Grades2 to 12
In the ClassroomYou need to know how to copy/paste. No email registration needed to create. Click Create to get started. Copy/paste text, type into a text box, or paste in the URL of the page you wish to "cloud." Play with options under Layout, Color, and Font menus to change the look. When done, choose to Print, take a screen shot of it in New Window view (PrntScrn on Windows, Command+shift+4 on Mac) or save to public gallery. Once it opens in the gallery view, be sure to copy the URL and keep a record of the exact URL of wordles you save to the Gallery. You will never be able to find them again without it! Use this tool easily in your Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) classroom since all students will be able to access it for free, no matter what device they have.
The public can enter text and create their own Wordles, some of which appear on the home page for "recent" Wordles. Teachers should preview the Gallery and home page immediately before sharing this site with a class. TeachersFirst's review team has not witnessed any objectionable examples. In today's world, a brief lesson or honest discussion on ignoring, clicking out of, or avoiding the inappropriate on the web might be worthwhile, depending on the age and maturity of your students.
This is a terrific visual tool to share on an interactive whiteboard or projector. Paste in a passage or URL for a political speech to visualize the politician's "message." Analyze advertising propaganda by visualizing the language used in TV or print ads. Create wordles of historical texts of inauguration speeches as time capsules of the issues of the day. Use this site as a way to help students see and memorize text, especially visual learners. Use it also when writing poetry or reading passages of great literature to "see" themes and motifs 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. ESL and ELL students will eagerly use this site since word order will no longer be a problem for them. 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.
Another idea: use this site during the first week of school. Have students create "Wordles" about themselves and create a "Wordle" bulletin board introducing your students (and yourself). Or use Worlde for a whole-class positive statement as shown in this example. Remember that the most frequently appearing words will appear larger so plan accordingly.
So versatile and easy to use. Needs supervision because of what some people post in the galleries. Kids find it very easy to use. Nice for quick analysis of text (love to use with Shakespeare).Frances, CT, Grades: 6 - 8
Grades2 to 6
The site does have some advertisements, most of which relate to the topic and are not distracting from the content. This site requires Flash and Adobe Acrobat. Get them from the TeachersFirst Toolbox page.
tag(s): vocabulary (324)
In the ClassroomUse the vocabulary section to reinforce very basic vocabulary with ELL and ELL students in your class. It's great for them to hear several people pronouncing each word. Share this site on an interactive whiteboard or projector. Then have students work with a partner to try the activities (don't forget the headsets).
Grades4 to 12
In the ClassroomSimply login and click create. Choose a scene you wish to start with. Change your characters from a variety of option. When the comic loads, your chosen character may not show immediately but will appear as you edit each frame. Change sizes of caption bubbles, fonts sizes and types with easy to use sliders. New characters can be added in each frame as well as a variety of additional props such as sports equipment and furniture. Change the background set to a variety of indoor, outdoor city, and outdoor country landscapes. Change background colors easily too. Comics can be saved, scenes can be deleted, and changes made can be reverted to the previous idea easily with on screen controls. Below the comic, buttons for "Save for later" and "Publish Now" quickly save or publish works. If the scene is not ready for publishing, Pixton requests further edits to complete the process.
Consider creating a class account that students can use. Track comics made by students by placing initials in a small caption bubble to identify created comics to a specific student. There are some safeguards in place to be sure students use appropriate language and actions. It would be wise to preview whatever you wish to share with your students, however, 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. You will also want written parent permission before allowing students to create comics that can be seen online.
Capture and use your students creativity in storytelling using this exciting tool! Using small amounts of texts to frame a story or to deliver information creatively allows students the opportunity to work deeply with information and use a creative outlet for a variety of projects. Use for students to provide information learned with personal thoughts on subjects ranging from historical events, environmental issues, discussion about plants, animals, and ecosystems, as well as other topics in Art, Math, English, Health, and others. Use in Foreign language classes for short stories created in the language and translated then by other students in the classroom. Use comics to write summaries of current events, responses to reading assignments, expressions of teen problems, and creative works of humor. With younger students, use an interactive whiteboard or projector to create a class comic on a current topic of study, such as the life cycle of the frog or ways to conserve energy. Use this site to integrate an art and writing lesson. Why not have students create comics to demonstrate a concept in science or social studies, rather than a traditional paper/pencil quiz? World language teachers and ESL/ELL teachers will love the chance for students to demonstrate written language skills in the "context" of their comic situations.
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 (WITH email)
Premium version (not free) includes additional features or storage
Products can be embedded
Products can be shared by URL
GradesK to 12
In the ClassroomNo matter what subject you teach, bring the wonder of the night sky to your students. Google Sky provides a look at millions of stars and galaxies in the universe which can be a springboard to many activities in your class using art, geography, math, and writing. Use Google Sky as a complement to a planetarium field trip by showing the solar system in your classroom. Use Google Sky to track the life of a star from birth to death, begin discussions and multimedia presentations of mythological orientations of names, and histories or trajectories of planets. Elementary teachers will enjoy being able to share the night skay to accompany or inspire writing poems and stories aout the stars. Find great resources from Google here.
GradesK to 12
tag(s): wikis (19)
In the ClassroomThis is listed as a TeachersFirst "edge" entry, but our step-by-step walk-through takes the edge off and makes your wiki a walk in the park. Check it out now, while there is still FREE classroom wiki space available from the three wiki tools we review in detail.
Grades1 to 10
In the ClassroomShare samples of students' writing on an interactive whiteboard or projector. Be sure to preview for content inappropriate for your classroom. Have your students create cover art and write stories, book reviews, or poetry to submit to this site. Of course you will want written parent permission before submitting student work to this online magazine. Students should submit their work without identifiable names and location, according to your school policy.If your school prohibits using blogs to post student writing, this is a middle ground alternative to get their works in front of a wider audience.
GradesK to 2
Be warned, there are minor unobtrusive advertisements at this website. Nearly all sites require Flash. You can get it from the TeachersFirst Toolbox page..
In the ClassroomThere are so many ways to integrate this website into your lessons. Save this website in your favorites, you will want to visit often! Why not use an interactive whiteboard or projector to share the stories and activities with your class. During your language arts block, use this website as a learning center for students to explore independently. (Be sure to provide headsets). Don't forget to list this link in your class newsletter or on your class website, so students can practice their reading skills at home or maintain skills during vacations.
Grades3 to 12
This web-based tool is accompanied by detailed lesson plans designed for elementary, middle, and high school students. A variety of subject areas and projects are ready to adapt for the classroom or implement as-is. Explore the project ideas, instructional strategies, assessment tips, and research to help you plan a project of your own. Registration is free and creates a teacher workspace in which to build the class project. The password-protected workspace is accessed through the internet where students log on with the teacher-created ID, team ID, and password. Students can access the project workspace from home or though other Internet access points such as the public library.
Be sure to disable your popup blocker, as the site needs to show popup windows during the project. This site requires Flash and Adobe Acrobat Reader. Get these tools from the TeachersFirst Toolbox page..
In the ClassroomTeachers can use the comprehensive tutorial to learn the features of the tool and use the workspace to practice with the tool. Take advantage of the detailed unit plans that provide usable handouts and student work samples. Or just browse through several shorter project descriptions for project ideas that suit your classroom.
Make a shortcut to this site on your desktop and student computer desktops for easy access. Use the "Showing Evidence "tool to explore themes such as why do we explore, what happens next, is everything we read true, and what is freedom? Have student teams stage debates using their visual diagrams to show their thinking processes to the class using an interactive whiteboard or projector.
GradesK to 5
In the ClassroomThis is a powerful way to reinforce concepts of story mapping by creating students' own stories. Pair-up students with online access to this site so that their stories can be shared with each other. Use an interactive whiteboard or projector to share stories created by the entire class. Be sure to provide this link in your class newsletter or on your class website for some at-home fun. This is a MUST for Read Across America day!
Grades4 to 10
In the ClassroomUse this site if you want your students to do additional reading. Project the topic, story, and questions on an interactive whiteboard or projector for group discussion. Have your students make up their own questions to go with the site. Have your students write up a similar subject relevant to their own culture and present it, along with questions to check for comprehension. This is a fabulous site to list on your class website for students to use for at-home practice.
GradesK to 9
tag(s): environment (317)
In the ClassroomThis site is a wonderful addition to a unit about the ocean and ecosystems. Check out the lesson plans and see what is available for your grade level. If you teach grades 4-9, be sure to check on the interactive activities available at this website - perfect for your interactive whiteboard or projector.
Grades3 to 8
tag(s): comics and cartoons (74)
In the ClassroomHave students utilize and manipulate comic strips for dialog-writing lessons, summarizing, predicting and retelling stories. Use comic strips for literature responses. School counselors will also like the Peanuts strips as conversation starters about feelings. You could even use an online comic strip maker, such as Make Beliefs Comix to create your own class or student comic strips after looking at some examples from Peanuts. Use your interactive whiteboard or projector to share the Fun and Games . Then have students work on individual computers or with a partner to try some of the educational activities.
Grades1 to 3
In the ClassroomUse this poem to introduce your children to writing poetry by sharing the poem on a projector or interactive whiteboard. Students studying alphabetical order will also be intrigued by writing within restrictions of this order. Work together on your interactive whiteboard or projector. To begin, ask your students to think of a similar word that begins with the same letter, and change just one line. When they get the idea, give them a series of 6 - 8 letters and ask them to write their own list of adjectives or lines of poetry. Work as a class or have them work in groups to complete a poem using the entire alphabet. ESL and ELL students will enjoy looking for new words t to express their ideas in the poems.
Grades4 to 12
In the ClassroomAll material at this site is copyrighted, so it must be viewed online. For students who do best with step-by-step instructions, this site is a gem! You might have one group research authors from a particular country while others do artists, musicians, scientists, etc. A class report from each of these groups would do a good job of encapsulating a country or area of the world within any given time period. Teachers seeking independent projects for students who "test out" of a unit can assign this site's step-by-step instructions as a meaningful alternate activity.
Grades3 to 8
tag(s): tutorials (47)
In the ClassroomStart the activity by showing the student-produced videos on the web site. Use the resources on the site for a whole class jig-saw exercise. Assign small groups the task of learning one aspect of the process and then reporting and showing it to the rest of the class. Share the knowledge by creating working groups, which contain an expert from each aspect of the process. Use one of the many class ideas as practice activities for students to learn the finer points of video production before they start their masterpieces.
Video is a great tool for authentic assessment - especially for ESL, ELL, and Special Education students. Think about letting each of your students create a short video about what they know for their parent conference meeting or Open House. Explore the realm of possibilities by having students develop and ask peers a "Question of the Week" and document the responses on video. Let students produce a walking tour of the school and key personnel as an introduction for new students. Post this video on the school website, but check the district and students' Acceptable Use Policies before videoing any student faces. You may want to ask your school's funding sources to consider purchasing a few USB plug-in "flip" video cameras that cost about $100 each so students can do these projects with an "indestructible" tool.
GradesK to 6
In the ClassroomUse the cursive option with even your advanced level ESL and ELL students, some of whom have only learned to write English by printing. With ESL and ELL students, combine writing practice with survival word lists, such as colors, numbers, days of the week, months of the year etc. Use this for extra practice for your students learning to print or learning cursive. Although this site was created for ESL and ELL students, it would be useful in any elementary classroom learning printing, cursive writing, or even spelling words. For kinesthetic practice with any students, project the worksheet on an interactive whiteboard for use with a finger as a "pencil." Children with special needs will find this kinesthetic option very helpful and engaging.
GradesK to 2
In the ClassroomThe classroom possibilities at this site are endless. Whatever specific skills you are teaching in your language arts class, you are certain to find a correlating lesson or activity at this website. Use these resources to "spice up" your lessons and save time by not "reinventing the wheel." You might want to join the community so you can "give back" by sharing some of your own successful activities, as well. Of course, such a site is only as instructionally sound as its contributors make it. Be sure to read the FAQ and community information before contributing.
Grades2 to 12
This site can become slow at certain times of the day. Be patient.
tag(s): art history (69)
In the ClassroomMark this site as a Favorite for a visual writing prompt activity in the classroom; then ask students to write about the way their artwork makes them feel or what it might "be." Students will quickly grasp the basics and soon be exploring the more sophisticated possibilities of the program. This activity can be a great introduction into an abstract art lesson. Introduce terms such as non-representational or non-objective art. Show the works of Piet Mondrian and Max Ernst. Take the class on a virtual fieldtrip to the Museum of Modern Art in New York. Discuss how art movements have evolved and changed our ideas of beauty and art. This site is best viewed at 1024 x 768 screen resolution. (On Windows machines, change your monitor settings by RIGHT-clicking on the desktop and going to "Prperties" > Settings).
Grades1 to 12
Material created can only be viewed within the program. Drawings are not saved as a jpg or pic file. However, a "snapshot" of the screen can be created by using these keys in Mac: apple, shift, and 4 and click/drag to surround the portion to save. In PC use: control/print screen. These snapshots can be uploaded or used as a picture in other applications.
In the ClassroomQuick start: Click stage and in the center pane, click on backgrounds. Click on paint to make a new background. Different colors, pens, and materials can be used to create the background or an image can be brought in from your computer. Objects in Scratch are called a Sprite and can be added in by choosing the folders below the screen. By clicking the script tab, blocks can be moved in to create motion, add sounds (even record your own message), and change the look of the Sprite. Blocks are linked on to each other to create a series of events. A control block dragged to the top of the blocks control which key starts the event. Advanced options include adding variables and other controls.
Be sure to check with your Technology Department, as many districts require authorization to download or install new applications. Projects can be shared online; however an account is required.
Work is saved to the computer itself and only shared online via an account. To avoid problems concerning content made by outsiders or issues with sharing, save the work locally and either create your own gallery on a supervised class website/wiki or set up a single account where you share the "best" projects online via your own log-in. Remind students of the school's Acceptable Use Policy and consequences of violations, if you do allow them to join/share. Images used should adhere to all copyright rules. Use pictures taken in class or those with Creative Commons licensing (and provide attribution!).
Practical tips: Students quickly catch on to this program when allowed to play and easily see what they can make from it. Provide a simple assignment with defined rules/tasks to learn the tools. Younger students may familiarize themselves more easily working with a partner. Have students use a storyboard to write down what they will do/draw/say in their creation in order to keep tabs on what students and their creations.
Possible uses: For the lower grades, Scratch provides unlimited possibilities. Use as a new way to show vocabulary usage. Use the paint program to add information to a picture from your class field trip or science experiment. Use Scratch to help in storytelling a concept in a new and unique way, such as how rocks are formed. In the upper grades, use Scratch to show complex material in a new way. For example, students can draw DNA and show replication, etc. through their drawings and storytelling. Draw the different movements of landforms in plate tectonics. Draw or illustrate solutions to Math problems.