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ScribbleMaps - Scribble Maps

Grades
2 to 12
9 Favorites 0  Comments
 
Use this tool to "draw" on and label any map available through Google Maps, including maps of the night sky! No registration or email required! Create a colorful, personalized map ...more
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Use this tool to "draw" on and label any map available through Google Maps, including maps of the night sky! No registration or email required! Create a colorful, personalized map with added scribbles and labels. Add your choice of placemarker labels for geology locations, people, etc. There are even little icons available to use. Your drawing or "Scribble Map" is then available to share by URL, email, or print. Slightly more savvy users can download, save as a kml file (readable in Google Maps or Google Earth), or embed the map in another site. The tools include sharing the map on Facebook and Twitter, as well. Add images by pasting in their urls. Drawing tools include lines, circles, place pointers, text labels, and color/size/transparency controls for all tools. Place pointers can be edited by selecting them (arrow tool), then clicking the small pencil. This site does include Google Ads and all the normal controls of Google maps, including satellite, map, terrain, hybrid views and Night Sky. See a sample Scribble Map created by the TeachersFirst editors (drag the map with your mouse!). Explore the tools and MENU options at the top left when you start out. Try the different Maps views (lower right) and zoom controls. Search for a starter location using the search at the top left, just below the tools. There is no help available, but it is easy to do basic maps. Share, save, etc. by clicking Menu (top left). When you first save a map, it will ask you to create a password for that map to use to edit it later. Note that if you SAVE a map and share it by URL, those accessing it will be able to use the tools and change the map. If you want them to see it without changing it, you will need to embed it in a blog, wiki, or other web site. The map ID can be changed and customized by simply typing in your own choice of ID when you are saving the map.
This site includes advertising.

tag(s): directions (20), geology (81), landforms (45), landmarks (26), map skills (80), maps (288), space (205)

In the Classroom

Students and teachers will want to keep a written record or map URLS and passwords for future reference. Model this for students so they do not lose hours of work! Teachers can prepare partially-made maps or maps for students to make corrections and changes by giving the students the URL, then having them SAVE the map with a NEW ID. To SAVE the map with a new name and URL, click "Save map" in the menu, then enter your OWN map ID. Students could use a code including their initials, such as SJ12-3-09 for a map made by Sally Jones on Dec 3, 2009. Teachers should PASSWORD protect their originals so changes can only be saved under a new name. Similarly, if a student saves the map with a map password, they don't have to worry about other students vandalizing their work. But they DO need to remember the password! Wise teachers will keep a class list of maps and passwords for forgetful students! In primary grades, make maps of your local community together on your interactive whiteboard as you teach basic map skills. Create your own "key" with symbols you choose for playgrounds, etc. Have students help map locations of favorite playgrounds, grandparents' houses, stores, etc. as they gain basic understanding of map skills. Make sure you allow students to operate the tools! Save the map and share it as a link from your class web site (or embed it there). Keep names generic so it is "safe." Other ideas to challenge gifted student beyond the curriculum or elevate challenge for small groups include: natural resource maps, immigration maps, maps of civil war battles day by day, maps of key sites in the life of a famous person, artist, or author, maps of the settings in a novel, landform maps of a continent or state, "My life" maps of places important to an elementary student's family, annotated watershed maps of pollution sources, maps of the water cycle, maps of constellations in the night sky created by students to demonstrate understanding, maps of a dream community to be built in a vacant area (desert), including the water sources, etc. that will be needed, maps of a redesigned city/town on top of its current map. Teachers can provide map challenges or templates to be completed or corrected, including maps where students must label distances and cardinal directions between points (using map scale and skills). Or provide a teacher-created map with labels in the wrong places for students to correct the landforms, resources, etc. What will YOU do with Scribble Maps?
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Fractured Fairy Tales - readwritethink

Grades
K to 4
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This site offers "ready to read" fractured fairy tales and a tool to write your own fractured fairy tales. Students can write a fractured version of Jack in the Beanstalk, ...more
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This site offers "ready to read" fractured fairy tales and a tool to write your own fractured fairy tales. Students can write a fractured version of Jack in the Beanstalk, Little Red Riding Hood, or The Princess and the Pea. This site prompts students to choose names for characters, the setting of the story, point of view, the problem, and ending of the story. You type up your own story and you are able to print the finished story.

tag(s): air (163), folktales (65)

In the Classroom

Share an example of the fractured fairy tales on your interactive whiteboard or projector. Use this site to introduce the creativity of fractured fairy tales as you teach story mapping and narrative patterns. Have students work individually or with a partner to write their own fractured fairy tale. Set up this site as a learning center for students to use for creative writing during your folk tale or fairy tale unit.
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Equal Exchange's Fair Trade Curriculum & Educational Resources - Equal Exchange

Grades
4 to 10
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This collection of pdf lesson plans centers around 3 main topics: how we get our food, what the Fair Trade movement is doing for farmers and eaters, and what coops ...more
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This collection of pdf lesson plans centers around 3 main topics: how we get our food, what the Fair Trade movement is doing for farmers and eaters, and what coops are. The complete curriculum is downloadable and printable, and the daily lessons at this site offer support and extra activities. One lesson, translated for Spanish teachers, offers students an activity so they can understand "What's Fair?" One of the most exciting parts of the website is a collection of videos of Dominican children talking in Spanish about cocoa production! The lesson plans include a variety of activities for students and include projects in math, writing, civics, research, geography, art, music, and international culture.

tag(s): air (163)

In the Classroom

Use these lessons as part of a unit in social studies, Family and Consumer Science, or several other subjects. Take your students on a visit to a local food coop or invite one of their members to speak to your class live or via Skype (explained here.). Have students do a project comparing coop grocery sales with the more commercial establishments. Maybe even have student groups create an online Venn Diagram comparing the two using a site such as Interactive Two Circle Venn Diagram (reviewed here). If you have international students from the Dominican Republic or other cocoa producing countries, share this site with them and allow them to compare what the students say on the video to their own experiences. Create your own videotaped interviews with food growers or their families. Share the videos using a tool such as Teachers.TV reviewed here.
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Compfight - Compfight

Grades
K to 12
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Discover a slick way to find Creative Commons pictures (pictures you are ALLOWED to use without copyright problems, simply by giving credit). Compfight searches Flickr pictures and...more
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Discover a slick way to find Creative Commons pictures (pictures you are ALLOWED to use without copyright problems, simply by giving credit). Compfight searches Flickr pictures and locates those with licenses that permit use in other activities and projects. Enter text or tags, and Compfight does the rest, providing thumbnail images for you to choose from. After you search, be sure you have checked the box in the LEFT sidebar of the search results, specifying that you want Creative Commons images, NOT commercial ones. Click to search again, if necessary. Choose from the results that appear below the dotted line. (Those above the line are images you must pay for!) Click on the image you like and double-check the license information under item 1 to be sure it is available for non-commercial use with attribution and can be used for "derivative works." Click the image itself to copy and paste its URL to use in image credits. Remember that Creative Commons DOES require that you give proper credit!

tag(s): creative commons (21), images (266), search engines (65)

In the Classroom

Users need to be able to use good search terms to find the best pictures possible as well as knowing how to save images on their computer. Use in the classroom any time that an image is needed for projects, even if it is not going to be put on a website for others to see. Be sure students are aware that any time another person's image is used, they must give full credit for it, even if that owner cannot see it. Demonstrate Compfight on a projector or interactive whiteboard so students know how to use it. Student groups can use Compfight to collectively find the best image to use for a project. Have students create a multimedia presentation using ThinkLink, reviewed here. For example, students studying renewable energy can use Compfight to find images of various renewable energy sources, then explain them using ThingLink. Teachers can collect Creative Commons images for use on their interactive whiteboard for sorting activities (monocots and dicots, producers and consumers, etc). Never assume that your students, even the gifted ones, understand about giving proper credit and only using copyright-safe images (CC or public domain). Compfight makes it easier. Be sure to hold students accountable by including a "digital citizenship" category in your project rubric, requiring proper credit for all images. You will want to spot check a few of the URLs to be sure they are actually correct credits. Share Compfight as an important tool on your class web page, wiki, or blog so students can access it anywhere, anytime.
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Google Earth in the Classroom - Joe Wood

Grades
K to 12
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Google Earth, reviewed here, is a fabulous teaching tool. This teacher-created wiki supplements it with Google Earth Resources galore. Find links...more
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Google Earth, reviewed here, is a fabulous teaching tool. This teacher-created wiki supplements it with Google Earth Resources galore. Find links to lesson plans and files for using Google Earth in your classroom for many subjects. See a tutorial video on Google Earth, find directions for making files, and more. Ideas for using Google Earth by subject even include links to ready-made files so you need not start out by creating from scratch. See what other teachers have done and let it inspire you and your students to do more. Learn how to make kmz (placemarker) files.

tag(s): globe (14), landforms (45), landmarks (26), maps (288)

In the Classroom

Make this site part of your personal professional development or pair up with a teaching buddy to learn more about Google Earth (GE) and plan activities for your classrooms. Share the link with your students, as well, so your class can become GE experts together. Even if your access to GE is limited to a single class computer, work together with a small team of student "GEniuses" to prepare class placemarker files, then have the team teach other students, as well. If your school has personal professional development plans or allows teacher to suggest topics for professional workshops, include this link, along with other GE resources from TeachersFirst, as your inservice day agenda.
 
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Google Earth 101 for Educators - Quentin D'Souza, Teaching Hacks.com

Grades
K to 12
1 Favorites 0  Comments
 
Google Earth, reviewed here, is a fabulous teaching tool. This participatory wiki (part of the larger "Teaching Hacks" wiki) walks educators step...more
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Google Earth, reviewed here, is a fabulous teaching tool. This participatory wiki (part of the larger "Teaching Hacks" wiki) walks educators step by step through the how-to and why-to of Google Earth (GE). Start with the two minute video, then click through the steps at the right. You are also invited to ADD to the wiki so other teachers can learn from you! The wiki includes curriculum ideas grade by grade (listed in text form). Since the wiki originated in the Toronto area, some topics are Canadian-only, but the wiki is open to all global learners and teachers.

tag(s): globe (14), landforms (45), landmarks (26), maps (288)

In the Classroom

Plan your personal professional development on your own or with a teaching buddy to learn more about Google Earth (GE) and plan activities for your classrooms. Even if your access to GE is limited to a single class computer, work together with a small team of student "GEniuses" to prepare class placemarker files, then have the team teach other students, as well. If your school has personal professional development plans or allows teachers to suggest topics for professional workshops, include this link, along with other GE resources from TeachersFirst, as your inservice day agenda.
 

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Google Earth - Google

Grades
K to 12
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Bring the world into your classroom with Google Earth. This interactive view of the Earth (and more) is free for download. Find landforms, geographic locations features, pictures, and...more
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Bring the world into your classroom with Google Earth. This interactive view of the Earth (and more) is free for download. Find landforms, geographic locations features, pictures, and more from around the world using this satellite-powered software. As you spin the globe, you can tilt to view locations at an angle to show elevation, click to play a "tour" or "fly" from one location to another, or simply open tours and placemarker files created by others. Once you are comfortable, try making tours and placemarkers of your own. Note: this software uses more than the usual "bandwidth" to stay connected to the Internet while you are using it, so dial-up and slow connections will not work. Some schools block this tool because of the bandwidth needed, but teachers should not let this stop you from requesting this software to use in whole-class or group settings.

tag(s): climate (92), earth (228), landforms (45), landmarks (26), news (261), oceans (148)

In the Classroom

Use tutorials from this site to learn more, or try some Google Earth files from TeachersFirst's Globetracker's Mission to get a taste of what the program can do. Get started by exploring the different LAYERS available in the left side and searching a location you know. Locate and try the tools to drag, tilt, zoom, and even measure distance. Extensive user forums are available through the help menus.

Placemarker files created by you "live" on the computer where you make or save them and are not shared on the web. Note that your computer will ask whether you wish to save your "temporary places" (any places you have marked during a session) each time you close Google Earth. If many students use that computer, you may find you have a disorganized mess of saved places. Be sure to direct students to either name their saved places logically and file them into folders or NOT to save them to My Places! Students and teachers can create placemarker (.kmz or .kml) files and share them as email attachments, files on a USB "stick," or any other means you would use to share a file, just like a Word document.

Another practical tip: if students are using Google Earth on several machines at the same time, you may put a heavy load on your school network. Plan accordingly, perhaps having groups alternate their Google Earth time if it becomes sluggish.

Use Google Earth to teach geography or simply give location context to class readings or current events, especially on an interactive whiteboard or projector. Ex. you can tilt to show the peaks scaled by Lewis and Clark or volcanoes that rise in the Aleutians. Have students show the locations of historic events or literary settings and create placemarkers with links to learn more. Placemarker text is editable by going to the placemarker's "properties" or "info," so students can enter the text description, place title, and any inks they want to include, such as a link to a certain passage of text, an image of a character, or news image/article for a current events map. Students who know html code can get even more sophisticated in what they include in placemarkers. Have students/groups create and play a "tour" of critical locations for global warming, a comparison of volcanoes, or a family history of immigration. Navigate the important locations in a work of literature using Google Lit Trips or search the web for placemarker files connected to civil war battles, natural resources, and more. Turn layers on and off to look at population centers and transportation systems. Teach the concept of scale/proportion using a tactile experience on an interactive whiteboard and the scale and measurement tools. See more ideas at the teacher-created Google Earth 101 wiki reviewed here. Even if you do not venture into creating your own placemarker files, there are many already made and available for use by teachers and students. TeachersFirst's Globetracker's Mission includes a weekly file to follow the Mission.

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Voki - Oddcast

Grades
K to 12
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Create a free, animated speaking character that represents yourself for a blog, wiki, or any website. Voki can also be emailed to others and downloaded to phones. Appropriate for student...more
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Create a free, animated speaking character that represents yourself for a blog, wiki, or any website. Voki can also be emailed to others and downloaded to phones. Appropriate for student use in grades 6-12 but for teachers at all levels.
This site includes advertising.

tag(s): speaking (24)

In the Classroom

Access to a microphone is required to record a voice. There is an option to use text to voice (however, it does not have great sound.) Import audio from a file or use a cell phone instead to capture audio. Only one minute of audio can be recorded so be brief. Students need to carefully think of their narrative before recording. Users must be able to copy and paste html code for use in an external site.

Use the controls to create your character's style, click customization to further refine your character, change your background, and add your voice. Keep in mind that animated backgrounds may take longer to load on your site. When done, click publish to view and copy the embed code which can then be used on a blog, wiki, or web pages.

Monitor all aspects of student production and use for appropriateness and copyright. If concerned about using student email, consider creating a class account for students to use. Be sure that students understand not to change the Voki of other students if using a class account. Check your school district policy about using emails or identifying student information on the Internet.

Introduce and share this site on your interactive whiteboard or projector. Use this free site to record a greeting for students that can be seen on the start page of your blog, wiki, or website. Record online assignment information that is spoken by the Voki (always more pleasing to look at than the teacher!). Use this to share homework assignments, a message from you (via a substitute), and more. Use a character that is interesting or matches the assignment you may be leaving. Use Voki to record two different opinions or viewpoints and create a poll of students to view reactions. Use the Voki in Math by posing possible solutions to problems and create a class discussion or poll to determine which one is the actual answer. As students are working on projects, create a Voki that provides hints and tips for students. Allow students to use Voki to provide peer assessment to others. Consider using Voki in place of other assignments such as "What I did this summer vacation..." or "Here is information about me..." Use in any language class to record narratives or translations. Students can create a variety of Voki recordings over time which can show their learning of a language over time. Create classroom newscasts using student(s) on a rotating basis. Use Voki for vocabulary exercises which can be created by students or the teacher. The possibilities for this tool are endless. The quick and engaging nature of this tool offers unlimited uses.

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Game Classroom - Big Purple Hippos LLC

Grades
K to 6
8 Favorites 0  Comments
 
Find free interactives in Math, Logic, and Language Arts using this colorful site. Choose your grade level (K-6) and then your specific topic. Some examples of topics include: Time...more
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Find free interactives in Math, Logic, and Language Arts using this colorful site. Choose your grade level (K-6) and then your specific topic. Some examples of topics include: Time and Money, Problem Solving, Reading and Comprehension, Range, Mean, Median, and Mode, Grammar, Literature, and countless others. Find help in the homework help section along the right side of the site. You may also do a more generalized search by using the links for "Popular," "Math," or "Language Arts." Many of the activities have been created by other sites or educators (you may even notice some familiar characters, such as Big Bird). Some activities may have ads appearing beside them. Students should be advised to ignore these ads.

tag(s): equations (155), fractions (239), homework (44), keyboarding (38), measurement (159), poetry (228), probability (130), statistics (122)

In the Classroom

Share this site on your interactive whiteboard or projector. Make it a kinesthetic "center" for students to explore using your interactive whiteboard. Use these activities to strengthen skills, provide practice, and identify weaknesses. For example, use math games that teach graphing, analyzing, and counting. There is a wide variety of topics here, so be sure to peruse this site before your new unit or lesson! Using examples on this site, students can create their own homework help using a wiki, blog, or other site to help others. Allow students to "rate" the games using stars or smiley faces and comment on how the game helps them learn. Play a variety of word and other language arts games. Be sure to list this link on your class website or wiki for students to access both in and out of the classroom.
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Brainflips - Brainflips, Inc.

Grades
K to 12
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Use this free web site to create flashcards for teacher or individual student use. There is also a link to "Study Flashcards" that are already ready to go. There are ...more
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Use this free web site to create flashcards for teacher or individual student use. There is also a link to "Study Flashcards" that are already ready to go. There are literally HUNDREDS of ready to go flashcard packets: presidents, addition, algebra, music, and more.

If you are creating your own, you can add images, video, or audio. Study flashcards online or share with others in created study groups. Use flashcards to learn new information (question and answer are side by side,) study (shows the question and then the answer,) or quiz themselves by entering answers. Create a game with the flashcards by using a timer and score board on the site. Share flashcard sets with others by sending a URL address or create study groups to share. View public flashcards created by others by using their search feature.
This site includes advertising.

tag(s): flash cards (46), presidents (131), word study (80)

In the Classroom

You can access the already created flashcards without any account, email, or age requirements. However, if you wish to create flashcards, an email and birth date is required to create an account. Users must be 13 years of age or older.

Using Brainflips: Use the Deck panel to enter flashcard deck title and other basic information. Use the Card panel to add, edit, and change the order of the flashcards in the deck. Create text or multiple choice answers for each flashcard and even enter alternative answers. Click "Insert" above the question field to add images, audio, and video to flashcards.

Safety/Security: Since an email and birth date are required, consider creating a class account for teacher use or for groups of students to use. Create teacher flashcards for class use by creating card decks and providing the URL for students to use. You may want to send students to the flashcards via a direct link to the deck.

Facts, spelling words, vocabulary, definitions, foreign language, root words, historical names --- all can easily be typed into this flashcard format for any subject. Plan a system of tags for sets on related material so they can be grouped. For example: tag all geography terms "geography" and all words from the same science chapter using the chapter number or topic. You can use multiple tags, too! In the computer lab, using a projector or interactive whiteboard, walk your students through making their own sets of flashcards or using teacher created flashcards for student and group use. Students or parents can then access their electronic cards at home or anywhere with a specific URL that can be placed on any teacher blog or website. No email address is needed to use the cards, only to create the cards. Include the link to your sets on your web page for students to study before tests. Collaborate with other teachers to create useful sets for all to use. Rotate responsibility each marking period among student groups in your class to create a set for each chapter/unit/week for the rest of the class to use as review. Give a special award (or bonus points) for the most creative, complete set that marking period. Learning support teachers may want to work together with small student groups to create verbal and visual card sets to accompany the chapters they are studying. Involve the students in the process so they can reinforce new content as they create their own "study materials" with color coding, images, and more.

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Skype - Skype Technologies S.A.

Grades
K to 12
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Every teen and college student knows Skype, the free tool for making calls from computer to computer anywhere in the world. By downloading and installing free software and setting up...more
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Every teen and college student knows Skype, the free tool for making calls from computer to computer anywhere in the world. By downloading and installing free software and setting up a free account, you can talk and/or make a video call to a similarly equipped computer elsewhere in the world for free. Skype uses a lot of "bandwidth" so is not suitable for very slow networks or dial up connections. It may also be slow at high-traffic times on a good network. Some patience and pretesting is required before you can be sure it will work for your needs. Connect to classrooms, experts, authors, virtual special speakers, or interview subjects using Skype.

tag(s): virtual field trips (48), webcams (6)

In the Classroom

Download and install the Skype software. If you are not allowed to install software on school computers, ask to have a single laptop available that is Skype-capable so you can borrow it or else explain to your principal that you are planning a series of Skype visits in your classroom so your techies will install it in your classroom. You will need a computer with built-in or separate microphone and speakers and optional webcam. If you plan to use a webcam, you must know how to start it. A single teacher-controlled Skype account will work in most school settings.

If you prefer written directions go to Help >> Step by Step Help to get started. Or ask a student to show you (without seeing your password). You will need to explore the tools in Skype to locate where to enter the SKYPE name of the person you wish to call, start the call, and answer calls. Do NOT set your copy of Skype to "remember me" on a school computer! If students are to participate in the Skype call, you may want to have a "hot seat" at the Skyping computer so they can sit at a mike so their questions will pick up better for the person at the other end.

Be sure to set Skype so it does not open every time you start up the computer. Manually start the program when needed and do not leave an obvious Skype icon on the desktop for "clever" students to find. Protect your password -- do not post it on the computer. A teacher-controlled account is best for Skype classroom use to prevent unauthorized calls by students. Your user name will show on the screen for students to see, so be aware of that when you create your account.

Anything you can do by telephone or video call you can do on a projector with your entire class. Connect the Skyping computer to a projector or whiteboard for the entire class to see if you are using video. (The video will be fuzzy, but good enough to follow a person's face.) Use Skype to talk to authors (check out their web sites or this blog for contact information). Have students write questions in advance. Use your contacts, web page "contact us" emails, and parent contacts to find others willing to Skype into your classroom. Interview scientists or government officials, deployed military personnel, or classes far away in a different culture or language. Younger students can compare weather, family life, community events, and more. Learn other ideas for using Skype in your classroom

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Lightning Bug - Martin Jorgensen

Grades
4 to 12
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The title graphic on this site tells it all: "Your writing partner, helping you write a story from beginning to The End." Intended for young writers to be able to ...more
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The title graphic on this site tells it all: "Your writing partner, helping you write a story from beginning to The End." Intended for young writers to be able to use on their own, this site includes ideas and exercises to find story ideas, develop the story, improve it, finish it, and share it in writing contests or publications. The notebook paper "look" adds appeal to pages that might otherwise be text-heavy, and the tone is supportive but not condescending. There are teacher resources, including printables for writing exercises, and extensive links and ideas for the classroom. Don't miss the writing prompts in the teaching resource area under "Dozens of writing ideas for the classroom." You can also find tips on setting up writing centers in your classroom and lesson plans for teaching story writing. The quick links in the footer of the home page provide a good overview of the site's extensive topics. Note: the site does have a small book sales area and links to both Twitter and Facebook. These are likely to be blocked by your school web filter and are not essential for use of the site. If students use the site from home, their use of these social tools to learn more about writing and writers should be in accordance with their parents' permission and the tools' age policies.

tag(s): narrative (24), writing (359)

In the Classroom

Share this site both in and out of class as a place where story writers can stretch, refresh, and improve. Many of the writing lessons and activities are also well-suited to interactive whiteboards or projectors. You can plan an entire story-writing unit or simply improve on certain aspects of writing here. Share the link on your class web page for students to access when they are stumped for writing ideas. Steer your motivated writers to explore this site on their own or assign small groups to become specialists on one of the writing exercises and then teach it to the class or blog about it. Use the ideas from this site for students to write cooperative stories using a wiki or a tool such as Primary Pad, reviewed here. Encourage young writers to submit entries in writing contests listed here or to explore the site further during summer and holiday breaks.

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TweenTribune - Alan Jacobson

Grades
K to 12
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TweenTribune has joined with Smithsonian and now offers the news in Lexile levels for k-4, 5-8, 9-12. That is not the only change. The Smithsonian TweenTribune now has several ...more
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TweenTribune has joined with Smithsonian and now offers the news in Lexile levels for k-4, 5-8, 9-12. That is not the only change. The Smithsonian TweenTribune now has several new features, including a Dashboard for assignments and classrooms, assigning a story to all with one click, self-scoring quizzes for articles, and Smithsonian's STEM-based 1-minute videos. There are now free apps for the iPad and iPhone. TweenTribune continues to include open-ended critical thinking questions and a daily quiz using multiple sources. This site is still jam packed with current news stories that are chosen by site coordinators for all reading levels. The articles are easy to read, relate to, and understand. The site is easy to navigate with a subject indexed toolbar, and it is searchable. There is even a "your town" section for local news stories. All stories are current because the creators scour the internet weekly for age-appropriate material. It greatly reduces the pressure of searching by giving an article research tool that is much more specific than simply using a search engine.

tag(s): news (261), newspapers (94)

In the Classroom

The sky is the limit for potential and possibilities with this website. There are some minor warnings. If you want to allow your students to post to a blog, you will need to create a class and then have them enroll. The great news is that is free. As the teacher, you can moderate or delete posts before they are public. There are lessons available on the site as well as a "Teacher's Lounge" where lesson ideas can be exchanged. In a language arts classroom, students could be assigned to read and blog as a weekly writing assignment. The teacher can assign a specific article or have students choose. Have students read their articles on a podcast using PodOmatic (reviewed here). In science, articles from this site could be used to supplement science textbook reading with current articles that better interest students. Articles are short and provide quick practice pieces for non-fiction reading comprehension. Project a story and ask students to write their own sentence for the main idea or to summarize. These quick pieces would fit well on your interactive whiteboard. SmithsonianTweenTribune Espanol allows students to read daily news articles in Spanish and post comments about the stories they read. Teachers moderate all comments before the comments are posted.

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Audio Pal - Oddcast

Grades
1 to 12
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Use this free site to create audio files easily for use in or out of the class. Record your own voice using phone or microphone, upload an audio file, or ...more
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Use this free site to create audio files easily for use in or out of the class. Record your own voice using phone or microphone, upload an audio file, or create audio from text to speech. Choose different voices, use the playback options, and update audio at anytime. Use your email to receive a link to your new audio file. Click here to play an example (you will have to click the Play button).

tag(s): speech (92), text to speech (16)

In the Classroom

If using a phone, understanding calling plans and additional charges is needed. You must know how to use embed codes to place audio files within your blog, wiki, or website. No login is required! Simply click the "Get Yours It's Free" button. Choose the method to create the audio and preview and edit the file. Enter your email address to receive a link to your file. Click on the link to grab widgets. Copy the code and place in your blog or website.

The tool does not show which work is attributable to which student. You may want to require that students mark their contributions in order to get credit. Consider using a class email account set up for this purpose. Be sure students understand the appropriate use of this email account.

Classroom use: Use this service to record audio of passages used in class, homework assignments, and other written material. Young students can practice reading aloud at this site (and listen to themselves), showing improvement in fluency as the year goes on. Have students use this site in place of a traditional book report. Have cooperative learning groups create a news broadcast and share it using this site. Use this site with ESL/ELL students just learning the English language. Use this site in world language classes for students to hear and learn the pronunciations. Place the embed code in a site that students can access outside of class for review, identifying directions, and listening to text. Speech and language teachers can use this tool to record student articulation and demonstrate progress through the year.

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The Differentiator - Ian Byrd

Grades
K to 12
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Differentiating activities for all learners has become easier with this tool. Use this free Bloom's Taxonomy tool, created by an educator, to develop great objectives for differentiated...more
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Differentiating activities for all learners has become easier with this tool. Use this free Bloom's Taxonomy tool, created by an educator, to develop great objectives for differentiated instruction. Move through developing your goal on this site by choosing a level of Bloom's Taxonomy and a thinking skill. Then move on to your content, resources, finished product expected, and what kind of grouping you want. These are all tabs at the top of the page. Watch the sentence at the top of the screen change as you create your objective.

tag(s): blooms taxonomy (9), critical thinking (108), differentiation (47), newbies (18)

In the Classroom

As an example, use a verb from Bloom' taxonomy such as "evaluate." Click on the part of the sentence at the top, in parenthesis, to enter your content such as "patterns of environmental issues." Choose the resource you want students to use, the product you want them to make, and the number of students in a group by clicking on the tabs. Example objective: Students will evaluate the patterns of environmental issues using websites to create a news report in groups of two. Save your objective by copying and pasting it into any document or online tool. The Differentiator will give you many project ideas that you may not have thought of yourself, and serves as a welcome reminder of different activities and expectations you can use in your classroom. Take a look at this site at the beginning of the school year or when creating a new unit (or project). Find new ways to differentiate for your gifted students using this creative and powerful tool. If your gifted students test out of your current math lessons, use this site to find new material to challenge their minds. This site is deceptively quick and simple, but it could be very useful when writing detailed, powerful lesson plans.

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Teaching with Historic Places - National Park Service

Grades
4 to 12
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Do you have trouble finding suitable sites to teach state history for YOUR state? This site includes more than 130 "ready to go" lesson plans organized by state. You can ...more
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Do you have trouble finding suitable sites to teach state history for YOUR state? This site includes more than 130 "ready to go" lesson plans organized by state. You can also view the collection by states, social studies standards, U.S. History standards, specific skills, time period, or topic. This resource was pulled together by the National Park service. The specific topics vary from America's Space Program to Skagway: Gateway to the Klondike to Brown v. Board of Education to The Trail of Tears to Pearl Harbor to Lewis and Clark to the construction of the Chesapeake and Ohio Canal and countless others. Check out what it highlights for your state.

tag(s): cities (25), inventors and inventions (101), landmarks (26), maps (288), states (163)

In the Classroom

Search for your state and see what this site has to offer. Looking for a specific topic (i.e. Civil War or Pearl Harbor), search using topics. Take advantage of these ready to go lesson plans. Infuse your lessons with technology by creating a class wiki about the lesson/topic being discussed. Maybe make a wiki guidebook to your state. Not comfortable with wikis? Have no wiki worries - check out the TeachersFirst's Wiki Walk-Through. Save this site in your favorites, and check back as you plan throughout the year.

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All my faves - All my faves

Grades
4 to 12
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Not sure what sites exist for your topic? Start here and find sites listed by icon for Art, Encyclopedia, History, Languages, Science, Writing skills, Music, and numerous other topics....more
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Not sure what sites exist for your topic? Start here and find sites listed by icon for Art, Encyclopedia, History, Languages, Science, Writing skills, Music, and numerous other topics. Whether you are searching for research information, enrichment, or tutorials - check out this site. Notice that TeachersFirst is among the "faves" for teaching!

tag(s): dictionaries (56), literature (275)

In the Classroom

Why search for these sites, when the links can all be found in one place? Use this site in combination with TeachersFirst's rich reviews. Students can use these links as a springboard to research and projects. Be sure to save this site in your personal favorites! There is a lot to explore. List this site on your class website and/or wiki for students to access both in and out of the classroom.

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Festisite - IntenCT

Grades
4 to 12
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This site contains a plethora of user-generated poems, tools for making poetry writing simple, opportunities to make comments on the poetry of others and also to submit one's own poetry....more
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This site contains a plethora of user-generated poems, tools for making poetry writing simple, opportunities to make comments on the poetry of others and also to submit one's own poetry. Students and teachers can search for poems by looking at those that have come in most recently, or by searching by categories, called "Tags." To search using this option, you must click on the "poems" tab at the top of the site. Be sure to know your school's policy on having students submit their work before allowing your students to share their poetry. Avid poetry lovers can also subscribe to poetry feeds using this site.

tag(s): poetry (228), writing (359)

In the Classroom

Use this site to show your students that anyone can become a poet when they balk at reading poetry. Share some of the poetry on your projector or interactive whiteboard. Read some of your required poems and then look at the "Tags" and ask your students to decide where poetry written by others should be placed. Go on to ask them if they can think of other Tags to add. Since many of the poems here have holiday themes, use this as a quick activity before a holiday or to encourage students to reflect on family holiday traditions. ESL/ELL students will not have to worry so much about their grammar when embarking on poetry writing! They'll love to be thought creative. If you are permitted to "publish" your students' poetry, why not go one step further and have them narrate a picture using the words from their poem at a site such as ThingLink reviewed here. Or have students share their poems using a podcasting site such as PodOmatic (reviewed here).

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New Year's Resolutions - Myvocabulary.com

Grades
4 to 12
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As part of their extensive site for vocabulary, roots, and more, MyVocabulary.com has added a themed area for New Years. Find interactive vocabulary activities using Ancient Egypt vocabulary...more
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As part of their extensive site for vocabulary, roots, and more, MyVocabulary.com has added a themed area for New Years. Find interactive vocabulary activities using Ancient Egypt vocabulary words. You will also find printable crosswords, fill in the blanks and more, all using the same theme words. This and other "themes" available on the site will make vocabulary development fun.

tag(s): new years (11)

In the Classroom

Share the puzzles on your interactive whiteboard or projector or make them available as links on your teacher public page. Have students (or groups) create their own illustrated dictionaries of terms using a tool such as Bookemon, reviewed here. As you add more vocabulary lists during the year, have them select their favorite 6-10 terms from each list to add to their "book."

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Book Foldables - Catawba County Schools, North Carolina

Grades
K to 8
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So you're going to make books for the creative writing projects your class has been working on? You need a quick format that looks amazing. Try this Foldables site. Here ...more
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So you're going to make books for the creative writing projects your class has been working on? You need a quick format that looks amazing. Try this Foldables site. Here you will find a variety of book formats, including an accordion style, lapbooking, door folds, shutters, and many more. Because each foldable is in .pdf format, having a fast internet connection is advantageous. Be patient waiting for downloads! Once the foldable is downloaded, you will find directions and samples from which to make your own. This site requires Adobe Acrobat Get it here: TeachersFirst Toolbox page.

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

In the Classroom

Make a sample of each book and display them on a bulletin board. When making books throughout the year, the suggestions are readily available for your students to see. Put a sample of each in your writing center. Have an adult volunteer make a cache of blank foldable books at the beginning of the year so they are immediately available when your students finally "publish" their writing projects.
 This resource requires PDF reader software like Adobe Acrobat.

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