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National Center for Atmospheric Research

What it is: Today Anastasis students were lucky enough to visit the National Center for Atmospheric Research in Boulder, Colorado.  It was a truly fantastic experience (if you ever find yourself in Colorado, it is worth a visit! Open free everyday!).  The center has some fantastic interactive exhibits,...

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Rewordify: help kids understand what they read

Posted by admin | Posted in Evaluate, Inquiry, Interactive book, Knowledge (remember), Language Arts, Middle/High School, Primary Elementary, Secondary Elementary, Understand (describe, explain), web tools | Posted on 14-08-2013

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Rewordify-understand what you read iLearn Technology

What it is: Rewordify is a neat online app that helps struggling readers, ESL/ELL students, etc. improve their reading comprehension and vocabulary development.  Students can copy and paste a difficult passage into Rewordify and it instantly transforms the text by highlighting words it has substituted with more common/easily understood, language.  Students can click on the highlighted word to view the original word that was replaced.

Teachers can use Rewordify to create vocabulary activities from any high-interest reading passage, make over 350 classics more accessible, and show students how to surf the web the way a strong reader does.

Settings within Rewordify let students adjust how they interact with difficult passages based on their own preferences and learning needs.

How to integrate Rewordify into your classroom:  Rewordify is a fantastic web app for struggling readers (or any reader!).  Often, non-fiction can be difficult for students to read and understand.  Even strong readers can struggle with the new vocabulary and terms used.  Rewordify simplifies the text so that students can read through it successfully for comprehension.  It doesn’t stop there!  Since all of the words that were reworded are highlighted, students can see new vocabulary in context.  Rewordify can help students build up the ability to recognize context clues and how to use them to increase comprehension.

Anastasis is inquiry based.  We do a LOT of research, even with our youngest students.  The Internet is packed with fantastic resources for learning, but these resources are typically not created with student readers in mind.  As a result, students may struggle through a text and lose out on some of the rich learning in the process.  Rewordify is a great solution for us because students can quickly copy and paste text into Rewordify (works on iPads too!) and instantly read a more student friendly version of the text.

Classic literature is classic for a reason.  This literature holds timeless truths, superior storytelling and enchanting characters.  Students rarely choose to read the classics on their own because the language can add a difficult layer to the reading, causing the story to be lost in the frustration.  Rewordify has more than 350 classics built-in to be read directly on the site.  Students can choose a book to read, modify their settings of how they would like to view the words, and jump right in.  Students can choose to have the words default to the easier, modified word; can ask Rewordify to highlight words that it would have changed so that they can click on the word if they need an alternative; or see both versions of the word in context side by side.

ESL/ELL students will enjoy this site for the way that it allows them autonomy in their reading and vocabulary development.

Rewordify is also a great way for students to learn and practice vocabulary and discovering new synonyms for words.  Any text can be added to Rewordify, high school students could plug-in their own writing to determine if they have used interesting language.  If nothing is highlighted, there could be some work to do on word choice.

If you only have one or two computers available to students in your classroom, why not set up a bookmark to Rewordify that students can visit as needed during research, reading, etc.?  Students will be empowered to read anything they encounter with increased confidence.

Tips: In addition to the classics, you will also see a variety of news websites and articles that work well with Rewordify.  Whole pages of the site are automatically reworded for ease of understanding.

What do you think of Rewordify?  How do you plan to use it in your classroom?

Kids Picture Dictionary App

Posted by admin | Posted in Foreign Language, iPod, Knowledge (remember), Language Arts, Primary Elementary, Understand (describe, explain) | Posted on 30-07-2013

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Kids picture dictionary app- iLearn Technology

Kids picture dictionary app-iLearn TechnologyWhat it is: Kids Picture Dictionary is just what you would imagine it to be: a dictionary, for kids, with pictures.  This picture dictionary has something extra special built in, it includes a self record feature so that kids (teachers or parents) can record their own voice to record sentence examples.  Each word includes a picture, an audio recording of the word, and the ability for kids (teachers or parents) to record their own sentence.

How to use the Kids Picture Dictionary App in your classroom: This is a very simple dictionary app for young students.  It is organized well so that they can search words by letter and picture.  The words included are pretty basic, but would be perfect for an emerging reader/writer.  Students could use the dictionary to help them with spelling during writing time.  I’ve often seen kids who can tell a fantastic story, but their writing is limited because they don’t want to spell a word that they aren’t sure of.  Kids Picture Dictionary app could be just the confidence they need to let their ideas soar.

The Kids Picture Dictionary app could also be really helpful for ELL/ESL students who are learning vocabulary.  Each word not only includes a picture, but also a sample sentence.  Students can listen to the word used in context and then practice recording their own sentence using the new vocabulary.  The recording is saved within the app so students can work independently, and teachers can go back through the app to assess understanding later.

Tips: The Kids Picture Dictionary app is free; however, it does include advertisements at the bottom of each page.  For $1.99 you can get the app without the ads.  A strong suggestion for educational app developers: It is RIDICULOUS to put an in-app purchase option on an educational app.  If a school is going to buy your app, they will want to do it through the Volume Purchase program.  In app purchases are NOT education friendly!  (If you are purchasing this for school, the app exists in the app store twice, the free version always comes up first and if you dig, you can find the $1.99 ad free version.)

Price: Free

Device: iPhone, iPod Touch, iPad with iOS 4.3 or later.

Inside Story Flashcards: The world’s most interesting way to learn words

Posted by admin | Posted in Apply, Interactive Whiteboard, Knowledge (remember), Language Arts, Middle/High School, Primary Elementary, Secondary Elementary, Spelling, Teacher Resources, Understand (describe, explain), Websites | Posted on 22-09-2011

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What it is:  First of all, how about that for a tagline?  “The world’s most interesting way to learn words” is a lofty goal for anyone to reach, but I must say, Inside Story Flashcards is doing a bang up job of it!  What makes these vocabulary flashcards so great is the accompanying pictures.  They are so appropriate for the words they are describing and offer a great visual to associate with the word.  In addition to the well matched picture, students can click on a speaker icon for audio of the word.  Students can choose to show or hide the definition.  Students can choose words at four different levels: Basic (includes words like seven, comb, typewriter); Easy (includes words like attire, inclined, endorsement); Medium (includes words like prodigy, monochrome, dank) and Hard (includes words like crepuscular, bedizened, atavistic).

The online flashcards are fantastic but there are also free printable flashcards for offline use!

How to integrate Inside Story Flashcards into the classroom:  Inside Story Flashcards are a superb addition to any classroom.  They are just the ticket for visual learners…petrified will forever more be associated with the kitten picture above in my mind!  These flashcards are a fun way to practice vocabulary and learn a new word.

Use the site with the whole class using a projector-connected computer or an interactive whiteboard.  Split students into teams to see which team can come up with the most creative sentence using the new vocabulary word.  The online flashcards also make a great creative writing prompt.  Students can use the newly learned vocabulary in connection with the picture displayed.

Students can practice their vocabulary skills on classroom computers using the “hide definition” feature.  Students can quiz themselves and then show the definition to find out if they are correct.

The print flashcards can be used in the low tech or no tech classroom.  Print out flashcards to keep in a writing inspiration station.  Students can use them to learn new vocabulary or to inspire writing.

Start your day with a new word.  This can be the “word of the day”, challenge students to use the word of the day in conversation at some point during the day.

Do you have students who are gearing up for the SATs?  Send this link home for some fun practice/learning time.

Tips: At Inside Story Flashcards, you can also purchase sets of flashcards with a theme.  I’m liking the cat and dog flashcards.  Can Haz vocabulary.

**For those who are wondering, I did write this post on my iPad.  It was not wicked hard…just different.

Please leave a comment and share how you are using Inside Story Flashcards in  your classroom!

Children’s Books Forever

Posted by admin | Posted in Character Education, Download, Foreign Language, Interactive book, iPod, Language Arts, Primary Elementary, Teacher Resources, Understand (describe, explain), Websites | Posted on 31-08-2011

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What it is:   Children’s Books Forever is a simple site that packs a powerful punch for instilling a love of reading at an early age.  These are free children’s books that have become classics and children’s favorite books from around the world.  The books can be used on an interactive whiteboard, power point, overhead projector, on iPads (or other iDevices), or classroom computers.  Did I mention they are free?  These fun picture books are downloadable in pdf format and are wonderful for expanding your classroom library.  New books are being added regularly to Children’s Books Forever so be sure to check back often!

How to integrate Children’s Books Forever into the classroom:  I love sites that spread a love for reading while simultaneously beefing up the classroom library (and student’s home libraries).  The site is simple to use, just choose a book, download as a PDF and read.  Couldn’t be any simpler!  The books can be read in multiple languages making it a wonderful place for students who are learning a second language or speaking English as a second language.  Be sure to click on the links in the left side bar, they will lead you to additional books.  Find books for toddlers, Waldo humor books, inspirational books and more information on author Hans Wihelm in addition to the books featured on the home page.

The stories featured on Children’s Books Forever are beautifully written and illustrated.  Do your students have a pen pal or buddy in another country who speaks a different language?  Why not find a book that is featured in both languages to read and discuss together?  This is a great connecting point for students!

Bookmark Children’s Books Forever on classroom computers so that students can easily access the books during reading time.  The books can also be printed and added to the class library.  Be sure to remind your students they can access these stories from any Internet connected computer, they can keep reading at home too.

Many of the stories on Children’s Books Forever can be used for character education discussions in the primary classroom.  Project these stories on an interactive whiteboard or projector-connected computer for a class read along.

Tips: Be sure to sign up to be notified when new books are added to Children’s Books Forever via email!

Please leave a comment and share how you are using Children’s Books Forever in  your classroom!

 

The Super Book of Web Tools for Educators: FREE ebook!!

Posted by admin | Posted in Blogs, collaboration, Download, For Teachers, Grade Level, inspiration, Interactive book, Middle/High School, Primary Elementary, professional development, Secondary Elementary, Subject, Teacher Resources, web tools, Web2.0, Websites | Posted on 13-12-2010

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I am excited to announce the release of a free ebook: The Super Book of Web Tools for Educators- a comprehensive introduction to using technology in all k-12 classrooms.  Think of this as an early Christmas present!

Richard Byrne from Free Tech 4 Teachers is the brilliant mind behind this ebook.  About a month ago, he approached some of your favorite educators and bloggers (myself included…still can’t wrap my brain around that :) ) to contribute to an ebook.  Today is the release and I have to say, it is pretty amazing!!  I just finished reading through the finished product and have bookmarked some new tools, had my jaw dropped by Silvia Tolisano and her AMAZING Skype guide, and been inspired all over again by fellow educators and administrators.  I am honored to be a part of this incredible resource and guide.  Contributers include: Steven Anderson, Adam Bellow, Richard Byrne, George Couros, Larry Ferlazzo, Lee Kolbert, Patrick Larkin, Cory Plough, Beth Still, me (Kelly Tenkely) and Silvia Rosenthal Tolisano.  Thank you Richard for the outstanding idea and for acting as editor and pulling it all together!

You can read the ebook in it’s entirety embedded below, by following this link, or download it here.


Learn English Kids

Posted by admin | Posted in Foreign Language, Fun & Games, Interactive book, Language Arts, Phonics, Primary Elementary, Teacher Resources, Websites | Posted on 19-01-2010

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What it is: Learn English Kids is a website especially for students who are learning English or need some remedial help in language development.  Created by the British Council, Learn English Kids has fun games, songs, stories, and offline activities to help students learn English.  All of the activities are created so that they can be done independently or with family members or friends.  In the listen and watch section of the site are animated stories and songs, many have accompanying activities to use in the classroom.  There are also videos and online activities designed to build listening skills and comprehension.  In the read write section are downloadable materials designed to help develop reading and writing skills.  The make section features online activities in which students can create something.  There are also arts and crafts directions to download and videos of children creating things.  In the explore section are additional resources and websites for English language learners. The game section features several games broken down into language games, fun with English, little Kids games, and games to play with friends.  Students learn basic English vocabulary, alphabetical order, phoneme matching (matching phoneme to its sound), hieroglyphics, months in a year, famous landmarks, seasons, recycling, ancient Egypt, animal habitats, around the world, bugs, Chinese New Year, Christmas, cities, colors, computers, countries, currency, daily routines, days of the week, dinosaurs, directions, environment, fairy tales, food, Great Barrier Reef, health, holidays, human body, maps, money, nature, numbers, Olympic games, pets, planets, plants, school, solar system, space, sports, technology, weather, just to name a few.


How to integrate Learn English Kids into the classroom: Learn English Kids is a comprehensive resource that can be used in your classroom in a variety of ways.  The site was designed specifically for English Language Learners (or ESL students) but is appropriate for primary students or students who need some remedial language building.  The site has been created to be navigated and used independently and many of the activities would be perfect as a center that students can visit.  The games are outstanding for vocabulary and language building.  Listen and Watch has an impressive collection of songs that are traditional children tunes like Hickory, dickory dock, teaching songs that help students remember things like months in a year, and themed songs.  Each song is accompanied by a pdf of the lyrics and a print activity.   There are several well made short stories for your students to read along with.  The animated stories can be read with or without audio.  Each story comes with the ability to print and includes accompanying activity suggestions.  Kids Talk features videos of kids answering a variety of questions.  The Listen and Watch section also has a place for students to practice their listening skills.  Students watch an animated video and listen to what the characters say.  Then they are asked to interact with the activity according to what they heard.  These activities are great for ELL, but would also be excellent for students with sensory integration problems.  In the Read and Write section, students read a passage and are given follow up questions that they can write about themselves.  These would make an excellent writing center for students who need some prompting to write.  In the Create section students can create online stories, characters, etc.  There are also some offline printable activities and suggestions of things to create.  This site features so many great resources, it will keep you ready with activities for your students.  Every one of the activities/songs/read alongs are high quality and engaging.  Students will love this site!  I cannot stress enough that this site has something for every student, not just English Language Learners.  My kindergarten and first grade students really enjoy using this site.


Tips: This site could take you hours to explore to find all of it’s hidden treasures.  If you are looking for a specific game, story, or topic, you may want to click on “Site Map” at the very bottom of the webpage.  Here you can sort through all of the resources by topic, finding exactly what you need quickly.  What a great website!! Be sure to check out the Teacher page where you will find lesson plans, resources, and guidance for teaching your ELL students.


Leave a comment and share how you are using Learn English Kids in your classroom.

My English Images

Posted by admin | Posted in Foreign Language, Interactive Whiteboard, Language Arts, Middle/High School, Primary Elementary, Secondary Elementary, Teacher Resources, Websites | Posted on 26-08-2009

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English Images

English Images

What it is: My English images is a great site that I learned about from @larryferlazzo.  This site was designed for English teachers and English teachers working with ESL and EFL students but it is a great site for any literacy classroom.  The site has images and worksheets that are available for download that can be used to catch student’s attention, spice up lessons, and illustrate difficult language concepts.  My English Images provides pictures that illustrate conversation, grammar, basic English, pronunciation, and vocabulary concepts.  New content is added to the collection monthly.

How to integrate My English Images into the classroom: This site is ideal for the ESL/EFL classroom.  They say that a picture is worth a thousand words and that is definitely the case with this site.  Students will be able to look at the pictures and understand the language concepts with the help of visuals.  The pictures can be downloaded and used in PowerPoint presentations, interactive whiteboard lessons, and any lesson that you are teaching that would benefit from visuals.  Visuals are the first thing that people associate with a concept.  They help students recall more quickly, and the concepts get stored in permanent memory because students have an easier time making connections with things they already know.  My English Images has some fantastic offline games that can be played with English language learners.  You can download and print rules and a certificate of excellence as students complete the games.  Grammar concepts are often difficult for any student learning them for the first time.  My English Images makes it easier for students to understand how the English language works.  This site should be used in any English speaking/learning literacy classroom!

Tips: Take a little time to explore My English images, it is a treasure trove of resources!  My English Images was created by English language teacher F. Michael Kloran based on what he uses with his students.

Leave a comment and tell us how you are using My English Images in your classroom.

Literactive

Posted by admin | Posted in Interactive book, Interactive Whiteboard, Language Arts, Phonics, Primary Elementary, Software, Teacher Resources, Websites | Posted on 16-01-2009

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What it is: Literactive is an outstanding website for reading material for pre-school, kindergarten, and first grade.  The program is made up of leveled guided readers, comprehensive phonics activities, and supplemental reading material that is aimed at developing reading skills in a sequential, motivating manner.  To use and view the site is free.  To download material you are required to register but registration is also free.  The guided readers are fully animated and each comes with a breakdown of every word in the stories.  The Road to Reading is an interactive journey for students that moves them sequentially though pre-reading activities, alphabet awareness, letter sounds, short vowels, CVC word blending, initial blends, long vowels, and various phonic activities.  There are over one hundred learning activities that can be used for individual or whole class use that can be downloaded for free.  Worksheets are available in pdf format that correlate with each reading skill.  An ESL version is offered for each guided reader, stories can be translated with the click of a mouse.  E-picture books tell traditional tales for early readers and e poetry is a collection of interactive poetry including poems by Rober Louis Stevenson, Edgar Allen Poe, Edward Lear, and more.  The Literactive website is packed full with reading activities for primary students that will have them on the road to reading!  

 

How to integrate Literactive into the classroom:  Literactive is a complete reading program that should be included in any primary classroom.  I am amazed at the comprehensive list of activities, stories, and scope and sequence of this program.  Because activities are downloaded, after having downloaded them your computer does not need an Internet connection to use them.  Use Literactive as a daily reading center, individually in the computer lab setting, or for whole class instruction and reading.  The activities on Literactive are highly motivating and provide an excellent foundation for reading.  

 

Tips: Register for free today and transform your classroom into a reading-rich environment for your beginning readers!  Thank you to @annemarie80 who sent a Tweet about this site!

 

Leave a comment and tell us how you are using Literactive in your classroom.

Wordly Wise 3000

Posted by admin | Posted in Language Arts, Middle/High School, Primary Elementary, Secondary Elementary, Websites | Posted on 15-01-2009

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What it is:   Wordly Wise 3000 is a vocabulary curriculum that can be purchased, any time I see a website mentioned as part of curriculum, I always take a look.  While the Wordly Wise 3000 curriculum costs, the website activities are free!  Students are told to choose their vocabulary book (I just choose the appropriate grade level).  Students can go through a word list that says each word, gives a picture, the part of speech, the definition, and a sentence using the word.  They can read this information or have it read to them.  Then they review the word with a mini quiz review.  The audio from the website can be downloaded and saved on a CD to be used in class without computers.   After students have learned the words, they can play games that reinforce the vocabulary learned.  Games include concentration, flashcards, hangman, matching synonyms, and word searches.  Wordly Wise 3000 has vocabulary units for second through twelfth grade.

 

How to integrate Wordly Wise 3000 into the classroom:  Wordly Wise 3000 is a great site for your auditory learners to learn vocabulary.  It is also a great addition to ESL and ELL classrooms, the written and auditory output is a nice feature.  The site combines auditory, visual, pictures, and hands on games making differentiated instruction for vocabulary easy.  Wordly Wise 3000 can be used individually by students, as a vocabulary reading center, or for whole class instruction with a projector or interactive whiteboard.  Wordly Wise 3000 can help build a vocabulary base for your struggling readers.  This would be a great site to use for learning a new word or two each day as a class.  Studies show that students who have a solid vocabulary base to pull from are better readers.  

 

Tips: I have not seen the actual Wordly Wise 3000 curriculum but based on their web activities, it looks like it may be a good one to check out.

 

Leave a comment and tell us how you are using Wordly Wise 3000 in your classroom.