Ideas and Resources for Substitutes from TeachersFirst
This collection of ideas and reviewed resources is selected to help both substitute teachers and regular teachers leaving instructions for a substitute. The list includes useful time-fillers for when plans are not a perfect fit as well as teacher-friendly suggestions to make subbing a positive learning experience for all. Be sure to check "In the classroom" suggestions for practical tips and ways to use these offerings.
Grades10 to 12
In the ClassroomUse iBioSeminars to bring the human side of biological research to the classroom. Use the lectures as an introduction to a biology concept or when connecting the topic to students' everyday lives. Share the video clips on your interactive whiteboard or projector. Save this in your favorites as a possible tool for substitutes to share with the class (if the topic is applicable). Use this site along with other related sites for students to pick from when assigning current events in your science class. Challenge students to familiarize themselves with a topic by watching a video and then have cooperative learning groups create a multimedia presentation to share with the class using one of the many TeachersFirst Edge tools reviewed here.
Grades2 to 6
In the ClassroomSave this site in your favorites and link to it from your class webpage. For even quicker access, save this as a favorite on your Teachersfirst membership page to come back to whenever you are planning a pre or post reading/writing assignment. (If you are not already a member, join TeacherFirst for FREE.) These creative ideas are also great to file in your "emergency" lesson plan folder for a substitute teacher or when you are just looking for a spontaneous writing or journal assignment. Students may use it the traditional way by writing the story starter sentence on a piece of paper. With access to a class set of computers students could copy and paste into a word document or class wiki page and start writing their stories, poems, or journal entries. Enhance student learning by challenging them to share their writing aloud on a podcast using a site such as PodOmatic, reviewed here.
Grades6 to 12
In the ClassroomShare this site on your class web page for students to find challenges or activities. Substitute teachers can always find an appropriate current events or vocabulary/writing activity if there are no lesson plans. English, social studies, and gifted teachers will want to explore the many lesson ideas that draw on current news stories. Find many prompts for student opinion blogs at this site. If you are beginning the process of integrating technology, replace pen and paper and have students create blogs sharing their learning and understanding using Pen.io, reviewed here. This blog creator requires no registration.
Grades4 to 12
In the ClassroomInspire your students to strive for excellence! Show students original, creative, thinking. Let students know they can understand the ideas awarded by trying the educational activities offered. Follow each year's announcements and award ceremonies. Use as an inspiration when beginning your own Nobel Prize winning awards competitions. Encourage students to use critical thinking skills to form opinions based on facts. Substitute pen and paper in your class by having students blog about what they are learning and understanding using Telegra.ph, reviewed here. This blog creator requires no registration. Extend learning by inviting pairs or small groups to use a tool like NoteJoy, reviewed here, to take notes and share links, documents, and images to organize for an interactive poster. Use Adobe Spark for Education, reviewed here, for the poster. Gifted programs can easily incorporate many of the ideas into the curriculum. Lead your students to Nobel Award winning thinking.
Grades5 to 12
Students can sign up to receive a newsletter with money tips just for them. Also included is a blog with links to other financial sites for kids. Most resources for students are located under "Cool Biz Stuff," then go to "Tools for Kids." Some of the tools include a financial calculator to determine what it takes to become a millionaire, sample business plans, allowance budgeting, and investment basics. Under "The Show" link, short video segments are available for review. Shows are geared toward increasing student interest through the use of familiar cultural icons such as "The Intern" and a parody of the T.V. show "24."
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In the ClassroomWatch the video on "How to Hold a Fundraiser" when planning a class economics project or before a school fundraiser event to get ideas on how to boost fundraising income. Watch a few of the short videos for creative ideas before creating classroom presentations of information studied in class. Divide up the online shows between students in your class and have students view and report back on the information presented in the videos. To show what they have learned from this site, challenge students to substitute paper posters with an online graphic to share using Web Poster Wizard, reviewed here, or PicLits, reviewed here. Transform technology use by using a multimedia poster maker such as Genial.ly, reviewed here, where students can choose the type of interactive presentation they would like to share. Ask students to create an economic plan using the allowance budget worksheet. Business teachers, family and consumer science classes, and young entrepreneurs will appreciate the many offerings on this site. College counselors will also want to share the college planning information.
GradesK to 12
In the ClassroomReinforce learning with these supplemental materials. Your students may practice as much as they want - for free! Print worksheets to leave in a folder for emergency substitute lesson plans or for homework, provide the link on your classroom web page or wiki for students to easily access from any computer, and project the interactives and other learning activities on your projector or interactive whiteboard. Note that some websites may be blocked.
Grades3 to 12
In the ClassroomYou can easily click on the current month and display a particular journal entry starter on your whiteboard or choose to project a few to provide your students with options. They can be used to "get the ball rolling" at the beginning of class, as daily or weekly warm-up activities to practice general writing or skills that you are focusing on, preparing for state assessments, free-writing, or as an "anytime" or "when you're finished with your work" activity. They can be easily printed to use as "emergency" or substitute lesson plans.
Grades2 to 8
In the ClassroomOne advantage to the "Daily Writing Prompt" is that they can easily be displayed on your interactive whiteboard or projector in your classroom. They can be used in a number of ways to improve your students' writing, including daily warm-up activities, practice in writing for state assessments, journal entries, free-writing, or as an "anytime" or "when you're done" activity. The writing prompts have creative ideas and options for how to implement them. They can be easily printed to use as practical "emergency" or substitute teachers' lesson plans.
Grades1 to 12
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In the ClassroomIf your students have never tried to make a Blabber, share the introduction blab on the home page on a projector or interactive whiteboard. Browse a few examples first to get ideas on how to make a mouth on your photo to move and "talk." Be sure to turn up your sound! Have a student demonstrate uploading an image from a safe and legal source. You may want to use a single, whole-class account you create with your "extra" email account. Be sure to spell out consequences of inappropriate use/content of blabs. Have students enter the site through the "Make" page link provided in this review to steer clear of the "latest" blabs. You may want your students to make their blabs "private" so they do not show on the public areas, depending on school policies. If you are implementing technology in your classroom, this is an augmentation tool.
Blab the homework directions on your teacher web page. Have your students use photos or digital drawings to "blab"! Have students draw in a paint program, save the file, and then make it "speak." Spice up research projects about historic figures or important scientists. Have literary characters tell about themselves. This tool is great for gifted students to go above and beyond the basics with an independent project. Create entire conversation sequences of blabs between people in world language or ESL/ELL classes (with students speaking in the language, of course), then embed them in a wiki. Have speech/language students make blabs to practice articulation and document progress over time. Promote oral reading fluency with student-read blabs. Create book "commercials." Have students blab what the author may have been thinking as he/she wrote a poem or literary selection or as an artist painted. Blab politicians' major platform planks during campaigns for current events. Blab the steps to math problem solving. Even primary students can make an animal blab about his habitat if you set up the blab as a center. Make visual vocabulary/terminology sentences with an appropriate character using the term in context (a beaker explaining how it is different from a flask?) Students could also take pictures of themselves doing a lab and then blab the pictures to explain the concepts. This would be a great first day project (introducing yourself and breaking the ice). Share the class blabs on your class web page or wiki! Give directions to your class (for when a substitute is there). Use at back to school night to grab parents' attention for important information.
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)
Products can be embedded
Products can be shared by URL
Grades7 to 12
tag(s): cooking (34)
In the ClassroomIdentify the various techniques and science behind them. For example, browning meat is called the Malliard reaction. Understanding why this brings out the best flavor in the meat is interesting. Learn about sugar substitutes, its use in cooking, and relationship to flavor. Identify taste and how we are able to sense tastes at the molecular level. Follow discussion of techniques with actual use of the technique and resultant taste tests. During a cooking lesson, why not have cooperative learning groups try something they learned? Video their "experiment" and share with the class (and parents) using a tool such as TeacherTube reviewed here.
GradesK to 12
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tag(s): speaking (23)
In the ClassroomAccess to a microphone is required to record a voice. There is an option to use text to voice (however, it does not have great sound.) Import audio from a file or use a cell phone instead to capture audio. Only one minute of audio can be recorded so be brief. Students need to carefully think of their narrative before recording. Users must be able to copy and paste html code for use in an external site.
Use the controls to create your character's style, click customization to further refine your character, change your background, and add your voice. Keep in mind that animated backgrounds may take longer to load on your site. When done, click publish to view and copy the embed code which can then be used on a blog, wiki, or web pages.
Monitor all aspects of student production and use for appropriateness and copyright. If concerned about using student email, consider creating a class account for students to use. Be sure that students understand not to change the Voki of other students if using a class account. Check your school district policy about using emails or identifying student information on the Internet.
Introduce and share this site on your interactive whiteboard or projector. Use this free site to record a greeting for students that can be seen on the start page of your blog, wiki, or website. Record online assignment information that is spoken by the Voki (always more pleasing to look at than the teacher!). Use this to share homework assignments, a message from you (via a substitute), and more. Use a character that is interesting or matches the assignment you may be leaving. Use Voki to record two different opinions or viewpoints and create a poll of students to view reactions. Use the Voki in Math by posing possible solutions to problems and create a class discussion or poll to determine which one is the actual answer. As students are working on projects, create a Voki that provides hints and tips for students. Allow students to use Voki to provide peer assessment to others. Consider using Voki in place of other assignments such as "What I did this summer vacation..." or "Here is information about me..." Use in any language class to record narratives or translations. Students can create a variety of Voki recordings over time which can show their learning of a language over time. Create classroom newscasts using student(s) on a rotating basis. Use Voki for vocabulary exercises which can be created by students or the teacher. The possibilities for this tool are endless. The quick and engaging nature of this tool offers unlimited uses.
GradesK to 12
NOTE: Although the videos are listed on this site, they actually "live" elsewhere on the Internet, so some videos may be blocked in your school (those on YouTube, for example). Always pretest to be sure the video you hope to use is accessible at school!
In the ClassroomShare these videos on your interactive whiteboard or projector. This is a great site to use when planning for substitute teachers, as an introduction to a new unit, or even as additional information on a specific topic.
Challenge cooperative learning groups to create their own videos about topics being studied in social studies, science, math, or nearly any other topic. Include this link on your class web page for students to access outside of schools for reinforcement and further exploration of concepts.
Grades9 to 12
In the ClassroomAlthough this site deals with the 2008-2009 banking crisis at a level that is probably more in-depth than most teachers have the opportunity to deal with, it would be useful for an economics class or a recent American history class. You might consider some portions of it during a discussion of the Great Depression in the 1930s, to help students connect that economic time with the present. Finally, this might be a good resource site for students who are interested or who are working on more comprehensive projects. Transform classroom technology use and have students create a multimedia presentation of demonstrating their understanding of the connection between the bank failures and the economic downturn. To show what they have learned from this site, challenge students to substitute paper posters with an online graphic to share using Web Poster Wizard, reviewed here, or PicLits, reviewed here. Transform technology use by using a multimedia poster maker such as Genial.ly, reviewed here, where students can choose the type of interactive presentation they would like to share. Have students create (and respond) on class wikis. Not comfortable with wikis? Have no wiki worries - check out the TeachersFirst's Wiki Walk-Through.
Grades4 to 12
tag(s): back to school (61)
In the Classroom"Brain Breaks" is a Learning Focused Schools buzzword, but we all know students sometimes just need a 5-minute break with a built-in way to refocus at the end. Brain Breaks can be especially helpful when teaching on block schedule with longer classes. Here are some ideas to do that. Share one of the examples on your interactive whiteboard or projector. Take a 5-minute "brain break" and have cooperative learning groups brainstorm additional "brain break" ideas to use within your classroom.
GradesK to 12
tag(s): speech (86)
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.
Vocaroo has a wide variety of applications in any type of classroom! For basic technology integration extend and enhance learning with this tool. 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.
GradesK to 12
In the ClassroomUse these activities at the beginning of the year (and throughout) to help your students acclimate to the new classroom. These tips are also very useful for substitutes or for teachers presenting at professional meetings.
Grades4 to 12
In the ClassroomThese are great activities to have at the tip of your fingers for days when inspiration just runs dry or you are looking for a new approach to creative writing. You might have each student bring in one thing for your "found treasures" bag and then pull them out at random for a class story. The "jumble story" idea is also great because you can substitute current events or topical characters or settings.
Grades9 to 12
tag(s): environment (321)
In the ClassroomExplore the curriculum topics for your subject area and select some options for students to use in class or for review. This is also an excellent option for leaving plans for a substitute who may have no expertise in your subject area! Many of the multimedia modules are well-suited for interactive whiteboard or projector (or for students to navigate at an individual pace on laptops). Have gifted students? Allow them to "compact" new content and extend into higher levels using this site. Be sure to share a link from your teacher web page for students who need an alternate presentation of material or for absentees. Share this site at the beginning of the school year for students wanting more of a challenge.
GradesK to 12
In the ClassroomNew or veteran teachers who want students to get to know each other as they enter a new school (starting middle school, for example), want to observe them so YOU get to know them, or need to build better team skills with a challenging class or club, will find ideas to try. Mark this one as a Favorite so you can find it again, since "first day" activities tend to get lost in the flurry ---and in the fading memory-- during the year.
GradesK to 12
tag(s): resources (106)