TeachersFirst's Audio Books
These educator-reviewed resources from TeachersFirst offer audio books so all students, including emerging readers and ESL/ELL learners, can experience literature and other reading selections in audio form to reinforce and inspire literacy skills and enjoyment. Be sure to explore each site, as many include multiple categories of books and different download or listening formats. Some selections are audio only. Others include text to follow on the site as you listen, while others include options to interact with the book by clicking, responding, and watching animations. The helpful reviews suggest ideas for ways to use the audio books in the classroom or outside of school to reinforce literacy skills, improve English skills, or study literature in new ways. Narrow your search by choosing TeachersFirst's specialized collections of audio books with accompanying text or audio books with interactive features.
GradesK to 5
tag(s): folktales (49)
In the ClassroomUse the stories during listening centers or as enrichment to a theme or shared/group reading during class. Play the stories on an interactive whiteboard or projector and have students draw pictures of the story. If copies of the story are available, have students follow along with a partner during the audio reading. Learning support teachers will like the option of offering stories in audio to help weaker readers.
Grades1 to 12
Material created can only be viewed within the program. Drawings are not saved as a JPG or pic file. However, a "snapshot" of the screen can be created by using these keys in Mac: apple, shift, and 4 and click/drag to surround the portion to save. In PC use: control/print screen. These snapshots can be uploaded or used as a picture in other applications.
In the ClassroomQuick start: Click stage and in the center pane, click on backgrounds. Click on paint to make a new background. Different colors, pens, and materials can be used to create the background or an image can be brought in from your computer. Objects in Scratch are called a Sprite and can be added in by choosing the folders below the screen. By clicking the script tab, blocks can be moved in to create motion, add sounds (even record your own message), and change the look of the Sprite. Blocks are linked on to each other to create a series of events. A control block dragged to the top of the blocks control which key starts the event. Advanced options include adding variables and other controls.
Be sure to check with your Technology Department, as many districts require authorization to download or install new applications. Projects can be shared online; however an account is required.
Work is saved to the computer itself and only shared online via an account. To avoid problems concerning content made by outsiders or issues with sharing, save the work locally and either create your own gallery on a supervised class website/wiki or set up a single account where you share the "best" projects online via your own log-in. Remind students of the school's Acceptable Use Policy and consequences of violations, if you do allow them to join/share. Images used should adhere to all copyright rules. Use pictures taken in class or those with Creative Commons licensing (and provide attribution!).
Practical tips: Students quickly catch on to this program when allowed to play and easily see what they can make from it. Provide a simple assignment with defined rules/tasks to learn the tools. Younger students may familiarize themselves more easily working with a partner. Have students use a storyboard to write down what they will do/draw/say in their creation in order to keep tabs on what students and their creations.
Possible uses: For the lower grades, Scratch provides unlimited possibilities. Use as a new way to show vocabulary usage. Use the paint program to add information to a picture from your class field trip or science experiment. Use Scratch to help in storytelling a concept in a new and unique way, such as how rocks are formed. In the upper grades, use Scratch to show complex material in a new way. For example, students can draw DNA and show replication, etc. through their drawings and storytelling. Draw the different movements of landforms in plate tectonics. Draw or illustrate solutions to Math problems.
Grades1 to 12
In the ClassroomThis site is helpful for many subjects and grade levels. Have students use this website when they have to memorize poetry, the Gettysburg Address, or the Declaration of Independence. ESL and ELL students and many learning support students will benefit from the option of "reading" in multi-media format. Use the audio stories with younger students for listening skills. During a poetry unit, why not have students choose one of the poems to read and listen to? Have the students analyze and write in their journal about what they think the poem means. Replace paper journals by using a blog tool like Edublog, reviewed here. Then have the students share the original poem and their own opinions with the class, making this activity a listening, reading, writing, and speaking lesson. If you are into podcasting, enhance learning by encouraging students to create some of their own poetry readings with commentary.
GradesK to 5
In the ClassroomBeginning readers will enjoy this site as much as more capable readers, listening intently to the high quality presentation. Share this site with parents in your class newsletter or from your teacher web page. Use it also when you read Alice in Wonderland, and when you teach the concept of "series" stories (try the "Bertie" stories). ESL/ ELL and learning support students will benefit from reading and hearingstories at the same time. Project the story on an interactive whiteboard or projector with small groups of readers so students can follow along and even highlight words during the audio reading.
Grades8 to 12
In the ClassroomThe reading and listening activities are easy for students to work on independently because of the listening option. Special ed teachers may also have students who will benefit from the listening practice. Don't forget to provide the headphones. Provide this link on your class website or newsletter, so the families of ESL/ELL students can read (or listen) to the stories together.
GradesK to 5
In the ClassroomSet up these recordings as a center with the book at hand and headphones for your students. Or play them for the whole class with your speakers turned up after lunch or at the end of the day. Include the link on your teacher web page and newsletter for parents, as well.
GradesK to 1
In the ClassroomYour students will find the easy navigation at this site a bonus. Give them a laptop to read these books in their cozy reading spot (with headphones), or choral read with the entire classroom or group using an interactive whiteboard. Individualized reading opportunities abound using these books. For computer savvy parents, assign this as extra homework reading. They will not complain about this homework assignment.
GradesK to 12
Be sure to try the model books and read the tips for writers and illustrators. Take the time to learn the tool. Click to see a sample we made for you and placed on our site.
In the ClassroomLocate or create your own copyright-free text and images for which you have the rights to make more than one copy (Fair Use does not apply!). Copy/paste the text and resize/upload the images--following simple directions to create the pages and accompanying hints. Be sure to learn about the three interactive characters who teach the strategies! Publish and download the files of the finished "books" and save on your computer. Extract the zipped files and save locally, on your network, or burn to CD so your students can access them directly.
The uses of this one are endless. If you take the time to get permission from the publisher to use text from some of your textbooks or reading books, you could create interactive versions to use in your classroom or with special ed students. More simply, use student-written stories and artwork (scanned -- or created in Paint) to create the "book." Imagine creating a class "book" at the end of a unit on Communities or Animals, and including images you take with your digital camera. If you copy the CD's, students could sign out the "book" and read it to relatives using their home computer. You can keep the "library" of past books to help future classes. Or ask your middle/high school or gifted students to create books as writing/service project for struggling readers to use.
GradesK to 12
In the ClassroomUse these delightful stories as opportunities to develop listening skills by playing the story, then asking questions. Or inspire your children to build fluency and expression by creating their own recordings (podcasts) after listening to these. Be sure to place the link on your teacher web page for students to share stories over and over at home, too.
GradesK to 5
tag(s): writing (359)