Grades2 to 12
This site also features writing prompts. To find the writing prompts, click to Enter The Site and then scroll to the bottom of the page. The link for Writer Prompts can be found on the bottom right side of the site. The Writer Prompts link will lead you to the creator's blog, with many writing prompts (with new prompts added often). This site requires Flash. Get it from the TeachersFirst Toolbox page.
In the ClassroomThis one is ideal for an interactive whiteboard or projector. Demonstrate the tool on the whiteboard or projector and allow the class to create a strip together before you share the link on your teacher web page. Have students create strips as a quiz or other assignment and email the links to you. No more papers to carry around and grade! Build a collection of comics on different curriculum topics to use as anticipatory sets/activators or to spark discussion. Have younger students make comic strip greeting cards for Mother's Day. The possibilities are endless.
The site creators tell us that Makebeliefscomix accepts accent marks and characters from Spanish, French, Italian, German, Latin, Portuguese, in addition to English, they hope soon to add Chinese and Japanese.
Use the writing prompts to excite reluctant writers. Visit often, as new prompts are added weekly.
GradesK to 12
In the ClassroomIf you have students with autism, ask for some time to review this set of strategies during your next inservice day and brainstorm with other teachers for ways your school building can incorporate some of these more systematically, especially since recent reports have shown drastic increases in autism spectrum disorders in our schools. Resource teachers will want to share this page with the other adults in their building as an "FYI." Why not provide the link on your class or school website?
GradesK to 12
In the ClassroomUse this site to learn the basics about autism. No classroom teacher can be expected to be an expert on autism, but this site may help you understand some of what you see and some of the more recent information about autism, especially since few teachers receive much training about this in their teacher-ed programs. If you have students in your classes with autism, ask your principal if you can spend part of an inservice day reading and exploring this and other TeachersFirst resources listings on autism. This independent study may save your sanity and benefit students who really need our understanding. This is a great resource to provide to parents!
GradesK to 12
In the ClassroomUse this free website (and the many tips) to help your autistic students succeed, whether you are in a regular classroom or special ed. Share this link in your class newsletter and on your class website. Be sure to provide this link to any colleagues helping autistic students in and out of the classroom.
GradesK to 12
tag(s): autism (20)
In the ClassroomBe sure to list this link on your class website. The interactive would be ideal for an in-service (or independent) exploration.
GradesK to 12
In the ClassroomLook under "Resources" for Recommended Reading. The "Education and Service Providers" section offers a great starting point for teachers! These downloadable files can be read only or printed out to share with concerned parties. Share this link on your class website, for parents to easily find and investigate.
GradesK to 12
tag(s): speech (92)
In the ClassroomYou 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.
Grades3 to 12
In the ClassroomCheck school policies concerning both student memberships and interaction with outsiders. You will want a written set of rules which both students and parents agree to before allowing students to navigate on their own in the portions of the site that use video chat with outsiders. Younger students (under 13) should use a teacher or class account, rather than an individual one, to avoid conflict with COPPA (child online protection act in the U.S.).
Make this site available from your class web page or as a favorite on local machines for ESL, ELL, and world language students to use to reinforce their survival and vocabulary skills. World cultures classes might even want to "taste" a bit of a language as they learn about other countries. French, German, and Spanish language students will enjoy the opportunity to "chat" with native speakers in their target study languages. (Be sure you have parent permission for students to interact with outsiders!). You will need headphones or speakers for the audio portions of this site. This site is excellent for enrichment or personal learning. Include it on your teacher web page for students to access both in and out of class.
Grades4 to 12
The Root Word Lesson Plans offer three difficulty levels, a prefix study, interactive puzzles focused on Greek and Latin roots. There are fill in the blanks, crosswords, true-false, word finds, and more.
The Word Lists are extensive and include nearly every topic one can imagine: Shakespeare, Legal Terms, Stock Market, ESL, Photography, Dance, Patriotism, Debate, Women in History, Psychology, Mythology, Kwanzaa, and MANY other topics.
The Thematic Puzzles include printable pages, interactive definition match games, and over fifty topics.
If you have students preparing for the SATs or ACTs, don't miss the Test Prep section with over 200 vocabulary words.
In the ClassroomSearch the site for topics that you are teaching or that are timely, such as holidays. Share the puzzles on an interactive whiteboard or projector. Have students research various vocabulary words (provided with each topic). Have students create a multi-media project about their vocabulary words: wiki, blog, or PowerPoint. Be sure to take advantage of the free lesson plan ideas, discussion topics, and printable puzzles. As an ongoing vocabulary project, have student create interactive "word books" using Bookemon (reviewed here).
GradesK to 12
Although the site contains the option to buy the TV segments and booklets, the materials are available for free on the website. The site also includes a complete broadcast schedule from Georgia Public Broadcasting.
tag(s): spanish (108)
In the ClassroomUse these episodes as a supplement to regular Spanish language classes or as enrichment for elementary classes wishing to learn a language. Encourage your Spanish speaking class members to assist with pronunciation, episode summaries, songs, etc. Provide this link on your class website for students to use both in and out of the classroom; both the activities and stories help with Spanish language comprehension. Share the stories on your interactive whiteboard or projector as a model for world language stuedents, then challenge students create their own stories (on video, of course). Use a tool like Stupeflix, reviewed here, and share them on a site such as TeacherTube, reviewed here.
Grades2 to 8
In the ClassroomShare 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!
GradesK to 2
In the ClassroomIf you are teaching any of the nine concepts that are highlighted at this site, be sure to take a look. Share HOW to do the activities on an interactive whiteboard or projector, and then allow students to explore on their own. Use the ready-to-go lesson plans, worksheet pages for homework practice, and interactives as learning stations or centers. Use this site with emergent readers, special education students, or your ESL and ELL students. List this link on your class website for students to use to practice at home.
GradesK to 1
In the ClassroomIf you are a pre-school or Kindergarten teacher, you'll want to pass this along to your parents through a direct link on your blog or homepage. Special ed teachers who work with developmental delays will also love this resource.
Be sure to take advantage of the free resources: book reviews, alphabet activities, crafts, and more. Share the seasonal songs with your class on an interactive whiteboard or projector (turn up the speakers!).
Grades1 to 12
In the ClassroomUse this site to learn more about graphic organizers. Why not have your students create an online Venn diagram about a current science topic or literature unit? Use a tool such as bubbl.us(explained here).
This is an excellent resource for teachers of any elementary grade level. There are endless examples of graphic organizers that students can utilize in order to help them organize or present information. I have had a lot of experience with Inspriation, which is one of the graphic organizer programs mentioned in this resource. This program is easy to use and manipulate. Students can typically learn the basics in one session (50 minutes). I use this program often to teach reading concepts, such as main idea, comparing & contrasting, or character development. You could also use the program to show life cycles or concept development for mathematics. The great thing is that you can either create a template, where students merely insert information or students can create their own organizers depending on their levels of experience. Great resource!, , Grades: 0 - 5
GradesK to 12
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.
In the ClassroomUsers 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.
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 (NO email)
Products can be embedded
Products can be shared by URL
Multiple users can collaborate on the same project
Grades3 to 12
tag(s): images (275)
In the ClassroomScience teachers will love this site. Most of the 15 categories revolve around science terminology that benefit from images. ESL and learning support students who have difficulty with verbal definitions will also find this resource helpful. Speech and Language teachers can use the Clothing and Articles categories to build student vocabulary. Use your whiteboard alongside your science text to clarify terms. Encourage students to study for tests by perusing this site.
GradesK to 8
Be aware: recently, this site started to offer certain features of the Teacher's Lounge to "members only." Membership is FREE, but does require an email address. The link for students does NOT require membership to access the interactives, information, or printables. This site requires Flash. You can get it from the TeachersFirst Toolbox page.
In the ClassroomThere is SO much to look at and explore, so browse through the offerings, create a plan for your students based on their age and ability level, then mark the site as a favorite on classroom computers. Upper elementary students can use it as an independent learning center. Younger children may need help with some of the text, so consider using an interactive whiteboard or projector and exploring the activities as a class. Click on "Downloads" on the bottom left to find printables, including coloring sheets of Canadian wildlife and various ecology-related worksheets and lesson plans. Click on the 'games and activities' tab and use the interactive whiteboard or projector for whole class eco-minded fun. ESL and ELL teachers, don't miss the 'teacher' section for a cache of activities written for your ELL/ESL students. Interested students will use this one for hours, so some directions will be important for classroom use.
Grades4 to 10
In the ClassroomThis historical census data is ideal for comparison with other, more recent years or for students to make predictions for an upcoming census based on past trends. Use this page when studying various states; students can make a quick comparison between targeted states with the facts ready to read all on one or two pages. If you teach data analysis and graphing in your math class, this data provides real world information for students to use in math exercises, spreadsheets, and graphs. You could even use it in Google Docs spreadsheets (reviewed here). If you have ESL and ELL students, check out the special ESL pages found under the teaching materials section. The easy to read materials include glossaries, exercises, and excellent maps, perfect for geography lessons.
Grades2 to 12
Be Aware: You can't easily print your puzzle into a sleek format without all the website clutter. This site does require Flash. You can get it from the TeachersFirst Toolbox page.
In the ClassroomLet your imagination run wild. Spelling words, content vocabulary words, or holiday words are obvious uses of this tool. Link puzzles to your teacher's site, or your school's site. Have students create puzzles to exchange with classmates. Create a crossword puzzle booklet to be given to loved ones (especially aging loved ones) as a holiday gift.
GradesK to 12
Teachers who desire professional development and fresh ideas will want to include this site in their repertoire.