Grades6 to 12
In the ClassroomIntroduce this site to your students on an interactive whiteboard or with a projector and explore one or two of the games together. Create a short story together to learn about how to use the different story-writing options. As students begin creating games using this site, consider having students create explainer videos to modify their learning using My Simpleshow, reviewed here, and to demonstrate tools that need a more detailed explanation than what is on the site. Have students create stories to show what they have learned about literature, geography, history, science concepts, and more. As a more "serious" approach, use Choice of Games to present opinion pieces where you take a position and allow readers to click on questions about it. They could also click on statements expressing opposing views so you can write counterarguments to their points. This idea could end up being a powerful way to present an argument and evidence as required by Common Core writing standards. Redefine student learning by having them include their text-based game as part of a collaborative multi-media presentation created using Sway, reviewed here. In addition to their game, ask students to include their written documents, images, and video creations.
GradesK to 6
In the ClassroomUse this tool to learn basic coding skills. Students will quickly catch on to this program when allowed to experiment while viewing their results. Learn to Code with el Chavo is great for differentiating for students with different abilities and learning styles. Set up a computer center for students to practice with the program and share with parents to use at home. Encourage students to go beyond game play and reflect upon their learning through use of a video response tool like FlipGrid, reviewed here. Pose a question for student response asking them to discuss difficult portions of an activity and how they solved the problem. Start another response with a question asking students to provide tips and hints for their classmates. As students become more proficient with coding use Scratch, reviewed here, in your learning centers for students to create their own games and activities. Transform learning by challenging students who are proficient to use Snap!, reviewed here, to create video tutorials using a tool like My SimpleShow, reviewed here.
Grades7 to 12
In the ClassroomYou and your students will benefit from this site's free materials to include in your science lab activities to teach content, problem-solving, and scientific investigation techniques. As students begin activities replace paper and pencil and use a digital graphic organizer such as one found at TUZZit, reviewed here, to organize questions and gather information. Upon completion of experiments, enhance learning and have students share their work using Printing Press, reviewed here, to create a one-page newspaper or brochure including images and text. At the end of your unit, have students use Biteable, reviewed here, to redefine their learning and create an explainer video sharing and demonstrating the results of their lab activities.
Grades6 to 12
In the ClassroomShare this site with students as part of career exploration lessons. Instead of creating a list of sites to share with students, replace the list by saving bookmarks with Symbaloo, reviewed here, to make information easy to find and access. After researching the different engineering fields ask students to modify learning and create a web page sharing a day in the life of their chosen field. Carrd, reviewed here, is a free webpage creation tool that provides many tools for professional-looking pages. Find many other resources to encourage creativity and engineering at TeachersFirst Makerspace Resources, reviewed here.
Grades6 to 12
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In the ClassroomInclude Expii with your links for students to use at home and in class. Expii is an excellent way to provide content explanation through the voice of many different speakers, allowing the opportunity to increase student understanding. To enhance learning, ask groups of students to view lessons provided by the different contributors, then ask them to compare and contrast information by creating a concept map or Venn Diagram using Canva, reviewed here. At the end of a teaching unit, ask students to redefine what they learned using a multimedia tool like Adobe Spark in K-12, reviewed here, or Sway, reviewed here, to share their learning. Be sure to have them include their own video explanation of the content.
Grades4 to 8
In the ClassroomInclude a link to Science News for Students on classroom computers to include with other non-fiction reading resources for students. Have students browse through the site to find information of interest when choosing science fair or research topics. Alter students' learning by asking them to create an infographic related to a science topic using Canva Infographic Creator, reviewed here. This very easy to use tool includes drag and drop tools for easy creation of infographics using included templates or your own design. Take student research a step further and redefine their learning by having students use ThingLink, reviewed here, to upload an image related to their science research and add annotations. Thinglink offers tools for adding text, audio, video, and more to images. Weaker readers will need a reading buddy for some of the more challenging article. Classes in lower grades will want to read the articles together. A quick check on one article using Juicy Studio's Readability test, reviewed here, provided an approximate grade level of 6.5. Check articles before assigning to elementary students. You might also want to use Word Sift, reviewed here, to quickly identify important words that appear in the text.
Grades6 to 12
In the ClassroomThis site isn't just for science teachers! Use these journals for non-fiction reading in language arts classrooms or as examples of journal writing. Explore features around the globe in social studies class as part of your geography lessons. In science class, use this site as part of your lessons on animals, habitats, or scientific inquiry. Use this site as a model for science research projects. Complete the entire project digitally beginning with an online notetaking tool such as ReadWriteThink's Notetaker, reviewed here. Notetaker allows students to organize and plan research projects with their different outline formats. During the revision portion of the project, use PeerGrade, reviewed here, for students to share their writing, extend their learning, and receive constructive feedback from classmates. For the final presentation redefine learning, by using a multimedia tool like Sway, reviewed here, to create a presentation including video, images, text, and other research information.
GradesK to 12
In the ClassroomBoth experienced and newbies to makerspaces should bookmark this site as an excellent resource for developing makerspaces. If new to makerspaces, consider using this site similar to a book study group with your peers. Break the site into different portions beginning with the Why Makerspace? section to learn about constructive ideology and the benefits of makerspaces. Work together to build a database of makerspace resources including professional development information and lesson ideas. Share these resources using Padlet, reviewed here. Padlet offers tools for collaborating and organizing information, use the column feature to organize resources by topics such as professional development, lesson ideas, videos, and makerspace blogs. As you use makerspaces, don't forget to share student successes and struggles as part of the learning process. Have students create a weekly or monthly podcast using Buzzsprout, reviewed here, to enhance their learning. Buzzsprout makes it easy to record podcasts in advance, then publish them on your desired time and date. Use FlipGrid, reviewed here, as a video response tool to have students modify their learning and share ideas and problem-solving methods with you and their classmates.
GradesK to 6
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In the ClassroomBe sure to add this to your toolbox of ideas for teaching STEAM topics and for ideas to use in classroom makerspaces. In addition to adding this site to your favorite bookmarks, consider creating a board on Pinterest, reviewed here, of sites with ideas for STEAM projects. Share the board with your peers and collaborate on adding STEAM sites as a group. Extend learning throughout and after project activities as you include student work as part of a portfolio on Seesaw, reviewed here. Seesaw offers tools for all ages of students to create digital portfolios including written or audio reflections on work. Instead of just sharing images of student creations on your Facebook page or school web page, help students enhance their learning by creating digital books using WriteReader, reviewed here, to share online for family and friends. WriteReader is a site specially created for use with younger students to share their writing and images.
GradesK to 8
In the ClassroomAdd this site to your tool kit of December teaching resources. Include the games on classroom computers and add to your class website. Replace paper posters and have students share their favorite activities using an on line poster creator like Web Poster Wizard, reviewed here, or PicLits, reviewed here. After practicing coding using the games provided on this site, modify learning by challenging students to create their own game using a tool such as Scratch, reviewed here.
GradesK to 6
In the ClassroomShare a link to the Santa's Village on your class website and classroom computers. Allow students to explore and try options offered each day. Replace paper and pencil and have students share information from the daily activities on a blog using Edublog, reviewed here. Include images and videos of activities with blog posts. Use the site to introduce a unit on Holidays Around the World and for a final project modify learning and have students use Google My Maps, reviewed here, to create a virtual field trip around the world featuring some of Santa's stops.
Grades6 to 12
In the ClassroomShare Patches with your students who are familiar with virtual reality and coding to use to expand their ability to create vr experiences. For those not familiar with this technology, consider beginning with the Vizor 360 link located at the bottom of the home page. Use this tool to drag, drop, and create 360 interactive experiences of any location. Begin by creating a virtual tour of your classroom together and sharing on your class website. Be sure to take advantage of the many tutorials found on the site to help you and your students to get started or work through problems along the way. Begin using the WebVR portion of the site by sharing examples with students on your interactive whiteboard to demonstrate the different ways the tool has been used. Have students choose one of the tools, then use the edit feature to make changes. After exploring options in the available projects, have students create their own project from the beginning. Instead of assigning written reports, or craft projects, offer students the option to create an experience using Patches to demonstrate landforms, types of plants, or a virtual scene from a novel. Have students explain their finished project using Free Screen Recorder Online, reviewed here. Ask students to share challenges faced in making their projects and how they were able to resolve their issues along the way.
GradesK to 5
In the ClassroomEven if you aren't familiar with coding, use CodeSpark Academy as the perfect opportunity for you and your students to "get your feet wet" with coding skills. After sharing and demonstrating the site with students on your interactive board add a link to CodeSpark on student computers. If you don't have enough computers in your classroom, take advantage of the free Unplugged activities available on your Teacher Dashboard for use as a coding center. Don't forget to use this site to find ideas for your Hour of Code activities. Instead of sharing pictures of students participating in CodeSpark activities on your class newsletter, record and share videos of students engaged in problem-solving discussions and enjoying learning how to code.
Have students share their thinking process through blogging as a reflection on their learning and include their writing, images, and video in a digital portfolio using a tool like bulb, reviewed here. As students become more proficient in coding, introduce new programs that provide additional learning opportunities such as Scratch, reviewed here. Scratch includes many different activities for creating games, stories, and animations through coding. Have student experts share their secrets for successful coding by creating video explainers with My Simpleshow, reviewed here. Add these videos to your other resources available for student access.
Grades2 to 6
In the ClassroomTake advantage of these free materials to plan your Hour of Code activities for your school or classroom. Although created for Hour of Code, use these materials to create student interest in computer science at any time. Find many other coding activities and tutorials for all ability levels at Code, reviewed here. Instead of using the invitation provided in this activity, enhance learning and have students personalize and create their own flyer and invitations using Canva, reviewed here. Use Canva after your activity to send thank you notes to volunteers. Extend learning and have students share their coding stories (including successes and failures) using FlipGrid, reviewed here. Encourage students to continue to learn about coding and computer science using Scratch, reviewed here, to create their own learning games.
Grades4 to 12
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In the ClassroomShare Turtle Academy with students as part of a computer coding center. The ability to select different portions of lessons makes this a great tool for both novice and experienced programmers. Ask more proficient students to become advisors to newer programmers and share their knowledge and skills. Begin using this site by demonstrating lessons and activities on an interactive whiteboard or with a projector. Modify student learning and understanding by asking them to create video explainers for different skills using a tool like Rawshorts, reviewed here, then share videos on your class website for student use at any time. Looking for other coding activities for your classroom? Find more at TeachersFirst's Coding in the Classroom special topic page.
GradesK to 8
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In the ClassroomIf you feel that you are strong in the arts but not technology (or the other way around), find a teaching partner that complements your strength and work together to teach lessons from this site. Use ideas from here in your classroom makerspace. Download the browser extension, Surfmark, reviewed here, to add notes and questions as you prepare to teach lessons from this blog. Surfmark offers the ability to collaborate and share with others through the addition of written and audio notes to any web page. Use lesson activities found on this site as a replacement for traditional research projects, book reports, or written reports. Have students use a blogging tool like Edublog, reviewed here to share images and videos of their work from start to finish and to reflect upon learning. Have older students extend learning through the use of Symbaloo Learning Paths, reviewed here. Ask them to research and find additional information on the topic of your lesson and create a learning path for other students to complete. For younger students, create a Symbaloo Learning Path for students to complete as a center activity to complement your STEAM learning activities.
GradesK to 6
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