TeachersFirst - Featured Sites: Week of Feb 18, 2018
Here are this week's features. Clicking the tags in the description area of each listing will present a list of other resources with this topic. | Click here to return to the Featured Sites Archive
GradesK to 12
In the ClassroomDownload Reader onto classroom computers and mobile devices for saving and sharing web articles. This app is especially useful for ESL/ELL or Special Education students to help remove distracting information. After reading articles, have students share their thoughts using a voice recording tool like Vocaroo, reviewed here, then share their recordings on your class website. Share several articles with students using Reader, then post an essential question on Recap for younger students, reviewed here, or on FlipGrid for older students, reviewed here. Both Recap and Flipgrid allow students to post video question responses, then add comments to the posted responses creating an excellent tool for collaborative discussions. Share student responses and discussions with a class podcast using Podcast Generator, reviewed here.
GradesK to 12
In the ClassroomThese units are perfect for use with a whole-class novel, literature circles, or individual reading! Ask student's to keep a journal about what they are reading and learning using an easy virtual journaling tool such as Penzu, reviewed here. With Penzu you can add images or your own artwork as illustrations. If you are conducting literature circles a good tool to use for small group assignments and communication is Sembly, reviewed here, or Edmodo, reviewed here. For students or student groups to share their book with their peers, challenge them to design an interactive multimedia poster using Genial.ly, reviewed here. As an option, and for a real challenge, have students design a music track to go with parts or all of the book using Booktrack, reviewed here, and share the link on their mutimedia poster.
Grades4 to 12
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In the ClassroomBookmark this site as an excellent resource for interesting reading material for students of all ability levels. For struggling readers, have them play the audio recording before reading on their own. When finished, ask students to create their own audio recording of the story. Use an audio tool like Vocaroo, reviewed here, to create recordings. Have students create their own quizzes based on reading material using a site like Online Quiz Creator, reviewed here, for their peers. Challenge students to choose an article that interests them as a starting point for a research project. Have them share their findings by creating an interactive poster using a tool like Adobe Spark for Education, reviewed here. Adobe Spark offers you the option to include video, images, and other media easily into any type of presentation.
Grades8 to 12
In the ClassroomStudents are always asking teachers to recommend another book just like the one they love! With the plethora of young adult books being published today, it is hard to keep up. Instead, recommend this site to your avid readers to find a new read. After reading the selected book, challenge students to create a book presentation to share with their classmates. Use Cube Creator, reviewed here, for this and hang them around the room, or Fakebook, reviewed here, and have a different Fakebook on each computer with students rotating around the room to find an interesting book. They could also choose to create a video about their book with Plotagon, reviewed here, and have the videos on different computers around the room. Alternatively, students could create an interactive, multimedia poster using Adobe Spark for Education, reviewed here, and give an oral presentation. Do make sure the student is 13 or over because books like Kite Runner are also recommended. You may want to get written permission from parents, or email the parent with the 2Titles recommendation and a bit of a warning.
Grades4 to 12
In the ClassroomCommonLit is an excellent resource for literature teachers, speech and debate teachers, and history teachers. Share the site with students on an interactive whiteboard or projector, and ask the class what themes they would like to investigate. Under each theme are two questions. Divide the class into small groups with each group investigating one of the questions for one of the themes and reading the accompanying text. Differentiate for students by having students read on the same theme, but at their reading level. Challenge individuals, pairs, or small groups to create a graphic organizer for the story they read using a tool like Holt Interactive Graphic Organizers, reviewed here. You could take this to another level and have two groups read different selections on the same theme, use a graphic organizer to make comparisons for how the theme was presented, and then challenge the groups to present their findings to the class via video. Use a simple video creator like Biteable, reviewed here. This site would also work when you have to make substitute plans unexpectedly. Just put the link in your plans and tell the sub what theme you want students to read about, or better yet, let the sub choose!
Grades2 to 12
In the ClassroomAchieve two goals here: help students improve their reading comprehension and keep them current with what is happening in our nation and the world. When assigning articles, choose to have the class read at one reading level, or choose individuals and set the reading level for them. There are five categories from which to choose. You may want to set up different articles at different learning stations on the computers in your room. Have the students rotate daily through the stations, completing one or two a day until they have completed all five articles. Since Newsela is cloud based, even absent students can complete the missed work easily. Teachers of gifted students can use this site to accelerate or enrich reading for students. Find each student's individual levels for reading nonfiction. Teachers of Learning Support and ELL students will love this alternate way for their students to meet current events requirements.
This is an excellent site and allows differentiation while everyone is reading the same text.Renee, NC, Grades: 0 - 5
GradesK to 2
In the ClassroomShare this site (video or activity) on your interactive whiteboard or projector. Use at a center to provide self-directed explorations. Offer on your class website as a resource for home use. Assign different areas to students based on their strengths and weaknesses. Some games even allow students to create their own version. Provide this website as a guide to parents to practice necessary skills for young students.
GradesK to 6
tag(s): commoncore (89)
In the ClassroomRead the questions/answers and explore the suggested resources as background during this new challenge. Mark this article in your Favorites as you begin to implement Common Core. Many of the suggested resources may be helpful during curriculum planning sessions with other teachers. Click the "share" widget to send them to others!
GradesK to 12
In the ClassroomGo beyond state "reports" to state experiences by encouraging students to select independent reading books. Looking for more information about the states? For history, economics, facts, famous people, and sights to see in each state, try TeachersFirst's 50 States, the perfect complement to these independent reading selections. Even younger students would enjoy a "tour" of the states using some of the easier books on this list. Maybe have a read-aloud tour featuring one or two states per week throughout the school year.
Grades4 to 12
In the ClassroomConsider using this tool as a way to direct students to specific points of web pages. Include directions in your notes. Assign specific tasks, such as pre-reading questions using the notes feature. Even without "sharing" a URL, use this resource to keep track of specific points for discussion later. Have students use this tool for research papers and other projects. Share current events with others, highlighting specific points. Simply paste the highlighted URLs into a word doc to save and reopen later. Use this resource as an organizational tool for content found on the web. Have students annotate their own pages including their own pre-reading questions, main idea sentences, or summaries using highlighting and notes on a text-based page. Have them explicate poetry, annotate motifs in online literary works, point out fallacies in arguments used in blog posts, or highlight evidence of bias in web page content. They can "turn in" their assignments to you or share them with classmates by URL.
Keep a word document with the URLs to your annotated pages and notes about what they are if you plan to assign them to students. If you plan to use this as a TEACHER only, there are no safety/security concerns at all. Be sure to check with your IT department about installing bookmarklets and using this site on district computers. No registration is required. Encourage students to use this responsibly and not highlight information considered inappropriate for school.
GradesK to 12
tag(s): audio books (24)
In the ClassroomMark this one in your professional favorites AND share it on a class web page for access by students and parents. The helpful reviews suggest ideas for ways to use the audio books in the classroom or outside of school to reinforce literacy skills, improve English skills, or study literature in new ways.
GradesK to 8
In the ClassroomPrimary grade teachers will want to share this site on their teacher web page for students to visit over and over both in school and out. Share the site on an interactive whiteboard or projector to show students where to find all the best learning activities, then have students explore on individual computers or at a center. This is a great "indoor recess" option! Teachers of students in older grades-- even middle school -- can use this site during Read Across America celebrations. Have student groups create a Seuss-style book-in-verse on a current curriculum topic, using this site for inspiration. How about a book about electricity or alternative energy? Have them create their new interactive "book" using a tool such as Bookemon, reviewed here.
GradesK to 6
tag(s): authors (121)
In the ClassroomUse an interactive whiteboard or projector to introduce your students to the lovely Laura Ingalls Wilder. After introducing the site, ask students to read the blog in pairs or small groups. If you are beginning the process of integrating technology, have students create their own blogs sharing their learning and understanding using Loose Leaves, reviewed here. This blog creator requires no registration. If you are teaching younger students and looking for an easy way to integrate technology and check for understanding, challenge your students to create a blog using EasyBlog, reviewed here. Take this a step further with older students and ask them to use their blog entries to create an interactive timeline of Laura's life using Knightlab's multimedia timeline creator, reviewed here.
GradesK to 12
tag(s): humor (15)