Grades3 to 12
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In the ClassroomPlay with the "Create Your Own" tools to make a TOONDOO or TOONBOOK, including locating characters, resizing, re-ordering, entering text, etc. IF you are feeling adventurous, try upload an image to include. When you are ready, publish the product, publicly by sharing the URL or to opt for a limited audience.
Potential safety concerns: If you are having students create their own TOONDOOS, you will want to prohibit their accessing the links to "popular" TOONDOOS and others available to the public, since the site is open for anyone's idea of "funny" content. Our editors did not see anything objectionable, but you never know.
How can you use this in the classroom? Once you have laid the ground rules, have students create strips with characters explaining a science concept. Or show the steps in a process or procedure, such as the water cycle. Older students can create political satire cartoons. If you have students work from your account, you can provide the "raw materials" of some digital pictures for them to make cartoon explanations of lab safety procedures or nature species. Even little ones can write sentences. Have them work with a partner---and LIMIT their choices to 3 character options so they do not keep changing their minds!
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Grades4 to 12
In the ClassroomAssign individual or mini-lesson practice on laptops or a computer cluster in your classroom after grading writing assignments or while studying grammar. Learning support and ESL teachers will also like the extra practice options to help students with grammar skills and idioms. Since there is no "scoring" function, you may want students to raise hands and SHOW you how they did as they complete activities.
Grades4 to 10
tag(s): writing (359)
In the ClassroomThe PDF files that are downloadable from this site are great! It is divided into 6 sections that you can use to plan, or you can use portions directly with students in a lab or on laptops. Have students do different parts of the same projects, working from the templates provided. A great exercise for older students is to go through the writing samples and evaluate them as a class. Since there are multiple examples posted, it would be an excellent lesson to work with an interactive whiteboard. The ideas are limited only by your imagination!
Grades2 to 12
In the ClassroomThey look great printed on brightly colored paper! As an opening day activity, challenge small groups of students to interpret the quote hanging closest to them and predict how it may be important in your course this year. For younger students, ask them to write a paraphrase or to illustrate the quote. Be sure to change the quotes periodically and give a prize to the first student who notices. Or give a pop-quiz during the last week of school, asking students to recall as many of the year's quotes as they can (working in small groups will probably help). If you have classroom blogs, ask students to choose and reflect on a specific quote and its relevance to your class throughout the past year.
GradesK to 12
In the ClassroomIf you want ready-to-go lessons guaranteed to work well on your interactive whiteboard, this collection is a winner. You simply open the activity on the whiteboard and have students tap and drag their way through as you talk with the class. (Invite your most "active" student to be "Vanna White" for a great behavior management solution). Many lessons would work well on laptops or on a computer cluster center, as well.
GradesK to 6
In the ClassroomMark this collection as a Favorite to easily find the review activity you need for any specifc skill --ready for your interactive whiteboard or classroom computer center.
GradesK to 12
In the ClassroomUse a projector--or better yet, an interactive whiteboard--to take students atop the Eiffel Tower, to the high Sierras, or aboard a Mars explorer. Allow student to navigate on the whiteboard. Nte that Shift and Ctrl keys alow you to zoom, as well. Be sure to click at the top of the 3D view to Read More about the image. These tours will make landforms real, culture come alive, and science a visual art form. As you introduce terms and place, use images! You could even use a tour as a writing prompt for poetry or descriptive writing. Include the link on your teacher web page for students to "tour the world" outside of class or feature one location a week to broaden class horizons on a classroom desktop.
What a GREAT idea! Thank you. I found one with mountain biking and vistas. I'll put it up early in the period and come back to it in the end and have them write their exit cards about it. Then I will revisit it in a week or two when we start talking about metaphorical language.Shirley, CA, Grades: 6 - 12
I plan to use this as a way to start the school year with my sixth grade G/T kids. I will display a panorama on an interactive whiteboard-- one of mountains with peaks and valleys. I will ask, "Why would I show you this and say that this is our classroom this year?" The students will write down an idea on a slip of paper, guessing why I might use this as an introduction to my class. They will most likely introduce all of the classroom conduct and learning environment issues that I want to touch upon that first day: peaks and valleys during the year, some rugged terrain, studying mountains and geography, some amazing views (everyone's opinions), and more. It will also get them thinking in analogies and allow me to see how quickly some of them do this and how literal others are.Thinking, PA, Grades: 5 - 10
GradesK to 12
tag(s): resources (112)
In the ClassroomHow would you use this in your teaching? Create a set of RSS feeds for current events or a specific curriculum topic such as weather and make them available for an in-class activity, complete with directions. World language, world cultures, or geography teachers can profile a location on the globe, complete with local weather and news. Make separate tabs for separate activities. Students can access them by password or publicly from outside of class, as well. For primary grades, make simple instructions right on the desktop for a computer center activity. Use color coding of the instructions to differentiate for different children (Sam, I want you to do the yellow one). If your school permits students to set up accounts on web services, have groups make Protopages on an assigned topic, collecting and organizing resources, images, and information: "A Protopage Guide to Cells" or "Shakespeare's Times." Gifted and highly-able students will go crazy!
Skills needed: Join (free). Check out the Intro, Overview, and Quickstart to see how it works. Play to your heart's content, including making tabs. Learn about RSS feeds and other Widgets-- including sticky notes. Share the URL with those you wish to have use it. Note: this works on Internet Explorer 6 and higher and on Firefox. If your users are on older web browsers, the developers recommend upgrading. This may be a problem for some. Check with your end-user computers before you spend too much time making the perfect Protopage!
If you allow students to create their own Protopage, you will need to have very specific rules about content, since there are non-educational elements available.
Grades1 to 6
In the ClassroomPlan a kite day in the fall or spring and use all or part of these plans to learn new words, build kites, and even fly them before you write about them. This would be a terrific activity to include parents at school year's end.
Grades3 to 8
tag(s): writing (359)
In the ClassroomUse this site and its organized approach to teaching story writing to your upper elementary and middle school students. Include the link on your teacher web page for them to use as a reference outside of class, as well. Consider having students use a graphic organizer of a story map to plan their stories (make one for them or have them use one of the many tools you can find on TeachersFirst by searching graphic organizer on our keyword search.
Grades3 to 8
tag(s): poetry (228)
In the ClassroomUse this site and its opportunities to submit work as an writing motivator to encourage development of more in-depth writing. Students will also enjoy "meeting" pen pals from around the world. Always get written parent permission before submitting student work.
tag(s): mind map (25)
In the ClassroomHave students create graphic organizers in cooperative groups as a study guide for unit content, to collect information for a group research project, or show examples of an important concept. Share and compare the organizers on an interactive whiteboard or projector in class and allow classmates to suggest changes. Skills needed: join the site, practice with the tools (don't miss the notes feature!). Save up to 7 "private" maps and an unlimited number of "shared" maps.
Make a map available online by saving and clicking "yes" for sharing, then clicking the Save by URL icon. This will copy the URL onto your computer's clipboard so you can paste it into a word doc or even your teacher web page. Imagine sharing several student made "study guides" in the days before the unit test.
Note that maps that are shared can be seen by the public, but not altered. You specify members who may collaborate and make alterations. For students to collaborate using this tool they must have individual memberships, requiring an email account. These memberships must be activated from their email. So, if students do not have email that is accessible from school, classroom use BY STUDENTS will be severely limited. Editor's note: we asked the Mindomo folks about spell check and student safety issues. They are still developing this tool, so they MIGHT address these issues at a later date.
GradesK to 12
In the ClassroomTry these ready-to-go PowerPoint presentations on an interactive whiteboard or projector in your classroom. Some may also be well-suited for individual students to run on a single classroom computer for remediation or review. There are games, resources and a lot of information. The site includes a disclaimer asking to be notified if users find any copyrighted material. TeachersFirst recommends that you NOT download copies but instead use them online, just in case.
Grades3 to 9
In the ClassroomMark this one as a Favorite so you can find a writing prompt at a moment's notice. These idas would work well with blogs or journals. You cna also use the prompts to model writing techniques on an interactive whiteboard-- always a motivator!
GradesK to 12
tag(s): substitutes (21)
In the ClassroomSubstitutes - don't go into the trenches empty handed, print out this useful survival guide (or make it a TeachersFirst Favorite so you can find it anytime) and be prepared for the unexpected!
GradesK to 12
In the ClassroomThis website provides easy, ready-to-go activities! There are activities for every grade level (from kindergarten to high school). This is a priceless resource for any substitute teacher.
GradesK to 12
Be sure to try the model books and read the tips for writers and illustrators. Take the time to learn the tool. Click to see a sample we made for you and placed on our site.
In the ClassroomLocate or create your own copyright-free text and images for which you have the rights to make more than one copy (Fair Use does not apply!). Copy/paste the text and resize/upload the images--following simple directions to create the pages and accompanying hints. Be sure to learn about the three interactive characters who teach the strategies! Publish and download the files of the finished "books" and save on your computer. Extract the zipped files and save locally, on your network, or burn to CD so your students can access them directly.
The uses of this one are endless. If you take the time to get permission from the publisher to use text from some of your textbooks or reading books, you could create interactive versions to use in your classroom or with special ed students. More simply, use student-written stories and artwork (scanned -- or created in Paint) to create the "book." Imagine creating a class "book" at the end of a unit on Communities or Animals, and including images you take with your digital camera. If you copy the CD's, students could sign out the "book" and read it to relatives using their home computer. You can keep the "library" of past books to help future classes. Or ask your middle/high school or gifted students to create books as writing/service project for struggling readers to use.
Grades1 to 7
In the ClassroomFor younger students, share the site with parents (such as to help first graders study spelling words). For upper elementary and middle school, introduce the site on a projector or interactive whiteboard at the start of the year or as you start major projects. Whether you teach regular ed or learning support, these tips will help your students be better organized and use their study time wisely. Include this link on your teacher web page and ask students to try out different strategies as they study for tests or complete long-term assignments. You might even give points on the test or project for a student reflection telling you which study strategy they tried and how it worked for him/her.
GradesK to 12
In the ClassroomTool can be used in less than 30 seconds. Open TWO windows in Internet Explorer or any web browser. One should be open to citebite; the other to the web page you wish to reference. On that web page, locate and "highlight" the exact passage of text you want to "send" people to see. Copy/paste the passage into the quotation box at Citebite (copy, then change windows). Return to the target web page and copy/paste its actual URL into Citebite. Click "Make Citebite." Copy/paste the new url, indicated after "Your citebite link is:" Note: if the original quote is within a FLASH presentation, it will not copy/paste or generate a Citebite. See this example of a Citebite link to a tip about TeachersFirst Edge tools.
Have your middle and high school students do a web page "credibility critique" on their potential sources by using Citebite before they start a research project. They can highlight passages as proof of credibility -- or lack thereof -- and give you the Citebite links. They will love this easy way to reference a specific portion of a page. You will love the ease of finding it. If you give them a Word document table as a web site evaluation rubric, they can paste the Citebites there, with their comments in the neighboring cell!