GradesK to 12
In the ClassroomBookmark this site in your favorites for when you are planning objectives and learning activities, searching for materials, or looking for fresh, reliable ideas. No matter where you are on the career ladder, this site provides a storehouse of quality digital content from early childhood through senior year and beyond, which you can embed and blend into your existing program, use to support learning across the curriculum, download, print, project on your interactive whiteboard or projector, or have students use individually or collaboratively on individual computers.
Grades2 to 12
In the ClassroomHave the students prepare a quick online presentation of their findings, results, summaries etc. Have each student or each group prepare one or two quiz questions to share with the entire class. Be sure help your weaker readers and ESL students by sharing the vocabulary words prior to reading, either on a handout or by projecting on an interactive whiteboard (or projector) and highlighting them in the text as you come to them. Balance your group selection by ensuring each group has strong and weaker students, girls and boys, students from different ethnic groups or nationalities, etc. Use this activity also as a way to review before tests. Have students present their findings in a multimedia presentation. Why not have students create an online book using a tool such as Bookemon, reviewed here.
Grades3 to 8
In the ClassroomHave a team competition on the interactive whiteboard or projector and challenge students to move on to higher levels. Students who aren't playing will still be learning as they try to solve problems along with the players. Use the activity as an introduction to algebra skills included in the interactive, such as multiplying and dividing with negatives. Challenge students to come up with the formulas for multiplying and dividing negatives based on correct responses in the activity.
Grades4 to 12
In the ClassroomUse as an enhancement to research projects of family, historic events, and world cultures by finding and uploading pictures to the map. Use Historypin as a resource to compare and contrast different time periods in the same geographic area. Demonstrate on the interactive whiteboard or projector how different places have changed over time. Have individual students or cooperative learning groups create podcasts using PodOmatic (reviewed here) to go along with the maps. ESL students will appreciate the ability to upload pictures and/or learn about their country of original.
GradesK to 12
In the ClassroomMake a shortcut to this site on classroom computers as a reference. Suggest it to students as something they can use on their mp3 players. Share this link on your class website for students and parents to access at home. Learning support teachers may want to use selections from this site as alternatives to reading print literature selections. Play a story on your computer speakers as a listening activity in younger grades.
Grades1 to 7
tag(s): independent reading (130)
In the ClassroomMake a shortcut to this site on classroom computers and use it as a center, or post the address on your teacher website so students and parents can access the program at home, too. Set reading goals for individual students or the class.
GradesK to 12
A special feature of the site is an exclusive story, called "The Exquisite Corpse Adventure." The Exquisite Corpse was a game in which someone would start a story, fold over their part, and the next person would add to the story and on it would go until the last person ended the story. For this Exquisite Corpse, Jon Scieszka started the story and passed it on to Katherine Patterson, who passed it on . . . and so it goes for 18 episodes. The entire story will take a year to write to the finish. There is an illustration that goes with each segment.
In the ClassroomCheck out "The Exquisite Corpse Adventure" and have students listen to the stories. As a challenge ask students to look at the differences in writing style for each of the authors. Project a chart about the plot and the writing style on your interactive whiteboard or projector, and have students list the differences and similarities in writing style. Students could also keep a chart of similarities and differences for the illustrators. Another idea for an activity is to have the students read the poem "If" by Rudyard Kipling and then have them read the very touching national contest winner letter to the author about his poem. Students could then write their own letters to an author of a favorite book or poem. Have students create podcasts to read their letters to the authors using a site such as PodOmatic (reviewed here).
Grades4 to 12
In the ClassroomThere are so many ways a teacher could use this site. Make it a learning station, where students look at the photos and read the captions and articles about the various aspects of life in the jungle. Students could have a special notebook where they summarize, or write an opinion about, what they learned from "Jungle Photos" that day. Young children could use the information to make a picture book of their own, summarizing what they read (or had read to them).
Older students need to know background information about a topic in order to decide what they would like to know more about. Students could use this as a springboard to decide what topic they would like to investigate for more information.
Language arts and ESL/ELL teachers could have students write their own description of the pictures and then compare their captions to those on the site. Students could also write a fictional story about what is happening in one of the pictures. Why not make it more interactive and have students use Sway, reviewed here.
Grades5 to 12
In the ClassroomThis site has a source code you can embed on your own wiki or website. In class you can use your interactive whiteboard or projector to show students conjugation.com and have them suggest verbs to be entered and conjugated. They will also learn the names of the verb forms and tenses. Have the ESL and ELL students in your class use this site to check their writing. Underline the verbs in their writing that are not conjugated correctly and let them make the corrections using conjugation.com.
Grades6 to 12
In the ClassroomIntroduce any of the authors biographies before reading a literary work or studying that famous leader or scientist. You could have the students go through the tabs and take notes on interesting facts, trivia, etc. Then have a class game where all students stand and the first student reads a fact from their notes and crosses it out. All other students have to cross that fact out, too. Then the next person states a different fact and every one else has to cross the fact out. Proceed in this manner until there is only one (or however many you want) students left standing. They are the winners. Another idea: Have your students create an interactive online poster about an individual using Lucidpress, reviewed here.
Grades6 to 12
tag(s): shakespeare (131)
In the ClassroomIntroduce Shakespeare before reading any of his works by having the students do a jigsaw. Have students number off in groups of four. Three of the students should investigate two tabs each (exclude Citations and Opinions). One student should look only at "Best of the Web" since it is rather extensive. Have students get in their expert groups based on the tab(s) they will read and jot down notes. Once everyone has completed the work have them report out to their original group what they found that was important or interesting. Have groups create multimedia presentations to share with the class. Have your students create an interactive online poster using 16745, reviewed here. Another idea, have students create podcasts using a site such as podOmatic, reviewed here, or hallenge students to narrate a picture of Shakespeare using a tool such as ThingLink, reviewed here.
Grades2 to 12
In the ClassroomCheck with administrators to be sure policy allows for students to create their own web pages attached to this site, to participate in chats with other students and teachers, and to be a member of a conversation forum. You should also obtain written parent permission. To fully register with the site you need a valid 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 Here is a blog post that tells how to set up GMail subaccounts to use for any online membership service. If you have a number of ESL/ELL students, make a shortcut to this site on classroom computers or share it on your class web page to use it as a center. This site's activities would work well for individual or pairs of students in a lab or on laptops.
GradesK to 12
tag(s): journalism (52)
In the ClassroomWinkball requires the use of a webcam or video camera. Simply adjust the camera for a good shot and click record. The preview feature allows users to clear away initial takes and start again. Download video camera footage onto the computer and then directly upload it to Winkball. The site supports the uploading of MPEG, AVI, WMV, and QuickTime video files. Enter a title and description for each video clip. Students can also embed videos from Youtube onto video blogs or walls. The maximum size of each file cannot exceed 100MB. The site is intuitive and involves little more than point and click abilities. Create a single class account using your "extra" email address, so you can monitor and submit student work.
Winkball has the potential to extend learning beyond the confines of your school. It can provide learning opportunities for students physically unable to attend class or who need to receive coursework from another school. Students can film various features of a field trip and share them on a video wall. Video chat will allow students to record interviews with people outside of the local community. Coordinate collaborative learning projects by having students share resources on video blog. The video blog could also serve as an on-line journal for phases of a long-term unit of study, experiment, or class project. Record the stages of a student's thinking process when engaging in creative problem solving activities. Share the value of this learning process with parents and family by posting a video wall on the class website. Create a broadcasting club and post regular news reports about school events on the school website. Upload a film clip about a historic event onto a class video blog and include a probing question that asks students take a stand on an issue, express their opinion, or debate one another on-line. Provide homework help by recording step-by step procedures to solve a particular type of math problem at home. Model ways parents can help their student with their reading. Post live coverage of class plays, concerts, and school performances so that parents at work can still be in the audience. Make language learning more authentic by using video messaging to communicate with students across the globe.
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
Multiple users can collaborate on the same project
Includes teacher tools for registering and/or monitoring students
GradesK to 12
tag(s): word choice (27)
In the ClassroomThis would be a great way to have your older students study word choice! Start by going to the "Writing Fix For Kids" (reviewed here) and look at the left column index to find "Six Traits" click on "Word Choice." At this site you will find several recommendations for picture books and chapter books to use with your students so they can analyze good word choice. Read a few of these, and ask the students to point out the descriptive writing that stands out for them. Then use a wordless picture book and have your students write a short story for an 8 to 11 year old that doesn't rely on the illustrations. From there your students can write their own short story, and have an 8 to 11 year old student read it while being video taped. You might consider pairing up with a local elementary or middle school teacher to have one of their students do the reading.
For younger students, use your projector or interactive whiteboard and project the student reader full screen. It would be like having a visitor come to your classroom at story time!
GradesK to 12
** 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 (107)
In the ClassroomIncrease 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 firstname.lastname@example.org 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.
GradesK to 12
tag(s): spanish (108)
In the ClassroomCreate 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.
GradesK to 12
tag(s): creative commons (22)
In the ClassroomPre-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.
Grades5 to 12
tag(s): literature (275)
In the ClassroomUse 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.
Grades3 to 12
In the ClassroomShare 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.
Grades5 to 12
In the ClassroomNo 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.