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MeGlobe - Telestic, Inc.

Grades
3 to 12
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IM or AIM on steroids? That is how MeGlobe describes itself. This site allows the user to instant message to people who speak many different languages. While they may be ...more
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IM or AIM on steroids? That is how MeGlobe describes itself. This site allows the user to instant message to people who speak many different languages. While they may be adding languages as the site builds, at the time of this review, Spanish, Dutch, Chinese, German and Greek are supported. This is a BETA site, so forgive a few wording problems as it refines the languages. Sign-up is quick and free. Once registered, you can invite people from all over the world to chat with you in nearly instant response time. The world definitely comes to your classroom via MeGlobe.

tag(s): chat (51), chinese (48), german (64), greek (41), spanish (108)

In the Classroom

Classroom applications abound. Imagine your class chatting with pen pals in Crete or Amsterdam, and asking them current events questions. Imagine practicing foreign language skills using this tool. Send messages to experts in other countries as your class researches their culture. Travel around the world virtually, through discussions with other classrooms in foreign countries. Use two laptops and you and your ESL or ELL student can chat while learning each other's language, since all translations are on screen. Caution: As with all instant messaging, you would want to only talk with pre-approved people. This is not a program you would want your students to use unsupervised. There are forums, a blog, and chats already set up (look in your "room drawer" after you log in). Preview these to select the best venue for your class' purposes. Since the site requires a membership, you will most likely want to use a single class account so you can monitor how it is being used and avoid inappropriate contacts. If you do use student accounts, check your school policies on using student email to register and make sure classroom use is within approved school policy. This beta is constantly adding new features. Check the blog for the latest.

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Stories for Kids - Denver Public Library

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K to 4
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Denver Public Library's Podcasts for Kids is a constantly-growing story resource from a variety of authors including Beatrix Potter. There are also folktales, fairy tales, interviews,...more
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Denver Public Library's Podcasts for Kids is a constantly-growing story resource from a variety of authors including Beatrix Potter. There are also folktales, fairy tales, interviews, songs, news, nursery rhymes, and story time favorites. Students can listen to them online or download them directly to mp3 players or the computer for listening later. There are also links for podcasting help and a kids' page with reference information, games, homework help, and more. This site requires Quicktime. Get it from the TeachersFirst Toolbox page.

tag(s): listening (91), literature (275), podcasts (52)

In the Classroom

Encourage beginning readers, ESL, ELL, and special ed students to read along with texts in hand as they listen to the stories and the pronunciation of possible new words. Check back with this site frequently to see new stories that have been added. Include this site on your teacher web page for students and parents to access as encouragement for extra reading. Save this site in your favorites and use it as an L.A. learning center (don't forget the headsets). Play an audio story with the speakers turned up and lights turned off for a quiet listening activity.

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Stories to Grow By - Whootie Owl Productions

Grades
1 to 6
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This site has free stories, mainly fairy tales and folk tales, indexed by topic. Highlights include various holidays, international stories of all types, free reader's theater pieces,...more
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This site has free stories, mainly fairy tales and folk tales, indexed by topic. Highlights include various holidays, international stories of all types, free reader's theater pieces, and free online recorded stories (click "Stories on CD" to access free downloads). All stories are "kid-tested" and uplifting. Students are able to make comments (and read other viewers' comments). They are able to search for stories by age (ranging from age 6-14), theme, type of story, and location.

Be aware: this site does include some advertising. This site requires Quicktime. Get it from the TeachersFirst Toolbox page.

tag(s): air (163), folktales (65), listening (91)

In the Classroom

Check with your administrator about students submitting their own names or making comments about the stories. You may want to give the students a classroom name so their identities remain anonymous. Use this site to find stories that represent cultures of the students in your classroom, whether they are ESL or students with different ethnic backgrounds. Use this site also to find stories for various school holidays. Play a story aloud on your speakers, then allow students to record their own stories with musical backgrounds.

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Wordle - Jonathan Feinberg

Grades
2 to 12
17 Favorites 1  Comments
 
This site takes any quotation or poem and creates a "word cloud" (graphical display) of the words in a passage of text. Paste in any passage or the URL for ...more
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This site takes any quotation or poem and creates a "word cloud" (graphical display) of the words in a passage of text. Paste in any passage or the URL for any blog entry or web page (including newspapers online) to create a wordle of the text. If you make a Wordle, you can choose your own colors, type of display, and font. The most frequent words appear larger and darker. Students can view creations others have made or make their own with or without saving them to the database of clouds. You can also print creations, open them in a window without borders, or link to them from a home page (html code is provided for the link). This site requires Java. Get it from the TeachersFirst Toolbox page. However, this site is now 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): DAT device agnostic tool (196), speech (92), vocabulary (324), word choice (26), word clouds (10)

In the Classroom

You need to know how to copy/paste. No email registration needed to create. Click Create to get started. Copy/paste text, type into a text box, or paste in the URL of the page you wish to "cloud." Play with options under Layout, Color, and Font menus to change the look. When done, choose to Print, take a screen shot of it in New Window view (PrntScrn on Windows, Command+shift+4 on Mac) or save to public gallery. Once it opens in the gallery view, be sure to copy the URL and keep a record of the exact URL of wordles you save to the Gallery. You will never be able to find them again without it! 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.

The public can enter text and create their own Wordles, some of which appear on the home page for "recent" Wordles. Teachers should preview the Gallery and home page immediately before sharing this site with a class. TeachersFirst's review team has not witnessed any objectionable examples. In today's world, a brief lesson or honest discussion on ignoring, clicking out of, or avoiding the inappropriate on the web might be worthwhile, depending on the age and maturity of your students.

This is a terrific visual tool to share on an interactive whiteboard or projector. 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 wordles 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 text, 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.

Another idea: use this site during the first week of school. Have students create "Wordles" about themselves and create a "Wordle" bulletin board introducing your students (and yourself). Or use Worlde for a whole-class positive statement as shown in this example. Remember that the most frequently appearing words will appear larger so plan accordingly.

Comments

So versatile and easy to use. Needs supervision because of what some people post in the galleries. Kids find it very easy to use. Nice for quick analysis of text (love to use with Shakespeare). Frances, CT, Grades: 6 - 8

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Beat the Clock - British Council

Grades
3 to 9
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This site offers applied vocabulary and grammar review in quiz format. Although this site was designed for ESL and ELL students, much of the material would be applicable in a ...more
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This site offers applied vocabulary and grammar review in quiz format. Although this site was designed for ESL and ELL students, much of the material would be applicable in a regular education language arts class. Every quiz has a time limit (visible to students), and consists of six or more questions. Feedback on the quiz is immediate. The topics and difficulty level range from low intermediate to high. Topic examples include "Soccer vs Football," "Adjectives and Adverbs," and "Passive Tenses." Students who need more practice on a certain area can click on "Related Pages" to review something similar but with a different format. This site requires Flash. Get it from the TeachersFirst Toolbox page.

tag(s): grammar (216), verbs (41), vocabulary (324)

In the Classroom

Share this with students who need to review their grammar but are impatient with "boring" grammar exercises. This site assumes students know some grammar and some vocabulary; it is a tool to check how accurate their understanding is. Save this site in your favorites, and check back often (new material is added monthly). List this site on your class website for students to use for at-home practice.
 This resource requires Adobe Flash.

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English Interactive - English Interactive

Grades
2 to 6
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This website, targeted for ESL and ELL students, offers extensive resources and activities. At the top is a great vocabulary section. Click on a topic to get words within the ...more
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This website, targeted for ESL and ELL students, offers extensive resources and activities. At the top is a great vocabulary section. Click on a topic to get words within the topic (such as weather, verbs, tools, everyday items, things with the letter "B," and others). One click lets the student hear the word pronounced by a male, another click and a female voice will pronounce the same word. Many categories contain quizzes too. Other parts of the page include links to excellent sites such as online newspapers, the text and reading of Keats' The Snowy Day , web exercises, and many others. The links are roughly organized by categories such as grammar, listening, reading, general ESL, video, testing support, speaking, writing, etc. If there's been an ESL or ELL site you've used and lost, you can rediscover it here.

The site does have some advertisements, most of which relate to the topic and are not distracting from the content. This site requires Flash and Adobe Acrobat. Get them from the TeachersFirst Toolbox page.

tag(s): vocabulary (324)

In the Classroom

Use the vocabulary section to reinforce very basic vocabulary with ELL and ELL students in your class. It's great for them to hear several people pronouncing each word. Share this site on an interactive whiteboard or projector. Then have students work with a partner to try the activities (don't forget the headsets).
  This resource requires Adobe Flash and PDF reader software like Adobe Acrobat.

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Merpy Stories - M. R. Petit

Grades
K to 3
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Need some extra safe, online reading for your students? Merpy stories await the eager reader. Engaging, with versatile vocabulary, the Merpy characters will delight your new readers....more
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Need some extra safe, online reading for your students? Merpy stories await the eager reader. Engaging, with versatile vocabulary, the Merpy characters will delight your new readers. Make sure to check out the holiday episodes. These stories do not read the words for the students, but rather provide animation and fun sounds. For extended learning, paper dolls and other crafts add to the Merpy fun. This site requires Flash. You can get it from the TeachersFirst Toolbox page.

tag(s): literacy (103)

In the Classroom

Merpy stories will be a wonderful addition to your computer literacy lab. Share the stories on an interactive whiteboard or projector and read the stories together as a class. Individual or paired reading would also work well. After reading several Merpy stories, students may be able to create their own 'Merpy-esque' stories using PowerPoint and animated clipart. For the Spanish learner or ESL/ELL student, check out the four Merpy Spanish versions.
 This resource requires Adobe Flash.

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Kids and Reading - John Rowlinson, Kids and Reading, UK

Grades
K to 8
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Geared to teaching parents about reading, this site offers a great review of reading methods, classroom methods, special concerns (i.e. ADHD, autism), booklists, motivation, tool and...more
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Geared to teaching parents about reading, this site offers a great review of reading methods, classroom methods, special concerns (i.e. ADHD, autism), booklists, motivation, tool and techniques to use, etc. Even though it is a British site, it is totally applicable to the USA and other areas throughout the world. You will find a wealth of information to share with your students' parents at Open House and throughout the year. There are some minor advertisements at this site (all related to the topic).

tag(s): adhd (28), autism (22), dyslexia (7), guided reading (47), learning styles (19)

In the Classroom

Sign up for the newsletter to receive new information every month. Provide the link to this site in your class newsletter or on your class website, so parents can sign-up for the newsletter also (and use the free resources).

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Alien Punctuation - BBC

Grades
1 to 4
3 Favorites 0  Comments
 
Come along with Max and Molly and help them "talk to the aliens" and correct their punctuation. There are three levels of difficulty. The beginning level mainly focuses on capitalization,...more
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Come along with Max and Molly and help them "talk to the aliens" and correct their punctuation. There are three levels of difficulty. The beginning level mainly focuses on capitalization, periods, and question marks. The more difficult levels delve into more complex punctuation (commas, quotation marks, and more). The website also features a "full screen" option, printable worksheets, engaging sound effects (which can be turned off), and animations.

Although this site uses British English, this activity is useful to practice American English. At the time of this review, all words were common in both forms of English. The site requires Flash and Adobe Acrobat. You can get it from the TeachersFirst Toolbox page.

tag(s): punctuation (43)

In the Classroom

Demonstrate this activity on an interactive whiteboard or projector. Then, create a learning center for students to use this website, or provide individual laptops or computers. Be sure to provide headsets. Use the three difficulty levels to differentiate for your students. You may want to list this website in your class newsletter and on your class website so students can practice punctuation at home.
  This resource requires Adobe Flash and PDF reader software like Adobe Acrobat.

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Kung-Fu Sentences - BBC

Grades
1 to 2
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This site challenges students to create sentences. One or several words are provided and students must click and drag them in the correct order to construct a sentence. There are ...more
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This site challenges students to create sentences. One or several words are provided and students must click and drag them in the correct order to construct a sentence. There are three levels of difficulty. The main difference between the simple and more difficult levels are the amounts of words or statements to put into the correct order. Easier levels only have three words, while more difficult levels have five or more.

The website also features a "full screen" option, printable worksheets, engaging sound effects (with an option to turn the music off), and animations. Although this site uses British English, this activity is useful to practice American English. At the time of this review, all words were common in both forms of English. Be aware: the animation of this activity can be a bit distracting. The site requires Flash and Adobe Acrobat. You can get it from the TeachersFirst Toolbox page.

tag(s): grammar (216), punctuation (43), word order (5)

In the Classroom

Use the three difficulty levels to differentiate for your students. Share this website with your class on an interactive whiteboard or projector and show the students HOW to use the program. Then, create a learning center for students to use this website, or provide individual laptops or computers. Be sure to provide headsets. Why not split your class into two teams and make this activity a class competition. Have students create their own Kung-Fu Sentences (minus the "karate kid") using WORD or good old fashion paper and pencil.

You may want to list this website in your class newsletter and on your class website so students can practice creating sentences at home.
  This resource requires Adobe Flash and PDF reader software like Adobe Acrobat.

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Matching Word Golf - BBC

Grades
1 to 4
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Max and Molly are golfing in outer space. This synonym activity provides a sentence asking students to figure out a word with a similar meaning (three choices are provided). Students...more
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Max and Molly are golfing in outer space. This synonym activity provides a sentence asking students to figure out a word with a similar meaning (three choices are provided). Students must click on the word with the similar meaning, and then the golf club swings towards the ball. Although this site was created by the BBC, at the time of this review, all words included were used in both British English and American English.

This site offers three levels of difficulty. The website also features a "full screen" option, printable worksheets, engaging sound effects (which can be turned off), and animations. The site requires Flash and Adobe Acrobat. You can get it from the TeachersFirst Toolbox page.

tag(s): grammar (216), synonyms (38), vocabulary (324)

In the Classroom

Synonyms can be tough for young learners. Use this site to make synonyms simple. Use your interactive whiteboard or projector to share this website with your class. Use the three difficulty levels to differentiate for your students. This site is ideal to use with younger ESL and ELL students, and any class learning about synonyms. Create a learning center for students to use this website, or provide individual laptops or computers. Be sure to provide headsets. Why not print off the worksheet for additional practice or enrichment.

You may want to list this website in your class newsletter and on your class website so students can practice at home.
  This resource requires Adobe Flash and PDF reader software like Adobe Acrobat.

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Travelling Pronouns - BBC

Grades
1 to 3
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Max and Molly are on holiday (vacation) and writing notes to friends back home. Can you help them choose the correct pronouns to complete their sentences? This site offers three ...more
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Max and Molly are on holiday (vacation) and writing notes to friends back home. Can you help them choose the correct pronouns to complete their sentences? This site offers three levels of difficulty. The easier levels include fewer blanks to fill in.

The website also features a "full screen" option, printable worksheets, engaging sound effects (which can be turned off by clicking "music OFF"), and animations. Although this site was created by the BBC, at the time of this review, all words included were used in both British English and American English. The site requires Flash and Adobe Acrobat. You can get it from the TeachersFirst Toolbox page.

tag(s): grammar (216)

In the Classroom

Pronouns can be tricky! Use your interactive whiteboard or projector to share this website with your class. Use the three difficulty levels to differentiate for your students. This site is ideal to use with younger ESL and ELL students, and any class learning about pronouns. Create a learning center for students to use this website, or provide individual laptops or computers. Be sure to provide headsets. Why not print off the worksheet for additional practice or enrichment.

You may want to list this website in your class newsletter and on your class website so students can practice pronouns at home.
  This resource requires Adobe Flash and PDF reader software like Adobe Acrobat.

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Pirate Spelling - BBC

Grades
1 to 5
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Come aboard the ship with Max (and his pet parrot) to practice spelling. Although this site was created by the BBC, at the time of this review, all spelling words ...more
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Come aboard the ship with Max (and his pet parrot) to practice spelling. Although this site was created by the BBC, at the time of this review, all spelling words were included and used in both British English and American English. There are three levels of difficulty. The medium level challenges students to fill in the blank to correctly spell a word. (They are provided three choices). The more difficult levels challenge students to choose the correct word that Max pronounces (again, three choices are provided). Students may click "listen again" to hear the word again.

The website also features a "full screen" option, printable worksheets, engaging sound effects (which can be turned off), and animations. The site requires Flash and Adobe Acrobat. You can get both from the TeachersFirst Toolbox page.

tag(s): spelling (168)

In the Classroom

Use the three difficulty levels to differentiate for your students. This site is ideal to use with younger ESL and ELL students. Create a learning center for students to use this website, or provide individual laptops or computers. Be sure to provide headsets. Why not print off the worksheet for additional practice or enrichment.

You may want to list this website in your class newsletter and on your class website so students can practice spelling at home.
  This resource requires Adobe Flash and PDF reader software like Adobe Acrobat.

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LingQ - LingQ

Grades
3 to 12
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LingQ assists students in developing language fluency in any of 9 target languages including German, Spanish, French, Italian, Swedish, Japanese, and Chinese, Russian, and Portuguese....more
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LingQ assists students in developing language fluency in any of 9 target languages including German, Spanish, French, Italian, Swedish, Japanese, and Chinese, Russian, and Portuguese. It tracks hours spent on listening and reading assignments, vocabulary development etc. An example lesson consists of listening to a text while reading through it, clicking on unknown words, seeing the definition in one's native language, saving the words in a list or as flashcards etc. Students can also download the audio files to an MP3 player. Students should have at least a beginning understanding of the language before attempting to use this site. They also need to be flexible learners since the learning/teaching style is based on immersion, not translation. Students may have up to 5 active "assignments" going to stay within the free level. Any completed work can be archived to make room for more assignments. There is a charge to have your work evaluated, graded, and critiqued. There is an option to save new vocabulary words in a list and print flashcards for these words. You will want to join and explore the site before assigning students to use it so you know how to navigate. The site requires a fast Internet connection to download large podcast (audio) files. The podcast files can be downloaded and played on your local computer or an mp3 player.

tag(s): podcasts (52), vocabulary (324), vocabulary development (126)

In the Classroom

Establishing membership requires an email account. Check your school policies about accessing/sharing student email on school computers. 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.

Assign specific "lessons" for your ESL or world language students, but be aware that the free version does not permit you to monitor progress on student accounts. You therefore will want to use this as a practice site more than a formal assessment tool. Demonstrate the navigation on your projector or interactive whiteboard before assigning students to work independently. If you have mp3 players available, you can load a listening assignment for students to "take out." Be sure to include this site on your teacher web page for students to access both in and outside of class for further practice. Refer your ESL students to this page if they are impatient to become fluent quickly.

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Pixton - Goodinson Design Inc.

Grades
4 to 12
11 Favorites 0  Comments
 
Create comics quickly and easily with this free site! Choose starting scenes, add new frames, change characters and add text. At this site, students can create, share, and "remix" comics....more
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Create comics quickly and easily with this free site! Choose starting scenes, add new frames, change characters and add text. At this site, students can create, share, and "remix" comics. The "remix" link allows students to add their own twist to ready-made comics. Students can read comics created by others and also make comments on them. Other highlights of the site include a featured author and blog. The free version of Pixton is open to the public. There is also a fee-based version for schools (with teacher and student registration levels and safety tools) with a 30-day free trial period available. Be aware: the Pixton for Schools (if continued after 30-days) will cost $1 per student. See an example created by the TeachersFirst Edge team.

tag(s): comics and cartoons (74), graphic novels (7), novels (24)

In the Classroom

Simply login and click create. Choose a scene you wish to start with. Change your characters from a variety of option. When the comic loads, your chosen character may not show immediately but will appear as you edit each frame. Change sizes of caption bubbles, fonts sizes and types with easy to use sliders. New characters can be added in each frame as well as a variety of additional props such as sports equipment and furniture. Change the background set to a variety of indoor, outdoor city, and outdoor country landscapes. Change background colors easily too. Comics can be saved, scenes can be deleted, and changes made can be reverted to the previous idea easily with on screen controls. Below the comic, buttons for "Save for later" and "Publish Now" quickly save or publish works. If the scene is not ready for publishing, Pixton requests further edits to complete the process.

Consider creating a class account that students can use. Track comics made by students by placing initials in a small caption bubble to identify created comics to a specific student. There are some safeguards in place to be sure students use appropriate language and actions. It would be wise to preview whatever you wish to share with your students, however, since the general public can create comics with their own ideas. Students should submit their work without identifiable names and location, according to your school policy. You will also want written parent permission before allowing students to create comics that can be seen online.

Capture and use your students creativity in storytelling using this exciting tool! Using small amounts of texts to frame a story or to deliver information creatively allows students the opportunity to work deeply with information and use a creative outlet for a variety of projects. Use for students to provide information learned with personal thoughts on subjects ranging from historical events, environmental issues, discussion about plants, animals, and ecosystems, as well as other topics in Art, Math, English, Health, and others. Use in Foreign language classes for short stories created in the language and translated then by other students in the classroom. Use comics to write summaries of current events, responses to reading assignments, expressions of teen problems, and creative works of humor. With younger students, use an interactive whiteboard or projector to create a class comic on a current topic of study, such as the life cycle of the frog or ways to conserve energy. Use this site to integrate an art and writing lesson. Why not have students create comics to demonstrate a concept in science or social studies, rather than a traditional paper/pencil quiz? World language teachers and ESL/ELL teachers will love the chance for students to demonstrate written language skills in the "context" of their comic situations.

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Word Girl - PBS Kids GO!

Grades
K to 4
2 Favorites 0  Comments
   
Looking for a new way to spice up language arts class? Look no further than Word Girl. Although the main "character" is female, both boys and girls will enjoy the ...more
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Looking for a new way to spice up language arts class? Look no further than Word Girl. Although the main "character" is female, both boys and girls will enjoy the challenges at this site. The site features about twenty ready to go lesson plans, interactive language arts challenges, online stories, and much more! Some of the lesson plan topics include, Awesome Alliterations, Sentence Fluency, Writing a Diary, Acting out Verbs with Charades, and many others. Visit the link, Huggies House of Fun to practice vocabulary words, creating comic strips, cartoon games (with a vocabulary twist), and other activities to lighten up language arts! Also at this link, visit the "Captain Huggy Face's Freeze Frame Game," an interactive comedy story that will have students thinking and laughing out loud. Visit the Teachers and Parents link for lesson plans, activity ideas, an online dictionary, and printable pages. This site requires Flash and Adobe Acrobat. You can get it from the TeachersFirst Toolbox page.

tag(s): antonyms (26), sentences (52), spelling (168), synonyms (38), verbs (41), vocabulary (324)

In the Classroom

Why not introduce a word activity on your interactive whiteboard or projector. Complete the "Captain Huggy Face's Freeze Frame Game" as a class. Then create a learning center using this website and allow students to view the interactive stories and play the games during your language arts block. And don't forget about the ready-to-go lesson plans. Use these plans to help simplify the complexities of the English language (synonyms, antonyms, onomatopoeia, etc.). Be sure to list this site on your class website and in your class newsletter so students can have some Word Girl fun at home. at home.
  This resource requires Adobe Flash and PDF reader software like Adobe Acrobat.

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Multicultural Literature for Children - Children's Book Press

Grades
2 to 6
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Try this section of a popular children's publishing site to find poetry-related lessons. In the opening activity, of "The Magical Cycle of the Seasons," students write four poems, one...more
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Try this section of a popular children's publishing site to find poetry-related lessons. In the opening activity, of "The Magical Cycle of the Seasons," students write four poems, one for each of the seasons. Included materials are worksheets, timing hints, vocabulary development add-ons, and description of the entire process. Other poetry writing activities include writing poems about their school, "golden" poems, poems about every day things, and family poetry. There is also "Cross-Curricular Activities" that connect poetry to math, art, language arts, and social studies lesson plans. Click on reading activities on the opening interface to find more activities that encourage writing and reading. Although the curricular suggestions on this page refer to a specific book sold by the press, the material is adaptable.

tag(s): creative writing (166), poetry (227), writing (358)

In the Classroom

Try these activities in a mixed class containing some ELL and ESL students. Sometimes, their slightly different take on language results in beautiful creations. Save this site in your favorites and try one of the suggested activities as part of your poetry unit.
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Adolescent Literacy - adlit.org

Grades
4 to 12
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The focus of this site is to encourage better literacy and reading enjoyment among pre-teens and adolescents. A sister site to Reading Rockets and Colorin'Colorado, Adlit...more
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The focus of this site is to encourage better literacy and reading enjoyment among pre-teens and adolescents. A sister site to Reading Rockets and Colorin'Colorado, Adlit offers summer reading strategies, book lists, book clubs, classroom technique hints which encourage development of reading attack skills, and a special section on authors and their best books. For a Spanish language version of the main topics available as an A to Z list, click on the left side of the screen ( En Espanol ). This site has everything you already know about teaching reading in easy-to-use formats. This site requires Flash and Adobe Acrobat. Get both from the TeachersFirst Toolbox page.

tag(s): authors (120), independent reading (126), reading strategies (44)

In the Classroom

If you need ideas to get students reading for fun and to help develop their confidence, try this site. Highlight this on your class website so parents can try the activities with their older students. When doing author biographies, share this site with your class using an interactive whiteboard or projector. Be sure to check out the "Classroom Strategies" link for even more literacy ideas.
  This resource requires Adobe Flash and PDF reader software like Adobe Acrobat.

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Field Trip - HUD

Grades
1 to 3
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Students can take an interactive tour (or quick picture tour) of three community sites: a park, a library, and city hall. Each location allows students to "click around" to learn ...more
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Students can take an interactive tour (or quick picture tour) of three community sites: a park, a library, and city hall. Each location allows students to "click around" to learn more about the location. For example at the library, students learn what non-fiction, fiction, periodicals, and other library terms mean. There are also links on the bottom of the page for People, Places, and Things. The People link teaches students about volunteering, the homeless, and various careers. The Places link features safe places to play, field trip links, and more. Go to the Things link to Build a Community, go on a Scavenger Hunt, or play other interactive games. Much of this site requires Flash. Get Flash from the TeachersFirst Toolbox page.

tag(s): communities (35)

In the Classroom

Use this during your unit about neighborhoods and community. Share the site on an interactive whiteboard or projector. Then either set up a social studies computer station or have students explore on individual computers. If you plan to visit the library or town hall, preview it with a visit to this site. Have your students draw other community buildings and explain their functions by using a map or go floor by floor, as in the library visit. You could even create a class wiki "tour" using digital pictures. You might want to list this site in your class newsletter or on your class website for parents to share with their students.

ESL and ELL students learning names for community locations will appreciate this site for helping things come alive. Use this site to increase and strengthen vocabulary. Ask students to compare these locations with parallel offerings in their home communities.
 This resource requires Adobe Flash.

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Better At English - betteratenglish.com

Grades
3 to 12
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This site features podcasts on subject areas of interest to ESL and ELL students and their instructors. Since August 2007, all material is also available as videos. The material presented...more
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This site features podcasts on subject areas of interest to ESL and ELL students and their instructors. Since August 2007, all material is also available as videos. The material presented features teaching techniques, information on new available technologies that assist students with schoolwork and language learning, and grammar and other communication techniques. Although this site was created for ESL/ELL students, it would also be useful for any students learning grammar.. All podcasts include text of the spoken or video materials. The focus for these lessons is on acquiring more vocabulary and improving oral and reading comprehension. Some of the videos come from YouTube. If your school blocks YouTube, consider accessing this site and choosing videos at home, using a tool such as KeepVid reviewed here to download the videos from YouTube and bring them in for class use.

This site does have several appropriate advertisements. There are also a few questionable links on the site (for example, "Uncensored English"), so be sure to supervise WELL.

tag(s): idioms (44), listening (91), slang (15), vocabulary (324)

In the Classroom

You will need headphones or speakers if you choose to assign students to listen to the podcasts individually. This site is excellent for enrichment or special topics. Include it on your teacher web page (with a disclaimer regarding content) for students to access both in and out of class. Use this site with intermediate and advanced level ELL and ESL students to help them improve their knowledge of English slang and idioms. If you are into video, consider creating your own student vodcasts about idioms and sharing them via TeacherTube ( reviewed here) and on your class wiki.
  This resource requires Adobe Flash and PDF reader software like Adobe Acrobat.

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