TeachersFirst - Featured Sites: Week of Jul 22, 2018

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 go to the Featured Sites Archive

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stickK - Dean Karlan, Ian Ayres, Jordan Goldberg

Grades
6 to 12
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StickK offers tools for achieving goals through the use of a Commitment Contract defining the goal, stating what it takes to achieve the goal, and involving others to maintain motivation...more
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StickK offers tools for achieving goals through the use of a Commitment Contract defining the goal, stating what it takes to achieve the goal, and involving others to maintain motivation to accomplish the goal. Begin by choosing a goal from the drop-down box and create your account. Follow the steps to create your Commitment Contract including specific goals and a timeline. Options include adding financial commitments to charities or others if goals aren't met and adding a referee to verify progress. Once you complete the contract, use StickK to track your journey through photos and an online journal.

tag(s): organizational skills (122)

In the Classroom

Share StickK with students as a motivation to help achieve individual or classroom goals. With younger students use these ideas to set goals for long-term projects. Add deadlines to your calendars to monitor progress along the way. Use Edublog, reviewed here, or another blogging tool to share successes and failures along the way. Upon completion of the stated goal or project, have students create a multimedia presentation using UtellStory, reviewed here, to share their journey and completed work. UtellStory allows adding narration and text to a picture. Resource teachers could use StickK with their students for goal setting and checking in to see accomplished steps towards achieving their goal.

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AutoDraw - Google Creative Labs

Grades
K to 12
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AutoDraw matches your online doodles with professional drawings using any device. Begin a picture, and as you add to the image, AutoDraw's algorithms offer possible matches for your...more
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AutoDraw matches your online doodles with professional drawings using any device. Begin a picture, and as you add to the image, AutoDraw's algorithms offer possible matches for your attempt. Click on any of the matching images to replace your doodle with a completed drawing. Use the site's tools to add text, change outline and fill colors, and add shapes. When finished, download your creation as a PNG file to your device. Share your drawing using social media links or URL.

tag(s): colors (79), drawing (77), images (285), painting (67)

In the Classroom

AutoDraw is an excellent tool for artists and non-artists. Use this site to quickly draw professional looking images for any number of classroom purposes. Create images to accompany presentations on an interactive whiteboard (or projector) or for use on your class website. Ask students to create drawings when retelling stories or creating math problems. Use with students who have any disability as an aid for conveying information through pictures. When teaching ESL/ELL and world languages, use AutoDraw to create images to replace words in texts. Have students create and personalize their images to include with multimedia presentations.

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Immersive Reader - Microsoft

Grades
K to 12
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Immersive Reader is a free Microsoft Learning Tool available for use with several Microsoft products including OneNote, Word, Outlook, and Edge. Immersive Reader dictates text and offers...more
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Immersive Reader is a free Microsoft Learning Tool available for use with several Microsoft products including OneNote, Word, Outlook, and Edge. Immersive Reader dictates text and offers several options for personalization. Use the options to adjust the playback speed, highlight text during the audio reading, and adjust text size and spacing. Click on any word in your reading material to listen to the pronunciation. Additional options allow users to view words divided into syllables, use labels to color-code words by parts of speech, and increase the spacing between lines and letters. Use the line focus feature to highlight only small portions of text. Turn on the dictionary option to select words and view drawings representing the meanings.

tag(s): differentiation (45), disabilities (21), dyslexia (8), Microsoft (37), reading comprehension (126), text to speech (19)

In the Classroom

Take advantage of the many features included with Immersive Reader for any classroom use. You may need to discuss downloading this product with your school's IT department; however, it is well worth the effort. This product is especially helpful for ESL/ELL students and students needing additional help with reading. Use the language options for students to hear and view text in their native language. Use Immersive Reader to help students with Dyslexia to decode and focus on the text by using the options included. Upload classroom materials for students to use for help in understanding difficult text.

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OK2Ask: Free Microsoft Tools to Make Learning Accessible and Inclusive - TeachersFirst

Grades
K to 12
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This recording of an OK2Ask online professional learning session from February 2018, opens in Adobe Connect. Making a learning environment accessible for everyone is critical to a successful...more
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This recording of an OK2Ask online professional learning session from February 2018, opens in Adobe Connect. Making a learning environment accessible for everyone is critical to a successful inclusive classroom. Today's classrooms are diverse and include English Language Learners and students with learning challenges, whether they have been identified or not. Every teacher needs to be able to create and deliver content in a way that is accessible to each student. Fortunately, teachers already have free technologies at their disposal to assist with this. Join us as we explore strategies and tools that facilitate an inclusive learning environment. Participants will: 1. Understand the importance of accessibility; 2. Explore Microsoft tools that can be used to create accessible materials; and 3. Identify an easy new habit, hack, and/or tool they can adopt to help make the material accessible for their students. This session is appropriate for teachers at all technology levels.

tag(s): Accessibility (2), differentiation (45), Microsoft (37), Special Needs (33)

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.
 This resource requires Adobe Flash.

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OK2Ask: My Students Need That! Chrome Features & Extensions for Accessibility - TeachersFirst

Grades
K to 12
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This recording of an OK2Ask online professional learning session from January 2018, opens in Adobe Connect. Do you have struggling learners in your classroom? Harness the power of Google...more
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This recording of an OK2Ask online professional learning session from January 2018, opens in Adobe Connect. Do you have struggling learners in your classroom? Harness the power of Google Chrome to support diverse learners and build an inclusive classroom. Join us as we explore Chrome's built-in accessibility features and free apps and extensions that allow you to accommodate and differentiate the needs of your students. Efficient and user-friendly, these tools can be a game-changer for your students. Participants will: 1. Learn about Chrome's built-in features that support accessibility, 2. Explore extensions to support the Google Chrome experience in your classroom; and 3. Plan for the instructional use of Chrome features and extensions to support all learners. This session is appropriate for teachers at all technology levels.

tag(s): Accessibility (2), differentiation (45), Google (27)

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.
 This resource requires Adobe Flash.

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Twitter Chat: Differentiating Instruction: Practical Ideas for Teachers - TeachersFirst

Grades
K to 12
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This archived Twitter chat is from December 2017. Browse the tips and tools offered by the chat moderators and participants. Through this chat participants: shared specific strategies...more
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This archived Twitter chat is from December 2017. Browse the tips and tools offered by the chat moderators and participants. Through this chat participants: shared specific strategies that can be used to accommodate students' learning needs, discussed ed tech tools available to assist in differentiating instruction, and discussed ways in which to make content accessible to all students.

tag(s): differentiation (45), twitterchatarchive (41)

In the Classroom

View this chat to learn more about differentiation and tools to help you engage and differentiate for the various levels and interests in your class.

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Amazing Things Happen! An Introduction to Autism - amazingthingshappen.tv

Grades
K to 12
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This 5 minute YouTube video provides a simple explanation of autism created for parents and teachers to share with students. Simple animations demonstrate how the brains of autistic...more
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This 5 minute YouTube video provides a simple explanation of autism created for parents and teachers to share with students. Simple animations demonstrate how the brains of autistic persons receive information differently. The video also offers simple tips for supporting those with autism. If your district blocks YouTube, the video may not be viewable. You could always view the video at home and bring it to class "on a stick" to share. Use a tool such as Freemake Video Converter, reviewed here, to download the video from YouTube.

tag(s): autism (17), brain (67), disabilities (21), Special Needs (33)

In the Classroom

Share this short video with your class as part of any discussions on autism. Stop the video at different points along the way to discuss the information and develop knowledge of how to understand and work with autistic students. Consider giving all students a chance to voice their opinions (even the shy and quiet ones) by using a tool like Backchannel Chat, reviewed here. Backchannel Chat is an easy tool to manage if you are starting the process of integrating technology into your classroom. If you and your students are more advanced with technology, you may want to use a tool such as Vibby, reviewed here, where you AND your students can annotate, highlight, and ask questions or make observations about the content of the video. This video is also perfect for use during staff meetings as an introduction to considering tools and guidelines for working with autistic students. Include a link to this video on your class webpage to share with parents.

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Speechnotes - Speechlogger & TTSReader

Grades
K to 12
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Speechnotes provides a distraction-free, easy to use speech to text notepad for use with Chrome browsers. Just click on the microphone to begin speaking. Be sure to view the hints ...more
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Speechnotes provides a distraction-free, easy to use speech to text notepad for use with Chrome browsers. Just click on the microphone to begin speaking. Be sure to view the hints for inserting punctuation. When finished, email or print your document. Saving options allow you to upload files to Google Drive or download as a text file. This tool is for speech to text, not text to speech.

tag(s): speech (87)

In the Classroom

Speechnotes is a very versatile tool, for students, parents, and teachers alike. Bypass poor typing skills, dysgraphia, dyslexia, and physical disabilities. Use this tool to create emails, documents, or anything requiring typed text. Use in your writing class so students can get their thoughts into text without having to also think about typing. Be sure they edit their work. Use when you are in a hurry with emails requiring long text. Use for your newsletters or family emails. Share this on your class website and at Back to School Night. Emerging literacy students will enjoy the success they have with their oral language into written word. Improve content and forget about mechanics of writing or typing. Focus in on grammar and mechanics after seeing the recognized mistakes. Include this website on every toolbar and as a favorite on your class web page. ESL/ELL students can speak English, play it back, and correct it until it "sounds right" and expresses their ideas correctly.

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ZenPen - Tim Holman

Grades
2 to 12
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Block out all distractions and just start writing with ZenPen. Remove the instructions found on the page (just highlight and click delete). Begin writing without any visual elements...more
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Block out all distractions and just start writing with ZenPen. Remove the instructions found on the page (just highlight and click delete). Begin writing without any visual elements in the way. No registration is required! Highlight text and select options to add italics, bold text, or URLs. Use links on the left side of the page to change text and background colors to black and white, toggle to full screen, add a word count, or save work.

tag(s): editing (74), process writing (48), proofreading (25), writing (366)

In the Classroom

Use this simple tool with an interactive whiteboard or projector to demonstrate different writing techniques without any distractions. Create and save student writing projects such as short stories, poems, and reports. Create study guides before tests or directions for assignments. Have students write a progressive story where they each add a portion.

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Safe YouTube Videos - Wessam El Mahdy

Grades
K to 12
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Confidently share YouTube videos without distractions or offensive comments with Safe YouTube (no registration required!). Paste the URL of a YouTube link into the bar to generate a...more
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Confidently share YouTube videos without distractions or offensive comments with Safe YouTube (no registration required!). Paste the URL of a YouTube link into the bar to generate a safe view link and begin viewing. Use links provided to download or share through social networking sites. If your district blocks YouTube, then they 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 ClipGrab, reviewed here, to download the videos from YouTube.

tag(s): classroom management (155), internet safety (118), video (279)

In the Classroom

Share "distraction-free" videos on an interactive whiteboard or projector. Removing distractions and having confidence in removing any offensive content makes for a better learning experience. Use this tool to limit distractions for your ADD/ADHD, Autistic, unfocused Gifted, and other special needs students. Less distraction = better learning experience for all.

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The Mighty - Mike Porath

Grades
6 to 12
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Read about power and strength in those with disabilities and disease through the short stories at The Mighty. Formed on the premise that our greatest challenges become our greatest...more
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Read about power and strength in those with disabilities and disease through the short stories at The Mighty. Formed on the premise that our greatest challenges become our greatest opportunities, each short story tells a tale of positive inspiration in facing a challenge. Browse the home page to find the latest articles or use the keyword search to find information on a specific topic.

tag(s): disabilities (21), diseases (71)

In the Classroom

Share The Mighty with parents and even older students as a resource for finding positive news about those with disabilities. Read these stories together on your projector or interactive whiteboard to teach about tolerance and acceptance of differences. Encourage parents and students to submit their own story of inspiration to the site. Search for articles dealing with challenges your students face to read and discuss together.

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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 ClipGrab, reviewed here. 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): differentiation (45), guided reading (47), news (260), reading comprehension (126)

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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Audio Books Resources - TeachersFirst

Grades
K to 12
3 Favorites 0  Comments
These educator-reviewed resources from TeachersFirst offer audio books so all students, including emerging readers and ESL/ELL learners, can experience literature and other reading...more
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These educator-reviewed resources from TeachersFirst offer audio books so all students, including emerging readers and ESL/ELL learners, can experience literature and other reading selections in audio form to reinforce and inspire literacy skills and enjoyment.

tag(s): audio books (24), listening (85), preK (286)

In the Classroom

Mark this one in your professional favorites AND share it on a class web page for access by students and parents. The helpful reviews suggest ideas for ways to use the audio books in the classroom or outside of school to reinforce literacy skills, improve English skills, or study literature in new ways.

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Adapt-a-Strategy for ESL/ELL - TeachersFirst

Grades
K to 12
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Adapt your existing lesson plans using these simple strategies to help ESL students. Click on the activity type you have planned and find suggestions and resources to help your ESL/ELL...more
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Adapt your existing lesson plans using these simple strategies to help ESL students. Click on the activity type you have planned and find suggestions and resources to help your ESL/ELL students be successful with the lesson. Some of the same strategies may help with students with IEPs for speech and language or learning support.

tag(s): teaching strategies (26)

In the Classroom

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

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