Literacy tools   

Visual Thesaurus automatically generates word webs along with the searched vocabulary word. It shows how chains of words are related, which can deepen word learning.

VocabGrabber is another tool made by the folks at Visual Thesaurus. It parses and sorts vocabulary words from any selection of text pasted into the tool. There are too many uses for VocabGrabber to go into, but it can help solve the problem of which terms to teach for a given text.

AWL Gap Maker turns a excerpt of text into a cloze passage. Cloze passages are particularly useful for learning words and reading for context.

Dual Language Showcase collects stories for young children that are written in languages other than English. The chief idea is to promote reading at home by making these stories freely available to parents of dual language learners.

Ink Paste is a vocabulary learning tool that sends periodic reminders for each new word the user adds to the program. It relies mostly on email, which makes it rather dated, but is far more useful than a randomized word-of-the-day service.

   Research on professional development   

TNTP (formerly The New Teacher Project), an organization aimed at shaping teaching in the USA, takes a critical look at the state of professional development.

Teachers Know Best. A set of reports and resources. A Bill & Melinda Gates project.

Teaching the Teachers. An intriguing report on the effectiveness and cost of professional development from the Center for Public Education.


Engaging Readers and Writers with Inquiry by Jeffrey Wilhelm. A highly practical and informative guide to improve literacy instruction.

All About Words by Neuman & Wright, a book about vocabulary learning in early education, which I reviewed at the link above.

Planning Programs for Adult Learners: A practical guide by Caffarella & Daffron is at once comprehensive and concise. Each chapter clearly discusses choices faced by planners.

   Tech tools   

Google Classroom was my favorite platform for developing an online class structure. It is easy to use and presents information in a easy to navigate blog-like format.

OneNote is a virtual notebook and probably the best product Microsoft has ever developed. I could not have completed the MAED without it. And the free software is expanding into classroom applications.

Remind is a unique messaging tool teachers can use to text students and parents without sharing personal information. Teachers can schedule messages ahead of time. It is very easy to use. Check it out!

Prezi is very popular but was new to me, so it made the list. Prezi makes visually compelling slideshows easy to assemble. If PowerPoint always falls short, then give Prezi a try.