TeachersFirst Professional Exclusives

TeachersFirst’s Professional Exclusives help you learn as a teacher, try new technologies, explore new teaching strategies, or understand student differences. Discover how and why to use wikis from the Wiki Walk-Through. Learn to adapt for ESL students in a regular classroom. Learn the how and why of better rubrics – and locate or create them easily. Every TeachersFirst professional exclusive is written by experienced teachers and includes the pragmatic, teacher-friendly details that you count on from our Thinking Teachers.

 

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Writer's Workshop Introduction - Teachersfirst

Grades
1 to 6
9 Favorites 0  Comments
 
Good writing skills are essential for secondary students. Writer's Workshop is an interdisciplinary writing technique which can build elementary students' fluency in writing through...more
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Good writing skills are essential for secondary students. Writer's Workshop is an interdisciplinary writing technique which can build elementary students' fluency in writing through continuous, repeated exposure to the process of writing. Teachers can introduce elements of Writer's Workshop at any elementary grade. Ideally, however, the process begins in Kindergarten.

tag(s): writing (317)

In the Classroom

Teachers can use this introduction to introduce Writer's Workshop elements in a variety of curriculum situations and classroom settings.

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Bulletin Board Hang Ups - TeachersFirst

Grades
2 to 12
17 Favorites 0  Comments
TeachersFirst provides this collection of printable quotations, ready for your classroom or bulletin board. Inspire, engage, or challenge your students to think with quotes from famous...more
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TeachersFirst provides this collection of printable quotations, ready for your classroom or bulletin board. Inspire, engage, or challenge your students to think with quotes from famous leaders, sports figures, thinkers, and writers.

tag(s): bulletin boards (14), quotations (20)

In the Classroom

They 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.
 This resource requires PDF reader software like Adobe Acrobat.

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Blog Basics for the Classroom - TeachersFirst

Grades
K to 12
10 Favorites 0  Comments
This comprehensive tutorial gives all the details on using gated blogs safely in the classroom, including explanations of blogging basics, a TeachersFirst Step-by-Step on how to start...more
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This comprehensive tutorial gives all the details on using gated blogs safely in the classroom, including explanations of blogging basics, a TeachersFirst Step-by-Step on how to start one, complete charts of the features of several free blogging tools for teachers, and over two dozen ideas for how to use a blog with your students. Make "writing to learn" approachable and exciting. You will even find a customizable Blogger's Agreement to download and use with students and parents so everyone knows the expectations and consequences for your class blogs.

tag(s): blogs (66)

In the Classroom

You could use this step by step as the framework for a self-directed or "buddy" professional development project. Share it with your principal or professional development coordinator. USe the strategies and ideas here to start a blog for your class or for each student. Don't miss suggestions for a Teacher as Blogger so you can model blogging, too.

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TeachersFirst Wiki Walk-Through - TeachersFirst

Grades
K to 12
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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 ...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 (15)

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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Adapt-a-Strategy for ENL/ESL - TeachersFirst

Grades
K to 12
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Need clarification about ESL vs. ELL vs. ENL? You will find that with this professional learning module. Next, learn about the different frameworks and pedagogies. Then the need for...more
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Need clarification about ESL vs. ELL vs. ENL? You will find that with this professional learning module. Next, learn about the different frameworks and pedagogies. Then the need for getting to know your student is explained, and finally, move to vocabulary, reading, writing, mathematics, technology, science/social studies, art and music, and physical education strategies. Adapt your existing lesson plans using these simple strategies to help ENL students. Click on the activity type you have planned and find suggestions and resources to help your ENL/ESL students be successful with the lesson. Some of the same strategies may help students with IEPs for speech and language or learning support.

tag(s): teaching strategies (41)

In the Classroom

Share this one with your colleagues who also have ENL/ESL students.

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Top Ten Tips for Working With ENL/ESL Students - TeachersFirst

Grades
K to 12
1 Favorites 0  Comments
Teaching ESL./ELL students in your regular classroom can be a challenge. You feel great empathy for the children who enter your room, bewildered, but you have the rest of the ...more
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Teaching ESL./ELL students in your regular classroom can be a challenge. You feel great empathy for the children who enter your room, bewildered, but you have the rest of the class to think of, too. TeachersFirst offers these Top Ten Tips for Teachers working with ENL/ESL students to help you find appropriate ways to differentiate instruction and make minor adjustments for the individual student and maximize the benefit of having these new students in the class.

tag(s): teaching strategies (41)

In the Classroom

From TeacherFirst, this site is a helpful resource for new ENL/ESL teachers, or to pass along to general education teachers who are eager to know how to best assimilate a new ENL/ESL student into their classroom. Save the site as a favorite on your desktop to allow easy reference whenever, and pass it along to interested peers!

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Webquest 101 - TeachersFirst

Grades
1 to 12
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Newly revised, TeachersFirst's extensive tutorial explains what a webquest is, why it can be useful in the classroom, and how to create your own webquest on a topic of your ...more
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Newly revised, TeachersFirst's extensive tutorial explains what a webquest is, why it can be useful in the classroom, and how to create your own webquest on a topic of your choosing. Don't miss the section on url detective work and evaluating which sites are best for your students. Fid handy ways to collect resources for webquests and hints for checking reading levels and more. There are lots of examples, tool suggestions, and links to our ever-growing collection of sample webquests.

tag(s): tutorials (54), webquests (21)

In the Classroom

Mark this in your Favorites as a professional reference. You may even want to assign students to create their own webquests following these guidelines. If you mentor new teachers, share this resource when they are designing their first web-based projects.

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Middle School Do's and Don'ts - TeachersFirst

Grades
5 to 9
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These pointers are taken from the notebook of a 7th and 8th grade teacher, and are reprinted here with her permission. ...more
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These pointers are taken from the notebook of a 7th and 8th grade teacher, and are reprinted here with her permission.

tag(s): newbies (14), substitutes (27)

In the Classroom

If you are a new middle school teacher or mentor to one, these tips can maintain your sanity and improve your success. Mark this in favorites and looks for examples in your experience!

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Rubrics to the Rescue - TeachersFirst- Melissa Henning, M.Ed.

Grades
1 to 12
3 Favorites 0  Comments
TeachersFirst expains the essentials of rubrics: What are they, why use them, types of rubrics, and ideas for involving students in creating rubrics. The article includes links to online...more
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TeachersFirst expains the essentials of rubrics: What are they, why use them, types of rubrics, and ideas for involving students in creating rubrics. The article includes links to online tools for creating rubrics or to find ready-made rubrics, ready for download. Teachers old and new will like the succinct explanations and ready tools for authentic assessment.

tag(s): assessment (146), newbies (14), rubrics (34)

In the Classroom

Mark this resource as a Favorite for quick access to everything you need to create a project-based learning assignment or assessment for any project. Share this resource with other teachers at your school.

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Building Schoolwide Literacy With Free Web 2.0 Tools: A Grade by Grade Elementary Model - TeachersFirst

Grades
K to 8
2 Favorites 0  Comments
The Source for Learning offers this model for elementary (or middle) schools to build skills in reading, writing, speaking, and listening systematically in a schoolwide model including...more
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The Source for Learning offers this model for elementary (or middle) schools to build skills in reading, writing, speaking, and listening systematically in a schoolwide model including students, teachers, and parents. The free Web 2.0 tools suggested here are by no means the only tools that might work. These exemplary tools were chosen by the TeachersFirst Editors for ease of use and versatility in classroom and home use and could easily be implemented at grade levels other than those suggested here. As students and teachers master a new tool at each grade level, they develop rich literacy skills and vital technology skills, all in the context of reading, writing, speaking and listening across the curriculum.

tag(s): listening (71), speaking (22)

In the Classroom

Explore the tools and project suggestions by grade for your individual use as a teacher or work together with others in your school to build literacy across all subjects and grades by systematically adopting and repeatedly using a fixed collection of tools so students master the tool skills as an aside to reading, writing, speaking, and listening. Try the practical suggestions for implementing this model in your school or grade level team.

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Student Produced Video Field Trips - TeachersFirst

Grades
4 to 12
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What is a student created video field trip? Simply put, it is an experience where a group of students goes to a site to shoot video, interviews, etc. and streams ...more
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What is a student created video field trip? Simply put, it is an experience where a group of students goes to a site to shoot video, interviews, etc. and streams the video (live and archived) to students, parents, and others unable to attend in person. TeachersFirst shares this how-to and why-to so you and your students will try it. Expand each point within these pages to learn what to do in detail---and skip the steps you already know or that don't apply!

tag(s): video (261)

In the Classroom

Read through the step by step and get started! TeachersFirst offers all the practical advice you need to try this 21st century approach to real world learning.

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X (formerly Twitter) for Teachers - TeachersFirst

Grades
K to 12
4 Favorites 0  Comments
 
Learn the basics about X (formerly Twitter), the popular microblogging tool, and how it can help you with personalized, immediate professional development and collaboration with other...more
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Learn the basics about X (formerly Twitter), the popular microblogging tool, and how it can help you with personalized, immediate professional development and collaboration with other teachers in other schools. Start the tutorial with Module 1 and learn what X (formerly Twitter) is and why you will want to use it professionally. Next, you'll be taken step-by-step through how to effectively use X (formerly Twitter): setting up an account, following other users, creating a username, picking an avatar, and writing a short bio blurb. Lastly, you will learn about X's (formerly Twitter) search feature. In Module 2, learn about X (formerly Twitter) terms and symbols. Module 3 focuses on students understanding of X (formerly Twitter) and their Digital Footprint or Tatoo; they will learn to use the handy acronym THINK and will discuss the difference between privacy and security. Teachers will get many ideas and information about using X (formerly Twitter) in the classroom. Module 4 has even more suggestions for using X (formerly Twitter) in the classroom with all age groups, X (formerly Twitter) Chats, and lots of resources to connect with on X (formerly Twitter). This tutorial will help you start using X (formerly Twitter)safely for your learning and possibly expand into using X (formerly Twitter) for class connections with other classrooms. You can also earn 1 unit for completing the modules for a professional learning certificate. Best of all - it's FREE!

tag(s): social networking (66), twitter (19)

In the Classroom

There is a wealth of information about X (formerly Twitter) on this site, so you will want to bookmark it in your favorites to return to often. Make this page a must-learn for teaching in the 21st century. Refer this tutorial to other teachers and administrators in your building. Once you finish with module 1 you will have a X (formerly Twitter) account of your own. Follow @teachersfirst, @OK2Ask, and our lead Thinking Teacher @morerukus2, and we will surely welcome you!

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In a Manner of Speaking: Figurative Language and the Common Core - TeachersFirst

Grades
K to 5
3 Favorites 0  Comments
  
Dive into the Common Core standards for figurative language in both reading and writing in elementary grades with this article and resource collection. The article includes book suggestions...more
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Dive into the Common Core standards for figurative language in both reading and writing in elementary grades with this article and resource collection. The article includes book suggestions for figurative language, as well. This article is part of a series about implementing Common Core. The article is intended for elementary teachers as part of our Help! I lost my library/media specialist series.

tag(s): commoncore (75), figurative language (15)

In the Classroom

Read lesson ideas and learn more about the ambitious figurative language expectations of Common Core as you begin to implement the new standards. Mark this article in your Favorites. Many of the suggested resources may be helpful during curriculum planning sessions with other teachers or with your teacher -librarian if you DO have one. Click the "share" widget to send them to others!

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Dimensions of Creativity: A Model to Analyze Student Projects - TeachersFirst

Grades
K to 12
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These pages, sparked by a presentation by TeachersFirst's own Candace Hackett Shively, provide a way to plan and conduct curriculum projects to build creativity skills along with curriculum...more
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These pages, sparked by a presentation by TeachersFirst's own Candace Hackett Shively, provide a way to plan and conduct curriculum projects to build creativity skills along with curriculum concepts. Using the lens of Guilford's model of divergent thinking: fluency, flexibility, originality, and elaboration (FFOE for short), teachers and students have a shared vocabulary and specific creativity skills to evaluate and develop. Find specific ways to differentiate for varied student creativity skills while creating curriculum projects using free web 2.0 tools. The pages include the "Prezi" visual presentation from ISTE 2010 about this model (no audio, just the visuals). These pages provide explanations and, most importantly, practical ways to look at the projects that teachers plan and the products that students produce so they can continue to build FFOE skills as part of any grade level or curriculum. Customizable rubrics make implementation easier at any grade level.

tag(s): creativity (91)

In the Classroom

Do more than simply tell your students to "be creative." Try the ideas and practical suggestions on these pages if you ask: How do I help students who struggle with "being creative" in project-based learning? How do I differentiate tools/projects to match students' varied creativity skills? How do I know that more "creative" students are moving forward, challenging their creative thinking and not simply using past "tried and true" ideas, wrapped in a little glitz? How do my students and I talk about the creativity skills they used (or did not use) in making a project?

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OK2Ask - TeachersFirst

Grades
K to 12
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OK2Ask'® is TeachersFirst's series of virtual workshops available in both live (for credit) and on-demand (without credit) formats. These sessions, scheduled at convenient times...more
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OK2Ask'® is TeachersFirst's series of virtual workshops available in both live (for credit) and on-demand (without credit) formats. These sessions, scheduled at convenient times for you to attend from any computer or tablet, will share great ideas you can use in your classroom, are free courtesy of The Source for Learning, and are led by TeachersFirst''® ed tech coaches. These hands-on sessions are useful and teacher-friendly. You can earn Professional Development Certificates for attending the LIVE sessions (and completing the requirements) or learn independently from the archived recordings. Approved by special arrangement for re-licensure credit in Texas, Montana, Pennsylvania, and Illinois. Sessions are correlated to the ISTE standards for Educators.

In the Classroom

Attend OK2Ask'® sessions with your teacher friends or "meet" teachers from far and wide. Mark OK2Ask in your Favorites. Then check back often for new offerings during the school year and summer breaks. During the school year, LIVE OK2Ask sessions are usually offered on Tuesday evenings in a 90-minute format. You can earn Professional Development Certificates for attending the LIVE sessions (and completing the requirements) or learn on your own from the archived recordings.

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OK2Ask: Data and Charts and Graphs, Oh My! Let Google Tools Be Your Guide - TeachersFirst

Grades
2 to 12
6 Favorites 0  Comments
 
This recording of an OK2Ask online professional learning session is from February 2020. You can register and immediately view the archive of the session.

Humans respond
...more
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This recording of an OK2Ask online professional learning session is from February 2020. You can register and immediately view the archive of the session.

Humans respond to and process visual data better than any other type of data. Whether students are learning to collect, organize, graph, or interpret data, this webinar offers proven tools and strategies that assist learners in developing and applying those skills. Together we will explore and plan for the use of forms to collect data, web resources to access data, spreadsheets to manipulate and graph data, and Google MyMaps to visualize data. Students from beginner to advanced can use these tools to visualize and connect math, science, and social studies concepts to concrete, real-world applications. Let's get students excited about learning and help them incorporate complex data literacy into their world view. This session is appropriate for teachers at all technology levels. Participants will: 1. Understand how to use data visualization in the classroom; 2. Explore digital tools that will assist students with data visualization projects; and 3. Plan for the use of data visualization in the classroom. This session is appropriate for teachers at all technology levels.

tag(s): charts and graphs (169), data (147), Google (46), infographics (57), professional development (393), visualizations (11)

In the Classroom

The archive of this teacher-friendly, hands-on webinar will empower and inspire you to use learning technology in the classroom and for professional productivity. As appropriate, specific classroom examples and ideas have been shared. View the session with a few of your teaching colleagues to find and share new ideas. Find additional information and links to tools at the session resource page. Learn more about OK2Ask and upcoming sessions here.

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OK2Ask: Increase Student Achievement and Engagement in Your Classroom with Simulations - TeachersFirst

Grades
1 to 12
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This recording of an OK2Ask online professional learning session is from May 2020. You can register and immediately view the archive of the session.

The authentic nature
...more
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This recording of an OK2Ask online professional learning session is from May 2020. You can register and immediately view the archive of the session.

The authentic nature of simulations can be highly motivating for even your hardest to reach students. When used properly, instructional simulations can empower student learning, helping students to set goals, seek feedback, and demonstrate what they have learned. Learn to choose simulations that model the relationships between concepts studied. In this session, we will discuss how to best use simulations in the classroom to increase student achievement, allow students to reflect on what they have learned, and transfer their knowledge to new problems and situations. As a result of this session, teachers will: 1. Understand the value of using simulations in the classroom; 2. Explore instructional simulations; and 3. Plan for the use of simulations in the instructional setting. This session is appropriate for teachers at all technology levels.

tag(s): professional development (393), simulations (8)

In the Classroom

The archive of this teacher-friendly, hands-on webinar will empower and inspire you to use learning technology in the classroom and for professional productivity. As appropriate, specific classroom examples and ideas have been shared. View the session with a few of your teaching colleagues to find and share new ideas. Find additional information and links to tools at the session resource page. Learn more about OK2Ask and upcoming sessions here.

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Across the World Once a Week: Collaborative Microblogging for Cross-Cultural Understanding - TeachersFirst

Grades
3 to 12
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Across the World Once a Week (XW1W) is a teaching idea that uses today's instant technologies to share answers to the same question across the world once a week. XW1W ...more
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Across the World Once a Week (XW1W) is a teaching idea that uses today's instant technologies to share answers to the same question across the world once a week. XW1W is a simple, social way for students to learn about real life in other cultures from real kids all across the world. By simply "hashtagging" X (formerly Twitter) or blog responses to a weekly question about daily life, students can share and learn about other cultures from their international peers. Find out more and read the details of this offering from TeachersFirst. The page displays the current weekly question as well as a X (formerly Twitter) feed of recent responses. (If you see a black "box," your school may be blocking X (formerly Twitter) feeds.) Don't miss the FAQ page to help you get started.

tag(s): cross cultural understanding (155), cultures (132), twitter (19)

In the Classroom

Join XW1W with your class using a single X (formerly Twitter) account or any blog or wiki tool where you can share student answers to the weekly question. If you cannot access X (formerly Twitter) at school, that is not a problem. You do not even have to use X (formerly Twitter) (though this is a great way dip your toes into X - formerly Twitter). See the FAQ page for specific hints on using XW1W with your students. Share the XW1W idea with teaching colleagues in other places, and perhaps even with families to try at home. Want to learn more about X (formerly Twitter) and teaching? See TeachersFirst's X (formerly Twitter) for Teachers page.

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Gifts of Character Readalouds - TeachersFirst

Grades
K to 6
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This readaloud collection is part of the Help I lost my library/media specialist series. Although nothing can replace the specialized knowledge of a teacher-librarian, this...more
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This readaloud collection is part of the Help I lost my library/media specialist series. Although nothing can replace the specialized knowledge of a teacher-librarian, this collection of books and activities was created by an experienced elementary library/media specialist. The list of books to read aloud and accompanying activities center on the character traits we typically associate with the holiday season and try to instill: generosity, benevolence, philanthropy, compassion, service, and kindness. If your library does not have the books you want from this list, try using the ISBN numbers to borrow them on interlibrary loan from a public library nearby.

tag(s): christmas (37), holidays (163), independent reading (86)

In the Classroom

Mark this one in your favorites to bring out in late November, just in time for the holiday season. Or include it during a character education unit. Maybe invite some parents to volunteer as readers, modeling how adults give of their own time to support others.

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Biography Read-alouds - TeachersFirst

Grades
K to 6
3 Favorites 1  Comments
 
This read-aloud collection is part of the Help I lost my library/media specialist series, written by an experienced elementary library/media specialist. Although nothing can...more
Here is the direct link to share this resource review. Feel free to copy and paste this URL into an email or place it on your web page or blog so others can read this TeachersFirst review:

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This read-aloud collection is part of the Help I lost my library/media specialist series, written by an experienced elementary library/media specialist. Although nothing can replace the specialized knowledge of a teacher-librarian, this collection of biographies to read aloud and accompanying activities will teach information literacy skills about what biographies are while exciting students to read some on their own. If your library does not have the books you want from this list, try using the ISBN numbers to borrow them on inter-library loan from a public library nearby.

tag(s): biographies (95), famous people (21), independent reading (86)

In the Classroom

Mark this read aloud in your Favorites for use when studying famous Americans or as a wonderful lead-in to Martin Luther King Day or Presidents Day.

Comments

Velma, TX, Grades: 5 - 8

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