TeachersFirst - Featured Sites: Week of Jan 23, 2011

Here are this week's features. Clicking the tags in the description area of each listing will present a list of other resources with this topic. | Click here to return to the Featured Sites Archive

 

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Adverputt - dampgnat.com

Grades
7 to 12
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Looking for a way to actively engage your students in learning physics? Adverputt is a challenging game website, however with a solid constructive approach, you can turn this activity...more
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Looking for a way to actively engage your students in learning physics? Adverputt is a challenging game website, however with a solid constructive approach, you can turn this activity into an extremely fun and challenging learning experience. One recommendation if you choose to let students use this in class on their own, have them mute the sound or use their ear buds. This site can hold hours of challenging thinking!

tag(s): motion (49), newton (21)

In the Classroom

To use this site constructively and to have students learn through exploration, try introducing the site on the interactive whiteboard or projector. Have students look at the course and discuss if and why miniature golf is an application of Newton's laws. Review Newton's laws. Show students how to make different angled shots and different strength of shots. Then, have students discuss how many strokes each hole should take according to Newton's Laws. Have students discuss how they could use the laws to play the best possible game of miniature golf. Once you allow the students to work on this on their own computer, have them take screen shots with jing (reviewed here), and have them type their reasoning for why the shot worked or did not work. Once students have had the chance to work with the program, an independent assignment could be created where students use Google sketchup explained hereor another online drawing program to create holes of their own. With this, have students create three holes one for each law or have them create holes that are impossible according to Newton's laws. Also have students discuss real miniature golf and why the action and reaction situations may be different in real life.
 This resource requires Adobe Flash.

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Be The Beat - heart.org - American Heart Association

Grades
K to 10
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This teacher's area of "Be The Beat" provides two lesson plans about heart issues, information, and CPR. Intended use is to enhance current curriculum not create a new one from ...more
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This teacher's area of "Be The Beat" provides two lesson plans about heart issues, information, and CPR. Intended use is to enhance current curriculum not create a new one from the materials presented here. Additionally, check out the "Be The Beat" kids section: here. It has activities to help students understand 100 beats per minute for CPR, Race to the Phone (more for fun, but still reinforces emergency situation response principles), and Snowflake comics on CPR. This site also has information about Jump Rope for the Heart, Hoops for the Heart, and Blogging for the Heart.

tag(s): heart (35), medicine (47)

In the Classroom

Use these lessons in your health classes to help students understand the importance of heart health, CPR, and good emergency responses. Or, go to the comics, find a one that matches your lesson, copy it into a PowerPoint, and show on the interactive whiteboard to start class or as an entry journal topic. Use these resources to prepare your class for Jump Rope for the Heart or the other opportunities provided at this site.
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Valentine's Day - A&E Entertainment

Grades
7 to 12
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The History Channel provides an interesting summary of the various legends of Valentine's Day from several cultures throughout the world. The information provided dates back to before...more
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The History Channel provides an interesting summary of the various legends of Valentine's Day from several cultures throughout the world. The information provided dates back to before the Middle Ages and touches upon the ideas of some pagan traditions as well as Roman and Christian theories. This site includes many related articles and videos. NOTE: There are also very factual videos about "the science of love," "kissing," etc. so middle level teachers may want to be sure their students are not too silly/immature to catch sight of these television specials. There are some minor advertisements at this site.

tag(s): valentines day (11)

In the Classroom

Reference the information on this website to use with a lesson on holidays or various history units. Assign speculated theories listed within the text to students and have them work in small groups to expand upon the information. Have them present their information to the class in a jigsaw format. Students could use the Valentine's Day information to compare and contrast with other holidays having similar historical connections such as Easter and May Day. Have cooperative learning groups compare the two holidays using a site such as, Interactive Two Circle Venn Diagram (reviewed here).
 This resource requires Adobe Flash.

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21st Century Questions - 21st Century Question

Grades
6 to 12
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21st Century Questions is a collaborative blog designed to pose thoughtful and challenging questions about the impact of technology on society. In partnership with efforts to...more
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21st Century Questions is a collaborative blog designed to pose thoughtful and challenging questions about the impact of technology on society. In partnership with efforts to promote digital literacy skills, teachers, students, and others can use this site either by accessing the questions already posed and exploring them with students, or by posing additional questions themselves. Each post contains a prompt, either in the form of a short video clip, a cartoon, or a short narrative, and then a series of open-ended questions. The rest is up to you!

tag(s): writing (312), writing prompts (76)

In the Classroom

These questions present a wealth of challenging writing prompts, class discussion starters, or extension/enrichment activities for gifted students or high ability writers in science or social students classes, in debate club, or in enrichment programs. Access the site yourself and cherry-pick your favorite questions. Alternatively, provide a link to the site and ask students to explore possible questions they'd like to answer or discuss. Finally, collaborate as a class to develop question prompts of your own as a group project and then post them to the site. Bookmark this site as one of those you go to when you have unexpected time to fill in class, or as a resource for a substitute teacher-led discussion. Science teachers can use technology issues to connect science with real world topics for students who may not otherwise see value in mastering concepts. Assign groups to explore a topic of their choice from this blog and present it in open-ended debate once a month in your science class or as part of a science careers unit.

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A Class Divided - Frontline/PBS-WGBH Educational Foundation

Grades
6 to 12
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This is one of the most requested programs for effectively conveying the reality of discrimination, what it feels like, and how it can change a person. Frontline, the PBS news-magazine...more
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This is one of the most requested programs for effectively conveying the reality of discrimination, what it feels like, and how it can change a person. Frontline, the PBS news-magazine show, produced this gripping piece that tackles the controversy, complexity, and consequences of discrimination that have shaped our society. This film and collection of activities are based on the 1970 documentary of the daring lesson that teacher Jane Elliott taught her third-grade class to give them a firsthand experience in the meaning of discrimination, immediately following the assassination of Reverend Martin Luther King Jr. The film shows what she taught the children and the impact that lesson had on their lives. It includes three major segments: the footage of the original documentary of Jane Elliott's third-graders, (approximately 20 minutes), the reunion of those third-graders 14 years later who talk about the effect her lesson has had on their lives, (approximately 7 minutes), and also Elliott teaching her lesson to adult employees of Iowa's prison system and how their reactions to her exercise were similar to those of the children, (approximately 20 minutes). A Teachers' Guide, as well as an abundance of supplementary materials that allow students to wrestle with realistic ideas, are available on this site.

tag(s): black history (47), bullying (49), civil rights (85), diversity (39), racism (14), segregation (15), tolerance (12)

In the Classroom

Help your students understand why Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. was assassinated and raise their awareness of discrimination and the struggle for civil rights by involving them in active viewing of A Class Divided projected on your classroom interactive whiteboard or projector. You can view the film in its entirety, or in separate chapters followed by the Discussion Questions. You may want to give students a specific task to do during the film. For example, you might ask them to listen for a particular issue or the answers to a set of questions, or take notes in preparation for one of the post-viewing activities. Replay the video or pause for discussion whenever you choose for focused, in depth exploration. Depending on your students' background knowledge and grade level, you may want to review or introduce some of the basic tenets of the United States Constitution that provide the legal grounding for equality and protection of individual rights. Explain that there are examples in American history when individuals' rights were denied and that many civil rights activists were arrested for either challenging demonstrating or breaking rules that they thought were unfair. Pose some of the questions for written assignments and discussion. This is a perfect lesson for Black History Month! Divide the class into groups to brainstorm situations that exist today within our own communities, and how they would feel and deal with it if they were the subjects. Students can easily create mind maps using free tools from Teachersfirst, such as diagrammr.com reviewed here or bubbl.us reviewed here. Have students choose words from songs to explore themes of freedom and equality, using Stories Behind the Songs reviewed here. High school students could extend this to a reading and study of the final chapter of "One America in the 21st Century," the 1998 report of President Bill Clinton's Initiative on Race, which lists 10 things that every American should do to promote racial reconciliation. Ask students to add anything they think is missing and make a commitment to continue the crusade to end discrimination.

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School Lunches around the World - Kitchen Daily

Grades
2 to 12
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This site shares a wonderful gallery of pictures of school lunches from many countries. Click the GALLERY tab to see slides of the lunch trays across the globe, beginning with ...more
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This site shares a wonderful gallery of pictures of school lunches from many countries. Click the GALLERY tab to see slides of the lunch trays across the globe, beginning with a picture of a "typical" American lunch offering. A small narrative with each slide answers a few student questions about the variety of foods others eat. Related videos on the page provide a live look at school lunches and lunch preparation. NOTE: The Gallery does not display in Safari, but it does work in Firefox and Internet Explorer. Pretest to be sure this site functions fully on your computer or try a different browser.

tag(s): nutrition (135)

In the Classroom

World language or cultures classes can use this site to explore what school food is like in other cultures. When teaching nutrition, ask students to collaborate to describe a more healthy American lunch tray and create a drawing or pictorial to illustrate their ideas. Maybe have them upload images to Narrable, reviewed here and narrate to explain their food choices. With younger students, design a visual lunch on an interactive whiteboard together after brainstorming the best options. Alternatively, design an "international" lunch offering incorporating some of the world wide food choices that appeal to American children. Invite international parents to prepare and offer some international choices popular with children from their cultures on a World Culture day.

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Webklipper - Webklipper Technologies Private Limited

Grades
K to 12
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Use Webklipper to highlight, comment, annotate, or choose parts of a website to share. Use this tool easily to share. Create an account with Webklipper and name your new klip...more
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Use Webklipper to highlight, comment, annotate, or choose parts of a website to share. Use this tool easily to share. Create an account with Webklipper and name your new klip including custom url. Enter the URL of the page you wish to annotate or highlight. The webpage opens with a new URL. Highlight or comment anything you wish on that page using a handy toolbar that appears. Your comments are saved and can be shared with others through email or a custom URL to share. Those you share with can comment to the klip as well. Additionally, you can install the plugin for Firefox or Chrome and create klips from your browser's toolbar. Webklipper is making ongoing improvements to their tool, so keep an eye on this one.

tag(s): browser (5)

In the Classroom

Users must have a knowledge of finding and uploading documents, copying/pasting URL's, and creating a comment or annotation with the service is required. Consider creating a class account for use by students, however work attributable to each student will not be available. Students can initial their entries to keep track of participation. Discuss appropriate and inappropriate comments with students prior to using. Be aware that students can use this service to create a proxy server to view blocked pages while at school.

Use this tool to share citations within academic groups or to discuss design changes on a class or group page such as a wiki or blog. Use Webklipper to create a brand new page for your use. Use to review a movie or book, create silly jokes or stories, and more. Use this site to help ESL/ELL students learn new language skills by highlighting certain phrases. With Webklipper it is easy. Receive a unique URL with your content highlighted in the exact manner you wish. Use with classes to allow students to comments to any page you assign for discussion. Students can find pages of interest about a specific content topic and comment their likes and dislikes. Look at various political, environmental, or ethical viewpoints by adding URL's for both sides of the argument and allow time for commenting and voicing of opinion. Collect direct URLs to student "klips" on a wiki page for a specific topic such as water conservation or examples of executive powers. Teachers can share "klips" via links on the class web page to steer student reading of a web page. Include guiding questions to build reading comprehension or to connect reading to concepts being studied. Learning support teachers may want to create "klips" together with students, annotating assigned text to show understanding and learn target vocabulary.

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Surfing Scientist - ABC Science

Grades
3 to 12
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Find a variety of science resources on this great site. Explore the Tricks, Conundrums, Demos, Lesson Plans, and Videos about Science. Many of the resources include an Adobe PDF file...more
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Find a variety of science resources on this great site. Explore the Tricks, Conundrums, Demos, Lesson Plans, and Videos about Science. Many of the resources include an Adobe PDF file that can be downloaded.

tag(s): experiments (64)

In the Classroom

Use many of these resources for brain teasers, mind stretchers, or anticipatory sets to initiate class. Encourage students to brainstorm, explain, and even blog their reactions to these resources. Provide time for students to work out the science behind the demonstrations. Consider creating little podcasts using a site such as PodOmatic (reviewed here), with students demonstrating end explaining the science to show true understanding.
 This resource requires PDF reader software like Adobe Acrobat.

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Gettysburg Address on Vimeo - Adam Gault

Grades
6 to 12
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Our students are accustomed to having both audio and video content to the information they access. Consequently, just reading something like the Gettysburg Address can seem dry and...more
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Our students are accustomed to having both audio and video content to the information they access. Consequently, just reading something like the Gettysburg Address can seem dry and sterile to them. This video provides both a rich reading of Lincoln's famous speech, but an accompanying video track to illustrate it.

tag(s): civil war (125), gettysburg (27), gettysburg address (16), lincoln (78), presidents (111)

In the Classroom

For those who are not strong readers, the audio-video combination provided here may make the concepts in the Gettysburg Address more accessible. For other students, there may be deeper, more complex questions sparked by the video. Did the creator of the video capture the concepts authored by Abraham Lincoln adequately? This video could be the "jumping off place" for a variety of questions the class might consider or project ideas for individual students. How might you do it differently? What about other well-known speeches or documents? How would you illustrate them for a similar video? Challenge students to create their own video accompanying a famous speech and share the video using a site such as SchoolTube (reviewed here).
 This resource requires Adobe Flash.

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What's Your Learning Style? - Edutopia

Grades
4 to 12
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Here you will find a quick and interesting learning styles quiz for your students to take. You don't need to sign in. No email address or registration is required. Once ...more
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Here you will find a quick and interesting learning styles quiz for your students to take. You don't need to sign in. No email address or registration is required. Once you've found your dominate style there is a description, and, best of all, tips for the best way for you to learn. Some of the learning styles also include possible career choices.

tag(s): learning styles (10), multiple intelligences (8)

In the Classroom

Have your students open a word document and save it. Then have them take the quiz, without signing up. Use the "Print Screen" feature on the computer to have the students copy their test. They can then paste it in their word document. Next have them look to see what is their most dominate style, and have them copy and paste the description for that style first, then their next dominate and so on. Not only can your students use this when trying to figure out final projects for assessments, but if they are having trouble with tests, they can look and see what might help them when it comes to study time. You can also use the results to group students or for them to select a "study buddy" before tests! Many of the styles include possible careers for students to pursue.

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Trigonometry

Grades
10 to 12
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This site offers several applets demonstrating trigonometry functions. Applets available include law of sines, law of cosines, graphing options, and sine and cosine function boxes....more
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This site offers several applets demonstrating trigonometry functions. Applets available include law of sines, law of cosines, graphing options, and sine and cosine function boxes. Each link explains the function and offers a box for inputting information to transform the image. Example activities are also included for practice with each function. Like many math sites, this one is not a visual "treat," but its functionality makes it quite worthwhile.

tag(s): functions (57)

In the Classroom

Share this link on your classroom website or blog for students to practice at home. Create a link on classroom computers or in the computer lab to use for a practice activity. Display the activities on the interactive whiteboard to demonstrate functions being studied in class.
 This resource requires Adobe Flash.

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