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

 

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Reader - MindSky

Grades
K to 12
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Reader is an app for desktop and mobile devices that allows you to save articles without a lot of the clutter. Sign up using your email and password, then activate ...more
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Reader is an app for desktop and mobile devices that allows you to save articles without a lot of the clutter. Sign up using your email and password, then activate your account using the link sent to your email. Follow directions to download the app if you think you will be using Reader on a regular basis. However, you don't have to download the app. You can just click the "+" sign at the top right and enter the URL of the article you want to read right in your browser. Reader's features allow you to highlight and share articles. Viewing options include several themes and font options. All features are fully functional in your browser, too! Editors note, the activation link to create an account was not sent immediately. Be sure to create and set up your account well in advance before using it. Check your spam folder if you don't find the activation link.

tag(s): DAT device agnostic tool (179), media literacy (64), reading comprehension (126)

In the Classroom

Download 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.

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TeachersFirst Reading Treks - Make Learning a Journey - TeachersFirst

Grades
K to 12
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Your students can visit the world and build their background knowledge when they choose to read a book in conjunction with Reading Treks. Find fiction and informational books at every...more
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Your students can visit the world and build their background knowledge when they choose to read a book in conjunction with Reading Treks. Find fiction and informational books at every reading level. Each Reading Trek unit has a downloadable PDF with Common Core State Standards, ISTE Standards, Grade Level, Ideas and Activities for using the Reading Trek in class, and a list of Helpful Resouces. There is also a Google Maps (KMZ) file. Under the About TeachersFirst Reading Treks on the home page find step-by-step instructions for when you're ready to use a Reading Trek. TeachersFirst is just getting started creating Treks for books. Do you have a suggestion? Select Suggest a Trek from the left menu to let us know about it. We'd love to hear from you!

tag(s): independent reading (129), maps (294), reading comprehension (126), reading lists (81)

In the Classroom

These 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.

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Dreamreader - Neil Millington

Grades
4 to 12
1 Favorites 0  Comments
  
Dreamreader is a site created by a teacher of English as a Foreign Language providing a large variety of reading content in many different ability levels. Each article also includes...more
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Dreamreader is a site created by a teacher of English as a Foreign Language providing a large variety of reading content in many different ability levels. Each article also includes a lesson plan, quiz, and audio reading of the story. Choose from the different content labels to find articles categorized from Easy English to Academic English. Within the Academic English option choose from beginner through advanced reading levels.
This site includes advertising.

tag(s): independent reading (129), reading comprehension (126), reading lists (81)

In the Classroom

Bookmark 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, reviewed here. Adobe Spark offers you the option to include video, images, and other media easily into any type of presentation.
 This resource requires PDF reader software like Adobe Acrobat.

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2Titles - 2Titles.com

Grades
8 to 12
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Answer a few questions on 2Titles and they will suggest several young adult books you might enjoy. If you have read those titles, just click on the "previously read" button ...more
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Answer a few questions on 2Titles and they will suggest several young adult books you might enjoy. If you have read those titles, just click on the "previously read" button and get another in its place. If you are not interested in a suggestion, click on "Don't show this again" and get another in its place. Easy-peasy! Register with email. Registration allows you to fill out the form for whom to contact with your wish list. This tool is free. You do not have to purchase any books. Warning: students should be 13 or older to use this site. Some adult books are recommended such as Kite Runner by Khaled Hosseini.

tag(s): book lists (131), independent reading (129), reading lists (81)

In the Classroom

Students 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, 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.

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CommonLit - CommonLit

Grades
4 to 12
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Access commonly taught themes for classic literature and discussion questions for that theme. Plus there are Text Sets perfect for social studies teachers! Choose a Lexile'® grade...more
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Access commonly taught themes for classic literature and discussion questions for that theme. Plus there are Text Sets perfect for social studies teachers! Choose a Lexile'® grade level for reading and download the text in PDF format or read online. Each text has a menu across the top offering Paired Texts, Related Media, Teachers Guide, and Parent Guide. Accompanying the text are critical thinking questions, an Assessment, and some have Guided Reading Mode. Choose the size of the font, listen to the Read Aloud (and pause it), translate to Spanish, and Highlight. Track student progress. All of this for free! What else could one want? Well, you can also request a text, and they will negotiate with the copyright holders to have that text on their site. Take a look at their blog, too! You'll find lots of suggestions and thoughtful reflections for using nonfiction texts with your students.

tag(s): critical thinking (119), literature (270), themes (12)

In the Classroom

CommonLit 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!
 This resource requires PDF reader software like Adobe Acrobat.

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Newsela - Matthew Gross

Grades
2 to 12
18 Favorites 1  Comments
Newsela is a data base of current events stories tailor-made for classroom use. Indexed by broad theme (e.g. War and Peace, Arts, Science, Health, Law, Money), stories are both student-friendly...more
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Newsela is a data base of current events stories tailor-made for classroom use. Indexed by broad theme (e.g. War and Peace, Arts, Science, Health, Law, Money), stories are both student-friendly and can be accessed in different formats by reading level. Use Newsela to differentiate nonfiction reading. Newspaper writers rewrite a story four times for a total of five Lexile levels per story. All articles have embedded, Common Core aligned quizzes that conform to the reading levels for checking comprehension. An account is required to use Newsela, both for teachers and for students, but students sign up using a teacher or parent provided code rather than an email address. Teachers can create classes and assign reading-level specific articles to individual students, or download printable PDF copies of the article in any of its reading-level versions. There is an upgraded fee-based Pro Version which allows teachers or administrators to track reading progress and sutdents to take constructed response writing assessments, but many of the features are free and there is no outside advertising.

tag(s): DAT device agnostic tool (179), differentiation (45), guided reading (47), independent reading (129), news (260), reading comprehension (126)

In the Classroom

Achieve 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.

Comments

This is an excellent site and allows differentiation while everyone is reading the same text. Renee, NC, Grades: 0 - 5

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The CAT in the HAT Knows a Lot About That - PBS Kids

Grades
K to 2
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Join the Cat in the Hat, Sally, and friends on an adventure that teaches, reinforces, and enriches learning for young students. Easily navigate through Games, Printing, and Videos....more
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Join the Cat in the Hat, Sally, and friends on an adventure that teaches, reinforces, and enriches learning for young students. Easily navigate through Games, Printing, and Videos. Each area features different concepts: colors, shapes, numbers, letters, matching, easy art projects, videos, songs, and spatial reasoning. Be sure to check out the activities on the top menu; they change with each page you click. There are also seasonal/timely activities on the main page. A wide variety of games keep you coming back to find yet another adventure with the Cat in the Hat. The site features user friendly directions for any age.

tag(s): alphabet (86), colors (79), dr seuss (10), geometric shapes (173), measurement (178), numbers (196), preK (286)

In the Classroom

Share 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.
  This resource requires Adobe Flash and PDF reader software like Adobe Acrobat.

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Common Core: The Fuss Over Non-Fiction - TeachersFirst

Grades
K to 6
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Delve into the Common Core Reading standards and the shift to greater emphasis on non-fiction, "informational texts." If, like many teachers, you teach in a state that has adopted the...more
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Delve into the Common Core Reading standards and the shift to greater emphasis on non-fiction, "informational texts." If, like many teachers, you teach in a state that has adopted the Common Core State Standards, this Q/A article will help you to make sense of this shift and provide you with some practical tips and resources to get started. Although the article is intended for elementary teachers as part of our Help! I lost my library/media specialist series, the general questions about Common Core and reading informational texts apply at any level. TeachersFirst plans to offer further articles as Common Core "rolls out" in more and more schools.

tag(s): commoncore (89)

In the Classroom

Read 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!

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CurriConnects Book List: USA Regional Books - TeachersFirst

Grades
K to 12
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Discover books about each of the fifty United States and selected U.S. regions. Move beyond state facts and immerse readers of any age in the life of a state or ...more
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Discover books about each of the fifty United States and selected U.S. regions. Move beyond state facts and immerse readers of any age in the life of a state or region. This extensive list is sorted by state, with books listed in ascending level "bands" within each state. Listings include ESL/ELL and Lexile'® levels so every student can read successfully.

tag(s): book lists (131), states (165)

In the Classroom

Go 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.

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Rooh it: Instant Web Highlighter - RoohIt, Inc

Grades
4 to 12
1 Favorites 0  Comments
 
Highlight and share specific information within web pages with this application. Rooh it works instantly for highlighting information on web pages while web surfing. Automatically clip,...more
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Highlight and share specific information within web pages with this application. Rooh it works instantly for highlighting information on web pages while web surfing. Automatically clip, collect, bookmark, and share online content via e-mail, Facebook, Twitter and more with just one click. Create highlights using several different methods. Install the bookmarklet on your browser's tool bar then click the bookmarklet before highlighting information. You can also try entering rooh.it/ before the http of any webpage URL and your cursor turns into a highlighter. It is actually easiest to simply enter the site URL in the box on the main Rooh it page.

tag(s): bookmarks (67), note taking (41)

In the Classroom

Consider 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.

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Interactive Audio Books Resources - TeachersFirst

Grades
K to 12
6 Favorites 0  Comments
These educator-reviewed resources from TeachersFirst offer audio books in interactive form so all students, including emerging readers and ESL/ELL learners, can experience reading with...more
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These educator-reviewed resources from TeachersFirst offer audio books in interactive form so all students, including emerging readers and ESL/ELL learners, can experience reading with audio and visual prompts or interactivity to reinforce and inspire literacy skills and enjoyment as they read. Be sure to explore each site, as many include multiple types of activities, including the interactive books.

tag(s): audio books (24)

In the Classroom

Mark 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.

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Seussville - Random House

Grades
K to 8
1 Favorites 0  Comments
 
Find everything Seuss in one place: interactive games, classroom activities, printables, and much more. Audio cues help non-readers to navigate the site (and can be turned off at top...more
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Find everything Seuss in one place: interactive games, classroom activities, printables, and much more. Audio cues help non-readers to navigate the site (and can be turned off at top right). Find videos, author information, and learning games featuring the famous Seuss characters. The Educator link takes you to lesson plans and teaching ideas for use throughout the year, not just for Dr. Seuss' birthday on March 2! This is where you will find Read Across America printables and more. Since the publisher obviously wants to sell books, there is complete information for purchasing books, as well, but it is not offensive.

tag(s): dr seuss (10), read across america (5)

In the Classroom

Primary 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.
  This resource requires Adobe Flash and PDF reader software like Adobe Acrobat.

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Laura Ingalls Wilder - Laura Ingalls Wilder Memorial Society

Grades
K to 6
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This informative site offers a blog with a few pioneer recipes, comparisons between the book and the TV show, and information about the people and places in Laura's life. ...more
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This informative site offers a blog with a few pioneer recipes, comparisons between the book and the TV show, and information about the people and places in Laura's life. There are photos of the people and places with explanations.

tag(s): authors (121)

In the Classroom

Use 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.

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Read Across America - NEA

Grades
K to 12
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Here's a chance to participate in a national (American) effort to encourage adults to read to children. NEA's Read Across America program wants every adult to read to a child ...more
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Here's a chance to participate in a national (American) effort to encourage adults to read to children. NEA's Read Across America program wants every adult to read to a child as part of the celebration of Dr. Seuss's birthday. Visit this site to see how you can help with a celebration in your local community. Click the Plan a Reading Event to find resources for Dr. Seuss.

tag(s): humor (15)

In the Classroom

Download the free RAA calendars or have students create family reading calendars or reading videos as part of the Read Across America celebration. Even upper level high school students will enjoy the chance to relive Seuss in their lives. Plan a trip with your school service group to read to elementary kids at the school next door. Or have student groups in any middle or high school class create a Seuss-style book-in-verse on a current curriculum topic, using various Seuss books for inspiration. How about a book about healthy eating or the fun of reading? Be sure to have students create a storyboard to help make the story creation go smoothly. Do this either with paper and pencil or try using a digital storyboard like the Amazon Storybuilder, reviewed here, or Storyboard That, reviewed here. Then challenge students to make a new interactive "book" using a tool such as Bookemon, reviewed here.

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