TeachersFirst - Featured Sites: Week of Dec 15, 2019
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 go to the Featured Sites Archive
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Grades5 to 12
In the ClassroomPopped is an excellent tool to help students manage and create storytelling projects. Ask them to use this site to plan original pieces of fiction or to retell events in history through the eyes of different participants. For example, when learning about Civil Rights, have students share options for what might happen if Martin Luther King hadn't been assassinated. Use these stories as a basis for student podcasts about moments in history and how different events shaped and changed history. Use Buzzsprout, reviewed here, as a podcasting tool that offers options such as scheduling episodes for specific dates and times, adding chapter markers to episodes, and adding links, lists, and formatting to your show notes.
GradesK to 6
In the ClassroomTake advantage of this free reading program to differentiate reading materials for your students both by ability and interests. Set up your program then share learning goals with your students and parents. Engage students use by using the free interactives and printables from Read Write Think, reviewed here, and have students create story maps, book covers, and much more as part of their retelling and summarizing activities. Create shared class activities using a video response tool like FlipGrid, reviewed here, to enhance student learning by asking students to share short book talks about their favorite books read on the site. Take learning even further by creating ongoing podcasts discussing favorite books and characters using Buzzsprout, reviewed here. Buzzsprout makes it easy to create and share podcasts by offering scheduling options to meet your needs.
GradesK to 8
In the ClassroomAlthough 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 Loose Leaves, 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.
GradesK to 12
In the ClassroomThese units are perfect for use with a whole-class novel, literature circles, or individual reading! Ask students to keep a journal about what they are reading and learning. Replace traditional paper and pen journals using an easy virtual journaling tool such as Penzu, reviewed here. With Penzu you can add images or your own artwork as illustrations. If you are conducting literature circles a good tool to use for small group assignments and communication is Asana, reviewed here, or Edmodo, reviewed here. For students or student groups to share their book with their peers, challenge them to enhance their learning and design an interactive multimedia poster using Genial.ly, reviewed here. As an option, and for a real challenge, have students extend their learning and create a music track to go with parts or all of the book using Booktrack, reviewed here, and share the link on their mutimedia poster.
GradesK to 6
In the ClassroomShare this site with students as a resource for finding books for independent reading. Include a link on your class website or blog for access at home. Present a new book each week to students on your interactive whiteboard or share your wishlist with your school's media center to include with book orders. After reading reviews, have students write or videotape their own book reviews. Have students or groups share their own book suggestions using Dotstorming, reviewed here. Dotstorming creates free online bulletin boards.
GradesK to 12
In the ClassroomPossible 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!
GradesK to 12
In the ClassroomDevelop your students' love of reading using these fabulous books. This collection could accompany a unit about famous authors and texts. These books provide experience with both fiction and nonfiction informational texts. This list is ideal for book reports or projects. Allow students (or partners) to choose their own book. Challenge students to create presentations or small group projects to share their story. Share this list with your school library/media specialist or public library, as well, for them to "pull" books in support of your units.
GradesK to 8
This site includes advertising.
In the ClassroomAfter creating a class list, either choose readings based on your estimate for each student or let Literably choose them. You will need to demonstrate on a projector or whiteboard where to click to Allow the mike to work. Set up a center (or several) in your classroom and rotate students through it. The free account allows your to test five students, but there is a work around. If you have Gmail, you can use the subaccounts feature to create "new email addresses." See how to do this here. This tells how to set up Gmail subaccounts to use for any online membership service. Using Gmail subaccounts will allow you to test more than five students. The Literably results and ability to give parents expert feed back on their students literacy skills make creating Gmail subaccounts well worth your time! You will probably want to use headsets with microphones to limit distractions when using Literably. However, the built in microphone on the computer will work just fine. This tool is perfect for reporting to parents and administrators. It's also great for resource teachers to share during IEP meetings. Turn this assessment tool into a teaching tool by having students listen to their recordings and follow the text to pause the incorrect recording and read it correctly. Have them try the same reading again to see if they can improve their score.
GradesK to 4
This site includes advertising.
In the ClassroomThis site is a great site to share with parents on your class website. Start a PTO meeting featuring literacy using ideas from this site. At a literacy night, show this site on your projector (or interactive whiteboard) to feature the interactives. Add the games to your literacy stations. Share at conferences to answer the parent questions of, "How do I help at home?" Looking for more audio books? Find a huge collection of audio books here to try some of the strategies suggestion by this site. Don't forget your earbuds!
GradesK to 6
tag(s): commoncore (88)
In the ClassroomIf you are fortunate enough to have a library/media specialist to partner with you, try these ideas together during read-alouds both in the library/media center and in your classroom. Mark this article in your favorites and refer back to it as you move forward with Common Core.
GradesK to 12
tag(s): audio books (21)
In the ClassroomMark 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.
Grades1 to 12
In the ClassroompodOmatic does not allow memberships for those under 13. Teachers using this tool with younger students should do so under supervision and with a teacher-controlled account. You will want to supervise or establish consequences so students do not spend time on the public areas of the site and instead proceed to creating their podcasts. This is an opportunity to teach about digital citizenship and safety, such as steering clear of interaction and avoiding sharing any identifiable information about yourself in a podcast. You may want to share the links to class podcasts only with your students and parents. If you have students record podcasts as assignments, you may need multiple accounts because the free accounts have limited file space. An elementary teacher might have enough space for 25 students to keep a limited number of products on his/her own account, depending upon length.
Create regular or special podcasts to share on your class web page or wiki. Create a mini cast of images taken during a lab or a portfolio of images from a photography, art, or any other class. Add music and share as part of a digital portfolio. More ideas: record class assignments or directions, record story time or a reading excerpt for younger ones to listen to at a computer center AND from home, adding a touch of blended learning to your classroom! Have readers (perhaps older buddies) build fluency by recording selected passages for your non-readers. Launch a service project for your fifth or sixth graders to record stories for the kindergarten to use in their reading and listening center. Have students create "you are there" recordings as "eyewitnesses" to historical or current events, Make a weekly class podcast, with students taking turns writing and sharing the "Class News." Have students create radio advertisements for concepts studied in class (Buy Dynamic DNA!), Have students write and record their own stories or poetry in dramatic readings; language students or beginning readers could record their fluency by reading passages. Allow parents to hear their child's progress reading aloud, etc. Compare world language, speech articulation, or reading fluency at two points during the year. Have your Shakespeare students record a soliloquy. Write and record a poem for Father's or Mother's Day (or other special events) and send the URL as a gift to that special person.
If you have gifted students who lean toward the dramatic, this tool is simple enough for them to create dramatic mini casts without needing a video camera. They can collect images (think Compfight) and write a drama to accompany them, showing what they have learned in independent learning beyond the regular curriculum.
Parent permission advised before posting student work created using this tool
Includes Interaction w general public/ public galleries with unmoderated content
Includes social features, such as "friends," comments, ratings by others
Requires registration/log-in (WITH email)
Products can be embedded
Products can be shared by URL