Interactive Websites & Apps
Organizing & Summarizing: Timeline allows students to create a graphical representation of an event or process by displaying items sequentially along a line. Timelines can be organized by time of day, date, or event, and the tool allows users to create a label with short or long descriptive text. Adding an image for each label makes a timeline more visually appealing. Add, drag, and rearrange items as needed. Saving capability allows students to return to their work and make revisions, and they can share their final work via e-mail.
Compare & Contrast: This interactive guide provides an introduction to the basic characteristics and resources that are typically used when students compose comparison and contrast essays. The Comparison and Contrast Guide includes an overview, definitions and examples. The Organizing a Paper section includes details on whole-to-whole (block), point-by-point, and similarities-to-differences structures. In addition, the Guide explains how graphic organizers are used for comparison and contrast, provides tips for using transitions between ideas in comparison and contrast essays, and includes a checklist, which matches an accompanying rubric.
Essay Map: Expository writing is an increasingly important skill for elementary, middle, and high school students to master. This interactive graphic organizer helps students develop an outline that includes an introductory statement, main ideas they want to discuss or describe, supporting details, and a conclusion that summarizes the main ideas. The tool offers multiple ways to navigate information including a graphic in the upper right-hand corner that allows students to move around the map without having to work in a linear fashion. The finished map can be saved, e-mailed, or printed.
Letter Generator: The Letter Generator tool is designed to help students learn to identify all the essential parts of a business or friendly letter, and then generate letters by typing information into letter templates. A sample letter is included, and students can learn about the parts of a letter by reading descriptions of each part.
Once students have become familiar with letter formats, they are prompted to write their own letter. Students follow the steps and fill in specific fields in the template (for example, heading, salutation, closing, signature, and so on). They may even add a decorative border and postscript to the friendly letter. The finished letter can be saved, e-mailed, or printed.
Word Matrix: The Word Matrix is a tool designed to assist teachers in vocabulary instruction, but it has flexible applications in literary analysis and writing instruction as well. The interactive tool can be used to teach students the concepts of connotation and register; to help clarify differences between seemingly similar words; to explore the concept of diction in literary analysis; or to encourage more precision in word choice in student writing. Using pre-configured word lists (or a list of synonyms they populate themselves), students organize words by their connotative charge on one axis, placing words with more negative connotations to the left and more positive connotations to the right. On another axis, students organize that same list based on their levels of relative register, from informal to formal. Students also have the option of providing a brief statement that justifies their placement of a word at a specific point on the matrix.