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Tar Heel Reader - University of North Caroline

Grades
K to 12
4 Favorites 0  Comments
 
Find free on-line books perfect for emergent readers. The author of the site, the Center for Literacy and Disabilities studies at the University of North Carolina, wants to provide...more
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Find free on-line books perfect for emergent readers. The author of the site, the Center for Literacy and Disabilities studies at the University of North Carolina, wants to provide free resources to give everyone an opportunity to learn to read and write. All books are free and available for download as slideshows using PowerPoint, Impress, or Flash. Book topics include biographies, fairy tales, history, science, math, nursery rhymes, poetry, food, and more! All stories have speech enabling, can come in as many as fourteen different languages, and are compatible with touch screens. Since a wide range of age groups use this site, they have a rating system to suggest what is suitable for younger readers. Tar Heel Reader is also a great way to write books. Upload images from your computer or Flicker, add text, create, and share student stories with an authentic audience of readers. Tar Heel Reader is a great way to engage students with reading material, increase class participation, and create inclusive instruction for those with illiteracy or learning disabilities.

** This site does contain some materials NOT suitable for all classrooms. Be sure to read the "rating" system, and contribute your own opinions (as the ratings are only as reliable as the pool of contributing voters). Books rated 'E' are meant for everyone but a 'C' means to use caution as it may not be proper material for some. Determine what titles are suitable and save them to the favorites file for students to access.

tag(s): literacy (103)

In the Classroom

Increase your big book collection ten fold by projecting Tar Heel Readers onto an interactive whiteboard or projector. Use interactive shared reading lessons to strengthen student recognition of common sight words, concepts of print, decoding skills, and use syntax cues and unlock the meaning of text. Ask students to circle known sight words, count the number of words in a sentence, trace capital letters, or point to the first letter of a word during a choral read. Help ESL/ELL students by creating books out of photos from class field trips, events, or experiments. Integrate text that uses key vocabulary words and creates reading materials that are both relevant to grade level curricular standards and match your student's readability level. All books you publish on the web site are public domain and available to all other users. Be sure to get parent permission before publishing student books on-line. In order to create a book, users will need to register. Unfortunately, this requires users to email gb@cs.unc.edu to request of an invitation code. With this code, simply create a username, submit your name, and email address. Set up a single teacher account and have all the students use that login to avoid safety concerns. Be sure to include this site on your class web page for students to access both in and outside of class for further reading practice.
  This resource requires Adobe Flash and PDF reader software like Adobe Acrobat.

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UVic's Language Teaching Clipart Library - University of Victoria

Grades
K to 12
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The University of Victoria's clip art library is a small collection of images meant to assist with basic language instruction and development. The graphics are useful for developing...more
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The University of Victoria's clip art library is a small collection of images meant to assist with basic language instruction and development. The graphics are useful for developing the vocabulary of speech/language students or ESL/ELL students. There is a keyword search option and a topic gallery that contains subjects such as food, animals, and clothing. One draw back is that the images are typically only 100 by 100 pixels. The library does allow for free download of its .GIF images but if users post clip art on a website they need to add an acknowledgement to the UVic Humanities Computing and Media Center and Half-Baked Software.

tag(s): spanish (108)

In the Classroom

Create non-verbal task cards or visual directions for assignments with graphics from this library collection. Download imagery from a variety of different categories and create an interactive whiteboard or projector sorting activity. Have students decide what images have in common and then sort them into groups. Use online graphic organizers from sites such as Webspiration reviewed here. to sort clip art. The images are also excellent to design language-teaching flashcards, game cards, illustrate songs, add to worksheets or include on class websites.

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Open Clipart Library - Jon Phillips and Bryce Harrington

Grades
K to 12
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This is a large archive of public-domain clipart. All images are free for download and artists are encouraged to contribute to the site. Search for imagery by keyword or category. ...more
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This is a large archive of public-domain clipart. All images are free for download and artists are encouraged to contribute to the site. Search for imagery by keyword or category. The individual images download as PNG thumbnails or html pages. Users can also download a complete package of all of the site clipart. Review all imagery before students go to the site. Although a majority of the site images is appropriate for students, some may be questionable.

tag(s): creative commons (21)

In the Classroom

Pre-select clipart and save to albums meant for students use. A complete library will be useful for multimedia presentation, digital storytelling, reports, and presentations. This is a great site for ESL/ELL students and special education students working on speech and language. Visual representations will help ELL or ESL teachers explain concepts and key vocabulary. Open Clipart is a valuable resource for imagery to use when designing language-teaching flashcards, game cards, directions, illustrating songs and poetry, or including on class websites.

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Lit Tunes - Corndancer

Grades
5 to 12
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Wow! Wow! At this site you will find lesson plans that connect grammar, literature, and music. Use music to teach students about sentence structure, plot elements, basic grammar, literary...more
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Wow! Wow! At this site you will find lesson plans that connect grammar, literature, and music. Use music to teach students about sentence structure, plot elements, basic grammar, literary terms, and much more. You'll also find a database of hundreds of contemporary and classical literature titles connected to contemporary music. Click on "Connection" on the left to find music for every major work you will ever want to teach.

tag(s): literature (275)

In the Classroom

Use the list to find literature you can use in your classroom. You may want to choose short stories or poems and their music so students will get the idea of how music and literature can fit together. Then have students choose appropriate contemporary music for an independent reading novel presentation or report. Have students figure out how they would divide up the book into sections. Then select a piece of (school appropriate) music that they think captures the feel or tone of each section. They record the pieces and possibly do voice-overs explaining what is happening in the novel during the piece of music and why they felt this piece of music fits the section of the novel. As a choice, students could use "podOmatic" to create podcasts, reviewed here. Or have students create ThingLinks, reviewed here. Be sure to PLAY the music out loud as the student is talking. If you want students to "mix" music with their own computer, check out Garage Band (Mac) or Audacity (free download) available on Mac or Windows. Looking for more ways to use these audio tools? Take a look at a webquest explaining how these programs work, reviewed here.

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fastr - a flickr game - random chaos

Grades
3 to 12
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Guess what a group of photos have in common with this simple game that draws from flickr images. The game shows a group of images, and you must guess what ...more
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Guess what a group of photos have in common with this simple game that draws from flickr images. The game shows a group of images, and you must guess what "tag" the images have in common.

tag(s): flexibility (5), images (266), vocabulary (324)

In the Classroom

Share a fastr game on your projector or interactive whiteboard to get the mental juices flowing at the start of class. Build word choice vocabulary for speech/language students or ESL/ELL students as they guess what word the photos have in common. Extend the experience by having students create their own groups of images (perhaps even taking their own with a digital camera) to support a curriculum concept, such as "omnivore" or "well." Use this tool in combination with a Flickr search tool such as FlickrCC reviewed here to help students understand tagging and see how an unusual combination of images can share the same tag.

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TodaysMeet - James Socol

Grades
5 to 12
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This simple-to-use tool allows anyone with the link to today's discussion to participate in a live chat. A simpler and safer alternative to Twitter or text messaging, this tool allows...more
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This simple-to-use tool allows anyone with the link to today's discussion to participate in a live chat. A simpler and safer alternative to Twitter or text messaging, this tool allows anyone with the URL for a specific chat stream to join in, using short (140 characters) messages. Participants can be in the same room or across the globe. The only "skill" needed is being able to type! Save a transcript via the link at the bottom of the chat and switch to "projector-friendly" view with one click so a group can follow the chat on screen. TodaysMeet does not require a membership to access these features, but creating a free account with an email address unlocks more features to meet your needs. The free account allows you to archive your rooms for up to one year, and custom organization of your rooms is available for easy access. You can only archive rooms for up to one month without creating an account. Filter participants, moderate their content, and use speaker colors to take control of your rooms. A TodaysMeet account also offers three different QR code sizes to share access to your room as well as the ability to allow participants to download the transcript. TodaysMeet may be blocked through some web filters as a social media site.

tag(s): microblogging (44), twitter (50)

In the Classroom

No special skills needed except the ability to create a name for your chat and to share the URL with others. Create "room" by giving it a name; decide how long you want it to last; and add a Twitter hashtag (optional). The room name becomes part of the URL. For example, The room called tfedge has URL http://todaysmeet.com/tfedge. Give participants the room URL. They join in simply by entering a name (or initials, to keep it safe) and clicking Join.

Use backchannel chat on laptops during a video or student presentations. Pose questions for all to answer/discuss in the backchannel, or ask students to pose their own "I wonder if..." questions as they watch and listen. Keep every student engaged and THINKING as an active listener. The first time you use backchannel, you will want to establish some etiquette and accountability rules, such as respectful language and constructive criticism. Assign students to watch a news program or political show and have a backchannel chat during the broadcast. Revisit the chat on a projector in class the next day or post the chat transcript to a class blog or wiki and have students respond further in blog posts or on the wiki discussion tab. The advantage of backchannel chat is that every student has a voice, no matter how shy.

In world language classes or even autistic support class, have students backchannel descriptions of what they see as classmates act out a scene from a video, using new language vocabulary and/or describing the feelings of the actors. In studying literature, collaborate with another class to have students role-play a chat between two characters or - in history class - between soldiers on two sides of the Civil War or different sides of the Scopes Money trial. Make brevity an impetus for well-focused thoughts and use instantaneous response as an incentive for engagement.

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Conceptua Math - Conceptua Math, Inc.

Grades
4 to 10
1 Favorites 0  Comments
    
This is a great collection of free visual math tools for class instruction. View the sample problems and instructional video for each concept. All concepts are standards aligned and...more
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This is a great collection of free visual math tools for class instruction. View the sample problems and instructional video for each concept. All concepts are standards aligned and include NCTM and recent Common Core State Standards. Identify the key vocabulary as well as IEP goals.

tag(s): fractions (239)

In the Classroom

Check out the video on how to use the tool as well as the sample lesson plans on Adobe PDF. Click to try this tool in the classroom. Registration and sign in are free but required to use the tools. These tools would be fantastic used on an interactive whiteboard or with a projector. Follow up on the tools with practical ways to use the concepts. Be sure to pay attention to the vocabulary as well as IEP goals.
  This resource requires Adobe Flash and PDF reader software like Adobe Acrobat.

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Club Bing Games - Club Bing

Grades
4 to 8
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Access a motivational variety of memory, trivia, brainteasers, word games and puzzles to provide FREE educational interactives. When you first log on to this site, it asks you to join...more
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Access a motivational variety of memory, trivia, brainteasers, word games and puzzles to provide FREE educational interactives. When you first log on to this site, it asks you to join Bing, a free search engine, however, do not be fooled. Most of the interactives may be accessed without a username and password.

tag(s): brain (72)

In the Classroom

Explore this website to determine which learning activities are worthwhile and will help your students learn or reinforce a skill. Include this site on your class webpage and save it in your favorites on your classroom computers. Be sure to tell students not to sign up for membership; just click on the "play now" button. Having a number of easily accessible, motivational activities keeps students engaged while using technology, when others may still be working on an assignment.
 This resource requires Adobe Flash.

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Midomi - midomi.com

Grades
2 to 12
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On this general music and music video site, students and teachers can find the name of a song they have forgotten by simply humming or singing into the computer mike. ...more
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On this general music and music video site, students and teachers can find the name of a song they have forgotten by simply humming or singing into the computer mike. Note: when you click to sing or hum, you will get a message asking you to ALLOW or DENY permission for the web site to access your computer mike. IN some web browsers, the security settings may prohibit this. Test the tool on your computer to be sure it will work before assigning students to try it. It takes a little practice!

tag(s): songs (52)

In the Classroom

Use this site for ear training. Play a reverse "Name that Tune" game to see how accurately the site finds songs. Try to find two songs with similar beginnings and see if the site can distinguish the two. Learn about other songs that have similar beginning melodies. ESL and ELL students can use this site and participate without knowing the English words for a song just by humming. Students can introduce their favorite songs this way.

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TeachersFirst's Study Skills Resources - TeachersFirst

Grades
3 to 12
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This collection of reviewed resources from TeachersFirst is selected to help students learn their most effective study strategies. The collection includes specific study tools, reading...more
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This collection of reviewed resources from TeachersFirst is selected to help students learn their most effective study strategies. The collection includes specific study tools, reading strategies, review ideas, and notetaking methods that students and teachers can try as lessons in themselves or --even better-- as they go about the regular curriculum. Whether you want to use a graphic organizer, create your own electronic flash cards, or simply learn how to approach a test, there is a resource to help. Learning Support teachers and teachers of gifted will also want to share these alternate ways for students to organize and retain concepts, vocabulary, and more.

In the Classroom

Make learning how to learn part of your class routine at any grade level and in any subject. Feature one or more new study strategy each month and share this entire list as a link from your class web page for students and parents to access both in and out of school.

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Tagxedo - Hardy Leung

Grades
K to 12
14 Favorites 1  Comments
 
Want a word Cloud with Style? Create one here! A word cloud is an image of words that show the most frequent word in a larger font than the others. ...more
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Want a word Cloud with Style? Create one here! A word cloud is an image of words that show the most frequent word in a larger font than the others. Create a visual representation of a passage to pull out and identify important words or show the text in an interactive, visually appealing way. The resulting cloud pops out the words as you roll over them, so viewers can "see" each word separately. See a sample, created by the TF Edge review team. Explore the gallery for many inspiring examples, including some that use the customizable image shapes uploaded from your own computer (premium feature). Some features may change slightly after the beta phase, but developer Hardy Leung assures TeachersFirst users, "Even after beta you'll be able to save the animated version of the Tagxedo for free to your computer or to the web without the paid version. I may require a membership, though unlikely, but even then I'll make sure there is a free version for teachers and students."

Tagxedo requires Silverlight. The site will appear as a blank page with the "Install Silverlight Plugin" button if your computer does not have it installed. See your tech folks to allow download and installation of this plug-in if school computers do not have it and/or are "locked down."

tag(s): vocabulary (324), word choice (26), word clouds (10)

In the Classroom

NO membership required to create a cloud, though saving may require a (free) membership in the future, according to developer Hardy Leung. Click "Create" and then "Words." Paste URL to "cloud" words from a web page or copy/paste (or type) a passage of words into the given field. (Repeat words to make them larger). Experiment with various settings and "themes" to create the different colors and shapes of the word cloud. Change the theme, shape, direction, layout, and other parameters easily. Click SAVE to easily download a static image of various sizes or take a screenshot using shortcut keys. Saved images do not have the cool "pop-out" feature (rats!), though the developer tells TeachersFirst that users will be able to download animated versions in the future. You can also save and obtain the direct URL to your animated cloud. Be sure to bookmark it or copy/paste the URL for safe keeping in a document, wiki, etc. During beta, the tool allows you to save and copy embed code, but this feature will cost money later.

In the classroom: This is a terrific visual tool to share on an interactive whiteboard or projector. In primary grades. Enter a group of related words into the text box, such as sight words, words with the same spelling cluster, or vocabulary terms. Then have students roll over the words to read them aloud as they pop out (only works in the ONLINE version of the clouds). Paste in a passage or URL for a political speech to visualize the politician's "message." Analyze advertising propaganda by visualizing the language used in TV or print ads. Create word clouds of historical texts of inauguration speeches as time capsules of the issues of the day. Use this site as a way to help students see and memorize terms and important vocabulary, especially visual learners. Use it also when writing poetry or reading passages of great literature to "see" themes and motifs of repeated words and images. Have students paste in their own writing to spot repeated (and monotonous) language when teaching lessons on word choice. Students will be surprised to see what words appear to be dominant. ESL and ELL students will eagerly use this site since word order will no longer be a problem for them. Have students work in groups to create word posters of vocabulary words with related meanings, such as different ways to say "walk" or "said" and decorate your classroom with these visual reminders of the richness of language. Use themes and shapes that coordinate with the word cloud (for example, use a bird shape when creating a cloud about flight or a heart when interpreting a love poem. Consider using a word cloud as a first week of school activity where students discuss summer vacation or what they did over the summer. As a first day activity, students could also make a cloud with words about themselves, then have classmates guess which cloud matches which person.

For a free gift for special occasions, make word clouds about mom for Mother's Day or Thanksgiving "I am thankful" visual poems. Share them by emailing the URL or in printed form.

Comments

Very versatile, creates word clouds in specific shapes. Adds another dimension. Frances, CT, Grades: 6 - 8

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Sentence Scrambler - altastic.com

Grades
1 to 10
1 Favorites 0  Comments
This sentence scrambler allows teachers to type or paste in as many sentences as they would like and scrambles the words at random. Any punctuation typed in remains attached to ...more
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This sentence scrambler allows teachers to type or paste in as many sentences as they would like and scrambles the words at random. Any punctuation typed in remains attached to the word it is next to. Students can then try to unscramble the sentences. Options include putting slashes or dashes between words to make them easier to distinguish. After typing/pasting the desired number of sentences, teachers should check the box marked "Add Numbers" in order to have the sentences separated and numbered. Sentences in Spanish can also be scrambled. Rearranging the words is not part of the interactive activity.

tag(s): grammar (216), inferencing (5), sentences (52), sight words (37)

In the Classroom

ESL and ELL students will find this activity useful for practicing correct English word order. Primary teachers can also use it to teach basic sight words, sequencing, and inferencing skills with short sentences. After typing/pasting in the sentences, copy the scrambled word box on an interactive whiteboard or projector and have students write or type the paragraph in the correct order.

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StoryCorps - Dave Isay

Grades
4 to 12
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StoryCorps is a nonprofit site where Americans of all backgrounds and beliefs can record, share, and preserve the stories of their lives. It is one of the largest oral history ...more
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StoryCorps is a nonprofit site where Americans of all backgrounds and beliefs can record, share, and preserve the stories of their lives. It is one of the largest oral history projects of its kind. At the site you can download a "Do it Yourself Guide", find resources for teachers, and a list of great questions. You can subscribe to their podcast, e-newsletter, and blog, or you can upload your own story or that of a loved one or friend for free. Each conversation is recorded on a free CD to share, and is preserved at the American Folklife Center at the Library of Congress.

tag(s): questioning (31), writing (359)

In the Classroom

Grandparent's day is in September. What better gift to a grandparent than to be able to spend time with their grandchild and tell them a story about an important time in their lives? Of course, you'll want to prepare students with some interviewing skills and questions before they interview their grandparents, and show them how to record the interview with some type of recorder (tape recorder, cell phone, video camera, etc). This recording can then be submitted to StoryCorps and it will then reside at the American Folklife Center at the Library of Congress. Students can also interview parents about their first memories of school, and what they remember about the grade that the student is currently in. Share these interviews during the first week or month of the school year. Not only can these interviews be submitted to StoryCorp, but students could then do a write up of their interviews and publish them in a classroom book of memories. Have students create online books to share with the class about their interview. Use a tool such as Bookemon, reviewed here. Or have students narrate a photo of the person they interviewed using a site such as ThingLink, reviewed here.

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You Can Teach Writing - Linda Aragoni

Grades
7 to 12
1 Favorites 0  Comments
Here you will find writing advice for different genres, prompts, advice for teaching thesis statements and so much more; all presented with humor and a very strong voice. Are you ...more
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Here you will find writing advice for different genres, prompts, advice for teaching thesis statements and so much more; all presented with humor and a very strong voice. Are you a new teacher? Is your school pushing "writing across the curriculum"? Are you an English or writing teacher who just wants verification and some new ideas or prompts? If you answered yes to any of these you must visit Linda Aragoni's You Can Teach Writing site! Linda is a teacher, editor, and professional writer whose writing site started out as a book. Linda puts out a monthly newsletter with all sorts ideas you can use in the classroom. The last one had a link for a slide show about how new words are made and suggestions for how to use the slide show in the classroom.

tag(s): essays (21), expository writing (44), writing (359)

In the Classroom

This site is primarily for teacher use, but you will find yourself using what you learn here in your classroom, weekly, if not daily. This is definitely a site to save in your favorites. There are many ideas here.

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The Oldest Living Things on the Planet - NPR

Grades
6 to 12
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This clever site uses a time line and photographs to show living things that are older than any of us can imagine. It includes plant and animal species. For example, ...more
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This clever site uses a time line and photographs to show living things that are older than any of us can imagine. It includes plant and animal species. For example, it shows a slide of the Great Basin Bristlecone, a pine tree in California that is more than 4,000 years old! But there is an even older object for readers to start with. The site contains a link to an NPR broadcast, "Hunting For The Oldest Living Things In The World."

tag(s): logic (235), timelines (62)

In the Classroom

Because of the few words, this is a great site for ESL and/or ELL students in your classes. All viewers will be able to read the dates and learn the names of the oldest objects on earth. Use this site when demonstrating how to make an interactive time line. To show what they have learned from this site, challenge students to create a different type of online graphic to share using Tabblo reviewed here
 This resource requires Adobe Flash.

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Head Magnet

Grades
3 to 12
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HeadMagnet is a new twist on flashcards. You can create flashcards for any subject that you wish or use cards already available on the site. Once the cards are made, ...more
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HeadMagnet is a new twist on flashcards. You can create flashcards for any subject that you wish or use cards already available on the site. Once the cards are made, there are different study modes to choose - slide show, self-test and normal (type in responses). Study sessions can even be timed. After completing the study session HeadMagnet predicts which items will need more study time, enabling you to spend more time on material that hasn't been learned yet. Study lists can be shared with others, and you can search for already created materials. After completion of a study session, you can access statistics that show your overall memory of the material. You need to register to create your own materials but all items are free. Registration requires and email address. 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): flash cards (46)

In the Classroom

Create flashcards for any subject to review material being learned in class. Use this as a review for vocabulary before tests. As a pre-assessment, create a study list to use on the interactive whiteboard or projector to find out what students already know. Provide this link on your class website for students to use to create flashcards both in and out of your classroom. Learning support teachers may want to show students how to create their own cards. The process of creating the will actually reinforce skills, as well.

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Scriblink - Your Online WhiteBoard - Scriblink

Grades
K to 12
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Need an effective, no nonsense, online visual communication tool? Here it is! Scriblink is an online whiteboard application that allows you to create images, drawings, signs, and so...more
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Need an effective, no nonsense, online visual communication tool? Here it is! Scriblink is an online whiteboard application that allows you to create images, drawings, signs, and so much more. Best of all, once you have created your information you can save it to a URL or email it. Communicate with students, colleagues, friends and family with this tool! No membership is required! This tool will not work unless you have Java enabled in your browser. Many Mac computers have Java disabled.

tag(s): iwb (31)

In the Classroom

This resource could be used if you do not have an interactive whiteboard in your room. It operates from your computer so all you need is to connect to a projector,and there is your makeshift interactive whiteboard. Or you could use this resource to create "board space" on your classroom wiki to convey information to your students. It would be very helpful for online teaching as well! Have students create their own Scriblink whiteboard presentations as culminating activities in any subject area. Learning support and highly visual students will benefit from the opportunity to make "visual notes" for study and review. Offer Scriblink as one of several review options in addition to a graphic organizer tool and flashcard tool so students can experiment to find their most effective study support, World language students can use Scriblink to create illustrated vocabulary/conversation in their new language.
 This resource requires Adobe Flash.

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Chogger - Chogger, LLC

Grades
2 to 12
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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....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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School Library Journal Classroom author visits - Kate Messner

Grades
4 to 12
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Wow! The online School Library Journal has a lot more than book reviews. Can't afford to pay for an author visit? This article has a list of authors who will ...more
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Wow! The online School Library Journal has a lot more than book reviews. Can't afford to pay for an author visit? This article has a list of authors who will skype online with your class for free! The authors write for middle school students (grades 8-12) and teens. The article also has suggestions for what to do before the author "visit" and suggestions for during the author "visit."

tag(s): authors (120), skype (12)

In the Classroom

Plan a visit to the library, or have parents check out many of the books by the listed authors you've contacted, and bring them to your classroom. Have students look through the books and decide on one or two they want to read for a literature circle. You can form random groups by pulling popsicle sticks with student names on them out of a jar, and the students then name the book they would like to read. Once four people are reading a book that group is closed, and students will need to choose their alternate. The whole class can enjoy the visit of each author and possibly find even more books they want to read. You may want to skype or e-mail the author ahead of time to ask if students can contact the author more than once about their questions about the book. Maybe they can e-mail the author with preliminary questions. Have students or cooperative learning groups create multimedia presentations about the book that they read together. Have groups compare two of the characters from the stories using a site such as Interactive Two Circle Venn Diagram (reviewed here).
 This resource requires Adobe Flash.

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Story Jumper - storyjumper.com

Grades
2 to 8
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Story Jumper helps you write and illustrate stories in just seven steps-- then share them online. Begin by selecting a story format and accompanying graphic. Manipulate the text and...more
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Story Jumper helps you write and illustrate stories in just seven steps-- then share them online. Begin by selecting a story format and accompanying graphic. Manipulate the text and add other items to the picture that forms with each addition to the story. You also change the background and upload photos. Add original drawings, as well. When finished with a particular scene, go on to the next page by clicking the arrow. In order to save and share stories online, writers must complete a free registration. Although there is an option to buy the finished story in print format, this is not necessary to use the site. There is a complete guide for the teacher-friendly Classroom Edition offering detailed directions for setting up class accounts, etc.

tag(s): writing (359)

In the Classroom

Although the sentences and graphics available appear juvenile, the fact that writers can delete the text and add their own original text, photos, and drawings makes this site flexible enough to use with older students, as well. This activity would work well for individual or pairs of students in a lab or on laptops. Ask your students to visit the site and create an online book with their original writings, drawings, and photos. ESL and ELL students will be able to use the site easily, and will learn appropriate sentence structure and add to their vocabulary by selecting new items to put into the graphic. Older students can also create "little buddy" books for younger students to read and share.
 This resource requires Adobe Flash.

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