GradesK to 12
In the ClassroomAlthough this site has a TON to explore, one of the best places on this site is the daily writing prompt section (find seasonal prompts at the Seasonal Items link). You can share them on your interactive whiteboard or projector with a picture and fact about the day and a question requiring a written answer. This is a great discussion starter or activating strategy with any grade level and it can already be posted when the kids enter the room or used as a prompt for blogging. Whatever subject area you teach, if you are looking for some new strategies to reach your students, check out this site.
Grades4 to 12
tag(s): writing (362)
In the ClassroomUse this as a source for any kind of daily or specialty writing you would like to do with students. Take a look and choose a few options for your students to use. Have students model them on your interactive whiteboard in conjunction with a specific writing or grammar skill. For example, choose a prompt to challenge the class to use quotation marks correctly or to add vivid verbs. Have students use the writing prompt of their choice to create a blog entry.
Grades6 to 12
The Lost Book has been developed through the efforts of many groups including the Scottish Chamber Orchestra, Bookcrossing.com, and Edinburgh UNESCO City of Literature. Be certain to preview any video before you share, as our editors did notice one questionable word in the introduction episode. This site requires Flash. You can get it from the TeachersFirst Toolbox page.
In the ClassroomThis is a great opportunity to work with others around the world in a controlled environment within the classroom. Every episode offers opportunities for students to PARTICIPATE in the story, rather than being passive observers. Share the "catch-up video" on your interactive whiteboard or projector (previewed, of course). Have students vote as a class or individually. Have your class create their own interactive stories. There are many creative options. Have students create a collaborative wiki with a new episode on each successive page. Or have students work in cooperative learning groups to create an online book using a tool such as Bookemon (reviewed here).
GradesK to 12
Note that all jeopardy templates created become part of the domain and can be used by others.
In the ClassroomUse any already-created game as a quick assessment of prior knowledge or review on projector or interactive whiteboard.
To prevent others from editing your template you create a password when you start. Others will be unable to edit your created game without your password. After creating your password, you are taken to the familiar blue jeopardy screen. Here, enter the title at the top and the topics at the top of the columns. Click on a dollar amount under each topic to enter the clue and the What is... question in a pop-up box. Click done to enter the information. The dollar value square becomes blank to let you know it was completed. When done, click "Save." Click on Browse to view random template titles or enter a term into the search bar. On the "Build" page, follow the quick instructions and even browse tips for editing. When done, an internet link will be given for your Jeopardy game. Put this link in any website, blog, or wiki for students to click on and review information for study.
Use this as an introductory activity to uncover misconceptions. For example, prior to a unit on viruses, create a jeopardy game about myths and truths about viruses. Share the Jeopardy activities on an interactive whiteboard or projector. Use these as a starting point for understanding concepts in the unit. Create review games for students to learn and remember content. After making one game together as a class, allow students to make their own games to challenge each other on segments of the material. This not only provides students with material to review, but the creation of a game takes thought and understanding of the material. Be sure that students understand how to create such a game and how to choose parts carefully. Check student games prior to saving. Maintain a page of Jeopardy links for review of a wide range of curricular topics.
GradesK to 12
In the ClassroomTo use the pictures provided, simply chose a "group" title, such as water drops, and click to befuddlr it. If you wish to befuddlr your own pictures, you must first upload them to Flickr, so you will need to learn that simple tool. Be sure to TAG your pictures so you can FIND them again! No membership or saving are available on befuddlr. Its is an on-the-spot tool. Be sure to use your own images or copyright free images and images that are available to be built upon. If students click to choose other pictures from Flickr, they could encounter ANYTHING that someone has uploaded, so be sure to guide them to the pictures you want them to use and have a stated policy and consequence for those who wander off into inappropriate places. Flickr does have anti-porn policies, but girls in bikinis, for example, are still available! Use snapshots of animals, numbers, letters, or other pictures and have students scramble the pieces. Befuddlr a picture on your interactive whiteboard to start a language lesson! Students can create their own and provide hints using a variety of constraints such as no more than 5 words, a poem, using adjectives only, etc. in order to help those guessing the original picture. In Art, create new patterns for analysis. Use befuddled pictures to practice new vocabulary for young ones or for ESL and world language students. Accompany student poetry with befuddled pictures
GradesK to 12
tag(s): speech (92)
In the ClassroomYou need to be able to navigate controls on the website and sound levels on your computer. Copy/pasting embed codes is also a necessary skill for insertion in a website. Email the sound clip very easily.
Future saving of Vocaroos is unsure depending upon server space. Before using with students, you may wish to obtain permission from administration and/or parents. Be sure to check your school's acceptable use policy. Students should be made aware of acceptable use and consequences of misuse of the service.
Record snippets of information as reminders on your class website or instructions for students to follow. This is terrific for learning support students or non-readers! Have students describe aspects of classroom learning experiences to share with others, such as what they learned from a science experiment or found out about life in Colonial America. Record a quick message for an absentee and email the link to him/her explaining how to catch up on missing work. Create tutorial pieces that students can use as study aids (or have them create them for each other). Use this site in world language classes or for ELL students: have students record and listen to their own pronunciation or send short messages to each other to translate. Have students use this site to practice speeches before the presentation to hear their speed, tone, and words. Use this site for research presentations, instructions for a substitute, or many other possibilities. With younger students, read a short story on Vocaroo, and have student follow along using a picture book. Or have the students read their own stories into Vocaroo and email the readings to their parents! For Mothers Day, why not have students record messages for mom or grandma? Another idea: create a class wiki where parents can "find" the entire selection of Vocaroos for Mother's Day (or another holiday). Record Vocaroos of each student talking about the importance of Moms for Mother's Day or how grateful they are for certain things at Thanksgiving. Embed them all in a class wiki to share with parents. Just email the URL for the collection.
Grades6 to 12
In the ClassroomProvide your students with this website and a good 20-minutes of exploration time. Then, have your class write journal entries through the eyes of the African-American baseball stars. Or divide up the class into cooperative learning groups. Have each group research a specific time period and share their finding with the class.
Grades6 to 12
To post any stories or poems at Language is a Virus you must be registered. The log-in process does require an email address. If you plan to have students register individually, you may want to create your own Gmail account with up to 20 subaccounts for each group of students (by code name or number) within your classes. Here is a blog post that tells how to set up GMail subaccounts to use for any online membership service.
Before having students post anything on this site, check your school's Acceptable Use Policy and BE CERTAIN to obtain parental permission. Be aware this site has several advertisements and includes Twitter Buttons, Badges, Backgrounds, and Images. Be sure to provide students with specific instructions of where they MAY and may NOT go. Or make this site a whole-class activity (too bad, though, since writing is so individual).
tag(s): poetry (225)
In the ClassroomJust using the "Widgets to Cure Writer's Block" section makes writing fun. From Mad-lib poems to a random line generator this offers lots of laughs as well as creativity nudging for students. The "66 Writing Experiments of Charles Bernstein" offers a variety of activities for students from sentence combining to poetry to transcription to chronology.
Share the prompts and activities on your interactive whiteboard or projector. Have students work on individual computers to use these activities to cure their writer's block. Just be sure to give instructions of where they can and can't visit! Keep your pop-up blocker turned ON to avoid at least some of the annoying advertising.
Grades9 to 12
In the ClassroomHere's an opportunity for collaboration in which students can teach one another different aspects of the origins of Western theatre and then perform their own tragedy for the class. Be sure to try the interactive "staging" activity in small groups or on an interactive whiteboard. Then have cooperative learning groups perform their different tragedies for the class. Video the performances and share the videos on a tool such as SchoolTube (reviewed here).
Grades8 to 12
In the ClassroomThis site is worth it if only for the variety of the daily prompts; however, there is a lot here to engage students. The story examples (such as the "Pushcart Prize Nominations"), the online literary journal, and the assortment of writing exercises give teachers a smorgasbord of activities to choose from. Just be sure to preview whatever material you wish to use in class and do so on a teacher-controlled machine. Or avoid recommending the site itself and find ideas you can use by projecting a writing prompt alone on your interactive whiteboard or projector, having students brainstorm ideas and write on their own to avoid potential "public" content here. Introduce blogging using one of these prompts and a tool such as Throwww (reviewed here). This site allows you to create "quick and easy" blogs to be used one time only. There is no registration necessary!
GradesK to 12
NOTE: Our editors regret that PicLits occasionally allows advertising on their home page to include images that are not classroom-friendly. Teachers should preview to determine whether or not your students can ignore the ads.
"Learn It" provides learning opportunities and examples for creating captions, compound sentences, or paragraphs. Advanced lesson plans for teachers are viewed in the "Learn It" tab as well. "View the Gallery" to see already-created PicLits as well as comments and ratings. After selecting a picture (or using the one they provide) and dragging a word onto the screen, choose different forms of the word by using the drop-down menu next to the word. Move your words anywhere on the screen for creative writing. You can also click "freestyle" instead to type in your own words instead of choosing from their list. Word lists change, depending on the image selected. Note: Advertisements run alongside the PicLits screen. Caution students to ignore these. Here is an example:
See the full PicLit at PicLits.com
This site includes advertising.
In the ClassroomUsers of PicLits must be able to navigate tabs on sites, manage logins, and use URL's and embed codes to share results on websites and blogs. Play to learn the tools before or after joining. Help also provides a short-and-sweet text explanation of the tools.
Registering for a PicLits account requires the use of an email address. PicLits can be used without an account but users are unable to save or blog about their creation without an account. A class account can be created instead of individual student accounts. However, it does not show which work is attributable to which student. You may want to require that students initial their contributions in order to get credit. All work on the site can be seen without a login. All projects are public.
You may want to create a word doc, Favorites folder, or other "collection" of the URLS to all your students' projects in one place for easy work at grading time. Some teachers use a class wiki or blog with links to all projects from there. You may allow students to self-register, but be sure to keep a written record of their passwords for when they "forget." It may be worth your time to do advanced registration for your younger students or simply use a whole-class account.
Share a PicLit on your interactive whiteboard at the start of a grammar or writing lesson to discuss word choice, figures of speech, or vocabulary. Use the visual picture prompt for journal or blog writing, allowing each student to compose a unique poem or haiku. Even science classes can write about concepts illustrated in the many nature photos. Emotional support teachers will love the chance to discuss feelings and how to describe facial expressions in the pictures. Make a collection of PicLits for a curriculum topic or as a literary magazine online. ESL students can create PicLits to learn new vocabulary. Have students create PicLits for special occasions and special people (mom, dad, grandparents, school nurse, or others). Use the embed code to place your creations on many other sites, including your class wiki or blogs. Share your PicLit by using a URL or code for an embedded widget.
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 (NO email)
Products can be embedded
Products can be shared by URL
Multiple users can collaborate on the same project
Grades9 to 12
In the ClassroomShare this site with your students on an interactive whiteboard or projector.
GradesK to 12
In the ClassroomUse this site to "spruce" up Earth Day or your study of plants and trees! The Teacher's Guides are basically ready-to-go units of study. Some of the activities are more interactive than others. If you are looking for a more "technology" friendly activity, consider having students create a wiki guide to the various trees in their hometowns (or around their school). Or have them create a video "Tree Tour." Share the videos using a tool such as SchoolTube (reviewed here).
GradesK to 12
In the ClassroomThe possibilities at this site are endless! Take advantage of the grade-appropriate activities, interactives, lesson plans, and printables. Have students work with a partner to try out the Brainstorm Machine. Use this site to create a writing station. After studying the genre, wy not have students create illustrated virtual books of their own using a free tool such as Bookemon, reviewed here.
GradesK to 12
Teachers who desire professional development and fresh ideas will want to include this site in their repertoire.
In the ClassroomUse this site to help ANY grade level create original books. Have students work with a partner to create a book together. With older students, challenge them to create a book as a culminating project for a research assignment. Have younger students create books at the beginning of the year to introduce themselves to the class. The possibilities are endless at this creative site! Use some of the ideas to make online books using a tool such as Bookemon, reviewed here.
Grades1 to 12
In the ClassroomNo matter what subject you teach, you can find something to fit in your plans for Presidents Day or the Lincoln Bicentennial. Use these ideas and adapt at will. You can even email an idea to your teacher colleague to save a friend time!
Grades9 to 12
In the ClassroomThis lesson plan is ready to go, includes interactive elements, and is even linked to national standards. English class and history class can team up on this lesson and discuss the poetry and history behind King's magical words.
Grades3 to 12
In the ClassroomStudents may be paired or work individually to explore the activities found at this site. Make sure your computers are fairly fast or the games may be too slow to use.
To spice up a writing lesson or add interest to a writing center, have students send colonial postcards, via email (or blog), to classmates. Content of messages may require extra supervision. A safer way to send messages to fellow classmates would be to use the Colonial Card Creator where the students must print out the card, then handwrite their message in the cards. A printer needs to be accessible for the card creator. Older students can explore the interactive draft of the Constitution on an interactive whiteboard or projector.
Be sure to include this one on your teacher web page for students to continue to access from home.