Friday, July 17, 2015

FIVE Fun and Free Resources

Could someone please stop time? July is going by way too fast! With back to school on the brain, I thought Keep It Fresh Friday would be the perfect time to share a few teacher favorites with you!
I'm Lyssa from My Mommy Reads and I teach first grade in Marietta. Check out these free resources! Hopefully one or two will be new to you!
Smilebox for teachers allows you to upload pictures and create slideshows, scrapbooks, newspapers, invites, and more. It is super easy and my parents and students love them! Bonus~you can add your own music or choose from their fun selection of jams! Click here to see a few in action! 
I could never have too many Pioneer Valley Press books in my classroom. Bella and Rosie are one our favorite character duos! The nice folks at PVP offer a really cool feature on their site that allows you to build books with your own student's names. You then print them out and have a personalized book in less than a minute! (I staple and make a duct tape binding, too!) These have been a big hit with both struggling readers and your every day, run of the mill, self loving, first grader! :)
My son and my first graders love ABCya Story Maker. You draw and design with many options including paintbrush, pencil, marker, etc (much like KidPix or Pixie) and then type your words. You can save the file or print it. We've made class books, used this during free time and as a choice during writing. 
I do workshop in my classroom for reading and one of our choices is listen to reading. Just Books Read Aloud is the perfect site for this! Students choose a book or if they are feeling frisky they can select "surprise me." From there, a screen appears with the book and it is read aloud to them. Click. Listen. Repeat. 
Ah, Plickers! I'm not sure if I would call it a gaming site, but maybe. I do know it could be used in any grade level! The teacher enters questions and choices and displays one for the class. Students hold up the special card turned to their answer. The teacher scans their cards with an iphone or ipad from a distance-not walking up to each student. The results appear on the screen. You have the choice to assign a student to a certain card so you can track responses OR you can use it simply for engagement and not assign cards. I can't wait to use this to spice up lessons this year! 

Do you have a favorite to add? Please do so in the comments! Let's continue to learn from each other!