TeachersFirst - Featured Sites: Week of Feb 25, 2024

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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Learning From Experts: Author Studies in the Classroom - TeachersFirst

Grades
K to 8
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This article from TeachersFirst Help! I Lost My Library/Media Specialist series, reviewed here shares the educational advantages of conducting author...more
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This article from TeachersFirst Help! I Lost My Library/Media Specialist series, reviewed here shares the educational advantages of conducting author studies and provides activities, resources, and learning extensions to incorporate into any classroom. Suggested activities include video interviews of authors recommended for younger and older students, technology incorporation ideas, and suggestions for virtual author visits. Information includes correlation to ISTE and AASL standards.

In the Classroom

Add this article to your list of resources for author studies in your classroom. Use Wakelet, reviewed here to organize and curate your collection of resources. Share author websites, video interviews, and book lists with students using 3X3 Links, reviewed here. 3X3 Links is a bookmarking site that is easy for you and your students to use when sharing websites. After watching author interviews and learning about authors, conduct author interviews with student authors in your classroom. Use Flip, reviewed here for this and allow class peers to ask questions of the author being interviewed.

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Storyvoice - Scholastic

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K to 7
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Step into the world of imagination with Storyvoice to participate in live storytelling sessions happening multiple times per week with children's authors. Join in the interactive experience...more
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Step into the world of imagination with Storyvoice to participate in live storytelling sessions happening multiple times per week with children's authors. Join in the interactive experience as the featured author engages with the audience, answers questions, and even asks some lucky audience members to read along with them! Select the Start Watching! link to join events and view the schedule of upcoming events, then choose to participate on the web app or download Storyvoice for viewing using the Apple or Google Play app. Upcoming events are listed with the author's name, suggested grade level, and the date and time of the event. Recordings are available the following school day and are available for 24 hours; for live shows on a Friday, recordings are posted the following Monday.

In the Classroom

Be sure to check the schedule often for upcoming events and add them to your calendar to take advantage of the opportunity to participate in the Storyvoice activities. Also, remember that recordings are only available for 24 hours following the event, so including them on your classroom calendar is crucial. Prepare for upcoming events by sharing stories from the featured author as a read-aloud or in reading centers. Have students prepare questions to ask during Storyvoice activities, then have your class vote on which questions to have available to share with the author using a voting tool such as Poll Maker, reviewed here. Have students write a thank-you letter to the author as a final activity. Find templates for friendly letters and a letter generator tool at Read Write Think, reviewed here.

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Margaret Wise Brown - Ladies Literary Guild

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K to 10
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Goodnight, Moon is a children's classic that most have read to their children and grandchildren. Young students everywhere love it. Now you and your class can read about the author,...more
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Goodnight, Moon is a children's classic that most have read to their children and grandchildren. Young students everywhere love it. Now you and your class can read about the author, Margaret Wise Brown, and how she is "one of the central figures of a period now considered the golden age of the American picture book." Read all about her short life and prolific writing talent in this easy-to-read biographical sketch.

In the Classroom

Certainly, read Goodnight, Moon to your class (even older students) to start a discussion based on their favorite children's picture books. Make a class list of titles and authors using Padlet, reviewed here, to refer to later. Next, use Read Ahead, reviewed here, to create a guided reading activity for younger students and to introduce this biography to students. Then, have students use this biography as a model to create a biography about one of their favorite authors. Use Adobe Express, reviewed here, and allow for student choice by offering students this site: Free Biography templates from Adobe Express here.

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Book Club for Kids - Kitty Felde

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5 to 9
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Book Club for Kids is a free, weekly 20-minute podcast for middle school students. Each podcast includes a discussion of a favorite book along with an author interview and celebrity...more
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Book Club for Kids is a free, weekly 20-minute podcast for middle school students. Each podcast includes a discussion of a favorite book along with an author interview and celebrity reading. In addition to the podcasts, this site offers a variety of information for students and educators, and parents. Select the link for librarians, teachers, and parents to find curriculum guides for several books. Choose the sections with "Writers on Writing" to discover in-depth conversations with several authors. Podcasts are available on most popular podcasting sites.

In the Classroom

This tremendous resource is a must-have for all middle school classrooms and libraries! Share the podcasts with students not only to learn about the latest books but also to learn how to improve public speaking skills, learn about the author's techniques and tips, and discover how to share informative book reports. Subscribe to the podcast and have students listen to weekly presentations during center times or as a class. Share the "Books We Love" portion of the site on your class webpage for students to use when looking for reading material. Ask your school librarian to share these podcasts in the media center and look into ordering books of interest to your students. As students learn from these podcasts, ask them to use what they learned to create their podcasts to share with classmates and your school. Have students use organizers found on ReadWriteThink, reviewed here to organize and plan for their podcasts and book reviews. Help students visualize their written work by creating word clouds with Wordsift, reviewed here to focus on commonly-used terms within their text and evaluate their usefulness. As a final project, help your students create and produce ongoing podcasts sharing their book reviews with peers. Buzzsprout, reviewed here and Spotify for Podcasters (wasAnchor), reviewed here both provide free podcasting tools.

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Writers Speak to Kids - NBC Learn

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K to 8
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Learn about the craft and techniques of writing straight from real authors in this series of videos at NBC Learn. Choose from 17 short videos, each less than 5 minutes, ...more
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Learn about the craft and techniques of writing straight from real authors in this series of videos at NBC Learn. Choose from 17 short videos, each less than 5 minutes, focusing on an author and a specific craft such as writing poetry, sources for inspiration, and the writing process. Each video includes a transcript of the author's conversation. The authors write popular books for a variety of age ranges. The videos reside on YouTube. If your district blocks YouTube, they may not be viewable.

In the Classroom

This site is perfect for use as an anticipatory set or "activator" to introduce a unit or lesson on a projector or interactive whiteboard. Look for authors of favorite read-alouds you use in your classroom and share their videos. Make a shortcut to this site on classroom computers and use it as a learning center. View an author's video then share their books in your classroom reading center or as an author of the month. Have students create an annotated image including text boxes and related links using a tool such as Image Annotator, reviewed here to explain their own writing process.

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Reading Rockets - WETA Washington D.C.

Grades
1 to 6
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Reading Rockets is a comprehensive guide for parents, teachers, librarians, principals, school counselors, speech therapists, school psychologists, preschool caregivers, summer care...more
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Reading Rockets is a comprehensive guide for parents, teachers, librarians, principals, school counselors, speech therapists, school psychologists, preschool caregivers, summer care providers, and anyone interested in keeping kids reading! This site is an amazing resource to answer your reading needs. Updated continually, it keeps you informed with the latest research. New teachers, seasoned teacher, parents, principals, and anyone who works with students (reading) can benefit from the information included. Teachers will find: classroom strategies, how to help struggling readers, professional development webcasts, how to build strong parent teacher relationships, booklists, and how to use books in your curriculum. For principals, discover information on school level leadership, supporting teachers, closing the achievement gap, and working with parents. Find over 100 interviews with award winning authors reviewed here, an author study tool kit, themed booklists, holiday gift guide, research-based articles, parent letters, launching young readers (series) on ipod, reading adventure packs, and other great tools. A librarian toolkit offers free video modules on finding the right book, becoming aware of print, reading as dialogue, and writers secrets. Many detailed articles discuss information about speech pathology, dyslexia, comprehension, motivation, phonics, writing, and spelling.
This site includes advertising.

In the Classroom

Reading Rockets is a fantastic resource for teachers, librarians, parents, and principals. Be sure to sign up for the newsletter for the latest information, blogs, thoughts, and ideas for teaching reading. Use this website as a resource for your classroom, library, or even with you school action committees. Provide a link to this site on your class webpage. Install widgets for reading, and find the latest apps to support literacy. Join reading blogs, and add widgets to make your reading strategies complete. If your district blocks YouTube, the videos may not be viewable.

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Dr. Maya Angelou's Official Website - Official Website of Dr.Maya Angelou

Grades
8 to 12
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Dr. Maya Angelou's Official Website is dedicated to the remarkable accomplishments, news, biography, and photo and video galleries (find under Celebrate 95 Years), music, as...more
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Dr. Maya Angelou's Official Website is dedicated to the remarkable accomplishments, news, biography, and photo and video galleries (find under Celebrate 95 Years), music, as well as descriptions of books and films, of this remarkable best-selling author, playwright, and civil-rights activist. Dr. Maya Angelou, one of the great voices of contemporary literature continues to spread her legendary wisdom and captivate audiences, through the unique power with the beauty of words to help readers cross the lines of race, religion, and culture.

In the Classroom

Explore the Biography and Celebrate 95 Years section to project photos that span Maya Angelou's lifetime of 86 years, and feature short videos on your projector or interactive whiteboard to inspire students with interviews about her work and vision, and moments that have punctuated and reveal the grace, dignity, and eloquence that are the hallmarks of her incredible work and life journey.

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The World of Beverly Cleary - Beverly Cleary

Grades
1 to 7
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Ramona fans will celebrate when they visit this site. Watch the Today video On Beverly Cleary Turning 100. Look for oodles of background information for the Beverly Cleary's books on...more
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Ramona fans will celebrate when they visit this site. Watch the Today video On Beverly Cleary Turning 100. Look for oodles of background information for the Beverly Cleary's books on your shelf.Take quizzes for how well you know the characters. Access author info and character studies with a click. There is even a link for Fun and Games. Bring your Cleary unit to life with this site. There area printable "Reading Guides" and"Teachering Guides" that require Adobe Acrobat.

In the Classroom

Your class may want to send Ms. Cleary an old-fashioned snail mail letter, using her address at the bottom of her biography page. Instructions on how to have a successful Ramona party is at the bottom of the Fun and Games page. Have your students choose famous Cleary characters and compete answering the Trivia questions also found at Fun and Games. Include this page as a link from your teacher web page for students to access outside of class or when writing book reports.
 This resource requires PDF reader software like Adobe Acrobat.

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Mem Fox: Teaching, Learning, Living - Mem Fox

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K to 7
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This author page features plenty of ideas about how to help kids enjoy reading and includes many stories. Hear Mem Fox reading her own stories (click Hear Mem Read ...more
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This author page features plenty of ideas about how to help kids enjoy reading and includes many stories. Hear Mem Fox reading her own stories (click Hear Mem Read Aloud). She gives advice on how to read to children and gives great examples. This author page has many good suggestions for promoting literacy and love of reading. There is also a section of advice on writing your own picture book for children.

In the Classroom

Create shortcut to Mem reading aloud on your classroom computer for a center activity for primary grades, and place a copy of Mem's book there for students to follow along. Print out Mem's suggestions for reading aloud to give to parents at conferences or share this site on your teacher home page for parent and students to access from home. For older students, this site is an excellent resource for planning cross-grade reading activities for Read Across America or other special times, including having middle school students write picture books for young students, then share them at an in-person visit or on a podcast recording using Buzzsprout, reviewed here. Use PowerPoint Online, Microsoft PowerPoint Online, reviewed here since slides are an easy way to "create" and share large format picture books electronically.

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Jack London Online Collection - Roy Tennant and Dr. Clarice Stasz

Grades
8 to 12
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This is an official website about Jack London and his works, maintained by Sonoma State University. It is really an exhaustive site including a biography of Jack London, Frequently...more
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This is an official website about Jack London and his works, maintained by Sonoma State University. It is really an exhaustive site including a biography of Jack London, Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ and their answers, of course!), douments including letters, postcards, telegrams, etc. relating to his life and work, a list of his novels biographies, bibliographies about key people in his life, photographs, a of his works including , etc., all kinds of research aids, lesson plans. and MORE, plus links to other information (although why you would need more boggles the mind!).

In the Classroom

If you teach Jack London or any of the related literature (Service poetry, etc), this is a GREAT source to take students. Again, it is a safe and reliable source with a variety of areas to expand upon. I do like the fact that it reminds students to cite their information and tells them how to do it!

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S. E. Hinton - S. E. Hinton & Limemachine Design

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7 to 10
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Here is the official website of a popular young adult author. S. E. Hinton burst on the literary scene with the book "The Outsiders," written when she was only 17. ...more
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Here is the official website of a popular young adult author. S. E. Hinton burst on the literary scene with the book "The Outsiders," written when she was only 17. Her youth has always appealed to young readers, as well as her young subject matter. This is a typical official website that includes biographical information with information on her books and movies adaptations. The book pages include comments from the author and short excerpts and summaries of the works.

In the Classroom

A good source of material about the author. This site will also steer kids to her other works. The BIO will probably answer questions many of your students have about her stories and where she gets her ideas, etc.

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Avi - Avi

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2 to 9
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Official site of the juvenile and young adult writer Avi, this homepage has a list that you can check from early readers to young adults, biography, ghosts, adventure, etc. If ...more
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Official site of the juvenile and young adult writer Avi, this homepage has a list that you can check from early readers to young adults, biography, ghosts, adventure, etc. If you teach Avi, this is a good source for teacher background. Did you know Avi has a twin sister? Read a list of questions and answers about Avi to learn more. From the top menu find "educators" find "teaching materials," readers' theater," and "Avi and others read aloud." Show the kids a recent picture of this student-fascinating author. Share the section "writing tips" from the top menu and find Six Secrets to Good Writing to share with your students, as well.

In the Classroom

There is a link to click at the top "speaking" that shows how to have a "virtual visit," "personal visit," "presentations (teacher in-service, library presentation, and conferences,) and "upcoming events." Share this site on your teacher web page to encourage young writers or as a feature when your class is sharing an Avi book.

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Lois Lowry - Lois Lowry

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4 to 9
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This is Lois Lowry's official website. Find up-to-date information on Lois Lowry's speeches, her new works, photos, and more. The photo gallery includes pictures of her home, family,...more
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This is Lois Lowry's official website. Find up-to-date information on Lois Lowry's speeches, her new works, photos, and more. The photo gallery includes pictures of her home, family, travels, and friends. You can email Lois Lowry or read speeches she has given at various functions. There is a very informative FAQ, with answers, of course!

In the Classroom

A very worthwhile site if you teach The Giver or any other Lowry book. This site is a sure winner for an introduction to a student author study in small groups or individually, as well.

Comments

In one of her speeches, the acceptance speech for The Giver, Lois Lowry concludes with this idea: "But each time a child opens a book, he pushes open the gate that separates him from Elsewhere. It gives him choices. It gives him freedom. Those are magnificent, wonderfully unsafe things." I work in a library, and I have loved science fiction for as long as I can remember. While putting books into the hands of children may be unsafe, it is also vital for those who read to live richer lives and learn to accept others better. (Even paralibrarians who split infinitives.) Ellen, VA, Grades: 0 - 12

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Interviews With Children's Book Authors and Illustrators - Reading Rockets/ WETA

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2 to 8
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Get to know favorite children's and young adults' authors and illustrators by seeing and hearing from them directly. The videos/audios can be accessed directly on the site or downloaded...more
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Get to know favorite children's and young adults' authors and illustrators by seeing and hearing from them directly. The videos/audios can be accessed directly on the site or downloaded to your device for listening on the go. You can also listen to the interview as a podcast. Bring your classroom of readers to life as writers or just fill in some background knowledge as you approach a new book or selection in your reading series. You are certain to have students lining up for works by these folks at the library. The videos reside on YouTube. If your district or school blooks YouTube, they may not be viewable.

In the Classroom

Grab a projector and bring the author right into your classroom, or turn down the lights and listen to what she has to say before you start reading. You can also create a shortcut to this page right on the computer desktop and allow students to "visit with" them as a center in your classroom. One great student writing prompt: Which author is most like you? Maybe even ask students to write about their own writing process on your class blog after sharing some of the interviews. A good resource for a class blog is edublogs, reviewed here. Libarians may want to set up a kiosk with this web site opened for children when they come in. They will LOVE this site!

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