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Jing - TechSmith

Grades
5 to 12
1 Favorites 0  Comments
  
Jing is a tool to take a picture or video of your computer screen. Download the free Jing software in either Windows or Mac versions. Screen captures can be easily ...more
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Jing is a tool to take a picture or video of your computer screen. Download the free Jing software in either Windows or Mac versions. Screen captures can be easily shared on Twitter, Facebook, and Flickr through a quick link on the site. Mark up your screenshot with a text box, arrow, highlight, or rectangle to enhance items shared. Find lots of suggestions for using the site in the classroom through the "How it is Used" link. Jing allows you to screen capture whatever is on your computer screen, share it to Screencast.com, and then send the URL link to anyone so they can watch a sequence of things you do on your computer. The application says it is a way to share what you are seeing on your screen during your online conversations. This is useful, but for educators, check out the teacher uses to see some other possibilities.

tag(s): images (269)

In the Classroom

The software needs to be installed, but it is easy because onscreen directions are given. Just a click or two and you are ready to use Jing. Once it is installed and the program is running, there will be a sun in the upper right hand corner of your screen. Scroll over the sun, and you will see three rays come out of it. Capture (to take a picture of your screen), History (a type of screen scrapbook), and More (which has preferences and the quit to turn off the program).

Users unable to install software on school computers should request that the tech department install Jing on at least SOME machines.

Try to record a screen sequence using this web 2.0 tool to make how-to directions for projects and post to your class web page along with the assignment. Students can make a "tour" of online PROJECTS they CREATE or a tour of a web site they critique. Record a demo of safe internet practices and include it on your class web page for parents and kids, and help learning support students (or techno-apprehensive teachers) with VISUAL directions for computer tasks. Have students make projects that show how misleading some Internet advertising can be or to explain effective design principles used in a web site. Take an image of part of a site and annotate it, create a link for students to access from home on your classroom website or blog. Pronounce and define key vocabulary. Provide directions to explain and/or demonstrate how to create classroom projects, how projects will be graded, or where to find information on the internet. Narrate an Internet path, a site, or a series of pictures. Create an online book or comic strip and then narrate it, share your creation on a site such as SchoolTube reviewed here. Use in math or science to show and describe the steps in an equation or process.

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Bag the Web - BagTheWeb

Grades
5 to 12
2 Favorites 0  Comments
 
Want a location to place and share all of your vital links and information? Use Bag The Web to find a great place to view and share these links. Create ...more
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Want a location to place and share all of your vital links and information? Use Bag The Web to find a great place to view and share these links. Create an account easily and create your bag. Name it, find links, and paste them along with the titles and brief description. Find suggested resources below based upon information already entered. Add these easily with the click of a button. Use the embed code to place into a site, wiki, or blog to share with students or others. Share also by using Twitter, Facebook, or other services.

Here is an Example TF Edge "bag":

tag(s): resources (112), webquests (29)

In the Classroom

Users must be able to create an account, a new bag, and find relevant material to be placed into the bag. Use of embed codes or sharing of URL's are required to share the "bag" with others.

Create bags for each unit in your classes. Allow students to enter great resources that can then be used by all students. Build a bag for your class instead with resources that will be needed by students. Discuss annotating resources by creating short descriptors for each of the sites being linked. Create a class bag and then separate bags for units of study. Bags can be linked to each other, creating a great system to organize links and resources.

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Goofram - goofram.com

Grades
K to 12
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Looking for the most from your search? Use Goofram to find the best of both Google and Wolfram alpha all in one place. View top Google searches using Safesearch as ...more
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Looking for the most from your search? Use Goofram to find the best of both Google and Wolfram alpha all in one place. View top Google searches using Safesearch as well as Wolfram alpha (which include definitions and abundant resources.)

tag(s): resources (112), search engines (65)

In the Classroom

This site is very simple to use. Simply type in the term you are searching and click "search."

This site is as safe as any other search engine. Just be sure students are aware of the consequences of misusing the search engine.

Use Goofram the next time that you use search in your classes. Discuss the difference between each side of the screen where both parts appear. What is the advantage of Wolfram Alpha vs. Google? Use this site as you discuss how to search and use materials on the web. Practice showing different searches and aspects of the searches that are useful. Challenge students to use these sites for individual research projects.
 This resource requires Adobe Flash.

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Signed Stories

Grades
K to 5
2 Favorites 0  Comments
 
The goal of Signed Stories is to increase the literacy of deaf children; however, it is a great resource for all children. After choosing a story, you will see the ...more
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The goal of Signed Stories is to increase the literacy of deaf children; however, it is a great resource for all children. After choosing a story, you will see the text, hear the story and see it in sign language. Almost 100 titles are available and can be searched by topic or by browsing all titles. Some stories offer more options than others. Many stories have pause and rewind buttons, so you can replay to see signs again.

In the Classroom

Use stories on the interactive whiteboard or projector to teach story elements - pause as the story is read to allow students to retell details to the stopping point then make predictions of what will happen next. Help students understand disabilities and adaptations to disabilities through watching the stories being told in sign language. This is also a great resource for students with deaf/hearing impaired parents or students/teachers trying to learn or practice sign language. In sign language classes, consider creating your own signed story videos for children's books and share them on a tool such as TeacherTube reviewed here.
 This resource requires PDF reader software like Adobe Acrobat.

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Stormboard - Edistorm.com

Grades
6 to 12
1 Favorites 0  Comments
 
Take brainstorming to a whole new level, including easy collaboration with others. Use Stormboard to place sticky notes, photos, and videos on a shared whiteboard. As you enter information...more
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Take brainstorming to a whole new level, including easy collaboration with others. Use Stormboard to place sticky notes, photos, and videos on a shared whiteboard. As you enter information on your sticky, new suggestions pop up along the bottom. Use this phenomenal aspect of Stormboard as suggestions by their "Idea Bots" may take you closer to your goal. Revisit "storms" as they are saved which adds more perspectives when viewing later. Let others' ideas incubate a bit and return to see what they have added. Free accounts allow up to 5 users, 1 administrator, and unlimited "storms."

Begin by entering the name of your storm, choosing privacy options, adding a description, and inviting users to join in (Stormboard members or by email). Type on the stickies. Drag them to arrange. Stormboard will suggest possible new stickies along the bottom. The center sticky on your screen will drive the "smart" suggestions. If Stormboard's suggestions take you away from your goal in your description, move another sticky into the center spot or close the suggestions area. Use the viewfinder to see where all your stickies are located. Group related ideas together by aligning them together or color-coding them. Contributors can drag an "idea vote" to mark the ideas that they like best. Click on the tab "Top Ideas" to view those with most votes. Click on "All Unrated" to view all, including those with no votes (great idea if you may have missed one).
This site includes advertising.

tag(s): brainstorming (24), creative fluency (8), organizational skills (122)

In the Classroom

Consider creating a classroom account for use with your students. Require them to initial their stickies in order to know which idea is whose. Use for any decision-making activity such as "What kind of pet should I buy?" Also use to generate related vocabulary words about a topic by entering their first word and letting the "Idea Bots" suggest stickies along the bottom. This is especially good if students must find information for a presentation or learn about a particular theme or topic. Share this site with your gifted students to use for organization, brainstorming, or collaboration with others outside their class. Social studies classes could brainstorm on how they might travel back in time to solve a political crisis or avoid a war. Lit classes could "storm" better outcomes for a novel or play based on evidence from the first portion of the text (for example, what if Romeo and Juliet had used Stormboard first?). Many issue-based or ethics-based problems in Science and Health can also be organized, debated, and discussed in this space. Why are some ideas "Top rated" over others?

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Tagul - tagul.com

Grades
4 to 12
1 Favorites 0  Comments
 
This site takes any quotation or poem and creates a "word cloud" (graphical display) of the words in a passage of text. Paste in any passage or the URL for ...more
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This site takes any quotation or poem and creates a "word cloud" (graphical display) of the words in a passage of text. Paste in any passage or the URL for any blog entry or web page (including newspapers online) to create a word cloud of the text. This resource is currently free while in beta and intends to keep it free for NON PROFIT only. Enhance basic word clouds by using this site to create clouds in various shapes, use mouse rollover options, use font effects, and more. Elevate your word clouds into an art form. Once registered, change your password by clicking on the profile tab and entering your changes. Before creating a word cloud, agree to their terms that includes only using appropriate content. Copy and paste series of words or use the url of a page where the words can be found. Choose a shape such as a heart, cloud, or geometric patterns. Choose a font as well as other options, and then click "Build the Cloud." Preview your cloud before saving.

tag(s): images (269), vocabulary (324), word choice (27), word clouds (11)

In the Classroom

Users must be able to copy and paste text or provide a url to a page of text as well as determine parameters of more advanced word clouds. Alternately, these word clouds can be kept very simple. After creating the word cloud, be sure to save the image (or use a screen capture) to share with others. Another idea, use the url of the cloud or embed into a place to share such as blog, wiki, or site.

This is a terrific visual tool to share on an interactive whiteboard or projector. Help students develop creative fluency by creating their own taguls of words and ideas from scratch. 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 taguls 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 text, 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. Collect thoughts about the class subject at the beginning of the year and then again at the end of the year to determine changes in thoughts about the subject matter.

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Timeglider - Mnemograph LLC

Grades
6 to 12
1 Favorites 0  Comments
 
Want an incredibly intuitive timeline software that can be used on the web and with more than on person? Use Timeglider as one of the best applications for the planning, ...more
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Want an incredibly intuitive timeline software that can be used on the web and with more than on person? Use Timeglider as one of the best applications for the planning, creating and sharing of history and other projects. You can simply look at timelines related to various topics in history or even current events. Or you can create your own timeline. Users grab the timeline and drag it in order to see different time periods and centuries. Create event spans that can overlap each other and create a greater understanding of how events can influence other events. Zoom out for a broader scope and view of time. Further enhancements will broaden the extent of the zooming capability. As it is web based, use this for collaboration among students. Enter the information for your first timeline including target year. After agreeing to terms, your timeline will open around your target years. Click the green arrow on your timeline box to edit parameters of your timeline and find the share/embed information. Use the mouse to drag along the timeline to a new area. Double click the space in the timeline to enter a title, description, time parameters, importance of the event, etc. or by clicking the "New event/image" tab. Import flickr photos, Wikipedia events, and more by clicking on the "Import" tab. Click on the wrench icon in the upper right for even more tools. Be sure if sharing to click "edit" to edit the timeline and make sure the "Make timeline public" box is checked. This will allow the timeline to be shared with others.

tag(s): timelines (63)

In the Classroom

Browse through the already created timelines and find a timeline sequence of articles on a specific topic. Social studies and science classes can trace current events over time or follow the changes that occur on a topic such as the latest research on cures for cancer or global warming.

Create timelines for any type of class in determining events that were important to its study. For example, discoveries associated with our understanding of the cell, events that shaped our understanding of environmental problems, events that shaped the Industrial Revolution, World Wars, Religion, etc. (Wow! This could go on and on!) Share the timeline on a wiki, blog, or site. Use for presentations on a whiteboard in front of the class for a great way to pace and deliver a presentation. Create a timeline for the teacher to show and then provide time for students to zone in on various areas of the timeline to add more information or find other events in to add to it. reate a class timeline highlighting your class's yearly events, units, assignments, and more.

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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 (27), word clouds (11)

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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Evernote - Evernote

Grades
9 to 12
3 Favorites 0  Comments
 
Use this fantastic application for note-taking and idea collecting from ANY device. Think of Evernote as a ubiquitous set of notebooks ready for you to add and read from ANY ...more
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Use this fantastic application for note-taking and idea collecting from ANY device. Think of Evernote as a ubiquitous set of notebooks ready for you to add and read from ANY computer or web-connected device. Evernote is available on the web, but also available for free as both an Android and iOS app. Use it from any device or move between devices and still access your work. App and web versions vary slightly. Take snapshots of whiteboards, products, or whatever you like and upload them to Evernote. Search your uploads through the search function which will also search handwritten or printed text sections in photos and images. Sync everything through Evernote across all the platforms. Use Evernote to create notes and to-do lists and even clip entire Web pages. Use to manage passwords or even record audio. Everything added to Evernote is automatically synchronized across platforms and devices and made searchable. Evernote offers a free account as well as a premium paid version. If you use it a LOT, you may max out the free allotments for data, but try it to see! The free account offer 60 MB of new uploads per MONTH, and syncing across 2 devices. Categorize and organize information using tags, note titles, and notebooks. Keep track of several projects with the "Notebooks" feature. Use the web version or downloadable version of Evernote to share read-only notebooks with others. Download Evernote to add an extension to your browser to do web clipping with a click of a button. Click "New" to create a new document in your notebook. Use the search function at the top and even save searches for later use. Safety/security tip: If you have sensitive information (such as passwords, etc.) on your Evernote notebook but want to share other parts? Simply highlight and right click to choose "Encrypt Selected Text" to remove from the page to be shared.

tag(s): DAT device agnostic tool (159), images (269), organizational skills (122)

In the Classroom

Use this tool easily in your Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) classroom since all students will be able to access it for free, no matter what device they have. Consider creating a class account that can be used by all students. Spell out the use of the site and what is allowed, not allowed, and the penalties. Even though all students have the same login, create different notebooks for different tasks that students can use to upload information that can be shared by all. Create separate notebooks for student groups who can then share their notebook with other groups. Use Evernote to snapshot and share links, documents, files, and pictures for any group project or class work. Whole class accounts can be used by a class scribe during class and accessed from home for review, etc. If your students are permitted individual accounts, they can collect notes in Evernote and share their research notebooks with you as evidence of completion of that phase of long term projects. Encourage creativity with your gifted students (or any students) by having them set up individual Evernote notebooks to use as "idea bins." Idea bins are a place to collect quotes, snippets of writing or poems they have started, questions and thoughts, artistic project ideas, images they like, or even voice memos to remember creative inspirations. It is important for students to know that idea bins (by whatever name) are an important part of the creative process, even for engineers!

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The Writer's Resource Directory - Carol Kluz

Grades
8 to 12
1 Favorites 0  Comments
  
Carol Kluz's site has hundreds of resources for writers that link pages to book reviews, writing workshops, tips, and more. Winner of the 2009 Writer's Digest 101 Best Websites for...more
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Carol Kluz's site has hundreds of resources for writers that link pages to book reviews, writing workshops, tips, and more. Winner of the 2009 Writer's Digest 101 Best Websites for Writers, The Writer's Resource Directory provides an organized place holder for many tried and true essentials, as well as other perks and frills like interviews with authors, their words of wisdom, writers' tools, and a clever thesaurus of phrases and sayings which includes definitions and origins. Please do not let a few broken links discourage you; most links do work, and they are real gems. Whether you're a novice or an expert, there is something valuable for every teacher, student, and writer on this site.

tag(s): literature (275), poetry (228), resources (112), writing (365)

In the Classroom

Take advantage of the numerous tips and tools to spark a new idea or expand one that you already have going on. Save this site in your favorites and use it as a massive compilation of resources while planning your entire English language arts lessons, not just writing. Use your whiteboard to show a "how-to" video or display information to enhance your lessons. Provide a direct link on your class page to any one of the sites that you choose to feature; perhaps a literary genre, book, or author that you are focusing on, or daily writing tips, grammar help, and guides for students to develop practical writing skills for reports, e-mail, letters, resumes, and more. Share students' writing projects interactively by having students create online books using a tool such as Bookemon, reviewed here.
 This resource requires Adobe Flash.

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Cacoo - Nulab, Inc.

Grades
7 to 12
2 Favorites 0  Comments
 
Looking for an easy way to create diagrams? This free site is easy to use and allows collaboration in creation of drawings. View the overview video on the front page ...more
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Looking for an easy way to create diagrams? This free site is easy to use and allows collaboration in creation of drawings. View the overview video on the front page of this site to familiarize yourself with its functions.

tag(s): charts and graphs (195), drawing (77)

In the Classroom

Users must be willing to play with this great resource. Drag shapes from the stencil area. Use the Inspector to add text, change colors, change sizes, and rearrange among many other functions. Use the toolbars along the top to upload an image, add items such as lines, take a snapshot, as well as other snapshots (hover over these buttons to read what each item is.) Use the buttons in the upper right, to export as a PNG, save, or share your drawing. Use the Save URL to embed in a wiki, blog, or other site.

Though an email is required, it is not necessary to begin using this resource. The tool 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. If students are using as a group, you may want to spell out specific consequences for project "vandalism," depending on your students. 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.

Use Cacoo much like other drawing and flowchart software. Use to take notes, create decision-making flowcharts, illustrate concepts, sketch a story/plot pattern, and more. Create classification diagrams on the type of animal being studied. Create dichotomous keys for identifying any kind of object or making a decision. Use to identify roles and responsibilities as pre-planning for a group project. Use as a storyboard as part of pre-production for a movie or podcast to be created by either individuals or a group. Ask students to share their storyboard or group responsibilities with you. Use as an alternative to a quiz by having students diagram a process such as oxidation or the steps from a bill to a law.

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Stone - Leonardo da Vinci's Resume - Marc Cenedella

Grades
10 to 12
0 Favorites 0  Comments
Are you looking for a novel way to inspire your students to write a resume, cover letter, or an application for college, a job, or internship? You will definitely seize ...more
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Are you looking for a novel way to inspire your students to write a resume, cover letter, or an application for college, a job, or internship? You will definitely seize their attention with this article, which includes and is based on Leonardo da Vinci's letter written in 1482 to the Duke of Milan, stating his capabilities and requesting to be considered for employment. Even 500 years later, this remarkable artist can teach us something about how to showcase our skills and qualifications to have potential employers and other competitive markets begging your students to choose them.

tag(s): college (43)

In the Classroom

Imagine projecting the museum image of Leonardo da Vinci's "resume" with its translation on your white board, to model for your class how one of the world's renowned geniuses might have earned his big break and got his foot in the door. Use it to identify how he "painted" his character traits and then, apply it as an inspiration for a unit on careers or business, or adapt the "resume" activity for classes studying famous and accomplished figures from history, including artists, musicians, writers, and political leaders. English classes would welcome this as a creative alternative to a book report or for a unique way to describe literary characters. Use a resume as a product for research on any famous person in a history or science class. As a new spin on current events or government, ask students to create a resume for any newsmaker. What would he/she promote as his/her greatest accomplishments?

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Ad Out - adout.org

Grades
K to 12
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Make any web site advertising free using the cool tool. Tired of directing kids back to the web site they should be using due to accidental clicks on ads? ...more
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Make any web site advertising free using the cool tool. Tired of directing kids back to the web site they should be using due to accidental clicks on ads? Use this free resource to make the page you are using ad free. Paste the web url into the field on this site to view your site in an ad free manner. To share the adfree resource, simply copy the new web address that is now ad free to share with your students. Note that some websites may be blocked by adfree. Check on your school computers to see if adfree is blocked or whether district filters already block ads. Missing ads show up as blank spaces on the pages.
This site includes advertising.

tag(s): advertising (33)

In the Classroom

Use this resource to use sites without ads to keep students on track and not be distracted by information that is not content Be sure to share this link on your class website for families to use at home..
 This resource requires Adobe Flash.

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Phylotaxis - Seed Magazine

Grades
6 to 12
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As explained by the author/artist of this website, "phylotaxis" is the study of the ordered positions of leaves on a plant stem; scientists have discovered that these positions are...more
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As explained by the author/artist of this website, "phylotaxis" is the study of the ordered positions of leaves on a plant stem; scientists have discovered that these positions are not random, but governed by the Fibonacci Sequence. This website uses this word to describe the exploration of the space where science meets culture. Flash gives this site one of the most elegant visual impacts currently out there on the web. A collection of round icons is all gathered together in a flower-like structure. Each icon represents a news story about either science or culture. Use the slider bar to make the icons scatter in a more random (like culture) pattern or a more ordered (like science) arrangement. Click on "discover" to read any of the news stories; click on "agitate" to make your mouse disrupt the patterns and move the icons around. Load another arrangement for another date.

tag(s): news (260), writing (365), writing prompts (93)

In the Classroom

Aside from the pure "wow" factor of this site's appearance, projected on an interactive whiteboard or projector, it would serve as a good current events warm up for a social studies or science class. Additionally, its very configuration would spark an interesting science or culture discussion. Perhaps more beautiful than practical, it still deserves a place in your bag of tricks. Pull it out when you need something to spark discussion or wake up your class. Have students investigate a story of their choice and create an interactive online poster ("glog") using Glogster EDU, reviewed here. As a higher level thinking challenge, have students discuss the "why" connections behind these articles or use ideas from this site to spark an unusual essay or blogging assignment. Teachers of gifted will want to share this link on their class web page, for sure!
 This resource requires Adobe Flash.

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Recipes to Good Writing - Jenn Farr

Grades
3 to 8
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If you are hungry for food for thought and tired of the same old thing, this site offers colorful recipe cards full of great writing tips! From prize-winning biography recipes ...more
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If you are hungry for food for thought and tired of the same old thing, this site offers colorful recipe cards full of great writing tips! From prize-winning biography recipes to research papers, personal narratives, compare and contrast essay writing and more, these colorful recipe cards will make following directions flavorful and have your students asking for "seconds."

tag(s): book reports (36), essays (22)

In the Classroom

You will find these motivating, interactive recipe cards a clever approach to teaching the various forms of writing. Click on a recipe card from the online file box to explore, download, and print out the accompanying worksheets and checklists. Each writing recipe has an assortment of ingredients, including links to online tools and generators, articles, and lessons. If you have been shopping for an easy to follow book report format, you will find a sprinkling of what you have been searching for, so be sure to save this site.
 This resource requires PDF reader software like Adobe Acrobat.

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You Can Teach Writing - Linda Aragoni

Grades
7 to 12
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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 ...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 (22), expository writing (45), writing (365)

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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Animoto - Animoto Productions

Grades
8 to 12
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This animation tool will help create a slide show with pizzazz. Add personal sounds, videos, and other media to create the next level of slide show for your classes. This ...more
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This animation tool will help create a slide show with pizzazz. Add personal sounds, videos, and other media to create the next level of slide show for your classes. This tool is great for PC-based schools without access to other free video or multimedia creation software. Create 30 second videos including music choices from over 300 soundtracks. A typical thirty second video requires twelve images making this a reasonable choice for projects with middle and high school level students. However, if you scroll to the bottom of the landing or pricing page and find the column titled "Animoto For" and slide to "Education" you will see that teachers can apply for the full Animoto for free for use in their classroom. This is a device-agnostic tool, available on the web but also available for free as both an Android and iOS app. Use it from any device or move between several devices and still access your work. App and web versions vary slightly.

tag(s): animation (65), DAT device agnostic tool (159), images (269), movies (67), photography (160), slides (64), video (262)

In the Classroom

Use this tool easily in your Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) classroom since all students will be able to access it for free, no matter what device they have. Users need the basic understanding of how to upload pictures, videos, and other media, especially a user adding personalized content. Use stock images and media available through the site if you prefer. To create a show, simply click on the create button and follow the onscreen instructions. If adding personal images and video, the program allows searching through files. Add music from the site bank or from personal music sources (copyright-free, of course). Finalize the video with the last click and view your video. Share easily from the codes or export tools provided. Use Animoto to make commercials, science fair previews, and animated shorts in any content area. Have students make "advertisements" for an organism or a literary character. Make a travel commercial for a country being studied or for cultural sites in a world language class. Be sure to share the presentations on your projector or interactive whiteboard.

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Spruz - spruz.com

Grades
7 to 12
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Spruz is a tool for creating social networks. Though that may be a scary term to parents and a concept prohibited in your school, this site provides private spaces for ...more
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Spruz is a tool for creating social networks. Though that may be a scary term to parents and a concept prohibited in your school, this site provides private spaces for classroom use in K-12. Because of concerns over COPPA (federal legislation protecting children on the web), it is recommended for ages 13 and up. Users outside the U.S. do not need to worry about this law. There are related blog posts and debate about whether the law applies if you configure your site a certain way, but TeachersFirst cannot recommend circumventing the law.

Spruz provides an online space for forums (threaded discussions), blogs, "friends," groups, personal spaces for members, and more. As the administrator, you can control the actual set-up. Make your space private or set to public. Members still have to join to be part of the site. Assuming you can access the URL at school, this tool can provide a PRIVATE online space for your classes or teaching team as an electronic home for use in and out of school. This site touts that they have beefed up their business model in order to continue to offer free services.

tag(s): blogs (89), bookmarks (59), chat (51), forum (9), social networking (111)

In the Classroom

Before you start, make sure filtering on the school network will not block your specific URL. See some of the tips from the Edge team. Set up a network, including name, URL, and description. Be sure to choose Private to limit viewing of your network to those you INVITE to join. Drag your desired features to create your layout. You can always change it later. Make appearance choices. Click on the parts of the site you wish to create such as chat, forum, blog, links, bookmarks, files, etc. Be sure to check the box that requires approval from the account owner for members to join. Change profile questions and options available to members easily.

A class social network has limitless possibilities. Engage students in discussions on current events, independent reading, literature, and more. Create groups for students to work on projects and use the space as a forum to work out tasks, scheduling, and file sharing. Get creative and ask students to play the role of a historical figure on a social network across time: Ben Franklin networks with Harry Truman to argue about the atomic bomb. Use the site as a forum for any simulated or real task. Invite parents to join to give their points of view on upcoming elections or public policy issues. Include the principal or superintendent in your class discussions of students' rights as you study the Constitution. Your students themselves will suggest ways to use this all-too-familiar tool from their world. Imagine the "profiles" they could create as characters from fiction or inventors from history! Create incredible discussions of environmental, political, or economic issues. Inviting members from another school or community provides incredible perspective into a variety of different beliefs and values. Definitely plan to model and use this tool in lessons about Internet safety and the "lasting" nature of one's Internet presence. Social networking is part of life today, and the opportunity to learn about it in a private space is important for today's students.

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Tux Paint - Bill Kendrick

Grades
K to 6
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Are school budget cuts cramping your style? Then look at this award winning, FREE drawing application! Tux Paint is an "open source" drawing software for young students (preK - grade...more
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Are school budget cuts cramping your style? Then look at this award winning, FREE drawing application! Tux Paint is an "open source" drawing software for young students (preK - grade 6) and is available to the public at no cost. If you are familiar with Kid Pix, you will feel right at home with Tux Paint. The design is straightforward, and easy to navigate. The center of the screen serves as a large canvas with drawing tools on either side. Beneath the screen is a color palette. A cute penguin cartoon character directs students through the program and provides helpful tips. Some of the features include a large, kid friendly mouse pointer, brushes, stamps, sounds, erasers, letters, numbers, "magic effects," and an undo/redo option. Save artwork directly onto a slide finder page without having to create a file name. The installation is quick and easy even for older computers. First, download the application itself, and then the stamp collection. The number of stamps and the variety of images is amazing! Feel free to install Tux Paint on as many computers as you wish. Tux Paint will work on a variety of operating platforms such as Windows, OS X 10.3, and Linux. The "Tux Paint Configuration" tool is a separate file found on the "Tux Paint" download page. Having the controls in a different location makes it difficult for students to adjust the settings. Simply open the Tux Paint Configuration file and a main control panel will come up. From here, the supervising adult can control the screen size, sound, mouse, print settings, and save functions. Adjust the settings and simplify the program for younger children. Choose from approximately 80 different languages to run Tux Paint. Click here to see an example of a "painting" made to accompany the book Chicka Chicka BOOM BOOM .

tag(s): creativity (111), drawing (77), painting (67)

In the Classroom

Introduce this fabulous site on your projector or interactive whiteboard. Have students take turns trying the program. Include a link to Tux Paint on your class website and encourage families to download Tux Paint onto their family computer. Elementary teachers will enjoy all the options Tux Paint provides for image making. Classroom teachers can have students draw a response to a class glyph, illustrate stories, label scientific images, write and illustrate word problems or create self-portraits. You will need headphones or speakers for the audio portions of this site. Dazzle parents at Open House or Back to School Night with a viewing of the slide show presentation or looping animation of student work. Save student work as a JPG and export images into a multimedia presentation with narration using Slidestory, reviewed here. Ask older students to design and submit new stamps to Tux Paint. Explain to them the premise behind Open Source software and how to participate in collaborative software development. Tux Paint is also a great way to teach young students how to control a mouse, type, drag, and cut or paste imagery. Stuck for lesson ideas on how to use Tux Paint, just ask the students!
 This resource requires Adobe Flash.

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Story Maker - British Council

Grades
2 to 4
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Students can write their own stories online. First they select the genre (fairy, horror, sci fi) and then select characters to be in the story, places, favorite animals, colors, etc....more
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Students can write their own stories online. First they select the genre (fairy, horror, sci fi) and then select characters to be in the story, places, favorite animals, colors, etc. The story maker then creates the short story. Students can read it there or select the printing option. At the end of the story, you can click to create another story, A dictionary is available on site. This might be useful for ESL and ELL students.

In the Classroom

This activity would work well for individual or pairs of students in a lab or on laptops. Be sure to help your weaker readers and ESL/ELL students by sharing the vocabulary words (names of animals, pets, etc.) prior to using, either on a handout or by projecting on an interactive whiteboard and highlighting them in the text as you come to them. Teach parts of speech as students recognize how the story maker "plugs in" their word choices to create the stories mad-lib style. Share the printables with parents at open house or conferences. Have students record their stories on a podcast and share the podcasts using a site such as PodOmatic (reviewed here). Teach parts of speech as students recognize how the story maker "plugs in" their word choices to create the stories mad-lib style.
 This resource requires Adobe Flash.

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