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Quadblogging - David Mitchell

Grades
2 to 12
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Give your student writers an audience... possibly an international one! Sign up for Quadblogging and be guaranteed that your students will have at least three other classrooms...more
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Give your student writers an audience... possibly an international one! Sign up for Quadblogging and be guaranteed that your students will have at least three other classrooms to read and respond to their blogs. We all know that having an audience for our writing makes us better writers. The creator of this program has hard evidence of that. His students (in the UK) were scoring at 9% on the British writing achievement test before Quadblogging. After a school year of using Quadblogging, his students increased their scores to 60%. In subsequent years, these students continued to have their scores grow by two grade levels per school year. There are two short videos on the home page. One video explains the concept of Quadblogging, and the other is the creator speaking at BETT, the world's largest ed tech conference. You will also find the form to fill out to have your class join others in Quadblogging.

tag(s): blogs (88), cross cultural understanding (115), writing (359)

In the Classroom

If you never blogged before, you might want to check out TeachersFirst Blog Basics for the Classroom. Have your students choose a question from Thought Questions reviewed here. Have students respond to the question, and then have them ask the reader to respond to their writing and answer the question from their point of view, too. The benefits go beyond just writing. You can also build cultural understanding and world language skills through blogs. Help your students become aware of environmental issues or how to live "green" for our planet. Try Greenlearning.ca, reviewed here, or choose something from the Environmental News Network, reviewed here, for students' Quadblog projects.

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Classic Books - Library of Congress

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K to 12
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Explore this collection of public domain, classic books for children and teenagers from the Library of Congress. They are organized in alphabetical order. There are 51 books for younger...more
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Explore this collection of public domain, classic books for children and teenagers from the Library of Congress. They are organized in alphabetical order. There are 51 books for younger children, 6 books for teens, and 6 books for adults. Each has a short summary, a link from which to read the book, and a link to more information about the book. Enjoy these stories online. Although they aren't audio books, they could be very useful with all ages.

tag(s): book lists (128), independent reading (128)

In the Classroom

Share the classics on your interactive whiteboard or projector. Read the stories together as a class and consider converting an excerpt into an interactive text using Active Textbook, reviewed here. You could add to it yearly, with each class taking a chapter or section to "liven up" with media. Or challenge your tech-savvy gifted students to bring a classic to life with such a project. Share this public domain collection on your class website, blog, or wiki as a good place to find classics (FREE). Create a learning station on your classroom computers using these books.

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Rewordify - Neil M. Goldman

Grades
4 to 12
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Rewordify helps you understand what you read. Paste any text or website into the box to rewordify the text into simpler language. Easier to understand words replace difficult text shown...more
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Rewordify helps you understand what you read. Paste any text or website into the box to rewordify the text into simpler language. Easier to understand words replace difficult text shown with highlighting. Click on the highlighting to view the original, more difficult word(s). View excellent student and teacher demonstrations showing how to use the website. You have the option to choose how Rewordify displays the results using the options in the settings. Several options allow for easy personalization of results.

tag(s): vocabulary (323), vocabulary development (125)

In the Classroom

This site is a must for saving and bookmarking for classroom use! Start the school year out by posting the link to Rewordify on your class website for student and parent access from home. Be sure to share with learning support and ESL/ELL teachers and students. Be sure to share a link on your classroom website and parent newsletter for use at home. Save a link to Rewordify on classroom computers for students to easily paste text from any website to read in a simpler format. Copy and paste any difficult text into Rewordify and display on your interactive whiteboard (or projector) to enhance student understanding or show meaning in complex texts. Have students guess meanings from context clues in the more complex version, then share the "rewordified" view to test their guesses. Have students create a word cloud of difficult words identified using a tool such as Wordle (reviewed here), Tagxedo (reviewed here), or WordItOut (reviewed here). Have students take a screen shot of passages that have been "rewordified" to share and discuss.
 

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MFL Ideas Factory - Eleanor Gordon

Grades
6 to 12
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Visit the MFL Ideas Factory blog to find language teaching ideas to use in your classroom. Developed by teachers of world languages, each post is an activity that is context-free ...more
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Visit the MFL Ideas Factory blog to find language teaching ideas to use in your classroom. Developed by teachers of world languages, each post is an activity that is context-free so you can adapt to your planning. Tags accompany each activity to make your search more efficient. Sample tags are "Will it take long?" or "Does this require photocopying?" Various search options make it easy to navigate the MFL Ideas Factory. The search box on the right side of the page will search all text in the entire blog. Filter the activities by category in the box on the left side of the page or click on the tag that interests you. Click on "vocabulary" to find all the vocabulary activities posted. Some of the pronunciations and spellings may differ from those in American English because the site administrator resides in the UK.

tag(s): french (88), italian (33), russian (26), spanish (108), vocabulary (323)

In the Classroom

Search the archive of ideas for your language teaching techniques and activities. Find great ideas to introduce or conclude lessons. Search by categories or tags to find the best activities to meet your needs. Share this site with your world language teaching colleagues or ESL/ELL teachers. Adapt the activities for learning support students.

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Weird Road Signs - TODAY; Paul A. Eisenstein

Grades
6 to 12
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Take the road less traveled by and check out these 14 wild, weird, and wacky street signs that were finalists for a Today Show contest. You will find humor, irony, ...more
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Take the road less traveled by and check out these 14 wild, weird, and wacky street signs that were finalists for a Today Show contest. You will find humor, irony, and signs that require a law degree to comprehend among the entries. Ignore the advertising on the site; the signs are worth it. Be aware of the content: some may not be suitable for middle school classrooms.
This site includes advertising.

tag(s): creative writing (166), figurative language (16)

In the Classroom

These signs can spark writing, geography, and visual communication lessons. Project selected signs on the interactive whiteboard as ideas for students to use for creative writing pieces. Have the students create a fictional scavenger hunt of several signs around the world. Have students use a mapping tool such as Mapskip (reviewed here) to create a map showing the sign locations (with audio stories and pictures about what happened when people encountered the sign)! Use the locations offered in some of the descriptions for geography lessons to integrate geography with writing. Use the images on a bulletin board and have students write captions for the signs. Have student editors find grammatical errors on the signs. Students could create an annotated image including text boxes with captions and related links using a tool such as Thinglink, reviewed here. Have students upload a sign image and add voice bubbles with narration using a tool such as Superlame, reviewed here. Use the signs for ESL/ELL students to teach about the nuances of text translation.

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Educaplay - Multimedia Learning Resources - Adrformacion

Grades
3 to 12
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Create many educational multimedia activities in one place using Educaplay. Create interactive maps, riddles, slide shows, fill in the blanks, crossword puzzles, word search puzzles,...more
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Create many educational multimedia activities in one place using Educaplay. Create interactive maps, riddles, slide shows, fill in the blanks, crossword puzzles, word search puzzles, jumbled word, jumbled sentence, dictation, or create a collection of several of these based on a theme. Registration is required. Your results will be consistent and professional looking. Also, browse and use activities and collections others have created. Download and print the activities or complete them online by embedding them on your website or sharing the URL. Results can be registered in your learning management system (online grade book). Though originally a Flash program, Educaplay converted to HTML5 and should work on any computer.

tag(s): crosswords (18), multimedia (57), puzzles (208), quizzes (96), slides (63), word study (80), worksheets (60)

In the Classroom

When configuring a quiz you will have the ability to have the questions presented randomly, decide the number of questions, and the threshold to pass the quiz, among other choices. When adding the questions, you will be able to add an image, audio, or video. Why should you make all the activities for your class? Assign students to create crossword puzzles and such for a story or unit the class is studying. Consider having a small group create a "collection" of activities around an area of study. Be sure to put a link to the program for parents to create study activities for their student to use at home.

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Infographics Only - Infographics Only

Grades
3 to 12
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Find a colorful, creative Infographic for just about any topic on this sharing site. Use one of the forty-plus categories or type your keyword in a search box. There are ...more
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Find a colorful, creative Infographic for just about any topic on this sharing site. Use one of the forty-plus categories or type your keyword in a search box. There are so many cool Infographics at this site that you won't have to create one of your own. But if you do, you can upload it and have it displayed on Infographics Only. What is an Infographic? Learn more about Infographics here. Be sure to take time to preview the Infographics on this site as some may not be suitable for young people. It would be best to link directly to the Infographic you want to share.
This site includes advertising.

tag(s): charts and graphs (195), data (148), graphic design (35), infographics (42)

In the Classroom

Common Core emphasizes "reading" of visual sources of information, and this is the perfect source. Why not use an Infographic as an introduction to a unit or lesson in your classroom? Create open ended questions about the Infographic to use as a formative assessment tool. Ask students to create questions about the topic of the Infographic. Reading teachers could choose an Infographic on a daily/weekly basis for teaching/practicing how to interpret informational graphics within a text. If they are mature enough to ignore some topics, consider having students go to the Just for Fun category and choose an Infographic. Then ask students to report out the "main idea" of the graphic and give three supporting details as evidence. For any subject, as a form of summative evaluation, consider assigning students to create an Infographic about a topic covered in class as a way to show understanding. If your students are new to creating infographics, have them view Creating Infographics: A Screencast Tutorial reviewed here. For more examples of how to use infographics in your classroom, view the recording of an OK2Ask online professional development session found here. This session is 75 minutes in length.

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Story Maps - Esri

Grades
5 to 12
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Story Maps takes learning in a new direction. Interactive maps tell a story through videos, images, audio, and links. Learn more about the topics in text that accompanies each map....more
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Story Maps takes learning in a new direction. Interactive maps tell a story through videos, images, audio, and links. Learn more about the topics in text that accompanies each map. A timeline of "dots" allows you to move through the story step by step. A satellite view is available on some maps, and legends give you important information to read the map accurately. A wide variety of topics are available to inform and educate. Use the search bar to find a map to meet your needs. Travel to the most visited National Parks or explore an interactive map of the three days and decisive moments of the battle of Gettysburg. It is important to pay as much attention to the text pop-ups as the cartography and other aspects of the map. New stories are added every two weeks. so come back often! This review was for the free area of the site that allows you to view the map stories. There are extensive directions on how to create your own maps, but these suggest purchase of maps, etc. from ArcGIS, an affiliate of Esri. Some of the map storytelling ideas could be used with other free mapping tools, however.

tag(s): gettysburg (26), map skills (79), maps (287), measurement (157)

In the Classroom

Map out interactive virtual field trips on Story Maps. Introduce this site on your interactive whiteboard or projector. Then have students explore this site independently or in small groups. Have a team competition as students navigate the site on an interactive whiteboard to complete a scavenger hunt. Students can find geometric shapes in real life objects on the images with the maps. Calculate distances or time if the map is a timeline of events. Use this site as an anticipatory set or "activator" to introduce a unit or lesson on a projector or interactive whiteboard. Make a shortcut to this site on classroom computers and use it as a center. Be sure to help your weaker readers and ESL/ELL students by sharing the vocabulary words prior to reading, either on a handout or by projecting them on an interactive whiteboard and highlighting them in the text as you come to them. Have students create online posters to summarize what they learned from the map, individually or together as a class using a tool such as Web Poster Wizard (reviewed here) or PicLits (reviewed here. Ask students to write informational essays on the topics or use the maps to write creative stories. Challenge your most tech-savvy or gifted students to explore the step by step map storytelling directions and try their hand using google Maps or other map tools. The advice in these directions is excellent.

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Vector-Finder - Vector-Finder.com

Grades
K to 12
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Find free clipart on this site. These are vector graphic images which can be enlarged without the problems of pixelated images. Many of these pictures are appropriate for use in ...more
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Find free clipart on this site. These are vector graphic images which can be enlarged without the problems of pixelated images. Many of these pictures are appropriate for use in the classroom and can be downloaded for student use. Find images and figures, backgrounds and wallpapers, as well as icon sets. When using the clipart, be sure to download to your computer first before inserting into an application. Copying it directly from the website puts a black background behind your image. Note: As with most clipart search engines, there are graphics on this site that are not appropriate for children. It is suggested that an adult look for appropriate graphics to distribute to students.
This site includes advertising.

tag(s): clip art (10), images (266)

In the Classroom

These vector graphics are free to download and use (with appropriate credit). This site is great if you need some clever clipart to jazz up student handouts, classroom bulletin boards, or PowerPoint/Keynote presentations. Special Ed, speech/language, or ESL/ELL teachers may find these images helpful when working with non-readers or non-verbal students. There is also web clipart that you can use for your blog, class webpage, or wiki. Interested in learning more about wikis? Check out the TeachersFirst's Wiki Walk-Through. Have students use this site in science class or other subjects to explain concepts and create colorful projects. Create an image collection for them to use as raw material and share it on your wiki or in a shared storage folder. Have students share what they have learned by creating personalized images (with text) using Pinwords reviewed here. Or have them create a comic using one of the many tools here.

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BrainRush - BrainRush.com

Grades
2 to 12
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BrainRush is a collection of fast-paced learning activities. It adapts to the individual users, providing information at just the right level to learn quickly without boredom. The mastery...more
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BrainRush is a collection of fast-paced learning activities. It adapts to the individual users, providing information at just the right level to learn quickly without boredom. The mastery meter shows progress along the way, and BrainRush states "When you finish playing a BrainRush, you know the material, guaranteed." Browse the library to choose from hundreds of topics in categories including all academic subjects as well as sports and Spanish. Future improvements to the site include the promise to create your own BrainRushes. Account creation using your email and a password is required to play BrainRush games. Many activities have audio.

tag(s): american revolution (86), chemicals (40), compasses (4), decimals (133), geometric shapes (163), heart (43), human body (121), multiplication (227), parts of speech (68), periodic table (50), planets (123), presidents (131), south america (39), spanish (108), sports (97), states (162), vocabulary (323)

In the Classroom

Share this site with students to practice and learn classroom material as well as topics they choose. Join the site yourself to share it on your interactive whiteboard or projector. Share with ESL/ELL and Special Education teachers as a resource for their students. Create a link to specific BrainRushes on your class website or blog for students to complete at home. Any student creating an account requires an email address. Read tips for safely managing email registrations here.

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Exam Time - ExamTime.com

Grades
7 to 12
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ExamTime is powerful tool package to improve and enhance study skills. Features include mind maps, flash cards, quizzes, and goal-setting. Sign up using email or Facebook to begin exploring...more
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ExamTime is powerful tool package to improve and enhance study skills. Features include mind maps, flash cards, quizzes, and goal-setting. Sign up using email or Facebook to begin exploring the site. Choose the Explore button at the top of the page to create a study activity. Follow the easy directions to add text, drag and drop items, and build study items. When finished, share with friends within ExamTime. Another interesting feature is the Goal Builder - enter goals, future assignments, project deadlines, and more to build a timeline and check activities when complete. View information easily on computers and mobile devices for easy access anywhere and anytime.

tag(s): assessment (100), classroom management (135), flash cards (45), homework (44), mind map (25), quizzes (96), social networking (112), test prep (95)

In the Classroom

Share ExamTime with students to build and use study skills. Although an individual can use the site on their own, it is best to use it as a sharing site to share study information. Encourage students to sign up and build a network of friends for creating and sharing resources. You might consider requiring students to use the timeline feature to prioritize and stay organized, especially with long term tasks. Learning support teachers and teachers of gifted-but-disorganized students will want to share the tools and encourage their students to collaborate with their peers. Have students create review activities (they call it revision) and swap them with peers. Use this tool with colleagues to co-create materials to use with content units or materials to use for flipping the classroom. Use this tool for professional development. Groups of grade level teachers can use the timeline feature and set goals to make sure they are covering the Common Core Standards for the year, throughout the year.

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Presentain - Neek Kurat

Grades
4 to 12
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Connect and engage your presentation audience with Presentain. Create a free account and link to your Google Drive account. Connect your social media accounts through your profile so...more
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Connect and engage your presentation audience with Presentain. Create a free account and link to your Google Drive account. Connect your social media accounts through your profile so presentation participants can view your connections. Access your Google Drive presentations in Presentain or upload a PDF version of a presentation created in PowerPoint or Keynote. Store your presentations in the Presentain cloud. Download the iOS or Android app on your phone or tablet to connect your mobile device. Use your mobile device as a clicker and connect your audience on their mobile devices. The audience can ask questions, take part in polls, send you follow-up requests, share your slides, and more. Record your voice while you present and publish the slidecast to your online audience. Presenting on a laptop that's not yours? Enter a presentation code that doesn't require a login. This is a great tool to involve your audience. Presentain users must be at least 18 years old.

tag(s): DAT device agnostic tool (198), slides (63)

In the Classroom

Use your existing presentations and upload them as a PDF to Presentain. Use the many tools available at the site to engage your students. Use the question feature as a backchannel to address questions and concerns. Collect data using polls to differentiate your instruction. A BYOD school? Connect your students on their mobile devices. Share your slidecasts for student access both in and outside of class for further practice. An excellent site to share your presentations on professional development with your teaching colleagues. A great tool to flip your classroom instruction. Record students' presentations (using your account) to share on a website or blog so families unable to attend can view. Create visual presentations for key concepts or vocabulary. Record descriptions and share the slidecast for student access both in and outside of class for further practice.

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Kaizena - Kaizena

Grades
1 to 12
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Do you wish you had enough time in your schedule for one-on-one personalized writing conferences with your students or writers you know? Kaizena (previously 121Writing) can make that...more
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Do you wish you had enough time in your schedule for one-on-one personalized writing conferences with your students or writers you know? Kaizena (previously 121Writing) can make that dream a reality. Kaizena allows you to give feedback on writing via an audio recording. Writers often have difficulty reading the margin notes from teachers or other readers, or they need more explanation. An audio recording of the feedback provides a personalized experience to enhance the writing process. Kaizena works best by synching with your Google Drive account. There is an option at the bottom of the page to sign up by sending in your name and email address. However, this can take a while, so plan ahead! Sign in with your Google account to watch a helpful video and learn how to connect to your Google Drive account or school Google Apps account.

Start by highlighting a text selection, hit record, and provide your feedback. Writers will be able to listen to your feedback and revise or edit their writing as though you were face to face. Tag your highlighted text with keywords that can be tracked in a mastery-based rubric. You could tag conventional errors, mistakes, or selections that are amazing. Verbal feedback can be played on an iPad so students can listen in the best learning environment to meet their needs. Writers will progress as you enhance the writing process with explicit audio feedback. Kaizena can enhance feedback for written work for any school subject or even outside of school.

tag(s): editing (61), process writing (42), writing (359)

In the Classroom

Editing and revising are better with audio feedback. Provide explicit details to improve student performance. Students can record peer edits and share audio recordings with classmates. Classroom time is more efficient and effective when students can listen to your feedback before meeting face to face. Have students highlight passages of text and provide their reflections on the selection. World language classes can speak text or respond to questions in their new language. Learning support students will better understand audio feedback on their writing than detailed comments written in "teacher-ese." This is a great tool for students to highlight poetry and record their thoughts and feelings on the text. Students can highlight and record their thought process as they solve math word problems. Highlight and record opinions on current event articles. Highlight an entire passage of text to model reading fluency. Students can listen and read along with the recording to help with phrasing and expression. Highlight text and model fluency for ESL/ELL students. Highlight assessment questions or text for lower-level readers to provide a level playing field in the classroom. Challenge students to provide audio feedback to their peers on passages where they would like to know more, questions they have as readers, and positive feedback on passages they enjoy.

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OK2Ask'®: Specialized for Special Needs July 2013 - TeachersFirst

Grades
K to 12
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This recording of an OK2Ask online professional development session from July 2013, opens in Adobe Connect. Specialized for Special Needs: Ideas and tools for Learning Support, Speech/language,...more
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This recording of an OK2Ask online professional development session from July 2013, opens in Adobe Connect. Specialized for Special Needs: Ideas and tools for Learning Support, Speech/language, Emotional Support, and More! Learn how to adapt your teaching for your students' special needs using TeachersFirst resources. Participants will view and explore tools to help students needing emotional support, learning support, speech/language support, autistic support, ESL/ELL assistance, and more. Find resources that promote organization, focus, and differentiated learning. Use exploration time to discover and discuss how selected resources can be utilized in your classroom.

As a result of this session and through individual follow-up, teachers will: Gather ideas by exploring 6 -10 specialized resources on TeachersFirst; Explore and practice with selected resources; Investigate and discuss lesson ideas offered in reviews and by other participants; List and discuss other curriculum related projects or activities that could be done using the resources in the teacher's own teaching situation; and (Follow-up) Implement one of the provided resources into an upcoming teaching unit or lesson. Applicable NETS-T standards (2008)*: 1a, b, c; 2a, b, c, d; 3b, c, d; 4c * The text of these standards is copyrighted. Please read the full text at ISTE's NETS-T page.

tag(s): learning disability (15), speech (92)

In the Classroom

Looking for new strategies to use with your learning support, ESL/ELL students, emotional support, speech/language students, autistic support, and other specialized needs? View this webinar for some excellent new ideas. Invite other teachers to view the webinar with you in your class or the computer lab. Take a look at the resource page full of GREAT ideas! Learn more about OK2Ask and upcoming sessions here.
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Newsela - Matthew Gross

Grades
2 to 12
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Newsela is a data base of current events stories tailor-made for classroom use. Indexed by broad theme (e.g. War and Peace, Arts, Science, Health, Law, Money), stories are both student-friendly...more
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Newsela is a data base of current events stories tailor-made for classroom use. Indexed by broad theme (e.g. War and Peace, Arts, Science, Health, Law, Money), stories are both student-friendly and can be accessed in different formats by reading level. Use Newsela to differentiate nonfiction reading. Newspaper writers rewrite a story four times for a total of five Lexile levels per story. Many stories also have embedded, Common Core aligned quizzes that conform to the reading levels for checking comprehension. In addtion, each article has a writing prompt which is also designed to assess reading comprehension. An account is required to use Newsela, both for teachers and for students, but students sign up using a teacher or parent provided code rather than an email address. Teachers can create classes and assign reading-level specific articles to individual students, or download printable PDF copies of the article in any of its reading-level versions. There is an upgraded fee-based Pro Version which allows teachers or administrators to track reading progress, but most of the features are free and there is no advertising.
This site includes advertising.

tag(s): differentiation (47), guided reading (47), independent reading (128), news (261), reading comprehension (116)

In the Classroom

Achieve two goals here: help students improve their reading comprehension and keep them current with what is happening in our nation and the world. When assigning articles, choose to have the class read at one reading level, or choose individuals and set the reading level for them. There are five categories from which to choose. You may want to set up different articles at different learning stations on the computers in your room. Have the students rotate daily through the stations, completing one or two a day until they have completed all five articles. Since Newsela is cloud based, even absent students can complete the missed work easily. Teachers of gifted students can use this site to accelerate or enrich reading for students. Find each students individual levels for reading nonfiction. Teachers of Learning Support and ELL students will love this alternate way for their students to meet current events requirements.

Comments

This is an excellent site and allows differentiation while everyone is reading the same text. Renee, NC, Grades: 0 - 5

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750 Words - Buster Benson

Grades
4 to 12
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750 Words is a private place to write your thoughts, clear your head, scrawl a rant, or brainstorm ideas. You might ask yourself, why not just blog? Blogs have a ...more
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750 Words is a private place to write your thoughts, clear your head, scrawl a rant, or brainstorm ideas. You might ask yourself, why not just blog? Blogs have a "keep private" button, and if you forget to click it who knows who will be reading your most private thoughts. This program is based on the idea that getting your thoughts on (digital) paper every morning can clear your head, focus your ideas, and organize and energize you for the rest of the day. Inspired by the book The Artist's Way, and its hand-written "Morning Pages" exercise, the creator of this program converted that exercise to our 21st century tools. If you care about such things, there is also a point system where one can compare constancy of writing and words written with others.

tag(s): brainstorming (23), gamification (65), journals (21), process writing (42), writers workshop (31)

In the Classroom

To write daily is a good idea for students. It helps them clarify their thoughts and questions, and get in touch with their feelings. 750 Words would be perfect for any writing program or with gifted students who often feel very strongly about fairness and/or world issues well beyond their years. Students can get their thoughts and ideas written down without having to worry about a grade or someone chancing upon their writings in a school notebook. Here's an idea for any grade level. Have your students do free writes (stream of conscientiousness writing) starting with 5 minutes or more a day. Ask students to count their words daily when time is up, always trying to increase the word count. After a couple of weeks have them use 750 Words and complete the stream of writing on a computer or mobile device. (This shouldn't slow many of them down since most are quick at texting!). After the first day, and again after the second week, using 750 Words have a class discussion about which format they like better and why. Use a backchannel program like Meetings.io reviewed here, or Today's Meet, reviewed here, for the class discussion. Using one of these programs ensures that even your shy students have a chance to say what they think about 750 Words. Challenge your students to complete the 750 words at home. They can earn points, and you know how competition can inspire some of them! Resource students and ESL/ELL students could increase their writing skills and fluency by keeping an online, private journal daily with 750 Words. Emotional support, autistic support, or alternative ed students may find this private space to work out feelings very therapeutic.

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Quest - Alex Warren

Grades
5 to 12
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Create text-based adventure games and interactive fiction using Quest! No programming language required. You can also play games already designed by others. Choose the "play" option...more
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Create text-based adventure games and interactive fiction using Quest! No programming language required. You can also play games already designed by others. Choose the "play" option from the top of the web page to view and play games such as The Mansion or Shipwrecked. Play games online or download to your Windows computer. Design your own games online using your web browser or download software to your Windows PC to work offline. Create an account in Quest to begin creating activities. View the video tutorial for an overview of the activities and creation processes. Create rooms and objects or tasks for each room. Create more complex games by following complete instructions found in the web browser version of the game system creator. Add sound files and even videos to games in addition to tasks. An option allows players to choose their own endings to games. There is a documentation wiki and a forum to get help. This site may require some tinkering around to figure it out! But it is well worth the time. Note: since games available for Play are created by the general public, you will want to preview for appropriateness.

tag(s): interactive stories (32), process writing (42)

In the Classroom

Challenge students to create games when studying process writing of essays. Instead of writing a dry essay, create an object of entertainment with an interactive story. Use steps of the game to provide supporting evidence for the essay. Create simple text games to show the typical patterns of stories. Have a contest to see which group of students in your class can imagine the best game scenario. In science class, have student groups create games that follow the life of a plant or animal where players collect all the needed nutrients or conditions the plant/animal needs to survive. In civics/government class, have students create a game around getting elected, passing a bill, or ending Washington gridlock! Don't have time to have your students actually CREATE a game? Create your own "review" game for your students to use to prepare for the big test. This would be ideal if it is a unit that you teach yearly; you can reuse your game! Share some of the ready-made games on your interactive whiteboard or projector. Share this link with parents on your class website. Students may enjoy the challenge of creating a game during summer break.

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The Literacy Shed - Rob Smith

Grades
K to 12
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Find hundreds of ideas for using the visual resources of film, animation, photographs and picture books for teaching literacy. Each "shed" has a theme: The Mystery Shed, The Video Game...more
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Find hundreds of ideas for using the visual resources of film, animation, photographs and picture books for teaching literacy. Each "shed" has a theme: The Mystery Shed, The Video Game Shed, The Fantasy Shed, The Myths Shed, The Picture Book Shed, and at least 25 more. Each "shed" has images and videos along with suggestions for using them. The activities and materials will appeal to many age groups from primary to college age. The Literacy Shed also features a resource a week and a blog entry for the week. This site is free, but donations are accepted. The Resource Shed features lesson plans and worksheets from others to go along with the animations. Only the videos use Flash. At the time of this review, all advertising was related to educational sites and activities.
This site includes advertising.

tag(s): creative writing (166), descriptive writing (41), expository writing (44), literacy (103), reading comprehension (116), writers workshop (31), writing (359), writing prompts (92)

In the Classroom

The Literacy shed is full of ideas for writing, creating, and improving your student's critical thinking skills. There are lesson plans with explicit instructions for writing. The high quality resources found here can be used as "stand alone" lessons or can be an introduction to a unit. Look to see if there is one to support a unit you already use. Here is an idea: after viewing one of your favorite picture books via video, and completing some of the suggested activities, have students bring in their favorite picture book and create activities similar to those found on The Literacy Shed. They could also create a video either with pictures from the book or by creating their own pictures and narrating the story. Be sure students use proper citation if posting them on TeacherTube, reviewed here, or another online program. Not finding your favorite book on The Literacy Shed? See if you can find a YouTube or Vimeo video and create your own lesson from a model at The Literacy Shed.
 This resource requires Adobe Flash.

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FindIcons - findicons.com

Grades
K to 12
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FindIcons.com is a search tool that helps you find free icons. Type your term in the search bar to view icons in FindIcons database. Choose from several different options to ...more
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FindIcons.com is a search tool that helps you find free icons. Type your term in the search bar to view icons in FindIcons database. Choose from several different options to download icons in the file format desired, such as png. Convert to jpg, bmp, or several other file options. Each icon includes licensing information so you can look for icons that are Creative Commons or public domain. Create an account then make user sets of your favorite icons. Access your user sets from anywhere through the FindIcons website. Explore the TAGS button to find search ideas. Be aware: ANY word/term can be searched, some may not be appropriate for the classroom. If you plan to allow young people to use this site independently, be sure to discuss appropriate searching.
This site includes advertising.

tag(s): images (266)

In the Classroom

Bookmark this site as a resource for finding and saving icons to use on your website, or to include with class projects. Share this site with students to find icons for projects. If you make a whole-class account, you can create user sets in advance of projects to save time. In primary grades, these icons are terrific for teacher use! Use icons to create non-verbal signs for your non-readers in your classroom. Special education, world language, and ELL/ESL teachers can create non-verbal prompts for language learning. Use icons on your interactive whiteboard as drag and drop or labeling activities to build vocabulary and more.

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Nulu - nulu.com

Grades
7 to 12
1 Favorites 0  Comments
 
Learn English or Spanish through news stories. Use this site to become more fluent in Spanish or English (for ESL/ELL learners). Start by registering (with email or Facebook). Choose...more
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Learn English or Spanish through news stories. Use this site to become more fluent in Spanish or English (for ESL/ELL learners). Start by registering (with email or Facebook). Choose the language you wish to learn at the top of the screen ("English please"). Adjust other settings in your profile. You may have to click to "try" the premium version. No charge is collected for trying it, and the tools seem to all work for free. Read or listen to news articles about engaging topics. Select the type of news of interest to you. Use the audio button to listen to the story while reading. With a mouse over, a translation pops up. After learning more and more language, less translation will be necessary. Create flashcards by clicking on any difficult word. Select the level of difficulty for each word so that the word will reappear until you learn it. Stories may be in narrative or dialogue form. You can change the speed of the oral reading with a simple click. The site also offers review questions.

tag(s): news (261), spanish (108)

In the Classroom

Encourage ESL/ELL students and Spanish learners to increase their fluency by selecting news articles that appear interesting. Have one student prepare a story each week by having him or her preview the reading, prepare the flash cards, and also write additional comprehension questions. If permitted by your administration, students can log in with Facebook (or email) and make comments about the site and/or the stories there. Be sure to review good Netiquette about online commenting.

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