GradesK to 12
tag(s): word choice (28)
In the ClassroomThis would be a great way to have your older students study word choice! Start by going to the "Writing Fix For Kids" (reviewed here) and look at the left column index to find "Six Traits" click on "Word Choice." At this site you will find several recommendations for picture books and chapter books to use with your students so they can analyze good word choice. Read a few of these, and ask the students to point out the descriptive writing that stands out for them. Then use a wordless picture book and have your students write a short story for an 8 to 11 year old that doesn't rely on the illustrations. From there your students can write their own short story, and have an 8 to 11 year old student read it while being video taped. You might consider pairing up with a local elementary or middle school teacher to have one of their students do the reading.
For younger students, use your projector or interactive whiteboard and project the student reader full screen. It would be like having a visitor come to your classroom at story time!
GradesK to 12
** This site does contain some materials NOT suitable for all classrooms. Be sure to read the "rating" system, and contribute your own opinions (as the ratings are only as reliable as the pool of contributing voters). Books rated 'E' are meant for everyone but a 'C' means to use caution as it may not be proper material for some. Determine what titles are suitable and save them to the favorites file for students to access.
tag(s): literacy (105)
In the ClassroomIncrease your big book collection ten fold by projecting Tar Heel Readers onto an interactive whiteboard or projector. Use interactive shared reading lessons to strengthen student recognition of common sight words, concepts of print, decoding skills, and use syntax cues and unlock the meaning of text. Ask students to circle known sight words, count the number of words in a sentence, trace capital letters, or point to the first letter of a word during a choral read. Help ESL/ELL students by creating books out of photos from class field trips, events, or experiments. Integrate text that uses key vocabulary words and creates reading materials that are both relevant to grade level curricular standards and match your student's readability level. All books you publish on the web site are public domain and available to all other users. Be sure to get parent permission before publishing student books on-line. In order to create a book, users will need to register. Unfortunately, this requires users to email email@example.com to request of an invitation code. With this code, simply create a username, submit your name, and email address. Set up a single teacher account and have all the students use that login to avoid safety concerns. Be sure to include this site on your class web page for students to access both in and outside of class for further reading practice.
GradesK to 6
Kindersite collaborates with outside institutions to develop educational projects that compile resources, generate new curriculum models, create training materials, and implement teacher-training seminars. Researchers can gather user data from Kindersite that represents varying population sizes, geographical groupings, and languages.
General Tips and Reminders: Some sites originate from the UK, so some of the pronunciations and spellings may differ from those in American English. There is some advertising on the right side of the page. Some links may direct students to sites that also contain advertising. Warn your students to avoid them.
tag(s): literacy (105)
In the ClassroomInvigorate shared reading with Kindersite's songs and stories. View the colorful illustration and text on an interactive whiteboard or projector. Some stories and songs highlight the tracking of words. Other sites provide character voices when you click the text in quotations. The animation will definitely engage everyone even those who wiggle on the carpet. Differentiate computer centers with the "my page" function. Save interactive tasks that target the instructional needs of students. Make a shortcut to the "my page" site collections on classroom computers and use it as a center. Be sure to take advantage of the professional resources Kindersites provides as well. Post a link to this site on your school website for parents to access at home.
GradesK to 12
tag(s): spanish (108)
In the ClassroomCreate non-verbal task cards or visual directions for assignments with graphics from this library collection. Download imagery from a variety of different categories and create an interactive whiteboard or projector sorting activity. Have students decide what images have in common and then sort them into groups. Use online graphic organizers from sites such as Webspiration reviewed here. to sort clip art. The images are also excellent to design language-teaching flashcards, game cards, illustrate songs, add to worksheets or include on class websites.
GradesK to 5
In the ClassroomReach out to the artists and visual learners in your class. ESL/ELL instructors will find the gorgeous graphics and "visual vocabulary" a fantastic way to communicate concepts to second language learners. Literacyhead will spark ideas for instruction that address the diverse learning styles in classrooms today. Use this site to help students draw connections between text, and prompt thoughtful conversations. Ask students to create their own "visual vocabulary" illustrations. Download the free graphic organizers. This site offers reproducible graphic tools to reinforce comprehension and writing strategies but also some meant to develop critical and creative thought. Share this site with your teaching colleagues who work with your learning support students.
GradesK to 12
tag(s): creative commons (23)
In the ClassroomPre-select clipart and save to albums meant for students use. A complete library will be useful for multimedia presentation, digital storytelling, reports, and presentations. This is a great site for ESL/ELL students and special education students working on speech and language. Visual representations will help ELL or ESL teachers explain concepts and key vocabulary. Open Clipart is a valuable resource for imagery to use when designing language-teaching flashcards, game cards, directions, illustrating songs and poetry, or including on class websites.
Grades5 to 12
tag(s): literature (267)
In the ClassroomUse the list to find literature you can use in your classroom. You may want to choose short stories or poems and their music so students will get the idea of how music and literature can fit together. Then have students choose appropriate contemporary music for an independent reading novel presentation or report. Have students figure out how they would divide up the book into sections. Then select a piece of (school appropriate) music that they think captures the feel or tone of each section. They record the pieces and possibly do voice-overs explaining what is happening in the novel during the piece of music and why they felt this piece of music fits the section of the novel. As a choice, students could use "podOmatic" to create podcasts, reviewed here. Or have students create ThingLink, reviewed here. Be sure to PLAY the music out loud as the student is talking. If you want students to "mix" or create music with their own computer, check out Soundtrap, reviewed here. You may wish to take that a bit further and challenge students to record a song using a tool such as UJAM, reviewed here, where you simply record your voice (even talking and not singing!). UJAM is free and synchronizes your voice and its speed to a variety of different background music options.
Grades8 to 12
In the ClassroomUsers must be able to add pictures to a set on flickr or use a specific tag for particular pictures. Be sure to choose your username carefully as it becomes part of the url of your portfolio. Follow the directions to identify your flickr account with Pullfolio.
Have students create their own pullfolio, but why not create a class pullfolio that showcases student work? If using as a class pullfolio, pictures will not be attributed to the individual students. Create some way of identifying pictures to various students. Require students to tag their pictures with their initials as well or create a comment with their initials in the picture's description.
This tool would be a great asset to a photography or art class but can be used in any subject area. Create a pullfolio of pictures that showcase life around us, or in a Math class to show various Math functions in man made structures and nature. Use this site to take your geography class around the world (virtually). Have students create presentations in any subject area and narrate the pictures rather than doing a traditional oral report. Speech and language on lower grades or ESL/ELL teachers could create pullfolios for vocabulary development, tagging them for positions, feelings, etc. Involve students in taking the pictures, then share the resulting pullfolios for them to practice their new words.
Parent permission advised before posting student work created using this tool
Includes Interaction w general public/ public galleries with unmoderated content
Requires registration/log-in (WITH email)
Premium version (not free) includes additional features or storage
Products can be embedded
Products can be shared by URL
Grades2 to 12
tag(s): songs (52)
In the ClassroomUse this site for ear training. Play a reverse "Name that Tune" game to see how accurately the site finds songs. Try to find two songs with similar beginnings and see if the site can distinguish the two. Learn about other songs that have similar beginning melodies. ESL and ELL students can use this site and participate without knowing the English words for a song just by humming. Students can introduce their favorite songs this way.
Grades3 to 12
In the ClassroomMake learning how to learn part of your class routine at any grade level and in any subject. Feature one or more new study strategy each month and share this entire list as a link from your class web page for students and parents to access both in and out of school.
GradesK to 12
Tagxedo requires Silverlight. The site will appear as a blank page with the "Install Silverlight Plugin" button if your computer does not have it installed. See your tech folks to allow download and installation of this plug-in if school computers do not have it and/or are "locked down."
In the ClassroomNO 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.
Very versatile, creates word clouds in specific shapes. Adds another dimension.Frances, CT, Grades: 6 - 8
GradesK to 3
In the ClassroomDownload stories onto a mp3 player for students to listen to during reading time. Play the audio version of stories while following the written version on the interactive whiteboard. Use the stories during a fairy tale unit to compare and contrast characters. Share this link on your class web page for families to enjoy at home. These stories are worth playing over and over. Be sure to provide this link on your class website for students to explore both in and out of the classroom.
Grades1 to 10
In the ClassroomESL and ELL students will find this activity useful for practicing correct English word order. Primary teachers can also use it to teach basic sight words, sequencing, and inferencing skills with short sentences. After typing/pasting in the sentences, copy the scrambled word box on an interactive whiteboard or projector and have students write or type the paragraph in the correct order.
Grades4 to 12
In the ClassroomGrandparent's day is in September. What better gift to a grandparent than to be able to spend time with their grandchild and tell them a story about an important time in their lives? Of course, you'll want to prepare students with some interviewing skills and questions before they interview their grandparents, and show them how to record the interview with some type of recorder (tape recorder, cell phone, video camera, etc). This recording can then be submitted to StoryCorps and it will then reside at the American Folklife Center at the Library of Congress. Students can also interview parents about their first memories of school, and what they remember about the grade that the student is currently in. Share these interviews during the first week or month of the school year. Not only can these interviews be submitted to StoryCorp, but students could then do a write up of their interviews and publish them in a classroom book of memories. Have students create online books to share with the class about their interview. Use a tool such as Bookemon, reviewed here. Or have students narrate a photo of the person they interviewed using a site such as ThingLink, reviewed here.
GradesK to 12
tag(s): poetry (221)
In the ClassroomMake Poetry Month a participatory experience. Have students compose a limerick explaining a science term or historic figure. Have students collect a list of words from your current unit. Then offer extra credit for a poetic interpretation to be shared as a daily "poetry break" during April. Use one of the tools featured here to share poetic visions of biology, geometry, and more during April. Cover a classroom wall with white paper for "curriculum poetry" during April. Encourage students to share poetry graffiti (classroom appropriate, of course). For more poetic ideas check out the "In the classroom" suggestions included in each review.
Grades8 to 12
In the ClassroomMany students' favorite past time, when not texting or social networking, is listening to their iPods. Why not use that venue to hook them into understanding the 'music of poetry?" Stories Behind the Songs; Introduction includes the music, lyrics, song-based lessons, projects, and activities for many popular songs and ballads that express universal themes of poverty, hunger, discrimination, and hope. Students listen to the music and examine the origins and inspiration for contemporary lyrics. Popular songs can be used in a classroom setting to facilitate meaningful discussions on a particular theme or topic. Songs also create an emotional hook and may be used as a springboard to introduce poetry, literature, and historic documents. Students enter the Song Guide by clicking on the song's title to enjoy the full authentic cultural experience the music and lyrics offer. Follow up with asking students to write poems or short essays describing their feelings and impressions of the lyrics, or have them create new poetic verses and images to accompany the music. Challenge students to narrate an image using a tool such as ThingLink, reviewed here.
Grades1 to 5
In the ClassroomHave students try out this site on individual computers, with head phones, or let them listen in pairs. Before they go to the questions, ask them to list the questions the site might ask them after they have seen the model of one story. Share this link on your class web page, wiki, and/or in a parent newsletter. Share the site with special language teachers at the elementary level.
Grades8 to 12
tag(s): vocabulary (315)