TeachersFirst - Featured Sites: Week of May 30, 2021

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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Open Up Resources - Open Up Resources

Grades
K to 8
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Access high-quality math and language arts resources on Open Up Resources. Register on the site to view and gain access to course materials. Select the grade level and choose the ...more
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Access high-quality math and language arts resources on Open Up Resources. Register on the site to view and gain access to course materials. Select the grade level and choose the teacher, parent, or student materials. The math curriculum supports grades 6-8 and high school content; English language arts (ELA) is available in grades K-8. Content is divided into units and lessons and includes all materials except assessments. Provide additional information related to your school affiliation to gain access to available assessments. Other options include downloading resources as a print file or import into a Microsoft OneNote Class Notebook.

tag(s): data (138), decimals (105), differentiation (56), exponents (37), factoring (27), fractions (187), guided reading (37), measurement (142), OER (32), remote learning (33), transformations (13), writing (279)

In the Classroom

Include this site to supplement your current ELA and math curriculum. Use the resources to differentiate instruction for gifted students in lower grades or as remediation for struggling students in older grades. Be sure to take advantage of the family materials providing explanations of math content and strategies for problem-solving. Use the student materials for differentiating instruction, as homework, or in remote learning situations. Have students share their math explanations, reading strategies and more with video explanations using a tool like FlipGrid, reviewed here. FlipGrid provides a tool for video responses to a question along with comments from peers. Extend learning by asking students to create and share their own math problems, along with suggestions for learning. Use a tool like Sway, reviewed here. Sway is a presentation tool that offers multimedia options, including text, video, and images.
 This resource requires PDF reader software like Adobe Acrobat.

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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 29 and provides participants with two thematically paired audio books/short stories...more
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Sync is a free summer audiobook program for teens. The program runs for 13 weeks starting on April 29 and provides participants with two thematically paired audio books/short stories weekly. Listen to a short introduction to the book before reading. 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 (20), independent reading (104)

In the Classroom

Share Sync with your students to promote summer reading and provide a variety of reading topics. Play the audio introduction to gain student interest. Click the Toolkit on the left menu to download posters for featured books for each week of the summer. Post the information on your classroom or school website for availability to parents and students through the summer. 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 at the beginning of the new school year. Encourage students to reflect upon the books using journals such as those found at Penzu, reviewed here. Penzu journals offers templates and you have the ability to add images or your own illustrations to sections of 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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Dreamscape - Squiggle Park

Grades
2 to 8
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Dreamscape is a curriculum-aligned reading game for students in grades 2-8. Create an educator account to add student accounts, track progress, and assign content. As students read...more
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Dreamscape is a curriculum-aligned reading game for students in grades 2-8. Create an educator account to add student accounts, track progress, and assign content. As students read short passages and respond to questions, they build their place within the Dreamscape world. Upon successful completion of passages, reading levels go up within the game automatically. Dreamscape also offers interactive "battles" between students following extended periods of reading and answer responses. Upon completion of each student activity, educators receive an email notification.

tag(s): differentiation (56), game based learning (155), Learning Management Systems (26), reading comprehension (120), reading strategies (54), remote learning (33), Teacher Utilities (110)

In the Classroom

Use Dreamscape to differentiate reading instruction for your students. Dreamscape is also an excellent option to share with ENL/ESL students to provide practice and support in English language instruction. Include a link to Dreamscape on classroom computers for use during reading centers, and provide a link on your classroom website for students to play at home, or for use in remote or blended learning. Include Dreamscape with other online reading programs using a bookmarking tool such as Symbaloo, reviewed here, for easy access for student use.
 This resource requires PDF reader software like Adobe Acrobat.

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K-2 eBooks: Resources for Teaching Remotely on Short Notice - TeachersFirst

Grades
K to 2
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If access to a physical library is limited for any reason, this collection shares tips and online resources to find quality eBooks for young students. Use the General Tips section ...more
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If access to a physical library is limited for any reason, this collection shares tips and online resources to find quality eBooks for young students. Use the General Tips section to find support and ideas for locating eBooks to share when teaching remotely. The Instructional Tools portion of the collection includes several links to online digital and audiobooks curated explicitly for young children.

tag(s): audio books (20), ebooks (35), listening (70), professional development (236)

In the Classroom

Use this collection to share digital and audiobooks with parents to encourage reading at home. Curate a collection of books for your students and share it with parents using Symbaloo, reviewed here. Symbaloo is an excellent bookmarking tool to use with young students due to the easy to use design and use of icons for identifying information readily.

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Whooo's Reading - Whooo's Reading

Grades
K to 8
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Whooo's Reading is an alternative to traditional reading programs by offering short response options to book quizzes instead of multiple choice answers. After reading, students answer...more
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Whooo's Reading is an alternative to traditional reading programs by offering short response options to book quizzes instead of multiple choice answers. After reading, students answer three quick higher-level questions, that are automatically scored, and earn coins for correct responses to spend on personalized "owlvatars." Teachers receive scores in real-time and have the option to provide feedback through conversations with students within the program. In addition to quizzes, Whooo's Reading also offers standards aligned journal activities for use in between quizzes and book recommendations upon completing quizzes.

tag(s): classroom management (143), independent reading (104), reading comprehension (120)

In the Classroom

Although recommended for students in grades K-8, teachers of younger students should review questions and consider writing ability levels before including them in the program due to the written responses required. Consider using Whooo's Reading as an alternative to Accelerated Reader due to the use of short response answers instead of multiple choice questions. After reading books, substitute paper and pen journals by asking younger students to create a blog using a tool like Penzu, reviewed here, to share a book review with fellow students. Engage older students, or literature circle groups, by having them create a poster for the book using a tool like DesignCap, reviewed here, and then upload the poster to their blog about the book. A great blogging tool for older students is Telegra.ph, reviewed here. With Telegra.ph have students click on an icon to upload related images, add a YouTube or Vimeo, or Twitter links. This blog creator requires no registration. For all age students, enhance learning by creating a class book review site using FlipGrid, reviewed here, where students create short video book reviews and can comment on each others reviews.

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PBS Summer of Possibilites - Play Your Way - PBS Kids

Grades
K to 3
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Not just for summer! Enjoy learning at home all year-round with PBS Kids Summer Adventures. Download the free Summer Activity Book for new daily adventures such as using bath time ...more
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Not just for summer! Enjoy learning at home all year-round with PBS Kids Summer Adventures. Download the free Summer Activity Book for new daily adventures such as using bath time to explore math or learn how to make a bird feeder. Scroll through the site to find reading charts, map skills, activity booklets, themed collections such as Observing Nature, Sharing Your Creativity Through the Arts, and much more. Did you find this site too late for summer? No worries, there are plenty of activities to do throughout the entire year. Be sure to check the bottom of the page for the "What's On Today" PBS shows.

tag(s): calendars (40), literacy (82), preK (230), reading lists (72), summer (13)

In the Classroom

Take advantage of the many free activities on this site; be sure to share with parents for ideas on learning at home. Consider having a "summer" day in the middle of winter as you enjoy summer activities in the warmth of the indoors. Share with parents at the end of the school year as a great resource for learning during the summer months.
 This resource requires PDF reader software like Adobe Acrobat.

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Outwhiz - Andrew Kwan and Michael Luk

Grades
K to 8
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Let Outwhiz replace your tired worksheets! Practice math and English with over 200 topics and hundreds of questions per topic. Earn points, move up levels, and earn badges. Sign up...more
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Let Outwhiz replace your tired worksheets! Practice math and English with over 200 topics and hundreds of questions per topic. Earn points, move up levels, and earn badges. Sign up with email. Both the math and English levels are for grades K-8. Outwhiz, in a nutshell, is adaptive learning, gamification, remote learnng and includes unlimited exercises, all for FREE!
This site includes advertising.

tag(s): classroom management (143), critical thinking (102), DAT device agnostic tool (166), differentiation (56), game based learning (155), gamification (78), grammar (137), problem solving (230), remote learning (33), sentences (24), Teacher Utilities (110)

In the Classroom

The gamification of the material on Outwhiz is sure to catch your student's interest! Sign up using your email and create a class. Give students the URL and class code to join. At the end of an introduction of a concept, use this site for specific language arts or math practice. Use Outwhiz for homework, review, and reinforcement of any math or language arts concept. Use this site to differentiate for students of all levels. Create a link to Outwhiz on classroom computers to use as math and language arts centers/stations. Put a link to this site on your classroom website or newsletter as a resource for math and language practice at home, or for remote or blended learning. Share this site as a way to review before tests. ENL/ESL and resource teachers will find Outwhiz to be extremely helpful for reinforcing language and math concepts.

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Story Shares - Louise Baigelman and Gary Herman

Grades
6 to 12
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Story Share is the perfect solution for finding relevant and readable content for older students unable to read above the elementary level. Digital content provides interesting material...more
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Story Share is the perfect solution for finding relevant and readable content for older students unable to read above the elementary level. Digital content provides interesting material that doesn't condescend to teen readers. Use The Matrix to browse through titles and choose the correct reading level. There are directions on The Matrix page. Login isn't required to read books. However, it allows you to add books to a reading list and to bookmark the stopping point while reading books. Be sure to check out the The Blog to find books on current topics and ideas for readin nooks, etc.

tag(s): book lists (121), differentiation (56), digital storytelling (127), ebooks (35), reading comprehension (120)

In the Classroom

Introduce this site to your reluctant or struggling readers on your interactive whiteboard or projector. Then have students explore this site independently or in small groups to find interesting reading material. Be sure to provide a link to Story Shares on your class website or blog for students to explore at home. Use this site to differentiate for students of all levels and for use with special education or ENL/ESL students. Have students write their own comprehension questions and answers based on the book to check their own comprehension and to exchange with classmates.

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Bookopolis - Kari Ness Riedel

Grades
1 to 7
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Bookopolis is more than an online social reading club for children ages 7-12. It has an education portal to keep track of and review a reader's work. In the New ...more
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Bookopolis is more than an online social reading club for children ages 7-12. It has an education portal to keep track of and review a reader's work. In the New Book section, find a book by grade level and read ratings and reviews from other readers. Bookopolis includes digital reading logs, reading log prompts, and suggests places to find comprehension questions about the book. Through the dashboard, monitor and comment on the reader's writing and reading logs. The activities and features on the site are aligned with many of the Common Core Reading and Writing standards. There are several video tutorials on getting started and how to use the dashboard. The videos are hosted on YouTube. If your district blocks YouTube, they may not be viewable.

tag(s): book lists (121), book reports (27), classroom management (143), guided reading (37), independent reading (104), reading comprehension (120), remote learning (33), social networking (83), Teacher Utilities (110)

In the Classroom

Create your account with your email, teacher name, username, and some basic information. Create your dashboard by adding a class and class name. You can create multiple classes. View the several teacher dashboard video tutorials to get started. Student accounts can be created manually or by importing an XLS or CSV file. Students will automatically be "friends" with other students in the same class, but can also invite students from different classes. Share this site with students (and parents at back to school night) using your interactive whiteboard or projector. Show students the video tutorial "How to Add Books" to get them started. You can use the tutorial in your blended or remote learning classroom by considering using playposit, reviewed here, with the tutorial to add comments and information. Students can create bookshelves for books they are reading, that they have read, and that they want to read. Students can earn badges and points for the books they read. This tool will get students excited about reading since they can connect with friends to share book reviews and swap book recommendations. Students also practice persuasive writing, comprehension, and typing skills by completing reviews, reports, and reading logs online. This tool is great to keep track of student home reading or if you are teaching remotely! Besure to list this site in a parent newsletter or on your website as one to use to avoid the "summer reading slide."

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Newsela - Matthew Gross

Grades
2 to 12
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Newsela is a data base of current events stories tailor-made for classroom use. Click Products on the top menu and slide down to browse content in subject areas (social studies, ...more
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Newsela is a data base of current events stories tailor-made for classroom use. Click Products on the top menu and slide down to browse content in subject areas (social studies, science, etc.). 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, customizable assignments, writing prompts and annotations. 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 students to take constructed response writing assessments; however, many other features are free and there is no outside advertising.

tag(s): DAT device agnostic tool (166), differentiation (56), guided reading (37), independent reading (104), news (237), reading comprehension (120), remote learning (33)

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. If you and your students are teaching and learning remotely, or you have a blended classroom, Newsela will work perfectly for those! 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 ENL//ESL students will love this alternate way for their students to meet nonfiction/current events requirements.

Comments

This is an excellent article. Thanks for sharing this information. Please keep sharing content like this. Cassandra, IL, Grades: 0 - 12
This is an excellent site and allows differentiation while everyone is reading the same text. Renee, NC, Grades: 0 - 5

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News in Levels - newsinlevels.com

Grades
K to 8
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Find high interest, leveled news articles (and lessons) for English language learners. Although this site was designed for ENL/ESL it could be very useful in any elementary classroom...more
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Find high interest, leveled news articles (and lessons) for English language learners. Although this site was designed for ENL/ESL it could be very useful in any elementary classroom looking for informational texts that can be differentiated for various reading levels (great for meeting Common Core standards). This tool could be used with any readers to increase comprehension, fluency, and vocabulary skills. There are three difficulty levels. Complete the Test Your Level exercise in the pop-up box after you first get to the home page to find out what level will be best for you. Many of the lessons include audio and practice exercises. In addition, interesting pictures pique the students' interest. The same story is presented in all of the various levels. The vocabulary at lower levels repeats at the higher levels with more vocabulary added as the level increases. Definitions for the vocabulary words, below the reading, assists with English meanings. The audio is hosted on YouTube. At the time of this review, most of the news story content was fine for all ages. However, please preview the story before you share it with your class to be certain it is appropriate.
This site includes advertising.

tag(s): differentiation (56), guided reading (37), news (237), reading comprehension (120)

In the Classroom

Add this website to your classroom computers, websites, and newsletters for parents of ENL/ESL students or beginning readers. This tool is especially helpful at the beginning of the year, as you are learning students' reading levels. Use this tool to differentiate in all primary classes. Although this site was created for English Language Learners, it could still be used by all students including gifted and learning support. Differentiate for your advanced/gifted students in elementary, while meeting Common Core standards of Informational Text. Use these news articles as informational text meeting your Common Core goals. Assign students of different levels the same story at the appropriate level or build skills by sharing the same story as a class. Challenge groups to compare the stories in pairs. Have students create a visual presentation of the story. First have students create a rough draft of their comic using Printable Comic Strip Templates, reviewed here. For Level 1 readers have them create their final comic using ToonyTool, reviewed here, for Level 3 readers use Write Comics, reviewed here.

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ABCya - ABCYA.com, l.l.c,

Grades
K to 6
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ABCya.com, developed by a web developer turned computer teacher, provides educational games, videos, and activities for elementary students. Nearly every subject is included. Simply...more
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ABCya.com, developed by a web developer turned computer teacher, provides educational games, videos, and activities for elementary students. Nearly every subject is included. Simply click on your grade level (K-5) and find what is available under language arts, math, and other subjects. Specific topics range from basic typing activities to creating word clouds to grammar games (at all levels) and so much more. The interactives are teacher approved and offer colorful and attention grabbing ways for learning. Opportunities for sharing on Facebook, tweeting, and sharing on social bookmarking sites are incorporated. This is a MUST SEE site for elementary teachers looking for some great practice sites for basic skills!

tag(s): alphabet (46), decimals (105), drawing (57), fractions (187), game based learning (155), geometric shapes (141), keyboarding (30), latitude (9), literacy (82), longitude (9), number sense (76), numbers (137), operations (93), preK (230)

In the Classroom

Share this site on your interactive whiteboard or projector, demonstrate how to use the specific tool/activity. Create a learning center on your whiteboard or on individual laptops and allow students to try it out on their own. List this as a student and parent resource on your classroom website. Use this site to informally assess skills to tell you which students to allow to do alternative work or go ahead. Allow your gifted students to explore new concepts while providing necessary reinforcement for those learners that need a technology-inspired method to help master learning goals. This is an excellent tool for differentiating. Provide as an anticipatory guide for new units.

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Interactive Audio Books Resources - TeachersFirst

Grades
K to 12
7 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 (20)

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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E-learning for kids - e-learning for kids

Grades
K to 6
6 Favorites 0  Comments
 
Check out this site offering FREE learning courses to students in science, language arts, English language, math, computer skills, and health and life skills. Students will travel the...more
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Check out this site offering FREE learning courses to students in science, language arts, English language, math, computer skills, and health and life skills. Students will travel the world learning more about the continents, countries, cities, oceans and cultures. Choose from a wide variety of different learning experiences in the subject areas for learning in a fun and engaging way. Each subject area has countless interactives ready to go! Detailed instructions are provided for each activity. You can control sound easily from the screen.

tag(s): body systems (40), continents (30), countries (67), cultures (97), fractions (187), human body (98), matter (48), measurement (142), money (130), nutrition (136), sorting (6)

In the Classroom

Use these "courses" as reinforcement of concepts, to uncover misconceptions, and to explore interesting topics. Share the activities on your interactive whiteboard or projector. Create learning centers focuses on the specific content of the activities. Have cooperative learning groups (or individual students) explore specific topics and report back to the class. For example, have each group view the activities for a specific body part (blood, brain, hearing, immune system, heart and circulation, skeleton, skin, teeth, and more) and create a multimedia presentation. Some tool suggestions for a multimedia presentation are (click on the tool name to access the review): PBWorks (wiki), Site123 (blog), Renderforest (newscast video), and Genially (poster/bulletin board). Or, have cooperative learning groups create online books using a tool such as Bookemon, reviewed here. Provide this link on your class website for families to explore together.

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