TeachersFirst - Featured Sites: Week of Oct 20, 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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BeeLine Reader - Reading is Fundamental

Grades
K to 12
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Improve reading and comprehension skills for all students and adults with BeeLine Reader. BeeLine Reader uses technology to highlight and wrap text to improve focusing and tracking...more
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Improve reading and comprehension skills for all students and adults with BeeLine Reader. BeeLine Reader uses technology to highlight and wrap text to improve focusing and tracking while reading. See BeeLine Reader in action when using reading passages within Reading is Fundamental. Use the additional tools to change the highlighted color or invert the background color. BeeLine Reader is also available as an extension for the Chrome browser, PDF viewer, and as an iOS app. The extension also works with Google Docs and extensions. Learn more about this tool and how it improves reading comprehension by watching the YouTube video introduction on the site's home page. The extension is offered to use for free up to 5 times per day; however, students and teachers can apply for a free Student Pass (some limitations apply).

tag(s): independent reading (120), reading comprehension (131), reading strategies (57), Special Needs (41)

In the Classroom

BeeLine Reader is an excellent addition to the already valuable reading materials found at Reading is Fundamental - Literacy Central, reviewed here. Be sure to bookmark this site to find leveled reading passages with the enhanced function of BeeLine Reader. Add the extension to your Chrome browser for use when reading any site online. Be sure to share the iOS app with parents and students for use on Apple devices. BeeLine Reader is a wonderful tool to share with ESL/ELL and Special Education specialists to use with their students. Remember, all teachers are reading teachers. Share this tool with your science, social studies, and math teachers, too!

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Immersive Reader - Microsoft

Grades
K to 12
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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...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 users 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.

tag(s): adhd (29), differentiation (51), disabilities (24), dyslexia (8), Microsoft (66), reading comprehension (131), Special Needs (41), text to speech (17)

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 ESL/ELL 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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Genes to Cognition - Cold Spring Harbor Labratory and DNA Learning Center

Grades
8 to 12
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Genes to Cognition is an interactive focusing on neuroscience, specifically cognitive disorders and processes. Select an area to begin exploring topics including autism, ADHD, and depression....more
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Genes to Cognition is an interactive focusing on neuroscience, specifically cognitive disorders and processes. Select an area to begin exploring topics including autism, ADHD, and depression. Each item opens up to a web of information to explore further. Information is color-coded to make searching for specific items easier for you. Be sure to also check out additional features on this site including a 3-D brain and teacher features with classroom-related materials correlated to science and psychology standards.

tag(s): adhd (29), autism (16), brain (67), cells (103), disabilities (24), genetics (90), psychology (64), Special Needs (41)

In the Classroom

When discussing cognitive disorders, use this resource first to obtain information. Be sure to explore the tools to understand how different subsets have an impact on other sets. Include this site when discussing anatomy and physiology, disorders that have an environmental and genetic component, and when discussing reactions within the body.
  This resource requires Adobe Flash and PDF reader software like Adobe Acrobat.

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Write - Krish Dholakiya

Grades
5 to 12
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Write. That is all you do with this minimalistic program. This is a great tool for timed writing at the beginning of any class! Choose a length of time to ...more
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Write. That is all you do with this minimalistic program. This is a great tool for timed writing at the beginning of any class! Choose a length of time to write from options on the screen, then start writing. Stop for more than 5 seconds, and your writing disappears. When time runs out, your writing saves with an option to download as a text file to your computer, or upload to a file of your choice.

tag(s): process writing (42), writers workshop (36), writing (362)

In the Classroom

If you have students who struggle with putting words down due to distractions or other reasons, Write is a good option for developing stamina. This tool allows writers to just write without worrying about content, grammar, or spelling. Stress that the editing process allows writers to go back and rework basic thoughts. If you do journals in content areas such as math or science, Write is a perfect tool to strongly encourage students to get their thoughts down in a short amount time. Have students save their work to include with their final writing projects.

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Listenwise - Monica Brady-Myerov

Grades
6 to 12
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Listenwise has podcasts and public radio broadcasts for use in advancing literacy and learning skills. Register on Listenwise using your email to access your teacher dashboard and to...more
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Listenwise has podcasts and public radio broadcasts for use in advancing literacy and learning skills. Register on Listenwise using your email to access your teacher dashboard and to begin exploring the site. Search for lessons on any topic or browse through current events. Use the tab at the top of the page to browse by subject. Choose any resource to listen to the story; most topics are less than 10 minutes. Scroll down the page to find comprehension questions and themes for classroom use. Add any lessons to your favorites. Listenwise provides several methods for assigning lessons to students. Use the provided link to share with students, add to your Google Classroom, or use the code to add to Socrative.

tag(s): adhd (29), authors (118), biographies (86), listening (81), literacy (105), literature (262), podcasts (55), poetry (222)

In the Classroom

Bookmark Listenwise for use throughout the year in all subjects. Share lessons with students as a flipped learning experience. Have students listen to the broadcast before class, then ask students to discuss their thoughts and answer the comprehension questions using a video tool such as Flipgrid, reviewed here. This site is perfect for use with ESL/ELL and special education students as it allows the opportunity to listen to information as many times as necessary for understanding. Take advantage of the printables included with broadcasts that offer graphic organizers, charts, and much more.
 This resource requires PDF reader software like Adobe Acrobat.

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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.

tag(s): digital storytelling (145), editing (79), journals (21), process writing (42), proofreading (24), Special Needs (41), Teacher Utilities (81), writing (362)

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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SMMRY - smmry.com

Grades
6 to 12
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Did you ever wish for a website that would summarize long articles of text? SMMRY grants your wish! Copy and paste text, PDF's, websites, or online articles into the text ...more
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Did you ever wish for a website that would summarize long articles of text? SMMRY grants your wish! Copy and paste text, PDF's, websites, or online articles into the text box, upload a PDF file or paste a URL to begin. Choose the number of sentences for the summary, then click the summarize box and view your summary.

tag(s): learning disability (18), Special Needs (41), summarizing (17)

In the Classroom

Introduce SMMRY to students working on research projects as a way to quickly determine content and viability of using websites. Use to differentiate instruction with students. Use with learning support students as a resource to make content easier to understand (and shorter to read). Use SMMRY summaries when teaching how to summarize in an ELA class. Compare the summary you create as a class or in small groups with the "automated" one. Are there subtleties or important distinctions that this tool misses? As a challenge for your more critical thinkers, have them try to figure out what signals the tool uses to create its summary.

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Symbaloo - Learning Paths - Symbaloo

Grades
K to 12
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Symbaloo, reviewed here, has taken its popular bookmarking tool and enhanced features to provide a platform for creating virtual interactive lesson...more
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Symbaloo, reviewed here, has taken its popular bookmarking tool and enhanced features to provide a platform for creating virtual interactive lesson plans and learning paths. Log in to your Symbaloo account and browse the Marketplace for already created lessons, or begin creating your own. Add websites, PDF's, videos, and more onto tiles and create a game board and learning path. Follow prompts to add items to the lesson and publish when complete. Symbaloo Lesson Plans & Learning Paths also provides analytics after assigning lessons to view student progress and a calendar option to make lessons available during a chosen time frame.

tag(s): bookmarks (54), DAT device agnostic tool (170), game based learning (147), gamification (82), Teacher Utilities (81)

In the Classroom

You will want to use Symbaloo Learning Paths for many different types of classroom instruction! Create lesson plans to differentiate learning and assign based on student needs and interests. Embed a lesson on your class website for students to complete at home. Using this site allows you to create a clear and concise learning path for any lesson. Share it on an interactive whiteboard with students as you follow through any learning path. Be sure also to include a link to the lesson on your class website for students to use throughout the unit and as a review. Use Symbaloo Lesson Plans as enrichment for independent learning for advanced students, or for remediation with students needing additional help. This site is perfect for use with ESL/ELL students - include links and activities to resources in their native language or add tools for practicing English. There are too many uses for Symbaloo Lesson Plans to include here, be sure to take the time to learn how to create and use this wonderful tool with your students!

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Thrively - Thrively

Grades
1 to 12
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Thrively is a free tool that gives strengths and interests assessments in an engaging and entertaining way. Based on 23 factors and developed for children, you receive a profile that...more
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Thrively is a free tool that gives strengths and interests assessments in an engaging and entertaining way. Based on 23 factors and developed for children, you receive a profile that is personal, positive, and celebrates each child's core strengths and unique talents. Children, teachers, and parents all have a dashboard displaying activities and videos selected specifically for the child's strengths and interests. Explore a comprehensive activity index with over 120,000 activities and hundreds of videos designed to inspire. The videos feature interesting ideas, leaders, and a range of insights into careers and opportunities that are a good fit for the child's unique strengths. The Activity Boards are a way to discover and research the activities and collect them all in one place. If your district blocks YouTube, the videos may not be viewable; be sure to look at alternatives for sharing the videos on classroom computers.
This site includes advertising.

tag(s): back to school (61), differentiation (51), multiple intelligences (8), Special Needs (41), Teacher Utilities (81)

In the Classroom

Begin your school year with a more personal touch, by knowing what your students' interests are. On the teacher dashboard, examine each student and match interest to activities to differentiate instruction. Students can explore careers, apps, and activities matching their profile. With interest and strengths targeted, you can sail smoothly into a highly engaged class of individualized learning. During career explorations, open up worlds of possibilities for students and families to begin planning a successful path. Add a link to this tool to your class website for possible enrichment activities for families. Offer suggestions to parents for enriching after school activities found around your area.

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Safe YouTube Videos - Wessam El Mahdy

Grades
K to 12
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Confidently share YouTube videos without distractions or offensive comments with Safe YouTube (no registration required!). Paste the URL of a YouTube link into the bar to generate a...more
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Confidently share YouTube videos without distractions or offensive comments with Safe YouTube (no registration required!). Paste the URL of a YouTube link into the bar to generate a safe view link and begin viewing. Use links provided to download or share through social networking sites. If your district blocks YouTube; then they may not be viewable; ewable; be sure to look at alternatives for sharing the videos on classroom computers.

tag(s): adhd (29), classroom management (145), internet safety (122), Special Needs (41), video (265)

In the Classroom

Share "distraction-free" videos on an interactive whiteboard or projector. Removing distractions and having confidence in removing any offensive content makes for a better learning experience. Use this tool to limit distractions for your ADD/ADHD, Autistic, unfocused Gifted, and other special needs students. Less distraction = better learning experience for all.

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calmCounter - James Barrett

Grades
K to 8
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Keep track of the noise level in your classroom using the calmCounter "Calmness Counter." This colorful tool is simple to set up and use. Hook up a microphone and watch ...more
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Keep track of the noise level in your classroom using the calmCounter "Calmness Counter." This colorful tool is simple to set up and use. Hook up a microphone and watch the calmCounter respond to the noise level in your classroom. This is a concrete way to quantify noise level needed for goal setting and behavior (sound) management. Even the young can understand this tool's "thermometer."

tag(s): classroom management (145), music theory (44), sound (106), Teacher Utilities (81)

In the Classroom

Share calmCounter at the beginning of the school year with a projector or your interactive whiteboard. Have your class practice different noise levels and come to an agreement about where the thermometer should be for different activities. Display calmCounter on your interactive whiteboard or projector during your troublesome, noisy times: centers, indoor recess, or group work. If you have an autistic or noise sensitive student, calmCounter can help your class become more aware of their noise levels. In music class, use to aid students in understanding dynamics in written music such as pianissimo, mezzo forte, and forte. During your science unit on sound, use calmCounter to show a rudimentary measurement of different types of sound.
  This resource requires Adobe Flash and PDF reader software like Adobe Acrobat.

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Toogles - toogl.es

Grades
K to 12
1 Favorites 0  Comments
  
Toogles is a clean, clutter-free interface to search YouTube videos. Browse by categories. Type your search term to begin. Results display in easy to view boxes including the title...more
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Toogles is a clean, clutter-free interface to search YouTube videos. Browse by categories. Type your search term to begin. Results display in easy to view boxes including the title and length of the video. Click to begin play without all the clutter of comments, ratings, and other distractions included on YouTube. If your district blocks YouTube, this may not be viewable. Since the videos on YouTube are not all are appropriate for the classroom, please preview. Remember that this is only a search tool, and you will not be able to save or share videos using traditional YouTube methods.

tag(s): search engines (59), video (265)

In the Classroom

Bookmark and use Toogles for use as a YouTube search tool. Help your students have better focus with fewer distractions. Share a link on your class webpage or blog for students to access at home.
 This resource requires Adobe Flash.

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ClassDojo - Sam Chaudhary and Liam Don

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

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

tag(s): behavior (43), classroom management (145), DAT device agnostic tool (170), game based learning (147), gamification (82), Special Needs (41)

In the Classroom

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

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

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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 "How...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 "How We Help." Slide down to students and find a list for "Student Articles" and one for "Student Resources." 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 (29), disabilities (24), Special Needs (41)

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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