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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 (214), grammar review (39), 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 (107)

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
2 Favorites 0  Comments
  
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 (107)

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 (120), literacy (107), writers workshop (34)

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.
 This resource requires PDF reader software like Adobe Acrobat.

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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 (24), literacy (107)

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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A New Way to Lecture - Michael Zimmer

Grades
4 to 12
12 Favorites 0  Comments
 
At this site you will find a slide show with at least fourteen different programs you can use instead of PowerPoint for your lectures. Are your PowerPoint lectures boring you ...more
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At this site you will find a slide show with at least fourteen different programs you can use instead of PowerPoint for your lectures. Are your PowerPoint lectures boring you and your students? Take a look at this online slide show, and choose one of fourteen different programs to convert just one of your PowerPoint lectures. Not only is each program explained, but many have suggestions for integrating your lectures with the program. Take a look. Learn about some great web 2.0 sites (Prezi, TypeWith.me, Animoto, ToonDoo, and many others). Note that many of the tools mentioned are also reviewed on TeachersFirst in greater detail if you want to learn more.

tag(s): chat (53), comics and cartoons (69), digital storytelling (152)

In the Classroom

Surprise your students and yourself with how effective any one of these programs can be with your material or THEIR presentations. Create a comic strip to replace a traditional grammar lesson. Use a class wiki to discuss and debate topics in history class. Once you see a tool that sounds interesting, read its full review on TeachersFirst to find even more ways to use it.
 

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PhotoPeach - Nota, Inc

Grades
3 to 12
0 Favorites 0  Comments
   
This site allows you to upload photos, create captions, and add music to a slideshow in minutes. It is fun and easy to use. Check out the reviewer's sample ...more
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This site allows you to upload photos, create captions, and add music to a slideshow in minutes. It is fun and easy to use. Check out the reviewer's sample here. Shows can be shared or embedded into other social networking type sites.

tag(s): images (275), photography (161), slides (64)

In the Classroom

You also must be able to locate files on your computer to upload. Follow onscreen instructions to create a project. The instructions are very easy to understand. In a few short steps, there is a finished product. Share the finished show by URL or embed code (for those who know how to copy/paste this code).

Use this site in science class to make a slideshow of a completed lab as an alternative to a laboratory report. Use this in history class to create short videos about different people and places in history. Use in math to have students explain a word problem or complex algebra problems in a slide by slide (step by step) manner. In lower grades, use a whole class account to create a slideshow about a class project or special event such as pumpkin day and all the calculations you do with pumpkin seeds, the weight of pumpkins, etc. Share the slideshow as an embedded object on your class web page/wiki or share the link with parents so they can ask their child about the activity and reinforce the concepts simply by having him/her talk about it at home.

If students create their own shows using images from the web, be sure they are using Creative Commons licensed photos or images without copyright restrictions, sine the products are shared online. Of course you will want to require a credit for any photo used to be included in the show.

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fastr - a flickr game - random chaos

Grades
3 to 12
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Guess what a group of photos have in common with this simple game that draws from flickr images. The game shows a group of images, and you must guess what ...more
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Guess what a group of photos have in common with this simple game that draws from flickr images. The game shows a group of images, and you must guess what "tag" the images have in common.

tag(s): flexibility (5), images (275), vocabulary (325)

In the Classroom

Share a fastr game on your projector or interactive whiteboard to get the mental juices flowing at the start of class. Build word choice vocabulary for speech/language students or ESL/ELL students as they guess what word the photos have in common. Extend the experience by having students create their own groups of images (perhaps even taking their own with a digital camera) to support a curriculum concept, such as "omnivore" or "well." Use this tool in combination with a Flickr search tool such as FlickrCC reviewed here to help students understand tagging and see how an unusual combination of images can share the same tag.

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Word Mayhem - Learning Planet

Grades
4 to 8
8 Favorites 0  Comments
 
Students can challenge their word knowledge while competing in this sixty-second, multi-media vocabulary game. Players must work quickly to click or type letters to create words from...more
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Students can challenge their word knowledge while competing in this sixty-second, multi-media vocabulary game. Players must work quickly to click or type letters to create words from a set of scrambled letters. Points are awarded based on word length, with opportunities to increase your score by deciphering scrambled words based on definitions. When the winner is revealed, the game and timer automatically reset with another chance to compete.

tag(s): game based learning (116), vocabulary (325), vocabulary development (125)

In the Classroom

Word Mayhem is a wise choice for a quick, easy to try, vocabulary development and reinforcement activity. The instructions are simplistic and students can compete against themselves or other players. When students are working on individual technology based assignments in the classroom or computer lab, this is a good link to make accessible to keep them on task and engaged when they finish the assignment a few minutes before the end of the period.
 This resource requires Adobe Flash.

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Building Schoolwide Literacy With Free Web 2.0 Tools: A Grade by Grade Elementary Model - TeachersFirst

Grades
K to 8
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TeachersFirst offers this model for elementary (or middle) schools to build skills in reading, writing, speaking, and listening systematically in a schoolwide model including students,...more
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TeachersFirst offers this model for elementary (or middle) schools to build skills in reading, writing, speaking, and listening systematically in a schoolwide model including students, teachers, and parents. The free web 2.0 tools suggested here are by no means the only tools that might work. These exemplary tools were chosen by the TeachersFirst Editors for ease of use and versatility in classroom and home use, and could easily be implemented at grade levels other than those suggested here. As students and teachers master a new tool at each grade level, they develop rich literacy skills and vital technology skills, all in the context of reading, writing, speaking and listening across the curriculum.

tag(s): listening (92), speaking (25)

In the Classroom

Explore the tools and project suggestions by grade for your individual use as a teacher or work together with others in your school to build literacy across all subjects and grades by systematically adopting and repeatedly using a fixed collection of tools so students master the tool skills as an aside to reading, writing, speaking, and listening. Try the practical suggestions for implementing this model in your school or grade level team.

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Web Resizer - webresizer.com

Grades
2 to 12
1 Favorites 1  Comments
 
This site is quick, easy, requires no registration, and FREE. Upload your image to this site in order to create a smaller file size for use on other sites and ...more
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This site is quick, easy, requires no registration, and FREE. Upload your image to this site in order to create a smaller file size for use on other sites and applications as well as adding effects such as corner rounding, rotating, tinting, changing contrast/brightness, or adding borders/edges. Upload an image up to 5 MB to alter easily with this site. Web resizer automatically reduces the file size to create an optimized image. Be sure to click "apply changes" once you have finished making selections. Click "start over" to remove previous changes. Download the image easily in a JPEG format.

tag(s): images (275)

In the Classroom

Provide the link to this site for students to use in altering and resizing images for use in presentations and online applications. Be sure students understand the file size needed for the various sites that are used in class (for example, wikispaces has a 20 MB file size limit.)
 
 This resource requires Adobe Flash.

Comments

Use this all the time. Easy to use and SO helpful. You can use online, don't have to download. Frances, CT, Grades: 6 - 8

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Wordslide

Grades
2 to 7
3 Favorites 0  Comments
How many words can you make from a given set of letters? Wordslide lets your find out. This easy to use interactive provides you with a list of letters and ...more
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How many words can you make from a given set of letters? Wordslide lets your find out. This easy to use interactive provides you with a list of letters and a tower of blank squares for each of the word combinations. As you find a word it is added to the tower until finding all combinations. You can play alone as a visitor or there is an option to register to play against other users. Registration allows you to also keep your own scores and possibly be listed in the hall of fame. Registration only requires a username and password. No email address is necessary. Warning - registration also allows access to a chat forum about the game that isn't always monitored.

tag(s): phonics (71), spelling (169)

In the Classroom

This is a great 5-minute activity when you don't have time to start a new lesson. Have a student "emcee" use it on your interactive whiteboard or projector to challenge the class to find all of the word combinations. Discuss the words created to demonstrate spelling and phonics patterns found.
 This resource requires Adobe Flash.

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This Day in History - Timelines, Inc.

Grades
4 to 12
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This site, containing tons of timelines, is great for a number of different content areas. There are many video clips included. Search for the timeline of your choice, browse topics...more
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This site, containing tons of timelines, is great for a number of different content areas. There are many video clips included. Search for the timeline of your choice, browse topics or people, or play timeline trivia. Topics range from Mark Twain to Women's Suffrage to The Beatles to Lord of the Rings (and countless others). There is a lot of information written in a clear, understandable manner. Plus, the pictures help tell the story of the timeline. You can also contribute by creating events, voting, commenting, and adding descriptions, photos, and videos to this site. If your district blocks YouTube, the videos may not be viewable. You could always view them at home and bring them to class "on a stick" to share. Use a tool such as Freemake Video Converter, reviewed here, to download the videos from YouTube.
This site includes advertising.

tag(s): famous people (21), heroes (24), religions (68), timelines (64)

In the Classroom

To add events to the site, locate the "add event" found at the bottom of the Timelines.com homepage. Follow the very clear (with samples) directions to insert your own event. Viewing the timelines is simple. Click to watch videos, view the maps, click "Like" or "Dislike" or make comments by clicking on the words.

Monitor what students are viewing in the premade timelines. Also, teach students appropriate events to include and check their work before having them submit work so that they are more accurate.

Use the timelines on the site in science class to help students understand the history behind discoveries that they take for granted, such as the the space race. Today's students have never lived in a world where traveling to the moon was not possible, and understanding the history of the event could be very helpful in understanding the magnitude of such an event. This site would also be useful in art or music class. Have students investigate the history of their favorite group or type of music and create a multimedia presentation to share with the class. How about a video (including music, of course). Use a tool such as Moovly, reviewed here, and then share the videos on a site such as SchoolTube, reviewed here.

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Bookr - pimpampum.net

Grades
K to 12
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Use this resource to quickly and easily create a book from a series of flickr pictures. Click on the fields on the front of the album to add a title ...more
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Use this resource to quickly and easily create a book from a series of flickr pictures. Click on the fields on the front of the album to add a title and an author (both required to share the finished product.) Enter a flickr user name to view that user's (or your) entire album. Drag a picture into the field of the page. Change to full page for the picture or to create a border around the picture. Add or remove pages by clicking the + or - buttons in the lower right. Change pages by clicking on the lower right hand corner. When finished, click publish. Share your creation by entering an email address. Copy and save the url of your book to find later. Start over by clicking "Recycle" which will overwrite your previous album. Click "view archive" to view the albums of others.

tag(s): flickr (7), images (275), photography (161)

In the Classroom

Bookr is so easy to use. Be sure to check out this review to learn how to get your own collection of photos to use in your album.

Use from Kindergarten to high school, including science concept tales, poetry books, general writing, math problem solve-its, and more. Use Bookr to create animal books, what I did last summer, places I would like to visit, vocabulary albums with definitions and related pictures, and more. Here is a link to a nice grade 1 example. ANY grade can use this tool, depending on the amount of direction by the teacher. Another idea, have students create personalized books for their parents or grandparents for special occasions (Mother's Day, Father's Day, or Grandparent's Day).

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Fun with Spot - Fredrick Warne

Grades
K to 2
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Fun with Spot provides young elementary students with online stories, interactive games, video clips, printable pages, and more. The simple user interface and bright colors within...more
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Fun with Spot provides young elementary students with online stories, interactive games, video clips, printable pages, and more. The simple user interface and bright colors within each activity will keep students engaged. Students can personalize the activities using their own name.

tag(s): literacy (107), writing (367)

In the Classroom

Introduce this site on your interactive whiteboard or projector. Then have students explore this site independently. Make a shortcut to this site on classroom computers and use it as a center to build literacy skills. Study Spot story elements and then create Spot adventures using an interactive whiteboard or projector. Advanced readers and technology users could create stories independently. This is an ideal site to share with families on your class website.
 This resource requires Adobe Flash.

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Goofram - goofram.com

Grades
K to 12
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Looking for the most from your search? Use Goofram to find the best of both Google and Wolfram alpha all in one place. View top Google searches using Safesearch as ...more
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Looking for the most from your search? Use Goofram to find the best of both Google and Wolfram alpha all in one place. View top Google searches using Safesearch as well as Wolfram alpha (which include definitions and abundant resources.)

tag(s): resources (112), search engines (64)

In the Classroom

This site is very simple to use. Simply type in the term you are searching and click "search."

This site is as safe as any other search engine. Just be sure students are aware of the consequences of misusing the search engine.

Use Goofram the next time that you use search in your classes. Discuss the difference between each side of the screen where both parts appear. What is the advantage of Wolfram Alpha vs. Google? Use this site as you discuss how to search and use materials on the web. Practice showing different searches and aspects of the searches that are useful. Challenge students to use these sites for individual research projects.
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Context Clues - SmartTutor

Grades
2 to 5
2 Favorites 0  Comments
 
Practice using context clues through this fun to use reading interactive. Read an email from grandma about her missing hat (or click to have the email read to you). Based ...more
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Practice using context clues through this fun to use reading interactive. Read an email from grandma about her missing hat (or click to have the email read to you). Based on the information, choose people to interview who might have information about the hat. After hearing the interviews, choose from the information learned to help narrow down the search. Working your way through the clues to narrow down suspects and solve the mystery of the missing hat. This activity is a freebie from a site that offers many paid offerings, but it can be used on its own.

tag(s): context clues (8)

In the Classroom

Share this site on the interactive whiteboard or projector to solve as a class. Or have cooperative learning groups explore the clues together on laptops. Discuss where to find context clues and how to use them. Allow students to predict what happened to the hat before solving the mystery.
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Catch a Fish - Learning Today

Grades
K to 2
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Players click on a fish to catch a word in this fishing game. After a narrated introduction, players choose a level: easy, medium or hard. Students are given specific words ...more
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Players click on a fish to catch a word in this fishing game. After a narrated introduction, players choose a level: easy, medium or hard. Students are given specific words to click on, the fish swim by with a word on each fish, students must click on the specified word as many times as it appears on the fish. Each correct click earns points, while incorrect words lose points. Audio is optional and can be turned on or off.

tag(s): sight words (37)

In the Classroom

Practice sight words by playing this game at a computer center or on the interactive whiteboard or projector. Challenge students to work their way through the different levels.
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Tagul - tagul.com

Grades
4 to 12
1 Favorites 0  Comments
 
This site takes any quotation or poem and creates a "word cloud" (graphical display) of the words in a passage of text. Paste in any passage or the URL for ...more
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This site takes any quotation or poem and creates a "word cloud" (graphical display) of the words in a passage of text. Paste in any passage or the URL for any blog entry or web page (including newspapers online) to create a word cloud of the text. This resource is currently free while in beta and intends to keep it free for NON PROFIT only. Enhance basic word clouds by using this site to create clouds in various shapes, use mouse rollover options, use font effects, and more. Elevate your word clouds into an art form. Once registered, change your password by clicking on the profile tab and entering your changes. Before creating a word cloud, agree to their terms that includes only using appropriate content. Copy and paste series of words or use the url of a page where the words can be found. Choose a shape such as a heart, cloud, or geometric patterns. Choose a font as well as other options, and then click "Build the Cloud." Preview your cloud before saving.

tag(s): images (275), vocabulary (325), word choice (27), word clouds (11)

In the Classroom

Users must be able to copy and paste text or provide a url to a page of text as well as determine parameters of more advanced word clouds. Alternately, these word clouds can be kept very simple. After creating the word cloud, be sure to save the image (or use a screen capture) to share with others. Another idea, use the url of the cloud or embed into a place to share such as blog, wiki, or site.

This is a terrific visual tool to share on an interactive whiteboard or projector. Help students develop creative fluency by creating their own taguls of words and ideas from scratch. Paste in a passage or URL for a political speech to visualize the politician's "message." Analyze advertising propaganda by visualizing the language used in TV or print ads. Create taguls of historical texts of inauguration speeches as time capsules of the issues of the day. Use this site as a way to help students see and memorize text, especially visual learners. Use it also when writing poetry or reading passages of great literature to "see" themes and motifs of repeated words and images. Have students paste in their own writing to spot repeated (and monotonous) language when teaching lessons on word choice. Students will be surprised to see what words appear to be dominant. ESL and ELL students will eagerly use this site since word order will no longer be a problem for them. Have students work in groups to create word posters of vocabulary words with related meanings, such as different ways to say "walk" or "said" and decorate your classroom with these visual reminders of the richness of language. Collect thoughts about the class subject at the beginning of the year and then again at the end of the year to determine changes in thoughts about the subject matter.

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Tagxedo - Hardy Leung

Grades
K to 12
14 Favorites 1  Comments
 
Want a word Cloud with Style? Create one here! A word cloud is an image of words that show the most frequent word in a larger font than the others. ...more
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Want a word Cloud with Style? Create one here! A word cloud is an image of words that show the most frequent word in a larger font than the others. Create a visual representation of a passage to pull out and identify important words or show the text in an interactive, visually appealing way. The resulting cloud pops out the words as you roll over them, so viewers can "see" each word separately. See a sample, created by the TF Edge review team. Explore the gallery for many inspiring examples, including some that use the customizable image shapes uploaded from your own computer (premium feature). Some features may change slightly after the beta phase, but developer Hardy Leung assures TeachersFirst users, "Even after beta you'll be able to save the animated version of the Tagxedo for free to your computer or to the web without the paid version. I may require a membership, though unlikely, but even then I'll make sure there is a free version for teachers and students."

Tagxedo requires Silverlight. The site will appear as a blank page with the "Install Silverlight Plugin" button if your computer does not have it installed. See your tech folks to allow download and installation of this plug-in if school computers do not have it and/or are "locked down."

tag(s): firstday (26), vocabulary (325), word choice (27), word clouds (11)

In the Classroom

NO membership required to create a cloud, though saving may require a (free) membership in the future, according to developer Hardy Leung. Click "Create" and then "Words." Paste URL to "cloud" words from a web page or copy/paste (or type) a passage of words into the given field. (Repeat words to make them larger). Experiment with various settings and "themes" to create the different colors and shapes of the word cloud. Change the theme, shape, direction, layout, and other parameters easily. Click SAVE to easily download a static image of various sizes or take a screenshot using shortcut keys. Saved images do not have the cool "pop-out" feature (rats!), though the developer tells TeachersFirst that users will be able to download animated versions in the future. You can also save and obtain the direct URL to your animated cloud. Be sure to bookmark it or copy/paste the URL for safe keeping in a document, wiki, etc. During beta, the tool allows you to save and copy embed code, but this feature will cost money later.

In the classroom: This is a terrific visual tool to share on an interactive whiteboard or projector. In primary grades. Enter a group of related words into the text box, such as sight words, words with the same spelling cluster, or vocabulary terms. Then have students roll over the words to read them aloud as they pop out (only works in the ONLINE version of the clouds). Paste in a passage or URL for a political speech to visualize the politician's "message." Analyze advertising propaganda by visualizing the language used in TV or print ads. Create word clouds of historical texts of inauguration speeches as time capsules of the issues of the day. Use this site as a way to help students see and memorize terms and important vocabulary, especially visual learners. Use it also when writing poetry or reading passages of great literature to "see" themes and motifs of repeated words and images. Have students paste in their own writing to spot repeated (and monotonous) language when teaching lessons on word choice. Students will be surprised to see what words appear to be dominant. ESL and ELL students will eagerly use this site since word order will no longer be a problem for them. Have students work in groups to create word posters of vocabulary words with related meanings, such as different ways to say "walk" or "said" and decorate your classroom with these visual reminders of the richness of language. Use themes and shapes that coordinate with the word cloud (for example, use a bird shape when creating a cloud about flight or a heart when interpreting a love poem. Consider using a word cloud as a first week of school activity where students discuss summer vacation or what they did over the summer. As a first day activity, students could also make a cloud with words about themselves, then have classmates guess which cloud matches which person.

For a free gift for special occasions, make word clouds about mom for Mother's Day or Thanksgiving "I am thankful" visual poems. Share them by emailing the URL or in printed form.

Comments

Very versatile, creates word clouds in specific shapes. Adds another dimension. Frances, CT, Grades: 6 - 8

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