Grades8 to 12
In the ClassroomMusical skills are not a "must" for this site, however would make its use more productive. Beyond listening and clicking ability, the instructions are on screen. It's a great site to creatively "dabble."
If students do create user names, encourage them to use non-identifying names as the posts with their user names are open to the public. Sharing student work may be a safety risk as your students are probably minors.
This tool would be great for independent music studies and/or performance class. Have students compose their own accompaniments to be used as they play for the class. Or, in a less advanced music class or general music class have small groups of students create music using the interactive whiteboard and share with the class. Try using computer programs such as Garage Band or Windows Media Player to record the music to your computer. Students could then share files with each other and listen to a variety of different student created music.
GradesK to 12
In the ClassroomUsers need to be able to record music on their own computer, locate files on their computer, and follow onscreen instructions. Parents and family can hear their student's work as long as the student shares the URL with them.
Have musically gifted students use this to create school sound tracks for the school television show or announcements. Have students create their own drama club or musical interludes for performances. In music clubs, have students record their music to their artist page, share the URL with others in the club, and remix each other's work. In music class, use as a submission space. Have students upload work to their artist page and check work digitally.
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.
Grades8 to 12
tag(s): poetry (221)
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.
Grades9 to 12
In the ClassroomConsider placing this site on your class web page for students to use in researching political viewpoints, both in relation to upcoming elections and in ongoing political debate. It's a site for true politics junkies, but will be useful for those who are looking for concise information collected in a readable, easy-to-access format. Use the site during your study of the legislative branch and have groups follow congressional groups of individuals, creating a timeline of their activities using a tool such as History in Motion,
GradesK to 12
tag(s): problem solving (295)
In the ClassroomTake advantage of the free lesson plans; also search for plans in grades higher and lower that can be modified to meet your students' needs. Display student work included with the lesson plans on your interactive whiteboard or projector as conversation starters in your classroom - allow students to discuss other students' work to increase understanding of concepts.
Grades2 to 12
In the ClassroomTeachers and students on all grade levels will love usingSnappy Words for all subjects. Demonstrate it on your classroom whiteboard or projector, bookmark it in your favorites, and make it directly available to students from your class webpage. Elementary students will enjoy defining their spelling words or content area vocabulary. They can categorize their words by parts of speech or create a list of synonyms. Students can then create their own word "maps" for new vocabulary words using drawing tools or online graphic organizers like bubbl.us, reviewed here. Middle school, high school and adult learners can use it as a valuable tool for vocabulary specific to a literary work or subject area, preparing for a standardized test, or while reading assigned material or a book, poem, or article of choice. Whether you are writing content for an article, a blog, a letter, or any assignment, minimize this website and play with words to avoid repetition, choose precise meanings and kick your vocabulary up a notch! Share this one on your class web page, for sure.
Grades6 to 12
tag(s): history day (24)
In the ClassroomWhether you choose to hold a History Day event within your school or to compete against others, this site will get you started. Make this a permanent link on your class web page or share it with your gifted enrichment specialist for a curriculum connection to challenge any student.
GradesK to 12
Be aware: this site does include advertisements.
tag(s): latin (22)
In the ClassroomThere are many uses for this practical online tool, beyond the obvious ones for math class. Bookmark this site on your own computer for projection on an interactive whiteboard and make the link available on your class web page for students to access from individual computers. You can shrink the calculator window in the corner of your interactive whiteboard to use as needed. Use this tool in social studies class for quickly calculating years or months from important timelines or when figuring out geographical distances. In English or L.A. classes, quickly figure out the life span of authors or how long ago a story took place. In health or science classes, use the BMI calculator or get other accurate measurements. The stopwatch tool can be useful for any in-class, timed assignment.
Grades9 to 12
In the ClassroomIf you're looking for meaty writing prompts, this site is full of interesting and open-ended questions. The questions might also serve as a good data base for a class learning debate. It may also be helpful for students to see that philosophers use formal rules of thinking in answering their questions; they don't just say what they "feel" is right. Understanding that moral and ethical decision making is based on a set of predetermined principles is a concept that many students struggle with. This site would be useful for teaching ethical decision making with students whose thinking has progressed to the point where they are able to think more abstractly and philosophically: a gifted class perhaps? Have a class wiki dedicated to philosophy and profound questions. Not comfortable with wikis? Have no wiki worries - check out the TeachersFirst's Wiki Walk-Through.
Grades9 to 12
In the ClassroomThese films would work well for a more unstructured gifted/talented seminar style class, a current issues class, or a Real Life 101-type class. Some may also be appropriate within an economics, biology, or environmental science curriculum. A civics class might debate the proper governmental role in resolving some of the dilemmas presented. Challenge students to create podcasts using a site such as PodOmatic (reviewed here), describing other possible future "what ifs."
Grades1 to 12
This site includes advertising.
In the ClassroomThis site is ideal to use on classroom computers as a center. Students will think they are playing games; however, they are really expanding their logic and problem solving skills through the interactive activities. This is a great site to list on your class webpage, for students to access both in and out of the classroom. For a bonus/extra credit challenge, ask students to FIND connections between a game and topics/concepts they have been studying and to explain the connections while demonstrating the game on a projector or interactive whiteboard. Hint: start with the Physics challenge.
GradesK to 12
In the ClassroomExpose your students to different levels of the learning spiral by challenging them to use problem-solving skills for increasingly difficult obstacles. Students can work in small groups to foster cooperation and teamwork as they sort, graph, follow and give directions, and discuss ideas. Of course you will need some LEGOs, so you might try raiding your own children's toy boxes, include a request in your classroom newsletter for donations, look around for LEGO kits collecting dust on classroom shelves, or put it on your school's PTA wish list. Be sure to have cooperative learning groups video their activities to share with the rest of the class using a site such as SchoolTube (reviewed here).
GradesK to 12
In the ClassroomBring teaching and learning to new heights by using this service as a great form of professional development. At conferences, use Twitter as a backchannel to expand upon thoughts and ideas during presentations and after. Have a question to ask others' opinion about? Throw it out to Twitter to see the great perspectives given by those who follow you. Start out slowly and look at conversations that catch your eye. Follow people with experience in your areas of interest to gain from the conversations. Start off by following @teachersfirst or @cshively (our leader).
Learn about hashtags -- ways to mark, search, and follow conversations on a specific topic. For example, the #ntchat tag is for new and pre-service teachers and the #edchat hashtag is for all teachers. Participate in these chats which are scheduled at certain days and times or search for their tweets anytime. Find archived tweets from these chats to learn from some wonderful and motivated teachers when it is convenient for YOU. Use other Twitter applications to search or collect specific hashtags.
As a teaching tool, Twitter is amazing! If your school permits access, have a class account to share what you are doing with parents and especially for your class to follow people in topics you study. Studying space? Follow NASA. Studying politics and government? Follow your congressional rep or the White House. Consider using your teacher or class account to send updates to other teachers across the country or across the globe. You can also teach about responsible digital citizenship by modeling and practicing it as a class. A whole-class, teacher account is the most likely way to gain permission to use Twitter in school, especially if you can demonstrate specific projects. That can be as simple as making sure you and that teacher are FOLLOWING each other, then sending a direct message (start the tweet with D and the other teacher's twitter name) or creating a group with your own hashtag for a project such as daily weather updates. Even if you are not "following" someone, you can send them a tweet using @theirtwittername in the body of the message. This is called a "mention" but can be seen by others, too. Compare what your class is observing in today's weather, which topics you will be discussing today, or ask for another class' opinions on a current events issue. Ask for updates about local concerns, such as talking to California schools about wildfires in their area or a Maine school about a blizzard. Challenge another class to tweet the feelings of a literacy character, such as Hamlet, and respond as Ophelia, all in 140 characters or less. Have gifted students? Connect your classroom with the outside world to find greater challenges and connections beyond your regular curriculum.
Learn much more about teaching ideas and tools for Twitter in the many resources listed on TeachersFirst Twitter for Teachers page.
Parent permission advised before posting student work created using this tool
Includes Interaction w general public/ public galleries with unmoderated content
Includes social features, such as "friends," comments, ratings by others
Requires registration/log-in (WITH email)