Grades1 to 12
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In the ClassroomIf your students have never tried to make a Blabber, share the introduction blab on the home page (click the Blabberize logo to get there) on a projector or interactive whiteboard. Browse a few examples first to get ideas on how to make a mouth on your photo to move and "talk." Be sure to turn up your sound! Have a student demonstrate uploading an image from a safe and legal source. You may want to use a single, whole-class account you create with your "extra" email account. Be sure to spell out consequences of inappropriate use/content of blabs. Have students enter the site through the "Make" page link provided in this review to steer clear of the "latest" blabs. You may want your students to make their blabs "private" so they do not show on the public areas, depending on school policies.
Blab the homework directions on your teacher web page. Have your students use photos or digital drawings to "blab"! Have students draw in a paint program, save the file, and then make it "speak." Spice up research projects about historic figures or important scientists. Have literary characters tell about themselves. This tool is great for gifted students to go above and beyond the basics with an independent project. Create entire conversation sequences of blabs between people in world language or ESL/ELL classes (with students speaking in the language, of course), then embed them in a wiki. Have speech/language students make blabs to practice articulation and document progress over time. Promote oral reading fluency with student-read blabs. Create book "commercials." Have students blab what the author may have been thinking as he/she wrote a poem or literary selection or as an artist painted. Blab politicians' major platform planks during campaigns for current events. Blab the steps to math problem solving. Even primary students can make an animal blab about his habitat if you set up the blab as a center. Make visual vocabulary/terminology sentences with an appropriate character using the term in context (a beaker explaining how it is different from a flask?) Students could also take pictures of themselves doing a lab and then blab the pictures to explain the concepts. This would be a great first day project (introducing yourself and breaking the ice). Share the class blabs on your class web page or wiki! Give directions to your class (for when a substitute is there). Use at back to school night to grab parents' attention for important information.
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Grades1 to 12
In the ClassroomKeep this link handy among the resources on your class web page or wiki, and be sure to bring it up on your screen or interactive whiteboard to remind students of the rich tools it offers as you teach grammar, revision, poetry, essay-writing, or even letter and resume writing. With primary grades, share the rhyming words to help teach spelling and phonics! As students share in revising a passage or writing a poem on the interactive whiteboard, have this thesaurus available on another window to model their search for just the right word. Encourage students to look up any new vocabulary or terminology at the start of new science or social studies units so they can gain a broader "sense" of the words themselves through a constellation of synonyms and related words. Help students refine vocabulary by having them rank the various synonyms offered for a certain word, deciding which has the most positive or negative connotations. Offer the writing prompts for student journal or blog posts or creative stories. ESL/ELL students can explore new words with this tool, even practicing the rhyming sounds and noticing their varied spellings. Check out the Big Huge Labs educator account. Easily pre-register students to avoid creating logins, view and download their creations, and view the site advertisement free. You will find information about the Educator Account here.
NOTE: If students enter an inappropriate word, they WILL find classroom-inappropriate terms. As with use of any reference, your students need to know your classroom's consequences of such activity. The options are no different from students looking up body parts or pornographic terms in a print dictionary or on Google.
GradesK to 7
In the ClassroomCreate student groups to work on various games for speed and accuracy. Strengthen your students' ability to use and understand math concepts with the vast variety of activities and skills on this site. These games would be exceptional on a projector or interactive whiteboard for class team activity. List this site on your class website for students to use both in and out of the classroom.
GradesK to 8
In the ClassroomAlthough intended for students with special needs, this site would also be helpful for teaching basic English vocabulary (emotions, facial expressions, positions), for safety lessons during bus safety week, and for ESL/ELL learners. The many printables in the free areas will also help you teach basics of any primary classroom. Speech/Language teachers, emotional support teachers, and autistic support teachers will appreciate the many ways to share emotion words, including an interactive facial expression tool and the emotions color wheel. Many activities are well-suited for interactive whiteboard with the student navigating using his/her finger or touch tool. Others would make ideal learning centers at a classroom computer with headphones. Share this site with parents, as well, via a link on your class web page, since many of the activities bear repeating over and over.
Grades5 to 12
Registration does require an email address. Tip: rather than using your personal or work email, create a free Gmail account to use for memberships. 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.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.
In the ClassroomRefer your ESL/ELL or speech articulation students to this site to use with a microphone to record their voices. Be sure to show them the demo so they can learn how to use the tools on the site and click to "allow" the mike to record. Help weaker readers by allowing them to see the text of film clips as they listen along, then speak the words back. As they practice English pronunciation, they will also be learning about current events and other topics. Save this site in your favorites on your classroom computer. List this site on your class webpage for students to access (and practice) both in and out of the classroom. Check you school policies before setting up any student accounts with identifiable information or real email addresses.
Grades2 to 10
In the ClassroomUse parts of this site when doing units on prejudice, diversity, and discrimination. Refer students to do research in some of the books listed here on those subjects. Have students interview people from other cultures to check the information given here on aspects of their cultures. Do they agree with what is said here? Even younger students will enjoy learning about flags and peace symbols. Make the craft links available for students doing reports on different countries or preparing for an International Day. Have students copy flags or other country symbols. Ask them to create their own "country" from these models. Challenge cooperative learning groups to research a specific topic at this site and prepare a podcast to share with the class using PodOmatic (reviewed here).
Grades3 to 12
In the ClassroomShare the relevant word searches on your interactive whiteboard or projector. Have cooperative learning groups practice spelling or vocabulary words by creating their own word search. List this site on your class website for students to use both in and out of the classroom. This is a great one for those word search lovers in your class. Why not have students use a whole-class account to make their own word searches to challenge each other with new vocabulary and terms?
Grades6 to 12
In the ClassroomPut this link on your class website for those ambitious ESL/ELL students desirous of more practice. Set up a point system for students to earn individual credit for their work. Make a handout about the blog and send it home with your students at the end of the school year for summer use. Check out the "Links for Teachers" section which offers suggestions about how to incorporate second language learning into your classroom using technology.
GradesK to 8
In the ClassroomThe site is so simple, you can utilize the entire pre-prepared curriculum and lesson plans or just add pieces of it to your current curriculum. Integrate the lessons into your language arts component as cross-curricular activities. The pre-K to 1st grade activities and curriculum are available in Spanish. Choose the Spanish version for ESL/ELL lessons or enrichment activities. The Spanish version would be a great supplement for secondary Spanish teachers. Have your science or health class create a Heart Health wiki or use Click2Map, reviewed here, to map out walking landmarks for your community.
Grades3 to 10
In the ClassroomBrainstorm situations that cause fear and identify how the brain processes this information. Explore the similarities of fear responses with the feelings when riding thrill rides. Identify as a class how people respond to fear and ways fear can help you. Creative writing students can explore different ways that people show fear so their writing can describe what fear LOOKS like instead of simply saying, "he was afraid." Why not include this site when studying Poe's tales of terror or as a curriculum-related activity during Halloween season? Check out the "Dealing with Fear" section to help students struggling with anxieties and worry. Emotional or autistic support teachers and school counselors may also find this site helpful in allowing students to understand their body's reactions to fear. Health and psychology classes can use this site to explore the physiology of fear.
Grades6 to 12
In the ClassroomBe sure to tell your students that they are NOT the "dummies" referred to in this site! Then go beyond the obvious use of this site as a reference to use it to teach informational writing, reading comprehension, or any curriculum content. Share text-based articles on a projector or interactive whiteboard and have students analyze the keywords and structure of sequential direction-writing or informational writing before they try it on their own. Use the pens and highlighters to note transitions and other ways of organizing directions, including formatting. Use articles to teach basic comprehension skills by copy/pasting sections and having students drag them into the correct sequence on the whiteboard to form logical directions. In science or social studies classes, have students view models on this site, then work in groups to write their own how-to wiki on curriculum topics such as "How to tell a fungus from a bacterium," "How to solve simultaneous equations," or "How to form a government." If you have access to video equipment, have students write scripts and produce video versions of their how-to instructions and post them on a site such as TeacherTube reviewed here.
GradesK to 12
In the ClassroomFind great question starters and projects for increasing critical thinking and creating higher order projects and activities. Use these question starters for writing assignments or larger projects in any content area to move beyond just knowledge. As you design project-based learning, be sure to visit this site to be sure you are putting the HOTS into student tasks!
Grades4 to 9
tag(s): idioms (45)
In the ClassroomSave this site in your favorites or make it available on your class web page for your students to use for review. After students have gone through the exercises here, encourage them to make their own idiom pages and exercises using this format as a model. Challenge cooperative learning groups to create online books including a variety of idioms. Use a tool such as Bookemon reviewed here.
Grades5 to 12
In the ClassroomThis site is ideal for your interactive whiteboard or projector, learning station, or on individual computers (with headsets). Use this site to keep your students up to date on current events. Have students compare the different versions of the same news stories to try and ferret out the facts and the way points of view affect reporting. Project the scripts on an interactive whiteboard to have students highlight language choices that provide a certain slant. ESL/ELL students will benefit from listening to the short news clips and being able to see the transcript of the report. Have your ESL/ELL students write their own comprehension questions and answers based on the podcast to check their own comprehension and to exchange with classmates. Use an online tool such as Interactive Two Circle Venn Diagram (reviewed here) to compare the differences in two newspapers' versions of the same news. Have ESL/ELL students present the news from a newspaper familiar to them if possible by having them prepare an introduction and questions. Learning support students can use the transcripts and videos in combination to understand and report weekly current events assignments for social studies class.
Grades3 to 12
Registration does require an email address. Tip: rather than using your personal or work email, create a free Gmail account to use for memberships. 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. This is explained here, and tells how to set up Gmail subaccounts to use for any online membership service. Using Gmail subaccounts will provide anonymous interaction within your class.
tag(s): countries (81)
In the ClassroomUse this site on a projector or interactive whiteboard to discuss and informally assess prior knowledge as you start your study of any country or culture. Another obvious use of this site is for any type of country research projects. This site allows students to explore their previous beliefs about cultures, in the "exploring your cultural baggage" section.This site is excellent for enrichment. Include it on your teacher web page for students to access both in and out of class. This site does include the ability for the general public to submit their own cultural information. Be sure to preview for content inappropriate for your classroom. You may want to limit use to whole-class activities or prohibit accessing the "add to the guide" portion of the site. ESL and ELL students will be proud to make reports to the class about their own countries using this site as backup and illustration. Share this site with language teachers who are taking students on trips beyond the U.S. or as a general resource for cultural information.
Grades1 to 12
In the ClassroomIf using a phone, understanding calling plans and additional charges is needed. You must know how to use embed codes to place audio files within your blog, wiki, or website. No login is required! Simply click the "Get Yours It's Free" button. Choose the method to create the audio and preview and edit the file. Enter your email address to receive a link to your file. Click on the link to grab widgets. Copy the code and place in your blog or website.
The tool does not show which work is attributable to which student. You may want to require that students mark their contributions in order to get credit. Consider using a class email account set up for this purpose. Be sure students understand the appropriate use of this email account.
Classroom use: Use this service to record audio of passages used in class, homework assignments, and other written material. Young students can practice reading aloud at this site (and listen to themselves), showing improvement in fluency as the year goes on. Have students use this site in place of a traditional book report. Have cooperative learning groups create a news broadcast and share it using this site. Use this site with ESL/ELL students just learning the English language. Use this site in world language classes for students to hear and learn the pronunciations. Place the embed code in a site that students can access outside of class for review, identifying directions, and listening to text. Speech and language teachers can use this tool to record student articulation and demonstrate progress through the year.
GradesK to 12
In the ClassroomAs an example, use a verb from Bloom' taxonomy such as "evaluate." Click on the part of the sentence at the top, in parenthesis, to enter your content such as "patterns of environmental issues." Choose the resource you want students to use, the product you want them to make, and the number of students in a group by clicking on the tabs. Example objective: Students will evaluate the patterns of environmental issues using websites to create a news report in groups of two. Save your objective by copying and pasting it into any document or online tool. The Differentiator will give you many project ideas that you may not have thought of yourself, and serves as a welcome reminder of different activities and expectations you can use in your classroom. Take a look at this site at the beginning of the school year or when creating a new unit (or project). Find new ways to differentiate for your gifted students using this creative and powerful tool. If your gifted students test out of your current math lessons, use this site to find new material to challenge their minds. This site is deceptively quick and simple, but it could be very useful when writing detailed, powerful lesson plans.
GradesK to 12
NOTE: Although the videos are listed on this site, they actually "live" elsewhere on the Internet, so some videos may be blocked in your school (those on YouTube, for example). Always pretest to be sure the video you hope to use is accessible at school!
In the ClassroomShare these videos on your interactive whiteboard or projector. This is a great site to use when planning for substitute teachers, as an introduction to a new unit, or even as additional information on a specific topic.
Challenge cooperative learning groups to create their own videos about topics being studied in social studies, science, math, or nearly any other topic. Share the videos using Teachers.TV reviewed here. Include this link on your class web page for students to access outside of schools for reinforcement and further exploration of concepts.
GradesK to 12
Important note: As with many dictionaries, students will be able to find words that are not appropriate for the classroom. A quick check of the web browser's History will tell you what they have been looking up should you notice a bit too much "interest" in looking up words! Wordnik does add an exclamation point graphic next to inappropriate (swear) words.
If you register, you can add notes to each entry for future use, report typos, and enter information about words. You can also create personal wordlists and more.
As a "social" word tool, Wordnik, is a site for any technology user and could serve as a vocabulary hub for your individual students to become wordaholics by sharing, exploring, commenting, and more -- all about words!
In the ClassroomUse wordnik when students are stumped with definitions or uses of a word. Demonstrate how context clues can help readers understand meanings. Increase vocabulary by finding words that are giving students problems during a lesson and assigning those words to be examined by students. Use wordnik to find words of the day. Students can use wordnik to find examples of the word and create technology or conventional displays of information. Have students create online posters displaying their new vocabulary words. Encourage ESL/ELL students and those with weaker vocabulary to use Wordnik often, possibly creating personal word lists, recording pronunciations, or sharing words with each other (see safety concerns). Use an online poster creator, such as Adobe Spark, reviewed here. Another technology infused idea: create an online glossary book as a class (or in cooperative learning groups) using a tool such as Bookemon, reviewed here.
Since the general public can share, make comments, etc, on this site, use this opportunity to discuss netiquette of commenting, and other appropriate behavior on "social" sites before allowing students to establish accounts. Spell out consequences and be sure you know the usernames and passwords your students use. Less mature students may be very tempted by the opportunities to play with "bad" words or record their voices.
Grades2 to 12
tag(s): authors (121)
In the ClassroomIf you are looking for favorite classic stories to use in your classroom, try this site. Project the text on your interactive whiteboard as examples for grammar exercises, such as highlighting adjectives or punctuating dialog. Practice "main idea" on your whiteboard using passages from a classic. Have students choose a book using this list. Instead of traditional book reports, have students create multimedia presentations. Have cooperative learning groups create podcasts using a site such as PodOmatic (reviewed here). Another idea: have students create online posters using a tool such as Padlet (reviewed here).
Include this site on your website, wiki, blog, or newsletter that promotes summer reading. ESL and ELL students will appreciate having a ready source for extra reading.