TeachersFirst - Featured Sites: Week of May 29, 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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Literary Tweets: 100+ of the Best Authors on Twitter - Mashable

Grades
4 to 12
2 Favorites 0  Comments
 
Got Twitter? Then take a look at these 100+ authors to see if any of your favorites are listed, and start following them. Mashable has weeded out the authors who ...more
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Got Twitter? Then take a look at these 100+ authors to see if any of your favorites are listed, and start following them. Mashable has weeded out the authors who are just trying to sell you something on twitter. Their list only includes authors who are trying to carry on a conversation with their followers and present information they find valuable, whether it directly benefits them or not. Each author has a description, some of the books they have written, and an example tweet.

tag(s): authors (118), twitter (51)

In the Classroom

A whole class twitter account can follow favorite authors and authors' read through of class novels. The class can direct message them with questions about the book: how they came to write the story, are the characters based on anyone the author knows, and any other ideas your students might come up with. In literature circles a different member of the group each week can Twitter the author of the book as part of the "author analyzer" job. Learn more about Twitter and find many more ways to use it from TeachersFirst's Twitter for Teachers.

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Typing Master Online - TypingMaster, Inc.

Grades
2 to 5
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This typing practice website allows you to access 3 different typing interactivew. The site allows you to choose different levels: easy, medium, hard or a numeric keypad. Be aware:...more
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This typing practice website allows you to access 3 different typing interactivew. The site allows you to choose different levels: easy, medium, hard or a numeric keypad. Be aware: this site does include some unobtrusive advertisements.

tag(s): keyboarding (38), writing (356)

In the Classroom

This is a perfect activity for students to use to practice their typing skills. Put this site on your classroom webpage so students can practice at home. Place on classroom computers and have students use after they finish classwork or use as a center for small groups of students. Students will especially like that the games are similar to classic video games like Pacman and Tetris.
 This resource requires Adobe Flash.

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Six Word Stories - Pete Berg

Grades
5 to 12
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Six Word Stories challenges students to create a meaningful "narrative," book summary, reaction to a movie, or other literary reflection in just six words. Based on a famous one by...more
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Six Word Stories challenges students to create a meaningful "narrative," book summary, reaction to a movie, or other literary reflection in just six words. Based on a famous one by Ernest Hemingway, the site collects the writings of amateurs and professionals. Readers can search it by theme or by genre or author (including famous ones). Links include places to try similar endeavors including 2-sentence stories and fifty-word stories. Please preview: at the time of this review, there was one inappropriate comment with a curse word.

tag(s): writing (356)

In the Classroom

Have a contest and challenge your students to submit the best 6-word story after finishing a novel, play, or poem. Try creating some together on interactive whiteboard, brainstorming first to generate possible words from which to choose, then dragging to rearrange them into a meaningful story. Make a six word story "sidebar" at the side of your class where students can work together with a partner on the IWB to generate new stories as summaries for an act of a Shakespeare play or in response to a sonnet. In a journalism class, try this for a twist on headline writing. Introduce poetry writing by having your students try their hand at expressing an emotional experience in just 6 words. ESL/ELL students often create unusual combinations in writing; why not have them display their creativity here in an acceptable form? Share this site with world language teachers also.
 
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Flashcard Stash - WharfWorks LLC

Grades
2 to 12
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Use this free web site to create flashcards for teacher or individual student use. Flashcard Stash is not just another flashcard maker. Here you certainly can make your own flashcards,...more
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Use this free web site to create flashcards for teacher or individual student use. Flashcard Stash is not just another flashcard maker. Here you certainly can make your own flashcards, but you can also find ready-made flashcards for 100 Common SAT words, 501 Spanish or French Verbs, 100 words you should know, and Words to impress your friends. You can choose to hear the words pronounced correctly, too. Flashcard Stash also uses multiple choice and fill in the blank questions, and calculates the optimal time for review. Teachers get a free account that can create classes and share lists of flashcards with your students.

tag(s): flash cards (45)

In the Classroom

Joining as a teacher you will get all the perks for free. You can create your own personalized lists and focus only on words your class needs to work on.

Change the way students learn and study vocabulary by giving it to them the way they want it with interactive flashcards and self assessment quizzes. Demonstrate with the whole class on the interactive whiteboard or projector, and use it that way periodically whenever you have a few teachable moments to fill. Embed it on your class web page for students to access frequently.

Facts, spelling words, vocabulary, definitions, foreign language, root words, historical names, all can easily be typed into this flashcard format for any subject. Plan a system of tags for sets on related material so they can be grouped. For example: tag all geography terms "geography" and all words from the same science chapter using the chapter number or topic. In the computer lab, using a projector or interactive whiteboard, walk your students through making their own sets of flashcards or use teacher created flashcards for student and group use. Students or parents can then access their electronic cards at home or anywhere. Learning support teachers may want to work together with small student groups to create verbal and visual card sets to accompany the chapters they are studying. Involve the students in the process so they can reinforce new content as they create their own "study materials."

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TV411 - Math - Adult Literacy Media Alliance

Grades
4 to 12
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TV411 offers lessons and games covering math topics from calculating area to reading a pay stub. Each lesson is offered in a slide format beginning with an introduction to the ...more
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TV411 offers lessons and games covering math topics from calculating area to reading a pay stub. Each lesson is offered in a slide format beginning with an introduction to the activity, followed by questions to answer. Upon answering questions, feedback is provided. If the answer was incorrect, an explanation of the correct solution is provided. The site also provides several math games practicing fractions, ratio, data, and percent. Spanish and ESL/ELL teachers will want to note that there is a small sample of lessons available in Spanish on the site. Many of the topics are also applicable in Family and Consumer Science or business classes, as well.

tag(s): charts and graphs (195), financial literacy (78)

In the Classroom

Share this site on your interactive whiteboard or projector as practice or review of current math topics. Provide a link to games on classroom computers for student practice. Spanish teachers may want students to complete a lesson in Spanish to provide real-world language practice. Share this site with parents through your classroom website or blog to provide review materials at home.
 This resource requires Adobe Flash.

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Skeptical Science - John Cook

Grades
9 to 12
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Confused about the counter claims about climate change and global warming? This unique website uses skepticism about the skeptics of climate change. Before you discount this site, check...more
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Confused about the counter claims about climate change and global warming? This unique website uses skepticism about the skeptics of climate change. Before you discount this site, check out its use of science in skeptics claims and announcements. Use this site to find pure science in understanding the headlines, comments, and claims found in media. Be sure to check under the arguments and resources tabs of this site. This site does include some minor advertisements.

tag(s): climate (92), climate change (64), environment (317)

In the Classroom

Use this site to discuss the actual science being used and various ways it can be interpreted. Brainstorm and research various opinions about climate change and why people hold those beliefs. Search this site for the science associated with these claims. Back up the finding of the science with content for better understanding of the world around us. Have others that still believe in claims not supported by science? Allow them to find actual science processes that back up their claim. Have students or student groups create an online, interactive poster known as a "glog," using GlogsterEDU, reviewed here.
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MapStats for Kids - FEDSTATS

Grades
3 to 6
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Stixie and Globie help kids learn about maps and statistics with fun interactives on this site. Each character defines basic terms and concepts about maps and statistics, then provides...more
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Stixie and Globie help kids learn about maps and statistics with fun interactives on this site. Each character defines basic terms and concepts about maps and statistics, then provides a short review quiz. Activities included are Paint the Map (mean and median), Farmland (working with data sets), The Network Challenge (plotting a path on a map), Market Manager (creating equal data sets), and Data to Graphics (working with bar charts, tables, and maps). The link to Resources for Parents and Teachers provides an external link to standards for Geography and Math found in the site.

tag(s): charts and graphs (195), data (149), maps (287), mean (25), median (22)

In the Classroom

Introduce the site on your interactive whiteboard or projector and allow students to explore on their own. Allow students to try Paint the Map when working with mean and median or when learning locations of states. This is a fabulous site to correlate math with social studies! Have students work with a partner to try one of the activities. Then have the groups create multimedia presentations to share their activities with the class. Have students create a simple online posters using PicLits (reviewed here).
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Color Vision and Art - Michael Douma

Grades
6 to 12
4 Favorites 0  Comments
 
Color, Vision and Art examines both scientific and artistic interpretations of color. This is one of many interdisciplinary exhibits found on WebExhibits online museum. This particular...more
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Color, Vision and Art examines both scientific and artistic interpretations of color. This is one of many interdisciplinary exhibits found on WebExhibits online museum. This particular showcase makes the connection between the birth of Modern art and the scientific revolution of the 19th century. Articles include historic investigations into the psychological effect of color upon the emotions, the anatomy of the human eye, color vision theory, and the brain's perception of color. The site also provides fascinating information about oil and egg tempera painting and how each achieves the illusion of light and space. They examine not only Western Art of the 19th, 20th and 21st century, but also African Art.

tag(s): art history (69), colors (79), human body (119), newton (25), psychology (64)

In the Classroom

Color, Vision and Art offers students a unique opportunity to make cross-curricular connections and is a great starting point for individual or group projects. Students interested in Anatomy, Neuroscience, Painting, or Art History, will enjoy exploring this site independently. Each individual chapter comes with a selection of extension tasks from which students can choose. The "Exhibit" tab also offers suggestions for directing class discussions and provides tasks that initiate higher order thinking. Guiding questions about the neurobiological interpretation of color, will simultaneously develop student ability to analyze and interpret color used in art. Have students create a multimedia presentation to report about what they have learned using Thinglink, reviewed here. This site allows users to narrate a picture. Challenge students to find a reproduction of a painting (legally permitted to be reproduced), and include a narration about the artist's use of color. There are also interactive activities to demonstrate aspects of color theory. Project these interactive tools on an interactive whiteboard to the whole class and experiment with simultaneous color contrast, and luminance together. Use this site as the starting point for individual or group projects. This site is excellent for enrichment. Include it on your class web page for students to access both in and out of class, especially when they are designing their own multimedia projects and want to take advantage of color's subtleties.
  This resource requires Adobe Flash and PDF reader software like Adobe Acrobat.

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Treasury Direct Kids - U.S. Department of the Treasury

Grades
4 to 8
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At this wonderful site, learn about the history of Treasury securities, U.S. debt, and the importance of saving and investing. You can view an old video featuring an ancient superman...more
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At this wonderful site, learn about the history of Treasury securities, U.S. debt, and the importance of saving and investing. You can view an old video featuring an ancient superman talk about buying U.S. savings bonds, try several money interactives, and do money math. Learn about the important history of U.S. borrowing. Viewing old war bond posters is another way to learn history and learn about old styles of graphic design. Graphs of U.S. debt complete another approach to teaching about basic banking and debt. Many wonderful short videos show TV advertisements for savings bonds.

tag(s): advertising (33), posters (35)

In the Classroom

After presenting the basic info on this site, have students make online posters parallel to the old ones they see displayed here. Use an online poster creator, such as Padlet (reviewed here). Have them make their own graphs of funds and debts based on their own finances using Tabblo reviewed here. Use this site when teaching percentages; have students do problems figuring the interest on today's debt. Introduce them to the concept of buying a bond today and have them calculate its accrued interest and how many years it will take to gain face value. Have students in a team create modern day videos to advertise and sell savings bonds. Share the videos using a tool such as SchoolTube (reviewed here).
 This resource requires Adobe Flash.

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Webonauts Internet Academy - pbskidsgo.org

Grades
3 to 5
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Explore being a citizen in a "web-infused, information-rich" world. Try your hand at 12 missions all while observing the motto: "Observe, Respect, Contribute." Understand critical issues...more
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Explore being a citizen in a "web-infused, information-rich" world. Try your hand at 12 missions all while observing the motto: "Observe, Respect, Contribute." Understand critical issues concerning online safety. Identify credible sources of information. Learn how to handle cyber-bullying bullying. Note: This resource was developed as a partnership project between PBS KIDS and Common Sense Media. Find great resources and information in the Parents and Teachers tab on the site.

tag(s): bullying (52), cyberbullying (42)

In the Classroom

Learn about the importance of protecting passwords and maintaining privacy settings. Follow the 12 missions to be cyber-smart. Create a password or mission guide for students to complete to show what they have learned. Discuss other issues with technology to provide more learning experiences for students. Challenge groups to create a multimedia presentation about one of the missions they complete or create a word cloud highlighting key terms using a site such as wordle reviewed here.
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Estimator Four - Shodor

Grades
3 to 6
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This activity allows two users to play a game of estimation where each player tries to connect four game pieces in a row before his or her opponent does. The ...more
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This activity allows two users to play a game of estimation where each player tries to connect four game pieces in a row before his or her opponent does. The players earn game pieces by accurately estimating the answers to various problems. Be sure to check out the instructor tab which provides an exploration worksheet, links to standards and textbooks, and other similar classroom resources. Note: some of the activity responses appear in pop-up windows. Watch your tabs or web browser carefully in case they are "hiding."

tag(s): estimation (46), percent (82)

In the Classroom

Use on the interactive whiteboard or projector when introducing estimation. The pull downs on the activity give a choice for estimations to be "close," "really close," and "almost perfect." Use these for opportunities to discuss when the different choices would be appropriate for estimating. During a unit on estimation, provide this link on your class website for students to access for practice in and out of the classroom.
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Bio-alive - bio-alive.com

Grades
9 to 12
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View great videos about Biology on this free science video sharing site. (Some of the videos are provided by YouTube.) Click the Categories tab to view a wide variety of ...more
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View great videos about Biology on this free science video sharing site. (Some of the videos are provided by YouTube.) Click the Categories tab to view a wide variety of topics from Anatomy to Virology. Find great video lectures under the Lectures tab. Be sure to check out the other tabs for great resources such as Animations, Seminars, Tutorials, and Laboratories (Virtual.) Note that ads run along the side of this site and it is best to provide a link directly to the content.

tag(s): cells (102), evolution (100), human body (119)

In the Classroom

Use as a refresher for yourself and colleagues to stay abreast of new understandings in Biology. Use to reinforce material or introduce a topic in your Biology class. For example, use the video on Stem Cells to understand what they are all about and dispel some of the most common myths. Allow time to view the material, outline the major points, and create a statement in the form of a blog post to demonstrate what they have learned and perhaps discuss some ethical issues as well. Challenge students to create their own videos on a topic being learned in your science class. Share the videos using a site such as SchoolTube (reviewed here).
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We Remember Anne Frank - Scholastic

Grades
5 to 12
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We Remember Anne Frankis an opportunity for classrooms to go beyond Anne's diary to meet two of the heroic people who actually knew her and survived to tell her story. ...more
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We Remember Anne Frankis an opportunity for classrooms to go beyond Anne's diary to meet two of the heroic people who actually knew her and survived to tell her story. Use this site to develop empathy and the theme of endurance of human spirit and courage in the face of horrible circumstances which enabled them to risk everything to help Anne Frank. This online project will enable students to understand how the events of World War II led to the Nazi's rise of power and how the Holocaust impacted the lives of real people.

tag(s): anne frank (10), holocaust (38), jews (19), nazis (10), remembrance day (6), women (101), world war 2 (141)

In the Classroom

Use this site to initiate cross-curricula ELA/Social Studies projects that utilize technology to provide opportunities for group collaboration and exploration as well as individual learning that connect students to the world beyond their personal locations. Provide a link from your class wiki or webpage for easy access to the interactive timeline, the story of Miep Gies, and the interview with Hanneli Pick-Goslar, one of Anne's childhood friends. Assign students one or more of the many suggested extension activities. Perhaps create a bulletin board display or ask students to interview their grandparents and other family members and then each develop a time line that shows what their families were doing during the years 1941-1945, and share their histories, or compare and contrast life then and now. Challenge students to create interactive online timelines to share with the class using a site such as Timetoast reviewed here.
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View Pure - Veetri

Grades
K to 12
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View Pure enables you to search YouTube and show videos from it without the annoying "extras" on your screen. Wishing you could "just show" YouTube videos to your classes? Looking ...more
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View Pure enables you to search YouTube and show videos from it without the annoying "extras" on your screen. Wishing you could "just show" YouTube videos to your classes? Looking for a way to take away the clutter and often inappropriate related videos that always pop up on seemingly innocent searches? Trying to find a way to share videos and still follow the acceptable use policy? There are three ways to go about this process. You can use the search tool to find and then show a video. You can copy and paste a link from YouTube into the page, or you can install the tool into your bookmarks and click on it to "purify" the videos. A special *note*: this site claims to be useful with video sites other than YouTube, however after trying a number of different video sites, the only successful one was YouTube. The main page for the View Pure site does include some minor advertisements.

tag(s): safety (99)

In the Classroom

How often do you find great clips and video shorts from YouTube and you can't show them or are afraid to show them even if you can get them through the school filter? Try using this to show clips or long videos from to your class via the interactive whiteboard or projector. There are some great, clean "Bill Nye" video portions that can be found and shared using this site for science class.

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