Grades3 to 8
In the ClassroomShare the puzzles on your interactive whiteboard or projector or make them available as links on your teacher public page. Have students (or groups) create their own illustrated dictionaries of terms using a tool such as Bookemon, reviewed here. As you add more vocabulary lists during the year, have them select their favorite 6-10 terms from each list to add to their "book."
Grades2 to 8
In the ClassroomShare the stories on your interactive whiteboard or projector (turn up the speakers). Download and share Sound Stories as a listening center. Search through the "Games" to find appropriate activities for your class to use to reinforce grammar, spelling, and literature review. If you are having students view this site on individual computers, don't forget headsets!
GradesK to 2
In the ClassroomIf you are teaching any of the nine concepts that are highlighted at this site, be sure to take a look. Share HOW to do the activities on an interactive whiteboard or projector, and then allow students to explore on their own. Use the ready-to-go lesson plans, worksheet pages for homework practice, and interactives as learning stations or centers. Use this site with emergent readers, special education students, or your ESL and ELL students. List this link on your class website for students to use to practice at home.
GradesK to 12
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In the ClassroomUsers of PicLits must be able to navigate tabs on sites, manage logins, and use URLs and embed codes to share results on websites and blogs. Play to learn the tools before or after joining. The FAQs tab also provides a short-and-sweet text explanation of the tools. Find these under the Video Tutorials.
Registering for a PicLits account requires the use of an email address. PicLits can be used without an account but users are unable to save or blog about their creation without an account. A class account can be created instead of individual student accounts. However, it does not show which work is attributable to which student. You may want to require that students initial their contributions in order to get credit. All work on the site can be seen without a login. All projects are public.
You may want to create a word doc, Favorites folder, or other "collection" of the URLS to all your students' projects in one place for easy work at grading time. Some teachers use a class wiki or blog with links to all projects from there. A simpler alternative would be to use a bookmarking tool such as Buttons, reviewed here. You may allow students to self-register, but be sure to keep a written record of their passwords for when they "forget." It may be worth your time to do advanced registration for your younger students or simply use a whole-class account.
Share a PicLit on your interactive whiteboard or with a projector at the start of a grammar or writing lesson to discuss word choice, figures of speech, or vocabulary. Use the visual picture prompt for journal or blog writing, allowing each student to compose a unique poem or haiku. Even science classes can write about concepts illustrated in the many nature photos. Emotional support teachers will love the chance to discuss feelings and how to describe facial expressions in the pictures. Make a collection of PicLits using a tool like 3 x 3 Links, reviewed here, for a curriculum topic. Create or challenge students to create an online literary magazine using a tool such as Zinepal, reviewed here. ESL students can create PicLits to learn new vocabulary. Have students create PicLits for special occasions and special people (mom, dad, grandparents, school nurse, or others). Use the embed code to place your creations on many other sites, including your class wiki or blogs. Share your PicLit by using a URL or code for an embedded widget.
Parent permission advised before posting student work created using this tool
Includes Interaction w general public/ public galleries with unmoderated content
Includes social features, such as "friends," comments, ratings by others
Requires registration/log in (NO email)
Products can be embedded
Products can be shared by URL
Multiple users can collaborate on the same project
Grades4 to 10
If you are looking for even more vocabulary and spelling ideas, visit the official site for the Scripps National Spelling Bee (reviewed here by TeachersFirst). Check out all the links to learn how to study for the Bee, guidelines, and application deadlines. December is the annual deadline for your school's enrollment in the National Bee. This site will have the exact deadline each year. Click on Study Zone to download the Consolidated Word List (a gigantic compilation of 794 pages of words that have been used from 1950 to the present). Students can test their spelling know-how by clicking on the "Test Your Spell It Knowledge" link on the homepage. Your serious competitive spellers will also benefit by exploring Merriam-Webster's Spell It (reviewed here by TeachersFirst).
This requires Flash which may be obtained here: TeachersFirst Toolbox page..
In the ClassroomAssign students to try this activity on individual computers or at a computer station. Have students choose 10 words from the Robo-Bee to use as personalized spelling words. Include this link on your homepage.
Grades2 to 6
In the ClassroomWhat a fabulous twist to a character analysis. Use this site to have your students analyze the main character in a story that your class is currently reading or one they read independently or in lit circles. Make the activity a group project, by using an interactive whiteboard or projector. Use the print option and have students create character scrapbooks in place of a traditional book report. Compare the characters from diverse books being read in different lit circles.
Grades4 to 7
In the ClassroomYou may want to list this link on your website for parents and students to use at home (to create some "unique" costumes). Challenge your students to create some additional "Word Play Costume" ideas. Plan a Punny Costume day as a culmination of your idioms unit! Be sure to share pictures (unidentifiable) on your class wiki or have students vote for their favorite costume picture using an embedded polling tool such as Poll Junkie (reviewed here).
Grades1 to 6
This site requires Flash. Some of the lessons and printables require Adobe Acrobat. You can get both from the TeachersFirst Toolbox page.
In the ClassroomThe site can also be incorporated into social studies and history for the many uses of popcorn by various cultures. For example, include the site in a Thanksgiving unit. Follow the seed to plant information for a life cycle unit in science. Add it to a health curriculum under healthy eating habits and food groups. Do not forget to check out the worksheets and lessons for math and reading.
GradesK to 12
In the ClassroomBe sure to save this site in your favorites! Share the interactive timeline, online quiz, and podcasts using your projector or interactive whiteboard. Use this site for research about our 16th President. Have students create a blog from Lincoln's point of view (or from a slave's point of view AFTER the Emancipation Proclamation). Use the lesson plans designed for the grades that you teach. (Don't miss the history, language arts and writing, and art lessons).
GradesK to 2
In the ClassroomUse this site as a class activity on an interactive whiteboard or projector. Have students work with partners to explore certain topic areas together. Or use this site to create a Language Arts center. List this site in your class newsletter or on your class website for students to use both in and out of the classroom. Your learning support and ESL teachers may also want to use it for extra practice as you work on these concepts in class.
GradesK to 12
Teachers who desire professional development and fresh ideas will want to include this site in their repertoire.
In the ClassroomUse this site to help ANY grade level create original books. Have students work with a partner to create a book together. With older students, challenge them to create a book as a culminating project for a research assignment. Have younger students create books at the beginning of the year to introduce themselves to the class. The possibilities are endless at this creative site! Use some of the ideas to make online books using a tool such as Bookemon, reviewed here.
GradesK to 12
In the ClassroomUse this site as a reference when picking extra reading materials during a Native American unit or as you approach November and Thanksgiving. Teach students how to find book reviews online after they've selected a book they would like to read. Have students create multi-media book "reports." Give students choices like a wiki, blog, PowerPoint, or even an online book review using a tool such at Bookemon (reviewed here).
Grades4 to 12
In the ClassroomUse this site to compare the validity of various types of reference material sources. Compare results of searches to teach critical reading skills and 21st century information literacy. Compare info from sources on this site to those in print materials. Encourage your students to use this tool for individual as well as group projects. Encourage ESL and ELL students to find sources with lower reading levels that still give the necessary information.
GradesK to 3
In the ClassroomShare this link on your teacher web page and/or in a parent newsletter so that parents can use it at home too! Don't forget to turn up your speakers if you are using the music in class. If your class responds very well to using songs, you might try writing lyrics together about something you are studying -- using one of these familiar tunes.
Grades4 to 8
In the ClassroomThis site would provide additional resources for whole-group read-alouds. Students could find pertinent information and then report findings back to the class. It would also be a great way to spark the interest of struggling or disinterested readers. Use this site to help students find a great book for a literature project.
GradesK to 12
Registration is free. An email address is required, as is some other information. Some materials on this site require Adobe Acrobat. You can get it from the TeachersFirst Toolbox page.
Another helpful resource in understanding Lexile levels is this pdf comparison chart from Harcourt (opens in Acrobat Reader).
tag(s): readability (7)
In the ClassroomMake Lexiles one of the tools you use to make reading a positive experience for your students. The more you know about the student and the actual content of the books, the more helpful the Lexiles can be in assisting a match. If your school reports data to parents using Lexile scoring, download the white papers to give to them at conferences to explain Lexile scores in 'parent friendly' language. Include this link on your classroom web page. If your students know their Lexile level, you will want Lexile levels on your classroom library materials so students can match a book to both their reading level and their interests. As an FYI, SOME books listed on Barnes and Noble's online site include Lexile levels in the descriptions (just after age level). Lexile connects to Barnes and Noble directly from this site.
GradesK to 12
In the ClassroomWhy not find some special projects and activities for March 2? Whatever subject and grade you teach, you are sure to find something useful here.
GradesK to 9
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tag(s): independent reading (129)
In the ClassroomTeachers, check out the link for the writing contest. Submit student stories and Mrs. P. may choose to read them on this site. Be sure to get parental consent before submitting any stories.
What a valuable tool for ESL/ELL students and teachers of emergent readers as students follow the words on the screen as Mrs. P. reads a story. Create a corner in your room to read stories the way Mrs. P. does! Use your first initial, let your imagination run wild, change your accent of course, and you can become another Mrs. P.
Be sure to share this treasure on your teacher web page for students (and parents) to access outside of class. You may find students become interested in some of those "old books" in the library!