Reading in the Content Areas
TeachersFirst offers this collection of web resources well suited to teach reading in the content areas, especially in science and social studies classes, but in almost ANY subject area. See "In the classroom" ideas and strategies for teaching reading across the curriculum and find texts to use on the computer, in print, or in interactive whiteboard/projector. Sometimes using web-based texts can be more engaging, and often these are more up-to-date. Practice with these resources is certain to help student mastery of informational texts.
Grades8 to 12
tag(s): weather (201)
In the ClassroomStudents could be assigned different false science statements to research and design their own science news articles comparing fact and fiction. Why not make this a multimedia project and have students complete a podcast, online poster, or narrated photo! For podcasts, try PodOmatic, reviewed here. To create an online poster use a site such as Padlet (reviewed here). Challenge cooperative learning groups to find a photo related to their topic (legally permitted to be reproduced), and then label the photo by adding voice bubbles to explain what they learned using a tool such as Superlame, reviewed here. To find Creative Commons images for student projects (with credit, of course), try Compfight, reviewed here. A class could also be assigned a specific false science fact to research and participate in a class blog or message board discussion via the class web page or wiki site. Students could also use the fiction as the basis for their own "Myth busters" episodes. Reading teachers looking for passages to use in reading comprehension practice, such as finding main idea and supporting details will find these non-fiction passages informative and interesting for their students. Make a temporary copy of one of the explanations to display in your interactive whiteboard software as students highlight key ideas and separate out supporting details using the whiteboard tools. Your science teachers will LOVE you for it!
Grades6 to 12
In the ClassroomBe sure to tell your students that they are NOT the "dummies" referred to in this site! Then go beyond the obvious use of this site as a reference to use it to teach informational writing, reading comprehension, or any curriculum content. Share text-based articles on a projector or interactive whiteboard and have students analyze the keywords and structure of sequential direction-writing or informational writing before they try it on their own. Use the pens and highlighters to note transitions and other ways of organizing directions, including formatting. Use articles to teach basic comprehension skills by copy/pasting sections and having students drag them into the correct sequence on the whiteboard to form logical directions. In science or social studies classes, have students view models on this site, then work in groups to write their own how-to wiki on curriculum topics such as "How to tell a fungus from a bacterium," "How to solve simultaneous equations," or "How to form a government." If you have access to video equipment, have students write scripts and produce video versions of their how-to instructions and post them on a site such as TeacherTube reviewed here.
GradesK to 12
In the ClassroomThe sky is the limit for potential and possibilities with this website. There are some minor warnings. If you want to allow your students to post to a blog, you will need to create a class and then have them enroll. The great news is that is free. As the teacher, you can moderate or delete posts before they are public. There are lessons available on the site as well as a "Teacher's Lounge" where lesson ideas can be exchanged. In a language arts classroom, students could be assigned to read and blog as a weekly writing assignment. The teacher can assign a specific article or have students choose. Have students read their articles on a podcast using podOmatic, reviewed here. In science, articles from this site could be used to supplement science textbook reading with current articles that better interest students. Articles are short and provide quick practice pieces for non-fiction reading comprehension. Project a story and ask students to write their own sentence for the main idea or to summarize. These quick pieces would fit well on your interactive whiteboard. SmithsonianTweenTribune Espanol allows students to read daily news articles in Spanish and post comments about the stories they read. Teachers moderate all comments before the comments are posted.
Grades3 to 12
In the ClassroomUse Science News for Kids as a great reading and reporting assignment. Weaker readers will need a reading buddy for some of the more challenging article. Classes in lower grades will want to read the articles together. A quick check on one article using Juicy Studio's Readability test, reviewed here, provided an approximate grade level of 6.5. Check articles before assigning to elementary students. Students can find an article of interest to read, summarize, and report to the class as part of a Science in My World unit or regular science current events activity. Have students create commercials about their topics. Video and share using a site such as SchoolTube, reviewed here. Students can use these news articles to find additional relevant information on the internet. Students may find these topics to be great independent study topics. Teach reading comprehension using these factual articles on your interactive whiteboard, asking students to highlight key words and generate a "main idea" sentence using them. Articles offer ideal practice for informational reading questions on high-stakes reading tests.
Grades1 to 12
One disadvantage of the site is that you can only enter a keyword when you get to the third step. After a book list based on interests appears, then you can search by keyword to make the search zero in on specifics. When teachers or students select books for a reading list, they can then click to see the complete list of books they have selected. Clicking on a book title leads to another screen, but it does not contain a book summary; instead, it has a list of other keywords for the book along with other book data.
In the ClassroomThis site is great for teachers searching for books at specific lexile levels. Learning support and ESL/ELL teachers can find books to accompany units in content area classes but on the correct lexile level. Students can also use the site by entering their grade levels and what kind of readers they are. Use this site to differentiate the learning experience for all levels of students. Rather than having students complete traditional book reports, why not have them complete a multimedia project? Provide some choices such as a podcast, using PodoMatic (reviewed here), interactive venn diagram comparing characters (reviewed here), or online book using Bookemon (reviewed here).
GradesK to 3
This site includes advertising.
In the ClassroomThis website could be used for an entire class using your interactive whiteboard or projector. You could also set up a learning center for use during your L.A. block. Use this site to differentiate reading levels for your students. Be certain to save this site in your class favorites and list this site on your class website for students to access both in and out of the classroom.
Grades3 to 8
In the ClassroomSince the subtitle for this page is "Reading Comprehension and Test Preparation," recommend this site to ESL and ELL students preparing for standardized tests. Save it in your favorites on class computers and provide the link on your class website for students to access both in the classroom and out. The activities would also work well on interactive whiteboard.
Share the "Signs" link with your students. Challenge students to create their own signs, similar to those used at this site. Have cooperative learning groups create interactive posters featuring their signs using a tool such as (PicLits - explained here). Share the "PicLits" on an interactive whiteboard or projector.
Grades8 to 12
tag(s): environment (321)
In the ClassroomEngage students in topics relevant to today and students' lives by reading and responding to a variety of timely and peer reviewed articles. Use your own class blog or wiki to elicit responses and conversations from your students. Use this site for research and lesson ideas. Additionally, teach students to review and annotate articles while searching for more information to validate or refute those viewpoints. Have cooperative learning groups create multimedia projects to share their findings: wiki, video, or podcast. Not sure what a wiki is? Check out TeachersFirst's Wiki Walk-Through. Share the video using Teachers.tv (reviewed here). Create a podcast using a tool such as Podomatic (reviewed here). Learning support teachers working to build content-reading skills will find these articles ideal for practice. Share an article on an interactive whiteboard for students to highlight key terms and generate a sentence for the Main Idea of the article. Cooperate with the biology teacher so students practice with topics currently being studied. If you are not sure of the reading level, check the URL for the article using a tool such as Juicystudio, reviewed here.
GradesK to 5
In the ClassroomThis site is a good one to search for quick and easy ideas to celebrate Mother's Day. Save this site in your class favorites and use this site as a learning center for partners to explore together.
Grades2 to 6
In the ClassroomShare this informative site with your students on an interactive whiteboard or projector. Have cooperative learning groups explore this site together. Why not challenge students to create a news broadcast highlighting the holiday. Tape the broadcasts and share them on a site such as Teachers.TV (explained here).
GradesK to 12
Each content area has successful resources that you can use.
Content areas include Preparing, Learning, Studying, Learning with Others, Online Learning/Communicating, Classroom Participation, Project Management, Research, Reading Skills, Preparing for Test, Science and Technology, Math, Resources, Vocabulary/Spelling, Writing Styles, Writing Basics, and Taking Tests. There are over 100 individual topics to explore: Time Management, Avoiding Procrastination, Learning with ADHD, Effective Study Habits, Peer Mediation, Problem Based Learning, Netiquette, Public Speaking, Citing Websites, SQ3R, KWL, Overcoming Test Anxiety, Ten Tips for Terrific Test Taking, Prefixes and Root Words, Seven Stages of Writing, and countless others!
There are some basic advertisements at this site. Flash and Acrobat Reader are needed for some of the links and can be obtained here: TeachersFirst Toolbox page.
In the ClassroomThis site is one to save in your favorites! There is so much here, it is hard to know where to begin. The language offerings provide opportunities for ESL and ELL students to learn study skills in their native language. This site could also be used in world languages classes.
Why not highlight a "study skill" each week using your interactive whiteboard or projector. Then have students TRY it. Most of the topics provide interactive learning or another assignment to help students practice the skill. Have students work individually or with a partner to explore the "topic of the week." These life skills are so necessary, but hard to fit into the already crammed curriculum. This site does a nice job of integrating the study skills with curriculum content. Have students create their own multimedia projects about study skills using a current unit of study from your class.
GradesK to 8
tag(s): st patricks day (13)
In the ClassroomUse an interactive whiteboard or projector and challenge your students with this St. Patrick's Day fun!
Grades6 to 12
In the ClassroomTeachers can pick and choose easily from among several strands of thought among these lesson plans, either to supplement a unit on the Civil War, for use during Black History observations, or in an English class focused on story telling and personal voice. It could also provide interesting materials for reading comprehension practice using content area materials. All the plans follow a pretty regular format: link to the Times article, read it and discuss, but this kind of break from the use of a standard textbook can be refreshing. Many plans include a vocabulary list, ideas for extension activities and focus on making the lesson as interdisciplinary as possible. As you celebrate Presidents Day (especially Lincoln's 200th birthday in 2009), check out this site for Lincoln resources!
GradesK to 12
In the ClassroomNo matter what you teach, these resources will help you target reading and study skills for better comprehension and more.
Grades3 to 12
This site does have several appropriate advertisements. There are also a few questionable links on the site (for example, "Uncensored English"), so be sure to supervise WELL.
In the ClassroomYou will need headphones or speakers if you choose to assign students to listen to the podcasts individually. This site is excellent for enrichment or special topics. Include it on your teacher web page (with a disclaimer regarding content) for students to access both in and out of class. Use this site with intermediate and advanced level ELL and ESL students to help them improve their knowledge of English slang and idioms. If you are into video, consider creating your own student vodcasts about idioms and sharing them via TeacherTube ( reviewed here) and on your class wiki.
GradesK to 6
Caution: although you are able to use many of these items for free, most downloads ask that you input your email address. You can bypass this by clicking submit without inputting your email address. This website requires Adobe Acrobat. You can get it from the TeachersFirst Toolbox page. .
In the ClassroomThe books can be projected on an interactive whiteboard for students to highlight new vocabulary, signal words, etc. with their fingers then read independently. Tell your students' parents about this site to encourage them to read or download and print more stories for their children. Include the link in your class newsletter or on your website. Beginning readers, ELL, and ESL students will enjoy the wordless books whose stories they can tell themselves or tell in their own languages. Students may want to make up their own wordless picture books after seeing some of these examples.
Grades5 to 12
In the ClassroomRegular classroom teachers will want to use this site with ESL and ELL students fwhen they need a quick review on a specific grammar point. Use the professional articles for your own edification as well as links to other topics of interest.
Grades6 to 12
In the ClassroomThis website is particularly useful if your ESL/ELL students want to perform a portion of a play. If your students are having difficulty with article usage, try a different approach to teaching the skill in the context of drama. If you have access to DVDs of the films used, you may want to play a few clips for the students.
Grades3 to 8
In the ClassroomShare this site on your teacher web page or classroom desktop for fast student access to sport statistics and a way to submit creative works. Use sports statistics for math practice and to teach graphing or data organization skills. Use the sports stories as non-fiction examples for reading comprehension. Share a Top Story on your interactive whiteboard as you ask students to highlight parts of speech, cause-effect words, main idea, and more. Suddenly your students will actually READ!
GradesK to 12
In the ClassroomTool can be used in less than 30 seconds. Open TWO windows in Internet Explorer or any web browser. One should be open to citebite; the other to the web page you wish to reference. On that web page, locate and "highlight" the exact passage of text you want to "send" people to see. Copy/paste the passage into the quotation box at Citebite (copy, then change windows). Return to the target web page and copy/paste its actual URL into Citebite. Click "Make Citebite." Copy/paste the new url, indicated after "Your citebite link is:" Note: if the original quote is within a FLASH presentation, it will not copy/paste or generate a Citebite. See this example of a Citebite link to a tip about TeachersFirst Edge tools.
Have your middle and high school students do a web page "credibility critique" on their potential sources by using Citebite before they start a research project. They can highlight passages as proof of credibility -- or lack thereof -- and give you the Citebite links. They will love this easy way to reference a specific portion of a page. You will love the ease of finding it. If you give them a Word document table as a web site evaluation rubric, they can paste the Citebites there, with their comments in the neighboring cell!