I actually found the link to Beth Newingham’s blog post on another blog, KB Connected. When I clicked on the link, I was immediately impressed by the creative ideas and the higher order thinking skills each activity included. In addition, Beth Newingham provides photos of each activity and printables that are simple but attractive. It has links to her website showing several of the fiction genre lessons in action. This is the kind of classroom in which kids thrive!
Whether you use the Wordle riddles that “Jen” has created, or set off to make some of your own, this is a great concept that integrates technology with practically any topic you are learning. You could use your Wordles to introduce a topic or to review something that has already been taught. You could have students create their own Wordles that others need to guess. One of the cool, and quite simple, features on this site is the way that she embedded the Wordles in her blog so that when you roll over them the answer appears. This can be done when you add the alternate text to a picture you are inserting in your blog or website. Of course, Wordle is not the only site that creates word clouds. Tagxedo is another fun way to make these, and allows you to format them to different shapes.
S.C.O.R.E. Cyberguides is a site that was produced by Schools of California Online Resources for Education. It is based on California’s Language Arts curriculum, and offers a multitude of literature units at levels from K-12. The units include teacher and student resources. They could be used as supplemental materials, or as jumping off points for Literature Circles or independent study assignments. There is a disclaimer on the site that lack of funding has resulted in some of the units being out of date (broken links, etc…). However, it appears that even those units are still available on the site under “Retired” sections. This is helpful as a teacher could scavenge them for curriculum ideas or website suggestions.
UPDATE 7/6/14: It looks like this link no longer works. If any of you find a link to these guides that does work, please let me know, as they are a valuable resource!
This great resource from the Kentucky Virtual Library is a fun-looking map that graphically outlines the steps a student should take when doing research for a project. Each part of the map is a link to a new page explaining that particular stage in the process. The graphics are appealing to kids and the information is very readable. This is a good site for students who are doing independent research projects.
Vocab Ahead would be an appropriate site for gifted students from 3rd grade and up. English/Language Arts teachers of secondary students would also be interested in using this site. It is designed to prepare students for the SAT and ACT tests. However, anyone who is interested in advancing his or her vocabulary skills would enjoy the free features on this site. After registering, a teacher can design individualized lists of words. Students can view short videos using the words in context, practice learning them with flash cards, and take quizzes. The customized lists can be embedded into a teacher’s website or blog. In addition, students can create their own videos for words that can be uploaded to the site. For this reason, I would advise the teacher to preview any of the videos he or she chooses to add to a list.
I am not a huge fan of spelling tests, particularly when everyone in the class is responsible for the same words. However, this site has some amazing tools that will allow you to customize lists for your students. There are also fun games that they can play to practice those specialized lists. The site is free, although you need to register. There are some perks for purchasing a premium membership, but it can still be a valuable tool without all of the bells and whistles.