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Thanksgiving Day Vocabulary - Myvocabulary.com

Grades
3 to 8
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As part of their extensive site for vocabulary, roots, and more, MyVocabulary.com has added a themed area for Thanksgiving. Find interactive vocabulary activities using Thanksgiving...more
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As part of their extensive site for vocabulary, roots, and more, MyVocabulary.com has added a themed area for Thanksgiving. Find interactive vocabulary activities using Thanksgiving vocabulary words. You will also find printable crosswords, fill in the blanks and more, all using the same theme words. This and other "themes" available on the site will make vocabulary development fun.

tag(s): thanksgiving (37), vocabulary (324)

In the Classroom

Share the puzzles on your interactive whiteboard or projector or make them available as links on your teacher public page. Have students (or groups) create their own illustrated dictionaries of terms using a tool such as Bookemon, reviewed here. As you add more vocabulary lists during the year, have them select their favorite 6-10 terms from each list to add to their "book."

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Easter Online Games - Kaboose

Grades
K to 5
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This site provides interactive, fun and educational online games. Activities include matching, riddles, reading fun, and more. Some activities require FLASH. You can get it from the...more
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This site provides interactive, fun and educational online games. Activities include matching, riddles, reading fun, and more. Some activities require FLASH. You can get it from the TeachersFirst Toolbox page.

tag(s): easter (21)

In the Classroom

Share the activities on your interactive whiteboard or projector. Then set up a computer learning center celebrating the Easter holiday.
 This resource requires Adobe Flash.

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Candlelight Stories - Candlelight Stories, Incorporated

Grades
2 to 8
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This site offers online children's stories (text, audio, and video). Unfortunately, some oral versions of the stories are not part of the free offerings of the site. Scroll down the...more
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This site offers online children's stories (text, audio, and video). Unfortunately, some oral versions of the stories are not part of the free offerings of the site. Scroll down the home page and find many free oral tales. . Students can view the entire site in a variety of languages including French, German, Italian, Portuguese, Spanish, Japanese, Korean, and Chinese. When the site is in a language other than English, students can mouse over the text to see the English version. The home page also contains "games," which are educational. Be aware: some of the activities (games) are listed for ages 13+ due to their violent nature. This is probably not a site that you want students to explore unsupervised. You can, however, allow students -even young ones--to work on their own within the "Free Sound Stories" area of the site. These traditional tales are offered as downloadable podcasts or can be played right at your computer for listening activities. This site requires Flash. Get it from the TeachersFirst Toolbox page.

tag(s): listening (91), movies (64)

In the Classroom

Share the stories on your interactive whiteboard or projector (turn up the speakers). Download and share Sound Stories as a listening center. Search through the "Games" to find appropriate activities for your class to use to reinforce grammar, spelling, and literature review. If you are having students view this site on individual computers, don't forget headsets!
 This resource requires Adobe Flash.

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The Magic Key - Adventures - BBC

Grades
K to 2
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This site (created by the BBC) offers nine interactive language arts activities. HMS Sweet Toothdiscusses "full stops" also known as the ends of sentences. Lug and the Giant...more
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This site (created by the BBC) offers nine interactive language arts activities. HMS Sweet Toothdiscusses "full stops" also known as the ends of sentences. Lug and the Giant Storks talks about capital letters, and there are several other topics. Once you click on the activity you wish to teach, you are presented with a choice of "Game, Worksheet, or Teachers Resources." The Teachers Resources include detailed lesson plans with standards (matched to UK standards), extension activities, and other classroom ideas. This site requires Flash and Adobe Acrobat. You can get both from the TeachersFirst Toolbox page.

tag(s): patterns (85), sentences (52), sound (100), sounds (68)

In the Classroom

If you are teaching any of the nine concepts that are highlighted at this site, be sure to take a look. Share HOW to do the activities on an interactive whiteboard or projector, and then allow students to explore on their own. Use the ready-to-go lesson plans, worksheet pages for homework practice, and interactives as learning stations or centers. Use this site with emergent readers, special education students, or your ESL and ELL students. List this link on your class website for students to use to practice at home.
  This resource requires Adobe Flash and PDF reader software like Adobe Acrobat.

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Speakaboos - Speakaboos

Grades
K to 6
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Speakaboos provides an abundance of animated stories read aloud by famous people. Some are read in song! Whoever thought that "Old McDonald" could be heard as a rap song? The...more
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Speakaboos provides an abundance of animated stories read aloud by famous people. Some are read in song! Whoever thought that "Old McDonald" could be heard as a rap song? The genres include fairy tales, fables, multicultural and holiday stories, nursery rhymes, lullabies, and children's favorites. Select an age range to differentiate for various reading levels. Many of the stories highlight the words as they are read. There is also a link to Play. Here you will find a few links to games, printables, e-cards, and more. Registration is required to join the site, but there is no fee to join. You do not need to register to listen to the stories. Coming Soon: you will be able to record your own interactive stories.

tag(s): air (163), folktales (65), listening (91), nursery rhymes (18), rhymes (33)

In the Classroom

Have students listen to a story during a listening center, choose a character from the story, and extend the assignment by writing in-character using the diary, e-card/invitation or printable activities options. Listen and watch stories as a whole group on your interactive whiteboard or projector. Have students retell the story as a short skit. For more extensive projects, consider using UtellStory, reviewed here, so students can draw and read their own stories in ways modeled here.
  This resource requires Adobe Flash and PDF reader software like Adobe Acrobat.

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PicLits - PicLits.com

Grades
K to 12
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The title says it all: "Inspired Picture Writing!" Use this free drag and drop literacy tool to create great sentences inspired by beautiful pictures. Or add inspirational or humorous...more
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The title says it all: "Inspired Picture Writing!" Use this free drag and drop literacy tool to create great sentences inspired by beautiful pictures. Or add inspirational or humorous captions to pictures.

NOTE: Our editors regret that PicLits occasionally allows advertising on their home page to include images that are not classroom-friendly. Teachers should preview to determine whether or not your students can ignore the ads.

"Learn It" provides learning opportunities and examples for creating captions, compound sentences, or paragraphs. Advanced lesson plans for teachers are viewed in the "Learn It" tab as well. "View the Gallery" to see already-created PicLits as well as comments and ratings. After selecting a picture (or using the one they provide) and dragging a word onto the screen, choose different forms of the word by using the drop-down menu next to the word. Move your words anywhere on the screen for creative writing. You can also click "freestyle" instead to type in your own words instead of choosing from their list. Word lists change, depending on the image selected. Note: Advertisements run alongside the PicLits screen. Caution students to ignore these. Here is an example:
See the full PicLit at PicLits.com
This site includes advertising.

tag(s): creative writing (166), digital storytelling (142), images (265), sentences (52)

In the Classroom

Users of PicLits must be able to navigate tabs on sites, manage logins, and use URL's and embed codes to share results on websites and blogs. Play to learn the tools before or after joining. Help also provides a short-and-sweet text explanation of the tools.

Registering for a PicLits account requires the use of an email address. PicLits can be used without an account but users are unable to save or blog about their creation without an account. A class account can be created instead of individual student accounts. However, it does not show which work is attributable to which student. You may want to require that students initial their contributions in order to get credit. All work on the site can be seen without a login. All projects are public.

You may want to create a word doc, Favorites folder, or other "collection" of the URLS to all your students' projects in one place for easy work at grading time. Some teachers use a class wiki or blog with links to all projects from there. You may allow students to self-register, but be sure to keep a written record of their passwords for when they "forget." It may be worth your time to do advanced registration for your younger students or simply use a whole-class account.

Share a PicLit on your interactive whiteboard at the start of a grammar or writing lesson to discuss word choice, figures of speech, or vocabulary. Use the visual picture prompt for journal or blog writing, allowing each student to compose a unique poem or haiku. Even science classes can write about concepts illustrated in the many nature photos. Emotional support teachers will love the chance to discuss feelings and how to describe facial expressions in the pictures. Make a collection of PicLits for a curriculum topic or as a literary magazine online. ESL students can create PicLits to learn new vocabulary. Have students create PicLits for special occasions and special people (mom, dad, grandparents, school nurse, or others). Use the embed code to place your creations on many other sites, including your class wiki or blogs. Share your PicLit by using a URL or code for an embedded widget.

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Robo-Bee Speller - Merriam-Webster

Grades
4 to 10
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Let Robo-Bee help your students learn synonyms and tricky vocabulary. This simple website, hosted by Merriam-Webster, requires your students to read the statement with the missing word....more
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Let Robo-Bee help your students learn synonyms and tricky vocabulary. This simple website, hosted by Merriam-Webster, requires your students to read the statement with the missing word. Then, click on the bee, dragging it to the correct word at the bottom of the screen. The right answer is rewarded with a beautiful flower. This is a quick, easy, and motivational way to practice vocabulary. Turn up the sound for audio effects.

If you are looking for even more vocabulary and spelling ideas, visit the official site for the Scripps National Spelling Bee (reviewed here by TeachersFirst). Check out all the links to learn how to study for the Bee, guidelines, and application deadlines. December is the annual deadline for your school's enrollment in the National Bee. This site will have the exact deadline each year. Click on Study Zone to download the Consolidated Word List (a gigantic compilation of 794 pages of words that have been used from 1950 to the present). Students can test their spelling know-how by clicking on the "Test Your Spell It Knowledge" link on the homepage. Your serious competitive spellers will also benefit by exploring Merriam-Webster's Spell It (reviewed here by TeachersFirst).

This requires Flash which may be obtained here: TeachersFirst Toolbox page..

tag(s): sentences (52), synonyms (38), vocabulary (324)

In the Classroom

Assign students to try this activity on individual computers or at a computer station. Have students choose 10 words from the Robo-Bee to use as personalized spelling words. Include this link on your homepage.
 This resource requires Adobe Flash.

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Character Scrapbook - Scholastic

Grades
2 to 6
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Create a Character Scrapbook to analyze characters in a book that the class is reading or for books that students are reading individually. This colorful site asks for the "Book ...more
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Create a Character Scrapbook to analyze characters in a book that the class is reading or for books that students are reading individually. This colorful site asks for the "Book Title" and the "Character's Name." Then the fun begins! You can design a face (hair, eyes, nose, and mouth). You can enter up to ten things that you know about the character. You can choose to analyze a person or animal. There are many options available at this site. Other highlights include "draw your own" options, print option, a help button, and a link for teachers. This site requires Flash. You can get it from the TeachersFirst Toolbox page.

In the Classroom

What a fabulous twist to a character analysis. Use this site to have your students analyze the main character in a story that your class is currently reading or one they read independently or in lit circles. Make the activity a group project, by using an interactive whiteboard or projector. Use the print option and have students create character scrapbooks in place of a traditional book report. Compare the characters from diverse books being read in different lit circles.
 This resource requires Adobe Flash.

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Punny Costumes - Bonnie Neubauer

Grades
4 to 7
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Who needs Halloween when you can have costumes based on word play? Think beyond October 31. At Punny Costumes, you will find a list of simple (no sewing required) Halloween ...more
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Who needs Halloween when you can have costumes based on word play? Think beyond October 31. At Punny Costumes, you will find a list of simple (no sewing required) Halloween costumes that are all based on word plays. The website claims that these idiom costumes will, "elicit moans and groans from bad puns." Some of the costume ideas include "All Thumbs," "Black Holes," and "Hip Chick".

tag(s): costumes (6), halloween (40), idioms (44)

In the Classroom

You may want to list this link on your website for parents and students to use at home (to create some "unique" costumes). Challenge your students to create some additional "Word Play Costume" ideas. Plan a Punny Costume day as a culmination of your idioms unit! Be sure to share pictures (unidentifiable) on your class wiki or have students vote for their favorite costume picture using an embedded polling tool such as Poll Junkie (reviewed here).

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Popcorn! - The Popcorn Board

Grades
1 to 6
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Popcorn! offers a bowlful of information on that universally-loved food. Not only does it list the history behind the food, but it provides games, trivia, arts and crafts, printables,...more
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Popcorn! offers a bowlful of information on that universally-loved food. Not only does it list the history behind the food, but it provides games, trivia, arts and crafts, printables, reading and math lessons, science and health lessons and a booklist dedicated to the topic of...POPCORN! Who knew there were so many children's books based on this simple treat?

This site requires Flash. Some of the lessons and printables require Adobe Acrobat. You can get both from the TeachersFirst Toolbox page.

In the Classroom

The site can also be incorporated into social studies and history for the many uses of popcorn by various cultures. For example, include the site in a Thanksgiving unit. Follow the seed to plant information for a life cycle unit in science. Add it to a health curriculum under healthy eating habits and food groups. Do not forget to check out the worksheets and lessons for math and reading.
  This resource requires Adobe Flash and PDF reader software like Adobe Acrobat.

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Lincoln Bicentennial: 1809-2009 - Library of Congress

Grades
K to 12
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If you are preparing for Lincoln's 200th birthday or a unit about the 16th President of the United States, check out this site. Designed for students in all grades, there ...more
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If you are preparing for Lincoln's 200th birthday or a unit about the 16th President of the United States, check out this site. Designed for students in all grades, there is an interactive timeline, online quiz, podcasts, detailed lesson plans for all grades K-12 (with standards), printable pages, research information, suggested literature for all ages, information about the Civil War, Gettysburg, and more! Much of the site requires Flash; some of the printables require Adobe Acrobat. You can get both from the TeachersFirst Toolbox page.

tag(s): civil war (145), gettysburg (26), gettysburg address (18), lincoln (86), presidents (130)

In the Classroom

Be sure to save this site in your favorites! Share the interactive timeline, online quiz, and podcasts using your projector or interactive whiteboard. Use this site for research about our 16th President. Have students create a blog from Lincoln's point of view (or from a slave's point of view AFTER the Emancipation Proclamation). Use the lesson plans designed for the grades that you teach. (Don't miss the history, language arts and writing, and art lessons).
  This resource requires Adobe Flash and PDF reader software like Adobe Acrobat.

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Grade 1 - Go For Grammar Gold - Harcourt School Publishers

Grades
K to 2
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This site, created especially for first grade students, includes several interactive grammar lessons. Topics include "Describing Words for Colors, Size, and Shape," "Names of Days,...more
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This site, created especially for first grade students, includes several interactive grammar lessons. Topics include "Describing Words for Colors, Size, and Shape," "Names of Days, Months, and Holidays," "Troublesome Words," "Using I and Me," and others. The lessons include audio, so most non-readers can use the interactives independently. Shockwave is required. You can get it from the TeachersFirst Toolbox page.

tag(s): capitalization (19), grammar (216), punctuation (43), senses (28)

In the Classroom

Use this site as a class activity on an interactive whiteboard or projector. Have students work with partners to explore certain topic areas together. Or use this site to create a Language Arts center. List this site in your class newsletter or on your class website for students to use both in and out of the classroom. Your learning support and ESL teachers may also want to use it for extra practice as you work on these concepts in class.

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Bookmaking with Kids - Cathy Miranker and Susie Peyton

Grades
K to 12
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You will want to bookmark and follow this blog. Always adding ideas, this site offers many ways to make a book for any age student. Not only ideas, read the ...more
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You will want to bookmark and follow this blog. Always adding ideas, this site offers many ways to make a book for any age student. Not only ideas, read the extensive blog material to learn about author presentations and how schools incorporated those visits into making books. The creators say this site is part scrapbook and notebook, so click on the categories frequently to see the new content.

Teachers who desire professional development and fresh ideas will want to include this site in their repertoire.

In the Classroom

Use this site to help ANY grade level create original books. Have students work with a partner to create a book together. With older students, challenge them to create a book as a culminating project for a research assignment. Have younger students create books at the beginning of the year to introduce themselves to the class. The possibilities are endless at this creative site! Use some of the ideas to make online books using a tool such as Bookemon, reviewed here.

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Native American Booklist - NEA

Grades
K to 12
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This site celebrates the major works by Native American authors. There are three booklist levels, grades K-4, grades 5-8, and grades 9-12 and above. As part of NEA's Read Across ...more
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This site celebrates the major works by Native American authors. There are three booklist levels, grades K-4, grades 5-8, and grades 9-12 and above. As part of NEA's Read Across America program, links to tools to help parents and teachers encourage more reading among the young. Books include fiction, essays, poetry, and nonfiction articles.

tag(s): book lists (126), literature (275), thanksgiving (37)

In the Classroom

Use this site as a reference when picking extra reading materials during a Native American unit or as you approach November and Thanksgiving. Teach students how to find book reviews online after they've selected a book they would like to read. Have students create multi-media book "reports." Give students choices like a wiki, blog, PowerPoint, or even an online book review using a tool such at Bookemon (reviewed here).

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refseek - refseek.com

Grades
4 to 12
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RefSeek is a different search tool (beta--new in Nov, 2008) for beginning researchers as well as those already knowledgeable about the process. Although this search engine appears "plain...more
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RefSeek is a different search tool (beta--new in Nov, 2008) for beginning researchers as well as those already knowledgeable about the process. Although this search engine appears "plain vanilla," it is a great option for research purposes. As they explain it, they "search the entire Web for freely available academic information, providing relevant results while filtering out most commercial content." This is different from Google's standard search. RefSeek looks through web pages, books, encyclopedias, journals, and newspapers for your chosen topic. With special search features, students can also limit searches to specific web pages, search two topics (either-or option) at once, and even include search words usually dismissed by academic searches (like "the" and "if"). After starting a search, click on Directory to limit searches to certain types of publications and resources, including quotations, almanacs and teacher resources.

tag(s): news (261), newspapers (94), search engines (65)

In the Classroom

Use this site to compare the validity of various types of reference material sources. Compare results of searches to teach critical reading skills and 21st century information literacy. Compare info from sources on this site to those in print materials. Encourage your students to use this tool for individual as well as group projects. Encourage ESL and ELL students to find sources with lower reading levels that still give the necessary information.

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Fingerplays for Young Children - Songs for Teaching

Grades
K to 3
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This subsection of the Songs for Teaching site has excellent chants and other childhood favorite songs which get children moving, speaking, and rhyming. Words to the fingerplays and...more
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This subsection of the Songs for Teaching site has excellent chants and other childhood favorite songs which get children moving, speaking, and rhyming. Words to the fingerplays and songs are copyable, and many contain Quicktime sound excerpt files as well (enough to get you going with the song, though not the complete song). A few even have pictures of someone going through the motions of the song or rhyme. A link to Songs for Early Childhood allows you to see even more action songs. There are even songs to go with class content, such as Martin Luther King, Jr. Your kinesthetic learners will retain the concepts in these songs. ESL, ELL, and speech/language students will respond to the music; it aids with articulation, accent development, and memory. This site requires Quicktime. Get it from the TeachersFirst Toolbox page.

tag(s): plays (37), preK (279), rhymes (33), songs (52)

In the Classroom

Share this link on your teacher web page and/or in a parent newsletter so that parents can use it at home too! Don't forget to turn up your speakers if you are using the music in class. If your class responds very well to using songs, you might try writing lyrics together about something you are studying -- using one of these familiar tunes.

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Art Pad Digital Canvas (beta) - art.com

Grades
1 to 8
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Art Pad Digital Canvas is a simple drawing website that can be a valuable tool in the classroom. The site provides a blank canvas for students to create drawings using ...more
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Art Pad Digital Canvas is a simple drawing website that can be a valuable tool in the classroom. The site provides a blank canvas for students to create drawings using the art tools. The options are very simple. Students can paint, add text, choose a frame, and even replay their creations. This tool would be a fantastic final step, and incentive, for story publishing.

There is an option to "view other paintings." This might be a good way to model how to use the site. Be sure to preview before sharing with your class. This site requires Flash. You can get it from the TeachersFirst Toolbox page.

tag(s): drawing (78)

In the Classroom

You may want to demonstrate this site on an interactive whiteboard or projector. With younger students, create the "artwork" as a whole-class project on the whiteboard. What a great way to make an alphabet book with students drawing using their fingers on the board! This site is ideal for an elementary or middle school art class working with basic design concepts. Use your teacher email account for any saving, etc. so you have complete control. Students can present their published works with illustrations created on Art Pad by clicking "save and send." For older students, save the URLs from the "save and send" function and post them on student blogs or a class wiki "gallery." Illustrations could be used for social studies reports and any other type of presentations. You can also use the "add to this painting" function for students to collaborate by having one student start a "picture story" and pass the link to the next student to add the next sentence! Since text can be added, an entire story - verbiage and illustrations - can be created within an Art Pad painting or series of paintings. ESL/ELL students could even make illustrated vocabulary "paintings" as they learn new words. Make sure to complete all editing prior to printing...it could use a lot of colored ink.

Better yet, avoid printing altogether by using the "save and share" link. As a safety precaution use the teacher's email account as the sender and recipient of the email for "save and send." Then simply copy/paste the URL the site provides for direct access to the painting. The "artist" can decide whether the painting is shared in the public gallery. Check school policies before posting there.
 This resource requires Adobe Flash.

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The Stacks - Scholastic

Grades
4 to 8
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The Stacks offers a plethora of activities for current young adult popular literature. Students can read and write book reviews as well as take opinion polls and quizzes related...more
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The Stacks offers a plethora of activities for current young adult popular literature. Students can read and write book reviews as well as take opinion polls and quizzes related to specific books. They can "meet" various authors, illustrators, publishers, and individuals that are involved in bringing a piece of literature to fruition. Try the interactive pages for each book which feature many activities related to the characters and storyline. This site requires monitoring and clear expectations to avoid distractions and time off-task. This site requires Flash. You can get it from the TeachersFirst Toolbox page.

tag(s): interviews (16), literature (275)

In the Classroom

This site would provide additional resources for whole-group read-alouds. Students could find pertinent information and then report findings back to the class. It would also be a great way to spark the interest of struggling or disinterested readers. Use this site to help students find a great book for a literature project.
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Lexile - MetaMetrics, Inc.

Grades
K to 12
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Whether or not your school uses the Lexile system to measure reading levels, you will want to become familiar with it as one way to measure the reading level ...more
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Whether or not your school uses the Lexile system to measure reading levels, you will want to become familiar with it as one way to measure the reading level of a book. Lexile level information, along with the student's own participation in the choice, can make book selection a positive experience for any reader. Many publishers are now offering Lexiles to measure the reading levels of their materials. Many schools use Lexile measuring to determine the precise reading level of their students. Explore "About Lexiles" menu for more information on 'how' the measuring is done. On the homepage, click on the Tools menu to find a Lexile Analyzer that allows you to cut and paste text into an entry box to determine its Lexile readability level. (You will need to register for the free use of the Analyzer.) Choose English (or another language) book database to find the Lexile level of your classroom books. The Lexile Calculator lets you figure out the rate of comprehension based upon Lexile scores. Lexile leveling is also available for Spanish text. Explore the variety of tools to help analyze and match books for your students.

Registration is free. An email address is required, as is some other information. Some materials on this site require Adobe Acrobat. You can get it from the TeachersFirst Toolbox page.

Another helpful resource in understanding Lexile levels is this pdf comparison chart from Harcourt (opens in Acrobat Reader).

tag(s): readability (8)

In the Classroom

Make Lexiles one of the tools you use to make reading a positive experience for your students. The more you know about the student and the actual content of the books, the more helpful the Lexiles can be in assisting a match. If your school reports data to parents using Lexile scoring, download the white papers to give to them at conferences to explain Lexile scores in 'parent friendly' language. Include this link on your classroom web page. If your students know their Lexile level, you will want Lexile levels on your classroom library materials so students can match a book to both their reading level and their interests. As an FYI, SOME books listed on Barnes and Noble's online site include Lexile levels in the descriptions (just after age level). Lexile connects to Barnes and Noble directly from this site.
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TeachersFirst Resources for Dr. Seuss - TeachersFirst

Grades
K to 12
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This collection of reviewed resources is terrific on Dr. Seuss' birthday in March or to find resources to share via your teacher web page. There is information for ALL grade ...more
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This collection of reviewed resources is terrific on Dr. Seuss' birthday in March or to find resources to share via your teacher web page. There is information for ALL grade levels, and the subjects include everything from reading to history to science to math! Many of the sites are interactive, some include lesson plans, and others are great for research!

tag(s): preK (279), read across america (5)

In the Classroom

Why not find some special projects and activities for March 2? Whatever subject and grade you teach, you are sure to find something useful here.

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