TeachersFirst's Reading in the Content Areas

Other TeachersFirst Special Topics Collections

TeachersFirst offers this collection of web resources well suited to teach reading in the content areas, especially in science and social studies classes, but in almost ANY subject area. See "In the classroom" ideas and strategies for teaching reading across the curriculum and find texts to use on the computer, in print, or in interactive whiteboard/projector. Sometimes using web-based texts can be more engaging, and often these are more up-to-date. Practice with these resources is certain to help student mastery of informational texts.

 

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In the Swim eGuides - Make a Splash in the Classroom - In the Swim

Grades
K to 12
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Maintained by a company that sells pool accessories, this collection of links on swimming, swimming pools, and water-related topics helps teach students about being safe around water....more
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Maintained by a company that sells pool accessories, this collection of links on swimming, swimming pools, and water-related topics helps teach students about being safe around water. Scroll down the page to see resources organized by grade levels and content areas. The links include research articles, videos, lesson plans, worksheets, experiments, activities and games for science, math and history classes. 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.
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tag(s): chemicals (51), safety (89), sports (102), water (137)

In the Classroom

Follow these links for some supplemental materials to enliven lessons that could include water as a recreational resource. Science teachers will find real world applications and information about chemicals. Use interactive boards to show videos and activities as whole group lessons. Have students read articles for informational reading practice. Use the resources for flipped or blended learning links on your class website for individual or small group work.

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Ponder - Parlor Labs Inc

Grades
4 to 12
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Use Ponder to annotate and analyze text with Chrome or FireFox browsers or iOS. Using Ponder with your browser will measure reading activity through sharing and commenting on texts...more
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Use Ponder to annotate and analyze text with Chrome or FireFox browsers or iOS. Using Ponder with your browser will measure reading activity through sharing and commenting on texts anywhere on the web. Highlight sentences, phrases, and words that evoke a response. There can be sentiments to tag that indicate confusion, evaluation, disapproval, and more. For a fee, all of this can be applied to PDFs and video on the web. Ponder has a comprehensive support section and guide.

tag(s): browser (9), critical thinking (117), independent reading (120), reading comprehension (131), reading strategies (57)

In the Classroom

Track students' reading and develop close reading skills and critical thinking with Ponder. Register with your email and create a Ponder group by clicking on "give it a spin" in the upper right corner of the home page. Then, give the class a name, and save the group by creating an administrator account. All directions for doing this are in the support section, as are the directions for adding additional classes. Ponder will bulk create accounts for your class, with no student email required. Just contact their support. Find an article or any text you want students to read on the web. Responding to an article on the web will initiate the class activity feed. Start out by sharing text (article, book, etc.) on an interactive whiteboard or projector with your students. Read through the text with them, asking them for feedback along the way. By doing this, you will be able to show students the features of Ponder. When you create a micro-reading response, it will post to the class activity feed along with a link to the article. Ponder is a wonderful tool to moderate reading in any core class. ESL/ELL and resource teachers can gain greater insight to their students' reading comprehension.

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ActivityCircle - Frolyc, Inc.

Grades
K to 12
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Use ActivityCircle (formerly Frolyc) to create multimedia lessons on the web, and have access to them via the iPad (or any web browser). ActivityCircle also has ready-made lessons aligned...more
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Use ActivityCircle (formerly Frolyc) to create multimedia lessons on the web, and have access to them via the iPad (or any web browser). ActivityCircle also has ready-made lessons aligned to Common Core Standards. Search lessons by grade level or keyword. All ready-made activities list grade level, subject area, Lexile levels, and standards addressed. Whether using a premade lesson or designing your own, assign a lesson to students and collect data on student responses. Educators, tutors, and parents can author or create activities. Sign up with email and add student profiles. All assignments, creations, etc. that were on Frolyc transferred seemlessly to ActivityCircle. Just click on the name of the review above and you'll go there. There are several excellent videos to help you create everything on ActivityCircle! If your district blocks YouTube, they may not be viewable.
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tag(s): assessment (124), classroom management (145), Learning Management Systems (21), multimedia (51), polls and surveys (48), quizzes (91), reading comprehension (131), Teacher Utilities (80), writing (361)

In the Classroom

Once you have created a class and student profiles, assign lessons from the catalog or create your own. If your students are using iPads, they will need to have the free ActivityCircle Spot app added. The app requires Wi-Fi to sync with activitycircle.com. Student profiles will automatically sync with the iPads. Each student can only interact with the activities assigned to him or her via an access code. Since ActivityCircle is web-based you can create easy, simple activities or elaborate units. Start building Common Core aligned and differentiated activities such as reading, filling out concept maps, writing paragraphs, drawing, answering questions, taking quizzes, and more. Add links to read and hear multimedia content such as videos and slideshows. For longer videos, you may want to put a tag or comment in certain areas. Use a program like EDPuzzle, reviewed here, to accomplish this. Tags can be as simple as "answer question 4 now." Alternatively, use one of the ready-made lessons from the catalog for free. The app will need Wi-Fi for video and voice-over. ActivityCircle publishes Common Core Standards aligned reading comprehension activities to this app for student use. The possibilities are endless!

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Read Theory - Read Theory (Tanner)

Grades
2 to 12
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Read Theory offers over 1,000 interactive reading comprehension exercises. Learn to think critically, draw inferences, understand scope and global concepts, find or recall details,...more
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Read Theory offers over 1,000 interactive reading comprehension exercises. Learn to think critically, draw inferences, understand scope and global concepts, find or recall details, and infer meanings of vocabulary words. Get detailed reports to track and analyze progress using percentages, bar graphs, and tables. Sign up with an email and be sure to know your reading level. Then it is simple: Read the passage, take a quiz, and see answers and explanations for answers after finished with the quiz. If you are unsure of the appropriate reading level, visit a reading assessment site. Try Literably, reviewed here, to assess oral reading comprehension or News in Levels (use Test Your Level of English), reviewed here.

tag(s): guided reading (44), reading comprehension (131)

In the Classroom

Take your students to the next level in their reading and reading skills! Sign up students yourself (assigning a password and username). Students can sign up for themselves if they have an email (and school policies permit). The first task is to provide the reading level. Use this site to differentiate reading levels for your students. Set up a learning center for use during your L.A. block. This will allow you one-on-one time to begin the program. In a learning support or remedial reading class, especially at upper levels where "reading" is no longer a regular subject, this tool will allow students some autonomy in improving their skills. It will also let them see progress. Discuss with individual students the questions they answered, where the answer was in the reading, etc. Be certain to save this site in your class favorites and list it on your class website for students to access both in and out of the classroom. If students cannot have their own email accounts, consider using a "class set" of Gmail subaccounts, explained here; this tells how to set up Gmail subaccounts to use for any online membership service. Using Gmail subaccounts will provide anonymous interaction within your class.

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Reading Strategies for the Social Studies Classroom - Holt, Rinehart and Winston

Grades
5 to 12
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This is an excellent resource of materials and strategies for comprehension of Social Studies reading materials. Each strategy provides one activity targeted at U.S. History and one...more
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This is an excellent resource of materials and strategies for comprehension of Social Studies reading materials. Each strategy provides one activity targeted at U.S. History and one targeted at World Studies. Strategies include ideas such as previewing text and visualizing information. It also provides an overview and teaching materials. Choose any resource to view in PDF format for easy printing.

tag(s): concept mapping (17), graphic organizers (40), reading comprehension (131), reading strategies (57), visual thinking (9), visualizations (13), vocabulary (302)

In the Classroom

Although geared toward struggling readers and Social Studies, this site is excellent for use with any content area reading lessons. Choose an activity for each month as a focus lesson. Incorporate the strategy throughout all lessons by modifying questions and included activities. Share with ESL/ELL and special education teachers as a resource for improving reading comprehension. This site works well with Common Core strategies for informational text throughout the curriculum.
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Graphic Organizers for Reading Comprehension - Scholastic.com

Grades
1 to 12
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Looking for ready-made graphic organizers? This time-saving site has numerous organizers available to print in a pinch or to use on an interactive whiteboard. Use these versatile learning...more
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Looking for ready-made graphic organizers? This time-saving site has numerous organizers available to print in a pinch or to use on an interactive whiteboard. Use these versatile learning tools with any book across all grade levels. The categories on the site provide efficient and effective searching. Find graphic organizers for assessing students, plot and sequence, character analysis and setting, reading comprehension, and organizing patterns. Find idea webs, Venn diagrams, timelines, KWL charts, story trains, reading records, and more. Integration ideas accompany each organizer.
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tag(s): graphic organizers (40), guided reading (44), independent reading (120), reading comprehension (131)

In the Classroom

Print and save the graphic organizers for use throughout the year. The organizers also work well on interactive whiteboards or projectors. These organizers are especially helpful when teaching different text structures found in informational text as required with Common Core. Use the organizers for writer's workshop or reading instruction. Share organizers when preparing for standardized tests to help students organize information. Use the organizers to identify the strengths and weaknesses of your student's thought process.
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Newsela - Matthew Gross

Grades
2 to 12
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Newsela is a data base of current events stories tailor-made for classroom use. Indexed by broad theme (e.g. War and Peace, Arts, Science, Health, Law, Money), stories are both student-friendly...more
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Newsela is a data base of current events stories tailor-made for classroom use. Indexed by broad theme (e.g. War and Peace, Arts, Science, Health, Law, Money), stories are both student-friendly and can be accessed in different formats by reading level. Use Newsela to differentiate nonfiction reading. Newspaper writers rewrite a story four times for a total of five Lexile levels per story. All articles have embedded, Common Core aligned quizzes that conform to the reading levels for checking comprehension. An account is required to use Newsela, both for teachers and for students, but students sign up using a teacher or parent provided code rather than an email address. Teachers can create classes and assign reading-level specific articles to individual students, or download printable PDF copies of the article in any of its reading-level versions. There is an upgraded fee-based Pro Version which allows teachers or administrators to track reading progress and sutdents to take constructed response writing assessments, but many of the features are free and there is no outside advertising.

tag(s): DAT device agnostic tool (170), differentiation (51), guided reading (44), independent reading (120), news (258), reading comprehension (131)

In the Classroom

Achieve two goals here: help students improve their reading comprehension and keep them current with what is happening in our nation and the world. When assigning articles, choose to have the class read at one reading level, or choose individuals and set the reading level for them. There are five categories from which to choose. You may want to set up different articles at different learning stations on the computers in your room. Have the students rotate daily through the stations, completing one or two a day until they have completed all five articles. Since Newsela is cloud based, even absent students can complete the missed work easily. Teachers of gifted students can use this site to accelerate or enrich reading for students. Find each student's individual levels for reading nonfiction. Teachers of Learning Support and ELL students will love this alternate way for their students to meet current events requirements.

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This is an excellent article. Thanks for sharing this information. Please keep sharing content like this. Cassandra, IL, Grades: 0 - 12
This is an excellent site and allows differentiation while everyone is reading the same text. Renee, NC, Grades: 0 - 5

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TV411 - Reading - Education Development Center, Inc.

Grades
6 to 12
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Find entertaining videos, web lessons, and downloads to support learning about reading comprehension, test prep, and libraries and books at TV411. Each video includes a short description...more
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Find entertaining videos, web lessons, and downloads to support learning about reading comprehension, test prep, and libraries and books at TV411. Each video includes a short description of contents, then just click to view the video. Below the video text includes skills addressed. For example, the video Dorothea Lange, Photographer addresses the skill of reading pictures. Skills addressed include summarizing, point of view, newspapers, highlighting, and study skills. Most videos are approximately three to five minutes long and include links to related web lessons and print-ables to download. Although this site was originally created for adult English language learners, it would be useful with all secondary students.

tag(s): context clues (7), maps (296), news (258), newspapers (99), poetry (222), point of view (11), summarizing (17), word study (73)

In the Classroom

View videos on your interactive whiteboard as part of your reading comprehension or study skills unit. Use on an as-needed basis to address classroom deficiencies in particular areas. Have students complete the web lessons on their own during computer center time. Create links to certain videos on your class website or blog for students to view at home. Check out the Teachers portion of the site to find activities for improving or introducing skills along with ideas for using the videos in the classroom. Challenge students to create a talking avatar using a photo or other image (legally permitted to be reproduced). The avatars can be used to provide suggestions for study skills and improving reading comprehension. Use a site such as Superlame , reviewed here.
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This is an excellent site with a variety of short videos for concept instruction. Patricia, NJ, Grades: 6 - 12

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ReadWorks - ReadWorks.org

Grades
K to 12
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ReadWorks provides a free, research-based, and Common Core-aligned reading comprehension curriculum. Search through hundreds of lesson plans organized by grade level, topic, or titles....more
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ReadWorks provides a free, research-based, and Common Core-aligned reading comprehension curriculum. Search through hundreds of lesson plans organized by grade level, topic, or titles. Register to download materials and save lessons to your folder. (A valid email and password is required). Be sure to start with the Teacher Guide to see all the many features ReadWorks offers about using and teaching the provided lessons and differentiation. For a quick start, click Find Content then select options from the right menu: Text Options - Reading Passages, Aritcle a Day, and Paired Text, Curriculum Support, Grade, Topic, Text Types - Nonfiction, Fiction, or Poetry, and Lexile. There are thousands of reading passages along with question sets to support learning activities for grades K-12. Each selection contains the text with audio, a vocabulary link, and a questions set. In the left margin, you will find related resources such as standards and related materials.

Teachers can create classes to assign reading and track assessments (which are automatically graded). After signing up with email, click on Admin from the top menu and create a class. Students join the class by using a code and their Google account. No Google account? No problem. Create a roster and provide the class code to students. Easily create assignments for the whole class, or individuals as a way to differentiate.

tag(s): characterization (18), context clues (7), figurative language (16), guided reading (44), independent reading (120), main idea (9), parts of speech (70), plot (11), point of view (11), reading comprehension (131), reading strategies (57), sequencing (29), themes (11), vocabulary (302)

In the Classroom

Show students how to sign up and log into ReadWorks using a projector or interactive whiteboard. Complete a sample assignment together. Use ReadWorks in blended learning or flipped classrooms leaving class time for asking questions and clarifying. Post the link on your website and consider assigning the Article-A-Day for at home reading. Rotate the subjects weekly and discuss the topic the next day in class. Consider using a back channel tool such as GoSoapBox, reviewed here, for the discussion, so even your quiet and shy students feel comfortable participating, and you can get analytics after the discussion. Teachers of all subjects, but especially science and social studies, can find topics for students to read for their subject. Then challenge students to research the topic further. Redefine learning by having students submit their findings to a special class magazine using Underline, reviewed here, created for the topic. Differentiation can be accomplished easily by assigning to individual students, or you can create multiple classes, which would actually be small groups, who read at the same level or have the same topic interest.

Once the students are familiar with the site use Symbaloo Learning Paths, reviewed here, to assign reading to groups at the same reading level. Older students, once they know their reading level, can their select reading and create their own Symbaloo Learning Paths. Check these to make sure students include all types of reading, and that they are challenging themselves. After several selections, ask older students to choose the topic they were most interested in, find resources to learn more about the topic, then transform their learning by presenting their findings using a multimedia tool such as (click on the tool name to access the review): Canva Infographic Creator, Lucidpress, Powtoon, and Biteable.
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Introducing Text Structures in Writing (5th Grade) - Utah Education Network

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

tag(s): process writing (42), reading comprehension (131), reading strategies (57), sequencing (29), writers workshop (36), writing (361)

In the Classroom

Print materials included with this lesson and use as an addition to a current writing and reading comprehension units. This would make an excellent addition to standardized test preparations to help students analyze and assess readings provided during testing. Extend this lesson beyond science texts. Use lesson components and ideas for social studies and all other non-fiction reading materials.
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Wild Kratts - Kratt Brothers Company / 9 Story Entertainment production.

Grades
2 to 7
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Join Aviva, Chris, Martin, Jimmy, and Koki on their quest to save the animals of our world. Based on the PBS television show, explore biology, zoology, and ecology of our ...more
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Join Aviva, Chris, Martin, Jimmy, and Koki on their quest to save the animals of our world. Based on the PBS television show, explore biology, zoology, and ecology of our planet. You will also learn small ways to make a big impact on saving our world. With a login, you can save points earned from games and receive special powers from animals to compete and survive in the games using your avatar. You do not need any email account to register/sign in. Explore the avatar creation area, games, creaturepedia, habitats, and videos to help learn about animals. Click on the Teachers Link (For Grownups) at the top of the page to find lesson plans, printable PDFs, objectives, and more.
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tag(s): africa (166), animal homes (67), animals (323), ecology (134), habitats (112), zoology (7)

In the Classroom

Capture kids' interest in biology, zoology, and ecology with Wild Kratts. Joining in adventures with the gang, allows students to learn about animals, habitats, and the planet. Use this site as a resource in science. Share the videos and/or interactives on your projector or interactive whiteboard. Add the site as an enrichment area for everyone to explore. Use the adventures to inspire either narrative or expository writing. Use as a technology resource for digging in deeper for your common core content area. With using your avatar, students can experience and make connections with each of the animals given. ESL/ELL and learning support students will find this site useful with reading, video, and demonstrations of the different featured animals. Your science club will enjoy the experiences of the Wild Kratts. Using the area you live in, have students work in groups to study the animals, birds, reptiles, fish, and arthropods. Create a wiki with the research of your area. Or have students create their own blogs highlighting what they have learned. If you are beginning the process of integrating technology, exchange paper and pen and have students create blogs sharing their learning and understanding using Pen.io, reviewed here. This blog creator requires no registration. If you are teaching younger students and looking for an easy way to integrate technology and check for understanding, replace pencil and paper and challenge your students to create a blog using Edublog, reviewed here. Share your research and stories with other classes in your own school, students' families, and more.
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Mother Nature Network: Earth Matters - MNN Holdings, LLC

Grades
4 to 12
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Find information and recent news about the environment, energy, animals, weather, environmental politics, and more. Search various topics through the drop down menu. Click on headlines...more
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Find information and recent news about the environment, energy, animals, weather, environmental politics, and more. Search various topics through the drop down menu. Click on headlines in the Latest News section. Images found in the Photo Galleries are impressive. Search through videos and articles, as well as blogger columns.
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tag(s): animals (323), climate change (75), earth (226), earth day (99), energy (213), environment (320), natural resources (58), nuclear energy (27), politics (106), solar energy (39), space (232), weather (211)

In the Classroom

Click on each topic for more information. For example, Choosing Energy shows latest news related to energy alone. Use the spectacular images as writing prompts or to encourage discussions. Find incredible photographic lists to use as a writing prompt and for further research. Research more information under the Learn more section. Use the information for research, understanding issues involved with the environment, for questioning the natural world, and to encourage action. Reading specialists can find informational reading passages to use for practice with reading comprehension. Clear out clutter on the page with the article using the Readability tool, reviewed here. Then share the article on interactive whiteboard for students to use the pens to annotate main idea, etc. In science class, have students read an article of choice and create a public service announcement type assignment. Consider using Tildee, reviewed here. With Tildee students can use text, screen shots, and video to develop their public service announcement. Be sure to provide a link of this site on your website or a classroom computer for easy access.
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DOGOnews - Meera Dolasia

Grades
2 to 12
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Need kid-friendly online news? This safe site, written for kids, by kids, offers news from a younger point-of-view. You can create a class page where you can load a variety ...more
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Need kid-friendly online news? This safe site, written for kids, by kids, offers news from a younger point-of-view. You can create a class page where you can load a variety of articles, add a book list, a calendar, favorite sites list, add lesson plan instructions, monitor student comments, and more. DOGOnews is kid friendly, colorful, and flexible. After all, DOGO means young or small in Swahili. You can select articles from a number of categories (Social Studies, Science, World, Current Events, etc.). There is an integrated dictionary for challenging words and maps for geographical context. Some of the articles include short video clips. Students may leave brief comments about each article (no login required). Also, typing the word "video" in the search box will bring up the Video of the Week for the past several weeks. The videos reside on YouTube. 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 Freemake Video Converter, reviewed here, to download the videos from YouTube. In addition, find a Book and Movie section with a brief summary for the book or movie, and comments. You don't have to join to read the articles, but you do need to join to create a class page. There are many benefits to creating a class page, and it's all free! Don't want to create a class page? You can also embed articles on your current web page.

tag(s): journalism (67), news (258), reading comprehension (131), sports (102)

In the Classroom

Non-fiction reading and background knowledge have found a new emphasis with The Common Core State Standards. It is more important now than ever to help connect students with quality, non-fiction reading and viewing material. Find great news resources and videos of the week to create assignments for your class at DOGOnews. You may want to create a class page and load several news articles. Have students choose from the articles, and email it to themselves. Have students print out the article and complete a "close reading" of the article by annotating it. Then have students who chose the same article get together in groups to discuss their reactions about the article, create a summary together, and create four or five open-ended questions about the article. Lastly, create groups of four, with each student having a different article, and have them present their article to the others in the group and ask them their open-ended questions to trigger a discussion. Create a class magazine from the articles. Or better yet, have students create a multimedia presentation using UtellStory, reviewed here. This site allows you to narrate a picture. Challenge students to find a photo (legally permitted to be reproduced), and then narrate the photo as if it is a news report. Strengthen reading comprehension by having an 'article du jour' on your interactive whiteboard or projector as students arrive. Link this site on your homepage.

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The Unit on Chinese Mythology - University of the Pacific

Grades
7 to 12
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This easy to use lesson plan is focused on helping students understand Chinese Mythology. The lesson suggests an informal discussion for assessment or to asses one of many activities...more
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This easy to use lesson plan is focused on helping students understand Chinese Mythology. The lesson suggests an informal discussion for assessment or to asses one of many activities suggested.

tag(s): china (65), chinese (48)

In the Classroom

Take advantage of the free lesson plans and classroom activities on this site! This lesson plan would be great for a Philosophy, History or Chinese language class. Be sure to bookmark the site as a favorite to allow for easy reference later on.

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Pulitzer Center - Global Gateway - Pulitzer Center

Grades
6 to 12
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What is the biggest problem for students reading online news stories about current issues? Is it bias or facts that seem unrelated to a student's life? Enter the Pulitzer Gateway. ...more
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What is the biggest problem for students reading online news stories about current issues? Is it bias or facts that seem unrelated to a student's life? Enter the Pulitzer Gateway. This student-friendly site gives the readers a variety of formats to understand world issues in a relevant and engaging way. Use these stories for students to identify with material that may not be applicable in their own lives and to build understanding of issues affecting others. Help students find reasons to care and understand how an issue applies in the real world. Use the Gateway to connect students to journalists and professionals through a variety of means.

tag(s): journals (21), news (258), water (137)

In the Classroom

Share this site on your interactive whiteboard or projector. Use the Gateway for information or supplementing the curriculum. Additionally, the Gateway can be used to introduce projects or investigations of world issues. Connect with the journalists to show actual research and personal investigations into these stories. Connect reading and writing across the curriculum no matter your content area using statistics, geography, and many other skills. For example, "Water Wars" is a must see no matter what subject you teach. Use one of these issues as a theme for building reading comprehension and research skills, perhaps creating a class wiki guide to the topic or inviting students to write blog posts as the different people affected by the problem. Why not provide this link on your class website for students to share with their families to promote interesting discussions at home, as well.
 This resource requires Adobe Flash.

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Dummies.com - John Wiley & Sons

Grades
6 to 12
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Everyone knows the "for Dummies" books, but did you know there is an entire web site? This site, created by the same publisher, has text-based and video "How To" information ...more
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Everyone knows the "for Dummies" books, but did you know there is an entire web site? This site, created by the same publisher, has text-based and video "How To" information on thousands of topics, organized into general categories. It is also searchable. The education/languages area has both obvious and more obscure topics than you might expect, from To Write a Sonnet to How to Build a Bill (in the U.S. Congress). These text- based articles are great for those who follow verbal information well and often include simple diagrams. The more consumer-oriented areas of the site include videos from setting up your wireless network to carving a turkey. Click on "all videos" under the Featured video to see the video categories.

tag(s): sequencing (29), writing (361)

In the Classroom

Be sure to tell your students that they are NOT the "dummies" referred to in this site! Then go beyond the obvious use of this site as a reference to use it to teach informational writing, reading comprehension, or any curriculum content. Share text-based articles on a projector or interactive whiteboard and have students analyze the keywords and structure of sequential direction-writing or informational writing before they try it on their own. Use the pens and highlighters to note transitions and other ways of organizing directions, including formatting. Use articles to teach basic comprehension skills by copy/pasting sections and having students drag them into the correct sequence on the whiteboard to form logical directions. In science or social studies classes, have students view models on this site, then work in groups to write their own how-to wiki on curriculum topics such as "How to tell a fungus from a bacterium," "How to solve simultaneous equations," or "How to form a government." If you have access to video equipment, have students write scripts and produce video versions of their how-to instructions and post them on a site such as TeacherTube reviewed here.

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TweenTribune - Alan Jacobson

Grades
K to 12
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TweenTribune has joined with Smithsonian and now offers the news in Lexile levels for k-4, 5-8, 9-12. That is not the only change. The Smithsonian TweenTribune now has several ...more
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TweenTribune has joined with Smithsonian and now offers the news in Lexile levels for k-4, 5-8, 9-12. That is not the only change. The Smithsonian TweenTribune now has several new features, including a Dashboard for assignments and classrooms, assigning a story to all with one click, and self-scoring quizzes for articles. There are now free apps for the iPad and iPhone. TweenTribune continues to include open-ended critical thinking questions and a daily quiz using multiple sources. This site is still jam packed with current news stories that are chosen by site coordinators for all reading levels. The articles are easy to read, relate to, and understand. The site is easy to navigate with a subject indexed toolbar, and it is searchable. All stories are current because the creators scour the internet weekly for age-appropriate material. It greatly reduces the pressure of searching by giving an article research tool that is much more specific than simply using a search engine.

tag(s): news (258), newspapers (99)

In the Classroom

The sky is the limit for potential and possibilities with this website. There are some minor warnings. If you want to allow your students to post to a blog, you will need to create a class and then have them enroll. The great news is that is free. As the teacher, you can moderate or delete posts before they are public. There are lessons available on the site as well as a "Teacher's Lounge" where lesson ideas can be exchanged. In a language arts classroom, students could be assigned to read and blog as a weekly writing assignment. The teacher can assign a specific article or have students choose. Have students read their articles on a podcast using podOmatic, reviewed here. In science, articles from this site could be used to supplement science textbook reading with current articles that better interest students. Articles are short and provide quick practice pieces for non-fiction reading comprehension. Project a story and ask students to write their own sentence for the main idea or to summarize. These quick pieces would fit well on your interactive whiteboard. SmithsonianTweenTribune Espanol allows students to read daily news articles in Spanish and post comments about the stories they read. Teachers moderate all comments before the comments are posted.

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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 (170), phonics (68)

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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ESL Bits - Skip Reske

Grades
3 to 8
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This site is an excellent way to help ESL and ELL students improve reading and comprehension skills using short passages of different kinds of reading. The site includes signs, ...more
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This site is an excellent way to help ESL and ELL students improve reading and comprehension skills using short passages of different kinds of reading. The site includes signs, multiple choice, true-false for details, questions on getting the "gist" of a reading, matching questions, and gap (fill-in) questions. This site is excellent for reading comprehension in the regular classroom too! Students select a "set" which contains a short sampling of each kind of question. Once they answer, they get immediate feedback.

tag(s): reading comprehension (131), test prep (87)

In the Classroom

Since the subtitle for this page is "Reading Comprehension and Test Preparation," recommend this site to ESL and ELL students preparing for standardized tests. Save it in your favorites on class computers and provide the link on your class website for students to access both in the classroom and out. The activities would also work well on interactive whiteboard.

Share the "Signs" link with your students. Challenge students to create their own signs, similar to those used at this site. Have cooperative learning groups create interactive posters featuring their signs using a tool such as (PicLits - explained here). Share the "PicLits" on an interactive whiteboard or projector.

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