GradesK to 12
In the ClassroomThis is a great way to utilize classroom trash while teaching students to go green! Once they get started, the students will probably supply their own enormous list of ideas for recycling trash and the ideas may be infectious...watch it snowball into other classrooms and into their homes! Teachers will be receiving unique recycled projects every day in those primary grades!
List this project in your class newsletter or on your class website. Suggest parents donate items listed on the Trash Matcher such as socks, sheets, dryer sheets and much more. Make sure to note that everything donated should be cleaned thoroughly prior to sending it to the classroom! Document your new green classroom/school with digital pictures and student writings on a class wiki and share the link with local newspapers! Secondary teachers can use this site for service project ideas for Key Club. student council, and more.
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 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.
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.
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 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.
Grades2 to 12
This site can become slow at certain times of the day. Be patient.
tag(s): art history (70)
In the ClassroomMark this site as a Favorite for a visual writing prompt activity in the classroom; then ask students to write about the way their artwork makes them feel or what it might "be." Students will quickly grasp the basics and soon be exploring the more sophisticated possibilities of the program. This activity can be a great introduction into an abstract art lesson. Introduce terms such as non-representational or non-objective art. Show the works of Piet Mondrian and Max Ernst. Take the class on a virtual fieldtrip to the Museum of Modern Art in New York. Discuss how art movements have evolved and changed our ideas of beauty and art. This site is best viewed at 1024 x 768 screen resolution. (On Windows machines, change your monitor settings by RIGHT-clicking on the desktop and going to "Prperties" > Settings).
Grades1 to 12
Material created can only be viewed within the program. Drawings are not saved as a jpg or pic file. However, a "snapshot" of the screen can be created by using these keys in Mac: apple, shift, and 4 and click/drag to surround the portion to save. In PC use: control/print screen. These snapshots can be uploaded or used as a picture in other applications.
In the ClassroomQuick start: Click stage and in the center pane, click on backgrounds. Click on paint to make a new background. Different colors, pens, and materials can be used to create the background or an image can be brought in from your computer. Objects in Scratch are called a Sprite and can be added in by choosing the folders below the screen. By clicking the script tab, blocks can be moved in to create motion, add sounds (even record your own message), and change the look of the Sprite. Blocks are linked on to each other to create a series of events. A control block dragged to the top of the blocks control which key starts the event. Advanced options include adding variables and other controls.
Be sure to check with your Technology Department, as many districts require authorization to download or install new applications. Projects can be shared online; however an account is required.
Work is saved to the computer itself and only shared online via an account. To avoid problems concerning content made by outsiders or issues with sharing, save the work locally and either create your own gallery on a supervised class website/wiki or set up a single account where you share the "best" projects online via your own log-in. Remind students of the school's Acceptable Use Policy and consequences of violations, if you do allow them to join/share. Images used should adhere to all copyright rules. Use pictures taken in class or those with Creative Commons licensing (and provide attribution!).
Practical tips: Students quickly catch on to this program when allowed to play and easily see what they can make from it. Provide a simple assignment with defined rules/tasks to learn the tools. Younger students may familiarize themselves more easily working with a partner. Have students use a storyboard to write down what they will do/draw/say in their creation in order to keep tabs on what students and their creations.
Possible uses: For the lower grades, Scratch provides unlimited possibilities. Use as a new way to show vocabulary usage. Use the paint program to add information to a picture from your class field trip or science experiment. Use Scratch to help in storytelling a concept in a new and unique way, such as how rocks are formed. In the upper grades, use Scratch to show complex material in a new way. For example, students can draw DNA and show replication, etc. through their drawings and storytelling. Draw the different movements of landforms in plate tectonics. Draw or illustrate solutions to Math problems.
Grades7 to 12
tag(s): periodic table (50)
In the ClassroomThis site is best viewed by scrolling across to see all the elements. Adapt the idea from this project to have your science students each create a collage using magazine imagery to represent an element. Assemble the class project on a wall for an eye-popping Periodic Table. Move the collaborative idea to Language Arts and let students do author or book report collages. Elementary students can use this process to each do a letter of the alphabet or a word for a word wall. Junior high and high school art students can research the various printmaking methods used in this project and discuss artistic collaborations.
Grades4 to 7
tag(s): egypt (67)
In the ClassroomAfter exploring the various activities, students can create their own Egyptian-inspired artifacts for a classroom museum. Invite other classes for a student-docent tour of the museum. Discuss the stylized Egyptian figures that communicate ideas and stories and ask students to strike poses which others try to decipher. Students can add contemporary items to a time capsule and bury it somewhere on the school grounds to be discovered by future archeologists. Discuss why items in the time capsule might mystify people in the future.
GradesK to 12
tag(s): photography (160)
In the ClassroomYou could actually use this tool in any subject or grade level to create visual displays for your classroom or have students make their own (upper elementary and older). If you allow students to use this site, beware that the images in the Gallery may change frequently. What may be 'art' to some may be questionable to others. For art teachers, the use of this tool offers endless possibilities. Student artwork will take on a different air when blown up to gallery-sized prints. Teachers, think E-A-S-Y bulletin boards!
Grades2 to 10
In the ClassroomFind an art project to accompany your current unit or try the "Community Stories" link to reach out to communities you have learned about through the ESL students in your school or your world language studies.
Grades1 to 8
In the ClassroomArt teachers may want to highlight the creator of this site. His knack of bringing the simple stick form to life may inspire our budding artists to do the same. You might even ask student to try creating similar "cards" with animation on a PowerPoint slides using images created in PAINT. Language arts teachers will be disappointed that students can't customize their own cards, however, when you click on the "Send card" link at the bottom of each of the card pages, it will automatically go into an email format. When an email is created, your students will then have an opportunity to write a letter to the recipient. Pre-school and special education teachers, check out some of the games for eye-hand coordination practice. Consider sharing this website in your class newsletter (if applicable) or on your class website.
Grades6 to 10
In the ClassroomWhy not print a pattern onto cardstock or other thick paper. Then project the image (that you printed for your students) onto a projection screen or interactive whiteboard, while students work independently at their seats. Before you pass out the paper copies, have them view the projected image and predict what it will be.
These shapes can also serve as creative study aids for all subject areas, especially for students who need engaging ways to review. Have students write key terms and questions on the "faces" before assembling the figures, then "roll" them as a study game, testing each other to define or explain terms.