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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OK2Ask: 3 Cool Tools to Amp Up Collaboration - TeachersFirst

Grades
3 to 12
2 Favorites 0  Comments
This recording of an OK2Ask online professional development session from April 2016, opens in Adobe Connect. Explore three online tools for collaboration with peers and students. Discover...more
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This recording of an OK2Ask online professional development session from April 2016, opens in Adobe Connect. Explore three online tools for collaboration with peers and students. Discover the differences between collaboration and group work. Discuss and learn ways to foster collaboration in the classroom. Share with peers the positives of collaboration and strategies for encouraging participants when faced with difficulties. Begin to develop a collaborative activity for your individual needs. Participants will: 1. Understand the difference between collaboration and group work; 2. Compare/Contrast three online tools for collaboration; 3. Explore three online tools for collaboration; and 4. Participate in a collaborative activity. This session is appropriate for teachers at all technology levels.

tag(s): collaboration (31)

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: 3 Cool Tools to Power Up Your Images - TeachersFirst

Grades
K to 12
1 Favorites 0  Comments
This recording of an OK2Ask online professional development session from February 2016, opens in Adobe Connect. Explore, compare, and contrast three different online photo tools. Participants...more
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This recording of an OK2Ask online professional development session from February 2016, opens in Adobe Connect. Explore, compare, and contrast three different online photo tools. Participants will learn about the features of these three tools and then participate in a breakout session to learn more about the tool of their choosing. A question/answer period will be available to help with individual questions. This session is appropriate for teachers at all technology levels. As a result of this session and through individual follow-up, participants will: (1) Learn about and compare 3 different tools for working with images; (2) Evaluate the uses for working with these tools in the classroom; (3) Share ideas for using tools with other participants; and (4) Start a project using one of the given tools.

tag(s): images (284)

In the Classroom

Inspire your lessons with new ways to use images in your classroom. View the session with a few of your teaching colleagues to find and share new ideas. Learn more about OK2Ask and upcoming sessions here.
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OK2Ask: Awesome Apps for Education from Google - TeachersFirst

Grades
K to 12
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This recording of an OK2Ask online professional development session from February 2016, opens in Adobe Connect. Explore the myriad of apps that Google has to offer. We will explore...more
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This recording of an OK2Ask online professional development session from February 2016, opens in Adobe Connect. Explore the myriad of apps that Google has to offer. We will explore free apps that can be used in various content areas to accomplish multiple goals. Participants will have time to explore apps and discover ways they can be implemented into classrooms with students of all ages. This session is appropriate for teachers at intermediate to advanced technology levels.

In the Classroom

Understand how to find, install, and use Google apps to support classroom instruction and for personal productivity. Watch this recording together with a few of your teaching colleagues to collect new ideas. Learn more about OK2Ask and upcoming sessions here
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OK2Ask: Innovation with Gamification Level Up your Learning! - TeachersFirst

Grades
K to 12
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This recording of an OK2Ask online professional development session from February 2016, opens in Adobe Connect. Gamification is an innovative way to transform classrooms. Learn how...more
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This recording of an OK2Ask online professional development session from February 2016, opens in Adobe Connect. Gamification is an innovative way to transform classrooms. Learn how to maximize the students' learning potential by using game design and game elements in the classroom. Explore innovative resources and strategies to foster student engagement with gamification methods. This session is appropriate for teachers at Intermediate technology levels.

tag(s): game based learning (137), gamification (89)

In the Classroom

Engage your students and inspire your lessons by applying game principles and elements to non-game activities. These activities can be high-tech or low-tech. It is not about the tool as much as it is about the emphasis on game-like mechanics. Start small and become comfortable with the terminology and process. Choose some aspect of your classroom practice to gamify. You might choose to gamify components of professional development, classroom management, centers, entrance/exit slips, activities, or even whole units. Learn more about OK2Ask and upcoming sessions here.
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Nourishing Gifted Through Technology in Any Classroom - TeachersFirst/Melissa Henning and Candace Hackett Shively

Grades
K to 12
3 Favorites 0  Comments
These pages, originally the support pages for a presentation at the ISTE conference 2014, offer resources, tools, and tips to nourish the needs of gifted in your classroom, along with...more
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These pages, originally the support pages for a presentation at the ISTE conference 2014, offer resources, tools, and tips to nourish the needs of gifted in your classroom, along with sanity savers to organize your multitasking class and your oftentimes "scattered" gifted learners. Find a multitude of reviewed tools, resources, and connections available via technology, so gifted students can work with differentiated academic content, leverage technology to foster their creativity, join in digital collaborations to extend the curriculum through individual interests, and even establish digital "me-portfolios." Start with the Helpful Background, basics about gifted students, and move through several pages to help you plan appropriate activities for your gifted students-- and help them be involved in the planning, as well. The authors of this article are both experienced teachers of gifted, so their suggestions are based on practical experience, not just "theory."

tag(s): differentiation (45), gifted (82)

In the Classroom

Mark these pages in your Favorites as a reference whenever you have gifted students. These students may or may not be officially identified, but sometimes trying these strategies will save you and the student a lot of frustration. When it comes time to offer choices, share the handpicked tool collections in this article with your gifted students so they have a solid place to start. For more ideas about gifted, try the gifted tag in reviews, use a keyword search including the term "gifted," or browse for the subject "Gifted" in the TeachersFirst Subject/Grade pages.

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Read, Tell, and Sell: CCSS through student book promotions - TeachersFirst

Grades
K to 6
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Promote books beyond traditional book reports and at the same time work toward Common Core Standards in Speaking and Listening. This article includes suggestions, step by step strategies,...more
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Promote books beyond traditional book reports and at the same time work toward Common Core Standards in Speaking and Listening. This article includes suggestions, step by step strategies, resources, and tips--from tech-savvy to low-tech or no tech--so your students can promote books and build CCSS skills as they contribute to their community of readers and writers. Want to know more about implementing Common Core? See the full series of articles, read-alouds, and more here.

tag(s): book reports (36), commoncore (89), listening (86), process writing (47), speaking (24)

In the Classroom

Save this article in your Favorites to have it ready. Use the comprehensive tips and resources to have students create book promotions as your next (traditional or digital) writing activity as part of your usual reading activities. Let this reading and writing activity do double duty to meet speaking and listening standards, too!
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Common Core Connections: The Power of Poetry - TeachersFirst

Grades
K to 6
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Discover ways to incorporate poetry as part of your implementation of Common Core in your elementary reading and literature curriculum. If you have set poetry aside for "informational...more
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Discover ways to incorporate poetry as part of your implementation of Common Core in your elementary reading and literature curriculum. If you have set poetry aside for "informational texts," this article explains how you CAN use poetry to address CCSS for close reading, key ideas and details, range of reading, and for the foundation skills of reading fluency. And poetry can still be just plain fun . The article includes lesson ideas and resources to give poetry a place in your curriculum.

tag(s): commoncore (89), poetry (221)

In the Classroom

Mark this as a favorite for planning your poetry lessons to run regularly throughout the school year or as a special unit during National Poetry Month (April). Share it with your colleagues to plan a schoolwide poetry event or simply to reassure them that poetry did not "disappear" with Common Core.

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Food, Glorious Food! Serving Up Common Core Connections - TeachersFirst

Grades
K to 5
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This read-aloud from TeachersFirst provides some resources and suggestions of books and activities on the theme of Foods and Nutrition. The content areas can provide rich opportunities...more
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This read-aloud from TeachersFirst provides some resources and suggestions of books and activities on the theme of Foods and Nutrition. The content areas can provide rich opportunities to integrate the CCSS English Language Arts standards as we teach science, health, and social studies. With the current focus on childhood obesity, the popularity of school gardens and farm-to-school initiatives, and the campaign to "eat local," the connection to food-related books is compelling. This installment in our Help! I lost my library/media specialist! series of ideas for implementing Common Core really gives you "food for thought."

tag(s): commoncore (89), nutrition (159)

In the Classroom

When teaching science, social studies, or health content about nutrition, foods, plants, or farms, consider pairing fictional books along with informational texts to maximize the potential of every unit of study. This read-aloud is a good starting point. What a perfect way to integrate healthy eating, whether during the holiday season or spring garden planting!

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

Grades
K to 5
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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...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 (89), figurative language (17)

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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Questions and Thinking in Common Core; Part 2: Students as Questioners - TeachersFirst

Grades
K to 8
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This installment is part of a series of articles about implementing Common Core. This article examines the role that questioning can play in the Common Core and offers some ways ...more
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This installment is part of a series of articles about implementing Common Core. This article examines the role that questioning can play in the Common Core and offers some ways to help students develop a questioning mindset to use as part of "close reading" of texts in elementary grades on up. A separate article, Part I of Questions and Thinking in Common Core, discusses Teachers as Questioners. Both articles are intended for elementary teachers as part of our Help! I lost my library/media specialist series but are easily adapted for middle and high school grades.

tag(s): commoncore (89), questioning (36), thinking skills (14)

In the Classroom

Read lesson ideas and explore the questioning strategies suggested as you begin to implement Common Core. Mark this article in your Favorites. Many of the ideas will be helpful during curriculum planning sessions with other teachers. Click the "share" widget to send them to others!

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Questions and Thinking in Common Core; Part 1: Teachers as Questioners - TeachersFirst

Grades
K to 8
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This installment is part of a series of articles about implementing Common Core. This article examines the role that questioning can play in the Common Core, and offers some tips ...more
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This installment is part of a series of articles about implementing Common Core. This article examines the role that questioning can play in the Common Core, and offers some tips for teachers as questioners from elementary grades and up. The ideas are easily adapted as appropriate for middle and high school grades. A separate article, Part II of Questions and Thinking in Common Core will discuss Students as Questioners. The article is intended for elementary teachers as part of our Help! I lost my library/media specialist series.

tag(s): commoncore (89), questioning (36), thinking skills (14)

In the Classroom

Read lesson ideas and explore the question repertoire sources as you begin to implement Common Core. Mark this article in your Favorites. Many of the suggested resources may be helpful during curriculum planning sessions with other teachers. Click the "share" widget to send them to others!

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Teachers' Common Core Planning Toolkit: A guide for elementary teachers - TeachersFirst

Grades
K to 5
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This installment in a series of articles about implementing Common Core in elementary guides teachers through the steps of re-visiting and planning their teaching units to incorporate...more
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This installment in a series of articles about implementing Common Core in elementary guides teachers through the steps of re-visiting and planning their teaching units to incorporate Common Core reading and writing. This article will guide you through the Common Core planning process and assist you in adding rigor and addressing instructional shifts as you prepare a unit of study. It presents some planning considerations and then offers an example of what this might look in one classroom's September calendar. The article is intended for elementary teachers as part of our Help! I lost my library/media specialist series.

tag(s): commoncore (89), professional development (160)

In the Classroom

This is perfect for teachers' summer reading or collaborative planning. As you face the daunting task of re-visioning your plans, find a process that you can grasp.

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Going Deep with Award Winning Books: Close reading and text-dependent questions - TeachersFirst

Grades
K to 6
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This installment in a series of articles about implementing Common Core in elementary focuses on close reading of texts in Caldecott award winning books. Since Caldecott winners tend...more
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This installment in a series of articles about implementing Common Core in elementary focuses on close reading of texts in Caldecott award winning books. Since Caldecott winners tend to be available in most libraries, what better way to start the practice of close reading and questioning a la Common Core. A major shift of the Common Core State Standards is to have reading, writing, listening and speaking grounded in evidence , from both literary and informational texts. As a result, terms like "close reading" and "text-dependent questions" are getting a lot of attention. Find ideas to implement this shift. The article is intended for elementary teachers as part of our Help! I lost my library/media specialist series.

tag(s): commoncore (89)

In the Classroom

If you are fortunate enough to have a library/media specialist to partner with you, try these ideas together during read-alouds both in the library/media center and in your classroom. Mark this article in your favorites and refer back to it as you move forward with Common Core.

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For the Sake of Argument: Another Common Core Shift - TeachersFirst

Grades
K to 6
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This installment in a series of articles about implementing Common Core in elementary focuses on argument/opinion writing and reading activities that can go together. The CCSS require...more
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This installment in a series of articles about implementing Common Core in elementary focuses on argument/opinion writing and reading activities that can go together. The CCSS require that all students work to become independent writers of three types of texts: narrative, informational/explanatory, and opinion/argument and recommend that the time spent on each type in the elementary grades be roughly the same. Find ideas to implement this shift. The article is intended for elementary teachers as part of our Help! I lost my library/media specialist series.

tag(s): commoncore (89), expository writing (40), letter writing (18), persuasive writing (55), writing (363)

In the Classroom

If you are fortunate enough to have a library/media specialist to partner with you, try these ideas together, including read-alouds and writing activities to follow up. Mark this article in your favorites and refer back to it for ideas to integrate writing into science or social studies activities, especially for opportunities to have students write and/or read opinion/argument pieces.

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The Common Core Shift: Short, Focused Research Projects - TeachersFirst

Grades
K to 3
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This article explains the idea of short, focused research projects as emphasized by Common Core. Find out the background, the why and what, and more as you see an example ...more
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This article explains the idea of short, focused research projects as emphasized by Common Core. Find out the background, the why and what, and more as you see an example you can use when teaching about the water cycle in elementary grades. Use a readaloud of a recommended book to get your class started. This particular example is for lower elementary, but the article is useful for elementary teachers at any level. The article and the sample project are written (and field tested!) by an experienced elementary library/media specialist.

tag(s): commoncore (89), water cycle (32)

In the Classroom

NO more BIG projects! Make research manageable and meaningful. Try the lesson plan as a way to incorporate Common Core reading skills into the lessons you would be teaching as part of your science curriculum. If you do not have access to the same book, check interlibrary loan or adapt the lessons to another book.

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Common Core Part 2: Moving Forward with Informational Text - TeachersFirst

Grades
K to 5
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In this second in a series about Common Core, move into lessons that address Common Core Reading standards for "informational texts." This article offers specifics about Common Core...more
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In this second in a series about Common Core, move into lessons that address Common Core Reading standards for "informational texts." This article offers specifics about Common Core Anchor Standard #5 for Reading, which deals with text structure. Find explanations of the five most common text structures and instructional approaches to help students understand and even write each type of information text. Learn how you can explicitly teach organizational patterns in reading and have students apply these patterns in their own writing. Note that the CCSS and texts also apply in science and social studies literacy, so the lessons cross into these disciplines, as well. Although the article is intended for elementary teachers as part of our Help! I lost my library/media specialist series, the discussion of Common Core and informational texts applies at any level.

tag(s): commoncore (89), graphic organizers (39)

In the Classroom

Read lesson ideas and explore the suggested resources as you begin to implement Common Core. Mark this article in your Favorites. Many of the suggested resources may be helpful during curriculum planning sessions with other teachers. Click the "share" widget to send them to others!

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Been There, Done That - TeachersFirst

Grades
K to 12
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Find TeachersFirst's time tested tech tips from the trenches to help technology-based lessons run smoothly. These ideas will prevent many "disasters" before they happen. Of coure, technology...more
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Find TeachersFirst's time tested tech tips from the trenches to help technology-based lessons run smoothly. These ideas will prevent many "disasters" before they happen. Of coure, technology has a mind of its own, but hopefully you can outsmart it!

tag(s): classroom management (152)

In the Classroom

Mark this page in your favorites and click the "share" widget to share it with the other teachers in your school. If you are all on the same page using shared laptops and labs, you all benefit. If you work with student teachers or new teachers, this is a must share. If you have parent volunteers or aides helping with computer activities, share with them, too!

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Common Core: The Fuss Over Non-Fiction - TeachersFirst

Grades
K to 6
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Delve into the Common Core Reading standards and the shift to greater emphasis on non-fiction, "informational texts." If, like many teachers, you teach in a state that has adopted the...more
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Delve into the Common Core Reading standards and the shift to greater emphasis on non-fiction, "informational texts." If, like many teachers, you teach in a state that has adopted the Common Core State Standards, this Q/A article will help you to make sense of this shift and provide you with some practical tips and resources to get started. Although the article is intended for elementary teachers as part of our Help! I lost my library/media specialist series, the general questions about Common Core and reading informational texts apply at any level. TeachersFirst plans to offer further articles as Common Core "rolls out" in more and more schools.

tag(s): commoncore (89)

In the Classroom

Read the questions/answers and explore the suggested resources as background during this new challenge. Mark this article in your Favorites as you begin to implement Common Core. Many of the suggested resources may be helpful during curriculum planning sessions with other teachers. Click the "share" widget to send them to others!

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Meet the Author - TeachersFirst

Grades
K to 6
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This installment in the Help I lost my library/media specialist series offers step by step instructions and resources to learn about authors direct from the source: by Skyping with...more
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This installment in the Help I lost my library/media specialist series offers step by step instructions and resources to learn about authors direct from the source: by Skyping with them! Written by an experienced elementary library/media specialist, the feature explains the simple steps and tips (even for working with your tech department) to hold your first live author interview. After that you and you students will be "hooked"! Excite your students about authors, reading, and writing. Learn more about Skype (here).

tag(s): authors (121), skype (10)

In the Classroom

Mark this one in your Favorites as a lessons you want to try as soon as you can. Make it a professional goal to try just one author interview. Once you realize how easy it is, you can expand into interviewing other experts for other subjects, as well.

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Now I See! Infographics as content scaffold and creative, formative assessment - TeachersFirst: Candace Hackett Shively and Louise Maine

Grades
6 to 12
7 Favorites 0  Comments
Discover how to use student-created infographics as scaffold or assessment for learning in any middle or high school subject. Many teachers are not "visual" people and struggle to implement...more
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Discover how to use student-created infographics as scaffold or assessment for learning in any middle or high school subject. Many teachers are not "visual" people and struggle to implement infographics because they do not know how to help students. Whether you are a visual person or a "data" person, these pages will help your class get started. See the story of one teacher's journey into using infographics and learn from her experience. Find downloadable files to help: a PowerPoint you can use with students, and a customizable rubric. Don't miss the extensive Resources and Tools page for examples, background articles, and more. These pages grew out of a presentation at ISTE 2012.

tag(s): infographics (53)

In the Classroom

Read through this professional tutorial if you have even considered trying infographics with your students. You will find just the encouragement you need. Mark this one in your Favorites and share the many examples with your students, including student-created examples from a ninth grade class, as you launch your own infographics projects. Let your students "show what they know" in a new way.

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