Grades3 to 8
In the ClassroomShare the puzzles on your interactive whiteboard or projector or make them available as links on your teacher public page. Have students (or groups) create their own illustrated dictionaries of terms using a tool such as Bookemon, reviewed here. As you add more vocabulary lists during the year, have them select their favorite 6-10 terms from each list to add to their "book."
Grades2 to 8
In the ClassroomShare the stories on your interactive whiteboard or projector (turn up the speakers). Download and share Sound Stories as a listening center. Search through the "Games" to find appropriate activities for your class to use to reinforce grammar, spelling, and literature review. If you are having students view this site on individual computers, don't forget headsets!
GradesK to 12
NOTE: Our editors regret that PicLits occasionally allows advertising on their home page to include images that are not classroom-friendly. Teachers should preview to determine whether or not your students can ignore the ads.
"Learn It" provides learning opportunities and examples for creating captions, compound sentences, or paragraphs. Advanced lesson plans for teachers are viewed in the "Learn It" tab as well. "View the Gallery" to see already-created PicLits as well as comments and ratings. After selecting a picture (or using the one they provide) and dragging a word onto the screen, choose different forms of the word by using the drop-down menu next to the word. Move your words anywhere on the screen for creative writing. You can also click "freestyle" instead to type in your own words instead of choosing from their list. Word lists change, depending on the image selected. Note: Advertisements run alongside the PicLits screen. Caution students to ignore these. Here is an example:
See the full PicLit at PicLits.com
This site includes advertising.
In the ClassroomUsers of PicLits must be able to navigate tabs on sites, manage logins, and use URL's and embed codes to share results on websites and blogs. Play to learn the tools before or after joining. Help also provides a short-and-sweet text explanation of the tools.
Registering for a PicLits account requires the use of an email address. PicLits can be used without an account but users are unable to save or blog about their creation without an account. A class account can be created instead of individual student accounts. However, it does not show which work is attributable to which student. You may want to require that students initial their contributions in order to get credit. All work on the site can be seen without a login. All projects are public.
You may want to create a word doc, Favorites folder, or other "collection" of the URLS to all your students' projects in one place for easy work at grading time. Some teachers use a class wiki or blog with links to all projects from there. You may allow students to self-register, but be sure to keep a written record of their passwords for when they "forget." It may be worth your time to do advanced registration for your younger students or simply use a whole-class account.
Share a PicLit on your interactive whiteboard at the start of a grammar or writing lesson to discuss word choice, figures of speech, or vocabulary. Use the visual picture prompt for journal or blog writing, allowing each student to compose a unique poem or haiku. Even science classes can write about concepts illustrated in the many nature photos. Emotional support teachers will love the chance to discuss feelings and how to describe facial expressions in the pictures. Make a collection of PicLits for a curriculum topic or as a literary magazine online. ESL students can create PicLits to learn new vocabulary. Have students create PicLits for special occasions and special people (mom, dad, grandparents, school nurse, or others). Use the embed code to place your creations on many other sites, including your class wiki or blogs. Share your PicLit by using a URL or code for an embedded widget.
Parent permission advised before posting student work created using this tool
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
Multiple users can collaborate on the same project
Grades4 to 10
If you are looking for even more vocabulary and spelling ideas, visit the official site for the Scripps National Spelling Bee (reviewed here by TeachersFirst). Check out all the links to learn how to study for the Bee, guidelines, and application deadlines. December is the annual deadline for your school's enrollment in the National Bee. This site will have the exact deadline each year. Click on Study Zone to download the Consolidated Word List (a gigantic compilation of 794 pages of words that have been used from 1950 to the present). Students can test their spelling know-how by clicking on the "Test Your Spell It Knowledge" link on the homepage. Your serious competitive spellers will also benefit by exploring Merriam-Webster's Spell It (reviewed here by TeachersFirst).
This requires Flash which may be obtained here: TeachersFirst Toolbox page..
In the ClassroomAssign students to try this activity on individual computers or at a computer station. Have students choose 10 words from the Robo-Bee to use as personalized spelling words. Include this link on your homepage.
Grades4 to 7
In the ClassroomYou may want to list this link on your website for parents and students to use at home (to create some "unique" costumes). Challenge your students to create some additional "Word Play Costume" ideas. Plan a Punny Costume day as a culmination of your idioms unit! Be sure to share pictures (unidentifiable) on your class wiki or have students vote for their favorite costume picture using an embedded polling tool such as Poll Junkie (reviewed here).
GradesK to 12
In the ClassroomBe sure to save this site in your favorites! Share the interactive timeline, online quiz, and podcasts using your projector or interactive whiteboard. Use this site for research about our 16th President. Have students create a blog from Lincoln's point of view (or from a slave's point of view AFTER the Emancipation Proclamation). Use the lesson plans designed for the grades that you teach. (Don't miss the history, language arts and writing, and art lessons).
GradesK to 12
Teachers who desire professional development and fresh ideas will want to include this site in their repertoire.
In the ClassroomUse this site to help ANY grade level create original books. Have students work with a partner to create a book together. With older students, challenge them to create a book as a culminating project for a research assignment. Have younger students create books at the beginning of the year to introduce themselves to the class. The possibilities are endless at this creative site! Use some of the ideas to make online books using a tool such as Bookemon, reviewed here.
GradesK to 12
In the ClassroomUse this site as a reference when picking extra reading materials during a Native American unit or as you approach November and Thanksgiving. Teach students how to find book reviews online after they've selected a book they would like to read. Have students create multi-media book "reports." Give students choices like a wiki, blog, PowerPoint, or even an online book review using a tool such at Bookemon (reviewed here).
Grades4 to 12
In the ClassroomUse this site to compare the validity of various types of reference material sources. Compare results of searches to teach critical reading skills and 21st century information literacy. Compare info from sources on this site to those in print materials. Encourage your students to use this tool for individual as well as group projects. Encourage ESL and ELL students to find sources with lower reading levels that still give the necessary information.
Grades6 to 8
tag(s): grammar (217)
In the ClassroomThis lesson plan is ready to go, includes interactive elements, and is even linked to national standards. English and history teachers could team up on this lesson and discuss the grammar and history behind King's famous speech.
Grades6 to 12
In the ClassroomUse this site to learn about new literature to use with your students. Share the video clips on an interactive whiteboard or projector. Have students complete author studies and create an interactive presentation: an online book using Bookemon reviewed here, a PowerPoint, or a wiki including all of the author studies.
Grades1 to 8
There is an option to "view other paintings." This might be a good way to model how to use the site. Be sure to preview before sharing with your class. This site requires Flash. You can get it from the TeachersFirst Toolbox page.
tag(s): drawing (77)
In the ClassroomYou may want to demonstrate this site on an interactive whiteboard or projector. With younger students, create the "artwork" as a whole-class project on the whiteboard. What a great way to make an alphabet book with students drawing using their fingers on the board! This site is ideal for an elementary or middle school art class working with basic design concepts. Use your teacher email account for any saving, etc. so you have complete control. Students can present their published works with illustrations created on Art Pad by clicking "save and send." For older students, save the URLs from the "save and send" function and post them on student blogs or a class wiki "gallery." Illustrations could be used for social studies reports and any other type of presentations. You can also use the "add to this painting" function for students to collaborate by having one student start a "picture story" and pass the link to the next student to add the next sentence! Since text can be added, an entire story - verbiage and illustrations - can be created within an Art Pad painting or series of paintings. ESL/ELL students could even make illustrated vocabulary "paintings" as they learn new words. Make sure to complete all editing prior to printing...it could use a lot of colored ink.
Better yet, avoid printing altogether by using the "save and share" link. As a safety precaution use the teacher's email account as the sender and recipient of the email for "save and send." Then simply copy/paste the URL the site provides for direct access to the painting. The "artist" can decide whether the painting is shared in the public gallery. Check school policies before posting there.
Grades4 to 8
In the ClassroomThis site would provide additional resources for whole-group read-alouds. Students could find pertinent information and then report findings back to the class. It would also be a great way to spark the interest of struggling or disinterested readers. Use this site to help students find a great book for a literature project.
Grades6 to 12
In the ClassroomThe world is open on this site. Choose any activity your students are interested in and this site can help you mold it into what you want for your curriculum. Students interested in fantasy? Have them investigate and write from the "Fantasy-Myths and Legends" prompt. Trouble with grammar? Have them print off the worksheets from "Gorgeous Grammar" and play online, interactive, Grammar Gorillas. This site's use is only limited by your imagination! From virtual site studies to student web projects-- it's all here!
GradesK to 12
Registration is free. An email address is required, as is some other information. Some materials on this site require Adobe Acrobat. You can get it from the TeachersFirst Toolbox page.
Another helpful resource in understanding Lexile levels is this pdf comparison chart from Harcourt (opens in Acrobat Reader).
tag(s): readability (8)
In the ClassroomMake Lexiles one of the tools you use to make reading a positive experience for your students. The more you know about the student and the actual content of the books, the more helpful the Lexiles can be in assisting a match. If your school reports data to parents using Lexile scoring, download the white papers to give to them at conferences to explain Lexile scores in 'parent friendly' language. Include this link on your classroom web page. If your students know their Lexile level, you will want Lexile levels on your classroom library materials so students can match a book to both their reading level and their interests. As an FYI, SOME books listed on Barnes and Noble's online site include Lexile levels in the descriptions (just after age level). Lexile connects to Barnes and Noble directly from this site.
Grades6 to 12
In the ClassroomTeachers can pick and choose easily from among several strands of thought among these lesson plans, either to supplement a unit on the Civil War, for use during Black History observations, or in an English class focused on story telling and personal voice. It could also provide interesting materials for reading comprehension practice using content area materials. All the plans follow a pretty regular format: link to the Times article, read it and discuss, but this kind of break from the use of a standard textbook can be refreshing. Many plans include a vocabulary list, ideas for extension activities and focus on making the lesson as interdisciplinary as possible. As you celebrate Presidents Day (especially Lincoln's 200th birthday in 2009), check out this site for Lincoln resources!
GradesK to 12
In the ClassroomWhy not find some special projects and activities for March 2? Whatever subject and grade you teach, you are sure to find something useful here.
GradesK to 9
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tag(s): independent reading (125)
In the ClassroomTeachers, check out the link for the writing contest. Submit student stories and Mrs. P. may choose to read them on this site. Be sure to get parental consent before submitting any stories.
What a valuable tool for ESL/ELL students and teachers of emergent readers as students follow the words on the screen as Mrs. P. reads a story. Create a corner in your room to read stories the way Mrs. P. does! Use your first initial, let your imagination run wild, change your accent of course, and you can become another Mrs. P.
Be sure to share this treasure on your teacher web page for students (and parents) to access outside of class. You may find students become interested in some of those "old books" in the library!
Grades1 to 12
Be sure to check out "What's New" for recent additions. Go to "Main Page" and try the search box; it's a good place to try to find the links you remember from awhile back but have lost track of.