TeachersFirst - Featured Sites: Week of Jul 3, 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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The Wizarding World of Harry Potter - Universal

Grades
5 to 8
1 Favorites 0  Comments
  
Visit Harry Potter's world 3D style! This Webby Award Nominee by Universal will take you through Hogwart's School of Witchcraft and Wizardry. You can enter Dumbledore's office, Gryffindor...more
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Visit Harry Potter's world 3D style! This Webby Award Nominee by Universal will take you through Hogwart's School of Witchcraft and Wizardry. You can enter Dumbledore's office, Gryffindor common room, and many more of the areas you read about in the Harry Potter books. You can also stroll (scroll) down the streets of Hogsmeade, where you can visit certain shops. This is a unique, interactive fantasy world that is gorgeous, and sure to please your students who love Harry Potter. Along the bottom you will find several items to click on to see different aspects of the Harry Potter books. Click on the map to see Hogsmeade and Hogwarts.

tag(s): independent reading (128), reading strategies (45), virtual field trips (48), visual thinking (10), visualizations (14)

In the Classroom

Use your projector and whiteboard, and show parts of The Wizarding World of Harry Potter as a treat for your students, or as an introduction to reading one of the Harry Potter books as a class novel. Since this site is beautiful and fanciful students who have a hard time visualizing while reading may benefit from seeing how Harry Potter's world might look. After this introduction, have a station set up with this website for students who want to look at certain rooms and activities while reading the book.
 This resource requires Adobe Flash.

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Tell It Again - James A. Jukosky

Grades
K to 4
2 Favorites 0  Comments
 
Jump back into the 1950's radio era of "Come listen to a story you may have heard before". This site narrates favorite children's classics, dramatized by June Cater's award winning...more
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Jump back into the 1950's radio era of "Come listen to a story you may have heard before". This site narrates favorite children's classics, dramatized by June Cater's award winning radio show. The reel to reel tapes from the popular radio show are from this free website. Twelve popular folk tales including: Little Red Riding Hood, The Three Bears, and the Tortoise and the Hare, have a MP3. Each selection includes stories with expressive characters, sound effects, and jingles. Future plans for this site include: children's musicians, authors, writers, and storytellers. Students will enjoy listening to favorite stories again and again in the classroom or at home on this free, user friendly-site.
This site includes advertising.

tag(s): listening (91), podcasts (52), writing (359)

In the Classroom

PreK-6 classrooms can use this site to enhance reading, listening, and historical perspectives on radio entertainment in individual, centers, or whole group setting. This site has been suggested for use with children with language delays, limited story backgrounds, Ell, ESL, or gifted children. Despite the website's limited stories available, it offers a great model for many inspired, creative lessons and projects with reading, writing, and listening. Ask students to add illustrations or create their own recordings of their own from stories. Inspire students with the musical jingles, challenging them to create their own jingle to accompany a favorite story of their own. Use these stories in writing class to model descriptive words, strong verbs, adjectives, sequencing, mind movies, and the elements of literature. Your podcasts will become alive and animated after hearing examples from this site. Build your own auditory story library with guest readers such as principals, teachers, older students, or family members. Students can add their own stories to create a classroom library of budding authors.

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iCyte Education - ICYTE

Grades
7 to 12
1 Favorites 0  Comments
 
This tool is simple to use, especially since it has step by step instructions upon first use. iCyte is a browser add-on that allows you to save quotes, parts of ...more
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This tool is simple to use, especially since it has step by step instructions upon first use. iCyte is a browser add-on that allows you to save quotes, parts of readings, or anything one can highlight on the Internet. Once installed, this program has two icons that are located on the toolbar of the browser. Simply two buttons, the first is to save citations, and the second button is to view saved parts of websites. This tool allows you to create projects and store citations by project groups. This would be great for students working on research projects and other similar types of papers. Note that this review directs you to the free educator area of iCyte.

tag(s): citations (34)

In the Classroom

Students could easily install this on their own computers to use during research projects. Teachers could use this to save parts of websites for different classes. Use this tool as an "idea bin" (whole class or individual) throughout a unit before students even start the culminating project. They can collect clips, sites, etc. that interest them about the unit topic so they have raw materials to choose from for the upcoming project. Demonstrate how to use the tool using your interactive whiteboard or projector. You must be able to follow onscreen instructions and locate icons on their toolbar. The only possible issue with this program is that the user must have administrative access to the computers to complete installation.

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KeepVid - keepvid.com

Grades
K to 12
13 Favorites 0  Comments
   
Want to use YouTube videos but cannot play them at school? Download your video using this free service. No software download required, but you will need to have Java on ...more
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Want to use YouTube videos but cannot play them at school? Download your video using this free service. No software download required, but you will need to have Java on your computer. Find a video you want to save, then copy and paste the video's URL at KeepVid. The easiest way for your download to be successful to insert "keep" into the URL before the "YouTube." In our experience, this tool works without causing other problems. You may encounter warnings about applet security; we ignored these, but you may choose to do otherwise. If you decide to proceed, be sure to "allow" KeepVid access when your computer asks, and click "run" to begin the download. Select the quality you want to save the file to download (low, medium, or high quality FLV, MP3, or MP4 format.) Use KeepVid with a variety of video sites. If unable to view your file, either download a FLV viewer such as FLV Player (find a free one advertised on the site,) or convert your file into a more usable format. Drag the KeepVid button from their site into your browser's links toolbar. Find your video. When it starts to stream, click the KeepVid button in your toolbar. Choose the link to download and save.
This site includes advertising.

tag(s): conversions (23), movies (65), video (254)

In the Classroom

Use this service to backup videos on your YouTube channel. Use to download and save videos at home that you wish to show to students, especially if they are blocked at school. Users must be able to find, copy, and paste the URL of the video to be downloaded. Once the program starts, you will be prompted to save it. If you want to use the video at school, you would save it to a USB stick.The MP4 format is fast, and it will play on an Apple or Windows computer. If you want to download in FLV format, you must also be able to play FLV files on the computer or be able to download an FLV viewer. No registration or login is required. This should primarily be a teacher resource. If using with students, discuss appropriate and inappropriate uses of the technology as well as choosing necessary videos. Be careful about videos found on the KeepVid site. These may not be family or student appropriate.

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Schoology - Schoology

Grades
K to 12
3 Favorites 1  Comments
 
This site is for adventurous, organized technology users looking for a complete online environment for class management. Manage your classes completely through this online environment...more
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This site is for adventurous, organized technology users looking for a complete online environment for class management. Manage your classes completely through this online environment whether you do/do not have access to school-required tools such as an online gradebook. Use this platform for administering quizzes and tests as well as other assessments. Use the social networking aspect to post messages to a large group of students or to individuals. Use the calendar tool and use the interface for students to find and use all documents and materials. Create and share using this exceptional tool. Note: This tool could be time-consuming in initial set-up. Be sure you have permission to use this tool with student accounts before even considering its use. Watch the video tour and check out the features list for the free features that are included with this vast tool.

tag(s): assessment (100), blogs (88), classroom management (135), forum (9), game based learning (103), gamification (65), quizzes (96)

In the Classroom

This tool can operate your whole class for the entire year and is a complete learning management system (LMS.) Take advantage of this FREE professional resource. Users must be somewhat familiar with web 2.0 tools in order to decide what to use and how best to use them. Be sure to check out all the support material on this site for help in using and setting up the features. Be sure to check with your district's policy concerning the use of such a tool. Be sure that access to this tool is with your classes only.

Comments

I prefer Moodle - more versatile and automatically private. So check that out, too. Frances, CT, Grades: 6 - 8

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34 Ideas to Inspire Writing - Mark Warner

Grades
5 to 12
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Want to spice up your writing program? 34 Ideas to Inspire Writing will have something just perfect for you. This is a slide show of more than 34 very creative ...more
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Want to spice up your writing program? 34 Ideas to Inspire Writing will have something just perfect for you. This is a slide show of more than 34 very creative ideas to get your students writing. The ideas range from writing a script to present the weather, using Voki reviewed here or Blabberize reviewed here to bring a photo, a character, or an inanimate object to life, or random story starters from the Scholastic Story Starter Machine. Some of the slides have a central idea with several alternate suggestions, so you end up with way more than 34 Ideas to Inspire Writing. Some slides include links to sites; others include interactives, videos, and photos.

tag(s): writing (359), writing prompts (92)

In the Classroom

You can select one of the ideas and use your projector and interactive whiteboard to have the class brainstorm for their writing assignment. You could have a link on your web page and use it as a center for students to rotate through, either choosing which idea to use for their writing, or you could designate which idea students are to use. You can also assign small groups to certain ideas and when the writing is done, all groups share what they've written with the class.
  This resource requires Adobe Flash and PDF reader software like Adobe Acrobat.

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Storybird - Storybird Inc.

Grades
K to 8
9 Favorites 0  Comments
   
Write your own story or collaborate and create a story using pictures, themes, and other prompts generated by the site. Students and families also can view stories created by others....more
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Write your own story or collaborate and create a story using pictures, themes, and other prompts generated by the site. Students and families also can view stories created by others. The final story is available for sharing via URL or email (or keeping private) and printing it is an option. Basically, write text and titles, create a book cover, add graphics, and pass the product to a co-writer (if collaborating) who adds more until both feel the story is complete. A demo video explains the basics. A special section for artists encourages art contributions and explains how to use the art to enhance the stories. an Education area provides a way for teachers to set up accounts for a class with or without student email. If your district blocks YouTube, the video may not be viewable. You could always view the video at home and bring it to class "on a stick" to share. Use a tool such as KeepVid, reviewed here, to download the video from YouTube.

tag(s): stories and storytelling (33), writing (359), writing prompts (92)

In the Classroom

Have pairs of students create a story by working collaboratively after you have explained and demonstrated the basics. Encourage your older students to use this tool for projects created in response to research or extra study. This is a great find for gifted students who want to include art work and use their creativity in productive ways. ESL/ELL students can use the site to recreate folk tales and recreations from their home countries.

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