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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Text Compactor - Knowledge by Design Inc.

Grades
7 to 12
4 Favorites 0  Comments
This simple, free tool can shorten or summarize an otherwise long passage or text. Simply copy and paste the text passage into the text box. Specify the percentage of summarization...more
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This simple, free tool can shorten or summarize an otherwise long passage or text. Simply copy and paste the text passage into the text box. Specify the percentage of summarization (there is a slider you can drag to the percentage that you want). Text Compactor produces a shortened version below the original. Summarization of text is now easy and fast. Be sure to mention to any student using this site the importance of not plagiarizing and using only original writing. To learn more about how the tool works (and possibly consider some of its "short" comings), see "About."

tag(s): creative writing (166), descriptive writing (41), expository writing (44), paragraph writing (17), process writing (42)

In the Classroom

Use this resource when reducing original passages (not plagiarized) to fit a specific number of words or characters. Use this resource when teaching summarization. Paste in a text to summarize and discuss/brainstorm what makes a great summary. Challenge students to look for ways that the tool may have actually missed an important concept through its automated process. Have the class decide whether their own summary or the one offered by this tool is best -- and why. Use this tool as one of many angles on revision during the writing process. Have students paste in their own writing to see what ideas "show" as the most important and to consider revising to emphasize what they really intended to say. If your emails get a bit too wordy, try this tool to shorten them! Shorten your assignment descriptions to make them easier for your ESL/ELL students and lower level readers to understand.

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Online-Convert - online-convert.com

Grades
K to 12
4 Favorites 0  Comments
 
Online-Convert is your one stop shop for converting media files from one format to another. It is similar to Zamzar (reviewed here), with one advantage....more
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Online-Convert is your one stop shop for converting media files from one format to another. It is similar to Zamzar (reviewed here), with one advantage. There is no email requirement for converting files. Choose your converter to begin: Audio, Video, Ebook, Image, Document, Archive, or Hash. Use the drop box to choose the target format for your file. Upload or add the url for conversion. Also choose from options such as image quality, size, color, and enhancements. Click convert file, then wait for completion. Online-Convert stores your file for 24 hours and up to 10 downloads.
This site includes advertising.

In the Classroom

Mark this tool in your favorites (or bookmark) for easy access and professional use, no matter what grade you teach. 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. Have students practice giving proper credit to their converted files.
 

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CloudConvert - Lunaweb Ltd

Grades
4 to 12
1 Favorites 0  Comments
   
CloudConvert is a file conversion tool. Upload any file to convert to a different format. Select files from your Google Drive, DropBox, or computer to begin. Choose the format ...more
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CloudConvert is a file conversion tool. Upload any file to convert to a different format. Select files from your Google Drive, DropBox, or computer to begin. Choose the format for conversion. For example, convert an avi movie file to a different movie format such as mp4 or an audio file. Choose an option to receive your new file by email or directly into your DropBox (reviewed here ). This tool is particularly helpful for mobile device users because it can manage conversions of files both stored and converted in the cloud.

In the Classroom

Bookmark and save CloudConvert for use throughout the year. Upload PDF files to convert into Word documents, save PowerPoint presentations as a PDF, convert movie or audio files to one single type for use in class projects. Use CloudConvert to change files that won't open to a different format accepted by your computer.
 
 This resource requires PDF reader software like Adobe Acrobat.

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Online Voice Recorder - 123apps

Grades
K to 12
1 Favorites 0  Comments
 
Just as the name says, Online Voice Recorder allows you to record your voice from your computer and save the file. With no membership required, this is a free and ...more
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Just as the name says, Online Voice Recorder allows you to record your voice from your computer and save the file. With no membership required, this is a free and simple recording treasure! Simply push the record button and follow screen prompts to ALLOW the application access to your computer's microphone. Talk as long as desired. Then listen to the recorded playback. Trim and edit the length using easy sliders as desired. Save your finished version in mp3 format using the link.
This site includes advertising.

tag(s): fluency (23), preK (281), speech (92), spelling (168)

In the Classroom

Have students practice spelling words orally, record speeches, practice reading fluency, and much more using Online Voice Recorder. After recording, allow students to listen to the playback and reflect upon the quality of their work. Do before and after recordings of students to share with parents during conferences to demonstrate reading progress. Have students record weekly summaries for what has happened in your class to share on your class website or blog (you will have to upload the files). Record weekly or daily homework assignments and share as a voice recording on your website. Save file space by replacing old files with new ones. Online Voice Recorder would be an excellent resource for recording and sharing more complicated directions for projects and assignments (adding you voice intonation and cues!). Your weaker readers and ESL/ELL students may do better with a combination of written AND auditory directions. Provide the link on your class website for students to use at home for additional practice in spelling, reading, practicing reports, and more. Share this site with parents at Back to School Night. Have students write and record audio book reviews others can play on iPads or iTouches in the school library. If you have gifted students in your classroom, this tool is simple enough for even the youngest to be able to record audio mini-dramas portraying a historic figure, poetry readings, and more. Be sure to show them how to NAME and download the files to the local computer! Anything they can say out loud can become a creative project recording. Don't forget about recording musical performances or practices.

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The Fractulator - appspot.com

Grades
4 to 8
0 Favorites 0  Comments
The Fractulator is a very simple online app that gives results of operations with two fractions. Input your first fraction and choose an operation. Add in the second fraction and ...more
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The Fractulator is a very simple online app that gives results of operations with two fractions. Input your first fraction and choose an operation. Add in the second fraction and choose equals to view the result. Choose to display results as proper or improper fractions. View your history on the right side of the chalkboard.
This site includes advertising.

tag(s): addition (251), calculators (41), division (172), fractions (239), multiplication (227), operations (126), subtraction (208)

In the Classroom

Use the Fractulator on your interactive whiteboard or projector for students to predict and check results when working with simple fractions. Share a link on your class website for students to self-check at home. Use to introduce operations with fractions. Input information and have students analyze and demonstrate, working backwards to get the correct response.

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Cloze Test Creator - l.georges

Grades
2 to 12
2 Favorites 0  Comments
Create your own cloze quizzes out of any piece of text. Paste the text into the box and select how you want the cloze test made. Select different sentence functions. ...more
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Create your own cloze quizzes out of any piece of text. Paste the text into the box and select how you want the cloze test made. Select different sentence functions. Choose to have every few words eliminated, or choose your own items to be removed for the cloze. Participants can choose either interactive or text only quizzes. The missing words appear at the top of the quiz. With the interactive quiz, the player types the missing word in the blanks. The site has a lot of flexibility in creating cloze tests. The site will work with world languages as well, but instructors have to choose the every few words option since the site will not recognize, for example, prepositions in another language.

tag(s): quizzes (96), reading comprehension (116), reading strategies (45)

In the Classroom

Use this site to review parts of speech or sentence functions. Teach ESL/ELL students to succeed in adding troublesome prepositions or articles, especially in their writing, since the missing word is at the top. Use a cloze test to have students review terms and concepts in science, geography, and history. Use this site in world language classes to help understand verb tenses and more!

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StoryToolz - Chuck Heintzelman

Grades
2 to 12
2 Favorites 0  Comments
StoryToolz offers many different tools for authors: story generators, word count meters, a readability analysis, a random conflict generator, a title generator, a cliche buster, and...more
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StoryToolz offers many different tools for authors: story generators, word count meters, a readability analysis, a random conflict generator, a title generator, a cliche buster, and more. Choose any of the topics to begin. Story generators offer suggestions for conflict within a story or half a title. Choose from random title beginnings and endings to generate your title. Don't miss the Readability area: paste up to 5K of text in the box to check the readability of any source. Registration isn't required; however, it offers the opportunity for additional resources within the word count meter section and a larger portion of text for analyzing in the readability section.

tag(s): creative writing (166), readability (8), stories and storytelling (33)

In the Classroom

Share StoryToolz with students in your writing class to generate ideas for stories and possible centers of conflict to map out new tale. Use the readability section with any writing to determine appropriateness for use with students. Have students paste their writing in the readability section to determine if their writing is at an appropriate grade level or to note information such as words per sentence or use of various parts of speech. Paste into the cliche buster to point out ho-hum wording and overused expressions. Suddenly, students may begin to write more complex sentences or use more vivid language. Be sure to include a link to this site on your class webpage and classroom computers for use throughout the year. The readability portion of the site is a great resource for ESL/ELL and Special Education teachers to help determine appropriateness of reading materials.

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PDF Mergy - PDF Mergy

Grades
K to 12
3 Favorites 0  Comments
 
PDF Mergy is a tool for combining multiple PDF documents into one file. Select files from your computer or Google Drive account to merge, drag, and drop to reorder, if ...more
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PDF Mergy is a tool for combining multiple PDF documents into one file. Select files from your computer or Google Drive account to merge, drag, and drop to reorder, if desired. Click the merge button when ready. When the merge is complete, save the new file to your computer or Google Drive with any name you choose.
This site includes advertising.

tag(s): classroom management (135)

In the Classroom

PDF Mergy is an excellent resource for combining multiple ideas for lessons. Save fraction handouts, continent maps and worksheets, or plant identification activities all together as one file. Remember that copyright still applies to any copyrighted pdfs you combine! Save student reports in PDF and combine to put the entire class' work in one single document. Save project receipts in one easy to find file, the possibilities are endless! Want to make a cool flippable book from your combined pdf of student writings? Try Flipsnack, reviewed here to turn the pdf into a Flash-based, flippable online book.
 
 This resource requires PDF reader software like Adobe Acrobat.

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Compress Now - compressnow.com

Grades
K to 12
1 Favorites 0  Comments
 
Compress images to a manageable size easily using Compress Now. Upload any image file up to 9 MB in size, slide the slider to choose the percentage of compression, and ...more
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Compress images to a manageable size easily using Compress Now. Upload any image file up to 9 MB in size, slide the slider to choose the percentage of compression, and view the result. Click download to save to your computer. Although this tool is recommended for all ages, elementary students would not use it, but their teachers can!

tag(s): images (266)

In the Classroom

Bookmark Compress Now (or save it in your favorites). Use this site throughout the year when working with images. Compress images for use on web pages to make pages loading more quickly. Use when emailing images to make sure they will get through.

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Azendoo - Christophe Gagin, Benoit Drulin and Gregory Lefort

Grades
7 to 12
2 Favorites 0  Comments
 
Azendoo is an online tool for organizing and collaborating on group projects. It works with other applications such as Everenote, Google Drive, and Dropbox to access and edit group...more
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Azendoo is an online tool for organizing and collaborating on group projects. It works with other applications such as Everenote, Google Drive, and Dropbox to access and edit group documents. Create to-do lists, work collaboratively, and stay organized. After signing up, you can delegate responsibilities, tag projects, or forward emails to Azendoo to turn into shareable tasks. Use the privacy options to set tasks to private or shared. Free mobile app versions are also available for iOS and Android.
This site includes advertising.

tag(s): brainstorming (23), DAT device agnostic tool (198), organizational skills (122)

In the Classroom

Share with students as a tool for organizing and collaborating on group projects. Demonstrate the different tools and functions on your interactive whiteboard or projector. Suggest students use Azendoo to remain on track with project deadlines. Use this tool to collaborate with colleagues for use with professional projects such as unit planning and long term scheduling. You may also want to use it with your grad school group projects.

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moourl - flexcode

Grades
3 to 12
0 Favorites 0  Comments
This very simple tool allows you to shorten a LONG URL (web address). Paste it into this web page, and get back a short URL that fits easily in any ...more
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This very simple tool allows you to shorten a LONG URL (web address). Paste it into this web page, and get back a short URL that fits easily in any webpage or sharing location. Once created, copy onto your clipboard for easy pasting onto any document using the link provided. Personalize your moourl to easily remember it. Drag the bookmarklet onto your toolbar for easy url shortening any time. This is especially helpful when you have a long url such as a search result, news article, or endless .k12 type school web page.
This site includes advertising.

In the Classroom

Have a website (long url) that you want to share with your class (or parents)? Use this tool to shorten up the url before posting on your blog, wiki, website, or newsletter. Save this tool in your favorites to access when needed. Create a custom short url for your students to enter ore remember easily, such as to your class web page! Share this site with your older students to use on their own.

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Rewordify - Neil M. Goldman

Grades
4 to 12
9 Favorites 0  Comments
 
Rewordify helps you understand what you read. Paste any text or website into the box to rewordify the text into simpler language. Easier to understand words replace difficult text shown...more
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Rewordify helps you understand what you read. Paste any text or website into the box to rewordify the text into simpler language. Easier to understand words replace difficult text shown with highlighting. Click on the highlighting to view the original, more difficult word(s). View excellent student and teacher demonstrations showing how to use the website. You have the option to choose how Rewordify displays the results using the options in the settings. Several options allow for easy personalization of results.

tag(s): vocabulary (323), vocabulary development (125)

In the Classroom

This site is a must for saving and bookmarking for classroom use! Start the school year out by posting the link to Rewordify on your class website for student and parent access from home. Be sure to share with learning support and ESL/ELL teachers and students. Be sure to share a link on your classroom website and parent newsletter for use at home. Save a link to Rewordify on classroom computers for students to easily paste text from any website to read in a simpler format. Copy and paste any difficult text into Rewordify and display on your interactive whiteboard (or projector) to enhance student understanding or show meaning in complex texts. Have students guess meanings from context clues in the more complex version, then share the "rewordified" view to test their guesses. Have students create a word cloud of difficult words identified using a tool such as Wordle (reviewed here), Tagxedo (reviewed here), or WordItOut (reviewed here). Have students take a screen shot of passages that have been "rewordified" to share and discuss.
 

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Quozio - Quozio.com

Grades
4 to 12
4 Favorites 0  Comments
 
Turn meaningful words into beautiful images in just seconds using Quozio. Paste or type your quote into the quote box or use the site's bookmarklet to highlight text from the ...more
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Turn meaningful words into beautiful images in just seconds using Quozio. Paste or type your quote into the quote box or use the site's bookmarklet to highlight text from the web to use as your quote. Enter who said it. Scroll through background images available to use with your quote. When finished, share via Pinterest, Facebook, or email. You can also RIGHT click the image to SAVE image as and download a copy to your computer for printing or use elsewhere. Register on Quozio using your email to save quotes directly on the Quozio site.

tag(s): bulletin boards (16), images (266), quotations (23), writing prompts (92)

In the Classroom

Use Quozio to create a beautiful image to begin a unit. Start with an interesting quote or comment. View the finished picture on your interactive whiteboard (or projector) as a starting point for the unit. Make a bulletin board of quote images as writing prompts or verbal snapshots of an era, an author, or a famous person. Have older students be responsible for creating a Quozio image each week with a quote of the week or interesting comment on events that occur in class. Have students choose one interesting quote or piece of information from any text to create a Quozio then have students explain their choice as part of a class presentation.

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Flask - flask.io

Grades
1 to 12
2 Favorites 0  Comments
 
Flask is a very simple list maker. Type in your first to-do item and press enter to create a new list. NO membership required! The unique url generates, and your ...more
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Flask is a very simple list maker. Type in your first to-do item and press enter to create a new list. NO membership required! The unique url generates, and your list is ready to use. Continue typing items as needed and change the name of your list if desired. Use the share button to view the url, embed link or to email the list.

tag(s): organizational skills (122)

In the Classroom

Help students organize the specific tasks necessary to finish a project. Use class discussion to create a list of all necessary items or steps. Organize tasks and set due dates to assist students in time management for completing projects. Create weekly lists of due dates and important information to embed on your class website. Use this tool to support students in learning organizational skills. Share this tool at the beginning of the school year for your students to use to organize assignments. Use this tool for your own organizational purposes. Create as many separate lists as needed.

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Class Setup Tool - Scholastic

Grades
K to 12
1 Favorites 0  Comments
Class Setup Tool is a resource for planning and designing your classroom for maximum effectiveness. Click to begin. Follow each step in the planning process beginning with choosing...more
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Class Setup Tool is a resource for planning and designing your classroom for maximum effectiveness. Click to begin. Follow each step in the planning process beginning with choosing your classroom shape. Drag and drop items from that point including windows, doors, desks, etc. If needed, rotate or resize items for proper fit. After all furniture is in place, add student names on the seating chart then drag and drop into place. When finished, choose the print button to print and use your completed classroom setup!
This site includes advertising.

tag(s): back to school (58), classroom management (135), map skills (79), measurement (159), preK (281)

In the Classroom

Use this tool, even before school starts, to experiment with classroom changes without having to drag desks all over your classroom! Trying to separate the more social students? Experiment with different seating layouts until you find the one you think might work. This tool will also make useful diagrams for your sub plans. Flip your classroom a new way by having students "design" a dream classroom as part of a math lesson on measurement or a lesson on simple map skills. Suddenly, the classroom tool becomes a student tool!
  This resource requires Adobe Flash and PDF reader software like Adobe Acrobat.

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Presentain - Neek Kurat

Grades
4 to 12
4 Favorites 0  Comments
  
Connect and engage your presentation audience with Presentain. Create a free account and link to your Google Drive account. Connect your social media accounts through your profile so...more
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Connect and engage your presentation audience with Presentain. Create a free account and link to your Google Drive account. Connect your social media accounts through your profile so presentation participants can view your connections. Access your Google Drive presentations in Presentain or upload a PDF version of a presentation created in PowerPoint or Keynote. Store your presentations in the Presentain cloud. Download the iOS or Android app on your phone or tablet to connect your mobile device. Use your mobile device as a clicker and connect your audience on their mobile devices. The audience can ask questions, take part in polls, send you follow-up requests, share your slides, and more. Record your voice while you present and publish the slidecast to your online audience. Presenting on a laptop that's not yours? Enter a presentation code that doesn't require a login. This is a great tool to involve your audience. Presentain users must be at least 18 years old.

tag(s): DAT device agnostic tool (198), slides (63)

In the Classroom

Use your existing presentations and upload them as a PDF to Presentain. Use the many tools available at the site to engage your students. Use the question feature as a backchannel to address questions and concerns. Collect data using polls to differentiate your instruction. A BYOD school? Connect your students on their mobile devices. Share your slidecasts for student access both in and outside of class for further practice. An excellent site to share your presentations on professional development with your teaching colleagues. A great tool to flip your classroom instruction. Record students' presentations (using your account) to share on a website or blog so families unable to attend can view. Create visual presentations for key concepts or vocabulary. Record descriptions and share the slidecast for student access both in and outside of class for further practice.

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Happy Class - David Cole

Grades
K to 6
4 Favorites 0  Comments
 
HappyClass is a FREE automatic classroom seating chart maker. HappyClass creates charts in minutes based on your students' needs and relationships. Type or paste your class roster into...more
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HappyClass is a FREE automatic classroom seating chart maker. HappyClass creates charts in minutes based on your students' needs and relationships. Type or paste your class roster into the website and configure the virtual desks to look like your physical classroom. The contextual menu provides options to make sure relationship factors are prioritized as well as student needs (like front or back of the room). Need a student to stay in the same seat? Pin them to the seat (not literally of course!). Edit each student's unique needs at any time as your students change throughout the year. The happiness indicator automatically determines if the student is sitting in an ideal situation. A smiley face means all is well, a so-so face means it could work, and an uh-oh face means the current seating configuration could lead to a negative classroom environment. Seating chart results are immediate with one click of a button. Not happy? Generate a completely new configuration with another click. Print your chart in a snap for your lesson plan book. The free version (Lite) includes an unlimited number of students in one editable class roster and one room setup at a time. You can add, edit or delete students, rearrange the room, or change relationships and needs of that one class over and over. The freebie limits make this well suited for self-contained classes, not teachers who see different classes throughout the day.
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tag(s): back to school (58), classroom management (135), gamification (65)

In the Classroom

HappyClass is a great site to make sure seating preferences in IEPs /504 plans are met even before the first day of school. Create differentiated cooperative learning groups throughout the day in seconds. Printing charts is quick and easy. Change the configuration of your room by dragging and dropping desks. Clear the chart and start from scratch. More time to focus on instruction! Save this in your "back to school" online files!

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Printable Paper - printablepaper.net

Grades
K to 12
12 Favorites 0  Comments
Download and print many types of papers easily from Printable Paper. Lose the excuse, "I don't have any graph (or other) paper!" Choose from popular types such as lined paper ...more
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Download and print many types of papers easily from Printable Paper. Lose the excuse, "I don't have any graph (or other) paper!" Choose from popular types such as lined paper (college or wide rule), several forms of graph paper, letter templates, and much more. Use the categories listing to find specific options to narrow your search such as different forms of penmanship paper, score sheets, or music papers. There are even several different comic page templates and storyboard papers for storytelling or story mapping. Click on any paper image to download in PDF format. A special heading for teacher resources includes lesson plan paper and more. The specialty papers include doorhanger patterns to decorate and cut out. Don't miss the printable games.
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tag(s): charts and graphs (195), comics and cartoons (74), handwriting (18), letter writing (21), musical notation (35), preK (281)

In the Classroom

This site is a must bookmark for classroom use. Use anytime you need graph paper, writing paper, music sheets, etc. Share a link on your classroom website for student use at home. Share this site with parents at Back to School Night. Share this site with older students the first week of school. Now there is no excuse for not doing homework because of not having the correct type of paper! Some of the papers have alternate uses, such as using quilting graph paper to create and study geometric shapes.
 This resource requires PDF reader software like Adobe Acrobat.

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Tableizer! - Danny Sanchez

Grades
4 to 12
2 Favorites 0  Comments
 
Tableizer is a "cool tool" for creating HTML code to show spreadsheet data in table format. No one wants to learn how to write HTML (web page code) to make ...more
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Tableizer is a "cool tool" for creating HTML code to show spreadsheet data in table format. No one wants to learn how to write HTML (web page code) to make tables, but adding a table to your blog is sometimes a must to line up information into columns. Copy and paste your cells from Excel, Calc, or other spreadsheets into the box provided. Choose options such as font size and style and color. Click the Tableize it! button to view the HTML code along with a preview of the results. Copy and paste the HTML code into any web page you create, such as your blog or wiki. The best part: no registration is required.
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tag(s): blogs (88), data (148), spreadsheets (17)

In the Classroom

Tableizer is an excellent tool for easily displaying data on your web page or blog. Use anytime you want to display information from a spreadsheet. Share with students for use in displaying lab results, scientific data, budgets, etc. Use this to list a schedule of events, requirements, etc. in a clear table on your class blog.
 

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FatURL - FatURL.com

Grades
K to 12
2 Favorites 0  Comments
 
Collect and share several links at once with this handy sharing tool! Make a list of your links to share, and FatURL creates one URL to share all of them ...more
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Collect and share several links at once with this handy sharing tool! Make a list of your links to share, and FatURL creates one URL to share all of them together. Copy links onto each line along with a short description or site name. Share up to 3 dozen sites at one time. Click the scissors icon to create your sharing page with a list of short codes to share. Use any of the links provided to view your page. View an example created here) with links to some TeachersFirst resources. No registration is needed to use this site! However, more options are available with a free registration.

tag(s): bookmarks (60), organizational skills (122)

In the Classroom

Use FatUrl to create one url (a page) with links for all the sites for a particular unit instead of creating a long list on your website or blog. Have students create and share their own page of links with resources for research. Use FatUrl to share professional links with colleagues quickly and easily. In primary grades, use this tool to share classroom favorites or topic-specific practice sites for students to access at home via one click. If your students create online presentations, use this site to share up to 36 at once with families. (Of course anytime you are posting student work online, be certain to have parental permission!)

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