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Drop Event - dropevent.com

Grades
K to 12
5 Favorites 0  Comments
 
This fabulous site allows you to post and share photos related to a certain event with others. Create an "event" and share the link for others to upload photos. Only ...more
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This fabulous site allows you to post and share photos related to a certain event with others. Create an "event" and share the link for others to upload photos. Only the creator of the event must register on the site. All others upload without registering. Email photos to the event site as well. Set permissions for instant sharing or moderate pictures before they show on the Drop Event site. Choose to make your event public or private. Note: If public, it will show up in Drop Event searches and be visible to others. When you create your event, answer questions to create your free account. Note: Most recent events appear on the main page of this site. Be sure to check for appropriate content before showing to students. Consider directing students to the URL of the actual event page.

tag(s): images (266), photography (160)

In the Classroom

This site is great for students to upload photos from field trips or other events. Keep track of project accomplishments by uploading pictures of the process. Have a class project such as DNA models or types of plants? Get them out of the classroom by taking pictures and uploading them to Drop Event. Make a collection for local history or photos of lab results during a bridge-building or pumpkin seed counting activity. Collect images that students can then use in Thinglink, reviewed here, "lab reports" about their discoveries. Place the link to the event page you have created and invite parents to view the creations. Take snapshots to create a Day In The Life event for your classroom. What better way to share memories! Have parent volunteers? Have them upload their pictures too! Whatever project or event you have, sharing and collaborating with Drop Event is easy and fun!

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Alternative to... - alternativeto.net

Grades
K to 12
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Use Alternative to... and find a new alternative to one of your favorite online tools. Use the social-network powered database to suggest the new application. Find featured applications...more
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Use Alternative to... and find a new alternative to one of your favorite online tools. Use the social-network powered database to suggest the new application. Find featured applications ready to view. Use the tabs below to find the applications with the "Most views," "Most likes," "Recent," or even those that do not have an alternative. Join/follow the site to vote on favorite and alternative apps as well as uploading new applications to be considered.

tag(s): social networking (112)

In the Classroom

Click on one of the applications to see a great list of alternatives that may meet your needs or those of your students. Offer this site as a means for students to differentiate and express their understanding of the content in different ways. In a technology class, provide time for groups to explore the variety of options and report on ease of use and features for each. Be sure to check whether the sites listed are blocked by any filters in your school first.

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Bitstrips - Core Matrix

Grades
3 to 12
4 Favorites 0  Comments
    
Bitstrips lets you create comics. You will also find comics to read or remix, created by others in the Bitstrips community. Create professional-looking comics in minutes. Choose the...more
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Bitstrips lets you create comics. You will also find comics to read or remix, created by others in the Bitstrips community. Create professional-looking comics in minutes. Choose the number of panels, type of characters, style of speech bubble, and various props and settings. Several actions are available: clicking and dragging the items to go into the comic strip, typing dialog into the bubbles, scaling items in the frame, rotating items, and more. There is a "Bitstrips for Schools" link; this feature does offer a 30-day free trial, however it is fee-based after 30-days.

tag(s): comics and cartoons (74)

In the Classroom

Have small groups of students each create one panel as a summary of something you just read in class. Use comics in math and turn a word problem into a comic strip/cartoon. In social studies create a comic strip/cartoon about a historic event, person, place, or speech. In language arts take a novel or non-fiction book and create a comic strip/cartoon about the characters and plot. You can also have your students write summaries of current events or responses to reading assignments. With younger students, use an interactive whiteboard or projector to create a class comic on a current topic of study, such as the different parts of a plant or the planets.

Register and play with the simple tools to choose how many frames, settings, people, dialog bubbles, and props. Save your work to come back later or you may "publish" right away. You have a choice about whether others are allowed to view and "remix" your work. You also have the option to edit work or embed it in a website, blog e-mail or wiki. It would be wise to preview whatever you wish to share with your students since the general public can create comics with their own ideas. Students should submit their work without identifiable names and location, according to your school policy, (since you own the master account).

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Simple Diagrams - Daniel McQuillen

Grades
5 to 12
1 Favorites 0  Comments
 
Simple Diagrams is a free download desktop application useful to create diagrams and flowcharts. This easy-to-use tool turns ideas and concepts into a visual explanation. You merely...more
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Simple Diagrams is a free download desktop application useful to create diagrams and flowcharts. This easy-to-use tool turns ideas and concepts into a visual explanation. You merely drag and drop icons from the available library onto either a chalkboard or a whiteboard background. Insert personal photos or type written notes on virtual index cards or post-its directly into a diagram. Select colors, adjust alignment, magnify or minimize images and arrange content in layers. One annoying feature of the free version is that it is constantly asking users to upgrade to the paid full version. The free version does not allow you to save their diagram but it is possible to export work as a PNG file on your computer. Insert the PNG file directly into a presentation or interactive whiteboard lesson. Simple Diagrams uses an Adobe AIR platform and runs smoothly on Mac, Windows, and Linux.

tag(s): charts and graphs (195), drawing (78), graphic organizers (43)

In the Classroom

Simple Diagrams is a useful tool for any subject area. Project diagrams onto an interactive whiteboard or projector and write upon them while lecturing. Ask students to demonstrate their understanding of a lesson by creating a diagram of their own. For example, students can demonstrate the chain of events behind the French Revolution, map out battle strategies, or explain the cause and effect of Industrial Age with a diagram. Science teachers may want to ask students to explain the steps of a science experiment or explain a water cycle with a diagram. Solve word problems with diagrammatic illustrations or create family trees full of digital photographs. PE teachers may find this a great tool to use to use when discussing strategic plays or relay races. Suggest using diagrams as a study tool for finals. Simple Diagrams provides a unique opportunity for students to create a visual explanation of key concepts.

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Zooburst - zooburst.com

Grades
K to 12
9 Favorites 0  Comments
 
Create a 3D digital pop-up book that can be seen without the 3D movie glasses. Be sure to check out the Gallery to view great examples. Use ZooBurst's editing tools ...more
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Create a 3D digital pop-up book that can be seen without the 3D movie glasses. Be sure to check out the Gallery to view great examples. Use ZooBurst's editing tools with public domain (or Creative Commons) pictures or clipart to create your book. Create an account, choose a title, and read their instructions. Take your idea, manipulate with the simple to use tools, and add text, images, and animation. Edit the angle of the pop-up, speed of the pop-up, and even view your creation from a variety of angles. Use the left side panel to search the web for an image by simply entering a search term. Upload a picture from your computer easily. Click on the picture to add to your book. Drag and drop these elements into various positions in the book. Use the right side panel to change size, rotation, and color of the images. Add a chat bubble to the pictures and fill with text. Use the text box below the book to describe the scene on the page. Add new pages or switch between pages through use of the bottom window. Easily save your book and find your creations in the My Stuff link along the top. For those interested in Augmented Reality, here is a screencast that shows it in action.The free version of the tool currently allows 10 books up to 10 pages each. A free iPad app is available. Premium memberships offer more features--at a price.

tag(s): creative writing (166)

In the Classroom

Create a Zooburst book to embed in a wiki, blog, or site to provide back to school information about your class or teaching team. Introduce the teacher(s), subjects, curriculum content, contact information, sites to view, etc. Use for creative writing in any subject area. Have students: make a book to recreate a historical event (or create an alternative ending), explain a scientific term in simpler words, write their own story, or explain how a math concept can be applied in the real world. Create a book and read it to the students during story time. Use Zooburst to create an introductory story for a new concept or unit. Use as a means for students to deliver presentations, reports, or explain complex concepts. You can put together a story using digital pictures from around your school and share it with your students during story time. Or have students work on stories in groups or individually to exercise their creativity, and maybe produce the next classic children's book.

If you have a gifted one or two in your class, set up a free class Zooburst account for them to create extensions of the curriculum in Zooburst: a Civil War tale, a modern day restaging of a Shakespeare play, a biography of a famous scientist or author.

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Popplet - Notion, Inc.

Grades
K to 12
7 Favorites 1  Comments
 
Popplet combines a great number of features for creating mindmaps into one package. Share and collaborate with others. Create detailed and easily customized mindmaps. Be sure to check...more
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Popplet combines a great number of features for creating mindmaps into one package. Share and collaborate with others. Create detailed and easily customized mindmaps. Be sure to check out the features section and video tutorial found on the main page. A small amount of example Popplets appear on the main page for inspiration. Change the color of Popplets (mindmap boxes). Draw or insert images and videos from Flickr, Facebook, You Tube, and even your desktop. When you begin your Popplet, follow the mini tutorial that appears to quickly learn the features. Create up to 5 Popplets for free. Though Popplet looks simple and limited, it is probably one of the easiest to use. Have an iPad? Use the Popplet app!

tag(s): mind map (25), myplate (28)

In the Classroom

Users must be able to navigate the simple controls in this online tool. Videos and other information are found on the site and in your account page for a quick overview of learning the tool. If having difficulty saving the Popplet, be sure to remember to save a screenshot using the Print screen function on a PC or the Ctrl/shift/4 on a Mac.

Use this tool for brainstorming or creative planning. Create a concept map of facts or concepts in any subject area. Plan an experiment in Science. Determine the sequence of events in History. Create study materials that are easily edited and shared by others. The class can create organizers together, such as in a brainstorming session on an interactive whiteboard or projector. Or you can assign students to "map" out a chapter or story or assign groups to create study guides using this tool. Use this site for literature activities, research projects, social studies, or science topics. Use this site to create family trees or My Plate food group portions in family and consumer science. Have students collaborate together (online) to create group mind maps or review charts before tests on a given subject. Have students organize any concepts you study; color-code concepts to show what they understand, wonder, and question; map out a story, plotline, or plan for the future; map out a step-by-step process (life cycle).

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david, TX, Grades: 9 - 12

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PBWorks - PBWorks. Inc.

Grades
K to 12
3 Favorites 0  Comments
 
This online tool lets you and your students create a collaborative "space" online in any subject, allowing as many people as you want to edit, make changes, add new content, ...more
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This online tool lets you and your students create a collaborative "space" online in any subject, allowing as many people as you want to edit, make changes, add new content, etc. You may be familiar with wikipedia, but wikis can be so much more! A recent poll of "high tech" educators cited wikis as the one web-based tool they could not live without! If you have not tried a wiki yet, visit the TeachersFirst Wiki Walk-Through for a detailed, step-by-step explanation and starter help, including dozens of ideas for ways to use a wiki in your classroom.

If you are not sure which wiki tool is best for you, see our detailed TeachersFirst review of PBWorks (formerly PBWiki) features, pros, and cons(done as part of the TeachersFirst Wiki Walk-Through). Ignore the persistent and pervasive suggestions that you upgrade to a fee-based membership!

tag(s): social networking (112), wikis (19)

In the Classroom

Click through the first two steps to create a free wiki, including the name (which becomes part of the wiki URL). Be sure to select "education" as the answer to "What is this wiki for?" Wait for your confirmation email (may take a while...check junk mail folder). After the email, choose whether your wiki is public or private (visible to members only or to the public). Set a "key" (password), if you wish. Bypass the offer to PAY. Use the Quickstart steps to configure the wiki just the way you want it or simply play to learn the Clickable editing toolbar. Add and edit pages, invite new members, explore the three template options and a few options for "skins." You may want to become familiar with the tool as a teacher-created site at first so you know its capabilities before turning students loose.

See the TeachersFirst Wiki Walk-Through for practical management and safety tips.

Safety concerns: Students need email accounts to have individual log-ins. Note: with this wiki tool, you do not have the option of "locking" certain pages or setting different "levels" of users. You and your students have equal access to make changes, once you make them "members." There are also "plug-ins' (widgets) available from the toolbar, some of which may connect you to sites with unmonitored content. Decide ahead of time what you policies are concerning use of the "plug-ins."

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TeachersFirst's Twitter for Teachers Resources - TeachersFirst

Grades
K to 12
4 Favorites 0  Comments
 
Learn the basics about Twitter, the popular microblogging tool, and how it can help you with personalized, immediate professional development and collaboration with other teachers in...more
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Learn the basics about Twitter, the popular microblogging tool, and how it can help you with personalized, immediate professional development and collaboration with other teachers in other schools. This collection of reviewed resources related to Twitter will help you get started using Twitter safely for your own learning and possibly expand into using Twitter for class connections with other classrooms. The information includes basic terms such as "hastags," and even features a "widget" to show current "tweets" by educator-specific hashtag groups. Watch the sidebar (if it is not blocked in your school) to get a sense of the sharing possible on Twitter.

tag(s): social networking (112), twitter (50)

In the Classroom

Make this page a must-learn for teaching in the 21st century. Mark it in your favorites to return often to watch the embedded tweets from educators all over the world. Then muster your courage to set up a Twitter account of your own. Follow @teachersfirst or our lead Thinking Teacher @cshively, and we'll be sure to welcome you!

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Easy Prompter - Michael Drob

Grades
4 to 12
3 Favorites 0  Comments
 
Ever think that you could look more professional if you used a teleprompter just like the President? Try this free version then! Simply copy and paste your text into the ...more
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Ever think that you could look more professional if you used a teleprompter just like the President? Try this free version then! Simply copy and paste your text into the field, highlight words if desired, and then click "Start prompt." Click play on the next screen to start the prompter. Speed up or slow down the speed of the prompter using the "+" or "-" buttons. The size of the prompter text can also be increased easily. Users must be able to copy and past text from one application to another. Player controls look much like standard video player controls. Follow the demo to watch how it is used or take a few moments to play with it. Close the site, and the information in the prompter is lost. Want to use this without the Internet? Download the program (click "standalone portable version") for free and drag to a flash drive to have anywhere.

tag(s): speeches (17)

In the Classroom

Use this site to feed information used in group or individual presentations to the class. Set this up on another computer when recording video and audio recordings. Why use this site? Information fed through the prompter can be read at a steady and consistent pace. Teachers promoting oral reading fluency can make practice more engaging by having students pretend they are newscasters. If you advise the school announcement crew, try this handy tool to make them sound and look more professional.
 
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Literary Tweets: 100+ of the Best Authors on Twitter - Mashable

Grades
4 to 12
2 Favorites 0  Comments
 
Got Twitter? Then take a look at these 100+ authors to see if any of your favorites are listed, and start following them. Mashable has weeded out the authors who ...more
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Got Twitter? Then take a look at these 100+ authors to see if any of your favorites are listed, and start following them. Mashable has weeded out the authors who are just trying to sell you something on twitter. Their list only includes authors who are trying to carry on a conversation with their followers and present information they find valuable, whether it directly benefits them or not. Each author has a description, some of the books they have written, and an example tweet.

tag(s): authors (120), twitter (50)

In the Classroom

A whole class twitter account can follow favorite authors and authors' read through of class novels. The class can direct message them with questions about the book: how they came to write the story, are the characters based on anyone the author knows, and any other ideas your students might come up with. In literature circles a different member of the group each week can Twitter the author of the book as part of the "author analyzer" job. Learn more about Twitter and find many more ways to use it from TeachersFirst's Twitter for Teachers.

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Six Word Stories - Pete Berg

Grades
5 to 12
8 Favorites 0  Comments
 
Six Word Stories challenges students to create a meaningful "narrative," book summary, reaction to a movie, or other literary reflection in just six words. Based on a famous one by...more
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Six Word Stories challenges students to create a meaningful "narrative," book summary, reaction to a movie, or other literary reflection in just six words. Based on a famous one by Ernest Hemingway, the site collects the writings of amateurs and professionals. Readers can search it by theme or by genre or author (including famous ones). Links include places to try similar endeavors including 2-sentence stories and fifty-word stories. Please preview: at the time of this review, there was one inappropriate comment with a curse word.

tag(s): writing (359)

In the Classroom

Have 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.
 
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Flashcard Stash - WharfWorks LLC

Grades
2 to 12
13 Favorites 0  Comments
 
Use this free web site to create flashcards for teacher or individual student use. Flashcard Stash is not just another flashcard maker. Here you certainly can make your own flashcards,...more
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Use this free web site to create flashcards for teacher or individual student use. Flashcard Stash is not just another flashcard maker. Here you certainly can make your own flashcards, but you can also find ready-made flashcards for 100 Common SAT words, 501 Spanish or French Verbs, 100 words you should know, and Words to impress your friends. You can choose to hear the words pronounced correctly, too. Flashcard Stash also uses multiple choice and fill in the blank questions, and calculates the optimal time for review. Teachers get a free account that can create classes and share lists of flashcards with your students.

tag(s): flash cards (46)

In the Classroom

Joining 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."

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Skype in the Classroom - Skype Limited

Grades
K to 12
4 Favorites 0  Comments
  
Use Skype as a great tool to connect to others around the nation or the world. Solve the problem of finding classrooms...more
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Use Skype as a great tool to connect to others around the nation or the world. Solve the problem of finding classrooms and various projects with this great site. Use this free site to look through projects, tips from other teachers, and find other teachers to collaborate and connect with your students. Create a profile including your interests and the age, subject, languages, and more information about students. Use the "Project" link to list or find projects, classes, teachers, or speakers. Search the project link by speaker, project, age range of students, language, subject, and tags.

tag(s): colonial america (107), constitution (79), philadelphia (13), skype (12)

In the Classroom

To browse the activities, no special skills are required. If you plan to create your own activity, a Skype account is necessary. Use your Skype login to use this site. Be sure to check with school authorities before scheduling or using Skype with students. Be sure the Acceptable Use Policy covers the use of such tools. Spend time discussing appropriate and inappropriate behavior with students prior to using Skype or participating in many of the projects found on this site.

Browse through the projects link to find ideas, tips from other teachers, and to find teachers to collaborate and connect with your students. You can search the project ideas by project, age range, language, subject, tags, and more. Connect the Skyping computer to a projector or whiteboard for the entire class to see if you are using video. (The video will be fuzzy, but good enough to follow a person's face.) Use Skype to talk to authors (check out their web sites or this blog for contact information). Have students write questions in advance. Use your contacts, web page "contact us" emails, and parent contacts to find others willing to Skype into your classroom. Interview scientists or government officials, deployed military personnel, or classes far away in a different culture or language. Younger students can compare weather, family life, community events, and more. Learn other ideas for using Skype in your classroom at this valuable website.

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Flubaroo - Flubaroo.com

Grades
4 to 12
6 Favorites 1  Comments
   
Use the Flubaroo add-on tool with Google docs for an easy way to create self grading documents and forms. Be sure to check out their 3 minute demo video and ...more
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Use the Flubaroo add-on tool with Google docs for an easy way to create self grading documents and forms. Be sure to check out their 3 minute demo video and overview links to understand how easy it is to use. Flubaroo provides easy to use step by step directions. Use this tool for multiple choice type answers for an easy way to receive feedback. Students easily see their responses to the questions when grades are emailed providing feedback.

tag(s): assessment (100), quiz (85), quizzes (97)

In the Classroom

Users must be familiar with Google documents and forms. You must also have a Google account (FREE). Follow the demo and overview to become acquainted with this tool. This tool is best used by teachers for ongoing formative assessment. If allowing students to create formative assessments, be sure to create a separate class Google and Flubaroo account for use. Consider assigning groups to to make daily quizzes for the whole class to take as an ongoing formative assessment. Use for check point quizzes to check on terminology, general understanding, and to identify weaknesses in student understanding. Be sure to save this site in your favorites to use professionally to save time and keep your learning tasks organized.
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Comments

I would be curious to know how good you have to be with Google docs to be able to use this. Sounds like a summer project for me! Thinking, PA, Grades: 5 - 10

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Big Huge Labs - Big Huge Labs

Grades
K to 12
2 Favorites 0  Comments
 
Check Teachers First reviews for specific fun and creative tools from this expansive site. As Big Huge Labs continues to expand upon their offerings, be sure to check back to ...more
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Check Teachers First reviews for specific fun and creative tools from this expansive site. As Big Huge Labs continues to expand upon their offerings, be sure to check back to the main page of the site to find what is new. Be sure to check out the Trading Card Maker reviewed here, the CD Cover Maker reviewed here, The Big Huge Thesaurus reviewed here, and many others! Take time to play with some of these tools before sharing the site with students. Many of these tools are more suitable for play than a valuable tool for demonstrating student knowledge.
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tag(s): collages (17), images (266), maps (288), multimedia (57), photography (160), thesaurus (24)

In the Classroom

It is helpful to have a Flickr account to organize photos. Users must be able to find and upload/provide the URL of a specific photo. This tool is so simple with very little steps for creating. Simply upload your photo, select from a few options, and then create.

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.

Options here are endless. Find out what students understand about a concept by creating a 6 word story. Students find a suitable picture and sum up the concept in 6 words. Students can use the Motivator tool reviewed here to create. Place their creation on a blog, wiki, or site and have students write about how their understandings of the concept have changed throughout the study of it. Create Badges for field trips and other activities. Use the Trading Card Maker reviewed here to identify what a student understands about a concept. Create trading cards of the many species that exist in the world or of places to visit, past leaders of nations, or states and other countries. Create vocabulary trading cards. Use social networking in the classroom? Create an Avatar to use on these spaces. Reading a book or viewing documentaries? Create Movie Posters to share information or to inform others about various times in History. Whatever you use this tool for, it is powerful for students to use a great image and word captions to display their knowledge.

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Photo Timelines - LIFE - Life Magazine

Grades
6 to 12
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This site allows you to view, create, and share interactive timelines. Browse timelines from the 1900s (or before) through the present on various topics and current events. Scroll to...more
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This site allows you to view, create, and share interactive timelines. Browse timelines from the 1900s (or before) through the present on various topics and current events. Scroll to the bottom of the page to search by decade. A series of pictures centered around a theme in a specific time period accompanies a short summary of what is happening in the picture. There is also the option to create your own unique timeline and share it by URL or by embedding in your class blog, wiki, or web page. Click "Log-In To Life" to get started creating your own timeline. To create a timeline you MUST register at the site. Login requires a Facebook, Twitter, Google, or Yahoo account.

tag(s): timelines (62)

In the Classroom

If you only plan to VIEW timelines, no extra skills are needed. Step by step directions are provided. You will also need to choose a username to create your timeline.

There are many uses for the ready-made timelines: use your interactive whiteboard or projector to learn about historical events, research literature, learn about different decades and events throughout the world, and more. Have students create timelines for research projects using Photo Timelines. Use this tool to make a timeline of your class,''''?,"'''? school year for younger classes who are just learning the graphical representation of time. Create author biographies, animal life cycles, or timelines of events and causes of wars. Challenge students to create a timeline of the plot of a novel, interspersed with the ways themes appear throughout the novel. If you teach chemistry, have students create illustrated sequences explaining oxidation or reduction (or both). Elementary students could even interview grandparents and create a class timeline about their grandparents,''''?,"'''? generation for Grandparents' Day. Why not create a timeline highlighting students' family events for a special gift for Mother's Day, Father's Day, or other holidays? You may need to assign students to do some investigative work first (years of births, marriages, vacations, etc.). In world language classes, have students create a timeline of their family in the language to master vocabulary about relatives, jobs, and more (and verb tenses!). Students can learn about photo selection, detail writing, chronological order, and photo digitization while creating the timelines of their choice. Making a timeline is also a good way to review history and cultural developments.

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Penzu: Write in Private - Alexander Mimran and Michael Lawlor

Grades
4 to 12
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Penzu offers a FREE service to write journals or diaries online with exceptional privacy options. As an added benefit, you can add images or your own artwork as illustrations. There...more
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Penzu offers a FREE service to write journals or diaries online with exceptional privacy options. As an added benefit, you can add images or your own artwork as illustrations. There is a very short demo video on the home page. On Penzu you can keep everything completely private or share selective posts by email or URL. Perhaps share selections on a class wiki page? Don't have a wiki? See the TeachersFirst Wiki Walk-Through for practical management and safety tips for a class wiki. Note: Premium service is available, but this review is for the free version.

tag(s): DAT device agnostic tool (199), homework (44), journals (21), writing (359)

In the Classroom

A class journaling program has limitless possibilities. Engage students in discussions using a topic from current events, current social issues, independent reading, literature, and more. Any class using a journal can use Penzu. For example, science lab write ups or the problem of the week in math. Penzu can even be used for homework. Just think, no more lugging heavy boxes full of notebooks around! In language arts have students journal daily and harvest from their musings and ideas to create a short story or a poem. They can even use Penzu to develop their brainstorms and rough draft. Once they are ready to present a final project have them use Bookemon reviewed here reviewed here or Glogster reviewed here to share with their peers and others and possibly add other media. For social studies classes, students can write posts and ideas about famous people or daily life in a time period being studied, then create a "diary" for the famous person in Bookemon or a poster about daily life in Glogster reviewed here. See more ideas for student blogging/journaling at TeachersFirst's Blogging Basics for the Classroom. Share journals with parents as appropriate by URL. Be sure to respect student privacy before sharing.

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Pictures of the Floating World - National Gallery of Victoria

Grades
5 to 12
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At Floating World your students will do more than create a video of their own story. They will learn about Japanese history and culture through the explanations of the classic ...more
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At Floating World your students will do more than create a video of their own story. They will learn about Japanese history and culture through the explanations of the classic Japanese art work. There is a demonstration video to show students how to make their own movie and a pdf file to download 64 cards so students can work together to rough out story ideas before starting their animation. On each page of the site you will also find a button marked "Add this page." This allows you to build a useful resource to map out a story.

tag(s): art history (70), drawing (78), folktales (65)

In the Classroom

You will have to know how to type and drag and drop the images, backgrounds, and sounds you want in your animated story.

When saving the video you are also asked for your name. You will want to give the students a code to use instead of their name.

Use this site to make animated short stories in any content area. Have students create new events for a literary character or tell the story of a famous person. Post student work to your classroom website or blog for students to use at home for review and for parents to view. Be sure to share the presentations on your projector or interactive whiteboard at school.

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Weebly - Weebly

Grades
2 to 12
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Weebly is an easy, free website creator with tons of features for you to choose from. The easy, "drag and drop" elements allow even the novice technology user to create ...more
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Weebly is an easy, free website creator with tons of features for you to choose from. The easy, "drag and drop" elements allow even the novice technology user to create their own website. Besides the basic "drag and drop" features for the title, text, text with a picture, etc., the free version allows you to use cool items: photo gallery, slide show, YouTube videos, Google Maps, an assignment form, and lots more. They promise that the free service will remain 100% feature packed.

tag(s): blogs (88), gamification (65), microblogging (44), social networking (112)

In the Classroom

If 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.

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Middlespot - Middlespot

Grades
2 to 12
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Use this innovative website for social bookmarking in a unique, visual way. Add search material from anywhere on the web by dragging and dropping elements around the screen. Search...more
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Use this innovative website for social bookmarking in a unique, visual way. Add search material from anywhere on the web by dragging and dropping elements around the screen. Search directly from within Middlespot and view results through hovering and mouse clicks without leaving the site. Annotate information collected and share with others. Find the tools easily in a bar along the top. Click Add to enter elements, including stickies. Drag and drop the materials into a more pleasing arrangement. Create a workspace -- they call it a "mashup"-- without registering but use a login to save them. Mashups are private but can be changed to share with others.

tag(s): bookmarks (60)

In the Classroom

Only a little play is needed to learn how to use this tool. Create a class account for students to use in order to collaborate with others.

Create teacher-made mashups to collect materials for a web-based assignment. Use this site for student groups to collect materials in mashups for their group projects. Assign students a topic and allow them to interact online. The research and conversations created through highlighting and annotating what they read can greatly enhance both their research skills and their online interaction on academic level skills. Or, use the site to post discussion assignments on specific articles or even parts of articles. Add stickies to highlight areas or for others to comment. Have students comment on the link in a "class discussion" as an outside of class assignment. Post assignments, post readings, science teachers - post online interactive labs, and more. Create whole-class mashups on a unit topic in lower grades, such as "things we learned about frogs" or "things that use energy."

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