange a large amount of ...more
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Prezi is a visual, "zoomable" presentation tool. It is similar to PowerPoint and Keynote, but there is so much more to Prezi! You can graphically arrange a large amount of content, such as a big idea with its supporting information. It creates very dynamic presentations. See samples by clicking "log in" then "Explore" (instead of logging in). Choose a background, follow the instructions and prompts of the program, and before you know it, you will have your very own Prezi to share. If you like to see directions, watch the quick intro video. You can also view Prezis created by others and use them as templates for your own work. Check out the sample created by the TF Edge team here. This tool works in ANY device's web browser, from iPod to Android to laptop. Collaborate on a Prezi with other Prezi members in real time using the Share function. Have a "meeting" to work on the same Prezi in real time. There is a free "edu enjoy" level of membership (requires a school issued email and verification) that allows you to keep your Prezis private, out of public sharing. The regular "enjoy" membership is free for only one month, and its Prezis are public. File storage limits apply to free accounts. It is worth noting that some people find Prezi causes motion-sickness if it zooms too much!

tag(s): graphic organizers (43), visualizations (14)

In the Classroom

You could map your entire lesson, chapter or unit in one Prezi. Once you introduce the concept with this tool, you can go back to it often with your students as you move to different parts of the unit. It would provide a great way to connect prior knowledge with the next step if you share this on your interactive whiteboard or projector throughout the unit. Or you could post it to your web page or give kids the URL so they can review as often as they need it. Try having the students map a concept or chapter with this tool. In history class, create timelines of relevant events, or in science or math class have them map steps in a process. Have students create Prezis for different events, and then have them post the link to their product on a class blog or wiki. Add a peer review component and require students to comment on at least two other Prezis. The possibilities are endless!

If you have gifted students n your class, offer Prezi as one alternative for sharing extensions to the regular curriculum. If they already know the material, have them investigate a related process or example and share it in the form of a Prezi.

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Twiducate - Twiducate

Grades
2 to 12
1 Favorites 0  Comments
   
Looking for a microblogging (think twitter) alternative for collaboration or networking in your classes? Use Twiducate to create a microblogging platform for the students in your classes...more
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Looking for a microblogging (think twitter) alternative for collaboration or networking in your classes? Use Twiducate to create a microblogging platform for the students in your classes without venturing into the more complex public interactions of Twitter. Maintain privacy and a safe structure for collaborative learning. Post questions to elicit responses or use the safe environment for students to receive feedback on works in progress. Not sure about this resource? Twiducate was created by a group of teachers in Southwest Ontario to provide this type of service to students and teachers.

tag(s): microblogging (44), social networking (112), twitter (50)

In the Classroom

Create an account easily with information about your school and title. Though an email is required, create your account without email verification. Make a class name and code that students can use for Twiducate. Manage many options through your home page including adding students, entering bookmarks to share with students, viewing the public timeline (you may find a teacher to collaborate and share with,) and create more classes. Students do not need to register themselves and are added in through the teacher. As students are added, a password is generated for them.

Use this safe, private, closed system to blog and network in your classes. Students are able to access this site outside of school and collaborate there as well. Invite parents into this network and let them see what is going on. Teachers are able to moderate all posts and remove any unwanted posts. Consider printing the screen of student names and passwords for a hard copy in order to access the information. Be sure to discuss rules of etiquette for posting and commenting in order to teach students effective use of these types of services. Be sure to include actions for broken rules. Check your school policies about using such a resource and whether special permission slips may be required.

The possibilities are endless. Use for posting homework assignments. Share and publish bookmarks for students to use. Respond to students trying to get test dates and other assignments changed! Collaborate among small or large groups. Create study groups for review and learning of information. Use small time information gathering more effectively: Assign every two students a concept to research and share learning with the rest of the class for discussion. How can you be sure that each student has completed work? Have them blog their information through Twiducate. Each group would have a specific key word that they use at the start of their posts. Search for a keyword at the top of the screen to bring up all those related posts! Watching a movie that requires students to answer questions? Post prepared questions throughout the movie to elicit responses from students. Allow students the ability to blog their reactions to documentaries and work together for understanding. During poetry month, have student do oral poetry reading while others microblog their reactions to the poem as they listen. Share weekly links and comments about current events via microblog. If you are willing to risk it invite students to microblog questions and reactions to teacher and student presentations in progress. Suddenly listening is an active endeavor! Provide this resource for groups to collaborate in and out of class and offer options for learning at any time.

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Hatchet - Mountain City Elementary

Grades
4 to 7
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A great resource for a book study on Gary Paulsen's novel, Hatchet. Online quizzes, lesson plans, vocabulary, writing prompts and more make this site worth using. The online...more
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A great resource for a book study on Gary Paulsen's novel, Hatchet. Online quizzes, lesson plans, vocabulary, writing prompts and more make this site worth using. The online quizzes give students, and their teacher, instant feedback on comprehension.

In the Classroom

Use this site as a resource for a book study. Print many of the materials to keep on hand. The online quizzes offer a quick assessment. As a culminating project, have students create online books about characters or themes in Hatchet, using a tool such as Bookemon, reviewed here.

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Year by Year - Infoplease

Grades
3 to 12
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Build students' sense of historical context year by year. Help them to realize that Gershwin did not write during the Vietnam War and that World War II preceded the Beatles. ...more
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Build students' sense of historical context year by year. Help them to realize that Gershwin did not write during the Vietnam War and that World War II preceded the Beatles. This site gives an overview of any year students click on from 1900 to the present, including cultural events, national and world news, politics, sports, prize winners, movie releases, deaths, and --for more recent years -- links to news focusing on other topics such as science and people. It provides an interesting summary of any particular year; most students find it interesting to check the year of their birth and those of their family members. Many highlighted keywords link to the Infoplease encyclopedia and other reference sources.

tag(s): news (261), politics (99), sports (97)

In the Classroom

Ask your students to visit the site and create a multimedia presentation from the information about any specific year they see there. Or have them compare life in two different decades. Have students create online books using a tool such as Bookemon, reviewed here. Or challenge students to create an online poster using Padlet (reviewed here).

When studying literature, point out this site as a source authors might use for cultural background information in their writing. Pick out the details while reading a novel, for example, that might be found at this site. Or before studying a historical period, use this site as an anticipatory set or "activator" on a projector or interactive whiteboard. Have students collect information tidbits and predict what might be put into the site for the current year.

Ask your ESL/ELL students to share similar information about the years they were born and the events that occurred in their home cultures. Use the site when preparing a unit on summarizing or informational paragraphs, showing the students how to select and condense relevant information from the site into a few sentences.

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Bestsellers - Shmoop Editors

Grades
4 to 12
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Bestsellers is a credible, academic resource that utilizes innovative internet based features that appeal to today's youth culture, discussing best selling literature. Do you...more
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Bestsellers is a credible, academic resource that utilizes innovative internet based features that appeal to today's youth culture, discussing best selling literature. Do you want to assign a book whose title will grab your students' attention just by the mere mention of it, like the books found on Oprah's Picks and other most read lists? Have you steered away from those books because of the lack of teaching resources, such as study guides and questions? Bestsellers, part of the larger Shmoop site written by Ph.D. and Masters students at Stanford, Harvard, UC Berkeley (and other top universities), does all of that and more. Students and teachers can access lively learning guides organized by summaries, themes, quotes, study questions, character analysis, and links to best of the web options. The pages are written in a clever, witty voice designed to appeal to students and teachers, not at all like the familiar style found in most book synopsis and reviews, and all the information is properly cited. The only complaint you might have is the limited number of books to choose from, but don't worry; books are continually being added, so check back often. Since books for both younger and older audiences share this site, you may want to preview what your students can find for other age groups.

"Bestsellers" is free to use. Additionally, there is an option to create a free account which allows the advantage of using the tools like the online dictionary, "Stickies," and sharing on social networks. Creating an account requires an email address. You may want to create your own Gmail account with up to 20 subaccounts for each group of students (by code name or number) within your classes. If you plan to have students register individually, you may want to create your own Gmail account with up to 20 subaccounts for each group of students (by code name or number) within your classes. Here is a blog post that tells how to set up GMail subaccounts to use for any online membership service.

tag(s): book reports (35), literature (275), novels (24)

In the Classroom

Are you looking for a way to motivate your reluctant readers to pick up a book, or do you have some book hungry students who sneak to read their own book while you are teaching a lesson? The "Bestsellers" site provides a wealth of internet-based material for navigating the twists and turns of the plots and characters in books like Harry Potter and the Twilight series. The online learning guides have a table of contents that gives a quick view of what is included in each tab, which enables you to quickly find what you want without opening each section. This site provides more information than the standard textbook teacher's edition, and provides brilliant connections between some of the literary classics. There are photos, videos, and links galore. You might want to include a link to this site on your class web page, or if you prefer to control the amount of information that you want students to have before actually reading the book, then bookmark it in your favorites and dole out the information at your discretion.

If looking for a different instructional method, share one of the slide shows on a projector or interactive whiteboard as you introduce a unit or allow students to use portions of the slide shows as part of their own presentations on a specific author or book on the bestsellers list.
  This resource requires Adobe Flash and PDF reader software like Adobe Acrobat.

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Literature-Map - Marek Gibney

Grades
5 to 12
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Finished reading the most recent book by your favorite author and looking for a new author to explore? You and your students will find authors you are likely to enjoy ...more
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Finished reading the most recent book by your favorite author and looking for a new author to explore? You and your students will find authors you are likely to enjoy based on similar authors you (and others) identify as favorites. The choices display visually in a moving, web-style "map." The author's' names are dynamic, moving around the page as other authors are identified. Content changes as more people participate in the site.

tag(s): authors (120), literature (275), movies (65)

In the Classroom

While this is a free site, in order to participate in all its functions, each student will need to sign up for a "flork" account which is open to worldwide use and discussion forums. Teachers may want to limit student use to the content that does not require membership or use a whole-class account created by the teacher. This site could be used with an interactive whiteboard or projector to illustrate how author selection works and show relationships between similar authors. Students may search individually for new authors. In higher level literature classes, ask students to explain why certain authors are shown as similar. What similarities do they see? Have students use this question as a prompt for a blog post or full expository writing piece.

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