TeachersFirst - Featured Sites: Week of Jul 31, 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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Dropbox - Dropbox

Grades
9 to 12
2 Favorites 0  Comments
 
Save files to the cloud and access on a variety of computers and devices. Download Dropbox on the computers and devices you wish to use. Save a document in Dropbox ...more
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Save files to the cloud and access on a variety of computers and devices. Download Dropbox on the computers and devices you wish to use. Save a document in Dropbox and it is accessible everywhere you use it. Simply copy, save, or move the document into Dropbox. Easily sync and share. Revert to previous versions of the document for up to 30 days (for the free version.) No access to Internet at one of your locations? No problem as your Dropbox file stays in Dropbox and the next time you are online it will upload it for you. Share Dropbox files with other users for easy collaboration. Apps for Dropbox are available (at the time of this review) for iPod touch, iPad, iPhone, Blackberry, and Droid. Now share files and folders with others by clicking on "Get Link." Share the link with others even if they do not have a Dropbox account. What could be better? You can continue to add to the folder and those you share with will see every new addition! This is a device-agnostic tool, available on the web but also available for free as both an Android and iOS app. Use it from any device or move between several devices and still access your work. App and web versions vary slightly.

tag(s): DAT device agnostic tool (192), writing (356)

In the Classroom

Use for any work students may wish to collaborate on. They can easily make documents public or private and share with others. Though not a complete back up of all your documents, Dropbox can be used to collaborate and to finish work easily when on different computers. Any item you can work with using word can be used with Dropbox. Use this site to help all of your students (gifted, learning support, ADD) stay organized. Use this tool easily in your Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) classroom since all students will be able to access it for free, no matter what device they have. Share whole files and folders with students easily!

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Sant Ocean Hall Coral Reef Interactive - Smithsonian, NOAA, and Operand

Grades
3 to 12
3 Favorites 0  Comments
  
Enter the world of an interactive coral reef that is in jeopardy! The coral reef, located in the Caribbean, is now facing a dilemma of increasing tourism and putting the ...more
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Enter the world of an interactive coral reef that is in jeopardy! The coral reef, located in the Caribbean, is now facing a dilemma of increasing tourism and putting the coral reef in jeopardy, or taking away the economic growth that could be possible for the island residents. Choose a character; an owner of a family hotel, a lifelong resident, or a tourist, and make your decision. This engaging interactive, allows you to watch how each perspective affects the coral reef. Additional links listed add a deeper understanding of the problems presented.

tag(s): coral (12), ecosystems (88), marine biology (33)

In the Classroom

Use this interactive coral reef in a study of nonrenewable resources, conservation, or ecosystems. Put the site on the interactive whiteboard or projector and watch your class jump into the water! As a starting point for Socrates seminar, debates, and persuasive writing, this site offers a great variety of passionate debate! Using this site as a model, have your students make a similar situation with other ecosystems. Have students create other scenarios for non-renewable resources, arguments for alternative energy, or even bring closer to home with a local dilemma. In writing class, develop an interactive based on the book Hoot by Carl Hiaasen. Why not have students create a Prezi presentation (reviewed here), simple to use with endless possibilities. Use the model for other scenarios and develop other story ideas. Use a problem based learning scenario into ways humans affect the environment. These activities will engage every learner!
 This resource requires Adobe Flash.

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Clorox Classrooms - The Clorox Company

Grades
K to 5
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Clorox Classrooms is designed to help teachers or parents explain good hygiene practices and the importance of protecting yourself against "germs" and bacteria as well as where to find...more
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Clorox Classrooms is designed to help teachers or parents explain good hygiene practices and the importance of protecting yourself against "germs" and bacteria as well as where to find them in school and at home. Lesson plans, whiteboard interactives, and take home activities are all included here. Links lead to grants to be applied for by classroom teachers and coupons for Clorox products.
This site includes advertising.

tag(s): bacteria (30), diseases (66), hygiene (10)

In the Classroom

Find great lesson plans that would be great in a health and science cross curricular unit. Students use simple tools such as thermometers and more to collect data and compare results. For a creative extension and informational writing activity, have students create their own "germ" profiles by using a paint program to draw a picture of an imaginary germ, its f vorite environment, and the things humans can do to keep it under control. Use a tool such as Thinglink, reviewed here, to upload student-drawn images and have students narrate about them.
 This resource requires PDF reader software like Adobe Acrobat.

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Hohli - Charts Builder/Anton Shevchuk

Grades
2 to 12
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Create charts and graphs easily and instantly using this site. Choose the type of chart and enter your information or data. You can change the type of chart after entering ...more
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Create charts and graphs easily and instantly using this site. Choose the type of chart and enter your information or data. You can change the type of chart after entering data simply by clicking the chart type! Be sure to enter the maximum values and information for setting up the chart, including grid information and backgrounds. Click on the question mark bubbles for more information about each field. As you enter the data and change the parameters, view a thumbnail of the chart along the right. Click on the small thumbnail view of the char at the right to see it larger. You can copy the chart URL, embed it, or right click on it to save it.
This site includes advertising.

tag(s): charts and graphs (195)

In the Classroom

You will want to play with this tool before using it in class, but it is very simple to use. Use anywhere numerical data is collected and is best shown in a chart. Collect data in a science, survey, or math class and display it using different graphs to discuss the advantages and disadvantages of using each graph type. Use for quick creation and sharing of created graphs. Create charts together easily on an interactive whiteboard when introducing the different types to elementary students. Have students operate the board so their peers can see how the tool works and give each other oral directions as they problem solve together. Then make the chart site a small group center during math class for further practice on a computer or interactive whiteboard. Save this site in your favorites for quick retrieval any time students need to make a quick chart. For student practice, have them chart time spent on homework or hobbies, favorite pets, etc. Reinforce good study habits in middle school by having students make charts of their average grades or time spent on independent reading.

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Drop It To Me - JAJAdesign

Grades
6 to 12
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DropItToMe is a nifty tool that complements DropBox (reviewed here). It allows you to create a secure email address that is password protected so...more
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DropItToMe is a nifty tool that complements DropBox (reviewed here). It allows you to create a secure email address that is password protected so that anyone you provide with this information can send you files. The files go to your Dropbox account. This is bigger and better than regular email. DropItToMe can accommodate files that are too large to be sent through regular email. This can also help when you may not be able to access email accounts because of filtering software and firewalls. Dropittome makes the need for access to email for sending documents obsolete. Note: Some schools block Dropbox, so check first!

tag(s): homework (43)

In the Classroom

This tool would be mighty handy for online assignments and anything that is completed digitally. Best of all, as the teacher you can set up one email account, share the password with all of your students, and they can send you files. They never need to access anything but this website. This is extremely handy for those who are conducting or pushing towards paperless classrooms.

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Magical Microbes: Chomp! - Jim Metzner Productions, Inc.

Grades
6 to 10
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Magical Microbes: Chomp! is a bacteria simulation activity with three levels of difficulty. Each level has two different organisms to choose, and the object is to properly feed and...more
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Magical Microbes: Chomp! is a bacteria simulation activity with three levels of difficulty. Each level has two different organisms to choose, and the object is to properly feed and nurture the microbes so that they stay alive. The simulation is easy to navigate with its straightforward onscreen instructions and bright graphics. Magical Microbes: Chomp! is part of the Kid's Science Challenge website.

tag(s): bacteria (30), diseases (66), hygiene (10), microorganisms (14)

In the Classroom

Have students try this activity as an introduction to bacteria. Allow students to "play" for about fifteen minutes, depending on the grade of the students. Then discuss what the students have discovered. Have students investigate further using other sources to find facts on the six different bacteria included in the simulation. This is a great way to engage students in the study of bacteria. Once students have learned more about the bacteria, have students replay the simulation and evaluate how much more effective they are at keeping the bacteria alive.

If you click on the lizard on the right at the top of the page, he gives the you a challenge: "Can you think of a brand new way that microbes can help us?" Have small groups of students brainstorm about how else microbes could be used. Have students use a tool such as bubbl.us (reviewed here) to create and share concept maps of their ideas.
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Word Spy - Paul McFedries

Grades
6 to 12
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This word definition site offers the very latest terms, hip language, and slang. Words like "daycation" and "post-Potter" are here before they make it to a dictionary; some will never...more
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This word definition site offers the very latest terms, hip language, and slang. Words like "daycation" and "post-Potter" are here before they make it to a dictionary; some will never be in a standard reference, but when they come up in modern parlance, they are here. By clicking on "more information," you can find the word's earliest usage and date. You are also able to comment on the words. The information also features related words and vocabulary categories. You can also search by category.

tag(s): dictionaries (55), slang (15), vocabulary (323), vocabulary development (126), word study (80)

In the Classroom

This is a great find for gifted students, those working to advance their vocabulary levels, and for ESL/ELL students who may be puzzled by rapidly changing idiomatic language around them. Be sure to include this site on your class web page for students to access both in and outside of class for future reference. When teaching word study, such as roots and affixes, include this site to show how new words evolve and that language is a living thing. Perhaps even share a word a day from this site for students to guess the definition.

During a study of dictionary skills, discuss with students how new words might come to be in the dictionary. Have small groups of students brainstorm slang words they've heard around school and their neighborhoods. Once they have their list, they can look these words up on Word Spy. For any word that isn't there, have them create an online, interactive poster known as a "glog," using GlogsterEDU, reviewed here as a page that could be included in Word Spy.

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Kaboose Science games - funschool.kaboose.com

Grades
K to 7
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Find great interactives for a variety of elementary to middle school science and health concepts! Concepts extend from space to animals. Each game features instructions on how to play....more
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Find great interactives for a variety of elementary to middle school science and health concepts! Concepts extend from space to animals. Each game features instructions on how to play. Games are easy to follow and complete.

tag(s): animals (277), experiments (71), space (206)

In the Classroom

Use the Animal Homes activity to match critters with their natural habitat. Use Animal Safari to match animals with their names. Find games that use knowledge and test skill with many science concepts. Use these activities as reinforcers, to gather information for class discussion, and for generating questions prior to a new class unit. Be sure to visit the For Teachers and Parents section for some great activities and ideas, separated by grade levels.
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Wonderville Robot Factory - Science Alberta Foundation

Grades
5 to 8
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This interactive, robot building simulation allows you to create "chore" robots. Select the job to be done, and build the robot to do that job. Information is given on each ...more
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This interactive, robot building simulation allows you to create "chore" robots. Select the job to be done, and build the robot to do that job. Information is given on each part and how it works. Once the robot is assembled, try it out in the simulator to see how well it was made. If the robot does not properly complete the job, there is an opportunity to rebuild it. This is a very interesting and engaging activity for learners!

tag(s): engineering (118), robotics (24), scientific method (64), simple machines (36)

In the Classroom

Studying simple machines? Studying robotics? Thinking about the scientific method and the "doing" of science? This activity could be used for any of these three concepts or all three in conjunction. There is the virtual hands on component that is very reminiscent of a video game so your students will love it! Post the site to the class website so students can easily navigate to it. Have them complete the activity and participate in an online follow discussion during class. Or, even have the students discuss what they learned during class. No matter how you choose to apply it, it is a great interactive activity! Just as a note, if you are going to let your students use the sound, have them plug in their ear buds or use classroom headsets where available.
 This resource requires Adobe Flash.

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Glass Education for Students, Teachers, and the General Public - International Materials Institute, Lehigh University

Grades
7 to 12
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Interested in glass making or teaching about how glass is made? This site is your one stop shop for hands-on activities, videos, and lessons. Using everyday materials to create candy...more
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Interested in glass making or teaching about how glass is made? This site is your one stop shop for hands-on activities, videos, and lessons. Using everyday materials to create candy glass, you can get a realistic feel for the difficulties of making real glass. The creators of the activities are well respected professors who are actually using the techniques and experiments themselves. Depending on your technical desires or ability, you can delve into the videos, Power Points, and posters found here to suit your needs. If you are a novice to glass making or science, simply check out the "Sugar Glass Demo." It is sure to fire up your thoughts on glass.

tag(s): chemicals (40), cooking (34), density (21), experiments (71), optics (13)

In the Classroom

Combine this site with The Corning Museum's Glass Chemistry site, reviewed here, as the essential ingredients for a major unit on glass! This website can be used for varying levels of science from introductory chemistry to advanced physics depending on the resources that you choose to use from the site. In introductory chemistry, share the "Sugar Glass Video," demonstrate to the class how to create sugar glass using the recipes on the site, and then have students create the glass in the lab. Have students explain states of matter, temperature change, etc. For physics and other advanced sciences, check out the Power Points and videos on the refractive index and density experiments. Perhaps the recipes and the "create a construction of sugar masterpieces" could be used in a family and consumer science class in a baking or candy unit.
 This resource requires PDF reader software like Adobe Acrobat.

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Shape it up! An Earth Changing Erosion Activity - kineticcity.com

Grades
2 to 8
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Learn about erosion with this easy to understand site. When prompted, choose forces of nature to change a flat piece of land into the eroded land pictured. If the wrong ...more
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Learn about erosion with this easy to understand site. When prompted, choose forces of nature to change a flat piece of land into the eroded land pictured. If the wrong force of nature is chosen, a red X appears. When correct answers have been chosen, the actual process appears in order to illustrate how the processes make the first scene change into the last one.

tag(s): erosion (17), glaciers (14), landforms (45), volcanoes (61), water (130)

In the Classroom

Use this simple and effective site to identify the common processes involved in erosion. Demonstrate how the site works on your interactive whiteboard and projector. Then allow students to explore the site on classroom computers or in the computer lab. As students work through the site, have them note what creates the eroded area. Students can either take notes, draw pictures, or record audio. During class discussion, name the processes and forces for greater understanding. You may want to have pairs investigate and use Postica (reviewed here), to create web-based sticky notes on a sticky board about the aspect of erosion they had time to investigate. Use the board as a visual prompt for review topics.
 This resource requires Adobe Flash.

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