Online Tools: Suggestions from TeachersFirst

This editor's choice collection offers timesavers and organizational tools for teachers. They include "utility" sites for teaching tasks such as seating charts, rubrics, and certificates. Other tools facilitate parent communication, such as text messaging or online conferencing. Our editors have also hand picked simple, timesaving, creative tools from the TeachersFirst Edge. These tools organize to-do lists (for yourself or for students), convert files, remove ads from web pages, check web site readability, write a one-time blog, generate an online signup sheet, make a simple graphic organizer or chart, create online corkboards or stickies, and much more. Mark your Favorites using your free TeachersFirst membership, so you can find them quickly!

For a full listing of reviewed "creation" tools by category, try the TeachersFirst Edge, today's hottest tools for creating teacher and student projects online. 

 

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OK2Ask: Cool Tools: Tools for Formative Assessment - TeachersFirst

Grades
K to 12
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This recording of an OK2Ask online professional development session from July 2016, opens in Adobe Connect. Explore three online tools that will help you with formative assessment....more
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This recording of an OK2Ask online professional development session from July 2016, opens in Adobe Connect. Explore three online tools that will help you with formative assessment. Understand the three steps in the formative assessment feedback loop. Discuss and learn ways to use formative assessment to increase gains in student learning. Use exploration time to discover and discuss how selected resources can be utilized in your classroom. A question/answer period will be available to help with individual questions. As a result of this session and through individual follow-up, participants will: (1) Understand the three steps in the formative assessment feedback loop to support learning gains; (2) Explore and evaluate the three online tools for formative assessment; (3) Find ways to use formative assessment to increase targeted feedback; (4) Discover ways to set goals to meet targeted learning goals; and (5) Make detailed plans for including formative assessments in daily lessons. Have free exploration time for finding ways to integrate these tools into your curriculum. This session is for teachers at ALL technology comfort levels. Remember, it is OK2Ask'® questions at any time!

tag(s): assessment (99)

In the Classroom

The archive of this teacher-friendly, hands-on webinar will empower and inspire you to use learning technology in the classroom and for professional productivity. As appropriate, specific classroom examples and ideas have been shared. View the session with a few of your teaching colleagues to find and share new ideas. Find additional information and links to tools at the session resource page. Learn more about OK2Ask and upcoming sessions here.
 This resource requires Adobe Flash.

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Printing Press - ReadWriteThink

Grades
4 to 12
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Create attractive newspapers, brochures, and posters with the interactive tool, Printing Press. No log-in is required. Just choose which format you want, one of five templates, and...more
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Create attractive newspapers, brochures, and posters with the interactive tool, Printing Press. No log-in is required. Just choose which format you want, one of five templates, and upload images. Choose text features and type or paste the text. Edit your work, if needed, before printing, downloading it as a PDF, or share through email. Save your draft to your computer to continue at a later date. Find a basic planning sheet, here, in the overview, to help students gather ideas. Turn the sound off or on at the top right.

tag(s): book reports (36), creative writing (167), newspapers (94), posters (35)

In the Classroom

Students can use Printing Press to demonstrate learning of any kind across grade levels and content areas. Instead of writing a boring research report, have your students create a professional looking newspaper or brochure! Math and science students can create posters explaining concepts they learned. Students can photograph experiments and write up labs. Use Printing Press for students to "report" out the important events in a book they read, or make a poster advertising it as a movie. Teachers can use this tool as a jump page to guide a lesson or upload images and write up examples of exemplary work to share with students to set expectations for completed products before beginning any project. The uses for this tool are wide open!

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MoocNote - MoocNote.com

Grades
6 to 12
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Add comments, links, and questions to online videos with MoocNote. Create a free account, then import any YouTube video or playlist by pasting the URL. Other options include adding...more
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Add comments, links, and questions to online videos with MoocNote. Create a free account, then import any YouTube video or playlist by pasting the URL. Other options include adding videos from DropBox or Google Drive. Return to unfinished videos from where you left off. Notes link back to the appropriate spot in the video and collect in one central spot for easy viewing. Options on the site allow you to create groups to share videos and adjust privacy settings.

tag(s): note taking (31), organizational skills (120), video (251)

In the Classroom

Be sure to view the User manual link for directions about how to use MoocNote. Share YouTube playlists with students using MoocNotes, add questions or additional information for student viewing. Only registered users can access your videos so that each student will need his own account. Another option is to set up a single teacher account and have all the students use the class login to avoid safety concerns. They could add their own information by including their code-name on notes. This tool would be perfect for adding student accountability to the flipped classroom!

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Classtools Countdown Timer - Classtools.net

Grades
K to 12
2 Favorites 0  Comments
 
Spice up any countdown with this versatile, yet easy to use, countdown timer from Classtools. Options include running multiple timers, adding music or video, and saving a web link to...more
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Spice up any countdown with this versatile, yet easy to use, countdown timer from Classtools. Options include running multiple timers, adding music or video, and saving a web link to your timer. Choose the Get Started button to begin and follow prompts to choose included music or select your own from any YouTube video. Click the save icon to receive a personalized URL for sharing.

tag(s): classroom management (129), counting (119), time (144)

In the Classroom

There are many uses for this practical online tool. Get out your interactive whiteboard or projection screen (or even the classroom desktop computer) and make sure the speakers are turned up. Use this tool for students to practice speeches, or to limit the time for a quiz or spelling test. Use the countdown feature for timing the rotations from center to center. You can even use the timer for reading fluency exercises or physical education warm-ups! A clever classroom management tool would be to start the visible count-down on your computer screen when you want the class to settle down for directions or to transition to the next subject. Select calming music for quiet times. Students may even want to use this tool for themselves. Kindergarten students can practice counting along with the watch!

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Zeetings - Zeetings

Grades
K to 12
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Zeetings is a presentation tool that allows your participants to participate! Have up to 100 participants per Zeeting. The basic account includes some terrific features including unlimited...more
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Zeetings is a presentation tool that allows your participants to participate! Have up to 100 participants per Zeeting. The basic account includes some terrific features including unlimited polls, videos, embeds, web links, and unlimited uploads of PowerPoint and PDFs. Sign up is quick with no waiting for an email invite. Give your account a URL name (keep it simple) and begin constructing your presentation right away. Once you broadcast the presentation (by URL or code), all participants will be on the same page as you. When you turn the page; theirs will turn, too.
This site includes advertising.

tag(s): DAT device agnostic tool (192), multimedia (52), polls and surveys (47), video (251)

In the Classroom

What a cool way to have all students at the same place in your lesson! Additionally, they can ask questions, answer a poll, or watch a video, all in real time. Any subject teacher can take advantage of this powerful tool! Introduce Zeetings to your class(es) with your projector to show them all the features, then have them learn and participate by logging into your presentation. Have students use Zeetings when presenting orally to the class. Have them incorporate web links and videos, with a quiz (survey) at the end. The survey will tell them who was paying attention or better yet if their presentation was clear and interesting.

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newhive - Zach Verdin, Cara Bucciferro, Abram Clark

Grades
2 to 12
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Use newhive as a clean slate to express your ideas, artwork, videos, and more. Begin by using an email address to sign up for a free account. You will then ...more
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Use newhive as a clean slate to express your ideas, artwork, videos, and more. Begin by using an email address to sign up for a free account. You will then see a blank white slate to start. Easily add text, images, video, audio, files, and shapes. Once you are finished adding content, save to your account by giving your multimedia project a title and tags. Then decide if you want it public or searchable. This tool is simple, quick, and easy to use. The tool requires that a member be age 13 or older.

tag(s): multimedia (52), portfolios (25)

In the Classroom

Students can use newhive to demonstrate learning of any kind across grade levels and content areas. They can practice good digital citizenship by citing images, videos, and online content properly or use student-created images, videos, and other content. Use this tool as a portfolio for any subject. Art, music, and language arts are naturals for collecting original student work, but what about science? Students can photograph experiments and write up labs and post to newhive for their portfolio. Teachers can use the site as a jump page to guide a lesson or create WebQuests. Make a work prototype page and upload examples of exemplary work to share with students to set expectations for completed products before beginning a project. The uses for this tool are wide open!

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Dotstorming - Gareth Marland

Grades
2 to 12
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Create an online bulletin board (much like Padlet, reviewed here, or Lino, reviewed here) for brainstorming and...more
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Create an online bulletin board (much like Padlet, reviewed here, or Lino, reviewed here) for brainstorming and VOTING on any topic. The voting is what makes this tool different. Create an account. There is no waiting for email approval. Add a board, title, select how many votes the participants will have (up to 10), and start adding posts with text, images, and video. Add images and video via URL or upload from your computer. When participants join, they give their name. Participants can add posts. Names of participants using the board appear below the chat box. Participants name's appear when they make a comment in the chat. However, comments on posts don't have the participant name. Once the board is complete, the creator can finalize the board so no new ideas can be posted, but the voting feature is still open.

tag(s): bulletin boards (16), gamification (63), images (261)

In the Classroom

Share your board with a projector or interactive whiteboard. Put the URL link on your website for students to access. If you don't want to share the link that way, then use a tool such as Google URL Shortener, reviewed here, for students to type in (and reduce input mistakes). You may want to think about students using only their first name or their code to participate. Dotstorming does not show which posts belong to which student, so you may want to require that students identify their post and comment by putting their initials, their first name, or their code on their contributions to get credit. If you plan to allow all students to post to the wall or make comments, you may want to discuss Internet safety and etiquette and establish specific class rules and consequences.

Use Dotstorming to collect WebQuest links and information to share with students. Assign a student project. For example, have students create a board about an environmental issue. They can include pictures, video, links, and other information to display. Use as a new format for book reports. Do your students have favorites such as music or sports? Create a board around these favorites or hobbies. Use a wall for grammar or vocabulary words. Create walls for debates or viewpoints. The voting is perfect for that idea! Post assignments, reminders, or study skills on a board. Do you use student scribes or reporters? Use Dotstorming to create a board with class news and updates.

Use Dotstorming as an "idea bin" where students can collect ideas, images, quotes, and more for a project. Require them to share a brainstorming Dotstorming board to show you the ideas they considered before they launch into a project. Have them brainstorm (and rank by votes) the possibilities for a creative problem solving or a "Maker Faire" project. In writing or art classes, use Dotstorming as a virtual writer's journal or design notebook to collect ideas, images, and even video clips.

Use Dotstorming as your virtual word wall for vocabulary development. Have students submit and share questions or comments about assignments and tasks they are working on.

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LearnCube - Dan O'Reilly, Aura-Maria Serrano and Pat O'Reilly

Grades
4 to 12
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Create a virtual language school with LearnCube. The free version allows for the creation of a virtual classroom of up to six students. Teach using conversation mode or a virtual ...more
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Create a virtual language school with LearnCube. The free version allows for the creation of a virtual classroom of up to six students. Teach using conversation mode or a virtual whiteboard. Personalize your learning space with your own logo and colors. Use the 1GB storage space to upload images, worksheets, or other teaching materials. The free plan also includes up to 10 hours of "live" teaching time each month. Please note that the landing page says this is a 14-day free trial, but under pricing there is a FREE option.
This site includes advertising.

tag(s): french (89), german (65), spanish (108)

In the Classroom

Use LearnCube to offer personalized instruction to small groups of students or homebound students without access to school lessons. Because LearnCube's free plan only allows for classrooms of six students, be creative in using this site for your whole class. Divide students into six groups, each of whom becomes "a student" in your virtual room. If you teach multiple classes, create a common login for each different class to become a student, or use the Gmail workaround, explained here, to set up Gmail subaccounts to use for any online membership service.

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AppInventor - Learn to Build Android Apps - David Wolber, Univ of San Francisco's Democratize Computing Lab

Grades
6 to 12
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Create your own Android app using Martin Luther King's "I Have a Dream" speech video with this easy to follow tutorial. The Course In a Box includes several modules taking ...more
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Create your own Android app using Martin Luther King's "I Have a Dream" speech video with this easy to follow tutorial. The Course In a Box includes several modules taking you step by step through the app building process. Videos and practice exercises guide you through the app creation process while building up in complexity. Final lessons teach skills such as apps that communicate with the web and apps with user-generated data. Registration allows you to save your work. If your district blocks YouTube, the videos on this site may not be viewable. You could always view them 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): coding (26), computers (78), STEM (123)

In the Classroom

This site is perfect for use with any computer coding course. AppInventor has many tips and guidance for the classroom. Materials target students from middle school and higher. Work together as a class or assign as a self-paced activity. Share with students interested in learning computer coding as an excellent resource. If your school has an after-school computer club, use these training modules to encourage interested students to practice on their own. Once students get the hang of beginning programming tips, encourage them to make apps for other courses such as videos explaining photosynthesis, book readings from authors, or different genres of music and art.

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turnitin - Source Educational Evaluation Rubric (SEER) - turnitin

Grades
6 to 12
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Find an interactive rubric for evaluating the quality of Internet sources students use in academic writing and projects. Fill out a short registration form to have immediate free access...more
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Find an interactive rubric for evaluating the quality of Internet sources students use in academic writing and projects. Fill out a short registration form to have immediate free access to the rubric as a PDF. The criteria for the rubric includes Authoritative, Educational Value, Intent, Originality, and Quality. Below the rubric see an example of three popular sites evaluated with SEER and the scores given for each criterion. Download the rubric to your computer. Once filled in save it to your computer and print.

tag(s): evaluating sources (12), media literacy (56), rubrics (32)

In the Classroom

Share this rubric with middle and high school students with your projector or on an interactive whiteboard. Ask students to suggest a popular site for referencing in papers and projects. Use the rubric together and evaluate the site. Break students into small groups and have them evaluate several sites. Make these sites you have already evaluated, and then have the students evaluate them until you know most students agree on what makes a Highly Creditable site compared to a Creditable or Discreditable site. At the end of the activity give a quick assessment. This way students who do not feel sure about evaluating a site have the opportunity to let you know. Consider using Quiz Socket, reviewed here, for a quick assessment or Quizalize, reviewed here, for a more in-depth assessment.
 This resource requires PDF reader software like Adobe Acrobat.

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QuickRubric - Clever Prototypes, LLC

Grades
K to 12
3 Favorites 0  Comments
 
Develop rubrics to assess what you expect students to learn with Quick Rubric. Registration is free and allows for saving the rubric. Click Create a Rubric and add a title, ...more
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Develop rubrics to assess what you expect students to learn with Quick Rubric. Registration is free and allows for saving the rubric. Click Create a Rubric and add a title, brief description, and the maximum and minimum scores. Describe your indicators, add descriptors, and even include standards. At any time during the formation of the rubric add columns and rows. Save and share via URL or printing. The ability to copy and modify a rubric from your account is a great time-saver.

tag(s): assessment (99), rubrics (32)

In the Classroom

Use this online tool to create original rubrics before introducing a new project. Be sure to review the rubric with your students on a projector or interactive whiteboard, to be certain that they understand your expectations. As you approach the project deadlines, consider reviewing the rubric again having students mark or highlight key terms in the rubric that will help them get a better evaluation. Have a question and answer period at this time. Rubrics can be created for any task or project. For example, prepare rubrics for silent reading time, science labs, skills tasks in physical education, and all presentations. Visit Rubrics to the Rescue to see examples of topics and wording.

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Intel Teach Elements - Online Professional Development Courses - Intel

Grades
K to 12
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Learn how to engage students through digital learning, integrate technology into any curriculum, and effectively use digital resources in the classroom with these free, online courses....more
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Learn how to engage students through digital learning, integrate technology into any curriculum, and effectively use digital resources in the classroom with these free, online courses. Multimedia contents include animated eLearning tutorials and interactive learning exercises. Begin any of the self-paced courses anytime and complete them at your own pace.

tag(s): professional development (123)

In the Classroom

Gain a better understanding of digital learning tools and techniques by taking Intel's professional development courses. Share with other faculty members as part of your school's professional development. Take a course together with fellow staff members and discuss content and how it works in your teaching situation.
  This resource requires Adobe Flash and PDF reader software like Adobe Acrobat.

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Google Takeout Tool - Google

Grades
K to 12
5 Favorites 0  Comments
 
The Google Takeout Tool is a backup service to your Google account. It allows you to back up and create an offline archive of your information stored on Google. Select ...more
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The Google Takeout Tool is a backup service to your Google account. It allows you to back up and create an offline archive of your information stored on Google. Select what you want to archive then choose next. Choose the format to receive your archived data and delivery method. Receive data through email or directly into your Google Drive account.

tag(s): organizational skills (120)

In the Classroom

The Google Takeout Tool is perfect for use when changing email accounts or using multiple accounts. Archive all desired files then upload to your new account when ready.

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Plickers - Nolan Amy

Grades
1 to 12
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All-inclusive student response is what Plickers is all about. Students do not need to have Internet access. Responders use individualized QR Code cards (print a set FREE from Plickers),...more
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All-inclusive student response is what Plickers is all about. Students do not need to have Internet access. Responders use individualized QR Code cards (print a set FREE from Plickers), to answer questions. You use your mobile device to read the QR Code cards that students hold up. Create an account and get started immediately. No need to wait for an email response. There is a demo to use, or see the Help page for detailed instructions for adding classes, students, questions (with or without images), and folders to organize your questions by unit, topic, lesson and more. You can save student responses to your online Plicker account.
This site includes advertising.

tag(s): assessment (99), DAT device agnostic tool (192), game based learning (101), gamification (63), qr codes (21), questioning (32), quiz (85)

In the Classroom

Create greater student engagement and increased student interest in your classroom with Plickers. Students give their input anonymously. Print out Plickers' cards and hand out to students. Use an interactive whiteboard or projector to explain how the Plickers cards work. Create questions, with or without images, and add multiple choice answers. Project your questions and possible answers. Have students hold up their card in the position that reflects their answer. Use your mobile device and Plickers mobile app to scan the cards. You will see a bar graph with student responses on your mobile device. These can be saved to your Plickers account. Use Plickers to answer exit questions or to see what students remember from the previous day. Use for formative assessment to identify misconceptions that students may have at the start of a unit. There are cards with larger fonts for young students or the visually impaired. ESL/ELL teachers could use this for vocabulary or sentence structure practice. Unless your school or district has access to a matte-finish for laminating or matte-plastic pockets, you may want to collect the cards at the end of class.

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Word Counter Tool - wordcountertool.com

Grades
5 to 12
1 Favorites 0  Comments
The Word Counter Tool offers a word and character counter and a typing speed finder. Simply type or paste in your text to see your word and character count. To ...more
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The Word Counter Tool offers a word and character counter and a typing speed finder. Simply type or paste in your text to see your word and character count. To find your typing speed, press the start button and type for one minute.
This site includes advertising.

tag(s): editing (58), process writing (40), word choice (26), writing (355)

In the Classroom

Post a link to the Word Counter Tool on your webpage for parents and students to use at home to check the length of written assignments. Use this tool when teaching summarizing. Provide students with a lengthy summary then challenge students to reduce the word count.

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Is It Down Right Now? - isitdownrightnow.com

Grades
4 to 12
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Find out instantly if the problem you are having opening a web site is YOUR problem or a website that is down. Is It Down Right Now (iidrn.com for short) ...more
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Find out instantly if the problem you are having opening a web site is YOUR problem or a website that is down. Is It Down Right Now (iidrn.com for short) instantly "pings" a site so you can tell whether the site is down for everyone or just for you (perhaps due to a glitch with your Internet provider). The Internet is never a sure thing, but this tool tells you whether it's just YOU having trouble. Although it sounds geeky, it's easy. Copy/paste or type the URL you are trying to reach into the box at top right, and click "Check." The results tell you how long it takes for the site to respond and how long it has been down (if it is). What a handy tool for ANYONE using the web! What this tool will not tell you is if you are mistyping the URL, so always double check.
This site includes advertising.

In the Classroom

Mark this one in your Favorites and remind your student to use it before they call out, "The page isn't opening!" in the middle of class. Make it one of the required tools as part of "ask three before me." If you have a class web page, this is a handy way to find out if your web page service (or district-provided web page server) is having trouble "serving up" the class page. Tell savvy students who are unable to access web sites to use this tool and take a screen shot of the results if a site assigned for homework is "down" for prolonged periods. This is simple "proof" worthy of a get-out-of-homework-free card if they can show that the site was down for three hours on the night of the assignment!

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Dice Roll - S Riley Teacherled

Grades
K to 8
3 Favorites 0  Comments
Virtual dice can be addicting when trying to figure out what number will come up next, and they are quiet! You'll never have these dice roll off the table and ...more
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Virtual dice can be addicting when trying to figure out what number will come up next, and they are quiet! You'll never have these dice roll off the table and under furniture. Choose from one, two, or three virtual die at a time. Simply click Roll and start the guessing.

tag(s): game based learning (101), mental math (27), operations (126), probability (130)

In the Classroom

Have fun in your classroom with virtual dice on your interactive whiteboard or projector. Use this with young students just learning to count. Have students take a guess about what number will "win." Use as an incentive and allow a student to roll the dice to meet a class goal. Set a goal of a large number, and every time a small goal is achieved, roll the dice and keep adding. Keep track until the class achieves the sum given. Practice basic addition, subtraction, multiplication, or division facts. Have team competitions and choose winners by even/odd, the greatest/least sum, greatest/least product or quotient. Allow students to work in small groups to play the mathematical practice games. For larger digits, roll two die simultaneously and get the greater number. Do the same to get double or triple digit numbers. Encourage your students to practice at home and play against their parents. Any time you need a dice, go to your bookmarked site. In older grades study probability and chance. Use the data and create line plots or graphs in various forms. Be sure to incorporate mean, median, and mode.
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HomeRoom Mom - School Family Media

Grades
K to 8
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Homeroom Mom is an online community to share tips and tools for working with classroom teachers. Don't let the title fool you, this site contains valuable information for anyone working...more
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Homeroom Mom is an online community to share tips and tools for working with classroom teachers. Don't let the title fool you, this site contains valuable information for anyone working with students! Choose from the many categories to find ideas for decorations, crafts, holidays, and much more. Select Letters, Flyers, and Forms to find a yearly planning calendar, party sign-up sheets, and other handy forms for immediate use.

tag(s): classroom management (129), field trips (12), holidays (147), parents (55), preK (275)

In the Classroom

Share Homeroom Moms on your class website as an excellent resource for use by your homeroom mom (or dad), tutors, and other classroom helpers. Bookmark and save for use when planning class parties, finding holiday activities, and much more. Use this site to help YOU get organized!

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Classmill - Tariq Rauf

Grades
6 to 12
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Classmill allows you to create your own online classes by uploading videos, links, files, and images. Create your account to start your own class or explore classes already online....more
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Classmill allows you to create your own online classes by uploading videos, links, files, and images. Create your account to start your own class or explore classes already online. When creating a class choose from privacy options such as invite only for attendees. Add content within modules for each class using tabs to upload or embed information. Once your content is complete, use the "Ready" toggle switch to make it accessible to users. Use the "Invite" button to invite users using their email address.

tag(s): classroom management (129)

In the Classroom

Create your course and offer it to your students for greater interaction and learning through community building. Find great ideas from other existing courses. Teachers of gifted can use courses to challenge students in their areas of interest. You can also have gifted students create or collaborate on a student-made "course." Explore the topics yourself for some new, engaging topics to round out your own expertise. Allow students to enroll in a course that would fit into their career goals as an exploratory opportunity in that field.

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GraphFree - Donovan Harshbarger

Grades
8 to 12
1 Favorites 0  Comments
  
GraphFree is an online graphing tool built by a high school math teacher to meet the needs he didn't find in other online tools. Choose the User's Guide to get ...more
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GraphFree is an online graphing tool built by a high school math teacher to meet the needs he didn't find in other online tools. Choose the User's Guide to get started. The Quick Start feature provides basic information on using the graphing features. Short videos explain other options for drawing and labeling graphs. When finished, follow instructions for saving graphs to your computer or into popular office software programs.
This site includes advertising.

tag(s): calculators (41), charts and graphs (195)

In the Classroom

Use GraphFree in place of expensive graphing calculators that many students may not have. Be sure to provide the link on your teacher page or blog for easy access. This is a wonderful tool for use in the 1:1 classrooms.

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