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Ten Creative Writing Activities - Traci Gradner

Grades
4 to 12
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This site offers ten widely-varied creative writing activities that range in level from upper elementary grades through high school. In some way, they all help the students be invested...more
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This site offers ten widely-varied creative writing activities that range in level from upper elementary grades through high school. In some way, they all help the students be invested in their writing by making the topic personal, from "found treasures" to "show and tell" which works as well (although differently) with high school students as elementary ones.

tag(s): creative writing (166), writing (361)

In the Classroom

These are great activities to have at the tip of your fingers for days when inspiration just runs dry or you are looking for a new approach to creative writing. You might have each student bring in one thing for your "found treasures" bag and then pull them out at random for a class story. The "jumble story" idea is also great because you can substitute current events or topical characters or settings.

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Electronic Books for Beginners - Jessica N. Rivera

Grades
1 to 3
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This site shows teachers and students how to create their own e-books of their own stories (or their favorite stories, by another author) using the computer. Very ...more
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This site shows teachers and students how to create their own e-books of their own stories (or their favorite stories, by another author) using the computer. Very young students also learn computer skills and accompanying vocabulary. Students learn to compare the paper and digital books and also learn to produce books using a digital camera and PowerPoint. They learn to add graphics using various programs and to type in the words of the story. This website includes four detailed lesson plans including standards, assessment, and step by step instructions. It also highlights extension activities, resources, homework ideas and more. NOTE: Some of the links to support materials are no longer active, but there are many alternative choices still available.

tag(s): photography (160), vocabulary (323)

In the Classroom

Try these plans in your primary grade classroom, using their own writings or a class favorite. Since the lesson plans require a lot of one-on-one instruction, why not create learning centers that relate to writing or other language arts topics. Have one of the centers be this small group lesson with the teacher or teacher assistant. The other centers could include independent reading or writing, comprehension activities, spelling practice, grammar games on independent computers, or whatever fills a need in your language arts class. This would also be an ideal activity for a big buddy/little buddy pairing with older elementary students, creating the project together.

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Paragraph a Week - The Teacher's Desk

Grades
4 to 7
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Paragraph a Week is designed as a yearly writing program for fifth and sixth graders. It could easily be adapted to other grades or writing levels. The site provides a ...more
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Paragraph a Week is designed as a yearly writing program for fifth and sixth graders. It could easily be adapted to other grades or writing levels. The site provides a writing prompt for each week of the school year as well as set criterion for each topic. The prompts offer opportunities for students to write in various styles and in paragraph form. Rubrics, instructions, and parent letters are included. Simply print out the topic of the week and students can get busy!

tag(s): writing (361)

In the Classroom

Have students publish their completed writings on the computer. Select a few students each week to share their ideas and successes! The program includes parent participation. Include the Prompt-of-the-Week link on your class webpage and save some trees! Or use the prompts on a class blog, asking students to respond there. Students and parents will love looking back over their progress through the year in this paper-free "portfolio" of progress.

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Interactives: Elements of a Story - Annenberg Media

Grades
1 to 5
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"A good story is like tasty soup." This website shares the secrets of creating a good story. They use the motivating story of Cinderella to share the elements of ...more
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"A good story is like tasty soup." This website shares the secrets of creating a good story. They use the motivating story of Cinderella to share the elements of a good story: Setting, Characters, Sequence, Exposition, Conflict, Climax, and Resolution . After reading the story and learning about the important elements, students are challenged to create a story of their own. This website requires FLASH. Get it from the TeachersFirst Toolbox page..

tag(s): air (163), folktales (65), setting (11), writing (361)

In the Classroom

What a motivating writing resource! Use your interactive whiteboard (or projector) to share this animated story of Cinderella. Continue the group activity by sharing the various elements of a good story. Ask your students to provide examples of other stories that offer great settings, characters, sequence, and other elements of a good story. Then brainstorm as a class a list of 4-5 ideas for each of the elements. Have a competent student (or yourself) type the ideas into a document on a projector or write on the interactive whiteboard. Display the brainstorming lists of ideas for students to use to create their own stories. Or drag the possibilities into different combinations on the whiteboard. Allow the students to "think outside the box" and use ideas other than those listed on the screen.
 This resource requires Adobe Flash.

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What's in a Name? - Judi Hayes

Grades
2 to 6
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This simple lesson plan helps a regular elementary class learn and understand international student's names. The website features several intriguing activities used to learn the meanings...more
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This simple lesson plan helps a regular elementary class learn and understand international student's names. The website features several intriguing activities used to learn the meanings of names. One activity challenges students to write a poem about the person with the "unusual" name. It also helps the foreign student accept his/her original name by focusing briefly on their culture during this activity. This lesson easily adapts to having American students choose names their ancestors might have had, depending on their country of origin. For students who can't read, this lesson works as a way to help them learn to write their names. Some of the activities are PDF and require Adobe Acrobat. You can get it from the TeachersFirst Toolbox page..

tag(s): poetry (227)

In the Classroom

Make a list of the names of all your students. For students who can't read, display photos of the children instead. Compare the American names the international students have chosen with their original names. For students who write using a different alphabet, have them write their names on the board and explain the equivalents with the help of a teacher. Foreign language teachers can also use this lesson plan in reverse when choosing foreign names for their language students.
 This resource requires PDF reader software like Adobe Acrobat.

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6+1 Trait Writing Lesson Plans - Northwest Regional Educational Laboratory

Grades
1 to 12
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This extensive website provides lesson plans that focus on 6 Trait Writing. The lesson plans are broken down by grade levels (1-3, 4-5, 6-8, and 9-12). You are able to ...more
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This extensive website provides lesson plans that focus on 6 Trait Writing. The lesson plans are broken down by grade levels (1-3, 4-5, 6-8, and 9-12). You are able to search the lesson plans by grade level AND the specific trait. There are lesson plans about ideas, organization, voice, word choice, sentence fluency, and conventions . Most of the lesson plans contain many components, such as books to use in the lesson, printable worksheets, class activities, and much more. Many of the lesson plans involve writing across the curriculum and include social studies, science topics, and other subject areas. Don't miss the useful links provided on the left-side of the page (prompts, scoring, and more). Some of the activities require Adobe Acrobat Reader. Get it from the TeachersFirst Toolbox page..

tag(s): fluency (23), rubrics (32), six traits of writing (8), writing (361)

In the Classroom

What a fabulous website to use to focus on various traits. Use these free lesson plans to find specific lessons for your grade level on the trait that you are teaching. Why not use the traits learned in writing class to create a written assignment in another curriculum area.
 This resource requires PDF reader software like Adobe Acrobat.

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Awesome Comics Webquest - Grammarman.com

Grades
4 to 12
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This complete unit gives ESL/ELL students get an opportunity to create (write and draw) a new comic character for the Grammarman comic series. (See TeachersFirst's...more
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This complete unit gives ESL/ELL students get an opportunity to create (write and draw) a new comic character for the Grammarman comic series. (See TeachersFirst's review of the broader Grammarman web site for other activities that may require less time). Students are able to research the history of comics, drawing, manga, super heroes, character development, and more. Throughout the webquest, students can check out what other students have created. After going through the 8 stages of the webquest, reading, writing, and drawing, your students can submit the finished product to the student pages so others can enjoy their creation. Notes for teachers summarize each of the 8 steps and make suggestions about how to use this webquest in a shorter time period. Eager comic creators who aren't ESL/ELL students will also enjoy a modified version of this quest. This website requires FLASH. You can get it from the TeachersFirst Toolbox page..

tag(s): comics and cartoons (74), drawing (76), grammar (217)

In the Classroom

Share this webquest on laptops or a classroom computer cluster for students to accomplish the "quest." Use this project in an ESL/ELL class as a cumulative review of each student's specific grammar problem. Pair ESL students with a native speaker to work on the research and drawing. This creative activity is sure to excite ESL/ELL students and native English speakers.
  This resource requires Adobe Flash and PDF reader software like Adobe Acrobat.

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Kidlink - Kidlink

Grades
3 to 12
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This website provides an online connection to students from various areas of the world. There are links provided for students, families, and teachers. The website is available in various...more
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This website provides an online connection to students from various areas of the world. There are links provided for students, families, and teachers. The website is available in various languages - English, Spanish, Italian, Japanese, and Portuguese. Students can share stories, artwork, and more. The educational content includes life planning skills (careers), social studies (geography, government, history, etc.), writing, and many other academic areas. Free registration is required for each student and teacher. All content is monitored by volunteer moderators. What a fabulous resource to use in geography or language arts class. This website doesn't just teach students about countries throughout the world, but also allows students to interact with students of various cultures as they write and respond to each other in this safe environment.

tag(s): careers (132), cultures (105)

In the Classroom

Students need not have their own email to use this site. Kidlink explains that they are permitted to use the teacher's email address (which allows you to monitor their activities, as well). You might want to use your "extra" email account. Set up accounts for your students to communicate in your world language class or as part of your study of other continents. With younger students, you may want to communicate as a whole-class activity, composing on a projector or interactive whiteboard.

If your school policies limit your ability to use such a site, see the FAQ information and ready-to-go presentation explaining Kidlink. Share it with your principal and parents. ALWAYS get written parent permission when sharing student work/ideas online.

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How to Make Your Own Nature Notebook - Chateau Meddybumps

Grades
K to 2
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This website provides a brief description on how to create a nature notebook and templates for recording nature walks. The templates include a cover page, a list sheet, and a ...more
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This website provides a brief description on how to create a nature notebook and templates for recording nature walks. The templates include a cover page, a list sheet, and a data sheet. This is an engaging, hands-on activity for various times of the year. Best of all, you do not have to reinvent the wheel because the samples sheets are already available in pdf format.

In the Classroom

Take your students outside to learn about nature and find examples of the adaptations and habitats they have been studying. Have students take digital pictures on the walk. Then have students work in pairs to create nature notebooks together, including their photos.
 This resource requires PDF reader software like Adobe Acrobat.

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Letter Zoo - Chateau Meddybumps

Grades
K to 1
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Letter Zoo is a lesson idea geared to primary-aged students working on letter recognition. The site demonstrates how to create animals and other creatures using various letters of the...more
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Letter Zoo is a lesson idea geared to primary-aged students working on letter recognition. The site demonstrates how to create animals and other creatures using various letters of the alphabet (both uppercase and lowercase). It provides several templates as examples. This is a tactile way for students to learn the letters of the alphabet.

tag(s): alphabet (91)

In the Classroom

Assign each student a personal letter(s) and have him/her create pages for a class book. PowerPoint works well to create BIG BOOK pages electronically using WORD ART of the letters as the graphics (rotate the letter using the green "dot" at the top and drag/resize as you do clip art). Provide a template with the letters already on the slides and allow students to arrange them. Allow students to branch out and create designs other than animals. It is always interesting to see how creative they can be! Have students present their creations in a showcase format and attempt to identify the letters on each display.

Use your interactive whiteboard (or projector) to share these activities (animals) with your class. See if they can figure out all of the letters used in the pictures. Then write some sentences together to accompany the pictures. Make the PowerPoint file available from your teacher web page or by email so students can "read aloud" at home, too.

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Garfield's Comic Creator - National Institute of Health

Grades
2 to 6
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Garfield's Comic Creator is a simple site that helps students create their own comic strips using Garfield characters. Students can choose between talking bubbles and thinking bubbles...more
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Garfield's Comic Creator is a simple site that helps students create their own comic strips using Garfield characters. Students can choose between talking bubbles and thinking bubbles as well as adding various backgrounds and accessories. Click on the ?-Box to learn more about how to use this program. This website requires Flash. You can get it from the TeachersFirst Toolbox page..

tag(s): comics and cartoons (74), writing (361)

In the Classroom

Use this site as an anticipatory activity for talking and thinking bubbles, as well as for dialog, by sharing your own example. Students could also use these to summarize a piece of literature or even have Garfield explain a science or social studies concept. Have students print and hand in their completed work for a quick writing sample or assessment tool. The comic strips could be used in any subject area for review or enrichment.

This is also an excellent tool for counselors or emotional/autistic support teachers to use with students. Sometimes students are less threatened to write about fears, conflict, and other issues (rather than say them aloud). ES teachers can use comics to help students learn positive ways to express feelings.
 This resource requires Adobe Flash.

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Doing a Travel Buddy Project - Larry Johnson & Annette Lamb

Grades
K to 4
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Doing a Travel Buddy Project is an on-line collaboration project that will keep the attention of every student! Students read Flat Stanley and proceed to send Flat Stanley or some ...more
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Doing a Travel Buddy Project is an on-line collaboration project that will keep the attention of every student! Students read Flat Stanley and proceed to send Flat Stanley or some other type of classroom character, along with class communication, to various schools. While the classroom character is "traveling," students can chart the object whereabouts on a classroom map and compile research on each location. This site provides pointers for a no-fail traveling plan. This activity will require some significant preparation time on behalf of the teacher as well as cooperation from other schools. See a related resource on Flat Stanley projects here.

In the Classroom

This project could be enhanced with many activities such as creating a travel itinerary for the traveler or researching modes of travel. Plan the trip with things such as packing a suitcase, conducting research on the destination locations, presenting research in a Power Point presentation, integrating corresponding literature based on travel, and keeping a classroom travel journal. A wiki is an ideal place for students to track the buddy, including pictures! Save money by having your classroom object travel as an e-mail attachment.

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Silly Books - sillybooks.net

Grades
K to 6
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This site offers animated books with audio (some authored by children), jokes, cartoons, interactive games, and more. Some books are in Spanish, as well. Prepare to mark this site in...more
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This site offers animated books with audio (some authored by children), jokes, cartoons, interactive games, and more. Some books are in Spanish, as well. Prepare to mark this site in your Favorites when you see the extensive content. Its name doesn't reflect its depth. Many books have the text displayed, and as each word is spoken, it is highlighted. Students will learn new words used in context, since the stories feature rich vocabulary.

NOTE: The link to "Stumble It" connects to a very intriguing but random way of finding similar web sites, but it has its safety concerns for younger students. Read more about it in our TeachersFirst Edge review of Stumble Upon before you permit your students to use it.

tag(s): comics and cartoons (74), listening (90), literature (274), vocabulary (323)

In the Classroom

Have your promising writers submit books for possible publication at this site (with parent permission, of course!). SillyBooks does the illustrating and audio. Make sure you click on the Catalog link to view the vast listing of books to which your class can listen. Use the expression-filled books on your projector or interactive whiteboard as choral reading readers (turn up the speakers!). Be sure to include this site on your teacher web page for students to access both in and outside of class for further reading practice. Spanish teachers, there are a few Spanish-language books available to read and hear. Learning Support and ESL/ELL teachers will love the chance to build student vocabulary as they read -- and perhaps even want to write a story of their own.
 This resource requires Adobe Flash.

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Wolf Quest - Minnesota Zoo

Grades
4 to 12
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This fabulous website about wolves and habitats in Yellowstone allows participants to "live" as a wolf, raise their young, explore the wilderness, go hunting, and survive. Students...more
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This fabulous website about wolves and habitats in Yellowstone allows participants to "live" as a wolf, raise their young, explore the wilderness, go hunting, and survive. Students can work alone or with partners, as they learn about wolves in the wild. Students can consult biologists, write original stories, create drawings, and more. This is the first episode; future installments are expected in late 2008. Students and/or teachers must register (free)to use the program. We recommend using a single class/teacher registration or parent/student written agreements for student registrations in order to prevent inappropriate postings "clever" students might make on the community discussion boards. There are also detailed lesson plans (click on Wolf Info > classroom activities). The lesson plans include national science standards. This site requires Flash. Get it from the TeachersFirst Toolbox page..

tag(s): zoology (7)

In the Classroom

Introduce this free resource on interactive whiteboard or projector. The lesson plans and interactive activity are both perfect tools to drum up enthusiasm in biology class. The Game Info provides excellent descriptors and instructions for using this program. Be sure to check back for updated episodes. Include this website on your teacher web site (and the activities) as one of a set of activities on animals and their habitats to be done in class or outside. Then challenge your students to work together in documenting local animals and habitats in a class wiki or group science fair project.
 This resource requires Adobe Flash.

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Everyday Spelling: Writing Prompts - Pearson Education, Inc.

Grades
1 to 8
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This plain-vanilla (but useful) website provides several writing prompts divided by grade level (1-2, 3-5, and 6-8), plus helpful tips on responding to the prompts. Check back to this...more
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This plain-vanilla (but useful) website provides several writing prompts divided by grade level (1-2, 3-5, and 6-8), plus helpful tips on responding to the prompts. Check back to this site often, as the writing prompts change each quarter. Some of the current prompts include a Business Letter, Announcement, Recipe, Journal Entry, List, Thank You, and various others.

tag(s): spelling (169), writing (361)

In the Classroom

Display the writing prompts on an interactive whiteboard (or projector)at the beginning of your class. Upper elementary and middle school teachers will want to accompany the tips with lessons on writing logical paragraphs and perhaps model one together on the whiteboard. Have students gather into small groups to help formulate their writing thoughts. Collaboration of ideas will make the writing smoother.

Another idea - why not share these writing prompts and student responses in a Writing Work-Out wiki?

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Switch Zoo - switchzoo.com

Grades
1 to 4
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This unique website teaches about various animals and habitats while allowing users to create new combinations of animals (for example putting a pig's head, with a zebra's legs, and...more
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This unique website teaches about various animals and habitats while allowing users to create new combinations of animals (for example putting a pig's head, with a zebra's legs, and a dog's tail). Information is provided about all animals used in the "morph" of the new animal. Animals included at this website are the bison, bear, zebra, rhino, pig, monkey, elephant, dog, and cheetah. The program is pretty simple to follow. But for additional instructions, there is a "How to Play" link available. This website requires FLASH. Get it from the TeachersFirst Toolbox page.. Another creative feature of this website is the option of adding a name for the animal and creating a short story about your animal.

tag(s): animals (277), habitats (86)

In the Classroom

What a fabulous website to use as you teach about habitats and animals, then launch into a creative writing project. Students can use their own creativity to combine various parts of animals together to form an all-new animal and show what they have learned about how animals adapt to their habitat. Extend the activity by incorporating a writing activity. Have the students share their new animals and stories on an interactive whiteboard. Or even create a class book exhibiting all of the animals at "Mr. Smith's Zoo". Remember that PowerPoint slides make an easy way to write and incorporate clip art, then combine and print into a big book.
 This resource requires Adobe Flash.

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Circus Theme Unit - abcteach

Grades
K to 3
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This website provides numerous activities (mainly printable pages) all about the circus. Subject areas include math, language arts, writing, poetry, and other areas. Some of the pages...more
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This website provides numerous activities (mainly printable pages) all about the circus. Subject areas include math, language arts, writing, poetry, and other areas. Some of the pages include coloring pages, literature themes, alliteration, word searches, writing prompts, and more. Be aware, although most of this website is free - a few of the printable pages require a membership.

tag(s): counting (119), handwriting (17), poetry (227), writing (361)

In the Classroom

Use these free pages to help your students learn writing, counting, and other skills while enjoying the "circus" theme.

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Story Starter - Roxie Carroll

Grades
1 to 3
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This writing site encourages children to use their creativity to finish stories. Select the type of story to write or choose to complete a limerick from its first line. ...more
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This writing site encourages children to use their creativity to finish stories. Select the type of story to write or choose to complete a limerick from its first line. Seasonal story prompts include a variety of common holidays. There are also prompts for poetry writing. Some stories can be written on the computer and require FLASH.Get it from the TeachersFirst Toolbox page..

tag(s): holidays (147), poetry (227), writing (361)

In the Classroom

Use simple story writing for beginning keyboarding or write a whole-class story on your interactive whiteboard. Have ESL students write their own stories to reinforce their writing, grammar, and reading development. Share the site on your teacher web page as an at-home activity during school breaks and snow days!
 This resource requires Adobe Flash.

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Picture Prompt Story Starters - Story-It

Grades
K to 4
1 Favorites 0  Comments
This page offers a series of illustrated, printable story prompts. Printing in portrait or landscape for larger spaces between the lines. Another option includes a black and ...more
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This page offers a series of illustrated, printable story prompts. Printing in portrait or landscape for larger spaces between the lines. Another option includes a black and white drawing that the children can color before or after writing the story. The pages also contain a box to write a word list for help spelling more difficult words. The story topics include many seasonal and holiday offerings, as well. Some of this site requires FLASH. Get it from the TeachersFirst Toolbox page..

tag(s): vocabulary (323), vocabulary development (125), writing (361)

In the Classroom

Use this site with beginning readers, beginning writers, and ESL students to reinforce the skill you are teaching and to show connections between reading and writing. Make it available for your active writers to choose their own prompts, too, or for parents to use at home during breaks. Special ed teachers will appreciate these prompts as a way to promote language development. Use the pictures to record students' vocabulary on the lines below as they "tell you about the picture."
 This resource requires Adobe Flash.

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Musical English Lessons - Bibi Baxter

Grades
4 to 10
2 Favorites 0  Comments
 
This very ambitious site reviews many traditional grammar rules/issues and attempts to link the grammar with lessons gleaned from lyrics to popular songs. The grammar is in the center...more
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This very ambitious site reviews many traditional grammar rules/issues and attempts to link the grammar with lessons gleaned from lyrics to popular songs. The grammar is in the center of the page and lots of options for using music frames the page on both sides. There is a wide variety of content, for teachers willing to take the time to search. Lesson plans, information on hot topics, proverbs, sport features, and games are only some of the offerings which try to link grammar to music.

tag(s): grammar (217), idioms (44), songs (52)

In the Classroom

Use this website to connect grammar rules and issues with songs that know. Share this site with learning support teachers or as extra help during a tough grammar lesson. Use music with ESL/ELL students as much as possible to reinforce pronunciation, listening, and memorization of grammar structures. These activities are ideal for an interactive whiteboard or projector. Project the activity on the screen and have students work individually or in pairs to complete the challenge. These activities are appropriate for small group instruction in an ESL, ELL, or Special Education class - but they could also be used in a regular education class to reinforce grammar understanding.

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