TeachersFirst's Special Occasion Ideas: TeachersFirst Editors' Choices

Other TeachersFirst Special Topics Collections

Special occasions give students a chance to recognize special people: moms, dads, aunts, uncles, grandparents, teachers, secretaries, school custodians, librarians, and more. Stretch your students' creative thinking, writing skills, and problem solving skills as they create projects to honor special people on special occasions or just as a surprise “thank you.” Check out this collection for classroom ideas and custom-made gifts (both "hard copy" and electronic). Create memories for special people as your learners show what they know and how much they care.

These resources are also great for families to try at home for events such as TV Turn-off Week or holidays.

 

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Adobe Spark Video Maker - Adobe Spark

Grades
K to 12
2 Favorites 0  Comments
  
Create and share professional-looking videos with Adobe Spark's video creator. Follow the prompts to begin your creation using a story template or start from scratch. Add videos, slides,...more
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Create and share professional-looking videos with Adobe Spark's video creator. Follow the prompts to begin your creation using a story template or start from scratch. Add videos, slides, text, music, and more to your video. Easily rearrange, change themes, and add components until satisfied. When finished, publish your video to share or download it to your computer.

tag(s): communication (138), digital storytelling (131), multimedia (46), video (241)

In the Classroom

Consider using videos in your classroom in a variety of ways. Upload your slide presentations and add audio to create flipped and blended learning experiences for your students. Ask students to create videos as an alternative to book reports or written presentations. Share videos on your class website for students to access when away from the classroom. As you ask students to create videos, use a bookmarking site such as Padlet, reviewed here, to share and organize information for students to use when researching. Include Adobe Spark Videos as part of a larger presentation using Book Creator, reviewed here. Embed your video along with images, text, drawings, and other media into your digital book creation. Book Creator is a Chrome app.

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Room Escape Maker - doctorfou.com

Grades
8 to 12
3 Favorites 0  Comments
 
Room Escape Maker takes the popular room escape adventures online. The only way to escape is to solve a series of puzzles using hints and strategies as you find your ...more
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Room Escape Maker takes the popular room escape adventures online. The only way to escape is to solve a series of puzzles using hints and strategies as you find your way out of the locked room. Browse through the selection of games created by other users to find ideas on how to use this site. When ready, choose "Create Game" to start. Begin with your chosen canvas or background and follow prompts to add items and clues to your escape room.
This site includes advertising.

tag(s): game based learning (157), gamification (79), makerspace (43)

In the Classroom

Increase student engagement in any subject through this form of gameplay! Create games to introduce main concepts within the escape room. Ask students to create a game using the information they have learned to share with fellow students. Before creating a game, have students map out information and strategies they will include in a blog format using a tool like Edublog, reviewed here. Ask fellow students to share comments describing their problem-solving process as they try to escape the room.

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Metaverse Studio - Google, Magic Leap, BuzzFeed, MySpace, and Fujitsu

Grades
6 to 12
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Metaverse Studio makes it easy for anyone to create augmented reality experiences. Create your account to begin then use Metaverse components to arrange items on your storyboard and...more
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Metaverse Studio makes it easy for anyone to create augmented reality experiences. Create your account to begin then use Metaverse components to arrange items on your storyboard and connect without coding. Share completed projects with a QR code, link, or social media options to play using the Metaverse app. Be sure to watch the welcome tutorial for an overview of features and capabilities of Metaverse Studio. Videos reside on YouTube. If your district blocks YouTube, the videos may not be viewable.

tag(s): augmented reality (7), coding (75), creativity (90), design (83), gamification (79), quizzes (83)

In the Classroom

Share Metaverse Studio with students as part of any computer skills class. Ask students to brainstorm ideas to create using this site. Use a tool like Padlet, reviewed here, to share ideas and suggestions. As students become comfortable using this site, have them videotape tips and suggestions for creating experiences using Screencast-o-matic, reviewed here, then share them using a tool such as SchoolTube, reviewed here. Use Metaverse Studio to create engaging games and quizzes for your classroom.

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EarthCam Live Webcam Network - EarthCam, Inc

Grades
K to 12
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Discover what is happening all around the world, live, as it takes place. EarthCam's network includes live webcams featuring weather, traffic, animals, and more. Discover webcams by...more
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Discover what is happening all around the world, live, as it takes place. EarthCam's network includes live webcams featuring weather, traffic, animals, and more. Discover webcams by topic or explore popular offerings. Scroll further down the home page to choose webcams on a clickable map by location. Because webcams may feature streaming from inside homes or contain other personal information, do not have young children access them without supervision. Previewing all videos before sharing with the class would be wise.
This site includes advertising.

tag(s): cultures (97), globe (13), maps (218), webcams (7)

In the Classroom

This site would be an excellent addition to any science, social studies, or world cultures class. Teachers click on a webcam in different parts of the world to see things like weather and basic geography. Share the videos on an interactive whiteboard or with a projector. In early elementary, use webcams to introduce the world visually with a projector or on an interactive whiteboard. Select specific webcams and create shortcuts on classroom computer desktops for students to "see what's happening" on a certain continent as you study the seven continents. Use this resource to visit different areas that have been effected by natural disasters. Use animal webcams for students to observe animal behavior and keep a "lab journal" of what they see. Instead of the traditional paper and pencil "lab journal," have students keep a virtual journal about what they are learning. Use an easy virtual journaling tool such as Penzu, reviewed here. With Penzu you can add images or your own artwork as illustrations. Challenge students to further research the animal(s) they observed and to create an interactive map showing where the animals can be found with a tool like Click2Map, reviewed here. With Click2Map students can include display markers featuring text, photos, and videos!

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Genially - Genial.ly

Grades
K to 12
1 Favorites 1  Comments
  
Create impressive, interactive presentations, images, infographics, charts, and anything else you can think of with Genially. Easily insert maps, surveys, video, audio, and more. Choose...more
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Create impressive, interactive presentations, images, infographics, charts, and anything else you can think of with Genially. Easily insert maps, surveys, video, audio, and more. Choose the type of project you want to create to see the templates available, then select from the free plan templates. Genially is an all-in-one tool that will soon become your go-to tool for creating visual content. All your projects are stored in the cloud making collaboration a cinch! Register for the free account with email, or a Google or Facebook account, and then start creating! A Genially must be saved to share. Share creations from your dashboard on different social networks, copying and pasting a link, using an HTML code to embed it in a website/blog, or sending it directly by e-mail. Click the arrow to the right of your account icon to find Help (FAQs), a blog, and tutorials (Tour).
This site includes advertising.

tag(s): charts and graphs (160), communication (138), digital storytelling (131), images (255), infographics (51), interactive stories (18), multimedia (46), posters (43), video (241)

In the Classroom

Click Create to find a category from which you want your students to work; present several using a projector or on an interactive whiteboard. Show the interactivity to students. Then, create one together as a class to try out the tools (don't forget to name it). Keep it simple or add all the bells and whistles. Preview as you work or return later to complete and publish. Of course, you will want to model and teach appropriate documentation of any sources of images and media you use and to use copyrighted works legally.

There are limitless ideas for using Genially in the classroom! Here are just a few: Ask students to create their own Genially as a new way to assess understanding: you could even provide links to images and raw materials they may use (especially if you have students who need extra scaffolding), and they can work with them to sequence, caption, and write about the pieces. After a first project where you possibly suggest "building blocks," the sky is the limit on what they can do. Even the very young can make suggestions as you "create" a whole-class interactive together using a projector on an interactive whiteboard. Consider making a new project for each unit you teach so students can "recap" by visiting the presentation long after the unit ends. Save student projects from year to year as examples, possibly even awarding prizes for "best" examples. Have upper elementary or middle school students create an interactive project to help "little buddies" two or three grades lower to understand a concept.

Comments

This is a wonderful interactive poster replacement for Glogster. Shirley, CA, Grades: 6 - 12

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Wakelet - Jamil Khalil

Grades
K to 12
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Create, curate, and share web content with Wakelet. Save online links, including articles, videos, tweets, and more then organize them into collections called wakes. Share collections...more
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Create, curate, and share web content with Wakelet. Save online links, including articles, videos, tweets, and more then organize them into collections called wakes. Share collections with a personalized link or use the embed code to embed anywhere online. Use the keyword search to explore and view wakes created by other Wakelet members. Save information from other wakes to your account for use in your own wakes. To make your wakes more distinctive, add a cover image, background, and choose the layout you prefer. Wakelet works smoothly with many apps such as Microsoft Teams, Google Classroom, and FlipGrid, just to name a few.

tag(s): bookmarks (49), collaboration (81), communication (138), DAT device agnostic tool (166), multimedia (46), news (235), social media (46), social networking (84)

In the Classroom

The possibilities for using Wakelet in the classroom are endless! Create collections with tips for writing in different genres, current events, information about specific countries or cities, math games, and much more. Have students set up their own wakes as part of a research project. Put together a wake scavenger hunt to introduce a new unit or as a review at the end of a unit. Share wakes on your class web page for student use at home to review and practice class content. Having the ability to have a cover image and background for your wakes makes them much more interesting and easily identifiable, especially for young or visual students!

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CoSpaces - Delightex GmbH

Grades
4 to 12
4 Favorites 0  Comments
  
Build your own 3D spaces using CoSpaces, then view in virtual reality. Choose from the large library of items to include in your creation including characters and objects. To get ...more
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Build your own 3D spaces using CoSpaces, then view in virtual reality. Choose from the large library of items to include in your creation including characters and objects. To get a sense of how this works, visit the gallery to view creations built by CoSpace users. Register to create your account to start building your own 3D space. Be sure to visit the section for educators with many ideas on how to use CoSpaces in the classroom. Tutorials for CoSpaces reside on YouTube. If your district blocks YouTube, the videos may not be viewable.

tag(s): creativity (90), DAT device agnostic tool (166), digital storytelling (131)

In the Classroom

Recreate scenes from books or use CoSpaces to retell any story with 3D images. Encourage creativity and ask students to develop virtual exhibitions of artwork, animal habitats, or landforms. Have older students create infographics featuring data collections, for example comparing availability of Internet in different American towns.

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Fotojet - PearlMountain Technology Co., Ltd

Grades
K to 12
2 Favorites 0  Comments
 
Create beautiful photo collages, cards, and posters easily with Fotojet. Choose from over 320 templates and upload pictures directly from your computer or Facebook. Edit photos for...more
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Create beautiful photo collages, cards, and posters easily with Fotojet. Choose from over 320 templates and upload pictures directly from your computer or Facebook. Edit photos for size, exposure, rotate, flip or mirror, add text (and edit), and more. When finished, share using links or download as a JPEG or PNG file.

tag(s): collages (21), graphic design (46), images (255), posters (43)

In the Classroom

Create cards, posters, or photo collages for any classroom presentation. Share what you created on your website or blog for students to review or for students who were absent. In the younger grades, teachers would be the ones creating the project. Have students create presentations to "introduce" themselves to the class during the first week of school. Link or embed the introduction presentations on your class wiki and have others guess who they are about. Use this tool with your 1:1 art class for students to practice design principles and techniques. Share student projects with parents and others via URL. Be sure to demonstrate HOW to use this tool on your interactive whiteboard or projector.

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Paste to Grid (Beta) - pastetogrid.com

Grades
K to 12
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Create custom photo collages with Paste to Grid. Choose one of the templates that include up to 9 images. Select your border color and size, or select "no border." Click ...more
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Create custom photo collages with Paste to Grid. Choose one of the templates that include up to 9 images. Select your border color and size, or select "no border." Click in each box to add an image from your computer. Lesson learned from our editor: Be sure to select border options before adding images; choosing them after causes the images to disappear. The site's authors state this feature will be improved in the next version. When complete, choose to save as PNG or JPG file to your computer.

tag(s): collages (21), images (255), vocabulary development (88)

In the Classroom

Create and share collages of classroom activities, field trips, and much more. In lower grades, create the collage together with your students. Embed collages into your class website or blog for viewing at home. Have students create collages using their own pictures of land formations, types of plants, colors, words beginning with the same letter of the alphabet, and whatever else you can think of! This is a great tool for your visual learners. Special ed, speech and language, or ESL/ELL teachers can create collages of images together with their students to promote vocabulary development. World language classes could create them on their own or use them as prompts for oral language practice. A collage could feature articles of clothing or types of weather, for example. Create cards as gifts for moms or dads or for thank you's to members of the school community. Print the cards, fold over, and handwrite messages inside. Practice simple thank you notes on your own creative cards. Older students can use this tool to to create collages they can then annotate using a tools such as ThingLink, reviewed here.

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Eventbrite - Kevin and Julia Hartz

Grades
K to 12
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Eventbrite is an all-in-one event planning solution. Create your event page including logos, images, and other pertinent information using the templates provided. Take advantage of...more
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Eventbrite is an all-in-one event planning solution. Create your event page including logos, images, and other pertinent information using the templates provided. Take advantage of the option for creating bar coded tickets to send to participants (choose free tickets for the free account, paid tickets have a small charge to cover credit card costs). Once your event page is ready, get the word out using Eventbrite tools such as emailing personalized invitations or various social media options. Use the mobile features to check attendees in at your event and scan bar coded invitations.
This site includes advertising.

tag(s): calendars (38), Teacher Utilities (113)

In the Classroom

Use Eventbrite to increase excitement for any classroom event. Be creative and have students attend an "event" to review for exams (with bar coded tickets they can earn by sharing a student-made review activity). Offer tickets to in class enrichment "events" for those who test out of a unit. Have student groups design "events" instead of giving class presentations. The "event" could be a quiz show or game session that teaches a curriculum topic, such as "World War Wonders." Have your class work together to plan a culminating "event" such as a tea for famous Americans, and issue invitations and tickets to students who play the parts of the people they researched. Invite parents to Open Houses and Conferences. (Perhaps provide a small door prize for those using the Eventbrite app as their admission ticket!) Use Eventbrite to manage events with limited seating or a limited number of participants. If you provide professional development sessions, this is an excellent way to spread the word and manage participation. If you are an advisor for a school club, this tool would make club-sponsored events easier to organize.

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Loupe - Vincent Cheung

Grades
K to 12
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Quickly and easily create photo collages in many shapes using Loupe. Choose from various shape options such as hearts, flowers, cars, or create your own from text or drawing. Then ...more
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Quickly and easily create photo collages in many shapes using Loupe. Choose from various shape options such as hearts, flowers, cars, or create your own from text or drawing. Then add pictures. Add pictures from your computer and many online sites such as Facebook, Dropbox, Flickr, and Google Drive with just a couple of clicks. You can also create cards using this tool. For cards or collages, search the web for pictures to add, and choose the ones you prefer. Once pictures are added, adjust settings such as background color, picture borders, or shuffle images until pleased with the result. The card tool provides simple drawing tools to add to your image. Share saved collages or cards using social networking links or download onto your computer. Start immediately: no registration necessary to begin!

tag(s): collages (21), images (255)

In the Classroom

Create and share collages of classroom activities, field trips, and much more. In lower grades, create the collage together or for your students. Embed collages into your class website or blog for viewing at home. Have students create collages using their own pictures of land formations, types of plants, colors, words beginning with the same letter of the alphabet, and whatever else you can think of! This is a great tool for your visual learners! Create cards as gifts for moms or dads or for thank yous to members of the school community. Print the cards, fold over, and handwrite messages inside. Practice simple thank you notes on your own creative cards.

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Szoter - szoter.com

Grades
K to 12
7 Favorites 0  Comments
 
Szoter is an online tool for annotating images stored on your computer or screenshots from your computer. Use this site directly on the web or download the Adobe Air version ...more
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Szoter is an online tool for annotating images stored on your computer or screenshots from your computer. Use this site directly on the web or download the Adobe Air version that runs on your desktop. Launch then choose from options to annotate such as load local image, capture camera image, make screenshot, or load image url. After your image loads, choose from editing options such as scaling image, drawing tools such as lines, arrows, and circles, and add text. When finished, save to your computer or publish and share to Twitter, Facebook, or copy the url provided.

tag(s): digital storytelling (131), images (255)

In the Classroom

Capture a screenshot of websites or software and annotate with directions for student use. Have students label and identify objects in an image. Label parts of a plant, continents, landforms, etc. Practice new words in a different language by asking students to label and identify objects in that language. Create a storyboard using several annotated images as a story starter. Art students can annotate images to point out design elements or annotate images of their own work to talk about the creative decisions they made. Share annotated Szoter images on your class website or blog to tell about a field trip or class event.

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Smore - Shlomi Atar and Gilad Avidan

Grades
2 to 12
5 Favorites 0  Comments
 
Make beautiful online "multimedia" newsletters (flyers) to display on your smartphone, tablet or computer using Smore. You can arrange your content easily with Smores' drag and drop...more
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Make beautiful online "multimedia" newsletters (flyers) to display on your smartphone, tablet or computer using Smore. You can arrange your content easily with Smores' drag and drop editing. Add ready-made graphics, images from files on your computer, or images from the web. Quickly embed text, videos, and tweets, too. Choose from several attractive themes. Share your creations via email, URL, Facebook, Twitter, or print it to hand out or hang on a bulletin board. Check to see who has read your newsletter and who hasn't. The free account plan offers three total newsletter credits, 500 contact credits, and 200 email credits.

tag(s): design (83), infographics (51), multimedia (46), posters (43)

In the Classroom

Show students how to embed media into a Smore newsletter to create their own "infographics" transforming and displaying what they have learned from a unit of study. Use your interactive whiteboard and projector to allow student groups to present a flyer about a book they've read, news article, etc. Have them create campaign posters for fictitious candidates as you study about the election process. Smore allows you to preview as you work or return later to complete and publish your flyers. Add ready-made graphics, images from files on your computer or on the web. Offer Smore as one of the project options for your gifted students doing projects beyond the regular curriculum, especially those who are visual/artistic. Since this tool requires membership, you may want to use a teacher account for younger gifted students and be sure to get written parent permission!

Allow students to create flyers for upcoming events such as Earth Day, Grandparents Day, Father's Day, Mother's Day, birthdays and anniversaries. Make holiday greetings to share.

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Flipsnack - Smartketer LLC

Grades
5 to 12
12 Favorites 0  Comments
 
Use FlipSnack to create a free, online flip book from PDF documents. Create a Flip book when you want to embed a book, magazine, catalog, newspaper, portfolio, or other kind ...more
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Use FlipSnack to create a free, online flip book from PDF documents. Create a Flip book when you want to embed a book, magazine, catalog, newspaper, portfolio, or other kind of document into a website, wiki, or blog and have viewers flip through the pages interactively. Upload your PDF document and choose a title. (Choose carefully, since it is the title of the book.) Choose a template and customize by dragging elements and changing colors and then Publish. Now any content can become an online "book."

In the Classroom

Make a flipbook of a presentation as an engaging alternative to a web page or PowerPoint. If you have a Word doc or image instead of a PDF, not to worry! Use PDFaid, reviewed here, to convert them to PDF format. Share classroom information such as rules and expectations in an easy to read format. Use for a great way to bring digital storytelling up front in your classroom. Make photosynthesis a story instead of bits of equations and information. Portray a time period in history or create books of different political or societal opinions. Create a flipbook with the viewpoints and personalities of characters in a story. Practice a different language by creating a themed flipbook. Lower grades can combine writing into a class flipbook to be shared online or read aloud. Any written assignment can easily be re-visioned as a flipbook! Make your literary magazone a flipbook or build new poetry collections during poetry month. Share all your flipbooks on individual laptops, or the interactive whiteboard or projector. Create simple flipbooks of Dolch words for beginning readers.

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Templatemaker - Boxes - Paperandmore

Grades
1 to 8
4 Favorites 0  Comments
This site offers several templates to make a variety of shaped boxes from folded card stock or paper. Create a pyramid, hexagonal, matchbox, takeout, trapezoid, flap, candy, bon-bon,...more
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This site offers several templates to make a variety of shaped boxes from folded card stock or paper. Create a pyramid, hexagonal, matchbox, takeout, trapezoid, flap, candy, bon-bon, or puffy box with these printable templates and directions.
This site includes advertising.

tag(s): angles (54), area (51), crafts (41), geometric shapes (131), holidays (123), perimeter (19), printables (36), volume (36)

In the Classroom

Teach volume, area and perimeter while also creating useful gift boxes for holiday presents. This site will provide opportunities for visual spatial learners to learn mathematical principles about 2D and 3D figures, lines, angles, and planes. Download and print out the free templates onto vellum or card stock paper. Take advantage of the site's online directions and allow students to work on it in pairs so they can easily assist each other. Save this site in your favorites on classroom computers so students can practice paper folding independently. As a clever review activity for almost any curriculum topic, have students make and decorate a box, such as "secrets of the solar system" or "favorite vocabulary words" box, filling it with slips of paper with terms to define or explain. The decorations can be hints or images to fit the topic. Have student trade boxes to review.
 This resource requires PDF reader software like Adobe Acrobat.

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Bookemon - Bookemon, Inc.

Grades
K to 12
46 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.
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tag(s): creative writing (116), digital storytelling (131), writing (283)

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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podOmatic - podOmatic

Grades
1 to 12
17 Favorites 0  Comments
   
Create simple audio podcasts using this online tool and the free space they provide. Simply put, this tool lets you create and place sound recordings online for people to listen ...more
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Create simple audio podcasts using this online tool and the free space they provide. Simply put, this tool lets you create and place sound recordings online for people to listen to and/or download from the web. There are MANY free podcasts in a variety of subject areas (art, health, technology, music, business, and more.) We have linked this review directly to the K-12 area within the site. The site includes some social networking tools, so some schools may have it blocked. The site is a "general public" site, so the home page has links to recent podcasts that may not be appropriate for young people. Attach a mike or use your built-in computer mike; create the podcast by clicking a record button, (you may have to tell your computer to "allow" the site to access your mike). Choose a background for your podcast page. Share it with others using one of several sharing options on the "My Podcast" tab, including copying the link. Listeners can listen to it online or download to their MP3 player. See and hear a sample we made for you.. You can also create a "minicast" with a simple upload of images and audio that turns your images into a short video. Transitions are also available for your minicast. Share through a blog, twitter, a link or directly to Facebook. There are limits to the amount of file storage for free accounts. The site will tell you how much space each podcast takes and how much you have left. podOmatic does not allow memberships for those under 13. podOmatic now has a free iOS and Android apps.

tag(s): communication (138), DAT device agnostic tool (166), digital storytelling (131), podcasts (60)

In the Classroom

podOmatic does not allow memberships for those under 13. Teachers using this tool with younger students should do so under supervision and with a teacher-controlled account. You will want to supervise or establish consequences so students do not spend time on the public areas of the site and instead proceed to creating their podcasts. This is an opportunity to teach about digital citizenship and safety, such as steering clear of interaction and avoiding sharing any identifiable information about yourself in a podcast. You may want to share the links to class podcasts only with your students and parents. If you have students record podcasts as assignments, you may need multiple accounts because the free accounts have limited file space. An elementary teacher might have enough space for 25 students to keep a limited number of products on his/her own account, depending upon length.

Create regular or special podcasts to share on your class web page or wiki. Create a mini cast of images taken during a lab or a portfolio of images from a photography, art, or any other class. Add music and share as part of a digital portfolio. More ideas: record class assignments or directions, record story time or a reading excerpt for younger ones to listen to at a computer center AND from home, adding a touch of blended learning to your classroom! Have readers (perhaps older buddies) build fluency by recording selected passages for your non-readers. Launch a service project for your fifth or sixth graders to record stories for the kindergarten to use in their reading and listening center. Have students create "you are there" recordings as "eyewitnesses" to historical or current events, Make a weekly class podcast, with students taking turns writing and sharing the "Class News." Have students create radio advertisements for concepts studied in class (Buy Dynamic DNA!), Have students write and record their own stories or poetry in dramatic readings; language students or beginning readers could record their fluency by reading passages. Allow parents to hear their child's progress reading aloud, etc. Compare world language, speech articulation, or reading fluency at two points during the year. Have your Shakespeare students record a soliloquy. Write and record a poem for Father's or Mother's Day (or other special events) and send the URL as a gift to that special person.

If you have gifted students who lean toward the dramatic, this tool is simple enough for them to create dramatic mini casts without needing a video camera. They can collect images (think Compfight) and write a drama to accompany them, showing what they have learned in independent learning beyond the regular curriculum.

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Word Hearts - Neoformix.com

Grades
6 to 12
2 Favorites 0  Comments
This is a simple tool that automatically fills a heart shape with any words you choose. Simply type the words separated by commas in the text box and press "Enter." ...more
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This is a simple tool that automatically fills a heart shape with any words you choose. Simply type the words separated by commas in the text box and press "Enter." You have the option to choose one of three fonts and change the colors of the text, background, and shape. There is no built-in method to save or print your image, however you can capture it by using print screen, explained by clicking on one of the links available right on the Word Heart page, that will guide you on how to capture your screen on both Windows and Mac. You can then paste it into any image editing program to crop it, save it, or print it.
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tag(s): images (255), word clouds (13)

In the Classroom

This is a handy, fun tool to make available to your class. Provide a direct link from your web page or wiki and bookmark it in your favorites. The uses are endless! Students can generate words related to any of the literary themes or character traits related to love, family, or friendship, or write a poem. When studying grammar, have students fill the heart with verbs, or nouns. Use it to generate synonyms or antonyms. Another idea, have students "capture" the picture and save. Then enhance learning by challenging them to narrate their word heart using a site such as Slidestory, reviewed here. This tool allows you to narrate the slides and images.

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Smilebox - Smilebox, Inc.

Grades
5 to 12
2 Favorites 0  Comments
   
This resource allows you to create slide shows, greeting cards, scrapbooks, invitations, collages, and more. There is a free basic program, but there are paid upgrades available if...more
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This resource allows you to create slide shows, greeting cards, scrapbooks, invitations, collages, and more. There is a free basic program, but there are paid upgrades available if desired. For educational purposes, the upgrades are not needed. Photos, videos, and music can all be added to your creations. A Smilebox template must be used to make your creations. Products made with this program can be shared to web pages and blogs, social networking sites, or emailed for free. Several themes in each category are free. You no longer have to download this program.

tag(s): blogs (73), images (255), movies (54), photography (131), slides (46)

In the Classroom

Upload images from your computer. You can save web images or use screen shots, as well, to be used in your creations. Watch copyright! Check out Awesome Screenshot, reviewed here, for details for a screen shot taker. From there, it is easy to simply click and follow the on screen instructions. The program is simple to navigate and very user friendly for those who are accustomed to web tools.

With the variety of formats, Smilebox has a wide variety of applications in any type of classroom! For basic technology integration extend learning with this tool. Use in history class to have students create collages of different periods of time such as the American Civil War. Create topics such as the Lincoln's Election, the Gettysburg Address, Battle of Antietam, Emancipation Proclamation, Battle of Gettysburg, and Lee's Surrender. Have pairs or groups of three select topics at random, and then have them create a collage or "scrapbook" of the event. Try having students choose a role from which to create their assignment such as a Rebel soldier, a Union Soldier, a volunteer nurse, a mother or father of children fighting on different sides of the war, etc. Have students collect copyright free images online for their use or create their own by reenacting and creating visuals to take pictures for their productions. Unleash student creativity by showing them this tool as resource in creating presentations and projects for your class and others. What a fabulous tool to use on the first day of school (as a welcome), beginning of a new unit, or back to school night with the parents! Elementary classes could create whole-class scrapbooks of curriculum projects, such as their science garden or Colonial Days celebration.

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Tagxedo - Hardy Leung

Grades
K to 12
15 Favorites 1  Comments
 
Want a word Cloud with Style? Create one here! A word cloud is an image of words that show the most frequent word in a larger font than the others. ...more
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Want a word Cloud with Style? Create one here! A word cloud is an image of words that show the most frequent word in a larger font than the others. Create a visual representation of a passage to pull out and identify important words or show the text in an interactive, visually appealing way. The resulting cloud pops out the words as you roll over them, so viewers can "see" each word separately. Explore the gallery for many inspiring examples, including some that use the customizable image shapes uploaded from your own computer (premium feature).
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tag(s): firstday (17), vocabulary (233), word choice (15), word clouds (13)

In the Classroom

NO 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.

Comments

Very versatile, creates word clouds in specific shapes. Adds another dimension. Frances, CT, Grades: 6 - 8

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