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OK2Ask: My Time Learning - TeachersFirst

Grades
K to 12
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This recording of an OK2Ask online professional learning session is from February 2023. You can register and immediately view the archive of the session.

Looking for a
...more
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This recording of an OK2Ask online professional learning session is from February 2023. You can register and immediately view the archive of the session.

Looking for a way to get just-in-time personalized PD? We've got the ticket for you. Join us as we explore websites and communities that offer free professional learning opportunities. Whether you're a beginner or a tech ninja, you'll find something to pique your interest and grow your teaching toolbox. Start making your learning path today! As a result of this session, teachers will: 1. Learn about a variety of free professional learning resources; 2. Understand how to craft a learning path to fit their own professional growth; and 3. Develop a professional learning plan that includes regular reflection. This session is appropriate for teachers at all technology levels.

tag(s): professional development (352)

In the Classroom

The archive of this teacher-friendly, hands-on webinar will empower and inspire you to use learning technology in the classroom and for professional productivity. As appropriate, specific classroom examples and ideas have been shared. View the session with a few of your teaching colleagues to find and share new ideas. Find additional information and links to tools at the session resource page. Learn more about OK2Ask and upcoming sessions here.

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Focusable for Education - Focusable

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K to 12
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Focusable provides tools that support an increased focus on activities and recharging activities that provide tools for dealing with stress. Registration isn't required; however, it...more
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Focusable provides tools that support an increased focus on activities and recharging activities that provide tools for dealing with stress. Registration isn't required; however, it allows members to create classroom groups that monitor students' focused learning time and support teaching methods on how to relax and focus. Recharge activities include eye relief, neck stretch, and box breathing techniques. Focus activities include using a timer as a focused reminder with check-in points to add a video and reflect upon progress in completing the task at hand.

tag(s): DAT device agnostic tool (137), social and emotional learning (73), Teacher Utilities (133)

In the Classroom

Include Focusable as one of your tools to assist students who have difficulty staying on task or with students who have anxiety as a teaching tool to learn meditative breathing and focusing techniques. Download the Research Guide for Education to understand the research behind Focusable and learn about ways to incorporate Focusable into classroom routines that develop healthy work habits and routines. Then, be sure to add a link to Focusable on your class website or newsletter for students and parents to access at home. To reinforce your focus routines in the classroom, ask a student or a group of students to share a weekly report on progress using Focusable. Students may include new breathing techniques learned, how routines are used at home, or how paying attention to focusing techniques improves class performance. Record and share short student video presentations using Adobe Express Video Maker, reviewed here.

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TARA - Ian Cohen

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K to 12
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TARA is a suite of teacher utility tools created with special education teachers in mind but with support systems available for all teachers, coaches, and principals. Free plans include...more
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TARA is a suite of teacher utility tools created with special education teachers in mind but with support systems available for all teachers, coaches, and principals. Free plans include a lesson planner, strategy and resource bank, and a personalized homepage to access files, bookmarks, and action items easily. Your homepage has a to-do list to add action items to your calendar and view your schedule, a notepad for jotting down reminders, and access to the resource bank that includes 100s of classroom activities, organizers, and more. The Teacher Dashboard is the area to view upcoming lessons and review feedback. Visit the Classes page to add students, classes, collaborators, and co-teachers.

tag(s): Teacher Utilities (133)

In the Classroom

TARA is worth a look at by all educators, even if it isn't used for lesson planning and calendar notifications, because of the easy access to the robust resource bank. To use the resource bank, select an option provided in the listed categories, then click the < next to the words "TARA's Resource Bank." A section that includes links to activities, videos, and additional resources available for that topic opens up. Add shortcuts to your HQ page for easy access to commonly-used resources, including NearPod, reviewed here, Pear Deck, reviewed here, and many other online tools.
 This resource requires PDF reader software like Adobe Acrobat.

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FreeFunder - John Symonds

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K to 12
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FreeFunder offers a free fundraising platform for personal causes. Begin by visiting the Create tab to create an account. Then, add images and a compelling description of your needs,...more
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FreeFunder offers a free fundraising platform for personal causes. Begin by visiting the Create tab to create an account. Then, add images and a compelling description of your needs, and use FreeFunder's tools to personalize the look of your page. When ready to share, use the many options available to share your fundraiser on social media. Secure payments are received directly through Stripe. Stripe charges a fee of 2.9% and $.30 per transaction.

tag(s): grants (16)

In the Classroom

Use FreeFunder to set up fundraisers for community or school family members who need financial support. Additional ideas include fundraisers for school equipment, class trips, and after-school or summer programs. Browse through the Discover link on FreeFunder to find ideas already supported on the site.

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Givebutter - Ari Krasner, Max Friedman, and Liran Cohen

Grades
K to 12
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Givebutter is a free fundraising platform offering several tools to increase support and donations. Choose from three options provided by Givebutter for use in fundraising campaigns....more
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Givebutter is a free fundraising platform offering several tools to increase support and donations. Choose from three options provided by Givebutter for use in fundraising campaigns. Raise is the fundraising portion of the site; use this area to share your fundraising needs with forms, campaigns, and events. Raise also offers opportunities for social engagement through live streaming and virtual events. Track is where users manage donations, contacts, and view donor timelines. Boost awareness and interest in fundraising needs using Engage. Use Engage to send customized messages to donor groups, including images, videos, and text. Givebutter offers payment options through Apple Pay, Google Pay, Venmo, and PayPal.

tag(s): grants (16)

In the Classroom

Use Givebutter for any classroom or school fundraising needs to make it easier for parents and community members to support students. Use Raise to share your classroom wishlist by sharing videos and stories of how funds will engage learning in your classroom. Share Givebutter with your school's parent/teacher organization for more extensive fundraising needs, such as new equipment for your school or playground. Accept online donations and recurring donations as a way to meet the needs of community members.

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Writer's Workshop - TeachersFirst

Grades
K to 6
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What is a writer's workshop? How do I get started? Where can I find resources? This exclusive resource from TeachersFirst answers these questions and much more. Begin with a quick ...more
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What is a writer's workshop? How do I get started? Where can I find resources? This exclusive resource from TeachersFirst answers these questions and much more. Begin with a quick overview of how to set up a writer's workshop and suggestions for incorporating the writing process into your workshop. Next, visit the links that include a grade-by-grade look into having the writer's workshop in primary classrooms. In addition to links with ideas by grade level, this section also includes ideas for differentiation and links to helpful digital resources. Lastly, visit the Downloadable Resources and Planning Sheets link, which contains an assortment of printable organizers, templates, and printable documents.

tag(s): creative writing (119), descriptive writing (37), expository writing (31), letter writing (17), paragraph writing (14), persuasive writing (53), writers workshop (32), writing (302)

In the Classroom

Bookmark this site and the many resources to include with your other lessons and activities for your writer's workshop. Use Symbaloo, reviewed here, to share and organize student resources. For example, include letter writing templates, links to online dictionaries and thesauruses, and examples of writing projects for students to access easily. Extend learning by asking students to share writing projects by choosing from various multimedia tools. For example, ask emerging writers to share their stories using Write Reader, reviewed here. Write Reader includes options for adding recordings, a place for student writing, and correct spelling on each page. Another digital book creator to share with students is StoryJumper, reviewed here. StoryJumper includes options for writing and sharing collaborative stories and uploading custom images, including custom characters designed by the story author.
 This resource requires PDF reader software like Adobe Acrobat.

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Ditch That Textbook - Matt Miller

Grades
K to 12
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Finding and implementing engaging lessons is difficult and time-consuming; Ditch That Textbook offers practical teaching ideas that adapt quickly to all content and grade levels. There...more
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Finding and implementing engaging lessons is difficult and time-consuming; Ditch That Textbook offers practical teaching ideas that adapt quickly to all content and grade levels. There are three main areas of the site to search for resources - the Blog, Google Ideas, and Resources. Blog content includes suggestions for feedback, gamifying classrooms, and sources for finding free content. Use the keyword search to look for specific information. The Google Ideas section shares material for all things Google, including using Chromebooks. Scroll down the page to find ideas sorted by Google tools and links to videos, templates, and related blog posts. Select the Resources link to find an abundance of free templates, how-to videos, and tools for remote learning. Be sure to dig around at length; there is much more available on this site, including a handful of free online courses for educators. The videos are hosted on YouTube. If your district blocks YouTube, then they may not be viewable.

tag(s): assessment (130), blogs (67), Formative Assessment (61), Google (44), professional development (352)

In the Classroom

This resource is a treasure trove for new and experienced teachers, bookmark and save it for use throughout the year. If you are looking for the latest teaching trends, take advantage of the many templates and ideas shared through the blog. For those wanting to try new ideas, begin with the free templates that make it easy to introduce gamification and interactive activities into any classroom. Ditch That Textbook is an excellent site to use for ongoing professional development. Choose a blog post or activity monthly to discuss with peers and implement in your classroom. Use a curation tool such as Wakelet, reviewed here, to share and discuss resources found on Ditch that Textbook along with your ideas as a way to easily access your favorite ideas.

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Kid Activities - Barbara Shelby

Grades
K to 6
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Kid Activities is a treasure trove of ideas to engage and entertain elementary-age students. View the website content by selecting from several categories: game ideas, theme and lesson...more
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Kid Activities is a treasure trove of ideas to engage and entertain elementary-age students. View the website content by selecting from several categories: game ideas, theme and lesson planning, holiday activities, jokes and riddles, music & song ideas, and food. Additional ways to find content are to view the most recent posts or scroll through the page to find popular content. Each activity includes specific directions for materials required and setup needed. Many also have pictures that share finished projects.
This site includes advertising.

tag(s): back to school (62), holidays (151), preK (247)

In the Classroom

Bookmark and save this site to find many ideas and activities for your classroom. Then, share this site with parents when planning classroom parties or field days. Many parents enjoy receiving ideas for things to do at home with students; include a link to the Kid Activities website in your newsletter or share an activity each week or month. Consider creating a webmix with Symbaloo, reviewed here, to share with parents that includes a variety of at-home activities for parents.

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Downdetector - Ookla, LLC

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K to 12
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Nothing is much worse than trying to access a website without success and not knowing if the problem is on your end or with the site. Downdetector provides real-time monitoring ...more
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Nothing is much worse than trying to access a website without success and not knowing if the problem is on your end or with the site. Downdetector provides real-time monitoring of major companies and services. Scroll down the site to find links to major services, including Twitter, YouTube, Google, and others, to find the status based upon crowd-sourced information. Although Downdetector does not provide information for all websites, it is a valuable tool for finding the status of the primary services and companies monitored.

tag(s): computers (97)

In the Classroom

Save Downdetector to your bookmarks to use as needed when you or your students are unable to connect to tools used in the classroom. Share with students to use to check service availability before notifying your or your technical team.

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Reading 101: A Guide to Teaching Reading and Writing - Reading Rockets

Grades
K to 3
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Are you looking for professional development or wondering how to teach reading better? At Reading 101 by Reading Rockets, you will find both. Extend your knowledge of how students learn...more
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Are you looking for professional development or wondering how to teach reading better? At Reading 101 by Reading Rockets, you will find both. Extend your knowledge of how students learn to read and how best to teach them. Start on the left menu with the introduction, and then work at your own pace through the nine-course modules, which include phonemic awareness, phonics, fluency, vocabulary, comprehension, spelling, vocabulary, writing, and assessment. You will also find video clips, assignments & quizzes (for you), classroom strategies, and additional resources. All of these are designed to help you become the best literacy teacher you can be. You can also get a letter of completion for your administrator and goals. There is no log-in for this program, so be sure to save your work if you are using this as the year's goal for professional development.

tag(s): fluency (23), literacy (102), phonics (48), preK (247), professional development (352), reading strategies (89), Research (79), science of reading (23), writing (302)

In the Classroom

Bookmark this site to share with administrators and your peers. There are many good resources this program offers for you to share, too. Consider using Wakelet, reviewed here, to curate and share resources with peers. Include videos, articles, and other relevant information in your Wakelet collection. I'm sure you've heard the saying, all teachers are teachers of reading. Although this program is for K-3 teachers, the valuable lessons and materials support the teaching of reading skills in all grade levels and all subjects. This site is a must-have for use when learning about or implementing Science of Reading instructional practices.

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WeTeachNYC Search Library - New York City Dept of Education

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K to 12
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Find high-quality resources curated by educators in all content areas and grade levels shared by WeTeachNYC. Although only registration and saving of resources are available to New...more
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Find high-quality resources curated by educators in all content areas and grade levels shared by WeTeachNYC. Although only registration and saving of resources are available to New York City Department of Education employees and partners, most materials are open to all site users. Use the search feature to find and filter content by subject, grade level, and resource type. Resources include lessons, classroom strategies, templates, and much more. All links that lead to offsite material are vetted for quality and alignment to standards.

tag(s): newbies (14), OER (42), preK (247), professional development (352), resources (84), substitutes (27)

In the Classroom

Add this extensive search library to your current toolbox of resources for classroom and professional use. Search for ideas when planning upcoming units and lessons and provide differentiated instruction to meet your students' learning needs. Use a learning management system such as Eduflow, reviewed here, or Classkick, reviewed here, to easily create and share personalized instruction that includes resources found on this site along with your current lessons and materials.
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OK2Ask: Digital Storytelling 201 - TeachersFirst

Grades
3 to 12
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This recording of an OK2Ask online professional learning session is from July 2022. You can register and immediately view the archive of the session.

Get ready for digital
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This recording of an OK2Ask online professional learning session is from July 2022. You can register and immediately view the archive of the session.

Get ready for digital storytelling--a valuable strategy for instruction and formative and summative assessments. You or your students have a story idea, but now what do you do? In this session, we'll review the digital storytelling process, talk about tech tools you can use to create your product, and share ideas for managing your classroom while students are working on digital storytelling projects. As a result of this session, teachers will: 1. Understand the digital storytelling process; 2. Explore a technology tool for digital storytelling; and 3. Plan for the use of digital storytelling in instructional settings. This session is appropriate for teachers at all technology levels.

tag(s): digital storytelling (141), professional development (352), writing (302)

In the Classroom

The archive of this teacher-friendly, hands-on webinar will empower and inspire you to use learning technology in the classroom and for professional productivity. As appropriate, specific classroom examples and ideas have been shared. View the session with a few of your teaching colleagues to find and share new ideas. Find additional information and links to tools at the session resource page. Learn more about OK2Ask and upcoming sessions here.

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SlidesMania - Paula Martinez

Grades
K to 12
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Do you use slides? If so, SlidesMania is a must-add to your digital toolbox! SlidesMania offers hundreds of slide templates for both PowerPoint and Google Slides, and most are created...more
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Do you use slides? If so, SlidesMania is a must-add to your digital toolbox! SlidesMania offers hundreds of slide templates for both PowerPoint and Google Slides, and most are created specifically for educators. Scroll through or search the site to find templates with exciting themes, game templates, choice boards, and more. Some offerings include directions on changing colors to personalize slides to fit individual needs. To use a presentation, find the link for Google Slides or Powerpoint and follow the links to download or use the template and save.
This site includes advertising.

tag(s): presentations (14), slides (44)

In the Classroom

Bookmark and save SlidesMania for use with slides throughout the school year. Use to engage students using the themes and exciting formats. Create flashcards for students to practice spelling or vocabulary. Create personalized certificates to reward student success or customize templates that feature interactive lessons. Share this site with students to use when creating presentations. Include student presentations in portfolios created with Seesaw, reviewed here, to share with parents during conferences.

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Open Textbook Library - Univ. of Minnesota's College of Education & Human Development

Grades
6 to 12
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The Open Textbook Library provides access to over 1,000 textbooks to download, edit, and distribute at no cost. View the newest additions or use the browse feature to find textbooks...more
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The Open Textbook Library provides access to over 1,000 textbooks to download, edit, and distribute at no cost. View the newest additions or use the browse feature to find textbooks by subject. After selecting a book, read a summary, including the copyright date, author(s), and licensing information. Then, to access any text, select the "Read More" link that provides additional information and links to the available formats. Formats available include PDF, ebook, and online availability.

tag(s): differentiation (74), OER (42), professional development (352), remote learning (62)

In the Classroom

Bookmark and save this website as a resource for finding supplemental materials for your classroom and professional development information for personal use. For example, if you teach algebra, use the search feature to find introductory and prealgebra textbooks to reinforce concepts to students differently than your current teaching materials. For students who need enrichment material, take advantage of algebra 2 books to provide differentiated instruction to meet their learning needs. This resource would be ideal to use in a remote learning situation. Consider curating this site along with other open education resources (OER) using Wakelet, reviewed here. Create a collection in Wakelet of your OER resources and share it with colleagues as a professional resource.
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Overcoming Obstacles K-12 Curriculum - Community for Education Foundation, Inc.

Grades
K to 12
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Overcoming Obstacles free curriculum shares hundreds of lessons based upon a foundation of thirty life skills. Skills include effective communication, making informed decisions, setting...more
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Overcoming Obstacles free curriculum shares hundreds of lessons based upon a foundation of thirty life skills. Skills include effective communication, making informed decisions, setting goals, respecting one another, and more. Find content organized into four grade bands, beginning with kindergarten through second grade and finishing with high school. Each printable lesson starts with a plan that includes goals, objectives, and a materials list. In addition to specific lesson instructions, each activity includes additional extensions to practice and reinforce skills taught. All information is available without registration; however, registering on the site allows you to customize lessons before downloading and saving. In addition, student activity sheets are available for download in 25 languages.

tag(s): communication (132), conflict resolution (9), OER (42), problem solving (219), social and emotional learning (73)

In the Classroom

Use the Overcoming Obstacles curriculum as a stand-alone life-skills curriculum or as a supplement to your current teaching materials. If you cannot take advantage of the complete curriculum, use the site's library to find lessons and activities on specific topics to address in your classroom as needed. For example, if peer pressure is a concern, select that activity to include in classroom lessons. Many of the activities include role-playing, extend these activities by creating student-led podcasts using Buzzsprout, reviewed here. Create podcasts with different scenarios for students to role-play appropriate and inappropriate responses, including suggestions for making informed decisions.
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Merlot - California State University Long Beach

Grades
K to 12
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Merlot (Multimedia Educational Resource for Learning and Online Teaching) is a curated collection of free learning and support materials for educators that includes almost 100,000 learning...more
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Merlot (Multimedia Educational Resource for Learning and Online Teaching) is a curated collection of free learning and support materials for educators that includes almost 100,000 learning resources in all content areas and grade levels. Search information on the site in several ways, such as using a keyword or searching by ISBN, materials, or members. Use the dropdown box labeled "Browse" at the top of the page to conduct a more focused search by grade level, content, type of material, and mobile platform. All available content includes clickable peer reviews and user ratings with an overview of the material, recommended uses, and target student population. Registration isn't required; however, it allows you to bookmark and save topics. In addition, registration offers access to Merlot's Content Builder (website maker) and a Course ePortfolio.

tag(s): OER (42), preK (247), professional development (352)

In the Classroom

Bookmark and save Merlot to use for professional development and planning purposes. Create an account to save and access bookmarks at any time throughout the year. Due to the size of this site, consider including it as part of your professional development activities with grade-level or department peers to explore by sections. For example, during one session, examine options of assessment tools, and explore the included collections about your course content at another meeting. Consider using a curation tool such as Netboard, reviewed here, or Milanote, reviewed here, to collect and share saved resources.
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100 STEAM Projects for Educators - The Oakland Toy Lab

Grades
K to 12
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Are you looking for some great STEAM projects to do in your classroom? Instructables.com has a curated collection of STEAM projects complete with step-by-step directions, photos, and...more
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Are you looking for some great STEAM projects to do in your classroom? Instructables.com has a curated collection of STEAM projects complete with step-by-step directions, photos, and tips for completion. Some even have video clips to help with the directions. Projects range in age level from lower elementary to high school. The contributor, The Oakland Toy Lab, designed everything with accessibility in mind. Each project can be created with widely available and relatively low-cost materials. In addition, teachers can create a free account to download printable PDFs of step-by-step directions of each activity. Be aware that this collection is posted as a part of a larger website of community-contributed content, so some Instructables may not be appropriate for a school environment.

tag(s): crafts (49), engineering (118), makerspace (43), science fairs (19), STEM (244)

In the Classroom

Here, teachers can find one hundred unique, already tried and tested STEAM projects for their classrooms. Teachers can use them as written or as a starting point and modify them to fit their own needs. Perhaps creating a makerspace with several activities and supplies available to choose from would be an excellent station for early finishers in your room. This collection of 100 STEAM projects is a part of a larger website - instructibles.com, where you can learn to do just about anything in any subject area. Be sure to save this site and check back often as content is contributed by the community and is updated regularly, so you never know what you may find - you may even decide to contribute something of your own!

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OK2Ask: 3 Cool Tools for Persuasive Writing - TeachersFirst

Grades
3 to 12
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This recording of an OK2Ask online professional learning session is from July 2022. You can register and immediately view the archive of the session.

Persuasive writing
...more
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This recording of an OK2Ask online professional learning session is from July 2022. You can register and immediately view the archive of the session.

Persuasive writing is a critical skill that can seem daunting to elementary and middle school students. Now more than ever, readers and writers must be able to distinguish between fact and opinion and clearly identify supporting evidence. Understanding the terms "fact", "opinion", and "evidence" is key to digital literacy, and using them appropriately will help students to construct (and deconstruct) an argument. Join this workshop to look at three tech tools that support authentic persuasive writing. As a result of this session, teachers will: 1. Understand how facts, opinions, and evidence come together form an argument; 2. Explore three online tools for persuasive writing; and 3. Plan to use persuasive writing in instruction. This session is appropriate for teachers at all technology levels.

tag(s): persuasive writing (53), professional development (352), writing (302)

In the Classroom

The archive of this teacher-friendly, hands-on webinar will empower and inspire you to use learning technology in the classroom and for professional productivity. As appropriate, specific classroom examples and ideas have been shared. View the session with a few of your teaching colleagues to find and share new ideas. Find additional information and links to tools at the session resource page. Learn more about OK2Ask and upcoming sessions here.

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Wordtune - AI21 Labs

Grades
K to 12
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Wordtune is a fabulous Chrome extension and Microsoft Word add-on that takes your writing and provides options for rephrasing and clarifying the information to make it more concise...more
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Wordtune is a fabulous Chrome extension and Microsoft Word add-on that takes your writing and provides options for rephrasing and clarifying the information to make it more concise and engaging. The free plan offers up to twenty rewrites per day; each rewrite includes up to 280 characters. The Chrome extension works with Google Docs, Twitter, Outlook, Facebook, and other websites. After installing the extension, open any included site or document, highlight an area of text up to 280 characters, and select the Wordtune icon. Using AI technology, Wordtune generates a list of possible alternatives to your current writing. Select your preferred option to replace your work. See how it works on the Wordtune homepage before installing the extension.

tag(s): editing (90), grammar (139), proofreading (21), writing (302)

In the Classroom

Use this tool to enhance your writing and share it with students for their writing projects. Include Wordtune with writing lessons to explore different methods of stating information and techniques that make writing easier to read and more interesting to the reader. For example, take a random sentence from a piece of student writing and use Wordtune to analyze and offer options for stating the information differently. Ask students to explore and discuss the changes made, what changes made the sentence easier to understand, or find options that they don't find to be as clear as their original work.

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SchoolStack - Sarah Schwartz and Hal Schwartz

Grades
K to 12
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SchoolStack is an instructional design system that provides tools for personalized learning options for students. After creating an account, the first step is designing or choosing...more
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SchoolStack is an instructional design system that provides tools for personalized learning options for students. After creating an account, the first step is designing or choosing lessons from SchoolStack's library. Lesson options include adding exit tickets or making tasks optional or required. Next, add assignments to a "stack," like creating a choice board of activities. Then, assign stacks to a whole class, groups, or individuals. Dashboards for students, teachers, and caregivers track students' progress throughout their lessons. Free accounts offer limited stack creation, limited access to the lesson library, and the ability to add one teacher collaborator.

tag(s): differentiation (74), personalized learning (8), playlists (10), remote learning (62), Teacher Utilities (133)

In the Classroom

Use SchoolStack to differentiate learning for different student needs and abilities by quickly modifying lesson activities to share with individual students or groups. Replace your current homework activities using SchoolStack to provide students with various options for completing learning activities. Offer activities that meet student interests and learning styles within each stack to encourage student interest and participation. When teaching blended learning or remote learning activities, use SchoolStack to share information with students and gather data and feedback from their participation in the lessons.

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