TeachersFirst - Featured Sites: Week of Aug 17, 2014

Here are this week's features. Clicking the tags in the description area of each listing will present a list of other resources with this topic. | Click here to go to the Featured Sites Archive

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Sign up genius - Skylark Productions

Grades
K to 12
4 Favorites 0  Comments
 
Create private or public sign ups for easy creation of snack lists, volunteer sheets, party planners, parent/teacher conference planning, or project preparation. Sign up for free using...more
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Create private or public sign ups for easy creation of snack lists, volunteer sheets, party planners, parent/teacher conference planning, or project preparation. Sign up for free using an email address (email verification not required.) View your created sign ups under "My Account." Be sure to view the Frequently Asked Questions for help in using this simple resource. Find complete guides for an even smoother sign up process under the "Planning Resources" tab. Follow the directions for creating your sign up including all the details. "Invite" and "Publish" to set your privacy options as well as enter the email information to send to others. Add a web button to your site to take users directly to your home page to find active sign ups (find this function under "My Account").

tag(s): charts and graphs (183)

In the Classroom

The possibilities are endless. Use this for planning parties, bringing in materials for projects, and any other activity that requires coordination. If you have limited technology availability, this is a great way for teachers or students to sign up for time slots to use laptops, iPads, video cameras, or a podcast recording station. Go paperless with your signups! Share this tool at Back to School night (and with your room parent or PTO). Organize your parent/teacher conferences. Plan student research of class projects using this resource. Help students build organizational skills by having them "plan" a mythical event such as a museum opening for their Famous Americans exhibit.

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The Readability Test Tool - David Simpson

Grades
1 to 12
4 Favorites 0  Comments
Test any website's readability using The Readability Test Tool. Test readability by URL or direct text input from any source (such as copy/paste of student writing). Simply enter...more
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Test any website's readability using The Readability Test Tool. Test readability by URL or direct text input from any source (such as copy/paste of student writing). Simply enter the web address (URL) and get the readability of the site on several scales. You can also check your own webpages by using the "referer" section. You will get a score for the most used readability indicators: Flesch Kincaid Reading Ease and Grade Level, Gunning Fog Score, Coleman Liau Index, and Automated Readability Index (ARI). The tool also includes explanations of each scale. These tell much more than a simple "grade level."

tag(s): independent reading (93), readability (8), writing (311)

In the Classroom

Use this tool to offer differentiated resources for the different reading levels in your class. At the beginning of the year, as you learn your students' capabilities, use this tool to find reading at the appropriate level to eliminate frustration. This is perfect for finding the "just right" level for you highly advanced/gifted students and those needing extra remediation. If you do discover that a website you want to use is over your students' independent reading level, you can still use it, just open Lingro (reviewed here) first; then enter the URL (web address) you want them to read. Lingro is a study aid and open content dictionary that makes all of the words (on a particular website) clickable for definitions and translation. Of course, if the sentence length or complexity is at a much higher reading level, simple word definitions will not make it "readable" for struggling readers.

Why not have students put in the URL for their blog or wiki (or simply paste in a writing sample) to see the level at which they are writing? This is one way to encourage writing as a craft and challenge students to include more varied vocabulary ad sentence structure in their writing.

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ClassDojo - Sam Chaudhary and Liam Don

Grades
K to 8
17 Favorites 0  Comments
   
Manage behavior and boost involvement in class quickly and easily. ClassDojo allows you to recognize desirable behaviors and accomplishments in real time. Use it on any Internet connected...more
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Manage behavior and boost involvement in class quickly and easily. ClassDojo allows you to recognize desirable behaviors and accomplishments in real time. Use it on any Internet connected device in your classroom: computer, smartphone, iPod Touch, iPad, or tablet. There are app versions for both iOS and Android. You can choose an avatar for each student. Student behavior records are automatically created, updated, and reports generated with just one click by you. You can even write comments to parents about why a student earned a lost a point. Weekly summaries are automatically emailed to parents. The wording on their site indicates that ClassDojo is free and will stay free for "early adopters," so start your account (and parent accounts) before they change their minds!

tag(s): behavior (38), classroom management (68), DAT device agnostic tool (68)

In the Classroom

Consider using this program to reward a group of the week. Award points for positive behaviors such as participation, helping others, creativity, hard work, or create your own categories. Using ClassDojo for group behaviors will give immediate feedback to students if projected on your whiteboard or your projector. Use this tool to help your unfocused students stay on task. Share this site with students on the first day of school as you go over class expectations and your behavior plan for your classroom. Use ClassDojo to offer both negative and positive feedback to parents and students.

Are you a regular education teacher with special education students mainstreamed into your classroom? Use Class Dojo to privately keep track of student behaviors and send a report to special education teachers or parents. This could be invaluable to a life skills, autistic support, gifted, or emotional support teacher who needs to track the behavior of each of the students as part of an IEP/GIEP. Alternative ed programs may find this tool very useful, as well, even up through high school.

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Instant Classroom Seating Chart - Instant Classroom

Grades
K to 12
6 Favorites 0  Comments
This free site makes classroom management easier by letting you create a seating chart easily. There is also a Random Name Generator and a Classroom Group Maker. You can create ...more
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This free site makes classroom management easier by letting you create a seating chart easily. There is also a Random Name Generator and a Classroom Group Maker. You can create many groups with up to 100 students in each group.

tag(s): classroom management (68)

In the Classroom

Use this site at the beginning of the year to create a seating chart for your classroom. Use the drag and drop technology to configure the desks the way you want them. Use the Random Name Generator to choose a student for an activity or to answer a question. If you need to create groups of 2, 3 or more, use the Classroom Group Maker to automatically split your class into even groups.
 This resource requires Adobe Flash.

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ClassBadges (Beta) - ClassBadges.com

Grades
K to 12
5 Favorites 0  Comments
 
Track goals and accomplishments, for both students and teachers. Create classes by uploading a .csv (Excel) file or using the template provided on the site. Then create goals for the...more
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Track goals and accomplishments, for both students and teachers. Create classes by uploading a .csv (Excel) file or using the template provided on the site. Then create goals for the entire class or individuals as desired. Choose from hundreds of badges such as mathlete, completed outline, perfect attendance, etc. Don't see a badge you want? No problem -- create your own! Award badges for learning activities completed with partner museums in Washington, D.C., Atlanta, and San Francisco. View awards by class, or individuals may view their own badges using their access code provided with creation of the class account. View the introductory video to get started using ClassBadges. Sign-up is by invitation only. Request an invitation and wait for an acceptance email, generally received within a day.

tag(s): behavior (38), classroom management (68), organizational skills (91), thinking skills (17)

In the Classroom

Badges are the "stickers' of today and much more. Use ClassBadges to keep track of student progress with large assignments, rewarding badges for each completed step. Present awards using badges such as Student of the Month, Math Hero, Perfect Attendance, and more. Share this site the first week of school as you set up your classroom expectations. Autistic support and behavior support teachers will find this tool useful and easy to use for reinforcement and tracking. Gamify your class using badges as reward levels. Challenge students to progress through different achievement levels by providing badges along the way. Share student login information with parents so they can track progress and accomplishments at home. (Be sure to keep the login information yourself too. Just in case students misplace their login.) Keep track of mastery of various topics or skills, much like a sticker chart! Students can embed their class badges in other sites, such as personal blogs, using the embed code. Use with Wikispaces, Facebook, Edmodo, blogs, and more!

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Celly - Celly, Inc.

Grades
K to 12
1 Favorites 0  Comments
 
Texting, texting... 1, 2, 3. Are you hunting for a good text messaging tool? Celly is a free mobile social network to communicate with students and parents via text message. ...more
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Texting, texting... 1, 2, 3. Are you hunting for a good text messaging tool? Celly is a free mobile social network to communicate with students and parents via text message. A simple setup process allows you to create as many cells (private texting rooms) as you like. Provide your unique code to students and parents to join your cell through their phone or the web. Members can use Celly online or through a mobile device. Require usernames or allow users to be anonymous. Members' numbers are private for safe and secure communication. Customize your cells with how you want to interact with your members. Conversation mode can be configured for one-way messaging, from the teacher to all members, or two-way group chat between all members. Multiple-choice polls allow numerous opportunities for engagement. Schedule messages to be sent at a later time. Link your cell(s) online for students and parents who do not have text messaging. This is a device-agnostic tool, available on the web but also available for free as both an Android and iOS app. Use it from any device or move between several devices and still access your work. App and web versions vary slightly. Celly is free; however, standard text message rates apply. Students ages 13-18 must have parental permission to use Celly.

tag(s): DAT device agnostic tool (68), parents (43), polls and surveys (38)

In the Classroom

Celly could work in class as an instant response system if your school allows cell phones. Create a protected online environment for students to communicate with you and with each other. Set up your account and all students (and parents) at the beginning of the school year or at Back to School night. Students can communicate online or on a phone. Students and parents without cell phones won't be left out because they can interact online. Quickly send reminders to students and parents or promote an upcoming event or due date. No need to watch the news! Send alerts to members for weather closures and delays. Even if your students are too young, teachers can communicate with parents via Celly. Schedule messages up to 90 days in the future. Use Celly as a back channel or interactive wall during class. Students can use the @me feature for note-taking in class. Provide polls for exit slips or to activate schema. Send polls during field trips to monitor engagement and text trivia questions on the bus ride home. Send reminders to chaperones on field trips. Students and chaperones can text you throughout the trip as virtual safety checks. Real time information from the polls provides rich data. Polls are efficient and meaningful. They make the classroom feel like a larger place.

You can say so much in only 140 characters. Allow students to use texting language to send responses. However, they should also have to write the message using correct conventions. Teach the difference between formal and non-formal writing. Rewrite passages in abbreviated speech through text messages. Students translate the messages to gain a better understanding of the material. Students can also rewrite work for peers to translate. Students can text thoughts as they read a selection to group members for interactive reading. Teach digital citizenship in a controlled environment. Responsibly using cell phones in the classroom teaches digital literacy skills to be successful.

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Teacher Lists - School Family Media

Grades
K to 12
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Imagine a one-stop site for creating, editing, and distributing your school supply list and wish list to parents and others. That's TeacherLists. Create an account, find your school,...more
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Imagine a one-stop site for creating, editing, and distributing your school supply list and wish list to parents and others. That's TeacherLists. Create an account, find your school, and begin a supply list or wish list. Personalize your list with a short welcome statement, if desired. Choose from categories to add items. Categories include most popular items as well as specific items such as paper, pencils, or health and cleaning supplies. Include the quantity for each student, add a short note, and save when complete. Share your final list through email, direct url link, or several social networking links.

tag(s): classroom management (68), preK (225)

In the Classroom

Create a TeacherLists account for your building or teaching team and distribute your supply list or a wish list in an easy to find format for parents to access anytime and anywhere. Share what your class specifically needs to be ready for the start of school or a new marking period. Include the links to your lists on your class web page. Library/media specialists can share a schoolwide list to keep the media center well stocked with supplies. Art teachers can request the craft items and supplies they need. Even grandparents can help out the school when they know what is needed. Share with your school's parent organization for creating their own lists.

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calmCounter - James Barrett

Grades
K to 8
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Keep track of the noise level in your classroom using the calmCounter "Calmness Counter." This colorful tool is simple to set up and use. Hook up a microphone and watch ...more
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Keep track of the noise level in your classroom using the calmCounter "Calmness Counter." This colorful tool is simple to set up and use. Hook up a microphone and watch the calmCounter respond to the noise level in your classroom. This is a concrete way to quantify noise level needed for goal setting and behavior (sound) management. Even the young can understand this tool's "thermometer."

tag(s): classroom management (68), music theory (25)

In the Classroom

Share calmCounter at the beginning of the school year with a projector or your interactive whiteboard. Have your class practice different noise levels and come to an agreement about where the thermometer should be for different activities. Display calmCounter on your interactive whiteboard or projector during your troublesome, noisy times: centers, indoor recess, or group work. If you have an autistic or noise sensitive student, calmCounter can help your class become more aware of their noise levels. In music class, use to aid students in understanding dynamics in written music such as pianissimo, mezzo forte, and forte. During your science unit on sound, use calmCounter to show a rudimentary measurement of different types of sound.
  This resource requires Adobe Flash and PDF reader software like Adobe Acrobat.

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Any.do - Omer Perchik, Yoni Lindenfeld, and Itay Kahana

Grades
K to 12
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Any.do is an online to-do list to manage daily tasks across all devices. Create your account and start adding things you need to do. Choose from today, tomorrow, upcoming, or ...more
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Any.do is an online to-do list to manage daily tasks across all devices. Create your account and start adding things you need to do. Choose from today, tomorrow, upcoming, or someday in the Time View format. Click the folder icon to sort lists into work, personal, or a folder you name. Choices include adding a time for tasks, options for reoccurrence, and an alarm reminder. Download the Any.do app to sync tasks seamlessly across any iOs or Android device and your computer.

tag(s): calendars (39), organizational skills (91)

In the Classroom

Any student might appreciate having an online time management account, but learning support students and disorganized gifted students need one. You may want to model using this online tool to help middle and high school students learn personal organization. Share this site the first week of school to get students started on the right foot! Make a demo account for a mythical student and organize his/her daily schedule together so students can see how it works. Share the steps on your interactive whiteboard or projector. Alternately, this idea will work with group projects where students need to learn to manage their project time.

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ClassFlow - beta - Promethean

Grades
3 to 12
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ClassFlow is more than a lesson builder, more than a presentation tool, more than an assessment tool; it is all of these and more! Access everything in one place: create, ...more
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ClassFlow is more than a lesson builder, more than a presentation tool, more than an assessment tool; it is all of these and more! Access everything in one place: create, present, and share lessons; connect, poll, and assess students with devices they use every day. After registering, you will receive a welcome email with several "getting started" links. The lesson developer is a very powerful tool, with options for embedding, linking, or adding images and shapes. There are also annotating/highlighting tools, and more. Demonstration videos hosted on YouTube show how to have students sign up via a web browser. If your district blocks YouTube, they may not be viewable. You could always view the videos at home and bring them to class "on a stick" to share. Use a tool such as KeepVid reviewed here to download the videos from YouTube.

tag(s): assessment (61), classroom management (68), DAT device agnostic tool (68)

In the Classroom

Any teacher can take advantage of ClassFlow. It is a good idea to view the YouTube video for creating a lesson on ClassFlow. Become familiar with this program, and have students present projects using ClassFlow. Since ClassFlow is an interactive and collaborative program, have literature circles complete write ups, discussions, and final presentations about the book they read using ClassFlow. Lab partners can present their findings, and math students can demonstrate how they solved a problem.

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OK2Ask'®: School Year KickOff July 2014 - TeachersFirst

Grades
K to 12
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Kickoff your school-year right with the ideas shared in this recording of an OK2Ask online professional development session from July 2014. It opens in Adobe Connect. Discover all of...more
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Kickoff your school-year right with the ideas shared in this recording of an OK2Ask online professional development session from July 2014. It opens in Adobe Connect. Discover all of the "ready to go" resources available at TeachersFirst. Explore the Professional Resources, TeachersFirst Exclusives, and some of our favorite back to school "time savers." Find inspiration for new teaching strategies in this fast-paced session! This session is appropriate for teachers at all levels of technology comfort. As a result of this session and through individual follow-up, teachers will: Explore the various Professional Resources available at TeachersFirst: differentiating, rubrics, working with parents, wikis, blogs, and more! Browse and explore the various ready to go lesson plans and units created by TeachersFirst. Find some back to school time savers for both students and teachers. Have free exploration time to find materials relevant to his/her classroom needs. (Follow-up) Plan and implement a student-centered, curriculum-related use of the resource(s) of choice as part of an upcoming teaching unit. Or plan how to use the professional resources to prepare for the new school year. Applicable ISTE-T standards (2008)*: 1b, 2a and b, 3d. Please read the full text at ISTE's standards page.

tag(s): back to school (34)

In the Classroom

Set your gears in motion for a great school-year. Learn about many hot topics such as differentiation, blogs, wikis, BYOD (bring your own device) classrooms, and more. Take a look at the resource page full of GREAT ideas! Learn more about OK2Ask and upcoming sessions here.
 This resource requires Adobe Flash.

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Slack - Slack Technologies, Inc.

Grades
K to 12
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Slack is a real-time messaging tool for teams that includes archiving and search features. Create your own channels for different groups or teams to include messages, files, images,...more
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Slack is a real-time messaging tool for teams that includes archiving and search features. Create your own channels for different groups or teams to include messages, files, images, and more for sharing. Drag and drop files work with Google Docs, Dropbox, Twitter, and more making it easy to share across several different platforms. Easily search Slack archives to find discussions, documents, and more.
This site includes advertising.

tag(s): chat (36), DAT device agnostic tool (68), microblogging (34), organizational skills (91), social networking (102)

In the Classroom

Share this resource with high school students working on group projects for better group communication, managing workflow, and more. Take the time during the first week of school or as group projects approach to model how to plan and manage group process using such a tool. Use this tool with school clubs, as well. Manage professional discussions by creating channels for different departmental or grade level teams.

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Front Row - Sidharth Kakkar

Grades
K to 8
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Front Row is a Common Core aligned math program for K-8 that adapts to individual student skills. Sign up to create a class account and add student information. Students login ...more
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Front Row is a Common Core aligned math program for K-8 that adapts to individual student skills. Sign up to create a class account and add student information. Students login in through an iPad app or with the online web version. Students complete a diagnostic pre-test, and then begin working at their individual level. Awards of coins and stars for completion of levels promote student engagement and enjoyment of the program. Front Row also promotes student collaboration by suggesting other students to work with when you answer incorrectly. Other features include a scratch pad for working through problems, virtual manipulatives, and individualized printables for practice. Receive detailed analytics and student report cards on your Front Row dashboard

tag(s): differentiation (25)

In the Classroom

After creating your classroom account and adding rosters, introduce this site on your interactive whiteboard or projector. If you are lucky enough to have a class set of mobile devices, allow students to Front Row while you work directly with individuals or small groups of students. Front Row is a great way to supplement instruction for both gifted and special needs students. Visit the FAQ section for ideas for implementing Front Row in your math classroom. Be sure to share login information with parents for student practice at home.
 This resource requires PDF reader software like Adobe Acrobat.

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Diagnostic Questions - Craig Barton and Simon Woodhead

Grades
4 to 12
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Diagnostic Questions offers over 2000 quick questions for an immediate and accurate look at student understanding of math concepts. Choose the question link to browse and find questions...more
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Diagnostic Questions offers over 2000 quick questions for an immediate and accurate look at student understanding of math concepts. Choose the question link to browse and find questions by topic. Choose "Random Question" for one question on any topic. Each question offers multiple choice answers and checks for the correct response. View each response to find out how many others made that choice. Optional site registration allows you to assemble collections of questions into quizzes to save and share. Use the online editor to create and share your own quizzes and questions in just seconds. The site was created in the UK, so it has some pronunciations and spellings different from American English.

tag(s): angles (77), area (53), assessment (61), charts and graphs (183), data (140), decimals (115), equations (131), exponents (38), fractions (212), functions (61), geometric shapes (119), median (21), order of operations (29), statistics (107), time (130), vectors (25)

In the Classroom

Use this site as an anticipatory set or "activator" to introduce a unit or lesson on a projector or interactive whiteboard. Use to find a question of the day to begin lessons. Share or embed questions on your class website. Have students prepare a question of the day to include with your quizzes. See the "About" page to find questions for class discussions. Though they suggest using mini whiteboards or a large card, think about using computers or tablets and a student response system, such as Socrative, reviewed here. Using a student response system, you will be able to keep a record of the responses without having stacks of paper. It will help you to differentiate and know whom to focus on with some immediate extra help.

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