TeachersFirst - Featured Sites: Week of Feb 25, 2024
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 go to the Featured Sites Archive
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In the ClassroomAdd this article to your list of resources for author studies in your classroom. Use Wakelet, reviewed here to organize and curate your collection of resources. Share author websites, video interviews, and book lists with students using 3X3 Links, reviewed here. 3X3 Links is a bookmarking site that is easy for you and your students to use when sharing websites. After watching author interviews and learning about authors, conduct author interviews with student authors in your classroom. Use Flip, reviewed here for this and allow class peers to ask questions of the author being interviewed.
GradesK to 7
In the ClassroomBe sure to check the schedule often for upcoming events and add them to your calendar to take advantage of the opportunity to participate in the Storyvoice activities. Also, remember that recordings are only available for 24 hours following the event, so including them on your classroom calendar is crucial. Prepare for upcoming events by sharing stories from the featured author as a read-aloud or in reading centers. Have students prepare questions to ask during Storyvoice activities, then have your class vote on which questions to have available to share with the author using a voting tool such as Poll Maker, reviewed here. Have students write a thank-you letter to the author as a final activity. Find templates for friendly letters and a letter generator tool at Read Write Think, reviewed here.
GradesK to 10
In the ClassroomCertainly, read Goodnight, Moon to your class (even older students) to start a discussion based on their favorite children's picture books. Make a class list of titles and authors using Padlet, reviewed here, to refer to later. Next, use Read Ahead, reviewed here, to create a guided reading activity for younger students and to introduce this biography to students. Then, have students use this biography as a model to create a biography about one of their favorite authors. Use Adobe Express, reviewed here, and allow for student choice by offering students this site: Free Biography templates from Adobe Express here.
Grades5 to 9
In the ClassroomThis tremendous resource is a must-have for all middle school classrooms and libraries! Share the podcasts with students not only to learn about the latest books but also to learn how to improve public speaking skills, learn about the author's techniques and tips, and discover how to share informative book reports. Subscribe to the podcast and have students listen to weekly presentations during center times or as a class. Share the "Books We Love" portion of the site on your class webpage for students to use when looking for reading material. Ask your school librarian to share these podcasts in the media center and look into ordering books of interest to your students. As students learn from these podcasts, ask them to use what they learned to create their podcasts to share with classmates and your school. Have students use organizers found on ReadWriteThink, reviewed here to organize and plan for their podcasts and book reviews. Help students visualize their written work by creating word clouds with Wordsift, reviewed here to focus on commonly-used terms within their text and evaluate their usefulness. As a final project, help your students create and produce ongoing podcasts sharing their book reviews with peers. Buzzsprout, reviewed here and Spotify for Podcasters (wasAnchor), reviewed here both provide free podcasting tools.
GradesK to 8
In the ClassroomThis site is perfect for use as an anticipatory set or "activator" to introduce a unit or lesson on a projector or interactive whiteboard. Look for authors of favorite read-alouds you use in your classroom and share their videos. Make a shortcut to this site on classroom computers and use it as a learning center. View an author's video then share their books in your classroom reading center or as an author of the month. Have students create an annotated image including text boxes and related links using a tool such as Image Annotator, reviewed here to explain their own writing process.
Grades1 to 6
This site includes advertising.
tag(s): authors (102), book lists (158), dyslexia (11), literacy (106), literature (219), parents (60), phonics (49), reading comprehension (142), reading lists (80), reading strategies (96), speech (67), spelling (95)
In the ClassroomReading Rockets is a fantastic resource for teachers, librarians, parents, and principals. Be sure to sign up for the newsletter for the latest information, blogs, thoughts, and ideas for teaching reading. Use this website as a resource for your classroom, library, or even with you school action committees. Provide a link to this site on your class webpage. Install widgets for reading, and find the latest apps to support literacy. Join reading blogs, and add widgets to make your reading strategies complete. If your district blocks YouTube, the videos may not be viewable.
Grades8 to 12
tag(s): authors (102)
In the ClassroomExplore the Biography and Celebrate 95 Years section to project photos that span Maya Angelou's lifetime of 86 years, and feature short videos on your projector or interactive whiteboard to inspire students with interviews about her work and vision, and moments that have punctuated and reveal the grace, dignity, and eloquence that are the hallmarks of her incredible work and life journey.
Grades1 to 7
tag(s): authors (102)
In the ClassroomYour class may want to send Ms. Cleary an old-fashioned snail mail letter, using her address at the bottom of her biography page. Instructions on how to have a successful Ramona party is at the bottom of the Fun and Games page. Have your students choose famous Cleary characters and compete answering the Trivia questions also found at Fun and Games. Include this page as a link from your teacher web page for students to access outside of class or when writing book reports.
GradesK to 7
In the ClassroomCreate shortcut to Mem reading aloud on your classroom computer for a center activity for primary grades, and place a copy of Mem's book there for students to follow along. Print out Mem's suggestions for reading aloud to give to parents at conferences or share this site on your teacher home page for parent and students to access from home. For older students, this site is an excellent resource for planning cross-grade reading activities for Read Across America or other special times, including having middle school students write picture books for young students, then share them at an in-person visit or on a podcast recording using Buzzsprout, reviewed here. Use PowerPoint Online, Microsoft PowerPoint Online, reviewed here since slides are an easy way to "create" and share large format picture books electronically.
Grades8 to 12
tag(s): authors (102)
In the ClassroomIf you teach Jack London or any of the related literature (Service poetry, etc), this is a GREAT source to take students. Again, it is a safe and reliable source with a variety of areas to expand upon. I do like the fact that it reminds students to cite their information and tells them how to do it!
Grades7 to 10
In the ClassroomA good source of material about the author. This site will also steer kids to her other works. The BIO will probably answer questions many of your students have about her stories and where she gets her ideas, etc.
Grades2 to 9
In the ClassroomThere is a link to click at the top "speaking" that shows how to have a "virtual visit," "personal visit," "presentations (teacher in-service, library presentation, and conferences,) and "upcoming events." Share this site on your teacher web page to encourage young writers or as a feature when your class is sharing an Avi book.
Grades4 to 9
In the ClassroomA very worthwhile site if you teach The Giver or any other Lowry book. This site is a sure winner for an introduction to a student author study in small groups or individually, as well.
In one of her speeches, the acceptance speech for The Giver, Lois Lowry concludes with this idea: "But each time a child opens a book, he pushes open the gate that separates him from Elsewhere. It gives him choices. It gives him freedom. Those are magnificent, wonderfully unsafe things." I work in a library, and I have loved science fiction for as long as I can remember. While putting books into the hands of children may be unsafe, it is also vital for those who read to live richer lives and learn to accept others better. (Even paralibrarians who split infinitives.)Ellen, VA, Grades: 0 - 12