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TeachersFirst's Study Skills Resources - TeachersFirst

Grades
3 to 12
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This collection of reviewed resources from TeachersFirst is selected to help students learn their most effective study strategies. The collection includes specific study tools, reading...more
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This collection of reviewed resources from TeachersFirst is selected to help students learn their most effective study strategies. The collection includes specific study tools, reading strategies, review ideas, and notetaking methods that students and teachers can try as lessons in themselves or --even better-- as they go about the regular curriculum. Whether you want to use a graphic organizer, create your own electronic flash cards, or simply learn how to approach a test, there is a resource to help. Learning Support teachers and teachers of gifted will also want to share these alternate ways for students to organize and retain concepts, vocabulary, and more.

In the Classroom

Make learning how to learn part of your class routine at any grade level and in any subject. Feature one or more new study strategy each month and share this entire list as a link from your class web page for students and parents to access both in and out of school.

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Timeglider - Mnemograph LLC

Grades
6 to 12
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Want an incredibly intuitive timeline software that can be used on the web and with more than on person? Use Timeglider as one of the best applications for the planning, ...more
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Want an incredibly intuitive timeline software that can be used on the web and with more than on person? Use Timeglider as one of the best applications for the planning, creating and sharing of history and other projects. You can simply look at timelines related to various topics in history or even current events. Or you can create your own timeline. Users grab the timeline and drag it in order to see different time periods and centuries. Create event spans that can overlap each other and create a greater understanding of how events can influence other events. Zoom out for a broader scope and view of time. Further enhancements will broaden the extent of the zooming capability. As it is web based, use this for collaboration among students. Enter the information for your first timeline including target year. After agreeing to terms, your timeline will open around your target years. Click the green arrow on your timeline box to edit parameters of your timeline and find the share/embed information. Use the mouse to drag along the timeline to a new area. Double click the space in the timeline to enter a title, description, time parameters, importance of the event, etc. or by clicking the "New event/image" tab. Import flickr photos, Wikipedia events, and more by clicking on the "Import" tab. Click on the wrench icon in the upper right for even more tools. Be sure if sharing to click "edit" to edit the timeline and make sure the "Make timeline public" box is checked. This will allow the timeline to be shared with others.

tag(s): timelines (62)

In the Classroom

Browse through the already created timelines and find a timeline sequence of articles on a specific topic. Social studies and science classes can trace current events over time or follow the changes that occur on a topic such as the latest research on cures for cancer or global warming.

Create timelines for any type of class in determining events that were important to its study. For example, discoveries associated with our understanding of the cell, events that shaped our understanding of environmental problems, events that shaped the Industrial Revolution, World Wars, Religion, etc. (Wow! This could go on and on!) Share the timeline on a wiki, blog, or site. Use for presentations on a whiteboard in front of the class for a great way to pace and deliver a presentation. Create a timeline for the teacher to show and then provide time for students to zone in on various areas of the timeline to add more information or find other events in to add to it. reate a class timeline highlighting your class's yearly events, units, assignments, and more.

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Tagxedo - Hardy Leung

Grades
K to 12
14 Favorites 1  Comments
 
Want a word Cloud with Style? Create one here! A word cloud is an image of words that show the most frequent word in a larger font than the others. ...more
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Want a word Cloud with Style? Create one here! A word cloud is an image of words that show the most frequent word in a larger font than the others. Create a visual representation of a passage to pull out and identify important words or show the text in an interactive, visually appealing way. The resulting cloud pops out the words as you roll over them, so viewers can "see" each word separately. See a sample, created by the TF Edge review team. Explore the gallery for many inspiring examples, including some that use the customizable image shapes uploaded from your own computer (premium feature). Some features may change slightly after the beta phase, but developer Hardy Leung assures TeachersFirst users, "Even after beta you'll be able to save the animated version of the Tagxedo for free to your computer or to the web without the paid version. I may require a membership, though unlikely, but even then I'll make sure there is a free version for teachers and students."

Tagxedo requires Silverlight. The site will appear as a blank page with the "Install Silverlight Plugin" button if your computer does not have it installed. See your tech folks to allow download and installation of this plug-in if school computers do not have it and/or are "locked down."

tag(s): vocabulary (324), word choice (26), word clouds (10)

In the Classroom

NO membership required to create a cloud, though saving may require a (free) membership in the future, according to developer Hardy Leung. Click "Create" and then "Words." Paste URL to "cloud" words from a web page or copy/paste (or type) a passage of words into the given field. (Repeat words to make them larger). Experiment with various settings and "themes" to create the different colors and shapes of the word cloud. Change the theme, shape, direction, layout, and other parameters easily. Click SAVE to easily download a static image of various sizes or take a screenshot using shortcut keys. Saved images do not have the cool "pop-out" feature (rats!), though the developer tells TeachersFirst that users will be able to download animated versions in the future. You can also save and obtain the direct URL to your animated cloud. Be sure to bookmark it or copy/paste the URL for safe keeping in a document, wiki, etc. During beta, the tool allows you to save and copy embed code, but this feature will cost money later.

In the classroom: This is a terrific visual tool to share on an interactive whiteboard or projector. In primary grades. Enter a group of related words into the text box, such as sight words, words with the same spelling cluster, or vocabulary terms. Then have students roll over the words to read them aloud as they pop out (only works in the ONLINE version of the clouds). 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 word clouds 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 terms and important vocabulary, 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. Use themes and shapes that coordinate with the word cloud (for example, use a bird shape when creating a cloud about flight or a heart when interpreting a love poem. Consider using a word cloud as a first week of school activity where students discuss summer vacation or what they did over the summer. As a first day activity, students could also make a cloud with words about themselves, then have classmates guess which cloud matches which person.

For a free gift for special occasions, make word clouds about mom for Mother's Day or Thanksgiving "I am thankful" visual poems. Share them by emailing the URL or in printed form.

Comments

Very versatile, creates word clouds in specific shapes. Adds another dimension. Frances, CT, Grades: 6 - 8

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Evernote - Evernote

Grades
9 to 12
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Use this fantastic application for note-taking and idea collecting from ANY device. Think of Evernote as a ubiquitous set of notebooks ready for you to add and read from ANY ...more
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Use this fantastic application for note-taking and idea collecting from ANY device. Think of Evernote as a ubiquitous set of notebooks ready for you to add and read from ANY computer or web-connected device. Evernote is a device-agnostic tool, available on the web but also available for free as both an Android and iOS app. Use it from any device or move between several devices and still access your work. App and web versions vary slightly. Take snapshots of whiteboards, products, or whatever you like and upload them to Evernote. Search your uploads through the search function which will also search handwritten or printed text sections in photos and images. Sync everything through Evernote across all the platforms. Use Evernote to create notes and to-do lists and even clip entire Web pages. Use to manage passwords or even record audio. Everything added to Evernote is automatically synchronized across platforms and devices and made searchable. Evernote offers a free account as well as a premium paid version. If you use it a LOT, you may max out the free allotments for data, but try it to see! Our editors use it and have never hit the max. Categorize and organize information using tags, note titles, and notebooks. Keep track of several projects with the "Notebooks" feature. Use the web version or downloadable version of Evernote to share read-only notebooks with others. Download Evernote to add an extension to your browser to do web clipping with a click of a button. Click "New" to create a new document in your notebook. Use the search function at the top and even save searches for later use. Safety/security tip: If you have sensitive information (such as passwords, etc.) on your Evernote notebook but want to share other parts? Simply highlight and right click to choose "Encrypt Selected Text" to remove from the page to be shared.

tag(s): DAT device agnostic tool (199), images (266), organizational skills (122)

In the Classroom

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. Consider creating a class account that can be used by all students. Spell out the use of the site and what is allowed, not allowed, and the penalties. Even though all students have the same login, create different notebooks for different tasks that students can use to upload information that can be shared by all. Create separate notebooks for student groups who can then share their notebook with other groups. Use Evernote to snapshot and share links, documents, files, and pictures for any group project or class work. Whole class accounts can be used by a class scribe during class and accessed from home for review, etc. If your students are permitted individual accounts, they can collect notes in Evernote and share their research notebooks with you as evidence of completion of that phase of long term projects. Encourage creativity with your gifted students (or any students) by having them set up individual Evernote notebooks to use as "idea bins." Idea bins are a place to collect quotes, snippets of writing or poems they have started, questions and thoughts, artistic project ideas, images they like, or even voice memos to remember creative inspirations. It is important for students to know that idea bins (by whatever name) are an important part of the creative process, even for engineers!

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The Writer's Resource Directory - Carol Kluz

Grades
8 to 12
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Carol Kluz's site has hundreds of resources for writers that link pages to book reviews, writing workshops, tips, and more. Winner of the 2009 Writer's Digest 101 Best Websites for...more
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Carol Kluz's site has hundreds of resources for writers that link pages to book reviews, writing workshops, tips, and more. Winner of the 2009 Writer's Digest 101 Best Websites for Writers, The Writer's Resource Directory provides an organized place holder for many tried and true essentials, as well as other perks and frills like interviews with authors, their words of wisdom, writers' tools, and a clever thesaurus of phrases and sayings which includes definitions and origins. Please do not let a few broken links discourage you; most links do work, and they are real gems. Whether you're a novice or an expert, there is something valuable for every teacher, student, and writer on this site.

tag(s): literature (275), poetry (228), resources (112), writing (359)

In the Classroom

Take advantage of the numerous tips and tools to spark a new idea or expand one that you already have going on. Save this site in your favorites and use it as a massive compilation of resources while planning your entire English language arts lessons, not just writing. Use your whiteboard to show a "how-to" video or display information to enhance your lessons. Provide a direct link on your class page to any one of the sites that you choose to feature; perhaps a literary genre, book, or author that you are focusing on, or daily writing tips, grammar help, and guides for students to develop practical writing skills for reports, e-mail, letters, resumes, and more. Share students' writing projects interactively by having students create online books using a tool such as Bookemon, reviewed here.
 This resource requires Adobe Flash.

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Sentence Scrambler - altastic.com

Grades
1 to 10
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This sentence scrambler allows teachers to type or paste in as many sentences as they would like and scrambles the words at random. Any punctuation typed in remains attached to ...more
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This sentence scrambler allows teachers to type or paste in as many sentences as they would like and scrambles the words at random. Any punctuation typed in remains attached to the word it is next to. Students can then try to unscramble the sentences. Options include putting slashes or dashes between words to make them easier to distinguish. After typing/pasting the desired number of sentences, teachers should check the box marked "Add Numbers" in order to have the sentences separated and numbered. Sentences in Spanish can also be scrambled. Rearranging the words is not part of the interactive activity.

tag(s): grammar (216), inferencing (5), sentences (52), sight words (37)

In the Classroom

ESL and ELL students will find this activity useful for practicing correct English word order. Primary teachers can also use it to teach basic sight words, sequencing, and inferencing skills with short sentences. After typing/pasting in the sentences, copy the scrambled word box on an interactive whiteboard or projector and have students write or type the paragraph in the correct order.

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Cacoo - Nulab, Inc.

Grades
7 to 12
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Looking for an easy way to create diagrams? This free site is easy to use and allows collaboration in creation of drawings. View the overview video on the front page ...more
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Looking for an easy way to create diagrams? This free site is easy to use and allows collaboration in creation of drawings. View the overview video on the front page of this site to familiarize yourself with its functions.

tag(s): charts and graphs (195), drawing (78)

In the Classroom

Users must be willing to play with this great resource. Drag shapes from the stencil area. Use the Inspector to add text, change colors, change sizes, and rearrange among many other functions. Use the toolbars along the top to upload an image, add items such as lines, take a snapshot, as well as other snapshots (hover over these buttons to read what each item is.) Use the buttons in the upper right, to export as a PNG, save, or share your drawing. Use the Save URL to embed in a wiki, blog, or other site.

Though an email is required, it is not necessary to begin using this resource. The tool does not show which work is attributable to which student. You may want to require that students initial their contributions in order to get credit. If students are using as a group, you may want to spell out specific consequences for project "vandalism," depending on your students. You may allow students to self-register, but be sure to keep a written record of their passwords for when they "forget." It may be worth your time to do advanced registration for your younger students.

Use Cacoo much like other drawing and flowchart software. Use to take notes, create decision-making flowcharts, illustrate concepts, sketch a story/plot pattern, and more. Create classification diagrams on the type of animal being studied. Create dichotomous keys for identifying any kind of object or making a decision. Use to identify roles and responsibilities as pre-planning for a group project. Use as a storyboard as part of pre-production for a movie or podcast to be created by either individuals or a group. Ask students to share their storyboard or group responsibilities with you. Use as an alternative to a quiz by having students diagram a process such as oxidation or the steps from a bill to a law.

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Stone - Leonardo da Vinci's Resume - Marc Cenedella

Grades
10 to 12
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Are you looking for a novel way to inspire your students to write a resume, cover letter, or an application for college, a job, or internship? You will definitely seize ...more
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Are you looking for a novel way to inspire your students to write a resume, cover letter, or an application for college, a job, or internship? You will definitely seize their attention with this article, which includes and is based on Leonardo da Vinci's letter written in 1482 to the Duke of Milan, stating his capabilities and requesting to be considered for employment. Even 500 years later, this remarkable artist can teach us something about how to showcase our skills and qualifications to have potential employers and other competitive markets begging your students to choose them.

tag(s): college (43)

In the Classroom

Imagine projecting the museum image of Leonardo da Vinci's "resume" with its translation on your white board, to model for your class how one of the world's renowned geniuses might have earned his big break and got his foot in the door. Use it to identify how he "painted" his character traits and then, apply it as an inspiration for a unit on careers or business, or adapt the "resume" activity for classes studying famous and accomplished figures from history, including artists, musicians, writers, and political leaders. English classes would welcome this as a creative alternative to a book report or for a unique way to describe literary characters. Use a resume as a product for research on any famous person in a history or science class. As a new spin on current events or government, ask students to create a resume for any newsmaker. What would he/she promote as his/her greatest accomplishments?

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Text 2 Mind Map - Text2Mindmap.com

Grades
3 to 12
3 Favorites 1  Comments
Text 2 Mind Map is an online graphic organizer creator and it requires NO membership! An outline can be turned into a visual map that is easy to interpret and ...more
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Text 2 Mind Map is an online graphic organizer creator and it requires NO membership! An outline can be turned into a visual map that is easy to interpret and modify. The font, colors and line size can easily be changed using an online toolbox. Switching to full screen mode is with one click in the toolbox. Maps can be saved as .jpg files for use in other programs such as a word processor or presentation program. No sign up is required, and the program is free. However, pop-up blockers need to be turned off to save a map.

tag(s): brain (72)

In the Classroom

This is a great program to use with an interactive whiteboard and projector with entire class for brainstorming a topic or concept. Ideas can be manipulated and changed as fast as they can be shared. To save time, an outline that has been started and saved as a text file can be copied and pasted into a Text 2 Mind Map. The map can be color coded by branch or level to help organize information. After the map is complete, copy and past the outline in a word-processing program. Save the map as a jpg file. The map and the outline can be used by students as a guide for writing and further research. Text 2 Mind would be a great tool for use small groups to help students organize and manage a project.

Comments

Very easy to transform text (outline or list) into a mindmap. Great for visual learners. Frances, CT, Grades: 6 - 8

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StoryCorps - Dave Isay

Grades
4 to 12
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StoryCorps is a nonprofit site where Americans of all backgrounds and beliefs can record, share, and preserve the stories of their lives. It is one of the largest oral history ...more
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StoryCorps is a nonprofit site where Americans of all backgrounds and beliefs can record, share, and preserve the stories of their lives. It is one of the largest oral history projects of its kind. At the site you can download a "Do it Yourself Guide", find resources for teachers, and a list of great questions. You can subscribe to their podcast, e-newsletter, and blog, or you can upload your own story or that of a loved one or friend for free. Each conversation is recorded on a free CD to share, and is preserved at the American Folklife Center at the Library of Congress.

tag(s): questioning (31), writing (359)

In the Classroom

Grandparent's day is in September. What better gift to a grandparent than to be able to spend time with their grandchild and tell them a story about an important time in their lives? Of course, you'll want to prepare students with some interviewing skills and questions before they interview their grandparents, and show them how to record the interview with some type of recorder (tape recorder, cell phone, video camera, etc). This recording can then be submitted to StoryCorps and it will then reside at the American Folklife Center at the Library of Congress. Students can also interview parents about their first memories of school, and what they remember about the grade that the student is currently in. Share these interviews during the first week or month of the school year. Not only can these interviews be submitted to StoryCorp, but students could then do a write up of their interviews and publish them in a classroom book of memories. Have students create online books to share with the class about their interview. Use a tool such as Bookemon, reviewed here. Or have students narrate a photo of the person they interviewed using a site such as ThingLink, reviewed here.

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Ad Out - adout.org

Grades
K to 12
2 Favorites 0  Comments
 
Make any web site advertising free using the cool tool. Tired of directing kids back to the web site they should be using due to accidental clicks on ads? ...more
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Make any web site advertising free using the cool tool. Tired of directing kids back to the web site they should be using due to accidental clicks on ads? Use this free resource to make the page you are using ad free. Paste the web url into the field on this site to view your site in an ad free manner. To share the adfree resource, simply copy the new web address that is now ad free to share with your students. Note that some websites may be blocked by adfree. Check on your school computers to see if adfree is blocked or whether district filters already block ads. Missing ads show up as blank spaces on the pages.
This site includes advertising.

tag(s): advertising (33)

In the Classroom

Use this resource to use sites without ads to keep students on track and not be distracted by information that is not content Be sure to share this link on your class website for families to use at home..
 This resource requires Adobe Flash.

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TeachersFirst's Editors' Choices for Poetry Month - TeachersFirst

Grades
K to 12
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This collection of reviewed resources from TeachersFirst is selected by our editors from the hundreds of reviewed poetry resources and creative tools listed on TeachersFirst. Now April...more
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This collection of reviewed resources from TeachersFirst is selected by our editors from the hundreds of reviewed poetry resources and creative tools listed on TeachersFirst. Now April can be Poetry Month in any classroom. Even if you teach science or math, there is a place for poetry in your curriculum. Poetry is as brief and economical as a number sentence, but with feelings or messages between the words. Why not throw some poetry lines amid your chemical or algebraic equations to connect with verbal/linguistic learners and spark a new way of seeing any subject? Take time to plan a "poetry break" using these ideas from the TeachersFirst Editors.

tag(s): poetry (228)

In the Classroom

Make Poetry Month a participatory experience. Have students compose a limerick explaining a science term or historic figure. Have students collect a list of words from your current unit. Then offer extra credit for a poetic interpretation to be shared as a daily "poetry break" during April. Use one of the tools featured here to share poetic visions of biology, geometry, and more during April. Cover a classroom wall with white paper for "curriculum poetry" during April. Encourage students to share poetry graffiti (classroom appropriate, of course). For more poetic ideas check out the "In the classroom" suggestions included in each review.

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Phylotaxis - Seed Magazine

Grades
6 to 12
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As explained by the author/artist of this website, "phylotaxis" is the study of the ordered positions of leaves on a plant stem; scientists have discovered that these positions are...more
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As explained by the author/artist of this website, "phylotaxis" is the study of the ordered positions of leaves on a plant stem; scientists have discovered that these positions are not random, but governed by the Fibonacci Sequence. This website uses this word to describe the exploration of the space where science meets culture. Flash gives this site one of the most elegant visual impacts currently out there on the web. A collection of round icons is all gathered together in a flower-like structure. Each icon represents a news story about either science or culture. Use the slider bar to make the icons scatter in a more random (like culture) pattern or a more ordered (like science) arrangement. Click on "discover" to read any of the news stories; click on "agitate" to make your mouse disrupt the patterns and move the icons around. Load another arrangement for another date.

tag(s): news (261), writing (359), writing prompts (92)

In the Classroom

Aside from the pure "wow" factor of this site's appearance, projected on an interactive whiteboard or projector, it would serve as a good current events warm up for a social studies or science class. Additionally, its very configuration would spark an interesting science or culture discussion. Perhaps more beautiful than practical, it still deserves a place in your bag of tricks. Pull it out when you need something to spark discussion or wake up your class. Have students investigate a story of their choice and create an interactive online poster ("glog") using Glogster EDU, reviewed here. As a higher level thinking challenge, have students discuss the "why" connections behind these articles or use ideas from this site to spark an unusual essay or blogging assignment. Teachers of gifted will want to share this link on their class web page, for sure!
 This resource requires Adobe Flash.

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Stories Behind the Songs; Introduction - Jonathan Chase

Grades
8 to 12
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This site is part of the Musicians United for Songs in the Classroom, (M.U.S.I.C.), nonprofit website that promotes the educational use of songs by teachers in all subject areas. Here,...more
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This site is part of the Musicians United for Songs in the Classroom, (M.U.S.I.C.), nonprofit website that promotes the educational use of songs by teachers in all subject areas. Here, the use and study of songs extends beyond traditional general music classrooms. Lyrics are a timeless expression of the human experience that captures the history that shapes our people and culture. The creative process of analyzing and interpreting song lyrics helps students to develop critical thinking and media literacy skills. In each song entry you will find information including artists' commentary, discussion of corresponding songs, referenced and related works for study and comparison, music and lyric resources, and samples of classroom activities. Song lyrics are a powerful teaching tool that engage, excite and motivate young people. Some songs only include lyrics, while others include video an/or audio. All students can learn, but first you must get their attention. This resource is music to their ears.

tag(s): lyrics (20), poetry (228)

In the Classroom

Many students' favorite past time, when not texting or social networking, is listening to their iPods. Why not use that venue to hook them into understanding the 'music of poetry?" Stories Behind the Songs; Introduction includes the music, lyrics, song-based lessons, projects, and activities for many popular songs and ballads that express universal themes of poverty, hunger, discrimination, and hope. Students listen to the music and examine the origins and inspiration for contemporary lyrics. Popular songs can be used in a classroom setting to facilitate meaningful discussions on a particular theme or topic. Songs also create an emotional hook and may be used as a springboard to introduce poetry, literature, and historic documents. Students enter the Song Guide by clicking on the song's title to enjoy the full authentic cultural experience the music and lyrics offer. Follow up with asking students to write poems or short essays describing their feelings and impressions of the lyrics, or have them create new poetic verses and images to accompany the music. Challenge students to narrate an image using a tool such as ThingLink, reviewed here.
 This resource requires Adobe Flash.

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You Can Teach Writing - Linda Aragoni

Grades
7 to 12
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Here you will find writing advice for different genres, prompts, advice for teaching thesis statements and so much more; all presented with humor and a very strong voice. Are you ...more
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Here you will find writing advice for different genres, prompts, advice for teaching thesis statements and so much more; all presented with humor and a very strong voice. Are you a new teacher? Is your school pushing "writing across the curriculum"? Are you an English or writing teacher who just wants verification and some new ideas or prompts? If you answered yes to any of these you must visit Linda Aragoni's You Can Teach Writing site! Linda is a teacher, editor, and professional writer whose writing site started out as a book. Linda puts out a monthly newsletter with all sorts ideas you can use in the classroom. The last one had a link for a slide show about how new words are made and suggestions for how to use the slide show in the classroom.

tag(s): essays (21), expository writing (44), writing (359)

In the Classroom

This site is primarily for teacher use, but you will find yourself using what you learn here in your classroom, weekly, if not daily. This is definitely a site to save in your favorites. There are many ideas here.

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Writing Fix - Northern Nevada Writing Project Coordinators and Consultants

Grades
2 to 12
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Here's another thought-provoking site that creates writing prompts on the spot, categorized in some unique ways to address learning styles such as prompts for right-brained people,...more
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Here's another thought-provoking site that creates writing prompts on the spot, categorized in some unique ways to address learning styles such as prompts for right-brained people, for left-brained people, for kids, practice prompts for state exams, and many more topics. WritingFix has interactive lessons for building stronger writing skills in writers of any age, with the "kids" portion dedicated to the elementary/middle school student.You will also find lessons and links to resources to enhance your writing instruction. WritingFix is an ongoing professional development project. Your initial reaction to the page might be that it is very busy, but do not let that scare you off. Once you get started, you will find the organization quite easy to navigate.

tag(s): resources (112), writing (359), writing prompts (92)

In the Classroom

Use the writing prompts before, during and after reading to foster the reading/writing connection. There are abundant ideas ranging from simple responses and mini essays to constructed responses. The daily writing practice and student choice is a popular page for assigning daily or weekly prompts to your whole class or allowing your students to feel they have a choice in what they can write about, by giving them access to a set of class computers and letting them click the button until they find the prompt that fits them for the day. They can type their responses right on the interactive page, save or print, and come back to it to expand, revise, and edit later.

Another idea is to have students help you incorporate the site into the class. Because many of these prompts are individual, you can have students working on individual projects at once. If you have only one or two computers available, allow students to have (or earn) a 30 second "prompt finder" slot before a writing assignment in class or for homework. Put a timer by the computer. You may find they compete to see who can find the best ideas- FAST. Build a "favorite prompts" list in a document on the classroom desktop -- allowing each student to record (copy/paste?) the idea he/she generated and his/her name. This will give you yet another source for prompts--promptly!

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Animoto - Animoto Productions

Grades
8 to 12
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This animation tool will help create a slide show with pizzazz. Add personal sounds, videos, and other media to create the next level of slide show for your classes. This ...more
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This animation tool will help create a slide show with pizzazz. Add personal sounds, videos, and other media to create the next level of slide show for your classes. This tool is great for PC-based schools without access to other free video or multimedia creation software. Create 30 second videos including music choices from over 300 soundtracks. A typical thirty second video requires twelve images making this a reasonable choice for projects with middle and high school level students. This is a device-agnostic tool, available on the web but also available for free as both an Android and iOS app. Use it from any device or move between several devices and still access your work. App and web versions vary slightly.

tag(s): animation (63), DAT device agnostic tool (199), images (266), movies (65), photography (160), slides (63), video (254)

In the Classroom

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. Users need the basic understanding of how to upload pictures, videos, and other media, especially a user adding personalized content. Use stock images and media available through the site if you prefer. To create a show, simply click on the create button and follow the onscreen instructions. If adding personal images and video, the program allows searching through files. Add music from the site bank or from personal music sources (copyright-free, of course). Finalize the video with the last click and view your video. Share easily from the codes or export tools provided. Use Animoto to make commercials, science fair previews, and animated shorts in any content area. Have students make "advertisements" for an organism or a literary character. Make a travel commercial for a country being studied or for cultural sites in a world language class. Be sure to share the presentations on your projector or interactive whiteboard.

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Spruz - spruz.com

Grades
7 to 12
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Spruz is a tool for creating social networks. Though that may be a scary term to parents and a concept prohibited in your school, this site provides private spaces for ...more
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Spruz is a tool for creating social networks. Though that may be a scary term to parents and a concept prohibited in your school, this site provides private spaces for classroom use in K-12. Because of concerns over COPPA (federal legislation protecting children on the web), it is recommended for ages 13 and up. Users outside the U.S. do not need to worry about this law. There are related blog posts and debate about whether the law applies if you configure your site a certain way, but TeachersFirst cannot recommend circumventing the law.

Spruz provides an online space for forums (threaded discussions), blogs, "friends," groups, personal spaces for members, and more. As the administrator, you can control the actual set-up. Make your space private or set to public. Members still have to join to be part of the site. Assuming you can access the URL at school, this tool can provide a PRIVATE online space for your classes or teaching team as an electronic home for use in and out of school. This site touts that they have beefed up their business model in order to continue to offer free services.

tag(s): blogs (88), bookmarks (60), chat (51), forum (9), social networking (112)

In the Classroom

Before you start, make sure filtering on the school network will not block your specific URL. See some of the tips from the Edge team. Set up a network, including name, URL, and description. Be sure to choose Private to limit viewing of your network to those you INVITE to join. Drag your desired features to create your layout. You can always change it later. Make appearance choices. Click on the parts of the site you wish to create such as chat, forum, blog, links, bookmarks, files, etc. Be sure to check the box that requires approval from the account owner for members to join. Change profile questions and options available to members easily.

A class social network has limitless possibilities. Engage students in discussions on current events, independent reading, literature, and more. Create groups for students to work on projects and use the space as a forum to work out tasks, scheduling, and file sharing. Get creative and ask students to play the role of a historical figure on a social network across time: Ben Franklin networks with Harry Truman to argue about the atomic bomb. Use the site as a forum for any simulated or real task. Invite parents to join to give their points of view on upcoming elections or public policy issues. Include the principal or superintendent in your class discussions of students' rights as you study the Constitution. Your students themselves will suggest ways to use this all-too-familiar tool from their world. Imagine the "profiles" they could create as characters from fiction or inventors from history! Create incredible discussions of environmental, political, or economic issues. Inviting members from another school or community provides incredible perspective into a variety of different beliefs and values. Definitely plan to model and use this tool in lessons about Internet safety and the "lasting" nature of one's Internet presence. Social networking is part of life today, and the opportunity to learn about it in a private space is important for today's students.

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Vocabulary Videos and Flashcards for SAT, ACT, and GRE Prep - The VocabAhead Team

Grades
8 to 12
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This online tool features videos and flashcards with definitions and loads of examples of over 1100 words that frequently appear on the SAT, ACT, and GRE. Make it fun and ...more
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This online tool features videos and flashcards with definitions and loads of examples of over 1100 words that frequently appear on the SAT, ACT, and GRE. Make it fun and interactive to learn new words by bringing a fresh perspective to vocabulary instruction and study. Sometimes the mere mention of vocabulary is enough for students to turn a deaf ear, yet the VocabAhead site can put a whole new spin on it. Teachers and students can access the study room where you can view the videos, flashcards, wordlists, complete multiple-choice quizzes, or join the free membership to create your own wordlists where students may study assigned words and make their own videos, or to regularly receive emails for the word-of-the day video. You may do nearly everything without registering; however, joining the free membership provides plenty of extra perks. You can create your own personalized lists and focus only on words you need to work on. It does require an email address, so check your school's technology policy before allowing students to join. Create a free Gmail account to use for memberships. If you plan to have students register individually, you may want to create your own Gmail account with up to 20 subaccounts for each group of students (by code name or number) within your classes. Here is a blog post that tells how to set up GMail subaccounts to use for any online membership service.

tag(s): vocabulary (324)

In the Classroom

Change the way students learn and study vocabulary by giving it to them the way they want it with interactive videos, flashcards, and self assessment quizzes. Demonstrate with the whole class on the interactive whiteboard or projector and use it that way periodically whenever you have a few teachable moments to fill. Embed it on your class web page for students to access frequently. You may do all of this without registering; however, joining the free membership provides plenty of extra perks. Challenge students to create some of their own vocabulary interactives using a site to narrate a photo, such as ThingLink, reviewed here.
 This resource requires Adobe Flash.

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Using Videoconferencing to Support the Use of Quality Texts - Mark Warner

Grades
3 to 12
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This site has some very clever ideas for using videoconferencing to help students delve deeper into quality texts, or extend their knowledge of a topic of study. As the creator ...more
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This site has some very clever ideas for using videoconferencing to help students delve deeper into quality texts, or extend their knowledge of a topic of study. As the creator of this site says, "Some of the ideas shown could easily be used as drama activities but there are some which would be improved by bringing in an outside helper using videoconference." Another very special aspect of this site is the book titles used, and the variety of age groups represented. This is a must see site!

tag(s): authors (120)

In the Classroom

One of the ideas presented is the "Interview." Use your interactive whiteboard for students to create questions to ask the author or an expert about the book or the subject of the book. Video the interview, or save the video conference, and have students reflect on the quality of the questions once the students have had the opportunity to illicit answers to their questions. Use your interactive whiteboard to have students brainstorm what they would do differently next time as far as developing good questions.
 This resource requires PDF reader software like Adobe Acrobat.

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