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.
GradesK to 5
In the ClassroomUse this website to create student worksheets quickly with no sticky glue involved! Have older students create their own practice worksheets individualized to meet their needs. Easily create holiday-related handwriting practice or even offer a chance for students to practice using sentences or poetry they write themselves, making handwriting more than drudgery! Provide this link on your class website for parents to use with young students.
Grades1 to 12
In the ClassroomUsers will need to create a free teacher account. Use this limited free account for 30 students and 15 activities at a time. Note that the account will be deleted after sixty days of inactivity. A Pro and Ultimate paid account is available.
Create student accounts and group profiles. Prepare activities and create permissions for them. Provide login data to students for access. Consider adding links to a website, blog, or wiki page for student access. Alternatively, create a group with anonymous access by creating activities with a web address. Note that statistics of individual student use are not available this way. Publish the web address on a site for access or print the activities for use in a class. The 5 sections of the site control all aspects: Students, Groups, Activities, Files, and Profile. Use the Student section to check results, delete a student, or edit a student account. Click "Add student" at the bottom to create student accounts. Create group access to activities, enable a group forum with the group space icon, or share information under the Group section. Click on "Add group" at the bottom to create a group. Personal access requires students added to your account. Anonymous access creates a class page that students access via URL. Create the group and the kubbu url to save. Create activities and quizzes in the Activities section. View statistics, set permissions, print, review, duplicate, or share activities in this section also. Click on "Add activity" and enter a title and set permissions including time limit, answer revealing, and instructions. Upload pictures and sound files in the Files section. Use these items in with the Composer activities. Change your information including login and password under the Profile section. Hover over any icon you are unsure of to view a description of the function. This is a very helpful resource of this site.
Material can be made public for others outside your class to use. Student information is not available for others to see. As teachers add students or create anonymous groups, this creates an ideal educational environment that is CIPPA compliant. Use a teacher site, blog, or wiki page to share links to created quizzes and other activities.
Create matching activities for many subject areas. Match synonyms, state or country capitals, definitions, terminology, and many others ideas. Create crosswords easily. Consider using student-created words and hints to be entered easily for practice and quizzing. Create student groups with each group working on a separate section of the chapter or unit. At the end, compile these crosswords and quizzes for a file of practice activities for all students. Keep a file of activities to be printed for substitute plans or extension activities.
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)
Premium version (not free) includes additional features or storage
Products can be shared by URL
Includes teacher tools for registering and/or monitoring students
Grades6 to 12
In the ClassroomUse your teacher gmail account to create different Mailinator accounts for each student by sending an email to the "spoof" account. For example, a student sends an email to firstname.lastname@example.org. Magically, your "spoof" email address has been created. Use this "spoof" email all year long for any web 2.0 tool you wish to sign up for. Find emails sent to the "spoof" account by viewing on the mailinator site (type in your "spoof" email address) or following an RSS feed (use a feed reader to view them all.) Important Note: emails must be read within a few hours as they are then permanently deleted. Caution students not to use these email addresses for anything important as it is not a regular email address. Use only for creating logins and registrations for other web 2.0 tools. Stumped with coming up with a unique name. Possible name choices are given on the site (refresh to see more options.) Be sure to read the FAQ's to familiarize yourself with the service and answer any questions you may have. Check to be sure this is not blocked by your school. If available on a teacher computer, consider cycling each student through your computer to get them signed up while being monitored. Record their "spoof" emails in case these are needed later and students forget. Be advised that these email accounts are public. If the same email address is entered on the site by someone else, those emails will be viewed. Despite this, use the service to quickly enter students to use the variety of cool online tools found on the Internet today.
GradesK to 6
In the ClassroomCreate charts for a variety of needs. Charts always come in handy for students who struggle to stay on task or to complete assignments. Charts are a fun and tactile way for students to monitor their success and stay on target with responsibilities. Use a chart system to teach organization and self monitoring for things such as homework, chores or daily jobs, morning or end of day tasks and behavior, backpack organization, reading books, math skills, and whatever else you or your students can "chart." Use this tool in the beginning of a new school year to help with expectations or recording. Special ed and gifted teachers will want to have students create their own charts to take ownership for individual goals. This is also a great tool for students to use to record their success for specific New Year's resolutions. This is definitely a link you want to list on your class website for parents to use at home.
Grades2 to 12
In the ClassroomThis site can be used to create anything from elementary math worksheets to high school geometry worksheets. Science teachers may find good uses for this tool in trying to create professional looking measurement activities. If individual computers are available, challenge students to create their own number lines or tessellations. Share HOW to use this site on your interactive whiteboard or projector. And don't forget to mention this link on your class website, great for at home practice!
GradesK to 12
In the ClassroomNeed a puzzle to reinforce the words in a particular unit? You may find one already created. If not, it is simple to create and save to your computer or share by URL (remember the online version is saved for two months). Use the "Quotes" page for great quotes of the day, the "Illusions" page for optical illusions, or the "Fresh Words" page to see what words can be made from a word, phrase, or collection of letters. Have cooperative learning groups create their own puzzle pages for a topic that they are researching or learning about in class and use them to challenge their classmates or another section of the course. Have students create puzzles as a cost-free, printable gift for families on special occasions such as Mother's Day.
GradesK to 12
The online list is FREE, however if you request a downloadable XLS format, it is for a FEE ($1.00 at the time of this review).
In the ClassroomUse this site for sign-ups for projects, events, special occasions, club activities, finding students interests, field trips, and more. Use to sign up for bringing in goodies, donated items, tasks, parent volunteers.
GradesK to 12
In the ClassroomWhat a fabulous alternative to a traditional egg timer. Project the time on your interactive whiteboard or projector while students take a test, solve a drag and drop, practice speeches, rotate between learning centers, or during cooperative learning groups. Be sure to turn up the volume! As you teach basic concepts of time in primary grades, use this timer for students to understand the real concepts of one minute or ten seconds. Show the relationships between minutes, hours, days, weeks, months, etc. You can even use it to teach counting backwards from 60!
GradesK to 12
The documents are editable after conversion. Images will not be as "editable" as text. The text comes in within a text box, but can be edited. Be aware that many school email spam filters may block the Zamzar emails because they view them as "spam." If emails do not come through or you cannot download from Zamzar's link, request the converted files be sent to a home email address and bring them to school "on a stick."
Be aware: there are MANY advertisements at this site, so this many not be a site that you want students to explore independently. Also, the site mentions having to register. You do not need to register to use most of the features.
This site includes advertising.
In the ClassroomMark this tool in your favorites for easy access. Teachers should model ethical use of electronic resources (other people's work) for students. Making a "derivative work" from someone else's pdf handout should include a printed credit within the new document, giving credit for the original source, Ex. "Adapted from a handout by xxx available at www.theoriginalhandout.pdf." Such derivative use should only be done when the original copyright permits it, such as using materials that grant permission for classroom use. Be sure to give proper credit for videos and other files you save locally.
One main problem with the site is that you need to enter the email address and wait for the email to download the file. There is a nice pdf conversion site http://www.pdfaid.com where you can convert and download the file instantly. Disclaimer: I am the owner of the website.pdf, , Grades: 0 - 12
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
Note that all jeopardy templates created become part of the domain and can be used by others.
In the ClassroomUse any already-created game as a quick assessment of prior knowledge or review on projector or interactive whiteboard.
To prevent others from editing your template you create a password when you start. Others will be unable to edit your created game without your password. After creating your password, you are taken to the familiar blue jeopardy screen. Here, enter the title at the top and the topics at the top of the columns. Click on a dollar amount under each topic to enter the clue and the What is... question in a pop-up box. Click done to enter the information. The dollar value square becomes blank to let you know it was completed. When done, click "Save." Click on Browse to view random template titles or enter a term into the search bar. On the "Build" page, follow the quick instructions and even browse tips for editing. When done, an internet link will be given for your Jeopardy game. Put this link in any website, blog, or wiki for students to click on and review information for study.
Use this as an introductory activity to uncover misconceptions. For example, prior to a unit on viruses, create a jeopardy game about myths and truths about viruses. Share the Jeopardy activities on an interactive whiteboard or projector. Use these as a starting point for understanding concepts in the unit. Create review games for students to learn and remember content. After making one game together as a class, allow students to make their own games to challenge each other on segments of the material. This not only provides students with material to review, but the creation of a game takes thought and understanding of the material. Be sure that students understand how to create such a game and how to choose parts carefully. Check student games prior to saving. Maintain a page of Jeopardy links for review of a wide range of curricular topics.
Grades1 to 12
Once registered, you click to create a quiz. Then you are asked to choose between a personality quiz or a scored quiz. This site offers extraordinary details. At the scored quiz, you are able to provide a title, tags, description, and choose the type of questions (multiple choice, essay, or fill in the blank). It is simple to insert images, change font styles, insert links, and even score the online quiz. You can create a pass/fail quiz, a graded quiz (with YOU determining what qualifies as an A, B, etc..). You are also able to set a time limit, issue a certificate of achievement, and fill in the possible total score.
Once students have taken the quiz, immediate feedback is provided (including a scale of all participants, the correct answers, final score, and grade). This is a fantastic tool to use to create online quizzes!
Caution: this site does include some minor advertisements. At the time of this review, all advertisements were appropriate. But it would be wise to advise students NOT to click off of the quiz onto any of the advertisements or links.
This site includes advertising.
tag(s): quiz (84)
In the ClassroomUse this site to create online quizzes. Create a quiz as a review to share on your interactive whiteboard or projector. Have students take the quiz independently or in cooperative learning groups. Have students create their own quizzes to use for review or as a final project. Embed your quiz (or provide a link to it) on your class website.
Grades1 to 12
tag(s): readability (8)
In the ClassroomThis site can be helpful in a variety of ways. Primary and secondary classroom teachers can check students' work or have students check their personal work by placing their own text in the box. Reading specialists, classroom teachers, ESL and ELL teachers, and special education teachers can check readability levels of various books to find the right fit for each student. E-books and on-line literature is easy to check with the cut and paste option! Note: if the text is available as a complete web page, you can also use this tool. Student word processing can also be analyzed using the Grammar tools in Word (tools menu), but these two tools yield slightly different information.
GradesK to 12
In the ClassroomUse this website to create personalized quizzes and tests for your students. You could also ask students to design their own tests for each other to review using your teacher log-in or appoint a student "quizmaker" each week for the content your class has covered, making this an assignment that each student does once per semester.
GradesK to 6
tag(s): spelling (168)
In the ClassroomUse the variety of spelling practice games for students who struggle with these skills. Spelling practice can also be used with science and social studies terms. Enter the list for the current unit and make it a center on your classroom computer or a link from your teacher web page before the test. Learning support teachers may want to allow their students to create their own individual lists to develop lasting study skills.
GradesK to 12
In the ClassroomConsider creating a shared calendar for a grade level or subject area with your colleagues! Be sure to give your students and parents the web address to the Assign-A-Day web site. They can find your calendar using your name or calendar ID number. If you have a teacher web page, add a link to Assign-A-Day or ask your web master to add a link on the school web page. Besides assignments, use the online calendar to remind students and parents about other class-related items such as field trip forms, materials for science projects, great weekend family events, and the birthdays of historical figures. Since this is a public calendar, remember to protect your students' safety by not including student names. Check with your Information Technology department to make sure the web site is not blocked at school so that you can add assignments during prep time.
GradesK to 12
tag(s): photography (160)
In the ClassroomYou could actually use this tool in any subject or grade level to create visual displays for your classroom or have students make their own (upper elementary and older). If you allow students to use this site, beware that the images in the Gallery may change frequently. What may be 'art' to some may be questionable to others. For art teachers, the use of this tool offers endless possibilities. Student artwork will take on a different air when blown up to gallery-sized prints. Teachers, think E-A-S-Y bulletin boards!
Grades2 to 12
In the ClassroomWhy bother with this one? Lots of reasons! Once they see it, your students are sure to come up with more, but here is a start: Try making a sample dialog for students to follow out loud as your project it in a foreign language or ESL/ELL class. Be sure to write in script format so they know who is speaking! Or share this tool with students who need help getting their nose out of their notes in presenting speeches. They can run it on a laptop only they can see and look out at the audience past the prompter. The comfort of having their text right there will ease many butterflies.
An alternate use: build reading fluency by having students read aloud from this tech-tool. They will be FAR more motivated to read up to speed! Speech clinicians may want to try it for articulation practice, as well.
While this is a great tool. I found http://www.freeteleprompter.org/ much easier to use. Cueprompter looks rather cluttered and dated. Just my 2 cents as you guys would say.Dave, , Grades: 6 - 12