TeachersFirst - Featured Sites: Week of Aug 14, 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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Humanitarian News and Analysis - UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs

Grades
8 to 12
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From the United Nations, this site brings news and analysis on current humanitarian efforts in Africa, Asia and the Middle East. As you help students evaluate and sift through the ...more
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From the United Nations, this site brings news and analysis on current humanitarian efforts in Africa, Asia and the Middle East. As you help students evaluate and sift through the huge volume of news content available to you, you can use sites like this to help students focus on specific issues and geographic areas. Much of what is found here will never appear on their Yahoo or Google news feed; that does not diminish its importance. The site allows you to sort content based on themes like education, gender, health, or human rights, or by continent or country.

tag(s): africa (181), asia (73), cross cultural understanding (115), cultures (105), middle east (30), news (261)

In the Classroom

If you focus on current events or on the history or culture of "non-Western" countries, this site should be among your bookmarks or favorites. Encourage students to consider news sources outside of the major US networks or internet based aggregators. Have students or student groups create an online, interactive poster known as a "glog," using GlogsterEDU, reviewed here to demonstrate the topic they researched.
 This resource requires Adobe Flash.

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Mesopotamia-The British Museum - The British Museum

Grades
6 to 12
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The British Museum presents this visually stunning site about the "cradle of civilization," Mesopotamia. Approach your study from one of several perspectives: geography, time, gods...more
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The British Museum presents this visually stunning site about the "cradle of civilization," Mesopotamia. Approach your study from one of several perspectives: geography, time, gods and goddesses, or writing. Each module has information, some extension narrative, and a challenge game (with requires Shockwave). For teachers, the best part is the Staffroom section which offers step by step information about using the site in the classroom. Start there to quickly discover how you can best use this resource.

tag(s): architecture (83), mesopotamia (6), middle east (30), writing (355)

In the Classroom

An interactive whiteboard or projector will take advantage of the strong visual impact of this site, but it will also be useful for individual exploration by students either in a computer cluster or from home. Students can try the "challenge" games as an extension, or for those who finish other work quickly. Bookmark the site (or save in favorites) for independent research.

Challenge students to research a various portion of this site and create a multimedia presentation (either independently or in cooperative learning groups.) How about having students use a tool such as Woices (beta) (reviewed here). This site allows students to create audio recordings AND choose a location (on a map) where the story takes place. Challenge students to narrate while the exact location is shown on a map! What a fabulous way to link history, geography, and presentation skills!
 This resource requires PDF reader software like Adobe Acrobat.

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National Assn for Sports and Physical Education Teacher Toolbox - National Assn for Sports and Physical Education

Grades
K to 12
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Finding fun and varied activities to keep students moving isn't always easy. The Teacher Toolbox on this site is the perfect find for quick and easy daily activities. After finding...more
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Finding fun and varied activities to keep students moving isn't always easy. The Teacher Toolbox on this site is the perfect find for quick and easy daily activities. After finding the toolbox, click on the black bar near the top of the page with the link to calendars. Here is where you will find monthly calendars (in English and Spanish) and divided by age levels - Early Childhood, Elementary, and Secondary - with a quick and easy physical activity to accomplish for the day. Calendars are also archived back to 2009 so there are several options for each month.

tag(s): calendars (44), fitness (49)

In the Classroom

Plan with the Physical Education teacher to incorporate suggested activities into the curriculum. Use the calendars during math class when teaching calendar skills such as days of the week, elapsed time, and more. Have students graph how many activities they completed each month and challenge students to improve each month. Use on online graphing tool using a site like Statistic - Johnnie's Math Page reviewed here. Practice fractions by comparing activities completed to activities performed each month, compare different students' calendars and fractional representations. Share on your classroom webpage or blog with parents as examples of fun, simple activities to improve student's healthy and decrease obesity.
 This resource requires PDF reader software like Adobe Acrobat.

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Tumblr - David Karp

Grades
9 to 12
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Use Tumblr as an easy set-up, easy to use microblogging and blogging platform. Tumblr offers many ways to get content into your blog. Choose the text type of content for ...more
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Use Tumblr as an easy set-up, easy to use microblogging and blogging platform. Tumblr offers many ways to get content into your blog. Choose the text type of content for a more traditional looking blog post. Also choose to share photos, audio, or video. Use the quote, link, or chat option to share quick portions of text. Add additional context information to your post. For example, with a photo, add a caption; or for a link, add a title, description, or link. Edit posts in the dashboard, and add the content type and additional elements. It is best to stay with the plain text editor for ease of use. Create posts by email and SMS as well. Other ways to post content are available through the dashboard. Add posts by installing a Tumblr bookmarklet to your browser window. Use Tumblr to follow others and see recent posts from those people. Change templates and even customize templates. Find those you follow and those who follow you on the right sidebar. The Radar in this sidebar brings in the latest information being posted on Tumblr. This tool can be minimized by clicking the Hide link but does exist and may have inappropriate content. Use the Mega editor to make changes to a lot of posts at the same time. Find the permalink to your post by hovering over the post. The top right corner "folds down," and clicking there provides you the permalink. Note: Make additional Tumblr blogs after you make your initial one (click the + icon in the dashboard.) This allows you the option of making the blog private by password-protecting the viewing of the blog.

tag(s): blogs (87), microblogging (44)

In the Classroom

Use for posts that have visual elements such as photography and art. The ease of adding images to a Tumblr blog make this a great tool for the medium. Use for Family and Consumer Science to create a cooking or entertaining blog. Create a blog showing images from experiments or learning about the world around them in Biology with posts about pond life. Focus on genetic traits and the differences that exist including photographs of past ancestors to show traits. Create posts about elements and take pictures of items or objects that are made of that element. Or show images of various chemical properties. Create a Tumblr blog page for a specific historical figure and create posts that the person would make highlighting accomplishments, people they meet, etc. Note: It is highly recommended that teachers not allow students to make their own Tumblr blog for class but instead make a blog for ALL students in the class to use. The teacher can manage (and monitor) the blog.

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Collaborize Classroom - Democrasoft

Grades
3 to 12
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Use this free resource to create a private area for asynchronous student discussions. Easily set up your class space including your groups. Use the welcome email to learn more about...more
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Use this free resource to create a private area for asynchronous student discussions. Easily set up your class space including your groups. Use the welcome email to learn more about Collaborize Classroom including 8 Online Icebreakers. Tutorials for learning how to enter students into groups, creating new groups, and choosing discussion types exist. Consensus discussions such as yes/no, multiple choice, and vote/suggest can be chosen. Open discussions can occur using the forum discussion type. Add video, images, documents, and more to your discussions. Students, however, cannot upload material to the discussions. Because it is a closed group, outside comments are not a concern (group members must be added, invited, or approved). The process from setup to a functioning site is very simple. Tutorials and technical support is available and make this tool very easy to use. Use participation and activity tools in Collaborize Classroom to track student participation. Use the available PDF's for assistance in using Collaborize Classroom and ideas to use in class to stimulate discussions and engage learning. Watch the videos on the site from educators that show how they use the site in their classrooms.

tag(s): DAT device agnostic tool (192), forum (9), polls and surveys (47)

In the Classroom

Use this tool for discussions, project collaboration, voting on issues, and sharing resources in and out of the classroom. Increase student participation and encourage in-class discussions and outside homework, extension of the classroom, and activity. Use for blended learning activities that include discussion questions to extend the discussions from in class to outside the classroom. Provide multiple choice questions that they can answer, agree or disagree with statements, post comments, or vote on other responses. Use the discussions to debate issues in the school community or within the country. Critique and comment on current events as they are happening. Use to discuss environmental problems. Use groupings to create literature circles. Watch the videos on the site from educators that show how they use the site in their classrooms.

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Thinkport tools - Maryland Public Television and John Hopkins University

Grades
2 to 12
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This site provides sample student activities and "how to" instructions for students to create timelines, museums, pattern makers, and more. Explore the tools to give students ownership...more
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This site provides sample student activities and "how to" instructions for students to create timelines, museums, pattern makers, and more. Explore the tools to give students ownership over their learning. Create your own activities or use the sample activities given with each tool. Use the Timeline Builder to easily create a simple but customizable timeline. Examine text for better understanding with the Annotate It! tool. Build spatial sense with the Pattern Builder that combines art and geometry in a fun to use tool. Create your own Museum is a great learning tool to decide what to showcase in any type of museum.

tag(s): museums (49), patterns (84), reading comprehension (114), timelines (62), writing (355)

In the Classroom

Use these tools for any subject area and for any content. Be sure to look at the sample activities that are great to use as is or can stimulate thinking into your own projects. Use the timeline as an introduction to the first year by discussing their summer activities, major events in a students life, inventions or technology that made a difference in their life, events in their favorite book, and more. To understand content in perspective, create a timeline to be sure students understand why some events happen at particular times. For example, our understanding about biology greatly changes after the invention of the microscope. A great sample activity to Create your own Museum is the celebration of neighborhoods which can create a greater understanding about different people. Create a museum for each different kind of biome that showcases what would be found there. Create a museum for a time period in history but created by a specific group of people. View each of the museums and note the differences in what is portrayed using the lens of that various segment of the population. Create writings or blog posts portraying the differences in the museums and why these differences exist. Even young students can make a simple timeline of their own life of the life cycle of a butterfly to build the concept of linear representation of time.

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Box Templates - Paperandmore

Grades
1 to 8
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This site offers nine templates to make a variety of shaped boxes from folded card stock or paper. Create a pyramid, hexagonal, matchbox, takeout, trapezoid, flap, candy, bon-bon, or...more
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This site offers nine templates to make a variety of shaped boxes from folded card stock or paper. Create a pyramid, hexagonal, matchbox, takeout, trapezoid, flap, candy, bon-bon, or puffy box with these printable templates and directions.
This site includes advertising.

tag(s): angles (86), area (65), crafts (40), geometric shapes (159), holidays (147), perimeter (32), printables (37), volume (46)

In the Classroom

Teach volume, area and perimeter while also creating useful gift boxes for holiday presents. This site will provide opportunities for visual spatial learners to learn mathematical principles about 2D and 3D figures, lines, angles, and planes. Download and print out the free templates onto vellum or card stock paper. Take advantage of the site's online directions and allow students to work on it in pairs so they can easily assist each other. Save this site in your favorites on classroom computers so students can practice paper folding independently. As a clever review activity for almost any curriculum topic, have students make and decorate a box, such as "secrets of the solar system" or "favorite vocabulary words" box, filling it with slips of paper with terms to define or explain. The decorations can be hints or images to fit the topic. Have student trade boxes to review.
 This resource requires PDF reader software like Adobe Acrobat.

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Adobe Museum of Digital Media - Adobe

Grades
9 to 12
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Come and visit the first ever, virtual digital arts museum. Adobe's innovative museum is the recipient of the 2011 Webby Award. This visually impressive site combines digital media,...more
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Come and visit the first ever, virtual digital arts museum. Adobe's innovative museum is the recipient of the 2011 Webby Award. This visually impressive site combines digital media, computer technology, and fine arts. Mechanical jellyfish like eyes acting as docents guide viewers through five virtual exhibition halls. These rooms host an introduction to the museum, lectures, and innovative visual experiences.

tag(s): artists (75), computers (78), museums (49), virtual field trips (48)

In the Classroom

The content in this museum is perfect for high school age students interested in pursuing a career in digital arts. Take time to view the exhibits first, research the content and prepare questions for class discussion about the site. Consider projecting exhibits to the whole class via interactive whiteboard or projector, or have students view the site in small collaborative groups. The lectures present unique perspectives on the history of technology, and pose questions such as "Where does innovation come from?" This site could spark interesting questions and a dynamic classroom dialogue about how technology effects our society today. The concept of creating a museum space that exists completely online is an appealing idea for schools looking for innovative ways to communicate and present content. Challenge students to create their own virtual museum spaces using one of many multimedia tools reviewed in the TeachersFirst Edge. Share a link to the Adobe Museum of Digital Media on your class website for students to access at home.
 This resource requires Adobe Flash.

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Explorer Adventures - Disney

Grades
2 to 8
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Explorer Adventures provides students with social studies themed quizzes, games and crafts. Try out the "Aton-Ra - The Lost Statue" as students explore Egypt's ancient civilization...more
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Explorer Adventures provides students with social studies themed quizzes, games and crafts. Try out the "Aton-Ra - The Lost Statue" as students explore Egypt's ancient civilization and solve word puzzles using this spelling activity. Try the Explorers Adventure Quiz. Lots here to explore to bring Egypt into your classroom!

tag(s): crafts (40), egypt (66), explorers (61)

In the Classroom

This site is perfect for your social studies class. Use the site with an interactive whiteboard or projector. Use the quiz as a pre-assessment to a unit on explorers. After the unit is complete have students retake the quiz to see what they've learned. Create centers in the classroom with the website. Have the games/interactives as a station, the puzzles on the interactive whiteboard and have the crafts as another center. Post this link on your class website for students to access both in and out of the classroom.
 This resource requires Adobe Flash.

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Scientific American: Slide Shows - Scientific American, A division of Nature America, Inc.

Grades
6 to 12
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The slide show portion of the Scientific American website is a great visual resource for science teachers. The shows are organized in reverse chronological order from most recent to...more
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The slide show portion of the Scientific American website is a great visual resource for science teachers. The shows are organized in reverse chronological order from most recent to the oldest. The page is not searchable, but the site is. This would be great for science current events to tie into class. Some slide shows are graphic (a removed human brain!) and may need disclaimers when being shared with students.

tag(s): human body (119), microorganisms (14), oil (46), oil spill (21), organisms (21), slides (60), space (206)

In the Classroom

Try using this site when discussing how science relates to our current world. For instance, show the ten most dangerous moments for the space shuttle and the station history when studying astronomy. Incorporate the slide show about the Gulf oil spill and reading into a class blog for a biology unit on bacteria. This slide show demonstrates how microbes are used to clean up the oil. The pictures of the organisms are wonderful! Or, incorporate it into an environmental science class dealing with the impact of human behavior on the environment. Have students read and view the slide show as homework, and then discuss what they have learned via your class wiki or in class. Challenge students to create online posters on paper or do it together as a class using a tool such as Web Poster Wizard (reviewed here) or PicLits (reviewed here). Have students further discuss the potential problems with associated new microbes into the oil spill area.
 This resource requires Adobe Flash.

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Classroom Jeopardy - superteachtools.com

Grades
K to 12
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Looking for an easy to use free jeopardy game? Look no further than this site. Download the application for free or create the activity to be played online. View and ...more
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Looking for an easy to use free jeopardy game? Look no further than this site. Download the application for free or create the activity to be played online. View and try activities already created online. If you like your project you can save it to a folder on your computer. There is a short video in the "How To" section that will walk you through the process of making, saving, and playing a Flash Jeopardy game. Those of you who have used the PowerPoint Jeopardy will find this flash version much less time consuming to create and to recreate new Jeopardy games.

tag(s): grammar review (37), matching (24)

In the Classroom

Use this great resource to create Jeopardy games for any content area. This resource is perfect for use on an interactive whiteboard or projector with a student emcee. Use for vocabulary/terms, identifying parts of anything, and reviewing for any curriculum topic. Use as an opener to a unit to determine what students already know. Play as a review game to assist learning for all students. Encourage students to create the clues and answers to their own Jeopardy review games as a creative way to review and reinforce. Learning support teachers may want to have students create review games together.

You or your students can copy and paste the HTML code for any game on your web page, wiki, or blog for easy access to any Flash Jeopardy Game.

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So What Does It Mean To Be Human? - Smithsonian Institute

Grades
9 to 12
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Explore a wealth of images, research, and information about human origins in this visually rich site from the National Museum of Natural History. View "Human Evolution Evidence," "Human...more
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Explore a wealth of images, research, and information about human origins in this visually rich site from the National Museum of Natural History. View "Human Evolution Evidence," "Human Evolution Research," and "Human Characteristics," as well as other resources. Don't miss the 3D views of fossils. It's even better than an actual museum visit, since you can move and rotate the objects yourself.

tag(s): evolution (100), fossils (44)

In the Classroom

View specific topics such as "Tools and Food" under "Human Characteristics." Read the material as it explains the science behind the time and use estimations. Challenge students to describe how scientists have derived at an explanation provided. Follow up with "Fossil Forensics: Interactive" under "Human Evolution Research" to see the specific portions scientists are talking about. Here, 3D pictures including microscopic views have details circled for better understanding. You may want to have this set up at a computer in your room as a "center," or have the url on your website, where students can make further investigations on their own.
 This resource requires Adobe Flash.

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