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7 Ways to Use News-O-Matic in Your Classroom

24 Feb

Screen Shot 2015-02-20 at 4.47.48 PMI’ve shared some of the reasons why I think News-O-Matic is a great choice for integrating informational text into your everyday instruction.  Not only is nonfiction reading an important skill, but students can learn how to become informed citizens by interacting with news stories on a daily basis.  News-O-Matic has developed a list of different ways to use this tool in the classroom, check out their top seven:


  • At Morning Meetings: Start the day by discussing a news story.
  • Independent Reading: Differentiate reading by assigning different levels to students.
  • Geography Enrichment: Discuss where each daily story takes place.
  • Small Group / Shared Reading: Assign roles as students explore each news story in partners or small groups.
  • Vocabulary Development: Have students identify new words in context as they read.
  • Week in Review: Ask students to evaluate which articles from the week are most relevant.
  • News Selection Process: Give students the chance to make a case for why certain news stories should be included in each day’s issue.

Learn more about News-O-Matic by visiting their website!

Lyrics2Learn to Engage Readers

17 Feb
Screen Shot 2015-02-16 at 12.30.16 PM Lyrics2Learn is a website that hosts hundreds of 15 minute, interactive reading lessons for students.  These teacher created lesson plans were designed to improve elementary reading skills while keeping kids engaged.  It’s a great choice for reading centers where students can work independently or share a screen.
unnamed-1Students can practice choral reading and repeated reading to build their fluency.  Each fluency activity is followed by three levels of interactive questioning aligned to standards.  Students will receive immediate feedback and as students become familiar with the text, levels increase to push their comprehension. Lyrics2Learn works on any device on a web browser.  It blends science, history, character building, and grammar with reading.
Check out their free downloadable lessons for upper elementary and primary students or visit their website!

Toontastic is Now Free! An Amazing Storytelling Tool for Students

6 Feb

Screen Shot 2015-02-06 at 7.18.04 AMThe past few weeks I’ve been traveling around the country sharing my favorite digital storytelling tools with teachers.  There are many that I love to talk about and one on my list is Toontastic.  As a classroom teacher I used this with students to retell stories and short passages we explored in class.  In family programming at LitWorld we’ve used this app to help families tell their own imaginative tales working together on an iPad.

Toontastic has just been acquired by Google and is now completely FREE for everyone!  This amazing app is a must-have in all classrooms.  There are lots of K-12 uses across the content areas and plenty of resources on their website.  I’m so excited that this is now easily available for teachers, students, and storytellers of all ages.

Don’t wait any longer – download Toontastic for FREE today!

Haiku Creation on iPads and Android Devices

2 Feb

Screen Shot 2014-12-28 at 10.15.14 PMLearning how to write a haiku poem can be challenging for students young and old.  Poets have to follow a set of rules in order to get it just right.  There is a terrific free app that makes it easy for students to compose their very own haiku poem.  The International Reading Association’s app Haiku Poem is available in the Apple App Store for iPads and the Google Play Store for Android devices.

screen480x480-1Use this interactive app with students of all ages.  Visit their website to learn more or check out another writing app from this organization.

Teaching math instead of poetry? Check out my Syllabuy Store for tech-friendly lesson plans for all subject areas!

Master Vocabulary and Key Concepts with Trading Cards

1 Feb

Screen Shot 2014-12-28 at 10.03.03 PMLearning domain specific vocabulary and remembering key concepts can be challenging for students of all grade levels.  There is so much content they are exposed to in every subject area that providing kids with study tools can help them boost their comprehension.  Trading Cards is a fun free app that asks students to think deeply about historical figures, characters from a book, events, or ideas, and lets them design trading cards for each key concept.  Perfect for elementary and middle schoolers, this app is a great comprehension tool to use before and after school.

Screen Shot 2014-12-28 at 10.02.54 PMThis free app is available for iPads and Android devices.  You can learn more by visiting their website.

Check out my Syllabuy Store for tech-friendly lesson plans for all subject areas!

Learn and Write Diamante Poems with a Free App

31 Jan

Screen Shot 2014-12-28 at 9.48.29 PMIf you’re looking to motivate student poets in grades K through 12 you’ll want to check out Diamante Poem in the Apple App Store or Google Play Store.  This interactive app can help students understand how to create this special type of poem.  ReadWriteThink offers a variety of lesson plans for teachers to use with this app.  It is a good choice for one-to-one classrooms or an option for a literacy center.  Whether you are teaching a unit on poetry or just helping students understand the difference between nouns and verbs, Diamante Poem is a fun free app for ELA classes.

screen480x480-1Visit their website to access additional resources or read about another free app for creating poetry on tablets!

Teaching another subject area? Check out my Syllabuy Store for more tech-friendly lesson plans!

Book Writer One – A Creation Tool for iPads

28 Jan
Icon-512Last year I shared the app Book Writer which helps students publish their own work.  Book Writer has a simple and intuitive interface that makes it easy for users of all ages to create their very own multimedia enhanced book.  Students and teachers can add video, audio and text to the screen to make a fantastic product that is easy to share.
The new update to Book Writer includes a presentation feature that gives students a chance to show off what they’ve made.  Their new app Book Writer One is free to download and designed for education institutions.  The kid-friendly interface lets young students tell their own stories, document a field BWScreenshot1-2501
trip, or explain what they’ve learned.  Teachers can also use this app to make picture books to share with their students.
You can learn more on their website or download their app on your iPad!


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