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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.
This site includes advertising.

tag(s): famous people (19), heroes (24), religions (61), timelines (62)

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). 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 (266), photography (160)

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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Jing - TechSmith

Grades
5 to 12
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Jing is a tool to take a picture or video of your computer screen. Download the free Jing software in either Windows or Mac versions. Screen captures can be easily ...more
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Jing is a tool to take a picture or video of your computer screen. Download the free Jing software in either Windows or Mac versions. Screen captures can be easily shared on Twitter, Facebook, and Flickr through a quick link on the site. Mark up your screenshot with a text box, arrow, highlight, or rectangle to enhance items shared. Find lots of suggestions for using the site in the classroom through the "How it is Used" link. Jing allows you to screen capture whatever is on your computer screen, share it to Screencast.com, and then send the URL link to anyone so they can watch a sequence of things you do on your computer. The application says it is a way to share what you are seeing on your screen during your online conversations. This is useful, but for educators, check out the teacher uses to see some other possibilities.

tag(s): images (266)

In the Classroom

The software needs to be installed, but it is easy because onscreen directions are given. Just a click or two and you are ready to use Jing. Once it is installed and the program is running, there will be a sun in the upper right hand corner of your screen. Scroll over the sun, and you will see three rays come out of it. Capture (to take a picture of your screen), History (a type of screen scrapbook), and More (which has preferences and the quit to turn off the program).

Users unable to install software on school computers should request that the tech department install Jing on at least SOME machines.

Try to record a screen sequence using this web 2.0 tool to make how-to directions for projects and post to your class web page along with the assignment. Students can make a "tour" of online PROJECTS they CREATE or a tour of a web site they critique. Record a demo of safe internet practices and include it on your class web page for parents and kids, and help learning support students (or techno-apprehensive teachers) with VISUAL directions for computer tasks. Have students make projects that show how misleading some Internet advertising can be or to explain effective design principles used in a web site. Take an image of part of a site and annotate it, create a link for students to access from home on your classroom website or blog. Pronounce and define key vocabulary. Provide directions to explain and/or demonstrate how to create classroom projects, how projects will be graded, or where to find information on the internet. Narrate an Internet path, a site, or a series of pictures. Create an online book or comic strip and then narrate it, share your creation on a site such as SchoolTube reviewed here. Use in math or science to show and describe the steps in an equation or process.

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Bag the Web - BagTheWeb

Grades
5 to 12
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Want a location to place and share all of your vital links and information? Use Bag The Web to find a great place to view and share these links. Create ...more
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Want a location to place and share all of your vital links and information? Use Bag The Web to find a great place to view and share these links. Create an account easily and create your bag. Name it, find links, and paste them along with the titles and brief description. Find suggested resources below based upon information already entered. Add these easily with the click of a button. Use the embed code to place into a site, wiki, or blog to share with students or others. Share also by using Twitter, Facebook, or other services.

Here is an Example TF Edge "bag":

tag(s): resources (112), webquests (29)

In the Classroom

Users must be able to create an account, a new bag, and find relevant material to be placed into the bag. Use of embed codes or sharing of URL's are required to share the "bag" with others.

Create bags for each unit in your classes. Allow students to enter great resources that can then be used by all students. Build a bag for your class instead with resources that will be needed by students. Discuss annotating resources by creating short descriptors for each of the sites being linked. Create a class bag and then separate bags for units of study. Bags can be linked to each other, creating a great system to organize links and resources.

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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 (65)

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.
 This resource requires Adobe Flash.

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Stormboard - Edistorm.com

Grades
6 to 12
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Take brainstorming to a whole new level, including easy collaboration with others. Use Stormboard to place sticky notes, photos, and videos on a shared whiteboard. As you enter information...more
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Take brainstorming to a whole new level, including easy collaboration with others. Use Stormboard to place sticky notes, photos, and videos on a shared whiteboard. As you enter information on your sticky, new suggestions pop up along the bottom. Use this phenomenal aspect of Stormboard as suggestions by their "Idea Bots" may take you closer to your goal. Revisit "storms" as they are saved which adds more perspectives when viewing later. Let others' ideas incubate a bit and return to see what they have added. Free accounts allow up to 5 users, 1 administrator, and unlimited "storms."

Begin by entering the name of your storm, choosing privacy options, adding a description, and inviting users to join in (Stormboard members or by email). Type on the stickies. Drag them to arrange. Stormboard will suggest possible new stickies along the bottom. The center sticky on your screen will drive the "smart" suggestions. If Stormboard's suggestions take you away from your goal in your description, move another sticky into the center spot or close the suggestions area. Use the viewfinder to see where all your stickies are located. Group related ideas together by aligning them together or color-coding them. Contributors can drag an "idea vote" to mark the ideas that they like best. Click on the tab "Top Ideas" to view those with most votes. Click on "All Unrated" to view all, including those with no votes (great idea if you may have missed one).
This site includes advertising.

tag(s): brainstorming (23), creative fluency (8), organizational skills (122)

In the Classroom

Consider creating a classroom account for use with your students. Require them to initial their stickies in order to know which idea is whose. Use for any decision-making activity such as "What kind of pet should I buy?" Also use to generate related vocabulary words about a topic by entering their first word and letting the "Idea Bots" suggest stickies along the bottom. This is especially good if students must find information for a presentation or learn about a particular theme or topic. Share this site with your gifted students to use for organization, brainstorming, or collaboration with others outside their class. Social studies classes could brainstorm on how they might travel back in time to solve a political crisis or avoid a war. Lit classes could "storm" better outcomes for a novel or play based on evidence from the first portion of the text (for example, what if Romeo and Juliet had used Stormboard first?). Many issue-based or ethics-based problems in Science and Health can also be organized, debated, and discussed in this space. Why are some ideas "Top rated" over others?

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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 (266), vocabulary (323), word choice (26), word clouds (10)

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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Timeglider - Mnemograph LLC

Grades
6 to 12
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Want an incredibly intuitive timeline software that can be used on the web and with more than on person? Use Timeglider as one of the best applications for the planning, ...more
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Want an incredibly intuitive timeline software that can be used on the web and with more than on person? Use Timeglider as one of the best applications for the planning, creating and sharing of history and other projects. You can simply look at timelines related to various topics in history or even current events. Or you can create your own timeline. Users grab the timeline and drag it in order to see different time periods and centuries. Create event spans that can overlap each other and create a greater understanding of how events can influence other events. Zoom out for a broader scope and view of time. Further enhancements will broaden the extent of the zooming capability. As it is web based, use this for collaboration among students. Enter the information for your first timeline including target year. After agreeing to terms, your timeline will open around your target years. Click the green arrow on your timeline box to edit parameters of your timeline and find the share/embed information. Use the mouse to drag along the timeline to a new area. Double click the space in the timeline to enter a title, description, time parameters, importance of the event, etc. or by clicking the "New event/image" tab. Import flickr photos, Wikipedia events, and more by clicking on the "Import" tab. Click on the wrench icon in the upper right for even more tools. Be sure if sharing to click "edit" to edit the timeline and make sure the "Make timeline public" box is checked. This will allow the timeline to be shared with others.

tag(s): timelines (62)

In the Classroom

Browse through the already created timelines and find a timeline sequence of articles on a specific topic. Social studies and science classes can trace current events over time or follow the changes that occur on a topic such as the latest research on cures for cancer or global warming.

Create timelines for any type of class in determining events that were important to its study. For example, discoveries associated with our understanding of the cell, events that shaped our understanding of environmental problems, events that shaped the Industrial Revolution, World Wars, Religion, etc. (Wow! This could go on and on!) Share the timeline on a wiki, blog, or site. Use for presentations on a whiteboard in front of the class for a great way to pace and deliver a presentation. Create a timeline for the teacher to show and then provide time for students to zone in on various areas of the timeline to add more information or find other events in to add to it. reate a class timeline highlighting your class's yearly events, units, assignments, and more.

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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): vocabulary (323), word choice (26), word clouds (10)

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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Sentence Scrambler - altastic.com

Grades
1 to 10
1 Favorites 0  Comments
This sentence scrambler allows teachers to type or paste in as many sentences as they would like and scrambles the words at random. Any punctuation typed in remains attached to ...more
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This sentence scrambler allows teachers to type or paste in as many sentences as they would like and scrambles the words at random. Any punctuation typed in remains attached to the word it is next to. Students can then try to unscramble the sentences. Options include putting slashes or dashes between words to make them easier to distinguish. After typing/pasting the desired number of sentences, teachers should check the box marked "Add Numbers" in order to have the sentences separated and numbered. Sentences in Spanish can also be scrambled. Rearranging the words is not part of the interactive activity.

tag(s): grammar (216), inferencing (5), sentences (52), sight words (37)

In the Classroom

ESL and ELL students will find this activity useful for practicing correct English word order. Primary teachers can also use it to teach basic sight words, sequencing, and inferencing skills with short sentences. After typing/pasting in the sentences, copy the scrambled word box on an interactive whiteboard or projector and have students write or type the paragraph in the correct order.

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Cacoo - Nulab, Inc.

Grades
7 to 12
2 Favorites 0  Comments
 
Looking for an easy way to create diagrams? This free site is easy to use and allows collaboration in creation of drawings. View the overview video on the front page ...more
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Looking for an easy way to create diagrams? This free site is easy to use and allows collaboration in creation of drawings. View the overview video on the front page of this site to familiarize yourself with its functions.

tag(s): charts and graphs (195), drawing (78)

In the Classroom

Users must be willing to play with this great resource. Drag shapes from the stencil area. Use the Inspector to add text, change colors, change sizes, and rearrange among many other functions. Use the toolbars along the top to upload an image, add items such as lines, take a snapshot, as well as other snapshots (hover over these buttons to read what each item is.) Use the buttons in the upper right, to export as a PNG, save, or share your drawing. Use the Save URL to embed in a wiki, blog, or other site.

Though an email is required, it is not necessary to begin using this resource. The tool 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. If students are using as a group, you may want to spell out specific consequences for project "vandalism," depending on your students. 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.

Use Cacoo much like other drawing and flowchart software. Use to take notes, create decision-making flowcharts, illustrate concepts, sketch a story/plot pattern, and more. Create classification diagrams on the type of animal being studied. Create dichotomous keys for identifying any kind of object or making a decision. Use to identify roles and responsibilities as pre-planning for a group project. Use as a storyboard as part of pre-production for a movie or podcast to be created by either individuals or a group. Ask students to share their storyboard or group responsibilities with you. Use as an alternative to a quiz by having students diagram a process such as oxidation or the steps from a bill to a law.

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Text 2 Mind Map - Text2Mindmap.com

Grades
3 to 12
3 Favorites 1  Comments
Text 2 Mind Map is an online graphic organizer creator and it requires NO membership! An outline can be turned into a visual map that is easy to interpret and ...more
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Text 2 Mind Map is an online graphic organizer creator and it requires NO membership! An outline can be turned into a visual map that is easy to interpret and modify. The font, colors and line size can easily be changed using an online toolbox. Switching to full screen mode is with one click in the toolbox. Maps can be saved as .jpg files for use in other programs such as a word processor or presentation program. No sign up is required, and the program is free. However, pop-up blockers need to be turned off to save a map.

tag(s): brain (72)

In the Classroom

This is a great program to use with an interactive whiteboard and projector with entire class for brainstorming a topic or concept. Ideas can be manipulated and changed as fast as they can be shared. To save time, an outline that has been started and saved as a text file can be copied and pasted into a Text 2 Mind Map. The map can be color coded by branch or level to help organize information. After the map is complete, copy and past the outline in a word-processing program. Save the map as a jpg file. The map and the outline can be used by students as a guide for writing and further research. Text 2 Mind would be a great tool for use small groups to help students organize and manage a project.

Comments

Very easy to transform text (outline or list) into a mindmap. Great for visual learners. Frances, CT, Grades: 6 - 8

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Ad Out - adout.org

Grades
K to 12
2 Favorites 0  Comments
 
Make any web site advertising free using the cool tool. Tired of directing kids back to the web site they should be using due to accidental clicks on ads? ...more
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Make any web site advertising free using the cool tool. Tired of directing kids back to the web site they should be using due to accidental clicks on ads? Use this free resource to make the page you are using ad free. Paste the web url into the field on this site to view your site in an ad free manner. To share the adfree resource, simply copy the new web address that is now ad free to share with your students. Note that some websites may be blocked by adfree. Check on your school computers to see if adfree is blocked or whether district filters already block ads. Missing ads show up as blank spaces on the pages.
This site includes advertising.

tag(s): advertising (33)

In the Classroom

Use this resource to use sites without ads to keep students on track and not be distracted by information that is not content Be sure to share this link on your class website for families to use at home..
 This resource requires Adobe Flash.

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TeachersFirst's Editors' Choices for Poetry Month - TeachersFirst

Grades
K to 12
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This collection of reviewed resources from TeachersFirst is selected by our editors from the hundreds of reviewed poetry resources and creative tools listed on TeachersFirst. Now April...more
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This collection of reviewed resources from TeachersFirst is selected by our editors from the hundreds of reviewed poetry resources and creative tools listed on TeachersFirst. Now April can be Poetry Month in any classroom. Even if you teach science or math, there is a place for poetry in your curriculum. Poetry is as brief and economical as a number sentence, but with feelings or messages between the words. Why not throw some poetry lines amid your chemical or algebraic equations to connect with verbal/linguistic learners and spark a new way of seeing any subject? Take time to plan a "poetry break" using these ideas from the TeachersFirst Editors.

tag(s): poetry (228)

In the Classroom

Make Poetry Month a participatory experience. Have students compose a limerick explaining a science term or historic figure. Have students collect a list of words from your current unit. Then offer extra credit for a poetic interpretation to be shared as a daily "poetry break" during April. Use one of the tools featured here to share poetic visions of biology, geometry, and more during April. Cover a classroom wall with white paper for "curriculum poetry" during April. Encourage students to share poetry graffiti (classroom appropriate, of course). For more poetic ideas check out the "In the classroom" suggestions included in each review.

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Remember the Great Depression - Dr. Nancy Deal

Grades
5 to 9
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Remembering the Great Depression is a literacy based webquest that includes both non-fiction and fiction literature that focuses on developing students' understanding of the...more
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Remembering the Great Depression is a literacy based webquest that includes both non-fiction and fiction literature that focuses on developing students' understanding of the Depression era and the literature set during the period. Featured literature includes Memoirs from the Depression, Roll of Thunder, Hear My Cry, and To Kill a Mockingbird.

tag(s): great depression (24), literature (275)

In the Classroom

Use the activities and quizzes from this webquest to supplement your classroom book study. Each piece of literature includes activities, quizzes, writing prompts and more. Have students create their own book study gleaning ideas from the set up of the included book studies. Have cooperative learning groups (or individual students) choose a specific piece of literature and complete some of the activities. Take it a step further and have students create multimedia projects as a culminating activity. Challenge groups or individuals to create online books using a tool such as Bookemon, reviewed here.

Note: Some of the links don't work on the KWL page, so teachers using the site will need to find replacement sites for students.

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Spruz - spruz.com

Grades
7 to 12
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Spruz is a tool for creating social networks. Though that may be a scary term to parents and a concept prohibited in your school, this site provides private spaces for ...more
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Spruz is a tool for creating social networks. Though that may be a scary term to parents and a concept prohibited in your school, this site provides private spaces for classroom use in K-12. Because of concerns over COPPA (federal legislation protecting children on the web), it is recommended for ages 13 and up. Users outside the U.S. do not need to worry about this law. There are related blog posts and debate about whether the law applies if you configure your site a certain way, but TeachersFirst cannot recommend circumventing the law.

Spruz provides an online space for forums (threaded discussions), blogs, "friends," groups, personal spaces for members, and more. As the administrator, you can control the actual set-up. Make your space private or set to public. Members still have to join to be part of the site. Assuming you can access the URL at school, this tool can provide a PRIVATE online space for your classes or teaching team as an electronic home for use in and out of school. This site touts that they have beefed up their business model in order to continue to offer free services.

tag(s): blogs (88), bookmarks (60), chat (51), forum (9), social networking (112)

In the Classroom

Before you start, make sure filtering on the school network will not block your specific URL. See some of the tips from the Edge team. Set up a network, including name, URL, and description. Be sure to choose Private to limit viewing of your network to those you INVITE to join. Drag your desired features to create your layout. You can always change it later. Make appearance choices. Click on the parts of the site you wish to create such as chat, forum, blog, links, bookmarks, files, etc. Be sure to check the box that requires approval from the account owner for members to join. Change profile questions and options available to members easily.

A class social network has limitless possibilities. Engage students in discussions on current events, independent reading, literature, and more. Create groups for students to work on projects and use the space as a forum to work out tasks, scheduling, and file sharing. Get creative and ask students to play the role of a historical figure on a social network across time: Ben Franklin networks with Harry Truman to argue about the atomic bomb. Use the site as a forum for any simulated or real task. Invite parents to join to give their points of view on upcoming elections or public policy issues. Include the principal or superintendent in your class discussions of students' rights as you study the Constitution. Your students themselves will suggest ways to use this all-too-familiar tool from their world. Imagine the "profiles" they could create as characters from fiction or inventors from history! Create incredible discussions of environmental, political, or economic issues. Inviting members from another school or community provides incredible perspective into a variety of different beliefs and values. Definitely plan to model and use this tool in lessons about Internet safety and the "lasting" nature of one's Internet presence. Social networking is part of life today, and the opportunity to learn about it in a private space is important for today's students.

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Using Videoconferencing to Support the Use of Quality Texts - Mark Warner

Grades
3 to 12
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This site has some very clever ideas for using videoconferencing to help students delve deeper into quality texts, or extend their knowledge of a topic of study. As the creator ...more
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This site has some very clever ideas for using videoconferencing to help students delve deeper into quality texts, or extend their knowledge of a topic of study. As the creator of this site says, "Some of the ideas shown could easily be used as drama activities but there are some which would be improved by bringing in an outside helper using videoconference." Another very special aspect of this site is the book titles used, and the variety of age groups represented. This is a must see site!

tag(s): authors (120)

In the Classroom

One of the ideas presented is the "Interview." Use your interactive whiteboard for students to create questions to ask the author or an expert about the book or the subject of the book. Video the interview, or save the video conference, and have students reflect on the quality of the questions once the students have had the opportunity to illicit answers to their questions. Use your interactive whiteboard to have students brainstorm what they would do differently next time as far as developing good questions.
 This resource requires PDF reader software like Adobe Acrobat.

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Reading Strategies for All Ages - Jen Farr

Grades
K to 12
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This collection of reading strategies will make you feel like you just hit the jackpot for the best ways to teach reading strategies that are sometimes difficult to explain or ...more
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This collection of reading strategies will make you feel like you just hit the jackpot for the best ways to teach reading strategies that are sometimes difficult to explain or for students to grasp and apply. This site is full of activities directly linked to printable guidelines and worksheets. Better yet, there are Power Point Presentations and Videos in ready-to-show formats all organized, described, and available from the home page. You will find a wide variety suitable from elementary to secondary, earmarked by grade levels, as well as ideas for how and when to use them effectively. Whether you are searching for a fresh approach to the tried and true, such as brainstorming or think aloud strategies, or for more innovative approaches, such as interactive notebooks or sociograms, you will be delighted with this discovery.

tag(s): brain (72), brainstorming (23), reading strategies (45)

In the Classroom

Save this site in your favorites on your class computer or TeachersFirst membership. Open the doors to engage students in the active reading process to enhance levels of comprehension between the text and the reader. The flexible framework lets you choose to use any of the strategies as a stand-alone, ready-to-present on the interactive whiteboard, or as a lesson for whole class viewing. Many familiar literary works are used as examples, or you may easily apply the strategy to any literary work that your class is currently reading. Videos and Power Points for modeling and practicing the strategies are embedded, so all you have to do is click to start and let them work their magic. Follow up by downloading the printable study guides, graphic organizers, and other handouts to use before, during, and after reading.
  This resource requires Adobe Flash and PDF reader software like Adobe Acrobat.

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Chogger - Chogger, LLC

Grades
2 to 12
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Create comics easily and simply by drawing, uploading pictures or graphics, and choosing as many frames as possible to complete your project. Registration is not required to use Chogger....more
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Create comics easily and simply by drawing, uploading pictures or graphics, and choosing as many frames as possible to complete your project. Registration is not required to use Chogger. Click "Create A Comic" to get started. The creator will launch in a new window. Note: to FINISH and share a comic by URL, you must establish a free account.

tag(s): comics and cartoons (74), images (266)

In the Classroom

Use a whole-class account created using a teacher (memberships) email for students to create comics that can be easily monitored/managed by the teacher. Click on buttons to learn the basics that can be used to create the comic. To use, click "Create" and then on "New drawing." Use the tools to create shapes, draw lines, change points, and drag segments easily. Click on the camera icon to take or upload a picture. Click Text tab to add caption bubbles and text. When finished, easily save your comic by adding a title and description. Comics can also be marked private, if you wish. Share completed online comics by copy/pasting the URL of the "finished" comic. Be sure to KEEP a record of these URLs or manage them using "My Comics."

Provide only the link to the "Create" portion of the site to remove possible viewing of public comics. If desired, require students to take a screenshot of their comic instead of saving to the site. Take a snapshot using the print screen (PrtScrn) button on a PC or using the screenshot shortcut in a Mac (apple/shift/4.) Images can then be uploaded to a blog, wiki, or other site for display.

Use Chogger to explain vocabulary words or other concepts from any class or subject area. 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 share or 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. Emotional support /autistic support teachers and students can create comics to help explain social interactions.

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Poem in Your Pocket - Michael Bloomberg

Grades
5 to 12
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Poem in Your Pocket is a site dedicated to the annual Poem in Your Pocket Day in April and hosted by New York City for the past several years. The ...more
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Poem in Your Pocket is a site dedicated to the annual Poem in Your Pocket Day in April and hosted by New York City for the past several years. The website provides background information about the day and ways to participate. A variety of unique activities, lessons, and ideas will help bring poetry to classrooms and schools.

tag(s): poetry (228)

In the Classroom

Go through this site with students and then have students read the suggestions for students under the curriculum ideas section. Have students create a plan of action for celebrating Poem in Your Pocket Day for your class or school. Students can present their ideas using a multimedia presentation. Have your students create an interactive online poster ("glog") using Glogster EDU, reviewed here.

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