Graphic Organizer Resources from TeachersFirst

Whether you call them concept maps, mind maps, KWLs, or graphic organizers, these visual diagrams show relationships between concepts and provide a powerful tool for learning and connecting new ideas. Creating graphic organizers also helps today's visual learners build reading comprehension. This collection of reviewed resources includes tools for creating graphic organizers and many suggestions for ways to use them in teaching almost any subject or grade. Be sure to read the "In the Classroom" suggestions for examples of ways to use graphic organizers as part of a lesson or unit.

 

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CommonLit - CommonLit

Grades
4 to 12
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Access commonly taught themes for classic literature and discussion questions for that theme. Plus there are Text Sets perfect for social studies teachers! Choose a Lexile'''''®...more
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Access commonly taught themes for classic literature and discussion questions for that theme. Plus there are Text Sets perfect for social studies teachers! Choose a Lexile'''''® grade level for reading and download the text in PDF format or read online. Each text has a menu across the top offering Paired Texts, Related Media, a Teachers Guide, and a Parent Guide. Accompanying the text are critical thinking questions, an Assessment, and some have Guided Reading Mode. Choose the size of the font, listen to the Read Aloud (and pause it), translate to Spanish, and Highlight. Track student progress. You can search by Book, Genre, Grade Level, Literary Device, Text Set, Theme, and Spanish Texts. All of this for free! What else could one want? Well, you can also request a text, and they will negotiate with the copyright holders to have that text on their site. Take a look at their blog, too! You'll find lots of suggestions and thoughtful reflections for using nonfiction texts with your students.

tag(s): critical thinking (110), differentiation (83), literature (217), reading comprehension (143), spanish (105), substitutes (27), Teacher Utilities (146), themes (11)

In the Classroom

CommonLit is an excellent resource for literature teachers, speech and debate teachers, and history teachers. Share the site with students on an interactive whiteboard or projector, and ask the class what themes they would like to investigate. Under each theme are two questions. Divide the class into small groups with each group investigating one of the questions for one of the themes and reading the accompanying text. Differentiate for students by having students read on the same theme, but at their reading level. Challenge individuals, pairs, or small groups to create a graphic organizer for the story they read replacing paper and pencil and using a tool like Holt Interactive Graphic Organizers, reviewed here. You could take this to another level and have two groups read different selections on the same theme, use a graphic organizer to make comparisons for how the theme was presented, and then enhance learning by challenging the groups to present their findings to the class via video. Use a simple video creator like Adobe Express Video Maker, reviewed here. This site would also work when you have to make substitute plans unexpectedly. Just put the link in your plans and tell the sub what theme you want students to read about, or better yet, let the sub choose!
 This resource requires PDF reader software like Adobe Acrobat.

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Twine - Chris Klimas

Grades
6 to 12
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Create interactive fiction (choose your own adventure) type stories, poems, games, and interactive art with Twine. Start by either downloading the software to your computer or click...more
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Create interactive fiction (choose your own adventure) type stories, poems, games, and interactive art with Twine. Start by either downloading the software to your computer or click on "use it online" just under the download button. Twine helps you stay organized with little Post-It type squares with arrows to connect each section to one or more other sections. See how to do this by watching this short YouTube video, here. Drag and drop the squares on the page, and they will stay connected. There are a few templates to choose from, and you can upload images. For those who are adept at programming, click on Wiki and see the other quality, development resources Twine offers. Work is saved in your browser, not on a server. That means there is no sign-in or sign-up, but it also means losing your work unless you remember to click on the Archive button. Click on the Twine Wiki for FAQs, Vimeo Tutorial Videos, and other helpful information. On YouTube watch several video tutorials. If your district blocks YouTube, the videos may not be viewable.

tag(s): coding (89), computers (106), creative writing (121), game based learning (172), interactive stories (22), writing (316)

In the Classroom

View the Getting Started tutorials together on your interactive whiteboard (or projector) before students begin to write stories. Also, be sure to have the tutorials as a link on class computers and your class webpage. Create a short story together as a class to become familiar with the site. Have students create a story diagram before beginning a story on Twine; then use the site to complete the project. Have students create stories to show what they have learned about literature, geography, history, science concepts, and more. As a more "serious" approach, use Twine to present opinion pieces where you take a position and allow readers to click on questions about it. They could also click on statements expressing opposing views so you can write counterarguments to their points. This idea could end up being a powerful way to present an argument and evidence as required by Common Core writing standards. Using this tool in a computer programming class would be ideal. Going to either Wiki, FAQ, or Forum will show you other development resources such as custom macros, stylesheets, code references, and so forth. Teachers of gifted could use this for students to develop elaborate fictional or informational pieces. Again, a graphic organizer for planning and organizing evidence is a must!

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It's a Buggy World - Illinois Extension - Insects: Univerisity of Illinois

Grades
3 to 5
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Get into the world of bugs with this informative site featuring insects of all kinds! Choose from topics such as Pests, Beneficial Bugs, Pollinators, Stories, Blogs, and Videos. View...more
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Get into the world of bugs with this informative site featuring insects of all kinds! Choose from topics such as Pests, Beneficial Bugs, Pollinators, Stories, Blogs, and Videos. View videos with facinating titles such as The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly Insects and Monarch Status Update, and much more. Be sure to check out the tab at the top labeled Tip Sheets to find a few projects for your citizen science enthusiasts.

tag(s): citizen science (27), insects (69), Project Based Learning (24)

In the Classroom

Use this site as an informational text and audio visual presentation on insects. Share on your interactive whiteboard or projector. Share as an example for an informational report to meet Common Core standards. Analyze the a topic, maybe spiders articles and video, creating a concept map to explore the main ideas and details for increased comprehension. Use a graphic organizer such as, Whimsical Mind Maps, reviewed here as an example for taking notes. Next have students or small groups choose a topic and use Read Ahead, reviewed here to , have students create a guided reading activity for those who are less proficient readers. Next, have students take notes by creating a concept map. culminate this activity by having students having cooperative learning groups create podcasts using a site such as podOmatic, reviewed here.
 This resource requires PDF reader software like Adobe Acrobat.

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Ask Smithsonian - Smithsonian Institution

Grades
3 to 12
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Ask Smithsonian answers fascinating questions via videos that are less than two minutes long. There is a new video each week. Find out if your interesting science question has an ...more
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Ask Smithsonian answers fascinating questions via videos that are less than two minutes long. There is a new video each week. Find out if your interesting science question has an answer here. Sometimes you may think your question is not scientific, such as "Will Chicken Soup Cure a Cold?" or "How Do People Get Phobias?" Well, the answer to those questions is at Ask Smithsonian. Give it a try and see if your question has an answer.
This site includes advertising.

tag(s): animals (283), bacteria (22), human body (93), insects (69), plants (147), space (215), time (92), video (259)

In the Classroom

Share a few of these short videos on your interactive whiteboard or projector. Choose a video and have students complete a quick write or Know-Want-to-Know-Learned (KWL) chart to put down what they THINK they know about the topic. Find a ready-made KWL chart at 25 Language Arts Graphic Organizers, reviewed here. Show the video and have students write about what they learned. Use some of them as a segue into a subject you will introduce in class or for mini-research.

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Venn Diagram - 3 Circles - ReadWriteThink

Grades
4 to 12
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Create a 3 Circle Venn Diagram with ease! Print out this graphic organizer and provide a title and label the three circles. Decide whether to make a list for each ...more
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Create a 3 Circle Venn Diagram with ease! Print out this graphic organizer and provide a title and label the three circles. Decide whether to make a list for each circle first, or start writing directly on the circles. The Venn Diagram allows for generating concepts (ideas, words) and placing them in any of the three circles, or the overlapping area. There is no registration required.

tag(s): graphic organizers (49), venn diagrams (15)

In the Classroom

Demonstrate the use of this with a student filling in the three circle Venn Diagram on a projector or interactive whiteboard. Have students compare and contrast three well-known topics such as three television shows or sports. Ask students to suggest the items for the list for each circle. Have your demonstrator show how to drag and drop the items into the circle or overlap area. Then have small groups or individual students create their own Venn Diagrams. Venn Diagrams may be used in any grade level or content area. Use the 3 Circle Venn Diagrams as an icebreaker or beginning of the year activity. Randomly place three students together and have them use the Venn Diagram to show their similarities and differences. Use when forming new small groups during the year for students to get to know each other better. Use the three circle Venn Diagram as a study aid when reviewing a unit in science or history before a test. Compare and contrast three characters, three different versions of the same story, or a literary work and a painting and song, or a painting and film. Another suggestion is to have students compare books in a series and the shared elements in the books.

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Cool Kid Facts - CoolKidFacts

Grades
1 to 7
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Visit Cool Kid Facts to find information for just about anything in this world or even out of this world! Select from Geography, History, Science, Animals, and Human Body. There...more
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Visit Cool Kid Facts to find information for just about anything in this world or even out of this world! Select from Geography, History, Science, Animals, and Human Body. There are also topics in the right menu on the home page that range from Albert Einstein to Volcanoes and nearly everything else you can think of (alphabetically) in between. There are articles, videos, pictures, and quizzes, too. The videos are from various outside sources and are hosted on YouTube. If your district blocks YouTube, they may not be viewable.

tag(s): animals (283), australia (27), brain (55), china (62), deserts (16), earth (185), egypt (48), greek (33), heart (27), human body (93), italy (16), magnetism (36), mars (26), mexico (29), moon (71), newton (21), photosynthesis (20), rainforests (18), rome (21), sun (70), tornadoes (15), tsunamis (15), volcanoes (56)

In the Classroom

Share this site with students on your interactive whiteboard (or projector) and show them all the different subjects available. Challenge students to find a topic about which they know nothing (or barely anything). This site will give them experience reading informational text on a topic they wonder about. Partner weaker readers with others who may be able to help them read the text-heavier articles. Have students read and research individually or in small groups taking notes using a simple graphic organizer from Holt Interactive Graphic Organizers, reviewed here. Use this opportunity to teach summarizing, and citing sources. Cool Kid Facts is a great tool to build background knowledge about all sorts of topics!

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Holt Interactive Graphic Organizers - Holt

Grades
2 to 12
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Interactive Graphic Organizers help to gather thoughts, visualize, understand, or organize. Find interactive graphic organizers from categories such as identifying/organizing details,...more
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Interactive Graphic Organizers help to gather thoughts, visualize, understand, or organize. Find interactive graphic organizers from categories such as identifying/organizing details, order and sequence, cause and effect, process diagrams, persuasive position support, vocabulary, and many others. The selected organizer will download in PDF format. The features of the form are: interactive form fields, highlighting, adding mark-up, commenting, and saving it all. Find accompanying teaching notes for each organizer by clicking on the link in the paragraph at the top of the page. The teacher guide has detailed lessons and suggested uses.

tag(s): concept mapping (17), graphic organizers (49)

In the Classroom

Mark this site on your class web page, put it on your task bar, and add to all student computers. Demonstrate by using and creating your customized graphic organizer. Turn it into PDF format and save or print. Get students in the habit of using graphic organizers to improve achievement, organization, and details.
 This resource requires PDF reader software like Adobe Acrobat.

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TUZZit - Christophe Fruytier

Grades
4 to 12
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TUZZit is an online graphic organizer with several options for organizing information. Choose from the canvases in the library or start with a blank board. Use TUZZit's tools to add...more
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TUZZit is an online graphic organizer with several options for organizing information. Choose from the canvases in the library or start with a blank board. Use TUZZit's tools to add text, videos, maps, and more. When finished, save your work. Share using the export option to receive the URL for your board. Add a password for privacy if you wish. Account registration isn't required to create a graphic organizer, but it is needed to save and share any projects.
This site includes advertising.

tag(s): brainstorming (17), concept mapping (17), graphic organizers (49)

In the Classroom

Have student groups create presentations on TUZZit. The subtopics can serve as talking points. Have students begin projects by making an outline with TUZZit and sharing it with the teacher. As a whole class create a TUZZit organizer at the beginning of the unit showing what the class knows. Add information to the TUZZit throughout the unit. Create lesson plans on TUZZit by outlining the order of topics, links, and documents you will be using. Take notes about lessons/units using TUZZit. Hand out (or provide a link to) the organizer as a visual guide and summary of what they have learned, including documents and links. Share completed organizers with learning support teachers and parents to help struggling students. Ask students to create an organizer of a book or a chapter. Outline characters, setting, and events taking place in stories. Use TUZZit to create a graphic organizer or timeline of important historical events.

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Rootbook - Rootbook

Grades
2 to 12
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Rootbook is an interactive story reading and writing program. Without signing up, you can read books in English, German, Italian, and many other languages. Once registered (requires...more
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Rootbook is an interactive story reading and writing program. Without signing up, you can read books in English, German, Italian, and many other languages. Once registered (requires an email, player name & password), you can create your own stories to save. Registering allows you to submit reviews of the stories available on the site. Rootbook says they will soon have filters to monitor inappropriate language. Until then, read stories and branches prior to sharing with young people. Leave a comment if you find anything offensive, and they will remove it.
This site includes advertising.

tag(s): creative writing (121), digital storytelling (143), interactive stories (22), narrative (14), writing (316)

In the Classroom

To use Rootbook and save work, students will need an email account. If students cannot have their own email accounts, consider using a "class set" of Gmail sub-accounts, explained here. This will provide anonymous interaction within your class, and you (as the Gmail account holder) will be able to go into each Rootbook account to check progress. Begin by choosing a story and reading it as a class. Give the students scratch paper to create storyboards and have them continue the story. Then collect the papers and have them write their continuation again on someone else's paper. Next, ask students to end the story and switch again, and write their ending on this new paper. Doing this will help younger students understand the "branching" story line. If students are sitting in groups of four, they can just rotate the papers around for this activity. When students want to create their story on Rootbook, be sure to have them upload an image for the cover first and plan the story using a graphic organizer! As subject matter for stories in any curriculum area, tell a science story, such as the life of a butterfly or a history story such as what happened (and could have happened) at the Boston Tea Party.

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Offers skill development for teachers after not teaching language for years Ellen, VA, Grades: 0 - 12

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Lucidchart - Karl Sun and Ben Dilts

Grades
7 to 12
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Lucidchart is a free (and fun!) diagramming tool featuring drag and drop features. Try out the tour to view all the features available such as simple line drawing from the ...more
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Lucidchart is a free (and fun!) diagramming tool featuring drag and drop features. Try out the tour to view all the features available such as simple line drawing from the edge of any object, color themes, and online collaboration. Sign up for a free account, using your official school email address, to create flow charts, mindmaps, graphic organizers, timelines, and more. Share your diagram using social networking links or with your diagram's unique URL.
This site includes advertising.

tag(s): brainstorming (17), charts and graphs (169), graphic organizers (49), mind map (26)

In the Classroom

Take advantage of the "ease" of this fabulous site! Have your class create organizers together, such as in a brainstorming session on an interactive whiteboard or projector. Assign students to "map" out a chapter or story. Assign groups to create study guides using this tool. Use this site for literature activities, research projects, social studies, or science topics. Use this site to create family trees or food pyramids in family and consumer science. Have students collaborate (online) to create group mind maps or review charts before tests on a given subject. Have students organize any concepts you study. They can color code concepts to show what they understand, wonder, and question. Have students map out a story, plot line, or plan for the future. Students can also map out a step-by-step process (such as a life cycle or how to solve an equation).

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Online Tools: Suggestions from TeachersFirst - TeachersFirst

Grades
K to 12
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This editor's choice collection offers timesavers and organizational tools for teachers. They include "utility" sites for teaching tasks such as seating charts, rubrics, and certificates....more
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This editor's choice collection offers timesavers and organizational tools for teachers. They include "utility" sites for teaching tasks such as seating charts, rubrics, and certificates. Other tools facilitate parent communication, such as text messaging or online conferencing. Our editors have also hand picked simple, timesaving, creative tools from the TeachersFirst Edge. These tools organize to-do lists (for yourself or for students), convert files, remove ads from web pages, check web site readability, write a one-time blog, generate an online sign up sheet, make a simple graphic organizer or chart, create online corkboards or stickies, and much more.

tag(s): classroom management (128), graphic organizers (49), rubrics (34)

In the Classroom

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Nazi and East German Propaganda Guide Page - Randall Bytwerk

Grades
8 to 12
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The Nazi and East German Propaganda Guide Page offers a massive collection of resources demonstrating the use of propaganda leading up to and throughout World War Two. Explore categories...more
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The Nazi and East German Propaganda Guide Page offers a massive collection of resources demonstrating the use of propaganda leading up to and throughout World War Two. Explore categories such as posters, essays, and other reading materials. Each resource includes a short explanation of the source and how the material was used to promote the Nazis. For a full explanation on the background of the site and options for using materials included make sure you read the FAQ section. Although the presentation of this material is plain vanilla, the actual artifacts are powerful.

tag(s): germany (25), history day (40), holocaust (41), nazis (8), primary sources (117), propaganda (9), world war 2 (150)

In the Classroom

Bookmark and save this site for use throughout your World War Two unit. Introduce this site on your interactive whiteboard or projector. Then have students explore this site independently or in small groups. Challenge students to find examples of the Allies' use of propaganda and exchange paper and pen by using an online tool such as Canva, reviewed here, to create diagrams, mindmaps, and other visual graphic organizers comparing the uses of propaganda. Enhance learning by having students create a word cloud of the propaganda terms they learn from this site using a tool such as WordItOut, reviewed here. Save this one in your favorites to suggest if you have students who need primary sources projects for National History Day.

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Intel Education Units - Intel

Grades
K to 12
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Find engaging, challenging units to begin your Common Core journey. Intel Education Units are complete and include assessment tools. Search by grade level or subject. Find the basics...more
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Find engaging, challenging units to begin your Common Core journey. Intel Education Units are complete and include assessment tools. Search by grade level or subject. Find the basics for planning units. Also find sequencing maps, sequencing activities, classification charts, and prioritizing listings. Instructional Strategies include activating prior knowledge, graphic organizers, cooperative learning, and questioning strategies.

tag(s): literacy (109)

In the Classroom

Begin your curriculum planning here. After reviewing exemplary units, use as they are, or modify to fit the needs of your students, content, or even resources adding your own personal touch. They will inspire you to dig deeper and go further with Common Core! Be sure to bookmark this site (or save in your favorites) as your go to resource for Common Core.
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Introducing Text Structures in Writing (5th Grade) - Utah Education Network

Grades
4 to 6
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Introducing Text Structures in Writing is a comprehensive lesson plan to introduce the idea that science writing organizes in identifiable patterns called text structures. Common Core...more
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Introducing Text Structures in Writing is a comprehensive lesson plan to introduce the idea that science writing organizes in identifiable patterns called text structures. Common Core Reading/LA Standards focus on these text structures in informational texts. Use the provided links to many materials such as word cards, sentence strips, definitions, and graphic organizers to print materials in PDF format. Lists include suggested books for different text structures such as sequence, description, and compare and contrast. Use extension and assessment ideas as additions to the lesson plan. Although labeled for 5th grade, this lesson would be appropriate for use in any classroom learning to read and understand non-fiction and informational text.

tag(s): process writing (38), reading comprehension (143), reading strategies (99), sequencing (17), writers workshop (31), writing (316)

In the Classroom

Print materials included with this lesson and use as an addition to a current writing and reading comprehension units. This would make an excellent addition to standardized test preparations to help students analyze and assess readings provided during testing. Extend this lesson beyond science texts. Use lesson components and ideas for social studies and all other non-fiction reading materials.
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IWitness - USC Shoah Foundation

Grades
6 to 12
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At its core, IWitness is a collection of over 1,000 audio and video interviews with Holocaust Survivors. That by itself would make it a worthy site. However, the site also ...more
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At its core, IWitness is a collection of over 1,000 audio and video interviews with Holocaust Survivors. That by itself would make it a worthy site. However, the site also permits you to search the interview database by keyword, and to edit the interviews to create your own video projects. Click Educational Resources from the top menu and then click Across the Curriculum to discover links to further resources about the Holocaust and suggested lesson plans or activities in conjunction with the site. Here you will also find links to Professional Development, with live webinars monthly and archived webinars, Tips and Tutorials which offers guidelines for teaching the Holocaust, and finally Resources that has graphic organizers to use with your students.

tag(s): digital storytelling (143), holocaust (41), jews (23), pearl harbor (9), world war 2 (150)

In the Classroom

This is a tremendously rich resource for bringing home the reality of the Holocaust using the words and images of survivors. The number of Holocaust Survivors is dwindling, and we risk losing the full impact of their experience without sites like IWitness. Search the interview archives by keyword or subject and view individual stories. Use the editing tools to collect portions of interviews into a new video presentation, use this as an introduction of the Halocaust to your students. Then, choose an Activity that is appropriate for your class. You'll find several activities for upper elementary, middle school, and high school levels. There is also one for K-2 and one for the university level. Create class projects and group them by classroom section and collect multiple student presentations. The site is flexible and geared toward educators. Don't miss the lesson plans and activity plans as well as a good collection of other resources. The site has clearly delineated technology requirements; it would be wise to consult those prior to planning an activity.

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inklewriter - Joseph Humfrey and Jon Ingold

Grades
4 to 12
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Create interactive, choose your own adventure (branching) style stories with inklewriter. This site is ideal for anyone to create a story and then share with others via a unique URL....more
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Create interactive, choose your own adventure (branching) style stories with inklewriter. This site is ideal for anyone to create a story and then share with others via a unique URL. These stories allow for others to create their own path or choose an existing one. Begin by choosing to read stories or create your own. Type parts of the story including the title, author, beginning, introduction, and add sections as needed. After each paragraph is the option to create different outcomes of the story, offering choices the reader makes. The site contains excellent tutorials for getting started with stories. When finished, share the URL for your story using Twitter or Facebook or copy the URL to share and bookmark as you wish. Of course, your "story" need not be fiction! You could also write an opinion piece with branches for people to ask (click) on questions about facets of your argument! NOTE: When you click to begin writing, you should click SIGN IN and choose to make a new account. Do this before you start writing in order to be able to save. The tool will then save your work as you go along. Although you do not HAVE to sign in before you start, it is risky to sign up later! . Inklewriter has also made it easier for teachers to sign up students WITHOUT student email addresses. Read the directions about how to do this on the landing page by scrolling down and finding "Sign-up and email addresses."
This site includes advertising.

tag(s): creative writing (121), digital storytelling (143), narrative (14), persuasive writing (55)

In the Classroom

View stories on the site together to understand the components of the site and discuss how different choices in characters and settings lead to different story outcomes. (Be sure to preview stories before sharing, since there is "public"' content.) Watch the tutorials together on your interactive whiteboard (or projector) before students begin to write stories. Use a graphic organizer to "map out" the story before writing. Create a short story together as a class to become familiar using the site. Assign a group of students to create an interactive story each week to share on your classroom website or blog. Have students create a story map before beginning a story on inklewriter; use a tool such as 25 Language Arts Graphic Organizers, reviewed here. Create class stories to teach about literature, geography, reading comprehension, history, science concepts, and more. As a more "serious" approach, use Inklewriter to present opinion pieces where you take a position and allow readers to click on questions about it. They could also click on statements expressing opposing views so you can write counterarguments to their points. This could end up being a powerful way to present an argument and evidence as required by Common Core writing standards. A graphic organizer for planning and organizing evidence is a must! Teachers of gifted could use this for students to develop elaborate fictional or informational pieces. If you work with students who struggle, scaffold with a template for them to organize their thoughts.

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Famous Scientists - famousscientists.org

Grades
6 to 12
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Know your Einstein from your Eddington with this informative site that profiles some of the greatest scientists. Learn about their contributions to science and society and how their...more
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Know your Einstein from your Eddington with this informative site that profiles some of the greatest scientists. Learn about their contributions to science and society and how their discoveries affect us today.
This site includes advertising.

tag(s): inventors and inventions (71), scientists (62)

In the Classroom

The reading level of this site is rather challenging. Have weaker readers work together with stronger ones. While discussing scientists and inventors, use this site as a resource for gathering information. Have small groups of students research scientists from the same time period. Have them research their contributions including reactions of others to their discovery or invention. Research why these inventions were particularly important and the scientific knowledge that changed as a result. Have them present their findings to the class by creating a multimedia presentation using one of the many TeachersFirst Edge tools reviewed here. Some tool suggestions are (click on the tool name to access the review): Adobe Creative Cloud Express for Education, Vevox, Animatron, Renderforest, and Microsoft PowerPoint Online. Then, if you would like to take your students critical thinking up a notch and extend their learning, you could have the small groups compare the different inventions and decide how and why the earlier inventions had to come before a later invention could be developed. For this you might want to have students use a collaborative graphic organizer like Canva Edu, reviewed here, and have them report out their thoughts and discoveries to the class.

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Draw.io - JGraph, Ltd.

Grades
4 to 12
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Take a look at this online graphic organizer creator/drawing tool that requires NO membership. Although a bit "plain vanilla" in appearance, this is a wonderful tool! Research shows...more
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Take a look at this online graphic organizer creator/drawing tool that requires NO membership. Although a bit "plain vanilla" in appearance, this is a wonderful tool! Research shows that graphic organizers promote strong thinking skills and comprehension for all ages. Draw.io is a simple, free online tool for creating mind maps -- or diagrams for any purpose -- using shapes and arrows. Just drop and drag the shapes (or nodes) you want to the panel, connect the nodes by dragging the arrow, and double-click in the shape to add text. Use the simple toolbar at the top to insert images, change, bold, color and enlarge text, etc. Printing and exporting is also an option. If you click on the "Help" tab at the top, you will see "Video Tutorial" which uses flash. Draw.io uses JavaScript, not Flash, so it works on iOS devices.

tag(s): brainstorming (17), concept mapping (17), graphic organizers (49), mind map (26), venn diagrams (15), visual thinking (6)

In the Classroom

Demonstrate creating a mind map or other diagram on an interactive whiteboard or projector, and then allow students to try to create their own. Use this site for literature activities, research projects, social studies, or science topics of study. Use Draw.io to create family trees or flow charts. Learning support students could team up to map out the important concepts from a unit visually as a review activity. Use this mapping website as an alternative to a traditional test, quiz, or homework assignment in literature, social studies, or science. Have students demonstrate their understanding by creating a graphic organizer about the main points or map out a step-by-step process (life cycle). Be sure they name their organizer BEFORE they start work with their name --or code name-- so you know who did it (they could EMAIL it to you!) or have them print their results to turn them in. Anonymously share and compare different students' "views" of a unit so students can "see it through someone else's eyes."

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Algalita - Plastic Ocean Pollution - Algalita Marine Research Foundation

Grades
4 to 12
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Explore plastic pollution in the North Pacific Ocean at this terrific site. Click Take Action on the top menu, then click "Share our program with a teacher or student+" and ...more
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Explore plastic pollution in the North Pacific Ocean at this terrific site. Click Take Action on the top menu, then click "Share our program with a teacher or student+" and scroll down that page to find Educator Resources to get the free Science Investigation Kit. Be sure to check out the Projects and Solutions to explore accomplishments of students from around the world.

tag(s): environment (238), oceans (149), plastics (4), pollution (51)

In the Classroom

Use your interactive whiteboard and projector to introduce this site. Use the Trash Tracker lesson as is or adapt for your own use. Consider having students work in groups of four, and have each group explore a different expedition (listed by year and selected by you). Have the small groups of students investigate the first several days of the selected expedition together. After that, have pairs take notes about what they learn, using Memo Notepad, reviewed here, then have partners compare notes for the days they investigated. Once they've investigated their expedition, remix the groups so you have one student from each of the different expeditions together. Have them share information and determine what was alike and different for each year. Use a graphic organizer or mind mapping tool such as WiseMapping, reviewed here, to help students keep track of the information. Once done have students access the additional resources pages (the blogs will often have more information for the expeditions), and look at the maps. Older students may want to investigate information about careers related to GIS, Conservation, and Marine Biology by using the link at the bottom of the page.
 This resource requires PDF reader software like Adobe Acrobat.

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Compare & Contrast Map - Read, Write, Think - International Reading Association

Grades
3 to 12
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This interactive graphic organizer helps students develop an outline for one of three types of comparison essays: whole-to-whole, similarities-to-differences, or point-to-point. A link...more
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This interactive graphic organizer helps students develop an outline for one of three types of comparison essays: whole-to-whole, similarities-to-differences, or point-to-point. A link in the introduction to the "Comparison and Contrast Guide" gives students the chance to get definitions and look at examples before they begin working. The tool offers multiple ways to navigate information, including a graphic on the right to move around the map without having to work in a linear fashion. The finished map can be saved, e-mailed, or printed. There are many additional interactives and lesson plans (with standards included!).

tag(s): charts and graphs (169), concept mapping (17), graphic organizers (49)

In the Classroom

Use this site to introduce comparisons to your students on your interactive whiteboard or projector. After demonstrating how to use the site, create a link on classroom computers for students to make their own comparisons to be printed and shared. Divide students into 3 groups - one for each type of comparison essay - and have them create comparisons for their type, then share and compare with other students. Change student learning by having them create "annotated pictures" to illustrate the different types of comparisons using Annotely, reviewed here. Use this site with gifted students as a way for them to explore subjects more deeply than discussed in class. Use this site with ENL/ELL students to help organize information easily and as a visual representation of class material.

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