TeachersFirst's Resources to Avoid the Summer Slide
Encourage children and teens to keep on learning during summer break. Help them to hold on to what they already know with these safe, teacher-reviewed resources. Be sure to share with your friends, neighbors, and family. Teachers will want to share this page with students departing for summer break or possibly share the school's website.
Grades2 to 6
In the ClassroomEngage and motivate students to read over the summer by sharing Scholastic with parents or your web page. Consider creating a Google Jamboard, reviewed here, for students to share their experiences with classmates when playing the games and suggest books for others to read.
Grades6 to 12
In the ClassroomShare Sync with your students to promote summer reading and provide a variety of reading topics. Play the audio introduction to gain student interest. Click the Toolkit on the left menu to download posters for featured books for each week of the summer. Post the information on your classroom or school website for availability to parents and students through the summer. If it is too late to participate in the program or listen to a weekly title, use the book list provided to locate the titles in your community library for checkout either in person or digitally at the beginning of the new school year. Encourage students to reflect upon the books using journals such as those found at Penzu, reviewed here. Penzu journals offers templates and you have the ability to add images or your own illustrations to sections of journals. Extend student learning by highlighting important areas of text within the books using WordSift, reviewed here. Copy and paste in key portions of any book into WordSift to visualize the text within a word cloud. Use the word cloud to explore and discuss new vocabulary or frequently used terms. Use Sync as a model for students to hear text read using intonation and phrasing. Ask students to create podcasts sharing their writing using Anchor, reviewed here. Refer students back to the audiobooks they listened to as a helpful reminder on how to engage listeners through the spoken word.
GradesK to 6
tag(s): independent reading (105)
In the ClassroomShare Camp BOOK IT! with parents to encourage reading over the summer months. Use this program as an opportunity to collaborate with parents to engage students in reading by providing a reading list for students that includes books that appeal to your students. Use Padlet, reviewed here, to share suggested titles of books for students, and use the stream feature to organize the titles into different categories. Encourage students to add comments to your Padlet, sharing their book reviews. Enhance your students' summer reading experience by creating a topic using FlipGrid, reviewed here, and ask students to contribute video book talks discussing their reading. Another idea is to create a Summer Bingo topic. Attach a Bingo form to your Flipgrid topic with different squares to complete. Ideas might be reading a biography, starting a new book series, or sharing a book with a friend.
Grades2 to 8
In the ClassroomUse Dreamscape to differentiate reading instruction for your students. Dreamscape is also an excellent option to share with ENL/ESL students to provide practice and support in English language instruction. Include a link to Dreamscape on classroom computers for use during reading centers, and provide a link on your classroom website for students to play at home, or for use in remote or blended learning. Include Dreamscape with other online reading programs using a bookmarking tool such as Symbaloo, reviewed here, for easy access for student use.
Grades2 to 12
In the ClassroomDiscover the many free resources on this site to provide individual lessons or complete learning units for your students. As students complete assignments, use the many offerings found at Class Tools, reviewed here, to enhance learning through creating timelines, completing graphic organizers, and more. For activities that include new vocabulary, use a digital game creation site such as Baamboozle, reviewed here, to review and practice new words and terms. Have students show what they know upon completion of any of the activities using Adobe Spark in K-12, reviewed here, to create a video, collage, or presentation sharing their knowledge of the subject.
GradesK to 5
In the ClassroomDiscover and share the many free resources available on PBS Kids. Show clips on your interactive whiteboard, or with your projector, then have students complete an accompanying activity. With younger students, use FlipGrid, reviewed here, as a video response platform for students to share how they would use what they learned by watching the videos or using the interactives. Alternatively, you might try using Synth, reviewed here; Synth is an extremely easy to use tool for creating short audio and video soundbites and automatically pieces together soundbites into threads to share as podcasts. PBS Kids is perfect for sharing with parents. Include a link to activities on your class website along with suggestions on how to use activities at home.
GradesK to 5
tag(s): addition (139), decimals (103), division (107), equations (128), fractions (185), game based learning (155), geometric shapes (140), Learning Management Systems (26), measurement (142), multiplication (135), number sense (76), place value (42), subtraction (124)
In the ClassroomTake advantage of the free games to provide practice and support with your math curriculum. Differentiate learning based on student ability and confidence. Assign content based on students' learning goals. Share this site with parents to provide practice and support of math concepts at home. Use SplashLearn's reports and assessment results to guide your math lesson planning. Share this site along with other math practice activities using a bookmarking tool such as Symbaloo, reviewed here. Share your Symbaloo link with parents and on classroom computers for easy access to all learning tools shared. Use activities found in SplashLearn as part of a blended learning experience using TES Teach Blendspace, reviewed here. Include a link to games found on the site along with videos and other learning activities found both online or uploaded from your computer.
Grades5 to 12
In the ClassroomAlthough this site is useful for many purposes, sometimes it is best just to let students explore and discover on their own. Share Voyager with students and allow them time to look around and select places that intrigue them. Encourage them to learn more about an area or subject of interest found on the site. Instead of writing down information, ask students to use Google Docs or Microsoft Word to begin research. Using these online documents affords many benefits, including the ability to add comments, highlight information, and add links to online information. Once research is underway, suggest that students use a bookmarking tool like SearchTeam, reviewed here, to organize information. SearchTeam includes the ability to add notes to bookmarks, making it easy for students to label and add information for later use. As a final project and to extend student learning, ask students to create their own virtual tour of a location using Story Maps, reviewed here, that includes images, videos, and text.
GradesK to 12
tag(s): addition (139), coding (75), decimals (103), division (107), equations (128), fractions (185), functions (59), game based learning (155), geometric shapes (140), logic (175), measurement (142), multiplication (135), operations (92), probability (103), problem solving (227), pythagorean theorem (24), ratios (54), square roots (17), statistics (111), subtraction (124)
In the ClassroomPolyup is perfect for use in math classrooms in a variety of ways. Become acquainted with the free lesson plans to incorporate Polyup activities based on specific math skills. Encourage problem-solving and math exploration by including a link to Polyup on classroom computers. Instead of assigning a worksheet or other math activity for homework, ask students to spend time exploring Polyup at home. Extend and assess student learning by using FlipGrid, reviewed here, for students to provide a short video reflection on their learning activity. Optional registration allows you or your students to save progress and create your own machines.
GradesK to 12
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In the ClassroomThese BeeLine Reader PDFs are an excellent addition to the already valuable reading materials found at Reading is Fundamental - Literacy Central, reviewed here. Be sure to bookmark this site to find leveled reading passages with the enhanced function of BeeLine Reader. These PDFs are wonderful to share with ESL/ELL and Special Education specialists to use with their students. Remember, all teachers are reading teachers. Share this tool with your science, social studies, and math teachers, too!
Grades8 to 12
In the ClassroomBe sure to save these puzzles for use throughout the school year. Use these problems as a substitute for your typical homework assignments. Include questions as part of math or science centers. Replace pencil and paper journals or notebooks by having students blog about their learning and understanding using Tumblr, reviewed here. Ask groups of students to work on topics together then share their results with the class. To enhance student learning and understanding, consider instituting a recurring podcast for students to share problems and discuss problem-solving strategies. Use a site such as podOmatic, reviewed here.
GradesK to 8
In the ClassroomAlthough recommended for students in grades K-8, teachers of younger students should review questions and consider writing ability levels before including them in the program due to the written responses required. Consider using Whooo's Reading as an alternative to Accelerated Reader due to the use of short response answers instead of multiple choice questions. After reading books, substitute paper and pen journals by asking younger students to create a blog using a tool like Penzu, reviewed here, to share a book review with fellow students. Engage older students, or literature circle groups, by having them create a poster for the book using a tool like DesignCap, reviewed here, and then upload the poster to their blog about the book. A great blogging tool for older students is Telegra.ph, reviewed here. With Telegra.ph have students click on an icon to upload related images, add a YouTube or Vimeo, or Twitter links. This blog creator requires no registration. For all age students, enhance learning by creating a class book review site using FlipGrid, reviewed here, where students create short video book reviews and can comment on each others reviews.
GradesK to 12
In the ClassroomHave students use EasyWrite to retell difficult text in an easy to understand way. Retell Shakespeare passages in simple English or breakdown complicated directions into simple terms. EasyWrite is perfect for use with ENL/ESL or special education students. Choose any complex or difficult text and break it into simpler terms for easier understanding. Do this by adding a free browser extension to classroom computers and devices. Use a tool such as Grammarly (at the time of this review worked for Chrome, Safari, Edge, and FireFox), reviewed here, or After the Deadline (will work with Internet Explorer also), reviewed here. Turn the theory of EasyWrite upside down - have students paste their writing projects into EasyWrite. If there are only a few highlighted words, have them develop more interesting and complex writing passages. Have students take a screenshot of their original work to include with a final draft.
GradesK to 5
In the ClassroomWriteReader is so simple very young students can use it successfully after a demonstration using a whiteboard or projector. While creating their books students will be able to add images, multiple pages and delete pages, include voice-over, use color on the pages, view one page at a time or the entire book, and toggle between letters' names/sounds or no audio. Use this tool to design simple projects using student drawings to tell the story. At the beginning of the year have students draw and annotate stories to tell about their summer and share with classmates. Students of any age love to draw, so why not have them draw their impression of what the message to the reader was after hearing a story and then explain it in writing? ESL/ELL students especially will benefit from hearing the letter sounds as they are beginning to write in their new language.
Includes an education-only area for teachers and students
Parent permission advised before posting student work created using this tool
Includes social features, such as "friends," comments, ratings by others
Requires registration/log-in (WITH email)
Multiple users can collaborate on the same project
Includes teacher tools for registering and/or monitoring students
Grades3 to 8
tag(s): addition (139), animals (260), climate (80), decimals (103), differentiation (57), division (107), ecosystems (65), energy (129), estimation (34), forces (36), fractions (185), game based learning (155), human body (93), landforms (37), light (45), matter (47), measurement (142), minerals (16), multiplication (135), number lines (34), percent (61), place value (42), plants (138), probability (103), problem solving (227), rocks (37), solar system (101), sound (71), subtraction (124), weather (161)
In the ClassroomExcite your students with the Jams! Share the Jam videos on your interactive whiteboard or projector. Have students sing along and learn more about science and math. Especially younger students will enjoy this feature. Create a link to the site on your classroom website or blog for students to use for review and practice at home. Use the many topics available to differentiate for all students in your classroom. Create learning centers using this site or use it on individual laptops. Print out the quizzes for students to take as an assessment.
Grades6 to 12
In the ClassroomInclude a link to KQED Education on classroom computers. Be sure to help your weaker readers and ESL/ELL students by sharing the vocabulary words before reading, either on a handout or by projecting them on an interactive whiteboard (or projector). Highlight the vocabulary words in the text as you come to them. Teacher Librarians might want to keep this page open on computers for students who drop by the media center or include news notes from this site as part of your morning announcements. Do you have a student news show on your school TV channel? Find great material here for students to retell in their own words.
GradesK to 5
tag(s): addition (139), classroom management (143), data (136), decimals (103), differentiation (57), division (107), fractions (185), geometric shapes (140), measurement (142), multiplication (135), numbers (136), operations (92), subtraction (124)
In the ClassroomUse Zearn on a projector or an interactive whiteboard to demonstrate specific concepts or use as weekly math centers for student practice. Zearn provides data to target instruction to specific students or concepts needing additional reinforcement. Since Zearn is a complete math program, with individualized lessons for students to work on, teachers can conduct small group instruction while others work independently. Zearn is perfect to use for gifted or advanced students, allowing them to work at their own pace. Be sure to put a link to Zearn on your class web page for students to use at home. Zearn does not support Android devices but will work on all other devices with a browser and Internet access.
Grades1 to 7
tag(s): book lists (121), book reports (27), classroom management (143), guided reading (37), independent reading (105), reading comprehension (121), remote learning (33), social networking (83), Teacher Utilities (111)
In the ClassroomCreate your account with one of several social media programs, or your email, teacher name, username, and some basic information. Create your dashboard by adding a class and class name. You can create multiple classes. From the teacher dashboard on right menu choose Teacher Resources to view the several teacher video tutorials to get started. Click the class name to add students; student accounts can be created manually or by importing an XLS or CSV file. Students will automatically be "friends" with other students in the same class, but can also invite students from different classes. Share this site with students (and parents at back to school night) using your interactive whiteboard or projector. Students also have video tutorials; show students the video tutorial "How to Add Books" to get them started. In your blended or remote learning classroom enhance students' learning for this tool using the tutorial (s) along with Vizia, reviewed here, to add comments and information. Students can create bookshelves for books they are reading, that they have read, and that they want to read. Students can earn points and badges for the books they read. This tool will get students excited about reading since they can connect with friends to share book reviews and swap book recommendations. Students also practice persuasive writing, comprehension, and typing skills by completing reviews, reports, and reading logs online. This tool is great to keep track of student home reading or if you are teaching remotely! Besure to list this site in a parent newsletter or on your website as one to use to avoid the "summer reading slide."
GradesK to 8
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