TeachersFirst - What's Popular

This page shares the 25 resources most frequently marked as Favorites by TeachersFirst Members in the past 60 days. See what tops the list of TeachersFirst's database of well over 15,000+ educator-reviewed web resources. Find out what other teachers are excited about. Not a TeachersFirst member yet? See the time saving benefits of free TeachersFirst membership

 

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Classroom Strategies - Reading Rockets

Grades
K to 6
7 Favorites 0  Comments
  
Classroom Strategies contains a vast library of resources for teaching reading skills. Choose from six different literacy strategies to find instructions on using the strategy, templates,...more
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Classroom Strategies contains a vast library of resources for teaching reading skills. Choose from six different literacy strategies to find instructions on using the strategy, templates, examples, children's books to teach the strategy, and much more. The interactive chart also includes information on when and how to use each strategy. Many strategies include a video showing how to use these ideas in the classroom. If your district blocks YouTube, then they may not be viewable. You could always view the videos at home and bring them to class "on a stick" to share. Use a tool such as ClipGrab, reviewed here, to download the videos from YouTube. This site is a must-have for any reading teacher!

In the Classroom

Bookmark and save this site as an excellent resource for teaching literacy and reading. Use a tool like 3x3 Links, reviewed here, to be able to organize and locate your bookmarks in a snap! Share strategies as part of your ongoing professional development activities both in school and with your Professional Learning Network (PLN). Use an audio recording tool like Vocaroo, reviewed here, to record a student reading before and after using teaching strategies shared on this site. Share tips for reading strategies with parents using an online portfolio site like Seesaw, reviewed here. Seesaw provides tools for a class blog and sharing student work through images and videos.
 This resource requires PDF reader software like Adobe Acrobat.

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Seashell Identification Guide - Seashells.com

Grades
2 to 10
5 Favorites 0  Comments
If students ever wonder exactly what seashells they managed to collect at the beach last summer, this is the site to use. Clear photos click to an even larger and ...more
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If students ever wonder exactly what seashells they managed to collect at the beach last summer, this is the site to use. Clear photos click to an even larger and distinct picture of many varieties. Along with the larger picture are the common name, scientific name, region found, and maximum size. Links on the page include more information about identifying shells, cleaning, preserving, and using as decorations.

In the Classroom

Use this site as a kick-off when students return to write their "What I Did on my Summer Vacation" papers. If you're teaching research skills, this site is a good place to start, since it is highly visual but definitive. ESL and ELL students can independently use this site since the vocabulary is limited to names, regions, and sizes. Biology teachers can use this site as a reference when teaching about classification.

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Shel Silverstein's Official Website - Shel Silverstein; Harper Publishers

Grades
K to 6
18 Favorites 0  Comments
 
Shel Silverstein's outside-the-box style of poetry has delighted students for years. Now, his website extends that wacky literacy to another medium and level. You may be tempted at...more
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Shel Silverstein's outside-the-box style of poetry has delighted students for years. Now, his website extends that wacky literacy to another medium and level. You may be tempted at most sites to skip the intro. Don't skip Shel's. Familiar entities walk across your screen welcoming you. Screen Savers, animated Shel-creature-people to enjoy, reproducibles, and more await your enjoyment. Click on Poetry Month to find more activities and games that you can use during April. Your students will chuckle at Shel's own reading and lively animation of several of his poems. This is a site to explore with your class.

In the Classroom

Take your students on this language-rich adventure using an interactive whiteboard or projector. Mark your calendar now to visit this site during April, when Poetry Month is celebrated. Download your free poetry kit from the poetry month link. Of course, Shel Silverstein's whimsical and slightly dark humor can be enjoyed any month. There is a link for Teachers and Parents with lesson ideas, printables, and more. This is a great site to share with parents and students for summer breaks.
  This resource requires Adobe Flash and PDF reader software like Adobe Acrobat.

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The Teacher Toolkit - The Region 13 Educator Certification Program (ECP)

Grades
K to 12
3 Favorites 0  Comments
  
Find many strategies and techniques to keep your class engaged and interested! Many of the strategies are also helpful in adult meetings. View the short video on the home page ...more
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Find many strategies and techniques to keep your class engaged and interested! Many of the strategies are also helpful in adult meetings. View the short video on the home page to get a good overview of what to find and how to navigate this site. See the Strategies and Techniques, or Tools, by clicking on the button. Not only will all the tools be displayed, but on the left find a menu with categories to make it easier to find what you are looking for. There are Opening and Closing Activities, Checks for Understanding, Reading Strategies, and more. There is no sign in to see all the activities. However, by joining the site, you will be able to take and save notes for the different tools of interest. Each tool has an overview of how and when to use it, variations of the tool, and templates (downloaded in Word) for participants to use. Some tools have accompanying videos to show the tool in action. The video clips require Flash, the rest of the site does not.

In the Classroom

Keep lessons engaging and interactive with these Tools. For instance use the Quiz, Quiz, Trade activity to get students up and to interact with questions for review before a test. To structure a meaningful discussion try the 5-3-1 activity. Use the Gallery Walk to review and get students discussing the unit or topic just finished. With the Gallery Walk, student groups could create posters (maybe a picture summary of something just read in class) and walk around observing and taking notes from others' posters. There are dozens more for you to try at The Teacher Toolkit.
 This resource requires Adobe Flash.

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Paper Rater - paperrater.com

Grades
6 to 12
17 Favorites 0  Comments
 
At Paper Rater you can check your grammar, detect plagiarism, and find writing suggestions all at one place. Use this site for sixth grade writing and above. With the free ...more
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At Paper Rater you can check your grammar, detect plagiarism, and find writing suggestions all at one place. Use this site for sixth grade writing and above. With the free version you are able to check for plagiarism, grammar, vocabulary, word choice and style (transitions). No login is required. PaperRater offers a premium version for a fee.

In the Classroom

Users must be able to find their document and copy and paste into the correct fields. Follow the easy directions to determine grammar errors and create a better document. Use without a login or sign up.

Have students use Paper Rater to check their rough drafts. Have students work in pairs, as a peer review, to help each other improve their papers using the suggestions given by Paper Rater. Provide this link on your class website for students to access both in and out of the classroom.

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PicLits - PicLits.com

Grades
K to 12
15 Favorites 0  Comments
    
The title says it all: "Inspired Picture Writing!" Use this free drag and drop literacy tool to create great sentences inspired by beautiful pictures. Alternatively, add inspirational...more
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The title says it all: "Inspired Picture Writing!" Use this free drag and drop literacy tool to create great sentences inspired by beautiful pictures. Alternatively, add inspirational or humorous captions to pictures. "Lesson Plans" provides learning opportunities and examples for creating captions, compound sentences, or paragraphs. Video tutorials can be found under the FAQs tab. "Explore the Gallery" to see already-created PicLits as well as comments and ratings. After selecting a picture (or using the one they provide) and dragging a word onto the screen, choose different forms of the word by using the drop-down menu next to the word. Move your words anywhere on the screen for creative writing. You can also click "freestyle" instead to type in your own words instead of choosing from their list. Word lists change, depending on the image selected. Here is an example from one of the TeachersFirst reviewers: Come to the Edge. If your district blocks YouTube, the videos may not be viewable. You could always view them at home and bring them to class "on a stick" to share. Use a tool such as ClipGrab, reviewed here, to download the videos from YouTube. NOTE: Our editors regret that PicLits occasionally allows advertising on their home page to include images that are not classroom-friendly. Teachers should preview to determine whether or not your students can ignore the ads.
This site includes advertising.

In the Classroom

Users of PicLits must be able to navigate tabs on sites, manage logins, and use URLs and embed codes to share results on websites and blogs. Play to learn the tools before or after joining. The FAQs tab also provides a short-and-sweet text explanation of the tools. Find these under the Video Tutorials.

Registering for a PicLits account requires the use of an email address. PicLits can be used without an account but users are unable to save or blog about their creation without an account. A class account can be created instead of individual student accounts. However, it does not show which work is attributable to which student. You may want to require that students initial their contributions in order to get credit. All work on the site can be seen without a login. All projects are public.

You may want to create a word doc, Favorites folder, or other "collection" of the URLS to all your students' projects in one place for easy work at grading time. Some teachers use a class wiki or blog with links to all projects from there. A simpler alternative would be to use a bookmarking tool such as Buttons, reviewed here. You may allow students to self-register, but be sure to keep a written record of their passwords for when they "forget." It may be worth your time to do advanced registration for your younger students or simply use a whole-class account.

Share a PicLit on your interactive whiteboard or with a projector at the start of a grammar or writing lesson to discuss word choice, figures of speech, or vocabulary. Use the visual picture prompt for journal or blog writing, allowing each student to compose a unique poem or haiku. Even science classes can write about concepts illustrated in the many nature photos. Emotional support teachers will love the chance to discuss feelings and how to describe facial expressions in the pictures. Make a collection of PicLits using a tool like 3 x 3 Links, reviewed here, for a curriculum topic. Create or challenge students to create an online literary magazine using a tool such as Zinepal, reviewed here. ESL students can create PicLits to learn new vocabulary. Have students create PicLits for special occasions and special people (mom, dad, grandparents, school nurse, or others). Use the embed code to place your creations on many other sites, including your class wiki or blogs. Share your PicLit by using a URL or code for an embedded widget.

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Sounds Factory - Austin Chang & John Foster

Grades
4 to 10
3 Favorites 0  Comments
  
This rhythmic website tells the story of a factory worker who is bored with his job. The activity challenges students to create various rhythms using the tools and equipment in ...more
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This rhythmic website tells the story of a factory worker who is bored with his job. The activity challenges students to create various rhythms using the tools and equipment in the factory, to keep the factory workers entertained. There is an animated introduction that describes the scenario. Descriptions and instructions are provided throughout the activity. Once your students are familiar with the site, you are able to skip the instructions. Note: this site is slow to load! Preview it on your classroom machines to get it into your "cache." This website requires Flash. You can get it from the TeachersFirst Toolbox page.

In the Classroom

Introduce your music students to various rhythms and the interesting tools available to create music. Use an interactive whiteboard or projector (and speakers) to demonstrate the program. Then have students work with a partner to create their own music. Students can save and send recordings to friends, but this uses email addresses. Check your school policies or have them "send" the recordings to your teacher email for sharing. They might even "turn in" a music assignment that way!
 This resource requires Adobe Flash.

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ReadWriteThink Notetaker - ReadWriteThink

Grades
3 to 12
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Notetaker is an interactive tool for organizing information for reading and writing projects. Open the interactive to begin by adding your name and title of your project. Choose from...more
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Notetaker is an interactive tool for organizing information for reading and writing projects. Open the interactive to begin by adding your name and title of your project. Choose from three different options for the outline style. The tutorial provides information on using and personalizing the outline including adding sections, drag and drop to move boxes, and how to delete portions of the outline. This interactive also includes a preview option to view the outline before sharing. Click finish to print your work or copy and paste your outline from the preview into a word document.

In the Classroom

Notetaker 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.
 
 This resource requires Adobe Flash.

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Fish Tanks - William H. Sadlier, Inc.

Grades
5 to 6
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Learning prefixes, bases, and suffixes can be quite a task, but upper elementary students can use this interactive game to practice these skills. Students must correctly identify the...more
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Learning prefixes, bases, and suffixes can be quite a task, but upper elementary students can use this interactive game to practice these skills. Students must correctly identify the parts of each word to fill the tank with tropical fish.

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Reading For All - TeachersFirst

Grades
K to 12
13 Favorites 0  Comments
This TeachersFirst professional page includes extensive resources for Reading in the Content Areas, Graphic Organizers, Reading Strategies, Vocabulary Development, Elementary Reading,...more
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This TeachersFirst professional page includes extensive resources for Reading in the Content Areas, Graphic Organizers, Reading Strategies, Vocabulary Development, Elementary Reading, independent reading, and special topics reading lists. The page also includes a link for you to purchase books from Amazon and have TeachersFirst receive a portion of the proceeds. TeachersFirst is a free service of a non-profit since 1998. Why not shop through this link to help TeachersFirst continue its service to teachers worldwide?

In the Classroom

No matter what you teach, these resources will help you target reading and study skills for better comprehension and more.

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WriteReader - Children As Creators - WriteReader

Grades
K to 5
4 Favorites 0  Comments
     
The scientific research behind WriterReader is that one develops and improves their reading skills by writing. With WriteReader kids create their own books, including text, pictures,...more
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The scientific research behind WriterReader is that one develops and improves their reading skills by writing. With WriteReader kids create their own books, including text, pictures, and voice recordings. Adults/Teachers have their own space on the page to write comments and make corrections. The interface is so simple even a young child can use it successfully after some adult guidance. Register with email or your Google account and find a downloadable Teachers Guide, a Parent Letter, and a Lesson Plan online to get kids started with WriteReader. Click "Add a class..." and enter students manually, or students can join the class with a class code. Languages available are US English, UK English, Dansk (Danish) and Svenska (Swedish). There is also an introductory video that will help everyone get started. This video resides on YouTube. If your district blocks YouTube, the video may not be viewable. You could always view the video at home and bring it to class "on a stick" to share. Use a tool such as Freemake Video Converter, reviewed here, to download the video from YouTube.

In the Classroom

WriteReader is so simple very young students can use it successfully after a demonstration using a whiteboard or projector. While creating their books students will be able to add images, multiple pages and delete pages, include voice-over, use color on the pages, view one page at a time or the entire book, and toggle between letters' names/sounds or no audio. Use this tool to design simple projects using student drawings to tell the story. At the beginning of the year have students draw and annotate stories to tell about their summer and share with classmates. Students of any age love to draw, so why not have them draw their impression of what the message to the reader was after hearing a story and then explain it in writing? ESL/ELL students especially will benefit from hearing the letter sounds as they are beginning to write in their new language.

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Bookemon - Bookemon, Inc.

Grades
K to 12
45 Favorites 1  Comments
 
Write your own original books, add images and artwork as illustrations, and read your published books in interactive, online form. There is no fee for the online publication and sharing....more
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Write your own original books, add images and artwork as illustrations, and read your published books in interactive, online form. There is no fee for the online publication and sharing. This is the ultimate in "digital storytelling." Click "Explore" to browse many "public" examples on the templates page of books created by others. Take advantage of the free apps that make Bookemon even easier to use with any device! Use Bookemon Reader to READ books you created in Bookemon or Bookemon edCenter (available for both iOS and Android). BookPress for iOS devices only allows you to CREATE books from scratch, including using photos from your iPad/iPhone. InstaPress (for iOS only) offers options to make books from documents, pdfs, etc. to be shared on mobile devices as eBooks. Here is an example of a book created by the TeachersFirst Edge editors. Once you set up free membership on this site, students (or teachers) can select to create from a blank start or to use the templates provided. You can also create a book starter of your own as an example so students can follow the prompts you have created. The book creator allows you to upload your own images and to create books from a Word document or PowerPoint file you have already made. EdCenter users can collaborate on books.

After you save and publish the work, share the URL so people can read the entire book online, either among an audience of "just my friends" or publicly. They also offer the embed code to place your books on a class or school web page, wiki, or blog. The easiest option is to copy the address of the new window displaying the interactive book. There is an option to have the book printed for a fee, but this is not required. You can also read books created by others (if they make them public). Use the fully-public option to create learning materials for classes to access year to year for at-home review or reading practice.

This site requires a simple registration. Teachers can set up an edCenter for their school or class in accordance with school policies. See more detailed suggestions "In the Classroom" below and in our sample book! Newer mobile device options include players to view your books on iPads and more.
This site includes advertising.

In the Classroom

SKIP the profile and friends areas to get to the book creator to play with the tools a bit. Before you get too involved, create an edCenter to minimize advertising and create books in your own teacher-friendly class environment. Use the edCenter to register students and establish privacy settings for your class. No student emails are required.

On the Create Books page, choose from using a blank book, starting from a file, or using a template. Choose "school" to see projects from other classes or a sample created by you or a student team working in advance along with you. Explore ready-made themes (seasonal, topical, etc.) or use "open theme." Choose book dimensions (match layout shape to any uploaded files, such as PowerPoint slides). Enter settings and description of your book (editable later), including who is allowed to "see" it: everyone, just friends, or private. Again choose a "theme" - more of a category where Bookemon will list your completed book. A logical option is "school." Experiment with tools to upload files (within file limits), add images, add text, etc. Written help is offered as you go, but there is no video demo. SAVE often. Turn margins on to avoid chopping content. To share the book, you must "publish" it (i.e. finalize).

Once published, locate the book under "My Books" and use options to share (by email--and see the URL to copy from there), "Make a new edition" to create a new version--also useful for treating the original as a template for later books), Post to Other Sites offers embed codes. The BEST option is to click the book COVER which opens a new window without ads or "stuff," and copy the ADDRESS of that window to paste into email, etc. You can also mark that clean window view as a Favorite on a classroom computer!

Use your edCenter settings to manage social networking features. This will avoid the "public" Bookemon features such as opportunities to share address books, use social tools such as Facebook to share your books, etc. Teacher-controlled edCenter accounts are probably the easiest option for managing within school policies.

With younger students, have them begin their work in PowerPoint then upload for whole-class books. See an example, created by the TeachersFirst Edge editors . The example is full of ideas for classroom use from Kindergarten to high school, including science concept tales, poetry books, general writing, math problem solve-its, and more. ANY grade can use this tool, depending on the amount of direction by the teacher. (By the way, the correct answer to the problem in the sample book is c. 27.) Another idea: have students create personalized books for their parents or grandparents for special occasions (Mother's Day, Father's Day, or Grandparent's Day).

Use the mobile device features offered in your BYOD classroom to make and share books, PDF's, and more. Tip: Use this site for a guided introduction to social networking as a class, an excellent teaching opportunity for digital citizenship in the context of a project.

This is one of the best creative tools for gifted students to go above and beyond regular curriculum. Don't let the "juvenile" appearance fool you. Even older students can write and include images to create and share books of any length. Any independent research or writing project can become an interactive book. Even advanced science experiments and lab reports can be shared online using this tool. Once you have one book, you can use that as a template for others. Inspire your gifted students to create literary magazine or even a personal online "portfolio" of writing, artwork, or photography presented in interactive book form.

Comments

This is one of my all time favorite creative tools. Very versatile. Great for making "buddy books" or for teacher-created learning "books." Make one as a whole class to summarize a science unit in primary grades. I even use it personally to make fee online "gifts" for children I know. I did purchase one print version, and it looked great. Thinking, PA, Grades: 5 - 10

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Immersive Reader - Microsoft

Grades
K to 12
3 Favorites 0  Comments
 
Immersive Reader is a free Microsoft Learning Tool available for use with several Microsoft products including OneNote, Word, Outlook, and Edge. Immersive Reader dictates text and offers...more
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Immersive Reader is a free Microsoft Learning Tool available for use with several Microsoft products including OneNote, Word, Outlook, and Edge. Immersive Reader dictates text and offers several options for personalization. Use the options to adjust the playback speed, highlight text during the audio reading, and adjust text size and spacing. Click on any word in your reading material to listen to the pronunciation. Additional options allow users to view words divided into syllables, use labels to color-code words by parts of speech, and increase the spacing between lines and letters. Use the line focus feature to highlight only small portions of text. Turn on the dictionary option to select words and view drawings representing the meanings.

In the Classroom

Take advantage of the many features included with Immersive Reader for any classroom use. You may need to discuss downloading this product with your school's IT department; however, it is well worth the effort. This product is especially helpful for ESL/ELL students and students needing additional help with reading. Use the language options for students to hear and view text in their native language. Use Immersive Reader to help students with Dyslexia to decode and focus on the text by using the options included. Upload classroom materials for students to use for help in understanding difficult text.

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TweenTribune - Alan Jacobson

Grades
K to 12
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TweenTribune has joined with Smithsonian and now offers the news in Lexile levels for k-4, 5-8, 9-12. That is not the only change. The Smithsonian TweenTribune now has several ...more
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TweenTribune has joined with Smithsonian and now offers the news in Lexile levels for k-4, 5-8, 9-12. That is not the only change. The Smithsonian TweenTribune now has several new features, including a Dashboard for assignments and classrooms, assigning a story to all with one click, and self-scoring quizzes for articles. There are now free apps for the iPad and iPhone. TweenTribune continues to include open-ended critical thinking questions and a daily quiz using multiple sources. This site is still jam packed with current news stories that are chosen by site coordinators for all reading levels. The articles are easy to read, relate to, and understand. The site is easy to navigate with a subject indexed toolbar, and it is searchable. All stories are current because the creators scour the internet weekly for age-appropriate material. It greatly reduces the pressure of searching by giving an article research tool that is much more specific than simply using a search engine.

In the Classroom

The sky is the limit for potential and possibilities with this website. There are some minor warnings. If you want to allow your students to post to a blog, you will need to create a class and then have them enroll. The great news is that is free. As the teacher, you can moderate or delete posts before they are public. There are lessons available on the site as well as a "Teacher's Lounge" where lesson ideas can be exchanged. In a language arts classroom, students could be assigned to read and blog as a weekly writing assignment. The teacher can assign a specific article or have students choose. Have students read their articles on a podcast using podOmatic, reviewed here. In science, articles from this site could be used to supplement science textbook reading with current articles that better interest students. Articles are short and provide quick practice pieces for non-fiction reading comprehension. Project a story and ask students to write their own sentence for the main idea or to summarize. These quick pieces would fit well on your interactive whiteboard. SmithsonianTweenTribune Espanol allows students to read daily news articles in Spanish and post comments about the stories they read. Teachers moderate all comments before the comments are posted.

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The Battle of Appomattox - Civil War Trust

Grades
6 to 12
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The 150th anniversary of the Battle of Appomattox commemorates the final battle of the American Civil War and the surrender of General Robert E. Lee's Army of Northern Virginia. You'll...more
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The 150th anniversary of the Battle of Appomattox commemorates the final battle of the American Civil War and the surrender of General Robert E. Lee's Army of Northern Virginia. You'll find important facts about the battle, maps, videos, and images useful in highlighting this important event. Download the Appomattox Battle App for iOs or Google Play.

In the Classroom

Use one of the short videos hosted by National Park Service historians to give students the context and details about the Battle of Appomattox and Lee's surrender. Share the video clips on your projector or interactive whiteboard. Some nice graphics give a summary of the battle, a map shows troop movements, and a gallery of photos can give students a look at the battlefield today.

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Reader's Theatre Scripts and Plays - Colleen Gallagher

Grades
1 to 9
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Full of scripts and related materials for reader's theater, this site offers a wealth of information for the teacher who wants to use reader's theater as a tool for reading ...more
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Full of scripts and related materials for reader's theater, this site offers a wealth of information for the teacher who wants to use reader's theater as a tool for reading or drama. Some of the links don't work, but many do, and you can find actual scripts as well as other ideas for making reader's theater a complete experience for students. There are also guidelines for setting up reader's theatre, rubrics for evaluation, and ideas for use with a range of grades and reading levels.

Editor's note: There is one group of links (to sites that start with "hometown.aol") that no longer work. Since this is only a small portion of the site, TeachersFirst continues to list the resource for its many GOOD links. Roll your mouse over the links before clicking and check the address in the gray bar at the bottom left of your screen. Don't bother with the hometown.aol links.
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In the Classroom

Mark this one in your favorites, then let student groups select from scripts to record their own audio podcasts or create a Thinglink, reviewed here, of a tale, illustrated with a selection of copyright-safe images or student drawings. Or have students make a high-tech excerpt from a reader's theater script by creating avatars to read each part using Voki, reviewed here. Sequence the embedded conversation bits on a class wiki so viewers can enjoy the performance by clicking through them in order. These wiki excerpts could be used to "advertise" an upcoming performance or a featured literary piece.

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Grammar Bytes

Grades
4 to 12
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Who said that grammar can't be fun? This user-friendly site provides an easy to navigate glossary of common grammar terms, downloadable handouts, helpful tips and rules, and a great...more
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Who said that grammar can't be fun? This user-friendly site provides an easy to navigate glossary of common grammar terms, downloadable handouts, helpful tips and rules, and a great collection of interactive exercises. Complete a free registration to access more of the site's special features.

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TogetheRead - TeachersAndFamilies.com

Grades
K to 12
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Share family reading and activities around a monthly theme using this outstanding series by our partner site, TogetherForLearning. Interwoven into each TogetheRead theme are questions...more
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Share family reading and activities around a monthly theme using this outstanding series by our partner site, TogetherForLearning. Interwoven into each TogetheRead theme are questions and activities based on reading strategies for effective readers. Parents and children of all ages can select books from the annotated lists, read together, and do related free or low-cost activities. Written in language understandable to parents and without education "jargon" so familiar to teachers, these themes will help any child become a a better reader and enjoy sharing family time. Books are grouped into "bands": preschool/picture books, early elementary, upper elementary to middle school, upper middle school to young adult, and mature teen to adult books. Activities accompany each age group, and participants can contribute their own activity suggestions, as well.

In the Classroom

Share this link on your teacher web page or in a newsletter. You might even talk to your parent organization about promoting TogetheRead as a whole-school activity. Maybe even host a TogetheRead family evening in the gym or library.

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Summarizing - Educational Development Center, Inc.

Grades
4 to 8
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Students can practice the art of summarizing a text with this interactive quiz. Short passages are accompanied by multiple-choice questions challenging students to zero in on the best...more
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Students can practice the art of summarizing a text with this interactive quiz. Short passages are accompanied by multiple-choice questions challenging students to zero in on the best summation of the story. Immediate feedback with explanations is provided. The activity is rounded out by an interactive review of main idea vs. detail.

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Grammar Gorillas - Pearson Education

Grades
2 to 8
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Select from two levels - beginner or advanced - and practice parts of speech with this interactive game. When students successfully complete a round of question by identifying the correct...more
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Select from two levels - beginner or advanced - and practice parts of speech with this interactive game. When students successfully complete a round of question by identifying the correct word in each sentence, the grammar gorillas receive bananas. Very appealing.

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Capzles - Capzles

Grades
2 to 12
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Use this free online tool to create timelimes embedded with media that can be shared with others. Create timelines that include music, pictures and photos, video, and text. Change backgrounds...more
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Use this free online tool to create timelimes embedded with media that can be shared with others. Create timelines that include music, pictures and photos, video, and text. Change backgrounds and customize your timeline for a personal and creative touch.
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In the Classroom

Teachers need to be able to identify material to be used in the creation of the timeline and strategies to help students be prepared for student assignments (checklists, goal sheets, or presentation planners). Click "Create" to begin making a "Capzles." Use the buttons on the left to follow the creation process and create with the following: Add titles, description, tags, content and media, set privacy, and share. Watch a video tutorial to learn steps to create a timeline. Click "Explore" along the top to view previously made timelines. Click on "Share" to send email links to others.

Consider creating a class account for easier access. You may want to send students directly to URLs for their own projects or use the site as a whole-class activity using a teacher-created Capzles to spark discussion.

Create Capzles that introduce new topics and content for great student discussion. Students can use pieces of the capzle to brainstorm questions, initiate research, and learn more about the topic. Capzles are an interesting way for students to tell stories about a project, research, or as a class activity. Use to showcase fun items such as "what I did on my summer vacation," "the story of my dog," family, etc. Create Capzles from the point of view of a literary character or historical figure telling his/her story. Remember to teach about copyright, since using copyrighted images in a Capzle would not be "fair use" due to unlimited distribution. Look for images in the public domain or with Creative Commons licensing and model giving attribution for them.

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Learning About Research and Writing using the American Revolution - NCTE/IRA

Grades
3 to 5
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This lesson creates a wonderful interdisciplinary connection between creative writing and American history. After using a variety of resources to learn more about the American Revolution,...more
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This lesson creates a wonderful interdisciplinary connection between creative writing and American history. After using a variety of resources to learn more about the American Revolution, students select an historical figure from that era, and compose an acrostic poem describing that individual's contributions. Aligned to National Standards.

In the Classroom

Take advantage of this free lesson plan as a way to study the American Revolution from an interdisciplinary standpoint. This lesson plan mixes creative writing and poetry with history as a way to relate different concepts concerning the American Revolution.

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My Simpleshow - simpleshow

Grades
K to 12
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My Simpleshow creates dynamic and professional-looking video explanations easily (and for free!). View examples for an overview of the different available templates. Create an account...more
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My Simpleshow creates dynamic and professional-looking video explanations easily (and for free!). View examples for an overview of the different available templates. Create an account using your email to make your own videos. Start by writing a script or uploading a PowerPoint. Follow Simpleshow's step-by-step directions for using templates and adding images and text to create a video. Record your own soundtrack, or choose from provided voice-overs. Simpleshow works on any device with a web browser. Simpleshow recommends uploading published videos to your YouTube account for easiest sharing. If your district blocks YouTube, then they may not be viewable. You could always view the videos at home and bring them to class "on a stick" to share. Use a tool such as Freemake Video Converter, reviewed here, to download the videos from YouTube.

In the Classroom

Challenge older students to create their own Simpleshow. Have students use this tool to share their ideas or to "prototype" an idea. Students can create videos to show math processes, explanations of complex concepts, review new learning, teach others, explain scientific processes, tell stories, or present research. The possibilities are endless, and students will come up with hundreds of more uses. Use Simpleshow presentations in blended learning or flipped classrooms. Use Simpleshow to create teacher-authored animations for students in ANY grade. This tool is an excellent way to present new information or ideas for discussion. It is an easy way to share information with the class when a substitute is in your classroom. Embed your Simpleshow creations on your website or blog for students to review at home. Use a Simpleshow video on the first day of school to explain class rules or to give an exciting introduction to the year ahead. Use Simpleshow to create presentations for back to school night or conference nights to display on your interactive whiteboard or projector.

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Spreeder - 7-Speed-Reading

Grades
7 to 12
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Learn to read at a faster pace with much better reading comprehension using Spreeder, a free online speed reading service. Use passages of your choice by simply loading (or copy ...more
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Learn to read at a faster pace with much better reading comprehension using Spreeder, a free online speed reading service. Use passages of your choice by simply loading (or copy and paste) the text, and Spreeder will pace through it at a speed you set. You can adjust your speed as your reading comprehension increases. There is also a feature to increase "chunk" size, an effective strategy used in reading instruction. Get the free app for Chrome or use the practice box on the site. There is a paid "training" portion for this tool. This review is only for the free portion.
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In the Classroom

In this era of high-stakes testing, it is imperative that students be able to read and comprehend at an expected rate in order to complete the tasks within the designated time. Think about the implications for improving state test scores and PSAT or SAT college entrance exams! Demonstrate Spreeder on your classroom projector or interactive whiteboard by copying and pasting practice passages from your state's Department of Education link to state testing. Link to SAT practice sites such as College Board SAT Preparation Center, reviewed here, or Test Prep Review, reviewed here. Provide opportunities for students to try it on individual classroom computers. Provide a direct link to Spreeder from your classroom web page or wiki. This will enable motivated students to take charge of increasing their own reading speed, or you may want to incorporate it with homework assignments and make parents aware of it.

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Vox - Vox Media

Grades
7 to 12
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Find thoughtful articles written to explain today's news, especially the stories that are most difficult to understand. The article topics vary widely and include offerings from sports,...more
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Find thoughtful articles written to explain today's news, especially the stories that are most difficult to understand. The article topics vary widely and include offerings from sports, politics, pop culture, public policy, world affairs, food, business, health, and many other topics. Just as the news may include tough or adult topics, so may Vox. You might want to preview or direct less mature young people to a specific article instead of allowing them to browse the entire site.
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In the Classroom

Share specific articles from this site -- or a collection of them-- for students to gain experience with informational texts that demystify the headlines they are seeing on the TV screen crawl. Use examples from this site as models for student groups to do research to explain a science or economics topic that has been in the news and share it with peers as a digital poster showing the top ten things they should know about X. Use a tool such as Padlet, reviewed here, to create a "poster" of sticky notes. Not only will your students gain experience reading for understanding, but also choosing the most important things to know from an article. Use this approach for students to research and share articles in health class (such as on new vaccines or discoveries) or on national issues during an election cycle. Be sure to include this link on your class web page for upper grade students to find current events articles (along with a disclaimer that some topics may be controversial).

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