Online Tools: Suggestions from TeachersFirst

This editor's choice collection offers timesavers and organizational tools for teachers. They include "utility" sites for teaching tasks such as seating charts, rubrics, and certificates. Other tools facilitate parent communication, such as text messaging or online conferencing. Our editors have also hand picked simple, timesaving, creative tools from the TeachersFirst Edge. These tools organize to-do lists (for yourself or for students), convert files, remove ads from web pages, check web site readability, write a one-time blog, generate an online signup sheet, make a simple graphic organizer or chart, create online corkboards or stickies, and much more. Mark your Favorites using your free TeachersFirst membership, so you can find them quickly!

For a full listing of reviewed "creation" tools by category, try the TeachersFirst Edge, today's hottest tools for creating teacher and student projects online. 

 

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Croak.it - Protik Roychowdhury and Srinivasa Teja

Grades
K to 12
1 Favorites 0  Comments
   
Croak.it allows you to TALK to those who land on your webpage. Your visitors can leave a verbal message for you using the Croakit application program interface (API). (An API...more
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Croak.it allows you to TALK to those who land on your webpage. Your visitors can leave a verbal message for you using the Croakit application program interface (API). (An API is similar to embedding a mini version of the tool.) The beauty of this audio recorder is that it works on many types of devices, including iOS (iPad, iTouch, iPhone), Android phones, or in a regular computer browser. And it's free. There is no email sign up. Their slogan is, "Push. Speak. Share." Leave a message up to 30 seconds on your page. You can push to stop at any time. Once you have created your Croak.it, you have the choice to adjust the tempo and pitch. Share your Croak.it through Facebook or Twitter. Copy the URL and put it on your webpage, in your email, on your blog, etc. Use Croak.it to express yourself using your voice, which is much more interesting than reading text! The only part of this program that uses Flash is the introductory video.

tag(s): speech (94)

In the Classroom

The potential for using Croak.it for and with your students is limitless. As you create (or update) your website at the beginning of the school year, considering using this site to verbally greet all visitors! Record a message for absent students explaining something done in class and email it to them. Leave verbal instructions on your web page or homework page that might be too complicated to write out or for your students to read. This program has incredible promise for use with learning-support students, speech and language students, ESL/ELL students, non-readers, and for differentiating instruction. If your students have blogs, consider adding Croak.It to their blog pages for spoken comments. An excellent idea from the blog "Inquiry Live in the Classroom" is to use Croak.it with QR Codes and have your students make 30 second book reviews for your classroom or school library. Students can then scan the code of a book they think they are interested in reading to see what others think of it, or to get a 30 second summary of it. Use Croak.it for tutorials on your website. Use a QR Code generator and put the code next to diagrams in text books. To view many more ideas see "QR Codes and Using Them in the Classroom," reviewed here, and know that you can combine these with the use of Croak.it, too. There are many personal ways you and your students can use this program: create a wish list, Mother's Day or birthday greeting, a message to a grandparent, or a recording of part of a picture book for a younger sibling. Because of the 30 second time limit, encourage students to rehearse (never a bad idea) before recording. One suggestion for saving recordings is to create a Google Form or wiki page where students can use to submit their recording links. This allows you to collect student recordings without having to use an e-mail account. Speech and language teachers could create wiki pages (on a private wiki) for each student to record samples throughout the year to demonstrate progress with articulation. World language teachers could record assignments and ask students to respond orally on a class wiki.

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RideSurfboard Web Page Browser - Ryan O'Donnell and Aaron Wadler

Grades
3 to 12
0 Favorites 0  Comments
Experience an ordinary website in a flippable, newspaper-like format. Enter the url of any website. Surfboard instantly converts the website into a white, flippable, newspaper-like...more
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Experience an ordinary website in a flippable, newspaper-like format. Enter the url of any website. Surfboard instantly converts the website into a white, flippable, newspaper-like format where all content is laid out nicely. Click on the next arrow at the bottom of your screen to flip to the next page or swipe if using an iPad or iPhone. Choose a headline and click to view the full story. Content is optimized for Safari desktop browser, iPads, and iphones. It may not work well with other browsers. There are tips for using a Chrome browser found on the homepage. Note: our editors noticed many websites would not convert, even using Safari. So test before you use this site in a class or presentation. Many newspaper sites display nicely (without all the ads).

tag(s): browser (6)

In the Classroom

Teachers with iPads in their classrooms will probably benefit most from this site. Create a link directly to SurfRider.com on classroom ipads for students to view websites in this page-flip format. Any computer with Safari could use this website also. This site could be used to make the content of a website more palatable for students easily distracted by "flashy" websites. Learning support teachers might want to try this presentation of informational texts with their students to see if it improves their comprehension. If your students have blogs, try reading them using this tool for a very "professional" look.

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BarryFunEnglish Tools - BarryFunEnglish. com

Grades
K to 12
10 Favorites 0  Comments
BarryFunEnglish offers several free and useful teacher tools for use on your interactive whiteboard or projector. Use the dart board selector to randomly choose students from your class....more
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BarryFunEnglish offers several free and useful teacher tools for use on your interactive whiteboard or projector. Use the dart board selector to randomly choose students from your class. Import your class from a txt file or input names manually. Easily edit your class list with absent students. Once ready, click to spin the dart board, launch a dart and see what names appears! Open each tool in a new window for a larger viewing area. At the time of this review the other free tools included a random name generator, scoreboard, and stopwatch. Access to all tools is available after registration with email and a password. Note that other areas of this site are subscription based.
This site includes advertising.

tag(s): classroom management (150)

In the Classroom

Use the free registration option to sign up for the site. Bookmark and use this site as a tool for classroom management, such as a way for choosing random students, keeping score, stopwatch, and others. All of the tools are perfect for use on your interactive whiteboard or projector. Open them in separate windows so that you can drag off to the side if doing an on-screen activity.
 This resource requires Adobe Flash.

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Thankuz - thankuz.com

Grades
K to 12
3 Favorites 0  Comments
 
Thankuz offers a simple and easy way to send a thank you note to anyone, anytime. Choose Create to start your card. Fill in the blanks using the template provided ...more
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Thankuz offers a simple and easy way to send a thank you note to anyone, anytime. Choose Create to start your card. Fill in the blanks using the template provided and upload an image, if you wish. Modify your card using panels to change the color and style. Send your thank you card using links provided for email, Facebook, Twitter, or using the URL created.

tag(s): holidays (151), letter writing (21)

In the Classroom

Ask students to write a "Thank You" card to classroom visitors, school staff, and other helpers. This is particularly good for lessons on friendly letters. Have students create cards to celebrate birthdays, other holidays, and send to each other. When you finish reading a story, have students send cards to the characters. Write a note to students and ask them to answer you using Thankuz. With older students, provide this link on your class website for both students and parents access to "quick and easy" thank you notes!

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CloudMagic - Webyog, Inc.

Grades
K to 12
1 Favorites 0  Comments
 
CloudMagic is a search engine for your personal data. Sign up using your email address and a password, then link to other social accounts such as Twitter, GMail, Google Docs, ...more
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CloudMagic is a search engine for your personal data. Sign up using your email address and a password, then link to other social accounts such as Twitter, GMail, Google Docs, EverNote, DropBox, and more. After synching accounts, type in a search term to find matching items from all your accounts. Narrow the search using buttons on the site to find only events, contacts, mail, tweets, etc. Use this tool on any browser or download the app for all mobile devices for on the go search capability.

tag(s): organizational skills (128), search engines (64)

In the Classroom

"It's in here somewhere!" Use this site as a teacher organization tool for your classroom resources, parent contacts, and more. Are you trying to find your updated class list or notes for your Algebra 2 review? Search for class list or Algebra 2 to find it without having to search through all of your online and email accounts. Share this site with older students as a resource for organizing and finding their online resources.

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Textivate - TaskMagic

Grades
4 to 12
2 Favorites 0  Comments
 
Textivate is a simple web tool to automatically generate a range of online activities based on any text you enter (up to 500 words). Type or paste a chunk of ...more
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Textivate is a simple web tool to automatically generate a range of online activities based on any text you enter (up to 500 words). Type or paste a chunk of text into the text box on the Textivate front page and click on the "Textivate Now" button to see the available exercises that can be generated from that text. Choose from various activities based on the amount of text used such as drag and drop, sorting, or fill in the gaps. View an example on evaporation located here. Register on the site for further options such as uploading text, embedding your textivate onto a website, or share via hyperlink.

tag(s): grammar review (39), process writing (46), sequencing (31), summarizing (15), word order (5), word study (79)

In the Classroom

Create Textivates to introduce or review any topic. Type in a summary of information and have students place chunks of sentences in order or choose the missing word option for students to insert missing words. Instantly create sequencing activities to build comprehension and vocabulary skills. Paste in a passage from a well-known text and experiment with word order. What would happen if you tried to rearrange the wording in a famous poem? Paste in text during a world language class so students can rearrange words to practice vocabulary, word order, and various skills. Use the embed feature to insert a Textivate activity for homework. Create activities for small group practice on an interactive whiteboard center. Have students create their own Textivate activities to summarize information. Share them with classmates to complete activities. Learning support teachers can have students create and swap review activities. Be sure to share this one with parents for them to use at home for review fun!

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UnShortMe - Unshort.me

Grades
K to 12
2 Favorites 0  Comments
 
This tool reveals full urls for links that have been shortened using URL shortener tools (like bit.ly, tinyurl.com and others). Many of the URLs created by the shortening sites are...more
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This tool reveals full urls for links that have been shortened using URL shortener tools (like bit.ly, tinyurl.com and others). Many of the URLs created by the shortening sites are blocked by school content filters (because the shortener websites are actually blocked). Try un-shortening the URL with this tool to access the content and to know what you are headed for! Enter the URL and click the button. Shortened urls can also hide undesirable content, so seeing the "real" url can prevent embarrassment such as opening something unexpected in front of others.

tag(s): internet safety (108)

In the Classroom

Use this to access sites especially those shared with your PLN through RSS or Twitter. Many times, the original link is not blocked but the shortened URL is because of the shortener service's url. Save this tool in your favorites to access when needed.
 

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WishyBox - WishyBox.com

Grades
K to 12
5 Favorites 0  Comments
 
Organize an online wishlist. Create an account using your Google, Facebook, Yahoo, or Windows Live login, then begin creating a list. Add items including links to any website for purchase....more
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Organize an online wishlist. Create an account using your Google, Facebook, Yahoo, or Windows Live login, then begin creating a list. Add items including links to any website for purchase. Organize using the drag and drop features on the site. Make your list private or share with family, friends, or the world. Gift purchases are not shared with the owner of the list, only family or friends, thus keeping the surprise of gift giving alive!

tag(s): service projects (27)

In the Classroom

Parents often want to donate items to classrooms or schools but may not know what is needed. Create a WishyBox list for your classroom so others can share the joyful gift of learning! This is a great tool to share at Back to School Night! Make a list of books needed for your classroom library, items needed for classroom centers, extra supplies, etc. Share with your Parent Teacher Organization as a resource for creating a wish list for items for the school library, playground, or any other school items. Use this site for a community service project for your classroom. Create a WishyBox list for a family in need in your community and have students bring in items to donate. Use WishyBox as a real world way to extend the gift of giving!

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HD Downloader - hddownloader.com

Grades
K to 12
10 Favorites 0  Comments
   
Use the HD Downloader to easily download videos and music from YouTube. Paste your YouTube URL to the space provided on HD Downloader. Then select whether to copy as a ...more
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Use the HD Downloader to easily download videos and music from YouTube. Paste your YouTube URL to the space provided on HD Downloader. Then select whether to copy as a video or an MP3 music file (selecting the quality), convert to a RingTone, or scan the MP3 to a Mobile Phone. When selecting to download a video there are several choices of formats: 3GP medium and high quality, FLV low and medium quality, and MP4 high quality. The MP4 high quality seemed to download the fastest, and the resulting download is viewable in full screen mode. All the selections work on both PC and MAC computers. At the time of this review, HD Downloader seems to download best using Internet Explorer (I.E.) on a Windows computer, and Safari on a MAC computer. When using I.E. on the Windows computer, a box might appear that says: "the digital signature cannot be verified" and will ask if you want to run the application anyway. Click on RUN. Once you've downloaded the video, you can copy it to a USB stick, and it will also play on a MAC computer. Be aware: there are MANY advertisements at this site, so this may not be a site that you want students to explore independently.
This site includes advertising.

tag(s): video (276)

In the Classroom

Mark this tool in your favorites for easy access, and as a "work-around" when YouTube is blocked at your school. Use this tool at home to save YouTube videos on a stick and take them to school. Teachers should model ethical use of electronic resources (other people's work) for students. Be sure to give proper credit for videos and other files you save locally under Fair Use.

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Reframe it - Reframe it

Grades
8 to 12
8 Favorites 0  Comments
 
Use this browser add-on to comment anywhere on the web. Reframe It is a Firefox and Internet Explorer extension. Make specific comments next to the text or images of any ...more
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Use this browser add-on to comment anywhere on the web. Reframe It is a Firefox and Internet Explorer extension. Make specific comments next to the text or images of any website. Share your thoughts with friends and groups in Facebook, Twitter, Blogger, and more. Add critiques or questions to share with others. You can share the annotated pages by url, even if the recipient does NOT have the add on. Find sample documents to try before downloading the add on here.

tag(s): browser (6), writing prompts (95)

In the Classroom

Use to comment and annotate on pictures and information anywhere on the web. This is a great tool for you (or your students) to annotate research and information on the Internet. Create teacher annotations or question and answer comments on pages. Ask comprehension questions or guiding questions for places you send students on the web. Ask questions that students can complete as homework to show that they accessed the web resource assigned. If students have access to the add-on with individual log-ins, they can converse and debate about web page content. This tool wold also be a powerful way for students to point out bias on a web page or for art students to comment on images and design elements. Create writing prompts by adding questions or comments to a web page and sharing it with students.

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Talk Typer - 2012 TalkTyper

Grades
K to 12
10 Favorites 0  Comments
  
Your spoken words are instantly changed to written text. You need to use the Chrome browser for this site to work properly. Just click on the microphone and speak. Follow ...more
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Your spoken words are instantly changed to written text. You need to use the Chrome browser for this site to work properly. Just click on the microphone and speak. Follow simple directions and immediately begin to dictate. You need to the Chrome browser for this site to work properly. As soon as speech is ready, it appears in red, and you push ok. Corrections are suggested in red. If your speech is not recognized, there is an alternatives button to help you dictate correctly. You can also click on the speaker button to hear the written words played back to you. Click the blue arrow to move the text down to the larger text box. There you can store several phrases or sentences together. Choose to print, email, or tweet your message. Talk Typer is also available in a variety of languages. Be sure to speak slowly and clearly. This is best used with short phrases or sentences.
This site includes advertising.

tag(s): text to speech (18)

In the Classroom

Talk Typer is a very versatile tool, for students, parents, and teachers alike. Bypass poor typing skills, dysgraphia, dyslexia, and physical disabilities. Use this tool in emails, documents, or anything requiring typed text. Use in your writing class so students can either write or edit their work. Use when you are in a hurry with emails requiring long text. Use for your newsletters or family emails. Share this on your class website and at Back to School Night. Emerging literacy students will enjoy the success they have with their oral language into written word. Improve content and forget about mechanics of writing or typing. Focus in on grammar and mechanics after seeing the recognized mistakes. Include this website on every tool bar and as a favorite on your class web page. ELL students can speak English, play it back, and correct it until it "sounds right" and expresses their ideas correctly.

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PDFescape - Red Software

Grades
K to 12
9 Favorites 0  Comments
 
Use this site to be able to edit PDF documents. It is free and easy to use. Upload your PDF document or link to an existing online PDF. Add additional ...more
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Use this site to be able to edit PDF documents. It is free and easy to use. Upload your PDF document or link to an existing online PDF. Add additional text or free hand writing. Create drawings or add images. You can create PDFs, edit PDFs, fill-out existing PDFs, save/print PDFs, and more. When finished, download the final product. No sign up is required to use most features. If you must complete entry forms, applications, or otehr pdf forms, this tool can be a lifesaver.
This site includes advertising.

In the Classroom

Use to alter documents that may have been saved as a PDF in the past. Save this site in your professional resources. If you work with students who request college recommendations or need to fill out forms for scholarships or jobs, be sure to share this tool with them!
 

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PDFmyURL - OpenTracker.net

Grades
K to 12
3 Favorites 0  Comments
Turn any web page into a PDF document instantly with this incredibly easy tool! Simply type or copy and paste the url into the box and click the "P" button. ...more
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Turn any web page into a PDF document instantly with this incredibly easy tool! Simply type or copy and paste the url into the box and click the "P" button. Instantly the page converts to a PDF document and downloads to your computer for immediate use. Drag the site's bookmarklet onto your browser's toolbar for easy use at any time with any page.

In the Classroom

Use this site to print any web page without all of the headings and other extras that generally appear. Make print outs for students to practice highlighting and looking for main ideas in informational texts (especially if you do not have an interactive whiteboard to do this). Upload PDF's to your website for student use of single pages of websites instead of having students go through unneeded pages. Be sure to show students that you must make a note of the DATE when you made the pdf, since you should always include the "date accessed" in a project bibliography entry for a web site. Talk about "fair use" in making web page copies for temporary use as part of research or class activities vs copying web pages to hang them up as locker decorations! This may be a good site to share with parents via your website. (Help them save paper and print only what they need, not an entire website.)
 This resource requires PDF reader software like Adobe Acrobat.

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Duplichecker - Duplichecker

Grades
4 to 12
4 Favorites 0  Comments
Take advantage of this FREE online plagiarism checker. Scroll down slightly to find the text entry boxes. Copy and paste your text to be checked or upload the file as ...more
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Take advantage of this FREE online plagiarism checker. Scroll down slightly to find the text entry boxes. Copy and paste your text to be checked or upload the file as a .txt file (maximum 1000 words) . Choose whether the quotes will be checked as a group of words (Without Quotes) or as a quote by clicking the appropriate button. Choose your choice of search engine: Google, Yahoo, MSN, or other. When choosing between the Advanced search option and New Version, the New Version option appears to provide the best results.
This site includes advertising.

tag(s): plagiarism (34)

In the Classroom

Students can use this plagiarism checker to be sure they are turning in original work. Teachers can use this service to check the work of students (if submitted electronically). Model this site to explain what plagiarism IS and how students can avoid it. Share this site at the beginning of the school year. The hands-on experience will help them understand this challenging concept. You might even want to provide several examples of plagiarized writing as an exercise for student to check and correct before they copy/paste their way to trouble in a research assignment. Another interesting exercise for researchers is to locate an article on a how-to topic, such as "How to Paint a Room," then see how many sites use the exact same text. As a class, discuss whether this proliferation is good or bad (is the web spreading misinformation, too?).

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Number Bonds Worksheet - Mathsonline

Grades
2 to 5
0 Favorites 0  Comments
Create worksheets for practicing addition for any target number with this website. Choose a number and enter it in the box then click on "create worksheet." Forty different problems...more
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Create worksheets for practicing addition for any target number with this website. Choose a number and enter it in the box then click on "create worksheet." Forty different problems will display that have a total of your target number.

tag(s): addition (239), operations (123), subtraction (198)

In the Classroom

Move beyond using this site as worksheet practice by making it a partner activity. Print the worksheets for a target number and have one student quiz another on the missing number. For example, print worksheets with a target of 47. One of the problems will be 31 + 16 = 47, and the student with the worksheet will provide 16 to his partner and the partner will state the missing number of 31.
 This resource requires Adobe Flash.

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ToolsforEnglish - toolsforenglish.com

Grades
2 to 12
5 Favorites 0  Comments
   
Create exercises and quizzes for English language and other subjects quickly and easily with ToolsforEnglish. Copy and paste any text and create worksheets by filtering out prepositions,...more
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Create exercises and quizzes for English language and other subjects quickly and easily with ToolsforEnglish. Copy and paste any text and create worksheets by filtering out prepositions, conjunctions, modal verbs, and articles. You can also create documents that scramble words, sentences, or paragraphs, and for matching, multiple choice and true/false questions. Your choices create a worksheet and answer sheet to print right away or create a PDF file that you can save on your computer for later use. The introduction video requires Flash.

tag(s): quizzes (100), word study (79), worksheets (62)

In the Classroom

Despite the name, ToolsforEnglish is for ANY teacher who creates reviews before a test or quiz. Use the gap fill tool on your projector or interactive whiteboard and have students fill in key words to complete the exercise. Assign as homework for a study aid. Create study aids for ELL/ESL, or learning support students to review and learn. Even better: Let students take control! Have students create the tests, in order to find the keywords or quiz each other. Use in centers for a review of current vocabulary, concepts, or even mathematical practice. Divide the class into cooperative learning groups to cover all aspects of one topic. The subject options are limitless. Use as a competition. Post this link on your website as a resource for parents to help at home.
 
  This resource requires Adobe Flash and PDF reader software like Adobe Acrobat.

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WeTransfer - wetransfer.com

Grades
K to 12
0 Favorites 0  Comments
 
WeTransfer is an easy way to move or share up to 2 GB of files. Simply add files, enter the receiver's and sender's email addresses, and add an optional message. ...more
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WeTransfer is an easy way to move or share up to 2 GB of files. Simply add files, enter the receiver's and sender's email addresses, and add an optional message. Then click Transfer. Files are available for two weeks. This is a public site, and the backgrounds change each time you log in. You should preview the backgrounds before suggesting students use this site. Our reviewers saw nothing objectionable.

In the Classroom

Use to collect any work from your students (or files from parents). Share images you want students to use in a project. Use to share written assignments or project updates. Be sure to have students name their documents in a standardized way to determine ownership. This is extremely handy for those moving towards a paperless classroom. Teachers who collect IEP input will love this secure way of collecting files from parents. Share the blank form and include directions for them to upload it back to you in this central location.

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PieColor - Create a Pie Chart - Piecolor.com

Grades
3 to 7
4 Favorites 0  Comments
 
Easily create and download a colorful pie chart with PieColor. Enter the number of slices you want, the percent for each slice, and a label (example - 48% girls, 52% ...more
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Easily create and download a colorful pie chart with PieColor. Enter the number of slices you want, the percent for each slice, and a label (example - 48% girls, 52% boys). Adjust colors as you like by clicking on the color wheel for each slice. Options include a title, background color, and size of text. Download or embed in your blog using links at the bottom of your pie chart.
This site includes advertising.

tag(s): charts and graphs (195), data (153), percent (83)

In the Classroom

Collect data in your classroom and quickly create a graph to represent it. Share through links or adding images to blogs, wikis, or websites. Graphs can also be shared on an interactive whiteboard or projector for better analysis of data by the class. Graph results of a test, answers from students, favorite foods, fictitious budgets, class schedules, and whatever else is applicable in your classroom. Use the pie charts students create to teach their peers how to read charts that accompany informational texts. Have cooperative learning groups create their own graphs to share with the class on the class wiki. Use this tool to create quick pie charts on your interactive whiteboard whenever you count class votes or encounter other data so students "see" data on a regular basis and visual students have another way to absorb the information. Keep the link handy on your web page to access it quickly in or out of class.
 

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Pass Creator - Passcreator

Grades
1 to 12
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This tool generates passwords with a random assortment of letters and numbers. Do you need a specific number of letters, numbers, or characters? No problem! Click on the Options tab...more
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This tool generates passwords with a random assortment of letters and numbers. Do you need a specific number of letters, numbers, or characters? No problem! Click on the Options tab to check off the options needed from the drop down menu.

tag(s): internet safety (108)

In the Classroom

Use this simple and effective tool for creating random passwords. It's great for use in generating passwords for students or sites that you use. Unfortunately, Passcreator is unable to help us remember the generated passwords! For help with that, we recommend creating a document or spreadsheet to keep track of passwords for your students. Computer teachers can also use this tool when teaching about online safety/security.
 

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Instant Classroom Seating Chart - Instant Classroom

Grades
K to 12
10 Favorites 0  Comments
This free site makes classroom management easier by letting you create a seating chart easily. There is also a Random Name Generator and a Classroom Group Maker. You can create ...more
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This free site makes classroom management easier by letting you create a seating chart easily. There is also a Random Name Generator and a Classroom Group Maker. You can create many groups with up to 100 students in each group.

tag(s): classroom management (150)

In the Classroom

Use this site at the beginning of the year to create a seating chart for your classroom. Use the drag and drop technology to configure the desks the way you want them. Use the Random Name Generator to choose a student for an activity or to answer a question. If you need to create groups of 2, 3 or more, use the Classroom Group Maker to automatically split your class into even groups.

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