TeachersFirst's Interactive Audio Books
These educator-reviewed resources from TeachersFirst offer audio books in interactive form so all students, including emerging readers and ESL/ELL learners, can experience reading with audio and visual prompts or interactivity to reinforce and inspire literacy skills and enjoyment as they read. Be sure to explore each site, as many include multiple types of activities, including the interactive books. The helpful reviews suggest ideas for ways to use the interactive books in the classroom or outside of school to reinforce literacy skills, improve English skills, or study literature in new ways. See TeachersFirst's full collection of audio book resources and collection of audio books with accompanying text.
GradesK to 3
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In the ClassroomAll primary classrooms should take advantage of this wonderful tool. Share the interactive books and songs on your projector and interactive whiteboard. Use the songs, stories, and lesson plans to teach about various character traits: honesty, anti-bullying, good sportsmanship, courage, and more. Use these stories during class meetings to discuss issues happening in your own classroom. Share a link to the site with parents as a resource for use at home. Share the songs with your PE teacher to reinforce the concepts during movement activities.
GradesK to 8
tag(s): alphabet (82), audio books (21), grammar (204), human body (133), iwb (30), manipulatives (25), maps (297), money (184), order of operations (40), poetry (222), preK (280), probability (136), problem solving (294), resources (107), rounding (18), states (161)
In the ClassroomThese lessons are great for the new SMART Board user or the seasoned pro. Stop and think before you start about how to use them in a student centered lesson, trying some of the lesson formats that help you avoid being "Vanna." View the lessons as is or use them to help you create your own lesson. Use the training videos to help your teaching peers and new SMART Board users learn how to use the SMART Board. Many of these tools could be used on any brand of Interactive Whiteboard.
GradesK to 3
There is a parent play-along mode that helps guide learning experiences in a more personal way. Zoodles has been created to work on virtually any type of computer, including tablets and smart phones. Games are searchable by age (toddler to 8 yrs old), and subject. Many games will also have parent ratings with the educational and fun value of the activity. Creating an account is easy and requires simple user information including email and the child's age. This is used to populate age-appropriate games. There is a premium membership with more features.
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In the ClassroomCreate 2 or 3 (or more, as needed) classroom accounts with different age levels to provide diversity for students. Each account then be bookmarked on classroom computers for student use. Share this site through your classroom blog or newsletter as a resource for learning games at home. Use activities from the site on your interactive whiteboard or projector as a classroom activity. Provide this link to parents to use on rainy days or during the summer.
GradesK to 3
In the ClassroomThese interactives make great center activities to support learning. Or if individual computers aren't available, use your interactive whiteboard or projector. Consider using the IWB as a student-run center for pairs to take turns. There are numerous activities to choose from and differentiate for your students' needs. This is definitely one to save in your favorites (or bookmark). Be sure to share this link via your newsletter or list it on your class website, blog, or wiki. Use your TeachersFirst public page (part of free membership) to share with a single click!
Grades3 to 12
In the ClassroomThere are several ways you can use this site. For young readers and writers: Select a story from the children's book area. Use your whiteboard or projector and select a story to read with your students. Then as a class, have the students change the ending of the story, or write a sequel. You can then publish this class book on BookRix. Older students can publish their poems, short stories, current event articles, persuasive writing for an issue they are into... for free. Some teachers have their students write novels for National Novel Writing Month, and at BookRix they will be able to publish them. Don't miss the great collection of audio books at TeachersFirst, found here.
Books are tagged, so you can search by keywords. You can also go to the "Books" tab and search by "Popular Categories." Click on the "See all" to find the "Children's Books" category. If your intent is to publish yours or your student's writing, then you will need to know how to navigate the site. You have three choices for the book format: text only, illustrated book, and audio book.
GradesK to 12
A special feature of the site is an exclusive story, called "The Exquisite Corpse Adventure." The Exquisite Corpse was a game in which someone would start a story, fold over their part, and the next person would add to the story and on it would go until the last person ended the story. For this Exquisite Corpse, Jon Scieszka started the story and passed it on to Katherine Patterson, who passed it on . . . and so it goes for 18 episodes. The entire story will take a year to write to the finish. There is an illustration that goes with each segment.
In the ClassroomCheck out "The Exquisite Corpse Adventure" and have students listen to the stories. As a challenge ask students to look at the differences in writing style for each of the authors. Project a chart about the plot and the writing style on your interactive whiteboard or projector, and have students list the differences and similarities in writing style. Students could also keep a chart of similarities and differences for the illustrators. Another idea for an activity is to have the students read the poem "If" by Rudyard Kipling and then have them read the very touching national contest winner letter to the author about his poem. Students could then write their own letters to an author of a favorite book or poem. Extend student learning and have students create podcasts to read their letters to the authors using a site such as PodOmatic,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 (107)
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.
GradesK to 6
Kindersite collaborates with outside institutions to develop educational projects that compile resources, generate new curriculum models, create training materials, and implement teacher-training seminars. Researchers can gather user data from Kindersite that represents varying population sizes, geographical groupings, and languages.
General Tips and Reminders: Some sites originate from the UK, so some of the pronunciations and spellings may differ from those in American English. There is some advertising on the right side of the page. Some links may direct students to sites that also contain advertising. Warn your students to avoid them.
tag(s): literacy (107)
In the ClassroomInvigorate shared reading with Kindersite's songs and stories. View the colorful illustration and text on an interactive whiteboard or projector. Some stories and songs highlight the tracking of words. Other sites provide character voices when you click the text in quotations. The animation will definitely engage everyone even those who wiggle on the carpet. Differentiate computer centers with the "my page" function. Save interactive tasks that target the instructional needs of students. Make a shortcut to the "my page" site collections on classroom computers and use it as a center. Be sure to take advantage of the professional resources Kindersites provides as well. Post a link to this site on your school website for parents to access at home.
GradesK to 5
In the ClassroomUse stories on the interactive whiteboard or projector to teach story elements - pause as the story is read to allow students to retell details to the stopping point then make predictions of what will happen next. Help students understand disabilities and adaptations to disabilities through watching the stories being told in sign language. This is also a great resource for students with deaf/hearing impaired parents or students/teachers trying to learn or practice sign language. In sign language classes, consider creating your own signed story videos for children's books and share them on a tool such as TeacherTube reviewed here.
GradesK to 3
In the ClassroomDownload stories onto a mp3 player for students to listen to during reading time. Play the audio version of stories while following the written version on the interactive whiteboard. Use the stories during a fairy tale unit to compare and contrast characters. Share this link on your class web page for families to enjoy at home. These stories are worth playing over and over. Be sure to provide this link on your class website for students to explore both in and out of the classroom.
GradesK to 2
In the ClassroomThis site works really well with an interactive whiteboard or projector. Students can view the videos on the board and then play the games on the interactive board. The printables can be used by an entire class or for individual students who need skills reinforcement, and the books can be used as a center. The students have the choice of having the books read to them or reading on their own, so the site addresses the abilities of all students.
GradesK to 6
In the ClassroomUse these stories to learn about climate change as well as the organisms that live in colder regions affected by climate change. Read aloud to students or allow students to read together in small groups. Create story organizers to keep track of the basics of the story. Determine characteristics of the principal character in the story. Discuss what students know about that type of animal and discuss other information or stories that allow students the opportunity to understand more about the animal. Use some of the suggested activities to create ice floes or make paper ice crystals. Discuss other animals that may be affected and create conventional or multimedia posters that enlighten and inform others. Modify learning and have your students create an interactive online poster using Canva, reviewed here. Use this story to help children find a voice and create their own stories or poems. Transform learning and share the stories by creating an online book using a site such as Bookemon, reviewed here.
GradesK to 8
In the ClassroomProvide this link to parents in support of your in-school reading program. Struggling students can use RIF's Reading Planet, reviewed here, or Leading to Reading, reviewed here, activities both at home and at school to provide the repetition and review they need for skill mastery. Be sure to share this link before school breaks so parents can support literacy at home to prevent "summer slide."
GradesK to 5
In the ClassroomMany of the games would be terrific as literacy centers or on an interactive whiteboard or projector to reinforce basics. Make this link available on your class web page for parents, students, and younger siblings to access from home. Parent notifications on games and contests with prizes and required parental consent for students to join make this a very safe site. Teachers may want to offer some of the writing contests as regular classroom activities or for enrichment or to adapt them for use with newer technologies. The visual poetry idea, for example, would work well as an interactive book created using Bookemon, reviewed here. Each student could make a visual poem and illustration in a whole-class book.
GradesK to 4
tag(s): comics and cartoons (58)
In the ClassroomIntroduce this site on a projector or interactive whiteboard. Have students read aloud together to practice choral reading. Use this site for D.E.A.R. reading or other free time reading (be sure to provide headsets). Allow students to choose from the books. Even non-readers can use this site! Identify information, story lines, and grammar components within the stories as groups. Create story boards that outline the telling of the stories. Enhance learning and use a graphic organizing (online) tool such as bubble.us, reviewed here. Compare and contrast stories or characters using an online Venn diagram creator, reviewed here. Students can re-write endings or the sequels that would follow these books. Redefine learning and use these books as inspiration for student-made cartoon books in world language classes using Write Comics, reviewed here. Modify learning and have the class or individuals create online books to share using a site such as Bookemon, reviewed here.
Grades2 to 12
In the ClassroomWhat a fabulous site for ESL, ELL, learning support, and students learning Spanish! Introduce this site on your interactive whiteboard or projector. Share this site with Spanish students who do well at working on learning independently. ESL and ELL students will also benefit from going through the lessons, individually or in pairs. Teachers can register independently from their students and keep track of learner progress and participation. As students learn new vocabulary words, challenge cooperative learning groups to create an online book sharing their newfound vocabulary. Use a tool such as Bookemon (reviewed here).
GradesK to 5
If you click on the Student View a spinning wheel will appear. Students can spin to choose a random activity! Many of these activities require Flash. You can get it from the TeachersFirst Toolbox page.
In the ClassroomSave this site in your favorites on your classroom computers. Introduce this site on your projector or interactive whiteboard. If a student finishes early and needs some enrichment or is struggling and needs some extra practice, look here for some interactive help! Share this site on your class website for students to access outside of the classroom.
GradesK to 2
This site requires Flash and Windows Media or similar player. The printable pages require Adobe Acrobat. Get them from the TeachersFirst Toolbox page.
In the ClassroomAdd this link to your classroom computer for students to use for extra reading practice. Share this site on your interactive whiteboard or projector. Set this site up as a learning center (or using individual computers, if available). Don't forget the headsets! List this link on your class website. Use free printouts to reinforce what was learned in the stories and for students to take home or do as homework. The "Watch and Listen" link at the left will take parents to a page where they can download podcast versions of the stories to take in the car!
Grades4 to 12
Be sure to check out the videos, which include commercials from the 1960s!
In the ClassroomThis site has so much to offer, the possibilities are endless. Obviously, this site is handy with ESL and ELL students. But there is SO much here to explore for teachers of elementary (social studies or language arts), AND secondary teachers trying to reinforce grammar skills, connect history and writing, and more.
Share portions of this site on your interactive whiteboard or projector. With primary students, set up learning stations. Have cooperative learning groups explore the site together. Have groups investigate a specific area of this site and create a multimedia presentation to share with the class: wiki, blog entry, podcast, online book, or video. Need some "technology tips?" Try enhancing students' learning by having them create a podcast using podOmatic, reviewed here. Share "student-created" videos on a tool such as TeacherTube, reviewed here. Transform learning and have students write online books using a tool such as Bookemon, reviewed here.