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Gifts of Character Readalouds - TeachersFirst

Grades
K to 6
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This readaloud collection is part of theHelp I lost my library/media specialist series. Although nothing can replace the specialized knowledge of a teacher-librarian, this collection...more
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This readaloud collection is part of theHelp I lost my library/media specialist series. Although nothing can replace the specialized knowledge of a teacher-librarian, this collection of books and activities was created by an experienced elementary library/media specialist. The list of books to read aloud and accompanying activities center on the character traits we typically associate with the holiday season and try to instill: generosity, benevolence, philanthropy, compassion, service, and kindness. If your library does not have the books you want from this list, try using the ISBN numbers to borrow them on interlibrary loan from a public library nearby.

tag(s): christmas (65), holidays (151), independent reading (129)

In the Classroom

Mark this one in your favorites to bring out in late November, just in time for the holiday season. Or include it during a character education unit. Maybe invite some parents to volunteer as readers, modeling how adults give of their own time to support others.

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Embracing Research - TeachersFirst

Grades
1 to 8
1 Favorites 0  Comments
 
This installment in the Help I lost my library/media specialist series offers a step by step approach to a research unit, written by an experienced elementary library/media specialist....more
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This installment in the Help I lost my library/media specialist series offers a step by step approach to a research unit, written by an experienced elementary library/media specialist. Although nothing can replace the specialized knowledge of a teacher-librarian, this plan includes everything from pre-planning to sharing an assessing products. There are different resources and ideas for primary, upper elementary, and middle school grades. It is almost like having your helpful library/media specialist working along with you!

In the Classroom

Mark this one in your Favorites for use when planning your next major research project. The resources and ideas will help every student be successful. Adapt for weaker readers by using resources or ideas from lower grades.

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Biography Read-alouds - TeachersFirst

Grades
K to 6
3 Favorites 0  Comments
 
This readaloud collection is part of theHelp I lost my library/media specialist series, written by an experienced elementary library/media specialist. Although nothing can replace...more
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This readaloud collection is part of theHelp I lost my library/media specialist series, written by an experienced elementary library/media specialist. Although nothing can replace the specialized knowledge of a teacher-librarian, this collection of biographies to read aloud and accompanying activities will teach information literacy skills about what biographies are while exciting students to read some on their own. If your library does not have the books you want from this list, try using the ISBN numbers to borrow them on interlibrary loan from a public library nearby.

tag(s): biographies (88), famous people (21), independent reading (129)

In the Classroom

Mark this readaloud in your Favorites for use when studying famous Americans or as a wonderful lead-in to Martin Luther King Day or Presidents Day.

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IDroo Online Educational Whiteboard - idroo.com

Grades
K to 12
1 Favorites 0  Comments
 
Teach, learn and collaborate easily with this multi-user whiteboard. Everything that is drawn or written on the whiteboard is visible to all participants in real-time. IDroo supports...more
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Teach, learn and collaborate easily with this multi-user whiteboard. Everything that is drawn or written on the whiteboard is visible to all participants in real-time. IDroo supports an unlimited number of meeting participants, the only limitations are computer power and internet connection speed. There is a professional math typing tool built-in making it easy to teach or work through math problems collaboratively. IDroo is integrated with Skype to enhance the online collaboration experience. Currently it only works on Windows systems and requires a software download.

tag(s): iwb (31), virtual field trips (51)

In the Classroom

IDroo would be great for any online collaboration session with other classrooms, teachers, or virtual classroom visitors. Use this to tutor students virtually by setting up a time for online work sessions.

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Eclipse Crossword Creator - Eclipse Crossword

Grades
1 to 12
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Create crossword puzzles quickly and easily with this fast and free site. Crosswords can easily be customized with settings within the program. Advanced users can fine-tune the settings...more
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Create crossword puzzles quickly and easily with this fast and free site. Crosswords can easily be customized with settings within the program. Advanced users can fine-tune the settings to the way they like them, everything from the positioning of the first few words to how important it is to have a compact puzzle. To get started, download the software and install on your computer (be sure to follow school rules regarding download and installation of software if using school computers). Next, input your list of words and clues, then create your puzzle. Once created, you can print puzzles, save it as a web page, or choose from different types of interactive pages that your visitors can play right in their web browser, without installing new software.

tag(s): crosswords (18), puzzles (208)

In the Classroom

Create puzzles for any subject or topic for review or introduction to new materials. Allow students to create puzzles for other students to solve. Add a puzzle to your classroom newsletter or blog to create interest. Share puzzles on your interactive whiteboard for students to solve together.

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Copyright free/Public domain images - Jen Presley

Grades
K to 12
2 Favorites 0  Comments
Discover a nice collection of source for public domain and copyright free images from around the web. This Livebinders...more
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Discover a nice collection of source for public domain and copyright free images from around the web. This Livebinders site features a wonderful array of images and photos on a variety of topics.
This site includes advertising.

tag(s): images (275), photography (162)

In the Classroom

When looking for copyright free materials for use in projects or to place on websites, begin your search here. Be sure to keep a link to this site on your wiki, blog, or web page for students to use whenever they are working on a project.

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Mr. Thorne Does Phonics - Christopher Thorne

Grades
K to 5
2 Favorites 0  Comments
  
Learn grammar and phonics using short video clips. Videos are divided into categories based on phases of learning (phonics/reading levels), high frequency words, and other criteria....more
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Learn grammar and phonics using short video clips. Videos are divided into categories based on phases of learning (phonics/reading levels), high frequency words, and other criteria. Videos are engaging and short enough to keep students interested (most run 2-4 minutes). This site includes everything from learning the alphabet to consonant blends to pronouns and much more. Note that the speaker is not American, so the accent may be different from what young students have heard before. There are app versions of many of the activities.
This site includes advertising.

tag(s): alphabet (89), alphabetical order (19), grammar (214), phonics (71), pronunciation (44), sight words (37), spelling (167), verbs (41), vowels (13)

In the Classroom

Use this site to practice word recognition, pronunciation, and phonics rules. The Mr. Thorne Does Phonics site would be a wonderful site to have available for students on classroom computers as a reading/learning center. Or share specific video clips with your entire class on your projector or interactive whiteboard. Challenge your students to make their own Mr. Thorne inspired videos for phonics or grammar. Share the videos using a tool such as Teachers.TV reviewed here.
 This resource requires Adobe Flash.

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Cookie - Cookie.com

Grades
K to 3
5 Favorites 0  Comments
  
Cookie is a large collection of learning games, videos, worksheets, and arts&crafts for preschool to early elementary. Find math, science, art, and language activities in many different...more
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Cookie is a large collection of learning games, videos, worksheets, and arts&crafts for preschool to early elementary. Find math, science, art, and language activities in many different formats. Search by subject, top games, and new releases. Pre-school and early elementary teachers will appreciate the many videos on the site for learning to write numbers and letters, learning body parts, and days of the week. There are interactives for students related to addition, colors, alphabet letters, and more.

tag(s): alphabet (89), audio books (29), colors (80), geometric shapes (166), matching (24), numbers (199), preK (289), puzzles (208), songs (53), worksheets (62)

In the Classroom

These interactives make great center activities to support learning. Or if individual computers aren't available, use your interactive whiteboard or projector. Consider using the IWB as a student-run center for pairs to take turns. There are numerous activities to choose from and differentiate for your students' needs. This is definitely one to save in your favorites (or bookmark). Be sure to share this link via your newsletter or list it on your class website, blog, or wiki. Use your TeachersFirst public page (part of free membership) to share with a single click!
 This resource requires Adobe Flash.

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Creative Puzzles - Respective Authors

Grades
3 to 12
1 Favorites 0  Comments
  
Here you will find educational computer activities that challenge problem solving and critical thinking skills. Multiple levels meet your students' needs. A Holy Sphinx offers hints...more
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Here you will find educational computer activities that challenge problem solving and critical thinking skills. Multiple levels meet your students' needs. A Holy Sphinx offers hints to solve problems.

tag(s): critical thinking (111), logic (239), problem solving (274), puzzles (208)

In the Classroom

Strengthen your student's problem solving and critical thinking skills. Offer class competitions to increase motivation and thinking. Gaming provides high interest in your hardest to motivate students. Many of these games easily intrigue gifted and advanced classes. Inspire computer classes to create their own games with a place to post with high usability. Use as center time activity, reward time, or extra challenges.

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Heads Up English - Chris Cotter

Grades
4 to 12
1 Favorites 0  Comments
 
At this site you will find basic skill builders for the beginning level, to complete lesson plans that teach one targeted skill, or lessons that are based with news events. ...more
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At this site you will find basic skill builders for the beginning level, to complete lesson plans that teach one targeted skill, or lessons that are based with news events. Though targeted for the ESL/ELL classroom, all language arts teachers can use the materials found here. Each week, the site owner adds two more 90-minute lesson plans based on a central theme. Click on one of the four different levels that appear across the top of the screen. Articles about teaching techniques are also available free of charge and can be accessed in the same area. All of these are available at no charge, however there are other parts of this site that you must pay to see.
This site includes advertising.

tag(s): grammar (214), listening (91), news (265), speaking (25)

In the Classroom

Looking for a quick way to share current events with your classes? You'll find just that at Heads Up English. Just download the article and lessons and you're ready to go! You don't need to teach ESL/ELL to benefit from the lessons at this site. Check daily to see if the day's lesson focus is appropriate for your classroom or for students' extra work if you have a mixed class. Share the site with students to use in their free or study time. Use this site also with low-level readers who may find the lessons on news articles interesting. Check the lesson offerings on the far right side of the opening page to find plans for use on holidays.
 This resource requires PDF reader software like Adobe Acrobat.

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Free Kids Books - Red Sky Ventures

Grades
K to 6
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Free Kids Books is a growing library of unique children's books and literary resources available for download in a user-friendly PDF format. You may purchase the books, but this review...more
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Free Kids Books is a growing library of unique children's books and literary resources available for download in a user-friendly PDF format. You may purchase the books, but this review relates to the FREE PDF format. Find books by the categories: toddlers, children, and young adult. This site is growing, so keep checking back. You will also find a Garfield alphabet poster and more to fill your language arts classroom needs! Links to literacy resources, publishing sites, and author resources, children's activities, and book review sites make this a very useful site for further resources to expand your language arts program.
This site includes advertising.

tag(s): ebooks (42), preK (289)

In the Classroom

If you are not a primary level teacher, be assured all the ESL/ELL, world language, theme related alphabet books are completely customizable. A great way to use the resources with older, struggling readers is to tap into their interests and have them customize the resources.

Create a class book with favorite activities, rhymes, names of books, or any way you choose to create classroom community. Make a special book for your school to welcome visitors or new students. Read the PDFs on the interactive whiteboard, projector, or at a center. Post as a link on your website for students to read at home.
 This resource requires PDF reader software like Adobe Acrobat.

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QR Treasure Hunt Generator - Classtools.net

Grades
4 to 12
7 Favorites 0  Comments
 
Interested in using QR codes in an engaging way? Try this Treasure Hunt Generator that uses QR codes. It's simple. Enter your questions and answers. Then click Create the QR ...more
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Interested in using QR codes in an engaging way? Try this Treasure Hunt Generator that uses QR codes. It's simple. Enter your questions and answers. Then click Create the QR Challenge. These are generated as text files which can be printed and posted wherever you want. Students use a QR reader (such as on iTouches, iPads, or phones) to scan and open the question and directions. Students then continue on by finding and answering the questions.

Note: QR code readers exist for every type of phone and are easily found on the Internet. For computers, add-ons exist for Firefox and Chrome as well as a desktop application from Adobe.

tag(s): game based learning (113), gamification (75), qr codes (22)

In the Classroom

Use to make any class content into a treasure hunt for knowledge. Keep students engaged by creating learning centers that have a question requiring an answer and perhaps another activity at the center before going on to the next. Have students learn and answer questions about mystery objects, art prints, or books/authors with accompanying QR codes. Identify trees by creating a QR code with a question about the tree and perhaps another link taking them to specific information. Create a scavenger hunt around the school asking questions about activities in the school or certain student projects found in showcases. (The first QR code could be printed in the school newsletter.) Create a treasure hunt with books in the library to test library search skills or to find a specific book and answer questions from the index, table of contents, etc. Use QR codes on objects in Geometry to ask questions about the shapes or solve a problem based on a physical object. Any subject area and content could find a use for this Treasure Hunt Generator. Challenge students to create their own QR treasure hunts as a way to "present" research projects. Use in social studies for the entire class to create a QR code hunt around your community to bring local history to life for all residents.
 This resource requires Adobe Flash.

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Sound Cloud - SoundCloud Ltd.

Grades
K to 12
3 Favorites 0  Comments
  
SoundCloud is a sound sharing site. Upload your favorite sounds and share using your sound cloud free account. Share via a link or a choice of embed widgets to add ...more
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SoundCloud is a sound sharing site. Upload your favorite sounds and share using your sound cloud free account. Share via a link or a choice of embed widgets to add into a website, blog, podcast, Wordpress, email, instant message, or social network. You can choose to use previously recorded sounds or record your own sounds using this site. Share the sounds on the web, with your group, or privately between users. Use your drop box to receive recorded material from others.
This site includes advertising.

tag(s): creative writing (170), descriptive writing (43), expository writing (44), sound (105), sounds (70)

In the Classroom

Add the dimension of sound into your language arts classes with SoundCloud! Turn written stories or poetry into works of spoken art. Use SoundCloud recordings of places such as; the city, the forest, the beach, or a cafeteria to bring settings to life. Make and share audio writing prompts. Challenge students to create their own story using sounds. Add sound into projects such as webquests, PowerPoints, podcasts, or blogging to hear the results! Emphasize important messages to your parent or student emails using sound. What a practical solution for ESL/ELL learners. Record and share poetry readings during Poetry Month. Save quarterly recordings of speech articulation students s they can hear their own progress (and you can share it with parents). Check school policies, of course, before uploading any student recordings to the web. Instrumental music teachers can share clips of musical pieces for students to emulate during at-home practice.

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IndyKids - IndyKids

Grades
3 to 8
1 Favorites 0  Comments
IndyKids is an online newspaper for kids. This online version is the same as the printable version that produces 10,000 copies of each issue, reaching kids in 36 states of ...more
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IndyKids is an online newspaper for kids. This online version is the same as the printable version that produces 10,000 copies of each issue, reaching kids in 36 states of the US. Articles are written by both kids and adults, featuring topics related to current events and topics of interest to kids. Articles written by kids are noted as such and include the writer's age. At the time of this review, some of the "kid written articles" included Growing Poverty: Hard to Ignore At Home, Wasps: Do I Know You, and several others. Be sure to check out the category search on the lower right-hand portion of the site with topics such as: Kids Around the World, Culture and Activism, Education, and much more. Newspapers are archived in PDF format for easy printing and dated back several years.

tag(s): creative writing (170), expository writing (44), journalism (55), persuasive writing (56), writing (367)

In the Classroom

Share this site with students and have students choose an article to read, summarize, or expand upon. After reading articles on the site, have students choose a current topic that interests them and have them write an article as practice of informational writing. In science or social studies, study the newspaper format as students write articles reporting on scientific discoveries or famous people. Use the format of this newsletter as a resource for creating and publishing your own classroom newsletter online. During newspapers in education month, use this site to findaccessible articles for any age. Create a newspaper using a site such as Zinepal (reviewed here). Click to "Start with a blank e-Book."
 This resource requires PDF reader software like Adobe Acrobat.

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Literacy Connections - Educators Circle, LLC.

Grades
K to 6
9 Favorites 0  Comments
   
Literacy Connections provides information on reading: teaching and tutoring techniques for all ages (young child, adult literacy) and ESL/ELL students. Find resources that are useful...more
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Literacy Connections provides information on reading: teaching and tutoring techniques for all ages (young child, adult literacy) and ESL/ELL students. Find resources that are useful for teachers, volunteers, and tutors. Topics include; read aloud, fingerplays, readers theater, songs, spelling, high frequency words, writing instruction, the language experience approach, phonics, word study, word families, the best in children's literature and more. Broaden your knowledge for ESL/ELL, literacy programs, and parent information. The (many) articles are well written and cover a broad variety of topics such as learning the letters of the alphabet, encouraging your student (or child) to be a reader, reading aloud, and many others.
This site includes advertising.

tag(s): alphabet (89), literature (274), phonics (71), preK (289), readers theater (17), reading comprehension (119), sight words (37), spelling (167), word study (79)

In the Classroom

Make your reading and writing workshop come alive with a wealth of resources and information at your fingertips. Help your school volunteer program or business partnership with background training to work effectively with your students. Share this one on your website as a link for parents. Periodically revisit to be sure your language arts program has the most useful and meaningful components. Gifted and ESL/ELL programs will greatly benefit from additional ideas and fun activities for whole group instruction, centers, or even homework practice.
 This resource requires Adobe Flash.

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Wridea - Octeth Ltd.

Grades
4 to 12
6 Favorites 1  Comments
 
Wridea is an idea management, brainstorming, and collaboration tool. It's a place to organize and categorize your ideas, share them with others for input, and store them. To collaborate...more
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Wridea is an idea management, brainstorming, and collaboration tool. It's a place to organize and categorize your ideas, share them with others for input, and store them. To collaborate using this tool, you must have individual memberships (email required). Note that maps that are shared can be seen by the public, but not altered. You specify the members who may collaborate and make alterations. At this time, this site does not work properly in Internet Explorer. However, it is a great tool to use in Firefox, Safari, Chrome, or other browsers.

tag(s): brainstorming (25), concept mapping (22), graphic organizers (43), mind map (24), organizational skills (128)

In the Classroom

Demonstrate the activity on an interactive whiteboard or projector, and then allow students to create their own Wridea tool. Use this site for literature activities, research projects, social studies, or science topics. Have students collaborate together (online) to create group study guides or review charts before a test. Have students use Wridea as a study guide by brainstorming all the important concepts they remember about the unit being studied in history or science, and then have them share their Wridea with another student who will add concepts that were left out. Build student creative fluency by having them use Wridea to create categories of wonder, question, and answers for research; map out a story or plot line, or map out a step-by-step process (life cycle); map a real historical event as a choose-your-own-adventure with alternate endings based on pivotal points.

Comments

This resources looks like it has a wide variety of applications suitable to upper elementary and secondary classrooms. Sign up was quick and easy, but I received a message upon completing those steps that Wridea doesn't support Internet Explorer. It "suggested" using Mozilla Firefox instead. I'm a strong advocate for being comfortable with using several browsers, so, this doesn't throw up any huge roadblocks to me, but if you do not have or use Firefox, you will need to take that extra step as well before actually making use of this tool.

Editor's Note: the review has been updated to reflect this new information.
Rita, WA, Grades: 6 - 12

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Tricider - tricider.com

Grades
3 to 12
5 Favorites 0  Comments
 
Tricider is an exciting tool to help people brainstorm and make decisions. You put a question in the appropriate box and then select who is eligible to comment and vote. ...more
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Tricider is an exciting tool to help people brainstorm and make decisions. You put a question in the appropriate box and then select who is eligible to comment and vote. Invite people to join in making decisions via Facebook, Twitter, or email. Options include setting a time limit, or closing down the question or discussion. There is no registration required, and the site is completely free.

tag(s): brainstorming (25), conflict resolution (9), debate (44), persuasive writing (56), polls and surveys (55), questioning (33)

In the Classroom

Introduce Tricider on your interactive whiteboard or projector. Use this site to develop arguments sides for an upcoming debate or persuasive writing assignment. Promote higher level thinking by asking students to brainstorm options and set criteria to choose. Build mental flexibility as they see alternate points of view on an issue. Encourage your students to use this tool for projects, decision making, and organization.

If you have students create book ads in your class, or projects, your students can vote on which book they want to read next or which project they would like to investigate further, etc. Teachers can also use Tricider to survey students about what resources on your website are the best, what further explanation they may need about a unit in math or science, which project students would like to do as a summative assessment, or ways to encourage "green" practices in your community. Be sure to have your students use a code or number instead of an actual name.

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Elmer's & Kids In Need Foundation Teacher Tool Kit Grants - Elmer's

Grades
K to 12
2 Favorites 0  Comments
Apply for one of these school supply grants offered annually by Elmer's so they can do one or more of the projects in the "catalog" of ideas Elmer's offers. All ...more
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Apply for one of these school supply grants offered annually by Elmer's so they can do one or more of the projects in the "catalog" of ideas Elmer's offers. All certified K-12 teachers are eligible, though priority is given to first year teachers. Read the criteria and click to download the grant application. The application cycle appears to open in Feb-April for funding the following school year. The catalog of ideas offers downloadable pdfs for many subjects and grades. Scroll to the bottom of the page to find the Teacher Toolkit.

tag(s): crafts (43), grants (19)

In the Classroom

Explore the many crafts, center, and curriculum project ideas for many subjects. Many are offered for grades K-8 and a few for high school. Then apply for a grant for the coming school year. You might also enjoy simply browsing for good craft and curriculum project ideas, even if you do not seek a grant.
 This resource requires PDF reader software like Adobe Acrobat.

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Draw A Stickman - drawastickman.com

Grades
1 to 10
12 Favorites 2  Comments
 
Draw A Stickman is a delightful, entertaining site that encourages creativity and fun! This is a mini interactive story that has students reading and following directions, solving...more
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Draw A Stickman is a delightful, entertaining site that encourages creativity and fun! This is a mini interactive story that has students reading and following directions, solving mysteries, thinking creatively, and solving problems. To begin the adventure, you draw a simple stick figure and then bring him or her to life. Your figure is faced with several challenges; you must follow directions and draw several props for your stick figure to use. You will love the hero of the story (the character you created) and the villain (a dragon). Finished stories can be replayed or shared on Facebook, Twitter, or email. There is also an online gallery for students to explore and view others' creations.

tag(s): creative writing (170), digital storytelling (153), interactive stories (31)

In the Classroom

Aside from just fun practice at following instructions, Draw a Stickman would be a great fictional story prompt. Students have the bones of a story and can fill in details, vivid verbs, adjectives, etc. to tell the story. This would be a good practice activity with writing sequences of "first, then, and next." Students can elaborate on their hero, the plot of the story, the details, the setting, etc. Students can write a moral for a story to add in the customized ending. These stories would be fun to share as a class...how wide a variety of can come from the same basics? Share finished stories with a talking avatar using a photo or other image (legally permitted to be reproduced). The avatars can "read" the story. Use a site such as Blabberize (reviewed here). Teach story mapping easily with this activity: On an interactive whiteboard (or projector), students can go through the stick figure story together, labeling the different parts of the story (beginning, problem, climax, resolution, ending). This interactive can help students identify story elements, including setting, characters and plot. This site would also be perfect for ESL/ELL students for practice in reading and following directions or for speech/language students to practice retelling a story from the visual prompts. Another idea: use this activity for verb/vocabulary practice in a world language class.

Comments

This will be a great fill-in activity when my students finish their assignments. I can't wait to use it! Beverly, TX, Grades: 6 - 12
Love this! So creative. I know the kids will love it too and I think the learning activities sound very promising too. Jeannie, MI, Grades: 0 - 5

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Living Math Book List - Living Math Book List

Grades
K to 8
7 Favorites 0  Comments
Math teachers (and others) will enjoy using this site to find literature that corresponds to math topics. What a great way for cross-curricular connections! To find a book, choose from...more
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Math teachers (and others) will enjoy using this site to find literature that corresponds to math topics. What a great way for cross-curricular connections! To find a book, choose from a list of math topics such as angles, percents, regrouping, place value, and many others. A list of books that can be used will be displayed along with a link to purchase the book on Amazon. The concept is simple, yet can be very useful to classroom teachers or parents looking for literature options to connect with math lessons.
This site includes advertising.

tag(s): addition (239), angles (86), area (68), book lists (133), charts and graphs (196), counting (120), division (169), equations (153), estimation (46), fractions (236), geometric shapes (166), matching (24), measurement (159), negative numbers (22), patterns (85), percent (84), perimeter (30), place value (55), ratios (56), rounding (22), sequences (16), subtraction (199), time (140)

In the Classroom

Bookmark and use this site as a resource to find literature to include with math lessons. Provide a link to this link on your classroom website for parents to use at home to find literature connection to math concepts! If you like the idea of connecting math and independent reading, TeachersFirst also offers a CurriConnects list for "Math in Use."

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