TeachersFirst - Featured Sites: Week of May 29, 2022

Here are this week's features. Clicking the tags in the description area of each listing will present a list of other resources with this topic. | Click here to return to the Featured Sites Archive

 

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Sync: Audio Books for Teens - AudioFile

Grades
6 to 12
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Sync is a free summer audiobook program for teens. The program runs for 13 weeks starting at the end of April and provides participants with two thematically paired audio books/short...more
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Sync is a free summer audiobook program for teens. The program runs for 13 weeks starting at the end of April and provides participants with two thematically paired audio books/short stories weekly. Listen to a short introduction to the book before reading. After enrolling with Sync, follow the directions to download the Sora app from iTunes or Google Play. Use the explore feature within the app to find and borrow weekly titles. Be sure to view the FAQ for additional information on accessing and participating in Sync.

tag(s): audio books (21), independent reading (105)

In the Classroom

Share Sync with your students to promote summer reading and provide a variety of reading topics. Play the audio introduction to gain student interest. Click the Toolkit on the left menu to download posters for featured books for each week of the summer. Post the information on your classroom or school website for availability to parents and students through the summer. If it is too late to participate in the program or listen to a weekly title, use the book list provided to locate the titles in your community library for checkout either in person or digitally at the beginning of the new school year. Encourage students to reflect upon the books using an online journal such as those found at Penzu, reviewed here. Penzu journals offers templates and you have the ability to add images or your own illustrations to sections of journals. Extend student learning by highlighting important areas of text within the books using WordSift, reviewed here. Copy and paste in key portions of any book into WordSift to visualize the text within a word cloud. Use the word cloud to explore and discuss new vocabulary or frequently used terms. Use Sync as a model for students to hear text read using intonation and phrasing. Ask students to create podcasts sharing their writing using Anchor, reviewed here. Refer students back to the audiobooks they listened to as a helpful reminder on how to engage listeners through the spoken word.

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Camp BOOK IT! - Pizza Hut

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K to 6
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Camp BOOK IT! is a summer home reading program where students in grades K-6 earn monthly rewards for achieving reading goals. After enrolling in the program, parents use the digital...more
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Camp BOOK IT! is a summer home reading program where students in grades K-6 earn monthly rewards for achieving reading goals. After enrolling in the program, parents use the digital dashboard to track their student's reading progress during June, July, and August. Move the slider to certify completion of the preset goal to receive a certificate to redeem at Pizza Hut for a personal pan pizza. Other features found on this site include a series of ongoing articles with activities and book recommendations; under Resources at the top, slide to Teacher Toolbox to find activities and calendars to track reading.

tag(s): independent reading (105)

In the Classroom

Share Camp BOOK IT! with parents to encourage reading over the summer months. Use this program as an opportunity to collaborate with parents to engage students in reading by providing a reading list for students that includes books that appeal to your students. Use Padlet, reviewed here, to share suggested titles of books for students, and use the stream feature to organize the titles into different categories. Encourage students to add comments to your Padlet, sharing their book reviews. Enhance your students' summer reading experience by creating a topic using Flip, reviewed here, and ask students to contribute video book talks discussing their reading. Another idea is to create a Summer Bingo topic. Attach a Bingo form to your Flip topic with different squares to complete. Ideas might be reading a biography, starting a new book series, or sharing a book with a friend.
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Dreamscape - Squiggle Park

Grades
2 to 8
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Dreamscape is a curriculum-aligned reading game for students in grades 2-8. Create an educator account to add student accounts, track progress, and assign content. As students read...more
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Dreamscape is a curriculum-aligned reading game for students in grades 2-8. Create an educator account to add student accounts, track progress, and assign content. As students read short passages and respond to questions, they build their place within the Dreamscape world. Upon successful completion of passages, reading levels go up within the game automatically. Dreamscape also offers interactive "battles" between students following extended periods of reading and answer responses. Upon completion of each student activity, educators receive an email notification.

tag(s): differentiation (70), game based learning (167), Learning Management Systems (24), reading comprehension (125), reading strategies (72), remote learning (59), Teacher Utilities (128)

In the Classroom

Use Dreamscape to differentiate reading instruction for your students. Dreamscape is also an excellent option to share with ENL/ESL students to provide practice and support in English language instruction. Include a link to Dreamscape on classroom computers for use during reading centers, and provide a link on your classroom website for students to play at home, or for use in remote or blended learning. Include Dreamscape with other online reading programs using a bookmarking tool such as Symbaloo, reviewed here, for easy access for student use.
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SplashLearn - StudyPad, Inc

Grades
K to 5
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SplashLearn is a game-based math curriculum for students in grades K-5. As students play games, SplashLearn adapts the learning path to fit individual student responses and interactions...more
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SplashLearn is a game-based math curriculum for students in grades K-5. As students play games, SplashLearn adapts the learning path to fit individual student responses and interactions within the elementary math curriculum. Use the teacher dashboard to manage classes and add students. Other features allow educators to assign material to individual students, add required assessments, and enable home access using parents' email addresses. The site's themes and rewards motivate student learning, students earn coins to use toward the purchase of virtual pets. Note: This tool is now free for teachers for the premium version and complete access to all its features (no cost).

tag(s): addition (128), decimals (89), division (100), equations (121), fractions (164), game based learning (167), geometric shapes (132), Learning Management Systems (24), measurement (128), multiplication (123), number sense (71), place value (35), subtraction (110)

In the Classroom

Take advantage of the free games to provide practice and support with your math curriculum. Differentiate learning based on student ability and confidence. Assign content based on students' learning goals. Share this site with parents to provide practice and support of math concepts at home. Use SplashLearn's reports and assessment results to guide your math lesson planning. Share this site along with other math practice activities using a bookmarking tool such as Symbaloo, reviewed here. Share your Symbaloo link with parents and on classroom computers for easy access to all learning tools shared. Use activities found in SplashLearn as part of a blended learning experience using Blendspace, reviewed here. Include a link to games found on the site along with videos and other learning activities found both online or uploaded from your computer.

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Write and Improve - Cambridge English

Grades
5 to 12
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Write and Improve provides practice and instant feedback on writing responses to prompts. Choose from one of the many provided topics to begin. Narrow down options based on writing...more
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Write and Improve provides practice and instant feedback on writing responses to prompts. Choose from one of the many provided topics to begin. Narrow down options based on writing levels from beginner to advanced. Writing choices range from writing an email to longer stories. After writing your response, select the link to receive feedback. Feedback includes a graph of your writing level and tracks revisions. Create a free account to save your work and access all material on the site. This site was created in England so some spellings and pronunciations may be different from the American usages. Note: There is a paid portion of this site for the International English Laguage Test System (IELTS), however, you can take advantage of looking at 10 free tasks, and even writing in the box provided and using the timer, but you will not receive a score. These would be good assignments for your writing class before state testing time.

tag(s): creative writing (119), descriptive writing (37), differentiation (70), letter writing (16), persuasive writing (54), process writing (40), writers workshop (33), writing (299)

In the Classroom

Feedback on this site is based on the Common European Framework of Reference (CEFR) scale, learn more about it here. Include this site with your other resources for practicing and teaching writing as you challenge students to improve feedback scores. Take advantage of the different levels to differentiate practice for all students. Ask students to analyze their writing before hitting the feedback button as a self-reflection tool. As students improve writing, use a digital portfolio tool like Seesaw, reviewed here, and upload all revisions. Also, use Seesaw for students to share their thoughts on their writing and individual progress.

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Whooo's Reading - Whooo's Reading

Grades
K to 8
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Whooo's Reading is an alternative to traditional reading programs by offering short response options to book quizzes instead of multiple choice answers. After reading, students answer...more
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Whooo's Reading is an alternative to traditional reading programs by offering short response options to book quizzes instead of multiple choice answers. After reading, students answer three quick higher-level questions, that are automatically scored, and earn coins for correct responses to spend on personalized "owlvatars." Teachers receive scores in real-time and have the option to provide feedback through conversations with students within the program. In addition to quizzes, Whooo's Reading also offers standards aligned journal activities for use in between quizzes and book recommendations upon completing quizzes.

tag(s): classroom management (133), independent reading (105), reading comprehension (125)

In the Classroom

Although recommended for students in grades K-8, teachers of younger students should review questions and consider writing ability levels before including them in the program due to the written responses required. Consider using Whooo's Reading as an alternative to Accelerated Reader due to the use of short response answers instead of multiple choice questions. After reading books, substitute paper and pen journals by asking younger students to create a blog using a tool like Penzu, reviewed here, to share a book review with fellow students. Engage older students, or literature circle groups, by having them create a poster for the book using a tool like DesignCap, reviewed here, and then upload the poster to their blog about the book. A great blogging tool for older students is Telegra.ph, reviewed here. With Telegra.ph have students click on an icon to upload related images, add a YouTube or Vimeo, or Twitter links. This blog creator requires no registration. For all age students, enhance learning by creating a class book review site using Flip, reviewed here, where students create short video book reviews and can comment on each others reviews.

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National Park Service - National Park Service

Grades
5 to 12
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Celebrate and learn about America's national parks through the home page of the National Park Service. This site provides comprehensive information on planning a park visit, exploring...more
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Celebrate and learn about America's national parks through the home page of the National Park Service. This site provides comprehensive information on planning a park visit, exploring nature, and getting involved as a volunteer. Choose from a variety of lesson plans sortable by subject, grade level, and Common Core Standards. Find the lessons by clicking on the site menu, then slide over to Learn & Explore, slide down to Educators, choose your topic. Most lessons will have a download button to print lessons using the link to the PDF file. The National Park Service also offers several resources to loan to classrooms such as traveling trunks. Although traveling trunks ship for free; you pay for return shipping.

tag(s): animal homes (57), animals (265), habitats (78), national parks (21)

In the Classroom

Bookmark and save this site to use with a wide variety of language arts, science, and social studies activities. Take advantage of the free lesson plans to include with your classroom activities. Include the section for kids with your other bookmarks on classroom computers for students to explore during science centers or during free reading time as a non-fiction selection. Share images from the media gallery with students as you study biomes, states, or historic areas of the United States. As students learn about different parks around the country, ask them to modify their technology use to create infographics using Canva Infographic Maker, reviewed here, to share facts and information. Transform student technology use even further by asking students to use Google My Maps, reviewed here, to create a virtual field trip to a national park or across different biomes found in the United States. Include this site with your history lessons then ask students to use History in Motion, reviewed here, to create an animated map telling the story of historic events including text, images, historical maps, and more.
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PBS Summer of Possibilites - Play Your Way - PBS Kids

Grades
K to 3
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Not just for summer! Enjoy learning at home all year-round with PBS Kids Summer of Possibilities. Download the free Summer Activity Book for new daily adventures such as using bath...more
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Not just for summer! Enjoy learning at home all year-round with PBS Kids Summer of Possibilities. Download the free Summer Activity Book for new daily adventures such as using bath time to explore math or learn how to make a bird feeder. Scroll through the site to find reading charts, map skills, activity booklets, themed collections such as Observing Nature, Sharing Your Creativity Through the Arts, and much more. Did you find this site too late for summer? No worries, there are plenty of activities to do throughout the entire year. Be sure to check the bottom of the page for the "What's On Today" PBS shows.

tag(s): calendars (38), literacy (97), preK (246), reading lists (78), summer (14)

In the Classroom

Take advantage of the many free activities on this site; be sure to share with parents for ideas on learning at home. Consider having a "summer" day in the middle of winter as you enjoy summer activities in the warmth of the indoors. Share with parents at the end of the school year as a great resource for learning during the summer months.
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Story Shares - Louise Baigelman and Gary Herman

Grades
6 to 12
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Story Share is the perfect solution for finding relevant and readable content for older students unable to read above the elementary level. Digital content provides interesting material...more
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Story Share is the perfect solution for finding relevant and readable content for older students unable to read above the elementary level. Digital content provides interesting material that doesn't condescend to teen readers. Use scroll down the landing page to The Matrix to filter the correct reading level and interest level. Login isn't required to read books. However, it allows you to add books to a reading list and to bookmark the stopping point while reading books. Be sure to check out the The Blog to find books on current topics and ideas for reading nooks, etc.

tag(s): book lists (126), differentiation (70), digital storytelling (135), ebooks (34), reading comprehension (125)

In the Classroom

Introduce this site to your reluctant or struggling readers on your interactive whiteboard or projector. Then have students explore this site independently or in small groups to find interesting reading material. Be sure to provide a link to Story Shares on your class website or blog for students to explore at home. Use this site to differentiate for students of all levels and for use with special education or ENL/ESL students. Have students write their own comprehension questions and answers based on the book to check their own comprehension and to exchange with classmates.

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Bookopolis - Kari Ness Riedel

Grades
1 to 7
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Bookopolis is more than an online social reading club for children ages 7-12. It has an education portal to keep track of and review a reader's work. Scroll down the ...more
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Bookopolis is more than an online social reading club for children ages 7-12. It has an education portal to keep track of and review a reader's work. Scroll down the landing page to find Bookopolis recommended books, popular books, book of the week, and reviews from other readers. Bookopolis includes digital reading logs, reading log prompts, and suggests places to find comprehension questions about the book. Through the educator dashboard, monitor and comment on the reader's writing and reading logs. The activities and features on the site are aligned with many of the Common Core Reading and Writing standards. There are several video tutorials on getting started and how to use the dashboard. The videos are hosted on YouTube. If your district blocks YouTube, they may not be viewable.

tag(s): book lists (126), book reports (28), classroom management (133), guided reading (34), independent reading (105), reading comprehension (125), remote learning (59), social networking (79), Teacher Utilities (128)

In the Classroom

Create your account with one of several social media programs, or your email, teacher name, username, and some basic information. Create your dashboard by adding a class and class name. You can create multiple classes. From the teacher dashboard on right menu choose Teacher Resources to view the several teacher video tutorials to get started. Click the class name to add students; student accounts can be created manually or by importing an XLS or CSV file. Students will automatically be "friends" with other students in the same class, but can also invite students from different classes. Share this site with students (and parents at back to school night) using your interactive whiteboard or projector. Students also have video tutorials; show students the video tutorial "How to Add Books" to get them started. In your blended or remote learning classroom enhance students' learning for this tool using the tutorial (s) along with MoocNote, reviewed here, to add comments and information. Students can create bookshelves for books they are reading, that they have read, and that they want to read. Students can earn points and badges for the books they read. This tool will get students excited about reading since they can connect with friends to share book reviews and swap book recommendations. Students also practice persuasive writing, comprehension, and typing skills by completing reviews, reports, and reading logs online. This tool is great to keep track of student home reading or if you are teaching remotely! Besure to list this site in a parent newsletter or on your website as one to use to avoid the "summer reading slide."

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Freckle Education - Sidharth Kakkar

Grades
K to 8
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Freckle Education is a Common Core-aligned program with resources for math, ELA, science, and social studies for K-8 that adapts to individual student skills. Freckle has over 50,000...more
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Freckle Education is a Common Core-aligned program with resources for math, ELA, science, and social studies for K-8 that adapts to individual student skills. Freckle has over 50,000 math questions matched to all math standards and more than 500 ELA non-fiction articles that often cover social studies and science standards as well as all ELA standards. There are five reading levels offered for each article. Sign up to create a class account and add student information. Students login in through an iPad app or with the online web version and the class code. Students complete a diagnostic pre-test and then begin working at their individual level. Awards of coins for completion of levels promote student engagement and enjoyment of the program. Freckle also promotes student collaboration through their inquiry-based, cross-curricular lessons. Other features include a scratch pad for working through problems, virtual manipulatives, and individualized printables for practice. Receive detailed analytics and student reports on your dashboard. You may encounter a warning about how Freckle may not work on your browser and to use the Chrome app. For this reviewer Mozilla FireFox and Microsoft Edge seemed to work fine for a student pre-test and the teacher dashboard. This program is great for supplementing your instruction, differentiating, blended learning classes, and remote learning. Freckle was titled Front Row.
This site includes advertising.

tag(s): collaboration (87), differentiation (70), independent reading (105), inquiry (23), reading comprehension (125), Research (65), Teacher Utilities (128), writing (299)

In the Classroom

After creating your classroom account and adding rosters, introduce this site on your interactive whiteboard or projector. If you are lucky enough to have a class set of mobile devices, allow students to use Freckle while you work directly with individuals or small groups of students. Freckle is a great way to supplement instruction for both gifted and special needs students. Use in your blended learning class, when you want to differentiate, or when teaching remotely. Visit the FAQ section for ideas for implementing Freckle in your math, ELA, social studies, or science classroom. Be sure to share login information with parents for student practice at home.
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News in Levels - newsinlevels.com

Grades
K to 8
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Find high interest, leveled news articles (and lessons) for English language learners. Although this site was designed for ENL/ESL it could be very useful in any elementary classroom...more
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Find high interest, leveled news articles (and lessons) for English language learners. Although this site was designed for ENL/ESL it could be very useful in any elementary classroom looking for informational texts that can be differentiated for various reading levels (great for meeting Common Core standards). This tool could be used with any readers to increase comprehension, fluency, and vocabulary skills. There are three difficulty levels. Complete the Test Your Level exercise in the pop-up box after you first get to the home page to find out what level will be best for you. Many of the lessons include audio and practice exercises. In addition, interesting pictures pique the students' interest. The same story is presented in all of the various levels. The vocabulary at lower levels repeats at the higher levels with more vocabulary added as the level increases. Definitions for the vocabulary words, below the reading, assists with English meanings. The audio is hosted on YouTube. At the time of this review, most of the news story content was fine for all ages. However, please preview the story before you share it with your class to be certain it is appropriate.
This site includes advertising.

tag(s): differentiation (70), guided reading (34), news (230), reading comprehension (125)

In the Classroom

Add this website to your classroom computers, websites, and newsletters for parents of ENL/ESL students or beginning readers. This tool is especially helpful at the beginning of the year, as you are learning students' reading levels. Use this tool to differentiate in all primary classes. Although this site was created for English Language Learners, it could still be used by all students including gifted and learning support. Differentiate for your advanced/gifted students in elementary, while meeting Common Core standards of Informational Text. Use these news articles as informational text meeting your Common Core goals. Assign students of different levels the same story at the appropriate level or build skills by sharing the same story as a class. Challenge groups to compare the stories in pairs. Have students create a visual presentation of the story. First have students create a rough draft of their comic using Printable Comic Strip Templates, reviewed here. For Level 1 readers have them create their final comic using ToonyTool, reviewed here, for Level 3 readers use Make Beliefs Comix, reviewed here.

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ABCya - ABCYA.com, l.l.c,

Grades
K to 6
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ABCya.com, developed by a web developer turned computer teacher, provides educational games, videos, and activities for elementary students. Nearly every subject is included. Simply...more
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ABCya.com, developed by a web developer turned computer teacher, provides educational games, videos, and activities for elementary students. Nearly every subject is included. Simply click on your grade level (K-5) and find what is available under language arts, math, and other subjects. Specific topics range from basic typing activities to creating word clouds to grammar games (at all levels) and so much more. The interactives are teacher approved and offer colorful and attention grabbing ways for learning. Opportunities for sharing on Facebook, tweeting, and sharing on social bookmarking sites are incorporated. This is a MUST SEE site for elementary teachers looking for some great practice sites for basic skills!

tag(s): alphabet (49), decimals (89), drawing (60), fractions (164), game based learning (167), geometric shapes (132), keyboarding (29), latitude (9), literacy (97), longitude (9), number sense (71), numbers (120), operations (75), preK (246)

In the Classroom

Share this site on your interactive whiteboard or projector, demonstrate how to use the specific tool/activity. Create a learning center on your whiteboard or on individual laptops and allow students to try it out on their own. List this as a student and parent resource on your classroom website. Use this site to informally assess skills to tell you which students to allow to do alternative work or go ahead. Allow your gifted students to explore new concepts while providing necessary reinforcement for those learners that need a technology-inspired method to help master learning goals. This is an excellent tool for differentiating. Provide as an anticipatory guide for new units.

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E-learning for kids - e-learning for kids

Grades
K to 6
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Check out this site offering FREE learning courses to students in science and math, including environmental skills and health and life skills. Students will travel the world learning...more
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Check out this site offering FREE learning courses to students in science and math, including environmental skills and health and life skills. Students will travel the world learning about the topic in addition to more about the continents, countries, and oceans. Choose from a wide variety of different learning experiences in the subject areas for learning in a fun and engaging way. Each subject area has countless interactives ready to go! Detailed instructions are provided for each activity. You can control sound easily from the screen.

tag(s): body systems (41), continents (30), countries (69), cultures (121), fractions (164), human body (91), matter (44), measurement (128), money (120), nutrition (133), sorting (4)

In the Classroom

Use these "courses" as reinforcement of concepts, to uncover misconceptions, and to explore interesting topics. Share the activities on your interactive whiteboard or projector. Create learning centers focuses on the specific content of the activities. Have cooperative learning groups (or individual students) explore specific topics and report back to the class. For example, have each group view the activities for a specific body part (blood, brain, hearing, immune system, heart and circulation, skeleton, skin, teeth, and more) and create a multimedia presentation. Some tool suggestions for a multimedia presentation are (click on the tool name to access the review): PBWorks (wiki), Site123 (website or blog), Renderforest (video maybe a newscast), and Genially (poster/bulletin board). Or, have cooperative learning groups create online books using a tool such as Bookemon, reviewed here. Provide this link on your class website for families to explore together.

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