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Speak Up - Cartoon Network

Grades
2 to 8
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"Speak Up" is a straightforward cartoon-creator site meant to teach the importance of character, setting, problem, and solution. The site provides possible characters, settings, and...more
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"Speak Up" is a straightforward cartoon-creator site meant to teach the importance of character, setting, problem, and solution. The site provides possible characters, settings, and conflicts from which students can choose. Creating cartoons is an effective way to teach students how to write stories with a clear storyline and structure. The story problem section allows students to write in their own scenarios. Students are responsible for creating the solution to the story problem themselves. Each cartoon strip contains six boxes, allows two characters per page, and speaking bubbles as well as narrative box across the bottom of the page.

tag(s): bullying (52), comics and cartoons (74), creative writing (166), digital storytelling (145), problem solving (272)

In the Classroom

Use "Speak Up" as part of a mini-lesson about problem and solution or dialogue. Have students create their own cartoons as part of a craft lesson. Print out the cartoon and students can use it as an outline to help them write narrative text or plays. Demonstrate how to combine narration with dialogue in one text from this cartoon outline.

Use scenarios of social conflicts your class may be facing or are currently discussing in character education. For example, use bullying or peer pressure issues. Pair up classmates to re-tell a conflict similar to those students face during recess, in class, or from home. Together they can discuss ways to solve these conflicts. Use the results to open up dialogue about student issues and as a tool to brainstorm constructive ways to solve them.

World language teachers or ESL/ELL teachers can also use this tool for students to practice written dialog and appropriate social interaction.
 This resource requires Adobe Flash.

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Roy Tale of a Singing Zebra - Tim Bowerbank

Grades
K to 4
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This site offers interactive stories and reading activities for free. Colorful graphics interest "emerging readers." The songs and reading support materials provide reinforcement of...more
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This site offers interactive stories and reading activities for free. Colorful graphics interest "emerging readers." The songs and reading support materials provide reinforcement of the reading skills being learned. Each story comes with pre-reading and post-reading questions and other word attack and grammar activities. Word games are fun and introduce early reading techniques such as alphabetization and phonetics. Since the site is Australian made, some of the worksheets use British names for grammar components, such as full stop for period. Since the text of the stories appears before the stories, this site would work well with ESL students too.

tag(s): guided reading (47), literacy (103), sight words (37), spelling (168)

In the Classroom

This site is ideal for an interactive whiteboard or projector. Have the students open the site and use the whiteboard tools to enjoy the story and its follow up activities. Share this link on your class website for students to access both in and out of the classroom.
 This resource requires Adobe Flash.

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The Kids Should See This - Rion Nakaya

Grades
K to 8
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This site offers media (found on YouTube, Vimeo, and Flickr) on a broad spectrum of topics, not created for kids but appropriate and interesting for children 3 years old and ...more
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This site offers media (found on YouTube, Vimeo, and Flickr) on a broad spectrum of topics, not created for kids but appropriate and interesting for children 3 years old and up. Media isn't divided into categories. The newest items appear first. However, you can search the site by keyword. Information ranges from animal stories of a dog without legs to video of Ella Fitzgerald scatting. Obviously, this site is updated frequently, so contents will change. Students and adults alike will love browsing for interesting stories and information.

tag(s): news (261), speaking (24), video (254), writing prompts (92)

In the Classroom

Check first to be sure the media are not blocked by school web filtering. Choose one item from the site to share on your interactive whiteboard or projector as a class discussion starter on current topics or as a lead-in to a lesson. (Example: show the YouTube video about order of the planets when beginning an astronomy unit). Share the site with students and let them explore to find interesting topics for research reports. Ask students to choose one item from the site to share with other students as a way to practice oral presentation skills. Use videos or images as writing prompts or blog prompts. ESL/ELL students can practice their language skills by retelling a favorite video. Challenge your students to create their own informative videos on a topic that your class is exploring. Share the videos using a site such as TeacherTube reviewed here.

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LITCHARTS - Get Lit - LitCharts

Grades
6 to 12
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LitCharts is an online site similar to the familiar Cliffs Notes but with their own spin. Charts are available for literary classics such as Romeo and Juliet, Lord of the ...more
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LitCharts is an online site similar to the familiar Cliffs Notes but with their own spin. Charts are available for literary classics such as Romeo and Juliet, Lord of the Flies, Jane Eyre, and several more. Charts can be viewed online, downloaded in a PDF file, or accessed through an iPhone app (apps are 99 cents each). Each chart offers a side by side summary and analysis of story events making events easier to follow and understand than typical summaries. In addition, they include a color coded theme tracker to help follow themes throughout the book. Each LitChart is 10 pages or less, making them concise and easy to use.
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tag(s): literature (275), summarizing (13)

In the Classroom

LitCharts is a great resource to use with ESL/ELL and intervention students to reinforce concepts in texts provided. It is also helpful for students who lack experience with challenging literary classic. Share a LitChart with your class when reading one of the books on the site then have students create their own LitChart for the next book or to improve on the ones offered here. Provide a link to LitCharts to students to use as a study resource for end of novel assessments. Hint: make sure any assessments you use ask questions that go beyond what these charts offer, or students will not even try to read the actual texts! An intriguing challenge would be to ask them what else they would include in a study guide for the work.
 This resource requires PDF reader software like Adobe Acrobat.

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Paper Rater - paperrater.com

Grades
6 to 12
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At Paper Rater you can check your grammar, detect plagiarism, and find writing suggestions all at one place. Use this site for sixth grade writing and above. With the free ...more
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At Paper Rater you can check your grammar, detect plagiarism, and find writing suggestions all at one place. Use this site for sixth grade writing and above. With the free version you are able to check for plagiarism, grammar, vocabulary, word choice and style (transitions). No login is required. PaperRater offers a premium version for a fee.

tag(s): book reports (36), editing (61), essays (21), grammar (216), plagiarism (35), proofreading (19), writing (359)

In the Classroom

Users must be able to find their document and copy and paste into the correct fields. Follow the easy directions to determine grammar errors and create a better document. Use without a login or sign up.

Have students use Paper Rater to check their rough drafts. Have students work in pairs, as a peer review, to help each other improve their papers using the suggestions given by Paper Rater. Provide this link on your class website for students to access both in and out of the classroom.

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WordTwist - PuzzleBaron

Grades
3 to 12
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WordTwist is an online version of the word game, Boggle. The idea is to create as many words as possible in the 4X4 or 5X5 grids. Play can be done ...more
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WordTwist is an online version of the word game, Boggle. The idea is to create as many words as possible in the 4X4 or 5X5 grids. Play can be done without registration; however, registration allows you to keep track of your scores and compare yourself to other players. Scores are based on the number and difficulty of words found on the game board. There are two versions of the game, a Flash version and one that doesn't require Flash.
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tag(s): game based learning (103), spelling (168), vocabulary (324)

In the Classroom

Create accounts for your students and let them compete against each other for points. Read tips for safely managing email registrations here. Display this site on your interactive whiteboard or projector to create words as a class. Challenge students to create lists of new words they learn from WordTwist.
 This resource requires Adobe Flash.

Comments

Melanie , KS, Grades: 0 - 12

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Doctor Doctor Lesson - Genki English

Grades
K to 4
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These multi-media lessons provide an alternative approach for young elementary students or ESL/ELL students trying to learn body parts. With song files and a video, this site makes...more
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These multi-media lessons provide an alternative approach for young elementary students or ESL/ELL students trying to learn body parts. With song files and a video, this site makes it easy for language learners to acquire body part name knowledge easily. The video and song lyrics make the "Body Part" lesson entertaining and memorable. There is also a "Make a Face" interactive. To use the video part, download the "Realvideo" player. This is about the only items that are FREE at this site, but they are still worth a look if teaching body parts or expressions of the face.

In order to get the "free" printable cards, worksheets, and acompanying language games you must buy the Teacher's Set, Superpack, or Download Pack. However, the video and songs ARE free and fun!
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tag(s): faces (3), human body (121), preK (281), video (254)

In the Classroom

Use the videos on this site to introduce basic English to ESL/ELL students in a fun and energetic way. The videos are hosted on YouTube. If your district blocks YouTube, then they may not be viewable. You could always view that 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.
 This resource requires Adobe Flash.

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Activity of the Month - Dr. Jean

Grades
K to 1
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This site offers a list of monthly "newsletters" full of teaching ideas and parenting tips/suggestions. Each months activities reflect the seasons and their special holidays. Many...more
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This site offers a list of monthly "newsletters" full of teaching ideas and parenting tips/suggestions. Each months activities reflect the seasons and their special holidays. Many activities include letters, words, and book activities. Besides the basic activity, quite a few of the monthly offerings include downloadable books to print and use, original song lyrics, and links to other related websites. This site is great to use with young ESL/ELL students too who need lots of fun reinforcement with learning the alphabet and pre-reading skills. This site includes many math activities as well.
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tag(s): crafts (41), literacy (103), poetry (228), preK (281), seasons (37), songs (52)

In the Classroom

This site is excellent for enrichment. Share this link on your teacher web page and/or in a parent newsletter for those who trying to encourage the habit of reading and handling books.

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WordSift - Stanford University

Grades
4 to 12
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WordSift helps anyone easily sift through texts -- just copy and paste any text into WordSift and you can engage in a verbal quick-capture! The program helps to quickly identify ...more
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WordSift helps anyone easily sift through texts -- just copy and paste any text into WordSift and you can engage in a verbal quick-capture! The program helps to quickly identify important words that appear in the text. After entering text several items will appear, first a word cloud will display the 50 most frequently used words in the text. The most frequently used word will display as a word web in a visual thesaurus. Google image and video search results are also shown. One interesting feature is the ability to click on any of the words in the word cloud to display it in the thesaurus and Google image and video searches. A great way to understand the WordSift tool is to try one of the sample texts offered, such as Martin Luther King's "I Have a Dream" speech. Be sure to check out the "About" link to discover many ideas for use in the classroom. Tips and videos are also available as guides. If you type in a shorter sentence, the site still creates a word cloud using their own related words (not in your original text). Be aware of the advertisements that appear with the word clouds. Advise students not to click on the ads.
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tag(s): dictionaries (56), reading comprehension (116), reading strategies (45), thesaurus (24), vocabulary (324), vocabulary development (126), word clouds (10), word study (80)

In the Classroom

This is a classic tool to promote "before reading" strategies and vocabulary development. Use WordSift to preview text to be used in class and define vocabulary before reading to increase reading comprehension. Have students use WordSift with different portions of text to identify key words and vocabulary for class presentations. Use WordSift to discuss different meanings of words using images presented through the site. This site isn't only for English teachers, share with Science and Social Studies teachers to use in their classrooms with reading texts in their content areas. ESL/ELL and learning support teachers will want to share this as a support for any reading assigned in regular classes. Be sure to show students how to copy/paste to WordSift texts from informational web pages and news stories on the web, as well. Share this link as a Favorite on your public page so students can use it anytime.

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Yudu - Yudu.com

Grades
5 to 12
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Yudu is more than an online library to read and explore. You can get your own writing published. It's as simple as uploading your PDF, Word, or PowerPoint document. These ...more
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Yudu is more than an online library to read and explore. You can get your own writing published. It's as simple as uploading your PDF, Word, or PowerPoint document. These are automatically turned into the Yudu page-turning format. You don't even have to register to read or listen to a book, magazine, podcast, or brochure. It's free. Aspiring authors can register and publish your writing here, for free. You can also publish digital content beyond digital magazines and brochures. You can publish podcasts, music, audio clips, and photos. You can use Yudu as a visual bookmarking program, too. Once registered, you can create a library to store, share, & promote your digital content. Share your digital, page-turning publications for free or you can keep them private for you, friends, and family. There is an introductory video to get you started. The Yudu "plus" version (for a fee) has additional features.

tag(s): digital storytelling (145), ebooks (42), multimedia (57), news (261), podcasts (52)

In the Classroom

If you have a classroom newsletter, this would be the perfect place for you to publish it. You can then embed it on your website or wiki for parents and students to read.

If your class is studying a certain time period and/or area in the world, have your students produce brochures or newspapers (called a magazine on Yudu) using Yudu. Have your students create their brochure using Word, and then upload it to Yudu for a very polished look. You can then publish these by embedding them, or sharing the url on your wiki or webpage for your class and their parents to view.

In science or math students could make a small magazine with pictures to describe a concept or equation to their peers, to younger students, , or as a final assessment. Instead of a book report, create a Yudu! In English (or L.A.) have students write creative stories or step by step instructions and publish them via Yudu. At the beginning of the school-year, create a class Yudu introducing everyone in the class (name, favorite subject, favorite sport, highlight of their summer, etc..). Share the books with parents online or at Back to School Night.

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Old Radio World - OldRadioWorld.com

Grades
4 to 12
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Find a treasury of old radio shows from the 1930's, 1940's and 1950's. There are seven genres from which to choose (comedy, mystery, western, drama, etc..), and each genre has ...more
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Find a treasury of old radio shows from the 1930's, 1940's and 1950's. There are seven genres from which to choose (comedy, mystery, western, drama, etc..), and each genre has at least ten different old radio shows for your selection. There is a miscellaneous section that has such treasures as "Voices From History," "World War II News Broadcasts," and "Fireside Chat with Franklin D. Roosevelt." To listen to this program you will need to have QuickTime on your computer. Download of the mp3 files takes a while, so be patient.
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tag(s): 1930s (15), 1940s (13), 1950s (12), listening (91), oral history (12), radio (27), world war 2 (142)

In the Classroom

As a class, listen to a couple of radio shows, taking note about the sound effects heard. Use your interactive whiteboard or projector to list the sounds. Have the class speculate about what objects could have created each sound. Post the radio site on your web page and assign the students to determine what household objects are responsible for the sounds for homework. Back in class the next day, use your interactive white board to share the student discoveries. From here it would be natural to have your students create a two or three minute radio show for a topic being studied in history or science. Students could also turn part of a short story into reader's theater (including sound effects) and record it as a radio broadcast. Use a site such as PodOmatic (reviewed here).

Another idea would be to introduce a unit on the 20th century, the Great Depression, or WWII or by having the class listen to a broadcast from that time period. Have them experience radio as it was, with everyone huddled around to listen (and no multitasking!).Talk about how the changes in entertainment formats have changed the way we interact in our homes.

To hone in on listening skills, you could create a worksheet with questions to answer, or have students take two column notes, asking questions about what they are hearing in the left column.

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ALA Kids Games, Puzzles and Other Fun Things - American Library Association

Grades
K to 5
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Games, puzzles, mazes, and word searches promote library usage and get the idea of the library in the forefront! Although this site is "plain vanilla," it could be very useful ...more
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Games, puzzles, mazes, and word searches promote library usage and get the idea of the library in the forefront! Although this site is "plain vanilla," it could be very useful in teaching students about the library.

tag(s): puzzles (208)

In the Classroom

Use these activities for reluctant readers and students who don't see the point of using anything but online readings. Teach students about the good "old" library (before Google was invented.)
 This resource requires PDF reader software like Adobe Acrobat.

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SuperKids Vocabulary Builders - Super Kids

Grades
3 to 11
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This site offers vocabulary enhancement activities in a variety of neat ways. Words of the day are available on three levels, upper elementary, junior high or middle school, and PSAT/SAT...more
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This site offers vocabulary enhancement activities in a variety of neat ways. Words of the day are available on three levels, upper elementary, junior high or middle school, and PSAT/SAT prep. Hangman, wordfind, scrambled words, and other conventional word games are also available.
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tag(s): logic (235), puzzles (208), vocabulary (324)

In the Classroom

Use this site to review pertinent vocabulary by making FUN activities for your students! Share the activities on your interactive whiteboard or projector.

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Learn English - Jacob Richman

Grades
1 to 8
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At this site students will learn to pronunce words correctly. Words appear in Spanish, French, Hebrew, Russian, Chinese, and English. The words are well organized according to categories,...more
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At this site students will learn to pronunce words correctly. Words appear in Spanish, French, Hebrew, Russian, Chinese, and English. The words are well organized according to categories, and the multilingual jumping off point is unique. Hear the word only or see images and hear the word using the video tab. If your district blocks YouTube, the videos may not be viewable. You could always view the 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.

tag(s): chinese (48), french (88), hebrew (14), pronunciation (44), russian (26), spanish (108)

In the Classroom

Besides using for world language classes and limited English speaking students, refer your students with speech difficulties to this site whose clear pronunciation is helpful.

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English Idioms - Wayne Magnuson

Grades
3 to 10
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Here you will find a dictionary of slang words and phrases that is organized into three sections: idioms alone, idioms that contain a specific word (like "get"), and idioms explained...more
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Here you will find a dictionary of slang words and phrases that is organized into three sections: idioms alone, idioms that contain a specific word (like "get"), and idioms explained by a specific word. Simply click on the letter of the alphabet to find the word or phrase they are looking for. The definitions of the idioms also contain links to other idioms with similar meaning. Another helpful feature is the use of the idiom in a sentence. A version of the dictionary is available as a book as well. Try looking up idioms containing the word "dog" as an example.
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tag(s): dictionaries (56), idioms (44), slang (15)

In the Classroom

This is a great resource for mixed classes with limited English speakers or students with very literal language skills.

If your state testing requires understanding of idioms, be sure to include this link on your teacher web page and as a Favorite on your classroom computer for students to "play" with whenever they have a chance.
 This resource requires Adobe Flash.

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Fairrosa Cyber Library for Children - Roxanne Hsu Feldman

Grades
K to 12
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This site offers a well organized and comprehensive collection of links to online literature, classics, folk tales, poetry, reference materials, magazines, and professional journals....more
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This site offers a well organized and comprehensive collection of links to online literature, classics, folk tales, poetry, reference materials, magazines, and professional journals. There is also access to a library of websites organized and maintained by a librarian. Reference shelf links give access to professional articles and other resources for children's literature including information about authors. The archive section leads to archives of discussions about materials for students.

tag(s): authors (120), ebooks (42), literature (275)

In the Classroom

Whether you're reading the classics or folk tales in your classroom, students can access these stories online in school or at home. Since many of the genres have an extensive collection, you might consider reading one as a class, and then having small groups choose different titles to read and present the story or folktale in picture book format. You can easily have them do this online using a tool such as Bookemon, reviewed here. Once the project is done these books can be posted to your website for students in class to read through, and for parents and family to view.

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Story Time for Me - Andrew Gitt

Grades
K to 2
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This site offers three series with online animated stories for young children. After choosing a series, readers pick from one of several books to see and hear the story. Several ...more
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This site offers three series with online animated stories for young children. After choosing a series, readers pick from one of several books to see and hear the story. Several choices are offered while books are read - narrated phrases can be highlited or not, pages can be turned automatically or one at a time, and pages can be replayed. There are also personalized activity books available for free download by teachers that can be used in the classroom.
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tag(s): audio books (32), literacy (103), stories and storytelling (33)

In the Classroom

Share these stories on your interactive whiteboard or projector. Or better yet, create a link to stories on your classroom computers and use this site as a reading center. (Don't forget headsets.) Share a link to the site on your classroom website or blog for parents to access the site with their student.
 This resource requires Adobe Flash.

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Story Blocks - Colorado Libraries for Early Literacy

Grades
K to 1
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This early literacy site contains many video clips to assist parents and teachers in getting students ready to read. Rhymes and songs are modeled for use with younger children. ...more
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This early literacy site contains many video clips to assist parents and teachers in getting students ready to read. Rhymes and songs are modeled for use with younger children. Each aspect of literacy is explained before you hear the targeted text. Materials are available in both Spanish and English.

tag(s): literacy (103), poetry (228), rhymes (33), songs (52)

In the Classroom

Use the songs and chants on these videos to interest children in reading. Many songs and rhymes have actions that the children can do while saying the text. Have the children lead the class once they are familiar with offerings. Project the rhymes on your interactive whiteboard and follow along with the motions on the screen. Write down some of the words in the song and use them as sight words for the week. Have student helpers hold up the "sight word" as it is shared. Choose 3-5 new words from each rhyme. Share this site with ESL and learning support staff.

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Little Bird Tales - Little Wings

Grades
K to 8
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It's as easy as one, two, three to create an online story book that uses your own artwork, photographs, text, and voice. Little Bird also has an "art pad" so ...more
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It's as easy as one, two, three to create an online story book that uses your own artwork, photographs, text, and voice. Little Bird also has an "art pad" so you don't have to scan and upload drawings; you can create the drawings in the program. Little Bird Tales has a short video explaining each step on the home page. Once the stories are complete, you can place a link to the story on a web page or wiki, or email it to parents, students, etc. This is a great way to publish student writing. This program is free and was created specifically for ages 3 to 14 as a safe, advertisement free web environment.

tag(s): creative writing (166), descriptive writing (41), digital storytelling (145), expository writing (44), narrative (24), persuasive writing (55), preK (281), stories and storytelling (33), writing (359)

In the Classroom

The possibilities for using this program are limitless. Choose a story from the public section of the program, or create your own. Use your interactive whiteboard and projector to show students the story and how easy it is to put their story on this program. Little Bird can be used in science and math for students to demonstrate their knowledge of a unit learned, by explaining it in three ways: verbally, drawing, and using text. Create myths and stories in language arts classes, or students can review a book they've read. In social studies, students can create reports on a country, time period, or famous person. Students can work individually, in pairs, or in small groups. You might want to have this program open on a computer in your classroom for students to use when they are finished with other work. Share the urls of student reports and stories on your web page or wiki.

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5 Minute Mystery - Mystery Competition, LLC

Grades
4 to 12
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This mystery reading game helps increase reading comprehension and critical thinking skills in an innovative way. The basic game is free. You can sign up to have two mysteries a ...more
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This mystery reading game helps increase reading comprehension and critical thinking skills in an innovative way. The basic game is free. You can sign up to have two mysteries a week sent to you, or you can use their archive. There is a "How to Play" section where you can view a video, open pdf instructions, or look at the instructions online. After reading a mystery you select the correct sentences that are clues, and select a character that the clue either exonerates or implicates. Points are awarded for each clue you get correct. For a fee, you can get a premium account that has graphic organizers, questions, and writing suggestions, however, this review is for the free, basic version. Even with the basic program, you can look under lesson plans and find objectives and ideas for your classroom and for creating leagues.

Bonus: There's an app for that! For the iphone, of course!
This site includes advertising.

tag(s): critical thinking (108), mysteries (25), reading comprehension (116), short stories (25)

In the Classroom

Use your projector and interactive whiteboard to show your students the directions for getting points by selecting the correct clues and solving the mystery. To begin with, as a class, read a mystery and discuss what the clues might be and whether they implicate or exonerate each suspect. Once the students have volunteered their ideas for which sentences are clues, submit them to see the score. The program will highlight the answers you should have had, if you got any wrong. Model for your students a discussion about why those are the correct answers and why the ones they submitted weren't. Eventually have this disscussion by themselves in small groups. Those of you with multiple classes will want to create a league for each class.

Eventually you can have small groups of students compete against each other by creating leagues. Have your students come to consensus about the clue sentences and who the real perpetrator is by voting using Thinkmeter reviewed here.

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