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Summer Reading: Not Just for Kids! - TeachersFirst

Grades
K to 6
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This installment in the Help I lost my library/media specialist series is just in time for summer break. Find summer reading suggestions to inspire, refresh, and get you fired...more
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This installment in the Help I lost my library/media specialist series is just in time for summer break. Find summer reading suggestions to inspire, refresh, and get you fired up for fall. Find professional book selections and blogspiration to take to the beach or read on your mobile device. This series tries to fill just a tiny part of the void left by budget cuts. Teachers need our library/media specialists as our professional "connectors" to great reading choices, too!

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

In the Classroom

Mark this one in your TeachersFirst favorites, even if you have NO time to even LOOK at it right now. Share it with your student teacher, mentoree, recent teacher ed graduate, and newbie teachers as they go off on break, too. Read what you have time for this summer, and save the rest for a break later on.

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American Indian/Alaskan Native Book List - Talk Story

Grades
K to 12
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Search this list for children's books about American Indians and Alaskans. Choose from a wide range of selections: Picture Books, Elementary School Books, Middle School Books, Young...more
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Search this list for children's books about American Indians and Alaskans. Choose from a wide range of selections: Picture Books, Elementary School Books, Middle School Books, Young Adult Books, and Additional Resources. Learn tips about how to select the best books for your needs. If you are interested in similar book lists, TeachersFirst's CurriConnects found here offers several other curriculum-related, leveled booklists.

tag(s): alaska (25), cross cultural understanding (115), independent reading (128), native americans (78)

In the Classroom

Encourage students to select books about a culture that interests them. Include this list during a multicultural unit. Have students create an online book of images and captions about their target culture using bookr (reviewed here). (Bookr uses Flickr images, so you must first upload or find the images on Flickr reviewed here.)
 This resource requires PDF reader software like Adobe Acrobat.

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Asian Pacific American Book List - Amer. Indian Lib. Assn & the Asian/Pacific American Lib. Assn.

Grades
K to 12
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Enjoy perusing this list of Asian American children's books, divided by country. Select the area of your interest: Cambodian, Hawaiian, Japanese, Mongolian, Tibetan, and several others....more
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Enjoy perusing this list of Asian American children's books, divided by country. Select the area of your interest: Cambodian, Hawaiian, Japanese, Mongolian, Tibetan, and several others. The lists include a wide range of selections, from picture books to young adult books and from folk tales to non-fiction titles. There is also a list of recommended authors and illustrators. If you are interested in similar book lists, TeachersFirst's CurriConnects found here offers several other curriculum-related, leveled booklists.

tag(s): asia (73), book lists (128), chinese (48), cross cultural understanding (115), hawaii (7), independent reading (128), japanese (42), korea (15), vietnam (36)

In the Classroom

Refer your class to this list for multicultural reading and reports. If you have any ESL/ELL students from these areas, they may enjoy reading literature from (or about) their homeland. Challenge students to read one of the books on this list and research the location. Have cooperative learning groups create a mash-up map using one of the many TeachersFirst Edge Tools reviewed here.

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AnswerBag - Joel Downs

Grades
8 to 12
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Answerbag is a collaborative online database where questions are asked and answered by you. Search through questions using categories such as arts, education, science, and more. Responses...more
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Answerbag is a collaborative online database where questions are asked and answered by you. Search through questions using categories such as arts, education, science, and more. Responses are posted in order of ratings. Email registration is required to post and answer questions. An optional poll can be added to each question. Share questions using links to email share, Facebook, Twitter, and many other share tools. Warning: if you are using questions from their database, be aware, questions may update frequently so it is a good idea to take a look immediately before sharing in front of young people.

tag(s): polls and surveys (48), questioning (31)

In the Classroom

Post a question as a homework assignment for student response using a specific url directly to that question. Challenge cooperative learning groups to create their own questions. Search for interesting questions already posted to use as a discussion/debate starter. You may want to preview the questions before using in the classroom as posts can sometimes contain language or content not appropriate for the classroom. Monitor use by using a whole class account to submit questions.

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ShowMe - The Online Learning Community - San Kim and Karen Bdoyan

Grades
K to 12
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ShowMe is an open learning community where you can learn or teach any subject. Explore topics such as math, science, world languages, social studies, art, and more. Explore the links...more
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ShowMe is an open learning community where you can learn or teach any subject. Explore topics such as math, science, world languages, social studies, art, and more. Explore the links on the home page or search for a topic with the search bar at the top of the page. Results are divided into subtopics and can be sorted by featured, popular, or recent videos. High school teachers may be especially interested in the ShowMe SAT offerings available through a link at the bottom of each page. Creating a ShowMe of your own requires a download of the app from the iTunes store (and an iPad). The download is free. If you are worried about students seeing questionable material, you may want to provide the link directly to the video you wish students to view. At the time of this review, all material appeared appropriate. Although it is not available yet, Showme hopes to offer an Android version of the app, as well.

tag(s): test prep (96), tutorials (47), video (254)

In the Classroom

Share the site (or individual videos) with your students to access at home for homework help using the Facebook, Twitter, email, or embed link on each video. List the ShowMe link on your class website. View tutorials on your interactive whiteboard (or projector) as a whole class. Encourage students to share links to specific videos they find helpful on a "Video Reviews" page of your class wiki. For a very real challenge, have students create their own simple review videos using the ShowMe app on iPads (if available) then embed them on your class wiki for a year-to-year student-made study guide! For examples of sophisticated topics simplified in whiteboard stick figure videos, see Common Craft, reviewed here.

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Vokle - Robert Kiraz

Grades
6 to 12
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Vokle allows you and others to connect through an interactive video conference format. There are three main components to the program: text chat, audio, and video. Registration is required...more
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Vokle allows you and others to connect through an interactive video conference format. There are three main components to the program: text chat, audio, and video. Registration is required to host an "event" but isn't necessary for viewing recorded events available on the site. After registering, create an event (or series) by providing a title, description, and category. Schedule an event for a future time or go live immediately. Invite others to the event by embedding the code on your website, Facebook page, Twitter link, or by sharing the url. Encourage participation through viewer comments and questions that can be screened and chosen by the host. Sessions are recorded and can be viewed at a later time making this very useful for the classroom. Search for sessions by browsing events and viewing available categories. The learning category may be a useful starting point.

tag(s): chat (51), video (254)

In the Classroom

This site would be perfect to use when collaborating with other classrooms, for holding an author visit, or for professional collaboration. After hosting an event, share the link with students (or parents) who could not attend or who want to watch it over again. Encourage students to host their own event with topics such as book talks, interactive discussions on solving difficult math problems, or discussions of current events. Create a Vokle for parents to view, sharing your educational philosophy, classroom procedures and expectations, and other school-related information. Create a Vokle for students who were absent from class or who may want to watch the lesson again. Even elementary classes can make a Vokle under teacher supervision for special events such as Earth Day or the 100th day of school.

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Orange County School Early Childhood Printables - Orange County Schools

Grades
K to 2
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This site is a bonanza (hotlist) of resources for early childhood teachers! The site is divided into two main parts: instructional materials and beginning the year resources for teachers....more
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This site is a bonanza (hotlist) of resources for early childhood teachers! The site is divided into two main parts: instructional materials and beginning the year resources for teachers. Instructional materials are divided into categories for winter, spring, and fall and includes a short description before accessing the link. Choose an activity to access the PDF to send directly to a printer. Most resources are books for student use and may include directions for incorporating materials into the classroom.

tag(s): alphabet (92), holidays (147), independent reading (128), preK (281), reading strategies (45), sounds (68)

In the Classroom

Print books for students to take home to practice reading skills or to supplement current reading materials. Print and use materials for use on flannel boards for storytelling. Share this site with ESL/ELL and Special Education teachers as a resource for additional classroom materials.
 This resource requires PDF reader software like Adobe Acrobat.

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Pigeon Presents - Hyperion Books for Children

Grades
K to 3
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Pigeon Presents is the website for award winning author Mo Willems. There are interactives, printables, author information, and teacher guides. Try activities such as the Elephant and...more
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Pigeon Presents is the website for award winning author Mo Willems. There are interactives, printables, author information, and teacher guides. Try activities such as the Elephant and Piggie Dance Game or the coloring page of the month. Watch video interviews of the author explaining his background and how some of the book characters were created. Information for teachers includes posters and guides for teaching with the books that include pre-reading activities, discussion questions, and hidden information found in the illustrations (see "Grownup stuff"). Be sure to check out the More Mo! link to find more games, books, and activities featuring Mo's friends. Some annoying ads may precede access into the site.
This site includes advertising.

tag(s): authors (120), literature (275), preK (281), printables (38)

In the Classroom

Be sur to explore the "grownup stuff" area for activity ideas. After reading a Mo Willems book, show a video interview on your interactive whiteboard (or projector) to help students understand the work that goes into creating books and developing characters. Use the site when teaching an author study unit on Mo Willems books. Posters available on the site are perfect for use on classroom bulletin boards along with displaying student writing.
  This resource requires Adobe Flash and PDF reader software like Adobe Acrobat.

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VocabAhead Vocabulary Videos - VocabAhead Team

Grades
9 to 12
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Use VocabAhead in your classroom for teaching SAT and ACT vocabulary words (or simply to build vocabulary). This free vocabulary building system offers vocabulary videos, searchable...more
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Use VocabAhead in your classroom for teaching SAT and ACT vocabulary words (or simply to build vocabulary). This free vocabulary building system offers vocabulary videos, searchable by beginning letter of the word. You can also create your own word lists, share your lists with students, use flash cards for quick review, and test yourself by taking the online quizzes. You will welcome the fresh perspectives and interactive learning activities for teaching and practicing ACT and SAT words.
This site includes advertising.

tag(s): vocabulary (324), vocabulary development (126)

In the Classroom

Project this vocabulary website on your classroom whiteboard or projector and share a few quick ready-made vocabulary videos. They are quick, fun, and memorable. They also provide a way to associate words and make the definitions stick. This will especially have value for visual learners and ESL/ELL students. Use the easy to navigate, alphabetized word lists as they appear on the website, or create your own sets from the lists for assignments. Sign up to receive the Word of the Day. Share the link to this site on your web page for students to access at home. Let your students create their own vocabulary videos to share with your class. Share the videos using a site such as TeacherTube reviewed here.

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Shakespeare Bookshelf - IPl2: Drexel-College of Information Science & Technology

Grades
7 to 12
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This attractive library of Shakespeare's literary works is organized just the way you want it: each poem, comedy, history, and tragedy is bound in its own volume and placed in ...more
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This attractive library of Shakespeare's literary works is organized just the way you want it: each poem, comedy, history, and tragedy is bound in its own volume and placed in alphabetical order on the appropriate shelf of the bookcase. The titles link to the 1914 edition of The Oxford Shakespeare at Bartleby and The Complete Works of William Shakespeare from Jeremy Hylton at MIT. This is truly a librarian's, English teacher's, or any lover of literature's delight! You can find the actual text of any Shakespeare work.
This site includes advertising.

tag(s): literature (275), shakespeare (131)

In the Classroom

Students and teachers will enjoy using this Shakespeare offering because it is just "As You Like It"! Include this site on your classroom web page to provide students, parents, and yourself ease of access to reputable on-line versions of William Shakespeare's Romeo and Juliet, Hamlet, and all the other literary works. This website will come in handy for projecting text on your classroom whiteboard to highlight, compare, and interpret particular scenes and lines. If you assign students to create multimedia interpretations of sonnets or passages from the plays, this is a great way to find copy/pastable text, ready for any multimedia tool.

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Spreeder - 7-Speed-Reading

Grades
7 to 12
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Learn to read at a faster pace with much better reading comprehension using Spreeder, a free online speed reading service. Use passages of your choice by simply loading (or copy ...more
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Learn to read at a faster pace with much better reading comprehension using Spreeder, a free online speed reading service. Use passages of your choice by simply loading (or copy and paste) the text, and Spreeder will pace through it at a speed you set. You can adjust your speed as your reading comprehension increases. There is also a feature to increase "chunk" size, an effective strategy used in reading instruction. Get the free app for Chrome or use the practice box on the site. There is a paid "training" portion for this tool. This review is only for the free portion.
This site includes advertising.

tag(s): reading comprehension (116), test prep (96)

In the Classroom

In this era of high-stakes testing, it is imperative that students be able to read and comprehend at an expected rate in order to complete the tasks within the designated time. Think about the implications for improving state test scores and PSAT or SAT college entrance exams! Demonstrate Spreeder on your classroom projector or interactive whiteboard by copying and pasting practice passages from your state's Department of Education link to state testing. Link to SAT practice sites such as College Board SAT Preparation Center, reviewed here, or Test Prep Review, reviewed here. Provide opportunities for students to try it on individual classroom computers. Provide a direct link to Spreeder from your classroom web page or wiki. This will enable motivated students to take charge of increasing their own reading speed, or you may want to incorporate it with homework assignments and make parents aware of it.

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101 Questions - Dan Myer

Grades
2 to 12
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At 101 Questions, look at the image or video, and then write a question for the picture. The question can only be 140 characters total. You can also click to ...more
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At 101 Questions, look at the image or video, and then write a question for the picture. The question can only be 140 characters total. You can also click to skip a picture. Submit your own picture or video, and get points for the perplexity it inspires, or even join the top 10 lists. Save images to your favorites and classify by tags using your membership. Note that the public can participate so some responses may not be appropriate for younger viewers. Preview and monitor or have an adult operate the site together.

tag(s): creative writing (166), creativity (109), images (266), writing prompts (92)

In the Classroom

Creative fluency begins here! Set up a whole class account. Use this site in language arts: discover main idea, details, cause and effect, or even an inspirational writing prompt. Find ways to group images together based on characteristics or attributes. Use in gifted or enrichment situations, for inspiration for problem-based learning. Sequence the images to find ways to form a logical plot. Find ways to make Perplexors out of the given image. In math, write short word problems to accompany images or videos. Find ways to illustrate vocabulary definitions with examples and non-examples. As a morning work challenge, find questions, details, or even other questions. As a writing challenge, look for the image that conveys the mood or feeling you are trying to convey. In science, submit examples to illustrate scientific concepts. Use to generate scientific method style questions based on the given image. In social studies, find images to convey feelings represented by the time being studied. Challenge students to make a historical statement or political statement by finding and adding to an appropriate image. ESL/ELL students can use this site to help acquire conversation/questioning skills. In world language class, have students generate questions in their new language, even if they do not post them. In art, find mood, theme, style, or self expression images. Be sure to monitor the blog content. Put similar content on your own classroom blog. Challenge students to create their own 101 question images or videos to share on your class blog, inviting viewers to respond with questions in the comments.

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ThinkExist - Harold S. Geneen

Grades
4 to 12
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ThinkExist is a Quotation Search Engine and Directory with over 300,000 quotations by over 20,000 authors in the English language. Find quotes by author, topic, keywords, or contributors....more
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ThinkExist is a Quotation Search Engine and Directory with over 300,000 quotations by over 20,000 authors in the English language. Find quotes by author, topic, keywords, or contributors. Narrow your search by subtopics such as nationality or theme such as love or wisdom. Membership to the site isn't required to find and share quotes; however, registration with email allows you to save favorite quotes, receive a quote of the day email, and become a contributor. This site does include significant advertisements that seem to adjust depending on what you search. Preview and monitor young people suing the site. Depending on what search terms they enter, the ads may not be "student appropriate."
This site includes advertising.

tag(s): famous people (19), quotations (23), search engines (65), writing prompts (92)

In the Classroom

Use the site to have a quote of the day (or week) for your interactive whiteboard or projector. Share the site with students to use when in need of a quote for classroom projects. FInd writing prompt quotes based on a search term. In literature or social studies classes, look at the list of quotes by an author or famous person. Invite students to create online posters (or traditional bulletin boards) about the author/person using selected quotes. Use an online poster creator, such as Padlet (reviewed here).

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Pomodoro Timer - Ryhan Hassan

Grades
3 to 12
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Manage time more effectively using this online timer that reflects the Pomodoro time management technique. Based on the belief that proper time management and use of materials will...more
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Manage time more effectively using this online timer that reflects the Pomodoro time management technique. Based on the belief that proper time management and use of materials will increase productivity, this timer is set for 25 minutes. This allows for a 5 minute rest period before restarting the activity. Click start and the timer counts back from 25 minutes with a digital display and timeline bar.

tag(s): organizational skills (122), time (144)

In the Classroom

Display the timer on your interactive whiteboard (or projector) to encourage students to maintain focus and put forth effort for 25 minutes with the understanding that a break will follow. Challenge older students to research the Pomodoro time management method and share other time-management techniques.

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Edublog - Edublogs.org

Grades
K to 12
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Blog your way into the latest social technology using Edublogs. Use the free service to set up a blog as a student, teacher, or campus. This education friendly tool avoids ...more
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Blog your way into the latest social technology using Edublogs. Use the free service to set up a blog as a student, teacher, or campus. This education friendly tool avoids some of the "public interaction" that can offer inappropriate content. Upgrade to more advanced features, to include more options. The additional information on blogging makes this site very valuable even if you already have a blogging platform. Find a plethora of advice, tutorials, pdfs, and lesson plans for blogging. This site is a great reference site for all who are beginning to use blogs, or even look for more varied and effective ways to log with students, or even other classes. Compare this tool to other free blogging tools mentioned in TeachersFirst's Blog Basics for the Classroom . This is a device-agnostic tool, available on the web but also available for free as both an Android and iOS app. Use it from any device or move between several devices and still access your work. App and web versions vary slightly.
This site includes advertising.

tag(s): blogs (88)

In the Classroom

Save this site as a favorite for all of your blogging needs. Find very informative instructions on blogging, and follow the student blogging challenge lesson plans. ) Use this tool easily in your Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) classroom since all students will be able to access it for free, no matter what device they have. Peruse through the various subjects and discover how other teachers use blogging in their classrooms. Using the given PDFs on blogging start up, parent guidelines, incorporating into subject areas, and adapt to make them suitable for you. Look at a variety of examples to help devise your own unique style to meet your students' needs.

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Book TV - National Cable Satellite Corporation & C-SPAN

Grades
6 to 12
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Watch and listen as popular authors talk about their nonfiction books on this C-SPAN companion website. Book TV features 48 continuous hours of nonfiction books every weekend....more
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Watch and listen as popular authors talk about their nonfiction books on this C-SPAN companion website. Book TV features 48 continuous hours of nonfiction books every weekend. You can easily explore the archived programs, video library, or books and topics by searching the title, author, category, keyword, or browsing all of the listings. Watch the online videos or listen to podcasts of interviews with the authors from Book TV's After Words. There is a lot here to explore, and it appears to be ever-growing! You can find past telecast videos on YouTube, as well, in case you want to be able to download them to use offline. Click the YouTube menu. If your district blocks YouTube, then they may not be viewable. You could always view the videos at home and bring them to class "on a stick" to share. Use a tool such as KeepVid reviewed here to download the videos from YouTube.
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tag(s): biographies (87), independent reading (128), interviews (16), politics (99)

In the Classroom

Use the online resources from this website to accompany your nonfiction literature. This collection is particularly useful when reading about historical figures. Make books and authors come alive for your students by accessing and projecting videos on your interactive whiteboard and sharing "Book Notes," biographies, and more. Lure students into independent reading by allowing them to explore the videos and find a book they might enjoy reading. After viewing a program or reading a book, have students share their opinions in a multimedia presentation using one of the many TeachersFirst Edge tools reviewed here.
 This resource requires Adobe Flash.

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Quiz Factor - Quiz Factor Limited

Grades
4 to 12
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Quiz Factor offers quizzes that are not about your typical "education" topics. There are both popular and specialist subjects. Some topic examples are: Animals and Nature, Cinema and...more
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Quiz Factor offers quizzes that are not about your typical "education" topics. There are both popular and specialist subjects. Some topic examples are: Animals and Nature, Cinema and Actors, Fashion and Design, History and Politics, Religion and Traditions, Science, Sports and Games, Technology and Manufacturing, and many more. At Quiz Factor you can climb the Leaderboards and win prizes. There are three types of quizzes: The Ladder, Time Trials, and True/False. You can also make your own quizzes. (At the time of this review, this feature was "coming soon.") This site is from the UK, and some questions in the General Knowledge section test facts you would know if you've been to the UK.

tag(s): animals (276), cultures (105), design (84), fashion (10), quiz (85), quizzes (97), radio (27), religions (61), sports (97), substitutes (21)

In the Classroom

Set up a computer or two in your classroom for those earlier finishers to take a quiz on a topic of their choice. Do you have students who have a deep interest in a certain topic or subject? Allow them to create a quiz for Quiz Factor. Have the student save the quiz, so you can view it before submission. This would be a great activity for some gifted students! Have students create quizzes after they have completed a research project. They could present their findings to the class, then allow the class to use their notes from the presentation to complete the quiz.

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Thunks - Get Thunking - Ian Gilbert

Grades
4 to 12
1 Favorites 0  Comments
A Thunk is a beguilingly simple-looking yes/no question that stops you in your tracks to look at the world in a whole new light. Over a thousand Thunks are included ...more
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A Thunk is a beguilingly simple-looking yes/no question that stops you in your tracks to look at the world in a whole new light. Over a thousand Thunks are included on the site with simple yes or no responses. View results easily, read comments, or submit your own comment by including your name, email (will not be displayed), and comment. Thunks can be chosen by categories such as good and bad, human condition, or friendship. At the time of this review, we found no evidence of inappropriate public comments (and we looked hard!) , but you might want to preview before turning young people loose on the site.
This site includes advertising.

tag(s): logic (235), problem solving (272), questioning (31)

In the Classroom

Display a Thunk on your interactive whiteboard (or projector) as a discussion/debate starter. Have students choose a response and defend their answer. Allow students to discuss their answer throughout the week and survey responses again. Have students create their own Thunks to be discussed in class. Create a bulletin board and allow students to post comments and reactions to the question posed. Use a Thunk as a journal writing prompt. Make this page available for students who are "stuck" thinking of something to write about.

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KikuText - kikutext.com

Grades
K to 12
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Kikutext is a safe and easy way to send reminders to parents via text message. The site is set up so that students do not see the teachers' phone numbers ...more
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Kikutext is a safe and easy way to send reminders to parents via text message. The site is set up so that students do not see the teachers' phone numbers nor do the teachers see the students' or parents' phone numbers. Create an account easily with basic contact information, then share the class code with parents. Parents text the code to be added and begin receiving updates and to respond to text messages. Communication through this site is safe and secure. This service is free; however, standard text messaging fees apply.

tag(s): classroom management (135), parents (56)

In the Classroom

Send out whole-class reminders to parents of upcoming tests, project due dates, school events, and more. Set up this site (and parents and students numbers) during the first week of school or at Back to School night. Use this site as an alternative to conference reminder slips (and save paper). Keep parents "in the loop" about students' behavior, achievement, and more with this tool. Imagine sending a text as you discover missing homework. Suddenly, accountability steps up a notch!

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Zotero - Center for History and New Media at George Mason University

Grades
8 to 12
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Use this "easy-to-use" tool to help collect, organize, cite, and share research sources. Downloadable versaions run as a stand-alone or as a add-on to Firefox. Once installed, the tool...more
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Use this "easy-to-use" tool to help collect, organize, cite, and share research sources. Downloadable versaions run as a stand-alone or as a add-on to Firefox. Once installed, the tool saves information several ways: through a click at the bottom of the web browser, by a click on favorite/bookmark bar, or manually. Files already on computers can be included with files saved from the internet. Items can be grouped and sorted according to individual needs. Information saved through Zotero can be accessed on any computer that has the extension installed. The site includes a helpful quick start video guide explaining features included with the program.

tag(s): citations (34), evaluating sources (13), note taking (32), primary sources (86)

In the Classroom

Depending on school computer settings, you may need to have tech support install the program for you. Use Zotero to collect and organize classroom resources. Share with older students as a resource for gathering and citing information. Demonstrate how to use the site on your interactive whiteboard including showing the quick-start video. One of the advanced features of the site is the creation of groups. Share this with students who may be capable of using the feature to collaborate with others.

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