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Educators' Top 100 Children's Books - NEA

Grades
K to 12
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As a result of a teacher survey in 2007, NEA has compiled this list of 100 Best Books for Children from an online survey The list is unfortunately not labeled, ...more
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As a result of a teacher survey in 2007, NEA has compiled this list of 100 Best Books for Children from an online survey The list is unfortunately not labeled, as the 1999 listing from NEA was, with age/grade ranges. You will find many classics as well as some newer entries onto the shelves.

In the Classroom

Share this list with parents via handout or a link from your teacher web page or use it to help make selections for you classroom library. If you provide independent reading incentives, be sure to make this list available to your students as they make book choices. Perhaps you would like to let them "review" books from the list on a class reading wiki or include student mini-reviews on your teacher web page. Or print the list out in a large font and cut strips for books appropriate for your class in general. Allow any student who reads and reviews one of the books to sign the strip and hang it, along with a review, on an "Our Reading Accomplishments" bulletin board.

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Banned Books Week - American Library Association

Grades
3 to 12
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To celebrate America's history of the freedom to read, the American Library Association sets aside one week every year to celebrate that freedom by bringing the most important banned...more
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To celebrate America's history of the freedom to read, the American Library Association sets aside one week every year to celebrate that freedom by bringing the most important banned books to the attention of everyone. Traditionally the last week of September, in 2009 it is being held September 26 - October 3rd. Go to the website and vote for your favorite banned book and have your older students do the same! Find out what books have been most frequently challenged. Find out about the history of book burning, print out posters for your classroom, and find out how support of this week adds to the intellectual freedom of all readers: students, teachers, librarians, and other adults.

In the Classroom

Compare the banned book list with your curriculum. Find out how many of your students' favorite books (like To Kill a Mockingbird) have been on the list.

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Cramberry - Cramberry

Grades
3 to 12
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Flash cards made easy --- sounds cliche, but this isn't your normal flash card! Create words and meanings, organizing them into sets. Once a set is created, you may edit, ...more
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Flash cards made easy --- sounds cliche, but this isn't your normal flash card! Create words and meanings, organizing them into sets. Once a set is created, you may edit, add, delete, or share with others. Registration is so quick; you can create flash cards within 30 seconds. This website stores your word sets, and an easy login allows you to use them instantly. As you answer the flash cards, Cramberry tracks which cards you answer correctly. It will only flash cards that are giving you problems. Coming soon: you will be able to study on the go with a Cramberry application for your iPod or iPhone! This site requires Flash. You can get it from the TeachersFirst Toolbox page.

tag(s): flash cards (46)

In the Classroom

Be sure to save this site in your favorites. SAT tutors need to know about Cramberry. Sign up all your students (check school policy first!). You may want to use a teacher email account and subaccounts for registration to establish the memberships by "number" and to provide complete monitoring of what students do. Here is a blog post that tells how to set up GMail subaccounts to use for any online membership service.

Rotate the job of "card creator" throughout the school year and have the card creator share the word set with the rest of the class. Foreign language teachers will find this a must-have for teaching new words. This site could truly be useful in any subject area that teaches new vocabulary, dates, terms, formulas, and more: history, math, science, reading, etc. Of course, ESL, ELL, and special education students would benefit from the use of this site also.
 This resource requires Adobe Flash.

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ESL Bits - Skip Reske

Grades
3 to 8
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This site is an excellent way to help ESL and ELL students improve reading and comprehension skills using short passages of different kinds of reading. The site includes signs, ...more
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This site is an excellent way to help ESL and ELL students improve reading and comprehension skills using short passages of different kinds of reading. The site includes signs, multiple choice, true-false for details, questions on getting the "gist" of a reading, matching questions, and gap (fill-in) questions. This site is excellent for reading comprehension in the regular classroom too! Students select a "set" which contains a short sampling of each kind of question. Once they answer, they get immediate feedback.

tag(s): reading comprehension (116), test prep (96)

In the Classroom

Since the subtitle for this page is "Reading Comprehension and Test Preparation," recommend this site to ESL and ELL students preparing for standardized tests. Save it in your favorites on class computers and provide the link on your class website for students to access both in the classroom and out. The activities would also work well on interactive whiteboard.

Share the "Signs" link with your students. Challenge students to create their own signs, similar to those used at this site. Have cooperative learning groups create interactive posters featuring their signs using a tool such as (PicLits - explained here). Share the "PicLits" on an interactive whiteboard or projector.

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Myths and Legends - E2BN

Grades
3 to 8
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If myths are part of your classroom's curriculum, then check out Myths and Legends (an English site). Most stories are spoken in English (British and Gaelic). Not only can you...more
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If myths are part of your classroom's curriculum, then check out Myths and Legends (an English site). Most stories are spoken in English (British and Gaelic). Not only can you listen and read myths and legends from countries around the world, but you can also record your own. In order for your class to upload myths and legends, you must do a quick registry at the site. Registration does require an email address. If you plan to have students register individually, you may want to create your own Gmail account with up to 20 subaccounts for each group of students (by code name or number) within your classes. Here is a blog post that tells how to set up GMail subaccounts to use for any online membership service.

Click on the Teachers link to explore lessons and other resources. Your class may wish to leave comments after they listen to the stories. Check out the Gallery, which shows photos of the actual setting for the myth. Unsure of the archaic terms? Then use the glossary that's provided for each myth and legend. Flash is required and can be gotten here: TeachersFirst Toolbox page.

In the Classroom

Share this site on your interactive whiteboard or projector. With younger students, use this site in your listening/computer corner for students to listen and read along the multitude of stories at this site. Your class may opt to write their own story of local myths or legends, and then submit it to this site. Have students write online legend or myth books using a tool such as Bookemon, reviewed here.
 This resource requires Adobe Flash.

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Zamzar - Zamzar

Grades
K to 12
6 Favorites 1  Comments
   
Need an offline copy of a video? Need to make changes to pdf documents? This online tool allows you to download videos or convert files between different formats, including conversion...more
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Need an offline copy of a video? Need to make changes to pdf documents? This online tool allows you to download videos or convert files between different formats, including conversion of .pdf files to Word documents and Word to .pdfs. You can also convert music, video, and photo files to different formats of your choice. This is a VERY useful tool. Select the file to import or the URL of the video to download, the change to be made, and receive a link to the converted file in the new format via email. Then click to download the file from the link. You have only 24 hours to retrieve the file (RIGHT- click to download or Save Target as)!

The documents are editable after conversion. Images will not be as "editable" as text. The text comes in within a text box, but can be edited. Be aware that many school email spam filters may block the Zamzar emails because they view them as "spam." If emails do not come through or you cannot download from Zamzar's link, request the converted files be sent to a home email address and bring them to school "on a stick."

Be aware: there are MANY advertisements at this site, so this many not be a site that you want students to explore independently. Also, the site mentions having to register. You do not need to register to use most of the features.
This site includes advertising.

In the Classroom

Mark this tool in your favorites for easy access. Teachers should model ethical use of electronic resources (other people's work) for students. Making a "derivative work" from someone else's pdf handout should include a printed credit within the new document, giving credit for the original source, Ex. "Adapted from a handout by xxx available at www.theoriginalhandout.pdf." Such derivative use should only be done when the original copyright permits it, such as using materials that grant permission for classroom use. Be sure to give proper credit for videos and other files you save locally.
  This resource requires Adobe Flash and PDF reader software like Adobe Acrobat.

Comments

One main problem with the site is that you need to enter the email address and wait for the email to download the file. There is a nice pdf conversion site http://www.pdfaid.com where you can convert and download the file instantly. Disclaimer: I am the owner of the website. pdf, , Grades: 0 - 12

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Ultimate Reading List - ultimatereadinglist.com

Grades
3 to 12
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This site consolidates book and author information from several important book lists, including prize winners and best book sites. Students can find the names of the books that won...more
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This site consolidates book and author information from several important book lists, including prize winners and best book sites. Students can find the names of the books that won awards, the number of books authors have written, biographical information about the author (from Wikipedia), book summaries (usually written by the awarding entity), and other special features, including a lifetime reading list. A section showing books that are on more than one reading list allows selective readers to choose books carefully. Be aware: this site does include some minor advertising.

tag(s): biographies (87), book lists (128), independent reading (128), literature (275)

In the Classroom

Use this site to acquaint your students with some writing and book awards, to check out Oprah's newest recommendations, and to encourage students to set up their own lifetime reading list. Have students choose books to read then complete a multi-media alternate to the traditional book report. How about a fictitious blog entry written from the perspective of the main character? Or maybe a book report written online, using an interactive book creator such as Bookemon (reviewed here).

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Celebrate Hispanic Heritage - Scholastic

Grades
2 to 8
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This site highlights the historical contributions of Spanish speaking people, focusing on Hispanic America. Language learning opportunities, research projects, cultural analysis, and...more
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This site highlights the historical contributions of Spanish speaking people, focusing on Hispanic America. Language learning opportunities, research projects, cultural analysis, and biography writing are just some of the offerings available at three levels. The teacher's guide provides all the materials for each lesson, but the lesson is certainly adaptable to including the Latina students in your classroom who might have contributions to make. Additional site activities include music, recipes, crafts, games and other writing suggestions. In the Pinata concentration games, students learn a few Spanish words as they play!

tag(s): cinco de mayo (12), explorers (61), hispanic (18), spanish (108)

In the Classroom

Use the activities on this site as part of cultural heritage or explorer study in social studies or in conjunction with Latino literature selections in your reading classes. As you study communities and cultures with younger students, this site will give you a way to focus on an example. Use this site as part of your Cinco de Mayo celebration, as well. Many of the activities would work well as either whole class lessons on an interactive whiteboard or projector or small group "scavenger hunt" activities for upper grades on lab or laptop computers (make sure reading levels are appropriate if students must read on their own).
 This resource requires Adobe Flash.

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Read Kiddo Read - James Patterson

Grades
K to 12
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"Dedicated to making your kids readers for life" is the sub-heading to James Patterson's new site ReadKiddoRead. This well-known author has put together a loaded site full of...more
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"Dedicated to making your kids readers for life" is the sub-heading to James Patterson's new site ReadKiddoRead. This well-known author has put together a loaded site full of inspiration, book suggestions, author interviews, and more to inspire educators and parents to promote reading. The titles are divided by age (0-8, 6 & Up, 8+ & Up, or 10 & Up). Search by category (within age levels) such as Fantasy & Other Worlds, Real World Fiction, Action/Adventure/Mystery, and others.

Teachers who have reluctant readers at all ages will discover ample ways to help them find exciting books. Make sure you click on the Books for Boys link at the top of the page to find targeted, page-turning books with boy protagonists. The books at this site also include brief descriptions.

tag(s): book lists (128)

In the Classroom

Sign up for Patterson's newsletter (free) to keep updated on news from the youth literature world. This is definitely a site to save on your classroom favorites and also list on your class website. Provide this link for families to use to find summer reading resources.

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The Teachers' Corner - The Teachers' Corner

Grades
K to 12
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This is a great site to mine for quick lesson plans, ideas on thematic units, or simply daily writing prompts. There are detailed lesson plans available for math, arts and ...more
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This is a great site to mine for quick lesson plans, ideas on thematic units, or simply daily writing prompts. There are detailed lesson plans available for math, arts and crafts, nutrition, health, music, math, reading, physical education, technology, writing, science, and social studies. Visit the Seasonal Items link to find even MORE resources related to Read Across America, 100th Day ideas, Daily seasonal writing prompts, and much more! Many of the links will take you to other sites, but the onsite printable worksheets and calendars make it worth a visit. Note: the site is laden with advertising, something TeachersFirst users may not appreciate! This site requires Adobe Acrobat. You can get it from the TeachersFirst Toolbox page.

tag(s): fractions (239), nutrition (154), parts of speech (68), phonics (75), speech (92), themes (12), writing (359)

In the Classroom

Although this site has a TON to explore, one of the best places on this site is the daily writing prompt section (find seasonal prompts at the Seasonal Items link). You can share them on your interactive whiteboard or projector with a picture and fact about the day and a question requiring a written answer. This is a great discussion starter or activating strategy with any grade level and it can already be posted when the kids enter the room or used as a prompt for blogging. Whatever subject area you teach, if you are looking for some new strategies to reach your students, check out this site.
 This resource requires PDF reader software like Adobe Acrobat.

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Search - Children's Book Council - Children's Book Council

Grades
1 to 12
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This great site offers a helpful set of resources for parents, teachers, and librarians. There are lists of newly published books, links to ordering and other book-related resources,...more
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This great site offers a helpful set of resources for parents, teachers, and librarians. There are lists of newly published books, links to ordering and other book-related resources, and a list of "not to be missed" titles and authors for various grade levels. The resources are updated regularly, so there's always something fresh to offer to students or other teachers.

In the Classroom

Be sure to include this site on your teacher web page for students and parents to access to learn more about recommended reading lists. Use the site as a starting point for crafting summer reading lists or to design a reading challenge for your class. *Link*

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Study Guides and Strategies - Joe Landsberger

Grades
K to 12
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If you haven't been to seminars, college classes, or professional development lately, you may feel a little rusty on innovative study guides and strategies that will enhance learning....more
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If you haven't been to seminars, college classes, or professional development lately, you may feel a little rusty on innovative study guides and strategies that will enhance learning. This site explains with clear language and no-frills web pages hundreds of ways to help our learners, from online test taking, memorizing, to managing stress and so much more. Another perk from this site is that it is available in over 20 different languages, so even limited English speakers can learn these helpful techniques. From this web link, you enter the "visitors center" where you grasp the impact this site has had on education. Millions of visitors benefit from its resources each year. Click on "index" at the top to access the page full of study guides and strategies options.

Each content area has successful resources that you can use.

Content areas include Preparing, Learning, Studying, Learning with Others, Online Learning/Communicating, Classroom Participation, Project Management, Research, Reading Skills, Preparing for Test, Science and Technology, Math, Resources, Vocabulary/Spelling, Writing Styles, Writing Basics, and Taking Tests. There are over 100 individual topics to explore: Time Management, Avoiding Procrastination, Learning with ADHD, Effective Study Habits, Peer Mediation, Problem Based Learning, Netiquette, Public Speaking, Citing Websites, SQ3R, KWL, Overcoming Test Anxiety, Ten Tips for Terrific Test Taking, Prefixes and Root Words, Seven Stages of Writing, and countless others!

There are some basic advertisements at this site. Flash and Acrobat Reader are needed for some of the links and can be obtained here: TeachersFirst Toolbox page.

tag(s): graphic organizers (43), organizational skills (122), spelling (168), stress (14), time (144), vocabulary (324)

In the Classroom

This site is one to save in your favorites! There is so much here, it is hard to know where to begin. The language offerings provide opportunities for ESL and ELL students to learn study skills in their native language. This site could also be used in world languages classes.

Why not highlight a "study skill" each week using your interactive whiteboard or projector. Then have students TRY it. Most of the topics provide interactive learning or another assignment to help students practice the skill. Have students work individually or with a partner to explore the "topic of the week." These life skills are so necessary, but hard to fit into the already crammed curriculum. This site does a nice job of integrating the study skills with curriculum content. Have students create their own multimedia projects about study skills using a current unit of study from your class.
  This resource requires Adobe Flash and PDF reader software like Adobe Acrobat.

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ELT Portal: Movies - Robet Palmer

Grades
5 to 12
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This site features interactive ESL and ELL lessons to go with popular movies and TV commercials. The activity formats include matching and cloze passages. The lessons are divided by...more
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This site features interactive ESL and ELL lessons to go with popular movies and TV commercials. The activity formats include matching and cloze passages. The lessons are divided by "Easier," "More Challenging," or "Most Challenging." Two types of lessons include vocabulary previews and "fill-in-the-blank cloze" of the movie dialog which appears while the movie or TV clip is playing. The site is growing, with more commercials and films appearing regularly.

There is also a supplementary section in WORD which contains discussion questions for the movies. Some of the clips require QuickTime and/or Flash. You can get both from the TeachersFirst Toolbox page.

tag(s): vocabulary (324)

In the Classroom

Share this site (and the activities) on your interactive whiteboard or projector. Print the list of vocabulary words and have students keep the list with them at their seats while they view the video (or listen to the audio). ESL and ELL students will benefit from the ability to re-watch the video clips and hear the dialog several times. Learning support students will also benefit from the comprehension check and vocabulary development. Although all material appeared appropriate, you may want to preview any video or audio you plan to share, to avoid any "surprises."
 This resource requires Adobe Flash.

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Jeopardy Labs - Matt Johnson

Grades
K to 12
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Looking to make a great jeopardy game with no fees, registration, or powerpoint slides involved? Now you can with Jeopardy Labs! Create your own Jeopardy game or browse the already...more
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Looking to make a great jeopardy game with no fees, registration, or powerpoint slides involved? Now you can with Jeopardy Labs! Create your own Jeopardy game or browse the already created jeopardy games! Be aware: there are over 6,000 Jeopardy Templates ready to use in the classroom, beginning at kindergarten! You may notice that some of the already created Jeopardy Templates are not in "question" format. The topics include nearly everything one can imagine: European Settlement, South America, various books, specific math topics, media, aircraft, and many, MANY more.

Note that all jeopardy templates created become part of the domain and can be used by others.

tag(s): grammar (216), keyboarding (38), literature (275), meiosis (15)

In the Classroom

Use any already-created game as a quick assessment of prior knowledge or review on projector or interactive whiteboard.

To prevent others from editing your template you create a password when you start. Others will be unable to edit your created game without your password. After creating your password, you are taken to the familiar blue jeopardy screen. Here, enter the title at the top and the topics at the top of the columns. Click on a dollar amount under each topic to enter the clue and the What is... question in a pop-up box. Click done to enter the information. The dollar value square becomes blank to let you know it was completed. When done, click "Save." Click on Browse to view random template titles or enter a term into the search bar. On the "Build" page, follow the quick instructions and even browse tips for editing. When done, an internet link will be given for your Jeopardy game. Put this link in any website, blog, or wiki for students to click on and review information for study.

Use this as an introductory activity to uncover misconceptions. For example, prior to a unit on viruses, create a jeopardy game about myths and truths about viruses. Share the Jeopardy activities on an interactive whiteboard or projector. Use these as a starting point for understanding concepts in the unit. Create review games for students to learn and remember content. After making one game together as a class, allow students to make their own games to challenge each other on segments of the material. This not only provides students with material to review, but the creation of a game takes thought and understanding of the material. Be sure that students understand how to create such a game and how to choose parts carefully. Check student games prior to saving. Maintain a page of Jeopardy links for review of a wide range of curricular topics.

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Persuasion Quest - D. Ray

Grades
6 to 9
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This is a very simple WebQuest designed to teach the power of propaganda. It uses commercial websites such as Kellogg's and the Baltimore Orioles to teach students how to distinguish...more
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This is a very simple WebQuest designed to teach the power of propaganda. It uses commercial websites such as Kellogg's and the Baltimore Orioles to teach students how to distinguish fact from opinion. The ultimate project is to take a stand on Internet use and its value in schools. Standards are included. Some of sites used for the research require Flash. You can get it from the TeachersFirst Toolbox page.

tag(s): propaganda (12)

In the Classroom

Because this is a plain vanilla site, it is easy for younger students to use. It is straightforward in both design and conclusion. You can expand this by adding other commercials sites after teaching and discussing propaganda techniques. You might have students create advertisements based on those they see and have others refute or improve those created advertisements. Have students video their commercials and share the videos on a tool such as SchoolTube (reviewed here), then allow others to comment and refute the techniques.
 This resource requires Adobe Flash.

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Befuddlr - Erik Kastner and Amy Hoy

Grades
K to 12
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Add some fun to your pictures by making them into puzzles using this free site. This easy-to-use, free site offers choices of Flickr picture groups to choose from, such as ...more
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Add some fun to your pictures by making them into puzzles using this free site. This easy-to-use, free site offers choices of Flickr picture groups to choose from, such as "Patterns," "Hello kitty," "Water drops," and many others. Choose a picture you wish to "befuddlr." Pieces of the original picture are moved around in a new order. Continue to choose a different combination, change the lines that divide segments of the picture, and even drag a button to your toolbar to "befuddlr" any picture. Once done, use the snapshot function of your computer to take a picture. In Mac, use apple-shift-four to take a snapshot. In PC, use the print screen (Prt Sc key) function to "copy" the picture and then paste it into a document or elsewhere. You are able to submit your own photos to the site (found on Flickr, of course). Learn more about flickr, a photo storage and sharing site, in the TeachersFirst review here.

tag(s): images (266), puzzles (208)

In the Classroom

To use the pictures provided, simply chose a "group" title, such as water drops, and click to befuddlr it. If you wish to befuddlr your own pictures, you must first upload them to Flickr, so you will need to learn that simple tool. Be sure to TAG your pictures so you can FIND them again! No membership or saving are available on befuddlr. Its is an on-the-spot tool. Be sure to use your own images or copyright free images and images that are available to be built upon. If students click to choose other pictures from Flickr, they could encounter ANYTHING that someone has uploaded, so be sure to guide them to the pictures you want them to use and have a stated policy and consequence for those who wander off into inappropriate places. Flickr does have anti-porn policies, but girls in bikinis, for example, are still available! Use snapshots of animals, numbers, letters, or other pictures and have students scramble the pieces. Befuddlr a picture on your interactive whiteboard to start a language lesson! Students can create their own and provide hints using a variety of constraints such as no more than 5 words, a poem, using adjectives only, etc. in order to help those guessing the original picture. In Art, create new patterns for analysis. Use befuddled pictures to practice new vocabulary for young ones or for ESL and world language students. Accompany student poetry with befuddled pictures
 
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Vocaroo - Vocaroo

Grades
K to 12
10 Favorites 0  Comments
  
Record a message and embed it into your favorite site or provide a link to share for free. Send to a friend by entering your email and the email of ...more
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Record a message and embed it into your favorite site or provide a link to share for free. Send to a friend by entering your email and the email of the recipient. Recording the message is easy and embedding into a site such as a wiki or blog has never been simpler! No login or registration is needed. Although, if you choose to send a message via email, you must choose a password to use at the site. Vocaroos are stored on their server. Created messages can also be downloaded to individual computers. Visit their FAQ's for frequent questions and responses.

tag(s): speech (92)

In the Classroom

You need to be able to navigate controls on the website and sound levels on your computer. Copy/pasting embed codes is also a necessary skill for insertion in a website. Email the sound clip very easily.

Future saving of Vocaroos is unsure depending upon server space. Before using with students, you may wish to obtain permission from administration and/or parents. Be sure to check your school's acceptable use policy. Students should be made aware of acceptable use and consequences of misuse of the service.

Record snippets of information as reminders on your class website or instructions for students to follow. This is terrific for learning support students or non-readers! Have students describe aspects of classroom learning experiences to share with others, such as what they learned from a science experiment or found out about life in Colonial America. Record a quick message for an absentee and email the link to him/her explaining how to catch up on missing work. Create tutorial pieces that students can use as study aids (or have them create them for each other). Use this site in world language classes or for ELL students: have students record and listen to their own pronunciation or send short messages to each other to translate. Have students use this site to practice speeches before the presentation to hear their speed, tone, and words. Use this site for research presentations, instructions for a substitute, or many other possibilities. With younger students, read a short story on Vocaroo, and have student follow along using a picture book. Or have the students read their own stories into Vocaroo and email the readings to their parents! For Mothers Day, why not have students record messages for mom or grandma? Another idea: create a class wiki where parents can "find" the entire selection of Vocaroos for Mother's Day (or another holiday). Record Vocaroos of each student talking about the importance of Moms for Mother's Day or how grateful they are for certain things at Thanksgiving. Embed them all in a class wiki to share with parents. Just email the URL for the collection.

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Thanksgiving Day Vocabulary - Myvocabulary.com

Grades
3 to 8
1 Favorites 0  Comments
 
As part of their extensive site for vocabulary, roots, and more, MyVocabulary.com has added a themed area for Thanksgiving. Find interactive vocabulary activities using Thanksgiving...more
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As part of their extensive site for vocabulary, roots, and more, MyVocabulary.com has added a themed area for Thanksgiving. Find interactive vocabulary activities using Thanksgiving vocabulary words. You will also find printable crosswords, fill in the blanks and more, all using the same theme words. This and other "themes" available on the site will make vocabulary development fun.

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

In the Classroom

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

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Candlelight Stories - Candlelight Stories, Incorporated

Grades
2 to 8
0 Favorites 0  Comments
  
This site offers online children's stories (text, audio, and video). Unfortunately, some oral versions of the stories are not part of the free offerings of the site. Scroll down the...more
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This site offers online children's stories (text, audio, and video). Unfortunately, some oral versions of the stories are not part of the free offerings of the site. Scroll down the home page and find many free oral tales. . Students can view the entire site in a variety of languages including French, German, Italian, Portuguese, Spanish, Japanese, Korean, and Chinese. When the site is in a language other than English, students can mouse over the text to see the English version. The home page also contains "games," which are educational. Be aware: some of the activities (games) are listed for ages 13+ due to their violent nature. This is probably not a site that you want students to explore unsupervised. You can, however, allow students -even young ones--to work on their own within the "Free Sound Stories" area of the site. These traditional tales are offered as downloadable podcasts or can be played right at your computer for listening activities. This site requires Flash. Get it from the TeachersFirst Toolbox page.

tag(s): listening (91), movies (65)

In the Classroom

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

Grades
K to 12
9 Favorites 0  Comments
  
The title says it all: "Inspired Picture Writing!" Use this free drag and drop literacy tool to create great sentences inspired by beautiful pictures. Or add inspirational or humorous...more
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The title says it all: "Inspired Picture Writing!" Use this free drag and drop literacy tool to create great sentences inspired by beautiful pictures. Or add inspirational or humorous captions to pictures.

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

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

tag(s): creative writing (166), digital storytelling (144), images (266), sentences (52)

In the Classroom

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

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

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

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

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