Grades8 to 12
In the ClassroomView videos on your interactive whiteboard or projector. Use this site as part of any writing unit or on an as-needed basis to address classroom deficiencies in particular areas. Have students complete the web lessons on their own during computer center time. Create links to particular videos on your class website or blog for students to view at home. Check out the Teachers portion of the site to find activities for specific skills along with ideas for using the videos in the classroom. Challenge students to create a talking avatar using a photo or other image (legally permitted to be reproduced). The avatars can be used to provide suggestions on improving specific writing skills such as run-on sentences, proper use of commas, etc. Use a site such as Blabberize (reviewed here). Share the "blabs" as peer help on your class wiki.
Grades5 to 12
In the ClassroomUse Pictolang to help students learn and review languages on their own. This is a perfect site for ESL/ELL students, world cultures class, and world language studies. Display the Analyst Game on your interactive whiteboard (or projector) and play together as a class or as a small group center. Discuss images featured and why they represent different cultures. Allow ESL/ELL students to explore the site using the ESL (North America) option to match images to the English word. This is a great link to add to your class website for world language (or ESL/ELL) students to use for additional practice.
GradesK to 12
In the ClassroomConsider creating a class account for easier access. You may want to send students directly to URLs for their own projects or use the site as a whole-class activity using a teacher-created Meograph to spark discussion. Create Meographs that introduce new topics and content for great student discussion. In lower grades, use a teacher or whole-class creation done on your interactive whiteboard. Students can use pieces of the timeline to brainstorm questions, initiate research, and learn more about the topic. Meographs are an interesting way for students to tell stories about a project, research, or as a class activity. Use to showcase fun items such as "what I did on my summer vacation," "the story of my dog," and more. Create Meographs from the point of view of a literary character or historical figure telling his/her story. Encourage students to use Meograph to connect a variety of events together in history by creating a timeline or tracking the various discoveries about DNA that have led to present day understandings. Remember to teach about copyright, since using copyrighted images in a Meograph would not be "fair use" due to unlimited distribution. Look for images in the public domain or with Creative Commons licensing and model giving attribution for them. See TeachersFirst's Copyright and Fair Use collection for safe sources and more information.
GradesK to 6
Be aware: There are books for sale at this site. This review is for the "Free Books" only.
In the ClassroomExpand your classroom library with MeeGenius digital books. Make a shortcut to MeeGenius on classroom computers and use the site as a listening and reading center. Let students practice reading independently while simultaneously building fluency skills. If you teach a world language, have your class listen to a story and then translate it into the language they are learning. Ask your students to visit the site and create their own personal versions of these classic tales. Be sure to include this site on your class web page for students to access both in and outside of class for further practice and enjoyment.
Grades6 to 12
In the ClassroomUse this site as a resource when beginning group projects. Most videos are under 3 minutes (even around one minute). It would be feasible to show nearly all videos prior to starting group projects. Show videos on your interactive whiteboard (or projector) to display suggested approaches to problems within groups. Use throughout projects as needed to address specific problems that have arisen with groups in your classroom. Make the link available for students to access as needed when frustrations crop up. Counselors and support teachers may also want to use these videos to help students improve interpersonal "smarts" for group work.
Grades6 to 12
In the ClassroomPrint and use lessons (or portions of lessons) in your classroom. Although geared toward middle school ESL/ELL students, these materials can be adapted and used for any middle and high school students. Challenge your students to write their own persuasive writing pieces. Use this site to teach about historical events in America's past (Gettysburg Address, civil rights, Martin Luther King Jr, and more).
Grades3 to 5
In the ClassroomIntroduce this activity briefly on your interactive whiteboard or projector. Then assign students to work in partners to write down the rules of capitalization for a class bulletin board display or wiki. Share a link to this site on your class website or blog for students to watch at home for review. After the activity, challenge students to create their own multimedia presentation demonstrating understanding of capitalization "rules." Consider having them write them as rules for a new sport! Have students use one of the many TeachersFirst Edge tools reviewed here.
GradesK to 1
In the ClassroomUse the video clips or activities on your projector or interactive whiteboard. Use this site at centers to reinforce skills (counting, matching, learning shapes, and more). Share this link on your class website for students to access at home.
GradesK to 3
In the ClassroomNO more BIG projects! Make research manageable and meaningful. Try the lesson plan as a way to incorporate Common Core reading skills into the lessons you would be teaching as part of your science curriculum. If you do not have access to the same book, check interlibrary loan or adapt the lessons to another book.
Grades7 to 12
In the ClassroomUse the Critical Thinking videos as a stand alone, or use them in conjunction with other units. When teaching debate or persuasive writing this will be an invaluable resource. You might also consider using "Thou shalt not commit logical fallacies" reviewed here. Share critical thinking strategies with students, and have the students create lists of how and when these strategies are used in the classroom. Create a bulletin board with critical thinking strategies for your classroom. Use the lessons included on the site as a resource for lessons in your classroom. Bookmark this site and save it in your favorites as a professional resource. Share suggested activities and resources with other staff members. If your school blocks YouTube, use one of these two programs to download videos at home and bring to school on a mini USB drive: KeepVid reviewed here or HD Downloader reviewed here.
GradesK to 6
In the ClassroomBookmark this site for use throughout the year for strengthening use of word walls, finding games/activities for classroom use, and ideas for strengthening teaching of reading and math. Check out the activities for use with ADHD students to help with focusing.
GradesK to 12
A tip: when creating your QR Code, you will see a link to "generate your image" on the last step. It will give you the options of "try again" or "next." Choose "next" to go to the final step. "Try again doesn't mean that your image wasn't created, it just gives you the option for personalizing the code differently before completing the process.
tag(s): qr codes (22)
In the ClassroomCreate a QR code that directs to your class site or blog and include it on handouts for Back to School night. Create a QR code scavenger hunt for students, making a webquest more engaging. Add QR codes to documents for students to check their answers to questions. Expand knowledge of a topic by adding a QR code to a site that expands upon what is in the textbook. Create a data chart accessible via a QR code. Students access the data and manipulate the information. Have students create a book trailer or review and affix a QR code to the outside of the book. Students may be more apt to read a book that has been reviewed by another student. Make a display completely interactive with a QR code that describes the assignment, the process, the research, student's reactions and more! Add extra help information to any assignment that asks students to solve problems. Create an online help tutorial accessible via a QR code, and place the code beside a similar problem. Link directly to a Google Map. Place QR code contact information for you and your school on contact cards to give to parents. Attach QR codes to physical objects around the room to provide information about the object. Place the links in a newsletter using QR codes instead of a series of words that need to be typed. Be sure to search TeachersFirst resources for many other great ways to use QR codes in the classroom!
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Grades2 to 12
In the ClassroomUse Story Builder to retell a moment in history or a social studies or science concept. Share some samples on your interactive whiteboard or projector. Have students or groups of students create their own Story Builder to retell a story or tell a story from a single character's point of view. Assign student groups to tell a story related to your curriculum. Create a Story Builder at the beginning of a unit with what I want to know questions, or use for the end of a unit as a review. Share student Story Builders with a link on your website or blog. In math class have students explain a procedure using Story Builder. Use Story Builder to create drama scripts or to demonstrate writing skills. Have "Annie Adjective" add colorful words to a draft while "Pete Punctuation" proofs for errors. Have students collaborate to create their own "live" edit sessions using an anonymous student draft you provide or from their OWN writing. By naming the character who is making changes, they can show what they are emphasizing, such as Sam Support adding supporting details when writing informational texts. Teachers of gifted could challenge students to create "epistolary" tales using this tool. Once they discover it, your gifted students will come up with new ways to share projects using this tool (and a little humor).
Engage student and parent attention about important announcements by giving a link to s Story Builder where you explain a project or plans for a special PTA event. Write it as a Q/A session, and they will watch the whole thing!
GradesK to 1
In the ClassroomUse this at a center, or a way to start conversations about feelings or situations. Share the interactives or videos on your projector or interactive whiteboard. Use the printables for students to create their own adventures for Daniel Tiger. Have your class create an adventure for Daniel Tiger. Put the stories into a class book. Take this idea to a new level, and create your own "neighborhood" in your class. Each student can add their own experiences with podcasts, videos, or writing. Have students create podcasts using a site such as Spreaker (reviewed here).
Grades6 to 12
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In the ClassroomAs teachers, we need to be aware that such a tool exists, since savvy students may compile a "paper" without a logical thought pattern simply by clicking to include suggestions from OuiWrite. The best strategy for such a tool is to show students how to use it well. Take the drudgery out of writing formal papers by emphasizing thinking over mechanics. Whether teaching beginning research or seniors in high school, introduce them to OuiWrite. For younger students, seeing all the formatting and citing done correctly, from the beginning, makes sense whether it is the body of the writing or the bibliography. With either age group, give lessons about each part of a paper or letter. Demonstrate on an interactive whiteboard and think out loud as a group to pull together ideas, sources, quotes, and more to support an argument and build a paper. You can use it, too, when you write for your graduate program. Since you can choose from MLA, APA, or Chicago Style, you do not have to worry about memorizing punctuation and double checking the format. OuiWrite will do that for you and take the stress out of formal writing.
In the ClassroomIntroduce this site to your class on an interactive whiteboard or projector. Make a shortcut to this site on classroom computers and have your ELL/ESL students use it as one of your learning stations. Short stories and other interactive features of the site would work well with weaker readers and learning support students, too. Encourage your ESL/ELL students to share their writings on Learn English Teens (if allowed by school policy).
GradesK to 12
tag(s): speech (94)
In the ClassroomThe potential for using Croak.it for and with your students is limitless. As you create (or update) your website at the beginning of the school year, considering using this site to verbally greet all visitors! Record a message for absent students explaining something done in class and email it to them. Leave verbal instructions on your web page or homework page that might be too complicated to write out or for your students to read. This program has incredible promise for use with learning-support students, speech and language students, ESL/ELL students, non-readers, and for differentiating instruction. If your students have blogs, consider adding Croak.It to their blog pages for spoken comments. An excellent idea from the blog "Inquiry Live in the Classroom" is to use Croak.it with QR Codes and have your students make 30 second book reviews for your classroom or school library. Students can then scan the code of a book they think they are interested in reading to see what others think of it, or to get a 30 second summary of it. Use Croak.it for tutorials on your website. Use a QR Code generator and put the code next to diagrams in text books. To view many more ideas see "QR Codes and Using Them in the Classroom," reviewed here, and know that you can combine these with the use of Croak.it, too. There are many personal ways you and your students can use this program: create a wish list, Mother's Day or birthday greeting, a message to a grandparent, or a recording of part of a picture book for a younger sibling. Because of the 30 second time limit, encourage students to rehearse (never a bad idea) before recording. One suggestion for saving recordings is to create a Google Form or wiki page where students can use to submit their recording links. This allows you to collect student recordings without having to use an e-mail account. Speech and language teachers could create wiki pages (on a private wiki) for each student to record samples throughout the year to demonstrate progress with articulation. World language teachers could record assignments and ask students to respond orally on a class wiki.
Grades2 to 12
In the ClassroomThose who teach geography and world cultures will like this! Use this resource to get your students thinking about the sounds around them. Include it when studying sound or the human ear in science class. Connect with other subjects by envisioning smells that would be there or craft a story inspired by the sounds heard at a specific location. Play sounds for your younger students and ask what they hear. Create sound stories together -- or as a creative project --by playing a series of sounds to tell the tale! Use your imagination to add this resource to other location projects used throughout the year. World language teachers could assign students to create a sound and word story about a cultural location. Use these sounds as background and add the dialog!
Grades6 to 12
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In the ClassroomBookmark PoemHunter to use as a resource for finding poetry or quotations for classroom use. Share with students to find poems based on personal interest or specific topics. Use as a model when students create their own poems. Challenge students to create their own poems to be shared on a class poetry wiki. Not comfortable with wikis? Check out the TeachersFirst Wiki Walk-Through.
GradesK to 8
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