GradesK to 12
tag(s): wikis (20)
In the ClassroomTake the time to read this article to build your own confidence to make a big change in your teaching -- one step at a time. Better yet, share it with your colleagues as the starting point for a teacher-conducted inservice where you work together to implement change. Not allowed to conduct your own inservice? Take the article to your principal and ask for a pilot cohort within your school to work on wikis together, starting from this article and the TeachersFirst Wiki Walk-Through. All you need is the confidence to ask. If Louise can do it, you can, too, no matter what grade/subject you teach.
GradesK to 12
Plan to spend some time reading through the directions and trying out this tool before you assign it to students. Teachers and students must register and login each time they use this tool. Students can share the URL for their posters with grandparents or parents to show off their good work!
Students will need to know how to locate and upload a file for an image (such as a digital picture) to place it in their poster. If you allow them to use images from the web, the tool asks them to give information on their image source, as well (hooray for ethical use of the Internet!). If you use digital pictures of students, be SURE that you do NOT use full names on the site. You should get parent permission for uploading any student images, even if anonymous.
This site includes advertising.
tag(s): posters (36)
In the ClassroomSome uses for this simple tool: book reports (take a digital photo of the book cover), biographical posters of famous people (images from the web), "all about me" posters, posters about community members such as veterans of World War II whom students interview and photograph, author posters, fictitious character studies, science posters on processes or terms with accompanying digital pictures to illustrate, etc. The possibilities are endless. Once students know the tool, they can use it over and over.
Teachers, make sure you select the archive option to keep student projects live online for more than a month. Use the Teacher Feature option to create one web page of your class' archived projects. You will want to put your created web page link prominently on your class homepage.
Grades4 to 8
In the ClassroomWhen you study electricity, The City of Ember is a natural reading tie-in. Reward the end of the unit with the viewing of the movie. Print out the site's worksheets and activities and bound them into a City of Ember unit to make them available in your Teacher Resource room. To make worksheets from the web pages, just cut and paste into a Word Document.
Grades3 to 8
In the ClassroomMake sure to address the simple rules, located on the homepage, with students prior to assigning projects. Based on the fact that this is a collaborative project and other children from around the world contribute to it, students must be open to varying opinions and works of art. Have students complete book talks individually or in small groups and then submit presentations for assessment. Check out the classrooms that used this as a medium for a summer reading program! Students could conduct book talks over holiday breaks or while on educational trips, as well. Allow for students to discuss books among each other as homework assignments. Have parents read and view their child's work and comment on it. Do not forget to obtain permission prior to submitting student work on-line.
This site uses a wiki tool as its foundation. To learn more about wikis and find logistical tips, see the TeachersFirst's Wiki Walk-Through.
GradesK to 12
Note: The dictionary, like many real-world dictionaries, includes words that may not be classroom-appropriate. Decide how you will handle students who make inappropriate choices in using this tool.
tag(s): dictionaries (56)
In the ClassroomDefinitely investigate the free Search Engine download that's available to make this tool even more useful. This may become your favorite dictionary-- bar none. You may want to save this site in your favorites on your class computer(s), but see the cautionary note above about the FULL database of words available.
GradesK to 12
tag(s): video (259)
In the ClassroomIf you are looking for a specific topic, save time and use the search option If you wish to add comments or upload your own Teachertube video, you must register as a user at the site. Create and save your edited videos where you can find them on your computer. (Windows Movie Maker or iMovie are great, free tools for video). Then upload to TeacherTube. You will also receive comments on your uploaded videos. If the teacher is the one uploading, the only potential concerns include posting videos with identifiable information or images about your students, school, or class. Check your school policies about posting pictures of your school. If you post student videos, obtain written parent permission to post student work, again within school policies. Any student visible in a video should also have parent permission in accordance with school policies. The most common classroom use would be viewing many videos that match curriculum content. Rap math, visit Anne Frank's historical locations, or view a grammar lesson--these are just a sampling of videos that you may want to use to enhance your curriculum lessons. Use your interactive whiteboard or projector to share the videos with the class. Use the site's videos as an anticipatory set to a new unit or lesson on a specific topic. Have your students create their own TeacherTube video together as a class on any lesson/topic that you are teaching. Have a contest for the best videos and upload the winners to the site (within school policies, of course). Once the class has videos hosted at TeacherTube, you can also embed them in your class bog or wiki for easy sharing with those in your extended online "community."
Grades1 to 12
tag(s): readability (8)
In the ClassroomThis site can be helpful in a variety of ways. Primary and secondary classroom teachers can check students' work or have students check their personal work by placing their own text in the box. Reading specialists, classroom teachers, ESL and ELL teachers, and special education teachers can check readability levels of various books to find the right fit for each student. E-books and on-line literature is easy to check with the cut and paste option! Note: if the text is available as a complete web page, you can also use this tool. Student word processing can also be analyzed using the Grammar tools in Word (tools menu), but these two tools yield slightly different information.
Grades2 to 12
Creature Creator is a free download but is a limited version of the original purchased program. The purchased program provides many more choices for the features and environments used to make the creatures. The download is available for both PC and Mac.
In the ClassroomUser needs to be able to download and install the free program. Easy to use interface. Start with a blob, which you manipulate into a shape, pulling its spinal cord in any direction with the mouse, before adding a head, limbs and various optional extra body parts. Choose your part by using the onscreen catalog. Manipulate it further by changing the position of joints or through adding or deleting segments. Add a background and move your creature by dragging your mouse for it to follow. Continue to alter your creature to get the movement or features needed.
Pressing "H" brings up the spore guide which includes topic categories such as "Welcome to Spore," "Getting Started," "Build Mode," "Test Drive," and "Paint Mode."
Check your district policy on downloading and installing of programs. Check with your IT department. Teachers who must request software installation by tech staff may want to try this tool at home and create some sample projects to convince administration of its educational value.
Uploading pictures and videos of creations to You Tube or the spore site may expose students to advertising as well as inappropriately created creatures. You may want to send students directly to URLs for their own projects, maintain the creatures on the classroom computer itself, or use Teacher Tube to upload the creations. Uploading creatures enables outsider comments without teacher control. Outsiders can interact or mark the creations as favorites. Many school policies prohibit such interaction, so be sure to check your school policy. You will want to discuss these features in the context of Internet Safety or establish specific written class rules and consequences for interacting with outsiders. Student work can be saved as a picture and printed, as well, for sharing and showing. Check your school policies on whether student work may be displayed online and what information is permitted, then enforce that policy with your students.
The tool does not show which work is attributable to each student. You may want to require student initials on projects in order to get credit.
Use Creature creator to create an unusual creature as a class project. Create a classification system of all the class creatures to demonstrate biology classification skills. When discussing the groupings in the Animal Kingdom, use Creature Creator to create a new organism for that group. Use the tool to create a class creature with adaptations to a specific environment. Have students create a creature and then write a story or poem about it and how it lives. Have students create a creature as a self-portrait of personality or other traits the students possess. Students can design and draw habitats that would house their creation including the calculation of the volume and area the housing would require. Use a classroom projector or white board to share/create creatures in class and discuss specific features of the creatures.
GradesK to 12
In the ClassroomClick "Start Here" to type the subject of your concept map. Hitting your Enter key creates a new level (branch) within the map. Tab creates an additional branch on the same level as the current topic. Experiment with the small icons on each "element" to change colors, drag, make new connections, etc. Save and set sharing (read-only or open access) in the area at the right. You can "send" a read-only link via email or copy the embed code from the Menu at lower right), but you cannot find the URL directly from your map. "Send" it to yourself via email to copy the actual URL.
There are countless possibilities at this mental mapping site. Demonstrate the tool on an interactive whiteboard or projector, and then allow students to try to create their own graphic organizers. Use this site for literature activities, research projects, social studies, or science topics of study. Use this site to create family trees. Have students collaborate together (online) to create group mind maps or review charts before tests on a given subject. Have students organize color-code concepts to show what they understand, wonder, question; map out a story, plotline, or LIFETIME; map out a step-by-step process (life cycle); map a real historical event as a choose-your-own-adventure with alternate endings(?) based on pivotal points; plan a "tour" for a "thought museum." Use this mapping website as an alternative to a traditional test, quiz, or homework assignment in literature or social studies: have students demonstrate their understanding by completing a graphic organizer about the main points. To minimize the number of maps on a free account, have students screenshot or print their results to turn them in. See more ideas in the linked example above!
GradesK to 12
In the ClassroomPrint out up to 25 pdf copies of stories and poems if you do not have print versions. Make your own books and leave blank sections to be illustrated for aiding comprehension. If you have iTunes installed on your computer, you can download many of the selections directly into your iTunes library. Use individual laptops for reading the stories online or as a download. Make sure your sight-impaired students know about this helpful site. Special ed teachers and ESL//ELL teachers will love the availability of audio files and text together.
GradesK to 8
Note: Please assume that most songs are copyrighted, so please honor the authors and musicians by not distributing these songs. This is intended for classroom use only. This site requires Quicktime and Adobe Acrobat. You can get both from the TeachersFirst Toolbox page.
In the ClassroomEnhance your reading program with music. Have students listen to the songs while following the lyrics. Keep this site handy for those patriotic holidays. Use this site in social studies classes to learn the meaning behind some of the most popular patriotic songs. Play the sound in the background during class skits for Presidents' Day or other patriotic occasions.
GradesK to 8
In the ClassroomSign up for the newsletter to receive new information every month. Provide the link to this site in your class newsletter or on your class website, so parents can sign-up for the newsletter also (and use the free resources).
Grades4 to 12
In the ClassroomSimply login and click create. Choose a scene you wish to start with. Change your characters from a variety of option. When the comic loads, your chosen character may not show immediately but will appear as you edit each frame. Change sizes of caption bubbles, fonts sizes and types with easy to use sliders. New characters can be added in each frame as well as a variety of additional props such as sports equipment and furniture. Change the background set to a variety of indoor, outdoor city, and outdoor country landscapes. Change background colors easily too. Comics can be saved, scenes can be deleted, and changes made can be reverted to the previous idea easily with on screen controls. Below the comic, buttons for "Save for later" and "Publish Now" quickly save or publish works. If the scene is not ready for publishing, Pixton requests further edits to complete the process.
Consider creating a class account that students can use. Track comics made by students by placing initials in a small caption bubble to identify created comics to a specific student. There are some safeguards in place to be sure students use appropriate language and actions. It would be wise to preview whatever you wish to share with your students, however, since the general public can create comics with their own ideas. Students should submit their work without identifiable names and location, according to your school policy. You will also want written parent permission before allowing students to create comics that can be seen online.
Capture and use your students creativity in storytelling using this exciting tool! Using small amounts of texts to frame a story or to deliver information creatively allows students the opportunity to work deeply with information and use a creative outlet for a variety of projects. Use for students to provide information learned with personal thoughts on subjects ranging from historical events, environmental issues, discussion about plants, animals, and ecosystems, as well as other topics in Art, Math, English, Health, and others. Use in Foreign language classes for short stories created in the language and translated then by other students in the classroom. 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 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.
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)
Premium version (not free) includes additional features or storage
Products can be embedded
Products can be shared by URL
GradesK to 8
In the ClassroomPrimary grade teachers will want to share this site on their teacher web page for students to visit over and over both in school and out. Share the site on an interactive whiteboard or projector to show students where to find all the best learning activities, then have students explore on individual computers or at a center. This is a great "indoor recess" option! Teachers of students in older grades-- even middle school -- can use this site during Read Across America celebrations. Have student groups create a Seuss-style book-in-verse on a current curriculum topic, using this site for inspiration. How about a book about electricity or alternative energy? Have them create their new interactive "book" using a tool such as Bookemon, reviewed here.
GradesK to 12
tag(s): literacy (104)
In the ClassroomShare this site on your class website so parents can learn about this free resource. Include links to specific publications tha fit your class' needs. Or choose helpful information with your particular parents/students and share the pdf files as print-outs at conferences or via email to help parents.
Grades4 to 12
In the ClassroomIf you need ideas to get students reading for fun and to help develop their confidence, try this site. Highlight this on your class website so parents can try the activities with their older students. When doing author biographies, share this site with your class using an interactive whiteboard or projector. Be sure to check out the "Classroom Strategies" link for even more literacy ideas.
Grades7 to 12
In the ClassroomAllowing students to choose among these books may encourage them to read. Having students "teach" their book to the rest of the class after they have finished it might be an activity that would urge other students to pick up those books, too. Have students share their books creatively: write a blog post as a character, make a video to post on TeacherTube or SchoolTube, or make a podcast "interview" of the main character, played by a classmate. Bring reading into the 21st century reality of your students and watch the two worlds "mash" together.
GradesK to 12
tag(s): wikis (20)
In the ClassroomThis is listed as a TeachersFirst "edge" entry, but our step-by-step walk-through takes the edge off and makes your wiki a walk in the park. Check it out now, while there is still FREE classroom wiki space available from the three wiki tools we review in detail.
Grades1 to 10
In the ClassroomShare samples of students' writing on an interactive whiteboard or projector. Be sure to preview for content inappropriate for your classroom. Have your students create cover art and write stories, book reviews, or poetry to submit to this site. Of course you will want written parent permission before submitting student work to this online magazine. Students should submit their work without identifiable names and location, according to your school policy.If your school prohibits using blogs to post student writing, this is a middle ground alternative to get their works in front of a wider audience.
Grades2 to 8
tag(s): sports (97)