Grades3 to 12
Be aware: at the time of this review, the Play Now button was not working. To play, simply click on the picture of Punctuation Island.
tag(s): punctuation (43)
In the ClassroomTry this activity as a class on your interactive whiteboard or projector. Print out sentences for students to complete, then check together on the interactive whiteboard. Use as review before a quiz on semicolons. Share this link on your class website for students to use both in and out of class.
Grades4 to 12
In the ClassroomFamiliarize yourself with the specifics of YoLink by viewing the information on the front page.
Be sure to teach copyright (for material instantly copied to a Google doc) and how to use good keywords to search when using this tool. Students may find comparing results of YoLink with those of Google, Wolfram Alpha, Yahoo, and other popular search engines very productive. Compare the findings on an interactive whiteboard or projector to discuss not only the usefulness of the search results but also how different words in the search query can bring different results.
Use this site as you discuss how to search and use materials on the web. Practice showing different searches and aspects of the searches that are useful. Challenge students to use these sites for individual research projects. Use YoLink to find specific information about a curriculum topic and use the search results to begin discussion of the concepts.
GradesK to 12
tag(s): twitter (50)
In the ClassroomKeep track of trending topics for your students or for yourself. Keep up to date professionally by following several education hashtags such as #edchat. Links posted using the hashtag appear in your "newspaper" and can be viewed at any time. Share your daily newspaper with others by clicking on "Promote it" or "Share." You do not need to ever send a "tweet" to read and learn.Teachers at any level can see what their teaching peers have to say. Secondary teachers can share the latest on a political topic, disaster, or other hot news story by creating a "newspaper" about it for students to investigate. You can even "embed" the newspaper on your class web page or wiki.
Grades6 to 12
Although this site is originally intended for McDougall Littell, Houghton Mifflin Harcourt book users, many of the various publishers include the same state recommended core works in their anthologies. Many of the teacher and student tools are only accessible to McDougall Littell/ Houghton/Mifflin Harcourt users; however there is an abundance of materials that do not require a log in. It is worth exploring!
In the ClassroomUse this site as an extension to your repertoire of literary works, including background information on authors, discussion starters, a variety of graphic organizers custom-tailored for different literary genres, or for motivational ideas. The available resources are flexible enough to use as a teacher-driven tool projected on the classroom whiteboard, or made available on your teacher web page for students to click on the questions they want to ask and get answers from the experts. This is especially valuable for remediation and review. Use the Language Network for grammar, usage and mechanics, writing workshops, practice SAT, ACT English, ACT Reading tests and more. Share this link on your class website for students to access at home.
Grades4 to 12
In the ClassroomUse this website as a resource to supplement your grammar lessons and as another approach to those "foreign" grammar terms, like clauses and phrases that students find difficult to wrap their heads around. Some of the activities are even appropriate for the upper elementary grades. Make a shortcut to an activity on your classroom computer by RIGHT-clicking in the middle of the page and choosing the option to Create shortcut, to give yourself a quick, easy way to open an introduction or review of the grammar you expect students to be familiar with, and project it on your interactive whiteboard or projector. Why not provide this link on your class website for students to access at home?
Grades7 to 12
In the ClassroomUsers must be able to find, upload, and edit images to this site. Users must also have an understanding of downloading final images or using links and embed codes for sharing. No email is required, but deleting photos is possible only with an account.
GradesK to 12
In the ClassroomBookmark this site in your favorites for when you are planning objectives and learning activities, searching for materials, or looking for fresh, reliable ideas. No matter where you are on the career ladder, this site provides a storehouse of quality digital content from early childhood through senior year and beyond, which you can embed and blend into your existing program, use to support learning across the curriculum, download, print, project on your interactive whiteboard or projector, or have students use individually or collaboratively on individual computers.
Grades2 to 12
In the ClassroomHave the students prepare a quick online presentation of their findings, results, summaries etc. Have each student or each group prepare one or two quiz questions to share with the entire class. Be sure help your weaker readers and ESL students by sharing the vocabulary words prior to reading, either on a handout or by projecting on an interactive whiteboard (or projector) and highlighting them in the text as you come to them. Balance your group selection by ensuring each group has strong and weaker students, girls and boys, students from different ethnic groups or nationalities, etc. Use this activity also as a way to review before tests. Have students present their findings in a multimedia presentation. Why not have students create an online book using a tool such as Bookemon, reviewed here.
GradesK to 12
tag(s): skype (12)
In the ClassroomBe sure to check school policies and obtain parent permission before using Skype in the classroom. Discuss appropriate and inappropriate behavior and the consequences. Anything you can do by telephone or video call you can do on a projector with your entire class. Connect the Skyping computer to a projector or whiteboard for the entire class to see if you are using video. (The video will be fuzzy, but good enough to follow a person's face.) Use Skype to talk to authors (check out their web sites.) Have students write questions in advance. Use your contacts, web page "contact us" emails, and parent contacts to find others willing to Skype into your classroom. Interview scientists or government officials, deployed military personnel, or classes far away in a different culture or language. Younger students can compare weather, family life, community events, and more. Learn other ideas for using Skype in your classroom
GradesK to 12
tag(s): skype (12)
In the ClassroomFamiliarize yourself with Skype and how to use the tool. Be sure to read information on this site and the review of Skype mentioned above. Add your name to the list of teachers who are willing to Skype into classrooms. Be sure to check your district policy on using this tool with your students. be sure to seek parent permission as well. Connect with the teacher to discuss objectives of the Skype visits. Be sure students understand what is considered acceptable and unacceptable use of this tool and reinforce consequences.
Possible Uses: Anything you can do by telephone or video call you can do on a projector with your entire class. Connect the Skyping computer to a projector or interactive whiteboard for the entire class to see if you are using video. (The video will be fuzzy, but good enough to follow a person's face.) Use Skype to talk to authors. Have students write questions in advance. Use your contacts, web page "contact us" emails, and parent contacts to find others willing to Skype into your classroom. Interview scientists or government officials, deployed military personnel, or classes far away in a different culture or language. Younger students can compare weather, family life, community events, and more. Learn other ideas for using Skype in your classroom at this site.
GradesK to 12
tag(s): writing (361)
In the ClassroomAdopt this idea in your professional life as you correspond with parents (or suggest it to your administrator). Try adopting Five Sentences as your New Year's resolution. Though students today rarely USE email, share emails with them -- and the Five Sentences limit -- as writing prompts for a five sentence response to teach concise, purposeful writing and 'netiquette. (Note that this review, not including this aside, is 5 sentences!)
Grades3 to 12
In the ClassroomUse the activities and resources on this site to help students connect global and individual events, and realize that a positive attitude is possible despite terrible misfortune. Use the online resources to help you select the topics, activities, and articles that center around the themes you want to emphasize as a preview or follow up to reading The Diary of Anne Frank. Let the students collect and save their information on a class set of computers, (groups of three students work well.) Work toward one or several of the suggested final products, such as creating a wall poster, collage, or mosaic by using one of the online tools reviewed by TeachersFirst. Have students create an interactive online poster ("glog") using Glogster EDU, reviewed here. Challenge students to use Mosaic Maker reviewed here. You might want to start by having students brainstorm a list of past or present acts of discrimination of which they are aware. Develop their brainstorming list on an interactive whiteboard or projector using bubbl.us, reviewed here, and ask students to think about and associate feelings of the victims of these acts. How might those feelings look in graphic form? Have each student or groups of students choose one example from the list, along with a few words about the feelings that accompany the acts of discrimination, and select online images that reflect those emotions. When students express their feelings onto visual media, it helps them relate to what Anne did by writing in her diary. For more adventurous technology users, all individual or group work can be merged to create an online scrapbook that can be shared with the entire class and families, using Smilebox (reviewed here).
Grades6 to 12
In the ClassroomUsers must be able to determine the question and possible responses to generate the poll online. Practice creating your first poll even before creating a login. Enter the suggested question and possible responses to see how the codes are generated and displayed. Respondents text the code word to a specific number displayed on the screen. Be sure to check out the easy to use controls along the side of the screen.
Ask a question. Voters choose from the responses and use the SMS code with their mobile phone to send their vote. Cast a vote also using Twitter or on the Internet. Click the gear icon next to the poll to change the size and color of various aspects of the poll. Use the panel along the side to view either a static or live chart, summary table, or response history. Be sure to click on the tab "Ways People Can Respond" to check not only SMS but other methods as well: Web Voting, Twitter, and Smartphone. Twitter uses @poll followed by a keyword to tabulate responses. Use the "Download as Slide" tab to choose the type of slide you would like to create. "Share and Publish" using Posterous, Twitter, or Blog/web page.
This tool does not show the individual votes of students. Though this tool can be used by students, it may be best used by a teacher.
Use this site on a projector or interactive whiteboard to discuss and informally assess prior knowledge as you start your study by asking questions about the material. Discuss in groups why those in class would choose a particular answer to uncover misconceptions. Use for Daily quiz questions to gain knowledge of student understanding and a means of formative assessment.
GradesK to 12
In the ClassroomAllow students to choose and use activities to enhance and improve their learning of classroom material. Here are a couple of examples of Whiteboard tools: Whiteboard quiz generator and Whiteboard quiz generator 2 team. Be sure to use resources where students are manipulating the interactives and using the resources for their learning. These resources are best used when they are student centered (student chosen and student run) instead of an activity the teacher performs for the class.
GradesK to 12
In the ClassroomUse this site in ways to maximize student involvement. For example, assign the creation of quiz questions for units and chapters to the students. Use these questions for quizzing of the entire class. Reinvent your role in this process by not being the reader of the question. Instead, take the role of the judge panel needed to arbitrate when judgement calls are required. Provide the top student who has earned the right to skip quizzing to be the emcee. This job can also be rotated among all students (the role of the emcee could also be to explain why answers are right or wrong.) Be sure to have students reflect on correct and incorrect answers to identify misconceptions and correct knowledge.
This will be great to use in the classroom prior to taking a quiz or test.Veronica, NC, Grades: 5 - 12
Grades4 to 12
In the ClassroomUse as an enhancement to research projects of family, historic events, and world cultures by finding and uploading pictures to the map. Use Historypin as a resource to compare and contrast different time periods in the same geographic area. Demonstrate on the interactive whiteboard or projector how different places have changed over time. Have individual students or cooperative learning groups create podcasts using PodOmatic (reviewed here) to go along with the maps. ESL students will appreciate the ability to upload pictures and/or learn about their country of original.
GradesK to 12
In the ClassroomExpose your students to different levels of the learning spiral by challenging them to use problem-solving skills for increasingly difficult obstacles. Students can work in small groups to foster cooperation and teamwork as they sort, graph, follow and give directions, and discuss ideas. Of course you will need some LEGOs, so you might try raiding your own children's toy boxes, include a request in your classroom newsletter for donations, look around for LEGO kits collecting dust on classroom shelves, or put it on your school's PTA wish list. Be sure to have cooperative learning groups video their activities to share with the rest of the class using a site such as SchoolTube (reviewed here).
GradesK to 12
In the ClassroomBring teaching and learning to new heights by using this service as a great form of professional development. At conferences, use Twitter as a backchannel to expand upon thoughts and ideas during presentations and after. Have a question to ask others' opinion about? Throw it out to Twitter to see the great perspectives given by those who follow you. Start out slowly and look at conversations that catch your eye. Follow people with experience in your areas of interest to gain from the conversations. Start off by following @teachersfirst or @cshively (our leader).
Learn about hashtags -- ways to mark, search, and follow conversations on a specific topic. For example, the #ntchat tag is for new and pre-service teachers and the #edchat hashtag is for all teachers. Participate in these chats which are scheduled at certain days and times or search for their tweets anytime. Find archived tweets from these chats to learn from some wonderful and motivated teachers when it is convenient for YOU. Use other Twitter applications to search or collect specific hashtags.
As a teaching tool, Twitter is amazing! If your school permits access, have a class account to share what you are doing with parents and especially for your class to follow people in topics you study. Studying space? Follow NASA. Studying politics and government? Follow your congressional rep or the White House. Consider using your teacher or class account to send updates to other teachers across the country or across the globe. You can also teach about responsible digital citizenship by modeling and practicing it as a class. A whole-class, teacher account is the most likely way to gain permission to use Twitter in school, especially if you can demonstrate specific projects. That can be as simple as making sure you and that teacher are FOLLOWING each other, then sending a direct message (start the tweet with D and the other teacher's twitter name) or creating a group with your own hashtag for a project such as daily weather updates. Even if you are not "following" someone, you can send them a tweet using @theirtwittername in the body of the message. This is called a "mention" but can be seen by others, too. Compare what your class is observing in today's weather, which topics you will be discussing today, or ask for another class' opinions on a current events issue. Ask for updates about local concerns, such as talking to California schools about wildfires in their area or a Maine school about a blizzard. Challenge another class to tweet the feelings of a literacy character, such as Hamlet, and respond as Ophelia, all in 140 characters or less. Have gifted students? Connect your classroom with the outside world to find greater challenges and connections beyond your regular curriculum.
Learn much more about teaching ideas and tools for Twitter in the many resources listed on TeachersFirst Twitter for Teachers page.
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)