Grades2 to 12
Creature Creator is a free download but is a limited version of the original purchased program. The purchased program provides many more choices for the features and environments used to make the creatures. The download is available for both PC and Mac.
In the ClassroomUser needs to be able to download and install the free program. Easy to use interface. Start with a blob, which you manipulate into a shape, pulling its spinal cord in any direction with the mouse, before adding a head, limbs and various optional extra body parts. Choose your part by using the onscreen catalog. Manipulate it further by changing the position of joints or through adding or deleting segments. Add a background and move your creature by dragging your mouse for it to follow. Continue to alter your creature to get the movement or features needed.
Pressing "H" brings up the spore guide which includes topic categories such as "Welcome to Spore," "Getting Started," "Build Mode," "Test Drive," and "Paint Mode."
Check your district policy on downloading and installing of programs. Check with your IT department. Teachers who must request software installation by tech staff may want to try this tool at home and create some sample projects to convince administration of its educational value.
Uploading pictures and videos of creations to You Tube or the spore site may expose students to advertising as well as inappropriately created creatures. You may want to send students directly to URLs for their own projects, maintain the creatures on the classroom computer itself, or use Teacher Tube to upload the creations. Uploading creatures enables outsider comments without teacher control. Outsiders can interact or mark the creations as favorites. Many school policies prohibit such interaction, so be sure to check your school policy. You will want to discuss these features in the context of Internet Safety or establish specific written class rules and consequences for interacting with outsiders. Student work can be saved as a picture and printed, as well, for sharing and showing. Check your school policies on whether student work may be displayed online and what information is permitted, then enforce that policy with your students.
The tool does not show which work is attributable to each student. You may want to require student initials on projects in order to get credit.
Use Creature creator to create an unusual creature as a class project. Create a classification system of all the class creatures to demonstrate biology classification skills. When discussing the groupings in the Animal Kingdom, use Creature Creator to create a new organism for that group. Use the tool to create a class creature with adaptations to a specific environment. Have students create a creature and then write a story or poem about it and how it lives. Have students create a creature as a self-portrait of personality or other traits the students possess. Students can design and draw habitats that would house their creation including the calculation of the volume and area the housing would require. Use a classroom projector or white board to share/create creatures in class and discuss specific features of the creatures.
GradesK to 12
In the ClassroomClick "Start Here" to type the subject of your concept map. Hitting your Enter key creates a new level (branch) within the map. Tab creates an additional branch on the same level as the current topic. Experiment with the small icons on each "element" to change colors, drag, make new connections, etc. Save and set sharing (read-only or open access) in the area at the right. You can "send" a read-only link via email or copy the embed code from the Menu at lower right), but you cannot find the URL directly from your map. "Send" it to yourself via email to copy the actual URL.
There are countless possibilities at this mental mapping site. Demonstrate the tool on an interactive whiteboard or projector, and then allow students to try to create their own graphic organizers. Use this site for literature activities, research projects, social studies, or science topics of study. Use this site to create family trees. Have students collaborate together (online) to create group mind maps or review charts before tests on a given subject. Have students organize color-code concepts to show what they understand, wonder, question; map out a story, plotline, or LIFETIME; map out a step-by-step process (life cycle); map a real historical event as a choose-your-own-adventure with alternate endings(?) based on pivotal points; plan a "tour" for a "thought museum." Use this mapping website as an alternative to a traditional test, quiz, or homework assignment in literature or social studies: have students demonstrate their understanding by completing a graphic organizer about the main points. To minimize the number of maps on a free account, have students screenshot or print their results to turn them in. See more ideas in the linked example above!
Grades2 to 12
In the ClassroomYou need to know how to copy/paste. No email registration needed to create. Click Create to get started. Copy/paste text, type into a text box, or paste in the URL of the page you wish to "cloud." Play with options under Layout, Color, and Font menus to change the look. When done, choose to Print, take a screen shot of it in New Window view (PrntScrn on Windows, Command+shift+4 on Mac) or save to public gallery. Once it opens in the gallery view, be sure to copy the URL and keep a record of the exact URL of wordles you save to the Gallery. You will never be able to find them again without it! Use this tool easily in your Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) classroom since all students will be able to access it for free, no matter what device they have.
The public can enter text and create their own Wordles, some of which appear on the home page for "recent" Wordles. Teachers should preview the Gallery and home page immediately before sharing this site with a class. TeachersFirst's review team has not witnessed any objectionable examples. In today's world, a brief lesson or honest discussion on ignoring, clicking out of, or avoiding the inappropriate on the web might be worthwhile, depending on the age and maturity of your students.
This is a terrific visual tool to share on an interactive whiteboard or projector. Paste in a passage or URL for a political speech to visualize the politician's "message." Analyze advertising propaganda by visualizing the language used in TV or print ads. Create wordles of historical texts of inauguration speeches as time capsules of the issues of the day. Use this site as a way to help students see and memorize text, especially visual learners. Use it also when writing poetry or reading passages of great literature to "see" themes and motifs of repeated words and images. Have students paste in their own writing to spot repeated (and monotonous) language when teaching lessons on word choice. Students will be surprised to see what words appear to be dominant. ESL and ELL students will eagerly use this site since word order will no longer be a problem for them. Have students work in groups to create word posters of vocabulary words with related meanings, such as different ways to say "walk" or "said" and decorate your classroom with these visual reminders of the richness of language.
Another idea: use this site during the first week of school. Have students create "Wordles" about themselves and create a "Wordle" bulletin board introducing your students (and yourself). Or use Worlde for a whole-class positive statement as shown in this example. Remember that the most frequently appearing words will appear larger so plan accordingly.
So versatile and easy to use. Needs supervision because of what some people post in the galleries. Kids find it very easy to use. Nice for quick analysis of text (love to use with Shakespeare).Frances, CT, Grades: 6 - 8
Grades4 to 12
In the ClassroomSimply login and click create. Choose a scene you wish to start with. Change your characters from a variety of option. When the comic loads, your chosen character may not show immediately but will appear as you edit each frame. Change sizes of caption bubbles, fonts sizes and types with easy to use sliders. New characters can be added in each frame as well as a variety of additional props such as sports equipment and furniture. Change the background set to a variety of indoor, outdoor city, and outdoor country landscapes. Change background colors easily too. Comics can be saved, scenes can be deleted, and changes made can be reverted to the previous idea easily with on screen controls. Below the comic, buttons for "Save for later" and "Publish Now" quickly save or publish works. If the scene is not ready for publishing, Pixton requests further edits to complete the process.
Consider creating a class account that students can use. Track comics made by students by placing initials in a small caption bubble to identify created comics to a specific student. There are some safeguards in place to be sure students use appropriate language and actions. It would be wise to preview whatever you wish to share with your students, however, since the general public can create comics with their own ideas. Students should submit their work without identifiable names and location, according to your school policy. You will also want written parent permission before allowing students to create comics that can be seen online.
Capture and use your students creativity in storytelling using this exciting tool! Using small amounts of texts to frame a story or to deliver information creatively allows students the opportunity to work deeply with information and use a creative outlet for a variety of projects. Use for students to provide information learned with personal thoughts on subjects ranging from historical events, environmental issues, discussion about plants, animals, and ecosystems, as well as other topics in Art, Math, English, Health, and others. Use in Foreign language classes for short stories created in the language and translated then by other students in the classroom. Use comics to write summaries of current events, responses to reading assignments, expressions of teen problems, and creative works of humor. With younger students, use an interactive whiteboard or projector to create a class comic on a current topic of study, such as the life cycle of the frog or ways to conserve energy. Use this site to integrate an art and writing lesson. Why not have students create comics to demonstrate a concept in science or social studies, rather than a traditional paper/pencil quiz? World language teachers and ESL/ELL teachers will love the chance for students to demonstrate written language skills in the "context" of their comic situations.
Parent permission advised before posting student work created using this tool
Includes Interaction w general public/ public galleries with unmoderated content
Includes social features, such as "friends," comments, ratings by others
Requires registration/log-in (WITH email)
Premium version (not free) includes additional features or storage
Products can be embedded
Products can be shared by URL
Grades2 to 6
In the ClassroomTry these activities in a mixed class containing some ELL and ESL students. Sometimes, their slightly different take on language results in beautiful creations. Save this site in your favorites and try one of the suggested activities as part of your poetry unit.
GradesK to 5
tag(s): flags (22)
In the ClassroomThis is an excellent activity to do as a first week of school "ice breaker." Introduce yourself to the class by demonstrating as you create a flag about yourself. Share your favorite colors, name, favorite sports, hobbies, pets, and other information. Then have students work on individual computers to create their own flags. Print the flags and use them to create a "get to know the class" bulletin board.
Very cool for getting to know kids at the beginning of the school year. Easy to use for the younger grades.Michelle, ON, Grades: 0 - 3
Grades2 to 12
In the ClassroomSearch the multitude of webquests that are "ready to go" at this site. If you are looking for a more personal touch, you can create your own webquest for each class, tailored to what you want to cover or want students to research. This site also provides a place to post a personal portfolio of your work (if you choose to include any student work, you must have written permission to do so from the student and his or her parent). You might also want students to create webquests as final products of group research projects. Be sure to provide a meaningful rubric for the essential features.
Grades9 to 12
To use many features of the site, you must create a membership (requires email). There are many "social" features within the site that make it a potential safety issue if all students are allowed to use it on their own. See ideas for handling these concerns below.
tag(s): news (261)
In the ClassroomTry this site as a regular part of your secondary discussions on current events or choose selected "games" that connect with your current curriculum topic. For example, explore stories from African nations as you study world cultures in Africa.
Classroom teachers will want to start by conducting this activity using a whole-class account (use your "extra" email account to create a single account, monitored by you). Use the game to facilitate discussion and build students' global citizenship by allowing them to make choices and see the results. Be sure to talk about the line between fantasy and reality: which parts of these games have actually happened and which are part of the "game" hypotheses. Include the link on your teacher web page for students to access both in and out of class if you believe they are ready to handle it on their own. Check your school policies on allowing students to participate in online decision making and sharing, and obtain written parent permission before individual students are allowed to log on. As an alternative for students who may not have permission, you can pose some of the same questions and provide newspaper and news magazine articles for background. But you know which tool your students will prefer!
Grades1 to 10
In the ClassroomShare samples of students' writing on an interactive whiteboard or projector. Be sure to preview for content inappropriate for your classroom. Have your students create cover art and write stories, book reviews, or poetry to submit to this site. Of course you will want written parent permission before submitting student work to this online magazine. Students should submit their work without identifiable names and location, according to your school policy.If your school prohibits using blogs to post student writing, this is a middle ground alternative to get their works in front of a wider audience.
Grades3 to 5
In the ClassroomPlan a Judy Moody Day by using the 'rare' ideas in the Teacher's Guide section. Don't leave the boys out--plan a joint Stink Day as well. (Stink is Judy Moody's brother, and more information about Stink can be found at www.stinkmoody.com.) For writing fun, write a 'moody' scene to expand a Judy Moody or Stink book. Create a Judy Moody comic strip (or one in your own style, perhaps using one of the comic tools found in TeachersFirst Edge ). Have your school's art teacher teach your class how to draw the perfectly temperamental Judy Moody or develop their own characters. (There is also a link at the Clubhouse showing how to draw Judy Moody.)
Grades3 to 6
In the ClassroomThis site can be a great introduction to a unit on Egypt for young learners. Put a link to this site on a classroom computer that can be used as an activity center for the Egyptian unit of study. Use an interactive whiteboard or projector to take the entire class on an interactive tour of life on the Nile.
As a language arts activity, have students adopt the persona of an ordinary Egyptian and write a week-long journal or blog entries about their daily life. Tie in the visual arts by posing and tracing students' outlines on butcher paper on the floor. Students can strike an Egyptian-style pose that reflects their chosen person or occupation, and then draw in the clothing, headwear, and jewelry. Cut out these life-size images and combine them to create an Egyptian wall of stories. Let students fill in the background with hieroglyphic symbols.
GradesK to 2
Be aware, since this site was created by the BBC, you Americans may notice some slight spelling and language differences. Nearly all of these activities require Flash. You can get it from the TeachersFirst Toolbox page..
In the ClassroomThe possibilities at this website are endless! They scream "interactive whiteboard or projector" but would also work as a learning center or even on individual computers. The offerings available are so diverse, that this website could be used throughout several language arts, math, science, art, and music lessons. Attention Teachers, there is a link with lesson plans, printable pages, lesson ideas and more available if you click on Home and then Teachers . Check these for the direct connections to your curriculum. Feature this website in your class newsletter or on your website so students can practice these educational activities at home or during vacation breaks.
Grades4 to 7
In the ClassroomThis website is geared towards ages 9 to 11; however there are links to similar activities for ages 7 to 9 on the left side of the site. Use this feature to differentiate for your special education, ESL, or ELL students.
Be sure to visit the Teachers Link for some excellent ideas. All of the activities are perfect for learning stations, individual computers, or on an interactive whiteboard or projection screen. The offerings available are so diverse, that this website could be used throughout several language arts, math, science, art, and music lessons. Feature this website in your class newsletter or on your website so students can practice these educational activities at home.
Grades2 to 5
This interactive website features topics such as friction, what dissolves, newspaper headlines, poetry, coordinates, time, and several others. Some of the motivational interactive activities include Looping the Loop, Escape Route, & On the Trail . There are also links to create comics, music mixers, planning a party, and skating. Be aware, since this site was created by the BBC, Americans may notice some slight spelling and language differences. Nearly all of these activities require Flash. You can get it from the TeachersFirst Toolbox page..
In the ClassroomWow - there are so many possible uses for this website in an elementary classroom. The lesson plans (at the Teachers link) offer standards and ready-to-go ideas. Check these for the direct connections to your curriculum. The interactive activities are perfect for computer lab time, cooperative learning, or class challenges using your interactive whiteboard or projector. Be sure to list this site on your class website so students can access these wonderful and enriching activities at home. If you are looking to differentiate instruction, allow your more advanced students to explore the activities listed for ages 9 to 11.
Grades1 to 4
In the ClassroomIntroduce your students to the idea of supplementary reading by sharing this site using your interactive whiteboard or projector. Use it to teach colors. Ask students what color jewels might also be represented by fairies. Ask students how colors might represent other ideas.
Grades2 to 8
In the ClassroomUse this site as an anticipatory set or "activator" to introduce a unit or lesson on a projector or interactive whiteboard. Use this site as a preview before a museum visit or to begin a unit on ancient Egypt. Review the objects you've seen with hieroglyphs by playing this game. This activity would work well for individual or pairs of students on computers. Have students design their own set of hieroglyphs with meanings and write short notes to each other.
GradesK to 12
Caution - although this website is appropriate for all ages, since users can submit photographs, please view the photos before sharing them with your class. Some of the activities at this website require Flash. You can get it from the TeachersFirst Toolbox page..
In the ClassroomThere are countless ways to integrate this website into your lesson plans. Why not use your interactive whiteboard to visit a different location every week. Or simply share images of the "real world" setting of a story you are reading or current events article. This website also enables students to locate "real" pictures for research projects. Why not create a scavenger hunt (using PowerPoint or another program). Provide clues for the countries to "scavenge" and then have students research the information to figure out the correct country and use the Nations Illustrated website to copy/paste pictures from each of the locations. The students can create a picture scrapbook of their scavenger hunt.
Grades2 to 12
tag(s): air (163)
In the ClassroomUse these templates with any subject you wish to review: foreign language word lists, social studies terms and concepts, science, language arts, art, music, sped, etc. These activities offer an excellent method to review information through a fun and different approach. Teachers can also have students create their own versions of review games.
GradesK to 1
In the ClassroomUse the site as a guide for planning a traditional Dr. Seuss Birthday Celebration Week in March!
Grades2 to 12
This site can become slow at certain times of the day. Be patient.
tag(s): art history (72)