TeachersFirst - Featured Sites: Week of Jul 19, 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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Sync: Audio Books for Teens - AudioFile

Grades
6 to 12
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Sync is a free summer audiobook program for teens. The program runs for 13 weeks starting on April 30 and provides participants with two thematically paired audio books weekly. After...more
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Sync is a free summer audiobook program for teens. The program runs for 13 weeks starting on April 30 and provides participants with two thematically paired audio books weekly. After enrolling with Sync, follow the directions to download the Sora app from iTunes or Google Play. Use the explore feature within the app to find and borrow weekly titles. Be sure to view the FAQ for additional information on accessing and participating in Sync.

tag(s): audio books (24), independent reading (116)

In the Classroom

Share Sync with your students to promote summer reading and provide a variety of reading topics. If it is too late to participate in the program or listen to a weekly title, use the book list provided to locate the titles in your community library for checkout either in person or digitally. Encourage students to reflect upon the books using journals such as those found in BoomWriter, reviewed here. BoomWriter journals offer the ability to add prompts to sections of journals, enter vocabulary terms, and view and respond to student journals. Extend student learning by highlighting important areas of text within the books using Wordsift, reviewed here. Copy and paste in key portions of any book into WordSift to visualize the text within a word cloud. Use the word cloud to explore and discuss new vocabulary or frequently used terms. Use Sync as a model for students to hear text read using intonation and phrasing. Ask students to create podcasts sharing their writing using Anchor, reviewed here. Refer students back to the audiobooks they listened to as a helpful reminder on how to engage listeners through the spoken word.

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Poem Generator - Masterpiece Generator

Grades
4 to 12
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Quickly create several different forms of poems using the Poem Generator. Choose from over a dozen different options to begin your poem. Follow the prompts to add a topic and ...more
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Quickly create several different forms of poems using the Poem Generator. Choose from over a dozen different options to begin your poem. Follow the prompts to add a topic and words to include. To create and complete your poem, select the "Write me a poem" link. Some formats require additional steps before generating the final piece of poetry. To view different poem creations using the same word prompts, choose refresh for a new poem.
This site includes advertising.

tag(s): parts of speech (67), poetry (223)

In the Classroom

Use the Poem Generator to introduce students to different forms of poems through exploration and use of the generator's features. This site is also a great tool to use when teaching parts of speech. Challenge students to identify the features that indicate different types of poems. Create a class Padlet, reviewed here, with columns for each type of poem and ask students to share their creations in the appropriate column. After students have time to experiment with the Poem Generator, challenge them to create poems without using this tool. Enhance classroom technology use by adding a picture of their final project to ThingLink, reviewed here, and ask students to add audio recordings including their reading of the poem and a short discussion sharing the features that identify the poem as belonging to a specific genre. Transform classroom technology use by having students publish their poetry using Book Creator, reviewed here, to make a class book with all of your students' poetry. Be sure to have each student include an audio recording reading their poem!
 

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Knight Lab - Northwest University

Grades
K to 12
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Knight Lab offers a variety of tools for storytelling and promoting quality journalism. Choose the Projects tab to find all available options sorted by categories of Storytelling, Research...more
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Knight Lab offers a variety of tools for storytelling and promoting quality journalism. Choose the Projects tab to find all available options sorted by categories of Storytelling, Research and Reporting, Teaching and Learning, and Prototypes, Experiments, and Past Projects. Projects include examples and full instructions for using the tool in any classroom.

tag(s): digital storytelling (144), images (273), maps (292), timelines (54)

In the Classroom

This site is a must-have for anyone who teaches writing or assigns writing projects. Bookmark this site for use throughout the year with any writing project. Focus on one tool a month to learn more about the features available. Assign a tool to different groups of students and let them become the experts. Work with peers to assign projects across subject levels using tools from this site to compare and contrast images, create interactive timelines, build story maps, and much more.
 

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CoSpaces - Delightex GmbH

Grades
4 to 12
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Build your own 3D spaces using CoSpaces, then view in virtual reality. Choose from the large library of items to include in your creation including characters and objects. To get ...more
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Build your own 3D spaces using CoSpaces, then view in virtual reality. Choose from the large library of items to include in your creation including characters and objects. To get a sense of how this works, visit the gallery to view creations built by CoSpace users. Register to create your account to start building your own 3D space. Be sure to visit the section for educators with many ideas on how to use CoSpaces in the classroom. Tutorials for CoSpaces reside on YouTube. If your district blocks YouTube, the videos may not be viewable.

tag(s): creativity (115), DAT device agnostic tool (172), digital storytelling (144)

In the Classroom

Recreate scenes from books or use CoSpaces to retell any story with 3D images. Encourage creativity and ask students to develop virtual exhibitions of artwork, animal habitats, or landforms. Have older students create infographics featuring data collections, for example comparing availability of Internet in different American towns.

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Storyberries - Jade Maitre

Grades
K to 5
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Storyberries offers free bedtime stories and poems for kids in an easy to use format for adults. Stories include classics such as The Three Billy Goats Gruff and original compositions...more
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Storyberries offers free bedtime stories and poems for kids in an easy to use format for adults. Stories include classics such as The Three Billy Goats Gruff and original compositions submitted through the site. Browse through the home page to find popular stories or use the links at the top of the page to search by age, topic, or moral taught. One great feature is the ability to find stories by length from five minutes through chapter books. Each story also includes additional questions to use for further discussion.

tag(s): book lists (136), poetry (223), short stories (22), stories and storytelling (34)

In the Classroom

Bookmark Storyberries as an excellent resource for short read alouds or as a source for stories relating to many different emotions and themes. Share a link on your class website or newsletter for parents to use at home. Use this site on your interactive whiteboard or projector as you read aloud for students to follow along; occasionally stop and allow students to read portions of the book. Use this site as a resource for additional reading materials in the classroom by creating a link on classroom computers. Share Storyberries on your classroom website or in your Google Classroom for parent and student use at home during distant learning or extended absences.

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Planet Publish - Planet Publish

Grades
4 to 12
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Find free downloadable ebooks of many classics. Some titles available are: Moby Dick, A Tale of Two Cities, Alice's Adventures in Wonderland, Little Women, Huckleberry Finn, Tom Sawyer,...more
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Find free downloadable ebooks of many classics. Some titles available are: Moby Dick, A Tale of Two Cities, Alice's Adventures in Wonderland, Little Women, Huckleberry Finn, Tom Sawyer, The Iliad, The Red Badge of Courage, Oliver Twist, Heart of Darkness, A Christmas Carol, and many others. Find an introduction (or Gallery) to the books by scrolling down the page. View the menu on the right to see all titles. Download the PDF to get the full book.

tag(s): literacy (109), literature (260), reading lists (74)

In the Classroom

When studying the classics, and using close reading techniques, pull up your PDF copy of the ebook to project on an interactive whiteboard or projector. Use short passages to determine your literature circles. Read part of a story, and have students write the ending of the scene. Download to computers at centers for center time. Add to your classroom website to have ample reading material available for your students. Challenge your gifted students to read as many classics as possible. Locate classics to compliment your study of time, era, or author.
 This resource requires PDF reader software like Adobe Acrobat.

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M-Reader - Extensive Reading Foundation

Grades
2 to 12
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This site offers an easy way for teachers to encourage students to do extensive reading. It contains quizzes for thousands of commonly read Penguin graded readers, and also a classroom...more
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This site offers an easy way for teachers to encourage students to do extensive reading. It contains quizzes for thousands of commonly read Penguin graded readers, and also a classroom management system. M-Reader also offers many classics rewritten for lower reading levels as well as the original higher reading level. After a simple institutional registration, teachers can select the books they want students to read outside of class, set up a classroom, and show student progress. Teachers do not have to make quizzes. It automatically displays grades and records quizzes. Each student, even ones reading the same books, receive different quizzes. Books are available at up to eight different levels so students can begin at a level comprehensible to them and go up. Once a student completes a book, a quiz is provided. If the student is successful on the quiz, they receive a book cover in their file. Students can see the progress of other students in the class and compare themselves to other readers. Check with your administration about the feasibility of setting up an institutional registration. Unlike other popular "read it and take a quiz" programs, it is FREE!

tag(s): guided reading (42), independent reading (116), reading comprehension (132)

In the Classroom

Demonstrate how the program works using a projector or interactive whiteboard. Students can then read, quiz, and display their results and progress on their own. This program is perfect for differentiating in the classroom where beginning English learners are mainstreamed with English native speaking learners. You can assign the same book to all readers at a certain level, and they will all have a different quiz to take. This assures that you know exactly how each student is doing since they can't share quiz answers with each other. Share M-Reader on your classroom website or in your Google Classroom for parent and student use at home during distant learning or extended absences.

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Open Culture - Open Culture

Grades
4 to 12
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Explore 1000 free audio books. This collection includes classics and contemporary literature. Books come in a variety of formats, from e-files to MP3's to Youtube. The alphabetical...more
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Explore 1000 free audio books. This collection includes classics and contemporary literature. Books come in a variety of formats, from e-files to MP3's to Youtube. The alphabetical list indicates which format or formats each book is available in. This easy-to-read site doe, however, have ads and links to other resources.
This site includes advertising.

tag(s): audio books (24), independent reading (116), listening (81)

In the Classroom

Students could download independent reading books onto their portable devices. This is perfect for a BYOD or 1:1 classroom. Remind students of this great collection before breaks and summer vacations! Provide this link on your class website. Begin a classroom review magazine. Have students create mindmaps about characters or the plot. Challenge students to write summaries and other types of responses to the books they read. Have the students use a tool like Zoho Show (similar to Powerpoint, but easier and free) - reviewed here. ESL and special education students may find it useful to listen to books they are reading in class, if those titles are available.
 This resource requires Adobe Flash.

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Classic Books - Library of Congress

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K to 12
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Explore this collection of public domain, classic books for children and teenagers from the Library of Congress. They are organized in alphabetical order. There are 51 books for younger...more
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Explore this collection of public domain, classic books for children and teenagers from the Library of Congress. They are organized in alphabetical order. There are 51 books for younger children, 6 books for teens, and 6 books for adults. Each has a short summary, a link from which to read the book, and a link to more information about the book. Enjoy these stories online. Although they aren't audio books, they could be very useful with all ages.

tag(s): book lists (136), independent reading (116), literature (260)

In the Classroom

Share the classics on your interactive whiteboard or projector. Read the stories together as a class and consider converting an excerpt into an interactive text using Active Textbook, reviewed here. You could add to it yearly, with each class taking a chapter or section to "liven up" with media. Or challenge your tech-savvy or gifted students to bring a classic to life with such a project. Share this public domain collection on your class website, blog, or wiki as a good place to find classics (FREE). Create a learning station on your classroom computers using these books.

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NPR's Backseat Book Club - National Public Radio

Grades
4 to 12
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National Public Radio's (NPR) Backseat Book Club chose a selection every month in hopes you would read it. Past offerings range from classics like Black Beauty and The Wonderful Wizard...more
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National Public Radio's (NPR) Backseat Book Club chose a selection every month in hopes you would read it. Past offerings range from classics like Black Beauty and The Wonderful Wizard of Oz to contemporary offerings like The Red Pyramid and the Wimpy Kid series. You might also enjoy interviews of some of these authors. Type in something like "Questions for the Author" in the search bar to find a list of interviews. Certain segments of this site provide audio clips to enjoy. You can also subscribe to one of the many NPR podcasts, a great option for the BYOD classroom or your school library/media center.
This site includes advertising.

tag(s): authors (118), book lists (136), independent reading (116), literature (260), reading lists (74)

In the Classroom

Though this program is over, the material is worth listening to. Visit the Backseat Book Club with students to select a book you are interested in reading. Then include students in the decision whether to read it as a class or just have several interested students read it. Encourage parents to read the books with their student by posting a link on your class or school library website.
 This resource requires Adobe Flash.

Comments

Thinking, PA, Grades: 5 - 10

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Many Books.net - Manybooks.net

Grades
4 to 12
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Many Book.net is a free web site offering eBooks from Project Gutenburg, The Human Genome Project and audio books, and creative commons works. Using author, title, genre, language,...more
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Many Book.net is a free web site offering eBooks from Project Gutenburg, The Human Genome Project and audio books, and creative commons works. Using author, title, genre, language, and recommended eBooks, find your favorite reads. Join an RSS feed or Twitter to receive updates of the latest eBooks. Submit your work for consideration and possibly to be added to the selections. Register to create your own bookshelf with eBooks you have read. Keep it private, share as an embedded URL, or share on the actual site. Find conversion tools to help with any formats required. Explore the devices available to read the eBooks.

tag(s): audio books (24), book lists (136), ebooks (35), independent reading (116)

In the Classroom

Fill your classroom library with all the ebooks from the classics. Encourage your students to keep bookshelves of the books they read, while you make your bookshelf available to use for assignment choices or options. Encourage the continual exploration of author, time period, subject matter, and genre. Enchant your voracious and gifted readers alike!
 This resource requires PDF reader software like Adobe Acrobat.

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Open Source Shakespeare - Eric Johnson, Bernini Communications LLC

Grades
9 to 12
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Open Source Shakespeare is not just another ordinary collection of the complete works of William Shakespeare. You can use an advanced search, read the plays, and look up words in ...more
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Open Source Shakespeare is not just another ordinary collection of the complete works of William Shakespeare. You can use an advanced search, read the plays, and look up words in the "concordance." It is a comprehensive, free electronic bookshelf built with flexibility, user-friendliness, and powerful search functions that easily enables scholars, casual readers, or Shakespeare lovers to read the plays, poems, and sonnets. At the same time look up terms, phrases, quotations, passages, or search for answers to questions about characters, acts, or scenes in an infinite number of ways. This is an incredibly ambitious online project that provides quick, easy access and enables you to retrieve, store, and print. The simple appearance also makes the site functional on any mobile device, such as iPads, without concerns about Flash or other non-mobile features.

tag(s): literature (260), OER (33), plays (28), shakespeare (108), sonnets (5)

In the Classroom

Use this inclusive resource as you prepare to teach any of Shakespeare's classics. By making a direct link available from your class web page, you are opening the door for your students to have easy access and help when preparing for AP tests and other exams, as well as an ongoing method to guide independent reading and understanding for the many complexities in Shakespeare's literary works. The electronic text enables you to project it on your whiteboard, perhaps for a class reading where you could assign students parts to read aloud, or for students to highlight and "mark-up" evidence of literary techniques, or to critique or interact with the words in a variety of ways. One neat feature is that you can choose to place any two sonnets on a single page to view them side by side. This opens a world of opportunity for comparing and contrasting. You may want to use a Venn Diagram tool, reviewed here. Mark this collection in your favorites to use for planning during any of your units on Shakespeare. In a class where textbooks might be in short supply, or if there is a piece that you want to draw everyone's attention to, this is an excellent site to ensure everyone has access, just as long as they have internet access.
 This resource requires Adobe Flash.

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Free Classic Audio Books - Free Classic Audio Books.com

Grades
6 to 12
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Discover a collection of free classics in the public domain downloadable for mp3 and m4b audio book format for iTunes and iPods. Of special interest at this site is ...more
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Discover a collection of free classics in the public domain downloadable for mp3 and m4b audio book format for iTunes and iPods. Of special interest at this site is the recently added section where readers may find books that are not available at other free book download sites. Also distinguishing this site is that some books offer "human narration" and some have "text to speech" technology doing the reading.

tag(s): literature (260)

In the Classroom

Make a shortcut to this site on classroom computers as a reference. Suggest it to students as something they can use on their mobile devices. Share this link on your class website for students to access at home.

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Books Should Be Free - Loyal Books - BooksShouldbe free

Grades
K to 12
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Acquaint student's with the classics (and more) with these free public domain audio books. Most of these novels are written by authors such as: Mark Twain, L. Frank Baum, Lewis ...more
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Acquaint student's with the classics (and more) with these free public domain audio books. Most of these novels are written by authors such as: Mark Twain, L. Frank Baum, Lewis Carroll, Louisa May Alcott, Jane Austin, J.M. Barrie, Hugh Lofting, and Beatrix Potter. Some audio tracks are available in different languages. The most significant collection appears to be in French and German. Download MP3 files for each chapter in one zip file (333 MB) or directly into iTunes. Search for books by genre, author, title, or keywords. Suggest this site to students who have difficulties with reading, including ESL/ELL students. Be sure to include this site on your class web page for students to access both in and outside of class for further practice. Share this site with your teaching colleagues who work with your learning support, foreign language, or ESL/ELL students.

tag(s): DAT device agnostic tool (172), ebooks (35), fluency (23), french (85), german (60), literature (260), spanish (111)

In the Classroom

Upgrade your literature circles and include e-readers that are speech enabled. Share the stories (or full text) on your interactive whiteboard or projector. Books Should Be Free - Loyal Books provides links to the free text that accompanies the audio track. Sites such as Project Gutenberg, reviewed here, contain free versions of the full text. Students can simultaneously listen and read books on either a classroom computer, iPad, Kindle, Nook, Sony Reader, iPhone, Android, or other mobile or cell phone. These recordings will also boost fluency instruction by serving as an oral reading model. Audio-assisted books will encourage students to read with expression, improve reading comprehension, stimulate vocabulary development, and provide a way for students to read text beyond their reading level.

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