special education


Virtual Electronic Field Trips
by National Hall of Fame teacher Alan Haskvitz
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Alan_Haskvitz

Thing back to your school days and the chances are that besides a lost love it was a field trip that you recall vividly. Whether that class visit was to a museum, park, or historical place the learning and enjoyment standout. Today, with modern electronics, budgeting concerns, lawsuit avoidance, curriculum standards, and high value testing results, field trips are a rarity, if not extinct.

Sad, yes, but what is even more disheartening is the fact that students won’t have the opportunity to go somewhere that they could later in life share with their family. Even when a grant has been secured to help pay for the transportation and entrance costs you need to impose on other teachers to have that student miss their class. A small favor to ask, but nonetheless a day of learning missed for that subject area.

There is also the time consuming of tasks of trolling for parents to supervise, arranging the time for buses to arrive, medications, making sure no child is without an emergency number, and that the students understand the time schedule. There may be need for substitute plans and it is recommended that you take a picture of the group on the day of the trip so that if one is missing he or she is easier to identify by officials. This is a lot to ask from a teacher and certainly not a requirement for their position.

But all the above are practical matters. What is missing is the spontaneous learning opportunity across curriculum areas and the diversity of learning opportunities. For example, before the students get on the bus they must calculate the mileage, make an estimate of the miles per hour, study a map to see what other significant places are along the road, and study a layout of the facility noting where they are to report, restrooms, and other places they need to know. The combines both geography and math and map reading. Add to that mix the directions the bus will travel and estimated time of arrival and you have a great learning experience before the trip begins. Having the students make their own note taking book using inexpensive note pads and self-made marbled paper using printers ink and library or book binding tape and you have an art lesson. Using technology, students can even use global positioning information to track the trip and note the various streets taken to make them more aware of the importance of knowing where they are when traveling.

There is always the value of debriefing once the trip is finished and having the students share a study guide for the trip about such items as types of occupations noted, most unusual fact, names of docents, and a list of items observed and the addresses of those who need thank you notes and, perhaps, art work.

The learning that can be linked to a field trip makes if memorable, but just as importantly, enables them to learn on their own, something that electronic field trips to do not currently offer. It is not that electronic field trips are bad, far from it, what better way to visit places far behind the immediate area. What they lack is the spirit of adventure, the learning with friends on their own, to learn from others and, above all, the excitement to actually tell their family about and share the learning and motivate a future excursion.

Fortunately, when I was attending school legal matters were not the main concern. Learning was. We stood in the back of a truck on the way to a historical park, walked miles across town to visit a museum, went to a zoo and were simply told to report back at a certain time, not to mention trips to airfields, ships, museums, and significant buildings. The fact that I can recall these and don’ t remember the teacher’s name is not an indictment of the school system, but a reflection that perhaps we need to rethink what I call “seated learning” as the only way to inculcate facts.

Due to legal and financial constraints perhaps it is time to take a longer look at electronic or Internet field trips.

First, to make this lesson as real life as possible it would be good to have a map of the location, and, if it is a building or park, a map of that as well. In this way the student has a sense of where the images are coming from. Furthermore, if it is a location, such as a museum, the students can be given math problems on time and distance to help them understand the expenses of such travel. This also ties in with Common Core questions as well.

Before the trip is taken the students should read about the place, be prepared to compare it to others, and be given time to write what they might learn or would like to learn. These can be used at the end of the lesson as the bases for a compare and contrast essay. Obviously, the lesson also ties in with technology and science lessons as well.

The students need to take notes on the field trip including the webpage and what was shown. I would recommend that the trip take place during class time to keep the group on task and eliminate students going off-topic.

The teacher needs to review the site first, make an agenda of what is going to be shown and in what order, and create a list of questions for the students to answer as the lesson progresses.

It should be remembered that field trips may not be the same as once thought. There are now field trips that show how to make bread, ride a horse, and more. So be selective and make sure they meet your objectives.

Virtual Field Trips
Ten of the Best Virtual Field Trips
http://www.eschoolnews.com/2013/04/07/ten-of-the-best-virtual-field-trips/

Huge List of Electronic Field Trips
http://www.bsu.edu/eft/home2/31digest.php

http://www.pitt.edu/~poole/VirtualFieldTrips.html

Apps for field trips from Edutopia
Rather limited, but varied.
http://www.edutopia.org/blog/ipad-apps-virtual-field-trips-monica-burns

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Discipline: training that perfects the mental faculties

Ten Skills Every Student Needs and You Probably Don’t Have Time to Teach
by National Hall of Fame Teacher Alan Haskvitz

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Alan_Haskvitz

After 40 years of teaching there comes a time when you want to just yell at the curriculum designers and textbook publishers that they have the cart before the horse. Teachers need to be allowed to spend more time teaching students how to learn and less on preparing for a test which measures nothing applicable in the real world.

Correct me if I am wrong, but I feel that every teacher would love to really teach students how to get ready for the challenges ahead of them and use the curriculum as a stepping stone to that goal. Over the years my students always were at the top in the State in terms of standardized testing. Indeed, some of them had perfect scores. The problem was I was teaching them how to take the test. Fortunately, I as able to shorten the material required for the course by removing those elements I though were essentially chaff so that I could teach them essential skills. Essentially, I started by teaching them how to discipline themselves. This worked so well that I still get letters from students, some decades after they were in my class, thanking me for teaching them for life. I have never gotten a letter thanking me for teaching them the Monroe Doctrine.

Here is the list and it far from complete, which are skills that need to be taught. Feel free to comment and add your own.

Learning how to Learn

Developing a love for learning is essential for any educator. It is the most important lesson a teacher can impart to a student and it is also the most difficult. A teacher may have to face a variety of hindrances from lack of parental care, nutritional and emotional problems, and even severe mental concerns. Regardless, there needs to be an effort and the best way is to become a facilitator by prodding, motivating, and providing a diverse array of learning materials to challenge the student to learn for themselves. Most often the textbook, frequently filled with data with little relevance to the student, is the main focus of instruction. And, perhaps, that is the way it must be if the goal is a test that measures improvement in the acquisition of this data. The teacher can feel confident as he or she has covered the material by sticking to the textbook. Motivational, hardly, but that is how teachers are frequently judged. There is another way to do this, but it is time consuming and requires a multitude of rubrics. Providing a variety of materials and having the students learn from them is an arduous task. However, once it is done a teacher can spend the rest of years modifying, adding, and individualizing lessons to meet the needs of the students. ReachEveryChild (cited below) provides a variety of sources for this free material and is an excellent place to start individualization.

The second part of learning how to learn based on whether the student is an auditory, visual or kinetic learner and how to use these to their advantage. It is impossible for a teacher to use all of these methods when presenting lessons, but a student can create their own lessons to help them acquire the knowledge. In my classes I have students create poems, songs, graphic organizers and the Cornell note taking system. In this way there is a variety of methods for them to learn. I insist they use my linking and three transfer method of learning as well. The linking method makes them link what they are learning to other things they have learned and create a “learning tree” of it that they add to throughout the year. The three transfer method is to have students read the material, take notes on it, and transfer that material to another mode such as notecards. I also recommend presenting the answer to a question and have them supply the question. This is an excellent test of finding out what they know. It can be used in all subjects.

What is Valid

If you have time, giving the student a variety of short articles to read and asking them to figure out what would be the best way to judge this material is very worthwhile. This process should also include a study of the various types of propaganda, how to evaluate a website for bias, and stereotyping. That is a lot to swallow and so it is best as part of a school-year long program. If you are teaching social studies an ideal unit could be the differences of opinion between the South and the North about slavery. Learning how to learn is not just about the acquisition of skills, but for the student to acquire the ability to judge the material. One of the best tools to get students to read is Sherlock Holmes and the Sign of Four. As the students read the article they keep track of the characters and reach various conclusions as the teacher hands them the next page. The lesson makes them detectives, but more importantly allows them to learn for life. Seldom are we giving all the answers, but we must make decisions by what we know and judge what is valid.

Speed Reading, not just reading.

It isn’t any secret that the first basic skill is reading. But not just reading, but speed reading. Close reading will follow much more quickly if students can learn how to read rapidly. Reading for facts and reading for pleasure can both be more enjoyable if a student acquires the ability to focus on several words at one time. I taught second graders how to read over a 1000 words per minute at their grade level. The usual improvement was always 200 to 400 words per minute more and this was for language arts and social studies materials. Interestingly the comprehension improves as the speed level doubles as the student concentrates on the material. It is a win-win, but it most be reinforced until it becomes a habit and it takes at least 30 days for it to become a habit. Be warned that some students are resistant to it and so online speed reading sites can help them challenge themselves at their own rate.

Write at Grade Level +

The first thing on teaching a student to write is to explain the types of writing based on the purpose. Taking notes while on the phone or writing a compare and contrast essay may be different in length, but the ingredients are the same. However, for longer works you need to teach the student to write at grade level. I have the students write a one page paper on their favorite vacation either real or imagined. Next, I have them underline all the one syllable words. After that they circle any word that they have not known since primary school. The Fry Formula is applied and the students record their writing scores. They is always silence as the students realize that they are writing at several grades below grade level. Now, that isn’t necessarily bad, but it does force them to expand their vocabulary and that is good. I always have a few Thesaurus books on hand and show them how to use them. The results are immediate and the students not only improve their writing, but improve their thinking and organizational skills as well as they strive to improve. My article (citation below) provides an in-depth look at this successful practice that has enabled my students to win numerous writing competitions.

Teach Them to be Journalist

This vital profession is based on training that every student needs. The ability to communicate, to judge facts, and to influence others with their work. There is no other profession that is so vital for students to learn from because it is essentially what they are going to do nearly every day of their life. A good journalist seeks out evidence and judges it. They write using the who, what, when, where, why, and how approach. They use the inverted triangle that helps them organize facts. Finally, it teaches them to be curious and ask questions and, very importantly, take good notes.

Teach Them to be Lawyers

Perhaps, oversimplifying, but lawyers earn them living by researching and providing evidence that their cause is correct. This requires an examination of evidence and organization. This is another valuable trait that can help students of all ages. For example, was George Washington was a good president? Can you prove it? Can you provide evidence that he was not so good? Some may call this critical thinking, but that type of thinking can not really be utilized until a student is able to have a variety of experiences that enable them to make a critical decision. Thus using the basic skills of an attorney in proving a point and providing evidence to that end are skills they are going to need to write essays persuasive and expository essays and in life.

Be Accountable

At the beginning of the school year I ask the students to look around the room and, without naming names, tell me how many other students they would hire to work for them based on the knowledge that they wanted good workers. After that I ask them to write that number down, fold the paper, and place it in a basket. I take out the numbers and place them on the board to come out with an average. In almost every case it is ten percent of the students or less. That means that the others already have a reputation of not being good workers. The reason for this is that many students simply do not hold themselves accountable. Immediate gratification, poor parenting, the need for quick teacher assessment with little assessment of the assessment, all help feed a “who cares” mentality. This results in large scale cheating with little fear of consequence. Research has overwhelming shown that rewards must be intrinsic to be a lasting value. If students are to be held accountable there must be a reward system that works and entices parent buy-in.
People Skills

We aren’t talking about cooperative learning, we are talking about the ability to get along with others regardless of differences. We are talking about good manners, social skills, negotiating skills, and the ability to work together to create a common goal. Skills as basic as how to talk to people on the phone, how to ask permission, or even showing remorse or concern are missing and yet vital for life.

Handling Emergencies
Handling emergencies is also seldom taught at school. Yes, fire drills are held, but what value are they to the student when a fire really occurs elsewhere? My students wrote and had published in the American Fire Journal the problems with school fire drills in the hopes of enlightening others. School administrators essentially ignored it because it wasn’t an area to be tested. Sad, because the issues the students brought up were important. For example, why does the fire extinguisher stay in the room during a fire drill? Why do the students stand up in rows when an explosion could knock them over? Who knows where the dangerous chemicals are? What do the various colored helmets that firemen wear mean? Needless to say, handling emergencies is a vital skill. Why doesn’t every student know CPR? How to stop bleeding? Or to identify a person having a “fit” and knowing how to act? Taking this a step further, how to teach students not to panic and to learn how to identify people should be taught. But, who has the time?

Skills for life

Setting realistic goals, identifying propaganda and bias, budgeting time, operating a computer and touch typing, triage work assignments, handling money and investments, observation skills, where to find information and measure its accuracy, and learning how to listen can all be incorporated in the curriculum. Each of these carry lifelong importance and all can and have been taught within the curriculum if there is time. There are free units of study on almost all of these areas available. The teacher needs to be given the time and flexibility to personalize them for their class.

Before I get off my high horse I must add one more thing and that is for the student to learn how to be happy. My friend Larry Martz, an editor with Newsweek, wrote in his book Making Schools Better, about the small bite principle. This is a simple plan where small strides can result in large gains. An educator who just takes one of these ideas to heart could make a huge difference knowing well that it is at least as significant as anything on a standardized test.

Why Students Cheat
http://www.teachers.net/gazette/NOV08/haskvitz/

Making Schools Better
http://www.publishersweekly.com/978-0-8129-1939-4

Car Rating Site
http://autos.jdpower.com/

Government fuel economy site
http://fueleconomy.gov/

How to Improve Student Writing
http://reacheverychild.com/blog/2014/not-so-secret-formula-improves-writing

Student speed reading lessons
There are others
http://www.backwoodshome.com/articles/stancliffe59.html

Using the Inverted Triangle
http://www.multimedia-journalism.co.uk/node/2097

Fire Safety and Bulletin Boards: What is the Law?
By Alan Haskvitz
National Teachers Hall of Fame
For more free education news go to http://reacheverychild.com/blog/2014/not-so-secret-formula-improves-writing

Sadly, one of the great traditions of most classrooms are paper decorations. Sometimes, these are even hung from the ceilings as well as available walls. The reason that it is sad is for two reasons. First, it is probably against the law. Secondly, teachers have probably spent a great deal of their time and own money to decorate the bulletin boards. Making the classroom meet fire regulations does not mean it has to be without decoration if the teacher uses fire retardant materials that meet the fire code. With the emphasis on quality the postings l should relate to the current topic or items used throughout the year such as steps to writing an essay, classroom rules, or how to solve an equation postings. Again, unless the student has done the work on fire resistant paper it must fall within the fire regulations in terms of space allowed for such postings.

Another area of concern is upholstered furniture in the classroom. It is not recommended unless it has been treated. Open flames are also a concern. I have seen many classrooms where the teacher has tried ot make the room more user friendly and placed sofas so that the students could have a more home-like atmosphere to read or work. Unless these have been teated these may be illegal, according to the fire code.

One of my most popular blogs was a listing of how to decorate bulletin boards with photos from teachers around the country. You can still see many teachers who have posted them on sites such as Instagram or Pinterest. Take a long look at these and you can see how talented teachers, but also remind yourself that a bulletin board must be legal. I am not telling you to tear down your bulletin boards, I am providing you with the law and you need to check with your administrator to see if it is the same in your community.

I don’t want to be a kill-joy about this issue and some teachers have voiced their concerns:
http://www.boston.com/news/local/articles/2003/09/04/new_fire_codes_dampen_classroom_decor/
But the reality is that safety is the overriding concern and there is still space allowed for decorations. This district uses 20 percent as a legal figure http://www.kimberly.edu/index.php/staff-resources/161-classroom-safety.html

Here are some sites that I recommend you or your administrator check. Please note this posting:
“Flammable material coverage. No more than 25% of any wall in a classroom shall be covered with a flammable material. In a corridor there may be only a 4 foot by 8 foot section of a corridor wall covered, with a 50 foot separation of wall space between each section.”

Making it Acceptable

Despite this there may be a way to make your classroom acceptable to the Fire Marshall. It is called fire-retardant chemicals or paper. Of course, you need to check with an administrator who needs to check with the fire officials, but it could make your bulletin boards compliant. Naturally there is a cost which, hopefully, the district should absorb. There are also variety of fire retardant paper that can be used.
http://www.vvdailypress.com/articles/teachers-14291-chemicals-victorville.htm

Or you can try and make fire resistant paper yourself.I have not done this so you are on your own.
http://makezine.com/2012/11/12/how-to-fireproof-paper/

Fire Restrictions on Classrooms

A school district site with a listing of fire rules
http://www.grand.k12.ut.us/district/fire.htm

This is a listing of rules for various states and includes rules on door locking.
Most of these links are printable.
http://www.ncef.org/rl/fire_safety.cfm

Warnings about upholstered furniture in classrooms and more
http://www.dpi.state.nc.us/insurance/faq/riskcontrol/

From North Carolina
http://www.dpi.state.nc.us/insurance/faq/riskcontrol/

Here is a list of ways to get most out of legal bulletin board space
http://www.learnnc.org/lp/pages/733

Apps that protect students for schools and parents
by Alan Haskvitz
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Alan_Haskvitz

The Internet is both a blessing and a curse depending on its usage. The problem is that teachers/parents can’t always be there when the decision between the good and evil sites and messages are being utilized. With that in mind here are a list of some of those sites that provide this service. Some have a charge and others are free. The partial list below provides insights into what is available, but is no means complete. However, these might be a good starting point. Prices range from free to over $12 a month, depending on the type of coverage you want for your family. Always check to see if these sites cover both cell phone, tablet, and home use. Some sites can use GPS tracking and other services such as blocking of callers. Take your time reviewing each of these and always check the contract carefully. Teachers should also ask the technology department what blockers they use. Remember that students may be able to access the school server with their cell phones which can eat up bandwidth, especially if they are downloading large files. Please note that this list is just for information and is not meant to convey our approval and that prices can vary.

Covenant Eyes
Internet Accountability  tracks websites you visit on your computers, smart phones, and tablets, and sends them in an easy-to-read report to someone you trust.
http://www.covenanteyes.com

Amber Safety
To provide parents with state-of-the-art, easy-to-use tools that help them protect their kids from threats online, at home, at school or anywhere they might go.
https://amberchildsafety.com/

Phone Sheriff
PhoneSheriff allows the blocking of certain functions of the phone or tablet at certain times of each day. “For example you can tell the software to lock the phone or tablet every night at 8:00 pm until 8:00 am or whatever hours you choose. On smartphones you can choose to lock the entire phone or you can lock just the ability to make calls while the other functions of the phone remain operable.”
http://www.phonesheriff.com/

Open DNS
OpenDNS has parental controls that empower parents to manage Web access across every device that accesses the Internet on your home network. This includes phones and computers that your kids’ friends bring into the house and more.
http://www.opendns.com/

App Certain
This service is free and includes features such as a remote curfew mode as well as an analysis of apps.
https://www.appcertain.com/

Norton Family Parental Control
This is a $50 service that enables you to check what kids are doing online, sets limits of computer time, and can monitor mobile devise activity and more. Check for a free version. http://us.norton.com/norton-family-premier/

K-9 Browser
K9 Web Protection is a free Internet filter and parental control software for your home Windows or Mac computer. K9 puts YOU in control of the Internet so you can protect your kids. . http://www1.k9webprotection.com/

Mobile Watchdog
Mobile Watchdog monitors cell phone activity on Android devices — text messaging, application use, and browsing use. The app may be capable of sending usage emails.
http://www.mymobilewatchdog.com/

NetNanny
This site has several packages and a variety of safety features. It monitors contacts with friends, pictures and posts on social networks.
http://www.netnanny.com/

For more free materials go to http://reacheverychild.com/blog/2014/prevention-apps-provide-help-when-you-cant-be-there

Abraham Lincoln: Lessons and Links

for more great resources go to

 http://reacheverychild.com/

There is nothing difficult about finding information about President Abraham Lincoln. What is a problem is finding appropriate materials for use in classrooms that students can understand. As such, I have tried to locate those sites that offered an array of resources that cover everything from the basic timelines and quotes to literacy encouraging lessons.

Here is a site that has the bones of an excellent lesson. It shows the great strength of Lincoln and the students always enjoyed it trying to figure out how much a barrel of whiskey weighed as written in the article.

http://www.abrahamlincolnsclassroom.org/Library/newsletter.asp?ID=19&CRLI=96

Others ideas could include research about his failures and the changes in his face as the stress of the presidency and his personal life had on him. Printing out a series of pictures from the first to the last is quite compelling and clearly show how the war took its toil on him. Here are the locations for that assignment:

Lincoln’s pictures through time are below or you can show the students this video

Early photo

Students should read about the research that went into identifying this photo.

http://www.lincolnportrait.com/#

First known photo 1846

http://www.historyplace.com/lincoln/lincpix/first.jpg

1859

http://www.mrlincolnandnewyork.org/photo_credits.asp?photoID=175&subjectID=2&ID=10

1860

http://www.historyplace.com/lincoln/lincpix/stand.jpg

1861

http://www.historyplace.com/lincoln/lincpix/linc-3.jpg

1862

http://www.historyplace.com/lincoln/lincpix/pink.jpg

1863

http://www.historyplace.com/lincoln/lincpix/b63.jpg

1864

http://www.historyplace.com/lincoln/lincpix/1864-1.jpg

1865 for five dollar bill

http://www.historyplace.com/lincoln/lincpix/chair.jpg

Last photo taken

http://www.historyplace.com/lincoln/lincpix/last.jpg

The following are additional links to quality resources:

The Lincoln Institute has a site with lesson ideas for teachers

http://www.abrahamlincoln.org/teachers/index.asp

An article from the April 27, 1861 edition of Harper’s Weekly features a biography and picture of President Abraham Lincoln, and an incredible description of Mr. Lincoln’s declaration of war on the South..A must see site that fits the Common Core requirements.

http://www.sonofthesouth.net/leefoundation/civil-war/1861/april/abraham-lincoln-biography-picture.htm

Easy to understand story of Lincoln’s Life

http://homepages.rootsweb.com/~maggieoh/Pd/abe.html

Printable script for a game show that asks the audience to pick the real Abraham Lincoln

http://socialstudies.com/c/@_aDT73d7tWR.s/Pages/article.html?article@SHL177

Lincoln lesson plans and activities

http://www.proteacher.com/090158.shtml

Timeline of Lincoln’s Life

http://www.historyplace.com/lincoln/index.html

Failures in Lincoln’s life.

A great way to get students to think about overcoming adversity and rejection.

http://showcase.netins.net/web/creative/lincoln/education/failures.htm

A unique site where the students can watch video clips and answer questions.

http://www.americanwriters.org/classroom/videolesson/vlp14_lincoln.asp

A PBS lesson plan site

http://www.pbs.org/civilwar/classroom/lesson_lincoln.html

Large link sites for many grade levels

http://showcase.netins.net/web/creative/lincoln/education/curriculum.htm

Ideas for students who finish early

by National Hall of Fame Teacher Alan Haskvitz

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Alan_Haskvitz

One of the most consistent problems for teachers is the decision of what to offer students who finish their work early. In could be as simple and unrewarding as more work or as motivating as solving problems that are related to the assignment or what has been studied in class. Regardless, the work that has been completed needs to be checked for accuracy to make sure the objectives of the lesson were reached. Another area of concern is that the activity does not disturb other students and is not so attractive that students rush through their work to participate. Also be aware that students who don’t finish rapidly may resent those that do and so the activities should not be considered “fun” but provide more depth to the lesson.

A little bit more time intensive is to offer the students a chance to write a letter for information to a state or national travel agency or even a sports team and ask for a decal or other item. The teacher needs to proofread the letter, but they can be sent be email or regular mail. Here is a list of sports teams:

Have an appropriate jigsaw for them to work on individually or as a team. When these are completed they can be glued together and framed and given to the students as gifts at the end of the year.

Depending on he grade level, have appropriate reading books. In each book is a card and the students need to answer the questions on the card and give it to you when they have finished. The questions should include fact based questions, but just as importantly, they should have opinion questions such as , “What do you think the heroes most important decision was?” They hand the card to the teacher who keeps it in a file. At the end of the year the teacher hands back the cards to the students so that can add to their reading file in subsequent years.

Another good approach is to have the students work on word games or puzzles. There are a great many and here are some links to such printables. Students can also create crossword puzzles for other students as well using the subject matter being covered in class.

Allowing students time to finish homework is a frequently used option, but

Working on breaking a code. For younger learners: http://www.sheppardsoftware.com/braingames/codebreaking/codebreaking.htm

click on Chiefs of State. Use search engine word “codes” and when the list comes up click on code one. The site has five codes and answers.

File games are another good activity. Here is an abundant listing of ideas:

http://www.reacheverychild.com/feature/file-folder.html
Some bulletin board ideas

http://pinterest.com/shinz/i-m-done-early-finishers/

Create an online book

They can use provided artwork and write their own stories and keep them online. Preview work first.

http://storybird.com/

Have the students listen to stories done by professional readers. Have students use headphones and write a summary

http://www.storybee.org/index.html

Write and post a book review on a bulletin board is another idea that works for all grade levels. But,  read them first.

List of ideas for early finishers

http://www.ehow.com/info_8169453_activities-students-finish-work-early.html

Sites for students who finish early

For younger students

http://kbkonnected.tumblr.com/post/10903922014/30-sites-for-students-who-finish-early-elemchat

Vocabulary Builders

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Alan_Haskvitz

These sites provide ways for a teacher to provide lessons to accommodate a variety of reading levels easily. They are especially valuable to ESL students and slower learners who need additional practice outside the realm of the textbook. The large link sites are very useful.

Phonics Links

http://www.reacheverychild.com/feature/phonics.html

Motivating Students

http://www.reacheverychild.com/feature/motivate.htm

Read Across America links

http://www.reacheverychild.com/reading.html

ESL lessons

http://www.reacheverychild.com/feature/ESL.html

Downloadable books

http://www.reacheverychild.com/feature/online-books.html

Help for slow learners

http://www.reacheverychild.com/feature/slowlearners.html

Strategies for motivating young readers

http://www.reacheverychild.com/feature/motivating_readers.html

Vocabulary Games
http://www.vocabulary.co.il/>http://www.vocabulary.co.il/
Quizlet
Self made cards for online vocabulary building. Takes a while to master, but allows individualized lessons and provides hints.
http://quizlet.com/

Several lessons about vocabulary games. Simple and of wide range of quality.

http://lessonplancentral.com/lessons/Language_Arts/Vocabulary/index.htm

Using Podcasts to improve vocabulary

http://languagestudy.suite101.com/article.cfm/podcasting

Very large link site

http://www.cloudnet.com/~edrbsass/edeng.htm

Teacher designed lessons

Basic, but a good variety

http://www.teachersdesk.org/spell_plans.html

Spelling and vocabulary links page

http://www.teachersdesk.org/spell_plans.html

Free technology lessons

Use the Internet to help with vocabulary

http://freetech4teachers.blogspot.com/2008/05/word-games-to-improve-writing-and.html

Everyday Vocabulary Anagrams

Lots of them.

www.aitech.ac.jp/~itesls/anagrams/

Reading novel studies on over 20 books.

Check the list. This is a great site for better readers and helps them polish their skills without a great deal of teacher time.

http://www.mce.k12tn.net/units/units_with_books.htm

Grammar and Vocabulary Assessment Tests
Have your more advanced students take them to see where they can improve. One hour time limit.

http://www.churchillhouse.com/tests/index.html

Web English Teacher  
Large general link site for all areas of English teaching.
http://www.webenglishteacher.com/
Fake Out Game
Students select the correct definition from list. Good practice to polish prefix and suffix skills.

http://www.eduplace.com/fakeout/

Vocabulary.com:  SAT Words

http://www.vocabulary.com/AOLtopsatwords12.html

Illustrated Vocabulary
For English, French, Dutch and Danish words.

http://www.illustratedvocabulary.ip-providence.net

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