Reading in the Content Areas

TeachersFirst offers this collection of web resources well suited to teach reading in the content areas, especially in science and social studies classes, but in almost ANY subject area. See "In the classroom" ideas and strategies for teaching reading across the curriculum and find texts to use on the computer, in print, or in interactive whiteboard/projector. Sometimes using web-based texts can be more engaging, and often these are more up-to-date. Practice with these resources is certain to help student mastery of informational texts.

 

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Study English - Australia Network

Grades
4 to 12
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This site, produced by Australian TV, offers oral lessons for intermediate and advanced level English language learners. The TV productions are available online in their entirety; they...more
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This site, produced by Australian TV, offers oral lessons for intermediate and advanced level English language learners. The TV productions are available online in their entirety; they provide listening, pronunciation, and reading and writing practice for LES candidates. Although based on the Australian curriculum and testing called IELTS, the lessons, vocabulary, and practices are appropriate for any learners of English. The accent on the videos is, of course, Australian. Included in the offerings, in addition to the videos, are tape transcripts, study items, and quizzes.

tag(s): grammar (216), video (253)

In the Classroom

Use this site with ESL/ELL learners as designed. Share the lessons on your interactive whiteboard or projector. If individual computers are available, have students view the lessons independently (with headsets) and create multimedia projects to demonstrate what they have learned. Have students create an interactive online poster ("glog") using Glogster EDU, reviewed here. Better yet, if students get used to the video and exercise formats, have them produce similar videos teaching a few lessons about their home cultures! Share the videos using a tool such as Teachers.TV reviewed here.

Special ed teachers and those seeking combination video/text lessons to use to teach listening/reading comprehension may find these lessons valuable, as well.

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Snappy Words-Free Visual Online Dictionary - Snappy Words.com

Grades
2 to 12
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Snappy Words visual dictionary is an easy-to-use online interactive English dictionary and thesaurus that provides the meanings of words or phrases, generates synonyms, and draws...more
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Snappy Words visual dictionary is an easy-to-use online interactive English dictionary and thesaurus that provides the meanings of words or phrases, generates synonyms, and draws connections to associated words. Simply type a word in the search box and click "GO." A word map is instantaneously created. An extra built in feature is that the words in the visual interactive display are automatically color coded according to parts of speech. Look up as many words as you need anytime; there is no limit on the number of searches and no registration is required.
As with most online tools, teacher monitoring is strongly advised.

tag(s): maps (288), parts of speech (68), speech (92), thesaurus (24)

In the Classroom

Teachers and students on all grade levels will love usingSnappy Words for all subjects. Demonstrate it on your classroom whiteboard or projector, bookmark it in your favorites, and make it directly available to students from your class webpage. Elementary students will enjoy defining their spelling words or content area vocabulary. They can categorize their words by parts of speech or create a list of synonyms. Students can then create their own word "maps" for new vocabulary words using drawing tools or online graphic organizers like bubbl.us reviewed here or webspiration reviewed here. Middle school, high school and adult learners can use it as a valuable tool for vocabulary specific to a literary work or subject area, preparing for a standardized test, or while reading assigned material or a book, poem, or article of choice. Whether you are writing content for an article, a blog, a letter, or any assignment, minimize this website and play with words to avoid repetition, choose precise meanings and kick your vocabulary up a notch! Share this one on your class web page, for sure.
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Reading in the Content Areas - TeachersFirst

Grades
K to 12
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TeachersFirst offers a collection of web resources well suited to teach reading in the content areas, especially in science and social studies classes, but in almost ANY subject area....more
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TeachersFirst offers a collection of web resources well suited to teach reading in the content areas, especially in science and social studies classes, but in almost ANY subject area. See ideas and strategies for teaching reading across the curriculum and find texts to use on the computer, in print, or in interactive whiteboard/projector. Sometimes using web-based texts can be more engaging, and often these are more up-to-date in content.

tag(s): context clues (8), main idea (9), reading comprehension (116), summarizing (13)

In the Classroom

Mark this collection as a MUST have for teaching reading to students struggling to apply more than decoding skills. Pay special attention to some of the "In the classroom" tips for unexpected ways to use these sites to teach reading along with other subjects.

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The Unit on Chinese Mythology - University of the Pacific

Grades
9 to 12
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This easy to use lesson plan is focused on helping students understand Chinese Mythology. The lesson uses a writing and reading comprehension activity to reach its objectives. ...more
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This easy to use lesson plan is focused on helping students understand Chinese Mythology. The lesson uses a writing and reading comprehension activity to reach its objectives.

tag(s): china (66), chinese (48)

In the Classroom

Take advantage of the free lesson plans and classroom activities on this site! This lesson plan would be great for a Philosophy, History or Chinese language class. Be sure to save the site as a favorite to allow for easy reference later on.

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Literacyhead - Jan Burkins

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K to 5
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Literacyhead is an online literary magazine that provides creative inspiration for teaching reading, writing, and higher order thinking. They provide teachers a literacy curriculum...more
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Literacyhead is an online literary magazine that provides creative inspiration for teaching reading, writing, and higher order thinking. They provide teachers a literacy curriculum that promotes creativity and critical thought. Every two weeks Literacyhead publishes a new issue that focuses on either a children's book author, writing, or reading comprehension strategy or open ended literary theme. Their lessons are not prescriptive or ordinary and always include the visual arts. Each issue is broken up into 14 components. Two of the main features are The "Art of Teaching Writing" and "The Art of Teaching Reading." The writing section contains a lesson perfect for writer's workshop. Funny cartoons introduce the week's literacy theme. They recommend author mentor texts and suggest independent writing practice objectives. The book titles they suggest come with discussion prompts to guide reading instruction before, during, or after a read aloud. Visual vocabulary illustrations serve as definitions for key terms. Explore the other wonderful features such as literacy coaching tips, and writing stARTs. Literacyhead's current weekly issue is free but there is an optional membership fee that provides access to previous issues. Sign up for their free bi-weekly newsletter for new issue alerts.

tag(s): creativity (109), literacy (103), writers workshop (31)

In the Classroom

Reach out to the artists and visual learners in your class. ESL/ELL instructors will find the gorgeous graphics and "visual vocabulary" a fantastic way to communicate concepts to second language learners. Literacyhead will spark ideas for instruction that address the diverse learning styles in classrooms today. Use this site to help students draw connections between text, and prompt thoughtful conversations. Ask students to create their own "visual vocabulary" illustrations. Download the free graphic organizers. This site offers reproducible graphic tools to reinforce comprehension and writing strategies but also some meant to develop critical and creative thought. Share this site with your teaching colleagues who work with your learning support students.
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Print Friendly - printfriendly

Grades
K to 12
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This useful resource can be used to take just about any page on the net and make it a printable file. The possibilities for application of this website are limitless! ...more
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This useful resource can be used to take just about any page on the net and make it a printable file. The possibilities for application of this website are limitless! This is a very helpful tool if you are unable to share a page of information any other way. You also have the option to remove paragraphs selectively, so it is easy to make an "abridged" version of an article. Note that the printables created do NOT include source information such as the URL, so you should add this information to give proper "credit" to your sources. Print Friendly pages use less paper without all the ads and images, so this is a more environmentally way to print if you must.

In the Classroom

Use this when technology access is low or you want to print an activity for students to do when you are not there to supervise the technology use. Create in class reading from blogs or other websites that are appropriate for your classroom. Make a pdf that can be opened on your interactive whiteboard without all the ads and clutter of the web page so students can annotate, highlight, and even practice reading comprehension skills such as "main idea." List this link on your class website for families to try at home! Use it to share articles with parents, as well--as long as you model proper behavior by giving credit.
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Listening and Reading Comprehension - Childtopia

Grades
1 to 5
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This site offers a variety of children's stories that children can listen to while they watch scenes or graphics corresponding to the story. Besides the stories, there are both listening...more
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This site offers a variety of children's stories that children can listen to while they watch scenes or graphics corresponding to the story. Besides the stories, there are both listening and reading comprehension sections for each story. Both the audio and the text are available. As the story is being read, the words are highlighted on the page. Also available is the full screen option for the story. The reading comprehension questions use both aural and text format and also use an interesting illustration to capture the reader/listener's attention. Stories and all activities are also available in Spanish, Catalan, French, and other languages. There are some advertisements on the side. Select the full screen option to avoid them.

In the Classroom

Have students try out this site on individual computers, with head phones, or let them listen in pairs. Before they go to the questions, ask them to list the questions the site might ask them after they have seen the model of one story. Share this link on your class web page, wiki, and/or in a parent newsletter. Share the site with special language teachers at the elementary level.
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Making Stopmotion Movies - Kevin Hodgson

Grades
2 to 8
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Energize your Writers Workshop by creating stopmotion movies. This is a highly engaging way to teach your students about story elements, dialogue, character development, and storyboarding....more
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Energize your Writers Workshop by creating stopmotion movies. This is a highly engaging way to teach your students about story elements, dialogue, character development, and storyboarding. Filmmakers can first organize their ideas on downloadable planning sheets. Make the characters for the movie out of clay, wiki stix, paper, or even found objects. Some free animation and movie software links are available. Step by step directions on how to create a stopmotion movie, and Windows Moviemaker, and iMovie tutorials are available.

tag(s): acting (27), creativity (109), movies (64)

In the Classroom

Encourage your students to revise and edit their writing by turning their stories into stopmotion movies. Have students work in small groups to visually re-create events from their own writing. This will help develop stronger characters, dialogue, and draw attention to the elements of time and place. The planning sheets are a helpful tool to help students examine story structure and sequence. Alternatively, develop reading comprehension and fluency by asking students to re-create a fable or folktale. The new term for this is "Readers stopmotion." Teachers may want to be comfortable using a digital camera and movie making programs before embarking on this project."

Challenge students to share their videos on a site such as TeacherTube reviewed here or post them on your class website. Get parent permission before posting any student work on this sharing site and check with your school administrator to be sure that your school allows students to post videos on-line. Teachers may want to be comfortable using a digital camera/webcam and movie making programs before embarking on this project.
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Microbes - Microbes.info

Grades
9 to 12
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Find and read articles about bacteria on this text-based site. Choose from topics such as "Food Microbiology," "Industrial Microbiology," and "Medical Microbiology." Visit the image...more
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Find and read articles about bacteria on this text-based site. Choose from topics such as "Food Microbiology," "Industrial Microbiology," and "Medical Microbiology." Visit the image den to view photographs of various bacteria. Other sections with links include "Hot Germ News" and "Disease Watch." Submit questions or read answers to submitted FAQ's. No registration is necessary, unless you wish to add comments to the forum. Registration does require an email address. Rather than using your personal email, consider creating a group Gmail account for your class.

tag(s): bacteria (30), medicine (67)

In the Classroom

During discussion of the Kingdom Monera, learn more about bacteria and our health with these articles which many will find informative and interesting. Consider creating blog posts or newsletter articles that can be shared between classes. Identify the common misconceptions of the role of bacteria in our lives. Create a class bacteria wiki. Learn more about wikis at the TeachersFirst's Wiki Walk-Through. These text articles can also be copied easily to your interactive whiteboard software for practice with science notetaking, main idea, summarizing, and more as part of content area reading practice.

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Visual Thesaurus Vocab Grabber - Thinkmap,Inc.

Grades
3 to 12
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The Visual Thesaurus VocabGrabber is a captivating interactive resource which can be used from elementary school to the college level for improving vocabulary in the context of your...more
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The Visual Thesaurus VocabGrabber is a captivating interactive resource which can be used from elementary school to the college level for improving vocabulary in the context of your selected content. The on line VocabGrabber tool quickly extracts vocabulary from a text within seconds to help teachers and students generate a list of the key vocabulary and see how those words are used in context. Additionally, by clicking on a word, the part of speech is revealed and students can listen to the correct pronunciation. The format is easy to use: simply copy text from any document or online source, (such as passages of literature found on the Gutenberg Project free website), paste the copied text into the box, and click the Grab Vocabulary button! In just seconds, an interactive concept map of vocabulary words and phrases appears. Can't find an online version of the text? No worries...type the text directly into the text box and voila! The words are "grabbed" or organized in comparison to the frequency of these words in standard written English. VocabGrabber can be used with any type of text: a newspaper article, a book chapter, a speech, or a historical document.

There are additional features if you choose to subscribe, particularly the Visual Thesaurus interactive word maps, which can be saved and printed, and an online edition in multiple languages for English-speaking students learning other languages and ESL/ELL students.

Caution! Before purchasing a subscription, see if the free portion of the website satisfies your needs or take advantage of the 14-day risk-free trial to see all the features in action. When a school subscription is purchased, student workbooks and Teachers' Guide with lesson plans are included.

tag(s): maps (288), reading comprehension (116), synonyms (38), vocabulary (324), writing (358)

In the Classroom

Teachers and students can use the VocabGrabber on an interactive whiteboard, projector, or individual computers to highlight vocabulary specific to a literary work or curricular subject area, to improve reading comprehension by choosing key concepts and literary terms, and to build background knowledge for a given text. As an added benefit, have students click on the VocabGrabber when typing their own assignments such as a poem or an essay, to avoid repeating the same word. They simply type in a word and generate a list of synonyms and more descriptive words. VocabGrabber enables students to see how words are used in context, instead of memorizing word lists. Additionally, VocabGrabber is extremely helpful for students preparing for standardized tests. Be sure to include this site on your class web page for students to access both in and outside of class for further practice.
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Pulitzer Gateway - Piltzer Center

Grades
6 to 12
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What is the biggest problem for students reading online news stories about current issues? Is it bias or facts that seem unrelated to a student's life? Enter the Pulitzer Gateway. ...more
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What is the biggest problem for students reading online news stories about current issues? Is it bias or facts that seem unrelated to a student's life? Enter the Pulitzer Gateway. This student-friendly site gives the readers a variety of formats to understand world issues in a relevant and engaging way. Use these stories for students to identify with material that may not be applicable in their own lives and to build understanding of issues affecting others. Help students find reasons to care and understand how an issue applies in the real world. Use the Gateway to connect students to journalists and professionals through a variety of means.

tag(s): journals (21), news (261), water (130)

In the Classroom

Share this site on your interactive whiteboard or projector. Use the Gateway for information or supplementing the curriculum. Additionally, the Gateway can be used to introduce projects or investigations of world issues. Connect with the journalists to show actual research and personal investigations into these stories. Connect reading and writing across the curriculum no matter your content area using statistics, geography, and many other skills. For example, "Water Wars" is a must see no matter what subject you teach. Use one of these issues as a theme for building reading comprehension and research skills, perhaps creating a class wiki guide to the topic or inviting students to write blog posts as the different people affected by the problem. Why not provide this link on your class website for students to share with their families to promote interesting discussions at home, as well.
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Trailfire - Trailfire Inc.

Grades
K to 12
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Trailfire is an online tool for making "trails" for others to follow on the Internet. You can also find "trails" created by others willing to share their work. Simply by ...more
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Trailfire is an online tool for making "trails" for others to follow on the Internet. You can also find "trails" created by others willing to share their work. Simply by clicking the various "stops" along your guided trail, you can add notes telling people who should stop here or what they should do, comment on the pages' content, etc. Click "explore" to browse or search (by tag or keyword) the many trails already available. Click "Learn" in the tag cloud to see examples of "how to" trails. There is even one on how to make lesson plans! Navigate the "trail" with small blue arrows at the very top and read the creator's comments as little pop-ups that look like sticky notes. As with any public site, there are topics NOT suitable for the classroom, so preview, preview, and preview. Buried among the trails are some created by teachers, such as the Great Pumpkin Adventure or this sample trail by the TeachersFirst review team. Trails YOU make can be shared by URL or kept private to share with your selected viewers. NOTE: the site seems a bit sluggish at times, so resist the urge to click into "mouse panic."

tag(s): webquests (29)

In the Classroom

NO skills are needed to view and use trails created by others. Explore, find, and save the URL for the trail you want your students to use. To be able to create trails, join the site (email required, but no waiting for verification email). Download the Trailfire toolbar (you will be prompted to do this when you register). You do NOT need this toolbar to FOLLOW trails, only to create them or "see" marks left behind by others on the web. Note that any computer equipped with the Trailfire plug-in installed will also "see" any public "marks" left on pages by other Trailfire users. If your school computer does not allow downloads, you can create trails at home for use by students.

Once you join and download the plug-in simply click the Trailfire "mark page" button on your toolbar whenever you visit a site on which you would like to comment. The sidebar (which you can keep open or close with the x) offers hints as you learn to use Trailfire. If you are preparing a trail for students to follow, Add "marks" (like sticky notes) to each web page on your trail. These can include comments, directions, etc. To share your trail, go to "My stuff" and get the trail URL (tiny orange text!)

If you are only USING trails or creating them for your students to use, there are no safety issues. If you are having students create trails they will need to log in and work on computers with the Trailfire download installed. You might want to consider using a whole-class account with your own (extra) email as the log. Students who create trails will want to have strict policies about avoiding these areas where the general public could create topics for trails inappropriate for the classroom.

Have students create visual bibliographies of sites they used for a project and what they learned there, or create student trails of different types of volcanoes (explaining them in markers). Challenge students to create trails of examples of the bill of rights in operation or the three branches of government in real life, or student commentary on web page bias, or even student explanations of grammatical errors they find---with markers explaining the CORRECTIONS! Teacher-created trails for students doing project-based learning, including notes on which sites might be more challenging reading or include a good introduction, key terms and definitions in markers on a page with challenging reading, purpose-setting "markers" for reading comprehension practice using web articles. What other ideas can YOU add?

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The Life and Voyages of Henry Hudson - Ian Chadwick

Grades
7 to 12
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This site details the life and many attempted voyages of the English explorer Henry Hudson. Although the site is very "wordy," it is very inclusive and excellent for research. It ...more
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This site details the life and many attempted voyages of the English explorer Henry Hudson. Although the site is very "wordy," it is very inclusive and excellent for research. It includes a lot of facts, maps, information about each voyage, information about nautical measurements, and details about his ships and crews. The information and maps available here are based on the author combing historical books and documents and information. An extensive bibliography and list of weblinks relating to Hudson adds interest to the maps and history on the site.

tag(s): explorers (61), maps (288)

In the Classroom

Have the students make a cumulative map of all Hudson's voyages together in order for them to get a chance to become intimately familiar with the map making process. Try a site such as Woices (beta) (reviewed here). Woices allows students to create audio recordings AND choose a location on a map where each story takes place. Have each cooperative learning group focus on a different exploration. Compare their creations with the online map which has all four voyages combined. Assign students in a group each a few pages of an imagined journal Henry might have written on each voyage. The most interesting part will be to imagine what happened to him after people no longer heard from him! Use this site as the starting point for individual research papers. Encourage students to find other resources that contribute to their knowledge of Henry Hudson. Have students write a talk Hudson might give if he suddenly woke up today (like Rip Van Winkle). Or make it more Web 2.0 and have students write blog entries. The text passages on this site are also ideal for reading comprehension practice. Project them on an interactive whiteboard for practice in main idea, summarizing, and more.

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Bad Science - Alistair B. Fraser

Grades
8 to 12
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"Be very, very careful what you put into that head, because you will never, ever get it out" warns the quote at the start of this page. Bad Science is ...more
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"Be very, very careful what you put into that head, because you will never, ever get it out" warns the quote at the start of this page. Bad Science is the site that debunks the "myths and legends" that are sadly distributed by the misinformed. It is a great site for checking understanding and pinpointing student misconceptions. Many popular ones are addressed in the links offered on this site. Learn about Bad Astronomy, Bad Chemistry, Mad Meteorology (including clouds, rain, greenhouses, and others), and the Pathetic Fallacy. The drawback to the site is that it can seem a little condescending but it may be a byproduct of the author's disgust with bad science.

tag(s): weather (188)

In the Classroom

Students could be assigned different false science statements to research and design their own science news articles comparing fact and fiction. Why not make this a multimedia project and have students complete a podcast, online poster, or narrated photo! For podcasts, try PodOmatic, reviewed here. To create an online poster use a site such as Padlet (reviewed here). Challenge cooperative learning groups to find a photo related to their topic (legally permitted to be reproduced), and then label the photo by adding voice bubbles to explain what they learned using a tool such as Superlame, reviewed here. To find Creative Commons images for student projects (with credit, of course), try Compfight, reviewed here. A class could also be assigned a specific false science fact to research and participate in a class blog or message board discussion via the class web page or wiki site. Students could also use the fiction as the basis for their own "Myth busters" episodes. Reading teachers looking for passages to use in reading comprehension practice, such as finding main idea and supporting details will find these non-fiction passages informative and interesting for their students. Make a temporary copy of one of the explanations to display in your interactive whiteboard software as students highlight key ideas and separate out supporting details using the whiteboard tools. Your science teachers will LOVE you for it!

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Dummies.com - John Wiley & Sons

Grades
6 to 12
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Everyone knows the "for Dummies" books, but did you know there is an entire web site? This site, created by the same publisher, has text-based and video "How To" information ...more
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Everyone knows the "for Dummies" books, but did you know there is an entire web site? This site, created by the same publisher, has text-based and video "How To" information on thousands of topics, organized into general categories. It is also searchable. The education/languages area has both obvious and more obscure topics than you might expect, from To Write a Sonnet to How to Build a Bill (in the U.S. Congress). These text- based articles are great for those who follow verbal information well and often include simple diagrams. The more consumer-oriented areas of the site include videos from setting up your wireless network to carving a turkey. Click on "all videos" under the Featured video to see the video categories.

tag(s): sequencing (31), writing (358)

In the Classroom

Be sure to tell your students that they are NOT the "dummies" referred to in this site! Then go beyond the obvious use of this site as a reference to use it to teach informational writing, reading comprehension, or any curriculum content. Share text-based articles on a projector or interactive whiteboard and have students analyze the keywords and structure of sequential direction-writing or informational writing before they try it on their own. Use the pens and highlighters to note transitions and other ways of organizing directions, including formatting. Use articles to teach basic comprehension skills by copy/pasting sections and having students drag them into the correct sequence on the whiteboard to form logical directions. In science or social studies classes, have students view models on this site, then work in groups to write their own how-to wiki on curriculum topics such as "How to tell a fungus from a bacterium," "How to solve simultaneous equations," or "How to form a government." If you have access to video equipment, have students write scripts and produce video versions of their how-to instructions and post them on a site such as TeacherTube reviewed here.

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TweenTribune - Alan Jacobson

Grades
K to 12
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TweenTribune has joined with Smithsonian and now offers the news in Lexile levels for k-4, 5-8, 9-12. That is not the only change. The Smithsonian TweenTribune now has several ...more
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TweenTribune has joined with Smithsonian and now offers the news in Lexile levels for k-4, 5-8, 9-12. That is not the only change. The Smithsonian TweenTribune now has several new features, including a Dashboard for assignments and classrooms, assigning a story to all with one click, self-scoring quizzes for articles, and Smithsonian's STEM-based 1-minute videos. There are now free apps for the iPad and iPhone. TweenTribune continues to include open-ended critical thinking questions and a daily quiz using multiple sources. This site is still jam packed with current news stories that are chosen by site coordinators for all reading levels. The articles are easy to read, relate to, and understand. The site is easy to navigate with a subject indexed toolbar, and it is searchable. There is even a "your town" section for local news stories. All stories are current because the creators scour the internet weekly for age-appropriate material. It greatly reduces the pressure of searching by giving an article research tool that is much more specific than simply using a search engine.

tag(s): news (261), newspapers (94)

In the Classroom

The sky is the limit for potential and possibilities with this website. There are some minor warnings. If you want to allow your students to post to a blog, you will need to create a class and then have them enroll. The great news is that is free. As the teacher, you can moderate or delete posts before they are public. There are lessons available on the site as well as a "Teacher's Lounge" where lesson ideas can be exchanged. In a language arts classroom, students could be assigned to read and blog as a weekly writing assignment. The teacher can assign a specific article or have students choose. Have students read their articles on a podcast using PodOmatic (reviewed here). In science, articles from this site could be used to supplement science textbook reading with current articles that better interest students. Articles are short and provide quick practice pieces for non-fiction reading comprehension. Project a story and ask students to write their own sentence for the main idea or to summarize. These quick pieces would fit well on your interactive whiteboard. SmithsonianTweenTribune Espanol allows students to read daily news articles in Spanish and post comments about the stories they read. Teachers moderate all comments before the comments are posted.

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Fact Check Ed - factchecked.org

Grades
4 to 12
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Confused about media messages? This is not only a problem for students but also adults. Use the lesson plans and examples in this site to teach students to be smart ...more
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Confused about media messages? This is not only a problem for students but also adults. Use the lesson plans and examples in this site to teach students to be smart consumers and follow steps to analyze information and uncover truths.

tag(s): critical thinking (108)

In the Classroom

Follow the guide to lesson plans for great activities on "Deductive and Inductive Reasoning," "The Language of Deception," and "Background Beliefs" among many others. Attachments for each activity include student and teacher handouts. Use these lessons for 21st century literacy skills as well as for traditional reading comprehension activities made relevant to today's "reading" media.
 This resource requires PDF reader software like Adobe Acrobat.

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Science News for Kids - Society for Science and the Public

Grades
3 to 12
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Kid-friendly science articles to intrigue all ages fill this freshly-redesigned site. Browse menus for illustrated news articles on "Atoms and Forces, " "Earth and Sky," " Humans and...more
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Kid-friendly science articles to intrigue all ages fill this freshly-redesigned site. Browse menus for illustrated news articles on "Atoms and Forces, " "Earth and Sky," " Humans and Health," "Life" or "Tech and Math." A feature article, scientist, and "in the news" items splash across the home page to draw interest. Many articles list "POWER WORDS" at the end, highlighting terms and definitions used within that article. The page layouts and whitespace make the online articles uncluttered and legible. The site has reorganized into a structure that roughly parallels school curriculum, so it is even easier to find articles connected to specific science areas.

tag(s): agriculture (54), animals (276), computers (94), dinosaurs (57), engineering (125), environment (317), news (261), nutrition (154), weather (188)

In the Classroom

Use Science News for Kids as a great reading and reporting assignment. Weaker readers will need a reading buddy for some of the more challenging article. Classes in lower grades will want to read the articles together. A quick check on one article using Juicy Studio's Readability test (reviewed here) provided an approximate grade level of 6.5. Check articles before assigning to elementary students. Students can find an article of interest to read, summarize, and report to the class as part of a Science in My World unit or regular science current events activity. Have students create commercials about their topics. Video and share using a site such as SchoolTube reviewed here. Students can use these news articles to find additional relevant information on the internet. Students may find these topics to be great independent study topics. Teach reading comprehension using these factual articles on your interactive whiteboard, asking students to highlight key words and generate a "main idea" sentence using them. Articles offer ideal practice for informational reading questions on high-stakes reading tests.

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Find a Book - lexile.com

Grades
1 to 12
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This site allows teachers and students to go through four simple steps to find a book that has a lexile rating. The steps include entering a lexile range (if unknown: ...more
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This site allows teachers and students to go through four simple steps to find a book that has a lexile rating. The steps include entering a lexile range (if unknown: enter grade level and ease of reading), interests (similar to a keyword search), search of all items that come up, and list-making.

One disadvantage of the site is that you can only enter a keyword when you get to the third step. After a book list based on interests appears, then you can search by keyword to make the search zero in on specifics. When teachers or students select books for a reading list, they can then click to see the complete list of books they have selected. Clicking on a book title leads to another screen, but it does not contain a book summary; instead, it has a list of other keywords for the book along with other book data.

tag(s): book lists (126), independent reading (126)

In the Classroom

This site is great for teachers searching for books at specific lexile levels. Learning support and ESL/ELL teachers can find books to accompany units in content area classes but on the correct lexile level. Students can also use the site by entering their grade levels and what kind of readers they are. Use this site to differentiate the learning experience for all levels of students. Rather than having students complete traditional book reports, why not have them complete a multimedia project? Provide some choices such as a podcast, using PodoMatic (reviewed here), interactive venn diagram comparing characters (reviewed here), or online book using Bookemon (reviewed here).

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DoGo News - DoGo News

Grades
K to 10
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Need kid-friendly online news? This safe site, written for kids, by kids, offers news from a younger point-of-view. Written in easy-to-read language, your students will enjoy reading...more
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Need kid-friendly online news? This safe site, written for kids, by kids, offers news from a younger point-of-view. Written in easy-to-read language, your students will enjoy reading each article. Some of the articles include short video clips. Students may leave brief comments about each article (no login required). All content is approved by an adult editor before being posted. Some difficult words are defined through an integrated dictionary. A map mash-up provides information about geographical context. For intriguing new websites that are kid-friendly, click on the Sites link at the top of the page. (Beware: Even though these sites have been pre-approved, they will take your students outside of this safe site.) Click on Earth to see a 3-dimensional Earth rotating in real geo time, where students can click on articles from around the globe. This site does require Flash. Get it from the TeachersFirst Toolbox page.

tag(s): earth (228), news (261), sports (96), writing (358)

In the Classroom

Use articles for current events. For a writing assignment, have students study the way these articles were written, then practice writing a similar article about a school or community event. Create a class magazine from the articles. Or better yet, have students create a multimedia presentation using Voicethread reviewed here. This site allows users to narrate a picture. Challenge students to find a photo (legally permitted to be reproduced), and then narrate the photo as if it is a news report. Strengthen reading comprehension by having an 'article du jour' on your interactive whiteboard or projector as students arrive. Link this site on your homepage.
 This resource requires Adobe Flash.

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