Grades4 to 12
In the ClassroomThe use of spy letters shows students a different perspective of the Revolutionary War. Have your students use the information about the spies and write a biography. Add a little mystery to your classroom and have students write spy letters from the perspective of people on each side of the war. Have students use the images and information from the site and create a poster using Glogster reviewed here. Post the letters on an interactive whiteboard or projector and use the letters in an English class to discuss letter writing, grammar, and sentence structure. The whiteboard tools can be used to highlight and annotate. Several more examples of fun activities including writing with disappearing ink can be found in the Teacher's Lounge.
GradesK to 12
In the ClassroomSave this site in your favorites and use it to select samples of students' writing that represent various performance levels. Use your classroom projector and interactive whiteboard to display some of the samples to show your students a solid idea of what is expected from them to write an outstanding paper. Pair this with one of the many scoring rubrics to choose from, including your state scoring guidelines. This will provide excellent preparation for all grade level state assessments, college entrance essays, SAT writing or just some of your own classroom writing assignments. Some of the more familiar links that you may access right from this page, such as Bakersfield Writing Prompts and Scoring Guides (reviewed here), and the 6+1 Writing Traits (reviewed here).
GradesK to 12
tag(s): assessment (100)
In the ClassroomUse this site to search for rubrics for any type of assignment or classroom use. Material isn't limited to academic use, it also includes attendance, homework, and other types of rubrics.
Grades4 to 12
In the ClassroomYou will want to preview the categories and levels your students are to explore. Investigate categories with your students, using your interactive whiteboard or projector. Then have small groups of students choose a subcategory to further explore. Have your students create an interactive online poster ("glog") using Glogster EDU, reviewed here to share what they learn.
Grades5 to 12
In the ClassroomThis site has a source code you can embed on your own wiki or website. In class you can use your interactive whiteboard or projector to show students conjugation.com and have them suggest verbs to be entered and conjugated. They will also learn the names of the verb forms and tenses. Have the ESL and ELL students in your class use this site to check their writing. Underline the verbs in their writing that are not conjugated correctly and let them make the corrections using conjugation.com.
Grades5 to 8
In the ClassroomIntroduce this site on your interactive whiteboard or projector. Then have students explore this site independently or in small groups. Following the format of Radley's blog, present to the class one of the challenges from Radley's blog, then have students work in small groups to analyze the challenge and come up with a solution. When groups are finished do a comparison between the SMC's solution and the students solution. To practice letter writing have students use the "Ask Warren" section and email him a financial question they may have. Use the existing Q&A's that are there for examples. Have students use the interactives during free time or as a reward if they finish their work early.
Grades6 to 12
In the ClassroomIntroduce any of the authors biographies before reading a literary work or studying that famous leader or scientist. You could have the students go through the tabs and take notes on interesting facts, trivia, etc. Then have a class game where all students stand and the first student reads a fact from their notes and crosses it out. All other students have to cross that fact out, too. Then the next person states a different fact and every one else has to cross the fact out. Proceed in this manner until there is only one (or however many you want) students left standing. They are the winners. Another idea: Have your students create an interactive online poster ("glog") about an individual using Glogster EDU, reviewed here.
Grades6 to 12
tag(s): shakespeare (131)
In the ClassroomIntroduce Shakespeare before reading any of his works by having the students do a jigsaw. Have students number off in groups of four. Three of the students should investigate two tabs each (exclude Citations and Opinions). One student should look only at "Best of the Web" since it is rather extensive. Have students get in their expert groups based on the tab(s) they will read and jot down notes. Once everyone has completed the work have them report out to their original group what they found that was important or interesting. Have groups create multimedia presentations to share with the class. Have your students create an interactive online poster ("glog") using Glogster EDU, reviewed here. Another idea, have students create podcasts using a site such as PodOmatic (reviewed here). Challenge students to narrate a picture of Shakespeare using a tool such as ThingLink, reviewed here.
Grades2 to 12
In the ClassroomCheck with administrators to be sure policy allows for students to create their own web pages attached to this site, to participate in chats with other students and teachers, and to be a member of a conversation forum. You should also obtain written parent permission. To fully register with the site you need a valid email address. Tip: rather than using your personal or work email, 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 Here is a blog post that tells how to set up GMail subaccounts to use for any online membership service. If you have a number of ESL/ELL students, make a shortcut to this site on classroom computers or share it on your class web page to use it as a center. This site's activities would work well for individual or pairs of students in a lab or on laptops.
Grades6 to 12
In the ClassroomStudents can use this cover to hold a music CD or DVD movie that relates to a literary work, but there are a lot of other great extensions you can implement as a means to assess critical thinking skills, especially when it comes to synthesizing and assimilating concepts. Rather than assigning a book review, literary essay, or standard research paper, adventurous technology users could burn a CD of PowerPoint slides or use the CD cover to hold a DVD slideshow of narrated photographs. Slightly less adventurous technology users could use it to house a written assignment related to plot, theme, or character study, or to illustrate a poem or narrative. Big Huge Labs offers other similar tools, such as Magazine Cover Maker reviewed here and Mosaic Maker reviewed here, which could be used in conjunction with the CD Cover Maker to make your projects even more amazing. Check out the Big Huge Labs educator account. Easily pre-register students to avoid creating logins, view and download their creations, and view the site advertisement free. You will find information about the Educator Account here.
Grades6 to 12
In the ClassroomFor security and safety, be sure to instruct students about copyright laws regarding the use of photos from the World Wide Web, and follow your school's internet security policies for use of social networking sites, such as Facebook and Flickr albums that are available from this web page. Students can use this tool to organize photos and images for numerous creative photo projects, such as report covers, to illustrate their interpretation of a theme, to analyze a character's traits, or to visually represent a topic or concept. For adventurous technology users, try pairing the Mosaic Maker together with another one of Big Huge Labs free photo projects, such as The CD Cover Maker reviewed here for designing an amazing way to "package" a book report, research project, or other assignment. In lower grades, use mosaic maker for teacher-made collages of words that start with a certain letter or of animal classifications and hang them on bulletin boards for students to guess. Check out the Big Huge Labs educator account. Easily pre-register students to avoid creating logins, view and download their creations, and view the site advertisement free. You will find information about the Educator Account here.
Grades3 to 12
In the ClassroomUse these resources together with your class to help students find ways they can contribute to a greater good after such a devastating event spreads across the news. Extend the opportunity to teach about persuasive writing (letters to legislators or the editor), careers in environmental science, and more.
GradesK to 12
This site includes advertising.
In the ClassroomUse Mixbook to create collaborative projects, yearbooks, or to give writers workshop publishing a professional flare. History teachers may enjoy letting students photograph a re-enactment of a scene from the past and then write accompanying text. Combine yearly research reports with this multimedia option. Have students create collaborative projects that access fantastic photography collections from sites such as the Library of Congress . Primary school teachers can photograph student illustrations of familiar songs, poems, or rhymes and create "class" books. Project these books onto an interactive whiteboard or projector and revolutionize shared reading. Create parent education books that communicate how to help with their student's reading at home, or explain the stages of project-based learning. Students can also author books in a foreign language. Mixbook is useful for all areas of the school curriculum. Remember to embed student books into the school website for family and friends at home to enjoy.
Parent permission advised before posting student work created using this tool
Includes Interaction w general public/ public galleries with unmoderated content
Includes social features, such as "friends," comments, ratings by others
Requires registration/log-in (WITH email)
Premium version (not free) includes additional features or storage
Products can be embedded
Products can be shared by URL
Multiple users can collaborate on the same project
GradesK to 12
Visit this website to find out exactly what the national K-12 standards are for English language arts and literacy in history/social studies, science and technology, as well as mathematics, and to find out if your state is one many states (at the time of this review) that have already committed to adopt the Common Core State Standards. Watch videos and the recorded webinar, and read about the key points and rigorous curriculum standards, including the content and skills related to the use of media and technology for critical analysis and production.
tag(s): commoncore (94)
In the ClassroomTake a look at exemplars and sample performance tasks and students' writing to consider how you can integrate these ideas into your own planning to prepare students for the growing challenges of today's world. You can also sign up to receive updates via email. For more information about the Common Core and implementing it in your classes, see TeachersFirst's Common Core: The Fuss Over Non-Fiction, a Q/A article for elementary teachers, and TeachersFirst's resources tagged Common Core for many helpful sites.
GradesK to 12
In the ClassroomUse these award winning ideas to commemorate September 11 in a lesson to demonstrate unity or build worldwide understanding. Use the concepts as a springboard to a collaborative project. Ideas vary from sending chains of origami cranes as a wish for peace, composing and singing a song for unity with an online tool such as Woices (beta) reviewed here), writing letters to local politicians, creating poems and transforming them into digital videos or multimedia presentations using ThingLink, reviewed here, or taking responsibility for the environment while creating a sense of community by planting gardens. Choose from many ways to inspire students to recognize the importance of September 11 and to involve them in working together to become a more tolerant society. You might be so amazed with the results that you will want to submit your students' projects to be considered for next year's Tribute Center September 11th Teacher Awards. The annual award ceremony takes place on February 26, to commemorate the 1993 first attack on the World Trade Center.
Grades7 to 12
In the ClassroomDisplay the photograph of the September 11th attack on the World Trade Center on your projector or interactive whiteboard. Create a wiki of questions students might have (or want to ask) survivors or those who lost loved ones on that fateful day. Perhaps have them respond to each other's questions with what they believe the responses might be. Not comfortable with wikis? Have no wiki worries - check out the TeachersFirst's Wiki Walk-Through .
Grades4 to 12
In the ClassroomDisplay this pictorial interactive September 11th timeline of the attack on the World Trade Center on your classroom projector or interactive whiteboard. After reading real accounts of what happened, have students work with a partner to create podcasts (news broadcasts, mock interviews with survivors and others involved, or even a student perspective of how that day changed the United States forever). Have students create podcasts using a site such as PodOmatic (reviewed here). Alternatively, have them narrate an image using ThingLink, reviewed here.
Grades7 to 12
In the ClassroomProvide this link as a resource to your students. Allow them the opportunity to learn techniques to move and manage their online information. Consider putting this link on your class website for students (and parents) to access at home.
GradesK to 12
tag(s): word choice (26)
In the ClassroomThis would be a great way to have your older students study word choice! Start by going to the "Writing Fix For Kids" (reviewed here) and look at the left column index to find "Six Traits" click on "Word Choice." At this site you will find several recommendations for picture books and chapter books to use with your students so they can analyze good word choice. Read a few of these, and ask the students to point out the descriptive writing that stands out for them. Then use a wordless picture book and have your students write a short story for an 8 to 11 year old that doesn't rely on the illustrations. From there your students can write their own short story, and have an 8 to 11 year old student read it while being video taped. You might consider pairing up with a local elementary or middle school teacher to have one of their students do the reading.
For younger students, use your projector or interactive whiteboard and project the student reader full screen. It would be like having a visitor come to your classroom at story time!