TeachersFirst - Featured Sites: Week of Jan 19, 2020
Here are this week's features. Clicking the tags in the description area of each listing will present a list of other resources with this topic. | Click here to go to the Featured Sites Archive
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Grades3 to 8
In the ClassroomMake the most of students' interest in movies to engage them in the art of writing reviews using the lesson plan and materials as a starting point. Engage students by polling them using Dotstorming, reviewed here, to select a movie to review together. Once you have modeled this process, create a Padlet, reviewed here, for you and your students to share additional movie suggestions. Organize your Padlet into columns based upon movie genres and encourage students to review movies from more than one genre during your movie review activities. Enhance student learning by tying your activities into real-world events like the Oscars. Search for Oscar-themed lesson ideas at ReadWriteThink, reviewed here, that helps students view movies beyond the role of a participant, but also from the viewpoint as a film crew member or writer. Extend learning even further by placing students into the role of a film critic through creating podcasts to share on your class or school website. In addition to movie reviews, ask students to take the role of journalists and interview different members of the film crew for the movie they are reviewing. Buzzsprout, reviewed here, offers many free podcasting tools suitable for classroom use.
GradesK to 12
In the ClassroomUse this excellent, free browser extension to improve your writing and your students' writing. Never send home a newsletter with spelling or writing errors again. Install the browser onto all classroom computers for students to use for editing purposes with all written work. Ask students to take a screenshot of their initial work and include it with the final project. Have students analyze their writing for common errors and reflect upon a plan to make improvements. Compile a list of common writing errors made by your students and use that information as a basis for writing lessons. Extend learning by asking students to write and produce podcasts using Buzzsprout, reviewed here, to share an ongoing series of writing tips and suggestions.
GradesK to 12
In the ClassroomFind resources and information about how to integrate digital writing into your learning environment. Share this chat with your colleagues looking for resources related to limited technology.
Grades7 to 12
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In the ClassroomThis writing curriculum includes units for bi-monthly teaching activities, be sure to bookmark this website to view and take advantage of lessons throughout the school year. Begin your unit using a learning management system like ActivelyLearn, reviewed here, to share articles with students. ActivelyLearn allows educators to integrate assignment directions, polls, companion videos, and more to create an in-depth learning experience. Enhance learning and help students identify writing techniques within the articles shared in each unit using Fiskkit, reviewed here. Fiskkit allows groups to collaboratively examine and discuss online articles by highlighting sentences and sharing thoughts. For example, during the first unit focused on the Personal Narrative Essay, use Fiskkit for students to find and discuss details, including examples of writing with voice and use of specific examples instead of broad descriptions. As your unit moves into focusing on student-created work, use FlipGrid, reviewed here, to amplify student's voice and discuss topics for the culminating personal narrative writing project. Pose a question on Flipgrid for students to share portions of a personal narrative they have read, then discuss what makes that portion of the writing stand out. Help students collaborate on ideas for their narratives using a Flipgrid video question asking students to share two or three ideas they have for their narrative and asking peers to share their ideas on what they consider to be most interesting or sharing ideas for inclusion. As a final project, use Sway, reviewed here, to publish and share student work. Create a class Sway with all student work, or ask students to create their own Sway to include their writing, a link to the New York Times article inspiration, images, and more.
Grades8 to 12
In the ClassroomUse Contexted as a collaborative note taking tool to use with peers. Create an account for all of you to use, then add notes, links, and information in one place as needed. Have students use Contexted's mind mapping feature to plan and outline writing projects. Create a class account and have students use it for note taking. When finished, all students will have access to the entire class's notes.
Grades5 to 12
In the ClassroomFeedback on this site is based on the Common European Framework of Reference (CEFR) scale, learn more about it here. Include this site with your other resources for practicing and teaching writing as you challenge students to improve feedback scores. Take advantage of the different levels to differentiate practice for all students. Ask students to analyze their writing before hitting the feedback button as a self-reflection tool. As students improve writing, use a digital portfolio tool like Seesaw, reviewed here, and upload all revisions. Also, use Seesaw for students to share their thoughts on their writing and individual progress.
Grades2 to 12
In the ClassroomShare StoryLab with students as an alternative to traditional story-writing projects. Because StoryLab features may not be intuitive to all users, consider sharing this site with a few tech-savvy students first and let them be the experts to help other students in creating books. Have older students create choose your own adventure books to discuss events in history. For example, when learning about Civil Rights, have students share options for what might happen if Martin Luther King hadn't been assassinated. Use these stories as a basis for student podcasts about moments in history and how different events shaped and changed history. Podcast Generator, reviewed here, includes features for recording and sharing podcasts.
Grades3 to 12
In the ClassroomNotetaker is a fantastic tool for teaching students how to outline and also for furthering knowledge of those familiar with outlines. Take advantage of this free interactive and the link to lessons that include this interactive to supplement your current teaching materials. Share Notetaker on your interactive whiteboard to demonstrate how to build and add content to an outline. Create outlines together as a class to summarize reading materials, information about cultures around the world, or steps taken during science experiments. Include Notetaker with your other links for student resources on your class webpage and classroom computers. Ask students to print outlines and include with any writing project, or have students copy their outline onto a Google document to accompany their project.
Grades4 to 12
In the ClassroomThe creator of this app states that it "is designed to shut down your inner editor and get you into a state of flow." Share the app with students to use as a non-threatening way to practice putting their thoughts down without worrying about grammar, spelling, or being graded. Use the app as part of brainstorming sessions before beginning writing projects. Instead of using paper and pencil for journal writing, use this site as students become more comfortable with non-stop typing for a set amount of time (or number of words).
GradesK to 6
In the ClassroomImagine Forest is a must-have resource for elementary teachers of writing. Even your most reluctant writers will enjoy activities included on the site. Share how to use the site on your interactive whiteboard or with a projector then allow students to explore on their own. Challenge students to set daily goals using activities found in challenges. Publish and share student work to create your own classroom library of student-created books. Ask students to create books for any content area studied during class, be sure to upload and include images taken during activities for students to use in their books. Create a classroom chart for students to share accomplishments like badges and points earned while using the site.
Grades5 to 12
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