Grades6 to 12
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In the ClassroomIf you like to compare fiction or poetry with nonfiction, you can choose a few of these questions for students to answer for both pieces. Then ask students to compare which answers are similar and different for both pieces, and why that happens. If you would like to start pairing fiction with nonfiction you can start by using a site such as Earth Care reviewed here. You will find a link for Focus on Books that has lessons for The Lorax, Diary of a Worm, and several others.
If your students write in reading journals, you may want to assign a few of these questions as prompts for reflection. Challenge your students to think of additional writing prompts following this same pattern.
GradesK to 8
In the ClassroomUse this site on your interactive whiteboard (or projector) as inspiration for lessons in poetry writing. Share it on your teacher web page for enrichment. Have students create their own poems using this site as inspiration then create podcasts of a poetry reading. Use a site such as PodOmatic (reviewed here).
It's impossible to have writer's block after visiting this blog--there are always so many inspiring writing prompts and ideas to try here. (And the blog has a very comfortable, inviting, homey feeling--feels like visiting a friend for tea.)janet, , Grades: 0 - 12
GradesK to 12
tag(s): text to speech (18)
In the ClassroomCreate a verbal classroom using speech in your email messages, blog, browser searches, and even class discussions, read alouds, and simple explanations. Lower elementary classes, ESL/ELL, or learning support classes can enjoy greater independence with both verbal and written text. Let students try making a blog post with synthesized speech. ELL students can hear written language to build listening skills and relate written English to the spoken sounds. Send an email with an anticipatory activity for a content lesson by polling, asking a question, or offering food for thought. At the end of the unit, have students create a review for content area subjects. Use in your writing class for students to listen to their own work read aloud. This allows for easier self-revisions. Share all written work on your class blog, allowing everyone to share (with parental permission, of course). Enjoy giving students writing prompts or homework assignments spoken aloud, playable as many times as each individual needs. Send a quick email to a sick or absent student, adding a more personal touch with them hearing your message. Use to read poetry or to illustrate inflection and emotion in your speech. Enjoy all the talking and listening you and your class will do!
GradesK to 12
In the ClassroomThis is a great visual tool to use. Take a poll and have your students type their answers into the word cloud builder. Then display on an interactive whiteboard or projector and see which answer was the most popular. Use this site as a way to help students see and memorize text, especially visual learners. Use it also when writing poetry or to "see" themes of repeated words and images. Have students paste in their own writing to spot repeated (and monotonous) language when teaching lessons on word choice. Use this site to surprise students with words that appear often in their writing. Have students work in groups to create word posters of vocabulary words with related meanings, such as different ways to say "walk" or "said" and decorate your classroom with these visual reminders of the richness of language. More ideas for primary grades: Dolch words, class names, numbers to 20, words with the same beginning letters, collection of ALL the words that hang in the classroom (so students can walk around and find/touch them on a laminated Word cloud card in their hands), or any collection of similar words.
Grades4 to 12
In the ClassroomUse this site to make lessons grab your students' attention (which isn't always easy). Create images for content-related phrases and display on your interactive whiteboard for students to guess the phrase. "What goes up must come down" could introduce a lesson on Newton's laws! Use as a unit starter to provide image phrases related to upcoming lessons. Have students create their own phrases with images for classmates to guess the phrase (cover the sentence with a notebook tool or similar). Use pictures to display your morning message. Use this site during a poetry unit to talk about the many visual images used in poetry and for students to compose figurative language phrases that they can test in Phrasr. In art class, use Phrasr to discuss the way we relate images to meaning.
GradesK to 12
In the ClassroomTransform your classroom into a community of poets and dreamers and even choose to participate in a global project by writing and sharing poems with students around the world. Share this site during Poetry Month. You'll love seeing the pride in students as they engage in reading, writing, creating, and sharing poetry that reflects their hopes and dreams for today and the future. Introduce the extensive photos, videos, and other resources on a projector or an interactive whiteboard. There are "quick links" to an abundance of resources. The outcomes can range from poetry reading and writing to integrating music, theater, videotaping, or social networking (be sure to check with your school's policies). Have students make a multimedia presentation using one of the many TeachersFirst Edge tools reviewed here. This can be done in a sixty minute lesson or expanded to a year long theme. It's your choice!
GradesK to 8
In the ClassroomIf there was anything that Dr. Seuss wanted us to learn in his later years that you won't find in Oh, the Places You'll Go, you'll not only discover just about everything else here, you will also find out how to do it. Compare the works of Seuss and Silverstein by having students work in groups to prepare critical thinking questions about issues of friendship or making wise choices, exploring the relationship between sound and spelling using onomatopoeia in a standards-based lesson from Mr. Brown Can MOO! Can You?, reading Trees for Many Reasons to examine the importance of conserving natural resources, or introducing One Fish, Two Fish as a way to demonstrate Venn Diagrams with Teachersfirst Venn Diagram tool (reviewed here), you'll add humor that will liven up instruction. Permission is granted to link to any educational site, so feel free to post your favorite Seuss games and activities on your class page.
GradesK to 6
In the ClassroomUse the before, during, and after reading activities in this read-aloud collection as the core of a poetry unit or simply to honor National Poetry Month. Mark it in your Favorites so you can use it from year to year. Share some of the activity ideas and links with parents to use at home or with other teachers to make poetry a schoolwide literacy celebration.
Grades2 to 8
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In the ClassroomJazz up your language arts class with fun, laughter and great readers theater scripts. Find links for other websites for more resources. Discover book resources to make your language arts workshop become the favorite part of your students' day. Use on an interactive whiteboard (or projector), at centers, for parent resource, or additional advice for tutors.
After students have experienced two or three of the reader's theater scripts from this site, have them create their own script for a favorite story. Use the script writing tips found on Aaron Shepard's Reader's Theater Page reviewed here.
GradesK to 12
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In the ClassroomTrying to think of new ways to use technology with your students (in all grades?). Want to learn just one small tip each week? The weekly tips are a great ice-breaker to using technology and new teaching ideas in your classroom. Try that one tip that is suggested and explore more as you feel comfortable.
Grades3 to 6
In the ClassroomTake advantage of this free and interactive lesson plan! Just be sure to save it as a favorite to allow for easy retrieval later on!
Grades3 to 5
tag(s): poetry (222)
In the ClassroomTake advantage of this free lesson plan during a language arts unit on poetry. For a twist on the skit idea, you could also have students complete the almost the same task by creating online posters on paper or do it together as a class using a tool such as Web Poster Wizard (reviewed here) or PicLits (reviewed here).
GradesK to 7
In the ClassroomThis is a great visual tool to use. Take a poll and have your students type their answers into the word cloud builder. Then display on an interactive whiteboard or projector and see which answer was the most popular. Use this site as a way to help students see and memorize text, especially visual learners. Use it also when writing poetry or to "see" themes of repeated words and images. Have students paste in their own writing to spot repeated (and monotonous) language when teaching lessons on word choice. Students will be surprised to see what words appear to be dominant. Have students work in groups to create word posters of vocabulary words with related meanings, such as different ways to say "walk" or "said" and decorate your classroom with these visual reminders of the richness of language.
Grades3 to 12
In the ClassroomCheck out this educational page for many ideas, links, and ready to do projects. This all-encompassing lesson plan challenges students to participate in enthusiastic learning activities about why kites have often appeared in poetry, legends, and folk tales, and have led to important scientific discoveries. Invite students to try one of the many ideas to create and decorate a kite that represents flags from various countries. Ask them to label the kite with that country's word for kite, using the link provided for the Kite Translation Table. Allow your students to be adventurous with technology by providing them with the opportunity to create online posters using Animoto for Education reviewed here.
GradesK to 12
** This site does contain some materials NOT suitable for all classrooms. Be sure to read the "rating" system, and contribute your own opinions (as the ratings are only as reliable as the pool of contributing voters). Books rated 'E' are meant for everyone but a 'C' means to use caution as it may not be proper material for some. Determine what titles are suitable and save them to the favorites file for students to access.
tag(s): literacy (103)
In the ClassroomIncrease your big book collection ten fold by projecting Tar Heel Readers onto an interactive whiteboard or projector. Use interactive shared reading lessons to strengthen student recognition of common sight words, concepts of print, decoding skills, and use syntax cues and unlock the meaning of text. Ask students to circle known sight words, count the number of words in a sentence, trace capital letters, or point to the first letter of a word during a choral read. Help ESL/ELL students by creating books out of photos from class field trips, events, or experiments. Integrate text that uses key vocabulary words and creates reading materials that are both relevant to grade level curricular standards and match your student's readability level. All books you publish on the web site are public domain and available to all other users. Be sure to get parent permission before publishing student books on-line. In order to create a book, users will need to register. Unfortunately, this requires users to email email@example.com to request of an invitation code. With this code, simply create a username, submit your name, and email address. Set up a single teacher account and have all the students use that login to avoid safety concerns. Be sure to include this site on your class web page for students to access both in and outside of class for further reading practice.
Grades4 to 12
In the ClassroomUsers must be able to copy and paste text or provide a url to a page of text as well as determine parameters of more advanced word clouds. Alternately, these word clouds can be kept very simple. After creating the word cloud, be sure to save the image (or use a screen capture) to share with others. Another idea, use the url of the cloud or embed into a place to share such as blog, wiki, or site.
This is a terrific visual tool to share on an interactive whiteboard or projector. Help students develop creative fluency by creating their own taguls of words and ideas from scratch. Paste in a passage or URL for a political speech to visualize the politician's "message." Analyze advertising propaganda by visualizing the language used in TV or print ads. Create taguls of historical texts of inauguration speeches as time capsules of the issues of the day. Use this site as a way to help students see and memorize text, especially visual learners. Use it also when writing poetry or reading passages of great literature to "see" themes and motifs of repeated words and images. Have students paste in their own writing to spot repeated (and monotonous) language when teaching lessons on word choice. Students will be surprised to see what words appear to be dominant. ESL and ELL students will eagerly use this site since word order will no longer be a problem for them. Have students work in groups to create word posters of vocabulary words with related meanings, such as different ways to say "walk" or "said" and decorate your classroom with these visual reminders of the richness of language. Collect thoughts about the class subject at the beginning of the year and then again at the end of the year to determine changes in thoughts about the subject matter.
Parent permission advised before posting student work created using this tool
Includes Interaction w general public/ public galleries with unmoderated content
Requires registration/log-in (WITH email)
Products can be embedded
Products can be shared by URL
GradesK to 12
Tagxedo requires Silverlight. The site will appear as a blank page with the "Install Silverlight Plugin" button if your computer does not have it installed. See your tech folks to allow download and installation of this plug-in if school computers do not have it and/or are "locked down."
In the ClassroomNO membership required to create a cloud, though saving may require a (free) membership in the future, according to developer Hardy Leung. Click "Create" and then "Words." Paste URL to "cloud" words from a web page or copy/paste (or type) a passage of words into the given field. (Repeat words to make them larger). Experiment with various settings and "themes" to create the different colors and shapes of the word cloud. Change the theme, shape, direction, layout, and other parameters easily. Click SAVE to easily download a static image of various sizes or take a screenshot using shortcut keys. Saved images do not have the cool "pop-out" feature (rats!), though the developer tells TeachersFirst that users will be able to download animated versions in the future. You can also save and obtain the direct URL to your animated cloud. Be sure to bookmark it or copy/paste the URL for safe keeping in a document, wiki, etc. During beta, the tool allows you to save and copy embed code, but this feature will cost money later.
In the classroom: This is a terrific visual tool to share on an interactive whiteboard or projector. In primary grades. Enter a group of related words into the text box, such as sight words, words with the same spelling cluster, or vocabulary terms. Then have students roll over the words to read them aloud as they pop out (only works in the ONLINE version of the clouds). Paste in a passage or URL for a political speech to visualize the politician's "message." Analyze advertising propaganda by visualizing the language used in TV or print ads. Create word clouds of historical texts of inauguration speeches as time capsules of the issues of the day. Use this site as a way to help students see and memorize terms and important vocabulary, especially visual learners. Use it also when writing poetry or reading passages of great literature to "see" themes and motifs of repeated words and images. Have students paste in their own writing to spot repeated (and monotonous) language when teaching lessons on word choice. Students will be surprised to see what words appear to be dominant. ESL and ELL students will eagerly use this site since word order will no longer be a problem for them. Have students work in groups to create word posters of vocabulary words with related meanings, such as different ways to say "walk" or "said" and decorate your classroom with these visual reminders of the richness of language. Use themes and shapes that coordinate with the word cloud (for example, use a bird shape when creating a cloud about flight or a heart when interpreting a love poem. Consider using a word cloud as a first week of school activity where students discuss summer vacation or what they did over the summer. As a first day activity, students could also make a cloud with words about themselves, then have classmates guess which cloud matches which person.
For a free gift for special occasions, make word clouds about mom for Mother's Day or Thanksgiving "I am thankful" visual poems. Share them by emailing the URL or in printed form.
Very versatile, creates word clouds in specific shapes. Adds another dimension.Frances, CT, Grades: 6 - 8
Grades8 to 12
In the ClassroomTake advantage of the numerous tips and tools to spark a new idea or expand one that you already have going on. Save this site in your favorites and use it as a massive compilation of resources while planning your entire English language arts lessons, not just writing. Use your whiteboard to show a "how-to" video or display information to enhance your lessons. Provide a direct link on your class page to any one of the sites that you choose to feature; perhaps a literary genre, book, or author that you are focusing on, or daily writing tips, grammar help, and guides for students to develop practical writing skills for reports, e-mail, letters, resumes, and more. Share students' writing projects interactively by having students create online books using a tool such as Bookemon, reviewed here.
Grades8 to 12
In the ClassroomMany students' favorite past time, when not texting or social networking, is listening to their iPods. Why not use that venue to hook them into understanding the 'music of poetry?" Stories Behind the Songs; Introduction includes the music, lyrics, song-based lessons, projects, and activities for many popular songs and ballads that express universal themes of poverty, hunger, discrimination, and hope. Students listen to the music and examine the origins and inspiration for contemporary lyrics. Popular songs can be used in a classroom setting to facilitate meaningful discussions on a particular theme or topic. Songs also create an emotional hook and may be used as a springboard to introduce poetry, literature, and historic documents. Students enter the Song Guide by clicking on the song's title to enjoy the full authentic cultural experience the music and lyrics offer. Follow up with asking students to write poems or short essays describing their feelings and impressions of the lyrics, or have them create new poetic verses and images to accompany the music. Challenge students to narrate an image using a tool such as ThingLink, reviewed here.
Grades5 to 12
tag(s): poetry (222)