Examples of ways to differentiate instruction

TeachersFirst's Thinking Teachers who write our resource reviews often have suggestions that have worked in their classrooms. Open the reviews to the "more" view to see ideas for using specific resources as tools to differentiate for a variety of learners. Alternatively, use the keyword search tool at the left of this page to search for a curriculum topic and the term "differentiate." For example, search fractions differentiate (with "all the words" selected for the search).

 

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Autism4teachers - Autism4teachers.com

Grades
K to 12
2 Favorites 0  Comments
  
This comprehensive website, written by four teachers, offers an excellent starting point and whets the appetite for anyone seriously looking into autism. Autism4teachers offers a snapshot...more
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This comprehensive website, written by four teachers, offers an excellent starting point and whets the appetite for anyone seriously looking into autism. Autism4teachers offers a snapshot of many of the current and research-based concepts in the area of autism. The information provides enough information to enable you to research even further. There are numerous specific topics highlighted at this website including Communication, Social Skills, Classroom Structure, TEACCH, Inclusion, Behavioral Support, Parent Support, Visual Support, Community Support, Autism Awareness, Assistive Technology, Sensory Based Activity Room, Thematic Units, Data Sheets, & several others. Don't miss the MANY lesson ideas and activities provided with the topics. This website requires Windows Media Player. Get it from the TeachersFirst Toolbox page.

tag(s): autism (19), social skills (20)

In the Classroom

Use this free website (and the many tips) to help your autistic students succeed, whether you are in a regular classroom or special ed. Share this link in your class newsletter and on your class website. Be sure to provide this link to any colleagues helping autistic students in and out of the classroom.

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KENKEN - Nextoy, LLC

Grades
4 to 12
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The KENKEN craze is spreading quickly across the world! Created in 2004 by Japanese Math Teacher, Tetsuya Miyamoto, these puzzles are fun, educational, and addictive. At first, these...more
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The KENKEN craze is spreading quickly across the world! Created in 2004 by Japanese Math Teacher, Tetsuya Miyamoto, these puzzles are fun, educational, and addictive. At first, these puzzles appear very similar to Sudoku puzzles. They have a few added components (more math and logic required). There are various levels of difficulties (3x3 puzzles through 9x9 puzzles). For 3x3 puzzles, you use only numbers 1-3, for 4x4 puzzles you use only numbers 1-4, and so on. At the time of our review of this brand-new puzzle, the 3x3 puzzles had not been created. But they add new puzzles daily, so check back! The rules are simple: each number can only be used once in any row or column. There are also "cages" which are represented by heavily outlined sets of squares. The goal is to produce the target number (in the corner of the cage). Numbers can be repeated within one cage, just so the number is not already in the row or column. Want to learn more? View the How to Play link that includes written instructions and a tutorial video. Puzzles are also PRINTABLE. Don't miss the link for teachers. This site requires Flash. You can get it from the TeachersFirst Toolbox page.

tag(s): addition (239), division (168), logic (243), multiplication (222), puzzles (207), subtraction (198), sudoku (18), vision (85)

In the Classroom

Introduce this site on an interactive whiteboard or projector. Then have students explore the puzzles on their own. Use this site to differentiate for various students. Be certain to save this site in your favorites and check back often. List this link on your class website so students can "play" both in and out of the classroom. Have older students attempt to create their own KENKEN puzzles. It's not as easy as you think.
 This resource requires Adobe Flash.

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Young Artist Workshop - Kevin Collier

Grades
K to 6
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With this site, you don't need to be an art teacher to teach some very easy art and illustration techniques to your students. Kevin Collier, an acclaimed artist, demonstrates simple...more
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With this site, you don't need to be an art teacher to teach some very easy art and illustration techniques to your students. Kevin Collier, an acclaimed artist, demonstrates simple drawing 'classes' for your students via video on his blog. He also answers questions about art from his young audience. Check out his archive for more art lessons. When you watch him draw, you will need to fight the urge to pick up a pencil and paper.

There is a "Sign In" option, but all features appear useable without registering at the site. This site requires Flash. Get it from theTeachersFirst Toolbox page..

tag(s): drawing (82)

In the Classroom

If you find your art teacher is out for the day and there is no substitute, let Kevin teach art to your class via an interactive whiteboard, projector, or individual computers. This site could be used in language arts class to illustrate a story, social studies class to add depth and drawings to a project, or other subject areas. Differentiate for your visual/spatial students by providing the link to these tutorials when they choose to create visual book reports or research products.
 This resource requires Adobe Flash.

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Story Starters - Scholastic

Grades
K to 6
1 Favorites 0  Comments
   
Type your name and choose your grade level (K-1, 2, 3, or 4-6). Then get ready for the wheel to spin! You can spin four wheels to get a very ...more
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Type your name and choose your grade level (K-1, 2, 3, or 4-6). Then get ready for the wheel to spin! You can spin four wheels to get a very specific writing prompt. For example, Describe a vacation with a skinny cactus who loves country music. Each wheel produces a different part of the prompt. Each time the wheel spins, a new prompt is created. The prompts are created for the specified grade level and are highly creative. Be sure to check out the Teacher's Guide that offers learning objectives, specific lesson ideas, and printables.

Be warned: the "spinning" page has some rather loud audio sounds. Either turn up the volume and enjoy, or hit the mute button! This site requires Flash and Adobe Acrobat. You can get both from the TeachersFirst Toolbox page.

tag(s): creative writing (170), writing (367)

In the Classroom

Whether you are looking for a daily prompt for your students, or individual prompts for writing stations, you will find some creative ideas here. Share how to use this site on an interactive whiteboard or projector. Set up writing stations and have students use this site to find their prompts. Use this site to differentiate for your gifted students by allowing them to choose a prompt at a higher grade level. List this link on your class website for some writing practice or extra credit writing exercises.
  This resource requires Adobe Flash and PDF reader software like Adobe Acrobat.

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AAA Math

Grades
K to 8
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Students can practice math skills independently (and in both English and Spanish) with this collection of challenging, interactive practice activities, organized by grade level and...more
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Students can practice math skills independently (and in both English and Spanish) with this collection of challenging, interactive practice activities, organized by grade level and topic. Click Spanish version at the top for your ESL/ELL students to have access to the same valuable resources! The website says the activities are designed for students in grades K through eight. Topics vary greatly and include algebra, statistics, counting, comparing, decimals, basic operations, exponents, fractions, and many others. Nearly every math topic taught in elementary or middle school, will be found at this site. Once you click on the general topic area, be prepared for a HUGE list of specific choices to explore. Each math concept is explained in a simple paragraph and then students are presented with practice activities about the specific concept. The practice activities are timed.

Be aware there are several advertisements at this website (all appropriate). But considering this site is free (and full of ready to go math activities), the advertisements are worth the minor annoyance.

tag(s): estimation (47), exponents (42), measurement (160), mental math (29), money (186), patterns (88), place value (55), statistics (126)

In the Classroom

This site has countless possibilities in the classroom. Use the descriptions and activities as an anticipatory set for a new topic in math class. Share the activities on your interactive whiteboard or projector. Set up a learning station for students and differentiate the activities for your lower and higher level math students. Provide this link on your class website for students to use to review at home.

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Multiplication - Dositey

Grades
2 to 5
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This site includes interactive portions and printable worksheets for students to use to learn multiplication. Topics include everything from basic facts 0-20 to regrouping to order...more
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This site includes interactive portions and printable worksheets for students to use to learn multiplication. Topics include everything from basic facts 0-20 to regrouping to order of operations. This site requires Flash. Get it from the TeachersFirst Toolbox page.

tag(s): multiplication (222), operations (126), order of operations (40), regrouping (6)

In the Classroom

Use this website (and the activities) to differentiate the material for your class. Allow the more advanced students to try their hand at one of the more challenging programs. Get out an interactive whiteboard or projector to introduce the website, then allow students to practice their multiplication on their own on your classroom computer cluster or as part of their time on a single classroom computer.
 This resource requires Adobe Flash.

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Subtraction - Dositey

Grades
K to 3
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This is a fabulous site for subtraction. It includes interactive games, challenges, and printable worksheets. Topics all relate to subtraction and include basic subtraction facts up...more
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This is a fabulous site for subtraction. It includes interactive games, challenges, and printable worksheets. Topics all relate to subtraction and include basic subtraction facts up to 20, subtracting with regrouping, subtracting without regrouping, and subtracting 3-digit numbers. This site requires Flash. Get it from the TeachersFirst Toolbox page.

tag(s): regrouping (6), subtraction (198)

In the Classroom

Use this website to differentiate subtraction instruction. This website would be a wonderful learning center activity. List this site in your class newsletter or on your class website.
 This resource requires Adobe Flash.

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Addition K-2 - Dositey

Grades
K to 2
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This is a useful site for addition practice. The website includes interactive games and challenges, as well as printable worksheets. Topics all relate to addition and include levels:...more
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This is a useful site for addition practice. The website includes interactive games and challenges, as well as printable worksheets. Topics all relate to addition and include levels: basic addition facts, adding 2-digit number with regrouping, adding 2-digit numbers without regrouping, adding 3-digit numbers and more. This site requires Flash. Get it from the TeachersFirst Toolbox page.

tag(s): addition (239), regrouping (6)

In the Classroom

Use this website to differentiate addition instruction. This website would be a wonderful learning center activity on your classroom computer or cluster, with each student assigned the appropriate section for practice.
 This resource requires Adobe Flash.

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Lesson Plan: Volcano - TeachersFirst

Grades
4 to 6
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This lesson on volcanoes and paragraph writing is part of a collection of lesson plans featuring multi-sensory approaches to help all learners, including special needs students who...more
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This lesson on volcanoes and paragraph writing is part of a collection of lesson plans featuring multi-sensory approaches to help all learners, including special needs students who benefit from multiple experiences with concepts. The plans focuses on consistency, repetitiveness, tactile and visual reinforcement--great for children with special needs. The original lesson plans were written by award-winning teacher Nora Coyle of Colorado, a KOAA-TV "Teachers First" Award winner. The staff of TeachersFirst has incorporated technology options, tips, and templates appropriate for younger students into the lesson plan to add yet another way for your students to experience and interact with new concepts.

Many of these ideas and templates can be adapted for use with almost any subject or concepts, to differentiate for different learning styles. The lesson includes national standards.

tag(s): volcanoes (65)

In the Classroom

Experienced and new teachers alike will find this example helpful in designing multi-sensory, technology-infused lessons.

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Lesson Plan: Egg-Laying Animals - TeachersFirst

Grades
2 to 6
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This lesson on egg-laying animals and research is part of a collection of lesson plans featuring multi-sensory approaches to help all learners, including special needs students who...more
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This lesson on egg-laying animals and research is part of a collection of lesson plans featuring multi-sensory approaches to help all learners, including special needs students who benefit from multiple experiences with concepts. The plans focuses on consistency, repetitiveness, tactile and visual reinforcement--great for children with special needs. The original lesson plans were written by award-winning teacher Nora Coyle of Colorado, a KOAA-TV "Teachers First" Award winner. The staff of TeachersFirst has incorporated technology options, tips, and templates appropriate for younger students into the lesson plan to add yet another way for your students to experience and interact with new concepts.

Many of these ideas and templates can be adapted for use with almost any subject or concepts, to differentiate for different learning styles. The lesson includes national standards.

tag(s): animals (291)

In the Classroom

Experienced and new teachers alike will find this example helpful in designing multi-sensory, technology-infused lessons.

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Lesson Plan: Egg Hatching Into Sequencing - TeachersFirst

Grades
1 to 3
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This lesson on egg hatching and sequencing is part of a collection of lesson plans featuring multi-sensory approaches to help all learners, including special needs students who benefit...more
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This lesson on egg hatching and sequencing is part of a collection of lesson plans featuring multi-sensory approaches to help all learners, including special needs students who benefit from multiple experiences with concepts. The plans focuses on consistency, repetitiveness, tactile and visual reinforcement--great for children with special needs. The original lesson plans were written by award-winning teacher Nora Coyle of Colorado, a KOAA-TV "Teachers First" Award winner. The staff of TeachersFirst has incorporated technology options, tips, and templates appropriate for younger students into the lesson plan to add yet another way for your students to experience and interact with new concepts.

Many of these ideas and templates can be adapted for use with almost any subject or concepts, to differentiate for different learning styles. The lesson includes national standards.

tag(s): animals (291), sequencing (31)

In the Classroom

Experienced and new teachers alike will find this example helpful in designing multi-sensory, technology-infused lessons.

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Lesson Plan: Tactile Parts of Speech - TeachersFirst

Grades
1 to 3
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This lesson on parts of speech (noun, adjective) is part of a collection of lesson plans featuring multi-sensory approaches to help all learners, including special needs students who...more
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This lesson on parts of speech (noun, adjective) is part of a collection of lesson plans featuring multi-sensory approaches to help all learners, including special needs students who benefit from multiple experiences with concepts. The plans focuses on consistency, repetitiveness, tactile and visual reinforcement--great for children with special needs. The original lesson plans were written by award-winning teacher Nora Coyle of Colorado, a KOAA-TV "Teachers First" Award winner. The staff of TeachersFirst has incorporated technology options, tips, and templates appropriate for younger students into the lesson plan to add yet another way for your students to experience and interact with new concepts.

Many of these ideas and templates can be adapted for use with almost any subject or concepts, to differentiate for different learning styles. The lesson includes national standards.

tag(s): parts of speech (68), speech (94)

In the Classroom

Experienced and new teachers alike will find this example helpful in designing multi-sensory, technology-infused lessons.

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Lesson Plan: Nouns and Adjectives Are Not Just Words - TeachersFirst

Grades
K to 3
10 Favorites 0  Comments
  
This lesson on parts of speech (noun, adjective) is part of a collection of lesson plans featuring multi-sensory approaches to help all learners, including special needs students who...more
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This lesson on parts of speech (noun, adjective) is part of a collection of lesson plans featuring multi-sensory approaches to help all learners, including special needs students who benefit from multiple experiences with concepts. The plans focuses on consistency, repetitiveness, tactile and visual reinforcement--great for children with special needs. The original lesson plans were written by award-winning teacher Nora Coyle of Colorado, a KOAA-TV "Teachers First" Award winner. The staff of TeachersFirst has incorporated technology options, tips, and templates appropriate for younger students into the lesson plan to add yet another way for your students to experience and interact with new concepts.

Many of these ideas and templates can be adapted for use with almost any subject or concepts, to differentiate for different learning styles. The lesson includes national standards.

tag(s): parts of speech (68), speech (94)

In the Classroom

Experienced and new teachers alike will find this example helpful in designing multi-sensory, technology-infused lessons.

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Lesson Plan: Dinosaur Math - TeachersFirst

Grades
K to 1
8 Favorites 0  Comments
  
This lesson on simple addition is part of a collection of lesson plans featuring multi-sensory approaches to help all learners, including special needs students who benefit from multiple...more
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This lesson on simple addition is part of a collection of lesson plans featuring multi-sensory approaches to help all learners, including special needs students who benefit from multiple experiences with concepts. The plans focuses on consistency, repetitiveness, tactile and visual reinforcement--great for children with special needs. The original lesson plans were written by award-winning teacher Nora Coyle of Colorado, a KOAA-TV "Teachers First" Award winner. The staff of TeachersFirst has incorporated technology options, tips, and templates appropriate for younger students into the lesson plan to add yet another way for your students to experience and interact with new concepts.

Many of these ideas and templates can be adapted for use with almost any subject or concepts, to differentiate for different learning styles. The lesson includes national standards.

tag(s): addition (239)

In the Classroom

Experienced and new teachers alike will find this example helpful in designing multi-sensory, technology-infused lessons.

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Lessons for All - TeachersFirst

Grades
K to 6
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This collection of lesson plans features multi-sensory approaches to help all learners, including special needs students who benefit from multiple experiences with concepts. All plans...more
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This collection of lesson plans features multi-sensory approaches to help all learners, including special needs students who benefit from multiple experiences with concepts. All plans focus on consistency, repetitiveness, tactile and visual reinforcement--great for children with special needs. The original lesson plans were written by award-winning teacher Nora Coyle of Colorado, a KOAA-TV "Teachers First" Award winner.

Lesson content includes letter-sound relationships, parts of speech, paragraph writing, sequencing, earth science, animals, egg-laying animals, volcanoes, addition, and more. The staff of TeachersFirst has incorporated technology options, tips, and templates appropriate for younger students into the lesson plans to add yet another way for your students to experience and interact with new concepts.

Many of these ideas and templates can be adapted for use with almost any subjects and concepts, to differentiate for different learning styles. All lessons include national standards. Experienced and new teachers alike will find these examples helpful in designing multi-sensory, technology-infused lessons.

In the Classroom

If your classroom includes special needs learners or simply students who need a multi-sensory approach in order to master new concepts, try these lessons or use them as prototypes as you plan for other curriculum content. If you mentor new teachers or student teachers, share these examples for infusing technology into lessons and for differentiating lessons.

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Math Moves U - Raytheon Company

Grades
4 to 12
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Let math move YOU through different areas of math practice! Choose an animal character and customize the color of the collar, fur, and tail. Choose your grade range prior to ...more
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Let math move YOU through different areas of math practice! Choose an animal character and customize the color of the collar, fur, and tail. Choose your grade range prior to play. Other options include saving your character to begin or registering to create a locker for extra benefits, including access to new characters and monitoring of your progress. . Use the arrows on the keyboard to move along to different math problems. Areas vary by age level, but examples include Music (Pythagorean Pavilion), Sports, Fashion and feature facts, quizzes, polls, flashcards, or a game that can be accessed for learning opportunities. Facts have links that allow students to connect to more knowledge. Tutorial help is available with the quizzes. Background music which is lively can also be turned off for better concentration. Enter Math Moves University for worksheet practice on many math topics downloaded as a pdf document. A math dictionary is also available. Clicking on the navigation along the top can also take you to various areas.

Opportunities to register pop up during play but are not required at this site.
If you choose to have your students register, please be aware of your district's requirements and acceptable use policy for using student user names, passwords, and emails.
This site requires Flash and adobe acrobat. Get both from the TeachersFirst Toolbox page.

tag(s): charts and graphs (198), data (153), decimals (131), fractions (234), negative numbers (21), numbers (203), percent (83)

In the Classroom

Differentiate your math instruction easily! Use as assigned, independent study for students as needed. Use as a class resource on an interactive whiteboard or projector. Have students work collaboratively in groups to achieve the answers. Assign areas as homework practice; if computers aren't available at home, print off the worksheets for homework practice.
  This resource requires Adobe Flash and PDF reader software like Adobe Acrobat.

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Kung-Fu Sentences - BBC

Grades
1 to 2
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This site challenges students to create sentences. One or several words are provided and students must click and drag them in the correct order to construct a sentence. There are ...more
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This site challenges students to create sentences. One or several words are provided and students must click and drag them in the correct order to construct a sentence. There are three levels of difficulty. The main difference between the simple and more difficult levels are the amounts of words or statements to put into the correct order. Easier levels only have three words, while more difficult levels have five or more.

The website also features a "full screen" option, printable worksheets, engaging sound effects (with an option to turn the music off), and animations. Although this site uses British English, this activity is useful to practice American English. At the time of this review, all words were common in both forms of English. Be aware: the animation of this activity can be a bit distracting. The site requires Flash and Adobe Acrobat. You can get it from the TeachersFirst Toolbox page.

tag(s): grammar (214), punctuation (43), word order (5)

In the Classroom

Use the three difficulty levels to differentiate for your students. Share this website with your class on an interactive whiteboard or projector and show the students HOW to use the program. Then, create a learning center for students to use this website, or provide individual laptops or computers. Be sure to provide headsets. Why not split your class into two teams and make this activity a class competition. Have students create their own Kung-Fu Sentences (minus the "karate kid") using WORD or good old fashion paper and pencil.

You may want to list this website in your class newsletter and on your class website so students can practice creating sentences at home.
  This resource requires Adobe Flash and PDF reader software like Adobe Acrobat.

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Alien Punctuation - BBC

Grades
1 to 4
3 Favorites 0  Comments
 
Come along with Max and Molly and help them "talk to the aliens" and correct their punctuation. There are three levels of difficulty. The beginning level mainly focuses on capitalization,...more
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Come along with Max and Molly and help them "talk to the aliens" and correct their punctuation. There are three levels of difficulty. The beginning level mainly focuses on capitalization, periods, and question marks. The more difficult levels delve into more complex punctuation (commas, quotation marks, and more). The website also features a "full screen" option, printable worksheets, engaging sound effects (which can be turned off), and animations.

Although this site uses British English, this activity is useful to practice American English. At the time of this review, all words were common in both forms of English.

tag(s): punctuation (43)

In the Classroom

Demonstrate this activity on an interactive whiteboard or projector. Then, create a learning center for students to use this website, or provide individual laptops or computers. Be sure to provide headsets. Use the three difficulty levels to differentiate for your students. You may want to list this website in your class newsletter and on your class website so students can practice punctuation at home.
  This resource requires Adobe Flash and PDF reader software like Adobe Acrobat.

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Matching Word Golf - BBC

Grades
1 to 4
0 Favorites 0  Comments
 
Max and Molly are golfing in outer space. This synonym activity provides a sentence asking students to figure out a word with a similar meaning (three choices are provided). Students...more
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Max and Molly are golfing in outer space. This synonym activity provides a sentence asking students to figure out a word with a similar meaning (three choices are provided). Students must click on the word with the similar meaning, and then the golf club swings towards the ball. Although this site was created by the BBC, at the time of this review, all words included were used in both British English and American English.

This site offers three levels of difficulty. The website also features a "full screen" option, printable worksheets, engaging sound effects (which can be turned off), and animations. The site requires Flash and Adobe Acrobat. You can get it from the TeachersFirst Toolbox page.

tag(s): grammar (214), synonyms (38), vocabulary (325)

In the Classroom

Synonyms can be tough for young learners. Use this site to make synonyms simple. Use your interactive whiteboard or projector to share this website with your class. Use the three difficulty levels to differentiate for your students. This site is ideal to use with younger ESL and ELL students, and any class learning about synonyms. Create a learning center for students to use this website, or provide individual laptops or computers. Be sure to provide headsets. Why not print off the worksheet for additional practice or enrichment.

You may want to list this website in your class newsletter and on your class website so students can practice at home.
  This resource requires Adobe Flash and PDF reader software like Adobe Acrobat.

Add your comments below (available only to members) | Become a Member

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Travelling Pronouns - BBC

Grades
1 to 3
0 Favorites 0  Comments
 
Max and Molly are on holiday (vacation) and writing notes to friends back home. Can you help them choose the correct pronouns to complete their sentences? This site offers three ...more
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Max and Molly are on holiday (vacation) and writing notes to friends back home. Can you help them choose the correct pronouns to complete their sentences? This site offers three levels of difficulty. The easier levels include fewer blanks to fill in.

The website also features a "full screen" option, printable worksheets, engaging sound effects (which can be turned off by clicking "music OFF"), and animations. Although this site was created by the BBC, at the time of this review, all words included were used in both British English and American English. The site requires Flash and Adobe Acrobat. You can get it from the TeachersFirst Toolbox page.

tag(s): grammar (214)

In the Classroom

Pronouns can be tricky! Use your interactive whiteboard or projector to share this website with your class. Use the three difficulty levels to differentiate for your students. This site is ideal to use with younger ESL and ELL students, and any class learning about pronouns. Create a learning center for students to use this website, or provide individual laptops or computers. Be sure to provide headsets. Why not print off the worksheet for additional practice or enrichment.

You may want to list this website in your class newsletter and on your class website so students can practice pronouns at home.
  This resource requires Adobe Flash and PDF reader software like Adobe Acrobat.

Add your comments below (available only to members) | Become a Member

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