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Portfoliovillage - Site Maker Software Company

Grades
4 to 12
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PortfolioVillage is a powerful eportfolio site where you or your students can showcase all types of work. PortfolioVillage is a free and easy to use program. Their unique drag and ...more
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PortfolioVillage is a powerful eportfolio site where you or your students can showcase all types of work. PortfolioVillage is a free and easy to use program. Their unique drag and drop editor makes it easy. There are also editable flash widgets and the thousands of stock images and animations. You can create a flash portfolio website with media rich components: videos, audio, a play list, create forms, chats, and blogs. Be sure to watch the introduction video and read about the features provided.

PortfolioVillage must be updated every six months to stay free. Your portfolio will be deleted if not updated.

For those of you with iPads, this Flash site won't work for you. However, you might try Google Swiffy reviewed here. Google Swiffy is a tool that lets you convert Flash SWF files to HTML5 to view on non-Flash devices such as iTouch, iPad, and iPhone.

tag(s): creativity (109), portfolios (28)

In the Classroom

There are a gazillion ways to use an eportfolio! Have your students upload their current and past work that they think they might want to showcase. They can have an area for all their different talents whether it is drawing, writing, acting, creating games or codes, designing anything, or athletic prowess. Students could create an online presence to share in college or job applications.

You may want to start out slowly, allowing your students to choose a talent that may fit within traditional curriculum. Have students select several pieces to demonstrate their talent and upload it to a working portfolio. You can then have the students reflect on each piece in writing. Students should then choose one artifact to showcase; have them write about why that was their choice. The eportfolio can be presented in class by students using a projector or an interactive whiteboard. Teachers who have students for more than one year (such as in a gifted program or Art classes) can encourage students to show growth in their talents.

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Tammy Worcester's Tech Tip of the Week - Tammy Worcester

Grades
K to 12
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Find a wealth of ideas and tips for using technology in your classroom. Tammy Worcester, an instructional technology specialist for ESSDACK and ISTE presenter, compiles her tips of...more
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Find a wealth of ideas and tips for using technology in your classroom. Tammy Worcester, an instructional technology specialist for ESSDACK and ISTE presenter, compiles her tips of the week here. Other portions of the site include her book sales and paid training and consultation services. See a list of over 100 technology of the week tips, such as creating lesson plans as a Google spreadsheet, sharing lesson plans using Google, as well as publishing them. Follow simple step by step instructions with screen shots embedded for even the most wary technology user. You will also find lists of internet resources given by category. Find 18 ideas and activities explained in simple formats. Some activities include: All about me scavenger hunt, idiom slide show, multiplication charts, Tall Tales, and poetry. This site is ever-growing, so check back often.
This site includes advertising.

tag(s): folktales (65), idioms (44), number sense (97), operations (126), tutorials (47)

In the Classroom

Trying to think of new ways to use technology with your students (in all grades?). Want to learn just one small tip each week? The weekly tips are a great ice-breaker to using technology and new teaching ideas in your classroom. Try that one tip that is suggested and explore more as you feel comfortable.

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Strike - Zurb

Grades
K to 12
5 Favorites 1  Comments
 
Create and collaborate on to-do lists with this easy-to-use tool. You can create an account or not. If you do not create an account, be sure to SAVE the URL ...more
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Create and collaborate on to-do lists with this easy-to-use tool. You can create an account or not. If you do not create an account, be sure to SAVE the URL of your list to return later. Mark list items as completed by dragging them to the left or right of the list window or simply check them off. Double click the list item to edit it as needed then click off of it to save. Send the url for your list to collaborate with others. See what others have done by clicking on the small person icon across the top. When making changes, enter your name, and the site keeps track of who completed specific items. What a great twist on your "to do" list.

tag(s): organizational skills (122)

In the Classroom

Use this simple tool to create "to do" lists for group projects or research. Be sure to spend time breaking down complex tasks into smaller, manageable pieces. Help students organize the specific tasks necessary to finish a project. This is a great tool to help students learn time management when organizing a project. Use class discussion to decide what needs to be known and the best steps to take to complete the project. Organize tasks and set due dates to assist students in being timely completing projects. Use the tool together a few times on a projector or interactive whiteboard, returning to check off items, then have student groups try it as they do projects. Teachers of both gifted and learning support students can use this tool together with students to build organizational skills. Teachers at all levels will appreciate this tool for professional organization of their own tasks, especially during busy times like report cards!

Comments

Excellent for time management, long term projects, even personal projects! Melissa, , Grades: 0 - 5

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SlateBox - SlateBox

Grades
4 to 12
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Use this free site for mind mapping (concept maps) and collaboration. Sign up is easy by using existing Google/OpenID/Facebook logins or creating a new login. Review the simple tutorial...more
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Use this free site for mind mapping (concept maps) and collaboration. Sign up is easy by using existing Google/OpenID/Facebook logins or creating a new login. Review the simple tutorial after sign up for the basics. The FREE account is only for ONE user. So if you plan to have students use the site, you will have to have each student register individually, or each group create an individual account. Note that free accounts make all your "slates" public for others to collaborate/change.

View the video for a quick introduction on copying, moving, and linking boxes. Use the template panel to drop nodes needed for your new slate into the drop panel. Hovering over the box shows tools for editing text, creating links to other boxes (click and hold on the icon while dragging to another box.) Control the colors, borders, template, etc. in the right navigation pane. Export your slate to a pdf document or create an embed code to place into a wiki or blog.

tag(s): concept mapping (22), mind map (25)

In the Classroom

Create a template mindmap and add collaborator leaders (perhaps one in each group) who can --in turn-- add the rest of the group to collaborate. Assign portions of a template to a group of students. Groups can collaborate on paper or your whiteboard and then choose the best ideas for the slate being created. You can also use Slatebox with a whole-class account. Show SlateBox creations using an interactive whiteboard or projector. Edit or change elements easily with class input. Use for mapping content being studied in the current unit, problem solving, vocabulary, and more. Use this site to help students interact with and organize ideas. Construct points of a short story, identify main points of passages, or generate a map of the basic points of paragraph development. Wrap up a lesson by having the students create a "diagram of the day" (the main points of the lesson). Students can use this site to map ideas in passages of a textbook. If each student or group maps a specific passage, ideas from chapters can be seen visually. Be sure to include the links to student-created "diagrams" on a class wiki or web page so students can use them for review. If your students have Internet access outside of class, assign them to create a simple diagram of an assigned reading as homework and embed it into a wiki or blog.

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Wiggio - Dana Lampert and Lance Polivy

Grades
K to 12
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Wiggio makes communicating in groups extremely easy (and free.) Use Wiggio for messaging, creating a calendar, polling, sharing and editing, and conferencing. Use a shared folder for...more
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Wiggio makes communicating in groups extremely easy (and free.) Use Wiggio for messaging, creating a calendar, polling, sharing and editing, and conferencing. Use a shared folder for files and links. Wiggio boasts of the ease of use of its application which allows novice and more skilled users an easy to understand and use interface. How can it be so easy? It is actually very simplified collaboration.

tag(s): calendars (44), forum (9), microblogging (44), organizational skills (122)

In the Classroom

Create a password for others to join groups you create. Students enter the group name and password to join. All groups appear on your dashboard page. Click on your group to use the tools. Messages to the group can also be posted by email or text message. Click on the green arrow below the post field to choose who the message can be sent to. Click on various tools along the top to open. Tools such as calendar, folder, meeting, poll, message, and to-do lists are very easy to follow. Videos on using Wiggio can also be found on the site. Change all information within your group in the Group Settings. Group information can also be viewed directly on the Wiggio site.

Use this simple tool for academic and extra-curricular groups who need to plan meetings, create schedules, or collaborate through messaging. Try this site with teachers and parents for solving transportation issues or with younger students by using the polling or messaging tool. Use this resource with high school students working on group projects for better group communication, managing work flow, and more. Take the time to model how to plan and manage group process using such a tool. What a study and life skill!

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Homework hotline - homeworkhotline.org

Grades
3 to 12
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Have a student stumped by homework? Find exercises and extra help in various subject areas in this kid friendly site. Navigate through the various resources and friendly graphics to...more
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Have a student stumped by homework? Find exercises and extra help in various subject areas in this kid friendly site. Navigate through the various resources and friendly graphics to areas of the site such as "Sweet Stuff" which features neat interactives, "Needed Knowledge" with great tips, "Book review" to view video book reviews, and "Getting Historical." Watch informative (don't confuse with boring) videos of various math problems whether it be basic math, solving word problems, or even geometry. Find videos for other subjects such as science, language arts, social studies, health, and art. Review information in various subjects by trying age-appropriate interactives. This site also boasts "Dial A Teacher." Students can use a toll-free number to speak with a real teacher Monday through Thursday between the hours of 4:00 and 7:00 p.m. EST.

tag(s): homework (44), tutorials (47)

In the Classroom

Visit the "Boring Stuff' link for parents and teachers to find a PDF of 10 Ways to Use the Homework Helper Site in Your Classroom. Find segment guides, scripts, and book reviews beneficial for in class or use by students outside of class. Share this link at Back to School Night and put the link directly on your class website. Encourage middle schoolers to build independent work habits using this site.

Consider creating helpful information, videos, and tutorials of information students need answers to and creating your own help site as a school. Use students to create book reviews, math tutorials, etc. Use a tool such as SchoolTube reviewed here to share the videos.
  This resource requires Adobe Flash and PDF reader software like Adobe Acrobat.

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Character Counts! - Josephson Institute

Grades
2 to 12
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The booklists on this site feature books from the ""Six Pillars of Character" chosen by the Josephson Institute's Center for Youth Ethics. You can narrow the search by selecting one...more
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The booklists on this site feature books from the ""Six Pillars of Character" chosen by the Josephson Institute's Center for Youth Ethics. You can narrow the search by selecting one specific kind of character (trst=Trustworthiness, rspt=Respect, rspn=Responsibility, fair=Fairness, care=Caring, citz=Citizenship). You can also search by type of book (children's fiction, storybooks, or teen fiction). If you choose instead to search the entire list, the pillar shows up at the end of the book listing. Links to other websites featuring the "Six Pillars of Character" complete the offerings of the site.

tag(s): book lists (128), word choice (26)

In the Classroom

Give your students more than one message! When teaching the Six Traits of writing to students, look at the books offered on this list to use as your examples for word choice, voice, etc. You may want to compare the list of books on Writing Fix reviewed here to the list of books on Character Counts.

Use these lists to make up your recommended outside lists. If you are not familiar with all the teen books, use this site as a resource to inform yourselves about the quality and messages of some YA literature. Be sure to share this site with school librarians, other teachers, and counselors.

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What-If Questions - Bruce VanPatter

Grades
3 to 12
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What-If Questions offers questions and suggestions for story starters for students to use in writing. Questions prompt students to dig into the world of fantasy and creativity. If students...more
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What-If Questions offers questions and suggestions for story starters for students to use in writing. Questions prompt students to dig into the world of fantasy and creativity. If students don't like the prompt offered, they can click on the picture to get other possibilities. Some prompts offered were: What if a tree put a spell on a hillbilly?, What if a friend annoyed your mom?, and many others. There are lots of possibilities so students are sure to find one to spark their imaginations and get their story started! Many of the prompts offer unusual juxtapositions likely to build creative flexibility and originality.
This site includes advertising.

tag(s): creative writing (166), flexibility (5), writing prompts (92)

In the Classroom

Create a link on classroom computers for students to use as a resource for journal or creative writing activities. Challenge students to come up with their own what-if questions and create a bank of additional questions. Share your what-if questions on your class wiki. Not comfortable with wikis? Check out the TeachersFirst Wiki Walk-Through.

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Creative Commons: What Every Educator Needs To Know - Rod Lucier

Grades
7 to 12
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Confused about the images and content that you can use in your classes? Be sure to view this slideshare presentation to understand copyright and the classroom. ...more
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Confused about the images and content that you can use in your classes? Be sure to view this slideshare presentation to understand copyright and the classroom.
This site includes advertising.

tag(s): copyright (47)

In the Classroom

Be sure to share the link to this resource for teachers in the district. Place the link on your classroom computer or link to your blog, wiki, or site for access by students to understand the copyright law.
 This resource requires Adobe Flash.

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Museum of Obsolete Objects - MoooJvM

Grades
6 to 12
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View this interactive video timeline to look at obsolete technologies from the past, including rotary hand mixers, cassette tapes, and other technologies. These short videos share "obsolete"...more
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View this interactive video timeline to look at obsolete technologies from the past, including rotary hand mixers, cassette tapes, and other technologies. These short videos share "obsolete" items from the 1860s to 2000s. (Note: if your school blocks YouTube, this site will not be accessible. Ask to have this specific url unblocked).

tag(s): inventors and inventions (99)

In the Classroom

Use as a introductory video into science and technology. Identify the science understanding and concepts needed to change the technologies. Brainstorm other technologies that could be added to this list from the various decades. Brainstorm together using a tool such as Mindmeister (reviewed here). Challenge cooperative learning groups to investigate a specific decade and determine what was a new invention then but is no longer used today. Have students create slideshows using Zoho Show (reviewed here). Display these on a blog or wiki for students to review and comment. Assign students to do a written or recorded interview of those who have used these old technologies to find out how life has changed before and after the technology.
 This resource requires Adobe Flash.

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Accompl.sh - Accomplsh, LLC

Grades
6 to 12
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Accomplish your resolutions and goals with this clever resource. Develop a goal, determine the measurable increments towards its completion, and track the progress over time. This is...more
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Accomplish your resolutions and goals with this clever resource. Develop a goal, determine the measurable increments towards its completion, and track the progress over time. This is not meant as a "to do" list but as a way to make meaningful changes toward life goals. Create your list by answering "I want to..." Create a title for the list, add 10 goals, then lock in the goals. Click on a goal to create a comment (these can be identified as progress reports using the checkbox below the comment box.) Accompl.sh has a user community that can help in motivating you towards your goals, so be aware that your input is visible to the public. Whether it is New Years or another milestone day, this is the tool to get you started.
This site includes advertising.

tag(s): new years (11)

In the Classroom

Identify the goals needed to become a better student, be more organized, or other life or study skills that students would find useful. This is a great "tracking" system to help students in class and at home. Share this site on your interactive whiteboard or projector, so families can make group goals together. Promote solid study skills and project planning using this tool.

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5min Life Videopedia - 5 Min Media, Ltd.

Grades
7 to 12
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Need to be in the know -- now? 5min Life Videopedia gives you five minute stories about current news in a range of areas including arts, business, health, video games ...more
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Need to be in the know -- now? 5min Life Videopedia gives you five minute stories about current news in a range of areas including arts, business, health, video games and much more! The how-to videos are great too! The main page features current news highlights. You can join this site, but it is not necessary to view the videos. Please be advised that not all topics are class or school appropriate. The "Knowledge" section has many school-related topics, but there are also useful How-tos in other areas. Preview and select what to share. Videos include short ads at the start. Once the ad is over, you can click the small link icon to find a direct link or embed code for that video.
This site includes advertising.

tag(s): business (58), dance (28), fashion (10), fitness (49), news (261), nutrition (154), origami (17), photography (160), video (254)

In the Classroom

This resource would be fantastic as a lesson or as a class opener to get students thinking about a particular topic. It also would be helpful for relating classroom topics and content to real life events. Filter the appropriate videos for your students by embedding them in a on your own website or wiki so that students are not distracted. With older students, you can have them use this as a resource to embed video clips or links in presentations and projects for their own classes. Try sharing one of the How To videos with your students in science class, and then have them make their own how to five minute video to demonstrate a lab. Share the videos using a tool such as SchoolTube reviewed here.

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Study Blue - StudyBlue

Grades
K to 12
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This site lets you keep study notes with you anywhere you go! Create flashcards and study even on your mobile phone. Share notes, flashcards, study guides, and quizzes with others ...more
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This site lets you keep study notes with you anywhere you go! Create flashcards and study even on your mobile phone. Share notes, flashcards, study guides, and quizzes with others for excellent collaboration. Study Blue also provides hints to help students study. Create a folder in "My Backpack." Make flashcards to get started or search flashcards already created by others.

tag(s): flash cards (45)

In the Classroom

Use as a study aid for students. This is a great tool for older students (who own cell phones). Students can study their flashcards on the bus, in the backseat of the family car, or while waiting for their dentist appointment! Have students create individual accounts and collaborate with others or create a class account for all to use. Have groups collaborate on the creation of flashcards for students to use or have groups create flashcards for specific parts of the unit. Learning support students can take their extra help along with them.

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Google Archive News Search - Google

Grades
3 to 12
3 Favorites 0  Comments
This interesting site (created by Google), provides an easy way to search and explore historical archives. In addition, the search can also create timelines from relevant time periods...more
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This interesting site (created by Google), provides an easy way to search and explore historical archives. In addition, the search can also create timelines from relevant time periods by using the advance search table that pops up on the landing page.

tag(s): journalism (46), primary sources (86), search engines (65), timelines (62)

In the Classroom

This site will complement any social studies, history class, or English class. Use the search to bring history alive for students. Show actual news articles on an interactive whiteboard or projector. Have students use this tool for research. Have them use the advanced search table that pops up to find events that happened during a particular time period. English teachers will also find this a useful tool to show how journalism has evolved through the years.
 This resource requires PDF reader software like Adobe Acrobat.

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Weblist - WebList

Grades
3 to 12
0 Favorites 0  Comments
   
Weblist is a way to organize and gather web content, a way to put a list of links into a meaningful organization, ready to share. After you create your list ...more
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Weblist is a way to organize and gather web content, a way to put a list of links into a meaningful organization, ready to share. After you create your list of sites based upon a theme, Weblist will create one easy url to access the list and navigate to the sites. This link can then be shared as a customizable web page or inserted into your website or blog. Click the links in the Weblist to open them in new tabs/windows. No more typing urls!

tag(s): bookmarks (60), resources (112)

In the Classroom

Create and share resources for any classroom topic. Ask students to develop a Weblist of their sources when doing their research. Create your own Weblist to be used during lessons on your interactive whiteboard or projector. Assign small groups of students to investigate the already created Weblists to find resources for projects or to reinforce concepts being taught in class. Create differentiated Weblists for projects so everyone can find information they can read and understand.

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Jotform - Interlogy, LLC

Grades
K to 12
2 Favorites 1  Comments
 
Use JotForm to quickly build a professional online form. Build contact forms, surveys, and many other forms in a matter of minutes. Customize to meet your needs. Use the large, ...more
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Use JotForm to quickly build a professional online form. Build contact forms, surveys, and many other forms in a matter of minutes. Customize to meet your needs. Use the large, empty canvas by dragging and dropping elements. Generate and post your form online and receive an email for every survey response.

tag(s): polls and surveys (48)

In the Classroom

Use in the classroom for a survey, collecting student information, or any time you are looking for feedback. Use this site for checking student knowledge quickly and easily. Use in projects, including graduation projects. Students can collect data for analysis. Teachers can collect input from parents or students, including conference concerns to know about in advance or questions students have about current curriculum topics. Students who might never speak up in class may be willing to share their questions online, especially if it is anonymous.

Comments

Jotform is really easy to use! But there are some limits regarding how long and often you can use it without paying. I also use Google forms/ spreadsheets in my class to make forms. Google spreadsheets also have gadgets that let you graph the results! Elise, CO, Grades: 0 - 12

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YouTube Play: Live from the Guggenheim - Youtube Play

Grades
5 to 12
1 Favorites 0  Comments
  
Join YouTube and the Guggenheim Museum in recognizing a biennial review of the best online videos from around the world. As a form of modern and contemporary art, celebrate free ...more
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Join YouTube and the Guggenheim Museum in recognizing a biennial review of the best online videos from around the world. As a form of modern and contemporary art, celebrate free access every day for your virtual field trip from a Webby award winning nominee site for 2011. A panel of 20-25 experts chooses from a selection of over 23,000 videos submitted. Explore art, music, movement, poetry, and prose on this creative video site. The option of subscribing to recent uploads is available at no charge. Click "continue" to see thumbnails of all available winners. Not all comments posted are appropriate and videos should be previewed before viewing in the classroom setting.

tag(s): computers (95), video (254)

In the Classroom

Capture your students' interest in the modern world of technology. Share this video on your interactive whiteboard or projector (be sure to use full screen mode). YouTube Play can be used in a variety of classroom settings; art, music, technology, language art, drama, science, or political science. If your district blocks YouTube, then this site may not be viewable. You could always view selected videos at home and bring them to class "on a stick" to share. Use a tool such as KeepVid reviewed here to download the videos from YouTube.

In the art classroom, explore the emerging world of creative video. Determine elements of design, technology, photography, and movement. Discover the integration of music, sound, and movement in video in many creative ways. Use the site to demonstrate how to convey a message through creative animation. Express a creative editorial on a current events or important issues that challenge our world such as over-population, fossil fuels, or pollution. Have students create innovative political campaign videos. Take your technology classes to a new level of excellence. Add a visual component to poems, prose, or narratives as an additional interpretation device. Introduce storyboarding techniques to create videos. Have your students make their own videos and share them via TeacherTube, reviewed here.
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Headline Clues - Michigan State University

Grades
8 to 12
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Solve headline mysteries using verbal clues and inferencing in this current events activity. You are presented with a SHORT passage (newspaper story headline) and then a few fill in...more
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Solve headline mysteries using verbal clues and inferencing in this current events activity. You are presented with a SHORT passage (newspaper story headline) and then a few fill in the blank phrases. What an excellent tool for researching and reading comprehension! There are three levels of difficulty. Choose from favorite news topics on the main page: sports, world and U.S. news, technology, off-beat, entertainment, and even the New York Times. Other publications available for headline finding are NPR and New Scientist. Although this is an activity in "game" format, it is an excellent reading skill builder. Students can see how many letters are missing; they use both semantic and syntactic clues to complete the headlines. Options include a timer and a speed meter. As you play, ask the site for clues to help. Due to the graphic nature of some of the headlines, this site is recommended for mature middle school students or high school students.

tag(s): context clues (8), descriptive writing (41), newspapers (94), summarizing (13)

In the Classroom

Use this "game" as an introduction when studying the latest news stories and/or basic reading comprehension. Teach reading in context when explaining to students how the activity works. Use the headline builder as a jumping off point for teaching summary writing based on news stories. Share this site on your interactive whiteboard or projector as an "ice-breaker" for the start of class or as one of several reading activities during newspapers in education week.
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Greenlearning.ca - Pembrina Institute

Grades
4 to 12
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Promote environmental citizenship through this site's "green learning" units. The curriculum ranges from examining how electricity works, understanding the balance of ecosystems, to...more
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Promote environmental citizenship through this site's "green learning" units. The curriculum ranges from examining how electricity works, understanding the balance of ecosystems, to a high school unit on sustainable futures. Enjoy the interactive wind turbine and carbon calculator. The animation for grades 4 - 7 is engaging, and the video presentations for high school students on sustainability is powerful. Green Learning provides educators with an array of hands-on activities, online learning opportunities, printable materials, assessment tools, and valuable resources such as environmental experts to contact. Each environmental concept taught provides opportunities for real world learning, encourages social action, and advocacy. Teacher friendly planning tools can help meet instructional time constraints, students learning styles, and promote cross-curricular connections. The site is free but requires registration. Membership provides access to additional educational materials and a monthly newsletter. This program comes to us from Canada.

tag(s): climate (92), climate change (64), conservation (127), ecosystems (88), electricity (88), energy (198), environment (317), natural resources (59), persuasive writing (55), solar energy (38)

In the Classroom

The e-Card project series invites students to research a topic, write a persuasive letter to an individual they believe makes decisions that effect environment, then design and create an e-Card. Have your students share their work on the e-Cards website and view what other students have created.

There is a range of lessons and activities here, some more complex than others. You may want to choose a few that fit your curricular needs and then allow small groups of students to investigate one together. Have student groups make an online Stixy (reviewed here) of things they discover about their topic, and later rearrange the items to "explain" their topic to classmates visually.
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VoiceThread - VoiceThread

Grades
K to 12
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Voicethread allows you to upload images (from your digital camera, scanner, or even paint program). You can also upoad PowerPoint slides. Then students can record or write their own...more
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Voicethread allows you to upload images (from your digital camera, scanner, or even paint program). You can also upoad PowerPoint slides. Then students can record or write their own comments and/or narration about the images/slides. Other listeners can "comment" back, as well. Access to the ed.voicethread site (as opposed to www.voicethread) is restricted to grades K-12 students, educators, and administrators. VoiceThread explains how to set up a classroom account and has some ideas for classroom use, as well. Ideas from the TeachersFirst Edge review team are listed below, under "In the classroom."

Voicethread also offers a free iOS app for iPhone, iPad, and iPod touch. It is free through the iTunes app store. Projects work seamlessly on both computer and mobile iOS devices, so projects started on one machine can be edited and/or viewed on another. Your ed.Voicethread account works in both places.

tag(s): digital storytelling (144), speech (92)

In the Classroom

You will be logged into your account immediately after you fill in the registration form. You must "apply" to designate your account as an educator account once it is set up. Click on "browse" to see many examples, including tutorials. Watch the "One Minute Voicethread" to get a very quick overview of how easy it is to create a digital story. Set up student identities. Use first names only. You need to know how to locate and upload saved pictures or PowerPoint files. If you want to use audio, the COOL tool, you WILL need a microphone, either plugged into your computer or built in. Once you create a Voicethread, it can be shared by clicking "share" from the menu or at the end of viewing it and copying the URL to send via email or other means, inviting others to comment back. Ed voicethreads have comment moderation turned on by default and are private by default. As the teacher, you can change these settings.

Invite parents to share in the results (The VoiceThread classroom page tells you more about this). TeachersFirst does not recommend using actual, identifiable pictures of children. Let them draw a picture or take a digital picture of an object that somehow represents them (middle schoolers will love that idea!). If you allow others to "comment" on student Voicethreads, the experience can be both wonderful and a bit intimidating. Use this opportunity to promote ethical and kind interaction with other students and their projects.

Of course, you should be sure that you have the RIGHTS to any images you upload. Fair Use does not apply when you put an image on the web! Elementary classes can create or take pictures, then ask each child to talk about the images. Each child can comment on the SAME pictures, creating a collaborative collection of responses. After a field trip or special class event, you can assign groups of students to explain each of the digital pictures you took and how they relate to curriculum topics. In art class, students can critique works of their own or of fellow students. In language arts classes, students can scan and comment on writing pieces as part of a reflective phase of the writing process. Or post an image as a prewriting activity and allow students to respond orally in an idea-generating phase. In social studies, have students provide a picture of a grandparent then narrate what they learned about that grandparent from interviewing him/her. Have students create narrated pictures as gifts (for parents or other care givers) for special occasions, winter holidays, Thanksgiving, Valentine's Day, Mother's Day, Father's Day, etc.. During a science experiment or demo, have a student take pictures of the steps. Then ask students to "narrate" them by commenting on what is happening. The narration assignment could even be a center activity or an assignment on a few classroom computers for students to rotate through. What a great way to review and apply key vocabulary! Be sure they identify their voices if you are using a single class account and want to be able to assess understanding. Other ideas: narrated local history projects (pictures of local sites), audio "museum tours" of artifacts (photos) or war veterans telling their stories along with images of their uniforms or old photos. Speech/language, ESL/ELL or early childhood teachers could use this tool to promote vocabulary development and oral expression.

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