NewsELA is AWESOME!!! This is a Non-Fiction Literacy and Current Event website for your students. One of the best features on here is the ability to change the student lexile reading level. That feature alone can help you differentiate and level the articles for all your students of various levels. The second feature that is how it relates to the new Common Core State Standards (CCSS), and the Anchor Standards for English Language Arts – PLUS some articles have a quiz that is rigorous. Also,the quizzes occasionally have questions where the students have to use text evidence and click the paragraph or sentence the answer is located.
Did I mention that this is FREE? Yes, it’s all free and all you have to do is register and give your students the class signup code, then they sign up themselves. Another thing is that it works on tablets, PCs, or other handheld devices.
Teachers can assign articles for students to read and take their quizzes on. It keeps all the data in your “Binder” and show what standards the students are doing well or struggling. My students really like the articles because they are highly interesting, current topics/events. They are separated into these topic areas: War & Peace, Science, Law, Money, Kids, and Health.
I have really liked having classroom discussions on certain articles and having them write some opinion/argumentative writing. They share and provide evidence from the article or their personal knowledge to support their argument, which is very powerful and fits right in with the CCSS.
Sign up and get your students reading some great non-fictional articles to peek their interest in current events happening around the globe.
Reading Instruction Resources for Teachers and Parents
This isn’t really a web tool, but more of a FREE resource for English – Language Arts supplementals. We can never have enough materials to use for homework, classwork, independent practice, tutoring, enrichment, etc.
This site is divided into a few sections:
Games and Activities
I am so happy to have stumbled onto this page last week. Enjoy this new resource and let me know what you think of it! Feel free to share this with your friends and parents.
Kerpoof Studio is owned and run by The Walt Disney Company. It has many great features and aspects that are for Pre-K – 12 students and classrooms. This site has some really fun activities:
Make Animated Movies
Make Printed Cards
Tell a Story
Make a Drawing
Plus much more…
Another area that is truly beneficial for educators is their resource page – Kerpoof Teacher Resources. It has lesson plans and ideas to implement this valuable web tool in your classroom. Once you have signed up for your FREE account, you will then be able to add student accounts. Then, your students can create and save their work in a sort of digital portfolio. Once they have their accounts, they can also collaborate with other students in their class or across the globe. They can give feedback and get feedback on their digital creations. With CCSS (Common Core State Standards) coming, this web tool could become an essential part of those standards.
Get your class started on here and watch the students get excited to create digital stories and movies. Have them re-tell a book or story you just read or have them design and develop a how-to video on a math concept. The possibilities are endless!
I heard about this site from a educational technology conference (FETC) I went to in Florida just over a week ago. The creator of the games, Dr. Jeff Ertzberger, presented many games/utilities to use right away in the your classroom. Many of them are customizable to fit your needs for any subject matter. All the games and templates are based/programmed in Microsoft Office.
Here is a list of some of the games/utilities:
Printable Game Boards
Bingo Game Card Generator
$100,000 Pyramd-like game
Wheel of Fortune-like game
There are more games available for purchase – Premium Games, which also includes a book for $19.99. Which is really is a great deal for all the games you can download and customize for your various needs. These games can be used as a center activity, universal access, interactive whiteboard activity/center, review for a test, checking for understanding, etc.
With Common Core coming, you can also look at this as a way for students to “create” or “develop” (higher order thinking skills) there own games with the provided templates. How powerful would it be to have your students make there own games to review key concepts and show their real mastery of the standards?
“Imagination is more important than knowledge. For knowledge is limited to all we know and understand, while imagination embraces the entire world, and all there ever will be to know and understand.” – Albert Einstein
This week’s web tool is Storybird – http://storybird.com. They define it as Collaborative Storytelling, I define it as a fun and creative outlet for students of all ages. Storybird is a FREE website that allows students to develop and create their own stories (imaginative narratives, personal narratives, persuasive, and even response to literature) – PLUS they get to pick illustrations for their “book!” Students will thrive and want to make more Storybirds. They love getting feedback on their stories, which is the collaborative part of this website. Once they have published their Storybird, friends, teachers, parents, etc. can read, share, and comment on the Storybird. I know my students always love to get feedback from anyone, the social aspect of this website is great.
To get your class started you will need to create an account, a class, and student logins. Give them a quick tutorial and they will be off creating and publishing! It is a very user-friendly environment and interface.
Another great aspect of Storybird is that books can be purchased. They can be made into a .pdf file (~$1.99) or even a deluxe hardcover ($35+). Students, parents and families would love to have a published story as a real book.
In closing, please take a look at this web tool and let your students imaginations run wild and free. I know many students today haven’t tapped this part of their brain enough and don’t get the opportunities to be creative.