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TeachersFirst Brain Twister - TeachersFirst

Grades
3 to 9
45 Favorites 0  Comments
These ten question quizzes, written by Thinking Teachers, changed each Friday and are ready to go with one edition for middle school students and one for elementary students. The quiz...more
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These ten question quizzes, written by Thinking Teachers, changed each Friday and are ready to go with one edition for middle school students and one for elementary students. The quiz presents ten questions, one at a time. You have only ONE try to pick the correct answer, so think carefully. You get points for each correct answer, totaling up to a possible 100. When you finish, you see your score and how long you spent. Questions are intended to stretch your thinking. Printable versions are available along with answers to the previous week's Twister. A new version of the Twister is mobile-friendly and adjusts to any screen size. Take the Twister with you wherever you go!

In the Classroom

Since elementary and middle school curriculum content varies from location to location, it is unlikely that every question will fall within the scope of your school's curriculum. High point questions may fall outside standard classroom fare. Five-point questions tend to be at the knowledge/comprehension/application level of Bloom's taxonomy and closer to "normal" content. Ten pointers are more likely cross-curricular application/analysis, and twenty pointers require analytical thinking and a wider experience level, such as knowledge of current events or information beyond normal curricula. Twenty pointers may require more than one student's input.

Do the questions as a whole-class activity with a projector or interactive whiteboard with students contributing the portions of knowledge they do know toward solving the question. Using teamwork and thinking aloud can often help the group reach a conclusion that no single member could do on his/her own. They can each test different math answers to see which one is correct. This process will not only foster thinking aloud and group communication, but also model test-taking skills for multiple choice.

Alternatively, do the Twister in small groups, with one student an answer entry but others as researchers on neighboring computers to find out what the group does not know. It may be helpful to assign roles: moderator (assigns what to find out and helps the group reach consensus), keyboarder (enters responses, may conduct research in a new window), or researchers (find information as assigned). Use the Twisters to model and teach information literacy skills in a high-motivation activity. Or offer the Twisters as an enrichment challenge or extra credit option for students to do at home. Ask parents to be on the honor system to sign a note indicating the score their child achieved. Since parents may be overly interested in helping, you may want to simply give extra credit for anyone completing the quiz, no matter the score. Be sure to mark this ready to go exclusive in your favorites and share it on your teacher class web page.

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Interactive Whiteboard Resources - Woodland Grange Primary School

Grades
K to 8
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This site offers a growing bank of resources for elementary teachers to use with interactive whiteboards or projectors. If you don't have a whiteboard, files can be opened on computers...more
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This site offers a growing bank of resources for elementary teachers to use with interactive whiteboards or projectors. If you don't have a whiteboard, files can be opened on computers for individual use. Files include Excel, Flash, PowerPoint, Word and other formats to download. Use the links at the top of the page to find the appropriate grade range beginning with preschool (foundation) through KS3 (roughly equivalent to middle school). Within each grade level are resources divided by topic such as mathematics, literacy or science. Be sure to check out the "Amusements" section as it isn't just for fun; this category includes activities such as jumbled words and memory games. Sign up for the free mailing list to be notified when new activities are added. You can also add your own resources to the site for others to use. While testing this site, the editor noticed a few of the links either take extremely long to open or don't work at all. However, we still felt this was a great find, since nearly everything else worked perfectly.

tag(s): fluency (24), iwb (32), literacy (106), number sense (96), numbers (196)

In the Classroom

Introduce activities to your classroom then use this site as a learning center (use on computer if you don't have an interactive whiteboard.) These activities are perfect for at-home practice so share the site with parents through your classroom newsletter or blog and include practice for homework.
 This resource requires Adobe Flash.

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Plagiarism Checker - Darren Horn

Grades
6 to 12
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This site allows users to check a document or web page for evidence of plagiarism for free. Type or copy/paste text from parts of the document or website and click ...more
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This site allows users to check a document or web page for evidence of plagiarism for free. Type or copy/paste text from parts of the document or website and click search. Of course, you will need electronic copies of student work to easily copy/paste! Plagiarism Checker provides links to web-based text similar to that being searched. Note that this tool does not check against print material, such as books. It searches only the web for similar passages.

tag(s): plagiarism (36)

In the Classroom

Students can use this plagiarism checker to be sure they are turning in original work. Teachers can use this service to check the work of students (submitted electronically). Students should create accounts with their parents to check their work at home. Model this site to explain what plagiarism IS and how students can avoid it. The hands-on experience will help them understand this challenging concept. You might even want to provide several examples of plagiarized writing as an exercise for student to check and correct before they copy/paste their way to trouble in a research assignment. Another interesting exercise for researchers is to locate an article on a how-to topic, such as "How to Paint a Room," then see how many sites use the exact same text. As a class, discuss whether this proliferation is good or bad (is the web spreading misinformation, too?).

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Intro to Learning Skills: Module 1: Self-Assessment - Red Rocks Community College

Grades
6 to 12
4 Favorites 1  Comments
Use the self-scoring Learning Styles Assessment and Multiple Intelligences Inventory to determine student learning styles as you begin your unit on study skills or psychology. Students...more
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Use the self-scoring Learning Styles Assessment and Multiple Intelligences Inventory to determine student learning styles as you begin your unit on study skills or psychology. Students can complete both forms on paper and use the accompanying scoring page to determine their "learning style" and multiple intelligence strengths. Psychology or guidance classes or learning support teachers may want to explore other aspects of tutorial as well.

tag(s): learning styles (21), psychology (65)

In the Classroom

Any teacher may want to use the site as a lead-in to the school year to help students develop stronger study skills. Have students complete the self-assessment then find their "match" for peer tutoring. Inspire student project ideas and options from the multiple intelligence information. Consider having students a clas wiki presenting the same curriculum content via various different "intelligence" channels.
 This resource requires PDF reader software like Adobe Acrobat.

Comments

I had my sixth graders do this inventory as we started the school year. It helped them find "study buddies" for study hall times at school. This eased their adjustment to middle school and the heavier homework load. Thinking, PA, Grades: 5 - 10

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Learning to Give - Points of Light Institute

Grades
K to 12
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The goal of this site is to educate youth about philanthropy and giving their time and knowledge for the global good. To do this, they offer over 1400 free lesson ...more
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The goal of this site is to educate youth about philanthropy and giving their time and knowledge for the global good. To do this, they offer over 1400 free lesson plans for teachers, parents, and community leaders. Lessons are coded to state standards and can be searched by grade level, keyword, subject, or academic or philanthropy standard. Some lessons are geared toward private or religious schools and are clearly labeled as such. Lessons include subject, key concepts, vocabulary, objectives, materials needed, approximate time, procedures, extensions, handouts, and much more. An example of a grade 3-5 lesson would be Cool Kids Compost which explores responsible use of resources by gathering data about lunchroom waste. Don't let the concept of philanthropy keep you from exploring the site, there are many great classroom lessons available for all subjects.

tag(s): african american (108), animal homes (63), animals (322), charts and graphs (199), colonial america (108), communities (37), data (162), diversity (33), ecology (137), environment (323), heroes (24), money (187), recycling (62)

In the Classroom

Use this site as a resource for all subject matters, search for subject and browse resources. Share with other teachers in your building or district including teachers of the arts. Get your students involved! Challenge cooperative learning groups to create a multimedia presentation using one of many TeachersFirst Edge tools reviewed here discussing one of the topics at this site. Some tool suggestions are (click on the tool name to access the review): Piktochart, Lucidpress, Powtoon, and Rooclick.

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iNudge - Hobnox

Grades
3 to 12
1 Favorites 0  Comments
  
Create music simply! Use this tool to create your own music and embed it in your class blog or site. Choose from 8 instruments, and click the squares to hear ...more
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Create music simply! Use this tool to create your own music and embed it in your class blog or site. Choose from 8 instruments, and click the squares to hear sound patterns. Add more instruments to get the mix you want. Combine them, change the tempo, and add other effects. Share by URL or using the embed code.

tag(s): musical notation (39), sounds (69)

In the Classroom

Use the songs in a writing class as a story prompt. In a language class, list the adjectives and adverbs come to mind while listening to the music prompt. Create music to describe a biome or an animal or plant. Use music to represent culture or reactions to an event in history. Use music to add pizazz to a blog or site. Identify various sounds and the mood they create. View the most listened and newest iNudges found on the site.

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Squareleaf - Squareleaf.net

Grades
4 to 12
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Use this great online "sticky-note" website to get organized. Squareleaf is a simple to use online tool that uses colors and shapes to stay organized. Sort information using the color...more
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Use this great online "sticky-note" website to get organized. Squareleaf is a simple to use online tool that uses colors and shapes to stay organized. Sort information using the color coding and different shaped boxes. Separate information from your personal life and daily tasks. Easily manage daily, weekly or monthly tasks by using this simple to use tool. You can review your post-its from any web connected device.

tag(s): note taking (41)

In the Classroom

Students can easily store their notes and share with others. Use this tool to manage projects and schedule tasks. Help students organize the specific tasks necessary to finish a project. Use class discussion to decide what needs to be done and the intermediate steps to completing projects. Use different colors and shapes to manage different projects. Teachers of both gifted and learning support students can use this tool together with students to build organizational skills. Teachers can use this tool to manage and plan short term tasks, longer term units, and graduate class assignments from their busy lives.

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Class Jump - Classjump.com

Grades
7 to 12
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Looking for a free web site to communicate with parents and students? Class Jump is a free educational platform. Determine your learning goals as you set up your "classroom." Post ...more
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Looking for a free web site to communicate with parents and students? Class Jump is a free educational platform. Determine your learning goals as you set up your "classroom." Post homework and upload documents for students to access. Add events to the class calendar. Post articles of interest and links to be viewed. Receive homework and other documents from your students. Create a message board (forum) for use by all the students in your class. Upload photos and create as many albums as needed. Create an account. Creating a school identity requires a paid account. Manage multiple classes with this easy to understand interface.

tag(s): classroom management (155), forum (8), social networking (111)

In the Classroom

Manage your classroom with this resource. Use as a class hub to manage documents, photos, and files. Be sure to define the use of the message board. You may wish to create a practice student account to see what the tool looks like as a student. Be sure to share this link so students and parents can access both in and out of the classroom. Use Class Jump in teacher ed programs to show up and coming teachers how a website can enhance instruction.

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Project Based Learning for the 21st Century - Buck Institute for Education

Grades
K to 12
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Looking for more information on Project Based Learning (PBL)? Find videos, information, and examples on this site. Though some material on this site is for sale, there are plenty of...more
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Looking for more information on Project Based Learning (PBL)? Find videos, information, and examples on this site. Though some material on this site is for sale, there are plenty of free materials. Read about PBL, watch videos, or download word or pdf documents found under the Tools section. Sign up to participate in the forum for more interaction with the content and other educators using PBL. Click the PBL Do-It Yourself bar along the right side for more information and links. Be sure to check out the tweets on the bottom of the front page for great ideas and links to use.
This site includes advertising.

tag(s): assessment (116)

In the Classroom

Use these ideas in any subject area classroom. Aspects of PBL can be used in introductory activities or whole units. Use driving questions to stimulate student curiosity to know more about how curriculum applies to their lives. Use this PBL framework to give students freedom to research aspects of the content or problem of personal interest. Be sure to view the resources to adequately plan for a successful unit project that incorporates 21st century skills utilizing engaging activities and content.
 This resource requires PDF reader software like Adobe Acrobat.

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5 Minute Mystery - Mystery Competition, LLC

Grades
4 to 12
13 Favorites 0  Comments
  
This mystery reading game helps increase reading comprehension and critical thinking skills in an innovative way. The basic game is free. You can sign up to have two mysteries a ...more
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This mystery reading game helps increase reading comprehension and critical thinking skills in an innovative way. The basic game is free. You can sign up to have two mysteries a week sent to you, or you can use their archive. There is a "How to Play" section where you can view a video, open pdf instructions, or look at the instructions online. After reading a mystery you select the correct sentences that are clues, and select a character that the clue either exonerates or implicates. Points are awarded for each clue you get correct. For a fee, you can get a premium account that has graphic organizers, questions, and writing suggestions, however, this review is for the free, basic version. Even with the basic program, you can look under lesson plans and find objectives and ideas for your classroom and for creating leagues.

Bonus: There's an app for that! For the iphone, of course!
This site includes advertising.

tag(s): critical thinking (120), mysteries (22), reading comprehension (126), short stories (24)

In the Classroom

Use your projector and interactive whiteboard to show your students the directions for getting points by selecting the correct clues and solving the mystery. To begin with, as a class, read a mystery and discuss what the clues might be and whether they implicate or exonerate each suspect. Once the students have volunteered their ideas for which sentences are clues, submit them to see the score. The program will highlight the answers you should have had, if you got any wrong. Model for your students a discussion about why those are the correct answers and why the ones they submitted weren't. Eventually they can have this discussion by themselves in small groups. Those of you with multiple classes will want to create a league for each class.

Eventually you can have small groups of students compete against each other by creating leagues. Have your students come to consensus about the clue sentences and who the real perpetrator is by voting using Tricider, reviewed here, or Decide Already, reviewed here.

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Environmental Graffiti - Chris Ingraham Brook

Grades
6 to 12
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Looking for interesting stories and tidbits about the environment and its inhabitants? Find information and facts at this blog. Click "Submit Your News" if you have interesting information...more
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Looking for interesting stories and tidbits about the environment and its inhabitants? Find information and facts at this blog. Click "Submit Your News" if you have interesting information that would be a good story. Find stories that can easily apply to any science subject.
This site includes advertising.

tag(s): ecology (137), environment (323)

In the Classroom

Use these stories as writing prompts, prompts for further research, or sparks to learn about something new. Consider assigning students to find and share related information to share with the rest of their class. One idea for students to show they understand the consequences or implications of an article would be to have students write diary entries, in the first person, much the same as Diary of a Worm reviewed here. Have students publish their diary with Simplebooklet, reviewed here,to share with classmates and parents.
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The Interactive Raven - TeachersFirst

Grades
6 to 12
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Here's TeachersFirst's famous on-line presentation of Poe's classic poem, with notations explaining definitions and literary devices. Roll over words for definitions, literary devices,...more
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Here's TeachersFirst's famous on-line presentation of Poe's classic poem, with notations explaining definitions and literary devices. Roll over words for definitions, literary devices, and more.

tag(s): halloween (38), poetry (221)

In the Classroom

This is a great on-line independent study for students who need additional help with either vocabulary or poetic devices. Introduce the site on your projector (rollovers will not work on an interactive whiteboard), then have students work alone or with a partner to become acquainted with the full text of Poe's masterpiece, accessing definitions and literary devices on their own. Challenge students to create their own dramatic readings of the poem using a tool such as Podomatic, reviewed here, or accompany their reading with illustrations using Thinglink, reviewed here.
 This resource requires Adobe Flash.

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Nutcracker Study Guide - Inland Pacific Ballet

Grades
4 to 8
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Use this site from the New York City Ballet to find ways to introduce your students to the glorious music from Tchaikovsky's beloved holiday classic, The Nutcracker Suite. This site...more
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Use this site from the New York City Ballet to find ways to introduce your students to the glorious music from Tchaikovsky's beloved holiday classic, The Nutcracker Suite. This site offers lots of ways to incorporate the Nutcracker story and history into curriculum.

tag(s): christmas (56)

In the Classroom

Use this site as a resource during a historic examination of Christmas. Have students re-write their own version of the story using a different setting, time period, or both be sure that they consider how costumes, sets, characters, folk dances,music, landmarks, locations, events, and animals might be different. Have students consider the Dance of the Snowflakes scene in The Nutcracker. Discuss what animals they might find living in this kind of habitat? What else would you likely find living in this habitat (plants, trees, insects, etc.)? Have students record their ideas on a graphic organizer and draw pictures to go along with it. Have students compare or contrast The Nutcracker with another folk tale, fairy tale or story they have read or are familiar with.

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Aspects of the Antebellum Christmas - Tim Crumrin

Grades
7 to 9
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This site looks at Victorian Christmas observances from the American point of view. Focusing on holiday celebrations between 1830 and 1860, this site examines the growth of the Christmas...more
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This site looks at Victorian Christmas observances from the American point of view. Focusing on holiday celebrations between 1830 and 1860, this site examines the growth of the Christmas holiday as we know it, examining those traditions that have continued into the 20th Century and those that are but a memory.

tag(s): christmas (56), civil war (144), victorian (21)

In the Classroom

Use this website as a resource during a unit on Christmas, or while looking at the differences in American life before and after the Civil War. Challenge students to create a comparison chart using a tool like Xmind, reviewed here, and then writing about their learning and understanding using Telegra.ph, reviewed here. With Telegra.ph you just click on an icon to upload images from your computer, add a YouTube or Vimeo, or Twitter links. This blog creator requires no registration.

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Dickens and Christmas - David Perdue

Grades
7 to 12
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Charles Dickens had a profound influence on the way we celebrate Christmas today. This informative site details the revival of Christmas during Victorian times, draws connection to...more
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Charles Dickens had a profound influence on the way we celebrate Christmas today. This informative site details the revival of Christmas during Victorian times, draws connection to many Dickens' novels, and explains several significant themes evident in A Christmas Carol.

tag(s): christmas (56), dickens (11), victorian (21)

In the Classroom

Use this website as a tool during a unit on Christmas or Charles Dickens. Divide students into small groups or pairs to read the information on this page. The text might be challenging for some students. Pair weak readers with a strong reader. Instruct students to use Webnote, reviewed here, to take "sticky notes" for the important information they learn. If some of the passages are difficult, even for the strong reader, have them use Rewordify, reviewed here, to replace the difficult text shown with easier to understand words. Be sure to tell students to use Webnote (mentioned above) to make a sticky for the difficult word or phrase and it's definition, or easier wording. Allow ESL/ELL students to try using Text to Speech Reader, reviewed here, which will allow these students to follow the highlighted text as the article or passage is read to them.

Challenge students to create a multimedia presentation around a theme from Dickens using one of the TeachersFirst Edge reviewed multimedia tools. Some tool suggestions are (click on the tool name to access the review): Piktochart, Lucidpress, Powtoon, and Rooclick.

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A Victorian Christmas - Malcolm Warrington

Grades
4 to 8
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Give students a taste of the Victorian celebration with this site showing greeting cards from the Victorian era, and explaining the Victorian origins of many of today's Christmas traditions....more
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Give students a taste of the Victorian celebration with this site showing greeting cards from the Victorian era, and explaining the Victorian origins of many of today's Christmas traditions. We wish the images were bigger, but this is a nicely designed introduction to Victorian celebrations.

In the Classroom

Use this website during a unit on Christmas or Victorian history. Allow ESL/ELL students to try using Text to Speech Reader, reviewed here, which will allow these students to follow the highlighted text as the article or passage is read to them. Consider having students create their own online Victorian "albums" using a tool such as MyScrapNook, reviewed here.

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Video: Social Media in Plain English - Common Craft

Grades
K to 12
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What is social media? This video takes you on a journey to "Scoopville," a fictitious town used to demonstrate the many "flavors" of social media. The video is short (3:25-minutes)...more
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What is social media? This video takes you on a journey to "Scoopville," a fictitious town used to demonstrate the many "flavors" of social media. The video is short (3:25-minutes) and very easy to follow. Highlighted are blogs, podcasts, and videos. This site requires you to be a paying member to embed or download the video. However, you can still see the transcript for the video. Despite a paid membership model, Common Craft still offers this video for free, but it does have a watermark saying, "For evaluation only." If you wish to share this with a group, they will need to view it on individual/partner computers (or IOS devices) or on a projector that has a zoom function to enlarge a selected area of the screen.
This site includes advertising.

tag(s): blogs (83), podcasts (56), social media (26), video (279)

In the Classroom

If you are looking to learn more about various social media, check out this short video. Learn more about the "flavors" you could use in your own classroom. For research projects have students create a blog, wiki, or even a podcast and compare the pros/cons of each regarding communication and safety. Create podcasts using a tool such as podOmatic, explained here. To put the video on a "center" computer, do a "right click" on the video, select "save as" and save to the "center" computer.
 This resource requires Adobe Flash.

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Harry Potter's Page - Scholastic Books

Grades
4 to 12
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Harry Potter's all the rage, and the web doesn't disappoint. There are lots of resources about Harry and author J.K. Rowling. Scholatic Books has an entire Harry Potter site. It ...more
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Harry Potter's all the rage, and the web doesn't disappoint. There are lots of resources about Harry and author J.K. Rowling. Scholatic Books has an entire Harry Potter site. It features information on the books, discussion and author sections, even a Harry Potter screensaver.

tag(s): harry potter (11)

In the Classroom

See even more Harry Potter resources at Pottermore, reviewed here.

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Jackie French Koller - Privately Published

Grades
1 to 8
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This is the homepage of Jackie French Koller, author of children and young adult books. Developed by Jackie French Koller as her homepage, there is a great deal of information ...more
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This is the homepage of Jackie French Koller, author of children and young adult books. Developed by Jackie French Koller as her homepage, there is a great deal of information about the author, her family, pets, hobbies as well as her books. This site includes a link to writing tips for would be authors. There are links to a few other authors as well.

tag(s): book lists (131), french (91)

In the Classroom

Use the menu bar on the left of the page and explore the Teachers Pages to find books with excerpts and activity pages. Also, look at the tab labeled Freebies and find free downloadable books!

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100 Best Books - TeachersFirst

Grades
K to 12
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TeachersFirst offers a listing of 100 of the best books for children, along with links to TeachersFirst's content about some of those books. Check out this list for some new ...more
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TeachersFirst offers a listing of 100 of the best books for children, along with links to TeachersFirst's content about some of those books. Check out this list for some new literature ideas! The original list came from an NEA member poll. Many newer books have been suggested since then, but this list remains a solid offering of "classics."

tag(s): reading lists (81)

In the Classroom

This is a great starting point for reluctant readers. Provide this list (or link) to parents to use during the summer months to help with the "I'm bored" days. Why not challenge your students to read their way through the list during the school year by setting a personal goal and documenting their reading journey in a reading journal, blog, or class wiki with one page per student? They will enjoy looking back over their reading year!

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