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Boolify - Public Learning Media Lab

Grades
4 to 12
5 Favorites 0  Comments
Demystify effective web searches with Boolify! Finally, there is a tool to SHOW what changes to search terms do, in dynamic, visual form so students can SEE both terms and ...more
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Demystify effective web searches with Boolify! Finally, there is a tool to SHOW what changes to search terms do, in dynamic, visual form so students can SEE both terms and results graphically. Students can drag and drop color-coded puzzle pieces to add keywords and Boolean operators like AND, OR, and NOT. The search results are immediate and help students understand their results by visually illustrating the logic of their search. Each change to the search instantly changes the results. The search results are presented through Google's "Safe Search STRICT" technology, but like all search results, no filtering technology is 100% secure.

This easy and appealing web site is designed for elementary and middle school student use, but offers a great illustrative method for anyone to experiment with Boolean logic operators. Click the Curriculum tab for search activity sheets and links to web resources. While the site is still in development (beta), it promises language selection and translation options soon.

tag(s): search engines (65)

In the Classroom

Use this site as a whole class research activity with an interactive whiteboard or projector. Students can volunteer key words, select operators, and see the search results. Grab screen shots of effective search term combinations and post them on bulletin boards as great examples of Boolean logic - add the students' names for recognition of a job well done.

Consider holding a short Boolean logic contest where groups of students can craft keyword phrases and operators based on subject area topics. Groups can see the results of their search strategies and modify them until the teacher declares the search to be effective.

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YourDictionary - LoveToKnow Corporation

Grades
K to 12
1 Favorites 0  Comments
 
A definitive authority on words, this free site gives you definitions, thesaurus entries, spellings, pronunciations, and etymology results. Add to that list an audio pronunciation system...more
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A definitive authority on words, this free site gives you definitions, thesaurus entries, spellings, pronunciations, and etymology results. Add to that list an audio pronunciation system that allows you to hear the word as well. YourDictionary also provides resources to help you find foreign language translation sites. It even directs you to medical, computer, or electricians' dictionaries, and many more. Haven't you always wanted to say a tongue-twister in the Asante language? Words have never so much fun. This site does include some advertisements.

tag(s): thesaurus (24)

In the Classroom

Send students to this site to look up those difficult words. ESL and ELL students can use this site to practice the pronunciation of new words. Be sure to mark this site as a favorite or share on your teacher web page for easy access.
 This resource requires PDF reader software like Adobe Acrobat.

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Look Way Up Dictionary/Thesaurus - RES Inc.

Grades
3 to 12
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This online dictionary claims to correct misspelled entries, so ESL and ELL students might want to try it. The spelling correction is a bit quirky, however, often suggesting an alternate...more
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This online dictionary claims to correct misspelled entries, so ESL and ELL students might want to try it. The spelling correction is a bit quirky, however, often suggesting an alternate word that is NOT the intended word. Students can download it to any web browser including those on cell phones. The dictionary itself is extensive; each item shows a series of definitions. Students can then click to see the word used in a sentence, synonyms, and related terms. There is also information on homonyms. Finally, definitions sometimes include a link to more information on the subject, including links to outside sources. The site can translate to and from German, Spanish, French, Portuguese, and Dutch. Note that there are Google ads on the page, so you will want to be sure that students know to avoid these. The necessary plug-ins for installation on other web browsers are included on the web page.

tag(s): homonyms (12), thesaurus (24)

In the Classroom

Mark his site as a favorite on your classroom computer for ESL and ELL students who have problems looking up words in the dictionary. Make a game with this site: have students deliberately misspell words and see what they come up with. Give prizes to those who can find the worst guesses in the dictionary. Have them calculate how many times the dictionary actually finds the words they were looking for. This will help students understand how important context clues and contextual "does this make sense" strategies are. Students can also opt to sign up for "word of the second."

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Lingro - lingro.com

Grades
2 to 12
1 Favorites 0  Comments
This study tool and open content dictionary allows you to enter a web address (URL) and make all of the words on that page clickable for definitions and translation. A ...more
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This study tool and open content dictionary allows you to enter a web address (URL) and make all of the words on that page clickable for definitions and translation. A clicked word immediately displays its definition from the Lingro dictionary pages. The website looks visually the same within the Lingro window, but all words become clickable. You can also use Lingro to translate to and from English, Spanish, French, Italian, German, and Polish with more languages to be added. When students use the translation/definition tool, the site keeps a short-term record of their words and web pages, allowing them to study their own wordlists and to play games with these words. The wordlist and history feature only works short-term and at the SAME computer, unless you register, for free, to be able to take your personal history to any computer. With the translation capability, you can read websites in other languages. If you spell a word incorrectly, Lingro has a "best match" feature which finds likely definitions for your word of choice. There is also a tool to create electronic flash card type games from your saved wordlists.

Important technical note: Lingro cannot "see" words included in Flash interactives such as the "What's New" rotating content on the TeachersFirst home page. If you RIGHT click on an area of text and see "About Adobe Flash Player...," this means that the text is displayed in Flash and not "legible" to Lingro. Often pages offer a non-Flash version as an alternative.

tag(s): french (88), german (64), germany (28), italian (33), spanish (108), vocabulary (324), vocabulary development (126)

In the Classroom

When your ESL/ELL, learning support, or weaker readers do Internet research on sites above their independent reading level, have them open Lingro first and then enter the URL (web address) they wish to read. Use Lingro for vocabulary development in any subject. Mark this site as a favorite on your classroom computer or on your teacher web page so that ESL/ELL, world language students, or weaker readers can use the definition and translation feature and benefit from instantly-created word lists. If your school permits individual student accounts on web tools, this is a good one. If not, create a single teacher account to compile class word lists.

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Researching A Story - CBBC

Grades
4 to 9
1 Favorites 0  Comments
 
This website offers excellent tips about researching a news story. The contents include an interactive quiz, educational game, and a tutorial. Learn about the important job of a journalist...more
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This website offers excellent tips about researching a news story. The contents include an interactive quiz, educational game, and a tutorial. Learn about the important job of a journalist - getting the facts straight, and writing a trust-worthy story. The interactive challenges provide "fill in the blank" questions and specific (BBC) links to use for the research. NOTE: If you seek to join the site (for free), you must be 15 years old or younger. You do not need to join to do the interactive quiz, play the game, etc. This is a safety measure to protect children from online predators. Many of the activities require FLASH. You can get it from the TeachersFirst Toolbox page..

tag(s): careers (132), journalism (46)

In the Classroom

What an intriguing website to include in a journalism or English class. Use an interactive whiteboard or projector to share these activities with your students. Use this website as an anticipatory set for a "real world" research assignment. Write a weekly research question on your class blog and have students respond using the techniques learned through this activity.
 This resource requires Adobe Flash.

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Word Reference - wordreference.com

Grades
2 to 12
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This series of free translating dictionaries allows students to search to/from English in these languages: French, Spanish, Italian, Russian, and German. Once a definition comes up...more
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This series of free translating dictionaries allows students to search to/from English in these languages: French, Spanish, Italian, Russian, and German. Once a definition comes up in English, there are links to other dictionary pages where the word appears in a sentence. You can click on the audio button to hear the word spoken in both languages. This feature is only available in more commonly used words

There are also immediate clicks to other languages, so a student could check the same word in Spanish and French very easily. In addition to the translation dictionaries, there are also "English Dictionaries" (non-interactive) available in Portuguese, Polish, Romanian, Czech, Turkish, Chinese, Japanese, Korean, and Arabic (coming soon). Many of the foreign language dictionaries will increase in volume as the site developers add more vocabulary.

Be aware: this site does include minor advertisements. There is a link to Language Forums. It is probably best to advise students to stay away from the forums.

tag(s): chinese (48), dictionaries (56), italian (33), japan (61), japanese (42), korea (15), portuguese (18), russia (38), russian (26)

In the Classroom

Save this site in your favorites on your classroom computers for use by ESL/ELL and foreign language students or for use when studying derivations and word families in English (compare the same word across several languages to see how close they can be!). Students can take an active role in vocabulary preview work by using this site in prior to reading. Be sure to list this site on your class webpage so students can access this information both in and out of the classroom.

If you are introducing new vocabulary words to your foreign language class. Have them use this site to find the appropriate translations. Then have the students work in cooperative learning groups to create online vocabulary guide books using a tool such at Bookemon (reviewed here). Have the groups share the online books on your interactive whiteboard or projector. Be sure to keep the links for future students to use the guides, as well.

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Hunt the Fact Monster - Education World

Grades
2 to 8
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Weekly printable Hunt the Fact Monster activity sheets encourage students to build research skills and internet literacy as they use the Fact Monster search engine to find the answers...more
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Weekly printable Hunt the Fact Monster activity sheets encourage students to build research skills and internet literacy as they use the Fact Monster search engine to find the answers to the questions in the activity. There are separate sections for grades 2-3 and grades 4-8. This site requires Adobe Acrobat Reader. Get it from the TeachersFirst Toolbox page..

tag(s): search strategies (30)

In the Classroom

This site can be used for individual students, in a technology class, or as a parent-and-student together assignment. Be sure to see the Ideas for Using Hunt the Fact Monster in Your Classroom page for tips on using the hunts in your classroom. Before you launch your research project with younger students, use this exercise to solidify research basics or as a pretest to be sure everyone is ready. Challenge your more able students to create their own Fact Monster hunts on individual research topics and share them with classmates. Reading teachers can also use these activities to help students practice skimming and scanning.

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Hoax or Not? - Chris Clementi

Grades
5 to 8
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This web quest offers guided practice for students to research on the Internet and evaluate sites. Students review given sites and research facts to determine if the information is...more
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This web quest offers guided practice for students to research on the Internet and evaluate sites. Students review given sites and research facts to determine if the information is fact or fiction. For a final project, students create a creature and use creative writing skills to write a hoax about the creature. A KWL chart, web site rating, final project rubric, and a tutorial for the final project are included. This site requires Adobe Reader for some pages. Get it from the TeachersFirst Toolbox page..

tag(s): creative writing (166)

In the Classroom

This activity would work well for individual or pairs of students in a lab or on laptops. Before you assign a research project on your middle school team, take the time to work through this webquest. Every student on the team will benefit when it comes time to do research in ANY subject. Perhaps you can "divvy up" the webquest tasks and time across multiple subjects so no one class needs spend too long on this foundation experience.

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Bibme - team exibeans

Grades
6 to 12
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BibMe is a one-stop source for all kinds of bibliography needs. It is a great online tool for bibliographies--and more. It even has a function for those students who ...more
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BibMe is a one-stop source for all kinds of bibliography needs. It is a great online tool for bibliographies--and more. It even has a function for those students who don't remember all the information for the source you cited. BibMe allows you to search from a database of millions of entries to find your source and autofill in the information. If you have the source in front of you, you can enter your entries manually. BibMe also offers resources to help you cite your work properly in the 'Citation Guide' section. It offers examples in MLA, APA, and Chicago formatting, making it useful for a wide variety of schools. Set up a free account for yourself so you can "save" bibliographies.
This site includes advertising.

tag(s): citations (34)

In the Classroom

This is a great tool for students who are both learning to cite correctly and as a helpful tool for those who forget some of the "little" things that count when writing a bibliography. It offers a great example, too, of the difference between what is in a "Works Cited" page and what actually appears in the text as a citation. Teachers can use this on a Smartboard or simply through a computer lab or projector to demonstrate the correct way to cite as well as mistakes to avoid. Be sure to include the link on your teacher web page for students finishing reports in the wee hours of the morning on the due date. Set up a free account for yourself so you can "save" example bibliographies. If you assign independent projects to your gifted students (or any student), be sure to make Bibme part of your instructions so they learn to organize their sources early on. If students are allowed to set up individual accounts, this tool is worth the time! They must be 13 or have parent permission.

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Visuwords - Paul R. Dunn

Grades
6 to 12
7 Favorites 0  Comments
 
This graphical online dictionary will make looking up words and figures of speech addictive, and visual learners will start to understand meanings as never before. The dictionary pulls...more
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This graphical online dictionary will make looking up words and figures of speech addictive, and visual learners will start to understand meanings as never before. The dictionary pulls it information from Princeton's WordNet, an opensource database built by University students and language researchers. A WORD OF WARNING: because the source of the words is a university, where speech is completely open, there are word included in this "dictionary" that are NOT classroom appropriate. Use it only under teacher monitoring.
The color-coded word "entries" display like a mind-map or graphic organizer, showing parts of speech in different colors and showing related words and phrases, as well. Be sure to look at the color key at the bottom to understand all the information presented. This site requires FLASH. Get it from the TeachersFirst Toolbox page..

tag(s): dictionaries (56), thesaurus (24), vocabulary (324)

In the Classroom

Introduce new vocabulary before reading or starting a new unit, using this site on an interactive whiteboard or projector. The distinctions, examples, and relationships the site features for new words will help students build better connections and understanding as they read and study the words in classroom context. English teachers will love this as a learning tool for teaching distinctions between similar words. Just remember to use it in a monitored situation (see above).

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Online Etymology Dictionary - Douglas Harper

Grades
6 to 12
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as the author explains, "Etymologies are not definitions; they're explanations of what our words meant 600 or 2,000 years ago." Use this quick online reference to locate the point in...more
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as the author explains, "Etymologies are not definitions; they're explanations of what our words meant 600 or 2,000 years ago." Use this quick online reference to locate the point in time when a word entered into usage the way we know it-- or to find out what it used to mean, such as in Shakespeare. Use the richness of these historical meanings to understand literature or to illustrate the living nature of language.

tag(s): vocabulary (324)

In the Classroom

Mark this one in the Favorites on classroom computers or in links on your English teacher web page. Feature a word a week on a projector before you start your lesson to help students think about the evolution of language.

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One Look Reverse Dictionary - Doug Beeferman

Grades
5 to 10
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Designed with ESL students in mind, this dictionary allows students to type in phrases and questions. The dictionary comes up with lists of related words, definitions, and a link ...more
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Designed with ESL students in mind, this dictionary allows students to type in phrases and questions. The dictionary comes up with lists of related words, definitions, and a link to other dictionaries. Although the list of definitions is extensive, the tool reminds the user that the first words found are the most useful.

tag(s): synonyms (38)

In the Classroom

Customize search results to meet your classroom needs! Make this site available in your Favorites for ESL/ELL students to access as needed.

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Heinle's Newbury House Dictionary of American English - Heinle Newbury House Publishers

Grades
3 to 8
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Designed especially for the limited English speaker, this easy-to-use dictionary contains definitions in simple language ESL learners can understand, and each word is used in a sentence....more
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Designed especially for the limited English speaker, this easy-to-use dictionary contains definitions in simple language ESL learners can understand, and each word is used in a sentence. Other features include pronunciation, synonyms, part of speech, word of the day, and activities; browsing and advanced search options are also available.

In the Classroom

A great dictionary to bookmark for your ESL learners on your classroom computer for handy reference anytime.

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The Cook's Thesaurus

Grades
6 to 12
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This online encyclopedia provides definitions, pronunciations, descriptions, and uses for nearly every imaginable ingredient and kitchen tool - beyond the most basic - that students...more
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This online encyclopedia provides definitions, pronunciations, descriptions, and uses for nearly every imaginable ingredient and kitchen tool - beyond the most basic - that students may encounter in a cooking class. Viable substitutions are also discussed. Use this site as the basis for a recipe-specific Web hunt before turning them loose in the kitchen. Search by keyword or category.

tag(s): cooking (34)

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Internet Picture Dictionary - pdictionary.com

Grades
3 to 12
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This visual dictionary available in English, French, German, Spanish and Italian is a gem of a site for ESL or world language students. Visitors can choose a topic, view the ...more
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This visual dictionary available in English, French, German, Spanish and Italian is a gem of a site for ESL or world language students. Visitors can choose a topic, view the associated words and pictures, then test themselves using the activity links on the left side of the page. Interactive practice options include flashcards, fill-in-the-blanks, "stinky spelling" (fix the mistakes), and more.

In the Classroom

Use this site as a learning center or station. Have students complete the activity individually, allowing students to better pace themselves and not rely on a partner. To show what they have learned from this site, challenge students to create an online graphic to share using Tabblo reviewed here. Reflection is always a great way to reenforce a lesson in student's minds.

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Identifying High Quality Sites - CyberSmart!

Grades
5 to 8
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Teach your students to be savvy Internet users with this lesson plan that stresses the importance of carefully evaluating sites used for research. Using specific criteria and a checklist,...more
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Teach your students to be savvy Internet users with this lesson plan that stresses the importance of carefully evaluating sites used for research. Using specific criteria and a checklist, students must "grade" informational sites using a downloadable checklist.

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Search Engines

Grades
6 to 12
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This handy tool helps clear up the search engine confusion. It clearly and simply matches research needs with appropriate online resources. Point your students to this site before starting...more
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This handy tool helps clear up the search engine confusion. It clearly and simply matches research needs with appropriate online resources. Point your students to this site before starting them on a research project.

tag(s): search engines (65)

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Finding and Evaluating Web Sites - Houghton Mifflin

Grades
5 to 8
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Help your students hone their online researching skills with this helpful tutorial that walks them through each step of the process. Concepts like "search engine" and "key word" are...more
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Help your students hone their online researching skills with this helpful tutorial that walks them through each step of the process. Concepts like "search engine" and "key word" are clearly defined along with criteria for evaluating the quality of a site. Download and distribute the "What's the Source?" worksheet - a handy tool filled with important questions for students to consider before selecting an online source.

tag(s): citations (34), search strategies (30)

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Citation Maker - Secondary - Oregon School Library Information System

Grades
6 to 12
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Secondary students will appreciate this user-friendly bibliography helper. They still have to do the work of collecting all of the necessary information, but after entering it into...more
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Secondary students will appreciate this user-friendly bibliography helper. They still have to do the work of collecting all of the necessary information, but after entering it into the site, a citation with correct MLA format and punctuation is created for them. The citations can then be copied and pasted into a word processing document.

tag(s): citations (34)

In the Classroom

Have a student demonstrate how to use this tool on a projector or interactive whiteboard. Share this link on your class web page for easy use any time students have a research project. Model ethical use of resources by using it yourself to cite sources on handouts, etc.

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Word Central - Merriam Webster

Grades
5 to 12
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Enter the hallways of Word Central for an unforgettable online dictionary experience. In addition to finding correct spellings and definitions, you can look for the daily Buzz Word...more
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Enter the hallways of Word Central for an unforgettable online dictionary experience. In addition to finding correct spellings and definitions, you can look for the daily Buzz Word and listen to the pronunciation, or create poems in a snap with Verse Composer. Then walk up to the second floor to the Build Your Own Dictionary room and Computer Lab coding chamber.

tag(s): poetry (228)

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