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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Popped - Carbon Studio LLC

Grades
5 to 12
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Popped brings a social media feel to story writing and planning. Write a story or screenplay the same way you text. Create an account and select to begin a new ...more
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Popped brings a social media feel to story writing and planning. Write a story or screenplay the same way you text. Create an account and select to begin a new project, either as a story or movie. Add two characters, upload an image for each character, and your title. Add additional characters at any time as you write the story. Use the edit feature to move text up or down within the story, change the character associated with the text, or delete items. Before creating a story, use Popped's timeline feature to create an outline for your work. When complete, publish your work and share it using the provided links. Be sure to look at options found on this site to turn off mature content since submissions aren't moderated.

tag(s): creative writing (162), digital storytelling (148), writing (364)

In the Classroom

Popped 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.

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ReadingIQ - Age of Learning

Grades
K to 6
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Reading IQ contains an expansive reading library including quality fiction and non-fiction literature including award-winning books. Free enrollment for teachers provides free access...more
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Reading IQ contains an expansive reading library including quality fiction and non-fiction literature including award-winning books. Free enrollment for teachers provides free access to students on any device. After enrolling, set up your classroom to access student monitoring tools that include assigning reading levels and monitoring time spent reading. ReadingIQ allows teachers to assign books then provides detailed reports of class and individual progress in reading levels.

tag(s): book lists (127), classroom management (145), literacy (107), preK (281), reading comprehension (131), spanish (107)

In the Classroom

Take 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.

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Whooo's Reading - Whooo's Reading

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

tag(s): classroom management (145), independent reading (118), reading comprehension (131)

In the Classroom

Although recommended for students in grades K-8, teachers of younger students should review questions and consider writing ability levels before including them in the program due to the written responses required. Consider using Whooo's Reading as an alternative to Accelerated Reader due to the use of short response answers instead of multiple choice questions. After reading books, substitute paper and pen journals by asking younger students to create a blog using a tool like 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.

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TeachersFirst Reading Treks - Make Learning a Journey - TeachersFirst

Grades
K to 12
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Your students can visit the world and build their background knowledge when they choose to read a book in conjunction with Reading Treks. Find fiction and informational books at every...more
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Your students can visit the world and build their background knowledge when they choose to read a book in conjunction with Reading Treks. Find fiction and informational books at every reading level. Each Reading Trek unit has a downloadable PDF with Common Core State Standards, ISTE Standards, Grade Level, Ideas and Activities for using the Reading Trek in class, and a list of Helpful Resources. There is also a Google Maps (KMZ) file. Under the About TeachersFirst Reading Treks on the home page find step-by-step instructions for when you're ready to use a Reading Trek. TeachersFirst is just getting started creating Treks for books. Do you have a suggestion? Select Suggest a Trek from the left menu to let us know about it. We'd love to hear from you!

tag(s): independent reading (118), maps (296), reading comprehension (131), reading lists (76)

In the Classroom

These 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.

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Toppsta - Georgina Atwell

Grades
K to 6
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Read, review, and discover the best books for children at Toppsta. Use the keyword search to find books or search for ages up to 18 years old. Each book title ...more
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Read, review, and discover the best books for children at Toppsta. Use the keyword search to find books or search for ages up to 18 years old. Each book title includes a summary along with reviews submitted by site members. Reviews indicate the age of the reviewer and number of reviews. Login to Toppsta to save books to your wishlist or create your own book reviews. This site was created in the UK, so some of the pronunciations and spellings may differ from those in American English.

tag(s): book lists (127), independent reading (118), preK (281), reading lists (76)

In the Classroom

Share 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.

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Adobe Spark - Adobe

Grades
K to 12
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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...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 (77), creative writing (162), digital storytelling (148), microblogging (28)

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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CurriConnects Booklist: Award Winning Books - TeachersFirst

Grades
K to 12
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There are many awards for excellent children's books. This collection of books includes winners of many awards, including the Caldecott Medal, Newbery Medal, Boston Globe/Horn Book...more
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There are many awards for excellent children's books. This collection of books includes winners of many awards, including the Caldecott Medal, Newbery Medal, Boston Globe/Horn Book Award, and the Coretta Scott King Book Award. Although the topics vary, the level of quality is consistently the same. CurriConnects thematic book lists include ISBN numbers for ordering or searching, interest grade levels, ESL levels and Lexiles'''® to match student independent reading levels to challenge, not frustrate. For more on text complexity and Lexiles'''®, see this information from the Lexile Framework. Don't miss other CurriConnects themes being added regularly. If your library does not have the books, try interlibrary loan!

tag(s): authors (118), book lists (127), independent reading (118)

In the Classroom

Develop 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.

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Literably - Tyler Borek and Habib Moody

Grades
K to 8
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Use Literably to assess students' oral reading and comprehension. Literably will display a text, administer the reading assessment, score it, generate an audio recording, and keep a...more
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Use Literably to assess students' oral reading and comprehension. Literably will display a text, administer the reading assessment, score it, generate an audio recording, and keep a running record. It will also report words correct per minute, percentage accuracy, and a leveling recommendation. Literably also provides readers' Lexile measures, grade levels, and guided reading levels. Test comprehension levels using open response or multiple choice questions. Register with an email, and set up a class easily. Keep your username short for ease of registration by primary students. The free account allows for testing 5 students per calendar month. Student sign in is extremely easy, even for a first grader. Print results or email to parents for easy sharing. IMPORTANT Note: Results (accuracy and WPM) are not available instantly and take up to 18-24 hours to arrive via email or be posted on the site. Literably is compatible with most browsers, and there is a free iPad app.
This site includes advertising.

tag(s): assessment (123), fluency (24), literacy (107), reading comprehension (131)

In the Classroom

After 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.

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Children's Books and Reading - Stephanie at Childrens-Books-and-Reading.com

Grades
K to 4
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Parents (or any interested adults) can support young readers with this guide to reading instruction, Children's books, and Reading. Find support in many areas of reading such as book...more
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Parents (or any interested adults) can support young readers with this guide to reading instruction, Children's books, and Reading. Find support in many areas of reading such as book lists, early literacy ideas, ways to improve reading, spelling instruction ideas, and reading interactives. Don't worry, there is also material here to help children who are already reading - to increase fluency, comprehension, and more! Book lists include; audio books, read alouds, picture books, wordless picture books, classic books, books to hook reluctant readers, as well as recommended books. Subscribe to the newsletter to stay in touch with the latest ideas. Although this site is definitely text-heavy, it does offer a lot of information to both parents and teachers working with emergent readers.
This site includes advertising.

tag(s): literacy (107), preK (281), reading comprehension (131), reading lists (76), reading strategies (58), spelling (165)

In the Classroom

This 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!
  This resource requires Adobe Flash and PDF reader software like Adobe Acrobat.

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Going Deep with Award Winning Books: Close reading and text-dependent questions - TeachersFirst

Grades
K to 6
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This installment in a series of articles about implementing Common Core in elementary focuses on close reading of texts in Caldecott award winning books. Since Caldecott winners tend...more
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This installment in a series of articles about implementing Common Core in elementary focuses on close reading of texts in Caldecott award winning books. Since Caldecott winners tend to be available in most libraries, what better way to start the practice of close reading and questioning a la Common Core. A major shift of the Common Core State Standards is to have reading, writing, listening and speaking grounded in evidence , from both literary and informational texts. As a result, terms like "close reading" and "text-dependent questions" are getting a lot of attention. Find ideas to implement this shift. The article is intended for elementary teachers as part of our Help! I lost my library/media specialist series.

tag(s): commoncore (88)

In the Classroom

If 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.

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Interactive Audio Books Resources - TeachersFirst

Grades
K to 12
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These educator-reviewed resources from TeachersFirst offer audio books in interactive form so all students, including emerging readers and ESL/ELL learners, can experience reading with...more
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These educator-reviewed resources from TeachersFirst offer audio books in interactive form so all students, including emerging readers and ESL/ELL learners, can experience reading with audio and visual prompts or interactivity to reinforce and inspire literacy skills and enjoyment as they read. Be sure to explore each site, as many include multiple types of activities, including the interactive books.

tag(s): audio books (21)

In the Classroom

Mark this one in your professional favorites AND share it on a class web page for access by students and parents. The helpful reviews suggest ideas for ways to use the audio books in the classroom or outside of school to reinforce literacy skills, improve English skills, or study literature in new ways.

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podOmatic - podOmatic

Grades
1 to 12
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Create simple audio podcasts using this online tool and the free space they provide. Simply put, this tool lets you create and place sound recordings online for people to listen ...more
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Create simple audio podcasts using this online tool and the free space they provide. Simply put, this tool lets you create and place sound recordings online for people to listen to and/or download from the web. There are MANY free podcasts in a variety of subject areas (art, health, technology, music, business, and more.) We have linked this review directly to the K-12 area within the site. The site includes some social networking tools, so some schools may have it blocked. The site is a "general public" site, so the home page has links to recent podcasts that may not be appropriate for young people. Attach a mike or use your built-in computer mike; create the podcast by clicking a record button, (you may have to tell your computer to "allow" the site to access your mike). Choose a background for your podcast page. Share it with others using one of several sharing options on the "My Podcast" tab, including copying the link. Listeners can listen to it online or download to their MP3 player. See and hear a sample we made for you.. You can also create a "minicast" with a simple upload of images and audio that turns your images into a short video. Transitions are also available for your minicast. Share through a blog, twitter, a link or directly to Facebook. There are limits to the amount of file storage for free accounts. The site will tell you how much space each podcast takes and how much you have left. podOmatic does not allow memberships for those under 13. podOmatic now has a free iOS and Android apps.

tag(s): DAT device agnostic tool (169), digital storytelling (148), podcasts (56)

In the Classroom

podOmatic 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.

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TeachersFirst's Reading List Collection - TeachersFirst

Grades
4 to 12
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Some students have trouble finding books that interest them. This collection comes to the rescue with reading lists for all sorts and types of interests. ...more
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Some students have trouble finding books that interest them. This collection comes to the rescue with reading lists for all sorts and types of interests.

tag(s): book lists (127), reading lists (76)

In the Classroom

Try using these lists with your reluctant readers; there are dozens of possibilities.

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