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The Story Starter, Jr. - Joel Heffner

Grades
2 to 6
3 Favorites 0  Comments
If you are looking to satisfy your appetite for creative, meaningful writing prompts to suit any young writer, this is just the place to quickly find over 700 instantly generated ...more
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If you are looking to satisfy your appetite for creative, meaningful writing prompts to suit any young writer, this is just the place to quickly find over 700 instantly generated ideas. All that you have to do is click on the "click here for your story starter" button. If you don't like the one you see, keep clicking for different story starters until you find the one that suits your fancy. Then, start writing!

tag(s): creative writing (166), writing (359), writing prompts (92)

In the Classroom

Save this site in your favorites and link to it from your class webpage. For even quicker access, save this as a favorite on your Teachersfirst membership page to come back to whenever you are planning a pre or post reading/writing assignment. (If you are not already a member, join TeacherFirst for FREE.) These creative ideas are also great to file in your "emergency" lesson plan folder for a substitute teacher or when you are just looking for a spontaneous writing or journal assignment. Students may use it the traditional way by writing the story starter sentence on a piece of paper. With access to a class set of computers students could copy and paste into a word document or class wiki page and start writing their stories, poems, or journal entries. Challenge students to share their writing aloud on a podcast using a site such as PodOmatic (reviewed here).

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Quiz Factor - Quiz Factor Limited

Grades
4 to 12
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Quiz Factor offers quizzes that are not about your typical "education" topics. There are both popular and specialist subjects. Some topic examples are: Animals and Nature, Cinema and...more
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Quiz Factor offers quizzes that are not about your typical "education" topics. There are both popular and specialist subjects. Some topic examples are: Animals and Nature, Cinema and Actors, Fashion and Design, History and Politics, Religion and Traditions, Science, Sports and Games, Technology and Manufacturing, and many more. At Quiz Factor you can climb the Leaderboards and win prizes. There are three types of quizzes: The Ladder, Time Trials, and True/False. You can also make your own quizzes. (At the time of this review, this feature was "coming soon.") This site is from the UK, and some questions in the General Knowledge section test facts you would know if you've been to the UK.

tag(s): animals (276), cultures (105), design (84), fashion (10), quiz (85), quizzes (97), radio (27), religions (61), sports (97), substitutes (21)

In the Classroom

Set up a computer or two in your classroom for those earlier finishers to take a quiz on a topic of their choice. Do you have students who have a deep interest in a certain topic or subject? Allow them to create a quiz for Quiz Factor. Have the student save the quiz, so you can view it before submission. This would be a great activity for some gifted students! Have students create quizzes after they have completed a research project. They could present their findings to the class, then allow the class to use their notes from the presentation to complete the quiz.

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Thunks - Get Thunking - Ian Gilbert

Grades
4 to 12
1 Favorites 0  Comments
A Thunk is a beguilingly simple-looking yes/no question that stops you in your tracks to look at the world in a whole new light. Over a thousand Thunks are included ...more
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A Thunk is a beguilingly simple-looking yes/no question that stops you in your tracks to look at the world in a whole new light. Over a thousand Thunks are included on the site with simple yes or no responses. View results easily, read comments, or submit your own comment by including your name, email (will not be displayed), and comment. Thunks can be chosen by categories such as good and bad, human condition, or friendship. At the time of this review, we found no evidence of inappropriate public comments (and we looked hard!) , but you might want to preview before turning young people loose on the site.
This site includes advertising.

tag(s): logic (235), problem solving (272), questioning (31)

In the Classroom

Display a Thunk on your interactive whiteboard (or projector) as a discussion/debate starter. Have students choose a response and defend their answer. Allow students to discuss their answer throughout the week and survey responses again. Have students create their own Thunks to be discussed in class. Create a bulletin board and allow students to post comments and reactions to the question posed. Use a Thunk as a journal writing prompt. Make this page available for students who are "stuck" thinking of something to write about.

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KikuText - kikutext.com

Grades
K to 12
4 Favorites 0  Comments
 
Kikutext is a safe and easy way to send reminders to parents via text message. The site is set up so that students do not see the teachers' phone numbers ...more
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Kikutext is a safe and easy way to send reminders to parents via text message. The site is set up so that students do not see the teachers' phone numbers nor do the teachers see the students' or parents' phone numbers. Create an account easily with basic contact information, then share the class code with parents. Parents text the code to be added and begin receiving updates and to respond to text messages. Communication through this site is safe and secure. This service is free; however, standard text messaging fees apply.

tag(s): classroom management (135), parents (56)

In the Classroom

Send out whole-class reminders to parents of upcoming tests, project due dates, school events, and more. Set up this site (and parents and students numbers) during the first week of school or at Back to School night. Use this site as an alternative to conference reminder slips (and save paper). Keep parents "in the loop" about students' behavior, achievement, and more with this tool. Imagine sending a text as you discover missing homework. Suddenly, accountability steps up a notch!

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Grovo - Video Training and Online Learning - Andy Dunn & Ben Lerer

Grades
K to 12
1 Favorites 0  Comments
  
Grovo offers thousands of video lessons covering Internet products you love or didn't know about. There are dozens of topics ranging from email etiquette to using popular Internet sites...more
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Grovo offers thousands of video lessons covering Internet products you love or didn't know about. There are dozens of topics ranging from email etiquette to using popular Internet sites (such as Evernote, Twitter, or Dropbox). Each lesson is divided into short subtopics and is under 2 minutes long. Included with each lesson (video) is a short quiz, key takeaways, and a glossary. Email registration (free) is required to access the tutorials and features of the site. Some of the tutorials are "premium" (paid) content.

tag(s): tutorials (47)

In the Classroom

This site is a great professional resource for teachers at all grade levels. Share tutorials on your interactive whiteboard (or projector) in upper elementary to high school when introducing websites or using them for classroom projects. Make this site available as a reference for students (and parents!). You might want to create a class account for quick access. As a practical experience in informational writing, have students use these as a model to create their own online "tours" to explain their own favorite websites or those used in class using Screenr (reviewed here).
 This resource requires Adobe Flash.

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Book Report Sandwich Station - Scholastic

Grades
2 to 6
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Take the old "sandwich" style book report and put a new spin on it. Enjoy using this simple book report format. After inputting your name and the name and author ...more
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Take the old "sandwich" style book report and put a new spin on it. Enjoy using this simple book report format. After inputting your name and the name and author of the book, write different parts of the book report as parts of a "sandwich." The lettuce is the plot summary, followed by the mayonnaise (plot climax), tomato, cheese, turkey, and bread. Each layer asks for a brief input. After filling in all the parts, you can select if you would like to leave room to draw a picture on the printed report. A print preview displays the completed report before you print it out. The printed version does not include the sandwich images, just the information you entered.
This site includes advertising.

tag(s): book reports (35)

In the Classroom

After reading a book as a class, demonstrate how to fill in the "layers" of the sandwich, all the while discussing the elements of fiction with your students. Share how to use this site on your interactive whiteboard or projector. After that, put your students who have read the same book in pairs to create a joint book report. Alternatively, literature circle groups can use this report for a culminating project. Since the report isn't printed out in "sandwich" format, cut colored paper into the different parts of the sandwich and mount what prints. The sandwich book report is a perfect place to start upper primary, ESL/ELL, and special education students with the elements of fiction and what is required in a book report.

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The Dream Flag Project - Jeff Harlan and Sandy Crow

Grades
K to 12
6 Favorites 0  Comments
    
The Dream Flag Project is a poetry-humanity project that fits into any unit on writing, poetry, character development, history, art, social issues, or community service. Reading, writing,...more
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The Dream Flag Project is a poetry-humanity project that fits into any unit on writing, poetry, character development, history, art, social issues, or community service. Reading, writing, critical thinking, and artistic expression activities are available for a wide range of abilities and grades. Start with Langston Hughes, "The Dream Keeper" and his collection of poetry. Explore an introduction to the Harlem Renaissance and black history or focus on goal-setting to make the dream come true. This collaborative project is created by teachers for teachers with a step-by-step approach. The resources include ideas, lesson plans, printable handouts, opportunities to collaborate, and examples.

tag(s): black history (59), poetry (228), service projects (25)

In the Classroom

Transform your classroom into a community of poets and dreamers and even choose to participate in a global project by writing and sharing poems with students around the world. Share this site during Poetry Month. You'll love seeing the pride in students as they engage in reading, writing, creating, and sharing poetry that reflects their hopes and dreams for today and the future. Introduce the extensive photos, videos, and other resources on a projector or an interactive whiteboard. There are "quick links" to an abundance of resources. The outcomes can range from poetry reading and writing to integrating music, theater, videotaping, or social networking (be sure to check with your school's policies). Have students make a multimedia presentation using one of the many TeachersFirst Edge tools reviewed here. This can be done in a sixty minute lesson or expanded to a year long theme. It's your choice!
 This resource requires Adobe Flash.

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ICT Games - Literacy - James Barrett

Grades
K to 5
8 Favorites 0  Comments
 
Check out these free interactive literacy games for the emergent learner. Practicing basic skills is an entertaining experience at ICT Games. The skills include: spelling patterns,...more
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Check out these free interactive literacy games for the emergent learner. Practicing basic skills is an entertaining experience at ICT Games. The skills include: spelling patterns, phoneme patterns, blending sounds, high frequency words, beginning science vocabulary, using rhyming to read new and unfamiliar words, and reading for understanding. It also has interactive dictionaries for the beginner through upper elementary learner. There is no registration required. Note that the site is from England, so there are minor spelling and terminology differences from U.S. English in a few games. Preview the specific game to be sure.
This site includes advertising.

tag(s): dictionaries (56), literacy (103), preK (281), reading comprehension (116), rhymes (33), spelling (168)

In the Classroom

Use your projector and interactive whiteboard to introduce the site. You might start with "The Wordy Woods," an interactive resource for displaying useful words. Start by checking the lists, and have students identify words they've already learned in class. Populate the "woods" with those first. Save this! Then, as students learn new words have them fill in the forest.

ESL/ELL students with emergent literacy skills will benefit from this site by practicing spelling and reading skills. Make a shortcut to this site on classroom computers and use it as a center. Use a program like Symbaloo, reviewed here, to create link shortcuts on your student computers. Include a link to the ITC Games on your classroom website or blog for students to practice at home. This is a great site for students to use for additional practice on a skill that is difficult.
 This resource requires Adobe Flash.

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AskKids.com - Ask.com

Grades
2 to 8
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AskKids is more than a search engine for elementary/middle school students. Here you will see reviews for movies and games. You can ask questions and search for information by typing...more
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AskKids is more than a search engine for elementary/middle school students. Here you will see reviews for movies and games. You can ask questions and search for information by typing in keywords. AskKids organizes search results in related images, current events, and encyclopedia results. The Ask.com editorial team selected each website as child appropriate or as a relevant and practical site for reference and learning.

tag(s): search engines (65)

In the Classroom

Introduce AskKids on your interactive whiteboard or projector, showing the different options available. Then have students explore this site independently or in small groups. They can learn how to use a search engine, and how to ask questions to get the best results, by looking at this site with guidance from an adult. Post a link to AskKids.com on your webpage for easy access for students and parents. Make AskKids the home page on classroom computers for easy access.

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Skloog - Skloog, LLC

Grades
K to 12
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Use this visual bookmarking program to help you keep your online favorites/bookmarks organized. Choose to make shortcuts (tiles with the logo of the site you are bookmarking) for places...more
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Use this visual bookmarking program to help you keep your online favorites/bookmarks organized. Choose to make shortcuts (tiles with the logo of the site you are bookmarking) for places you visit repeatedly. The tiles make it visual and so easy to use! Can't find the logo? Submit a site by clicking on a button at the bottom of the home page. Access and add to your Skloog bookmarks from anywhere using any computer, your mobile phone, or email. Make Skloog one of the tools on your browser's tool bar in order to add to your favorites quickly and easily. Add or change the preset category tabs that show at the top. Search your favorites by tags, URL, or website name. An added feature is the Skloog tab in the upper right corner of the menu on your short cut page. Click to find some of Skloog's favorite sites.

tag(s): bookmarks (60), resources (112)

In the Classroom

This resource is best used as a teacher sharing tool for sharing links, RSS feeds, and other resources for students to use on specific projects or as general course links. Use this site to share with other professionals, team members, or parents. Use the categories to save bookmarks for different units you have in your classroom. Make your Skloog page the homepage for your computer, too.

Consider having a category for student use for webquests, tools you want them to use, and creative commons images, music, etc. Also, create a category where students update with suggestions from class members. Use different colored alphabet tiles on a Skloog for younger, non-reader students. For example, give each subject its own distinctive color. They will also recognize logos well before they read!

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What's Your News? - Warner Brothers Entertainment

Grades
K to 3
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This "news show" aimed at 4-7 year olds introduces you to the wider world from a newsroom staffed by ants. News includes information such as the arrival of a new ...more
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This "news show" aimed at 4-7 year olds introduces you to the wider world from a newsroom staffed by ants. News includes information such as the arrival of a new sibling, friends coming for a sleepover, or purchase of a new game. Play games that teach how news is reported, watch videos from What's Your News on Nick, Jr. or print activities to make your own newspaper.

tag(s): journalism (46), news (261), newspapers (94), preK (281)

In the Classroom

This site would be great to include with a community or neighbors unit - share classroom news by posting to the site. Choose weekly classroom reporters to interview students or teachers and come up with weekly headline. Video your reporters and share them on a site such as TeacherTube reviewed here.
 This resource requires Adobe Flash.

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Night Zookeeper - Joshua Davidson

Grades
K to 5
2 Favorites 0  Comments
   
Enter a fantastical online world in which you create your own magical animals. Read and create stories, play games, create fascinating (and funny) facts about your new animal, and more...more
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Enter a fantastical online world in which you create your own magical animals. Read and create stories, play games, create fascinating (and funny) facts about your new animal, and more while learning about animals. Explore creative writing and art activities. Read the story of the night zookeeper or listen by choosing the audio play button. Your completed animals can be uploaded to include with the story and suggestions are offered for describing the animals such as where does the animal live, and tell about what makes it special. You can also download a sample unit that includes literacy and art lesson plans. Simple registration of a username and password is required to access activities.

tag(s): creative writing (166), creativity (109), digital storytelling (144)

In the Classroom

Share this site on classroom computers for students to read and listen to the Night Zookeeper story then encourage students to create their own animal to be added to the zoo. Use the included graphic organizer to help students design their animal. Create a link to the site on classroom computers and allow students to explore and discover site activities. Use an online tool such as Interactive Two Circle Venn Diagram (reviewed here) to create a visual comparison of animals included in the zoo or imaginary animals vs. real animals.

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How To Make Digital Flashcards With Google Docs Spreadsheets - MakeUseOf

Grades
4 to 12
1 Favorites 0  Comments
 
Want to make flashcards using tools you already know? Follow these step by step directions for making flashcards from a Google Spreadsheet. Directions also include screenshots, making...more
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Want to make flashcards using tools you already know? Follow these step by step directions for making flashcards from a Google Spreadsheet. Directions also include screenshots, making the process much easier. You need a Google Doc account and some familiarity with using spreadsheets. This site does include comments. At the time of this review, all comments were appropriate for classroom use.
This site includes advertising.

tag(s): flash cards (46)

In the Classroom

Create flashcards to share with your students. Students can run them from a computer or download an app that can read the two column format of a spreadsheet to view on the go. All information for using the flashcards is explained in this resource. Use for any subject matter for any age. Challenge students to create their own flashcards to use to study for the big test! This tool can be used in ALL subject areas.

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Mugeda - mugeda.com

Grades
4 to 12
4 Favorites 0  Comments
   
Try this high interest animation tool without expensive programs, downloads, or installations. Mugeda is a free, cloud-based HTML5 animation platform, where you can create, share, and...more
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Try this high interest animation tool without expensive programs, downloads, or installations. Mugeda is a free, cloud-based HTML5 animation platform, where you can create, share, and publish HTML5 animation. Basic tutorials guide you to create content with easy to follow instructions. Animation applications include; games, ads, cartoons, tutorials, or persuasive commercials. Use tablets, PCs, smartphones, or tablets. Note that HTML5 works on iPads and iTouches, where most Flash-based sites do not.

tag(s): animation (63), comics and cartoons (74), DAT device agnostic tool (199)

In the Classroom

Bring along Mugeda in your bag of tricks to capture and intrigue all of your students. Use Mugeda to illustrate class content, support debate, persuade, and entertain. The possibilities are endless! Add the creations to your website to share with your community. Use on school news programs to add student content without cost, and make information available for all levels of student abilities. Create commercials for your content or to convey information. In history classes go back in time to envision popular opinion that made history happen. Use during campaigns to promote your side of the debate. Science fairs will never be the same. Highlight projects to create anticipation. Send messages to students using the embedded tool. This programming tool has applications in all subject areas. Gifted students, ELL/ESL students, and remedial students will be captivated by this high interest way of expressing themselves.

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Inside Story Flashcards - Inside Story, LLC

Grades
2 to 12
8 Favorites 0  Comments
 
Stunning pictures, audio of each word, and short definitions all make this online vocabulary flashcard site visually stimulating and interesting. As a bonus, you can print all cards....more
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Stunning pictures, audio of each word, and short definitions all make this online vocabulary flashcard site visually stimulating and interesting. As a bonus, you can print all cards. Choose from basic, easy, medium, or hard levels of vocabulary to find and listen to words. Definitions can also be turned off for practice with word recall or guessing what the image represents. When ready to print the cards, choose the print button; then select words for the flashcards (or all). There is a paid portion of the site for other flashcards, but the free printable section contains more than enough words to make this site worth a visit.

tag(s): dictionaries (56), flash cards (46), vocabulary (324), vocabulary development (126)

In the Classroom

Display the site on your interactive whiteboard (or projector), turn off the definition under the flashcard and have students try to guess the meaning of the word. Split students into teams to see who can come up with the most creative sentence using the vocabulary word. Print out cards on card stock to use at a writing center as a resource for writing. Print out cards and have students separate by nouns, verbs, adjectives, etc. Have a word of the day and challenge students to use the word correctly throughout the day in the classroom. Secondary teachers may want to share this site with students preparing for ACT/SAT testing.
 This resource requires Adobe Flash.

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Box - Aaron Levie and Dylan Smith

Grades
4 to 12
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Save files to the cloud and access them on a variety of computers and devices. Download Box on the computers and devices you wish to use. Save a document in ...more
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Save files to the cloud and access them on a variety of computers and devices. Download Box on the computers and devices you wish to use. Save a document in Box and it is accessible everywhere you use it. Copy, save, or move the document simply and easily. Syncing and sharing is simple. No access to Internet at one of your locations? No problem! Your Box file stays in your Box account, and the next time you are online it will upload it for you. Share Box files with others for easy collaboration. Apps for Box are available (at the time of this review) for Windows, iOS, iPod touch, iPad, iPhone, Blackberry, and Android.
This site includes advertising.

tag(s): writing (359)

In the Classroom

Use for any work students may wish to collaborate on. They can easily make documents public or private and share with others through the tabs in the Account Settings. Though not a complete back up of all your documents, Box can be used to collaborate and to finish work easily when on different computers. Any item you can work with using Word can be used with Box. Teams of teachers can also use this download to save tests, share activities, and more.

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Reach Every Child - Horace Mann

Grades
K to 12
8 Favorites 0  Comments
 
This blog offers at least 12,000 free resources and has over 200 features for every kind of teacher. Find features about the latest classroom innovations, lesson plans, information...more
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This blog offers at least 12,000 free resources and has over 200 features for every kind of teacher. Find features about the latest classroom innovations, lesson plans, information about scholarships, contests, and awards, and much more. Guest bloggers cover different areas of education.

tag(s): blogs (88), printables (38)

In the Classroom

Share ideas from the blog with other teachers and use images for inspiration in your classroom. Print and use free resources from the site such as bulletin board ideas, lesson plans, and more. Post a link to this blog on the school's website for others on your campus to use.

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Power My Learning - CFY

Grades
K to 12
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Find practice and skill interactives for many grade levels at PowerMyLearning. This site collects learning games, videos, and other activities from around the web and presents them...more
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Find practice and skill interactives for many grade levels at PowerMyLearning. This site collects learning games, videos, and other activities from around the web and presents them via simple search so you can learn and practice concepts across many curriculum areas. The actual interactives and videos are created by other organizations and displayed within PowerMyLearning's colorful frame and subject/grade level organizational structure. Brief descriptions and keywording accompany activity listings. To view an activity on full screen and in a new tab/window (with its own url), click the "expand window" arrow in the top right corner. The site is designed for cooperative use by teachers, parents, and students and has been used successfully in schoolwide efforts to raise student achievement in targeted cities. To actually view any of the activities, you must join the free site. There are varied management options for students, teachers, and parents.

tag(s): operations (126)

In the Classroom

Set up a teacher account so you can offer a "playlist" for certain students who may need skills reinforcement. If you want to know more about some of the specific activities within PowerMyLearning, TeachersFirst most likely has a complete review of them. Search the name of the game or site using TeachersFirst's keyword search for our full review. PowerMyLearning offers lesson plans for some activities and invites you to contribute your own, if you wish.
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Draw.io - JGraph, Ltd.

Grades
4 to 12
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Take a look at this online graphic organizer creator/drawing tool that requires NO membership. Although a bit "plain vanilla" in appearance, this is a wonderful tool! Research shows...more
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Take a look at this online graphic organizer creator/drawing tool that requires NO membership. Although a bit "plain vanilla" in appearance, this is a wonderful tool! Research shows that graphic organizers promote strong thinking skills and comprehension for all ages. Draw.io is a simple, free online tool for creating mind maps -- or diagrams for any purpose -- using shapes and arrows. Just drop and drag the shapes (or nodes) you want to the panel, connect the nodes by dragging the arrow, and double-click in the shape to add text. Use the simple toolbar at the top to insert images, change, bold, color and enlarge text, etc. Printing and exporting is also an option. If you click on the "Help" tab at the top, you will see "Video Tutorial" which uses flash. Draw.io uses JavaScript, not Flash, so it works on iOS devices.

tag(s): brainstorming (23), concept mapping (22), graphic organizers (43), mind map (25), venn diagrams (16), visual thinking (10)

In the Classroom

Demonstrate creating a mind map or other diagram on an interactive whiteboard or projector, and then allow students to try to create their own. Use this site for literature activities, research projects, social studies, or science topics of study. Use Draw.io to create family trees or flow charts. Learning support students could team up to map out the important concepts from a unit visually as a review activity. Use this mapping website as an alternative to a traditional test, quiz, or homework assignment in literature, social studies, or science. Have students demonstrate their understanding by creating a graphic organizer about the main points or map out a step-by-step process (life cycle). Be sure they name their organizer BEFORE they start work with their name --or code name-- so you know who did it (they could EMAIL it to you!) or have them print their results to turn them in. Anonymously share and compare different students' "views" of a unit so students can "see it through someone else's eyes."

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Spider Scribe - spiderscribe.net

Grades
2 to 12
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SpiderScribe is an online mind mapping and brainstorming tool. Organize ideas by connecting notes, files, maps, calendar events, and more. Use this tool to collaborate and share maps...more
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SpiderScribe is an online mind mapping and brainstorming tool. Organize ideas by connecting notes, files, maps, calendar events, and more. Use this tool to collaborate and share maps online with others. SpiderScribe has an easy to use interface. Drag the various stencils (elements) to the screen to begin. Watch the demo video to understand the basics of this free tool. You will be started in less than a minute!

tag(s): brainstorming (23), graphic organizers (43), mind map (25)

In the Classroom

Have your class create organizers together, such as in a brainstorming session on an interactive whiteboard or projector. Easily add images to maps for young students, ELL learners, or non-readers to understand relationships and learn vocabulary. Or you can assign students to "map" out a chapter or story or assign groups to create study guides using this tool. Use this site for literature activities, research projects, social studies, or science topics. Use this site to create family trees or food pyramids in family and consumer science. Have students collaborate together (online) to create group mind maps or review charts before tests on a given subject. Have students organize any concepts you study; color-code concepts to show what they understand, wonder, and question; map out a story, plot line, or plan for the future; map out a step-by-step process (life cycle).

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