GradesK to 12
Tagxedo requires Silverlight. The site will appear as a blank page with the "Install Silverlight Plugin" button if your computer does not have it installed. See your tech folks to allow download and installation of this plug-in if school computers do not have it and/or are "locked down."
In the ClassroomNO membership required to create a cloud, though saving may require a (free) membership in the future, according to developer Hardy Leung. Click "Create" and then "Words." Paste URL to "cloud" words from a web page or copy/paste (or type) a passage of words into the given field. (Repeat words to make them larger). Experiment with various settings and "themes" to create the different colors and shapes of the word cloud. Change the theme, shape, direction, layout, and other parameters easily. Click SAVE to easily download a static image of various sizes or take a screenshot using shortcut keys. Saved images do not have the cool "pop-out" feature (rats!), though the developer tells TeachersFirst that users will be able to download animated versions in the future. You can also save and obtain the direct URL to your animated cloud. Be sure to bookmark it or copy/paste the URL for safe keeping in a document, wiki, etc. During beta, the tool allows you to save and copy embed code, but this feature will cost money later.
In the classroom: This is a terrific visual tool to share on an interactive whiteboard or projector. In primary grades. Enter a group of related words into the text box, such as sight words, words with the same spelling cluster, or vocabulary terms. Then have students roll over the words to read them aloud as they pop out (only works in the ONLINE version of the clouds). Paste in a passage or URL for a political speech to visualize the politician's "message." Analyze advertising propaganda by visualizing the language used in TV or print ads. Create word clouds of historical texts of inauguration speeches as time capsules of the issues of the day. Use this site as a way to help students see and memorize terms and important vocabulary, especially visual learners. Use it also when writing poetry or reading passages of great literature to "see" themes and motifs of repeated words and images. Have students paste in their own writing to spot repeated (and monotonous) language when teaching lessons on word choice. Students will be surprised to see what words appear to be dominant. ESL and ELL students will eagerly use this site since word order will no longer be a problem for them. Have students work in groups to create word posters of vocabulary words with related meanings, such as different ways to say "walk" or "said" and decorate your classroom with these visual reminders of the richness of language. Use themes and shapes that coordinate with the word cloud (for example, use a bird shape when creating a cloud about flight or a heart when interpreting a love poem. Consider using a word cloud as a first week of school activity where students discuss summer vacation or what they did over the summer. As a first day activity, students could also make a cloud with words about themselves, then have classmates guess which cloud matches which person.
For a free gift for special occasions, make word clouds about mom for Mother's Day or Thanksgiving "I am thankful" visual poems. Share them by emailing the URL or in printed form.
Very versatile, creates word clouds in specific shapes. Adds another dimension.Frances, CT, Grades: 6 - 8
Grades10 to 12
tag(s): college (43)
In the ClassroomImagine projecting the museum image of Leonardo da Vinci's "resume" with its translation on your white board, to model for your class how one of the world's renowned geniuses might have earned his big break and got his foot in the door. Use it to identify how he "painted" his character traits and then, apply it as an inspiration for a unit on careers or business, or adapt the "resume" activity for classes studying famous and accomplished figures from history, including artists, musicians, writers, and political leaders. English classes would welcome this as a creative alternative to a book report or for a unique way to describe literary characters. Use a resume as a product for research on any famous person in a history or science class. As a new spin on current events or government, ask students to create a resume for any newsmaker. What would he/she promote as his/her greatest accomplishments?
Grades4 to 12
tag(s): news (260)
In the ClassroomView news stories and compare them to similar stories in different news media. Discuss the differences and similarities of these stories and use a Venn diagram to portray. Try using the tool "Interactive Two Circle Venn Diagram" (reviewed here).
Discuss the focus of each article and reasons for the focus. Answer what the reporter is trying to convince and possible bias in various stories. Create an essay, letter, or blog post outlining viewpoints and linking these various sources for greater understanding of issues and how they are represented in the media. Have students share their letters or essays on a podcast using a tool such as (reviewed here).
Grades3 to 12
At this site the quality of the games varies from deep thinking to factual to cute. Learn everything from the history of dating to the geography of China to "Do I Have a Right?" exploring the Bill of Rights.
In the ClassroomThere is a wide variety of topics for the study of cultures and history here, so be sure to look through this site as you plan your new unit or lesson! There are many, many uses for this site in the class room: Share a game from this site on your interactive whiteboard or projector for a whole class review, choose a game from this website to use as a center, a review, or to provide a student reward on individual computers. Some of the games can be downloaded into a pdf and printed out and used as a traditional card, or board group game. Since this is a collaborative website, you and your students can "rate" the games to give feedback for other users.
Oh MY GOSH! Who knew? This is a wealth of information available through game-playing. By searching the term "social justice," I arrived at numerous options for delving into the various aspects of a complex problem. I cannot wait to share this resource.Patricia, NJ, Grades: 6 - 12
Grades6 to 12
In the ClassroomThis is one of these sites that is just so perfect for the interactive whiteboard, you feel you must find a way to use it. Use this presentation as a "stop and check for understanding" lesson within the larger discussion of the American Revolution. On an interactive whiteboard or projector, the whole class can participate. Additionally, the site might be available on a classroom computer for those who need some further reinforcement or for students who are ready to challenge themselves to move to the next lesson. Have cooperative learning groups investigate a specific portion of this site and create an interactive online poster ("glog") using Glogster EDU, reviewed here.
Grades5 to 12
In the ClassroomThis site is ideal for an interactive whiteboard or projector. Have the students open the site and use the whiteboard tools to visit each area of the supreme court. Share the video clips. This site is also a good tool to use to prepare for a field trip to the Supreme Court. In addition it can be used as a review tool after a field trip. Students can work cooperatively and research one of the areas on the site. They can then use the interactive whiteboard and site as a visual aid for their presentation. Art teachers can use the pictures on the site to teach about historical architectural features. Have art students narrate a picture using ThingLink, reviewed here.
Grades2 to 12
In the ClassroomUse a whole-class account created using a teacher (memberships) email for students to create comics that can be easily monitored/managed by the teacher. Click on buttons to learn the basics that can be used to create the comic. To use, click "Create" and then on "New drawing." Use the tools to create shapes, draw lines, change points, and drag segments easily. Click on the camera icon to take or upload a picture. Click Text tab to add caption bubbles and text. When finished, easily save your comic by adding a title and description. Comics can also be marked private, if you wish. Share completed online comics by copy/pasting the URL of the "finished" comic. Be sure to KEEP a record of these URLs or manage them using "My Comics."
Provide only the link to the "Create" portion of the site to remove possible viewing of public comics. If desired, require students to take a screenshot of their comic instead of saving to the site. Take a snapshot using the print screen (PrtScrn) button on a PC or using the screenshot shortcut in a Mac (apple/shift/4.) Images can then be uploaded to a blog, wiki, or other site for display.
Use Chogger to explain vocabulary words or other concepts from any class or subject area. 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 share or 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. Emotional support /autistic support teachers and students can create comics to help explain social interactions.
Grades6 to 12
In the ClassroomThe map is a good visual for any discussion of the US as a nation of immigrants. The map is ideal for a projector or interactive whiteboard. Additionally, it would provide a large data set for "real life" statistics in a math class. Asking students to predict the ebb and flow of immigrants from various parts of the world as you slide through the years should spark some good class conversation. Have cooperative learning groups investigate specific time periods and create multimedia presentations sharing their findings. Have students create an online poster using Glogster EDU, reviewed here. Another option, have students create videos and share them using a tool such as SchoolTube reviewed here. What will the map show after the next US Census?
Grades5 to 12
tag(s): courts (15)
In the ClassroomIn the classroom: Start out using this site with your projector or interactive whiteboard. Divide the class into two teams and assign the teams to be either the prosecutor or the defense attorney. Have students draw straws or pick a number to decide which side will be represented on the whiteboard. On your interactive whiteboard, as each jury candidate appears, list out or underline the reasons why each jury member would be good for either the prosecutor's case or the defendant's case. Teams vote on whether or not they want that juror. The good news: Neither team will lose if the choices are made correctly. Next, have the students play this on their own or as partners, possibly taking the opposite side they were on when this was presented on the whiteboard.
Grades8 to 12
tag(s): cold war (29)
In the ClassroomPrimary sources could be used to teach both the content and historical thinking skills in your classroom. Divide students into 5-6 groups, with each group assigned a different primary source to read and evaluate. (Sources should come from various perspectives to make the game more interesting, but should have the same general topic) Have the groups present quick summaries of their source to the class, making sure to mention who the author is and whether or not there could be bias. After all have presented, have each team pick a representative to argue in front of the class as to why their source is the most reliable and valid. After all have made their argument, have the class vote off the least reliable "survivor style" until you are left with just one!
Grades2 to 12
In the ClassroomThis is a great site for differentiated instruction. The interactive games, for example, the Bill of Rights Match game - can be played as individuals, and then they can print their certificate out (could be used as a "ticket to leave" for understanding). The "Preamble Scrabble Game" could be a timed exercise for groups or teams of students. The teacher could have the game on the projector or interactive whiteboard or again on individual workstations. Allow students to learn about the documents on their own, and then share their understanding by writing a blog post from the point of view of a person whose rights have been violated or a writer of the Constitution. Younger students will benefit from accessing the safety activity both at school and at home, Be sure to share this link with parents on your class web page.
GradesK to 12
tag(s): bill of rights (28)
In the ClassroomThis is a great site for both introducing and reinforcing topics about the Constitution. Teachers can print out crosswords puzzles for a "What Do I Know" activity. Students could find out which founding father they are in the interactive portion and create a multimedia project on the result. Challenge students to use ThingLink, reviewed here. This site allows users to narrate a picture. Challenge students to find a photo (legally permitted to be reproduced), and then narrate the photo. What a new twist to an oral report! Students could create a Photostory on their own version of the Story of Fourth of July. The possibilities are endless. For fun, teachers can present the Real or Fake Quiz on the projector or interactive whiteboard as whole class instruction or have discussions after each answer.
Grades7 to 12
In the ClassroomThis site is a must for critically evaluating much of reporting that students may hear in the world today. Use this site along with others to compare information, seek reasons for bias, and spark true discussion about the complexity of world issues. Use the information as tickers or clocks that can be placed on your website, wiki, or blog for students to use to draw conclusions or offer explanations. For example, discussion of gas prices, supply and demand, and issues in global oil trade can grow out of looking at average gas price tickers. If embedding information from this site into your own site, be advised that the author requests attribution by a link back to this site. Have cooperative learning groups investigate one of the topics further and create a multimedia presentation. Have students create news broadcasts and record them on video. Share the video clips using a site such as SchoolTube reviewed here.
Be careful of this site....it is politically biased toward democrat ideologies. The author says he's not biased...perhaps he really believes he's being objective. But no way....just good a cocercing graphs to fit the ideology. If you want to slant your students minds to the left...this site is for you.John, , Grades: 9 - 12
Grades2 to 12
tag(s): census (19)
In the ClassroomWhether you spend one class or an entire unit on the census, the ideas included within the "In the Classroom" portion of reviews will launch discussions and meaningful projects for student-centered learning. Consider other census connections, such as using a data or graphing resource to collect and manipulate data from a school mini-census, learning math skills at the same time.
GradesK to 12
In the ClassroomTake advantage of the numerous lesson plans, maps, and other ideas this site offers. Don't forget to check out the diversity lessons and ideas. Have students individually check out the two interactives focusing on geography and history. Encourage parents to check out the section entitled Families. You may consider providing this link on your class website.
GradesK to 12
In the ClassroomBecause of the volume of materials and activities, introduce this site on your interactive whiteboard or projector. Then have students explore this site independently or in small groups to put together a Public Service Announcement on participating in the Census 2010. Have students create video advertisements or infomercials. Share the videos using a tool such as Teachers.TV reviewed here. Try using the historical census data or the predicted population data for math projects related to statistics.
Grades3 to 12
In the ClassroomYou could map your entire lesson, chapter or unit in one Prezi. Once you introduce the concept with this tool, you can go back to it often with your students as you move to different parts of the unit. It would provide a great way to connect prior knowledge with the next step if you share this on your interactive whiteboard or projector throughout the unit. Or you could post it to your web page or give kids the URL so they can review as often as they need it. Try having the students map a concept or chapter with this tool. In history class, create timelines of relevant events, or in science or math class have them map steps in a process. Have students create Prezis for different events, and then have them post the link to their product on a class blog or wiki. Add a peer review component and require students to comment on at least two other Prezis. The possibilities are endless!
If you have gifted students n your class, offer Prezi as one alternative for sharing extensions to the regular curriculum. If they already know the material, have them investigate a related process or example and share it in the form of a Prezi.
Parent permission advised before posting student work created using this tool
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