TeachersFirst - Featured Sites: Week of Sep 26, 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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EdLight - Ryan Knight

Grades
K to 12
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EdLight offers tools for capturing and providing feedback for student work products. Follow the three easy steps to create assignments, take a picture of the work, and provide feedback...more
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EdLight offers tools for capturing and providing feedback for student work products. Follow the three easy steps to create assignments, take a picture of the work, and provide feedback on any device. Provide student feedback using rubrics, text, stickers, or record an audio message. Share EdLight tasks using Google Classroom, Clever, or student codes. Free accounts allow you to save up to 1000 images with up to two co-teachers.

tag(s): assessment (118), communication (138), Formative Assessment (36), Learning Management Systems (23), Teacher Utilities (113)

In the Classroom

Make grading student work more accessible and more effective using EdLight's included tools. Use tools to draw on submitted work to point out specific areas of interest. Leave audio feedback that is specific and focused on each student's needs. Use EdLight to create portfolios for use when conferencing with parents. EdLight is an excellent tool for remote learning and hybrid learning situations as it allows flexibility in sharing work and providing timely feedback. Learn more about different implementations of EdLight at the site's blog.
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Along - Gradient Learning

Grades
6 to 12
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Along is an online tool for providing digital check-ins and reflection activities with students using audio, video, or text. Share a question with some or all students to encourage...more
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Along is an online tool for providing digital check-ins and reflection activities with students using audio, video, or text. Share a question with some or all students to encourage making connections and check in on student wellness. Students select an option to share their responses, and the teacher views reflections within the Along dashboard. Follow up with students as desired to continue the conversation or to make personal connections with all students. Use the tips and content provided by Along to select research-based questions designed to help students build life skills and confidence.

tag(s): classroom management (141), communication (138), social and emotional learning (52), Teacher Utilities (113)

In the Classroom

Along makes it easy for you to implement this tool into your classroom with their many free resources. Resources include guides to introducing Along to students and fellow educators. Share the privacy information guide with parents as you begin using this tool. Begin by using the customizable calendar as a method for planning to introduce and use Along. Consider using the information found on the site to create and share a presentation about this product using Google Slides, reviewed here, or by creating a short video using Adobe Spark K-12, reviewed here. Be sure to show students how to prepare for their responses. If you find some students are reluctant to use one of the modes, for instance, the video, work with that student to help them feel comfortable. Uses for this tool are only limited by your imagination! Check-in with students during long projects or reports to see where they are in the process and if they have any frustrations, check-in after a science lab to see who has questions, ask students at the end of a project or lab what they would do differently next time. Check-in with Language arts book groups to see how students are doing with the novel, their group, the project at the end, etc.
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IdeaBoardz - IdeaBoardz

Grades
K to 12
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IdeaBoardz is an easy-to-use collaborative whiteboard created for brainstorming and sharing ideas. Instead of starting with a blank board and adding information, IdeaBoardz provides...more
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IdeaBoardz is an easy-to-use collaborative whiteboard created for brainstorming and sharing ideas. Instead of starting with a blank board and adding information, IdeaBoardz provides several options for creating boards from templates. Choose to create a board, add a name and description to begin. Use the dropdown box to select the type of board from choices such as pro and con or creating from up to ten sections. Next, share your board using the URL provided. Finally, participants select the plus sign located next to a heading to add a sticky note and type comments. Registration is not required; however, creating an account allows participants to revisit saved boards.

tag(s): collaboration (80), graphic organizers (43), iwb (32)

In the Classroom

Use IdeaBoardz as an engaging way to brainstorm ideas, share student comments related to any classroom conversations, or as a tool for exit tickets. For example, use the two-column option as a schema activator when introducing a new lesson. Create a column for students to share what they know and another column for sharing what additional support is needed. Include a link to your collaborative board on your class webpage for students to view and add items as desired. Share with students to create boards for use with their presentations. Use the multi-columns to organize information by topics. For example, for book reports, create a board with columns for setting, character, theme, etc.

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Miro - Miro

Grades
6 to 12
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Think of Miro as a mashup of Zoom and a robust interactive whiteboard tool. Zoom in and out of the whiteboard to make it any size for viewing and adding ...more
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Think of Miro as a mashup of Zoom and a robust interactive whiteboard tool. Zoom in and out of the whiteboard to make it any size for viewing and adding information. Miro includes many templates for creating flow charts, mind maps, and planning activities. After creating an account, add a new board. Use the dashboard to add notes, templates, add comments, upload items from your computer, and much more. Collaborate with others by sharing the URL for your Miro board. Free accounts allow you to include an unlimited number of team members and create three editable boards.

tag(s): collaboration (80), graphic organizers (43), iwb (32)

In the Classroom

Ask older students to use Miro as a collaborative tool for projects. Have students use Miro to develop storylines that include links and images to tell the story of events in history or retell novels. Ask students to use Miro to create mood boards to share the different works of artists or demonstrate different architecture types. Miro is also an excellent choice for use as a collaborative tool for large projects to brainstorm ideas, assign tasks, and document progress. Use Miro with students as part of your science experiments to share the steps of the experiment, document hypotheses, and add images and reflections upon the outcomes of the experiment. Miro is an excellent resource for remote learning situations to engage students through interactive content and chat.

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Threadit - Google

Grades
K to 12
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Create and send short videos using Threadit's easy-to-use features. Available within the Chrome browser or as an extension, Threadit includes several options such as screen sharing...more
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Create and send short videos using Threadit's easy-to-use features. Available within the Chrome browser or as an extension, Threadit includes several options such as screen sharing and the ability to piece together short video clips into one video. Start with a blank screen or choose from templates such as tutorials, congratulatory wishes, and project updates. After selecting a template or blank format, be sure to follow directions to allow access to your computer's microphone and camera. If using a template, follow the steps shown on the project's dashboard. Stages are editable; delete any portions you won't be using. When finished, follow the directions to publish and share with others. All of your completed videos are available after posting onto your Threadit account. In addition, viewers have the option to reply to your Threadit video with a video of their own.

tag(s): collaboration (80), Google (27), video (241)

In the Classroom

Think of Threadit as something similar to FlipGrid, reviewed here, and Flipgrid responses. Use it to share how-to videos of computer software or games, start a question or prompt and ask students to reply, or create a video to accompany an article for students to read that points out highlights and important information. Use Threadit as a tool for groups to share threaded presentations. For example, ask each group member to record his portion of the presentation and then add the short videos into one longer video presentation. Many students are familiar with the short video format of tools such as TikTok, engage students by sharing Threadit as a similar tool to use in an educational setting.

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Workona - Quinn Morgan and Alma Madsen

Grades
8 to 12
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Workona is an organizational tool for creating collaborative workspaces. Upload and share documents and information from cloud apps, your computer, and Google Drive. Add notes and descriptions...more
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Workona is an organizational tool for creating collaborative workspaces. Upload and share documents and information from cloud apps, your computer, and Google Drive. Add notes and descriptions to organize information, use the drag and drop tools to move and order items as needed, and use buttons to check off completed tasks. Sort information as the project requires; for example, create tabs for resources, notes, and assignments to make it easy to locate specific information. Free accounts provide ten workspaces/users and storage up to 300MB.

tag(s): collaboration (80), graphic organizers (43), organizational skills (91)

In the Classroom

Use Workona to organize projects for staff meetings, PTA events, Science or Math fairs, club or student council events, parent volunteer meetings, and more. High schoolers may want to use it to collaborate on large group projects. Workona is a great tool for teachers to stay on the same page when researching new curriculums or to prepare for professional development sessions. Secondary learning support and gifted teachers can share this tool with their less organized students. This program will help them develop coping/organizational skills, and they can set intermediate deadlines with reminders for long-term projects.

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Mural for Education - Tactivos, Inc.

Grades
6 to 12
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Mural for Education offers flexible tools for virtual collaboration and communication. Think of it as a virtual whiteboard workspace that includes sticky notes, shapes, and connectors...more
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Mural for Education offers flexible tools for virtual collaboration and communication. Think of it as a virtual whiteboard workspace that includes sticky notes, shapes, and connectors to create diagrams and mind maps, drawing tools, images, and more. Use Mural to create breakout rooms for group work or prepare and share study guides and classroom calendars. Apply for a free account as a student or for a classroom account. Start collaborating by following the prompts provided by Mural to begin designing your workspace using templates or from a blank board. Use the dashboard to add text, icons, images, and more. Facilitators also have options for adding contributors, setting a work timer, and setting parameters for the session chat.

tag(s): collaboration (80), graphic organizers (43), iwb (32), Online Learning (29), remote learning (45)

In the Classroom

Ask older students to create a Mural for Education account when collaborating on projects to share ideas and organize information. Have students use Mural for Education to develop storylines that include links and images to tell the story of events in history or retell novels. Ask students to use Mural to create mood boards to share the different works of artists or demonstrate different architecture types. Mural would be an excellent choice as a collaborative tool for large projects to brainstorm ideas, assign tasks, and document progress. Use Mural with students as part of your science experiments to share the steps of the experiment, document hypothesis, and add images and reflections upon the outcomes of the experiment. Mural for Education is an excellent resource for remote learning situations to engage students through the use of interactive content and chat. Use the breakout room option to allow for differentiation and group discussions.

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Family Engagement Resources - Learning Heroes

Grades
K to 12
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Learning Heroes shares resources that help schools form strong partnerships with families that advance social, emotional, and academic development. Resources begin with building a plan...more
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Learning Heroes shares resources that help schools form strong partnerships with families that advance social, emotional, and academic development. Resources begin with building a plan to start the school year on a positive footing, evaluate and take steps to promote student progress, and provide tips and tools to support continued learning over the summer. Other tools include discussing racism, planning tools for teacher/parent communication, and interactive guides to grade-level expectations.

tag(s): back to school (56), parents (61), professional development (257)

In the Classroom

Discover and use the many researched-based ideas found on this site to enhance and build community and parent partnerships in your school. This site includes tips on using the resources to strengthen family outreach. Start with these tips and expand your outreach by including teacher and student interactions to demonstrate ideas. For example, schedule virtual monthly meetings and workshops using Zoom, reviewed here, that includes information on current assessments, tips for improving study skills, or discussing your current curriculum. For parents unable to participate, create a screen recording using Screencast-O-Matic, reviewed here, and post the video on your class website. Be sure to feature student work within your activities. Adobe Spark for Education, reviewed here, is an excellent resource for curating and sharing ideas by creating short videos, websites, or flyers.
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Headliner - SpareMin

Grades
K to 12
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Create and share videos for social media platforms with Headliner. Add images, text animation, clip audio, add video, and more to personalize content. Choose from several video editor...more
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Create and share videos for social media platforms with Headliner. Add images, text animation, clip audio, add video, and more to personalize content. Choose from several video editor templates or go straight to the video editor to begin creating. Upload videos to add transcript, use the audiogram wizard to make a video from audio, or create a video from a URL linking to an online article. When finished, publish your video and download to your computer.

tag(s): communication (138), editing (80), multimedia (46), video (241)

In the Classroom

Use Headliners to create and share videos in multiple ways. Set the stage for upcoming lessons by creating a video from an upcoming text, post the video on your class website for students to view before reading. Include the transcription feature when sharing videos of student discussions or classroom activities (with appropriate parental permission, of course). Promote your classroom podcast using the Audio Wizard to share a short preview of an upcoming podcast. As an alternative to a research report, use the Find My Content feature and have students redefine their technology use by creating a multimedia video filled with images and video based on their research.

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Adobe Spark - Adobe

Grades
K to 12
2 Favorites 0  Comments
 
Create beautiful visual stories with Adobe Spark. Follow prompts to add your own images or select from thousands available online. Personalize your story with text, slide shows, links...more
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Create beautiful visual stories with Adobe Spark. Follow prompts to add your own images or select from thousands available online. Personalize your story with text, slide shows, links to outside resources, and more. Create attractive images, mini-websites, and narrated, animated videos. When complete, share using the unique URL or with the social media links provided.

tag(s): blogs (73), communication (138), creative writing (116), digital storytelling (129), microblogging (27)

In the Classroom

Possible uses are only limited by your imagination! Create your own story page for parents and students where they can stay updated about what is happening in your classroom. Enhance or extend student learning (depending on the project requirement) by having students create a visual story to accompany books read in class, tell about social studies events, or display images for different science terms. Create a video to show a process, explain an experiment, or discuss data collected. Create a video montage of images taken in the classroom, during field trips, or club activities about happenings throughout the year. Flip your classroom using Spark presentations. Adobe Spark is perfect to use for digital storytelling in any subject!

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Voxer - Tom Katis

Grades
K to 12
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Voxer is a combination of instant voice and text messages. You can also text images and your location. Voxer will work with your headset and Bluetooth so you can be ...more
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Voxer is a combination of instant voice and text messages. You can also text images and your location. Voxer will work with your headset and Bluetooth so you can be hands-free. It is available on the web and all mobile devices. Hear messages live, or listen later. Broadcast messages to an individual or group, or listen and respond to chats in Walkie-Talkie mode and not even be in the app. Voxer allows talk and text across countries, wireless carriers, or data networks at no additional charge. Registration with email is required.
This site includes advertising.

tag(s): chat (41), communication (138), DAT device agnostic tool (166), listening (70), microblogging (27), social media (46), speaking (21), speech (70)

In the Classroom

Extend classroom technology use by using Voxer with early readers in your Daily 5 literacy structure for oral reading and listening to others read. Archive students' reading fluency at the beginning of the year, making comparisons throughout the year. Send the Voxer sample readings to parents via email so they can hear the progress and your comments, too. Use Voxer with any language learning students, both ELL/ESL and world languages. Students can practice speaking and listening in their new language. Connect with another class in a country speaking the language your students are learning for rich, real-world discussions. Create small groups to discuss anything from current events, to how to complete a math problem, to contributions for group research projects. Middle and high school teachers can use Voxer for communication between classes posting a question about the reading they are doing, an equation in math, or a lab in science. Collaborate with another classroom across the state or in another country allowing students to discuss with other students not in their school. Reluctant writers could use this tool to brainstorm their thoughts for a writing piece. With students under 13 consider setting up a class account using a global login. Students would need to give their first name when contributing so you will know who is speaking.

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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. Once students have parental permission, 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. Please be aware that Seesaw falls under the FERPA laws for "directory information" and "educational records." Any school getting funds from the Department of Education (public schools) is required to disclose to parents and get written consent to use Seesaw with their child.

tag(s): blogs (73), communication (138), DAT device agnostic tool (166), digital storytelling (129), Learning Management Systems (23), portfolios (22), Teacher Utilities (113)

In the Classroom

Sign up for Seesaw, and after students have parental permission, 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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Tocomail - Tocobox

Grades
2 to 6
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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 ...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.
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tag(s): DAT device agnostic tool (166), digital citizenship (73), internet safety (112)

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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ClassDojo - Sam Chaudhary and Liam Don

Grades
K to 8
17 Favorites 0  Comments
   
Manage behavior and boost involvement in class quickly and easily. ClassDojo allows you to recognize desirable behaviors and accomplishments in real time. Use it on any Internet-connected...more
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Manage behavior and boost involvement in class quickly and easily. ClassDojo allows you to recognize desirable behaviors and accomplishments in real time. Use it on any Internet-connected device in your classroom: computer, smartphone, iPod Touch, iPad, or tablet. You can choose an avatar for each student. Student behavior records are automatically created, updated, and reports generated with just one click by you. You can even write comments to parents about why a student lost a point. Weekly summaries are automatically emailed to parents. Students can earn badges. On ClassDojo students can now have their own portfolio to share photos and videos of their successes. The wording on the ClassDojo site indicates that ClassDojo "will always stay free for teachers."

Please be aware that ClassDojo falls under the FERPA laws for "directory information" and "educational records." Any school getting funds from the Department of Education (public schools) is required to disclose to parents and get written consent to use ClassDojo with their child.

tag(s): behavior (43), classroom management (141), DAT device agnostic tool (166), game based learning (155), gamification (78), Special Needs (45)

In the Classroom

Consider using this program to reward a group of the week. Award points for positive behaviors such as participation, helping others, creativity, hard work, or create your own categories. Using ClassDojo for group behaviors will give immediate feedback to students if projected on your whiteboard or your projector. Use this tool to help your unfocused students stay on task. Share this site with students on the first day of school as you go over class expectations and your behavior plan for your classroom. Use ClassDojo to offer both negative and positive feedback to parents and students.

Are you a regular education teacher with special education students mainstreamed into your classroom? Use Class Dojo to privately keep track of student behaviors and send a report to special education teachers or parents. This could be invaluable to a life skills, autistic support, gifted, or emotional support teacher who needs to track the behavior of each of the students as part of an IEP/GIEP. Alternative ed programs may find this tool very useful, as well, even up through high school.

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