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Thanks for Teaching Us - T.B.D.

Grades
3 to 12
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Whether you have a favorite professor or elementary teacher, here is a way to thank them publicly. It's very simple. There is no registration. Click on "Submit a Story" ...more
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Whether you have a favorite professor or elementary teacher, here is a way to thank them publicly. It's very simple. There is no registration. Click on "Submit a Story" to fill in the teacher name, what you are thanking him/her for, and other details. You can include your Twitter picture. You can even email the letter to the teacher. Read the letters posted by others. This site could be used for thanking a favorite past teacher, or anyone affiliated with a school. There is a multitude of people who work in schools and are kind to children.

tag(s): letter writing (21)

In the Classroom

What a nice way to teach letter writing! Teach your students how to write a friendly letter for an authentic audience. Have them put their final copy on Thanks for Teaching Us. In lower grades, work together to write letters to "community helpers" in your school. What about that favorite coach? The custodian who got the ball off the roof? The lunch lady who gave your student a lunch even though his/her account had no funds? The principal? Counselors? Avoid having students identify themselves on the Internet. Use first names only with parent permission.

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Minus - Minus

Grades
7 to 12
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Share documents, music, photos, and even videos with this free and easy to use sharing service. Use the easy drag and drop interface to choose the files for upload. Share ...more
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Share documents, music, photos, and even videos with this free and easy to use sharing service. Use the easy drag and drop interface to choose the files for upload. Share easily with links or codes. Apps are available for most mobile operating systems with more to come. No sign up is necessary, though it is recommended if you want to save your galleries. The free portion of this site offers up to 50 GB of space (2 GB per file).
This site includes advertising.

tag(s): images (266), slides (63), video (254)

In the Classroom

Minus can be used to collaborate and to finish work easily when on different computers. Access any file using Minus. This is a great alternative for traditional group work, rather than having to travel to other group members' homes. Share the files quickly and easily.

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Dragontape - Dragontape Ltd. (Tamas and Peter Szakal)

Grades
5 to 12
1 Favorites 0  Comments
   
Dragontape allows you to create editable sequences of video and sound from different online sources, including YouTube. You can create up to a three hour long playlist of videos and...more
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Dragontape allows you to create editable sequences of video and sound from different online sources, including YouTube. You can create up to a three hour long playlist of videos and music, and share them through both URL and embed codes. Embed multiple videos in ONE box or page. You can add new clips during the playback. If you have a Twitter account, you can gather clips from feeds of those you follow and enjoy. You can trim and use the fade feature on video clips for more seamless viewing. Basically, you can create your own online "bookcase" for web based videos. This is a great collaborative tool for merging videos, and it is so easy to use that the creators have what they call "couch editor mode." This means you do not have to do anything but DRAG ON to tape, a great online equivalent to the tape recorders of the past.

tag(s): sounds (68), video (254)

In the Classroom

In class, register and use this to provide a single link to multiple video clips you can use or assign for a single class period. Pull different sources together to create a more complete and informative video presentation for your students. Or have students create their own Dragontapes for online, multimedia collage projects. Great for any class, but especially great for music, drama, and art classes. Some other project ideas: juxtaposing politicians, critics, authors talking about writing, or anything you want to compare/contrast. Student organizations could create playlists of current music for a school dance, saving money on a DJ as long as the school has the proper sound equipment to amplify the playlist.

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Embracing Research - TeachersFirst

Grades
1 to 8
1 Favorites 0  Comments
 
This installment in the Help I lost my library/media specialist series offers a step by step approach to a research unit, written by an experienced elementary library/media specialist....more
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This installment in the Help I lost my library/media specialist series offers a step by step approach to a research unit, written by an experienced elementary library/media specialist. Although nothing can replace the specialized knowledge of a teacher-librarian, this plan includes everything from pre-planning to sharing an assessing products. There are different resources and ideas for primary, upper elementary, and middle school grades. It is almost like having your helpful library/media specialist working along with you!

In the Classroom

Mark this one in your Favorites for use when planning you next major research project. The resources and ideas will help every student be successful. Adapt for weaker readers by using resources or ideas from lower grades.

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IDroo Online Educational Whiteboard - idroo.com

Grades
K to 12
1 Favorites 0  Comments
 
Teach, learn and collaborate easily with this multi-user whiteboard. Everything that is drawn or written on the whiteboard is visible to all participants in real-time. IDroo supports...more
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Teach, learn and collaborate easily with this multi-user whiteboard. Everything that is drawn or written on the whiteboard is visible to all participants in real-time. IDroo supports an unlimited number of meeting participants, the only limitations are computer power and internet connection speed. There is a professional math typing tool built-in making it easy to teach or work through math problems collaboratively. IDroo is integrated with Skype to enhance the online collaboration experience. Currently it only works on Windows systems and requires a software download.

tag(s): iwb (31), virtual field trips (48)

In the Classroom

IDroo would be great for any online collaboration session with other classrooms, teachers, or virtual classroom visitors. Use this to tutor students virtually by setting up a time for online work sessions.

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Eclipse Crossword Creator - Eclipse Crossword

Grades
1 to 12
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Create crossword puzzles quickly and easily with this fast and free site. Crosswords can easily be customized with settings within the program. Advanced users can fine-tune the settings...more
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Create crossword puzzles quickly and easily with this fast and free site. Crosswords can easily be customized with settings within the program. Advanced users can fine-tune the settings to the way they like them, everything from the positioning of the first few words to how important it is to have a compact puzzle. To get started, download the software and install on your computer (be sure to follow school rules regarding download and installation of software if using school computers). Next, input your list of words and clues, then create your puzzle. Once created, you can print puzzles, save it as a web page, or choose from different types of interactive pages that your visitors can play right in their web browser, without installing new software.

tag(s): crosswords (18), puzzles (208)

In the Classroom

Create puzzles for any subject or topic for review or introduction to new materials. Allow students to create puzzles for other students to solve. Add a puzzle to your classroom newsletter or blog to create interest. Share puzzles on your interactive whiteboard for students to solve together.

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Digg.com - Digg Inc.

Grades
7 to 12
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Digg is a social news network. Similar in some qualities to Facebook and other such social media. You can post stories you find interesting and browse "Top Stories" which are ...more
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Digg is a social news network. Similar in some qualities to Facebook and other such social media. You can post stories you find interesting and browse "Top Stories" which are more or less the most popular stories being shared on the Internet. It is meant to be a snapshot of the most interesting, relevant, quirky, and fun content on the web! Once you sign up, you can start to Digg your own favorites. This site also features "Digg Dialogg" where members submit questions to notable leaders and community members decide on which questions will be asked and interviews are shared on the site. Be sure to preview items that you wish to share. A few "violent" warnings were noted at the time of this review, but the other 99% of the shared items were excellent for using in the classroom.

tag(s): debate (41), news (261), social networking (112)

In the Classroom

Try using Digg as a warm up Internet activity in the beginning of the school year by having older students sign up for their own account. Have them scan and read as part of current events teaching. The articles can be controversial which provides a great place to start debates. It also provides a great resource for research. Have students make a multimedia presentation using one of the many TeachersFirst Edge tools reviewed here.
 This resource requires Adobe Flash.

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Copyright free/Public domain images - Jen Presley

Grades
K to 12
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Discover a nice collection of source for public domain and copyright free images from around the web. This Livebinders...more
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Discover a nice collection of source for public domain and copyright free images from around the web. This Livebinders site features a wonderful array of images and photos on a variety of topics.
This site includes advertising.

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

In the Classroom

When looking for copyright free materials for use in projects or to place on websites, begin your search here. Be sure to keep a link to this site on your wiki, blog, or web page for students to use whenever they are working on a project.

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Educreations - Educreations, Inc.

Grades
6 to 12
3 Favorites 0  Comments
   
Use Educreations' simple web-based whiteboard (works in any browser that supports flash) or the iPad app to record lessons and share with your students. Create your course(s) and control...more
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Use Educreations' simple web-based whiteboard (works in any browser that supports flash) or the iPad app to record lessons and share with your students. Create your course(s) and control privacy settings from the beginning. Make the content pubic, private to your students, or private to all within the school. Create a lesson by using the online whiteboard and your microphone. Easily upload images from your computer and switch between whiteboard screens. Click on the Students tab to provide a link for students to be able to find your course. Students can self-register using the unique classroom code. Each lesson has a unique URL you can share, as well. Students can access your lessons via the web or an iPad. You can remove students from registration lists in this section.
This site includes advertising.

tag(s): homework (44), video (254)

In the Classroom

Use this resource to create homework help for students to peruse when they are stuck on their own trying to complete assignments. Create mini lessons for students to review or learn the material they may have missed. Consider allowing students to use your account to write a script and record mini lessons for use by other students. Even two recordings of the same lesson is valuable as information can be explained differently from more than one person. Be sure to include this link on your class website for students (and parents) to access at home.

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QR Treasure Hunt Generator - Classtools.net

Grades
4 to 12
7 Favorites 0  Comments
 
Interested in using QR codes in an engaging way? Try this Treasure Hunt Generator that uses QR codes. It's simple. Enter your questions and answers. Then click Create the QR ...more
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Interested in using QR codes in an engaging way? Try this Treasure Hunt Generator that uses QR codes. It's simple. Enter your questions and answers. Then click Create the QR Challenge. These are generated as text files which can be printed and posted wherever you want. Students use a QR reader (such as on iTouches, iPads, or phones) to scan and open the question and directions. Students then continue on by finding and answering the questions.

Note: QR code readers exist for every type of phone and are easily found on the Internet. For computers, add-ons exist for Firefox and Chrome as well as a desktop application from Adobe.

tag(s): game based learning (103), gamification (65), qr codes (21)

In the Classroom

Use to make any class content into a treasure hunt for knowledge. Keep students engaged by creating learning centers that have a question requiring an answer and perhaps another activity at the center before going on to the next. Have students learn and answer questions about mystery objects, art prints, or books/authors with accompanying QR codes. Identify trees by creating a QR code with a question about the tree and perhaps another link taking them to specific information. Create a scavenger hunt around the school asking questions about activities in the school or certain student projects found in showcases. (The first QR code could be printed in the school newsletter.) Create a treasure hunt with books in the library to test library search skills or to find a specific book and answer questions from the index, table of contents, etc. Use QR codes on objects in Geometry to ask questions about the shapes or solve a problem based on a physical object. Any subject area and content could find a use for this Treasure Hunt Generator. Challenge students to create their own QR treasure hunts as a way to "present" research projects. Use in social studies for the entire class to create a QR code hunt around your community to bring local history to life for all residents.
 This resource requires Adobe Flash.

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Search Team - Zakta LLC

Grades
5 to 12
2 Favorites 0  Comments
 
This search engine is designed for you to search collaboratively with others. Avoid duplicate search results and record comments and "likes." Once you register (requires email), click...more
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This search engine is designed for you to search collaboratively with others. Avoid duplicate search results and record comments and "likes." Once you register (requires email), click Contacts (or Invite Friends To Search Together) to add others with whom you can collaborate on searches. All collaborators must have email and be registered. Be aware: as with most search engines, inappropriate words can be used/searched. Be sure your students know the rules, expectations, and consequences for inappropriate searches.

tag(s): search engines (65), search strategies (30)

In the Classroom

Use this resource for any project or other classroom research where students can benefit from collaborative research. This is a great alternative to meeting at a group member's house or the library. And it saves gas! For students under age 13, use a whole class account and have each group use a different TAB that you set up for them. A how-to video on the site will guide you through set up.

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AudioBoom - Audioboo Ltd.

Grades
1 to 12
1 Favorites 0  Comments
  
Enter your classroom into the digital age with AudioBoom's audio digital archive and sharing device. Use an iPhone, Android, or PC to record high-quality soundtracks easily. Along...more
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Enter your classroom into the digital age with AudioBoom's audio digital archive and sharing device. Use an iPhone, Android, or PC to record high-quality soundtracks easily. Along with the sound recording, a map shows the who, where, and when of the recording. Use AudioBoom with social networking sites, embed into a website or use as a full podcast. If sharing an already created AudiBoom, please preview first. While this site CAN be used with all grades, some of the already created Audibooms are only appropriate for high school students.
This site includes advertising.

tag(s): maps (287), social networking (112), sound (101)

In the Classroom

Jazz up your curriculum with sound. Invigorate debates, interviews, reporting, or interviewing with expression and passion. Easily record and share Readers Theater and storytelling with your class, other classes, or even parents. Add personal narratives from students' reports on historical figures, scientists, or community leaders. Add a further dimension into author studies with audio requests using AudioBoom. Autobiographies and biographies can include a much-needed sound component. Blogs, podcasts, and websites easily support these recordings. ESL/ELL teachers might be interested in using this to record their students reading or in conversations and play it back for them so they can critique how well they are doing, or where they need improvement.

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Sound Cloud - SoundCloud Ltd.

Grades
K to 12
3 Favorites 0  Comments
  
SoundCloud is a sound sharing site. Upload your favorite sounds and share using your sound cloud free account. Share via a link or a choice of embed widgets to add ...more
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SoundCloud is a sound sharing site. Upload your favorite sounds and share using your sound cloud free account. Share via a link or a choice of embed widgets to add into a website, blog, podcast, Wordpress, email, instant message, or social network. You can choose to use previously recorded sounds or record your own sounds using this site. Share the sounds on the web, with your group, or privately between users. Use your drop box to receive recorded material from others.
This site includes advertising.

tag(s): creative writing (166), descriptive writing (41), expository writing (44), sound (101), sounds (68)

In the Classroom

Add the dimension of sound into your language arts classes with SoundCloud! Turn written stories or poetry into works of spoken art. Use SoundCloud recordings of places such as; the city, the forest, the beach, or a cafeteria to bring settings to life. Make and share audio writing prompts. Challenge students to create their own story using sounds. Add sound into projects such as webquests, PowerPoints, podcasts, or blogging to hear the results! Emphasize important messages to your parent or student emails using sound. What a practical solution for ESL/ELL learners. Record and share poetry readings during Poetry Month. Save quarterly recordings of speech articulation students s they can hear their own progress (and you can share it with parents). Check school policies, of course, before uploading any student recordings to the web. Instrumental music teachers can share clips of musical pieces for students to emulate during at-home practice.

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Teaching Interviewing Skills Through Story Games - Doug Lipman

Grades
4 to 12
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Encourage and motivate students to become better interviewers with these easy to use suggestions. This short article is divided into different sections including Why Games to Teach...more
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Encourage and motivate students to become better interviewers with these easy to use suggestions. This short article is divided into different sections including Why Games to Teach Interviewing?, Close-ended and Open-ended questions, games, and next steps. Several activities are included to demonstrate and practice proper questioning techniques. Although the author indicates he has used these techniques with grades 4-8, information on the site is appropriate for older students as well.

tag(s): interviews (16), journalism (46), questioning (31)

In the Classroom

Practice activities on the site with student journalists, before interviewing family members for genealogy research, or as general social skills practice. This is a must for any class planning an oral history project. Before presenting information on the site, record students interviewing other classmates. Then record after learning new questioning techniques as an assessment and demonstration of skills learned. Challenge students to create a talking avatar using a photo or other image (legally permitted to be reproduced). The avatars can be used to explain differences between open and closed questions or suggestions for interviews. Use a site such as Blabberize (reviewed here). ESL/ELL teachers may want to use techniques discussed in the article to help students become more comfortable in everyday conversations.

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CAST Science Writer - CAST, Inc.

Grades
6 to 12
1 Favorites 1  Comments
  
Get help writing science reports. Follow the steps of a science report, already broken down to show where all the information goes. This tool includes sentence starters and checklists...more
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Get help writing science reports. Follow the steps of a science report, already broken down to show where all the information goes. This tool includes sentence starters and checklists that are helpful when editing and revising a report. Follow the process of creating a draft, revising the report, and final editing. Use the text to speech tool found in the resource to hear your report being read back to you, a powerful way to hear whether it makes sense. The site states "This tool is geared toward middle school and high school students." However, there are activities applicable to upper elementary grades.

tag(s): science fairs (25), scientific method (64)

In the Classroom

Be sure to place this link on the school blog, wiki, or class website for easy access throughout the year. Demonstrate in class or use as a group. Share the site on your interactive whiteboard or projector. Students will find it a great resource. Knowing when to discuss information is difficult for most to decide when writing a lab report. After creating a report, have students discuss or create a display that shows where information needs to be placed in a lab report.
 This resource requires Adobe Flash.

Comments

This resource is described as being for students in grades 6 through 12, but the interface has animated "helpers" that would be more appropriate for younger students. The breakdown of report writing into sections also seems a bit simplistic--also more appropriate for younger students. I think it would be better to describe this resource as being for grades 2-5. Note from the editorial team: The site states that this tool is designed for middle school and high school students. However, after further review, we agree that it would be useful in the elementary grades. We have adjusted our review based on your recommendations. Rita, WA, Grades: 6 - 12

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Writing to Persuade - Mrs. Travis' Classroom

Grades
4 to 8
2 Favorites 0  Comments
 
Looking for a way to explain and practice persuasive writing? Find examples on how to include evidence, show differing viewpoints, organize writing, and focus on the target audience....more
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Looking for a way to explain and practice persuasive writing? Find examples on how to include evidence, show differing viewpoints, organize writing, and focus on the target audience. Don't miss the links at the bottom to an interactive persuasive essay map and a persuasive writing leaflets practice site.

tag(s): persuasive writing (55)

In the Classroom

Share information from the site on your interactive whiteboard when teaching persuasive writing. Print the charts and information from the site for students to include in writing journals as a handy review. Share a link to the site on your classroom website or newsletter for students to use as a resource at home. Have students try out one of the links (interactives) at the bottom to help organize their writing.
 This resource requires Adobe Flash.

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IndyKids - IndyKids

Grades
3 to 8
1 Favorites 0  Comments
IndyKids is an online newspaper for kids. This online version is the same as the printable version that produces 10,000 copies of each issue, reaching kids in 36 states of ...more
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IndyKids is an online newspaper for kids. This online version is the same as the printable version that produces 10,000 copies of each issue, reaching kids in 36 states of the US. Articles are written by both kids and adults, featuring topics related to current events and topics of interest to kids. Articles written by kids are noted as such and include the writer's age. At the time of this review, some of the "kid written articles" included Growing Poverty: Hard to Ignore At Home, Wasps: Do I Know You, and several others. Be sure to check out the category search on the lower right-hand portion of the site with topics such as: Kids Around the World, Culture and Activism, Education, and much more. Newspapers are archived in PDF format for easy printing and dated back several years.

tag(s): creative writing (166), expository writing (44), journalism (46), persuasive writing (55), writing (359)

In the Classroom

Share this site with students and have students choose an article to read, summarize, or expand upon. After reading articles on the site, have students choose a current topic that interests them and have them write an article as practice of informational writing. In science or social studies, study the newspaper format as students write articles reporting on scientific discoveries or famous people. Use the format of this newsletter as a resource for creating and publishing your own classroom newsletter online. During newspapers in education month, use this site to findaccessible articles for any age. Create a newspaper using a site such as Zinepal (reviewed here). Click to "Start with a blank e-Book."
 This resource requires PDF reader software like Adobe Acrobat.

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Infographics archive - Infographics Archive

Grades
7 to 12
4 Favorites 0  Comments
Find fascinating Infographics on a variety of topics: Technology, Environment, Business, Food Facts, Politics, Health Safety, and even Interesting Facts. What are Infographics? A graphic...more
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Find fascinating Infographics on a variety of topics: Technology, Environment, Business, Food Facts, Politics, Health Safety, and even Interesting Facts. What are Infographics? A graphic visual representation of information, data, or knowledge.
This site includes advertising.

tag(s): charts and graphs (195), data (148), graphic design (35), infographics (42)

In the Classroom

Use as an introduction to a lesson or unit. Use Think-Pair-Share to list and share information provided by the graphic. Develop questions to be answered to understand the information or questions that they just wonder. Allow students or groups of students to choose an Infographic that interests them and report on the information given. Consider assigning the creation of an Infographic as an assignment to understand content and connect it with the real world, such as showing the many ways electricity is used in the world or the impact of slavery on an economy. Or have them explain an experiment and report the results with graphical information to provide meaning. Since infographics are often key to understanding an article, reading teachers will appreciate this large collection to use in teaching/practicing how to interpret informational graphics within a text. Share one each day for students to practice telling you the "main idea" of the graphic.

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Wridea - Octeth Ltd.

Grades
4 to 12
6 Favorites 1  Comments
 
Wridea is an idea management, brainstorming, and collaboration tool. It's a place to organize and categorize your ideas, share them with others for input, and store them. To collaborate...more
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Wridea is an idea management, brainstorming, and collaboration tool. It's a place to organize and categorize your ideas, share them with others for input, and store them. To collaborate using this tool, you must have individual memberships (email required). Note that maps that are shared can be seen by the public, but not altered. You specify the members who may collaborate and make alterations. At this time, this site does not work properly in Internet Explorer. However, it is a great tool to use in Firefox, Safari, Chrome, or other browsers.

tag(s): brainstorming (23), concept mapping (22), graphic organizers (43), mind map (25), organizational skills (122)

In the Classroom

Demonstrate the activity on an interactive whiteboard or projector, and then allow students to create their own Wridea tool. Use this site for literature activities, research projects, social studies, or science topics. Have students collaborate together (online) to create group study guides or review charts before a test. Have students use Wridea as a study guide by brainstorming all the important concepts they remember about the unit being studied in history or science, and then have them share their Wridea with another student who will add concepts that were left out. Build student creative fluency by having them use Wridea to create categories of wonder, question, and answers for research; map out a story or plot line, or map out a step-by-step process (life cycle); map a real historical event as a choose-your-own-adventure with alternate endings based on pivotal points.

Comments

This resources looks like it has a wide variety of applications suitable to upper elementary and secondary classrooms. Sign up was quick and easy, but I received a message upon completing those steps that Wridea doesn't support Internet Explorer. It "suggested" using Mozilla Firefox instead. I'm a strong advocate for being comfortable with using several browsers, so, this doesn't throw up any huge roadblocks to me, but if you do not have or use Firefox, you will need to take that extra step as well before actually making use of this tool.

Editor's Note: the review has been updated to reflect this new information.
Rita, WA, Grades: 6 - 12

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Tricider - tricider.com

Grades
3 to 12
5 Favorites 0  Comments
 
Tricider is an exciting tool to help people brainstorm and make decisions. You put a question in the appropriate box and then select who is eligible to comment and vote. ...more
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Tricider is an exciting tool to help people brainstorm and make decisions. You put a question in the appropriate box and then select who is eligible to comment and vote. Invite people to join in making decisions via Facebook, Twitter, or email. Options include setting a time limit, or closing down the question or discussion. There is no registration required, and the site is completely free.

tag(s): brainstorming (23), conflict resolution (8), debate (41), persuasive writing (55), polls and surveys (48), questioning (31)

In the Classroom

Introduce Tricider on your interactive whiteboard or projector. Use this site to develop arguments sides for an upcoming debate or persuasive writing assignment. Promote higher level thinking by asking students to brainstorm options and set criteria to choose. Build mental flexibility as they see alternate points of view on an issue. Encourage your students to use this tool for projects, decision making, and organization.

If you have students create book ads in your class, or projects, your students can vote on which book they want to read next or which project they would like to investigate further, etc. Teachers can also use Tricider to survey students about what resources on your website are the best, what further explanation they may need about a unit in math or science, which project students would like to do as a summative assessment, or ways to encourage "green" practices in your community. Be sure to have your students use a code or number instead of an actual name.

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