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Reading & Writing
11 Rules of Writing
Today's first site condenses English grammar down to just eleven rules. Drawing heavily from The Elements of Style, an anonymous college teacher created these rules based on his experience grading freshman papers. Each rule is hyperlinked to examples of correct and incorrect usage. For questions not covered by the eleven rules, peruse the Frequently Asked Questions page. And for extra credit, click on the New Word of the Day (at the
bottom of the page) to scroll through some high-school level vocabulary.
America Reads
The goal of America Reads is to ensure that every child can read well and independently by the end of the third grade - here's how it works and how national service can help.

Bella and Edward
This fan site was started by Michelle (no last name given) who concocted the idea for the site during her Digital Imaging class on October 7, 2006. It is chock full of fan art, fan fiction, book summaries, polls, quizzes, puzzles, and printable bookmarks (one of which I printed to stash in my borrowed copy of "Twilight.") Community components include a forum (which requires free registration) and a Facebook group with over nine thousand fans.

Write Better Blog Posts: How to Write Posts People Actually Read
The difference between a blogger and a diarist is that bloggers want other people to read what they write. The whole point of blogging is to get yourself, your knowledge, or your business out into the world. It doesn't matter if you're blogging about science, entertainment, your business, or fiction, your ultimate goal is to capture eyeballs.

Blue Book of Grammar and Punctuation
"Effective Writing. Rule 1. Use concrete rather than vague language." As the title implies, Jane Straus's guide is divided into two sections: grammar and punctuation. Each is further organized into rules with examples (navigate these with the drop-down menus), exercises and tests. The quizzes are not interactive (try printing them instead) and include answer keys on the same page. A print edition of The Blue Book is also available for purchase.

Bookins (also with an inventory of over half a million books) uses a variable point system, where hardbacks and popular books cost (and earn) you more points than paperbacks. What's different at Bookins is their prepaid postage system. They will email you a shipping label, so all you need to do is print it out, put your book in an envelope (or wrap it grocery bag paper) and slap the label on your book. But this simplicity comes at a price: $4.49 per item. In addition to books, you can also swap DVDs.

BookMooch gives you one point for every book you send, and a tenth of a point for every book you enter into your profile. Most books are priced equally at one point, and subscribers are responsible for the paying the postage for each book they ship. One usual feature here is the ability to request books from other countries, in other languages. When sending a book overseas you'll earn three points (to compensate for the higher postage cost) but getting a book from overseas costs only two points. BookMooch currently has over 500,000 books to choose from.

Common Errors In English
From "AM/PM" to "your/you're," this clickable alphabetic list of errors is fun to peruse. Sometimes the easiest way to learn proper grammar, is to learn what NOT to say. For example, did you know a "pompom" is a large gun, but the fuzzy end of ski hat is a "pompon"? And a narrow confining garment is a "straitjacket" not a "straightjacket." Just click on any phrase for the complete skinny.
Creative Writing Prompts
Delivering on the promise of their title, Creative Writing Prompts serves fresh ideas to get your pen to paper, or fingers to keyboard. "Write a story about an empty glass." "Begin a story with the line, 'The clock winked.'" In addition to the nearly daily online prompts (which are archived back to June), the site offers a free download of Write Sparks! Lite, a Windows program that delivers writing prompts right from your desktop.
"Whether you call us diarists, journalers, or bloggers, we've got everything you need to know all about the people who tell all." Best clicks are the Spark writing prompts (look for the link in the lower right-hand corner), the Guide (a how-to for wannabees), and the collection of celebrity blogs. The list of journaling hosts is good, but since it is several years old, the newer blogging tools are noticeably absent. And when browsing the directory of diaries, please keep in mind that not all personal journals are appropriate for young kids.
Discovery School: Puzzlemaker
Puzzlemaker, my pick-of-the-day, offers an abundance of options and produces uncluttered, easy-to-read puzzles. And they don't stop at just word searches. You can also create criss-cross puzzles, double puzzles, cryptograms, and word searches with a message hidden between the target words. Ever come across a computer generated word puzzle with an inadvertent offensive word? Puzzlemaker has filters to prevent this from happening to you. Sign up for a free Custom Classroom membership, and you'll be able to save your puzzles for use at another time.
EdHelper:Word Search
EdHelper also generates a variety of puzzles, but not all are free, so navigating the choices can be confusing. To make a custom word search, enter your words, and click "Create Word Search Now!" The next page displays dozens of formatting options, but only the first three are free, the balance are for paid subscribers only. Your selection includes upper case, lower case, or no backward and diagonal words (for an easier puzzle.) Custom crossword puzzles are also free. You find the link on the horizontal "Also Try" menu.
Elementary Writing Prompts
"Would you like to be famous?" "What would you do if you found a magic wand?" Written specifically for Canadian elementary teachers, but appropriate for a much wider audience, this long list of more than two hundred writing prompts is enough to keep anyone writing for years. The prompts are organized into questions that ask "Who, what, where, and when?" as well as "I wish," "Describe" and "Miscellaneous."
First Book
First Book is a national nonprofit organization with a single mission: to give children from low-income families the opportunity to read and own their first new books. The primary goal of First Book is to work with existing literacy programs to distribute new books to children who, for economic reasons, have little or no access to books. Last year First Book distributed 4 million books to hundreds of thousands of children in more than 290 communities nationwide.
FunBrain's Word Turtle
With four levels of difficulty, and a choice between interactive and printable play, Fun Brain's Word Turtle hits the spot. The interactive option is unique among today's sites. It allows you to create a puzzle, and play it immediately. It does not, however, allow you to save the puzzle for play at another or time, or to create a version you can add to your own website. I'm not as keen on the printable version, however, because the row and column numbers add unnecessary clutter to the printed page.

HAISLN Recommended Reading Lists
This reading list hails from the librarians of the Houston Area Independent Schools Library Network. Their 2009 recommendations have just been posted, and are organized into eight reading levels, from preschool to high school. The lists are in PDF, making them easy to print and share. Each book is annotated with a short summary (yeah!) but a book cover image would have been a great addition.

International Reading Association: Children's Choices Project
"A booklist with a twist! Children themselves evaluate the books and write reviews of their favorites. Since 1974, Children's Choices have been a trusted source of book recommendations used by teachers, librarians, parents, and children themselves." Visit to download the winners for 2008, or any of the previous booklists, going back to 1998. The K-6 lists are available online, as well as in two PDF formats: annotated or compact (just titles and authors).

LibraryThing is a community of book lovers, and does not directly provide book swapping services. Instead, it is an "easy, library-quality catalog" where you can share what's on your bookshelf and what you're reading with like-minded folks. And on each individual book page, in addition to reviews, ratings, tags, reader recommendations and links to book stores, you'll find a "Swap this book" link. That link will take you to a page that shows which of twelve popular book swapping sites have the book available for trading.

National Center for Family Literacy
The National Center for Family Literacy is a nonprofit organization supporting family literacy services for families across the United States through programming, training, research, advocacy and dissemination
NEA's Read Across America: Kids' Favorite Books Survey
WELCOME to America's favorite reading event! To mark Dr. Seuss's 98th birthday, the National Education Association is calling for every child in every school in the country to read with a caring adult on March 1, 2002. Please join us.

With 3.7 million books available for swapping, PaperBackSwap is the biggest of the online book swapping sites. And their point system is pretty simple: earn a credit for sending a book, use a credit for receiving a book. For shipping, PaperBackSwap provides a printable two-page wrapper that is a both a do-it-yourself envelope and an pre-addressed label. Just wrap your book, add postage, and "pop the book in the mail." You'll need to weigh your book to determine the correct postage, but they advise that most books under one pound typically cost $2.23 to send.

Reading Is Fundamental
Since its inception in 1966, RIF has grown into a national grass-roots network of more than 310,000 volunteers at 18,000 sites. Find out how RIF uses support from the U.S. Department of Education, corporations, nonprofit organizations, and countless individuals to place more than 200 million books in the hands and homes of children who need them most.

Scholastic Summer Challenge
"Summer can be a season full of fun memories, good times . . . and declining reading scores. Research shows that students who don't read over the summer typically score lower on reading tests when they return to school. What's the solution? It's simple: READ 4 or MORE!" Sign up for a free account, and log your summer reading minutes. The top twenty schools with the most minutes read will be featured in the 2010 Scholastic Book of World Records, along with the one student who sets a world record for summer reading minutes.

SwapTree is smallish, with 78,000 books currently available, but they also provide a marketplace for trading music CDs, DVDs and video games. SwapTree has done away with points, and simply displays exactly which titles on your want list that you can get for each trading item you list. Sometimes the trades might be one-for-one with a single party. Other times the trades might be three-way, where you are sending your item to one person, and receiving an item from another person.

The Horn Book: Summer Reading
"Need suggestions for beach reading or books to bring to camp? We've hand-picked some favorite new titles, all published within the last year, that are ideal for the season." From Picture Books to Young Adult Fiction, Horn recommends newly published books that may not be on your radar yet, with an emphasis on fun, summer reading. In addition to this list, they also produce a book review podcast, and have dozens of other reading lists for children and young adults. You'll find these links at the bottom of the page.

The New York Public Library: Summer Reading
Colorful and easy to use, this NYPL site invites readers to write book reviews, as well as read those posted by others. Booklists on this page are for grades one through six. For preschoolers, teens, and even adults, look in the header for a link to your section. If you happen to live in New York City, you'll appreciate knowing which branches carry each book, but even for the rest of us, there are plenty of good reasons to visit the site, including choose-your-ending online stories, author chats, and printable activities.

The Nuts and Bolts of College Writing: Evidence
College essays stand or fall based largely on their use of evidence. In this section we'll consider how to do research, how to avoid common problems with using source material, and how to follow major citation styles for the humanities, the social sciences, and the natural sciences.

The Official Website of Stephenie Meyer
Managed by her little brother Seth, Meyer's official website includes both an official short bio, and a longer unofficial one written in first person: "I filled the ‘Jan Brady' spot in my family – the second of three girls." But the best reason to visit, is to read the rough draft of "Midnight Sun," the fifth (and still unpublished) book in The Twilight Saga.. After it was distributed illegally on the Internet, Meyer decided to post the 264-page partial draft on her own site, along with her thoughts about how upsetting the theft of her book was, and her musings about whether or not she will ever be able to finish the book.

The Online Books Page
If you're hanging around the house and hankering for a book with substance, try this site: It provides links to over 10,000 books that you can read over the Internet

The Twilight Saga is the official website from Little, Brown Books for Young Readers, the publisher of Meyer's books. Best clicks are the printable reading group guides for "Twilight", "New Moon" and "Eclipse" (with promises for one for "Breaking Dawn") and a four-page printable trivia quiz ("What kind of vehicle did Charlie buy for Bella?") that also covers the first three books. Also of note are an asset builder where you can assemble custom desktop wallpaper or a Twilight avatar to represent you in the forums.

Twilight Lexicon
True to its name, Twilight Lexicon is a collection of character bios, places, timelines, and vampire and werewolf mythology compiled by webmasters Alphie and Pelirroja. Much of the material comes from the books themselves, but there is also an archive of email Q&A between the site owners and Meyer, in which the author shares additional details about her characters. "Edward's full name is Edward Anthony Masen Cullen. His mother's name is Elizabeth and his father's name is also Edward. His human life in Chicago was fairly happy and uneventful."

Twilighters Anonymous
Visit Twilighters Anonymous to get your fix of Twilight news, fun Twilight facts, oodles of video, a photo gallery of actors from the Twilight movie, and best of all, a user-edited Twilipedia. What's a Twilipedia? "Twilipedia, is our Twilight Series version of Wikipedia. If you're not familiar with Wikipedia, it is basically an online encyclopedia that is a collaborative effort of online editors. If you have extensive Twilight Series knowledge and writing skills, you can contribute to any section!"

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Arctic Winter Games
The story of the Arctic Winter Games begins in 1967 on the occasion of the Canada Winter Games in Quebec City.
Baseball: The Game and Beyond
This well-designed ThinkQuest website takes a look at the game from its more technical aspects: the skills it takes to be a play-by-play announcer, the science of pitching and hitting, and umpiring a game. What's more, each section offers three levels of material, from the introductory to the expert, so everyone can enjoy the site regardless of their level of baseball knowledge. And there are important concepts presented here: why does a curve ball curve, how far will a ball travel, the role of friction. The possibilities for application in the classroom are awesome!
Gorge Windsurfing Lessons Gorge Wind Guide Service
I sail on the river with you to help you apply your skills to a new environment and provide advanced instruction on short board and Gorge sailing techniques.
GORP - Skiing and Snowsports
Iditarod - The Last Great Race
Iditarod 2002
The Iditarod Sled Dog Race is a natural for classroom use. Held annually across the wilderness of Alaska, this 1000+ mile race combines courage and competition with the athletic abilities of both the humans and the dogs. Each year the race is a real-life adventure with new challenges to be faced.
Welcome aboard and follow the excitment of this event with current Iditarod and past Iditarod mushers as well as other race experts!
Mountain Biking
This site covers everything from accessories to winter biking.
Our ski resort and equipment guides, information and reviews seeks to help skiers and snowboarders find the mountain resort and optimal gear which best suites their style and to maximize their experience.

Personal Best
Training, training, training is what it takes to become a winning team. But training doesn't mean running flat-out all the time. Rather, a smart runner working with an experienced coach will run hard one day, easy the next, allowing time for recovery and muscle growth. This makes it difficult for a coach to know whether each runner is making steady progress.
Ramy Brooks, Dog Mushing in Alaska
Team Indigenous
The goals of the Indigenous Hockey Program are to help address issues that impact Indigenous youth such as suicide, high drop out rates in school, substance and solvent abuse and extreme poverty. And, to create new and exciting holistic opportunities for Indigenous youth to excel physically, emotionally, spiritually and culturally through education and professional sports training.
Skiing in Canada!
Skiing in Canada (SIC) has always been ahead of the technology curve, and has been online in many different iterations since 1996. In the early days of the internet, websites for ski resorts did not yet exist and SIC actually built different resort content within our site. We even updated daily snow conditions for major western resorts throughout the winter months and wrote regular articles based on real life ski experiences. As the world wide web grew and ski operations slowly developed their own sites, we continued to innovate SIC with Google maps that pinpointed ski resorts across the country and resort news.
Under the pastoral beauty of a blanket of fresh-fallen snow, the outdoors beckons. For a while, winter doesn't feel quite so cold, and people of all ages feel a sense of youthful excitement about bundling up and getting outside.
Windsport: Winter sports, ice sailing, kite surfing, skate sailing, ice boating, ice surfing
Ice boating and skate sailing are very old winter sports. The winter sport ice surfing was invented much later, when windsurfing became popular. Nowadays ice sailing stands for kite surfing or kite sailing, skate sailing, snow sailing, dn ice boat sailing and wingsailing.
Winter Olympics - Sports & Science
The enormous appeal of the Winter Olympic Games creates several teachable moments for showing how science illuminates human activity. Now, for the first time ever, NTEN enables teachers to capitalize on these unique educational opportunities with NTEN minicourses.
Yukon Quest...The Challenging Trail
The Yukon Quest International Sled Dog Race is a long distance sled dog race that runs between Fairbanks, Alaska and Whitehorse, Yukon Territory, Canada. It starts in one country and ends in another! This year it starts in Fairbanks and ends in Whitehorse. Up to fifty teams may participate. This year the Yukon Quest begins on Saturday, February 10 in Fairbanks, AK. It is a special event that happens each February. It touches our community. We want to share it with the world.
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