Grades3 to 12
In the ClassroomYou can easily click on the current month and display a particular journal entry starter on your whiteboard or choose to project a few to provide your students with options. They can be used to "get the ball rolling" at the beginning of class, as daily or weekly warm-up activities to practice general writing or skills that you are focusing on, preparing for state assessments, free-writing, or as an "anytime" or "when you're finished with your work" activity. They can be easily printed to use as "emergency" or substitute lesson plans.
Grades2 to 12
In the ClassroomCreate a Madlib using Madlibber and share it with your class using your interactive white board and projector to reinforce curriculum topics such as types of plants or famous inventors. Either show the students how to make one about the curriculum topic, or have students operate the board/computer while others suggest words to fill in the blanks in one you have prepared. Madlibs can be used in so may ways: teaching parts of speech, reviewing for a quiz, introducing a new subject, or even as a "Cloze" reading story. Use this site as a station on one of the computers in your class. Put the direct web address (URL) for your Madlibber on your class web page, since some of the public Madlibbers may not be appropriate for your students. Give extra credit to those who work outside school to create classroom-appropriate madlibbers for others to use as review (and share the direct links on your class web page).
Grades3 to 12
In the ClassroomHelp your students demonstrate their ability to generate words related to themes, categories, synonyms and antonyms, or use this clever tool to see how many words students can create that begin or end with a given prefix or suffix, or various parts of speech. Try "verb" as the big word and fill with small verbs! Try "vertebrate" as the big word and fill it with the names of many vertebrates. Enter "smog" as the big word with human behaviors that generate smog as the small words. Create visual poems depicting a feeling or abstract noun as the big word and lists of thought-provoking "small" words. Bookmark this site in your favorites and make it available on your class web page for easy access when students are working on a class cluster of computers or in the computer lab. If students want to save or print their images, they must first capture it as a screenshot (Prnt Scrn key in Windows, Command+shift+4 in Mac). Paste the screenshot into a PowerPoint slide or word document to play with it further. More advanced technology users may then want to paste it into an image editing program to crop it, save it, or print it.
Grades2 to 12
In the ClassroomUse this site when discussing world cultures or economics. Use this site as an anticipatory set or "activator" to introduce a unit or lesson on a projector or interactive whiteboard. To avoid displaying certain content, you can selectively take screenshots (CTRL+PrtScrn on Windows, Command+Shft+4 on Mac) or copy images temporarily into PowerPoint slides or a whiteboard file-- with credit--to show them alone. Use it to jump off into a discussion or unit on some of the countries displayed here. Have students create original photo essays online following this model, using Have students create original photo essays online following this model, using Slidestory, reviewed here. Slidestory allows you to narrate the slides and images. Challenge students to find photos and then narrate the photos as if in a news report. To find Creative Commons images for student projects (with credit, of course), try Compfight, reviewed here. Other areas where this website might be useful are when you do units on world education, world poverty, etc. Have students do comparison/contrast essays using these photos as introductions to the differences between classrooms. Or have students compare/contrast using a site such as Interactive Two Circle Venn Diagram (reviewed here). The many small details that differ from place to place would make getting details and examples easy. Ask students also to extrapolate differences in teaching methods just by viewing these photos.
GradesK to 12
In the ClassroomUsers must be knowledgeable about embed codes and how to use them in a site, blog, or wiki. Be sure to test out embedding a picture on your site to anticipate problems when students use Wylio. Use Wylio to find copyright-free pictures for teacher use in any subject area or for student use as soon as they learn to copy/paste embed codes. This tool would be a great asset to a photography or art class but can be used in any subject area. Use pictures that showcase life around us or in a Math class to show various Math functions in man made structures and nature. Use this site to take your geography class around the world (virtually). Have students create presentations in any subject area and narrate the pictures rather than doing a traditional oral report. Use a site such as Slidestory, reviewed here, to narrate the pictures. Speech and language in lower grades or ESL/ELL teachers could use pictures for vocabulary development and allow students to add words or sentences to go with the pictures. In Science, find pictures that represent various concepts and encourage explanations of these concepts for better understanding.
Grades6 to 12
In the ClassroomHelp your students understand why Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. was assassinated and raise their awareness of discrimination and the struggle for civil rights by involving them in active viewing of A Class Divided projected on your classroom interactive whiteboard or projector. You can view the film in its entirety, or in separate chapters followed by the Discussion Questions. You may want to give students a specific task to do during the film. For example, you might ask them to listen for a particular issue or the answers to a set of questions, or take notes in preparation for one of the post-viewing activities. Replay the video or pause for discussion whenever you choose for focused, in depth exploration. Depending on your students' background knowledge and grade level, you may want to review or introduce some of the basic tenets of the United States Constitution that provide the legal grounding for equality and protection of individual rights. Explain that there are examples in American history when individuals' rights were denied and that many civil rights activists were arrested for either challenging, demonstrating, or breaking rules that they thought were unfair. Pose some of the questions for written assignments and discussion. This is a perfect lesson for Black History Month! Divide the class into groups to brainstorm situations that exist today within our own communities, and how they would feel and deal with it if they were the subjects. Students can easily create mind maps using free tools from Teachersfirst, such as TUZZit, reviewed here, or ProcessOn, reviewed here. Have students choose words from songs to explore themes of freedom and equality, using Stories Behind the Songs reviewed here. High school students could extend this to a reading and study of the final chapter of "One America in the 21st Century," the 1998 report of President Bill Clinton's Initiative on Race, which lists 10 things that every American should do to promote racial reconciliation. Ask students to add anything they think is missing and make a commitment to continue the crusade to end discrimination.
Grades6 to 12
In the ClassroomCreate a new map by entering the details such as a title. Choose from the template styles given. Preview the template, zoom in and out, and scroll around the mindmap using the simple tools. Click the "Edit Content" tab to change each node in your mindmap. Edit the name of the node, the description, and upload or link to a picture. Nodes can also link to a You tube video. When done, click preview to not only see the finished mindmap, but to publish on the Spicynodes site or copy the embed code for placing on a wiki, blog, or other site.
There are countless possibilities at this mental mapping site. Demonstrate the activity on an interactive whiteboard or projector, and then allow students to try to create their own graphic organizers. Use this site for literature activities, research projects, social studies, or science topics of study. Use this site to create family trees. Have students collaborate together (online) to create group mind maps or review charts before tests on a given subject. Create a site map that guides users throughout the features of your class website.
Collaborative Projects: Have small groups research together a topic such as unsolved mysteries of the world, planets, legends from their countries, plants, famous mathematicians, or any topic that can be broken down into parts. Each student would have their own node and color and would then upload pictures, videos, links, and other information they have found about their part of the topic. If the whole class is researching a topic, students with the "like" assignments could get together to share information and create their part of the small group node (also know as jigsaw in cooperative learning). Once all the nodes are completed, the original small group would share information with each other. There are a variety of ways students could use this mindmap. You could just leave it at the small group share out. Or, you could have the groups decide what information is important enough to present to the class and put their ideas on a Ryeboard document, reviewed here. A third step could be that once they've honed down the information, they could modify their learning and create a presentation for the class in a variety of formats: LiveSlides, reviewed here, or Animoto, reviewed here are only two of the many presentation formats we have reviewed on TeachersFirst.
Student project ideas: Have students... organize any concepts you study; color-code concepts to show what they understand, wonder, question; map out a story, plotline, or LIFETIME; map out a step-by-step process (life cycle); map a real historical event as a choose-your-own-adventure with alternate endings(?) based on pivotal points; plan a "tour" for a "thought museum."
Use this mapping website as an alternative to a traditional test, quiz, or homework assignment in literature or social studies: have students demonstrate their understanding by completing a graphic organizer about the main points. Be sure that they RENAME it before they start work to an individual name so you know who did it (they could EMAIL it to you!) or have them print their results to turn them in.
Grades2 to 12
Navigate carefully as this site has many advertisements! But the great interactives make it worth the hassle.
In the ClassroomIntroduce this site on your interactive whiteboard or projector then have students explore this site independently or in small groups. Make a shortcut to this site on classroom computers and use it as a center. Provide a link to these activities on your class website.
Grades4 to 12
To create a new trip, you must register at the site. Registration requires a username, password, and valid email address.
tag(s): maps (292)
In the ClassroomSuggested uses on the Tripline site are to use along with moments in history such as Paul Revere's ride and Lewis and Clark's expedition to demonstrate stops along their path. Other classrooms uses would be for students to create a Tripline map of their summer vacation to use as an enhancement to a regular report, map out your favorite sports team's schedule, historic state sites, and much more.
Registration does require an email address. Tip: rather than using your personal or work email, create a free Gmail account to use for memberships. If you plan to have students register individually, you may want to create your own Gmail account with up to 20 subaccounts for each group of students (by code name or number) within your classes. Here is a blog post that tells how to set up GMail subaccounts to use for any online membership service.
Grades6 to 12
tag(s): images (279)
In the ClassroomThis is a handy, fun tool to make available to your class. Provide a direct link from your web page or wiki and bookmark it in your favorites. The uses are endless! Students can generate words related to any of the literary themes or character traits related to love, family, or friendship, or write a poem. When studying grammar, have students fill the heart with verbs, or nouns. Use it to generate synonyms or antonyms. Another idea, have students "capture" the picture and save. Then enhance learning by challenging them to narrate their word heart using a site such as Slidestory, reviewed here. This tool allows you to narrate the slides and images.
Grades2 to 12
tag(s): book lists (129)
In the ClassroomTeachers can use this as a reference site, especially when preparing a new unit in another subject area and trying to find related independent reading or literature circle options.
Grades7 to 12
In the ClassroomUsers must be able to locate files on their computers to upload. Beyond that, a few clicks that follow onscreen instructions will complete the job!
Use this site as transportation to and from school when students are working on powerpoint presentations for class. This tool could be used in any subject or topic area. If Powerpoint isn't available at your school, use this site to create presentations instead of traditional book reports. Use this tool in social studies to have students create presentations about the branches of government, continents, or economics. The possibilities are endless.
Parent permission advised before posting student work created using this tool
Includes Interaction w general public/ public galleries with unmoderated content
Requires registration/log-in (WITH email)
Products can be embedded
Products can be shared by URL
Grades4 to 12
In the ClassroomUse this site with ESL/ELL learners as designed. Share the lessons on your interactive whiteboard or projector. If individual computers are available, have students view the lessons independently (with headsets) and create multimedia projects to demonstrate what they have learned. Have students create an interactive online poster using Genial.ly, reviewed here. Better yet, if students get used to the video and exercise formats, have them produce similar videos teaching a few lessons about their home cultures! Share the videos using a tool such as SchoolTube, reviewed here.
Special ed teachers and those seeking combination video/text lessons to use to teach listening/reading comprehension may find these lessons valuable, as well.
Grades8 to 12
tag(s): poetry (222)
In the ClassroomIntroduce this online exhibit on your classroom whiteboard to bring the love of studying and writing poetry to your students. Enable your class to research and relate history through the great poetic forms. Individual or group assignments could range from choosing any of the forms featured in Poetry through the Ages and focusing on its style, structure, era, and practicing poets. Broaden the scope by comparing and contrasting the culture, history, environment, people, and poets from different eras. Write essays, and then analyze their strengths and drawbacks. Determine which era would best suit your poetic flair, and then write poems in that form. Ask your school librarian to become involved to generate excitement by hosting an "Open Mic" or poetry slam at the culmination of this unit. Use an online tool such as Bookemon reviewed here, Or PodOMatic, (reviewed here), to create a multimedia class poetry volume and link it to your web page to show how students interpret and express their world through verse. Parents would love to receive an audio file as a gift that they can easily download.
Grades3 to 12
In the ClassroomUse this site on a projector or interactive whiteboard to discuss and informally assess prior knowledge as you study Veterans Day, the effects of war, or people with disabilities. Ask students to discuss a time when they have seen service animals and how they have been used to help someone. Discuss the information on the site and locate the countries where the veterans served on a map to help students understand what it means to go to war. Ask students to choose one slide and write a story based on what they see in the image. If your school is looking for a schoolwide service project, consider raising funds for service dogs.
GradesK to 12
Be aware: there is an allow/deny button that pop up on this site. You must allow access in order to fully utilize this website. Before the site opens, they ask permission to access your computers camera and microphone. This will enable audio recording functions. Denial of this access will still allow students to create and write stories.
tag(s): art history (81)
In the ClassroomPicture a story is an engaging way to inspire students to write. Working from this rich bank of imagery can nicely support writing lessons about voice, sensory description, point of view, descriptive narrative, and story structure. Use this site with a projector or interactive whiteboard when presenting a writers workshop mini-lesson to the whole class. Use this site together with younger students (unable to read on their own) on an interactive whiteboard or projector. Students can submit their writing and record themselves telling their story. This is a great opportunity to address reading fluency, expression, and communication skills. Integrate writing lessons with art history. Have students research the historical significance of the images they choose. Take time to enjoy and review stories by other students and professional storytellers. This activity would work well for individual students in a lab or on laptops. Share the final project through email or submit it to the Delaware Art Museum's online gallery of pictures and stories.
General Tips and Reminders: Remember to obtain parent/guardian permission before allowing students to submit their stories. Also, check with your administrator to be sure that your school allows students to interact with the public online. Adobe Flash Player is necessary to record audio.
GradesK to 12
tag(s): quiz (84)
In the ClassroomSkills required: Be sure to remember the password for your tests, as well as the unique URL. It would be wise to copy/paste them into a document you keep somewhere for reference. Users are unable to access the tests without the URL. Be sure to not share this ahead of time. Items in Testmoz are not made public.
Use where automatically graded tests are required, such as for formative assessments to check student understanding. Use as a "ticket out the door" to see what students know at the end of class. Be sure that this is the medium you want to use for testing. Be flexible with students who find it difficult to take online testing. Entering all the material ahead of time can be time consuming, so this may not be the best format for long tests. Use this quiz application to create study quizzes for review for students to complete as homework (or during class time). Have students rotate to create daily check quizzes for their peers (earning a grade for test-creation). Learning support students and others who need a little extra review might like to make quizzes to challenge each other or themselves. Have students who are preparing to give oral presentations in any subject prepare a short Testmoz for their peers to take at the end.
Grades9 to 12
In the ClassroomNew to Twitter? Learn more about Twitter and how to set up searches to see these chats on your own time using suggestions and other reviewed resources included on TeachersFirst's Twitter for Teachers page.
So helpful, very completeFrances, CT, Grades: 6 - 8
GradesK to 12
In the ClassroomProvide Sweet Search for your students to find some of the best student friendly material on the web. For older students, evaluate Sweet Search with other search engines to determine which provides the best information.
Grades9 to 12
tag(s): bookmarks (68)
In the ClassroomUsers must be able to set up their free account and manage bookmarklets in their browser toolbar. Be sure to click on the Account tab to set a password or change your username. Be sure to check with your IT Department before adding on to your browser. (Some school computers may be locked down, preventing this capability.) When articles are out of sight, they are often forgotten. Decide where you plan to access articles later (iPhone app, Google Reader) to catch up on the articles you have found interesting. Download your articles in a printable file or export the entire list as a .csv or .html file. Archive your articles and easily retrieve them from the tab along the top.
Safety/security: If students are using Instapaper, plan ahead for classroom use. Be sure that students are aware of appropriate and inappropriate use, even if inappropriate articles are added to the account from home. Make sure that you have district and parent permission. Spell out consequences for inappropriate use. Students must have individual accounts (email required).