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TeachersFirst's Editors' Choice Tools for Pretests - TeachersFirst

Grades
K to 12
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This collection of resources was selected by TeachersFirst editors as the easiest or most useful tools for creating pretests, a must-have when working with gifted students in the regular...more
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This collection of resources was selected by TeachersFirst editors as the easiest or most useful tools for creating pretests, a must-have when working with gifted students in the regular classroom. This collection is part of a special section of TeachersFirst, Nourishing Gifted Through Technology in Any Classroom.

tag(s): differentiation (45), gifted (82)

In the Classroom

You may not always be able to pretest at the start of a new unit, and sometimes an informal assessment will tell you that a student is ready to move beyond the regular curriculum content right away. You may want to wait a day or two before offering a retest, since many truly gifted students will absorb or even seem to "intuit" the full unit of content very quickly after a short exposure. The great thing about using online pretests is that once you create them, you have them for the next year. Consider teaming up with other teachers in your subject/grade to build a library of pretests that you can share.

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Documentary Lens - National Film Board of Canada

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9 to 12
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What makes a short film or documentary effective? The National Film Board of Canada presents a database of documentaries from the 1940s through 2004. Each film is annotated with questions...more
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What makes a short film or documentary effective? The National Film Board of Canada presents a database of documentaries from the 1940s through 2004. Each film is annotated with questions for discussion or with observations on important elements of the film. The focus is not necessarily on the content (although the films are grouped by theme), but rather on what makes the effort noteworthy. Don't miss the related site, accessed through the drop down menu, "Behind the Camera," that highlights the elements of good film making.

tag(s): canada (31), history day (24), media literacy (65), movies (69)

In the Classroom

The availability of inexpensive video cameras and film editing software makes including film making as a part of the regular classroom easier than ever. With digital writing included as part of Common Core, documentaries are a wonderful way to share student-written, informational text in a multimedia format. Incorporate the lessons that accompany these films as you introduce a documentary project. Help students understand that no matter how much fun it might be to watch the latest homemade viral video on YouTube, effective film making requires planning and design. The lessons presented here will be of particular assistance to students who are considering a National History Day entry in the documentary category.
 This resource requires Adobe Flash.

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Brief.ly - Brief.ly

Grades
K to 12
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Brief.ly is a simple way to share a "bundle" of links at the same time. Enter up to 30 links and captions you want to share (one per line or ...more
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Brief.ly is a simple way to share a "bundle" of links at the same time. Enter up to 30 links and captions you want to share (one per line or click the wrench for more options). Brief.ly will generate a unique URL. When opened, a Table of Contents page lists the sites included. When you open the bundle, each site appears and tabs appear along the top of the page that allow you to easily jump from one recommended site to the next. This site is very easy to use and helpful for all ages, as long as they can read. With your membership, you can edit the contents of your list later, without resending it or changing the single link.

tag(s): bookmarks (68), organizational skills (122)

In the Classroom

Brief.ly is a lifesaver for every classroom, teacher, or school. Whenever you are sharing multiple sites at centers, during small or whole group presentations, or even sites gathered for a research projects, Brief.ly takes away frustration and saves time! Save different content areas, subjects, or study links in one simple click. Gather all grade level websites on your school webpage, and list all classes. Unclutter your own class webpage or blog with just a few links. Sending links to parents or colleagues could not be any easier! Collaboration within classes, groups, or home is a snap! Improve organization for yourself and your class. As students work on group projects, they can share their link list easily. Use a class account so students do not have to register, and you can watch what they are using for sources.

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NCES Kids' Zone - NCES

Grades
4 to 12
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NCES Kids' Zone offers enrichment and informational data. Explore This Day in History, updated daily. Take a poll and compare your own answers with others. Try your problem solving...more
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NCES Kids' Zone offers enrichment and informational data. Explore This Day in History, updated daily. Take a poll and compare your own answers with others. Try your problem solving skills with the mindbender. Learn (and use) the word of the day. The Dare to Compare button leads to short quizzes where you can compare your knowledge with others. You can also explore data about your local schools and libraries and even find college information. Note that the upper menus do not work in all browsers, so not all areas of the site are readily accessible.

tag(s): charts and graphs (197), probability (137)

In the Classroom

Strike an interest in your school and community by finding out where you rank. Investigate college choices. After short quizzes, have a daily comparison of your students to see how they compare in civics, economics, geography, history, mathematics, and science at multiple grade levels. Inspire students to collect data and make their own graphs about school wide topics. Have students create an online graph using Amblegraph (reviewed here). Dig into probability problems to discover the odds.
  This resource requires Adobe Flash and PDF reader software like Adobe Acrobat.

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Random Acts of Kindness - Random Acts of Kindness Foundation

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K to 12
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Inspire people to practice kindness and pass it on to others. The Random Acts of Kindness (RAK) Foundation is a non-profit organization founded upon the powerful belief in kindness....more
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Inspire people to practice kindness and pass it on to others. The Random Acts of Kindness (RAK) Foundation is a non-profit organization founded upon the powerful belief in kindness. It is dedicated to providing resources and tools that encourage acts of kindness. Discover inspirational quotes, kindness ideas, and share your own ideas. Explore lesson plans, classroom materials, projects, ideas for courses, and RAK clubs. Discover research, videos, and stories about random acts of kindness. Sign up for the newsletter or join the blog.

tag(s): classroom management (152), emotions (37), service projects (22)

In the Classroom

Become a "RAKTIVIST" and start a kindness raid on unsuspecting communities, classes, or schools! Give children power and voice through their actions. Partner this with character education programs to make a difference in all the lives you touch. During social studies, find ways kindness has changed the world. Look for times in which kindness was thwarted, such as during civil wars, dictatorships, or wars. Start a research project on world leaders who have changed the world through nonviolence, education, or generosity. Explain the power of nonprofit organizations and all the lives affected. Look into your own community and school to find needs that are waiting for active, caring participants. Create school or classroom rules to promote the power of kindness. Challenge student to create "kindness" commercials. Share them using a tool such as SchoolTube reviewed here. Emotional Support or Autistic Support teachers may find some of the ideas here helpful for talking about how others feel and ways to show kindness in a very deliberate way.
  This resource requires Adobe Flash and PDF reader software like Adobe Acrobat.

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Creating Community and Getting Inspired with Blog Hops and Events - Krista Stevens/WordPress

Grades
4 to 12
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Discover blog ideas galore from the "friendly writers" at Wordpress, especially these ideas for connecting your blog with other bloggers via special events, such as "blog hops." A blog...more
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Discover blog ideas galore from the "friendly writers" at Wordpress, especially these ideas for connecting your blog with other bloggers via special events, such as "blog hops." A blog hop is simply a response to the same prompt during a fixed time frame, with links to the other bloggers' responses so you can "hop" to read the many takes on the topic from the original post or prompt. Share writing around a common theme, image, quote, or topic by checking out the offerings compiled here. Note that this collection is intended for the general blogging public (not schools), so some topics may not be school-appropriate. On the other hand, making contact with "real world" people blogging about how they write, do photography, stay fit, and more. Click on the link to the updated list of blogging events to find inspiration and connection, sorted by general areas of interest. Don't miss the detailed information about how to Start and/or Participate in a Blog Hop.

tag(s): blogs (84), writing prompts (92)

In the Classroom

In its simplest use, this is a place to find and READ blogs on curriculum-related topics. You can also find questions and prompts for your students to write about offline. Never again will you need to hunt for writing prompts or ways to connect your science or social studies students with the outside world. Of course this is a time to discuss proper netiquette and digital citizenship/safety for interacting with "strangers." If you do not yet have a class or student blogs, you might want to begin with Blog Basics for the Classroom. Be SURE you get parent permission. If your students have blogs, use these ideas as a model for your own weekly or biweekly blog hops on curriculum topics. Since your math students need to write about their problem solving strategies for Common Core, why not make it more fun with a blog hop? Trying to fire up interest in local history? Pose a blog hop prompt asking which local landmark could be replaced with a shopping mall. Looking for students to support arguments with evidence? Spark an environmental question for a blog hop. Browse some of the special topic blog events for discussions related to your current curriculum. For example, connect your plant study unit with gardeners' blogging events. If you teach gifted students, this is the ideal way to connect your students (even reluctant writers) with an outside world that will raise their level of writing and thinking. If you can connect with other teachers who have gifted students, perhaps via the #gtchat Twitter chat, you can set up a regular connection among students in several locations.. in science, social studies, math, or writing classes. Your gifted ones may pull in other blogging classmates, as well!

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Dimensions of Creativity: Sample Project Rubrics - TeachersFirst

Grades
K to 12
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Include creativity in project rubrics with the tips and downloadable, editable rubric starters from this page. Make creativity something you can talk about with your students and something...more
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Include creativity in project rubrics with the tips and downloadable, editable rubric starters from this page. Make creativity something you can talk about with your students and something they can actually learn! Promote creativity using terms both teachers and students can understand as part of your rubrics (FFOE): Fluency, Flexibility, Originality, and Elaboration. You no longer have to simply make a category that says "Creativity (5 pts)." These rubric starters give specific ways to assess creativity projects at all levels and can easily be adapted to the projects you do (or want to do) in you classroom. This page is part of a longer article about Dimensions of Creativity.

tag(s): gifted (82), rubrics (29)

In the Classroom

Mark this page in your favorites and refer to it as you develop rubrics for upcoming class or independent projects. Use appropriate options from these samples to customize creativity rubrics for any student who needs a different target. If you teach gifted students, these rubric ideas will help you adapt your existing rubrics to challenge gifted students beyond simply requiring "more of the same." Challenge them to move beyond "excellent" and to know what the expectations are. Consider including them in goal setting as you develop the rubrics together. By including creativity elements in project rubrics you respect student creativity and expect it to grow.

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scistuchat - Adam Taylor

Grades
6 to 12
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This grass roots effort by a Tennessee science teacher spawned a monthly Twitter chat between high school science students in MANY locations and practicing scientists in the "real world."...more
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This grass roots effort by a Tennessee science teacher spawned a monthly Twitter chat between high school science students in MANY locations and practicing scientists in the "real world." The site looks plain vanilla, but the topic is dynamite! Find information, preparation, and topics for upcoming chats, basic information about the chat formats, chat archives, past pre-chat prep resources, and Twitter handles for the scientists and teachers who participate in the chats. Don't forget to follow @2footgiraffe, the instigating teacher, and click through to his blog for some of the back story on how he was able to convince school administration to unblock Twitter (and other tales of tech challenges). The TeachersFirst editors met Mr. Taylor at the ISTE conference and knew this was a resource our users would want to know about.

tag(s): social networking (108), twitter (42)

In the Classroom

Even if you do not choose to join this particular Twitter chat with practitioners in the field, mark this simple site as a professional development resource to learn how to plan and organize successful Twitter chats between your students and the outside world. If you teach another discipline, try searching on Wefollow, reviewed here for people in the field that connect to your curriculum: writers, artists, curators, engineers, and more. Need to learn more about Twitter? Start with help from TeachersFirst's Twitter for Teachers page. Extend the curriculum for your gifted students by having them help organize a chat with professionals and write the questions.

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Scattervox - Scattervox

Grades
4 to 12
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Use Scattervox to conduct a poll visually! For each of the possible items, poll responders click their answer on a graph. The result is an interactive poll that looks like ...more
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Use Scattervox to conduct a poll visually! For each of the possible items, poll responders click their answer on a graph. The result is an interactive poll that looks like an Infographic! To vote: Click on one of the possible items on the right and then click the spot on the graph to correspond to your answer. Once plotted, replace your choices by clicking on the item again and your new answer on the graph. Click "Vote" to record your choices. To "Create Poll": Enter a title, tags, and a description. Label the axes of the graph with two different variables to value the items such as expensive and inexpensive. (There are two different sets of axes to use for rating.) Enter the chart items that will be rated with your set values. Embed your Scattervox or share using email, Facebook, Google Plus, or Twitter. Browse the gallery to get an idea of how the tool works. Membership is required to create a poll, but not to vote.
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tag(s): critical thinking (118), polls and surveys (55)

In the Classroom

This free tool is a great way to identify a value or rating of various items. Use this in science class to poll students on various types of renewable and nonrenewable energies as cheap/expensive and clean/dirty for the environment. Poll students on types of cars, rating the cost and gas mileage. Follow up with research into the various makes and models. Poll about famous presidents and various influences on the economy and society. Compare characters in various novels in measures of motivation and other characteristics. In younger grades, gather data about students favorite animals and why (such as fluffy/ferocious) or favorite colors and mood. Learn more about your students through polling of various social and cultural topics such as fashion, movies, and songs. Use this to identify misconceptions and resistance to various subject areas. Identify foods and feelings for each specific kind of food in Family and Consumer Science or attitudes towards various sports. Conduct specific polls for Introduction to Psychology or Sociology about various topics and reactions to the topics. Use to poll students on project ideas or to determine reactions to current events. Older students may want to include polls on their student blogs or wiki pages to increase involvement or create polls to use at the start of project presentations. Use polls to generate data for math class (graphing), during elections, or for critical thinking activities dealing with the interpretation of statistics. Use "real" data to engage students in issues that matter to them. For Professional development, rate the various types of technology tools for ease of use/difficulty and high/low value for instruction. Place a poll on your teacher web page as a homework inspiration or to increase parent involvement. Gifted students would love this tool to dig deeply into the multiple facets of issues they worry about.

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Cosmo Learning - CosmoLearning.com

Grades
6 to 12
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Cosmo Learning aggregates an extensive library of subjects (42 total), courses (thousands to browse), video lectures, documentaries, images, books and other multimedia in dozens of...more
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Cosmo Learning aggregates an extensive library of subjects (42 total), courses (thousands to browse), video lectures, documentaries, images, books and other multimedia in dozens of subjects, all from sources all over the world. Their goal is to be a free online school. Subjects range from Anthropology to Entrepreneurship to Political Studies to Veterinarian Medicine. Find specific content using the search feature. You can also search using links to academic subjects or type of materials such as courses, documentaries, videos, or images. Registration isn't required, but allows you to save and rate features on the site. Be warned: there is a LOT to explore at this site! If your district blocks YouTube, videos may not be viewable. You could always view the videos at home and bring them to class "on a stick" to share. Use a tool such as Tube Offline, reviewed here, to download the videos from YouTube.

tag(s): anthropology (12), archeology (31), architecture (84), business (58), engineering (133), environment (322), geology (78), german (63), marine biology (36), medicine (68), paleontology (40), politics (98), psychology (64), religions (69), sociology (22)

In the Classroom

Use materials from Cosmo Learning as part of any unit or lesson plan. Use materials on the site for flipped lessons or share with gifted learners as an enhancement to current course content. Using the flipped classroom format is helpful if YouTube is blocked at your school. Share lessons on your interactive whiteboard or projector. Teachers of gifted can share this with their students whose interests fall outside typical school curriculum to encourage independent study or projects. Provide the link to this site on your class wiki or website for students (and families) to access anytime.
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Places to Publish for Gifted Young Writers - Carol Fertig

Grades
7 to 12
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This blog post suggests a few places for publishing the writing of your gifted and talented students. Each suggestion offers sites that cater to "real" audiences for young students,...more
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This blog post suggests a few places for publishing the writing of your gifted and talented students. Each suggestion offers sites that cater to "real" audiences for young students, often audiences of their own peers. Explore resources that offer feedback and contests as well as more independent sites that accept submissions from student authors. Although quite short, this post is a great starting point for finding publishing resources for your students.

tag(s): process writing (46)

In the Classroom

Bookmark this article and explore the resources suggested for publishing student work. As you plan for ways to challenge your gifted students, this resource can provide ideas to extend their exposure and collaboration experience with other writers. Of course you will want to have parent permission before allowing interactions from your classroom, but parents of gifted students will probably delight in cooperating and even join in monitoring interactions as needed. Share this resource on your class web page so parents of your talented student-writers can encourage them at home, too.

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10 Myths About Gifted Students and Programs for the Gifted - Carolyn Coil

Grades
K to 12
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Stereotypes and myths abound surrounding the characteristics of gifted students and methods for teaching advanced learners. This short article discusses ten of the most common myths...more
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Stereotypes and myths abound surrounding the characteristics of gifted students and methods for teaching advanced learners. This short article discusses ten of the most common myths related to gifted education. The author discusses reasons why each myth is incorrect in a short, no-nonsense manner. For more information, be sure to check out links provided to resources at the end of the article.

tag(s): gifted (82)

In the Classroom

Read through this article for ideas on appropriate instruction for gifted learners in your classroom. Print and save this article (or bookmark on your computer) to include with your gifted teaching resources. Share this article during professional development sessions in your school and with parents of gifted students.

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How to Spot a Gifted Student - TeachersFirst

Grades
K to 12
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See the most common characteristics of gifted students explained in a format that offers both the positive and possibly negative aspects of typical gifted kids (not that there is such...more
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See the most common characteristics of gifted students explained in a format that offers both the positive and possibly negative aspects of typical gifted kids (not that there is such a thing as "typical"). This pro-con style list can help you sort what appear to be behavior or attitude problems from what may be "side effects" of giftedness. The shift in perspective will help you rethink what may be going on inside the head of a challenging child or student.

tag(s): gifted (82)

In the Classroom

Read and bookmark this list so it stays fresh in your mind, especially as you get to know new students or try not to become frustrated with a particular student in your class. Confer with your colleagues to find out what next steps are possible if you see these characteristics. Talk to your school counselor to find out about possibilities for gifted screening. At the very least, look into past test results, especially those that measure ability, not necessarily achievement. The underachieving gifted student can be particularly hard to figure out! Find strategies for working with the gifted in a regular classroom via the link at the bottom of the page.

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The Poor Neglected Gifted child, left behind - Amy Crawford

Grades
K to 12
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Are gifted children being left behind? This article takes an in-depth look at gifted education. Explore the reasons why it may not receive priority in our current education system in...more
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Are gifted children being left behind? This article takes an in-depth look at gifted education. Explore the reasons why it may not receive priority in our current education system in all aspects including funding and identification of giftedness. Read through long-term research results and discussions of the No Child Left Behind Act to gain the author's perspective of the challenges we face in meeting the needs of our gifted student population.
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tag(s): gifted (82)

In the Classroom

Print this article as a resource for discussions when planning gifted programs and curriculum. Share with others in your building and district for use during professional development sessions. Share with parents as a resource for information on gifted education in the United States.

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What Is Giftedness? - National Association for Gifted Children

Grades
K to 12
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Find current definitions of giftedness in the U.S. as explained by NAGC. See the variations between legal and clinical/research-based definitions. The brief history of gifted is informative...more
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Find current definitions of giftedness in the U.S. as explained by NAGC. See the variations between legal and clinical/research-based definitions. The brief history of gifted is informative and lends some perspective on where gifted programs began. For more information, explore the many useful links.

tag(s): gifted (82)

In the Classroom

Read and bookmark this in your professional resources as a "must-know." If you have students in your class who may be gifted or parents who ask about whether their child should be identified as gifted, this is a good place to start. Remember, however, that most states have their own legal definitions. For a more practical, observational way of "spotting" gifted students, see How to Spot a Gifted Student.

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The Do's and Don'ts of Instruction: What it Means to Teach Gifted Learners Well - Carol Ann Tomlinson, Ed.D

Grades
K to 12
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This short article offers specific information on general indicators of appropriate and inappropriate instruction for gifted students. Each of the 11 statements offers a general topic...more
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This short article offers specific information on general indicators of appropriate and inappropriate instruction for gifted students. Each of the 11 statements offers a general topic of information. Specific examples are also provided. Sample ideas include addressing good and appropriate curriculum while avoiding putting gifted students in the role as a classroom tutor. As a conclusion, the article reminds us that "What it takes to teach gifted learners well is actually a little common sense."

tag(s): gifted (82)

In the Classroom

Read through this article for ideas on appropriate instruction for gifted learners in your classroom. Print and save this article (or bookmark on your computer) to include with your gifted teaching resources. Share this article during professional development sessions in your school and with parents of gifted students.

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Dispelliing Common Myths in Gifted Education - National Association for Gifted Children

Grades
K to 12
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Take a close look at myths versus truths in Gifted Education at this informative site. Topics range from identification of gifted students through information on accelerated options....more
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Take a close look at myths versus truths in Gifted Education at this informative site. Topics range from identification of gifted students through information on accelerated options. Browse through a series of over 10 myths related to Gifted Education and then view a short discussion of the truth. Each set of truths includes links to further information on the National Association for Gifted Children's website. You will find articles, studies, and webpages related to the specific myth being addressed.

tag(s): gifted (82)

In the Classroom

Share information from this site during professional development sessions in your school as a resource for properly serving your gifted population. Use information from this site when holding parent conferences as a resource for research on gifted education.

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Supporting the Emotional Needs of the Gifted - SENG

Grades
1 to 12
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Change lives and change futures of gifted and talented individuals by gaining a more comprehensive view of being gifted. SENG's mission is to empower families and communities to help...more
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Change lives and change futures of gifted and talented individuals by gaining a more comprehensive view of being gifted. SENG's mission is to empower families and communities to help gifted and talented individuals to reach their goals: intellectually, physically, emotionally, socially, and spiritually. A variety of programs offers education either through home study courses, annual conferences, online parent support groups, or ways to establish a parent support group in your area. Continuing education credits are offered for health care professionals or any interested individual. Find a health care provider in your own area. Free materials further explain medical misdiagnosis for Gifted, Emotional Health, Twice Gifted, ADHD, Roles for Health Care Professionals, and more. An extensive free library of print, audio, and video resources help explain needs of gifted and talented students and how to advocate for them. Find links to other gifted organizations, books, and downloadable informational brochures.
This site includes advertising.

tag(s): gifted (82)

In the Classroom

Have questions about a gifted child or a child you suspect to be gifted? Teach a gifted and talented group? Answer many of your own questions and also parent questions with an amazing amount of information available. Sponsor a parent night for Gifted Students and offer and feature many of the resources highlighted. Be sure you have a strong base of your own knowledge of the needs of gifted and talented students. Keep up to date with latest research and information.
  This resource requires Adobe Flash and PDF reader software like Adobe Acrobat.

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Frame Games And Critical Thinking Puzzles by Terry Stickels - Terry Stickels

Grades
2 to 12
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Enjoy the ultimate of word puzzles at Frame Games! Terry Stickels has posted 53 of these, free, for solving. Not sure what a Frame Game is? It is a word ...more
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Enjoy the ultimate of word puzzles at Frame Games! Terry Stickels has posted 53 of these, free, for solving. Not sure what a Frame Game is? It is a word or words in a box (a puzzle of sorts) with funny spelling or shows the word in a special position or presentation. There are many names for this type of puzzle, and you will figure out how they work once you try one. The goal is to guess the meaning (usually a common phrase). Lighten up and have some fun by treating yourself to one of these puzzles when taking a break during the day. Build your mental flexibility. See the correct answers by advancing to the next puzzle.

tag(s): critical thinking (118), flexibility (5), gifted (82), logic (244), puzzles (204)

In the Classroom

Share these puzzles on your projector or interactive whiteboard. Use these puzzles as a morning opener to get students settled and ready for learning. Use as a break when transitioning between activities. ESL/ELL students will benefit by trying to solve these common American English phrases, and learning about them, too! Include these during a study of prepositions and positional words in a speech and language class or during a lesson on idioms in English class. Challenge students to create their own Frame Games of common idioms such as "over a barrel" and share with the class. Have students create posters to share their Frame Games using a tool such as Web Poster Wizard (reviewed here).
 This resource requires Adobe Flash.

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Frontiers for Young Minds - Frontiersin.org

Grades
2 to 10
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This tool is a neuroscience journal that includes articles reviewed by kids! Approved student scientists, ages 8-16, review the articles, and neuroscientists serve as their mentors....more
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This tool is a neuroscience journal that includes articles reviewed by kids! Approved student scientists, ages 8-16, review the articles, and neuroscientists serve as their mentors. The scientific process is followed with young scientists writing their submission specifically for the Frontiers Journal. The article is then peer reviewed. Students and scientists serve as peer reviewers. The process shows how articles are reviewed in major publications and show the scientific process.

tag(s): brain (66), child development (26), human body (133), senses (31)

In the Classroom

Use these articles in Biology or Health class to learn about the brain and factors that affect it. Students will find many articles of interest to them. Articles focus not only on learning, but games, media, emotions, and other activities. Have a bright students looking for a challenge? Encourge him/her to follow the directions to apply as a Young Mind reviewer. Challenge cooperative learning groups to read an article and create an infographic sharing the highlights of what they discovered. Use a tool such as Venngage reviewed here. If you teach gifted science students or would like to offer an advanced option to a gifted student in your regular science class while studying the brain or human body, this journal offers an outstanding opportunity for real world collaboration with scientists and very bright students in other places. Differentiate by going outside school walls! Have your student write an article and/or apply to join the team of young scientists.

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