TeachersFirst - Featured Sites: Week of Oct 22, 2017

Here are this week's features. Clicking the tags in the description area of each listing will present a list of other resources with this topic. | Click here to return to the Featured Sites Archive

 

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Expresso - Mikhail Panko

Grades
6 to 12
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Expresso is a tool to improve and analyze writing through providing data to enhance your writing style. Paste your work into Expresso to analyze your sample. Expresso's analysis provides...more
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Expresso is a tool to improve and analyze writing through providing data to enhance your writing style. Paste your work into Expresso to analyze your sample. Expresso's analysis provides a significant amount of data including the number of weak verbs in your writing, frequently used words, and readability statistics. Take full advantage of the power of this site by exploring how to use the sections in the metrics information menu and the site's tutorial.

tag(s): editing (71), grammar (210), proofreading (25), spelling (167), writing (369)

In the Classroom

Share this site on an interactive whiteboard or projector and demonstrate how to use it with your students. Instead of having students turn in a final draft of writing assignments, ask them to paste their writing project into Expresso and make improvements before turning it in for grading. Ask students to submit their original work along with the final project and highlight changes made using Microsoft Word or Google Docs. After making changes, ask students to post their work on Comments4Kids, reviewed here. This site offers interactive peer feedback of student writing under specific guidelines to promote positive interactions. Ongoing use of Expresso helps students identify common writing errors made. After using this site for some time, have students create a podcast using a site such as Podcast Generator, reviewed here, to share tips and helpful information for improving writing.

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Text to Speech Reader - WellSource Ltd

Grades
K to 12
1 Favorites 0  Comments
 
Drag, upload, or paste text files to convert your text to speech instantly. Choose from many voice and language options for replay. Other options allow control over the speed of ...more
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Drag, upload, or paste text files to convert your text to speech instantly. Choose from many voice and language options for replay. Other options allow control over the speed of your speech replay. Use the upload icon to save to your computer.
This site includes advertising.

tag(s): chinese (50), french (93), german (68), spanish (111), text to speech (18)

In the Classroom

Share with world language learners to hear text spoken in the native language. Use this site with ESL/ELL students to convert small pieces of text to their native language. Use the speed options to slow down speech for students who are language learners. Use this site with students who have difficulty reading, especially when working with more challenging passages and text. Include a link to this site on your class website for students to use when learning new vocabulary in a different language and for your ESL/ELL students to hear something read or pronounced both in and outside of class.

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Wordisode - Dan Wertman and Jonathan Sebag

Grades
7 to 12
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Wordisode brings reading into your inbox through short (approximately 5-minute), daily episodes of original stories. Explore the site to find "live" seasons or catch up on past seasons....more
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Wordisode brings reading into your inbox through short (approximately 5-minute), daily episodes of original stories. Explore the site to find "live" seasons or catch up on past seasons. Choose any title and subscribe. Wordisode delivers a new episode to your email daily until the season ends, typically in 10 days.

tag(s): digital storytelling (151), short stories (25)

In the Classroom

Use Wordisode as a way to hook reluctant readers. The short, 5-minute episodes include cliffhangers to motivate readers to watch for the next piece of the story. Have students create blogs using Telegra.ph, reviewed here, to reflect about their reading and predict events coming in the next Wordisode edition. Telegra.ph will create a "quick and easy" blog to be used one time only. A unique URL is provided, and with Telegra.ph you just click on an icon to upload images from your computer, add a YouTube or Vimeo, or Twitter links. Use this site as an example and have students create their own episodic stories. Going along with that idea, have students create a new "cliffhanger" for the story and start a choose your own adventure story using a tool like Rootbook, reviewed here. They could then create a storyline for their own "cliffhanger," and then type in the original "cliffhanger," and create what they predict the rest of the "original" story will be. You could continue the choose your own adventure week after week until the story is complete. Students would actually have two stories!

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Listenwise - Monica Brady-Myerov

Grades
6 to 12
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Listenwise has podcasts and public radio broadcasts for use in advancing literacy and learning skills. Register on Listenwise using your email to access your teacher dashboard and to...more
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Listenwise has podcasts and public radio broadcasts for use in advancing literacy and learning skills. Register on Listenwise using your email to access your teacher dashboard and to begin exploring the site. Search for lessons on any topic or browse through current events. Use the tab at the top of the page to browse by subject. Choose any resource to listen to the story; most topics are less than 10 minutes. Scroll down the page to find comprehension questions and themes for classroom use. Add any lessons to your favorites. Listenwise provides several methods for assigning lessons to students. Use the provided link to share with students, add to your Google Classroom, or use the code to add to Socrative.

tag(s): adhd (30), authors (123), biographies (91), listening (92), literacy (107), literature (273), podcasts (59), poetry (221)

In the Classroom

Bookmark Listenwise for use throughout the year in all subjects. Share lessons with students as a flipped learning experience. Have students listen to the broadcast before class, then ask students to discuss their thoughts and answer the comprehension questions using a video tool such as Flipgrid, reviewed here. This site is perfect for use with ESL/ELL and special education students as it allows the opportunity to listen to information as many times as necessary for understanding. Take advantage of the printables included with broadcasts that offer graphic organizers, charts, and much more.
 This resource requires PDF reader software like Adobe Acrobat.

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SMMRY - smmry.com

Grades
6 to 12
1 Favorites 0  Comments
 
Did you ever wish for a website that would summarize long articles of text? SMMRY grants your wish! Copy and paste text, PDF's, websites, or online articles into the text ...more
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Did you ever wish for a website that would summarize long articles of text? SMMRY grants your wish! Copy and paste text, PDF's, websites, or online articles into the text box, upload a PDF file or paste a URL to begin. Choose the number of sentences for the summary, then click the summarize box and view your summary.

tag(s): summarizing (16)

In the Classroom

Introduce SMMRY to students working on research projects as a way to quickly determine content and viability of using websites. Use to differentiate instruction with students. Use with learning support students as a resource to make content easier to understand (and shorter to read). Use SMMRY summaries when teaching how to summarize in an ELA class. Compare the summary you create as a class or in small groups with the "automated" one. Are there subtleties or important distinctions that this tool misses? As a challenge for your more critical thinkers, have them try to figure out what signals the tool uses to create its summary.

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Reading Friend - Anne Elizabeth Eaves

Grades
K to 3
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Reading Friend offers an extensive library of free animated books, songs, poems, and learning activities for emerging readers. Choose from categories on the home page, the main catalog...more
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Reading Friend offers an extensive library of free animated books, songs, poems, and learning activities for emerging readers. Choose from categories on the home page, the main catalog listing, or search by keyword. Words are highlighted as the narrator reads. Most, but not all, content is friendly on mobile devices.
This site includes advertising.

tag(s): literacy (107), poetry (221), preK (294), reading lists (79), songs (53)

In the Classroom

Use Reading Friend to find and differentiate literacy activities for students. Share links to books and activities on classroom computers for student use as centers. Include a link to activities on your class web page for use at home. Many of the stories and poems will help resource and ELL/ESL students who need to hear word families, phonetics, and such.
 This resource requires Adobe Flash.

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Wordie - ABCD English

Grades
2 to 12
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Wordie is a free vocabulary tool for EFL (English as a Foreign Language) teachers; however, it is also a handy tool for all teachers. Begin by typing or pasting in ...more
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Wordie is a free vocabulary tool for EFL (English as a Foreign Language) teachers; however, it is also a handy tool for all teachers. Begin by typing or pasting in text in the provided box. Use up to 1500 characters without registering. Register for free using your email to use unlimited characters. Choose the reading level you want to assign to the text, then click submit. Wordie analyzes the text and provides two boxes with word banks. The first includes vocabulary applicable to the reading level you input, the second displays words above that level. Uncheck any boxes next to words you prefer not to include as vocabulary. Use the Print Preview to create a printable, including the entire text with vocabulary to learn in a featured word box.
This site includes advertising.

tag(s): vocabulary (323), vocabulary development (128)

In the Classroom

Use this site as a useful tool for teaching vocabulary from any text. Copy portions of literature into Wordie to identify and create vocabulary lists for students. Differentiate for student abilities based on reading levels. Use Wordie to develop student writing skills. Ask them to copy their writing into Wordie and run the analysis at a reading level you prefer. If there isn't enough new vocabulary words, challenge students to rewrite in a way that reaches a higher reading level. Use Wordie with ESL/ELL learners to point out difficult vocabulary in reading passages before reading.
 

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Quizalize - Zzish

Grades
4 to 12
7 Favorites 0  Comments
   
Track learning in real-time with Quizalize. Student answers are color-coded on the teacher dashboard for ease in identifying who needs more help. Create scrambled word or multiple choice...more
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Track learning in real-time with Quizalize. Student answers are color-coded on the teacher dashboard for ease in identifying who needs more help. Create scrambled word or multiple choice questions, and each question can have a custom timer. View reports for each student's progress and learning gaps. Create a quiz or select one from Quizalize's growing library. Quizzes can be "gamified" by showing the teacher dashboard as a leaderboard to see progress against other users. Quizalize works on any device with a browser and Internet connection. Sign up with an email and password. Create a quiz, assign it to classes, get a code, give it to students, and let the fun begin!

tag(s): differentiation (48), game based learning (128), gamification (81), polls and surveys (54), quizzes (102)

In the Classroom

Make a class challenge! Create practice quizzes to review the material just learned in class. Use an interactive whiteboard or projector for students to view the "leaderboard" (teacher dashboard) as in a game. Students score more points by answering questions quickly. As with other tools with a leaderboard, it is helpful to have a collaborative environment where competition is not the goal, instead working together and improving is important. Use Quizalize as a formative assessment and to differentiate to see what material needs more review with classes (or individual students). Use this tool often to obtain a snapshot of each student's understanding of content (subtopic/standards); quickly see who understands a concept and who needs some individualized practice. Share with students as a resource for creating quizzes for studying at home. When students are using surveys and polls for reports, introduce them to Quizalize since it works on any device. Share quizzes with your fellow teachers.

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Story Shares - Louise Baigelman and Gary Herman

Grades
6 to 12
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Story Share is the perfect solution for finding relevant and readable content for older students unable to read above the elementary level. Digital content provides interesting material...more
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Story Share is the perfect solution for finding relevant and readable content for older students unable to read above the elementary level. Digital content provides interesting material that doesn't condescend to teen readers. Browse through titles or choose from the different genres to find available material. Login isn't required to read books. However, it allows you to add books to a reading list and to bookmark the stopping point while reading books.

tag(s): differentiation (48), digital storytelling (151), ebooks (43)

In the Classroom

Introduce this site to your reluctant or struggling readers on your interactive whiteboard or projector. Then have students explore this site independently or in small groups to find interesting reading material. Be sure to provide a link to Story Share on your class website or blog for students to explore at home. Use this site to differentiate for students of all levels and for use with special education or ESL/ELL students. Have students write their own comprehension questions and answers based on the podcast to check their own comprehension and to exchange with classmates.

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Printliminator - Chris Coyier and Devon Govett

Grades
K to 12
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Highlight and print (or view) only what you want from a web page using Printliminator. Drag the bookmarklet to your browser's toolbar. (Printliminator works with Chrome ONLY.) Then...more
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Highlight and print (or view) only what you want from a web page using Printliminator. Drag the bookmarklet to your browser's toolbar. (Printliminator works with Chrome ONLY.) Then click the bookmarklet from any page to open up tool options. Mouse over your web page and click on red boxes to remove them from the page. When ready, preview and send to your printer. Be sure to watch the Quick Slideshow Demo for a full overview of all features of the Printliminator.

tag(s): classroom management (157)

In the Classroom

Install the Printliminator on your browser tool bar. Show students how to use Prinliminator on your interactive whiteboard or projector for use when they are researching or preparing a study guide for a test. Use when viewing web pages on your interactive whiteboard to eliminate unnecessary information. Delete unnecessary information from webpages. Send to print and save as PDF for use with student handouts or links from your class web page. Of course, you will want to include your SOURCE on the handouts as a model of good digital citizenship. This is also a great tool to differentiate for any student. Use this tool to share handouts or PDFs with students who are easily distracted to help them stay focused on what matters.

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News in Levels - newsinlevels.com

Grades
K to 8
5 Favorites 0  Comments
  
Find high interest, leveled news articles (and lessons) for English language learners. Although this site was designed for ESL/ELL it could be very useful in any elementary classroom...more
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Find high interest, leveled news articles (and lessons) for English language learners. Although this site was designed for ESL/ELL it could be very useful in any elementary classroom looking for informational texts that can be differentiated for various reading levels (great for meeting Common Core standards). This tool could be used with any readers to increase comprehension, fluency, and vocabulary skills. There are three difficulty levels. Complete the Test Your Level exercise in the pop-up box after you first get to the home page to find out what level will be best for you. Many of the lessons include audio and practice exercises. In addition, interesting pictures pique the students' interest. The same story is presented in all of the various levels. The vocabulary at lower levels repeats at the higher levels with more vocabulary added as the level increases. Definitions for the vocabulary words, below the reading, assists with English meanings. The audio is hosted on YouTube. If your district blocks YouTube, you could always listen the audio at home and bring it to class "on a stick" to share. Use a tool such as KeepVid, reviewed here, to download the audio from YouTube. At the time of this review, most of the news story content was fine for all ages. However, please preview the story before you share it with your class to be certain it is appropriate.
This site includes advertising.

tag(s): guided reading (48), news (261), reading comprehension (124)

In the Classroom

Add this website to your classroom computers, websites, and newsletters for parents of ESL/ELL students or beginning readers. This tool is especially helpful at the beginning of the year, as you are learning students' reading levels. Use this tool to differentiate in all primary classes. Although this site was created for English Language Learners, it could still be used by all students including gifted and learning support. Differentiate for your advanced/gifted students in elementary, while meeting Common Core standards of Informational Text. Use these news articles as informational text meeting your Common Core goals. Assign students of different levels the same story at the appropriate level or build skills by sharing the same story as a class. Challenge groups to compare the stories in pairs. Have students create a visual presentation of the story. First have students create a rough draft of their comic using Printable Comic Strip Templates, reviewed here. For Level 1 readers have them create their final comic using Comic Creator, reviewed here, for Level 3 readers use Write Comics, reviewed here.

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MobyMax: Complete K-8 Curriculum - MobyMax.com

Grades
K to 8
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Practice and improve student skills in the K-8 curriculum with MobyMax. Start with pre-testing students and assigning differentiated activities for reading, math, science, writing,...more
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Practice and improve student skills in the K-8 curriculum with MobyMax. Start with pre-testing students and assigning differentiated activities for reading, math, science, writing, grammar and vocabulary. Pre-tests target areas of struggle and assign curriculum based on need. Never again will students have to practice material they have already mastered. The progress tracking throughout is based on Common Core standards. Adjust assigned curriculum on your own if desired by reassigning a pre-test or assigning your own lessons. Register using your email and school information to begin. Add your student list. Once created students have their own individual login to begin placement testing. There is a PRO account that costs money; this review is only for the FREE portion.
This site includes advertising.

tag(s): addition (223), assessment (113), classroom management (157), differentiation (48), division (159), fluency (25), game based learning (128), multiplication (210), subtraction (184), vocabulary (323), vocabulary development (128)

In the Classroom

Create a classroom account. Use MobyMax during centers, for nightly homework, or computer lab time. Share with parents as an excellent resource for practicing math, reading, writing, grammar, science, and vocabulary skills at home. Use the pre-testing features at the beginning of the school year to get students started at the correct levels. Use this tool to differentiate for all students. Your gifted students can pretest out of material already learned and receive activities and instruction at their individual level. Be sure to bookmark this site to use with all levels of students.

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Quietube - STML

Grades
K to 12
15 Favorites 0  Comments
   
Remove all the clutter and "stuff" from YouTube, Vimeo, and Viddler videos. Check out the "Quick Tutorial" link to learn more! Drag the button on this page to your bookmark ...more
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Remove all the clutter and "stuff" from YouTube, Vimeo, and Viddler videos. Check out the "Quick Tutorial" link to learn more! Drag the button on this page to your bookmark bar. When you choose a video, click the bookmark button. A new page opens that shows the video without all the comments and advertisements. Send the URL of this page to friends, families, or for access for your students. At the time of this review, Quietube only seemed to work with Chrome.

tag(s): classroom management (157), safety (92), video (278)

In the Classroom

Share "distraction-free" videos on your interactive whiteboard or projector. Share the URL for the clearer video on your class website or in assignments. Removing the comments and advertisements can make for a much better viewing experience. This is especially true of your ADD, autistic, unfocused gifted, or other special needs students. Less distraction = better learning experience for all.
 This resource requires Adobe Flash.

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Autism Spectrum Disorders and Asperger's Resources - TeachersFirst

Grades
K to 12
2 Favorites 0  Comments
This collection of reviewed resources will help you to better understand these students with special challenges and find strategies for working with them in your classroom. ...more
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This collection of reviewed resources will help you to better understand these students with special challenges and find strategies for working with them in your classroom.

tag(s): aspergers (5), autism (20), preK (294)

In the Classroom

Share this collection with parents and colleagues using the "email this" link.

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