readwritethink.jpgThe web site readwritethink states its mission "to provide educators, parents, and afterschool professionals with access to the highest quality practices in Reading and Language Arts instruction by offering the very best in free materials." Its sponsors include the International Reading Association, The National Council of Teachers of English, and Thinkfinity. It is evident that the site is built on professionalism. The site clearly states that every lesson plan has been aligned not only to the IRA/NCTE Standards for the English Language Arts but also to each individual state's standards. Two main areas of the site include Classroom Resources and Professional Development.
Under Classroom Resources there are four main subsections. The impressive collection of **Lesson Plans**contains nearly six hundred classroom ideas all aligned with national and state standards for grades K-12. There is a wide selection of lessons include reading in content areas using textmaster strategies, connecting with an e-pal, creating a biography, writing fractured fairy tales, and exploring fictional technology. Another resource in the Classroom Section is **Student Interactives**. These interactives include some amazing activities to engage children in the classroom. Examples include comic creators, letter generators, story maps, poetry constructors, biocubes, and constructor letters. The **Calendar Resource** is definitely not your everyday calendar. This resource provides events in literary history, authors' birthdays, and a variety of holidays. Best of all, the calendar is integrated with related activities and resources that make them more relevant to students. The calendar can be viewed by the day, week, or month. The Calendar Resource includes authors/texts, historical figures/events, holiday/school celebrations, and literacy-related events. The **Print Out** Resource Section houses an outstanding selection of printable sheets from assessments to organizers. These Print Outs are all classroom-tested and easy for students and teachers to use. While this is a vast collection, some of the more popular Print Outs include topics such as Diamante Poems, Persuasion Maps, Editing Checklists For Self and Peer Editing, Book Review Templates, Essay Maps, Alphabet Charts, and Tips For Movie Maker.
The second main area includes materials and resources for professional development. The Professional Development area is also divided into four resource areas. The first, Strategy Guides, is perfect if you are looking for new teaching strategies or are just interested in becoming more familiar with strategies you are already using in the classroom. These strategy guides define and provide a wealth of resources to facilitate effective literacy teaching. Three main areas include Differentiating Instruction, Teaching with Technology, and Teaching Writing. My interest in technology caused me to investigate strategies in Online Safety, Reading Online, Teaching with Blogs, and Teaching with Podcasts.
The last of the three areas under presfessional development for the most part include member services, publications for sale, paid webinars, and conference calendars. They include a Professional Library, Meeting and Events, and Online Professional Development. Don't forget some of the Podcast series such as Chatting about Books. This series chats with kids, parents, and teachers about the best in children's literature for ages 4 through 11. Another is Text Messages that is aimed at teens. Text Messages is monthly podcast providing educators recommendations they can pass along to teen readers. Each episode features in-depth recommendations of titles that is bound to engage and excite teen readers. Readwritethink is a site that should interest not just language arts teachers but all teachers that focus on writing across the curriculum and technology integration ideas. It is well worth the time to take the opportunity to readwritethink!


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I have long heard of Word Webbing, Words Diagrams, Word Art, but how about a Word Cloud? By now you may be either familiar with a Word Cloud, have googled the Weather Channel to get a better idea, or maybe have taken a look out your window to see if there really is such a thing. The concept of a Word Cloud maintains that “If a picture paints a thousand words, then what can a thousand words paint?” The answer of course is a Wordle. Yes, Wordles are amazing Word Clouds that can be created by all. On a recent internet surf I found that this Word Cloud holds the sky as the limit while providing an abundance of sunshine for the educational setting.
So, Wordle is an application that creates Word Clouds (pictures made of words) based on the frequency of the words that are entered in the Wordle Site. A great explanation can be found at Wikipedia and Many Eyes. The University of Oxford even defines a word cloud as “Graphical representation or word frequency that presents a picture of the most common words used with those used more often displayed larger”. As I reflected on Wordle Word Clouds it occurred to me that they were a reflection in themselves. They display our very words and in a sense give an analytical look at who we are, and what we write. This is where my Wordle Addiction first began. I immediately needed to find my biography on a website and “Wordle It”. Wow, what an awesome idea, kids write a biography and Wordle their biography! My addiction did not end there. How about writing a paragraph about my favorite college football team and another on one I despise the most. Wordle them both separately and compare, then contrast! Michigan and Ohio State provided a great lesson and it is hard to walk away without understanding the standard of compare and contrast. Imagine the possible contrasts between the Red Sox and the Yankees! My need to Wordle grew as I discovered summaries of author’s books, main ideas of textbook paragraphs, collaborative thinking of groups of people, menus from restaurants, favorite lyrics from songs, an entire poem or ballad, descriptions of characters from books, movie summaries, and weather reports from across the nation. I found that editorials that I agreed with made great Wordles!
While I never ran out of my own ideas I had the need to surf the internet to find how others were creating their own Wordles. I found a collection of famous and current presidential speeches . In fact, the Boston Globe published an analysis of McCain’s and Obama’s presidential speeches. How about a website that provides a Wordle Quiz to guess song titles. Take a look at these famous speeches through history as viewed through a Wordle. You can even Wordle your Twitter as displayed at this site. A country’s constitution may be an insightful Wordle, perhaps even two contrasting constitutions as displayed in the USA/India Wordle. I looked hard and could not find Wordles to match ingredients found in food. Being a past science teacher I desired a Wordle displaying the make up of a compound using the chemical equation and element word frequency. Unfortunately no such Wordle!
Which leads to using Wordle in the classroom, if you hadn’t already noticed I had started this topic. Your imagination and creativity is the best approach, but if you need a jump start some of these websites may help. You may want to check out 20 ideas at the Clever Sheep. How about this slide presentation created by Todd Barret that discusses Thirty-eight Ways To Use Wordle. The Wordle Users Group also has a wealth of ideas and information if you are willing to dig through the forum. These Ten Insights come from the U.K give an abundance of ideas to build on. I am excited about extending my new addiction with other past addictions. By multitasking these addictions I could super impose a Wordle over an existing graphic or picture. Think of the implications in animating your Wordle. Both of these are ideas that I will be exploring in the future on my 21centuryedtech wiki that is hosted separate from this blog. Check it out!
In the mean time start Wordling! Be sure to learn more about Wordle and how to use it at at Many Eyes. Take a look at the video at the bottom of this posting from Teacher Tube. It is truly amazing and rewarding to come up with ideas for your own personal Wordles while you explore the many classroom applications. I have yet to see a Wordle of curriculum standards but I am sure it exists! Of course, I couldn’t resist doing a Wordle of this Blog which I shared at the top of this post. I hope you enjoyed it, and yes I will be sure to report my newly made Wordle of this blog post to my wiki and even send out a short tweet! But first I have a new Wordle to make.Happy Wordling! Wordle Tutorial


sas.jpgThe SAS Curriculum in North Carolina offers five core content areas including; English, Science, Social studies/history, Math, and Spanish. Lessons include web quests, document downloads, online multi-media, educational tools, and collaborative projects. The theme of this program emphasizes facilitation of core curriculum through 21st century learning, assisted by having students use 21 century tools. In the English area you will discover 321 resources including lessons entitled Sentence Structure, Assessing and Documenting Internet Sources, What makes fiction believable?, and Comparing Biographical Styles. I will leave the other 317 for you to discover. The Writing Re3viser is an awesome Java Applet in the SAS Curriculum that allows students to revise their writing by copying and pasting their essay into this application. It then analysis the writing in 25 different areas. These areas include a vast array of statistics including word count, prepositional phrases, passive voice, wordiness, sentence fragments, run-on sentences, misplaced modifiers, and parallelism. It can even bar chart the sentence lengths and will then create a list of all sentences. Last, it allows for the work to be edited and saved to a local computer file or network. To investigate click this Writing Reviser Link and accept the terms of the agreement. The website will then load the Java Applet. This application can also be found as the first resource in the English area. Special Note - After running one of my posts through Writing Reviser I received the following information: 997 word, 58 sentences, 5 paragraphs, 17 word average sentence length, 3 wordiness, and 39 cases of parallelism, but 0 dangling modifiers. It found 18 more vital statistic, but that would be too big to blog!

visuwords.jpgVisuwords is online graphical dictionary. This tool allows you to look up words to find their meanings and associations with other words and concepts. Teachers and students can also produce diagrams that are reminiscent of a neural net. It provides great insight into how words associate. Once you are on the page just enter words into the search box. A network of nodes or 'synsets' will spring out from the word that was entered. The program defines a synset as "essentially a single concept that is represented by a number of terms or synonyms. Synonyms are words with different spellings that convey the same idea. For example when you lookup "seem", you see that the word is connected to four synsets each represented by a green circle. Green denotes verbs so all of these synsets represent verbs." Double-click one of the nodes to expand the tree to get additional information. Users can also click and drag the background in order to pan around while the mouse wheel allows you to zoom far away and close up. Take time to hover over the different nodes to see the definition and be sure to click and drag individual nodes in order to move them around in order to help clarify the many connections. The site cliams that; It's a dictionary! or thesaurus. It provides assistance to all writers including journalists, students, teachers, and artists. The online dictionary is always available wherever there is an internet connection and best of all, no membership required. Visuwords™ uses Princeton University’s //WordNet//, which is an opensource database built by University students and language researchers and is a free resource to all patrons of the web.


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Every once and a while I am introduced to a truely unique and innovative site that has great implications for 21st century learning. The most recent site that fits this bill is one called Meet Me At The Corner. The site is dynamic and interactive, encouraging individual expression and participation through video submissions from children worldwide. Donna Guthrie, the website producer, is committed to creating a community of children, who learn the art of self-expression and storytelling through video. Guthrie is not new to education. She is the author of more than twenty award-winning books for children. Donna has also taught kindergarten through fifth grade in both public and private schools in Pennsylvania and Colorado and is a visiting professor at Colorado College where she teaches children’s writing.
The website focus is geared toward students and standards in elementary and middle school. At present time, Meet Me At The Corner has a collection of close to one hundred short virtual fieldtrip episodes hosted by students and filmed on location. The episodes are written and video is filmed by students. The footage is then sent to Meet Me At The Corner, and Donns’s crew edits and posts a final production that is truely professional and engaging for students. In keeping with educational standards, each episode has a related material that has questions to answer from the video, creative activities, weblinks that focus on the topic, and possible books for reading. Topics are fund and of high interest. One interesting example includes juggling from an expert in Brooklyn, be sure to scroll down below the video to see resources to integrate. How about this interview with an astronomer in San Diego? The episode and related resources could most certainly take care of some science standards. Write and submit a fieldtrip, and some of the language arts standards are covered. If students collaborate as a group on a project, then those all important 21st Century Skills can also be addressed. Take a moment and have students explore and uncover their community resources. Perhaps your students will find an author such as Robert Sabuda, a famous pop-up book engineer and artist, and create an episode like this for an authentic audience to watch. Even more resources and information is found at the Learning Corner.
Don’ pass by the Contest Area of the website. Here you will find contests related to current events such as Arbor Day, the holidays, and an on-going writing and poetry contest. This inspiring episode entitled Paws For Poetry sponsored by the New York Humane Society and Meet Me At The Corner should spark some great ideas. It may even get your school community thinking about possible partners. When visiting the Episode Page you can serach for videos by topic. My favorite topic is the Big Apple Book Review. This area contains a small collection of books of elementary and middle school books reviewed by students and then produced by Meet Me At The Corner staff. While the collection is small, it provides a great opportunity for students to submit a favorite book and build the collection. Students get a chance to learn the difference between a report and a review. They can work in groups enhancing Project Based Learning as they aquire a wide range of 21st century skills. You will note that only first names are used in the productions. Take a look at this Video Episode that shows how to submit a video podcast for final editing and posting by Meet Me At The Corner staff.
In conclusion, be sure to read the User Agreement on the website and also check you school district policy on submitting student work. It is important to be aware and abide by policies and procedures both at the site and in your school district. The site has a designated area to sign up and read more about submitting student work. Meet Me At The Corner really does provide students with some amazing, engaging, and relevant resources. It also invites teachers and students to become contributing members. I know the teachers I have already presented the site to have walked away with enthusiasm and excitement. Perhaps you will, Meet Us At The Corner!