GradesK to 12
tag(s): creative commons (23)
In the ClassroomPre-select clipart and save to albums meant for students use. A complete library will be useful for multimedia presentation, digital storytelling, reports, and presentations. This is a great site for ESL/ELL students and special education students working on speech and language. Visual representations will help ELL or ESL teachers explain concepts and key vocabulary. Open Clipart is a valuable resource for imagery to use when designing language-teaching flashcards, game cards, directions, illustrating songs and poetry, or including on class websites.
Grades5 to 12
tag(s): literature (272)
In the ClassroomUse the list to find literature you can use in your classroom. You may want to choose short stories or poems and their music so students will get the idea of how music and literature can fit together. Then have students choose appropriate contemporary music for an independent reading novel presentation or report. Have students figure out how they would divide up the book into sections. Then select a piece of (school appropriate) music that they think captures the feel or tone of each section. They record the pieces and possibly do voice-overs explaining what is happening in the novel during the piece of music and why they felt this piece of music fits the section of the novel. As a choice, students could use "podOmatic" to create podcasts, reviewed here. Or have students create ThingLink, reviewed here. Be sure to PLAY the music out loud as the student is talking. If you want students to "mix" or create music with their own computer, check out Soundtrap, reviewed here. You may wish to take that a bit further and challenge students to record a song using a tool such as UJAM, reviewed here, where you simply record your voice (even talking and not singing!). UJAM is free and synchronizes your voice and its speed to a variety of different background music options.
Grades8 to 12
In the ClassroomUsers must be able to add pictures to a set on flickr or use a specific tag for particular pictures. Be sure to choose your username carefully as it becomes part of the url of your portfolio. Follow the directions to identify your flickr account with Pullfolio.
Have students create their own pullfolio, but why not create a class pullfolio that showcases student work? If using as a class pullfolio, pictures will not be attributed to the individual students. Create some way of identifying pictures to various students. Require students to tag their pictures with their initials as well or create a comment with their initials in the picture's description.
This tool would be a great asset to a photography or art class but can be used in any subject area. Create a pullfolio of pictures that showcase life around us, or in a Math class to show various Math functions in man made structures and nature. Use this site to take your geography class around the world (virtually). Have students create presentations in any subject area and narrate the pictures rather than doing a traditional oral report. Speech and language on lower grades or ESL/ELL teachers could create pullfolios for vocabulary development, tagging them for positions, feelings, etc. Involve students in taking the pictures, then share the resulting pullfolios for them to practice their new words.
Parent permission advised before posting student work created using this tool
Includes Interaction w general public/ public galleries with unmoderated content
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
Grades2 to 12
tag(s): songs (53)
In the ClassroomUse this site for ear training. Play a reverse "Name that Tune" game to see how accurately the site finds songs. Try to find two songs with similar beginnings and see if the site can distinguish the two. Learn about other songs that have similar beginning melodies. ESL and ELL students can use this site and participate without knowing the English words for a song just by humming. Students can introduce their favorite songs this way.
Grades3 to 12
In the ClassroomMake 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.
GradesK to 12
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."
In the ClassroomNO 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.
Very versatile, creates word clouds in specific shapes. Adds another dimension.Frances, CT, Grades: 6 - 8
GradesK to 3
In the ClassroomDownload stories onto a mp3 player for students to listen to during reading time. Play the audio version of stories while following the written version on the interactive whiteboard. Use the stories during a fairy tale unit to compare and contrast characters. Share this link on your class web page for families to enjoy at home. These stories are worth playing over and over. Be sure to provide this link on your class website for students to explore both in and out of the classroom.
Grades1 to 10
In the ClassroomESL 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.
Grades4 to 12
In the ClassroomGrandparent'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.
GradesK to 12
tag(s): poetry (219)
In the ClassroomMake 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.
Grades8 to 12
In the ClassroomMany 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.
Grades1 to 5
In the ClassroomHave students try out this site on individual computers, with head phones, or let them listen in pairs. Before they go to the questions, ask them to list the questions the site might ask them after they have seen the model of one story. Share this link on your class web page, wiki, and/or in a parent newsletter. Share the site with special language teachers at the elementary level.
Grades6 to 12
In the ClassroomBecause of the few words, this is a great site for ESL and/or ELL students in your classes. All viewers will be able to read the dates and learn the names of the oldest objects on earth. Use this site when demonstrating how to make an interactive time line. To show what they have learned from this site, challenge students to create a different type of online graphic to share using Tabblo reviewed here
Grades8 to 12
tag(s): vocabulary (321)
In the ClassroomChange 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.
Grades2 to 4
In the ClassroomThis activity would work well for individual or pairs of students in a lab or on laptops. Be sure to help your weaker readers and ESL/ELL students by sharing the vocabulary words (names of animals, pets, etc.) prior to using, either on a handout or by projecting on an interactive whiteboard and highlighting them in the text as you come to them. Teach parts of speech as students recognize how the story maker "plugs in" their word choices to create the stories mad-lib style. Share the printables with parents at open house or conferences. Have students record their stories on a podcast and share the podcasts using a site such as PodOmatic (reviewed here). Teach parts of speech as students recognize how the story maker "plugs in" their word choices to create the stories mad-lib style.
GradesK to 12
In the ClassroomIntroduce this site on your interactive whiteboard or projector. Then have students explore this site independently or in small groups. Use it to introduce color names and primary and secondary colors with students as young as kindergarten or ESL/ELL students. It would also be a great resource to support a poetry unit or mini-lessons on elaboration. Two of the interactive activities give students an opportunity to create stories with colors. This site will help older students understand the evocative nature of color. This knowledge may help them create more engaging presentations or designs that are cognizant of mood and tone. There are several on-line interactive activities to use on an interactive whiteboard. All creations made on-line are printable. Include this site on your class web page for students and parents to access as a reference.
Grades4 to 12
In the ClassroomPlan a visit to the library, or have parents check out many of the books by the listed authors you've contacted, and bring them to your classroom. Have students look through the books and decide on one or two they want to read for a literature circle. You can form random groups by pulling popsicle sticks with student names on them out of a jar, and the students then name the book they would like to read. Once four people are reading a book that group is closed, and students will need to choose their alternate. The whole class can enjoy the visit of each author and possibly find even more books they want to read. You may want to skype or e-mail the author ahead of time to ask if students can contact the author more than once about their questions about the book. Maybe they can e-mail the author with preliminary questions. Have students or cooperative learning groups create multimedia presentations about the book that they read together. Have groups compare two of the characters from the stories using a site such as Interactive Two Circle Venn Diagram (reviewed here).
Grades4 to 12
tag(s): poetry (219)
In the ClassroomDelight your students by projecting digipoemon your classroom projector or interactive whiteboard to demonstrate how the words in poems create visual images. Then, be amazed at how quickly this will motivate them to write poetry. Take them to the computer lab or use a class set of lap tops, and put a link to this site on your class web page. Younger students should first type their poems into a Word document with a built in spell check, and then copy and paste them into the website's text box.
GradesK to 2
tag(s): phonics (70)
In the ClassroomShare this site with teachers struggling with ELL/ESL or speech/language students who are having pronunciation difficulties. New teachers unschooled in phonics may also find this site beneficial. Use this site with your young students to create a learning center (don't forget the headsets).
Grades2 to 8
tag(s): writing (365)