TeachersFirst - Featured Sites: Week of Oct 24, 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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Helperbird - Robert James

Grades
K to 12
2 Favorites 0  Comments
Helperbird is an extension for Chrome, Edge, and Firefox browsers that adds accessibility and productivity tools to any website. The free version includes dyslexia fonts, a font changer,...more
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Helperbird is an extension for Chrome, Edge, and Firefox browsers that adds accessibility and productivity tools to any website. The free version includes dyslexia fonts, a font changer, and the ability to adjust word spacing to make websites easier to view. Content features include Immersive Reader, translations, a picture dictionary, and screenshot tools. Enhanced display tools offer you the ability to emphasize links and adjust for color blindness. Try it for free by choosing your browser and following the directions to add the extension. After adding the extension, pin it to your toolbar and adjust the different options as desired.

tag(s): ELL/ESL (16), Special Needs (45), Teacher Utilities (115)

In the Classroom

Use Helperbird as a browser extension to support learners in many different situations. Turn on the dyslexia font for students with dyslexia, for students with visual challenges, adjust the font and color to make viewing and reading online information more accessible. Include the dictionary to support readers and English as a New Language learners.

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Mote - Mote Technologies Inc

Grades
K to 12
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Mote is a Chrome browser extension that allows you to add voice notes to Google Documents, Google Classroom, Google Slides, and Sheets. It also supports transcription in over twenty...more
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Mote is a Chrome browser extension that allows you to add voice notes to Google Documents, Google Classroom, Google Slides, and Sheets. It also supports transcription in over twenty languages. Begin by downloading Mote from the Chrome Store and allowing it to install on your browser. Once installed, click the Mote icon when in Google documents to record up to thirty seconds using the free version. Students use the play button to listen to recordings within their document or view the text within a card created by Mote as a comment. Use your account activity page to monitor student engagement and see which students listened to or viewed your notes. Students also have the option to provide reactions to your messages. If students don't have the Mote extension, they receive a link to the Mote website to listen to the audio recording. This is a terrific resource to help your struggling writers and special needs students.

tag(s): editing (80), Google (28), rubrics (30), Special Needs (45), Teacher Utilities (115)

In the Classroom

Use Mote to make feedback more personal for students and hear voice intonation instead of just written text. Use this extension to share positive feedback on student work and point out specific areas of improvement. Share Mote with your peers to use when collaborating on any document as a replacement for written comments. Mote is an excellent way to provide missing in-person connections with students during remote learning by allowing them to hear your voice instead of viewing impersonal comments. Use Mote when teaching ENL/ESL students to help students who are not proficient in English by enabling them to see comments in their native language.

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Boom Cards - Boom Learning

Grades
K to 12
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Boom Cards is a resource for creating and curating interactive, self-checking lessons. Create a free account to begin making and assigning content from the site. A free account offers...more
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Boom Cards is a resource for creating and curating interactive, self-checking lessons. Create a free account to begin making and assigning content from the site. A free account offers you the ability to include one classroom with five students and five self-made decks. Also, Boom Cards offers many free pre-made decks for use. Browse to find decks by grade level and content, then save items to your library or "purchase" for zero points. Once decks are added to your library, use the actions dropdown box to assign to students or use the fast pin option for students to play without logging in to an account. Be sure to watch the tutorials on the site to take advantage of the different features available in Boom Cards.

tag(s): flash cards (38), gamification (79), Teacher Utilities (115)

In the Classroom

Although the free version of Boom Cards limits you to five students, it is a viable resource for differentiating instruction for students and using it in small group settings. Browse through the many free decks available to include in your library to use for review with students who need remediation in any topic or share a more advanced deck with students looking to engage in specific topics or advanced information. Enhance student learning by including Boom Cards activities within personalized lessons created using Blendspace, reviewed here. Use Blendspace to build a complete series of lesson activities for the class. When finished, duplicate your lesson and edit it to include activities such as Boom Cards that reinforce learning for those that need additional support. Extend learning further by asking students to share what they learned by creating digital books made with Book Creator, reviewed here, or simple explainer videos created with Adobe Spark Video Maker, reviewed here.

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Immersive Reader - Microsoft

Grades
K to 12
5 Favorites 0  Comments
 
Immersive Reader is a free Microsoft Learning Tool available for use with several Microsoft products including OneNote, Word, Outlook, and Edge. Immersive Reader dictates text and offers...more
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Immersive Reader is a free Microsoft Learning Tool available for use with several Microsoft products including OneNote, Word, Outlook, and Edge. Immersive Reader dictates text and offers several options for personalization. Use the options to adjust the playback speed, highlight text during the audio reading, and adjust text size and spacing. Click on any word in your reading material to listen to the pronunciation. Additional options allow you to view words divided into syllables, use labels to color-code words by parts of speech, and increase the spacing between lines and letters. Use the line focus feature to highlight only small portions of text. Turn on the dictionary option to select words and view drawings representing the meanings. This tool is a wonderful resource for your special needs students and struggling readers!

tag(s): adhd (27), differentiation (63), disabilities (25), dyslexia (10), Microsoft (65), reading comprehension (123), Special Needs (45), text to speech (16)

In the Classroom

Take advantage of the many features included with Immersive Reader for any classroom use. You may need to discuss downloading this product with your school's IT department; however, it is well worth the effort. This product is especially helpful for ENL/ESL students and students needing additional help with reading. Use the language options for students to hear and view text in their native language. Use Immersive Reader to help students with Dyslexia or ADHD to decode and focus on the text by using the options included. Upload classroom materials for students to use for help in understanding difficult text.

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ClassroomQ - Kyle Niemis and Dan Martinho

Grades
4 to 12
1 Favorites 0  Comments
ClassroomQ is the digital solution to organizing help with student questions. The premise is very simple - the teacher creates a class code and gives it to students, as students ...more
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ClassroomQ is the digital solution to organizing help with student questions. The premise is very simple - the teacher creates a class code and gives it to students, as students work and find they need help they provide their name and class code along with a comment, and they add their name to the help queue providing the instructor with a list in the order of help requested. If students find they don't need help after requesting it, they use the cancel option to remove their name from the list. This tool is exceptional for the shy or special needs student who won't have to raise their hand and get the attention of the entire class.

tag(s): classroom management (140), disabilities (25), organizational skills (92), Special Needs (45), Teacher Utilities (115)

In the Classroom

Simplify and organize your time with ClassroomQ. Use this resource during student work time in class, or for your blended class as a simple and quiet way to provide student help in a timely manner. Ask students to create a comment including their specific question to help you prepare to provide them the appropriate help (perhaps that is in the form of help from another student). Use ClassroomQ during review games and have students buzz in using this site and add their answer as the comment. Using it this way helps you know who came in first, didn't answer, or took longer to find the response. ClassroomQ also helps you understand the kind and number of comments created and assess areas where students need more help. Use this information to guide instruction. Consider taking common questions as a starting point for a follow-up lesson and have students complete some research on their own. Ask them to share links to additional help using a bookmarking tool like SearchTeam, reviewed here. In addition to creating and sharing bookmarks, use SearchTeam to add comments to supplement the provided links. As students become more confident in the material, enhance their learning and modify classroom technology by asking them to create simple explainer videos using Adobe Spark Video Creator, reviewed here, not only as a reflection tool but also as a guide for other students with similar questions.

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Writer - Big Huge Labs

Grades
2 to 12
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Writer is a distraction-free writing app for online and offline typing. Register using email to begin using the typewriter. The free version allows saving an unlimited number of documents,...more
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Writer is a distraction-free writing app for online and offline typing. Register using email to begin using the typewriter. The free version allows saving an unlimited number of documents, and it automatically saves documents as you write. Customize your experience to include typing sounds or not, change background colors, fonts, and more. When finished, export as a PDF or text document. this is a great writing tool for students with distraction issues!

tag(s): digital storytelling (129), editing (80), journals (16), process writing (38), proofreading (20), Special Needs (45), Teacher Utilities (115), writing (283)

In the Classroom

Writer is perfect for creating any text document without distractions. Have students create any project in Writer, then copy into another program to add images and more if desired. Although perfect for use with all students, Writer is a great tool for use with students who are easily distracted, and the ability to change the background and font colors and font size will help the visually impaired.

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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 is a terrific tool for differentiation and keeping abreast of how special needs students are understanding an assignment.
This site includes advertising.

tag(s): classroom management (140), DAT device agnostic tool (166), polls and surveys (45), Teacher Utilities (115)

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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Iris the Dragon - Gayle Grass

Grades
K to 6
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Iris the Dragon offers children's books to educate young children on mental health and wellness. The site has several FREE, downloadable e-books. There are other materials and offerings...more
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Iris the Dragon offers children's books to educate young children on mental health and wellness. The site has several FREE, downloadable e-books. There are other materials and offerings advertised on the site, but no purchase is needed to obtain the free e-Books. Topics include ADHD, Asperger's Syndrome, School Anxiety, Anger, Worry, and more. Raise student awareness and empathy levels for differences in people inside and outside of class. A few e-books are also available in French. Fill in the simple form with your name, books desired, and how you plan to use the books. (No email address is necessary, but can be provided if you want email updates from the website.) There is no "wait" period. E-books are available for immediate use.
This site includes advertising.

tag(s): adhd (27), aspergers (5), autism (13), difficult conversations (44), ebooks (35), empathy (27), french (70), mental health (28), social and emotional learning (56), Special Needs (45)

In the Classroom

Download books from Iris the Dragon for use in mental health lessons or to address specific classroom concerns. Use books as a read-aloud and display on your interactive whiteboard or projector during class meetings. Again, use the books to raise student awareness and empathy levels for differences in people inside and outside of class. Print and laminate books for use in guided reading lessons. Share this site on your class website for students (and parents) to read together at home. You may want to use the books in conjunction with the Empathy video series and the activity Ripples of Kindness at Big Ideas Video Series, reviewed here.
 This resource requires PDF reader software like Adobe Acrobat.

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Learning Difficulties - Great Schools

Grades
K to 12
2 Favorites 1  Comments
This site offers extensive resources about learning disabilities. A good place to start is to use the search box and find Learning Disabilities: An overview, to read an article explaining...more
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This site offers extensive resources about learning disabilities. A good place to start is to use the search box and find Learning Disabilities: An overview, to read an article explaining what is (and isn't) considered to be a learning disability, along with what to look for when considering learning disabilities. Search through resources sorted by grade level or by specific topics such as ADHD and autism. Another interesting section discusses assistive technologies available for reading, writing, and listening.
This site includes advertising.

tag(s): adhd (27), autism (13), dyslexia (10), learning disability (22), preK (231), professional development (262), Special Needs (45)

In the Classroom

Bookmark and save this site as a resource for understanding and finding resources for learning disabilities. Share articles and information with parents during conferences. Use this site as a resource during professional development sessions.

Comments

Lydia, OR, Grades: 7 - 8

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Natural Reader - Natural Soft Limited

Grades
1 to 12
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Bring additional help to your classroom with Natural Reader, a downloadable program. You can test it on this web page by pasting text into the text box. Natural Reader takes ...more
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Bring additional help to your classroom with Natural Reader, a downloadable program. You can test it on this web page by pasting text into the text box. Natural Reader takes written text from MS Word, emails, Internet Explorer, scanned books, or even images from a camera phone and turns it into spoken text. This is an incredible tool for special needs students, there is even a dyslexic font you can turn off and on. Just highlight the section you want read aloud, and your choice of voice will read it aloud. The voice choice and speed are adjustable. Turning written text into MP3 or WAV files is another option. Typing/pasting in the text box allows any text to be read aloud. A floating tool bar allows the downloadable software to be available all the time with an easy click. A free trial version is available for both Mac and Windows, with more deluxe versions available. Educational discounts and volume discounts do apply. This is the teacher's aid that needs to be in all classrooms. You must be able to install software to put this Reader on your computer.
This site includes advertising.

tag(s): dyslexia (10), learning disability (22), learning styles (18), Special Needs (45), text to speech (16), writers workshop (32)

In the Classroom

Bring Natural Reader into your language arts classroom to help all students edit written work. Bring an extra helper into your class to pronounce difficult words. This program allows students with decoding difficulties to focus on comprehension on all texts. Natural Reader offers repeated readings to improve fluency, comprehension, and confidence. Add an extra learning dimension to any textbook or written notes. Honor the auditory learners with their natural style. Learning support, ESL/ELL, dyslexic, or ADHD learners have shown marked improvement. Writing classes can benefit by having individuals, copy and paste into the text box to help edit and proofread. Add extra reinforcement with directions by recording and being available for playing multiple times. Be sure to include this link on your class website for students (and parents) to access at home.

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Kids and Reading - John Rowlinson, Kids and Reading, UK

Grades
K to 8
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Geared to teaching parents about reading, this site offers a great review of reading methods, classroom methods, special needs (i.e. ADHD, autism), booklists, motivation, tool and techniques...more
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Geared to teaching parents about reading, this site offers a great review of reading methods, classroom methods, special needs (i.e. ADHD, autism), booklists, motivation, tool and techniques to use, etc. Even though it is a British site, it is totally applicable to the USA and other areas throughout the world. You will find a wealth of information to share with your students' parents at Open House and throughout the year. There are some minor advertisements at this site (all related to the topic).

tag(s): adhd (27), autism (13), dyslexia (10), guided reading (36), learning disability (22), learning styles (18), Special Needs (45)

In the Classroom

Sign up for the newsletter to receive new information every month. Provide the link to this site in your class newsletter or on your class website so parents can sign-up for the newsletter also (and use the free resources).

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L D Online - WETA

Grades
K to 12
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When you bill yourself as the world's leading website on Learning Disabilities and ADHD, you'd better prove it. LD OnLine does that and more. LD OnLine provides in-depth ...more
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When you bill yourself as the world's leading website on Learning Disabilities and ADHD, you'd better prove it. LD OnLine does that and more. LD OnLine provides in-depth professional and parent articles, expert advice columns, forums, and disability/differences resources for parents and educators within this easily-navigated site. Many of those articles offer strategies to help deal with the disabilities. The site also includes a convenient yellow pages directory for those who need further professional advice.

tag(s): adhd (27), dyslexia (10), learning disability (22), Special Needs (45)

In the Classroom

The first-hand stories by famous and not-so-famous Americans are priceless. Teachers and guidance counselors will boost the self-esteem in their struggling students by sharing stories by these 'overcomers.' There is even a section where students can submit stories (make sure you have parent permission).

Find information to help you understand your students' disabilities. Visit one of the forums to collaborate and get ideas from other online viewers. Share this site (or sections of it) with colleagues and parents (and even older students) to help build cooperation and understanding. Educators may wish there were more specific curriculum support.

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Pulse of the Planet

Grades
3 to 12
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National Geographic publishes this ongoing collection of short documentary pieces, each of which has both text and audio narration in high quality stereo sound, with lots of natural...more
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National Geographic publishes this ongoing collection of short documentary pieces, each of which has both text and audio narration in high quality stereo sound, with lots of natural effects. For students with special needs, who have trouble either reading or attending, these short sound clips provide a well-constructed exposure to topics ranging from science to cultures and celebrations. Watch for new segments each week, along with a monthly feature presentation.

tag(s): adhd (27), learning disability (22), Special Needs (45)

In the Classroom

Because there are a LOT of short recordings on this site, be sure to examine it thoroughly before allowing students to use it. Find one or several informative recordings that could benefit your classroom, and use them as introductory pieces before beginning a unit or lesson. Play the recording using the interactive whiteboard as a starter, previewing the lesson to come, allowing students to reflect on the recording via writing or verbally in a class discussion. Enhance student learning and replace paper pen by asking students to write blogs sharing information learned using a site like Edublog, reviewed here. Edublog offers tools for creating class and individual blogs. Include all students in a discussion (even your most shy) by using YoTeach!, reviewed here.

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ADHD - National Attention Deficit Disorder Association (ADDA)

Grades
1 to 12
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This site provides highlights of current research on ADHD, and provides references to specific scientific studies. Most interesting for teachers maybe the tab at the top titled "Start."...more
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This site provides highlights of current research on ADHD, and provides references to specific scientific studies. Most interesting for teachers maybe the tab at the top titled "Start." Slide down to ADDA Resources and find "ADHD Education." There are many articles for help with adult ADHD, too. Find webinars, a directory of ADHD professionals, support groups, workshops and much more.

tag(s): adhd (27), disabilities (25), learning disability (22), Special Needs (45)

In the Classroom

This is a great resource to share with parents at the beginning of the year, and list on your class website! Ask your administrator to place a link on your school's resources page to share with staff and students.

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