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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Starfall - Starfall Education

Grades
K to 3
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Find interactive reading activities for emergent/beginning readers at Starfall. It combines instruction in letter-sound relationships, word recognition skills, and reading comprehension...more
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Find interactive reading activities for emergent/beginning readers at Starfall. It combines instruction in letter-sound relationships, word recognition skills, and reading comprehension strategies. Seasonal activities can also be found on the main page. The four "levels" of reading at Starfall include "ABCs," "Learn to Read," "It's Fun to Read," and "I am Reading." There is also a premium option, this review is only for the free interactives. The APP (available on iOs, Google Play and Kindle Fire) offers more free intereactives than the web version.
This site includes advertising.

tag(s): DAT device agnostic tool (199), phonics (75)

In the Classroom

This website could be used for an entire class using your interactive whiteboard or projector. You could also set up a learning center for use during your L.A. block. Use this site to differentiate reading levels for your students. Be certain to save this site in your class favorites and list this site on your class website for students to access both in and out of the classroom.
  This resource requires Adobe Flash and PDF reader software like Adobe Acrobat.

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ESL Bits - Skip Reske

Grades
3 to 8
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This site is an excellent way to help ESL and ELL students improve reading and comprehension skills using short passages of different kinds of reading. The site includes signs, ...more
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This site is an excellent way to help ESL and ELL students improve reading and comprehension skills using short passages of different kinds of reading. The site includes signs, multiple choice, true-false for details, questions on getting the "gist" of a reading, matching questions, and gap (fill-in) questions. This site is excellent for reading comprehension in the regular classroom too! Students select a "set" which contains a short sampling of each kind of question. Once they answer, they get immediate feedback.

tag(s): reading comprehension (116), test prep (96)

In the Classroom

Since the subtitle for this page is "Reading Comprehension and Test Preparation," recommend this site to ESL and ELL students preparing for standardized tests. Save it in your favorites on class computers and provide the link on your class website for students to access both in the classroom and out. The activities would also work well on interactive whiteboard.

Share the "Signs" link with your students. Challenge students to create their own signs, similar to those used at this site. Have cooperative learning groups create interactive posters featuring their signs using a tool such as (PicLits - explained here). Share the "PicLits" on an interactive whiteboard or projector.

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Action Bioscience - American Institute of Biological Sciences

Grades
8 to 12
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Spark interest and discussion about class content using these peer reviewed articles on current topics in Biology. The articles would also be excellent choices for non-fiction reading...more
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Spark interest and discussion about class content using these peer reviewed articles on current topics in Biology. The articles would also be excellent choices for non-fiction reading comprehension practice. View a variety of articles and links in "Biodiversity," "Environment," "Genomics," "Biotechnology," "Evolution," and "New Frontiers." A link to featured articles can be found on the main page as well as a link to educator resources such as lessons, articles, blog posts, and media. A "donate" link exists on the page, so caution students about this. Read additional information given, especially the reprint policy.

tag(s): environment (317)

In the Classroom

Engage students in topics relevant to today and students' lives by reading and responding to a variety of timely and peer reviewed articles. Use your own class blog or wiki to elicit responses and conversations from your students. Use this site for research and lesson ideas. Additionally, teach students to review and annotate articles while searching for more information to validate or refute those viewpoints. Have cooperative learning groups create multimedia projects to share their findings: wiki, video, or podcast. Not sure what a wiki is? Check out TeachersFirst's Wiki Walk-Through. Share the video using Teachers.tv (reviewed here). Create a podcast using a tool such as Podomatic (reviewed here). Learning support teachers working to build content-reading skills will find these articles ideal for practice. Share an article on an interactive whiteboard for students to highlight key terms and generate a sentence for the Main Idea of the article. Cooperate with the biology teacher so students practice with topics currently being studied. If you are not sure of the reading level, check the URL for the article using a tool such as Juicystudio, reviewed here.

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Mother's Day in the Classroom - The Graphics Cupboard

Grades
K to 5
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This all-inclusive website provides language arts activities, math fun, and numerous crafts. Specific activities include similes, poems, reading comprehension, mazes, math worksheets,...more
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This all-inclusive website provides language arts activities, math fun, and numerous crafts. Specific activities include similes, poems, reading comprehension, mazes, math worksheets, and more. There is also a simple list of literature to use in your classroom to acknowledge this special day. The printable pages require Adobe Acrobat. You can get it from the TeachersFirst Toolbox page.

tag(s): mothers day (13), preK (281)

In the Classroom

This site is a good one to search for quick and easy ideas to celebrate Mother's Day. Save this site in your class favorites and use this site as a learning center for partners to explore together.
 This resource requires PDF reader software like Adobe Acrobat.

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Cinco de Mayo - abcteach

Grades
2 to 6
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Celebrate with this collection of activities that includes an informational essay with reading comprehension questions, a coloring page, and printable worksheets for poetry and creative...more
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Celebrate with this collection of activities that includes an informational essay with reading comprehension questions, a coloring page, and printable worksheets for poetry and creative writing tasks inspired by the Mexican holiday. Many of the printables require Adobe Acrobat. You can get it from the TeachersFirst Toolbox page.

tag(s): cinco de mayo (12), mexico (34)

In the Classroom

Share this informative site with your students on an interactive whiteboard or projector. Have cooperative learning groups explore this site together. Why not challenge students to create a news broadcast highlighting the holiday. Tape the broadcasts and share them on a site such as Teachers.TV (explained here).
 This resource requires PDF reader software like Adobe Acrobat.

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Study Guides and Strategies - Joe Landsberger

Grades
K to 12
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If you haven't been to seminars, college classes, or professional development lately, you may feel a little rusty on innovative study guides and strategies that will enhance learning....more
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If you haven't been to seminars, college classes, or professional development lately, you may feel a little rusty on innovative study guides and strategies that will enhance learning. This site explains with clear language and no-frills web pages hundreds of ways to help our learners, from online test taking, memorizing, to managing stress and so much more. Another perk from this site is that it is available in over 20 different languages, so even limited English speakers can learn these helpful techniques. From this web link, you enter the "visitors center" where you grasp the impact this site has had on education. Millions of visitors benefit from its resources each year. Click on "index" at the top to access the page full of study guides and strategies options.

Each content area has successful resources that you can use.

Content areas include Preparing, Learning, Studying, Learning with Others, Online Learning/Communicating, Classroom Participation, Project Management, Research, Reading Skills, Preparing for Test, Science and Technology, Math, Resources, Vocabulary/Spelling, Writing Styles, Writing Basics, and Taking Tests. There are over 100 individual topics to explore: Time Management, Avoiding Procrastination, Learning with ADHD, Effective Study Habits, Peer Mediation, Problem Based Learning, Netiquette, Public Speaking, Citing Websites, SQ3R, KWL, Overcoming Test Anxiety, Ten Tips for Terrific Test Taking, Prefixes and Root Words, Seven Stages of Writing, and countless others!

There are some basic advertisements at this site. Flash and Acrobat Reader are needed for some of the links and can be obtained here: TeachersFirst Toolbox page.

tag(s): graphic organizers (43), organizational skills (122), spelling (168), stress (14), time (144), vocabulary (324)

In the Classroom

This site is one to save in your favorites! There is so much here, it is hard to know where to begin. The language offerings provide opportunities for ESL and ELL students to learn study skills in their native language. This site could also be used in world languages classes.

Why not highlight a "study skill" each week using your interactive whiteboard or projector. Then have students TRY it. Most of the topics provide interactive learning or another assignment to help students practice the skill. Have students work individually or with a partner to explore the "topic of the week." These life skills are so necessary, but hard to fit into the already crammed curriculum. This site does a nice job of integrating the study skills with curriculum content. Have students create their own multimedia projects about study skills using a current unit of study from your class.
  This resource requires Adobe Flash and PDF reader software like Adobe Acrobat.

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St. Patrick's Day Theme Unit - edhelper.com

Grades
K to 8
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Visit this site to find "ready-to-go" critical thinking activities, math activities, reading comprehension activities, language arts fun, puzzles and more! The math and language arts...more
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Visit this site to find "ready-to-go" critical thinking activities, math activities, reading comprehension activities, language arts fun, puzzles and more! The math and language arts activities include grade levels. There is Irish Sudoku, the story of "Leprechauns at the Amusement Park" and many more highly diverse and educational activities. Some activities are for "members only", but most of the activities are open to everyone.

tag(s): st patricks day (14)

In the Classroom

Use an interactive whiteboard or projector and challenge your students with this St. Patrick's Day fun!

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Held accountable - New York Times

Grades
6 to 12
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The lesson plans are frequently updated; include McRel standards, links to more information, and lots of detail! ...more
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The lesson plans are frequently updated; include McRel standards, links to more information, and lots of detail!

tag(s): africa (180), black history (59), civil war (145), lincoln (86), slavery (72)

In the Classroom

Teachers can pick and choose easily from among several strands of thought among these lesson plans, either to supplement a unit on the Civil War, for use during Black History observations, or in an English class focused on story telling and personal voice. It could also provide interesting materials for reading comprehension practice using content area materials. All the plans follow a pretty regular format: link to the Times article, read it and discuss, but this kind of break from the use of a standard textbook can be refreshing. Many plans include a vocabulary list, ideas for extension activities and focus on making the lesson as interdisciplinary as possible. As you celebrate Presidents Day (especially Lincoln's 200th birthday in 2009), check out this site for Lincoln resources!

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Reading For All - TeachersFirst

Grades
K to 12
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This TeachersFirst professional page includes extensive resources for Reading in the Content Areas, Graphic Organizers, Reading Strategies, Vocabulary Development, Elementary Reading,...more
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This TeachersFirst professional page includes extensive resources for Reading in the Content Areas, Graphic Organizers, Reading Strategies, Vocabulary Development, Elementary Reading, independent reading, and special topics reading lists. The page also includes a link for you to purchase books from Amazon and have TeachersFirst receive a portion of the proceeds. TeachersFirst is a free service of a non-profit since 1998. Why not shop through this link to help TeachersFirst continue its service to teachers worldwide?

tag(s): amazon (9), area (66)

In the Classroom

No matter what you teach, these resources will help you target reading and study skills for better comprehension and more.

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Reading: Instructional Philosophy and Teaching Suggestions - Saskatchewan Learning

Grades
6 to 9
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Saskatchewan Learning presents an all-inclusive site about the specifics of guided reading for grades 6 through 9. Teachers can find everything from pre-reading, during-reading, and...more
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Saskatchewan Learning presents an all-inclusive site about the specifics of guided reading for grades 6 through 9. Teachers can find everything from pre-reading, during-reading, and post-reading characteristics to selecting appropriate literature, as well as any forms or templates that may be needed to implement the activities. If you are a new teacher or experienced with guided reading, this site can serve as a beneficial reference guide and framework. This site is "plain vanilla" but includes a lot of great ideas to implement in your classroom.

Some of the forms requires Adobe Acrobat. You can get it from the TeachersFirst Toolbox page.

tag(s): graphic organizers (43), guided reading (47)

In the Classroom

If you teach reading skills to any middle school class, , including in the content areas, take a look at this website. Use the many ideas and printables available at this site.
 This resource requires PDF reader software like Adobe Acrobat.

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Better At English - betteratenglish.com

Grades
3 to 12
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This site features podcasts on subject areas of interest to ESL and ELL students and their instructors. Since August 2007, all material is also available as videos. The material presented...more
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This site features podcasts on subject areas of interest to ESL and ELL students and their instructors. Since August 2007, all material is also available as videos. The material presented features teaching techniques, information on new available technologies that assist students with schoolwork and language learning, and grammar and other communication techniques. Although this site was created for ESL/ELL students, it would also be useful for any students learning grammar.. All podcasts include text of the spoken or video materials. The focus for these lessons is on acquiring more vocabulary and improving oral and reading comprehension. Some of the videos come from YouTube. If your school blocks YouTube, consider accessing this site and choosing videos at home, using a tool such as KeepVid reviewed here to download the videos from YouTube and bring them in for class use.

This site does have several appropriate advertisements. There are also a few questionable links on the site (for example, "Uncensored English"), so be sure to supervise WELL.

tag(s): idioms (44), listening (91), slang (15), vocabulary (324)

In the Classroom

You will need headphones or speakers if you choose to assign students to listen to the podcasts individually. This site is excellent for enrichment or special topics. Include it on your teacher web page (with a disclaimer regarding content) for students to access both in and out of class. Use this site with intermediate and advanced level ELL and ESL students to help them improve their knowledge of English slang and idioms. If you are into video, consider creating your own student vodcasts about idioms and sharing them via TeacherTube ( reviewed here) and on your class wiki.
  This resource requires Adobe Flash and PDF reader software like Adobe Acrobat.

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Munseys - munseys.com

Grades
2 to 12
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Munseys is a library of free e-books which can be downloaded or read in pdf form. You have the choice of technology: Amazon Kindle (beta2!), Sony Reader, Mobipocket, MS-Reader, Palm,...more
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Munseys is a library of free e-books which can be downloaded or read in pdf form. You have the choice of technology: Amazon Kindle (beta2!), Sony Reader, Mobipocket, MS-Reader, Palm, and more types of readers. There are numerous categories of books including Drama, Folklore, Classic, Biography, Religion, Science, Political Science, Periodicals, Renaissance, and countless others. WARNING! Do NOT provide this link to students for independent use. If they click on "popular," they will find material inappropriate for the classroom. Download the books you wish to share in Acrobat form or monitor student use directly. The children's book section currently has 1502 offerings. New books appear in the library daily. If you choose to use Adobe Acrobat, you can get it from the TeachersFirst Toolbox page..

tag(s): literature (275)

In the Classroom

Combine your students' love of technology with the joys of reading by letting them select from your download library. These books (in Acrobat form) also provide text selections for teaching about grammar, language structure, and reading comprehension on your interactive whiteboard.
 This resource requires PDF reader software like Adobe Acrobat.

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Stories for Children Magazine - SFC Magazine

Grades
K to 7
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This delightful ezine offers many stories for children of a variety of ages, a monthly author feature, games, crafts, book reviews, and more. For those who prefer to print out ...more
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This delightful ezine offers many stories for children of a variety of ages, a monthly author feature, games, crafts, book reviews, and more. For those who prefer to print out the entire magazine, that option is available. The pictorial table of contents along the right border of the page entices children with attractive titles and graphics. Each story title indicates the target age for the story. Warning: most of this site is free, but there are items for purchase available. There are also some simple advertisements.

tag(s): authors (120), crafts (41), puzzles (208)

In the Classroom

Choose one story a week to give children the idea of supplementary reading or to use as reading comprehension practice with main idea or other skills. Be sure to help your weaker readers and ESL and ELL students by sharing the vocabulary words prior to reading, either on a handout or by projecting them on an interactive whiteboard or projector. Have them highlight the vocabulary words in the text using the whiteboard tools as you come to them. Encourage students to write or verbally share their own stories after viewing this site's offerings. Some school filtering systems may block this site because it it hosted on the tripod (user-created site) domain. Be sure to check it at school to be sure it will work in your classroom, and request that it be unblocked if it falls into the "tripod trap."

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Reading A to Z - learninga-z.com

Grades
K to 6
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This site has downloadable, leveled reading books for sale, but there are plenty of free stories with illustrations. Along with the stories are worksheets to test reading comprehension,...more
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This site has downloadable, leveled reading books for sale, but there are plenty of free stories with illustrations. Along with the stories are worksheets to test reading comprehension, focus on grammar from the stories, and review what took place in the story. The stories are organized by reading level, from A to Z. New free offerings appear frequently. Schools can apply for a free trial to check out the full offerings. Some stories are available in Spanish. The site offers other genres for free download including poetry, comics, pocket books, alphabet books, and wordless books. Phonics books complete the offerings.

Caution: although you are able to use many of these items for free, most downloads ask that you input your email address. You can bypass this by clicking submit without inputting your email address. This website requires Adobe Acrobat. You can get it from the TeachersFirst Toolbox page. .

tag(s): poetry (228), worksheets (60)

In the Classroom

The books can be projected on an interactive whiteboard for students to highlight new vocabulary, signal words, etc. with their fingers then read independently. Tell your students' parents about this site to encourage them to read or download and print more stories for their children. Include the link in your class newsletter or on your website. Beginning readers, ELL, and ESL students will enjoy the wordless books whose stories they can tell themselves or tell in their own languages. Students may want to make up their own wordless picture books after seeing some of these examples.
 This resource requires PDF reader software like Adobe Acrobat.

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UsingEnglish.com - UsingEnglish.com

Grades
5 to 12
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Check this site for things you need to help for ESL/ELL students. You will find lesson plans, reference links, grammar practice, reading comprehension work, tests, word lists for specific...more
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Check this site for things you need to help for ESL/ELL students. You will find lesson plans, reference links, grammar practice, reading comprehension work, tests, word lists for specific tests, vocabulary offerings, professional articles, and more. The site is easy to searchand well organized, present exercises and tests in a consistent and easy to read format. The "question bank" offers difficult grammar points in a poll format, with results constantly renewed; some answers are obviously wrong, but grammar, too, has its debatable points! With free membership registration, teachers get access to even more activities, exercises, quizzes, games, a newsletter, and more. NOTE: There is a Forum (bulletin board) feature on this site. If your school does not permit students to use such tools, be sure to spell out the consequences as you tell students to avoid that area.

tag(s): grammar (216), idioms (44), verbs (41)

In the Classroom

Regular classroom teachers will want to use this site with ESL and ELL students fwhen they need a quick review on a specific grammar point. Use the professional articles for your own edification as well as links to other topics of interest.

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Skip's Radio Scripts for Language Learners - Skip Reske

Grades
6 to 12
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These adapted radio scripts assist ESL/ELL students with learning how to use articles and grammar correctly, increase vocabulary, and improve reading comprehension. A highly motivating...more
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These adapted radio scripts assist ESL/ELL students with learning how to use articles and grammar correctly, increase vocabulary, and improve reading comprehension. A highly motivating site, students can see photos of old movies and even enjoy clips from the movies as they work with the scripts.

tag(s): grammar (216), movies (65), radio (27)

In the Classroom

This website is particularly useful if your ESL/ELL students want to perform a portion of a play. If your students are having difficulty with article usage, try a different approach to teaching the skill in the context of drama. If you have access to DVDs of the films used, you may want to play a few clips for the students.

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Using Timeline Games and Mexican History to Improve Comprehension - IRA/NCTE

Grades
3 to 6
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The IRA/NCTE has created this wonderful resource that incorporates timelines, Mexican history, and comprehension. The unit is broken down into eight 45-minute sessions. The website...more
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The IRA/NCTE has created this wonderful resource that incorporates timelines, Mexican history, and comprehension. The unit is broken down into eight 45-minute sessions. The website challenges students to study some basic information about Mexican history. Then the students are asked to create an illustrated timeline. There are numerous other "mini" activities available within this lesson plan. If your class doesn't have the time to complete this entire unit, pick and choose what works for your class. The lesson plans are ready to go, easy to follow, include interactive elements, and are highly motivational. This website requires Flash, get it from the TeachersFirst Toolbox page..

tag(s): aztecs (8), mexico (34), timelines (62)

In the Classroom

The interactive timeline maker tool linked in this lesson is outstanding for ANY timeline you want students to make. The final product is printed and is NOT saved anywhere, however. Make sure you allow enough time to complete the work and print.

Use this lesson plan to teach your students Mexican history, how to use/create a timeline, and to improve their reading comprehension. Your students with family heritage from Mexico would benefit twice from using this lesson for comprehension activities. This is truly an interdisciplinary unit, and includes directions, objectives, standards, and more. The lessons would work well as independent study in the computer lab, cooperative learning activities, or whole class research using an interactive whiteboard.
 This resource requires Adobe Flash.

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SIKids - Sports Illustrated for Kids &CNN

Grades
3 to 8
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All about sports: top sports news stories, sports polls, displays of readers' artwork, AND MORE, this site is sure to appeal to those reluctant readers and any sports lover. Users ...more
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All about sports: top sports news stories, sports polls, displays of readers' artwork, AND MORE, this site is sure to appeal to those reluctant readers and any sports lover. Users can get up-to-date statistics from the NBA, NFL, MLB, and NBA. Readers can enjoy sports jokes.This site requires Flash. Get them from the TeachersFirst Toolbox page..

tag(s): drawing (78), news (261), sports (97)

In the Classroom

Share this site on your teacher web page or classroom desktop for fast student access to sport statistics and a way to submit creative works. Use sports statistics for math practice and to teach graphing or data organization skills. Use the sports stories as non-fiction examples for reading comprehension. Share a Top Story on your interactive whiteboard as you ask students to highlight parts of speech, cause-effect words, main idea, and more. Suddenly your students will actually READ!
 This resource requires Adobe Flash.

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Citebite - Abstract Factory

Grades
K to 12
7 Favorites 0  Comments
 
Imagine being able to give students (or parents) an exact link to a specific quote within a web page. Why would you want to? Perhaps you want to send students ...more
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Imagine being able to give students (or parents) an exact link to a specific quote within a web page. Why would you want to? Perhaps you want to send students to a certain paragraph for an activity: for reading comprehension, for reading a specific portion of text, or even for highlighting a literary device within a text or poem. Students will no longer waste time, announcing, "I can't find it!" or return to school saying they couldn't do the homework!

tag(s): internet safety (109), literacy (103), quotations (23), safety (92)

In the Classroom

Tool can be used in less than 30 seconds. Open TWO windows in Internet Explorer or any web browser. One should be open to citebite; the other to the web page you wish to reference. On that web page, locate and "highlight" the exact passage of text you want to "send" people to see. Copy/paste the passage into the quotation box at Citebite (copy, then change windows). Return to the target web page and copy/paste its actual URL into Citebite. Click "Make Citebite." Copy/paste the new url, indicated after "Your citebite link is:" Note: if the original quote is within a FLASH presentation, it will not copy/paste or generate a Citebite. See this example of a Citebite link to a tip about TeachersFirst Edge tools.

Have your middle and high school students do a web page "credibility critique" on their potential sources by using Citebite before they start a research project. They can highlight passages as proof of credibility -- or lack thereof -- and give you the Citebite links. They will love this easy way to reference a specific portion of a page. You will love the ease of finding it. If you give them a Word document table as a web site evaluation rubric, they can paste the Citebites there, with their comments in the neighboring cell!

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Public Domain Books On-Line - Jeff Kelley

Grades
3 to 12
3 Favorites 2  Comments
This privately done digitized library focuses on books published before 1923, primarily those with magnificent illustrations. Books digitized are in the public domain and are also available...more
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This privately done digitized library focuses on books published before 1923, primarily those with magnificent illustrations. Books digitized are in the public domain and are also available to the large digitization projects going on now with the Google Books project. This site's charm is its ease of use. Users can search by author's last name or by using a list of subject categories. Because the project is fairly small, it's fun to browse through the offerings before deciding on a specific choice. The quality of the digitization is very good and appears to offer complete works. Some books have been reformatted, presumably to allow viewing consistency.

tag(s): air (163)

In the Classroom

Because these books are in the public domain (i.e. older), their language is not "contemporary." The texts would make excellent pieces for reading comprehension passages or culture study of past times, and you need not be worried about copying/pasting text from these into other software and/or making copies. You could even use them as passages on an interactive whiteboard to practice "main idea" or parts of speech.

The illustrations are simple and beautiful. Print out some great artwork for your classroom bulletin boards, copyright-free!

The myths/legends collection would be great for upper elementary or later mythology units. Students can also use the passages and illustrations to create multimedia "tales" of their own. Give them the opening passage and let them write the rest.

Comments

The myths/legends collection would be great for upper elementary or later mythology units David, VA, Grades: 4 - 8
The illustrations are simple and beautiful. David, VA, Grades: 4 - 8

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