GradesK to 12
The documents are editable after conversion. Images will not be as "editable" as text. The text comes in within a text box, but can be edited. Be aware that many school email spam filters may block the Zamzar emails because they view them as "spam." If emails do not come through or you cannot download from Zamzar's link, request the converted files be sent to a home email address and bring them to school "on a stick."
Be aware: there are MANY advertisements at this site, so this many not be a site that you want students to explore independently. Also, the site mentions having to register. You do not need to register to use most of the features.
This site includes advertising.
In the ClassroomMark this tool in your favorites for easy access. Teachers should model ethical use of electronic resources (other people's work) for students. Making a "derivative work" from someone else's pdf handout should include a printed credit within the new document, giving credit for the original source, Ex. "Adapted from a handout by xxx available at www.theoriginalhandout.pdf." Such derivative use should only be done when the original copyright permits it, such as using materials that grant permission for classroom use. Be sure to give proper credit for videos and other files you save locally.
One main problem with the site is that you need to enter the email address and wait for the email to download the file. There is a nice pdf conversion site http://www.pdfaid.com where you can convert and download the file instantly. Disclaimer: I am the owner of the website.pdf, , Grades: 0 - 12
Grades3 to 12
In the ClassroomUse this site to acquaint your students with some writing and book awards, to check out Oprah's newest recommendations, and to encourage students to set up their own lifetime reading list. Have students choose books to read then complete a multi-media alternate to the traditional book report. How about a fictitious blog entry written from the perspective of the main character? Or maybe a book report written online, using an interactive book creator such as Bookemon (reviewed here).
Grades2 to 8
In the ClassroomUse the activities on this site as part of cultural heritage or explorer study in social studies or in conjunction with Latino literature selections in your reading classes. As you study communities and cultures with younger students, this site will give you a way to focus on an example. Use this site as part of your Cinco de Mayo celebration, as well. Many of the activities would work well as either whole class lessons on an interactive whiteboard or projector or small group "scavenger hunt" activities for upper grades on lab or laptop computers (make sure reading levels are appropriate if students must read on their own).
GradesK to 12
Teachers who have reluctant readers at all ages will discover ample ways to help them find exciting books. Make sure you click on the Books for Boys link at the top of the page to find targeted, page-turning books with boy protagonists. The books at this site also include brief descriptions.
tag(s): book lists (132)
In the ClassroomSign up for Patterson's newsletter (free) to keep updated on news from the youth literature world. This is definitely a site to save on your classroom favorites and also list on your class website. Provide this link for families to use to find summer reading resources.
GradesK to 12
In the ClassroomAlthough this site has a TON to explore, one of the best places on this site is the daily writing prompt section (find seasonal prompts at the Seasonal Items link). You can share them on your interactive whiteboard or projector with a picture and fact about the day and a question requiring a written answer. This is a great discussion starter or activating strategy with any grade level and it can already be posted when the kids enter the room or used as a prompt for blogging. Whatever subject area you teach, if you are looking for some new strategies to reach your students, check out this site.
Grades1 to 12
In the ClassroomBe sure to include this site on your teacher web page for students and parents to access to learn more about recommended reading lists. Use the site as a starting point for crafting summer reading lists or to design a reading challenge for your class. *Link*
GradesK to 12
Each content area has successful resources that you can use.
Content areas include Preparing, Learning, Studying, Learning with Others, Online Learning/Communicating, Classroom Participation, Project Management, Research, Reading Skills, Preparing for Test, Science and Technology, Math, Resources, Vocabulary/Spelling, Writing Styles, Writing Basics, and Taking Tests. There are over 100 individual topics to explore: Time Management, Avoiding Procrastination, Learning with ADHD, Effective Study Habits, Peer Mediation, Problem Based Learning, Netiquette, Public Speaking, Citing Websites, SQ3R, KWL, Overcoming Test Anxiety, Ten Tips for Terrific Test Taking, Prefixes and Root Words, Seven Stages of Writing, and countless others!
There are some basic advertisements at this site. Flash and Acrobat Reader are needed for some of the links and can be obtained here: TeachersFirst Toolbox page.
In the ClassroomThis site is one to save in your favorites! There is so much here, it is hard to know where to begin. The language offerings provide opportunities for ESL and ELL students to learn study skills in their native language. This site could also be used in world languages classes.
Why not highlight a "study skill" each week using your interactive whiteboard or projector. Then have students TRY it. Most of the topics provide interactive learning or another assignment to help students practice the skill. Have students work individually or with a partner to explore the "topic of the week." These life skills are so necessary, but hard to fit into the already crammed curriculum. This site does a nice job of integrating the study skills with curriculum content. Have students create their own multimedia projects about study skills using a current unit of study from your class.
Grades5 to 12
There is also a supplementary section in WORD which contains discussion questions for the movies. Some of the clips require QuickTime and/or Flash. You can get both from the TeachersFirst Toolbox page.
tag(s): vocabulary (325)
In the ClassroomShare this site (and the activities) on your interactive whiteboard or projector. Print the list of vocabulary words and have students keep the list with them at their seats while they view the video (or listen to the audio). ESL and ELL students will benefit from the ability to re-watch the video clips and hear the dialog several times. Learning support students will also benefit from the comprehension check and vocabulary development. Although all material appeared appropriate, you may want to preview any video or audio you plan to share, to avoid any "surprises."
GradesK to 12
Note that all jeopardy templates created become part of the domain and can be used by others.
In the ClassroomUse any already-created game as a quick assessment of prior knowledge or review on projector or interactive whiteboard.
To prevent others from editing your template you create a password when you start. Others will be unable to edit your created game without your password. After creating your password, you are taken to the familiar blue jeopardy screen. Here, enter the title at the top and the topics at the top of the columns. Click on a dollar amount under each topic to enter the clue and the What is... question in a pop-up box. Click done to enter the information. The dollar value square becomes blank to let you know it was completed. When done, click "Save." Click on Browse to view random template titles or enter a term into the search bar. On the "Build" page, follow the quick instructions and even browse tips for editing. When done, an internet link will be given for your Jeopardy game. Put this link in any website, blog, or wiki for students to click on and review information for study.
Use this as an introductory activity to uncover misconceptions. For example, prior to a unit on viruses, create a jeopardy game about myths and truths about viruses. Share the Jeopardy activities on an interactive whiteboard or projector. Use these as a starting point for understanding concepts in the unit. Create review games for students to learn and remember content. After making one game together as a class, allow students to make their own games to challenge each other on segments of the material. This not only provides students with material to review, but the creation of a game takes thought and understanding of the material. Be sure that students understand how to create such a game and how to choose parts carefully. Check student games prior to saving. Maintain a page of Jeopardy links for review of a wide range of curricular topics.
Grades6 to 9
tag(s): propaganda (12)
In the ClassroomBecause this is a plain vanilla site, it is easy for younger students to use. It is straightforward in both design and conclusion. You can expand this by adding other commercials sites after teaching and discussing propaganda techniques. You might have students create advertisements based on those they see and have others refute or improve those created advertisements. Have students video their commercials and share the videos on a tool such as SchoolTube (reviewed here), then allow others to comment and refute the techniques.
GradesK to 12
In the ClassroomTo use the pictures provided, simply chose a "group" title, such as water drops, and click to befuddlr it. If you wish to befuddlr your own pictures, you must first upload them to Flickr, so you will need to learn that simple tool. Be sure to TAG your pictures so you can FIND them again! No membership or saving are available on befuddlr. Its is an on-the-spot tool. Be sure to use your own images or copyright free images and images that are available to be built upon. If students click to choose other pictures from Flickr, they could encounter ANYTHING that someone has uploaded, so be sure to guide them to the pictures you want them to use and have a stated policy and consequence for those who wander off into inappropriate places. Flickr does have anti-porn policies, but girls in bikinis, for example, are still available! Use snapshots of animals, numbers, letters, or other pictures and have students scramble the pieces. Befuddlr a picture on your interactive whiteboard to start a language lesson! Students can create their own and provide hints using a variety of constraints such as no more than 5 words, a poem, using adjectives only, etc. in order to help those guessing the original picture. In Art, create new patterns for analysis. Use befuddled pictures to practice new vocabulary for young ones or for ESL and world language students. Accompany student poetry with befuddled pictures
GradesK to 12
tag(s): speech (92)
In the ClassroomYou need to be able to navigate controls on the website and sound levels on your computer. Copy/pasting embed codes is also a necessary skill for insertion in a website. Email the sound clip very easily.
Future saving of Vocaroos is unsure depending upon server space. Before using with students, you may wish to obtain permission from administration and/or parents. Be sure to check your school's acceptable use policy. Students should be made aware of acceptable use and consequences of misuse of the service.
Record snippets of information as reminders on your class website or instructions for students to follow. This is terrific for learning support students or non-readers! Have students describe aspects of classroom learning experiences to share with others, such as what they learned from a science experiment or found out about life in Colonial America. Record a quick message for an absentee and email the link to him/her explaining how to catch up on missing work. Create tutorial pieces that students can use as study aids (or have them create them for each other). Use this site in world language classes or for ELL students: have students record and listen to their own pronunciation or send short messages to each other to translate. Have students use this site to practice speeches before the presentation to hear their speed, tone, and words. Use this site for research presentations, instructions for a substitute, or many other possibilities. With younger students, read a short story on Vocaroo, and have student follow along using a picture book. Or have the students read their own stories into Vocaroo and email the readings to their parents! For Mothers Day, why not have students record messages for mom or grandma? Another idea: create a class wiki where parents can "find" the entire selection of Vocaroos for Mother's Day (or another holiday). Record Vocaroos of each student talking about the importance of Moms for Mother's Day or how grateful they are for certain things at Thanksgiving. Embed them all in a class wiki to share with parents. Just email the URL for the collection.
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.