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 (216)
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
This site includes advertising.
tag(s): independent reading (128)
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.
In the ClassroomProvide this link on your class website. Use this site for vocabulary ideas with your ESL and ELL students AND in your world language classes or mainstream language arts classes. The variety at this site offers something for every classroom learning English or another language.
Grades2 to 12
In the ClassroomShare this link from your class website for ESL and ELL students to use the picture/pronouncing dictionary both in and out of the classroom. Try the videos on a classroom computer or projector with a small group. Teachers may enjoy using the print option for creating paper copies of the target word lists. ESL/ELL teachers can also assign specific lists to students so they can work individually on pronouncing and understanding the words.
GradesK to 12
In the ClassroomNo matter what you teach, these resources will help you target reading and study skills for better comprehension and more.
GradesK to 12
In the ClassroomSince each site has its own directions, our review team will not explain the how-to's of each here. Some require access to install a plug-in on your blog, such as wordpress. Many school blogging sites do not provide this access. Others permit embedding an image simple by copy/pasting code into your blog or wiki. Two are actually extensions you add to Firefox or Internet Explorer and may require tech department authorization or installation on school computers.
If you do allow students to join a site, be sure to adhere to school policies. As always, we recommend previewing the content available on each site before recommending it to your students. These images sites are NOT education-only, so some image content may not be classroom-appropriate. Have a policy and consequences in place before turning your students loose.
Art teachers or writing teachers can use the abstract images from the GumGum option as writing prompts or to launch discussion on design principles. If your students have individual blogs, allow them to personalize the "look" using these legal images. Be sure to model thinking aloud about why you are using a legal image source. Use news images or videos from Vixant Newsroom as prompts for current events discussions on your blog or wiki, or assign students to select a news story and write an in-depth analysis of it to accompany the image/video. English or social studies teachers teaching persuasive writing can assign students to use their multimedia skills as they present arguments both verbally and visually on a class "issues" wiki. Younger students can help select images to include on a whole-class wiki or blog then add their own writing about them. A teacher can embed a sequence of photos and ask student to tell the story that explains it. Be sure to include this link on your teacher web page for your tech-savvy teens to use as they generate projects with LEGAL images. Of course you will require them to document their sources.
Grades6 to 12
Membership is free and has many perks. You are able to comment and/or grade the video clips or even submit your own video. Registration does require some personal information: a username, password, email address, and date of birth. ALL USERS MUST BE OVER 13-years of age! Check with your administrator about allowing the students to register for this site using fictitious names. You may wish to set up a class registration instead of entering true data into the registration site. Another option is to 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.
Warning: not all videos are suitable for the classroom. Be sure to preview what you wish to share. If you choose to allow your older students to navigate this site on their own (for research or a class project), be sure to set boundaries on which videos to watch, consequences for going elsewhere, and WATCH CAREFULLY! Some videos explain "how to" do things that are unsafe or inappropriate for school-ages audiences. Wonder How To does include unobtrusive advertisements. This site requires Flash. You can get it from the TeachersFirst Toolbox page.
In the ClassroomUse these fabulous "how to" videos for informative writing projects in speech, science, or even with your gifted students. The site does provide excellent research. You may want to link directly to the specific videos you want students to see in order to avoid other, less-desirable options. Share the "how to" videos on an interactive whiteboard or projector as an anticipatory set for a new lesson. For a final project, have students create and submit their own "how to" video using YouTube or using a tool such as SchoolTube (reviewed here).
Grades4 to 12
This site includes advertising.
tag(s): tutorials (47)
In the ClassroomUsers will need to know how to use whatever computer software, website, or skill they are demonstrating. Following basic directions and managing browser windows or tabs are a must, as well as the managing settings of the computer being used. The site demonstrates how to troubleshoot problems on both PC's and Mac's.
Click "create" to start. As the screencast is being created, files will need to be written temporarily to the desktop. A security screen will pop up that asks to run the application. You will be asked to "trust" or "not trust" the security certificate. Depending upon your school's Acceptable Use Policy and computer security settings, you may not be able to complete these steps. Choose the screen size when played and whether audio will be needed (audio can be tested here as well, which is recommended: settings may need to be adjusted for different microphones.) Open a new tab or browser window and enter the web address of the site (or software) that will be the subject of your screencast. Drag the black frame by clicking the line and dragging it in order to choose what will be recorded during the screencast. The microphone icon has a green bar that shows recording levels. A green arrow showing instead of a green bar denotes that sound is not being captured. The red button is used to start recording while the black "X" stops the recording. Once you stop recording, click on your screencast tab or browser window and preview your recording. You can then either upload or discard your screencast. At this point you can create an account easily. Save your screencast to a channel of your own. Use the embed code to place your screencast into a blog, wiki, or other site. You can also use a widget code to embed the screencast player into a website. Screencasts can then be made from your other site and will save directly to your screencast channel. Screencasts can be set to different levels of privacy and comments can be turned on or off.
Teachers who must request certificate approval by tech staff may want to try this tool at home and create some sample projects to convince administration of its educational value. Unless checked to turn off comments, this site will allow comments on your work. Many districts prohibit such interaction and steps should be taken to prohibit commenting from others. When using the widget, the tool does not attribute work to specific students. You may wish to have the students identify their work while creating the screencast. Screencasts will only be able to be viewed when using an embed code in a site, wiki, or blog. By marking the screencast "searchable," it can be available to the public. Recently created screencasts do not appear on the home page of screencast-o-matic. Students are able to self-register, but you may want to keep a record of logins and passwords for students who forget.
Make how-to demos for instructions on using and navigating your class home page, class wiki or blog, or other applications you wish the students to use in creation of classroom content. By narrating how you want students to navigate through a certain site or section, you can eliminate confusion, provide an opportunity for students to use the information as a refresher for the future, and maintain a record for absent students. Software demonstrations add an increased flexibility with helping students who need it while allowing students to begin and work at their own pace. Added audio is a great asset for many students including learning support and those who might need to access the material in smaller "chunks." Use this site for students to give "tours" of their own wiki or blog page. The presentation of their web-based projects and resources can be more engaging. Use screencasts to critique or show the validity of websites, identify a resource site they believe is most valuable, or explain how to navigate an online game. Challenge your gifted students to create a screencast as a final project rather than a more traditional project. Social studies teachers could assign students to critique a political candidate's web page using a screencast. Reading/language arts teachers could have student teams analyze a web site to show biased language, etc. For a powerful writing experience, have students "think aloud" their writing choices as the record a screencast of a revision or writing session. You will probably need to model this process, but writing will NEVER be the same! Math teachers using software such as Geometer's Sketchpad could have students create their own narrated demonstrations of geometry concepts as review (and to save as future learning aids). Teachers at any level can create screencasts to demonstrate a computer skill or assignment, such as for a center in your classroom or in a computer lab. Students can replay the "tutorial" on their own from your class web page and follow the directions.
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 (WITH email)
Products can be embedded
Products can be shared by URL
Requires download/installation of software
Grades5 to 12
In the ClassroomUse this in reading classes studying English idioms and figures of speech or in middle level French and Spanish classes to help students remember idioms in those languages by aligning them with similar expressions in English. Include the site in your class web page for easy access from computer labs or home.
Challenge your class to create an illustrated idiom wiki in English or the language you are studying, adding digital pictures to "illustrate" the idiom literally and in its figurative meaning: Ex. "feeling blue" with a photo of a person shaded blue, then one of a SAD person. Be sure to include the text and a link to the page on this site for visitors to hear the clip, as well.