TeachersFirst - Featured Sites: Week of Feb 12, 2017

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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Copyleaks Content Authentication - Copyleaks

Grades
4 to 12
0 Favorites 0  Comments
Compare your writing to trillions of online pages to detect possible cases of plagiarism. Insert the URL of your web page to compare information to online content. Sign up using ...more
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Compare your writing to trillions of online pages to detect possible cases of plagiarism. Insert the URL of your web page to compare information to online content. Sign up using email for free to scan files and text. The free plan includes scanning up to 2.5K words per month and a low priority of scans, meaning your scan time may be fairly long. Our scan took almost 10 minutes to complete. The Andriod app allows for scanning (taking a photo) of the writing you want to check.

tag(s): copyright (50), evaluating sources (14), plagiarism (34), writing (364)

In the Classroom

Teach students about plagiarism and how to avoid it; it is a critical skill in all the content areas. Copyleaks is an easy place to introduce the concepts and have students check their writing. Demonstrate how to use the tool to the whole class using a projector or interactive whiteboard. Have students register for additional options. Emphasize to students that they have the ability and the obligation to check their work for honesty.

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Grammarly - Max Lytvyn and Alex Shevchenko

Grades
K to 12
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Check your blogs, emails, and other written content for grammar and spelling using Grammarly. Consider it your second set of eyes for proofreading any document. Copy and paste text...more
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Check your blogs, emails, and other written content for grammar and spelling using Grammarly. Consider it your second set of eyes for proofreading any document. Copy and paste text into Grammarly's text editor, or install the browser extension for use on Chrome, Firefox, and Safari. Grammarly also includes an add-in for Windows OS for use in Microsoft Word and Outlook. Use Grammarly to flag 250 types of errors, including context-optimized synonym suggestions. Click on underlined words to view and correct errors. This review is for the free edition of Grammarly, which includes the browser extension.

tag(s): editing (66), grammar (214), proofreading (23), spelling (166), writing (364)

In the Classroom

Use this visual revision program with your students who are ready to refine and improve their writing. Have students copy and paste writing projects into the text editor for a final check for spelling and grammar mistakes after making their last revisions. Continued use of Grammarly helps students correct writing on their own after seeing common errors in their writing. Never send out a newsletter or post to your web page with spelling or grammar errors again! Use Grammarly to spell check and suggest corrections for any published writing projects. Although Grammarly offers premium accounts, the free features provide a robust set of tools for use in all classroom situations. Add the browser extension to class computers for students to click on an unknown word when reading on the web.

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Quick Note - diigo.com

Grades
K to 12
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Quick Note is a Chrome browser extension for quickly taking notes while using Chrome. Install the extension according to directions. Add notes while browsing any web page using the...more
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Quick Note is a Chrome browser extension for quickly taking notes while using Chrome. Install the extension according to directions. Add notes while browsing any web page using the extension link, or from the right-click menu. Quick Note also offers a search feature for finding previous notes. Cloud storage provides the ability to access notes from anywhere. If you use Diigo, connect Quick Note and access and add notes from your Android device.

tag(s): brainstorming (25), note taking (38), organizational skills (128), writing (364)

In the Classroom

Use Quick Note to create notes to remember when sharing specific web pages with students. Science and math students can jot down the steps or reminders of what they did in a lab or math problem. History students can take notes on the text they are reading. Students in all subjects can take notes for a test or create questions for a test on Quick Note. Language Arts students can keep track of characters in an online novel and write responses as they read. Writing students can use this tool as a place to jot down ideas or first drafts.

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Write the World - David Weinstein

Grades
8 to 12
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Write the World provides an online space to practice writing, earn badges, get feedback, join and create public or private groups, find prompts, rubrics, and resources for all genres....more
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Write the World provides an online space to practice writing, earn badges, get feedback, join and create public or private groups, find prompts, rubrics, and resources for all genres. Oh, and they have monthly competitions where the winner receives $100, and the runner-up and best peer-reviewer receive $50. Sign up with a Google or Facebook account or email, answer a few questions and start exploring. This tool is for students over the age of 13.

tag(s): creative writing (168), descriptive writing (43), editing (66), expository writing (44), persuasive writing (56), process writing (45), proofreading (23), writing (364), writing prompts (94)

In the Classroom

Create an innovative, exciting revision experience for students to edit each other's writing and engage in the peer review process by using Write the World. Use this tool to encourage students to do their best writing, proofread, and learn how to tactfully and meaningfully comment on others' writing. Use ideas, prompts, and competitions from this site as a starting point for any writing project. Share this site with other teachers as a professional development activity. Check essays online, monitor progress, and even make suggestions for revisions to provide feedback along the way to drive strong proofreading and editing skills. Students need writing practice across the curriculum. Some ideas for your students to write about are: current events, biographies, or explanations about curriculum topics.

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Writer - Big Huge Labs

Grades
2 to 12
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Writer is a distraction-free writing app for online and offline typing. Register using email to begin using the typewriter. The free version allows saving an unlimited number of documents,...more
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Writer is a distraction-free writing app for online and offline typing. Register using email to begin using the typewriter. The free version allows saving an unlimited number of documents, and it automatically saves documents as you write. Customize your experience to include typing sounds or not, change background colors, fonts, and more. When finished, export as a PDF or text document.

tag(s): editing (66), process writing (45), proofreading (23), writing (364)

In the Classroom

Writer is perfect for creating any text document without distractions. Have students create any project in Writer, then copy into another program to add images and more if desired. Although perfect for use with all students, Writer is a great tool for use with students who are easily distracted, and the ability to change the background and font colors and font size will help the visually impaired.

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Copy Edit Tihs! - New York Times and Philip B. Corbett

Grades
6 to 12
1 Favorites 0  Comments
Here is your chance to be an editor for the New York Times. This 10 question quiz includes passages from New York Times articles with one grammatical error each. Click ...more
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Here is your chance to be an editor for the New York Times. This 10 question quiz includes passages from New York Times articles with one grammatical error each. Click on the word you believe to be incorrect; if you choose the correct word, the reason for the error appears. Choose the wrong word, then try again. After three incorrect attempts, opt to select Give Up to see the correct response and explanation.

tag(s): editing (66), grammar (214), grammar review (38), journalism (55), proofreading (23)

In the Classroom

As part of on-going grammar and editing instruction, share Copy Edit Tihs! with a projector or on an interactive whiteboard and edit sentences together. Discuss the author's explanation for errors. Ask students to find their own examples of incorrect grammar in online publications. Have students create blogs using Throwww, reviewed here, to share their findings. Throwww allows you to create "quick and easy" blogs to be used one time only. A unique URL is provided. Throwww is as easy as using a basic Word program! Share a link to Copy Edit Tihs! on your class web page as a resource for student use when editing work.

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WordClouds - wordclouds.com

Grades
2 to 12
4 Favorites 0  Comments
 
WordClouds generates custom word clouds using your text. Create using their "wizard" with step-by-step directions to add documents or text and personalize features. Another option is...more
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WordClouds generates custom word clouds using your text. Create using their "wizard" with step-by-step directions to add documents or text and personalize features. Another option is to use the dashboard at the top of the page to add and customize the look of your word cloud. Choose colors, type of display, and font. The most frequent words appear larger and darker. When finished, select file to save in your choice of format or share online.

tag(s): editing (66), proofreading (23), speech (93), vocabulary (325), word choice (27), word clouds (11)

In the Classroom

WordClouds is a terrific visual tool to share on an interactive whiteboard or with a projector. Paste in a passage or URL for a political speech to visualize the politician's "message." Analyze advertising propaganda by visualizing the language used in TV or print ads. Create word clouds of historical texts of inauguration speeches as time capsules of the issues of the day. Use this site as a way to help students see and memorize text, especially visual learners. Use it also when writing poetry or reading passages of great literature to "see" themes and motifs of repeated words and images. Have students paste in their own writing to spot repeated (and monotonous) language when teaching lessons on word choice. Students will be surprised to see what words appear to be dominant. ESL and ELL students will eagerly use this site since word order will no longer be a problem for them. Have students work in groups to create word posters of vocabulary words with related meanings, such as different ways to say "walk" or "said" and decorate your classroom with these visual reminders of the richness of language.

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Help Me Write - Paul Birch

Grades
7 to 12
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Help Me Write is a social networking tool for writers. Share ideas with others to get feedback on your thoughts about a writing project. Sign in with Twitter and your ...more
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Help Me Write is a social networking tool for writers. Share ideas with others to get feedback on your thoughts about a writing project. Sign in with Twitter and your email address to create an account and profile page. Once logged in, add and share ideas from your profile page or browse through and post to other member's writing ideas.

tag(s): creative writing (168), process writing (45), social networking (110), writing (364)

In the Classroom

Share Help Me Write with your class as inspiration for creative writing projects. Have students share their thoughts with peers to get feedback on their ideas. If you prefer a different option, have students or groups share writing ideas using Lino, reviewed here. Lino creates free online bulletin boards.

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500 Narrative Prompts - NY Times - New York Times

Grades
6 to 12
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Find 500 Prompts for Narrative and Personal writing from the New York Times (NYT) Learning Network categorized by topics including Childhood Memories, Music, Movies, Theater and Television,...more
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Find 500 Prompts for Narrative and Personal writing from the New York Times (NYT) Learning Network categorized by topics including Childhood Memories, Music, Movies, Theater and Television, Overcoming Adversity, Morality and Religion, and too many more to mention here. Each prompt is based on an article in the NYT. Click the prompt to go the article.
This site includes advertising.

tag(s): creative writing (168), writers workshop (33), writing (364), writing prompts (94)

In the Classroom

These prompts are not just for language arts teachers. Science and Social Studies teachers will find many prompts to use in Beliefs, Politics and Current Events, and other categories. Digital storytelling incorporates many Common Core Standards and is a possibility in any classroom. To incorporate digital storytelling into your class use a tool like Slidestory, reviewed here, or challenge students to create a Found Poem from the news article using Word Mover, reviewed here.

Take advantage of the many ideas on this site for a class blog and student bloggers. Create a link to the list on classroom computers for student use when looking for blog suggestions. After writing about several different prompts, challenge students to choose one and create a short story or poem. Want to learn more about blogs? Check out TeachersFirst's Blog Basics.

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Plotbot - Plotbot

Grades
9 to 12
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Plotbot is a social screenwriting tool. While single writers can use the site, Plotbot strives to encourage collaborative writing and feedback. It includes many social media features...more
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Plotbot is a social screenwriting tool. While single writers can use the site, Plotbot strives to encourage collaborative writing and feedback. It includes many social media features designed to offer opportunities to share, comment on, create, and edit elements in the screenplay process. Registration requires an email address, password and a username of one's choosing. Get started in your Sandbox, which is a private mini-screenplay where you can learn how Plotbot works and walk through creating the major elements of the screenplay: the slugline, action, and dialogue. As the project creator, you control what up to fifty collaborators can do on your screenplay in the settings page. If you do have collaborators, the forum is a good place to work out ideas or ask for help. Plotbot projects are publicly viewable by default and searchable unless you select privacy in the settings. A handy feature lets scenes be re-ordered by dropping and dragging. Each account can have two private projects and unlimited public ones. Screenplays can be saved, imported, and downloaded for backup. Be aware that because of the public nature of the site, students may find mature content. It is always best to preview!
This site includes advertising.

tag(s): creative writing (168), literary devices (11), readers theater (17), writing (364)

In the Classroom

Because of its ease of use, this is a helpful tool for classroom collaboration and learning the basics of screenwriting. The text editor is very basic so discuss with students what elements go into a screenplay. Be aware that because of the public nature of the site, students may find mature content. Students also may collaborate with anyone with a Plotbot account. Have students work together to create a scene or play that can be acted out or reviewed or edited by other students. Navigation can be confusing, especially returning to saved work. A menu on the right-hand side provides actions to choose. A chronological record of activity in each account helps in finding different projects and scenes. Be sure to show students the account and screenplay settings to set preferred privacy and social aspects.

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shortText - shortText.com

Grades
2 to 12
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Post text online quickly and easily, without registration using shortText. Type or paste text into the text box and click Create URL. Instantly receive the URL to share or use ...more
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Post text online quickly and easily, without registration using shortText. Type or paste text into the text box and click Create URL. Instantly receive the URL to share or use as desired. Options allow users to include a link to a video or image, allow comments, or make the message private.

tag(s): blogs (90), creative writing (168), descriptive writing (43), writers workshop (33), writing (364)

In the Classroom

Use shortText for quick writing projects on an interactive whiteboard or projector. When modeling writing or notetaking in class, open shortText instead of a word document! Enabling comments would allow students to ask questions about the assignment. When finished, share on your class website using the URL created. Have students use shortText in your classroom when using mobile devices to write a short journal entry or exit ticket at the end of a lesson. Be sure to give students the URL for this and have them identify themselves, so you don't end up with 30 URLs to open and assess. Use this site in world language classes to have students write a blog entry in the new language. Have students write about how they solved a math problem and include an image of their work. Create a standing assignment for elementary and middle schoolers on snow days. Have students write a post about the snow using shortText and share the URL on a class wiki.

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My Storybook - myStorybook.com

Grades
1 to 12
4 Favorites 1  Comments
 
Get into digital storytelling by creating a colorful short story with the tools offered at My Storybook. There is a basic tutorial when you click Create a Storybook. Get started ...more
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Get into digital storytelling by creating a colorful short story with the tools offered at My Storybook. There is a basic tutorial when you click Create a Storybook. Get started using clipart from My Storybook, upload your images, or use their draw tools to create your own artwork. Click the text box and change the font, font color, and size. Add more text and pages for your book, too. Saving and sharing require an email address. Share by sending the URL to several social networking sites or via email. There is a way to create an ebook or PDF, but those options aren't free. Read storybooks created by others by clicking Library in the top right Menu.
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tag(s): digital storytelling (154), writing (364)

In the Classroom

Show students creation possibilities by viewing a few of the books from the library using a projector or interactive whiteboard. Create a class book to begin. Start with a storyboard such as Amazon Storybuilder, reviewed here, or Gone Google Story Builder, reviewed here. Using a storyboard and My Storybook is an effective way to teach students about story elements, dialogue, character development, and more. World language classes can label images, or tell a story in the language they are learning. Work together to complete biographies of famous people. Challenge students to tell the story of different famous events in history or explain their understanding of cell division using My Storybook. Art students can create a story around their artwork. Autistic or emotional support teachers can create stories demonstrating interpersonal behavior skills. Digital storytelling is an amazing way for students to internalize any subject or concept. It also is an excellent assessment tool.

Comments

Gretchen, FL, Grades: 3 - 8

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WriteAbout - John Spencer, Brad Wilson, and Bob Armbrister

Grades
K to 12
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WriteAbout offers storytelling tools for all levels of writers along with social publishing features for classrooms. Choose from visual catalysts (prompts) filtered by grade level,...more
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WriteAbout offers storytelling tools for all levels of writers along with social publishing features for classrooms. Choose from visual catalysts (prompts) filtered by grade level, keyword, or category to find writing ideas. Create teacher and student accounts for posting, commenting, and authoring. Be sure to check out the Record Voice feature to add a personal touch or accompany text. Use features within WriteAbout to share work privately or publicly. Free accounts include unlimited student and teacher commenting, unlimited groups, and privacy and moderation tools. Add up to 40 accounts with up to five posts included per student. Be sure to watch the video for an overview of all features offered.
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tag(s): writing (364), writing prompts (94)

In the Classroom

Create a WriteAbout account for you and your students. Take advantage of the rich library of images and writing prompts for use throughout the school year. Find examples of writing in WriteAbout to share with students for peer review and discussion of writing skills. Ask students to work together in pairs to write stories and share a personal message using the Record Voice feature.
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Comments

Great way to find writing topics and diverse peer groups that share similar interests. Patricia, NJ, Grades: 6 - 12

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Penflip - Collaborative Writing and Version Control - Loren Burton

Grades
6 to 12
1 Favorites 0  Comments
 
Penflip is a collaborative writing tool that allows groups of three or more to write together with complete version control. Write together without distractions or ads right in your...more
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Penflip is a collaborative writing tool that allows groups of three or more to write together with complete version control. Write together without distractions or ads right in your web browser! Click on "Share" at the bottom of the right menu to copy/paste the address into an email to your collaborators. Clicking on "Contributors" gives options to add users as editors or delete them as contributors. Once revisions are made and submitted, the contributor is notified via email of any future changes to that piece. When reviewing suggested changes, you can delete the changes you don't want and accept others. Accepting changes will merge these into the master (your original project). Penflip calls any writing a "project" whether it's a book, a short story, a poem, or a research paper. The free version makes all projects "public," but you have the choice to refuse pending revisions by clicking on "Contributors" in the right menu and clicking the minus symbol, deleting that contributor.
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tag(s): creative writing (168), editing (66), process writing (45), proofreading (23), writing (364)

In the Classroom

Immerse students in the peer review process by allowing them to collaborate using Penflip! Teachers and students can use Penflip to make comments in a side box or directly in the writing. All suggested revisions are in a different color with the original wording left complete. Penflip is the perfect place for students to put their writing and get feedback. Student peers can suggest different wording and ideas, and all are color-coded so the author knows what has been contributed and what is original. This tool will fulfill the Common Core Standard requirements for using technology for collaborating and writing across the curriculum. Students will save time and learn from each other when working in small groups on projects or research papers in world language classes, science, math, or social studies. The best part of this site: it is EASY to use!

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