Thursday, November 20, 2014

Photos for Class - Quickly Find and Cite Creative Commons Images

Photos for Class is a new service designed to help students and teachers find and cite Creative Commons-licensed images. The site utilizes Flickr's API to find images that match your search terms. When you find an image that you want to use, click the download link just below the image. The downloaded image will have the attribution information added to it. See the screenshot below for an example.

Applications for Education
I always advocate for students to use their own pictures or public domain pictures in their projects. That said, it's not always possible to take a picture or find a public domain picture that is appropriate for a project. In those cases, a search for Creative Commons-licensed images through a tool like Photos for Class is a good tool for students to use.

Disclosure: Photos for Class is owned by Storyboard That. Storyboard That is an advertiser on

ReadWorks Offers Thanksgiving-themed Articles and Questions for K-12 Classrooms

ReadWorks is a non-profit service that offers hundreds of lesson plans and more than two thousand reading non-fiction and fiction passages aligned to Common Core standards. For the (American) Thanksgiving season ReadWorks is offering a set of non-fiction articles about Thanksgiving. The set includes articles appropriate for all K-12 students. Each article is accompanied by ten reading comprehension questions. Those questions are a mix of multiple choice and open-ended questions.
Applications for Education
One of the aspects of ReadWorks that I like is that lexile scores are listed for each article along with grade levels and Common Core standards. So if Common Core standards are not relevant to your situation, ReadWorks still makes it easy to find fiction and non-fiction articles that are appropriate for your students.

With a free ReadWorks account you can search for lessons and reading passages by grade level, lexile score, reading skill, subject area, and text type (fiction or non-fiction). In your ReadWorks account you can create digital binders of the lesson plans and reading passages that you want to use.

Quickly Create a Thanksgiving Card on Storyboard That

Disclosure: Storyboard That is an advertiser on

Last month Storyboard That featured an option for producing Halloween cards. This week Storyboard That made available an option for creating Thanksgiving cards. To create a card you use the same process as is you were creating a comic on Storyboard That. After creating your short story save it and select the option to print as a Thanksgiving card. In the video embedded below I demonstrate the process.

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

News in Levels - News Articles to Match Your Students' Reading Abilities

News in Levels offers news stories that are on the lighter side of things. The stories are available in three versions so that you can choose the version that is appropriate for your students. The stories include a list of potentially difficult words along with definitions of those words. Each story is also accompanied by a video.

Applications for Education
There is certainly not a shortage of places to find news articles geared toward students. But if you want a source that offers the same story at three different reading levels, then take a look at News in Levels.

H/T to Larry Ferlazzo

A Nice Set of Videos for Comparative Government Lessons

C-SPAN Classroom offers handy sets of videos that they call Bell Ringers. Bell Ringers are short videos about contemporary issues in government, politics, and business. Each Bell Ringer video is accompanied by a list of key vocabulary terms and a list of discussion questions to use in your classroom. The comparative government Bell Ringers are a recently released batch of videos that are appropriate for high school classrooms. Links to each of the six videos are included below.

Australian Parliament Question Time

British Parliament Question Time

China and Democracy

German Bundestag

Powers of the British Prime Minister

United States vs Britain Campaign Finance Laws

Bell Ringer videos do not have to be used in their entirety. As a registered member of C-SPAN Classroom (membership is free) you can clip videos to display just the sections that you want your student to watch.

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