TeachersFirst - Featured Sites: Week of Jan 12, 2020

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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YoTeach! - PALMS

Grades
7 to 12
4 Favorites 0  Comments
 
YoTeach! is a free backchanneling app created for teachers and students. Create a room and set a password then provide the URL to your students. Once in the platform, the ...more
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YoTeach! is a free backchanneling app created for teachers and students. Create a room and set a password then provide the URL to your students. Once in the platform, the site's features allow you to share chat discussions, use the online whiteboard, and upload images. Additional options include a simple polling tool, a "like" button, and student participation statistics. When finished, download the conversation to your computer as a PDF. When creating your room, use settings to control privacy and moderate participants.

tag(s): chat (45), social networking (92)

In the Classroom

Use this site to connect to other classes to open up a discussion between your students in one convenient place. Safety is not a concern with this site since only those with an email invitation/link or the QR code can participate in a chat. (Your students need not have email. You can simply email the link to yourself and share it with students to enter into their browsers.) Teach good digital citizenship of chat etiquette while using this activity to learn. Connect with other classes to learn about other locations, learn various perspectives, find animals that are similar yet different, learn about the different books others are reading, or survey students on various economic, political, or environmental topics. Be sure to plan content ahead of time, so students have the opportunity to think through the material and formulate a response. Discuss appropriate ways to communicate with others before connecting with another classroom.

Use backchannel chat on laptops during a video or student presentation. Pose questions for all to answer/discuss in the backchannel, or ask students to pose their own "I wonder if..." questions as they watch and listen. Keep every student engaged and THINKING as an active listener. The first time you use backchannel, you will want to establish some etiquette and accountability rules. The advantage of backchannel chat is that every student has a voice, no matter how shy. Use this in world language classes, ESL/ELL classes, or autistic support classes for backchannel chat. Challenge students to use their new language skills to describe a scene from a video or the feelings of the actors. When studying literature, collaborate with another class to have students role-play a chat between two characters. In a history class, create fictional conversations between soldiers on two sides of the Civil War or different sides of the Scopes Monkey trial.

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Duck Soup - Robert Boyett and Andrew McAfee

Grades
K to 12
6 Favorites 0  Comments
 
Is a paperless classroom your goal? Duck Soup is for you! Instead of making copies of papers to hand out and then grade, upload any PDF or Word document to ...more
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Is a paperless classroom your goal? Duck Soup is for you! Instead of making copies of papers to hand out and then grade, upload any PDF or Word document to your Duck Soup account to quickly turn it into an e-sheet gradable activity. Receive feedback in real time as students complete work. Duck Soup also offers the ability for students to "write" on documents as they would with pencil and paper. Options include setting times to submit responses, set number of retries for incorrect responses, and set values of questions. This site fully integrates with Google Drive making it a "must have" for any Google Classroom.

tag(s): classroom management (147), Google (47), Teacher Utilities (91)

In the Classroom

Save time and paper using Duck Soup. Start out slowly, perhaps with one or two papers the first week. Choose a paper that is familiar to both you and your students and explore together how to use e-sheets and settings that work best for your classroom. Once familiar with the site, the possibilities are unlimited. Use Duck Soup for homework, centers, and ongoing projects. Instead of sending paperwork home to be completed by parents, create digital versions for a quick response and compilation of information.

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Twuffer - Grady Britton

Grades
K to 12
3 Favorites 0  Comments
Schedule your tweets to send at any time with Twuffer. This Twitter management tool allows you to write tweets then schedule them to go out at a later date. Just ...more
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Schedule your tweets to send at any time with Twuffer. This Twitter management tool allows you to write tweets then schedule them to go out at a later date. Just create an account and click to schedule a tweet. Include any links or images as desired and select a date and time. Once you select "schedule," your tweet will be posted at your desired time. If you make a mistake, delete any scheduled tweets anytime before they post. The free version of Twuffer allows up to 50 scheduled tweets per month.
This site includes advertising.

tag(s): chat (45), classroom management (147), microblogging (27), PLN (9), social networking (92), twitter (40)

In the Classroom

Twuffer is perfect for all busy teachers trying to manage classroom duties and social media. Prepare and schedule tweets with reminders for project due dates, homework assignments, and more at your convenience. If you have reoccurring events, set up tweets in advance for these reminders. Timing is everything! Schedule tweets to be sent at several times throughout the day to make sure all students and parents see your posts. Share with students who use Twitter with class assignments.

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Casa Notes - 4Teachers

Grades
K to 5
0 Favorites 0  Comments
Casa Notes is your time-saving friend when sending notes home for typical school reasons such as field trips, conferences, and student performance. This site includes 12 templates for...more
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Casa Notes is your time-saving friend when sending notes home for typical school reasons such as field trips, conferences, and student performance. This site includes 12 templates for you to customize some of the content, the color scheme, and add an image. Choose preview to view any template and see what information can be changed; click the circle button, and the red continue button at the bottom of the list to begin customizing your letter. Follow each step to change colors and add information. When complete, print from your browser.

tag(s): communication (21), field trips (11), homework (38), parents (55), Teacher Utilities (91)

In the Classroom

Use Casa Notes to communicate quickly and easily from your classroom to parents. Print up several thank-you notes in advance, then add names as needed. Use the homework template to fill in missed work for absentee students, or to send home as a weekly notice to parents. Share with students to create notes to thank classroom speakers and helpers.

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Class Responder - Teacher Created Resources

Grades
K to 12
1 Favorites 0  Comments
  
Interact with students in real-time with Class Responder. Assign lessons, create quizzes and activities, then view student responses on any device. Create your account with email, then...more
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Interact with students in real-time with Class Responder. Assign lessons, create quizzes and activities, then view student responses on any device. Create your account with email, then follow prompts to add students, create groups, and choose response options. Class Responder activities are for grades 1-6, however, you can create your own for older students. Activities offered on the site include correlation to state and national standards.
This site includes advertising.

tag(s): classroom management (147), DAT device agnostic tool (170), polls and surveys (49), Teacher Utilities (91)

In the Classroom

Be sure to click the "Help" link at the bottom of a page or the upper right corner of any page for information about using and setting up Class Responder. Use Class Responder in a 1:1 classroom, then have students provide feedback in real-time to demonstrate understanding. Use as an exit slip, to identify material that needs to be retaught, or to locate specific students that need remediation. Class Responder is perfect for use in flipped or blended learning classrooms to share videos and ask questions before students come to class. Create several activities to save just in case you need an extra lesson on short notice, need to have a substitute, or to use as an at-home lesson for snow days.

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FreshGrade - Lane Merrifield and Steve Wandler

Grades
K to 12
1 Favorites 0  Comments
   
FreshGrade is more than a classroom management system; it also creates eportfolios for all students. Easily capture, provide feedback, and share student work with this tool. Use FreshGrade...more
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FreshGrade is more than a classroom management system; it also creates eportfolios for all students. Easily capture, provide feedback, and share student work with this tool. Use FreshGrade to post lessons, assignments, and due dates. Keep track of grades and allow students to contribute video, audio, images, and comments to their eportfolios. Easily share with parents who can also comment. Create an account using your email and start setting up your classes. Click the drop-down arrow next to your name for support. The support is extensive: find a Quick Start Guide, Walkthrough Video, comprehensive Product Guide, FAQ's, Knowledge Base, and a Video Library. If your district blocks YouTube, the videos may not be viewable.

tag(s): assessment (127), classroom management (147), multimedia (52), portfolios (20), Teacher Utilities (91)

In the Classroom

Use FreshGrade to manage and organize any classroom. Maintain a classroom calendar so students can easily find due dates and deadlines for homework and projects. Share information with parents to keep them up to date. Even if your school or district already has a learning management system for tracking grades, use FreshGrade for the student portfolios and easy parent inclusion. Record classroom activities and student learning with photos or videos using your mobile device. Show students how to document their learning and make comments in their portfolio. Share portfolios with parents, not just at conference time, but any time the student portfolio is updated to keep parents in the loop. Share student accounts with other teachers they may have.

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Seesaw - Charles Lin, Carl Sjogreen , Adrian Graham

Grades
K to 10
8 Favorites 1  Comments
  
Seesaw is a digital portfolio that is totally free for all devices and on the web. Students can showcase their work, videos, text, drawings, and images, and get feedback from ...more
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Seesaw is a digital portfolio that is totally free for all devices and on the web. Students can showcase their work, videos, text, drawings, and images, and get feedback from teachers and parents. Create a class blog in your Seesaw for students to write blog posts. Teachers create an account with email and then start creating as many classes as needed. There is no limit on the number of students a class can have. Give students a "join" code for their class, and they sign up from there, choosing to access their account through a Seesaw generated QR code or their email. Teachers can enable or disable student likes, comments, and editing. Blog posts and comments must have teacher approval before becoming public. Students will be able to reflect on their work with a voice recording or text, and can share artifacts from their portfolio by clicking the red button at the bottom of the screen and then either print or get the item QR code. Once you have an account, click Help & Teacher Resources to find Getting Started Tips, Tutorial Videos, FAQs, and Activity Ideas grouped by grade level. If your district blocks YouTube, the tutorials may not be viewable.

tag(s): blogs (77), DAT device agnostic tool (170), digital storytelling (148), Learning Management Systems (23), portfolios (20), Teacher Utilities (91)

In the Classroom

Sign up for Seesaw and generate a join code for the class from the menu at the upper right corner or by clicking your name or initials in the left corner to get a drop down menu. The join code expires in 15 minutes, so it is best to do this in your classroom or computer lab. Teachers can add photos, drawings, links, notes, and upload a file from this same menu by clicking the + symbol. You can even add a co-teacher! See Seesaw's FAQs for ways for parents to sign up and letters to send home. Use Seesaw portfolios for any subject or grade level. Once your account is set up, create a simple project or borrow one from the Activities on the Help and Teacher Resources page. Share the project on your interactive whiteboard or projector to get your students started. The teacher portal allows you to access and comment on student work. View the work of an individual or the entire class. The ability to import work from many creation apps to Seesaw makes this a perfect portfolio tool. Don't forget to watch the video about setting up blogs for your students. Remember, this is all free! Science teachers could have students write up their lab reports, take photos of their labs and label them in a portfolio. History teachers could set up portfolios for student report writing or digital storytelling projects. Seesaw is the perfect tool to use during parent conferences.

Comments

I love using Seesaw with my elementary school students. It's great that parents can comment also. Katy, , Grades: 0 - 12

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Slack - Slack Technologies, Inc.

Grades
K to 12
1 Favorites 0  Comments
 
Slack is a real-time messaging tool for teams that includes archiving and search features. Create channels for different groups or teams to include messages, files, images, and more...more
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Slack is a real-time messaging tool for teams that includes archiving and search features. Create channels for different groups or teams to include messages, files, images, and more for sharing. Drag and drop files work with Google Docs, Dropbox, Twitter, and others making it easy to share across several different platforms. Easily search Slack archives to find discussions, documents, and more.
This site includes advertising.

tag(s): chat (45), communication (21), DAT device agnostic tool (170), microblogging (27), organizational skills (108), social networking (92)

In the Classroom

Share this resource with high school students working on group projects for better group communication, managing workflow, and more. Take the time during the first week of school or as group projects approach to model how to plan and manage group processes using such a tool. Use this tool with school clubs, as well. Manage professional discussions by creating channels for different departmental or grade level teams.

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Tocomail - Tocobox

Grades
2 to 6
1 Favorites 0  Comments
Tocomail is a safe and simple email service just for kids. Create a parent email account and build a safe contact list for kids to email with. Once the account ...more
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Tocomail is a safe and simple email service just for kids. Create a parent email account and build a safe contact list for kids to email with. Once the account is set up, kids receive and send emails in a kid-friendly format. Tocomail includes additional features such as custom avatars, a drawing board, and a picture timeline. Receive email online or through free apps for iPhones and iPads, and Android. Premium features (not free) allow parents more detailed controls.
This site includes advertising.

tag(s): DAT device agnostic tool (170), digital citizenship (77), internet safety (121)

In the Classroom

Have students use Tocomail (with parent approval, of course) to correspond with each other from home with homework questions. Cooperate with parents to use Tocomail as a resource for teaching Internet safety and acceptable use of email. Ask them to set up accounts for their children and notify them when you will be asking students to write emails so they can see and monitor what children write along with you. Share with parents through your newsletter, back to school night, or blog as an alternative to typical email accounts. Together you can build good digital citizens and make electronic communication fun! Have students write you a "friendly letter" email for homework. Have them write an opinion piece with "arguments" a la Common Core and email it to a local official such as the school principal (and cc you so you can grade it). Encourage your ESL/ELL students to practice authentic writing skills by having them write emails to relatives.

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polltogo - Inspirapps, Inc.

Grades
K to 12
5 Favorites 1  Comments
 
Use polltogo to create polls for student response during a meeting or class time. Connect with your audience in many ways. Create a question and select the type of answers, ...more
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Use polltogo to create polls for student response during a meeting or class time. Connect with your audience in many ways. Create a question and select the type of answers, how long the poll will last, password or not, and more options. Receive notifications about your poll via your email. Each poll is free for twenty people to vote. Tweet about polltogo and receive another thirty credits so thirty more people can vote. Choose to receive results (via email) after every vote or at the end of the voting period. Interim and final results can also be viewed online. Another great feature is embedding the results link into a PowerPoint or Keynote slide to project results during a presentation. polltogo is a device-agnostic voting tool and will auto-adapt to display on any mobile or desktop device.

tag(s): assessment (127), DAT device agnostic tool (170), Formative Assessment (14), polls and surveys (49)

In the Classroom

Use this tool easily in your Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) classroom since all students will be able to access it for free, no matter what device they have. One of the question choices for polltogo is "Feedback" which is perfect for formative assessment or asking what students need help with after a lesson. Use this site to vote for correct answers in math class, project ideas for science or social studies, social issues in current events, and practically any other subject area. Encourage students to incorporate polls during class presentations as a test to see who is listening or for questions the audience might have. Use polltogo to make parent polls and post on a class website to keep the lines of communication open.

Comments

Very easy to use. F, , Grades: 0 - 12

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SpeakPipe - Speakpipe.com

Grades
K to 12
3 Favorites 0  Comments
 
SpeakPipe offers a widget to install on your blog or website so readers can send you an audio message of up to 90 seconds in length. The message goes to ...more
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SpeakPipe offers a widget to install on your blog or website so readers can send you an audio message of up to 90 seconds in length. The message goes to your Speakpipe inbox, and you receive an email notification. You also receive a URL for the message that you could post on the blog so others can hear the comments. Visitors click the "leave voicemail" button to access. Next, the visitor records a message for you. Visitors have the option of including their names and email addresses.

tag(s): blogs (77), communication (21)

In the Classroom

When installed on a school website, SpeakPipe provides a good way for parents to leave voicemail messages. Unless one of you shares the URL, the communication remains confidential. Download messages to your computer as a simple way for students to record their voice responses for use in a multimedia project on your classroom blog. After posting student work on your classroom website or blog, allow students to record information responding or explaining each project. Encourage emerging readers to record their own voices reading a blog post they write. Auditory learners will truly benefit from this tool. Install this on your class blog or wiki so parents who visit can leave audio comments for the class. World language teachers could post an image on a class web site and ask students to record a response in their new language. School library/media centers can invite students so comment about new books listed on the web page.

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Class Pager - Brain Racer, Inc.

Grades
7 to 12
0 Favorites 0  Comments
 
Use ClassPager to text message students and parents in complete privacy. Register your class name and obtain the class code and a phone number for your students and parents to ...more
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Use ClassPager to text message students and parents in complete privacy. Register your class name and obtain the class code and a phone number for your students and parents to use. Once they use the number, they are automatically enrolled in your class. As a teacher, you only see their name and not their phone number. Additionally, they will not see your phone number either, and the website uses https. Send messages via your computer as well. Any messages sent from ClassPager will go to everyone who is enrolled in your class. Only if they reply can you start an individual conversation with them. Be aware that some texting plans may charge for texts to be sent or received using this resource. It is suggested to communicate with parents before they or their child sign up with this tool. If this tool is used to remind students, parents can then choose whether to participate.

tag(s): assessment (127), Formative Assessment (14), polls and surveys (49)

In the Classroom

Use for an easy way to poll students in class to check for understanding. This would be great in a school that allows students to bring their own device and would save money on the purchasing of clickers. Use to answer exit questions or to see what students remember from the previous day. Identify misconceptions that students may have at the start of a unit. Send text reminders of homework or encouragement to complete assignments.

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Skype - Skype Technologies S.A.

Grades
K to 12
3 Favorites 0  Comments
   
Every teen and college student knows Skype, the free tool for making calls from computer to computer anywhere in the world. By downloading and installing free software and setting up...more
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Every teen and college student knows Skype, the free tool for making calls from computer to computer anywhere in the world. By downloading and installing free software and setting up a free account, you can talk and/or make a video call to a similarly equipped computer elsewhere in the world for free. Skype uses a lot of "bandwidth" so is not suitable for very slow networks. It may also be slow at high-traffic times on a good network. Some patience and pretesting is required before you can be sure it will work for your needs. Connect to classrooms, experts, authors, virtual special speakers, or interview subjects using Skype.

tag(s): virtual field trips (66), webcams (8)

In the Classroom

Download and install the Skype software. If you are not allowed to install software on school computers, ask to have a single laptop available that is Skype-capable so you can borrow it or else explain to your principal that you are planning a series of Skype visits in your classroom so your techies will install it in your classroom. You will need a computer with built-in or separate microphone and speakers and optional webcam. If you plan to use a webcam, you must know how to start it. A single teacher-controlled Skype account will work in most school settings.

If you prefer written directions go to More >> Get Help, and then slide to Skype Support to get started. Or ask a student to show you (without seeing your password). You will need to explore the tools in Skype to locate where to enter the SKYPE name of the person you wish to call, start the call, and answer calls. Do NOT set your copy of Skype to "remember me" on a school computer! If students are to participate in the Skype call, you may want to have a "hot seat" at the Skyping computer so they can sit at a mike so their questions will pick up better for the person at the other end.

Be sure to set Skype so it does not open every time you start up the computer. Manually start the program when needed and do not leave an obvious Skype icon on the desktop for "clever" students to find. Protect your password -- do not post it on the computer. A teacher-controlled account is best for Skype classroom use to prevent unauthorized calls by students. Your user name will show on the screen for students to see, so be aware of that when you create your account.

Anything you can do by telephone or video call you can do on a projector with your entire class. Connect the Skyping computer to a projector or whiteboard for the entire class to see if you are using video. (The video may be fuzzy, but good enough to follow a person's face.) Use Skype to talk to authors (check out their web sites or this blog for contact information). Have students write questions in advance. Use your contacts, web page "contact us" emails, and parent contacts to find others willing to Skype into your classroom. Interview scientists or government officials, deployed military personnel, or classes far away in a different culture or language. Younger students can compare weather, family life, community events, and more. Learn other ideas for using Skype in your classroom

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