TeachersFirst - Featured Sites: Week of Jan 15, 2023

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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Writer's Workshop - TeachersFirst

Grades
K to 6
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What is a writer's workshop? How do I get started? Where can I find resources? This exclusive resource from TeachersFirst answers these questions and much more. Begin with a quick ...more
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What is a writer's workshop? How do I get started? Where can I find resources? This exclusive resource from TeachersFirst answers these questions and much more. Begin with a quick overview of how to set up a writer's workshop and suggestions for incorporating the writing process into your workshop. Next, visit the links that include a grade-by-grade look into having the writer's workshop in primary classrooms. In addition to links with ideas by grade level, this section also includes ideas for differentiation and links to helpful digital resources. Lastly, visit the Downloadable Resources and Planning Sheets link, which contains an assortment of printable organizers, templates, and printable documents.

tag(s): creative writing (123), descriptive writing (38), expository writing (32), letter writing (17), paragraph writing (14), persuasive writing (55), writers workshop (33), writing (301)

In the Classroom

Bookmark this site and the many resources to include with your other lessons and activities for your writer's workshop. Use Symbaloo, reviewed here, to share and organize student resources. For example, include letter writing templates, links to online dictionaries and thesauruses, and examples of writing projects for students to access easily. Extend learning by asking students to share writing projects by choosing from various multimedia tools. For example, ask emerging writers to share their stories using Write Reader, reviewed here. Write Reader includes options for adding recordings, a place for student writing, and correct spelling on each page. Another digital book creator to share with students is StoryJumper, reviewed here. StoryJumper includes options for writing and sharing collaborative stories and uploading custom images, including custom characters designed by the story author.
 This resource requires PDF reader software like Adobe Acrobat.

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College Essay Builder - StoryBuilder

Grades
8 to 12
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Sign up with College Essay Builder to receive free tools that develop the skills to write powerful college essays. Tools include StoryBuilder and a series of story-writing courses....more
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Sign up with College Essay Builder to receive free tools that develop the skills to write powerful college essays. Tools include StoryBuilder and a series of story-writing courses. Begin using StoryBuilder by selecting the "Build" link. Then, StoryBuilder guides you through five steps: finding stories based on personal experiences, focusing on moments of growth and change, telling stories out loud to discover memories and emotions, mapping the story from beginning to end, and focusing on defining and incorporating specific details instead of generic details. Finally, download completed writing projects as a PDF onto your device.

tag(s): digital storytelling (137), essays (20), stories and storytelling (36), writing (301)

In the Classroom

Share the College Essay Builder with students as they prepare to write college admission applications and use it as a guide for writing personal essays for any topic. Engage students in the writing process by creating a set of Google Slides, reviewed here, to use as a template. Create a slide for each of the five steps used in the story-telling process for students to organize and refine their thoughts. When complete, ask students to use a website creation tool such as about.me, reviewed here, to share their final essay and additional information with college admission personnel.
 This resource requires PDF reader software like Adobe Acrobat.

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Biographies with BrainPOP Jr. - Martin Luther King Jr. - BrainPOP

Grades
1 to 5
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Teach early elementary learners about civil rights activist Martin Luther King, Jr. with this free BrainPop Jr. mini-unit. Easily incorporate both reading and history standards with...more
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Teach early elementary learners about civil rights activist Martin Luther King, Jr. with this free BrainPop Jr. mini-unit. Easily incorporate both reading and history standards with these ready-made activities. The site includes a short, engaging video, comprehension quizzes, an interactive mind map creator, as well as writing, drawing, and discussion topics.

tag(s): biographies (96), black history (106), graphic organizers (42), video (245), vocabulary development (91), writing (301)

In the Classroom

This unit would be great to supplement your reading and history lessons. First, using the wordplay section of the lesson, students learn five new vocabulary words by reading the word and definition, then using the interactive features to draw a picture, use it in a sentence, and act it out. Next, have your class work together using the interactive mind map to practice sequencing or explore the concepts learned in the video more deeply. When finished, mind maps, drawings, and writings can all be printed or saved as images. Want more about Martin Luther King, Jr.? Explore the lesson plan tab at the top for find more activities and extension activities.

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How to Research: Ultimate Guide [+Online Tools] - IvyPanda

Grades
5 to 12
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This handy guide provides step-by-step information on creating a research paper from start to finish. The manual begins with an overview of the three universal research purposes - exploratory,...more
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This handy guide provides step-by-step information on creating a research paper from start to finish. The manual begins with an overview of the three universal research purposes - exploratory, descriptive, and explanatory. Then, each step provides specific information on the nine essential items to complete the research. In addition, this article includes a handy image that provides a visual representation of the basic steps required for a research paper.

tag(s): presentations (8), process writing (39), Research (67), writing (301)

In the Classroom

This article is quite lengthy, but it provides students with a great deal of information on research and reporting researched information. At a minimum, share the provided link to the step-by-step image with students to use as a reference guide. For more in-depth lessons, break down the information into smaller pieces and include them in your current research project lessons. Consider using a curation tool such as Padlet, reviewed here, to share this resource and others with students to guide research projects. For example, include a column with tools for evaluating sources such as Checkology, reviewed here, and another column with online tools to create citations such as MyBib, reviewed here. Offer students an option of different tools to create and share their presentations, including Ourboox, reviewed here, to create a digital flipbook or Powtoon, reviewed here, as an option for video presentations.

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OK2Ask: Digital Storytelling 201 - TeachersFirst

Grades
3 to 12
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This recording of an OK2Ask online professional learning session is from July 2022. You can register and immediately view the archive of the session.

Get ready for digital
...more
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This recording of an OK2Ask online professional learning session is from July 2022. You can register and immediately view the archive of the session.

Get ready for digital storytelling--a valuable strategy for instruction and formative and summative assessments. You or your students have a story idea, but now what do you do? In this session, we'll review the digital storytelling process, talk about tech tools you can use to create your product, and share ideas for managing your classroom while students are working on digital storytelling projects. As a result of this session, teachers will: 1. Understand the digital storytelling process; 2. Explore a technology tool for digital storytelling; and 3. Plan for the use of digital storytelling in instructional settings. This session is appropriate for teachers at all technology levels.

tag(s): digital storytelling (137), professional development (313), writing (301)

In the Classroom

The archive of this teacher-friendly, hands-on webinar will empower and inspire you to use learning technology in the classroom and for professional productivity. As appropriate, specific classroom examples and ideas have been shared. View the session with a few of your teaching colleagues to find and share new ideas. Find additional information and links to tools at the session resource page. Learn more about OK2Ask and upcoming sessions here.

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OK2Ask: 3 Cool Tools for Persuasive Writing - TeachersFirst

Grades
3 to 12
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This recording of an OK2Ask online professional learning session is from July 2022. You can register and immediately view the archive of the session.

Persuasive writing
...more
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This recording of an OK2Ask online professional learning session is from July 2022. You can register and immediately view the archive of the session.

Persuasive writing is a critical skill that can seem daunting to elementary and middle school students. Now more than ever, readers and writers must be able to distinguish between fact and opinion and clearly identify supporting evidence. Understanding the terms "fact", "opinion", and "evidence" is key to digital literacy, and using them appropriately will help students to construct (and deconstruct) an argument. Join this workshop to look at three tech tools that support authentic persuasive writing. As a result of this session, teachers will: 1. Understand how facts, opinions, and evidence come together form an argument; 2. Explore three online tools for persuasive writing; and 3. Plan to use persuasive writing in instruction. This session is appropriate for teachers at all technology levels.

tag(s): persuasive writing (55), professional development (313), writing (301)

In the Classroom

The archive of this teacher-friendly, hands-on webinar will empower and inspire you to use learning technology in the classroom and for professional productivity. As appropriate, specific classroom examples and ideas have been shared. View the session with a few of your teaching colleagues to find and share new ideas. Find additional information and links to tools at the session resource page. Learn more about OK2Ask and upcoming sessions here.

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Wordtune - AI21 Labs

Grades
K to 12
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Wordtune is a fabulous Chrome extension and Microsoft Word add-on that takes your writing and provides options for rephrasing and clarifying the information to make it more concise...more
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Wordtune is a fabulous Chrome extension and Microsoft Word add-on that takes your writing and provides options for rephrasing and clarifying the information to make it more concise and engaging. The free plan offers up to twenty rewrites per day; each rewrite includes up to 280 characters. The Chrome extension works with Google Docs, Twitter, Outlook, Facebook, and other websites. After installing the extension, open any included site or document, highlight an area of text up to 280 characters, and select the Wordtune icon. Using AI technology, Wordtune generates a list of possible alternatives to your current writing. Select your preferred option to replace your work. See how it works on the Wordtune homepage before installing the extension.

tag(s): editing (87), grammar (138), proofreading (21), writing (301)

In the Classroom

Use this tool to enhance your writing and share it with students for their writing projects. Include Wordtune with writing lessons to explore different methods of stating information and techniques that make writing easier to read and more interesting to the reader. For example, take a random sentence from a piece of student writing and use Wordtune to analyze and offer options for stating the information differently. Ask students to explore and discuss the changes made, what changes made the sentence easier to understand, or find options that they don't find to be as clear as their original work.

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Twitter Chat: Diving Into Digital Writing - TeachersFirst

Grades
K to 12
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This archived Twitter chat is from January 2022 and will open in Wakelet. The title of this chat is: Diving Into Digital Writing. During this chat, participants will: 1. Discuss ...more
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This archived Twitter chat is from January 2022 and will open in Wakelet. The title of this chat is: Diving Into Digital Writing. During this chat, participants will: 1. Discuss strategies for maximizing available classroom technology, 2. Explore alternative ways to use tech tools for digital writing experiences, and 3. Share tips for integrating digital writing experiences in the classroom.

tag(s): twitterchatarchive (147), writing (301)

In the Classroom

Find resources and information about digital writing. Share this chat with your colleagues looking for strategies and resources on digital writing.

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Teach Writing With The New York Times: A Free School-Year Curriculum in 7 Units - New York Times Learning Network

Grades
7 to 12
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Take advantage of prize-winning journalism published by the New York Times to teach writing to middle and high school students. The staff at the Learning Network of the New York ...more
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Take advantage of prize-winning journalism published by the New York Times to teach writing to middle and high school students. The staff at the Learning Network of the New York Times shares a curriculum focused on seven different genres of writing. Each unit includes daily writing prompts, guided practice, mentor texts, opportunities for student work to be published on the New York Times site, and culminates in a monthly writing contest.
This site includes advertising.

tag(s): creative writing (123), critical thinking (103), descriptive writing (38), essays (20), journalism (70), persuasive writing (55), Research (67), writing (301)

In the Classroom

This writing curriculum includes units for bi-monthly teaching activities, be sure to bookmark this website to view and take advantage of lessons throughout the school year. Begin your unit using a learning management system like Actively Learn, reviewed here, to share articles with students. Actively Learn allows educators to integrate assignment directions, polls, companion videos, and more to create an in-depth learning experience. Enhance learning and help students identify writing techniques within the articles shared in each unit using Fiskkit, reviewed here. Fiskkit allows groups to collaboratively examine and discuss online articles by highlighting sentences and sharing thoughts. For example, during the first unit focused on the Personal Narrative Essay, use Fiskkit for students to find and discuss details, including examples of writing with voice and use of specific examples instead of broad descriptions. As your unit moves into focusing on student-created work, use Flip, reviewed here, to amplify student's voice and discuss topics for the culminating personal narrative writing project. Pose a question on Flip for students to share portions of a personal narrative they have read, then discuss what makes that portion of the writing stand out. Help students collaborate on ideas for their narratives using a Flip video question asking students to share two or three ideas they have for their narrative and asking peers to share their ideas on what they consider to be most interesting or sharing ideas for inclusion. As a final project, use Sway, reviewed here, to publish and share student work. Create a class Sway with all student work, or ask students to create their own Sway to include their writing, a link to the New York Times article inspiration, images, and more.

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Write and Improve - Cambridge English

Grades
5 to 12
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Write and Improve provides practice and instant feedback on writing responses to prompts. Choose from one of the many provided topics to begin. Narrow down options based on writing...more
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Write and Improve provides practice and instant feedback on writing responses to prompts. Choose from one of the many provided topics to begin. Narrow down options based on writing levels from beginner to advanced. Writing choices range from writing an email to longer stories. After writing your response, select the link to receive feedback. Feedback includes a graph of your writing level and tracks revisions. Create a free account to save your work and access all material on the site. This site was created in England so some spellings and pronunciations may be different from the American usages. Note: There is a paid portion of this site for the International English Laguage Test System (IELTS), however, you can take advantage of looking at 10 free tasks, and even writing in the box provided and using the timer, but you will not receive a score. These would be good assignments for your writing class before state testing time.

tag(s): creative writing (123), descriptive writing (38), differentiation (68), letter writing (17), persuasive writing (55), process writing (39), writers workshop (33), writing (301)

In the Classroom

Feedback on this site is based on the Common European Framework of Reference (CEFR) scale, learn more about it here. Include this site with your other resources for practicing and teaching writing as you challenge students to improve feedback scores. Take advantage of the different levels to differentiate practice for all students. Ask students to analyze their writing before hitting the feedback button as a self-reflection tool. As students improve writing, use a digital portfolio tool like Seesaw, reviewed here, and upload all revisions. Also, use Seesaw for students to share their thoughts on their writing and individual progress.

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Elementari - Nicole Kang and David Li

Grades
3 to 12
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Create interactive digital stories with Elementari. Features include drag and drop text, illustrations, and shapes. Choose from image filters and a variety of fonts to personalize the...more
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Create interactive digital stories with Elementari. Features include drag and drop text, illustrations, and shapes. Choose from image filters and a variety of fonts to personalize the look of your story. Other tools include the ability to animate illustrations or text, and to create interactions by touch. Use interactions to play a sound, go to a new page, or animate a feature. After creating your account begin by selecting the option to write your story. Follow the prompts to add Elementari's free images, backgrounds, audio, and more. When finished, preview your story then publish. After publishing, share using social media links or the provided embed code. You can also create 1 class with 35 students. Students do not need email to use Elementari. Students with existing accounts can also connect to your classroom. Students can choose an avatar from the ones provided and cannot upload any pictures. Teachers must approve stories before they can be published. Be sure to check out the Curriculum Guide!

tag(s): creative writing (123), digital storytelling (137), writing (301)

In the Classroom

Create stories together, as a class, as you move through a unit or topic. Enhance student learning by adding ideas your students suggest. Use in a flipped or blended classroom to deliver course information. Assign several student groups a different topic and extend their learning by having each group create their own version as they learn more about the topic. Challenge gifted students to modify the "standard" class text with the additional material they discover, by going deeper and learning about related topics. In lower grades, create teacher-made digital stories for students to use as a learning tool.

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Book Creator - Red Jumper Limited

Grades
K to 12
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Create beautiful, multimedia digital books with Book Creator. Scroll down the landing page and find Getting Started with book Creator. It would be best to read this short Getting Started...more
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Create beautiful, multimedia digital books with Book Creator. Scroll down the landing page and find Getting Started with book Creator. It would be best to read this short Getting Started first and it will stay in your library. Next, scroll down the Features page for more specific directions for creating your book; a few of these are summarized in this review. Then, you can go to the Resources tab from the top menu, where each grade level has a video, and you'll find example books created by students. Under Resources, you can also search by subject to find suggested ideas and books designed for a specific subject. You can also choose Remixable Books to get you and your class started. When finished, publish and share your book using the site's web-based reader for access on any device. A unique, new feature is that you can see how many times your book has been read and where. The free plan offers one library with up to 40 books storage. BookCreator presents a variety of levels for technology use depending on teacher requirements for the project or even student ability; it allows for adding narration, videos, text, using your webcam, and adding links to help explain the artwork. When creating your book, click on the big + sign, and in the upper right corner, the More tab, then WOW! one of the "mores" are apps you can add like Bitmoji, Giphy, Canva, your Google Drive (you can add Slides, Docs, Sheets, and creations from other apps), these all come with the free account. There are other apps, but you must have a premium account. You can use Book Creator on iPads, Macs, Android devices, PCs, and on these browsers: Safari, Microsoft Edge, and Chrome. Teachers need to provide an email to create an account. However, students do not need emails to make their books. Once you're ready, follow the site's prompts to add video, text, images, audio, and more to your book.
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tag(s): collaboration (87), DAT device agnostic tool (136), digital storytelling (137), ebooks (34), literacy (99), preK (246), reading comprehension (125), writing (301)

In the Classroom

Create books together, as a class, as you move through a unit or topic. Enhance student learning by adding images and ideas your students suggest. Use in a flipped classroom to deliver course information. Assign several student groups a different topic and redefine their learning by having each group create their own multimedia versions as they learn more about the topic. Students can combine their books later as a class book. Make a digital bookshelf of all the versions for all to use. Challenge gifted students to modify the "standard" class text with the additional material they discover, by going deeper and learning about related topics. In lower grades, create teacher-made e-books for your young readers, perhaps adding audio - your own voice reading the text.

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Exploring the Genre of Review Writing - Scholastic

Grades
3 to 8
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Explore and practice the art of writing a robust and thoughtful review using the lessons found on this site that combine to make a four-week writing unit. Using content familiar ...more
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Explore and practice the art of writing a robust and thoughtful review using the lessons found on this site that combine to make a four-week writing unit. Using content familiar to them including movies, books, and food students evaluate and reflect upon a variety of reviews before working individually. Each lesson includes group observation and working together as a class before releasing students to work on individual projects.

tag(s): descriptive writing (38), Teacher Utilities (127), writing (301)

In the Classroom

Be sure to see the many ideas for lesson extensions and assessment found in each of these lessons to enhance and individualize student learning. Use an online bookmarking site like Padlet, reviewed here, to organize information like movie snippets for your students in one location. Take that a step further and ask students to add comments to each shared movie title for inclusion in reviews. Provide a variety of different options for students to share their final reviews. For example, let students use a comic creation tool like ToonyTool, reviewed here, create a digital book using Book Creator, reviewed here, or create their own interactive guide to writing reviews using Symbaloo Learning Paths, reviewed here.
 This resource requires PDF reader software like Adobe Acrobat.

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WriteReader - WriteReader

Grades
K to 5
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The scientific research behind WriterReader is that one develops and improves their reading skills by writing. With WriteReader kids create their own books, including text, pictures,...more
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The scientific research behind WriterReader is that one develops and improves their reading skills by writing. With WriteReader kids create their own books, including text, pictures, and voice recordings. Adults/Teachers have their own space on the page to write comments and make corrections. The interface is so simple even a young child can use it successfully after some adult guidance. Click the Resources tab on the top menu to select Lesson Plans, Templates, Writing Prompts, Videos, and more. The basic plan offers 60 books and all the basic features. Register with email or your Google account. Use the menu bars in the upper right corner and find Guides, a Parent Letter, and a Lesson Plan online to get kids started with WriteReader. Click "Quick Start" to see a video with all you need to know to create a class, for creating student accounts, you can enter students manually, or students can join the class with a class code. Be sure to look at the Features tab at the top. There you'll find Literacy Development, Easy Book Creation, Publishing and Sharing, and Teacher & Student Mangagement all with several links to explore. WriteReader has upgraded their page templates to support older students. Languages available are US English, UK English, Dansk (Danish) and Svenska (Swedish). There is also an introductory video that will help everyone get started. This video resides on YouTube. If your district blocks YouTube, the video may not be viewable. WriteReader has added new premium features such as Read Aloud, Voice Search, Book Templates, and several others. These you must pay for.

tag(s): digital storytelling (137), literacy (99), reading strategies (72), science of reading (21), writing (301)

In the Classroom

WriteReader is so simple that very young students can use it successfully after a whiteboard or projector demonstration. While creating their books, students will be able to add images, multiple pages and delete pages, include voice-over, use color on the pages, view one page at a time or the entire book, and toggle between letters' names/sounds or no audio. Use this tool to design simple projects using student drawings to tell the story. Have students draw and annotate stories about their summer at the beginning of the year and share them with classmates. Students of any age love to draw, so why not have them draw their impression of what the message to the reader was after hearing a story and then explain it in writing? ENL/ESL students especially will benefit from hearing the letter sounds as they begin writing in their new language.

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