Grades4 to 12
In the ClassroomClick on the links to read about how your students can create a Threaded Adventure. The author of the Threaded Adventure suggests the use of a wiki to have your students create their very own "Choose Your Own Adventure" because wikis are easy of use for the students. If you are unfamiliar with wikis, see TeachersFirst's Wiki Walk-Through. Wikis can be private or public. Just be sure you have parent permission to publish student work online. If you use wikispaces, your students will not have to have an email account to join your wiki.
Have your students choose a favorite short story or picture book your class has already read. Use your interactive whiteboard or projector to reread the story stopping and asking students what direction the story could take if the author hadn't finished the story, or suggest some "what ifs" yourself. Use Gliffy, an online graphic organizer reviewed here, to brainstorm with your class all the different paths the story could take. Once you and the class have decided on several different paths, go to your wiki and demonstrate how to create the "Threaded Adventure" using links to different pages. When your students understand the procedure, have small groups finish writing up the Threaded Adventure themselves. Once they've completed the class Threaded Adventure, they can use a story of their own to repeat the process.
For older students, you may want to go through the process above, and then have them put their story, or parts of their story, on MixedInk reviewed here to get ideas for story branches from their classmates. They could then use Gliffy reviewed here to organize the paths of their story. Once they've made final decisions about the different directions their story will take, they would then publish it on the wiki.
GradesK to 8
In the ClassroomHave pairs of students create a story by working collaboratively after you have explained and demonstrated the basics. Encourage your older students to use this tool for projects created in response to research or extra study. This is a great find for gifted students who want to include art work and use their creativity in productive ways. ESL/ELL students can use the site to recreate folk tales and recreations from their home countries.
Grades1 to 12
Beware: if you are having students use this site, "inappropriate" words will not be filtered, and anything typed is pronounced. So be sure students are aware of guidelines and consequences.
In the ClassroomPrimary or special ed reading teachers may want to use this site for students to practice reading fluency "side by side" with the online avatar. World language teachers and teachers of limited English speakers will love this website as reinforcement for language learning. Students can listen as they read. They can also practice their pronunciation and compare it with any selected avatar. Use the oral readings on an interactive whiteboard or projector (with speakers turned up) for class dictations and discussion starters. Preview the vocabulary words in any file or website by selecting the read/edit option before students listen to it. Check school policies regarding individual student accounts on web sites. Here are some tips on managing student memberships that require email.
GradesK to 12
In the ClassroomMark this one in your professional favorites AND share it on a class web page for access by students and parents. The helpful reviews suggest ideas for ways to use the books in the classroom or outside of school to reinforce literacy skills, improve English skills, or study literature in new ways.
GradesK to 12
tag(s): audio books (32)
In the ClassroomMark this one in your professional favorites AND share it on a class web page for access by students and parents. The helpful reviews suggest ideas for ways to use the audio books in the classroom or outside of school to reinforce literacy skills, improve English skills, or study literature in new ways.
Grades5 to 12
tag(s): writing (359)
In the ClassroomHave a contest and challenge your students to submit the best 6-word story after finishing a novel, play, or poem. Try creating some together on interactive whiteboard, brainstorming first to generate possible words from which to choose, then dragging to rearrange them into a meaningful story. Make a six word story "sidebar" at the side of your class where students can work together with a partner on the IWB to generate new stories as summaries for an act of a Shakespeare play or in response to a sonnet. In a journalism class, try this for a twist on headline writing. Introduce poetry writing by having your students try their hand at expressing an emotional experience in just 6 words. ESL/ELL students often create unusual combinations in writing; why not have them display their creativity here in an acceptable form? Share this site with world language teachers also.
Grades2 to 12
tag(s): flash cards (46)
In the ClassroomJoining as a teacher you will get all the perks for free. You can create your own personalized lists and focus only on words your class needs to work on.
Change the way students learn and study vocabulary by giving it to them the way they want it with interactive flashcards and self assessment quizzes. Demonstrate with the whole class on the interactive whiteboard or projector, and use it that way periodically whenever you have a few teachable moments to fill. Embed it on your class web page for students to access frequently.
Facts, spelling words, vocabulary, definitions, foreign language, root words, historical names, all can easily be typed into this flashcard format for any subject. Plan a system of tags for sets on related material so they can be grouped. For example: tag all geography terms "geography" and all words from the same science chapter using the chapter number or topic. In the computer lab, using a projector or interactive whiteboard, walk your students through making their own sets of flashcards or use teacher created flashcards for student and group use. Students or parents can then access their electronic cards at home or anywhere. Learning support teachers may want to work together with small student groups to create verbal and visual card sets to accompany the chapters they are studying. Involve the students in the process so they can reinforce new content as they create their own "study materials."
Grades5 to 12
In the ClassroomShare the photos on your interactive whiteboard or projector. Use the series of steps on this activity to teach students the skills of observation, deduction, and drawing intelligent conclusions. Have students do this activity in pairs in a computer lab. The steps are available to use on paper or printable in pdf format, so students can select their own mystery photos and create a similar activity away from the computer. ESL/ELL students can benefit from using the steps in this process. Images will help them understand material better, and they can also create their own presentations. Have students bring and exchange mystery photos; see if the conclusions they draw match the family stories the photo owners have. Science teachers can use this photo activity to teach about scientific method and, in particular, making observations. Start with the offerings on this site, then try it with more "scientific" images.
Grades4 to 12
In the ClassroomShare this site on your interactive whiteboard or projector as practice or review of current math topics. Provide a link to games on classroom computers for student practice. Spanish teachers may want students to complete a lesson in Spanish to provide real-world language practice. Share this site with parents through your classroom website or blog to provide review materials at home.
GradesK to 12
tag(s): safety (92)
In the ClassroomHow often do you find great clips and video shorts from YouTube and you can't show them or are afraid to show them even if you can get them through the school filter? Try using this to show clips or long videos from to your class via the interactive whiteboard or projector. There are some great, clean "Bill Nye" video portions that can be found and shared using this site for science class.
GradesK to 7
In the ClassroomThis is a great visual tool to use. Take a poll and have your students type their answers into the word cloud builder. Then display on an interactive whiteboard or projector and see which answer was the most popular. Use this site as a way to help students see and memorize text, especially visual learners. Use it also when writing poetry or to "see" themes 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. 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.
Grades2 to 12
In the ClassroomIf you plan to have students create their own web pages, under your account, no email is needed for them, and they will have a special log in page. You will have to enter each student's name, username and a password. What's nice about Weebly is they will print out a list for you to give to students with their log in information. Though you can make your site private, you want to be sure not to use student's real names. Use a code or acronym. Suggestion: You can use the first two letters of the students last name, the first three letters of their first name, and if you have multiple classes, have them put the class period or code after the last letter. This works well if you're going to be grading web pages, since most grade books are in alphabetical order by last name.
Possible uses are only limited by your imagination! Create your own Weebly website for parents and students where they can stay updated about what is happening in your classroom, where students can submit their assignments, contact information, and anything else you might want to put on your website. You can add up to 40 students on one free website, so students can use their pages for projects and assignments. There is a free blogging tool that you may want your students to use for writing assignments, reflection, or reading journals, just to name a few ideas. You can have everything you need on one Weebly website! Find more specific blog ideas in TeachersFirst's Blogging Basics ideas.
Try using Weebly for: "visual essays;" digital biodiversity logs (with digital pictures students take); online literary magazines; personal reflections in images and text; research project presentations; comparisons of online content, such as political candidates' sites or content sites used in research (compared for bias); science sites documenting experiments or illustrating concepts, such as the water cycle; "Visual" lab reports; Digital scrapbooks using images from the public domain and video and audio clips from a time in history -- such as the Roaring Twenties; Local history interactive stories; Visual interpretations of major concepts, such as a "visual" U.S. Constitution. Imagine building your own online library of raw materials for your students to create their own "web pages" as a new way of assessing understanding: you provide the digital pictures, and they sequence, caption, and write about them (younger students) or you provide the steps in a project as a template, and they insert the actual content of their own.
After a first project where you provide "building blocks," the sky is the limit on what they can do. Even the very young can make suggestions as you "create" a whole-class product together using an interactive whiteboard or projector. Consider making a new project for each unit you teach so students can "recap" long after the unit ends.
Parent permission advised before posting student work created using this tool
Includes social features, such as "friends," comments, ratings by others
Requires registration/log-in (WITH email)
Products can be embedded
Products can be shared by URL
Multiple users can collaborate on the same project
Includes teacher tools for registering and/or monitoring students
Grades7 to 12
Be aware: this site has several advertisements, some pop-up.
In the ClassroomJust try to take the dictionaries away from your students when you project a Vocab-u-lous activity sheet on your whiteboard (or projector) or hand them the printable version of the worksheet. These are useful for SAT preparation and other tests that assess vocabulary, as well as building a strong vocabulary necessary for better reading comprehension and oral and written communication. When using this activity with a class set of computers, provide a link from your class web page to a reputable online dictionary. For additional practice, provide this link on your class website for students to access at home.
Grades2 to 12
tag(s): songs (52)
In the ClassroomCreate a classroom signup for students to use under your supervision. An email address is required for registration. You could create a class registration. 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. Project this site on your interactive whiteboard or projector during music class. ESL/ELL students may benefit from being able to use language in song. Use the singing as an opportunity to look at song lyrics as a form of poetry. Use in world language classes or in primary grades (some song classics for kids!) and for ESL/ELL.
Grades3 to 8
In the ClassroomThere are so many ways to use this site! After introducing a feature from this site on your interactive whiteboard or projector, set up a learning station with a computer ready to play one of the phonics games for younger students. Older students can watch a video about how to draw cartoons; there are several from which to pick! Ask your older students to read through the very creative and thorough tutorial for Comics Lab Extreme, and then form small groups of students to create a story of an historic person, an advertisement for a curriculum topic being studied, or demonstrate the meaning of a word using Comics Lab Extreme. Don't miss the many other comic-creation tools from the TeachersFirst collectionfound here.
Grades4 to 12
This site includes advertising.
In the ClassroomAny student would appreciate having an online time management account, but learning support students and disorganized gifted students need one. You may want to model using this online tool to help middle and high school students learn better personal organization. Share this site on your interactive whiteboard or projector the first week of school to help students set-up their own accounts. Parents may appreciate learning about this site also. Use this site professionally to keep yourself organized! Make a demo account for a mythical student and organize his/hers together so students can see how it works.
What a fabulous organizational tool for teachers and students!Melissa, , Grades: 0 - 5
Grades3 to 12
Be aware: some of the ideas suggested in the "Tools" section do require the purchase of various software programs. The free audio stories in the "Storykeepers' Gallery" make this a fabulous site!
In the ClassroomUse your projector to show your students the categories for the different types of digital stories. Each type of story has a description. Once you,'''''''?,"''''''?ve shown your students the stories, have them choose a category and create their own digital story. Many of the tools and programs students will need to learn can be found at (this site) which explains how these programs work. You may want to use Fliggo (reviewed here) to post student's digital stories to the web.
GradesK to 12
In the ClassroomTeachers, plan professional development using the free videos and resources from the site. Share the web link on your school's webpage for parents to access. In addition, encourage your PTO/PTA to host an Autism Speaks evening for all interested parents. If you are dealing with an autistic child in your own classroom and feel ill-prepared or uncertain of the best strategies to use, the explanations and ideas on this site will definitely help.
Grades5 to 10
In the ClassroomHow many times have you provided students with directions for writing an outstanding essay, story, or report, and how many times have you provided them with advice to use a writing process approach that includes a checklist for proofreading and revising? Too often they either do not know how to revise, or they simply choose to skip that step. Project this website on your interactive whiteboard or projector to focus on how to write an outstanding piece, whether it is to compare/contrast, to describe, to explain, or another type of written assignment. Have student partners ask each other the questions as they revise together in a writing conference. This site is especially useful when preparing for the writing portion of high stakes assessments. You will find this site helpful before, during, after, or as a review of the writing expectations. Share the link on your class web page for students to apply the revising tips to their own drafts. They'll have no more excuses for handing in an assignment that doesn't have a strong introduction, body paragraphs with specific supporting evidence, and a conclusion that restates the main idea and leaves the reader with something meaningful.
GradesK to 8
tag(s): classroom management (135)