Grades5 to 12
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. Flash is required to enjoy the interactive activities, get it from the TeachersFirst Toolbox page.
In the ClassroomShare this site (and word lists) on your interactive whiteboard or projector. As they study different word etymologies, have students sort copy/pasted selections from these wordlists into categories by language of origin as a drag-and-drop activity on your whiteboard. If you have students who are competitive spellers, encourage participation by introducing this site to them and their families. You may want to list this site on your class website for students to use both in and out of the classroom.
For an interactive cooperative learning project. Have cooperative learning groups explore one of the languages shared at this site. Have the groups create a multimedia project to share their new vocabulary. How about an online book created using Bookemon (reviewed here) or their own drag-and-drop activity for the class to use on the interactive whiteboard?
Grades2 to 12
In the ClassroomWorld language and ESL/ELL classes (using a whole class account) or individual students (if a specific school permits students to join sites) can maintain their own word lists with pronunciations. They can submit words to hear them pronounced by native speakers or pronounce them themselves. A teacher could submit words or assign students to explore and find a list of personal words to learn each week. Students can also compare pronunciations of the same word by several different speakers coming from different countries (Mexican Spanish vs. Spanish from Spain etc.). ESL students will no doubt enjoy disputing the pronunciation of words from their native languages! This is a perfect collaboration of geography and world language classes. Share the maps on your interactive whiteboard or projector. This site could also be useful as a learning center, for students to practice pronunciation. (Don't forget the headsets!) List this link on your class website for students to use for at-home practice!
Grades3 to 12
tag(s): flash cards (44)
In the ClassroomBe sure to save this site in your favorites. SAT tutors need to know about Cramberry. Sign up all your students (check school policy first!). You may want to use a teacher email account and subaccounts for registration to establish the memberships by "number" and to provide complete monitoring of what students do. Here is a blog post that tells how to set up GMail subaccounts to use for any online membership service.
Rotate the job of "card creator" throughout the school year and have the card creator share the word set with the rest of the class. Foreign language teachers will find this a must-have for teaching new words. This site could truly be useful in any subject area that teaches new vocabulary, dates, terms, formulas, and more: history, math, science, reading, etc. Of course, ESL, ELL, and special education students would benefit from the use of this site also.
Grades2 to 12
Be aware: this site does include some unobtrusive advertisements. Some of the slideshows and videos require Flash. You can get it from the TeachersFirst Toolbox page.
In the ClassroomInclude this site in assignments students have to prepare for presentations. Look for photos of any recent news event, even events obscure enough not to be included in American newspapers. Share an image or gallery of images on your projector or interactive whiteboard in a world language class as you discuss it in the language and learn about the culture and news in far off places. Link to certain galleries from your class web page or from student presentations to show examples of concepts and life in other places. Save this site in your favorites, for students to easily access during research projects. Use the photos as a writing prompt in current events or writing classes. Or create a visual current events "quiz" by displaying a gallery of mages and asking students to explain the background of the story. Speech or ESL/ELL teachers can also share images and ask student to talk about or describe them. Let the students select the image they wish to discuss!
Grades3 to 8
In the ClassroomWhen studying about the various cultures in America, don't forget the rich mission cultures in the West and Southwest. Spanish teachers will appreciate this site's simplicity in teaching Mission-related Spanish words. Have cooperative learning groups investigate other missions or historical topics from the 1800s. Challenge student groups to create their own historical tale in this "choose your own adventure" style. Provide a template graphic organizer for the story options so they are able to organize it in the planning stages, then create one in PowerPoint with hyperlinks to the choices or on a class wiki using links to the places (pages) they choose.
Grades2 to 8
In the ClassroomUse the activities on this site as part of cultural heritage or explorer study in social studies or in conjunction with Latino literature selections in your reading classes. As you study communities and cultures with younger students, this site will give you a way to focus on an example. Use this site as part of your Cinco de Mayo celebration, as well. Many of the activities would work well as either whole class lessons on an interactive whiteboard or projector or small group "scavenger hunt" activities for upper grades on lab or laptop computers (make sure reading levels are appropriate if students must read on their own).
Grades2 to 12
This site also features writing prompts. To find the writing prompts, click to Enter The Site and then scroll to the bottom of the page. The link for Writer Prompts can be found on the bottom right side of the site. The Writer Prompts link will lead you to the creator's blog, with many writing prompts (with new prompts added often). This site requires Flash. Get it from the TeachersFirst Toolbox page.
In the ClassroomThis one is ideal for an interactive whiteboard or projector. Demonstrate the tool on the whiteboard or projector and allow the class to create a strip together before you share the link on your teacher web page. Have students create strips as a quiz or other assignment and email the links to you. No more papers to carry around and grade! Build a collection of comics on different curriculum topics to use as anticipatory sets/activators or to spark discussion. Have younger students make comic strip greeting cards for Mother's Day. The possibilities are endless.
The site creators tell us that Makebeliefscomix accepts accent marks and characters from Spanish, French, Italian, German, Latin, Portuguese, in addition to English, they hope soon to add Chinese and Japanese.
Use the writing prompts to excite reluctant writers. Visit often, as new prompts are added weekly.
GradesK to 12
Each content area has successful resources that you can use.
Content areas include Preparing, Learning, Studying, Learning with Others, Online Learning/Communicating, Classroom Participation, Project Management, Research, Reading Skills, Preparing for Test, Science and Technology, Math, Resources, Vocabulary/Spelling, Writing Styles, Writing Basics, and Taking Tests. There are over 100 individual topics to explore: Time Management, Avoiding Procrastination, Learning with ADHD, Effective Study Habits, Peer Mediation, Problem Based Learning, Netiquette, Public Speaking, Citing Websites, SQ3R, KWL, Overcoming Test Anxiety, Ten Tips for Terrific Test Taking, Prefixes and Root Words, Seven Stages of Writing, and countless others!
There are some basic advertisements at this site. Flash and Acrobat Reader are needed for some of the links and can be obtained here: TeachersFirst Toolbox page.
In the ClassroomThis site is one to save in your favorites! There is so much here, it is hard to know where to begin. The language offerings provide opportunities for ESL and ELL students to learn study skills in their native language. This site could also be used in world languages classes.
Why not highlight a "study skill" each week using your interactive whiteboard or projector. Then have students TRY it. Most of the topics provide interactive learning or another assignment to help students practice the skill. Have students work individually or with a partner to explore the "topic of the week." These life skills are so necessary, but hard to fit into the already crammed curriculum. This site does a nice job of integrating the study skills with curriculum content. Have students create their own multimedia projects about study skills using a current unit of study from your class.
Grades2 to 10
In the ClassroomUse the Roman numeral converter to enter a year (ex. 1500.) Note the Roman Numeral that corresponds to the number. Enter another number (ex. 1499) and note the difference. Share the converter on your projector or interactive whiteboard. Have students determine the rules for using Roman numerals based upon the results. Then have them "predict" the answers while a student game-show host operates the converter for the class.
GradesK to 12
In the ClassroomTo use the pictures provided, simply chose a "group" title, such as water drops, and click to befuddlr it. If you wish to befuddlr your own pictures, you must first upload them to Flickr, so you will need to learn that simple tool. Be sure to TAG your pictures so you can FIND them again! No membership or saving are available on befuddlr. Its is an on-the-spot tool. Be sure to use your own images or copyright free images and images that are available to be built upon. If students click to choose other pictures from Flickr, they could encounter ANYTHING that someone has uploaded, so be sure to guide them to the pictures you want them to use and have a stated policy and consequence for those who wander off into inappropriate places. Flickr does have anti-porn policies, but girls in bikinis, for example, are still available! Use snapshots of animals, numbers, letters, or other pictures and have students scramble the pieces. Befuddlr a picture on your interactive whiteboard to start a language lesson! Students can create their own and provide hints using a variety of constraints such as no more than 5 words, a poem, using adjectives only, etc. in order to help those guessing the original picture. In Art, create new patterns for analysis. Use befuddled pictures to practice new vocabulary for young ones or for ESL and world language students. Accompany student poetry with befuddled pictures
GradesK to 12
tag(s): speech (87)
In the ClassroomYou need to be able to navigate controls on the website and sound levels on your computer. Copy/pasting embed codes is also a necessary skill for insertion in a website. Email the sound clip very easily.
Future saving of Vocaroos is unsure depending upon server space. Before using with students, you may wish to obtain permission from administration and/or parents. Be sure to check your school's acceptable use policy. Students should be made aware of acceptable use and consequences of misuse of the service.
Record snippets of information as reminders on your class website or instructions for students to follow. This is terrific for learning support students or non-readers! Have students describe aspects of classroom learning experiences to share with others, such as what they learned from a science experiment or found out about life in Colonial America. Record a quick message for an absentee and email the link to him/her explaining how to catch up on missing work. Create tutorial pieces that students can use as study aids (or have them create them for each other). Use this site in world language classes or for ELL students: have students record and listen to their own pronunciation or send short messages to each other to translate. Have students use this site to practice speeches before the presentation to hear their speed, tone, and words. Use this site for research presentations, instructions for a substitute, or many other possibilities. With younger students, read a short story on Vocaroo, and have student follow along using a picture book. Or have the students read their own stories into Vocaroo and email the readings to their parents! For Mothers Day, why not have students record messages for mom or grandma? Another idea: create a class wiki where parents can "find" the entire selection of Vocaroos for Mother's Day (or another holiday). Record Vocaroos of each student talking about the importance of Moms for Mother's Day or how grateful they are for certain things at Thanksgiving. Embed them all in a class wiki to share with parents. Just email the URL for the collection.
Grades3 to 12
In the ClassroomCheck school policies concerning both student memberships and interaction with outsiders. You will want a written set of rules which both students and parents agree to before allowing students to navigate on their own in the portions of the site that use video chat with outsiders. Younger students (under 13) should use a teacher or class account, rather than an individual one, to avoid conflict with COPPA (child online protection act in the U.S.).
Make this site available from your class web page or as a favorite on local machines for ESL, ELL, and world language students to use to reinforce their survival and vocabulary skills. World cultures classes might even want to "taste" a bit of a language as they learn about other countries. French, German, and Spanish language students will enjoy the opportunity to "chat" with native speakers in their target study languages. (Be sure you have parent permission for students to interact with outsiders!). You will need headphones or speakers for the audio portions of this site. This site is excellent for enrichment or personal learning. Include it on your teacher web page for students to access both in and out of class.
GradesK to 12
Although the site contains the option to buy the TV segments and booklets, the materials are available for free on the website. The site also includes a complete broadcast schedule from Georgia Public Broadcasting.
tag(s): spanish (111)
In the ClassroomUse these episodes as a supplement to regular Spanish language classes or as enrichment for elementary classes wishing to learn a language. Encourage your Spanish speaking class members to assist with pronunciation, episode summaries, songs, etc. Provide this link on your class website for students to use both in and out of the classroom; both the activities and stories help with Spanish language comprehension. Share the stories on your interactive whiteboard or projector as a model for world language stuedents, then challenge students create their own stories (on video, of course). Use a tool like Stupeflix, reviewed here, and share them on a site such as TeacherTube, reviewed here.
Grades3 to 12
In the ClassroomNavigation of the site is rather simple. Once you put in your own name, there are buttons on the bottom right and left side of your "name box" to "add" an additional family member or "edit" the current name. Once you click to "add" a member, you are able to put in their name, birth date, death date, marital status, and email address (see safety concerns). One tip: to scroll UP use the DOWN arrow, to scroll DOWN use the UP arrow.
This site allows users to set-up their family tree as PRIVATE. It allows you to control who can and can't view your profile, family tree, and other information. For more information about this feature, visit the Privacy link (on the bottom bar). Before you plan your family tree project, be sure to get parental permission. You may want to use this tool with first names and last initials and keep email addresses out of it for safety's sake.
Use this site to create family tree projects in elementary or middle school classes. Have high school students create family trees as part of a unit studying immigration patterns in social studies classes. In science class, have students create fictitious "people" as they study genetics. With younger students, create a class "family" sharing important dates for individuals (i.e. birthdays) or to teach vocabulary and spelling of family terms, such as "grandmother" and "uncle." Have students share their family trees on an interactive whiteboard or projector. Be sure to "advertise" this project on your class website (and newsletter, if applicable) so students have time to gather names, birthdates, and other information about family members. In world language classes, have students create a family tree using the correct vocabulary for relatives and talk about it (in their new language!) as they share it on the interactive whiteboard. When researching famous people, reading biographies, or even reading literature, have students create a family tree illustrating their discoveries about their famous person, writer, artist, musician, explorer, literary character, etc.
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 (WITH email)
Products can be embedded
Products can be shared by URL
Grades6 to 12
In the ClassroomTeachers of gifted will want to share this as a must-read site, but all students would benefit from hypothesizing about the world trends that generate Google searches. Share this resource on your teacher web page or classroom computer for handy access. As you discuss current events, government, politics, of even consumer behavior, use Zeitgeist to ask questions: Why are people searching this now? What did people in other countries search while Americans were focused on Sarah Palin or bank bailouts? Show a Trends listing on your projector or interactive whiteboard and simply ask the question: Why? Challenge students to discuss possible reasons for what they see in small groups or in blog posts. Use a Trends finding as a prompt for a debate or essay in English class. Use the trends as indicators of consumer behavior for discussions in business or FCS classes. Use search wordings from other countries in your world language classes to sharpen awareness of cultural differences and similarities.
Just ask WHY? and watch your students leap to higher level thinking as you challenge them to prove it with other findings from the web or research.
Grades7 to 12
In the ClassroomSpanish speaking ESL or ELL and foreign language students will find this site useful as the language lessons proceed from a Spanish language base. Foreign language teachers can offer this site to their students as a way to review and learn new vocabulary on certain topics. This is a great site for ESL and ELL students to collect vocabulary that they need to remember, with registration. Check school policies on site memberships for students before allowing them to join. If you or your students are adventurous, you can create and embed activities on your class wiki or web page.
Grades6 to 12
In the ClassroomUse this site when social studies students are doing reports on world cultures. Check out your own state (or country) and see what you can learn. ESL and ELL students may enjoy sharing the information displayed here about their individual countries and languages with American students who might have no idea of the cultural differences among members of the same country. Use this map as a discussion starter I your world cultures class about migration patterns and the power of a common language to encourage cross-cultural pollination.
Grades1 to 12
Be sure to check out "What's New" for recent additions. Go to "Main Page" and try the search box; it's a good place to try to find the links you remember from awhile back but have lost track of.
In the ClassroomProvide this link on your class website. Use this site for vocabulary ideas with your ESL and ELL students AND in your world language classes or mainstream language arts classes. The variety at this site offers something for every classroom learning English or another language.
Grades1 to 12
Be sure to preview stations and programs to be certain the offerings are appropriate for your classrooms and student ages. International students will enjoy the opportunity to check out news and other events from their original countries. Some of the European TV sites offer bilingual programming; English language summaries often accompany the news in many languages.
In the ClassroomAdd interest to a foreign language class by checking out the news in your target language using this site. Supplement language study with cultural opportunities by using the music sites. During major world events, compare news coverage from different English-speaking sites to see the different angles provided from different cultures. As you read stories or study customs from other lands, use this site on a projector or interactive whiteboard to share a taste of the world with your elementary students. If your school has a student handbook or special supplement for international students, recommend this site as a way to check the news and cultural happenings from their first countries. All students will enjoy coverage of international sporting events.
Grades6 to 12
Membership is free and has many perks. You are able to comment and/or grade the video clips or even submit your own video. Registration does require some personal information: a username, password, email address, and date of birth. ALL USERS MUST BE OVER 13-years of age! Check with your administrator about allowing the students to register for this site using fictitious names. You may wish to set up a class registration instead of entering true data into the registration site. Another option is to create a free Gmail account to use for memberships. If you plan to have students register individually, you may want to create your own Gmail account with up to 20 subaccounts for each group of students (by code name or number) within your classes. Here is a blog post that tells how to set up GMail subaccounts to use for any online membership service.
Warning: not all videos are suitable for the classroom. Be sure to preview what you wish to share. If you choose to allow your older students to navigate this site on their own (for research or a class project), be sure to set boundaries on which videos to watch, consequences for going elsewhere, and WATCH CAREFULLY! Some videos explain "how to" do things that are unsafe or inappropriate for school-ages audiences. Wonder How To does include unobtrusive advertisements. This site requires Flash. You can get it from the TeachersFirst Toolbox page.