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Helping Writers Become Authors - K. M. Weiland

Grades
6 to 12
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Helping Writers Become Authors is an award-winning blog by an internationally published author focusing on tips and suggestions for improving writing. The author recommends starting...more
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Helping Writers Become Authors is an award-winning blog by an internationally published author focusing on tips and suggestions for improving writing. The author recommends starting with the three core series contained within the blog: The Secrets of Story Structure, How to Structure Scenes in Your Story, and How to Write Character Arcs. Be sure also to check out the Story Structure Database containing detailed looks at story structure in popular books and movies. Other sections worth a look include Writing Inspiration and Most Common Writing Mistakes.
This site includes advertising.

tag(s): characterization (16), creative writing (166), descriptive writing (41), expository writing (44), letter writing (21), paragraph writing (17), persuasive writing (55), process writing (42), writers workshop (31)

In the Classroom

This site is a must-see for anyone who teaches writing! Use information from the site on your interactive writing board or projector as part of writing lessons. View the Story Structure Database together with students and have students use this as an example to take a detailed look at the structure of the current reading or viewing materials they are using. Be sure to include a link to this site on your class website for students to use at home.

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Adobe Spark - Adobe

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K to 12
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Create beautiful visual stories with Adobe Spark. Follow prompts to add your own images or select from thousands available online. Personalize your story with text, slide shows, links...more
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Create beautiful visual stories with Adobe Spark. Follow prompts to add your own images or select from thousands available online. Personalize your story with text, slide shows, links to outside resources, and more. When complete, share using the unique URL or with the social media links provided.

tag(s): blogs (88), creative writing (166), digital storytelling (145), microblogging (44)

In the Classroom

Possible uses are only limited by your imagination! Create your own story page for parents and students where they can stay updated about what is happening in your classroom. Have students create a visual story to accompany books read in class, tell about social studies events, or display images for different science terms. Adobe Spark is perfect to use for digital storytelling in any subject!

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Highbrow - Artem Zavyalov & Jane Limanskaya

Grades
7 to 12
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Learn something new each day with Highbrow's unique course delivery system. Sign up for a course, then receive an email each day with a five to ten-minute lesson. Each course ...more
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Learn something new each day with Highbrow's unique course delivery system. Sign up for a course, then receive an email each day with a five to ten-minute lesson. Each course is completed in ten days making learning quick and easy! Choose from many different course options in subjects such as art, literature, and history. Highbrow only allows one course per user at a time to encourage complete focus on each topic. If you don't see what you like, choose the Create Course option and create your own learning experience using your expertise!

tag(s): 20th century (51), architecture (84), authors (120), business (58), differentiation (47), endangered species (38), equations (155), financial literacy (80), greeks (30), human body (121), inventors and inventions (101), logic (235), medicine (67), mental math (27), numbers (204), photography (160), poetry (228), psychology (64), short stories (25), surrealism (4), weather (188), women (101)

In the Classroom

Highbrow is perfect for differentiated learning. Allow students to choose their own topic and sign up for a course. When complete, choose another topic and start a new course. Have students create commercials for finished courses using Powtoon, reviewed here, and share them using a tool such as TeacherTube, reviewed here. Challenge students to create a course after a unit of study as a final assessment. Be sure to include this site on your class webpage for students to access both in and outside of class for personal use.

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Vocabulist (Beta) - Ahan Malhotra

Grades
4 to 12
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Easily personalize and practice vocabulary with Vocabulist. Upload a file from your computer or copy and paste text into Vocabulist. Wait a minute or two for your document to process....more
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Easily personalize and practice vocabulary with Vocabulist. Upload a file from your computer or copy and paste text into Vocabulist. Wait a minute or two for your document to process. When finished Vocabulist provides a list with each word and its definition. Choose the correct definition when necessary from drop boxes or provide your own definition. When finished, export as a PDF to your computer or directly into Quizlet, reviewed here, to use as flashcards.

tag(s): flash cards (46), spelling (168), vocabulary (324), vocabulary development (126), word study (80)

In the Classroom

Vocabulist is perfect for differentiated learning. Create individual student vocabulary and spelling lists based on student needs. Create lists for difficult vocabulary from any text or for any subject. Be sure to share a link on your class website for students to use at home to create study guides throughout the year.
 This resource requires PDF reader software like Adobe Acrobat.

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Blended Learning Implementation Guide - John Bailey, Scott Ellis, Carri Schneider, & Tom Vander Ark

Grades
K to 12
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The Blended Learning Implementation Guide is an interactive resource for planning, implementing, and evaluating blended learning in the classroom. The guide takes you through the basics...more
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The Blended Learning Implementation Guide is an interactive resource for planning, implementing, and evaluating blended learning in the classroom. The guide takes you through the basics of blended learning with infographics, links to videos, and specific instructions for blended learning instructors. Other topics include suggestions on purchasing devices for use, questions to consider when lecturing, and resources for funding. If your district blocks YouTube, the videos may not be viewable. You could always view them at home and bring them to class "on a stick" to share. Use a tool such as KeepVid, reviewed here, to download the videos from YouTube.

tag(s): professional development (123)

In the Classroom

Print and share this guide as an excellent resource when implementing blended learning in your classroom or school. Be sure to save a link to the online version to access the videos linked within the guide. Use the guide as part of your professional development sessions. Discuss and work with different portions of the guide throughout the year as you learn about blended learning. Consider using this guide as a book study with your peers for one year, then implementing blended learning the following year.
 This resource requires PDF reader software like Adobe Acrobat.

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Got an Inkling? - Got an Inkling

Grades
6 to 12
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Got an Inkling contains many prompts for creative writing. Browse through the site for ideas or choose the link to Prompt Categories to find story inspiration and starters, as well...more
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Got an Inkling contains many prompts for creative writing. Browse through the site for ideas or choose the link to Prompt Categories to find story inspiration and starters, as well as character and dialogue prompts.

tag(s): creative writing (166), descriptive writing (41), expository writing (44), paragraph writing (17), persuasive writing (55), process writing (42), writers workshop (31)

In the Classroom

These prompts are perfect for writing in journals as quick writes or having your students develop one into a full story or essay. There are plenty of unusual ideas to get even the most reluctant writer moving. Once completed, have students create blogs using Throwww, reviewed here. Throwww allows you to create "quick and easy" blogs to be used one time only. A unique URL is provided, and this site is as easy as using a basic Word program! The class can then collaborate by proofreading and suggesting ideas for others' stories. Just because these are "writing" prompts does not mean you can't use them for ESL/ELL or speech/language students to prompt them to TALK and use oral language. World language teachers can also use these to promote conversation/oral language.

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Go To Quiz - gotoquiz.com

Grades
6 to 12
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Quickly create and share quizzes using Go To Quiz. Begin by choosing from three types of quizzes to offer, each includes an explanation and examples of best use. Follow the ...more
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Quickly create and share quizzes using Go To Quiz. Begin by choosing from three types of quizzes to offer, each includes an explanation and examples of best use. Follow the steps to name your quiz, add questions and responses, and share your quiz.
This site includes advertising.

tag(s): assessment (100), DAT device agnostic tool (199), quiz (85), quizzes (97)

In the Classroom

Create a Go To Quiz as a tool for checking prior knowledge or making a quick assessment. Have students answer exit questions or see what students remember from the previous day using Go To Quiz. Use for formative assessment to identify misconceptions that students may have at the start of a unit. ESL/ELL and world language teachers could use this for vocabulary practice. Have students create quizzes with characteristics of story characters for classmates to see which character they are most like.

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Flock - Cookies Riva FZC

Grades
8 to 12
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Flock is a free chat service. Start by signing up for an account and begin chatting. Communicate one on one or create a group using text or video conference. Add ...more
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Flock is a free chat service. Start by signing up for an account and begin chatting. Communicate one on one or create a group using text or video conference. Add attachments, polls, a code snippet, or an emoticon. Create a to-do list for the group or project. With the free account, chat records are kept for 30 days. Be mindful of the laws and regulations. Use the web version or download the software.

tag(s): chat (51), microblogging (44), polls and surveys (48)

In the Classroom

Teachers can use the chat feature to communicate with parents or students. Collaborate with other educators on lesson plans and activities. Create groups of students during group projects for collaboration. Attach the directions to the chat and monitor the conversation by including yourself in the group and promoting good digital citizenship. Use the poll feature to check for understanding or use the chat as an exit ticket.

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Ponder - Parlor Labs Inc

Grades
4 to 12
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Use Ponder to annotate and analyze text with Chrome or FireFox browsers or iOS. Using Ponder with your browser will measure reading activity through sharing and commenting on texts...more
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Use Ponder to annotate and analyze text with Chrome or FireFox browsers or iOS. Using Ponder with your browser will measure reading activity through sharing and commenting on texts anywhere on the web. Highlight sentences, phrases, and words that evoke a response. There can be sentiments to tag that indicate confusion, evaluation, disapproval, and more. For a fee, all of this can be applied to PDFs and video on the web. Ponder has a comprehensive support section and guide.

tag(s): browser (6), critical thinking (108), independent reading (128), reading comprehension (116), reading strategies (45)

In the Classroom

Track students' reading and develop close reading skills and critical thinking with Ponder. Register with your email and create a Ponder group by clicking on "give it a spin" in the upper right corner of the home page. Then, give the class a name, and save the group by creating an administrator account. All directions for doing this are in the support section, as are the directions for adding additional classes. Ponder will bulk create accounts for your class, with no student email required. Just contact their support. Find an article or any text you want students to read on the web. Responding to an article on the web will initiate the class activity feed. Start out by sharing text (article, book, etc.) on an interactive whiteboard or projector with your students. Read through the text with them, asking them for feedback along the way. By doing this, you will be able to show students the features of Ponder. When you create a micro-reading response, it will post to the class activity feed along with a link to the article. Ponder is a wonderful tool to moderate reading in any core class. ESL/ELL and resource teachers can gain greater insight to their students' reading comprehension.

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OK2Ask: Awesome Apps for Education from Google - TeachersFirst

Grades
K to 12
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This recording of an OK2Ask online professional development session from February 2016, opens in Adobe Connect. Explore the myriad of apps that Google has to offer. We will explore...more
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This recording of an OK2Ask online professional development session from February 2016, opens in Adobe Connect. Explore the myriad of apps that Google has to offer. We will explore free apps that can be used in various content areas to accomplish multiple goals. Participants will have time to explore apps and discover ways they can be implemented into classrooms with students of all ages. This session is appropriate for teachers at intermediate to advanced technology levels.

In the Classroom

Understand how to find, install, and use Google apps to support classroom instruction and for personal productivity. Watch this recording together with a few of your teaching colleagues to collect new ideas. Find additional information and links to tools at the session resource page. Learn more about OK2Ask and upcoming sessions here
 This resource requires Adobe Flash.

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Promptuarium - Joanne Shepherd

Grades
6 to 12
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Promptuarium is the creator's "little stockroom of goodies" for writers. Find resources in categories of writing, dialogue, picture prompts, and a character bank. Narrow down selections...more
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Promptuarium is the creator's "little stockroom of goodies" for writers. Find resources in categories of writing, dialogue, picture prompts, and a character bank. Narrow down selections by scrolling down the page and using the Categories links on the right to find ideas for different genres such as fantasy and science fiction.

tag(s): creative writing (166), descriptive writing (41), writers workshop (31), writing prompts (92)

In the Classroom

English/writing, social studies, and current events teachers are sure to find something here for their students to write about. Introduce a few of the prompts using an interactive whiteboard or projector to get students interested. You could also use one prompt a day as an opener or closer quick write. Another idea would be to have students respond on a class blog to the prompts and then make comments on each other's opinions. Haven't started blogging yet? Check out TeachersFirst's Blog Basics.

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Ignite - Ninjas LLC

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K to 12
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Ignite offers a tool to create unique multimedia projects using layers and incorporating collaboration. Start by completing the simple sign up process (email required). Then jump right...more
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Ignite offers a tool to create unique multimedia projects using layers and incorporating collaboration. Start by completing the simple sign up process (email required). Then jump right in and begin making your first multimedia project. With the tools, you can include text, images, and video through the web service. The iPad app will allow you to add audio. The collaboration feature allows for more than one user to work on a presentation at a time. Once the finished product is ready for viewing, easily share with the URL. The presentation tool is very simple and easy to use.
This site includes advertising.

tag(s): digital storytelling (145), multimedia (57)

In the Classroom

Use this tool to present new ideas to students via projector or interactive whiteboard. In a flipped classroom, share the URL and have students view the presentation on their own. Include questions on the slides to encourage active participation while viewing. Students can use this tool to work collaboratively on a slideshow to demonstrate knowledge and present material. Discuss what working collaboratively includes before beginning the project. Have students take their own pictures to include in their Ignite presentation to enhance the learning experience.

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Sembly - Sembly

Grades
6 to 12
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Sembly is an online classroom management tool. Sign up as a teacher or student to begin. The teacher version allows you to create and add classes. After adding students, they ...more
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Sembly is an online classroom management tool. Sign up as a teacher or student to begin. The teacher version allows you to create and add classes. After adding students, they receive a class code allowing them to enter the class. Create assignments with deadlines for students from your dashboard. The assignment option also provides the opportunity for collaboration and interaction between students and teachers. Upload files from your computer, Google Drive, DropBox, and Evernote to add to assignments or share with your class. Sembly is available online and for mobile devices with apps available for all operating systems.

tag(s): classroom management (135), DAT device agnostic tool (199), organizational skills (122)

In the Classroom

Use Sembly to manage and organize any classroom. Maintain a classroom calendar so students can easily find due dates and deadlines for homework and projects. Reminder notices will be automatically generated. Share information with parents to keep them up to date. Use the discussion feature as a resource for keeping students involved over long holidays or on a snow day. Sembly is an interactive and collaborative program. Challenge literature circles to complete write ups, discussions, and final presentations about the book they read using Sembly. Lab partners can present their findings, and math students can demonstrate how they solved a problem.

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tchat - Congo Labs

Grades
6 to 12
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Focus on the Twitter chats you want to follow easily and in real-time with tchat. Sign up for tchat through your Twitter account. Input the hashtag you wish to follow ...more
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Focus on the Twitter chats you want to follow easily and in real-time with tchat. Sign up for tchat through your Twitter account. Input the hashtag you wish to follow and all other tweets will be filtered out. tchat opens in a new tab; that means you can still see other Tweets on your Twitter account tab at the same time you are following a chat. Reply right from tchat without leaving the page; send and continue reading the conversation. The menu bar at the top allows pause and play, it stops refreshing, allowing you to find what you are looking for and to reply or retweet the information without losing it, and then resumes when you click play. You can also block retweets. Either sign in to stop the pop-up when you want to respond, or use tchat without signing in to have the pop-up and see all of the chat on the side. Each reply will automatically include the hashtag.

tag(s): chat (51), microblogging (44), PLN (4), social networking (112), twitter (50)

In the Classroom

Sometimes it's hard to stay focused on a group Twitter chat. Take advantage of this tool to avoid distractions and communicate only with the members of the chat session. It's a relief to use this tool and be able to take your time commenting back and forth and not have to hunt through countless other Tweets to find your group and that one comment where you want to reply. tchat is the perfect tool to use with Twitter in the classroom so students will stay focused on your topic. If your class is following a scientist, engineer, politician, or any other professional, invite them to a chat to converse with your students and have the students stay focused. If you are taking an online class and one of the requirements is to participate in a Twitter chat, this tool is perfect to help you meet your goal.

Use tchat on laptops during a video or student presentations. Pose questions for all to answer/discuss using an assigned hashtag. Ask students to pose their own "I wonder if..." questions as they watch and listen. Keep every student engaged and THINKING as an active listener. The first time you use tchat, you will want to establish some etiquette and accountability rules, such as respectful language and constructive criticism. Assign students to watch a news program or political show and have a chat during the broadcast. Revisit the chat on a projector in class the next day or post the chat transcript to a class blog or wiki and have students respond further in blog posts or on the wiki discussion tab. The advantage of backchannel chat is that every student has a voice, no matter how shy.

Use tchat to collaborate with other classrooms or teachers at a distance. Use a whole class Twitter account to contribute to a regular chat. Professionally, teachers can join subject or grade level specific Tweet chats that happen in real time. See the Twitter Chat Schedule, reviewed here or Educational hashtags listings here to find real-time groups you can join using tchat.

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XMind - XMind Ltd.

Grades
4 to 12
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Develop mind maps, concept maps and a variety of charts with this powerful, easy to use tool. Register with an email to begin. Watch several very comprehensive tutorial videos and ...more
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Develop mind maps, concept maps and a variety of charts with this powerful, easy to use tool. Register with an email to begin. Watch several very comprehensive tutorial videos and get started by downloading XMind. Creation is easy! Simply double click Central Topic and add the topic name. Click tab to add main topics, click tab again to add subtopics. Xmind has many features to add organization to your mind map: Drag and drop arrows to organize, colored boundaries, add images and websites (search the web from within XMind), add Audio Notes, background or wallpaper, and much more. Share your map via PowerPoint, Excel, Evernote, PDF, PNG, JPEG, and several other universal formats. If your district blocks YouTube, the tutorial videos may not be viewable. You could always view them at home and bring them to class "on a stick" to share. Use a tool such as KeepVid, reviewed here, to download the videos from YouTube.
This site includes advertising.

tag(s): charts and graphs (195), mind map (25)

In the Classroom

To demonstrate this tool, have your class create organizers together, such as in a brainstorming session on an interactive whiteboard or projector. Assign students to "map" out a chapter or story. Assign groups to create study guides using this tool. Use this tool for literature activities, research projects, social studies, or science topics. Use this to create family trees or food pyramids in family and consumer science. Have students collaborate (online) to create group mind maps or review charts before tests on a given subject. Have students organize any concepts you study. They can color code concepts to show what they understand, wonder, and question. Have students map out a story, plot line, or plan for the future. Students can also map out a step-by-step process (such as a life cycle or how to solve an equation).

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Share What You're Reading - Scholastic, Inc.

Grades
K to 12
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Use this handy tool to share favorite books and discover new ones. Read the advice for writing a good review at the top of the form before starting. After writing ...more
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Use this handy tool to share favorite books and discover new ones. Read the advice for writing a good review at the top of the form before starting. After writing the review submit to Scholastic by filling in a simple form that asks for first name, last initial, and no email required. To discover the next book to read select from a grade level or genre list and then find an interesting title and click to read the review. The More to Explore menu on the left links to How to Write a Book Report with Rodman Philbrick, which is more extensive in depth with Writing Tips, Challenges, and Revision Guidelines.
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tag(s): book reports (36), independent reading (128), reading lists (75)

In the Classroom

Introduce students to this tool using an interactive whiteboard or projector. Share the list of books already reviewed, and read a few reviews together. Read the guidelines for writing a review, and create a book report for a book read in class. First, model by creating a rough draft. Next, copy and paste the final version of the rough draft to Share What You're Reading. Last, show the students how to publish. Set up a station in class where students can write up other books they read. Another idea would be to use the published reviews for grammar exercises. Not only can you edit and revise a review, but it could also be a "book talk" to introduce students to a title.

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SMS Generator - Class Tools

Grades
4 to 12
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Use this clever and simple tool to create conversations (or presentations) that look like text messages. Use the icons on the bottom to get started. Email is not required. Clicking...more
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Use this clever and simple tool to create conversations (or presentations) that look like text messages. Use the icons on the bottom to get started. Email is not required. Clicking either speech bubble will begin the text message, and click the other one to reply. Save the presentation with a password. Share via embed or QR code or URL.

tag(s): book reports (36), creative writing (166), digital storytelling (145), writing (359)

In the Classroom

Engage students with what they know, text messaging! Inform students you will be creating a text conversation between two historical figures, fictional characters, scientists - anything from something the class is reading. On the whiteboard or with a projector display the SMS Generator. Show students how to use it by having them create the conversation. The text is not limited, but keep it reasonable. Besides using SMS Generator for presentations, it could be used to teach or refine social skills, practice writing in a new language, or explaining a math or science concept to a peer.

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OK2Ask: Innovation with Gamification Level Up your Learning! - TeachersFirst

Grades
K to 12
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This recording of an OK2Ask online professional development session from February 2016, opens in Adobe Connect. Gamification is an innovative way to transform classrooms. Learn how...more
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This recording of an OK2Ask online professional development session from February 2016, opens in Adobe Connect. Gamification is an innovative way to transform classrooms. Learn how to maximize the students' learning potential by using game design and game elements in the classroom. Explore innovative resources and strategies to foster student engagement with gamification methods. This session is appropriate for teachers at Intermediate technology levels.

tag(s): game based learning (103), gamification (65)

In the Classroom

Engage your students and inspire your lessons by applying game principles and elements to non-game activities. These activities can be high-tech or low-tech. It is not about the tool as much as it is about the emphasis on game-like mechanics. Start small and become comfortable with the terminology and process. Choose some aspect of your classroom practice to gamify. You might choose to gamify components of professional development, classroom management, centers, entrance/exit slips, activities, or even whole units. Find additional information and links to tools at the session resource page. Learn more about OK2Ask and upcoming sessions here.
 This resource requires Adobe Flash.

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Drafting Board - iCivics

Grades
5 to 12
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Drafting Board is a blended-learning tool, with a set of six modules that guide you through the steps of creating an argumentative essay. Upon completion of all modules, you will ...more
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Drafting Board is a blended-learning tool, with a set of six modules that guide you through the steps of creating an argumentative essay. Upon completion of all modules, you will have a complete essay starting with an introduction, counterpoints, and a conclusion. Download information in three parts: an overview to Drafting Board, a self-guided training PowerPoint, and the teaching guide and tips. You must register with iCivics using email to fully access all of the Drafting Board features. Be sure to read all notes on the site for suggested times for completing activities. The overview to Drafting Board is a three minute video, and it will give you an idea of the topics provided. If your district blocks YouTube, the video may not be viewable. You could always view it at home and bring it to class "on a stick" to share. Use a tool such as KeepVid, reviewed here, to download the videos from YouTube.

tag(s): debate (41), essays (21), expository writing (44), persuasive writing (55), point of view (9), writing (359)

In the Classroom

This site is an excellent way to teach an argumentative essay. Complete one essay together using the steps provided, then assign students an essay to complete on their own. You may want to give students a choice of topics to write about from 301 Prompts for Argumentative/Persuasive Writing, reviewed here. Upon completion of their essay, challenge students to create a presentation about their topic using Slidestory, reviewed here. Slidestory allows for narration. Be sure to share a link to the site on your class webpage for students to use throughout the year.
 This resource requires PDF reader software like Adobe Acrobat.

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ThinkCerca - ThinkCerca

Grades
4 to 12
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Sign up for ThinkCerca's eight free starter lessons and get your students on the road to better critical thinking, close reading, and academic writing. Find a starter kit with 8 ...more
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Sign up for ThinkCerca's eight free starter lessons and get your students on the road to better critical thinking, close reading, and academic writing. Find a starter kit with 8 lessons teaching students the art of argumentation. Each lesson is 30 minutes long. These lessons contain standards-aligned literacy concepts and vocabulary. Start with Cerca's baseline assessment for writing, and then proceed with the lessons in order since the lessons build on each other. Sign up with your email, first and last name, and school zip code. Create your class or classes, and have students enroll via a class code. Find prompts for ELA, Science, and Social Studies. Math is coming soon (as of this review). The support section has several categories which include specific help directions, and also includes Instructional Strategies, Personalized Learning Models, and Tips and Resources.
This site includes advertising.

tag(s): expository writing (44), persuasive writing (55), reading comprehension (116), writing (359)

In the Classroom

Students will need to click Sign Up and "I'm a Student." Students will enter their first name and last name so be sure you have parent permission. They will also need an email address. There is a work-a-round for the names and email address. For the first and last name you could have them enter a code, for example, the first two letters of their last name and first three letters of their first name. If students cannot have their own email accounts, ThinkCerca has a suggestion or consider using a "class set" of Gmail subaccounts, explained here; this tells how to set up Gmail subaccounts to use for any online membership service. Once your students have worked through the eight lessons here, you may want to look at 301 Prompts for Argumentative/Persuasive Writing, reviewed here, to help you differentiate future writing lessons.

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