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Twitter - Twitter, Inc.

Grades
K to 12
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Twitter users enter information to share with their "followers" by creating 140 character "tweets," and "followers" see what they are thinking, favorite links, etc., all from the brief...more
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Twitter users enter information to share with their "followers" by creating 140 character "tweets," and "followers" see what they are thinking, favorite links, etc., all from the brief "tweet." Tweets are much more than messages to share what you are eating for lunch! Use this popular microblogging and social networking tool for a great way to communicate with teaching peers and real world people you may not have a chance to otherwise meet. Reply to others to create conversations for some of the best professional development around. Each "tweet" or message may not seem extraordinary, but using the sum total of tweets from those you "meet" on Twitter can have an amazing impact. Use your profile and settings to add a bio and other information, change your security settings from public to protected, find those who follow you, and more. Post your tweets through the website, mobile devices, or myriad of applications to manage tweets and followers. Keep track of your favorite tweets by starring them. Refer to your favorites list as needed. Wish you could take back a tweet? Click the trash can beside the post to delete (however, others may have already seen and responded.) Find many opinions about Twitter on and off the Internet. Remember you will gain only as much as you put into this service. Build a network of helpful colleagues to become a better learner (and educator). Anyone can learn from Twitter, even a class of elementary students! Still not sure what Twitter is about? Find a great explanation of how it works in this review.

tag(s): microblogging (44), social media (16), social networking (112)

In the Classroom

Bring teaching and learning to new heights by using this service as a great form of professional development. At conferences, use Twitter as a backchannel to expand upon thoughts and ideas during presentations and after. Have a question to ask others' opinion about? Throw it out to Twitter to see the great perspectives given by those who follow you. Start out slowly and look at conversations that catch your eye. Follow people with experience in your areas of interest to gain from the conversations. Start off by following @teachersfirst or @cshively (our leader).

Learn about hashtags -- ways to mark, search, and follow conversations on a specific topic. For example, the #ntchat tag is for new and pre-service teachers and the #edchat hashtag is for all teachers. Participate in these chats which are scheduled at certain days and times or search for their tweets anytime. Find archived tweets from these chats to learn from some wonderful and motivated teachers when it is convenient for YOU. Use other Twitter applications to search or collect specific hashtags.

As a teaching tool, Twitter is amazing! If your school permits access, have a class account to share what you are doing with parents and especially for your class to follow people in topics you study. Studying space? Follow NASA. Studying politics and government? Follow your congressional rep or the White House. Consider using your teacher or class account to send updates to other teachers across the country or across the globe. You can also teach about responsible digital citizenship by modeling and practicing it as a class. A whole-class, teacher account is the most likely way to gain permission to use Twitter in school, especially if you can demonstrate specific projects. That can be as simple as making sure you and that teacher are FOLLOWING each other, then sending a direct message (start the tweet with D and the other teacher's twitter name) or creating a group with your own hashtag for a project such as daily weather updates. Even if you are not "following" someone, you can send them a tweet using @theirtwittername in the body of the message. This is called a "mention" but can be seen by others, too. Compare what your class is observing in today's weather, which topics you will be discussing today, or ask for another class' opinions on a current events issue. Ask for updates about local concerns, such as talking to California schools about wildfires in their area or a Maine school about a blizzard. Challenge another class to tweet the feelings of a literacy character, such as Hamlet, and respond as Ophelia, all in 140 characters or less. Have gifted students? Connect your classroom with the outside world to find greater challenges and connections beyond your regular curriculum.

Learn much more about teaching ideas and tools for Twitter in the many resources listed on TeachersFirst Twitter for Teachers page.

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Thought Audio - thoughtaudio.com

Grades
K to 12
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This free audio book site offers classical literature and philosophy books in the public domain for download at no charge. In addition to typical classics, it offers recordings of the...more
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This free audio book site offers classical literature and philosophy books in the public domain for download at no charge. In addition to typical classics, it offers recordings of the Declaration of Independence and the U.S. Constitution, some Mark Twain, and a few Christmas recordings for children including "Twas the Night Before Christmas," "The Gift of the Magi," and "Scrooge: A Christmas Carol."

In the Classroom

Make a shortcut to this site on classroom computers as a reference. Suggest it to students as something they can use on their mp3 players. Share this link on your class website for students and parents to access at home. Learning support teachers may want to use selections from this site as alternatives to reading print literature selections. Play a story on your computer speakers as a listening activity in younger grades.

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Audio Books for Free - audiobooksforfree.com

Grades
K to 12
1 Favorites 0  Comments
 
This site offers free audio recordings of books in the public domain downloadable on computer, mobile phone, PDA, PSP, CD-MP3 portable player, portable MP3 player, portable DVD player,...more
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This site offers free audio recordings of books in the public domain downloadable on computer, mobile phone, PDA, PSP, CD-MP3 portable player, portable MP3 player, portable DVD player, or IPod. The collection is quite comprehensive and includes classic children's literature as well as fiction, non-fiction, philosophy, religion, self-help, humor, travel, and memoirs. All recordings offered at this site are human read.

Be aware: you must register for this site. Once registered, it is rather time consuming finding the FREE resources. The free audio stories are described as having "bearable quality" however, our reviewers found the quality fine. Most stories are available for free, just be sure to click on the correct box to ensure they are free!

tag(s): audio books (32)

In the Classroom

With younger students, it may be best to share the audio books on your projector or interactive whiteboard (as the Free ones can take some time to find and use). Share this link on your class website for parents to explore at home with their students.

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Reading Rewards - Michelle Skamene

Grades
1 to 7
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Reading Rewards is a new, free reading incentive program for teachers, parents, and students that can be used as a teaching tool in the classroom or at home. Kids accumulate ...more
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Reading Rewards is a new, free reading incentive program for teachers, parents, and students that can be used as a teaching tool in the classroom or at home. Kids accumulate Reading Reward "Miles" on the site, which they can exchange for fun things on the site: joke of the day, video of the day (always safe, kid-friendly videos their editors find), mini-games, and more. Watch the introductory slide show for the program showing you how to set up Reading Rewards for your class(es). A side benefit of this site is that you can also use it to teach about distinguishing between advertisements and actual content on a site.

tag(s): independent reading (128)

In the Classroom

Make a shortcut to this site on classroom computers and use it as a center, or post the address on your teacher website so students and parents can access the program at home, too. Set reading goals for individual students or the class.

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Kids@Random Activities - Random House

Grades
K to 6
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Cool activities related to Random House children's books are abundant at this site. There are so many books to choose from! Use this free resource to find the activities that ...more
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Cool activities related to Random House children's books are abundant at this site. There are so many books to choose from! Use this free resource to find the activities that will hook young readers and instill the love of literature. For younger students, you'll find interdisciplinary activities, interactives, and coloring pages to download and print. For the early middle grade students, many favorite chapter books are featured with supplementary writing, comprehension, and critical thinking challenges.

tag(s): literature (275), preK (281), printables (38), read across america (5)

In the Classroom

Keep your students thinking about their favorite characters and stories by printing the many available games, puzzles and other activities. Take a break and project one of the many choices on your whiteboard to start a lesson. Include literature connections to some of these classics in your classroom computer center as you feature the same works in read-aloud time. You will find math, language arts, and other subject based activities all revolving around the books' adventures. They make great homework or independent assignments that will give you class time to meet with individual students. Be sure to provide this link on your class website for students to access both in the classroom and at home.
 This resource requires Adobe Flash.

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Synonyms and Antonyms - SmartTutor

Grades
3 to 6
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Practice synonyms and antonyms with this easy to follow game. You hear and read a passage then choose if a word is a synonym or antonym of the underlined word. ...more
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Practice synonyms and antonyms with this easy to follow game. You hear and read a passage then choose if a word is a synonym or antonym of the underlined word. When correct, feedback is given reiterating why the choice is correct, if the wrong answer is given, feedback states why it was incorrect.

tag(s): synonyms (38)

In the Classroom

Use on the interactive whiteboard or projector for review before testing synonym and antonym skills. Challenge students to find synonyms and antonyms for the underlined words that aren't included in the game.
 This resource requires Adobe Flash.

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Match Words - James Hollis

Grades
K to 3
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This audio matching game offers a classic Concentration-style game with the bonus of audio for each of the cards. The audio feature allows the teacher to include visually challenged...more
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This audio matching game offers a classic Concentration-style game with the bonus of audio for each of the cards. The audio feature allows the teacher to include visually challenged students in this activity. Each game is timed and number of matches is indicated on the score board. The game can also be paused or start over with the new game option. Upon completion, you will advance to a higher level.

tag(s): matching (24)

In the Classroom

Share this activity on your interactive whiteboard or projector. Use this website as a learning center on your classroom computers. Provide this link on your class website for students to use both in and out of the classroom.
 This resource requires Adobe Flash.

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Poem Flow - Apple

Grades
4 to 12
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Since February 1, 2010, poetry.org has been adding one poem a day to display in Poem Flow. The poems appear line by line (on a cell phone background) in a ...more
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Since February 1, 2010, poetry.org has been adding one poem a day to display in Poem Flow. The poems appear line by line (on a cell phone background) in a fairly slow cadence so that each word of the poem can be appreciated. The poems are mainly classics by renowned authors. They begin as early as the 1500's with Shakespeare and continue through lesser known contemporary poets of 2010. The date of the poem's publication is included with the title. Students or teachers can choose to read the poem all at one time in full text as well. Designed to be used as an APP on the iPhone/iTouch, the website allows anyone (without an iPhone) to see the poems appearing slowly and thoughtfully.

tag(s): poetry (228)

In the Classroom

Share a poem a day on your interactive whiteboard or projector. Have students participate in a poetry wiki to share their thoughts on the daily poem or write their own responses in student blogs. Not comfortable with wikis? Have no wiki worries - check out theTeachersFirst's Wiki Walk-Through. Use this site to get your students' eyes on a poem. As they anticipate what is coming, they will all be at attention. Use the daily offering at "poetry break" time every day so the students can anticipate and look forward to each new poem!
 This resource requires Adobe Flash.

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Dipity - Underlying, Inc.

Grades
3 to 12
2 Favorites 0  Comments
   
Dipity is an online timeline creator that allows you to create, view, and share timelines in several different ways. When viewing timelines the default mode is the classic timeline...more
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Dipity is an online timeline creator that allows you to create, view, and share timelines in several different ways. When viewing timelines the default mode is the classic timeline display. With just a click the same information can be shown as a flipbook, map, and list. Sharing is simple through widgets that can be embedded on blogs or websites as well as quick links to common networking sites.
This site includes advertising.

tag(s): timelines (62)

In the Classroom

Click on "add an event" and complete as much information as you can about the event. Types of information that are provided include: title, date, description, picture, link, location, and video Url. If you do not have a complete set of information, the event will still look good in the timeline! Also, please note that you cannot create imaginary locations. The site does verify the place entered as location is a real place.

Use a created, identifiable to the outside world team name to preserve student internet security. This way, students do not need to create their own accounts. Be careful when having students enter locations, if it is historical project, real dates and times are safe to use. However, if students are creating personal type timelines, use general locations like city and country or even just country. You can control who can see the timelines, and who can edit the timeline. Use caution here!

Create a timeline of classroom events throughout the school year. During a unit on inventions, having different students add each invention to the timeline along with pertinent information to create a very visual display of the chronology of the introduction of each item (great for review!). Use for an author study to compare and contrast lives of authors and add historical events to put each author's works into perspective. In science class, have students create a timeline of scientific discoveries or the life of a plant, animal, or scientist. Challenge students to create cross-disciplinary timelines showing historic, scientific, and artistic events during the same time period, such as the Renaissance or a decade during the 20th century, so they can see trends. Make timelines of environmental concerns, such as the Gulf Oil Spill--or a history of environmental disasters. Create timelines for historic events -- local or global. Make family histories in world language classes using vocabulary and grammar skills to describe family members in the new language. Create a class timeline to add to your classroom wiki and have students add information as the year advances so that they can look back on all that they have accomplished.

Need a challenge for your gifted students? as the study history or a scientific discovery, have them make a timeline that shows other events happening in the world at the same time. Have them create a "family tree" for endangered species using this timeline tool. Add pictures, locations, and names of related species and causes for the threat to that animal. Have them map out the steps leading to a war or civil rights event, adding the more subtle causes and people not included in the regular curriculum.

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Animated Books - Frank Asch

Grades
K to 3
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This is the website of author Frank Asch, known for his Moonbear picture books. Five of his books are available to the user. Each story is animated and read by ...more
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This is the website of author Frank Asch, known for his Moonbear picture books. Five of his books are available to the user. Each story is animated and read by the author. In addition to the online books, users can access several other areas on the site. The section for kids includes ideas for games and information about the author. There is a section for teachers with lesson ideas and a complete list of Frank Asch's published works.

In the Classroom

Use the suggested lesson ideas to create centers or a unit based on Frank Asch books. Allow students to listen to the online stories at a computer center. Display and watch one of the stories on the interactive whiteboard, discuss the actions of the characters and main idea of the story.
  This resource requires Adobe Flash and PDF reader software like Adobe Acrobat.

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Storytime - Barnes and Noble

Grades
K to 3
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Barnes and Noble is offering one book a month on their new story time site. The presentation of the book is in video format, using the still picture pages from ...more
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Barnes and Noble is offering one book a month on their new story time site. The presentation of the book is in video format, using the still picture pages from the book. Hear the story read by the author or another celebrity. Despite the commercial offerings on the page, the story time book is well presented and orated. Options include clicking the slanted arrow to get to the full-screen presentation of the book page. Readers can also send the video to their friends by clicking on the page icon. Click in the lower right sidebar to see a preview of what book will be featured in the coming month.

tag(s): time (144)

In the Classroom

Use the full-screen version once a month to "read" a new book to your class! Share this site on your interactive whiteboard or projector. Another idea: bookmark this site on classroom computers or add the link to your class web page for students to access in a learning center and follow along with the book in front of them. Use the next month preview to obtain the book in your school library or on interlibrary loan. Don't forget the headsets! Then have students write and draw their own page or alternate ending to "add" to the book!
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Online Word Games - StoryIt

Grades
K to 3
4 Favorites 1  Comments
 
Word Families and Word Magnets are games included on this site that allow practice with sight words and letter sounds. Word Magnets can be played with one or two players ...more
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Word Families and Word Magnets are games included on this site that allow practice with sight words and letter sounds. Word Magnets can be played with one or two players by choosing different vowel sound activities. Players try to make as many sentences using the sight words as possible. With two players, each player makes points for each correct sentence. Players practice and recognize vowel sounds when playing the game, Odd One Out. Players are shown 3 or 4 sight words and have to choose the one with a different vowel sound, at the end of the game a score is given for the number of correct choices out of 10.

Be aware: this site does have pop-up advertisements. Be sure to tell students to click the X to close the advertisement window.

tag(s): vowels (13)

In the Classroom

Display on the interactive whiteboard or projector as a classroom activity to practice sight words and vowel sound recognition. Use this site as a learning center in your classroom. Link to this site on your classroom website or provide the site in your classroom newsletter for students to practice at home.
 This resource requires Adobe Flash.

Comments

What a great tool for practicing sight words. I have used this on my interactive whiteboard. Melissa, , Grades: 0 - 5

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Road Hog's Wild Ride - Golden Books

Grades
K to 2
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Road Hog fills up his gas tank by running over letters (to spell a given word) in this interactive word game by Golden Books. A new word appears each time ...more
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Road Hog fills up his gas tank by running over letters (to spell a given word) in this interactive word game by Golden Books. A new word appears each time all letters have been scored. This is a fun game for early and emergent readers to practice letter sounds and learn new words.

tag(s): alphabet (92), sight words (37)

In the Classroom

Allow students to try this activity at a computer center to practice sight words. Use this site on the interactive whiteboard or projector during inside recess for some fun letter or sight word practice.
 This resource requires Adobe Flash.

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Mix Book - Andrew Laffoon

Grades
K to 12
2 Favorites 0  Comments
   
Enhance digital storytelling and classroom-publishing techniques with Mixbook. This web 2.0 creating tool lets students collaboratively create beautiful books. Users can simultaneously...more
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Enhance digital storytelling and classroom-publishing techniques with Mixbook. This web 2.0 creating tool lets students collaboratively create beautiful books. Users can simultaneously insert photos, text, and edit from separate computers. Authors can select from a wide variety of thematic designs, layout options, stickers, and backgrounds or design their own. Upload personal photos, scanned illustrations, or free public domain images directly into the image library. Inserting photos is a simple, intuitive process that requires a click and drag. The text comes in a variety of font options, and sizes. A complete transcript of the writing appears below the book. Viewers can enjoy the reading the book without needless advertising or redirection to another site. It is also possible to copy a book and easily create a customized edition for individual students. There is always the option to purchase books directly from the Mixbook. Go directly to this site and immediately create your masterpiece.
This site includes advertising.

tag(s): digital storytelling (145), ebooks (42)

In the Classroom

Use Mixbook to create collaborative projects, yearbooks, or to give writers workshop publishing a professional flare. History teachers may enjoy letting students photograph a re-enactment of a scene from the past and then write accompanying text. Combine yearly research reports with this multimedia option. Have students create collaborative projects that access fantastic photography collections from sites such as the Library of Congress . Primary school teachers can photograph student illustrations of familiar songs, poems, or rhymes and create "class" books. Project these books onto an interactive whiteboard or projector and revolutionize shared reading. Create parent education books that communicate how to help with their student's reading at home, or explain the stages of project-based learning. Students can also author books in a foreign language. Mixbook is useful for all areas of the school curriculum. Remember to embed student books into the school website for family and friends at home to enjoy.

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Common Core State Standards - Common Core State Standards Initiative Team

Grades
K to 12
1 Favorites 0  Comments
   
The Common Core State Standards Initiative is a nationwide effort led by the National Governor's Association and the Council of Chief State School Officers to establish a common set...more
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The Common Core State Standards Initiative is a nationwide effort led by the National Governor's Association and the Council of Chief State School Officers to establish a common set of educational standards which aligns benchmarks and expectations across state lines. This system builds on what states are already doing by providing an opportunity to share experiences, best practices, and lessons, while maintaining high expectations that insure the quality of education across America to enable our students to maintain a competitive edge in the global economy.

Visit this website to find out exactly what the national K-12 standards are for English language arts and literacy in history/social studies, science and technology, as well as mathematics, and to find out if your state is one many states (at the time of this review) that have already committed to adopt the Common Core State Standards. Watch videos and the recorded webinar, and read about the key points and rigorous curriculum standards, including the content and skills related to the use of media and technology for critical analysis and production.

tag(s): commoncore (94)

In the Classroom

Take a look at exemplars and sample performance tasks and students' writing to consider how you can integrate these ideas into your own planning to prepare students for the growing challenges of today's world. You can also sign up to receive updates via email. For more information about the Common Core and implementing it in your classes, see TeachersFirst's Common Core: The Fuss Over Non-Fiction, a Q/A article for elementary teachers, and TeachersFirst's resources tagged Common Core for many helpful sites.
  This resource requires Adobe Flash and PDF reader software like Adobe Acrobat.

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Clean Up Your Grammar - Scholastic

Grades
1 to 4
3 Favorites 0  Comments
 
Trash is floating onto the beach and needs to be sorted into the appropriate trash bins with this fun grammar interactive. Students simply click and drag to sort the trash ...more
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Trash is floating onto the beach and needs to be sorted into the appropriate trash bins with this fun grammar interactive. Students simply click and drag to sort the trash into either the Noun bin or the Verb bin. Choose from Level 1 or Level 2. If you have a successful "dump," the result is a colorful song reward. An error results in a slightly different sound, but the focus of the site is decidedly positive, rewarding students for what they do correctly. This is a very simple site for students to use independently.

tag(s): grammar (216), grammar review (37), parts of speech (68)

In the Classroom

This user-friendly site can be utilized during center time, or for individual or pairs of students in a lab, as a skill reinforcer. Students can use the site as a lesson review, supplemental practice or enrichment. Demonstrate the site on your interactive whiteboard or projector, and then allow students to try it out themselves.
 This resource requires Adobe Flash.

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Tar Heel Reader - University of North Caroline

Grades
K to 12
4 Favorites 0  Comments
 
Find free on-line books perfect for emergent readers. The author of the site, the Center for Literacy and Disabilities studies at the University of North Carolina, wants to provide...more
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Find free on-line books perfect for emergent readers. The author of the site, the Center for Literacy and Disabilities studies at the University of North Carolina, wants to provide free resources to give everyone an opportunity to learn to read and write. All books are free and available for download as slideshows using PowerPoint, Impress, or Flash. Book topics include biographies, fairy tales, history, science, math, nursery rhymes, poetry, food, and more! All stories have speech enabling, can come in as many as fourteen different languages, and are compatible with touch screens. Since a wide range of age groups use this site, they have a rating system to suggest what is suitable for younger readers. Tar Heel Reader is also a great way to write books. Upload images from your computer or Flicker, add text, create, and share student stories with an authentic audience of readers. Tar Heel Reader is a great way to engage students with reading material, increase class participation, and create inclusive instruction for those with illiteracy or learning disabilities.

** This site does contain some materials NOT suitable for all classrooms. Be sure to read the "rating" system, and contribute your own opinions (as the ratings are only as reliable as the pool of contributing voters). Books rated 'E' are meant for everyone but a 'C' means to use caution as it may not be proper material for some. Determine what titles are suitable and save them to the favorites file for students to access.

tag(s): literacy (103)

In the Classroom

Increase your big book collection ten fold by projecting Tar Heel Readers onto an interactive whiteboard or projector. Use interactive shared reading lessons to strengthen student recognition of common sight words, concepts of print, decoding skills, and use syntax cues and unlock the meaning of text. Ask students to circle known sight words, count the number of words in a sentence, trace capital letters, or point to the first letter of a word during a choral read. Help ESL/ELL students by creating books out of photos from class field trips, events, or experiments. Integrate text that uses key vocabulary words and creates reading materials that are both relevant to grade level curricular standards and match your student's readability level. All books you publish on the web site are public domain and available to all other users. Be sure to get parent permission before publishing student books on-line. In order to create a book, users will need to register. Unfortunately, this requires users to email gb@cs.unc.edu to request of an invitation code. With this code, simply create a username, submit your name, and email address. Set up a single teacher account and have all the students use that login to avoid safety concerns. Be sure to include this site on your class web page for students to access both in and outside of class for further reading practice.
  This resource requires Adobe Flash and PDF reader software like Adobe Acrobat.

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Kinder Site - Joel Josephson & Ziv Avidor

Grades
K to 6
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This international, award winning site provides a large collection of games, stories and songs for pre-school and kindergarten age children. They are beginning to extend similar services...more
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This international, award winning site provides a large collection of games, stories and songs for pre-school and kindergarten age children. They are beginning to extend similar services for children age seven to twelve. English Language learners may be able to access the site in their primary language as the site is available in seven languages. Some stories, songs, and games on the English speaking site are in Spanish. You can search for material by age, content, or by "educational," "playability," or "fun" value. Save appropriate activities on your "my page" for future use. There are some advertisements and a few video ads before interactive activities meant for older students. Ignore the advertising; the site content is worth it. Every link and site on Kindersite conforms to "Department of Children, Schools and Families" (UK) guidelines for safe sites for children.

Kindersite collaborates with outside institutions to develop educational projects that compile resources, generate new curriculum models, create training materials, and implement teacher-training seminars. Researchers can gather user data from Kindersite that represents varying population sizes, geographical groupings, and languages.

General Tips and Reminders: Some sites originate from the UK, so some of the pronunciations and spellings may differ from those in American English. There is some advertising on the right side of the page. Some links may direct students to sites that also contain advertising. Warn your students to avoid them.

tag(s): literacy (103)

In the Classroom

Invigorate shared reading with Kindersite's songs and stories. View the colorful illustration and text on an interactive whiteboard or projector. Some stories and songs highlight the tracking of words. Other sites provide character voices when you click the text in quotations. The animation will definitely engage everyone even those who wiggle on the carpet. Differentiate computer centers with the "my page" function. Save interactive tasks that target the instructional needs of students. Make a shortcut to the "my page" site collections on classroom computers and use it as a center. Be sure to take advantage of the professional resources Kindersites provides as well. Post a link to this site on your school website for parents to access at home.
  This resource requires Adobe Flash and PDF reader software like Adobe Acrobat.

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Literacyhead - Jan Burkins

Grades
K to 5
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Literacyhead is an online literary magazine that provides creative inspiration for teaching reading, writing, and higher order thinking. They provide teachers a literacy curriculum...more
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Literacyhead is an online literary magazine that provides creative inspiration for teaching reading, writing, and higher order thinking. They provide teachers a literacy curriculum that promotes creativity and critical thought. Every two weeks Literacyhead publishes a new issue that focuses on either a children's book author, writing, or reading comprehension strategy or open ended literary theme. Their lessons are not prescriptive or ordinary and always include the visual arts. Each issue is broken up into 14 components. Two of the main features are The "Art of Teaching Writing" and "The Art of Teaching Reading." The writing section contains a lesson perfect for writer's workshop. Funny cartoons introduce the week's literacy theme. They recommend author mentor texts and suggest independent writing practice objectives. The book titles they suggest come with discussion prompts to guide reading instruction before, during, or after a read aloud. Visual vocabulary illustrations serve as definitions for key terms. Explore the other wonderful features such as literacy coaching tips, and writing stARTs. Literacyhead's current weekly issue is free but there is an optional membership fee that provides access to previous issues. Sign up for their free bi-weekly newsletter for new issue alerts.

tag(s): creativity (109), literacy (103), writers workshop (31)

In the Classroom

Reach out to the artists and visual learners in your class. ESL/ELL instructors will find the gorgeous graphics and "visual vocabulary" a fantastic way to communicate concepts to second language learners. Literacyhead will spark ideas for instruction that address the diverse learning styles in classrooms today. Use this site to help students draw connections between text, and prompt thoughtful conversations. Ask students to create their own "visual vocabulary" illustrations. Download the free graphic organizers. This site offers reproducible graphic tools to reinforce comprehension and writing strategies but also some meant to develop critical and creative thought. Share this site with your teaching colleagues who work with your learning support students.
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Voices in the Dark - Sean Puckett and Dawn Keenan

Grades
K to 12
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The website "Voices in the Dark" is a source for audio recordings of classic novels, legends, poems, and essays. There are approximately 150 ageless titles such as Charles Dickens's...more
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The website "Voices in the Dark" is a source for audio recordings of classic novels, legends, poems, and essays. There are approximately 150 ageless titles such as Charles Dickens's "Christmas Carol" and Washington Irving's "Legend of Sleepy Hollow." Each audiobook comes with an accompanying text transcript and are typically short. Receive regular updates by subscribing to their syndication feeds through RSS or podcasts. The audio files come in both low and high bitrates MP3 files that will match your computer's storage space and Internet bandwidth capabilities.

tag(s): fluency (23), literacy (103)

In the Classroom

Engage your class in real world learning while building fluency and reading skills. "Voices in the Dark" is always looking for people to contribute to their on-line library of audio books. Consider having your class submit an audio recording of their own to the collection. First choose a genre to focus on such as Fairy Tales or Aesop Fables. Review the page that contains directions on how to select stories, create a recording, and submit work. There is a list of links full of public domain books from which to choose. They provide tips on how to record your reading and directions on how to submit your work. Sites such as Audio Pal reviewed here may be helpful in creating your recordings. Of course, check with your administrator before attempting this project and obtain parent permission before sharing or posting student work.

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