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Wolf Quest - Minnesota Zoo

Grades
4 to 12
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This fabulous website about wolves and habitats in Yellowstone allows participants to "live" as a wolf, raise their young, explore the wilderness, go hunting, and survive. Students...more
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This fabulous website about wolves and habitats in Yellowstone allows participants to "live" as a wolf, raise their young, explore the wilderness, go hunting, and survive. Students can work alone or with partners, as they learn about wolves in the wild. Students can consult biologists, write original stories, create drawings, and more. This is the first episode; future installments are expected in late 2008. Students and/or teachers must register (free)to use the program. We recommend using a single class/teacher registration or parent/student written agreements for student registrations in order to prevent inappropriate postings "clever" students might make on the community discussion boards. There are also detailed lesson plans (click on Wolf Info > classroom activities). The lesson plans include national science standards. This site requires Flash. Get it from the TeachersFirst Toolbox page..

tag(s): zoology (7)

In the Classroom

Introduce this free resource on interactive whiteboard or projector. The lesson plans and interactive activity are both perfect tools to drum up enthusiasm in biology class. The Game Info provides excellent descriptors and instructions for using this program. Be sure to check back for updated episodes. Include this website on your teacher web site (and the activities) as one of a set of activities on animals and their habitats to be done in class or outside. Then challenge your students to work together in documenting local animals and habitats in a class wiki or group science fair project.
 This resource requires Adobe Flash.

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Everyday Spelling: Writing Prompts - Pearson Education, Inc.

Grades
1 to 8
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This plain-vanilla (but useful) website provides several writing prompts divided by grade level (1-2, 3-5, and 6-8), plus helpful tips on responding to the prompts. Check back to this...more
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This plain-vanilla (but useful) website provides several writing prompts divided by grade level (1-2, 3-5, and 6-8), plus helpful tips on responding to the prompts. Check back to this site often, as the writing prompts change each quarter. Some of the current prompts include a Business Letter, Announcement, Recipe, Journal Entry, List, Thank You, and various others.

tag(s): spelling (168), writing (359)

In the Classroom

Display the writing prompts on an interactive whiteboard (or projector)at the beginning of your class. Upper elementary and middle school teachers will want to accompany the tips with lessons on writing logical paragraphs and perhaps model one together on the whiteboard. Have students gather into small groups to help formulate their writing thoughts. Collaboration of ideas will make the writing smoother.

Another idea - why not share these writing prompts and student responses in a Writing Work-Out wiki?

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Literature: What makes a good short story - Annenberg Media

Grades
6 to 10
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This website walks students through analysis of a story. It allows for discussion as a group as well as individual analysis by students of particular elements of a story. You ...more
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This website walks students through analysis of a story. It allows for discussion as a group as well as individual analysis by students of particular elements of a story. You can choose to read the story A Jury of Her Peers or print it so students can read it ahead of time. After reading the story, the website take students through the plot, character, point of view, setting, and theme analysis. One of the major points of this site is the emphasis on the text as the determining factor for stories.

tag(s): elements (36), literature (275), plot (10), point of view (9), setting (11)

In the Classroom

Since this is an interactive site, you can choose to walk students through it yourself, or you can assign them to do it independently or with a partner. With younger students it would work well to walk them through it, then assign them a different story to try themselves. For older students, you might create a blog or a podcast discussion for some "give and take" using a more difficult story than the one given here. The related resources provided on the final page of the website allow students to further research areas of the story that are peripheral but interesting to students.

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Musical English Lessons - Bibi Baxter

Grades
4 to 10
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This very ambitious site reviews many traditional grammar rules/issues and attempts to link the grammar with lessons gleaned from lyrics to popular songs. The grammar is in the center...more
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This very ambitious site reviews many traditional grammar rules/issues and attempts to link the grammar with lessons gleaned from lyrics to popular songs. The grammar is in the center of the page and lots of options for using music frames the page on both sides. There is a wide variety of content, for teachers willing to take the time to search. Lesson plans, information on hot topics, proverbs, sport features, and games are only some of the offerings which try to link grammar to music.

tag(s): grammar (216), idioms (44), songs (52)

In the Classroom

Use this website to connect grammar rules and issues with songs that know. Share this site with learning support teachers or as extra help during a tough grammar lesson. Use music with ESL/ELL students as much as possible to reinforce pronunciation, listening, and memorization of grammar structures. These activities are ideal for an interactive whiteboard or projector. Project the activity on the screen and have students work individually or in pairs to complete the challenge. These activities are appropriate for small group instruction in an ESL, ELL, or Special Education class - but they could also be used in a regular education class to reinforce grammar understanding.

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Write Source: Writing Topics - Houghton Mifflin Co.

Grades
1 to 12
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Getting students involved in writing sometimes takes the right motivation. This site can provide that through a multitude of prompts and models for the students to see. The site is...more
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Getting students involved in writing sometimes takes the right motivation. This site can provide that through a multitude of prompts and models for the students to see. The site is offered by the Houghton Mifflin Co. in conjunction with a writing textbook. Even on its own, this is a great site to find student topics and show models of good writing. The topics are divided by grade level in elementary and intermediate, then grouped as 9-12 for high school. Each section includes a number of writing prompt --enough to whet the appetite of almost any student -- as well as links to different parts of the Houghton textbooks. The student models are shown by type (creative writing, persuasive, academic, workplace, etc.) and the links at the top of each page access MLA and APA styles as well as samples and information on how to do multimedia reports for college or the workplace. The upper levels of this site, such as persuasive writing or multimedia reports, open the door to higher level thinking.

tag(s): blogs (88), essays (21), writing (359), writing prompts (92)

In the Classroom

Have the students choose their own prompt from the list and then share their writing within a small group, with the class, or on their own blogs. Use the models and anonymous sharing on an interactive whiteboard to create a "safe" way for students to share writing as process and hear how others do it. Use the option of PUBLISHING student models on the site as a motivator. Be sure to get parent permission!

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The WriteSite - ThinkTVNetwork

Grades
6 to 10
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Are you looking for a site to teach kids about journalism? This is the one for you. Developed by a company in Dayton, OH, this site includes information on features, ...more
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Are you looking for a site to teach kids about journalism? This is the one for you. Developed by a company in Dayton, OH, this site includes information on features, style, research, the newsstand, and a classroom challenge with other classes. There is a section for teachers to look at ideas, but mostly this is an interactive site that allows students to create news stories, walking them through the basics in a lively way. It includes the history of news in the USA and career opportunities in journalism for writing-minded students or those who want to be a photographer or a cameraman (yes, the site includes TV news!). Overall, a wealthy site for those who teach journalism or writing in general.

tag(s): journalism (46), news (261)

In the Classroom

Depending on the level of your class, you can have students create a classroom or school newspaper or a TV news program. Younger studentscould concentrate on school news while older students can start mixing in more local, state, and national news. Posting them on the web would be inspirational to all students as well as a firm pat on the back for those who did the work. It might even develop into an ongoing project. A wiki would be a great tool for this! Take advantage, too, of the opportunity to do the Classroom Challenge with other students in the country.

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Timeless Ideas for Teaching - Concord Monitor Publishing

Grades
6 to 12
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Posted by the New Hampshire Concord Monitor Newspaper in the Classroom program, this website offers many interactive ideas that students can use either with a physical newspaper...more
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Posted by the New Hampshire Concord Monitor Newspaper in the Classroom program, this website offers many interactive ideas that students can use either with a physical newspaper in front of them, with an online news service such as CNN, or with online editions of newspapers that you find here. The examples used all refer to the New Hampshire newspaper, but are easily adaptable to whatever topic you want the students to deal with. This site includes such varied activities as creating a database and writing recipes. It covers every section of a newspaper. Students could create their own classroom newspaper using some of these activities or simply create journalistic articles based on whatever topic you are currently teaching. This is adaptable to almost any grade level and subject area.

tag(s): local history (13), news (261), newspapers (94)

In the Classroom

Whether you use hard-copy papers or electronic editions, many of these ideas will work even better using technology: word processing, wikis, blogs (for editorials), graphic organizer tools, digital cameras, etc. Use today's tools to study this powerful medium as it goes through transition into an electronic world. Consider asking students to compare electronic vs. hard-copy newspapers and their pros/cons, as well.

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Fridge Magnet Poetry Board - Nitric Interactive

Grades
3 to 8
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Introducing fridge magnets on the web! This interesting site could provide great creative writing entertainment and engaging grammar for students. The site provides a variety of words,...more
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Introducing fridge magnets on the web! This interesting site could provide great creative writing entertainment and engaging grammar for students. The site provides a variety of words, on magnet-looking pieces, that the students can manipulate to create their own stories or poems. Younger students may need assistance with some of the more difficult vocabulary words. The actual "magnets" appear in a new window and require Java. Get it from the TeachersFirst Toolbox page..

tag(s): writing (359)

In the Classroom

This site would be great on individual classroom computers or a cluster or as a whole class grammar or figures of speech lesson on interactive whiteboard. Another idea: Have students create a story related to a current classroom topic or skill. Have students submit their creations to share on the site by submitting a screen "dump" (also known as a screen shot). Use the PrtSc key to "copy" your screen and PASTE it into a document for submission. We recommend making the submission anonymous or using the class as the name.

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Inspiration Lane - Susan Alyn

Grades
4 to 12
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This dynamic site offers a blog-style newspaper for ESL/ELL students and could also be used in other academic areas. The daily entries follow the same basic format: "Quote of the ...more
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This dynamic site offers a blog-style newspaper for ESL/ELL students and could also be used in other academic areas. The daily entries follow the same basic format: "Quote of the Day," "This Day in History," "Article of the Day," "Comic Creators," "Cooking State," "Match Up," "Museum Town," and "Caption Central." All change daily! "Today's English Lesson" changes on weekdays. Like a newspaper, teachers and students can read a single feature or the entire sheet. Interspersed with the information are grammar reminders and practical applications. For foreign language students and beginning language learners, there is an option to translate the page into Korean, French, German, Italian, Portuguese,Spanish, Japanese, simplified Chinese and even Arabic!

tag(s): cooking (34), news (261), pronunciation (44), vocabulary (323)

In the Classroom

Project this on your whiteboard at the start of your lesson as students enter or to wrap up the final five minutes with interesting clips from history, quotes, ESL in music etc. Encourage your students to try a new vocabulary word each day on their own. If your students have Internet access outside of class (even in study hall), require a weekly current events response for writing practice--perhaps on a class blog?
 This resource requires PDF reader software like Adobe Acrobat.

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Big Dog's Grammar - Scott Foll

Grades
6 to 12
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The beauty of this website is its wide grade range usage. It offers simple topics, such as subjects and verbs, but also offers misplaced modifiers, consistency, and MLA guides. Click...more
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The beauty of this website is its wide grade range usage. It offers simple topics, such as subjects and verbs, but also offers misplaced modifiers, consistency, and MLA guides. Click on any of the categories and the page walks a student through very simple explanations of the structure. It then offers students self-tests, which they can take immediately to see if they understand. It provides instant feedback with each question, so students are guided before making too many mistakes. A caution: students must type the words correctly since misspellings read as wrong answers to the computer!

tag(s): grammar (216), parts of speech (68), sentences (52), speech (92), writing (359)

In the Classroom

This is a great site for students to use independently on their own particular grammar weaknesses. Create a diagnostic grammar test based upon the items offered at the site; then allow students to practice their weak spots online. This also offers a great homework practice site, particularly for students working on MLA research who need a quick refresher in easy (but tricky!) punctuation reminders. The language is accessible, includes some humor, and is never condescending.

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Aaron Shephard's RT (Reader's Theater) Page - Aaron Shephard

Grades
3 to 12
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This page provides lots of info and resources for using reader's theater in conjunction with plays, manuscripts, and folktales. Besides displaying Shephard's books for sale, click on...more
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This page provides lots of info and resources for using reader's theater in conjunction with plays, manuscripts, and folktales. Besides displaying Shephard's books for sale, click on Aaron's Extras to find scripts for plays and tales you can use in the classroom. Other offerings include worksheets, examples of scripting sheets you can use or learn to do it yourself, tips for using RT, and links to other references. You can search among the many materials available by genre, country, historical period, theme, etc.

tag(s): plays (37), writing (359)

In the Classroom

Use this website to find hints on how to dramatize the literature or folklore you're studying in the classroom. ESL students will find using Reader's Theater particularly helpful as they can read, speak, and listen to the materials and have more chances at comprehension. Similarly, students who are visual or oral learners will benefit from the multi-sensory presentations.
 This resource requires PDF reader software like Adobe Acrobat.

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The Writers' Workshop - Northern Illinois University

Grades
6 to 12
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This website is a valuable professional source. It is posted through the Northern Illinois University as a source for their instructors, tutors, and students, but gives great information...more
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This website is a valuable professional source. It is posted through the Northern Illinois University as a source for their instructors, tutors, and students, but gives great information and guidance on helping students become the best writers they can be, including MLA formatting of papers. The student section includes sections on editors' marks, quoting, and plagiarism (including interactive quizzes for each), while the instructor section includes a lesson exchange and computer lab ideas.

tag(s): writing (359)

In the Classroom

While this is mostly a teacher resource, it could be used for a class lesson on certain areas of writing, particularly for high school students. It will give you ideas to use on laptops or in a writing lab as well as offer an interactive quiz when you finish teaching certain writing skills. The comma splice/sentence combining activity would make a great starting point for student editing. Then have students create an animated multimedia illustration of an example to show how to correct a common "Issue in Sentence Management" (humor welcome).

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HistoryBuff.com - R. J. Brown

Grades
5 to 12
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This is a fascinating website begun by a man who was fascinated by first-person accounts of history. It is a newspaper-based site and offers something unique to the visitor. There ...more
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This is a fascinating website begun by a man who was fascinated by first-person accounts of history. It is a newspaper-based site and offers something unique to the visitor. There are such diverse things as the "Nameplate Hall of Fame," featuring interesting newspaper titles and primary source material for those who are doing serious research or who are just interested in the perspective of the time. Panoramas, which show pictures of a variety of historical characters and their backgrounds as well as interactive quizzes will get students enthused about the reality of history. The transcripts from actual newspapers on Jack the Ripper, Bonnie and Clyde, and the Louisiana Purchase were particularly fascinating. Note: the interactive newspaper archive requires Flash.

tag(s): news (261), newspapers (94), primary sources (86)

In the Classroom

This is a great site for sparking the imagination! Share a shot of a newspaper on a projector as an anticipatory set to a history lesson. SHOW the parts of a newspaper when you study this and have students annotated them on your interactive whiteboard. Opportunities for writing prompts also abound. After reading through some of the transcripts, students can post their own responses or letters to the editor as a blog. They can make their own podcasts after listening to some of the speeches or they can make their own newspapers after searching through some of the interesting nameplates and articles about actual historical events. The sky's the limit after perusing this innovative and complete site.

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Smart Girl - NSF & UMich

Grades
7 to 12
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This site values bright young women by offering features on things that interest them: surveys, creativity, feelings, writing, horoscopes, dreams, sports, college, etc. Older girls...more
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This site values bright young women by offering features on things that interest them: surveys, creativity, feelings, writing, horoscopes, dreams, sports, college, etc. Older girls will gain confidence as they find their voices and read those of others. Mentor journals of college-age "Smart Girls" share their college experiences. The site is run by NSF and University of Michigan and provides a very positive tone. They monitor content. Links are available to outside sites on a wide variety of topics.

tag(s): organizational skills (122)

In the Classroom

Counselors, writing teachers, and even those working with young women in emotional support classes will want to encourage your female students to submit creative writing, write surveys, learn to do websites, and write reviews of their favorite media productions. If you have students who want to know more about college life (in a positive way), share this link with them to learn about the college experience, time management , and more from the mentor journals.

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Common Craft - Common Craft Productions

Grades
K to 12
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This is a TeachersFirst Edge Entry for ANYONE who wants to know more about new technologies. No special skills needed. Watch and learn. If you are embarrassed to say that ...more
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This is a TeachersFirst Edge Entry for ANYONE who wants to know more about new technologies. No special skills needed. Watch and learn. If you are embarrassed to say that you don't know what all the "new web 2.0" terms are all about, this one is for you (and probably for your students' parents, as well). Common Craft uses a very simple, visual method of explaining all the latest technologies so that anyone can understand, using short video clips narrated by a positive and respectful voice. The next time you hear someone talking about RSS feeds or some other new doo-dad, stop here first so you will know what they are talking about. Did you think you were the only one who did not know? Fear not. This site has incredible popularity because there are LOADS of people quietly questioning -- just like you. To view the video clips FREE, click on "Video Library" and the topic that you wish to view. Despite a paid membership model, Common Craft still offers the videos for free, but it does have a watermark saying, "For evaluation only." If you wish to share this with a group, they will need to view it on individual/partner computers (or IOS devices) or on a projector that has a zoom function to enlarge a selected area of the screen.
This site includes advertising.

tag(s): blogs (88), bookmarks (60), social networking (112), video (254), wikis (19)

In the Classroom

Start by looking at "Most Viewed" and "Most Popular Right Now," but don't be afraid to search for other topics that have you wondering. You will definitely want to make this site a Favorite and tag is as "professional" information to keep you informed. Share it on your teacher web page to help out your parents, too!
 This resource requires Adobe Flash.

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Writing Prompts and Scoring Guides - Bakersfield City School District

Grades
K to 8
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Are you looking for some new writing prompts for your class? This website provides writing prompts for grades K-8 and includes narrative writing, expository writing, persuasive writing,...more
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Are you looking for some new writing prompts for your class? This website provides writing prompts for grades K-8 and includes narrative writing, expository writing, persuasive writing, observational writing, writing about events, writing a friendly letter, writing a thank you note, writing informational reports, writing responses to literature, writing technical documents, writing a character analysis, and many other forms of writing. The best part is that there are rubrics provided with each prompt. The rubrics offer explicit details for students and an excellent assessment tool for teachers.

tag(s): expository writing (44), narrative (24), persuasive writing (55), rubrics (32), writing (359), writing prompts (92)

In the Classroom

Use the writing prompts (and rubrics) to simplify your lesson planning and grading. Model responding to a prompt on an interactive whiteboard. Then have the students "revise" your draft on the whiteboard and assess it according to the rubric so they can see how the process works. SAVE the various steps of this process in your whiteboard software as a "flip chart" or "notebook" so students can view it again later to reinforce writing process steps. Print some step-by-step examples out for a "Writing Center" bulletin board.
 This resource requires PDF reader software like Adobe Acrobat.

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Quizlet: The End of Flashcards - Brainflare: Andrew Sutherland

Grades
3 to 12
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This easy to understand web and mobile app tool allows you or your students to enter vocabulary terms and definitions to create electronic flashcards and quizzes to enhance word study...more
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This easy to understand web and mobile app tool allows you or your students to enter vocabulary terms and definitions to create electronic flashcards and quizzes to enhance word study in any language or a content area. Students may choose to create electronic tests, or the networking page allows them to interact and learn with other users who have the same words. Teacher or students can create groups to share word lists. See a sample matching activity about TeachersFirst created by our editors to show a variation on using this online tool for simple words/definitions. Use this tool from any device or move between several devices and still access your work. The iOS and Android apps practice tests can be multiple choice, true/false, or written questions. Turn on "Instant Feedback" (new feature for the apps) that will give real-time feedback on right/wrong answers as you go; or wait and get your score at the end. As wonderful as this technology is, the coolest thing about Quizlet might be in its history--its creator was a high school student who tells his inspiring story and shares his blog through links at this site.
This site includes advertising.

tag(s): DAT device agnostic tool (198), quiz (84), spelling (168), vocabulary (323), word study (80)

In the Classroom

Membership asks for an email. Email allows you to notify others that you want to share a word list or activity with them. If students cannot have their own email accounts, consider using a "class set" of Gmail subaccounts, explained here, this tells how to configure Gmail subaccounts to use for any online membership service. This would provide anonymous interaction within your class. KEEP A LIST of students usernames (non-identifying) and passwords, incase they forget them! If you already use Google Classroom with your students, it only takes a few minutes to get them set up with a Quizlet Class.

There is a very thorough "Help Center" to get the idea of how the site works. Save your "sets" and decide whether you want them to be entirely public, just for you personally, or shared with a "group." Create your own groups for each class or subject. Be sure to note the fact that you can upload vocabulary lists by copy/pasting from various formats--- a time real saver! Use this tool easily in your byod classroom since all students will be able to access it for free, no matter what device they have.

Content and English teachers may set up their personal network of users. Pretest your gifted students and allow them to "test out" of material they already know. Learning support teachers will want their students to create their own Quizlet sets and help learn them in the process! Teachers may create your own sets of words, or let students do the work for themselves and each other. Use the interactive whiteboard for quick flashcard or electronic testing using your sets. World language and ESL/ELL teachers will find many word sets already built and ready to use at this site. If you team teach with others at your grade level, take turns making the online Quizlets to accompany your science or social studies chapters. Be SURE to share this tool on your teacher web page for students to use at home.

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Mem Fox: Teaching, Learning, Living - Mem Fox

Grades
K to 7
4 Favorites 0  Comments
 
This author page features plenty of ideas about how to help kids enjoy reading and includes many stories. Hear Mem Fox reading her own stories (click Hear Mem Read ...more
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This author page features plenty of ideas about how to help kids enjoy reading and includes many stories. Hear Mem Fox reading her own stories (click Hear Mem Read Aloud). She gives advice on how to read to children and gives great examples. This author page has many good suggestions for promoting literacy and love of reading. There is also a section of advice on writing your own picture book for children, an excellent writing activity for upper elementary and middle school students. Parts of this site require Quick Time. Get it from the TeachersFirst Toolbox page..

tag(s): authors (120), literacy (103)

In the Classroom

Create shortcut to Mem reading aloud on your classroom computer for a center activity for primary grades, and place a copy of Mem's book there for students to follow along. Print out Mem's suggestions for reading aloud to give to parents at conferences or share this site on your teacher home page for parent and students to access from home. For older students, this site is an excellent resource for planning cross-grade reading activities for Read Across America or other special times, including having middle school students write picture books for young students, then share them at an in-person visit or on a podcast recording.PowerPoint slides are an easy way to "create" and share large format picture books electronically.

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ToonDoo - Jambav

Grades
3 to 12
9 Favorites 0  Comments
 
Create your own one to three panel comic strips or --even better- have your students create them using this simple online tool. The libraries include many cartoon figures, voice bubbles,...more
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Create your own one to three panel comic strips or --even better- have your students create them using this simple online tool. The libraries include many cartoon figures, voice bubbles, and more. You can also upload your own photos using the Imaginr(or pieces from them) and create your own characters using the Traitr. For a longer story, make a TOONBOOK instead of a single TOONDOO strip. See a sample made by our techno-savvy editors in just a few minutes. The "published" products can be shared online with the world, shared with a limited audience (probably the safest for students), or kept completely private (visible only to you when logged in).
This site includes advertising.

tag(s): comics and cartoons (74), digital storytelling (144), images (266)

In the Classroom

Play with the "Create Your Own" tools to make a TOONDOO or TOONBOOK, including locating characters, resizing, re-ordering, entering text, etc. IF you are feeling adventurous, try upload an image to include. When you are ready, publish the product, publicly by sharing the URL or to opt for a limited audience.

Potential safety concerns: If you are having students create their own TOONDOOS, you will want to prohibit their accessing the links to "popular" TOONDOOS and others available to the public, since the site is open for anyone's idea of "funny" content. Our editors did not see anything objectionable, but you never know.

How can you use this in the classroom? Once you have laid the ground rules, have students create strips with characters explaining a science concept. Or show the steps in a process or procedure, such as the water cycle. Older students can create political satire cartoons. If you have students work from your account, you can provide the "raw materials" of some digital pictures for them to make cartoon explanations of lab safety procedures or nature species. Even little ones can write sentences. Have them work with a partner---and LIMIT their choices to 3 character options so they do not keep changing their minds!

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Karin's ESL PartyLand - Karin M. Cintron

Grades
4 to 12
2 Favorites 0  Comments
Originally written for ESL students to practice language skills, these interactive quizzes are very useful for allowing all levels of students to test their skills online in a nonthreatening...more
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Originally written for ESL students to practice language skills, these interactive quizzes are very useful for allowing all levels of students to test their skills online in a nonthreatening way. These interactive quizzes seem to touch on all bases from business English to grammar to vocabulary (including idioms), making them great for either pretesting, practice or review. They also allow the teacher to individualize what students need from a variety of choices.

tag(s): grammar (216), quiz (84), quizzes (96)

In the Classroom

Assign individual or mini-lesson practice on laptops or a computer cluster in your classroom after grading writing assignments or while studying grammar. Learning support and ESL teachers will also like the extra practice options to help students with grammar skills and idioms. Since there is no "scoring" function, you may want students to raise hands and SHOW you how they did as they complete activities.

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