Grades3 to 12
There are additional features if you choose to subscribe, particularly the Visual Thesaurus interactive word maps, which can be saved and printed, and an online edition in multiple languages for English-speaking students learning other languages and ESL/ELL students.
Caution! Before purchasing a subscription, see if the free portion of the website satisfies your needs or take advantage of the 14-day risk-free trial to see all the features in action. When a school subscription is purchased, student workbooks and Teachers' Guide with lesson plans are included.
In the ClassroomTeachers and students can use the VocabGrabber on an interactive whiteboard, projector, or individual computers to highlight vocabulary specific to a literary work or curricular subject area, to improve reading comprehension by choosing key concepts and literary terms, and to build background knowledge for a given text. As an added benefit, have students click on the VocabGrabber when typing their own assignments such as a poem or an essay, to avoid repeating the same word. They simply type in a word and generate a list of synonyms and more descriptive words. VocabGrabber enables students to see how words are used in context, instead of memorizing word lists. Additionally, VocabGrabber is extremely helpful for students preparing for standardized tests. Be sure to include this site on your class web page for students to access both in and outside of class for further practice.
Grades3 to 12
The categories on the site include "Play a game," "Print some activities to do," "Listen to a song," "Read a story," "Practice your writing," and "Find lots more activities." AND, each one of these categories is multi-leveled.
In the ClassroomThis extensive site will make the life of the ESL, ELL, or remedial reading teacher so much easier! Though intended for ESL/ELL teachers, this site can be used by any teacher who is teaching elementary reading and writing. It would also be good for remedial readers. In some parts, i.e. the interactives, you may want to pair up a proficient reader with the ESL/ELL student or remedial reader. The reading of the stories could be done with a projector or interactive whiteboard for a small group or the whole class, and then small groups of students could brainstorm the writing prompts at the end on an interactive white board. Share some of the activities with parents, as well, for at home practice with ESL/ELL students and their family members. Be sure to include this link on your class website.
Grades7 to 12
In the ClassroomFor ESL/ELL students, use magazines at this site to teach vocabulary and American culture. For current events classes, display the latest news online on your projector or interactive whiteboard, finding it quickly with just a few clicks. Have groups explore current news headlines and compare coverage or create their own videos (news or infomercials) using a site such as Teachers.TV reviewed here. This may also be a link that you would want to list on your class website for both students and parents to use at home. If you require current events article summaries each week, your students can use this site to find the latest at no cost. Reading teachers can easily find passages to use for comprehension skills such as main idea, summarizing, inferencing and more, all from current articles and ready to project on your interactive whiteboard for underlining, highlighting and discussion.
Grades2 to 12
tag(s): vocabulary (323)
In the ClassroomThis site does far more than aid memorization. Reading teachers can also use it to teach comprehension skills, such as using context clues to determine meaning in a paragraph. Paste in the paragraph (perhaps a passage from a non-fiction science or social studies article) and use this tool on your interactive whiteboard for students to "figure out" the missing words. Do the same with world language texts to reverse match using subject verb agreement and to analyze missing content using inflected endings. In science class, use this site to remove clues from a paragraph explaining a concepts or terms, subtracting information and having students fill it back in as they review for test and quizzes. Learning support teachers will love this option! Enter passage students write that include new vocabulary words, letting students challenge each other by subtracting portions. Speech and language teachers can use this tool to provide practice with expressive language.
For work with memorization, use this site with popular song lyrics in class. Listen to the song first and give the students the lyrics to be memorized. Or, go to YouLyrics (if district policy allows) to get the song and see a video of it and then have the students use this site to help them memorize the lyrics. ESL, ELL, and students of other languages will enjoy memorizing songs which helps them improve their vocabulary and accent. Use this site in a group by projecting the screen on a whiteboard or projector and systematically show fewer and fewer words on the screen. Have teams of students compete against each other by writing the text as quickly as possible on two boards in the classroom. Share this link on your class website for students to use both in and out of the class to memorize new information. Share it as a personal study skills tool, as well.
GradesK to 12
In the ClassroomUse the links on the left hand side to find videos on how to use some of the most popular and useful classroom sites around. Find something of use in the vast array available for viewing. The screencasts of the web 2.0 sites offer step by step instructions to help novice and intermediate users in their use in the classroom. Videos are organized into topics with multiple tools showcased in the segment. Find quick videos at the bottom of the page which highlight just one tool. Even teachers of very young students will find many of the tools explained helpful for their own use in creating learning materials, centers, etc.
GradesK to 10
tag(s): book lists (133)
In the ClassroomSave this site on your classroom favorite's on your computer to assist students in finding books to read and sample illustrations for art class and students' own stories. This is a great link to provide on your class website for students to access at home. Within the classroom, have students choose a former Caldecott winner to read and create a multimedia presentation. Use a tool such as bubbl.us (reviewed here) to create and share concept maps about the books.
Grades2 to 8
The site explains the levels: Level 1 (Dove) - Elementary/Primary grades 3-4; Level 2 (Owl) - Elementary/Primary grades 4-5; Level 3 (Eagle) - Grades 5-7; Level 4 (Albatross) - Grades 6-8
tag(s): news (262)
In the ClassroomUse this site when talking about current world events. After viewing a few of these, you may want your students to write, read, and record their own newscasts about local news events. Try using a site such as Thinglink, reviewed here. This site allows students to narrate a picture from the news. Challenge students to find a photo (legally permitted to be reproduced), and then narrate the photo as a news report. Since the printable version of the news stories are only available for a fee, you may want to have your students write their own text version of the stories instead!
GradesK to 12
tag(s): news (262)
In the ClassroomCheck here for well-developed lesson plans for a specific topic you'd like to teach. Or scroll through the offerings for your grade level and subject. Complete directions for each lesson plan will guide you through how you can use it in the classroom. Share the interactive or photos on your projector or interactive whiteboard. Save this site in your favorites to visit often for some new ways to freshen up the content in your class.
Grades4 to 12
In the ClassroomIf you have e-mail pals in other countries or are working on a collaborative project in multiple languages, this site will help you communicate across the world (within limits of auto-translation). You can also use this tool to underscore similarities in related languages as you study English vocabulary and its roots. In world language classes, use this site to compare translations done by the different sites and to demonstrate the fact that instant translators cannot do your homework for you! Share this site on your interactive whiteboard or projector. Use this site with ESL/ELL students. As with any site that aggregates from multiple sources, there is some need possibility of coming up with results others have requested that are in poor taste. Also be sure students know consequences of typing inappropriate words. If you suspect that a student is using an instant translator to DO homework, this site will help you test most available translators to find the one he/she may be using.
Grades2 to 12
Use the embed code and URL codes with each clip to provide link or embed a specific clip into a blog, wiki, or other site.
This site includes advertising.
tag(s): movies (71)
In the ClassroomNone, if you simply wish to view clips. Clips can be played through the site. Copy the URL or embed codes under "Share this clip" to link or share the video.
Student registration is not advisable due to mature content.
Use the clips for vocabulary with ESL or ELL students. Introduce other curriculum topics or lessons using the clips on this site. For example, use video clips to get students thinking about concepts such as tornadoes, animals, feelings, or decision-making. As you teach about characterization in literature or creative writing, use movie clips to illustrate how a writer can "show not tell" about a characters personality or motivations. Have students observe the outward signs the actor uses to SHOW what he/she is feeling, then use these signs in writing their own stories: the way the eyebrows move, the body language, etc. Emotional support and autistic support teachers can use the clips to help students learn to "read" human feelings.
Grades1 to 12
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In the ClassroomIf your students have never tried to make a Blabber, share the introduction blab on the home page (click the Blabberize logo to get there) on a projector or interactive whiteboard. Browse a few examples first to get ideas on how to make a mouth on your photo to move and "talk." Be sure to turn up your sound! Have a student demonstrate uploading an image from a safe and legal source. You may want to use a single, whole-class account you create with your "extra" email account. Be sure to spell out consequences of inappropriate use/content of blabs. Have students enter the site through the "Make" page link provided in this review to steer clear of the "latest" blabs. You may want your students to make their blabs "private" so they do not show on the public areas, depending on school policies.
Blab the homework directions on your teacher web page. Have your students use photos or digital drawings to "blab"! Have students draw in a paint program, save the file, and then make it "speak." Spice up research projects about historic figures or important scientists. Have literary characters tell about themselves. This tool is great for gifted students to go above and beyond the basics with an independent project. Create entire conversation sequences of blabs between people in world language or ESL/ELL classes (with students speaking in the language, of course), then embed them in a wiki. Have speech/language students make blabs to practice articulation and document progress over time. Promote oral reading fluency with student-read blabs. Create book "commercials." Have students blab what the author may have been thinking as he/she wrote a poem or literary selection or as an artist painted. Blab politicians' major platform planks during campaigns for current events. Blab the steps to math problem solving. Even primary students can make an animal blab about his habitat if you set up the blab as a center. Make visual vocabulary/terminology sentences with an appropriate character using the term in context (a beaker explaining how it is different from a flask?) Students could also take pictures of themselves doing a lab and then blab the pictures to explain the concepts. This would be a great first day project (introducing yourself and breaking the ice). Share the class blabs on your class web page or wiki! Give directions to your class (for when a substitute is there). Use at back to school night to grab parents' attention for important information.
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)
Products can be embedded
Products can be shared by URL
Grades1 to 12
In the ClassroomKeep this link handy among the resources on your class web page or wiki, and be sure to bring it up on your screen or interactive whiteboard to remind students of the rich tools it offers as you teach grammar, revision, poetry, essay-writing, or even letter and resume writing. With primary grades, share the rhyming words to help teach spelling and phonics! As students share in revising a passage or writing a poem on the interactive whiteboard, have this thesaurus available on another window to model their search for just the right word. Encourage students to look up any new vocabulary or terminology at the start of new science or social studies units so they can gain a broader "sense" of the words themselves through a constellation of synonyms and related words. Help students refine vocabulary by having them rank the various synonyms offered for a certain word, deciding which has the most positive or negative connotations. Offer the writing prompts for student journal or blog posts or creative stories. ESL/ELL students can explore new words with this tool, even practicing the rhyming sounds and noticing their varied spellings. Check out the Big Huge Labs educator account. Easily pre-register students to avoid creating logins, view and download their creations, and view the site advertisement free. You will find information about the Educator Account here.
NOTE: If students enter an inappropriate word, they WILL find classroom-inappropriate terms. As with use of any reference, your students need to know your classroom's consequences of such activity. The options are no different from students looking up body parts or pornographic terms in a print dictionary or on Google.
GradesK to 8
In the ClassroomAlthough intended for students with special needs, this site would also be helpful for teaching basic English vocabulary (emotions, facial expressions, positions), for safety lessons during bus safety week, and for ESL/ELL learners. The many printables in the free areas will also help you teach basics of any primary classroom. Speech/Language teachers, emotional support teachers, and autistic support teachers will appreciate the many ways to share emotion words, including an interactive facial expression tool and the emotions color wheel. Many activities are well-suited for interactive whiteboard with the student navigating using his/her finger or touch tool. Others would make ideal learning centers at a classroom computer with headphones. Share this site with parents, as well, via a link on your class web page, since many of the activities bear repeating over and over.
Grades5 to 12
Registration does require an email address. Tip: rather than using your personal or work email, create a free Gmail account to use for memberships. If you plan to have students register individually, you may want to create your own Gmail account with up to 20 subaccounts for each group of students (by code name or number) within your classes.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.
In the ClassroomRefer your ESL/ELL or speech articulation students to this site to use with a microphone to record their voices. Be sure to show them the demo so they can learn how to use the tools on the site and click to "allow" the mike to record. Help weaker readers by allowing them to see the text of film clips as they listen along, then speak the words back. As they practice English pronunciation, they will also be learning about current events and other topics. Save this site in your favorites on your classroom computer. List this site on your class webpage for students to access (and practice) both in and out of the classroom. Check you school policies before setting up any student accounts with identifiable information or real email addresses.
Grades2 to 10
In the ClassroomUse parts of this site when doing units on prejudice, diversity, and discrimination. Refer students to do research in some of the books listed here on those subjects. Have students interview people from other cultures to check the information given here on aspects of their cultures. Do they agree with what is said here? Even younger students will enjoy learning about flags and peace symbols. Make the craft links available for students doing reports on different countries or preparing for an International Day. Have students copy flags or other country symbols. Ask them to create their own "country" from these models. Challenge cooperative learning groups to research a specific topic at this site and prepare a podcast to share with the class using PodOmatic (reviewed here).
Grades3 to 12
In the ClassroomShare the relevant word searches on your interactive whiteboard or projector. Have cooperative learning groups practice spelling or vocabulary words by creating their own word search. List this site on your class website for students to use both in and out of the classroom. This is a great one for those word search lovers in your class. Why not have students use a whole-class account to make their own word searches to challenge each other with new vocabulary and terms?
Grades6 to 12
In the ClassroomPut this link on your class website for those ambitious ESL/ELL students desirous of more practice. Set up a point system for students to earn individual credit for their work. Make a handout about the blog and send it home with your students at the end of the school year for summer use. Check out the "Links for Teachers" section which offers suggestions about how to incorporate second language learning into your classroom using technology.
GradesK to 8
In the ClassroomThe site is so simple, you can utilize the entire pre-prepared curriculum and lesson plans or just add pieces of it to your current curriculum. Integrate the lessons into your language arts component as cross-curricular activities. The pre-K to 1st grade activities and curriculum are available in Spanish. Choose the Spanish version for ESL/ELL lessons or enrichment activities. The Spanish version would be a great supplement for secondary Spanish teachers. Have your science or health class create a Heart Health wiki or use Click2Map, reviewed here, to map out walking landmarks for your community.
Grades6 to 12
In the ClassroomBe sure to tell your students that they are NOT the "dummies" referred to in this site! Then go beyond the obvious use of this site as a reference to use it to teach informational writing, reading comprehension, or any curriculum content. Share text-based articles on a projector or interactive whiteboard and have students analyze the keywords and structure of sequential direction-writing or informational writing before they try it on their own. Use the pens and highlighters to note transitions and other ways of organizing directions, including formatting. Use articles to teach basic comprehension skills by copy/pasting sections and having students drag them into the correct sequence on the whiteboard to form logical directions. In science or social studies classes, have students view models on this site, then work in groups to write their own how-to wiki on curriculum topics such as "How to tell a fungus from a bacterium," "How to solve simultaneous equations," or "How to form a government." If you have access to video equipment, have students write scripts and produce video versions of their how-to instructions and post them on a site such as TeacherTube reviewed here.
Grades4 to 9
tag(s): idioms (44)