Featured Post

Switcheroo Zoo

  What it is:  Switcheroo Zoo is a site I learned about from Kevin Bibo on his outstanding blog Cal Teacher Blog.  Switcheroo Zoo has fun interactive games and activities such as “Make New Animals” where students can create their own animal combinations, “Build an Online Habitat”...

Read More

The Spotlit Collection- 50 of the best books for every grade level

Posted by admin | Posted in Language Arts, Middle/High School, Primary Elementary, Secondary Elementary, Teacher Resources, Websites | Posted on 18-11-2013

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

1

Scholastic Spotlit Collection- 50 of the best books for every grade level

What it is: Scholastic Reading Club Spotlit Collection is a fantastic place to find outstanding books for preschool through middle school students.  Teachers, librarians, and book professionals came together and considered thousands of books to create a diverse list of award-winners, classics, and dynamite contemporaries.  Each grade level includes the 50 top favorites selected for that age group.  The result is a great place to start when you are searching for books to introduce students to!

How to integrate Spotlit Collection into your classroom: Scholastic’s Spotlit Collection has a wonderful selection of 50 books for each grade level in preschool through middle school.  This would be a great place to determine what you would like in your classroom library, which books to help your students hunt for in the library, and which books to introduce for classroom book groups.  If you have students reading above grade level (or several levels above/below) the Spotlight Collection can help you guide students towards appropriate books.

Challenge your students to read 10-20 of the books in the Spotlit Collection before the end of the school year.  Keep the collection handy by bookmarking it on a classroom computer.  When a student laments that they, “don’t know what to read,” they can quickly pull up the collection for some great new recommendations.

Tips: While you are visiting the collection, sign up for the Scholastic Reading Club!

What do you think?  How are you using the Spotlit Collection in your classroom?

Scholastic’s Listen and Read: Free non-fiction ebooks for primary students

Posted by admin | Posted in Government, History, Interactive book, Interactive Whiteboard, Knowledge (remember), Language Arts, Primary Elementary, Science, Social Studies, Teacher Resources, Understand (describe, explain), Websites | Posted on 17-07-2012

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

1

What it is:  Scholastic is constantly sneaking new great resources for the classroom onto their site.  The other day I learned about one that I haven’t seen before from @rmbyrne on his great blog Free Tech for Teachers.  Listen and Read has fantastic online reading activities for early learners.  There are 54 nonfiction read-along books that include words, images and sound.  You can sort books by subject including: Community, American History, Animals, Civics and Government, Environmental Studies, Plants and Flowers, Science and Social Studies.  You can also sort books by level (A or B).

How to integrate Listen and Read into your curriculum: Non-fiction can be hard to read in the early years.  It often includes unfamiliar words and vocabulary and concepts that students don’t have a lot of prior knowledge of.  Scholastic’s Listen and Read is fantastic because it helps students navigate their way through non-fiction with the support of a read-aloud, sounds and images.  These interactive books help students better comprehend content because they aren’t focused on the words they are stumbling through.  At the end of the book students can click on the unfamiliar new vocabulary to hear the word said again.  This follow-up exposure reinforces word recognition, vocabulary and ideas.

Scholastic Listen and Read can be set up on classroom computers as a reading center.  Students can read and listen independently with headphones.  After reading through the story, students can discuss with a partner (or as a whole class) what they remember about each of the “sound it out” words from the story.

If you don’t have the ability for students to read these non-fiction books independently, use a projector connected computer or interactive whiteboard to read as a whole class.

Tips: Some of the titles are offered in both A and B level.  This is great for a little differentiation within the classroom (while gaining the same concepts).

Please leave a comment and share how you are using Scholastic’s Listen and Read in your classroom!

Word Girl Definition Competition: Live vocabulary game show!

Posted by admin | Posted in Apply, collaboration, Fun & Games, Interactive Whiteboard, Knowledge (remember), Language Arts, Primary Elementary, Secondary Elementary, Spelling, Teacher Resources, Understand (describe, explain), video, Web2.0 | Posted on 17-03-2011

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , ,

4

What it is: Mark your calendars now for the Word Girl Definition Competition on April 27, 2011; this is a live vocabulary event being hosted by Scholastic and is free to participate in!  You must register by April 22 to recieve your webcast event kit, participate in the definition competition, and be entered for a chance to win books and Word Girl prizes.  The Word Girl Definition Competition is a fun way to engage students with vocabulary words in a fun, interactive context.  The competition includes a 30 minute live webcast where students will enrich their vocabulary and have fun.  This will also be the kick off to the Scholastic summer challenge to get students excited about books and reading throughout the summer.

The competition is made up of 3 rounds plus a bonus round.  The competition will be in game-show format, students will be challenged to work those vocabulary skills as they answer questions pertaining to word usage, definitions, using words in different contexts, and reading comprehension.  Your students will play along with the game in real time by submitting answers online during the webcast and may be called out during the event.  This event will help your students understand the meaning of words, use context clues for correct word usage, leverage visuals to define words, draw on existing vocabulary knowledge, and present vocabulary words in varied and interesting ways.  Fun right?!

How to integrate Word Girl Definition Competition into the classroom: This one is a no brainer, if you teach elementary students this is an event that your class should participate in.  Word Girl making vocabulary fun as it is, combine that with a fun LIVE game show format and you have got yourself a winner.  This would be a great event to involve your students in and will have them flexing those vocabulary muscles.  I love that this competition isn’t just focused on definitions but on helping students learn strategies for decoding words using visualization strategies and context clues…those are skills that can be easily transferred!  Sign up your students today to participate in this fun, friendly competition!

Prior to the competition, build up some excitement and squeeze in some extra vocabulary practice by giving your students the opportunity to play on the Word Girl website.  This could be done as a center in the classroom or in a one to one environment.

Tips: If you aren’t familiar with the Word Girl website, be sure to check it out here.

Please leave a comment and share how you are using Word Girl in your classroom!

28 Tech Tools to Bring out the Story in History

Posted by admin | Posted in Analyze, Apply, Create, Evaluate, History, Knowledge (remember), Middle/High School, Primary Elementary, Secondary Elementary, Teacher Resources, Understand (describe, explain), video, web tools, Web2.0, Websites | Posted on 03-12-2010

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

4

Below is an article I wrote for theapple.com.  For the full article complete with links, please visit the original article.

Kelly Tenkely | TheApple

When I was in school, I dreaded history.  I found it completely uninteresting, dry, irrelevant, and quite frankly…boring.  This was unusual for me.  Normally, I really enjoyed school.  Creative writing, language arts, science, and even math were fun.  History was unbearable.

I can count on one hand the things I remember learning in history.   I learned that in 1492 Columbus sailed the ocean blue,  that there was once a thing called slavery and it was abolished (I saw Roots in school at least 5 times), that there have been several wars and battles, and I remember my freshman history teacher breaking out in “I’ve Been Working on the Railroad” (though I can’t say why).   For me history was a lot of dates, strange names, places, and events presented as points on a line.  The goal of history was to memorize all of these facts and dates, recite them on a test, and repeat the process the following week. Sadly, that was about it.  It wasn’t until adulthood, and my introduction to the History Channel, that I realized that history is interesting.  History became engaging when it was presented as a story.  It really isn’t about all of the dates, places, and facts.  History is about people.  History is about story.  Students need more than the loosely connected events, people, and dates that fill history textbooks.  They need narrative. Textbook writers are boring, history is not.  In high school I vividly remember reading a first person account of Hiroshima and Nagasaki and the horrors of nuclear war.  Why does this account stay with me? Because it wasn’t about the dates. It was about the emotions, the aftermath, the effects on human life.

How can we engage our students with history?  How can we help them make personal connections to the events of the past?

Access to history has expanded, students today have learning opportunities that have never been possible before.  Today students have the ability to view and read historical documents first hand, ‘interact’ with historical characters, and observe the events of the past through the eyes of the children who lived it.    Thanks to technology, students can be truly engaged in the stories of history.

Primary resources are the actual documents, artifacts, and writings from history.  These resources give students an up-close view of life in the past.

Primary Resources:

1.  The World Digital Library is a collection of primary materials from around the world.  Students can explore artifacts that will help them to better understand other cultures.  This incredible collection of resources brings museums from around the world into your classroom for your students to explore.

2. Awesome Stories is a collection of primary source materials separated by category.  Primary sources include images, videos, narration, slideshows, artifacts, manuscripts, and documents.  Awesome Stories is essentially an interactive textbook.  With the interactive textbook model, students are able to delve deeper into topics that interest them.

3. Picturing America takes hold of the notion that a picture is worth a thousand words and applies it to teaching American history.  The National Endowment for the Humanities is providing classrooms and libraries with American art masterpieces. Bringing our Nation’s artistic heritage into the classroom provides students with unique insights into the character, ideals, and aspirations of our country.  The program is free for schools and libraries, providing them with 40 high quality, poster-sized masterpieces, a teacher resource book, and the program website.  Picturing America  brings history into the classroom, helping students create authentic connections to the past.

4.  Primary Access is a web-based tool that offers students and teachers simple access to digital images and materials that provides them the opportunity to create personal narratives.  The idea behind the site is that if students are offered primary source documents, they develop better historical thinking skills.  Students use Primary Access to create digital historical narrative movies that help add to meaningful learning experiences.  The digital movie is 1-3 minutes in length and can contain images, text, movies, and student recorded narration.  Students have a place to write, research, narrate, view, and search within Primary Access.

5. Library of Congress on Flickr is a photostream of historical images on Flickr.  These incredible photographs will bring history to life for your students.  Many of the photographs have no copyright restrictions which makes it a great place for students to find images for projects that they are working on.  These are also great images to use in your classroom presentations, and as printouts for bulletin boards.

Videos have the unique ability to make students feel as if they are witnesses to history.

Historical Videos:

6. The History Channel has a wealth of resources to teach history in the classroom.  From online historical videos, to a daily dose of history with “This Day in History”, the History Channel brings history to life.

7. American History in Video has more than 5,000 free, digital, on-demand videos in its collection.  The videos allow students to analyze historical events, look at events over time through commercial and governmental newsreels, archival footage, public affairs footage, and important documentaries.  These videos will make students feel as if they were a part of history.

8.  Watch Know is another educational video site.  All videos are offered digitally for free.  Watch Know brings together the best education videos online into one convenient-to-search, safe site.  Students can interact and think critically about the videos by rating them and leaving comments.  There are more than 2,500 history related videos on Watch Know.

There are many websites that let students interact with history.  Whether they are playing a game or exploring a virtual world, these websites help students understand history in new ways.

Interacting with History:

9. Secret Builders Students ages 6-14 can live and play among fictional and historical characters in this virtual world.  Students interact with characters such as Shakespeare, Galileo, Motzart, Oliver Twist, Plato, Van Gough, and Amelia Earhart.  Students take quests, publish artwork and writings, play games, enter contests, and participate in a virtual economy and social life.  Students are given all the tools needed to build out the virtual world with their own ideas, activities and actions.  This virtual world has the added benefit of allowing students to interact with historical figures in ways that are meaningful to them.

10. Scholastic has an email sign up where teachers and students can receive fictional emails from historical figures.  These emails are written as letters from children who live in the past.  Get email letters from a young girl traveling on the Mayflower and a young Native American boy.  This is a fantastic way to give your class a glimpse of history through the eyes of two school-age children.

11. Scholastic’s “Our America” takes students on a journey through American history from the Colonial period to World War II.  Students learn about major events in the American story by reading journal entries from the people who lived them.  Students can complete their own journal entries about what they have learned.  Activities accompany each time period such as arts and crafts from that time period or designing a period home interior.

12. The Oregon Trail game is one of the memories I should have listed above.  I remember playing Oregon Trail in small groups on our classroom computer in fifth grade.  Through the game we learned about the hardships of being a wagon leader, how to build a team, and purchase supplies that would help us make the journey from Independence, Missouri to Oregon by way of the covered wagon circa 1848. This role playing game helps students connect to events of the past through play.

13. BBC Primary History has an extensive collection of activities, short readings, and a kids point of view on the Ancient Greeks, Romans, Vikings, Anglo Saxons, World War II, and Victorian Britain.  Students can explore interactive timelines, stories, primary source images, and much more.  Students gain a sense of what life was like during each time period.

14. Picturing the Thirties is a virtual web activity from the Smithsonian.  This virtual museum exhibit teaches students about the 1930’s through eight exhibitions.  Students will get an up close look at the Great Depression, the New Deal, the country, industry, labor, city, leisure, and the American people in the 1930’s.  The virtual museum is full of primary sources such as photographs, newsreels, and artist memorabilia.  Virtual video museum guides explain each exhibit to students.

15. The Secret in the Cellar is an interactive web comic that is based on an actual forensic case of a 17th century person that was recently discovered.  Through graphics, photos, and activities, students begin to unravel a mystery of historical and scientific importance.  Students learn how to analyze artifacts, and examine the skeleton to determine a cause of death.  As students act as historians, they will gain a wealth of information about Colonial life in America.

16.  Kids Past is a history website created for kids that covers topics including: prehistoric humans, the rise of civilization, Middle Eastern civilization, the Ancient Greeks, Romans, African civilizations, civilizations of India, civilizations of China, Byzantine empire, the Slavs, Islam, medieval Europe, Asia in the middle ages, ancient Americans, the Renaissance, the Reformation, exploration and expansion, Asia following the middle ages, the American Revolution, and the French Revolution.  All reading on Kids Past is kid friendly and age appropriate.  There are several history games based on the reading.  Students can also find historical quotes and songs about history that they can listen to online.

17. Historical Tweets- Students can follow history on Twitter.  With Historical Tweets, history’s most amazing men and women can be more fully understood 140 characters at a time.  These historical tweets can act as motivation for students to learn more about historical events.  140 characters is just enough to leave your students wanting to learn more.

Static timelines are a thing of the past, today’s timelines are interactive, informative, and fun to explore.

Interactive Timelines:

18. Franklin’s Interactive Timeline is an engaging look into the life of Benjamin Franklin.  Students can play, listen, watch, observe, and have fun learning about Benjamin Franklin’s legacy.  Students can explore Franklin’s life through themes such as Franklin’s character, Franklin as printer, at home, doing good, and on the world stage. This site breaks Franklin’s life down into manageable pieces for students and provides a well rounded view of Franklin.

19. Capzles is an interactive timeline creator.  Students can add photos, video, audio and text to their timeline.  Themes, colors, backgrounds, and background music can be added to the timeline making it unique and personalized.  Capzles brings the timeline to life and allows students to add story to the dates.

20. Dipity makes it simple for your students to create and share interactive timelines.  Students can embed YouTube videos, Twitter, RSS feeds, Blogger, Flickr, Picasa, Last FM, and more right into their timelines.  Dipity makes timelines relevant and fun for students.  Best of all, students are creating and viewing timelines in “their language” of Digital Native.

21. Time Tube is the perfect website for your YouTube addicted students.  Students can type in a historical event and Time Tube will create a timeline of related videos.  Students will be able to explore historical events through related videos.

Research papers leave much to be desired in the history classroom.  There are ways for students to show what they know in history without the dreaded research report.

Creating with History:

22. Domonation is an animation website where students can create cartoon animations with characters, dialogue, props, music, and special effects.  Instead of presenting knowledge about history through the traditional report, diorama, or poster, students can create a cartoon of an interview with a historical figure or an eye-witness account of a historical event.

23. Xtranormal is a site where students can create and direct their own animated movies.  Students can recreate historical events, or create cartoons about a historical figure.  Hold a historical movie day to showcase all of the animations that students have created.

24. The National Archives Experience: Digital Vaults is a site put together by the National Archives.  Students can create their own digital content mashups using primary resources.  Students are able to search photographs, documents, and other records collecting them to create a digital poster or movie.  Students can also create a Pathway Challenge.  In a challenge, students create a series of clues that show relationships between photographs, documents, and other records.  Other students can attempt to solve these challenges.  This is an incredible way for students to interact with history.

25. Creaza is a suite of web-based creativity tools.  There are four tools in the Creaza toolbox that will help your students organize knowledge and tell stories in new creative ways.  Students can arrange events in history with Mindomo the mind mapping tool.  Using Cartoonist, students can create comic strips and digital narratives about historical events or characters.  Movie Editor makes it possible for students to create movies with thematic universes, video, images, and sound clips.  Movie Editor can import historical film clips, sound clips, and images to tell a story.  Audio editor is the final tool in Creaza’s creative suite.  Students can splice together their own newscasts or radio commercials that display their knowledge of any historical event.

26. Animoto for Education is a site where students can create compelling and impressive digital content quickly and easily.  Teachers can use Animoto to teach complex concepts in history.  Students can showcase their understanding of history through pictures, music, and text.

27. Blogging- Assign each of your students a historical character to play.  They can research and learn about the time period, events, and people.  Students can then blog as if they were the historical character.  Other students can read and comment on the historical posts.

28. Museum Box is a website based on the work of Thomas Clarkson who collected items in a box to help him in his argument for the abolition of slavery.  Students can use the Museum Box website to collect information and arguments in a virtual  box of their own.  They can collect items to provide a description or add to an argument of a historical event, place, or time period.  Students can add images, text, sounds, videos, and external links to help them form their own virtual museum.  The finished box can be shared with other students, saved, or printed.  Students can view and comment on boxes created by other students.  This is a fun medium for students to learn and collect information about a historical event, person, or time period.

History shouldn’t be dry, boring, or irrelevant to students.  Technology makes it possible for students to interact with history in new and interesting ways.  Use these resources to take your students beyond facts and help them to realize the stories that make up their past.

Thanksgiving: Plimoth Plantation Virtual Field Trip

Posted by admin | Posted in Analyze, Evaluate, History, Interactive Whiteboard, Knowledge (remember), Primary Elementary, Secondary Elementary, Teacher Resources, Understand (describe, explain), video, Virtual Field Trips, Websites | Posted on 15-11-2010

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

7

What it is: Scholastic has a wonderful site and interactive for students to investigate the first Thanksgiving.  Tomorrow, November 16th (2010), your class can participate in a Plimoth Plantation Virtual Field Trip.  In this 30 minute online field trip your students will get to meet a Pilgrim and a Wampanoag—straight from Plimoth Plantation.  This Virtual Field Trip brings the Plimoth Plantation Museum to your students. This is sure to be a fun trip where your students can experience the first Thanksgiving in a new way.  In addition to the field trip, your students will receive “letters” (emails) from the Pilgrims and Wampanoags making the experience even more memorable.   The site has the original interactive activities for your students to explore before or after the field trip.  Download the free classroom guide and sign up today!

How to integrate Thanksgiving: Plimoth Plantation Virtual Filed Trip to your curriculum: This virtual field trip is a fun way for your students to “experience” the first Thanksgiving.  Students will begin to understand what life was like for the Pilgrims and Wampanoags that first Thanksgiving and hear first hand what struggles they faced.   The virtual field trip brings the actors from the Plimoth Museum into your classroom.  Watch the field trip from your classroom using an interactive whiteboard or projector-connected computer or bring several classes together in a larger space like the library.  After the field trip, set up classroom computers with the rest of the Scholastic Thanksgiving activities. Here students can explore the Mayflower, learn about daily life of the pilgrims and the Wampanoags, and check out the first Thanksgiving feast.  Scholastic provides a wonderful teaching guide that will help you use this site to its fullest.

Tips: Here are some of my other tried and true favorite sites for Thanksgiving:

Black Dog’s Thanksgiving fun and games

Scholastic’s First Thanksgiving

Investigating the First Thanksgiving

Free Rice and see how we used it as a Thanksgiving activity here

Please leave a comment and share how you are using Thanksgiving: Plimoth Plantation Virtual Field Trip in your classroom!

Study Jams!

Posted by admin | Posted in Apply, Interactive book, Interactive Whiteboard, Knowledge (remember), Math, Primary Elementary, Science, Secondary Elementary, Teacher Resources, Understand (describe, explain), video, Video Tutorials, Websites | Posted on 03-11-2010

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

15

What it is: Scholastic Study Jams is a fantastic collection of over 200 learning resource collections. Study Jams are videos, slide shows, and step by step explanations for science and math that will have your students discovering everything from invertebrates to the water cycle and the rule of divisibility.  Each Jam includes a teaching video/step-by-step/slide show, key vocabulary, and a test yourself section where they can practice what they have just learned.  Each Jam also suggests related jams where students can expand their learning and dig deeper on a subject.  To be honest, this is more like the textbook of the future that I envisioned.  I love that each concept is introduced in the context of a story.  Students learn the concept from fun Study Jam characters and can pause and rewind the learning as needed.  In the test yourself section, students can check for understanding and receive immediate feedback on their learning.

How to integrate Study Jams into your curriculum: Study Jams is a truly incredible collection of learning opportunities for students.  Use Jams to introduce your students to a new concept, or reinforce learning.  In Math students can learn about numbers, multiplication and division, addition and subtraction, fractions, decimals and percents, algebra, geometry, measurement, data analysis, probability, and problem solving.  Each topic has several sub-topics for students to explore.  In science topics include: plants, animals, the human body, ecosystems, landforms, rocks and minerals, weather and climate, solar system, matter, force and motion, energy, light, and sound, and scientific inquiry.  Again, each science topic has several sub-topics.

Study Jams can be used with your whole class as an anticipatory set for learning using an interactive whiteboard or projector connected computer.  After viewing the step-by-step, video, or slide-show check for understanding by having your students complete the “test yourself” as a class.  This can be done with personal whiteboards where students write down their answer and hold it up, a raise of hands, or student response systems (clickers).  Use this as formative assessment to guide your lesson.  Study Jams can also be used as a center activity in the math or science classroom.  Students can visit the Study Jam as part of a larger group of related activities.  In a center, students can visit individually or in small groups and self direct their learning.  For those students who have already mastered the concept, they can view related Study Jams to extend their learning.

Study Jams is ideal for students in a 1 to 1 or lab setting.  Here students can explore at their own pace, pausing and rewinding as necessary.  They can also extend their learning based on their personal interests by choosing a related Study Jam.

Can’t find a Study Jam that fits what your students are learning? Ask students to create their own Study Jam video, slide show or step by step.  Students can use tools like Animoto, Voice Thread, or Domo Animate to create their own.  Students can create their own “test yourself” using a Google Form or survey tool.

Tips: I learned about Study Jams from someone in my blogging alliance (sorry I didn’t make note of who!) If you aren’t already following these amazing blogs, I highly recommend them (alliance #1, alliance #2).  I learn SO much every day from each one of them.  If I learned about Study Jams from your blog, leave me a comment so I can thank you here!

Please leave a comment and share how you are using Study Jams in your classroom!


Poetry Idea Machine

Posted by admin | Posted in inspiration, Language Arts, Primary Elementary, Secondary Elementary, Websites | Posted on 05-04-2010

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , ,

1

Picture 1

What it is: April is national poetry month, the Poetry Idea Machine is sure to help you infuse your classroom with some inspired poetry writing.  Students learn about different kinds of poetry by selecting from Haiku, Limerick, Cinquain, or Free Verse.  The Poetry Idea Machine takes students through the steps of making each type of poetry.   The Poetry Idea Machine makes an excellent introduction to types of poetry and will have your students writing their own in no time.  

How to integrate Poetry Idea Machine into the classroom: The Poetry Idea Machine does a fantastic job of introducing students to different kinds of poetry.  After students learn about the poetry, they have a chance to create their own poem with the Poetry Idea Machine interactive.  In my classroom, I use the Poetry Idea Machine with the  whole class using the interactive whiteboard or projector.  I invite students up to create their own poems as we talk through the process.  Choose one type of poetry each week so that students have an opportunity to practice writing the poems.  During the week, give your students time to write their poems, allowing them access to the Poetry Idea Machine on classroom computers as an idea center.  Let students work in small groups to create unique poems using the Poetry Idea Machine.

Tips: Read poems by Jack Prelutsky, Karla Kuskin, and Jean Marzollo for inspiration.  Ask students to determine which type of poem each is based on what they have learned with the Idea Machine.

Please leave a comment and share how you are using the Poetry Idea Machine in your classroom.

Scholastic Story Starters

Posted by admin | Posted in inspiration, Interactive Whiteboard, Language Arts, Primary Elementary, Secondary Elementary, Teacher Resources, Websites | Posted on 08-04-2009

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

1

 

What it is:  Story Starters is a fun site for students in kindergarten through sixth grade to use each day as a quick writing activity.  Students type in their name and select a grade to begin.  Students are taken to a special Story Starter machine that generates writing ideas for newspaper articles, letters, notebooks, or postcards.  They can get a new idea by keeping some elements of the idea and spinning again to change elements.   The site also features Scholastic’s Word Wizard which always floats on the webpage.  Students can type in a word or double click any word on the webpage and get a definition of the word.

How to integrate Scholastic Story Starters into the classroom:  Scholastic Story Starters is a fun website to use with the whole class or as a writing learning center.  This is a great site to use with an interactive whiteboard or projector to generate ideas for free creative writing time.  Let students take turns being the ‘spinner’ that generates writing ideas.  Encourage students to share their writing, it is neat to hear all the different ideas that kids come up with from the same story starter.  This would be a great website to bookmark on classroom computers for students to visit as a writing center that they can visit when they are stumped for writing ideas.

 

Tips:  You may have to spin a category a few times to get a story starter that makes sense.  This is very quick and easy!

 

Leave a comment and tell us how you are using Scholastic Story Starters in your classroom.

Scholastic Listen & Read

Posted by admin | Posted in Interactive book, Language Arts, Primary Elementary, Science, Social Studies, Websites | Posted on 08-09-2008

Tags: , , , , , , , ,

2

 

What it is: The Scholastic website is full of truly amazing resources.  Today I ran across one that I hadn’t used before called Scholastic Listen & Read, I heard about it on Larry Ferlazzo’s Websites of the Day.  Scholastics Listen and Read is for students in first and second grade.   The site does exactly what it’s name implies, it lets students listen to non-fiction stories and read along.  There are 11 non-fiction stories for first grade social studies including The Path of the President, What Does the President Do, and a Celebration of Earth Day.  There are 15 non-fiction stories focused on animals and food for first grade students.  Second grade students have access to 10 non-fiction stories focused on social studies including Constitution Day and Welcome to a Pilgrim Village.  There are also 11 short non-fiction stories for second grade students focused on animals and food.  Social Studies is a hard subject to teach first and second grade students from a text book because the vocabulary and reading can be especially challenging.  Scholastic Listen and Read solves this problem wonderfully with short, easy to read non-fiction stories that are read aloud to your students.  As an added bonus, each story includes the Scholastic Word Wizard.  This tool floats right on top of the web page.  At any point, students can click on a word in the story and the Scholastic Word Wizard will give them an easy to read definition of the word.  Students can also type a word into the Word Wizard to look it up.  

 

How to integrate Scholastic Listen & Read into the classroom:  Scholastic Listen & Read is ideal for any classroom or computer setting.  The non-fiction stories could be read together as a class with a projector and speaker setup, individually in a computer lab setting, or in small groups as a center in the one or two computer classroom.  The stories are easy to understand and the ability to look up words right from the story makes it a great place for students to learn key social studies and animals and food concepts.  

 

Tips:  Scholastic Listen & Read is a great place for ESL and ELL kids to go for English practice and vocabulary!

 

Leave a comment and share how you are using Scholastic Listen & Read in your classroom.