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    Great Sites for Teachers (Part 2)

    2015 - 02.22

    This is a continuation of sites that I have saved from various trainings throughout the school year or summer.


    I haven’t had much opportunity to mess with this program, but basically, it’s a free download that allows the user to save notes, web clips, files, and images and makes them available on every device and computer they use. There’s an app that can be downloaded to a smartphone, and there’s even a webclipper that allows the user to save websites to their account using the EverClipper. For research papers, Evernote is good for collecting information into one place for students to go back and access when compiling information into a research paper or project. Notex can even be shard with their fellow classmates, and the Evernote site even has some other fun goodies such as Skitch for annotating media and Penultimate, an app for iPad that simulates handwriting while combining the elements of Evernote with it.

    Today’s Meet

    This is an ûber cool site. I encountered this site in the middle school art teacher’s room when she was explaining that she uses it for good things. The neat thing about this site is that it can be used for a variety of things, and you don’t need an account to create a chat room. The url to join can be pasted into Schoology, and you the teacher can pose a discussion question or ask for good things at the beginning of class while taking attendance. What’s even more of a benefit is that students who are shy about participating in discussions out loud now have a voice and won’t be eclipsed by the “Eager Beavers” of the classroom. I’ve personally always been an avid instant message user with friends in my personal life, so this little program is amazing. And bonus: you don’t necessarily have to sign up to use. Now, I do have a bit of experience using IM in a classroom, and it’s actually pretty handy when you use it correctly. ReadingPlus comes built in with an instant message system in the program, and my experimental reading class loved it. We would shoot one another messages in class anywhere between a, “Good to see you” to “You’re awesome, Mrs. Vaughn” or sometimes a student wanted to talk about something that was on his or her mind since the messages between me and individual students could not be seen by others. Today’s Meet will definitely be a frequent flyer in my classroom.

    Teen Tribune

    Here’s a site where ELA teachers can find plenty of articles to present students to read for Articles of the Week. In my classroom, students read an article and then write a two-paragraph response summarizing what the article was about (main idea and details), and their thoughts on the article. There are plenty of free and up-to-date articles for students to read, and you can choose from many different topics and post the link on Schoology for the students to download into the Safari Reader. Bonus: the articles also come in Spanish, so if you happen to have an ELL student whose first language is Spanish, this can be a viable option for them.


    Here is a website that is a bit similar to Padlet and Spider Scribe. I actually think I might like this site a bit better because I love the bulletin board background. But it is fully collaborative, and you can download a free app for it, which is perfect for both teachers (who love everything free) and broke teenagers. You can use this in the classroom as a creative discussion board, sharing pictures, collaboration (group project brainstorm). There is also a free app for smartphones and tablets!


    I love this site! This is a great way to do a review. It’s totally free to sign up for teachers, and students can join in on the quizzes here by putting in a game pin given my the teacher. The students can use either their smartphones or their MacBooks to join, and it lists the top five in points in the class if you display it on the Smartboard. You can pretty well make up your own quizzes over any content just as you can with Jeopardy Labs, so it’s quite versatile. I have used this for reviews for final exams and grammar as a fun activity, and I’ve had some students remark to me that since Kahoot is more interactive, it helps the information click for them. Warning: there are NO friends in Kahoot!

    This is quite possibly the cleverest website when it comes to the creation of flash cards. I haven’t had a chance to put this into practice yet, but I must say that this would be great for the creation of flashcards. Teachers and students can sign up for free, and it allows the user to create their own flashcards. The teacher can create flashcards and share the link with the students via Schoology (or other preferred educational platform). EDIT: I have recently put this into practice with Romeo and Juliet for the students to learn the vocabulary words and play terms for each act. I figured out how to embed the Quizlet cards into Schoology so that the students can use this tool without having to leave Schoology. There are also different game modes the students can choose to help them study the words more interactively.





    Stay tuned for useful educational sites!

    Great Sites for Teachers (Part 1)

    2014 - 07.18

    When school starts in August, my high school will be pushing out the 1:1 Initiative. For you folks out there that don’t know what that is, it’s basically where our school got a grant to give every student in the junior high and high school their very own MacBook Air laptops. Last year was our junior high’s first year with the MacBooks, and this year, it’s our turn. Some of us are looking forward to the change, some are iffy, but the majority of us are pretty darn nervous.

    Anywho, I’ve been going through trainings throughout the school year and the summer, and my colleagues have provided us with some amazing resources for use in our classroom. Now, mind you, some of these sources are in no way a replacement for any true classroom instruction, but they can certainly be utilized as tools to better engage our students in our lessons. It’s a proven fact that when students are actively engaged in a lesson, they learn much more than students who spend an hour (or 47 minutes in my case) at their desk listening to lectures. Below are some resources I’ve collected and saved for everyone to find. The headers are clickable links so you can view the sites. I have collected so many resources that I will probably have to make more than one entry here to show them all. Here are ones I’ve collected so far.


    Schoology.Learn.Together.logo whiteThis is the site we will be using during the upcoming school year to implement our classes. For the record, the word is pronounced just as it is spelled, not ‘School-OL-ogy.’ The thing that I love about this so far is that it combines the aspects of Facebook with platforms like Moodle and Blackboard. It’s user friendly so that even veteran teachers can manipulate it pretty easily. You can set up groups for your separate classes, and you give those classes a special code to join. On my Schoology, I also created a group for my advisory as a place to post announcements and a group for my Anime Club so that if I have students miss due to other obligations, they can view our discussions and get information on what anime to view or manga to read for the next meeting. What’s even better is that absent students can look up assignments posted for that day and stay caught up. You can make your own tests and quizzes, and the students have instant feedback with the exception of essay/short answer, which you will have to grade yourself. It still cuts down the grading, and with 120-130 students per teacher, that can be a real time-saver. And what makes this even better? Schoology offers a free app that you can download for your smartphone, so if you’re like me and you forget to tell your class something important, you can post it via the app or you can grade your homework turn ins while waiting for your turn at the doctor’s office.

    Discovery Education

    We had a training on this last week, and honestly, there was so much to it that I am not sure I remember hardly anything, to be honest. I can say, however, that there’s a good number of resources on here that teachers can use in conjunction with lessons. As an English teacher, Romeo and Juliet is a big unit for me, so the students have to learn about Shakespeare himself as well as Elizabethan theater and the Elizabethan era as a whole. Right now, this site is probably better for science and social studies, but the trainer said they were working on sources for math and ELA, so I’m hopeful that once I use this source, I’ll be able to gather some good videos and other sources to use with my units. You can create folders in which you can save any useful sources you find, and you can post your sources on Schoology for your classes, and you can create boards (or have students create them). Honestly, I have yet to play around more with this, but I thought I would throw this in.

    Grammar Bytes

    Here’s a site we English teachers discovered where students can log in and do grammar lessons. I would probably recommend students do Grammar Bytes as a supplement to a teacher-led grammar lesson as either independent practice or bell work. I haven’t played much with this site, but it is free to join!






    English Grammar 101

    This is a site that I stumbled upon while looking for free online grammar lessons, so I haven’t had a chance to share with my department. There’s all sorts of advanced grammar lessons in here under the free modules that even include tests at the end of each module. In Module 1, for example, students can take lessons that dabble in the eight parts of speech such as noun identification, verb identification, etc. There’s even lessons that show prepositions acting out as verbs and adverbs modifying adjectives. The other modules contain subjects and predicates, appositives, clauses, participle phrases…I mean this site has an entire grammar textbook right here! Now you do have to pay for your printables, which come in the form of an e-mailable PDF, but we teachers are resourceful enough that we can find plenty of free worksheets.


    Spider Scribe

    Do your students need help with brainstorming a paper? Or maybe they want to present a mind map to the class? Spider Scribe is a good site just for that. It’s free to join, and even companies use it for presentations. I haven’t messed with this one too much, but as far as I can tell, it’s quite easy to use, and I am not yet sure whether I like this better or Padlet. It’s also free to join.



    This site is very similar  to Spider Scribe, and again, I am not sure which one I like better. I do know that Padlet has a feature where you can have students in your classroom collaborate in groups on an assigned topic for presentation where I am unsure whether Spider Scribe has a similar feature. It’s fairly easy to use, in my opinion, and the bubbles are colorful, which is a bonus for me since I enjoy color. Like Spider Scribe, it’s free to join.





    Jeopardy Labs

    Everyone probably remembers the classic game show hosted by Alec Trebek, and everyone enjoys playing a good round of Jeopardy. My first experience with Jeopardy in a classroom was when my band teacher taught a music appreciation class and he would play Jeopardy with us as review for tests over music time periods and their composers. Of course that was back before the World Wide Web and handy dandy sites like these. At Jeopardy labs, you can build your own Jeopardy game and have up to six teams (beneficial if you have a big class), and it is G-R-E-A-T for reviews. I built a Julius Caesar game for my sophomores last year, and it was a bloodbath of epic proportions — but in a good and extremely comical way. This can be displayed on a Smartboard or Promethean board and with the students playing in teams (computer free), it’s a great way to get them out of their seats and collaborating with one another for correct answers, or you can have each person in a team line up and take turns answering.

    These are only a few of the resources I’ve saved and collected. I’ll be putting up another post of more resources soon, so stay tuned! If anyone has any resources they would like to share, please leave it in the comment section and I will do my best to check it out. If I think it can be useful, I’ll feature it in one of my entries!