Grades9 to 12
tag(s): microblogging (44)
In the ClassroomThis site is not difficult to navigate. Left click on the timeline to drag it to earlier posts. Unread plurks and replies appear as a number beside each plurk and in the timeline. Along the top of the timeline are user controls. "My profile" contains your contact information and details. Upload a photo, customize the colors of your outline, or add a widget to your blog or site that contains your plurks. Use "My friends" to invite friends, create cliques that allow you to segregate who sees certain plurks, and blocking other users. "Alerts" contain friend requests sent to you. Click on "Interesting plurkers" to see plurks from everywhere which you can customize to gender, age, city, state, or country. Use "My account" to change privacy settings and set up instant messaging. Create your plurks below the timeline and use the dropdown to change your verb from "is" to "says," wishes," "feels," and many others. Hover over a person's picture or name to send a private plurk. Plurk messages can be edited but replies cannot. Pictures, images, and links can be added as well. Also below the timeline are tabs to see plurks from you and your friends, your plurks alone, and private plurks. View your Karma -- which increases with plurks and friends and unlocks new features. Use "Embed your Plurk widget" easily to your blog by simply entering your login information.
Create a written and signed classroom policy that outlines necessary privacy settings and actions that would be considered misuse. Check these regularly and take appropriate actions to enforce rules when needed. Students need to be guided in how to safely blog and share information. Students may come across questionable content if reading through the "interesting plurkers" tab. As with all social networking sites, students need to be aware of proper ways to communicate at school and at home. Teachers should be a part of all student groups to monitor use.
Students can use Plurk to discuss group work on a project, create study groups, ask for help, or communicate with those who can mentor their class or subject they are learning. Many students will find success with sending bits of information at a time and letting the conversations evolve from there. Literature teachers may want to require students to plurk their thoughts within small groups as they read chapters or acts of longer works for homework, generating discussion and active reading. Social studies teachers could assign a similar task as students read about history. Math teachers may want to encourage "plurking" as students work on longer, more complex problems. Those writing lab reports for science class may find that plurking will help them collaborate in interpreting data. Consider setting up a regular class "plurk time" in the evening on certain nights of the week or for snow days.
GradesK to 12
Note: The dictionary, like many real-world dictionaries, includes words that may not be classroom-appropriate. Decide how you will handle students who make inappropriate choices in using this tool.
tag(s): dictionaries (56)
In the ClassroomDefinitely investigate the free Search Engine download that's available to make this tool even more useful. This may become your favorite dictionary-- bar none. You may want to save this site in your favorites on your class computer(s), but see the cautionary note above about the FULL database of words available.
GradesK to 12
tag(s): video (259)
In the ClassroomIf you are looking for a specific topic, save time and use the search option If you wish to add comments or upload your own Teachertube video, you must register as a user at the site. Create and save your edited videos where you can find them on your computer. (Windows Movie Maker or iMovie are great, free tools for video). Then upload to TeacherTube. You will also receive comments on your uploaded videos. If the teacher is the one uploading, the only potential concerns include posting videos with identifiable information or images about your students, school, or class. Check your school policies about posting pictures of your school. If you post student videos, obtain written parent permission to post student work, again within school policies. Any student visible in a video should also have parent permission in accordance with school policies. The most common classroom use would be viewing many videos that match curriculum content. Rap math, visit Anne Frank's historical locations, or view a grammar lesson--these are just a sampling of videos that you may want to use to enhance your curriculum lessons. Use your interactive whiteboard or projector to share the videos with the class. Use the site's videos as an anticipatory set to a new unit or lesson on a specific topic. Have your students create their own TeacherTube video together as a class on any lesson/topic that you are teaching. Have a contest for the best videos and upload the winners to the site (within school policies, of course). Once the class has videos hosted at TeacherTube, you can also embed them in your class bog or wiki for easy sharing with those in your extended online "community."
Grades1 to 12
tag(s): readability (8)
In the ClassroomThis site can be helpful in a variety of ways. Primary and secondary classroom teachers can check students' work or have students check their personal work by placing their own text in the box. Reading specialists, classroom teachers, ESL and ELL teachers, and special education teachers can check readability levels of various books to find the right fit for each student. E-books and on-line literature is easy to check with the cut and paste option! Note: if the text is available as a complete web page, you can also use this tool. Student word processing can also be analyzed using the Grammar tools in Word (tools menu), but these two tools yield slightly different information.
Grades2 to 12
Creature Creator is a free download but is a limited version of the original purchased program. The purchased program provides many more choices for the features and environments used to make the creatures. The download is available for both PC and Mac.
In the ClassroomUser needs to be able to download and install the free program. Easy to use interface. Start with a blob, which you manipulate into a shape, pulling its spinal cord in any direction with the mouse, before adding a head, limbs and various optional extra body parts. Choose your part by using the onscreen catalog. Manipulate it further by changing the position of joints or through adding or deleting segments. Add a background and move your creature by dragging your mouse for it to follow. Continue to alter your creature to get the movement or features needed.
Pressing "H" brings up the spore guide which includes topic categories such as "Welcome to Spore," "Getting Started," "Build Mode," "Test Drive," and "Paint Mode."
Check your district policy on downloading and installing of programs. Check with your IT department. Teachers who must request software installation by tech staff may want to try this tool at home and create some sample projects to convince administration of its educational value.
Uploading pictures and videos of creations to You Tube or the spore site may expose students to advertising as well as inappropriately created creatures. You may want to send students directly to URLs for their own projects, maintain the creatures on the classroom computer itself, or use Teacher Tube to upload the creations. Uploading creatures enables outsider comments without teacher control. Outsiders can interact or mark the creations as favorites. Many school policies prohibit such interaction, so be sure to check your school policy. You will want to discuss these features in the context of Internet Safety or establish specific written class rules and consequences for interacting with outsiders. Student work can be saved as a picture and printed, as well, for sharing and showing. Check your school policies on whether student work may be displayed online and what information is permitted, then enforce that policy with your students.
The tool does not show which work is attributable to each student. You may want to require student initials on projects in order to get credit.
Use Creature creator to create an unusual creature as a class project. Create a classification system of all the class creatures to demonstrate biology classification skills. When discussing the groupings in the Animal Kingdom, use Creature Creator to create a new organism for that group. Use the tool to create a class creature with adaptations to a specific environment. Have students create a creature and then write a story or poem about it and how it lives. Have students create a creature as a self-portrait of personality or other traits the students possess. Students can design and draw habitats that would house their creation including the calculation of the volume and area the housing would require. Use a classroom projector or white board to share/create creatures in class and discuss specific features of the creatures.
GradesK to 12
In the ClassroomClick "Start Here" to type the subject of your concept map. Hitting your Enter key creates a new level (branch) within the map. Tab creates an additional branch on the same level as the current topic. Experiment with the small icons on each "element" to change colors, drag, make new connections, etc. Save and set sharing (read-only or open access) in the area at the right. You can "send" a read-only link via email or copy the embed code from the Menu at lower right), but you cannot find the URL directly from your map. "Send" it to yourself via email to copy the actual URL.
There are countless possibilities at this mental mapping site. Demonstrate the tool on an interactive whiteboard or projector, and then allow students to try to create their own graphic organizers. Use this site for literature activities, research projects, social studies, or science topics of study. Use this site to create family trees. Have students collaborate together (online) to create group mind maps or review charts before tests on a given subject. Have students organize color-code concepts to show what they understand, wonder, question; map out a story, plotline, or LIFETIME; map out a step-by-step process (life cycle); map a real historical event as a choose-your-own-adventure with alternate endings(?) based on pivotal points; plan a "tour" for a "thought museum." Use this mapping website as an alternative to a traditional test, quiz, or homework assignment in literature or social studies: have students demonstrate their understanding by completing a graphic organizer about the main points. To minimize the number of maps on a free account, have students screenshot or print their results to turn them in. See more ideas in the linked example above!
GradesK to 12
In the ClassroomPrint out up to 25 pdf copies of stories and poems if you do not have print versions. Make your own books and leave blank sections to be illustrated for aiding comprehension. If you have iTunes installed on your computer, you can download many of the selections directly into your iTunes library. Use individual laptops for reading the stories online or as a download. Make sure your sight-impaired students know about this helpful site. Special ed teachers and ESL//ELL teachers will love the availability of audio files and text together.
Grades4 to 12
In the ClassroomSimply login and click create. Choose a scene you wish to start with. Change your characters from a variety of option. When the comic loads, your chosen character may not show immediately but will appear as you edit each frame. Change sizes of caption bubbles, fonts sizes and types with easy to use sliders. New characters can be added in each frame as well as a variety of additional props such as sports equipment and furniture. Change the background set to a variety of indoor, outdoor city, and outdoor country landscapes. Change background colors easily too. Comics can be saved, scenes can be deleted, and changes made can be reverted to the previous idea easily with on screen controls. Below the comic, buttons for "Save for later" and "Publish Now" quickly save or publish works. If the scene is not ready for publishing, Pixton requests further edits to complete the process.
Consider creating a class account that students can use. Track comics made by students by placing initials in a small caption bubble to identify created comics to a specific student. There are some safeguards in place to be sure students use appropriate language and actions. It would be wise to preview whatever you wish to share with your students, however, since the general public can create comics with their own ideas. Students should submit their work without identifiable names and location, according to your school policy. You will also want written parent permission before allowing students to create comics that can be seen online.
Capture and use your students creativity in storytelling using this exciting tool! Using small amounts of texts to frame a story or to deliver information creatively allows students the opportunity to work deeply with information and use a creative outlet for a variety of projects. Use for students to provide information learned with personal thoughts on subjects ranging from historical events, environmental issues, discussion about plants, animals, and ecosystems, as well as other topics in Art, Math, English, Health, and others. Use in Foreign language classes for short stories created in the language and translated then by other students in the classroom. Use comics to write summaries of current events, responses to reading assignments, expressions of teen problems, and creative works of humor. With younger students, use an interactive whiteboard or projector to create a class comic on a current topic of study, such as the life cycle of the frog or ways to conserve energy. Use this site to integrate an art and writing lesson. Why not have students create comics to demonstrate a concept in science or social studies, rather than a traditional paper/pencil quiz? World language teachers and ESL/ELL teachers will love the chance for students to demonstrate written language skills in the "context" of their comic situations.
Parent permission advised before posting student work created using this tool
Includes Interaction w general public/ public galleries with unmoderated content
Includes social features, such as "friends," comments, ratings by others
Requires registration/log-in (WITH email)
Premium version (not free) includes additional features or storage
Products can be embedded
Products can be shared by URL
GradesK to 12
tag(s): literacy (104)
In the ClassroomShare this site on your class website so parents can learn about this free resource. Include links to specific publications tha fit your class' needs. Or choose helpful information with your particular parents/students and share the pdf files as print-outs at conferences or via email to help parents.
Grades4 to 12
In the ClassroomIf you need ideas to get students reading for fun and to help develop their confidence, try this site. Highlight this on your class website so parents can try the activities with their older students. When doing author biographies, share this site with your class using an interactive whiteboard or projector. Be sure to check out the "Classroom Strategies" link for even more literacy ideas.
Grades7 to 12
In the ClassroomAllowing students to choose among these books may encourage them to read. Having students "teach" their book to the rest of the class after they have finished it might be an activity that would urge other students to pick up those books, too. Have students share their books creatively: write a blog post as a character, make a video to post on TeacherTube or SchoolTube, or make a podcast "interview" of the main character, played by a classmate. Bring reading into the 21st century reality of your students and watch the two worlds "mash" together.
GradesK to 12
tag(s): wikis (20)
In the ClassroomThis is listed as a TeachersFirst "edge" entry, but our step-by-step walk-through takes the edge off and makes your wiki a walk in the park. Check it out now, while there is still FREE classroom wiki space available from the three wiki tools we review in detail.
Grades1 to 10
In the ClassroomShare samples of students' writing on an interactive whiteboard or projector. Be sure to preview for content inappropriate for your classroom. Have your students create cover art and write stories, book reviews, or poetry to submit to this site. Of course you will want written parent permission before submitting student work to this online magazine. Students should submit their work without identifiable names and location, according to your school policy.If your school prohibits using blogs to post student writing, this is a middle ground alternative to get their works in front of a wider audience.
GradesK to 12
tag(s): thesaurus (24)
In the ClassroomSend students to this site to look up those difficult words. ESL and ELL students can use this site to practice the pronunciation of new words. Be sure to mark this site as a favorite or share on your teacher web page for easy access.
Grades4 to 12
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..
In the ClassroomThere 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.
Grades4 to 10
In the ClassroomUse 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.
Grades3 to 10
tag(s): humor (15)
In the ClassroomHigh 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.
Grades3 to 12
tag(s): resources (112)
In the ClassroomIf 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?
Grades2 to 12
tag(s): literature (274)