TeachersFirst - Featured Sites: Week of Feb 26, 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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The Classroom Bookshelf - Mary Ann Cappiello, Erika Dawes, Grace Enriquez & K Cunningham

Grades
K to 12
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Discover ideas for new, captivating literature to include in your classroom! Each blog entry focuses on a recently published book. In addition to a summary of the book, entries discuss...more
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Discover ideas for new, captivating literature to include in your classroom! Each blog entry focuses on a recently published book. In addition to a summary of the book, entries discuss several different teaching methods incorporating the book along with extensive lists of links to additional information and similar books. In addition to the blog entries, use links to find book lists by topic as well as classroom and curricular ideas. This blog is a must-read for teachers of all subject areas and is free! This blog is a sister to The School Library Journal which costs for a subscription. Clicking on the Print Issue Archive at the top of this blog will allow you to read past issues of The School Library Journal free of charge!
This site includes advertising.

tag(s): blogs (90), book lists (133), literacy (107), literature (276), preK (291), reading lists (79)

In the Classroom

Every teacher will want to bookmark this site as a resource for book ideas throughout the school year. Be sure to share this site with your school's media teacher for finding new materials to add to your school library. Search to find books on any topic or subject to use in your classroom library. Create a classroom center with books found through this blog. Don't forget to look through the many excellent classroom teaching ideas. Create a link to The Classroom Bookshelf on your class website for parents; they will appreciate the many book ideas to read at home. Challenge cooperative learning groups to create video book reviews using a tool like Moovly, reviewed here, or Powtoon, reviewed here, and share them on a site such as TeacherTube, reviewed here.

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Reading Friend - Anne Elizabeth Eaves

Grades
K to 3
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Reading Friend offers an extensive library of free animated books, songs, poems, and learning activities for emerging readers. Choose from categories on the home page, the main catalog...more
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Reading Friend offers an extensive library of free animated books, songs, poems, and learning activities for emerging readers. Choose from categories on the home page, the main catalog listing, or search by keyword. Words are highlighted as the narrator reads. Most, but not all, content is friendly on mobile devices.
This site includes advertising.

tag(s): literacy (107), poetry (224), preK (291), reading lists (79), songs (53)

In the Classroom

Use Reading Friend to find and differentiate literacy activities for students. Share links to books and activities on classroom computers for student use as centers. Include a link to activities on your class web page for use at home. Many of the stories and poems will help resource and ELL/ESL students who need to hear word families, phonetics, and such.
 This resource requires Adobe Flash.

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Zing - Schoolwide

Grades
1 to 12
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Find Ebooks by topic, reading level, or language. Ebooks have a built-in dictionary, highlighting, and bookmarking capability. There are also tools for taking notes and writing a review....more
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Find Ebooks by topic, reading level, or language. Ebooks have a built-in dictionary, highlighting, and bookmarking capability. There are also tools for taking notes and writing a review. Select from award-winning titles, books and series from well-known authors, short texts, poems, and articles. Through your Zing account, you can also access Buzzing, an informational website with author interviews, lesson plans, instructional resources, teaching tips, collaborative tools, and much more. Click Help to find screen shots with written directions or video tutorials for anything you need to do in Zing. There are also free 15-minute webinars for you to attend. Additional features are available for a fee.
This site includes advertising.

tag(s): assessment (105), book lists (133), classroom management (148), ebooks (42), independent reading (129), reading comprehension (118)

In the Classroom

After signing up click Manage Students to get a class code, URL, and to start adding students. This rather intensive job will take some planning ahead. Look at the required fill-in boxes before starting. Free accounts can have one class and 30 students. If you have a larger class or more than one class, there is a "workaround" for this. If you have a Gmail account, you can add subaccounts (see directions to do this here). You could create another Zing account with this subaccount; you would end up with two different accounts for your classes. Give the students the class code to log in and find their name on the class list. Bookmark your Zing account on class computers for easy access, and post the link on your teacher website for students and parents to access the program at home. Consider requiring students to use the tools on their dashboard for taking notes or highlighting main ideas and supporting details. Students can also use it when writing a review for a book, and then you can conference with students to have them show you their work. Resource teachers and ESL/ELL teachers will find this tool invaluable for having their students reading at appropriate levels.

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TextProject - TextProject, Inc

Grades
K to 9
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TextProject offers strategies, tools, and texts to bring beginning readers and struggling readers to high levels of literacy. Download materials for teaching reading such as vocabulary...more
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TextProject offers strategies, tools, and texts to bring beginning readers and struggling readers to high levels of literacy. Download materials for teaching reading such as vocabulary lessons, word pictures, literacy lists, and reading passages. Browse the TextProject Library to find book collections, professional articles, and videos available on their YouTube Channel. Be sure to find time to explore the Classroom Materials part of the site, with many printables and Teacher's Guides for use with all reading levels. If your district blocks YouTube, then they may not be viewable. You could always view the videos at home and bring them to class "on a stick" to share. Use a tool such as KeepVid, reviewed here, to download the videos from YouTube.

tag(s): commoncore (95), independent reading (129), literacy (107), reading comprehension (118), reading lists (79), reading strategies (47), vocabulary (325), vocabulary development (125)

In the Classroom

If you teach reading or are an ESL/ELL or resource teacher for students with special needs, you will want to bookmark this site! Take advantage of all of the free downloads on the site, including forms, checklists, lessons, and reading passages. Share this site with parents to help them understand the process of learning to read and finding materials for their student. Share this site during professional development sessions when discussing reading instruction and alignment to Common Core Standards. Be sure to sign up for TextProject's monthly newsletter to stay up to date with all new additions to the site.
 This resource requires PDF reader software like Adobe Acrobat.

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Sight Words - Gajan Retnasaba

Grades
K to 3
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Sight Words offers a comprehensive resource of techniques, teaching activities, lessons, and materials for teaching young children to read. Begin your exploration by choosing the teaching...more
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Sight Words offers a comprehensive resource of techniques, teaching activities, lessons, and materials for teaching young children to read. Begin your exploration by choosing the teaching link. Explore the information and instructions for all teaching strategies employed in lessons. View videos, read blog posts, create and print your own flashcards, and more! Explore the history of Dolch and Fry sight words. Take a visit to Sight Word Games to find great ideas for your classroom: Bingo, Fly Swat, Fishing, Bean Bag Toss, and more... all related to sight words, of course. Some of the video clips are hosted on YouTube. If your district blocks YouTube, then they may not be viewable. You could always view the videos at home and bring them to class "on a stick" to share. Use a tool such as KeepVid, reviewed here, to download the videos from YouTube.

tag(s): flash cards (47), game based learning (113), gamification (74), preK (291), reading strategies (47), sight words (37)

In the Classroom

Sight Words is an excellent resource to share with parents. Include a link to this site on your class website and newsletters. Share this site with classroom tutors and helpers for use when working with students. Share this link with student teachers as an excellent resource for beginning reading instruction. Find ideas to implement in your classroom. Create flashcards for your students. Try the Sight Word Games in your own classroom as a learning center or even whole class games!
  This resource requires Adobe Flash and PDF reader software like Adobe Acrobat.

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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. In the New ...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. In the New Book section, find a book by grade level and read ratings 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 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. You could always view the videos at home and bring them to class "on a stick" to share. Use a tool such as KeepVid, reviewed here, to download the videos from YouTube.

tag(s): book lists (133), book reports (37), classroom management (148), guided reading (46), independent reading (129), reading comprehension (118), social networking (110)

In the Classroom

Create your account with your email, teacher name, username, and some basic information. Create your dashboard by adding a class and class name. You can create multiple classes. View the several teacher dashboard video tutorials to get started. 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. Show students the video tutorial "How to Add Books" to get them started. Students can create bookshelves for books they are reading, that they have read, and that they want to read. Students can earn badges and points 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.

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Read Theory - Read Theory (Tanner)

Grades
2 to 12
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Read Theory offers over 1,000 interactive reading comprehension exercises. Learn to think critically, draw inferences, understand scope and global concepts, find or recall details,...more
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Read Theory offers over 1,000 interactive reading comprehension exercises. Learn to think critically, draw inferences, understand scope and global concepts, find or recall details, and infer meanings of vocabulary words. Get detailed reports to track and analyze progress using percentages, bar graphs, and tables. Sign up with an email and be sure to know your reading level. Then it is simple: Read the passage, take a quiz, and see answers and explanations for answers after finished with the quiz. If you are unsure of the appropriate reading level, visit a reading assessment site. Try Literably, reviewed here, to assess oral reading comprehension or News in Levels (use Test Your Level of English), reviewed here.

tag(s): guided reading (46), reading comprehension (118)

In the Classroom

Take your students to the next level in their reading and reading skills! Sign up students yourself (assigning a password and username). Students can sign up for themselves if they have an email (and school policies permit). The first task is to provide the reading level. Use this site to differentiate reading levels for your students. Set up a learning center for use during your L.A. block. This will allow you one-on-one time to begin the program. In a learning support or remedial reading class, especially at upper levels where "reading" is no longer a regular subject, this tool will allow students some autonomy in improving their skills. It will also let them see progress. Discuss with individual students the questions they answered, where the answer was in the reading, etc. Be certain to save this site in your class favorites and list it on your class website for students to access both in and out of the classroom. If students cannot have their own email accounts, consider using a "class set" of Gmail subaccounts, explained here; this tells how to set up Gmail subaccounts to use for any online membership service. Using Gmail subaccounts will provide anonymous interaction within your class.

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Booktrack Classroom - Peter Thiel

Grades
1 to 12
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Make reading a multimedia experience that today's students expect. Booktrack adds movie style soundtracks to favorite stories and books. You can add your own sound effects and music...more
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Make reading a multimedia experience that today's students expect. Booktrack adds movie style soundtracks to favorite stories and books. You can add your own sound effects and music to the stories and books you love, too. There are thousands of titles already available, both classic and contemporary; these include novels, poetry, and short stories that are in the public domain. Find them by clicking "Free to Use" and scrolling down a bit. Creation is possible on your PC or MAC; read and listen only on the iOS and Android mobile apps. There are several ready-to-go lessons at elementary, middle, and high school levels. When using on a computer, BookTrack works best in Chrome and may not function at all in some browsers. Watch the short tutorials to learn how to create a book with a soundtrack.

tag(s): book lists (133), book reports (37), DAT device agnostic tool (170), ebooks (42), guided reading (46), independent reading (129), reading comprehension (118), reading lists (79)

In the Classroom

Click "Teachers" and scroll to the bottom of the home page to find free lessons. Work together with your music teacher to find classical music selections that make great background music. Have students choose a story and create a "read aloud" with music and sound effects. Challenge students to capture the feel or tone of current events articles, science articles, or poems they have created. Use music and sound effects to enhance historical events or battles in social science. At the end of literature circles, have students select the best events in a story and put music and sound effects together with them. Watch the short tutorials to create your class and to create a book with a soundtrack. FanFiction users may want to put sound effects or music to their own writing. In the library/media center, share BookTracks to interest students in some of your "old" books!

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Actively Learn - Jay Goyal and Dr. Deep Sran

Grades
7 to 12
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Teach students how to develop close reading skills with Actively Learn. Choose from over 150 commonly taught texts that include embedded Common Core aligned questions and multimedia....more
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Teach students how to develop close reading skills with Actively Learn. Choose from over 150 commonly taught texts that include embedded Common Core aligned questions and multimedia. Choose from any public domain texts or any article from the Internet and be guided through creating your own Common Core aligned questions. Also, embed your own multimedia or images. Reading "school texts" becomes much more personalized when students are able to write notes, questions, or respond to their reading directly on the page they are reading. This is like the old way of using paper and pencil to annotate the text in the margin. Others can respond to questions and notes written by peers reading the same text. Actively Learn makes it easy to set up an assignment by having a "help" button for each area that will show a video for help, or download a PDF to read the instructions. Not only will you find poetry, drama, and stories, but also nonfiction for the sciences and the humanities. The introduction video requires Flash. The rest of the site does not.

tag(s): guided reading (46), reading strategies (47)

In the Classroom

Choose a piece to use with your students and model for them how the program works on your interactive whiteboard (or projector). Then assign students to read a piece with a partner in class. Once students are familiar with the format and tools, assign reading for them to complete on their own. Upload current event articles into Actively Learn and write open ended questions for students to answer. Include images or video to go with the article. Use a tool like the Question Generator, reviewed here, to create some intriguing questions and writing prompts. This is a great tool to use for students with learning differences and ESL/ELL students due to the ability to adjust the text size, color and background, include audio, and the built in dictionary. Besure to check out the blog for ideas about teaching divisive topics, an infographic for close reading stategies, and more.
  This resource requires Adobe Flash and PDF reader software like Adobe Acrobat.

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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 ESL/ELL 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 ESL/ELL 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 ESHOP section (free) to find out what level will be best. 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. If your district blocks YouTube, you could always listen the audio at home and bring it to class "on a stick" to share. Use a tool such as KeepVid, reviewed here, to download the audio from 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): guided reading (46), news (265), reading comprehension (118)

In the Classroom

Add this website to your classroom computers, websites, and newsletters for parents of ESL/ELL 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 Comic Creator, reviewed here, for Level 3 readers use Write Comics, reviewed here.
 This resource requires Adobe Flash.

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Reading Rockets - WETA Washington D.C.

Grades
1 to 6
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Reading Rockets is a comprehensive guide for parents, teachers, librarians, principals, school counselors, speech therapists, school psychologists, preschool caregivers, summer care...more
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Reading Rockets is a comprehensive guide for parents, teachers, librarians, principals, school counselors, speech therapists, school psychologists, preschool caregivers, summer care providers, and anyone interested in keeping kids reading! This site is an amazing resource to answer your reading needs. Updated continually, it keeps you informed with the latest research. New teachers, seasoned teacher, parents, principals, and anyone who works with students (reading) can benefit from the information included. Teachers will find: classroom strategies, how to help struggling readers, professional development webcasts, how to build strong parent teacher relationships, booklists, and how to use books in your curriculum. For principals, discover information on school level leadership, supporting teachers, closing the achievement gap, and working with parents. Find over 80 interviews with award winning authors, an author study tool kit, themed booklists, holiday gift guide, research-based articles, parent letters, launching young readers (series) on ipod, reading adventure packs, and other great tools. A librarian toolkit offers free video modules on finding the right book, becoming aware of print, reading as dialogue, and writers secrets. Many detailed articles discuss information about speech pathology, dyslexia, comprehension, motivation, phonics, writing, and spelling.
This site includes advertising.

tag(s): authors (121), dyslexia (7), literacy (107), literature (276), parents (58), phonics (72), reading comprehension (118), reading lists (79), reading strategies (47), speech (93), spelling (166)

In the Classroom

Reading 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. You could always view them at home and bring them to class "on a stick" to share. Use a tool such as Freemake Video Converter, reviewed here, to download the videos from YouTube.
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Inanimate Alice - BradField Company Limited

Grades
4 to 12
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If you love to read, try this award-winning, interactive narrative. Inanimate Alice is a digital, interactive, graphic novel set in the 21st century. We meet Alice at the age of ...more
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If you love to read, try this award-winning, interactive narrative. Inanimate Alice is a digital, interactive, graphic novel set in the 21st century. We meet Alice at the age of eight and follow her episodic story into her mid-teens when she becomes a world class animator and designer. Your actions and choices take the story forward. As a little girl, Alice likes to draw and create games on her handheld device. She animates her imaginary friend, Brad. Travel internationally with Alice and her family as they leave China for Australia. In episode two they travel to Saudi Arabia and Italy. Read of life in the cities and visits to Singapore and Korea. Alice is truly an international citizen! World language learners will enjoy reading about Alice's travels to Indonesia and Japan in those languages. Read the episodes in English, Spanish, French, German and Italian, too.

The episodes of this graphic novel are available in your browser for free. Visit the Create link to view content created by students as they adopt Alice as a friend in this intriguing and interactive story. If your students choose to "create," you may use the tool suggested or use your own. The American Association of School Librarians recognized Inanimate Alice as a 2012 Best Website for Teaching and Learning.

tag(s): digital storytelling (154), interactive stories (34), reading comprehension (118)

In the Classroom

From the makers of Inanimate Alice: "... the level of interactivity starts out low in episode one, increasing with each subsequent episode in order to reflect Alice's own growing abilities, we've found that we can take an audience unfamiliar with multimedia fiction with us. Educators like Inanimate Alice because of this; students from primary to post-graduate level find the work engaging."

You can use this site with younger children on your interactive whiteboard or projector. Older students will enjoy exploring the story on their own using headphones or earbuds. Have older students work in small groups, creating an episode of their own with Alice. Encougage students to use one of these recommended free multimedia tools Sway, reviewed here, or Zeetings, reviewed here. Be prepared for lots of "on task" chatter from your students about this delightful site.
 This resource requires Adobe Flash.

Comments

This seems like a really fun site and ones kids would like. Of all of the email suggestions this week, Inanimate Alice has the most potential. The thing is, to get best effect, we must purchase. Patricia, NJ, Grades: 6 - 12

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Kids@Random Activities - Random House

Grades
K to 6
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Cool activities related to Random House children's books are abundant at this site. There are so many books to choose from! Use this free resource to find the activities that ...more
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Cool activities related to Random House children's books are abundant at this site. There are so many books to choose from! Use this free resource to find the activities that will hook young readers and instill the love of literature. For younger students, you'll find interdisciplinary activities, interactives, and coloring pages to download and print. For the early middle grade students, many favorite chapter books are featured with supplementary writing, comprehension, and critical thinking challenges.

tag(s): literature (276), preK (291), printables (38), read across america (5)

In the Classroom

Keep your students thinking about their favorite characters and stories by printing the many available games, puzzles and other activities. Take a break and project one of the many choices on your whiteboard to start a lesson. Include literature connections to some of these classics in your classroom computer center as you feature the same works in read-aloud time. You will find math, language arts, and other subject based activities all revolving around the books' adventures. They make great homework or independent assignments that will give you class time to meet with individual students. Be sure to provide this link on your class website for students to access both in the classroom and at home.
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Dr. Seuss Story Maker - Random House

Grades
K to 5
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Your students become Dr. Seuss? Yes, they will when they choose characters, music, and background scenery to create your own Dr. Seuss stories. Your students will delight in pretending...more
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Your students become Dr. Seuss? Yes, they will when they choose characters, music, and background scenery to create your own Dr. Seuss stories. Your students will delight in pretending to be one of the famous characters from Dr. Seuss as they practice the art of Seuss-speak in their own stories. Whimsical music that is so very Dr. Seuss-like plays in the background as students read their versions of Seussville stories.

tag(s): dr seuss (13), preK (291), read across america (5), writing (364)

In the Classroom

This is a powerful way to reinforce concepts of story mapping by creating students' own stories. Pair-up students with online access to this site so that their stories can be shared with each other. Use an interactive whiteboard or projector to share stories created by the entire class. Be sure to provide this link in your class newsletter or on your class website for some at-home fun. This is a MUST for Read Across America day!
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