Graphic Organizer Resources from TeachersFirst

Whether you call them concept maps, mind maps, KWLs, or graphic organizers, these visual diagrams show relationships between concepts and provide a powerful tool for learning and connecting new ideas. Creating graphic organizers also helps today's visual learners build reading comprehension. This collection of reviewed resources includes tools for creating graphic organizers and many suggestions for ways to use them in teaching almost any subject or grade. Be sure to read the "In the Classroom" suggestions for examples of ways to use graphic organizers as part of a lesson or unit.

 

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Google Drawings - Google

Grades
K to 12
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Google Drawings is a collaborative drawing tool included with your Google Drive account. To find it, select "new", "more", then choose Google Drawings. Use the tools found on the site...more
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Google Drawings is a collaborative drawing tool included with your Google Drive account. To find it, select "new", "more", then choose Google Drawings. Use the tools found on the site to add shapes, lines, text, and more. Import images from your drive or save Creative Commons images for use. Use the share option to send the links to other users to edit (be sure that your settings allow users with the link to edit the document). To view the revision history for any drawing select "file" and "see the revision history." Images automatically save to your Google Drive and can be downloaded to your computer by saving in a variety of formats including jpg, pdf, and png. Use the publish option to create an embed code and embed into your website.

tag(s): collaboration (51), drawing (73), images (269)

In the Classroom

Take advantage of this easy to use tool for a variety of classroom uses. Upload images and use the text tool to add digital annotations. Ask students to add digital annotations to images, for example, different landforms or to share as an assessment. Use the shape tool to create quick and easy timelines. This is perfect for use as a quick activity on your interactive timeline to help students understand the sequence of a story or a timeline of historic events. Create graphic organizers and mind maps easily by using the shapes tools, drawing lines, and adding text with links to additional information. When working on group projects, suggest students collaborate together to create and annotate images to include with a final multimedia presentation. Use Google Drawings to easily create infographics to share information on any topic.

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Read. Inquire. Write. - University of Michigan

Grades
6 to 10
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Read. Inquire. Write. is a free curriculum using investigations to support middle school social studies learning through inquiry-based lessons; also, this site provides many supports...more
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Read. Inquire. Write. is a free curriculum using investigations to support middle school social studies learning through inquiry-based lessons; also, this site provides many supports for English Language Learners within the activities. Use the provided literacy tools to guide students in analytical reasoning and argument writing within the 5-day investigations. Each investigation includes all materials needed including teacher's guides, student packets, rubrics, student models, and a PowerPoint presentation. Also, all activities provide video models demonstrating methods to encourage student thinking and investigative responses. Each lesson includes correlation to Common Core Standards. Registration is required to download materials from this site. Videos reside on YouTube. If your school blocks YouTube, they may not be viewable.

tag(s): civil war (149), colonial america (108), concept mapping (17), debate (47), democracy (16), evaluating sources (16), greece (29), inquiry (29), maps (295), mexico (30), middle east (43), native americans (82)

In the Classroom

Instead of using paper documents, scan the included PDF or Word documents into Google Classroom or your school student/teacher platform to share and assign to students. Be sure to include mentor texts for student use. Enhance student learning by asking students to use highlighting and note-taking tools within their word document to provide documentation for their responses. Although this site includes many high-quality graphic organizers, create your own and using Diagramo, reviewed here, to personalize for your classroom use. Have students use a digital portfolio tool to share their investigations. PorfolioVillage, reviewed here, includes many resources for creating online portfolios and web pages. Consider sharing the activities found on this site with your peers as a model for redesigning lessons you already use in your classroom. Use Padlet, reviewed here, to collaborate and share ideas, activities, and resources as you work toward incorporating inquiry lessons into your classrooms.
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Engaging Congress - Indiana University

Grades
5 to 12
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Engaging Congress is an interactive game that uses primary sources to help students evaluate information as they learn about the United States government. Download the app from Google...more
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Engaging Congress is an interactive game that uses primary sources to help students evaluate information as they learn about the United States government. Download the app from Google Play or the iTunes store, or select the webGL link to play on the web. Begin play by choosing a story, primary source, or pick a trivia challenge or practice. Use the Teacher Toolbox to find documents by era or topic, learning objectives matched to Common Core Standards, and compelling questions for use with each issue and story. Be sure to scroll down to the bottom of the home page to find the link to request classroom giveaways to encourage play!

tag(s): branches of government (58), congress (42), DAT device agnostic tool (174), primary sources (99)

In the Classroom

Take advantage of the free games and materials on this site to use as a supplement to your current resources for teaching history and government. Instead of written notes, strengthen learning by having students use an online tool such as Creately, reviewed here, to create diagrams, mindmaps, and other visual graphic organizers. To compare and contrast information found in different primary sources, create a Venn Diagram using Creately. As students prepare to share their findings and summarize their learning, have them modify their learning by creating infographics using Canva Infographic Creator, reviewed here, to visually represent facts and information. As a final assessment for your unit using these materials, ask students to form teams to debate different sides of the issues presented. Share their debates as a podcast using Anchor, reviewed here. Anchor is a simple to use podcasting tool offering several free options for creating, hosting, and sharing podcasts. As an alternative, ask other students redefine their learning and to create multimedia presentations using Sway, reviewed here to share text, videos, images, and more.
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UL Xplorlabs - Underwriters Laboratories

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7 to 12
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Xplorerlabs provides free STEM learning activities for middle school educators through exploration modules and hands-on learning all correlated to Next Generation Science Standards....more
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Xplorerlabs provides free STEM learning activities for middle school educators through exploration modules and hands-on learning all correlated to Next Generation Science Standards. Begin each module with a short overview of the topic then follow each step to investigate and solve through evidence-based collaboration. Each module requires one to two class periods to complete. In addition to learning modules, Xplorerlabs also includes Xtensions including additional experiments and challenges. All of the experiments on the site include student and teacher guides for download.

tag(s): electricity (96), energy (213), fire (27), fire safety (15), heat (17), problem solving (293), STEM (208)

In the Classroom

You and your students will benefit from this site's free materials to include in your science lab activities to teach content, problem-solving, and scientific investigation techniques. As students begin activities replace paper and pencil and use a digital graphic organizer such as one found at TUZZit, reviewed here, to organize questions and gather information. Upon completion of experiments, enhance learning and have students share their work using Printing Press, reviewed here, to create a one-page newspaper or brochure including images and text. At the end of your unit, have students use Biteable, reviewed here, to redefine their learning and create an explainer video sharing and demonstrating the results of their lab activities.
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Graphic Organizer Resources - TeachersFirst

Grades
K to 12
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This collection of reviewed resources includes tools for creating graphic organizers and many suggestions for ways to use them in teaching almost any subject or grade. Be sure to read...more
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This collection of reviewed resources includes tools for creating graphic organizers and many suggestions for ways to use them in teaching almost any subject or grade. Be sure to read the "In the Classroom" suggestions for examples of ways to use graphic organizers as part of a lesson or unit.

tag(s): graphic organizers (40), mind map (24), venn diagrams (18)

In the Classroom

Whether you call them concept maps, mind maps, KWLs, or graphic organizers, these visual diagrams show relationships between concepts and provide a powerful tool for learning and connecting new ideas. Use graphic organizers to help your visual learners build reading comprehension. Find something for all grade levels in this collection.

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Amazing Space - Space Telescope Science Institute's Office of Public Outreach

Grades
3 to 12
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This site shares lessons and resources to learn more about the Hubble and James Webb space telescopes. Choose from the many resources sorted by topics including gravity, space history,...more
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This site shares lessons and resources to learn more about the Hubble and James Webb space telescopes. Choose from the many resources sorted by topics including gravity, space history, and more. The Online Explorations offer opportunities to play an interactive card game with solar system trading cards or use real data from the Hubble Telescope to make conjectures about the universe. Additional resources on this site include fully detailed lesson plans correlated to standards, graphic organizers, and up to date information with the latest space telescope related news.

tag(s): gravity (53), measurement (180), solar system (124), space (233), stars (72), statistics (130), STEM (208), telescopes (10)

In the Classroom

Be sure to bookmark this site if you teach space science for the many available resources shared with educators. Take advantage of the free lesson plans and interactives. Share how to use interactives on your whiteboard or with a projector then let students explore on classroom computers or their own device. Include a link to interactives on your class website for students to access from home. Use an online portfolio site like Seesaw, reviewed here, for younger students, or bulb, reviewed here, for older students to collect artifacts and share their thoughts throughout your space unit. Take student learning a step further and ask them to use an augmented reality application like HP Reveal, reviewed here, to create an augmented reality display of different portions of our solar system.
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MatchCollege - MatchCollege.com

Grades
8 to 12
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Choosing a college is one of the most important decisions students will make. MatchCollege is a search directory for finding information on over 8,000 institutions based on several...more
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Choosing a college is one of the most important decisions students will make. MatchCollege is a search directory for finding information on over 8,000 institutions based on several different choices including degrees offered, athletics, financial assistance, and more. In addition to the search features, this site includes a blog and articles featuring information on searching and becoming successful in your college career.

tag(s): careers (148), college (47)

In the Classroom

Share this site with students and parents to use as a resource for making college decisions. Help students organize their findings by using an online diagramming tool like Lucidchart, reviewed here, to create diagrams, mindmaps, and other visual graphic organizers. Save information gathered into PDF documents, then use Flipsnack, reviewed here, to turn their PDFs into an online flippable book. If you only have a word doc use PDFaid, reviewed here, to convert them to PDF format. As students near a final decision, use Google My Maps, reviewed here, to create a virtual visit to their college of choice.

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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 (27), authors (120), biographies (86), listening (83), literacy (105), literature (264), podcasts (58), poetry (221)

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.
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Hardcore History - Dan Carlin

Grades
8 to 12
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Hardcore History is a series of podcasts that digs deep into historical events and characters, then analyzes them from multiple angles. Instead of telling stories from our past, these...more
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Hardcore History is a series of podcasts that digs deep into historical events and characters, then analyzes them from multiple angles. Instead of telling stories from our past, these podcasts compare and contrast events over time. Titles include The American Peril and King of Kings taking an introspective look at topics such as was Alexander the Great as bad of a person as Hitler? Each podcast link also includes text or images to accompany the content. You can also listen to these podcasts on the Hardcore History YouTube Channel located here. If your district blocks YouTube, the videos may not be viewable. You could always view them at home and bring them to class "on a stick" to share. Use a tool such as Freemake Video Converter, reviewed here, to download the videos from YouTube.

tag(s): germany (28), greeks (33), nuclear energy (27), religions (71), romans (37), world war 1 (57), world war 2 (144)

In the Classroom

Include portions (or all) of these podcasts as part of your in-depth look at historical events. Have cooperative learning groups create their own podcasts discussing events and characters in history. Use a site such as Podcast Generator, reviewed here. Use an online tool such a Lucidchart, reviewed here, to create diagrams, mindmaps, and other visual graphic organizers to organize historical information. Create a link to podcasts on your class page for students to listen to at home, then discuss in class. Alternatively, flip your class and have students view and react to the podcasts on YouTube using VideoANT, reviewed here. With VideoANT student's can add comments and ask questions as they watch videos.

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World Press Freedom Map - NewseumEd

Grades
7 to 12
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Discover what a free press really is and how many of the world's nations enjoy a free press using the NewseumEd activity World Press Freedom Map. You don't have to ...more
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Discover what a free press really is and how many of the world's nations enjoy a free press using the NewseumEd activity World Press Freedom Map. You don't have to make a trip to Washington D.C. to learn from this activity, instead, use the accompanying link for the Freedom House interactive map. Download the worksheet/chart in PDF or as a Word document for distribution. You must be a registered NewseumEd member to access this resource; however, membership is free.

tag(s): freedom of speech (12), journalism (64), media literacy (72), news (257), newspapers (99)

In the Classroom

Begin by showing students the Freedom House interactive map and read the information in the right column about what a genuinely free press is. Compare that info to a partly free press (explained just under it). Then have students work in small groups or with a partner to fill out the worksheet/chart. Complete a class discussion of the chart, and then have the small groups or pairs choose one of the countries with partial freedom of the press and research what other freedoms the U.S. enjoys that are restricted or repressed for the citizens of that country. Add these to the chart. Challenge students to convert their paper worksheet/chart to an online digital infographic to present their findings using Visme, reviewed here, or to set up their own graphic organizer to show the comparisons using an online tool such as TUZZit, reviewed here. TUZZit allows you to create diagrams, mindmaps, and other visual graphic organizers.

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Election 2016: Stumped!? - NewseumEd

Grades
6 to 12
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Don't shy away from teaching about the elections because of all the nastiness and confusion. Instead get help from NewseumEd's latest Collection: Election 2016: Stumped!? Study the...more
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Don't shy away from teaching about the elections because of all the nastiness and confusion. Instead get help from NewseumEd's latest Collection: Election 2016: Stumped!? Study the historical conditions and circumstances of controversial political campaigns to gain an understanding of today's campaign tactics and messages. Go back as far as the 1880s to learn about mudslinging and nasty accusations in the election and where and when nasty ads got their start. This NewseumEd Collection approaches understanding by using primary sources and case studies (use the drop down menu for Education Collection). The case studies start at the very beginning of an election and go right through to the end. They all include lesson plans with an issue summary, debate question, tools for organizing evidence for the discussions, election essentials, primary sources, guiding questions, and an extension activity. Optional resources for some of the case studies include NewseumEd's Pinterest pages (links provided with those Case Studies). To get started there are a few helpful interactives to go with this Collection: the Political Personality Quiz, Candidate Match, and Predict the Election. Registration with NewseumEd is necessary to access all sources, but is entirely free.

tag(s): democracy (16), elections (78), presidents (135), primary sources (99)

In the Classroom

Whether the nation or your local government is going through an unpleasant, combative election campaign, or even during a yearly unit on the elections this collection from Newseum will help students understand our political system. Pique student interest by having them take the Political Personality Quiz. In small groups have students discuss whether or not they agree with the results. Next, you may want to use the Candidate Match to refine their political profile further, and then discuss how they feel about the candidate they matched up with and why they feel that way. While using any or all of the case studies with your students, don't forget to download the Activity, Handout, and Worksheet. All of the case studies have discussion topics.

All students need to have a voice during discussions, whether discussing as a class or in small groups, allow everyone to share their opinions and concerns using a backchannel tool for the class such as GoSoapBox, reviewed here, or with older students, in small groups, using a tool like Slack, reviewed here. Extension activities encompass making charts, lists, (use tools like 25 Language Arts Graphic Organizers, reviewed here, or Holt Interactive Graphic Organizers, reviewed here), researching a candidate creating a slogan and explaining why the slogan fits that candidate, and creating a campaign event. For the latter two extension suggestions use a tool such as Adobe Spark for Education, reviewed here.

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OK2Ask: Getting Started with Google Draw - TeachersFirst

Grades
K to 12
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This recording of an OK2Ask online professional development session from May 2017, opens in Adobe Connect. Learn how to make interactive lessons and activities with ease using the drawing...more
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This recording of an OK2Ask online professional development session from May 2017, opens in Adobe Connect. Learn how to make interactive lessons and activities with ease using the drawing tools and sharing ability of Google Draw. Learn how to navigate through Google Draw to make engaging lessons, interactive graphic organizers, exciting assignments and much more. With the amazing sharing abilities within Google, it is easy to share information with students and colleagues and work toward a more paperless classroom. This session is appropriate for teachers at all technology levels. As a result of this session teachers will: 1. Learn the basics of creating in Google Draw; 2. Explore examples of ways to integrate Google Draw into the classroom; 3. Create a Google Drawing that you can use; and 4. Plan for the use of Google Draw in the classroom.

tag(s): drawing (73), Google (43)

In the Classroom

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

Grades
8 to 12
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This DigiKit consists of two sections of information for teaching about transportation. The Teachers Guide contains information for teaching lessons including correlation to standards....more
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This DigiKit consists of two sections of information for teaching about transportation. The Teachers Guide contains information for teaching lessons including correlation to standards. The second portion includes a complete unit plan for grades 8-12. This unit provides links to online materials including photographs and slide shows. Teaching materials include project worksheets and graphic organizers.

tag(s): 1800s (52), 1900s (45), railroads (12), transportation (47)

In the Classroom

Save some time with these ready-to-use free materials for use as an entire unit or as a supplement to current teaching materials. Include information from this site during lessons on the 1800 or 1900's or the Industrial Revolution. Have students transform their learning by creating timelines (with music, photos, videos, and more) to demonstrate changes in transportation using Timeline JS, reviewed here.
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OK2Ask: Getting Started with Google Draw - TeachersFirst

Grades
K to 12
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This recording of an OK2Ask online professional development session from July 2016, opens in Adobe Connect. Explore the hidden treasure that is Google Draw. Don't let its simplicity...more
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This recording of an OK2Ask online professional development session from July 2016, opens in Adobe Connect. Explore the hidden treasure that is Google Draw. Don't let its simplicity fool you, there are many things hidden in this versatile tool. In this session, participants will learn how to navigate through Google Draw to make engaging lesson, interactive graphic organizers, exciting assignments and much more. With the amazing sharing abilities within Google, it is easy to get the information out to students and colleagues to work towards a more paperless classroom. As a result of this session and through individual follow-up, teachers will: 1. Learn the basics of creating in Google Draw; 2. Explore examples of ways to integrate Google Draw into the classroom; and 3. Create a Google Drawing that you can use. Remember, it is OK2Ask'® questions at any time! This session is appropriate for teachers at all technology levels.

tag(s): Google (43)

In the Classroom

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

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Animal Inquiry - ReadWriteThink

Grades
K to 6
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Animal Inquiry provides four graphic organizers for recording and exploring information about any animal. Choose from animal facts, babies, interactions, and habitat graphic organizers....more
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Animal Inquiry provides four graphic organizers for recording and exploring information about any animal. Choose from animal facts, babies, interactions, and habitat graphic organizers. Each organizer provides three prompts for entering information. When complete, click the Print link to print the final product. No registration required.

tag(s): animal homes (67), animals (322), graphic organizers (40), habitats (112)

In the Classroom

This is the perfect tool for students under 13 to use. Share this site on an interactive whiteboard (or projector) and complete organizers together. Have older students complete their own animal inquiry using this site. Have students create an annotated image including text boxes and related links using a tool such as ThingLink, reviewed here, using information they provided on the graphic organizers.
 
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ARKive - Wildscreen

Grades
K to 12
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ARKive is a spectacular digital library with over 100,000 images and photographs showcasing a record of life on Earth. The focus of ARKive's content is to raise awareness of the ...more
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ARKive is a spectacular digital library with over 100,000 images and photographs showcasing a record of life on Earth. The focus of ARKive's content is to raise awareness of the world's endangered species. Browse through the site using links to species, places, or topics and use filters to narrow down content as desired. Find lesson plans and more for educators sorted by age levels under the Educate tab. Make sure you visit the Fun section to discover the world's favorite species, play games, take quizzes, and much more!

tag(s): animal homes (67), animals (322), endangered species (40), forests (33), habitats (112), oceans (163), plants (174)

In the Classroom

Use this site as the starting point for individual or group projects. The site grants permission for educational download and use of the images (NOT on a web page), provided you include the copyright information with each image. Have students create sets of images to illustrate a report or make graphic organizers illustrating families of animals from your area and their classifications into kingdom, phylum, etc. By letting students choose their own animals and examples, the task will have more meaning to them. Individuals can set up memberships (click My ARKive) to make "scrapbooks" of images and information. Membership requires a valid email address (info about your registration is sent there), so a whole-class or teacher account may be the easiest way to use it. Create a link on classroom computers for students to explore on their own. If your students are creating an online poster or digital story to present their research, this is an excellent opportunity to point out the copyright on this site and challenge students to find the same information on a website they can use with proper citation.
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Story Map - Read Write Think

Grades
1 to 8
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Focus on the key elements of writing a story with Story Map. Fill out and print graphic organizers for characters, setting, conflict, and resolution. Each organizer has prompts for...more
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Focus on the key elements of writing a story with Story Map. Fill out and print graphic organizers for characters, setting, conflict, and resolution. Each organizer has prompts for what to write. Returning to an organizer to edit is possible. Print your Story Map, since it is not saved.

tag(s): digital storytelling (143), graphic organizers (40), writing (361)

In the Classroom

Substitute paper and pencil story mapping by introducing your class to Story Map and writing a class story. Use an interactive whiteboard or projector and be sure to point out the prompts to answer with each organizer. Bookmark Story Map on class computers as part of stations when developing a writing project. Put a link to this tool on your website or blog for students to access at home.
 
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Teachers - Primary Source Sets - Library of Congress

Grades
4 to 12
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This collection of primary sources from the Library of Congress is organized around key topics and themes in American History. View Primary Source Set titles in alphabetical order from...more
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This collection of primary sources from the Library of Congress is organized around key topics and themes in American History. View Primary Source Set titles in alphabetical order from Abraham Lincoln through Women's Suffrage. Choose any topic to view Teacher's Guides and analysis tools including graphic organizers for students. Sort information to find materials meeting Common Core Standards, State Standards, or national organization standards.

tag(s): 20th century (52), authors (120), black history (60), civil war (149), constitution (92), hispanic (12), jefferson (20), lincoln (84), new deal (5), primary sources (99), segregation (16), thanksgiving (35), veterans (18), washington (31), westward expansion (32), womens suffrage (27), wright brothers (19)

In the Classroom

When introducing a new unit, show students photos from the era and have them describe what they see and what period they think it is. Find plenty of questions and activities (including a blank analysis organizer for students) in the Teacher's Guides. Also look at Library of Congress: for Teachers, reviewed here. Encourage your students to use this tool for projects. Challenge students to find a photo (legally permitted for reproduction), and then narrate the photo as if it is a news report. Have students create a multimedia presentation using Slidestory, reviewed here. This site allows you to narrate a picture modifying student learning. Include this site on your class webpage for students and parents to access as a reference.
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80 Years of Canadian Geographic Maps - The Royal Canadian Geographical Society

Grades
6 to 12
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Explore nearly 50 maps created over the past 80 years of publication of Canadian Geographic Maps. Browse through themes such as Exploration, Conflict and Borders, People, Wildlife,...more
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Explore nearly 50 maps created over the past 80 years of publication of Canadian Geographic Maps. Browse through themes such as Exploration, Conflict and Borders, People, Wildlife, and more. Choose Cartography 101 to find explanations of mapping techniques and technologies, and learn more about map making. Be sure to explore the Learning section to find several interesting lesson plans based on topics such as natural disasters and wildlife in an urban world. The lessons can be downloaded in Word or PDF formats.

tag(s): animal homes (67), canada (31), disasters (42), explorers (70), maps (295)

In the Classroom

Even if you do not teach in Canada be sure to explore this site for lesson plans and map making information applicable to any country. Adjust lesson plans to your particular area of study. Challenge advanced students to create a presentation using Swipe, reviewed here, demonstrating similar themes. Use an online tool such a Canva, reviewed here, to create diagrams, mindmaps, and other visual graphic organizers comparing and contrasting information found on different maps.
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CommonLit - CommonLit

Grades
4 to 12
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Access commonly taught themes for classic literature and discussion questions for that theme. Plus there are Text Sets perfect for social studies teachers! Choose a Lexile'''® grade...more
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Access commonly taught themes for classic literature and discussion questions for that theme. Plus there are Text Sets perfect for social studies teachers! Choose a Lexile'''® grade level for reading and download the text in PDF format or read online. Each text has a menu across the top offering Paired Texts, Related Media, Teachers Guide, and Parent Guide. Accompanying the text are critical thinking questions, an Assessment, and some have Guided Reading Mode. Choose the size of the font, listen to the Read Aloud (and pause it), translate to Spanish, and Highlight. Track student progress. All of this for free! What else could one want? Well, you can also request a text, and they will negotiate with the copyright holders to have that text on their site. Take a look at their blog, too! You'll find lots of suggestions and thoughtful reflections for using nonfiction texts with your students.

tag(s): critical thinking (117), literature (264), themes (11)

In the Classroom

CommonLit is an excellent resource for literature teachers, speech and debate teachers, and history teachers. Share the site with students on an interactive whiteboard or projector, and ask the class what themes they would like to investigate. Under each theme are two questions. Divide the class into small groups with each group investigating one of the questions for one of the themes and reading the accompanying text. Differentiate for students by having students read on the same theme, but at their reading level. Challenge individuals, pairs, or small groups to create a graphic organizer for the story they read replacing paper and pencil and using a tool like Holt Interactive Graphic Organizers, reviewed here. You could take this to another level and have two groups read different selections on the same theme, use a graphic organizer to make comparisons for how the theme was presented, and then modify learning by challenging the groups to present their findings to the class via video. Use a simple video creator like Biteable, reviewed here. This site would also work when you have to make substitute plans unexpectedly. Just put the link in your plans and tell the sub what theme you want students to read about, or better yet, let the sub choose!
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