Resources I Love

Social Networking:

I have used both Edmodo and Managebac.  Edmodo is a free, safe, password protected environment for students and teachers to connect and communicate.  Managebac was created for the IB but it does cost.  For those working in the MYP, I find the gradebook to be its best feature.

Currently my school is using Haiku.  This system also has discussion, web page, calendars, grades, online teacher created assessments, and more.

Polling and Quizzing:

I find Socrative to be versatile and easy to use.  Love the downloadable reports.

For a more flashy game show alternative, Kahoot is also a great choice. Comes with more options than Socrative when creating questions to make it more game show like.  Middle school kids LOVE it.

Productivity:

I love Noisli.  Noisli is an ambient sound generator that has custom sounds for productivity or relaxation.  It has a timer as well.  My students love to use this when writing.  It allows them to drown out the distractions in the room so they can focus.  They also use the sounds for inspiration: a campfire, nightime forest sounds, rain, the train.

Research Tools:

Noodle Tools is a great help for research.  This online subscription will allow students to create note cards, create outlines, and manage their citations and works cited.  It can be set for what ever reporting style you are working with: Chicago, MLA, APA, etc.

Google Docs also has a great research and citation tool.  Simply open a new document.  Type in your topic.  Highlight the topic, right click, and voila!  New sources to search along with a citation tool.

History Resources:

Russell Tarr has done amazing work at creating a history resource that has quickly become my “go-to” place for interactive activities.  ActiveHistory has resources for ages 11-18 from Medieval to Modern History.  His resources could be used as “flipped” assignments and there are many simulations as well.

Khan Academy is also a good place to go for finding extra resources to enhance your lessons.  Assign a short tutorial for a “flipped” lesson.  Use the videos to enhance an in-class activity.  Link to tutorials to enhance student revision.  Currently you will be able to find Art History lectures done by experts to take students to view cool artifacts that they would never be able to see “up close and personal”.  They have also begun to develop tutorials for various topics in US, Ancient and European History.  These units of tutorials are complete with quizzes to check for understanding.

Johndclare.net is also a wonderful revision tool for upper level students.  If you are working within the IGCSE or IB Diploma programs, the free resources that are found here are really helpful.

English Resources:

When studying works of literature I always encourage my students to think for themselves.  They need to find the themes, they need to find the motifs.  Yet, there are times when students need a starting place.  I love Spark Notes.  Spark Notes is a great source of information for students when getting started with analyzing literature.  It will give them chapter summaries, character analysis, and will discuss themes.  Spark Notes will even test them on their comprehension of a work.  My favorite section of Spark is No Fear Shakespeare.  Here students can see the original text alongside a more readable English version.  This is super helpful for my non-native and native speakers, especially younger grades.  And its FREE!

Need a digital text?  Chance are Project Gutenberg has it for you.  You can read works on-line or download a .pdf file.  I find this especially useful when students are searching for quotes for their literary analysis.  Most students are issued a school text.  They are not able to annotate their books.  Sticky notes are great, but what if they fall out?  Have your students search the text using key words.  It is amazing how much easier and faster this makes the writing process.

At parent teacher conference time, I always have a requests for more vocabulary building.  This year I started using Membean.  First the program will test the student’s current knowledge.  Then it will place them on a level that is uniquely suited for them.  I can watch their progress and give them each a unique quiz.  The program builds their understanding of words and roots, and at the same time teaches them the skill of using context clues is trying to figure out meanings of new words.

Digital Textbooks:

I have used History Alive Curriculum by Teachers Curriculum Institute for years and was thrilled when they switched over to a digital textbook.  And its not just a text, it also has flashcards, reading challenges, assessments, and a digital notebook for students.

Video Resources:

I love that on YouTube I can create playlists for my students to subscribe to.  And Khan Academy is now publishing more and more History videos.  My students love the Art History discussions on ancient artifacts that match what we are studying.

And if you don’t want to use a whole video on YouTube, trying creating a smaller clip with TubeChop.  This allows you to edit the clip and make smaller.  It will then give you a link to your new shortened link.

Language Learning:

I have used Rosetta Stone myself with much success.  But I find that it doesn’t help me with my writing and spelling as much as I’d like.  Duolingo is a great free alternative.  It requires more typing but the same amount of speaking.

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