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Older Readers - Johnnie's Story Page - Johnnie Wilson

Grades
4 to 12
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This website offers a compilation of links to interactive stories designed for older students (and adults). The site was created by Johnnie Wilson, a mentor math coach and former 5th...more
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This website offers a compilation of links to interactive stories designed for older students (and adults). The site was created by Johnnie Wilson, a mentor math coach and former 5th grade teacher. He has found the "best of the best" interactive stories for older students. Some of the stories include Pulp Fiction, Nightmare Tales, American Folklore, and several others. The color coded descriptors let you know if the story includes text, pictures, sounds, animations, and videos. The reading levels vary, so preview the story before sharing it with your students.

Be aware, there are minor unobtrusive advertisements at this website. Nearly all of the interactive stories require Flash. You can get it from the TeachersFirst Toolbox page..

tag(s): folktales (65), interactive stories (32), mysteries (25)

In the Classroom

There are many ways to use this site in your classroom. Share the stories on an interactive whiteboard or projector. Or have students investigate the sites on their own (using headsets). Save this site as a favorite and list this site on your class web page. earning support and ESL/ELL teachers will love the variety of options for aural stories, as well.
 This resource requires Adobe Flash.

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ESL Reading Lessons - 5 Minute English

Grades
4 to 10
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This teaching site has a variety of short readings at various levels that could be useful in an ESL, ELL, special education, or regular ed classroom. Some of the topics ...more
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This teaching site has a variety of short readings at various levels that could be useful in an ESL, ELL, special education, or regular ed classroom. Some of the topics include sentences with grammar errors, students must figure out what is wrong with each sentence. This is excellent practice for any student learning proper grammar. True/ false comprehension questions follow the reading in most cases. Most of the answers are provided at the bottom of the website - so don't scroll too quickly. Before the reading begins, students can study difficult vocabulary words presented in an attractive format. There are full units (with many mini-lessons): grammar, reading, vocabulary, listening, pronunciation, and writing. This site does have unobtrusive advertisements, but watch out for the audio announcements when you open the site. Some of the listening activities require Flash. You can get it from the TeachersFirst Toolbox page..

tag(s): grammar (216), listening (91), pronunciation (44), reading comprehension (116), short stories (25), vocabulary (323)

In the Classroom

Use this site if you want your students to do additional reading. Project the topic, story, and questions on an interactive whiteboard or projector for group discussion. Have your students make up their own questions to go with the site. Have your students write up a similar subject relevant to their own culture and present it, along with questions to check for comprehension. This is a fabulous site to list on your class website for students to use for at-home practice.
 This resource requires Adobe Flash.

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Phil Shapiro Websequiturs - Phil Shapiro

Grades
3 to 10
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Readers will enjoy clicking on sequential phrases as they build sentences and paragraphs while reading parts of a story. Students pick one phrase and, when it's correct, it appears...more
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Readers will enjoy clicking on sequential phrases as they build sentences and paragraphs while reading parts of a story. Students pick one phrase and, when it's correct, it appears in a box below the three choices. As students make choice after choice, the box fills up with the complete story which they can reread by scrolling up and down. Lots of comprehension checking, context clues, grammar review, punctuation, use of transitions, and paragraph organization work are wrapped up in this activity, all while students are anxious to find the next phrase to "make sense." Fiction, non-fiction, and humorous excerpts are available.

tag(s): humor (15)

In the Classroom

High intermediate and advanced ESL and ELL students will enjoy the stories and review their grammar usage at the same time when using this site. Reading teachers looking for a way to practice with context clues will find this site a refreshing change. Use this site as a complement to reading stories using sentence strips. Have your students create their own story building activities following the format of this site.

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SmartWriters.com - Roxyanne Young

Grades
3 to 12
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While this site is geared towards writers, it also delivers powerful information to teachers and librarians. From the homepage, find the left-side links for Teachers and Librarians....more
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While this site is geared towards writers, it also delivers powerful information to teachers and librarians. From the homepage, find the left-side links for Teachers and Librarians. These include essential information on planning a great school visit from an author, resources for teaching reading and writing, and Teacher's Pets (tons of reviews of well-loved books). Also, at the SmartWriters homepage, click on the For Young Writers links to find how-to activities, contests, and publications for your students' work.

tag(s): resources (112)

In the Classroom

If you have budding writers in your class, make sure you check out the Young Writers link. Scores of websites open their doors to student publication. You must obtain parent permission before submitting any student work to such sites, however. Why not create a bulletin board, "Smart Writers," to highlight your own smart writers?

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Munseys - munseys.com

Grades
2 to 12
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Munseys is a library of free e-books which can be downloaded or read in pdf form. You have the choice of technology: Amazon Kindle (beta2!), Sony Reader, Mobipocket, MS-Reader, Palm,...more
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Munseys is a library of free e-books which can be downloaded or read in pdf form. You have the choice of technology: Amazon Kindle (beta2!), Sony Reader, Mobipocket, MS-Reader, Palm, and more types of readers. There are numerous categories of books including Drama, Folklore, Classic, Biography, Religion, Science, Political Science, Periodicals, Renaissance, and countless others. WARNING! Do NOT provide this link to students for independent use. If they click on "popular," they will find material inappropriate for the classroom. Download the books you wish to share in Acrobat form or monitor student use directly. The children's book section currently has 1502 offerings. New books appear in the library daily. If you choose to use Adobe Acrobat, you can get it from the TeachersFirst Toolbox page..

tag(s): literature (275)

In the Classroom

Combine your students' love of technology with the joys of reading by letting them select from your download library. These books (in Acrobat form) also provide text selections for teaching about grammar, language structure, and reading comprehension on your interactive whiteboard.
 This resource requires PDF reader software like Adobe Acrobat.

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Teacher Book Wizard - Scholastic

Grades
K to 12
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Wizards perform magical feats, and this book wizard proves to be equally supernatural. Claiming to be the first book search engine for teachers, it is built on a database of ...more
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Wizards perform magical feats, and this book wizard proves to be equally supernatural. Claiming to be the first book search engine for teachers, it is built on a database of 50,000 books from all publishers. Snazzy tools allow you to choose your own leveling system, and then match the student to a whole list of books. You will find ready-made, themed lists as well. Teachers can create their own book lists to share with other teachers. Use the BookAlike tool to see what books are similar to a particular well-loved book. Matching the right book to each individual student has never been easier. The Book Wizard Tour requires Flash. You can get it from the TeachersFirst Toolbox page..

In the Classroom

Teachers, make sure your librarian and even parents know about this wonderful web tool. This could be set up as the homepage for several computers in the library, so students can plug in their levels, their interests, and then enjoy the book recommendations. Librarians, use Scholastic's online library evaluator tool to evaluate your current collection. Teachers, take the Book Wizard Tour for an easy explanation of this helpful service.
 This resource requires Adobe Flash.

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ZIPskinny - ZIPskinny

Grades
6 to 12
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A useful little site for research or idle curiosity, this site offers some basic demographic data about the communities that make up each U.S. ZIP code. The ZIP code, first ...more
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A useful little site for research or idle curiosity, this site offers some basic demographic data about the communities that make up each U.S. ZIP code. The ZIP code, first developed in 1963 to assist the U.S. Postal Service with automated mail delivery, has become a powerful demographic symbol and is frequently used by researchers to compare U.S. communities. This site, which ties its data to information gathered in the 2000 census, offers no commentary--just the facts ma'am--and includes statistics on education, income, population, race, gender, and marital status. There is a utility for comparing any ZIP code with up to 20 other ZIP codes. Students may be interested in the specific data provided for each public school within a given ZIP code. Our reviewers did notice that some ZIP codes are not included at this time. Serious researchers are cautioned, the data comes from the 2000 census, and may be outdated. This historical census data may provide a good comparison with other, more recent years or for students to make predictions for an upcoming census based on past trends. There is a lot of advertising on the site, although the majority of it is in the form of text links rather than annoying pictures or dancing silhouettes.

tag(s): census (19), demographics (19)

In the Classroom

Teachers or students seeking some basic demographic data about their own town or city, or wishing to compare it with another location, will find this site useful. Civics, government, or economics lessons could be enriched with local data which might be compared to the more general information offered by textbooks in answer to the question "How do we compare to this?" Math teachers and reading teachers who teach graphical data analysis might get some mileage out of using the graphs and tables from their own towns or communities for computations rather than using generic information from a textbook. Project the graphs on a whiteboard and have students manipulate to explain the meaning of changes in the visuals. Think of the higher level thinking questions you could generate during a political year! Of course, the terminally curious can probably waste a good hour or two just noodling with the data.

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TeenInk Online Magazine - The 21st Century and the Young Authors Foundation

Grades
5 to 12
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This print magazine for teens also has a free,online version. While not all the content from the print magazine is found online, you will find a wealth of cool teen ...more
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This print magazine for teens also has a free,online version. While not all the content from the print magazine is found online, you will find a wealth of cool teen stuff there. Written solely by teens, the site includes edgy stories, poetry, opinion pieces, photography, extensive author and celebrity interviews, and call-outs for stories and contests. You need not "join" or "subscribe (at a cost) to read and use the site.

tag(s): photography (160), poetry (228), writing (359)

In the Classroom

English teachers, create your own TeenInk publication in your classroom. Work with your school's technology teacher to have students set up an online publication like the one at this site--perhaps on a wiki. Don't dare call it a literary magazine these days. Use TeenInk as a prototype of an edgy, creative outlet for your students. Put Shakespeare on the shelf for a few weeks and consider using the TeenInk site's content to show story elements and literary devices. If school policies prohibit publishing content online, make the wiki private and share the password with invited guests. Learn more about wikis at the TeachersFirst's Wiki Walk-Through.

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Comic Creator - ReadWriteThink.org

Grades
2 to 12
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Your students will create professional-looking comics in minutes using this Comic Creator site. No log-in is required. Just type in the prompted information, such as the name of comic...more
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Your students will create professional-looking comics in minutes using this Comic Creator site. No log-in is required. Just type in the prompted information, such as the name of comic character, author, caption, and of course, the dialog that goes into the speech bubble. The 'creator' chooses the number of panels, type of characters, style of speech bubble, and various props. Two actions are needed: clicking and dragging the items to go into the comic strip, and typing dialog into the bubbles. Then, presto....a genuine comic appears, ready for printing. The tool DOES support accent marks pasted from Word. (Unfortunately, there is no way to save your comic masterpieces.) This site requires Flash. Get it from the TeachersFirst Toolbox page..

tag(s): comics and cartoons (74), sequencing (31), summarizing (13)

In the Classroom

Instead of writing boring summaries, why not summarize through a comic strip. It's much like storyboarding, but the drawing has been left to the Comic Creator pros. Make a class book of the comics created throughout the year. That book will become the most read classroom book of all in an elementary classroom. Use comics to show sequencing of events. When studying about characterization, create dialog to show (not tell) about a character. Another idea - why not use the comic strips for conflict resolution or other guidance issues (such as bullying). Sometimes it is easier for students to write it down (or draw the pictures) than use the actual words. World language and ESL/ELL teachers can assign students to create dialog strips as an alternate to traditional written assessments.
 This resource requires Adobe Flash.

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Online Newspapers - Web Wombat Pty Ltd.

Grades
5 to 12
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Never again wonder where to find a newspaper. This site accesses thousands of newspapers with just a simple sign-in from the drop down information search page. There are newspapers...more
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Never again wonder where to find a newspaper. This site accesses thousands of newspapers with just a simple sign-in from the drop down information search page. There are newspapers included from South East Asia, Central America, Middle East, and nearly every country throughout the world. There are some minor advertisements at this website.

tag(s): africa (180), asia (73), central america (13), middle east (30), news (261), newspapers (94)

In the Classroom

Students can update reports and research by accessing newspapers from around the world. Any of your favorite newspaper learning activities can transfer to a newspaper in another part of the USA or world. Foreign language teachers and students will enjoy using the foreign presses for authentic learning. Social Studies teachers can assign students to compare points of view on world issues or perceptions of the U.S. via various newspapers.

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Brainbox Challenge - BBC

Grades
1 to 10
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This mind-boggling website offers a treat for your brain. The website features interactive visual, spatial, coding, memory, dual task (multi-task), and language "mind games." There...more
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This mind-boggling website offers a treat for your brain. The website features interactive visual, spatial, coding, memory, dual task (multi-task), and language "mind games." There is also a link to learn about the science behind your brain and what is happening when you solve these challenges. The activities offer several difficulty levels, which enables the website to be used by a wide range of grade levels. Try the easy level of the "Vowel of Silence" game with your early readers. There is also a link to view the show (on BBC) BrainBox Challenge . All activities require Flash. You can get it from the TeachersFirst Toolbox page..

tag(s): brain (72), psychology (64)

In the Classroom

Use an interactive whiteboard or projector to introduce this website. Read the "science" section together and demonstrate some of the activities. Then allow your students to try their hand (and brain) at the activities on individual laptops or in the computer lab. These activities offer excellent enrichment for your gifted students. Provide this link in your class newsletter (if applicable) and on your class website for students to use at home.
 This resource requires Adobe Flash.

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D.E.A.R. - Harper Collins Publisher

Grades
K to 12
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Promote reading by encouraging school-wide participation in the Drop Everything And Read campaign. If not school-wide, then definitely set aside 30 minutes on April 12 (or a nearby...more
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Promote reading by encouraging school-wide participation in the Drop Everything And Read campaign. If not school-wide, then definitely set aside 30 minutes on April 12 (or a nearby date if April 12 falls on a weekend) to show that reading comes first. At this site, families are encouraged to read for 30 minutes, but teachers will glean essential information to make the event effective. This date has been chosen in honor of Beverly Cleary's birthday. Find information about some of her famous book characters, books suggestions, D.E.A.R. activity suggestions, reproducible pages, and more at this site.

tag(s): independent reading (128)

In the Classroom

Make sure you post this site's link to your teacher web page to encourage family reading on April 12. Teachers, click on the "request materials" link to find free teacher resources supplied by Harper Collins to promote D.E.A.R. If you have a D.E.A.R. celebration, you may wish to submit photos at this site as well.

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Scratch - Lifelong Kindergarten Group, MIT Media Lab

Grades
1 to 12
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Want to get in touch with your inner child? Get Scratch! Warning: The use of this application is quite fun and engaging! Scratch is a downloaded program that creates interactive ...more
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Want to get in touch with your inner child? Get Scratch! Warning: The use of this application is quite fun and engaging! Scratch is a downloaded program that creates interactive stories, animations, games, music, and art. This application can be used for bringing simple ideas and projects to life. It has great use as a paint program without using the animations. Downloads/install files are available for Mac or PC. Other links include a Getting Started pdf, Help screens to show what each block controls and how to use, and a Reference Guide which provides an overview of the interface. A support page is also available for help in using the application.

Material created can only be viewed within the program. Drawings are not saved as a jpg or pic file. However, a "snapshot" of the screen can be created by using these keys in Mac: apple, shift, and 4 and click/drag to surround the portion to save. In PC use: control/print screen. These snapshots can be uploaded or used as a picture in other applications.

tag(s): animation (63), drawing (77)

In the Classroom

Quick start: Click stage and in the center pane, click on backgrounds. Click on paint to make a new background. Different colors, pens, and materials can be used to create the background or an image can be brought in from your computer. Objects in Scratch are called a Sprite and can be added in by choosing the folders below the screen. By clicking the script tab, blocks can be moved in to create motion, add sounds (even record your own message), and change the look of the Sprite. Blocks are linked on to each other to create a series of events. A control block dragged to the top of the blocks control which key starts the event. Advanced options include adding variables and other controls.

Be sure to check with your Technology Department, as many districts require authorization to download or install new applications. Projects can be shared online; however an account is required.

Work is saved to the computer itself and only shared online via an account. To avoid problems concerning content made by outsiders or issues with sharing, save the work locally and either create your own gallery on a supervised class website/wiki or set up a single account where you share the "best" projects online via your own log-in. Remind students of the school's Acceptable Use Policy and consequences of violations, if you do allow them to join/share. Images used should adhere to all copyright rules. Use pictures taken in class or those with Creative Commons licensing (and provide attribution!).

Practical tips: Students quickly catch on to this program when allowed to play and easily see what they can make from it. Provide a simple assignment with defined rules/tasks to learn the tools. Younger students may familiarize themselves more easily working with a partner. Have students use a storyboard to write down what they will do/draw/say in their creation in order to keep tabs on what students and their creations.

Possible uses: For the lower grades, Scratch provides unlimited possibilities. Use as a new way to show vocabulary usage. Use the paint program to add information to a picture from your class field trip or science experiment. Use Scratch to help in storytelling a concept in a new and unique way, such as how rocks are formed. In the upper grades, use Scratch to show complex material in a new way. For example, students can draw DNA and show replication, etc. through their drawings and storytelling. Draw the different movements of landforms in plate tectonics. Draw or illustrate solutions to Math problems.

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Calibrated Peer Review - University of California

Grades
9 to 12
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This site offers teachers the option of having students do writing assignments on the web. It also offers students the chance to comment on the writings of their classmates. After ...more
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This site offers teachers the option of having students do writing assignments on the web. It also offers students the chance to comment on the writings of their classmates. After registering as an institution administrator or just a class administrator, the instructor can put up the writing assignment and attach relevant links, graphics, and other references. Although the lesson plan is part of the overall site offerings, the student responses are not visible to anyone but the class administrator. Another option for the teacher is to browse the lesson plans already created by other teachers and use them if so desired. This site works with Internet Explorer or Netscape Navigator. You also must have cookies enabled in your web browser.

Although the collection of lesson plans is heavily science oriented, there are plans from other subject areas, for high school and college. The site appears to function just fine, though the copyright date on most areas is 2001.

tag(s): editing (61), grammar (216)

In the Classroom

Use this site to teach students how to do peer editing. Besides allowing them to see their classmates' writings, it has a series of specific questions, called calibrations, which give them ways to make effective comments. After students make comments on others' essays by responding within a "calibration framework," they can read, respond to, and correct their own writings.

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David Perdue's Charles Dickens Page - David Perdue

Grades
8 to 12
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This is a very complete, though cluttered site on the life and works of Charles Dickens. It is full of extras and contains everything from timelines of both his life ...more
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This is a very complete, though cluttered site on the life and works of Charles Dickens. It is full of extras and contains everything from timelines of both his life and his works through "sketches by Boz," Dickens" on stage," and a very detailed list of characters from Dickens' books. If you teach Dickens, this is a must site for your list. Clicking on one of the novels such as Great Expectations will take you to a page that gives a summary of the plot and two lists at the bottom of the page-- one for characters and one for other links on the web regarding that book. The character links will take you to a different page in the site where that character is discussed. The links include such sites as Sparknotes, the Victorian Web page, and a variety of different articles by reputable academics. There is a map below that that shows Pip's journey through England and an excerpt from the book.

A caution: Some of the links (easily identified) will take you to Amazon to buy the books or the videos. So be specific in where you want students to go on this site. This site requires Flash. You can get it from the TeachersFirst Toolbox page..

tag(s): dickens (13), literature (275)

In the Classroom

You can have your choice of activities from this site for students. Have students work in teams to research various sections of this website. Then, have the groups create a multimedia presentation to share with the class on an interactive whiteboard or projector.
  This resource requires Adobe Flash and PDF reader software like Adobe Acrobat.

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Loud Lit - Loudlit.org

Grades
1 to 12
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Loud Lit offers "literature for your ears and eyes" (although the site's visual appearance is quite plain!). This collaborative project with public domain offers recorded literature....more
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Loud Lit offers "literature for your ears and eyes" (although the site's visual appearance is quite plain!). This collaborative project with public domain offers recorded literature. You are given the options of listening to the literature, listening and reading the literature, or downloading the literature to an MP3 player. The number of items available for public use is constantly increasing. The current contents include novels, poetry, classic children's literature, a few historical items, and classic short stories. Some examples of the available literature includes A Tale of Two Cities, The Little Match Girl, The Gift of the Magi, The Declaration of Independence, The Gettysburg Address, and countless others. A separate column lets you know about newly recorded items. This site requires Flash and Quicktime. Get them from the TeachersFirst Toolbox page..

tag(s): declaration of independence (13), gettysburg (26), gettysburg address (18), literature (275), poetry (228)

In the Classroom

This site is helpful for many subjects and grade levels. Have students use this website when they have to memorize poetry, the Gettysburg Address, or the Declaration of Independence. ESL and ELL students and many learning support students will benefit from the option of "reading" in multi-media format. Use the audio stories with younger students for listening skills. During a poetry unit, why not have students choose one of the poems to read and listen to? Have the students analyze and write in their journal about what they think the poem means. Then have the students share the original poem and their own opinions with the class, making this activity a listening, reading, writing, and speaking lesson. If you are into podcasting, encourage students to create some of their own poetry readings with commentary.
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Welcome to the Universe: Mythology - Windows to the Universe team

Grades
4 to 12
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This site is part of a larger science-oriented site and focuses on the stories of mythology from Greek, Roman, and other major world cultures, and their importance to our world ...more
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This site is part of a larger science-oriented site and focuses on the stories of mythology from Greek, Roman, and other major world cultures, and their importance to our world both culturally and scientifically. Mythology is an important aspect of literature and the humanities. Too often students know little about it, thus losing many of the important allusions that writers from Shakespeare to Hemingway use frequently.

Broken into three sections: beginner, intermediate, and advanced, the site offers a variety of approaches to teaching the mythologies of the world. The maps and family trees are especially nice. Switching from beginner to intermediate to advanced changes the level of depth and sophistication as the expectation for more vocabulary and understanding rises. The map showing different mythologies through continents is nice to show students the parallels between the stories of different cultures and places. The site also includes a "Mythology Hangman," always a challenge for any level of student, and mythology links to other sources on the web.

tag(s): literature (275)

In the Classroom

Depending on what level you teach, your possibilities here are endless. For upper levels, assigning individuals or small groups to different mythologies and then having them "teach the class" that mythology is an attractive prospect. Showing the synthesis among the different cultures emphasizes Jung's theory of the collective unconscious and human archetypes. For younger students, drawing the stories of the different mythologies or writing conversations between Apollo and Freyr (for example) creates some fun while learning stories that influence our western culture. There is a teacher section you can access if you register (registration is free).

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English Literature: Frankenstein - BBC

Grades
9 to 12
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This site offers background on Mary Shelley's Frankenstein and its convoluted plot in a general way and does an excellent job of covering the basic themes of the book. There...more
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This site offers background on Mary Shelley's Frankenstein and its convoluted plot in a general way and does an excellent job of covering the basic themes of the book. There are links provided for context, plot, character, themes, and sample questions. The links provide an option for "revise" which reviews the information and "test" which provides a simple interactive quiz. Since this is a British site, you may notice some slight spelling differences.

tag(s): literature (275), organizational skills (122), plot (10)

In the Classroom

While great for review, this site is also a good introductory lesson or wrap-up for this novel. Especially interesting is the sample question part with suggestions on time management for writing an essay and a model essay for a potential test question. The "Tests" are ideal for an interactive whiteboard or projector with the group "composing" together on the board. Divide your class into teams and project the Test on the screen. Have the teams work together to answer the questions in seated groups, then share their ideas on the board.

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Skip's Radio Scripts for Language Learners - Skip Reske

Grades
6 to 12
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These adapted radio scripts assist ESL/ELL students with learning how to use articles and grammar correctly, increase vocabulary, and improve reading comprehension. A highly motivating...more
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These adapted radio scripts assist ESL/ELL students with learning how to use articles and grammar correctly, increase vocabulary, and improve reading comprehension. A highly motivating site, students can see photos of old movies and even enjoy clips from the movies as they work with the scripts.

tag(s): grammar (216), movies (65), radio (26)

In the Classroom

This website is particularly useful if your ESL/ELL students want to perform a portion of a play. If your students are having difficulty with article usage, try a different approach to teaching the skill in the context of drama. If you have access to DVDs of the films used, you may want to play a few clips for the students.

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Randall's ESL Cyber Listening Lab - Randall Davis

Grades
3 to 12
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This site offers audible everyday conversations with adult and children's voices for ESL/ELL students. There are three levels of difficulty. Each story (conversation) includes before,...more
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This site offers audible everyday conversations with adult and children's voices for ESL/ELL students. There are three levels of difficulty. Each story (conversation) includes before, during, and after listening information. Note: some content, such as "Dating Woes," "The Ideal Woman," and "Personal Problems" may not be appropriate for younger students. Preview! There are some small Google ads, but they are not objectionable. This site requires Windows Media Player or Real Media and Acrobat Reader. Get them from the TeachersFirst Toolbox page..

tag(s): listening (91)

In the Classroom

Consider using some of the listening exercises to help all students learn to become better listeners or to discuss the concept of "main idea." Turn up your speakers (and use a projector to display the "quiz script," if you wish) to share the stories and questions or assign stories for student listening in a center. Use the follow-up questions to assess listening skills.

Be sure to follow your school district's guidelines for students posting information online if they will be responding to the blog feature on this site.
 This resource requires PDF reader software like Adobe Acrobat.

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