TeachersFirst - What's Popular

This page shares the 25 resources most frequently marked as Favorites by TeachersFirst Members in the past 60 days. See what tops the list of TeachersFirst's database of well over 15,000+ educator-reviewed web resources. Find out what other teachers are excited about. Not a TeachersFirst member yet? See the time saving benefits of free TeachersFirst membership

 

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Creative Educator - Tech4Learning

Grades
1 to 12
9 Favorites 0  Comments
    
Creative Educator offers articles, lesson plans, and resources for many different ways to put creativity into the curriculum. Explore four main topics: Creativity, Digital Storytelling,...more
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Creative Educator offers articles, lesson plans, and resources for many different ways to put creativity into the curriculum. Explore four main topics: Creativity, Digital Storytelling, 21st Century Classrooms, and Project-based Learning. Curriculum related areas such as Literacy, English Language Aquisition, and STEM resources will grab your interest. Find a variety of lessons in Language Arts, Math, Science, and Social Studies to integrate technology and pique students' interest.
This site includes advertising.

tag(s): addition (224), creativity (118)

In the Classroom

Creative Educator, designed for teachers, helps you move past stale worksheets to get inspired! Be sure to look at this site to help you discover ways to integrate technology and creativity into lessons. Work with a partner to make the lessons fit in your situation. Share at staff meetings and offer new ideas. Look for ways to bring a new focus to your gifted students. Give as a resource to students, so they can choose a multimedia product to share the content knowledge they are learning.

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Seashell Identification Guide - Seashells.com

Grades
2 to 10
5 Favorites 0  Comments
If students ever wonder exactly what seashells they managed to collect at the beach last summer, this is the site to use. Clear photos click to an even larger and ...more
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If students ever wonder exactly what seashells they managed to collect at the beach last summer, this is the site to use. Clear photos click to an even larger and distinct picture of many varieties. Along with the larger picture are the common name, scientific name, region found, and maximum size. Links on the page include more information about identifying shells, cleaning, preserving, and using as decorations.

In the Classroom

Use this site as a kick-off when students return to write their "What I Did on my Summer Vacation" papers. If you're teaching research skills, this site is a good place to start, since it is highly visual but definitive. ESL and ELL students can independently use this site since the vocabulary is limited to names, regions, and sizes. Biology teachers can use this site as a reference when teaching about classification.

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Maptia - A World of Stories - Dorothy Sanders, Dean Fischer, and Johnny Miller

Grades
6 to 12
6 Favorites 0  Comments
 
Maptia is a bold, beautiful world of thoughtful and inspiring stories told through photographs by photographers, adventurers, and writers. Explore stories categorized by places, themes,...more
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Maptia is a bold, beautiful world of thoughtful and inspiring stories told through photographs by photographers, adventurers, and writers. Explore stories categorized by places, themes, and storytellers. Stories focus on portraying an individual perspective of the location and why it matters on a personal level. Find a collection of inspiring stories by people and organizations who are making a difference in many corners of the world. When browsing through offerings, information includes a short synopsis along with the location featured and an estimate of time to read the story. Create an account to add your stories. Bookmark and save favorites for viewing at any time. Maptia works well for viewing in all browsers, but it is optimized for Chrome and Safari when creating stories.

tag(s): creative writing (169), digital storytelling (154), narrative (19), photography (157)

In the Classroom

Share Maptia on your interactive whiteboard or projector to discover personal stories from anywhere in the world. Share with students as examples of personal narrative writing. Challenge students to create an account and add their own personal stories. To find even more stories like those under Causes see The Lowell Milken Center for Unsung Heros, reviewed here, and follow their ten steps for writing about people who make a difference. Create a class account and bookmark favorites. Share with students through a link on your class web page. Display photographs for use as a creative writing prompt.

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Shel Silverstein's Official Website - Shel Silverstein; Harper Publishers

Grades
K to 6
18 Favorites 0  Comments
 
Shel Silverstein's outside-the-box style of poetry has delighted students for years. Now, his website extends that wacky literacy to another medium and level. You may be tempted at...more
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Shel Silverstein's outside-the-box style of poetry has delighted students for years. Now, his website extends that wacky literacy to another medium and level. You may be tempted at most sites to skip the intro. Don't skip Shel's. Familiar entities walk across your screen welcoming you. Screen Savers, animated Shel-creature-people to enjoy, reproducibles, and more await your enjoyment. Click on Poetry Month to find more activities and games that you can use during April. Your students will chuckle at Shel's own reading and lively animation of several of his poems. This is a site to explore with your class.

tag(s): humor (15), poetry (221)

In the Classroom

Take your students on this language-rich adventure using an interactive whiteboard or projector. Mark your calendar now to visit this site during April, when Poetry Month is celebrated. Download your free poetry kit from the poetry month link. Of course, Shel Silverstein's whimsical and slightly dark humor can be enjoyed any month. There is a link for Teachers and Parents with lesson ideas, printables, and more. This is a great site to share with parents and students for summer breaks.
  This resource requires Adobe Flash and PDF reader software like Adobe Acrobat.

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My Spell It - Merriam-Webster

Grades
5 to 12
4 Favorites 0  Comments
For serious lovers of words and their meanings (is there perhaps a future lexicologist in your classroom?), this site offers a wealth of information using examples from 1150 words....more
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For serious lovers of words and their meanings (is there perhaps a future lexicologist in your classroom?), this site offers a wealth of information using examples from 1150 words. Click on Home to get a complete overview of this site. In the "Words From" box, just click on a category: Latin, Slavic Languages, Dutch, Greek, Spanish, and many others. A list of words from that category will appear at the bottom on your screen. Now, click on a word to learn information about that particular word. Click on the "Now You Try" tab to work interactive activities for that word category. Lists of those example words may be printed as well.

Visit the official site for the Scripps National Spelling Bee (reviewed here by TeachersFirst). Check out all the links to learn how to study for the Bee, guidelines, and application deadlines. December is the annual deadline for your school's enrollment in the National Bee. This site will have the exact deadline each year. Click on Study Zone to download the Consolidated Word List (a gigantic compilation of 794 pages of words that have been used from 1950 to the present). Students can test their spelling know-how by clicking on the "Test Your Spell It Knowledge" link on the homepage. Flash is required to enjoy the interactive activities, get it from the TeachersFirst Toolbox page.

tag(s): arab (16), arabic (20), french (89), german (64), italian (35), japan (60), japanese (45), spanish (109), spelling (166)

In the Classroom

Share this site (and word lists) on your interactive whiteboard or projector. As they study different word etymologies, have students sort copy/pasted selections from these wordlists into categories by language of origin as a drag-and-drop activity on your whiteboard. If you have students who are competitive spellers, encourage participation by introducing this site to them and their families. You may want to list this site on your class website for students to use both in and out of the classroom.

For an interactive cooperative learning project. Have cooperative learning groups explore one of the languages shared at this site. Have the groups create a multimedia project to share their new vocabulary. How about an online book created using Bookemon (reviewed here) or their own drag-and-drop activity for the class to use on the interactive whiteboard?
 This resource requires Adobe Flash.

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Inside Story Flashcards - Inside Story, LLC

Grades
2 to 12
12 Favorites 0  Comments
 
Stunning pictures, audio of each word, and short definitions all make this online vocabulary flashcard site visually stimulating and interesting. As a bonus, you can print all cards....more
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Stunning pictures, audio of each word, and short definitions all make this online vocabulary flashcard site visually stimulating and interesting. As a bonus, you can print all cards. Choose from basic, easy, medium, or hard levels of vocabulary to find and listen to words. Definitions can also be turned off for practice with word recall or guessing what the image represents. When ready to print the cards, choose the print button; then select words for the flashcards (or all). There is a paid portion of the site for other flashcards, but the free printable section contains more than enough words to make this site worth a visit.

tag(s): dictionaries (58), flash cards (45), vocabulary (316), vocabulary development (120)

In the Classroom

Display the site on your interactive whiteboard (or projector), turn off the definition under the flashcard and have students try to guess the meaning of the word. Split students into teams to see who can come up with the most creative sentence using the vocabulary word. Print out cards on card stock to use at a writing center as a resource for writing. Print out cards and have students separate by nouns, verbs, adjectives, etc. Have a word of the day and challenge students to use the word correctly throughout the day in the classroom. Secondary teachers may want to share this site with students preparing for ACT/SAT testing.
 This resource requires Adobe Flash.

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EasyWrite - Deekshith Allamaneni

Grades
K to 12
4 Favorites 0  Comments
 
EasyWrite is a simple to use writing tool for creating easy to understand content. Just type your text into the text box and begin writing. EasyWrite highlights words not found ...more
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EasyWrite is a simple to use writing tool for creating easy to understand content. Just type your text into the text box and begin writing. EasyWrite highlights words not found in the 1,000 most commonly used words in the English language. At the time of this review, EasyWrite worked best with Chrome or Mozilla FireFox.

tag(s): digital storytelling (154), independent reading (127), process writing (47), vocabulary (316), writers workshop (34)

In the Classroom

Have students use EasyWrite to retell difficult text in an easy to understand way. Retell Shakespeare passages in simple English or breakdown complicated directions into simple terms. EasyWrite is perfect for use with ESL/ELL or special education students. Choose any complex or difficult text and break it into simpler terms for easier understanding. Do this by adding a free browser extension to classroom computers and devices. Use a tool such as Grammarly (for Chrome, Safari, and FireFox), reviewed here, or After the Deadline (for Internet Explorer), reviewed here. Turn the theory of EasyWrite upside down - have students paste their writing projects into EasyWrite. If there are only a few highlighted words, have them develop more interesting and complex writing passages. Have students take a screenshot of their original work to include with a final draft.

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Bookemon - Bookemon, Inc.

Grades
K to 12
45 Favorites 1  Comments
 
Write your own original books, add images and artwork as illustrations, and read your published books in interactive, online form. There is no fee for the online publication and sharing....more
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Write your own original books, add images and artwork as illustrations, and read your published books in interactive, online form. There is no fee for the online publication and sharing. This is the ultimate in "digital storytelling." Click "Explore" to browse many "public" examples on the templates page of books created by others. Take advantage of the free apps that make Bookemon even easier to use with any device! Use Bookemon Reader to READ books you created in Bookemon or Bookemon edCenter (available for both iOS and Android). BookPress for iOS devices only allows you to CREATE books from scratch, including using photos from your iPad/iPhone. InstaPress (for iOS only) offers options to make books from documents, pdfs, etc. to be shared on mobile devices as eBooks. Here is an example of a book created by the TeachersFirst Edge editors. Once you set up free membership on this site, students (or teachers) can select to create from a blank start or to use the templates provided. You can also create a book starter of your own as an example so students can follow the prompts you have created. The book creator allows you to upload your own images and to create books from a Word document or PowerPoint file you have already made. EdCenter users can collaborate on books.

After you save and publish the work, share the URL so people can read the entire book online, either among an audience of "just my friends" or publicly. They also offer the embed code to place your books on a class or school web page, wiki, or blog. The easiest option is to copy the address of the new window displaying the interactive book. There is an option to have the book printed for a fee, but this is not required. You can also read books created by others (if they make them public). Use the fully-public option to create learning materials for classes to access year to year for at-home review or reading practice.

This site requires a simple registration. Teachers can set up an edCenter for their school or class in accordance with school policies. See more detailed suggestions "In the Classroom" below and in our sample book! Newer mobile device options include players to view your books on iPads and more.
This site includes advertising.

tag(s): creative writing (169), digital storytelling (154), writing (363)

In the Classroom

SKIP the profile and friends areas to get to the book creator to play with the tools a bit. Before you get too involved, create an edCenter to minimize advertising and create books in your own teacher-friendly class environment. Use the edCenter to register students and establish privacy settings for your class. No student emails are required.

On the Create Books page, choose from using a blank book, starting from a file, or using a template. Choose "school" to see projects from other classes or a sample created by you or a student team working in advance along with you. Explore ready-made themes (seasonal, topical, etc.) or use "open theme." Choose book dimensions (match layout shape to any uploaded files, such as PowerPoint slides). Enter settings and description of your book (editable later), including who is allowed to "see" it: everyone, just friends, or private. Again choose a "theme" - more of a category where Bookemon will list your completed book. A logical option is "school." Experiment with tools to upload files (within file limits), add images, add text, etc. Written help is offered as you go, but there is no video demo. SAVE often. Turn margins on to avoid chopping content. To share the book, you must "publish" it (i.e. finalize).

Once published, locate the book under "My Books" and use options to share (by email--and see the URL to copy from there), "Make a new edition" to create a new version--also useful for treating the original as a template for later books), Post to Other Sites offers embed codes. The BEST option is to click the book COVER which opens a new window without ads or "stuff," and copy the ADDRESS of that window to paste into email, etc. You can also mark that clean window view as a Favorite on a classroom computer!

Use your edCenter settings to manage social networking features. This will avoid the "public" Bookemon features such as opportunities to share address books, use social tools such as Facebook to share your books, etc. Teacher-controlled edCenter accounts are probably the easiest option for managing within school policies.

With younger students, have them begin their work in PowerPoint then upload for whole-class books. See an example, created by the TeachersFirst Edge editors . The example is full of ideas for classroom use from Kindergarten to high school, including science concept tales, poetry books, general writing, math problem solve-its, and more. ANY grade can use this tool, depending on the amount of direction by the teacher. (By the way, the correct answer to the problem in the sample book is c. 27.) Another idea: have students create personalized books for their parents or grandparents for special occasions (Mother's Day, Father's Day, or Grandparent's Day).

Use the mobile device features offered in your BYOD classroom to make and share books, PDF's, and more. Tip: Use this site for a guided introduction to social networking as a class, an excellent teaching opportunity for digital citizenship in the context of a project.

This is one of the best creative tools for gifted students to go above and beyond regular curriculum. Don't let the "juvenile" appearance fool you. Even older students can write and include images to create and share books of any length. Any independent research or writing project can become an interactive book. Even advanced science experiments and lab reports can be shared online using this tool. Once you have one book, you can use that as a template for others. Inspire your gifted students to create literary magazine or even a personal online "portfolio" of writing, artwork, or photography presented in interactive book form.

Comments

This is one of my all time favorite creative tools. Very versatile. Great for making "buddy books" or for teacher-created learning "books." Make one as a whole class to summarize a science unit in primary grades. I even use it personally to make fee online "gifts" for children I know. I did purchase one print version, and it looked great. Thinking, PA, Grades: 5 - 10

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PicLits - PicLits.com

Grades
K to 12
15 Favorites 0  Comments
    
The title says it all: "Inspired Picture Writing!" Use this free drag and drop literacy tool to create great sentences inspired by beautiful pictures. Alternatively, add inspirational...more
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The title says it all: "Inspired Picture Writing!" Use this free drag and drop literacy tool to create great sentences inspired by beautiful pictures. Alternatively, add inspirational or humorous captions to pictures. "Lesson Plans" provides learning opportunities and examples for creating captions, compound sentences, or paragraphs. Video tutorials can be found under the FAQs tab. "Explore the Gallery" to see already-created PicLits as well as comments and ratings. After selecting a picture (or using the one they provide) and dragging a word onto the screen, choose different forms of the word by using the drop-down menu next to the word. Move your words anywhere on the screen for creative writing. You can also click "freestyle" instead to type in your own words instead of choosing from their list. Word lists change, depending on the image selected. Here is an example from one of the TeachersFirst reviewers: Come to the Edge. If your district blocks YouTube, the videos may not be viewable. You could always view them 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. NOTE: Our editors regret that PicLits occasionally allows advertising on their home page to include images that are not classroom-friendly. Teachers should preview to determine whether or not your students can ignore the ads.
This site includes advertising.

tag(s): creative writing (169), digital storytelling (154), images (284), sentences (49)

In the Classroom

Users of PicLits must be able to navigate tabs on sites, manage logins, and use URLs and embed codes to share results on websites and blogs. Play to learn the tools before or after joining. The FAQs tab also provides a short-and-sweet text explanation of the tools. Find these under the Video Tutorials.

Registering for a PicLits account requires the use of an email address. PicLits can be used without an account but users are unable to save or blog about their creation without an account. A class account can be created instead of individual student accounts. However, it does not show which work is attributable to which student. You may want to require that students initial their contributions in order to get credit. All work on the site can be seen without a login. All projects are public.

You may want to create a word doc, Favorites folder, or other "collection" of the URLS to all your students' projects in one place for easy work at grading time. Some teachers use a class wiki or blog with links to all projects from there. A simpler alternative would be to use a bookmarking tool such as Buttons, reviewed here. You may allow students to self-register, but be sure to keep a written record of their passwords for when they "forget." It may be worth your time to do advanced registration for your younger students or simply use a whole-class account.

Share a PicLit on your interactive whiteboard or with a projector at the start of a grammar or writing lesson to discuss word choice, figures of speech, or vocabulary. Use the visual picture prompt for journal or blog writing, allowing each student to compose a unique poem or haiku. Even science classes can write about concepts illustrated in the many nature photos. Emotional support teachers will love the chance to discuss feelings and how to describe facial expressions in the pictures. Make a collection of PicLits using a tool like 3 x 3 Links, reviewed here, for a curriculum topic. Create or challenge students to create an online literary magazine using a tool such as Zinepal, reviewed here. ESL students can create PicLits to learn new vocabulary. Have students create PicLits for special occasions and special people (mom, dad, grandparents, school nurse, or others). Use the embed code to place your creations on many other sites, including your class wiki or blogs. Share your PicLit by using a URL or code for an embedded widget.

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Sounds Factory - Austin Chang & John Foster

Grades
4 to 10
3 Favorites 0  Comments
  
This rhythmic website tells the story of a factory worker who is bored with his job. The activity challenges students to create various rhythms using the tools and equipment in ...more
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This rhythmic website tells the story of a factory worker who is bored with his job. The activity challenges students to create various rhythms using the tools and equipment in the factory, to keep the factory workers entertained. There is an animated introduction that describes the scenario. Descriptions and instructions are provided throughout the activity. Once your students are familiar with the site, you are able to skip the instructions. Note: this site is slow to load! Preview it on your classroom machines to get it into your "cache." This website requires Flash. You can get it from the TeachersFirst Toolbox page.

tag(s): rhythm (21), sound (105)

In the Classroom

Introduce your music students to various rhythms and the interesting tools available to create music. Use an interactive whiteboard or projector (and speakers) to demonstrate the program. Then have students work with a partner to create their own music. Students can save and send recordings to friends, but this uses email addresses. Check your school policies or have them "send" the recordings to your teacher email for sharing. They might even "turn in" a music assignment that way!
 This resource requires Adobe Flash.

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ReadWriteThink Notetaker - ReadWriteThink

Grades
3 to 12
3 Favorites 0  Comments
  
Notetaker is an interactive tool for organizing information for reading and writing projects. Open the interactive to begin by adding your name and title of your project. Choose from...more
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Notetaker is an interactive tool for organizing information for reading and writing projects. Open the interactive to begin by adding your name and title of your project. Choose from three different options for the outline style. The tutorial provides information on using and personalizing the outline including adding sections, drag and drop to move boxes, and how to delete portions of the outline. This interactive also includes a preview option to view the outline before sharing. Click finish to print your work or copy and paste your outline from the preview into a word document.

tag(s): note taking (43), organizational skills (122), process writing (47), writing (363)

In the Classroom

Notetaker is a fantastic tool for teaching students how to outline and also for furthering knowledge of those familiar with outlines. Take advantage of this free interactive and the link to lessons that include this interactive to supplement your current teaching materials. Share Notetaker on your interactive whiteboard to demonstrate how to build and add content to an outline. Create outlines together as a class to summarize reading materials, information about cultures around the world, or steps taken during science experiments. Include Notetaker with your other links for student resources on your class webpage and classroom computers. Ask students to print outlines and include with any writing project, or have students copy their outline onto a Google document to accompany their project.
 
 This resource requires Adobe Flash.

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Reading Hawk - Clark Ness

Grades
K to 2
4 Favorites 0  Comments
 
Reading Hawk presents over 500 downloadable books for beginning readers. Choose from three categories: Dolch Sight Word Stories, Reading Hawk Library, and Single Word Stories. Download...more
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Reading Hawk presents over 500 downloadable books for beginning readers. Choose from three categories: Dolch Sight Word Stories, Reading Hawk Library, and Single Word Stories. Download stories in PDF format by reading level or choose individual stories to read online. Some of the stories also include audio to hear each page. (QuickTime is required.)

tag(s): guided reading (47), phonics (69), preK (284), printables (39), sight words (36)

In the Classroom

Learning support teachers, reading specialists, and ESL/ELL teachers can use this site to individualize reading materials for students. Share the stories on your interactive whiteboard or projector. Share this link with your families using your class website or wiki. Send home specific pdfs for students to practice at home.
 This resource requires PDF reader software like Adobe Acrobat.

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Rhyme Brain - Steve Hanov

Grades
4 to 12
3 Favorites 0  Comments
This dynamite site makes rhyming alright. Save it as a favorite quick pick to have a slick trick for poets to click. The process is simple; just type in a ...more
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This dynamite site makes rhyming alright. Save it as a favorite quick pick to have a slick trick for poets to click. The process is simple; just type in a word and RhymeBrain finds ones that sound similar and sorts them so that the best rhymes appear first. You can also click to alliterate. Some of the choices are a bit of a stretch, so take what it reveals and appeals, without any waste-of-time ordeals. Some of your advanced poetry writers have the options of not only clicking on the link for instantaneously generating a list of rhymes, they can type in two words and then click on alliteration for another organized list. Sophisticated, witty language users may also have fun with the Insult button, which is similar to the British humor of rhyming Cockney slang.

tag(s): poetry (221)

In the Classroom

Demonstrate how simple it is to find a word that rhymes on your projector or interactive whiteboard and then, provide a link to Rhyme Brain on your class web page for your students to have easy access to this tool. Have your students share their created poems on an interactive online poster using Lucidpress, reviewed here, or Canva, reviewed here.

It's a real time saver. Use it to fascinate elementary students with the numerous single and multi-syllabic rhyming words and various spelling combinations that are generated. Older students will enjoy the play on words that it quickly reveals, saving them time to do the higher level thinking that the figurative language of poetry requires.
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TogetheRead - TeachersAndFamilies.com

Grades
K to 12
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Share family reading and activities around a monthly theme using this outstanding series by our partner site, TogetherForLearning. Interwoven into each TogetheRead theme are questions...more
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Share family reading and activities around a monthly theme using this outstanding series by our partner site, TogetherForLearning. Interwoven into each TogetheRead theme are questions and activities based on reading strategies for effective readers. Parents and children of all ages can select books from the annotated lists, read together, and do related free or low-cost activities. Written in language understandable to parents and without education "jargon" so familiar to teachers, these themes will help any child become a a better reader and enjoy sharing family time. Books are grouped into "bands": preschool/picture books, early elementary, upper elementary to middle school, upper middle school to young adult, and mature teen to adult books. Activities accompany each age group, and participants can contribute their own activity suggestions, as well.

tag(s): independent reading (127), parents (58)

In the Classroom

Share this link on your teacher web page or in a newsletter. You might even talk to your parent organization about promoting TogetheRead as a whole-school activity. Maybe even host a TogetheRead family evening in the gym or library.

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Writer Igniter - Gabriela Pereira

Grades
5 to 12
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Writer Igniter is an "easy to use" writing prompt creator to set minds in motion! Choose the shuffle button then watch the four categories spin before stopping to set the ...more
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Writer Igniter is an "easy to use" writing prompt creator to set minds in motion! Choose the shuffle button then watch the four categories spin before stopping to set the scene for a story. Categories include character, situation, setting, and prop. Writer Igniter is also part of a larger website called DIY MFA offering articles and information for Writing with Focus and Reading with Purpose. Designed to encourage and offer tools for writers, it is a wealth of information for any aspiring writer, though it is intended for adults.

tag(s): creative writing (169), writers workshop (34), writing prompts (92)

In the Classroom

Engage students using the Writer Igniter for any creative writing assignment or to help them think about story patterns as you brainstorm as a class to generate a story outline. Click shuffle and let the fun begin! Use the Igniter for all members of a class to begin with the same scenario or allow students to shuffle their own story starter. Have students use Ourboox, reviewed here. Ourboox creates beautiful page-flipping digital books in minutes, and you can embed video, music, animation, games, maps and more. Share articles from Writer Igniter to teach writing skills, or assign students to read and share information from articles with classmates. Have students take notes with an online tool like Simplenote, reviewed here, have them share the info they learned with their partner or small group. Tell students to be sure to save the URL to share their notes and questions with you and their peers. World language students could write tales in their new language.

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Starfall - Starfall Education

Grades
K to 3
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Find interactive reading activities for emergent/beginning readers at Starfall. It combines instruction in letter-sound relationships, word recognition skills, and reading comprehension...more
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Find interactive reading activities for emergent/beginning readers at Starfall. It combines instruction in letter-sound relationships, word recognition skills, and reading comprehension strategies. Seasonal activities can also be found on the main page. The four "levels" of reading at Starfall include "ABCs," "Learn to Read," "It's Fun to Read," and "I'm Reading." There is also a premium option, this review is only for the free interactives. The app (available on iOs, Google Play and Kindle Fire) offers more free intereactives than the web version.
This site includes advertising.

tag(s): DAT device agnostic tool (175), phonics (69)

In the Classroom

This website could be used for an entire class using your interactive whiteboard or projector. You could also set up a learning center for use during your L.A. block. Use this site to differentiate reading levels for your students. Be certain to save this site in your class favorites and list this site on your class website for students to access both in and out of the classroom.
  This resource requires Adobe Flash and PDF reader software like Adobe Acrobat.

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OK2Ask: Class Hacks Using Microsoft Office - TeachersFirst

Grades
K to 12
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This recording of an OK2Ask online professional learning session from July 2018, opens in Adobe Connect. Would you like to hack your classroom and gain more instructional time with...more
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This recording of an OK2Ask online professional learning session from July 2018, opens in Adobe Connect. Would you like to hack your classroom and gain more instructional time with your students? Come learn tricks and tips for using Microsoft Office online more efficiently so that you can hack your classroom, save time, and gain more time to spend on what matters the most- your students! Participants will: 1. Explore Microsoft tools that can be used to create interactive lessons; 2. Learn to use Microsoft tools to simplify creating presentations; and 3. Convert handouts to digitally editable files. This session is appropriate for teachers at all technology levels.

tag(s): Microsoft (40)

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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The Teacher Toolkit - The Region 13 Educator Certification Program (ECP)

Grades
K to 12
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Find many strategies and techniques to keep your class engaged and interested! Many of the strategies are also helpful in adult meetings. View the short video on the home page ...more
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Find many strategies and techniques to keep your class engaged and interested! Many of the strategies are also helpful in adult meetings. View the short video on the home page to get a good overview of what to find and how to navigate this site. See the Strategies and Techniques, or Tools, by clicking on the button. Not only will all the tools be displayed, but on the left find a menu with categories to make it easier to find what you are looking for. There are Opening and Closing Activities, Checks for Understanding, Reading Strategies, and more. There is no sign in to see all the activities. However, by joining the site, you will be able to take and save notes for the different tools of interest. Each tool has an overview of how and when to use it, variations of the tool, and templates (downloaded in Word) for participants to use. Some tools have accompanying videos to show the tool in action. The video clips require Flash, the rest of the site does not.

tag(s): back to school (60), classroom management (152), reading strategies (54)

In the Classroom

Keep lessons engaging and interactive with these Tools. For instance use the Quiz, Quiz, Trade activity to get students up and to interact with questions for review before a test. To structure a meaningful discussion try the 5-3-1 activity. Use the Gallery Walk to review and get students discussing the unit or topic just finished. With the Gallery Walk, student groups could create posters (maybe a picture summary of something just read in class) and walk around observing and taking notes from others' posters. There are dozens more for you to try at The Teacher Toolkit.
 This resource requires Adobe Flash.

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Shop Til You Drop - TeachersFirst

Grades
6 to 8
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A math and consumer science lesson that lets students build a budget and and menushop to fit their allotted funds and menu. Designed for use on-line, this unit could ...more
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A math and consumer science lesson that lets students build a budget and and menushop to fit their allotted funds and menu. Designed for use on-line, this unit could also be done off-line using newspaper sale advertising. This lesson plan was one of the winners in a lesson plan contest sponsored by TeachersFirst. TeachersFirst editors have added technology options where appropriate.

tag(s): money (184)

In the Classroom

Teachers may also find this lesson useful with older special education or life skills students. Technology options include using web sources for shopping information and coupons and for creating the student projects.

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Media Literacy - TeachersFirst

Grades
K to 12
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Peruse this curated list to find resources related to media literacy. Media literacy is a set of skills that help people to analyze, evaluate, and create messages in a wide ...more
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Peruse this curated list to find resources related to media literacy. Media literacy is a set of skills that help people to analyze, evaluate, and create messages in a wide variety of media modes, genres, and formats. To become media literate, students must learn to raise the right questions about what they are listening to, watching, or reading. Media literacy education is about helping students become competent, critical, and literate in all media forms so that they can appropriately interpret what they see or hear rather than blindly accepting what they are told. This collection of resources includes lesson ideas, activities, and resources for teaching media literacy skills. Be sure also to check out the media literacy professional learning resources.

tag(s): critical thinking (118), cyberbullying (45), digital citizenship (65), evaluating sources (16), internet safety (117), media literacy (65), news (260), primary sources (92), professional development (160), social media (28)

In the Classroom

Today's messages come in many forms and literacy can no longer refer simply to the ability to read and write. Prepare your students to be literate citizens with this collection. Many are ideal for whole-group instruction, while others would work best on individual devices. Read the reviews to find classroom use ideas with each review. Although the list of tools is mainly geared towards grades 4-8, there are a few resources for the primary grades.

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Creating a Rubric: Tutorial - University of South Florida Health

Grades
4 to 12
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Learn the basic steps for creating a grading rubric with this informative site. Find out why you need rubrics and the six basic steps for designing a rubric for any ...more
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Learn the basic steps for creating a grading rubric with this informative site. Find out why you need rubrics and the six basic steps for designing a rubric for any project. Most of the steps also include links to examples and templates for different situations such as discussions, presentations, and other types of projects.

tag(s): assessment (117), professional development (160), rubrics (29)

In the Classroom

Bookmark this site for use when creating a rubric of any kind. Share with students and have them set up their own rubrics, based on the requirements, for projects. Doing this may help clarify the requirements. Be sure to check out other TeachersFirst Rubrics resources here.
 This resource requires PDF reader software like Adobe Acrobat.

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Vox - Vox Media

Grades
7 to 12
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Find thoughtful articles written to explain today's news, especially the stories that are most difficult to understand. The article topics vary widely and include offerings from sports,...more
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Find thoughtful articles written to explain today's news, especially the stories that are most difficult to understand. The article topics vary widely and include offerings from sports, politics, pop culture, public policy, world affairs, food, business, health, and many other topics. Just as the news may include tough or adult topics, so may Vox. You might want to preview or direct less mature young people to a specific article instead of allowing them to browse the entire site.
This site includes advertising.

tag(s): news (260)

In the Classroom

Share specific articles from this site -- or a collection of them-- for students to gain experience with informational texts that demystify the headlines they are seeing on the TV screen crawl. Use examples from this site as models for student groups to do research to explain a science or economics topic that has been in the news and share it with peers as a digital poster showing the top ten things they should know about X. Use a tool such as Padlet, reviewed here, to create a "poster" of sticky notes. Not only will your students gain experience reading for understanding, but also choosing the most important things to know from an article. Use this approach for students to research and share articles in health class (such as on new vaccines or discoveries) or on national issues during an election cycle. Be sure to include this link on your class web page for upper grade students to find current events articles (along with a disclaimer that some topics may be controversial).

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VoiceThread - VoiceThread

Grades
K to 12
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Voicethread allows you to upload images (from your digital camera, scanner, or even paint program). You can also upoad PowerPoint slides. Then, as longas your VoiceThread is public,...more
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Voicethread allows you to upload images (from your digital camera, scanner, or even paint program). You can also upoad PowerPoint slides. Then, as longas your VoiceThread is public, you can give students the URL so they can record or write their own comments and/or narration about the images/slides. Other listeners can "comment" back, as well. Access to the ed.voicethread site (as opposed to www.voicethread) is restricted to grades K-12 students, educators, and administrators and is not free. VoiceThread explains how to set up a classroom account and check out their ideas for classroom use, as well. Ideas from the TeachersFirst Edge review team are listed below, under "In the classroom."

Voicethread also offers a free iOS app for iPhone, iPad, and iPod touch. It is free through the iTunes app store. Projects work seamlessly on both computer and mobile iOS devices, so projects started on one machine can be edited and/or viewed on another. The ed.Voicethread account works in both places.

tag(s): DAT device agnostic tool (175), digital storytelling (154), speech (87)

In the Classroom

You will be logged into your account immediately after you fill in the registration form. You must "apply" to designate your account as an educator account once it is set up. Click on "browse" to see many examples, including tutorials. Watch the "One Minute Voicethread" to get a very quick overview of how easy it is to create a digital story. Set up student identities. Use first names only. You need to know how to locate and upload saved pictures or PowerPoint files. If you want to use audio, the COOL tool, you WILL need a microphone, either plugged into your computer or built in. Once you create a Voicethread, it can be shared by clicking "share" from the menu or at the end of viewing it and copying the URL to send via email or other means, inviting others to comment back. Ed voicethreads have comment moderation turned on by default and are private by default. As the teacher, you can change these settings.

Invite parents to share in the results (The VoiceThread classroom page tells you more about this). TeachersFirst does not recommend using actual, identifiable pictures of children. Let them draw a picture or take a digital picture of an object that somehow represents them (middle schoolers will love that idea!). If you allow others to "comment" on student Voicethreads, the experience can be both wonderful and a bit intimidating. Use this opportunity to promote ethical and kind interaction with other students and their projects.

Of course, you should be sure that you have the RIGHTS to any images you upload. Fair Use does not apply when you put an image on the web! Elementary classes can create or take pictures, then ask each child to talk about the images. Each child can comment on the SAME pictures, creating a collaborative collection of responses. After a field trip or special class event, you can assign groups of students to explain each of the digital pictures you took and how they relate to curriculum topics. In art class, students can critique works of their own or of fellow students. In language arts classes, students can scan and comment on writing pieces as part of a reflective phase of the writing process. Or post an image as a prewriting activity and allow students to respond orally in an idea-generating phase. In social studies, have students provide a picture of a grandparent then narrate what they learned about that grandparent from interviewing him/her. Have students create narrated pictures as gifts (for parents or other care givers) for special occasions, winter holidays, Thanksgiving, Valentine's Day, Mother's Day, Father's Day, etc.. During a science experiment or demo, have a student take pictures of the steps. Then ask students to "narrate" them by commenting on what is happening. The narration assignment could even be a center activity or an assignment on a few classroom computers for students to rotate through. What a great way to review and apply key vocabulary! Be sure they identify their voices if you are using a single class account and want to be able to assess understanding. Other ideas: narrated local history projects (pictures of local sites), audio "museum tours" of artifacts (photos) or war veterans telling their stories along with images of their uniforms or old photos. Speech/language, ESL/ELL or early childhood teachers could use this tool to promote vocabulary development and oral expression.

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Memorize Now - Brad Haugaard

Grades
2 to 12
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This site allows students to enter texts of varying lengths which they would like to memorize, but it can also be much more. Working like a sort of reverse cloze ...more
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This site allows students to enter texts of varying lengths which they would like to memorize, but it can also be much more. Working like a sort of reverse cloze test, the site erases more and more of the text as the student works through it. A blank remains, marking the spot for each word that has been removed. Alternatively, students can also select "letters" to see the first word of every sentence in the item. Two ways of entering the text passage allow students to copy items from a spread sheet (like vocabulary words) instead of retyping or entering each word. This site also allows you to create flashcards to use for practice. This is a great tool to help students study and understand how they learn best!

tag(s): vocabulary (316)

In the Classroom

This site does far more than aid memorization. Reading teachers can also use it to teach comprehension skills, such as using context clues to determine meaning in a paragraph. Paste in the paragraph (perhaps a passage from a non-fiction science or social studies article) and use this tool on your interactive whiteboard for students to "figure out" the missing words. Do the same with world language texts to reverse match using subject verb agreement and to analyze missing content using inflected endings. In science class, use this site to remove clues from a paragraph explaining a concepts or terms, subtracting information and having students fill it back in as they review for test and quizzes. Learning support teachers will love this option! Enter passage students write that include new vocabulary words, letting students challenge each other by subtracting portions. Speech and language teachers can use this tool to provide practice with expressive language.

For work with memorization, use this site with popular song lyrics in class. Listen to the song first and give the students the lyrics to be memorized. Or, go to YouLyrics (if district policy allows) to get the song and see a video of it and then have the students use this site to help them memorize the lyrics. ESL, ELL, and students of other languages will enjoy memorizing songs which helps them improve their vocabulary and accent. Use this site in a group by projecting the screen on a whiteboard or projector and systematically show fewer and fewer words on the screen. Have teams of students compete against each other by writing the text as quickly as possible on two boards in the classroom. Share this link on your class website for students to use both in and out of the class to memorize new information. Share it as a personal study skills tool, as well.

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Prodigy Math Game - Rohan Mahimker and Alex Peters

Grades
K to 7
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Prodigy offers engaging interactives for seven to twelve-year-olds to practice their math! Use the anime-style avatars to travel the world and meet wizards and confront challenges....more
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Prodigy offers engaging interactives for seven to twelve-year-olds to practice their math! Use the anime-style avatars to travel the world and meet wizards and confront challenges. As math skills improve, your characters earn new spells that can be used only when math proficiencies are strengthened and expanded. The activities will differentiate, assigning and reviewing new math skills. Track your success and get help in areas where you are struggling. Some of the instruction videos (for parents and teachers) are hosted on YouTube. If your school blocks YouTube, you may want to familiarize yourself with this site at home.

tag(s): addition (224), division (159), fractions (229), game based learning (137), number sense (94), numbers (194), subtraction (186)

In the Classroom

This activity would be perfect for practicing math concepts just introduced in class! Share this tool on your interactive whiteboard or projector. This site offers applied experience with math skills and provides critical thinking experience. Students will learn at their pace, and you can get real time reports about how and what your students are doing. There is an option to have the questions read aloud, so have the headphones/earbuds ready. Students will love the multiplayer experience and will forget they are practicing math. Bookmark this tool on your classroom computers and post it on your website for students to use at home. This is perfect to recommend to prevent summer slide.
 This resource requires Adobe Flash.

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