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Think Tank - ALTEC at the University of Kansas

Grades
4 to 8
2 Favorites 0  Comments
The next time a research project comes along, send students to this site to help them get organized. Think Tank is designed to assist in the development of topics and ...more
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The next time a research project comes along, send students to this site to help them get organized. Think Tank is designed to assist in the development of topics and subtopics for reports and projects. After defining their subject or perusing a list of suggestions, students are asked to narrow the scope of their project by choosing from a collection of subtopics. Results may be printed.

tag(s): air (163), science fairs (25)

In the Classroom

Share this site with your students before a new research project is assigned. Have students explore the site on individual computers while you model how to navigate the site on a projector or interactive whiteboard. Use this site to help students narrow down their research topic.

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Pics4Learning Lesson Plans - Tech4Learning,Inc.

Grades
2 to 12
1 Favorites 0  Comments
   
This site provides links to lesson plans on using visual (and audio) prompts to get students thinking and writing. While many ideas in the literature section are geared for middle ...more
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This site provides links to lesson plans on using visual (and audio) prompts to get students thinking and writing. While many ideas in the literature section are geared for middle school, most of them are adaptable to younger or older students. One of the advantages to these lesson plan outlines is the variety of ways suggested to get students working with computers. In particular "Interpreting Lyrics with Pictures" suggests students using CD music and pictures to create videos with Photo Editor, Media Blender, or PowerPoint. You can navigate through the "100 Most Popular Images" or search by keyword or photographer for the pictures. Some of the lesson plans require Flash, Adobe Acrobat, or Quicktime. You can get them from the TeachersFirst Toolbox page.

tag(s): literature (274), writing (361)

In the Classroom

Creating videos and/or PowerPoints is always attractive to students since the hands-on capability to create, especially using music and pictures of their choice, is a great motivator. While the lesson plan pages provide standards, the structure of the plans is very open and flexible. Consider using a class wiki as a place to share projects or embed them in a class blog for commenting between students.
 This resource requires Adobe Flash.

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TeacherTube - Teacher Tube, LLC

Grades
K to 12
3 Favorites 0  Comments
   
Move over YouTube! Teachers now have their own place to learn and to teach: TeacherTube.com. Since this site is designed specifically for education, there is not as much concern about...more
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Move over YouTube! Teachers now have their own place to learn and to teach: TeacherTube.com. Since this site is designed specifically for education, there is not as much concern about "public" contributions and appropriateness for school! Teachers will find videos suitable for classroom instruction, such as Ben Franklin chatting with a group of students, or there are also professional videos ideal for staff training (such as Classroom Strategies for Differentiated Instruction). Search and view videos or click on the subject area that interests you, and then click on a video to view. To leave comments, save your favorites, or upload your own video, you will need to register. It's all free. Obviously, this isn't a site for students; however, there are many educational videos suitable for all subject areas that you could share with your students. If your school blocks streaming video sites, consider accessing this site and choosing videos at home, using a tool such as KeepVid reviewed here to download the videos from YouTube to bring them in for class use.

tag(s): video (259)

In the Classroom

If you are looking for a specific topic, save time and use the search option If you wish to add comments or upload your own Teachertube video, you must register as a user at the site. Create and save your edited videos where you can find them on your computer. (Windows Movie Maker or iMovie are great, free tools for video). Then upload to TeacherTube. You will also receive comments on your uploaded videos. If the teacher is the one uploading, the only potential concerns include posting videos with identifiable information or images about your students, school, or class. Check your school policies about posting pictures of your school. If you post student videos, obtain written parent permission to post student work, again within school policies. Any student visible in a video should also have parent permission in accordance with school policies. The most common classroom use would be viewing many videos that match curriculum content. Rap math, visit Anne Frank's historical locations, or view a grammar lesson--these are just a sampling of videos that you may want to use to enhance your curriculum lessons. Use your interactive whiteboard or projector to share the videos with the class. Use the site's videos as an anticipatory set to a new unit or lesson on a specific topic. Have your students create their own TeacherTube video together as a class on any lesson/topic that you are teaching. Have a contest for the best videos and upload the winners to the site (within school policies, of course). Once the class has videos hosted at TeacherTube, you can also embed them in your class bog or wiki for easy sharing with those in your extended online "community."

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Spore Creature Creator - Electronic Arts, Inc.

Grades
2 to 12
7 Favorites 0  Comments
   
Use Creature Creator to make interesting and imaginative animals. Your students may recognize it as a tool for making characters for the Spore video game, but it is actually a ...more
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Use Creature Creator to make interesting and imaginative animals. Your students may recognize it as a tool for making characters for the Spore video game, but it is actually a useful tool for learning, as well. Use a pre-made creature or create your own custom creature. Add carnivore features to your creation that include mouths, ears, eyes, arms, hands, feet, and legs. Weapons such as horns, spikes, and clubs can also be added to the creature as well as wings. Change the position of the features and alter them through unbelievable joint changes which then alter how your creature walks and moves. Paint your creation when done and place it in its woodland environment. The creature can walk, show emotion, have offspring, and make sounds. Use the software to take a picture, record a movie, and make an avatar. By adding a description and tags, your creation can be uploaded to the spore website or to a You Tube account. Here is the first Spore tutorial , which is hosted on YouTube. If your district blocks YouTube, it may not be viewable. You could always view the videos at home and bring them to class "on a stick" to share. Use a tool such as KeepVid reviewed here, to download the videos from YouTube.

Creature Creator is a free download but is a limited version of the original purchased program. The purchased program provides many more choices for the features and environments used to make the creatures. The download is available for both PC and Mac.

tag(s): adaptations (17), animals (277), animation (64), classification (25)

In the Classroom

User needs to be able to download and install the free program. Easy to use interface. Start with a blob, which you manipulate into a shape, pulling its spinal cord in any direction with the mouse, before adding a head, limbs and various optional extra body parts. Choose your part by using the onscreen catalog. Manipulate it further by changing the position of joints or through adding or deleting segments. Add a background and move your creature by dragging your mouse for it to follow. Continue to alter your creature to get the movement or features needed.

Pressing "H" brings up the spore guide which includes topic categories such as "Welcome to Spore," "Getting Started," "Build Mode," "Test Drive," and "Paint Mode."

Check your district policy on downloading and installing of programs. Check with your IT department. Teachers who must request software installation by tech staff may want to try this tool at home and create some sample projects to convince administration of its educational value.

Uploading pictures and videos of creations to You Tube or the spore site may expose students to advertising as well as inappropriately created creatures. You may want to send students directly to URLs for their own projects, maintain the creatures on the classroom computer itself, or use Teacher Tube to upload the creations. Uploading creatures enables outsider comments without teacher control. Outsiders can interact or mark the creations as favorites. Many school policies prohibit such interaction, so be sure to check your school policy. You will want to discuss these features in the context of Internet Safety or establish specific written class rules and consequences for interacting with outsiders. Student work can be saved as a picture and printed, as well, for sharing and showing. Check your school policies on whether student work may be displayed online and what information is permitted, then enforce that policy with your students.

The tool does not show which work is attributable to each student. You may want to require student initials on projects in order to get credit.

Use Creature creator to create an unusual creature as a class project. Create a classification system of all the class creatures to demonstrate biology classification skills. When discussing the groupings in the Animal Kingdom, use Creature Creator to create a new organism for that group. Use the tool to create a class creature with adaptations to a specific environment. Have students create a creature and then write a story or poem about it and how it lives. Have students create a creature as a self-portrait of personality or other traits the students possess. Students can design and draw habitats that would house their creation including the calculation of the volume and area the housing would require. Use a classroom projector or white board to share/create creatures in class and discuss specific features of the creatures.

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bubbl.us - Kirill Edelman and Levon Amelyan

Grades
K to 12
14 Favorites 1  Comments
 
This simple and free online tool allows you to brainstorm ideas and create concept maps with no special software! Bubble.us features some highly interactive abilities: saving your mind...more
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This simple and free online tool allows you to brainstorm ideas and create concept maps with no special software! Bubble.us features some highly interactive abilities: saving your mind map as an image, sharing (emailing) your work with a friend, printing your organizer, creating colorful mind map organizers, embedding your work into a website or blog, and working with friends. You are able to "play" at this site without registering; however registration is necessary for saving, embedding, emailing, and other features. NOTE: the free version only allows you to SAVE three maps, so you will want to save your completed maps as images, then deleted them from your membership to make room for more freebies. Here is an example of a bubbl.us map embedded in a page. Click and drag on the background to read more, or try the zoom controls to see more or less.

tag(s): brainstorming (23), graphic organizers (42), mind map (25)

In the Classroom

Click "Start Here" to type the subject of your concept map. Hitting your Enter key creates a new level (branch) within the map. Tab creates an additional branch on the same level as the current topic. Experiment with the small icons on each "element" to change colors, drag, make new connections, etc. Save and set sharing (read-only or open access) in the area at the right. You can "send" a read-only link via email or copy the embed code from the Menu at lower right), but you cannot find the URL directly from your map. "Send" it to yourself via email to copy the actual URL.

There are countless possibilities at this mental mapping site. Demonstrate the tool on an interactive whiteboard or projector, and then allow students to try to create their own graphic organizers. Use this site for literature activities, research projects, social studies, or science topics of study. Use this site to create family trees. Have students collaborate together (online) to create group mind maps or review charts before tests on a given subject. Have students organize color-code concepts to show what they understand, wonder, question; map out a story, plotline, or LIFETIME; map out a step-by-step process (life cycle); map a real historical event as a choose-your-own-adventure with alternate endings(?) based on pivotal points; plan a "tour" for a "thought museum." Use this mapping website as an alternative to a traditional test, quiz, or homework assignment in literature or social studies: have students demonstrate their understanding by completing a graphic organizer about the main points. To minimize the number of maps on a free account, have students screenshot or print their results to turn them in. See more ideas in the linked example above!

Comments

david, TX, Grades: 9 - 12

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Wordle - Jonathan Feinberg

Grades
2 to 12
17 Favorites 1  Comments
 
This site takes any quotation or poem and creates a "word cloud" (graphical display) of the words in a passage of text. Paste in any passage or the URL for ...more
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This site takes any quotation or poem and creates a "word cloud" (graphical display) of the words in a passage of text. Paste in any passage or the URL for any blog entry or web page (including newspapers online) to create a wordle of the text. If you make a Wordle, you can choose your own colors, type of display, and font. The most frequent words appear larger and darker. Students can view creations others have made or make their own with or without saving them to the database of clouds. You can also print creations, open them in a window without borders, or link to them from a home page (html code is provided for the link). This site requires Java. Get it from the TeachersFirst Toolbox page. However, this site is now a device-agnostic tool, available on the web but also available for free as both an Android and iOS app. Use it from any device or move between several devices and still access your work. App and web versions vary slightly.

tag(s): DAT device agnostic tool (159), speech (91), vocabulary (323), word choice (26), word clouds (10)

In the Classroom

You need to know how to copy/paste. No email registration needed to create. Click Create to get started. Copy/paste text, type into a text box, or paste in the URL of the page you wish to "cloud." Play with options under Layout, Color, and Font menus to change the look. When done, choose to Print, take a screen shot of it in New Window view (PrntScrn on Windows, Command+shift+4 on Mac) or save to public gallery. Once it opens in the gallery view, be sure to copy the URL and keep a record of the exact URL of wordles you save to the Gallery. You will never be able to find them again without it! Use this tool easily in your Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) classroom since all students will be able to access it for free, no matter what device they have.

The public can enter text and create their own Wordles, some of which appear on the home page for "recent" Wordles. Teachers should preview the Gallery and home page immediately before sharing this site with a class. TeachersFirst's review team has not witnessed any objectionable examples. In today's world, a brief lesson or honest discussion on ignoring, clicking out of, or avoiding the inappropriate on the web might be worthwhile, depending on the age and maturity of your students.

This is a terrific visual tool to share on an interactive whiteboard or projector. Paste in a passage or URL for a political speech to visualize the politician's "message." Analyze advertising propaganda by visualizing the language used in TV or print ads. Create wordles of historical texts of inauguration speeches as time capsules of the issues of the day. Use this site as a way to help students see and memorize text, especially visual learners. Use it also when writing poetry or reading passages of great literature to "see" themes and motifs of repeated words and images. Have students paste in their own writing to spot repeated (and monotonous) language when teaching lessons on word choice. Students will be surprised to see what words appear to be dominant. ESL and ELL students will eagerly use this site since word order will no longer be a problem for them. Have students work in groups to create word posters of vocabulary words with related meanings, such as different ways to say "walk" or "said" and decorate your classroom with these visual reminders of the richness of language.

Another idea: use this site during the first week of school. Have students create "Wordles" about themselves and create a "Wordle" bulletin board introducing your students (and yourself). Or use Worlde for a whole-class positive statement as shown in this example. Remember that the most frequently appearing words will appear larger so plan accordingly.

Comments

So versatile and easy to use. Needs supervision because of what some people post in the galleries. Kids find it very easy to use. Nice for quick analysis of text (love to use with Shakespeare). Frances, CT, Grades: 6 - 8

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Pixton - Goodinson Design Inc.

Grades
4 to 12
12 Favorites 0  Comments
 
Create comics quickly and easily with this free site! Choose starting scenes, add new frames, change characters and add text. At this site, students can create, share, and "remix" comics....more
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Create comics quickly and easily with this free site! Choose starting scenes, add new frames, change characters and add text. At this site, students can create, share, and "remix" comics. The "remix" link allows students to add their own twist to ready-made comics. Students can read comics created by others and also make comments on them. Other highlights of the site include a featured author and blog. The free version of Pixton is open to the public. There is also a fee-based version for schools (with teacher and student registration levels and safety tools) with a 30-day free trial period available. Be aware: the Pixton for Schools (if continued after 30-days) will cost $1 per student. See an example created by the TeachersFirst Edge team.

tag(s): comics and cartoons (74), graphic novels (7), novels (24)

In the Classroom

Simply login and click create. Choose a scene you wish to start with. Change your characters from a variety of option. When the comic loads, your chosen character may not show immediately but will appear as you edit each frame. Change sizes of caption bubbles, fonts sizes and types with easy to use sliders. New characters can be added in each frame as well as a variety of additional props such as sports equipment and furniture. Change the background set to a variety of indoor, outdoor city, and outdoor country landscapes. Change background colors easily too. Comics can be saved, scenes can be deleted, and changes made can be reverted to the previous idea easily with on screen controls. Below the comic, buttons for "Save for later" and "Publish Now" quickly save or publish works. If the scene is not ready for publishing, Pixton requests further edits to complete the process.

Consider creating a class account that students can use. Track comics made by students by placing initials in a small caption bubble to identify created comics to a specific student. There are some safeguards in place to be sure students use appropriate language and actions. It would be wise to preview whatever you wish to share with your students, however, since the general public can create comics with their own ideas. Students should submit their work without identifiable names and location, according to your school policy. You will also want written parent permission before allowing students to create comics that can be seen online.

Capture and use your students creativity in storytelling using this exciting tool! Using small amounts of texts to frame a story or to deliver information creatively allows students the opportunity to work deeply with information and use a creative outlet for a variety of projects. Use for students to provide information learned with personal thoughts on subjects ranging from historical events, environmental issues, discussion about plants, animals, and ecosystems, as well as other topics in Art, Math, English, Health, and others. Use in Foreign language classes for short stories created in the language and translated then by other students in the classroom. Use comics to write summaries of current events, responses to reading assignments, expressions of teen problems, and creative works of humor. With younger students, use an interactive whiteboard or projector to create a class comic on a current topic of study, such as the life cycle of the frog or ways to conserve energy. Use this site to integrate an art and writing lesson. Why not have students create comics to demonstrate a concept in science or social studies, rather than a traditional paper/pencil quiz? World language teachers and ESL/ELL teachers will love the chance for students to demonstrate written language skills in the "context" of their comic situations.

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Google Sky - Google

Grades
K to 12
2 Favorites 0  Comments
 
Google Sky is a great way to view the planets, constellations, birth of galaxies, and other items in the universe. It uses some of the best images from the Hubble ...more
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Google Sky is a great way to view the planets, constellations, birth of galaxies, and other items in the universe. It uses some of the best images from the Hubble Telescope and other observatories around the World. Select thumbnail images along the bottom of the screen to quickly access planets, constellations, stars, galaxies, and nebulae. Use layers that are created using different wavelengths such as x-ray, ultraviolet, and infrared light. Type in the name of your favorite planet, star, or constellation in the search field to find it quickly and then zoom in for greater detail and information. This site requires Flash. You can get it from the TeachersFirst Toolbox page..

tag(s): planets (124), stars (61)

In the Classroom

No matter what subject you teach, bring the wonder of the night sky to your students. Google Sky provides a look at millions of stars and galaxies in the universe which can be a springboard to many activities in your class using art, geography, math, and writing. Use Google Sky as a complement to a planetarium field trip by showing the solar system in your classroom. Use Google Sky to track the life of a star from birth to death, begin discussions and multimedia presentations of mythological orientations of names, and histories or trajectories of planets. Elementary teachers will enjoy being able to share the night skay to accompany or inspire writing poems and stories aout the stars. Find great resources from Google here.
 This resource requires Adobe Flash.

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Traci's List of Ten: Literature - Traci Gardner

Grades
6 to 12
1 Favorites 0  Comments
This is an idea site for those who teach literature. It is a plain vanilla site that offers ten interesting ways to involve students beyond mere essay writing on any ...more
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This is an idea site for those who teach literature. It is a plain vanilla site that offers ten interesting ways to involve students beyond mere essay writing on any piece of literature. Some of these ways are new twists on old ideas and several of them are rather innovative. Definitely worth a look if you are tired of reading the same things over and over. Although this site was created in 1998, the ideas are still relevant today.

tag(s): literature (274)

In the Classroom

The mix-n-match element of this particular list makes it interesting for students working on a novel or a longer story that could deal with several of these elements. Take one or two of the ideas and split them up among a class. Create a debate, complete with slide show, or webquest to involve students in the text.

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TeachersFirst Wiki Walk-Through - TeachersFirst

Grades
K to 12
6 Favorites 0  Comments
 
There is nothing twicky about a wiki. Learn about this online collaboration tool: what a wiki is, how you might use it in your classroom, how to explain it to ...more
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There is nothing twicky about a wiki. Learn about this online collaboration tool: what a wiki is, how you might use it in your classroom, how to explain it to parents and administration, and how to get started. There are over 50 examples of activities you can do with a wiki and links to a free tool to get started. A fresh revision of the Walk-Through in 2008 includes comparison reviews of the top three wiki tools for education. We even give you the downloadable handout to send home.

tag(s): wikis (20)

In the Classroom

This is listed as a TeachersFirst "edge" entry, but our step-by-step walk-through takes the edge off and makes your wiki a walk in the park. Check it out now, while there is still FREE classroom wiki space available from the three wiki tools we review in detail.
 

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KidsWWrite - Kalamalka Institute for Working Writers

Grades
1 to 10
2 Favorites 0  Comments
This e-magazine features work by children from ages 5 - 16 from all around the world. The student writings are divided into three age levels (5-8, 9-12, and 13-16). The ...more
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This e-magazine features work by children from ages 5 - 16 from all around the world. The student writings are divided into three age levels (5-8, 9-12, and 13-16). The writing includes both poetry and stories. Students can also submit book reviews of favorite works and also art. The book reviews are anecdotal and personal and also include a drawing or copy of the book cover. If students wish to search for stories on a certain topic, a search box and archives are available.

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

In the Classroom

Share samples of students' writing on an interactive whiteboard or projector. Be sure to preview for content inappropriate for your classroom. Have your students create cover art and write stories, book reviews, or poetry to submit to this site. Of course you will want written parent permission before submitting student work to this online magazine. Students should submit their work without identifiable names and location, according to your school policy.If your school prohibits using blogs to post student writing, this is a middle ground alternative to get their works in front of a wider audience.

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An Academic Writing Module: Paragraphs - Alison Hoffmann, Barbara Griffiths and Irina Elgort

Grades
7 to 12
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This site offers writing exercises for students' self-directed study. The exercises cover topic sentences, building paragraphs, incorporating sources (always good for practice in writing...more
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This site offers writing exercises for students' self-directed study. The exercises cover topic sentences, building paragraphs, incorporating sources (always good for practice in writing research essays or papers), and types of paragraphs. There is a sample essay that students are encouraged to read after doing the exercises, but it offers both a sample essay and an analysis of the writing and content. This site requires that Javascript be enabled web browser. You can find directions at the TeachersFirst Toolbox page..

tag(s): paragraph writing (17), sentences (52), writing (361)

In the Classroom

This site offers the option for students to work independently on their basic writing. These exercises are a little more advanced than some on the web; however, they are especially good for high school students. It would make an interesting exercise to work through some of the examples as a class on interactive whiteboard, and then offer students the sample essay to analyze themselves or on the whiteboard before showing the final analysis on the site.

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Constructing the Paragraph - Dr. Elizabeth Hanson-Smith

Grades
7 to 10
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For students learning or struggling with creating effective paragraphs, this site is helpful, since it allows students to self-test and then go through the steps themselves. It includes...more
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For students learning or struggling with creating effective paragraphs, this site is helpful, since it allows students to self-test and then go through the steps themselves. It includes topic sentences, topics and comments, support statements, transitions, and organization. It is appropriate for any level of student who still needs help with the basic principle of writing a paragraph. The presentation is "plain vanilla" but effective.

tag(s): paragraph writing (17), writing (361)

In the Classroom

Perfect for middle school students who can work ahead independently or for high school students who are still struggling a bit, this site gives you the option of having students practice on their own, particularly through the self-testing stage. This would be great as a learning station on writing for students.

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You Quote It, You Note It - Acadia University

Grades
6 to 12
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This interactive site is meant to help students understand what is and is not actually plagiarism. It allows students to "pick" a student to walk through the tutorial with and ...more
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This interactive site is meant to help students understand what is and is not actually plagiarism. It allows students to "pick" a student to walk through the tutorial with and does a good job of explaining why something is plagiarism and how to fix it. The actual tutorial takes about 10 minutes. Although this is geared to Acadia University students, it is very pertinent to middle and high school students, as well, and very easy to understand. This site requires Flash. You can get it from the TeachersFirst Toolbox page..

tag(s): plagiarism (35)

In the Classroom

This is a great follow-up site when discussing plagiarism with students. If you have access to a computer lab, students can work independently or in pairs through the tutorial and then check each other's work.
 This resource requires Adobe Flash.

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Showing Evidence: Analyzing and Evaluating Information - Intel Education

Grades
3 to 12
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Give your students the skills to analyze and evaluate information with Intel's free "Showing Evidence tool." "Showing Evidence" provides a visual framework to help students learn how...more
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Give your students the skills to analyze and evaluate information with Intel's free "Showing Evidence tool." "Showing Evidence" provides a visual framework to help students learn how to construct well-reasoned arguments and prove their case with credible evidence. Students are prompted to consider the quality of the evidence and the strength of the evidence to support their claim. When an argument is complicated, the components of the tool help students think through justifying a claim.

This web-based tool is accompanied by detailed lesson plans designed for elementary, middle, and high school students. A variety of subject areas and projects are ready to adapt for the classroom or implement as-is. Explore the project ideas, instructional strategies, assessment tips, and research to help you plan a project of your own. Registration is free and creates a teacher workspace in which to build the class project. The password-protected workspace is accessed through the internet where students log on with the teacher-created ID, team ID, and password. Students can access the project workspace from home or though other Internet access points such as the public library.

Be sure to disable your popup blocker, as the site needs to show popup windows during the project. This site requires Flash and Adobe Acrobat Reader. Get these tools from the TeachersFirst Toolbox page..

tag(s): debate (41), folktales (65), shakespeare (130), thinking skills (18)

In the Classroom

Teachers can use the comprehensive tutorial to learn the features of the tool and use the workspace to practice with the tool. Take advantage of the detailed unit plans that provide usable handouts and student work samples. Or just browse through several shorter project descriptions for project ideas that suit your classroom.

Make a shortcut to this site on your desktop and student computer desktops for easy access. Use the "Showing Evidence "tool to explore themes such as why do we explore, what happens next, is everything we read true, and what is freedom? Have student teams stage debates using their visual diagrams to show their thinking processes to the class using an interactive whiteboard or projector.
  This resource requires Adobe Flash and PDF reader software like Adobe Acrobat.

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ESL Reading Lessons - 5 Minute English

Grades
4 to 10
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This teaching site has a variety of short readings at various levels that could be useful in an ESL, ELL, special education, or regular ed classroom. Some of the topics ...more
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This teaching site has a variety of short readings at various levels that could be useful in an ESL, ELL, special education, or regular ed classroom. Some of the topics include sentences with grammar errors, students must figure out what is wrong with each sentence. This is excellent practice for any student learning proper grammar. True/ false comprehension questions follow the reading in most cases. Most of the answers are provided at the bottom of the website - so don't scroll too quickly. Before the reading begins, students can study difficult vocabulary words presented in an attractive format. There are full units (with many mini-lessons): grammar, reading, vocabulary, listening, pronunciation, and writing. This site does have unobtrusive advertisements, but watch out for the audio announcements when you open the site. Some of the listening activities require Flash. You can get it from the TeachersFirst Toolbox page..

tag(s): grammar (217), listening (90), pronunciation (43), reading comprehension (114), short stories (25), vocabulary (323)

In the Classroom

Use this site if you want your students to do additional reading. Project the topic, story, and questions on an interactive whiteboard or projector for group discussion. Have your students make up their own questions to go with the site. Have your students write up a similar subject relevant to their own culture and present it, along with questions to check for comprehension. This is a fabulous site to list on your class website for students to use for at-home practice.
 This resource requires Adobe Flash.

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Ocean Life - Scholastic

Grades
K to 9
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This website offers an introduction to the Scholastic Explorer's Ocean Life project. Students travel to Costa Rica, New Zealand, and other places to explore the ocean and animals. Students...more
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This website offers an introduction to the Scholastic Explorer's Ocean Life project. Students travel to Costa Rica, New Zealand, and other places to explore the ocean and animals. Students get to learn about real-life ocean explorers. There are also interactive challenges, sure to excite your students. A detailed Teacher's Guide is included. Most of the activities are geared towards students in grades 4-9. However, there are lesson plans (with standards) for students in kindergarten through grade 9. Links to plans for older students are no longer active. Some of the activities require Flash. You can get it from the TeachersFirst Toolbox page..

tag(s): environment (317)

In the Classroom

This site is a wonderful addition to a unit about the ocean and ecosystems. Check out the lesson plans and see what is available for your grade level. If you teach grades 4-9, be sure to check on the interactive activities available at this website - perfect for your interactive whiteboard or projector.
 This resource requires Adobe Flash.

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Snoopy - United Feature Syndicate, Inc.

Grades
3 to 8
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Find out all you can about Snoopy and the rest of the Peanuts gang on Snoopy.com. This site provides a variety of great comic strips that can be applied to ...more
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Find out all you can about Snoopy and the rest of the Peanuts gang on Snoopy.com. This site provides a variety of great comic strips that can be applied to many classroom lessons. The site also provides an Author Spotlight on Charles Schulz. There is also a link for fun and games with printable pages, puzzles, word problems, and other "fun" stuff. Some of the activities require Shockwave. You can get it from the TeachersFirst Toolbox page..

tag(s): comics and cartoons (74)

In the Classroom

Have students utilize and manipulate comic strips for dialog-writing lessons, summarizing, predicting and retelling stories. Use comic strips for literature responses. School counselors will also like the Peanuts strips as conversation starters about feelings. You could even use an online comic strip maker, such as Make Beliefs Comix to create your own class or student comic strips after looking at some examples from Peanuts. Use your interactive whiteboard or projector to share the Fun and Games . Then have students work on individual computers or with a partner to try some of the educational activities.

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The Biography Maker - Jamie McKenzie and the Bellingham Public Schools.

Grades
4 to 12
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Writing biographies is a staple of English and history classes. This site takes students through the process in a way that will make reading them more palatable. It will also ...more
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Writing biographies is a staple of English and history classes. This site takes students through the process in a way that will make reading them more palatable. It will also help students delve deeper into a person's life , making it memorable for them. Divided into four groups (Questioning, Learning, Synthesis, and Storytelling), it helps students understand how to take facts and apply them to a real live person. It wraps up with the six effective traits of writing, reminding students that biography writing shouldn't just be a recitation of facts. The "learning" section does link students to Yahoo encyclopedias and Google (with search hints included), so be aware of that feature. This site serves as a guide for writing a biography of anyone (including students themselves).

tag(s): questioning (32), writing (361)

In the Classroom

All material at this site is copyrighted, so it must be viewed online. For students who do best with step-by-step instructions, this site is a gem! You might have one group research authors from a particular country while others do artists, musicians, scientists, etc. A class report from each of these groups would do a good job of encapsulating a country or area of the world within any given time period. Teachers seeking independent projects for students who "test out" of a unit can assign this site's step-by-step instructions as a meaningful alternate activity.

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Kids' Vid - Mike Keating

Grades
3 to 8
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Leap into video production with help from the Kids' Vid site! Kids' Vid steps you and your students through the process with tips on scripting, storyboarding, shooting video, and editing...more
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Leap into video production with help from the Kids' Vid site! Kids' Vid steps you and your students through the process with tips on scripting, storyboarding, shooting video, and editing it into a visual masterpiece. The site has classroom ideas, short exercises for story writing and learning video shots, an online storyboard creator, and lots of useful help from experts and kids on how to make the whole process an exciting educational experience. Some of the activities require Flash. Get it from the TeachersFirst Toolbox page..

tag(s): tutorials (46)

In the Classroom

Start the activity by showing the student-produced videos on the web site. Use the resources on the site for a whole class jig-saw exercise. Assign small groups the task of learning one aspect of the process and then reporting and showing it to the rest of the class. Share the knowledge by creating working groups, which contain an expert from each aspect of the process. Use one of the many class ideas as practice activities for students to learn the finer points of video production before they start their masterpieces.

Video is a great tool for authentic assessment - especially for ESL, ELL, and Special Education students. Think about letting each of your students create a short video about what they know for their parent conference meeting or Open House. Explore the realm of possibilities by having students develop and ask peers a "Question of the Week" and document the responses on video. Let students produce a walking tour of the school and key personnel as an introduction for new students. Post this video on the school website, but check the district and students' Acceptable Use Policies before videoing any student faces. You may want to ask your school's funding sources to consider purchasing a few USB plug-in "flip" video cameras that cost about $100 each so students can do these projects with an "indestructible" tool.
 This resource requires Adobe Flash.

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