TeachersFirst - Featured Sites: Week of Sep 18, 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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CanvasMol - alteredqualia.com

Grades
7 to 12
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Learn about simple or complex molecules and see them in 3D. Envision how molecules are put together. Choose various molecules listed along the left. The structural formula in 3D will...more
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Learn about simple or complex molecules and see them in 3D. Envision how molecules are put together. Choose various molecules listed along the left. The structural formula in 3D will appear in a window. Remove old structures by clicking the red "X" in their box. Change the rotating molecule by choosing the axis on which it is rotating (x, y, or z.) Remove the atoms, bonds, and colors. Read stats about the molecule. Click PNG to view a static image that can be saved.

tag(s): atoms (51), elements (33), molecules (36), periodic table (45), structures (21)

In the Classroom

For many students, envisioning how molecules are put together is challenging. Identify how many atoms are put together, including how many bonds they form by using this as an introductory, inquiry activity. Have students use information learned here to create their own models using a drawing program such as Draw.to reviewed here,or use more conventional material like marshmallows and gum drops that are always a hit! Identify the atoms in the molecules on this site and research the effects of these molecules in living systems.
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Paper Rater - paperrater.com

Grades
6 to 12
11 Favorites 0  Comments
 
At Paper Rater you can check your grammar, detect plagiarism, and find writing suggestions all at one place. Use this site for sixth grade writing and above. With the free ...more
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At Paper Rater you can check your grammar, detect plagiarism, and find writing suggestions all at one place. Use this site for sixth grade writing and above. With the free version you are able to check for plagiarism, grammar, vocabulary, word choice and style (transitions). No login is required. PaperRater offers a premium version for a fee.

tag(s): book reports (30), editing (39), essays (18), grammar (210), plagiarism (27), proofreading (12), writing (314)

In the Classroom

Users must be able to find their document and copy and paste into the correct fields. Follow the easy directions to determine grammar errors and create a better document. Use without a login or sign up.

Have students use Paper Rater to check their rough drafts. Have students work in pairs, as a peer review, to help each other improve their papers using the suggestions given by Paper Rater. Provide this link on your class website for students to access both in and out of the classroom.

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The DeciFractor - Mark Robinson

Grades
4 to 9
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The DeciFractor converts fractions to decimals from numbers you input. Fractions are then converted to their decimal value. There are several fractions already available on the site...more
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The DeciFractor converts fractions to decimals from numbers you input. Fractions are then converted to their decimal value. There are several fractions already available on the site to use as demonstration; however the option is there to enter any fraction you would like. The numerator and denominator are clearly labeled and each of these numbers can be increased or decreased to demonstrate how the decimal will change by changing each part of the fraction.

tag(s): decimals (116), fractions (213), number sense (84)

In the Classroom

Use on the interactive whiteboard or projector to demonstrate and practice fraction to decimal equivalences. Before clicking to converta fraction you enter, have student predict the result. Use your whiteboard (and this site) to create a learning station for students to "try their hand at." Have students investigate patterns made by changing fractional parts. Be sure to click on the Ideas button towards the bottom of the page to get more ideas about how to use DeciFractor with your students.
 This resource requires Adobe Flash.

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Blackbaseball's Negro Baseball Leagues - Blackbaseball

Grades
6 to 12
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This new site focuses on the Negro Baseball Leagues from their beginnings in the late 19th century until the time that Jackie Robinson broke the color barrier in 1947. Much ...more
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This new site focuses on the Negro Baseball Leagues from their beginnings in the late 19th century until the time that Jackie Robinson broke the color barrier in 1947. Much of the content is the work of James A. Riley, one of the foremost experts in the study of the Negro Leagues. The site includes information on players, teams, video clips, resources and current issues.
This site includes advertising.

tag(s): baseball (35), black history (50), civil rights (92), sports (80)

In the Classroom

Use the site as a resource during Black History Month for students who are researching the Negro Baseball Leagues, or players who were part of the leagues. Tie together current events (during baseball season) with this historical site. Have cooperative learning groups create venn diagrams using an online tool such as the Interactive Two Circle Venn Diagram (reviewed here) to compare the Negro Baseball Leagues to the baseball teams of today. What was the same, what is different? The site might also be useful in discussions of the Civil Rights movement or as a part of a look at segregation in the early 20th century. Check back frequently, as the site is clearly expanding and will have more information in the future.
 This resource requires Adobe Flash.

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Google's: Help your students become better searchers - Google

Grades
4 to 12
10 Favorites 0  Comments
   
Find lesson plans and presentations to teach your students "how to search," all ready for your classroom. The lesson plans are divided up by category and ability level. There ...more
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Find lesson plans and presentations to teach your students "how to search," all ready for your classroom. The lesson plans are divided up by category and ability level. There are beginner, intermediate, and advanced levels. The five main categories include: Picking the right search term, Understanding search results, Narrowing a search to get the best results, Searching for evidence for research tasks, and Evaluating credibility of sources. To access the lessons you MUST have a Google account. There are also current and past training sessions: Power Searching, Beyond the First Five, Creative Commons, When Time is Tight, and several others. These video clips are open to all and appropriate for various grade levels/subjects. There are also occasional contests listed on the site.

tag(s): creative commons (18), search engines (58), search strategies (23)

In the Classroom

If you are planning an inquiry or research unit, this site would be a good starting point. These lessons could end up saving you class time, and your students won't become frustrated while looking for their research information. Present the first lesson using your projector or interactive whiteboard. Next, have your students try to search the answer for one of the more complicated questions on "A Google a Day" reviewed here. Once that is done, or students give up in frustration, have each student invest in their education by deciding if they need to complete the basic, intermediate, or advanced lesson for Understanding search results. Group students who need basic instruction together, intermediate together, etc. Let them work through the lessons on their own, helping each other. Once they have completed their lesson, have them test their skills on "A Google a Day" again reviewed here to see if they need to go on to the next set of lessons, i.e. intermediate or advanced, or if they can move on to the next lesson. View the video clips (Live Trainings) to freshen up your own knowledge or share them on your projector or interactive whiteboard with your students.
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A Google a Day - Google

Grades
4 to 12
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Here you will find a new question each day for your students to practice their web search skills. Some are as simple as "How many cubits tall is the ...more
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Here you will find a new question each day for your students to practice their web search skills. Some are as simple as "How many cubits tall is the structure that houses the ZIP code 10118?" and others are more complicated, such as "If you were a ferry passenger traveling from Continental Europe to the country with twice as many sheep as people, in what town would you most likely dock?" What a discussion starter for key words to use in THAT search! There is also an archive of questions you can get to by clicking on the colored numbers below the question of the day.

tag(s): logic (203), problem solving (185), search strategies (23)

In the Classroom

Use this after presenting some of the lessons from "Google Web Search for Educators" reviewed here. Once you've been through several of those lessons, why not use "A Google a Day" for a beginning of the class warm up or an end of the class exit activity. Once you've done this for a while, you might want to switch things up and have students write their own questions (related to curriculum, of course) to challenge their classmates.

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Google Swiffy - Google

Grades
8 to 12
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This tool lets you convert Flash SWF files to HTML5 to view on non-Flash devices such as iTouch, iPad, and iPhone. Choose the file, then upload and convert. Swiffy renders ...more
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This tool lets you convert Flash SWF files to HTML5 to view on non-Flash devices such as iTouch, iPad, and iPhone. Choose the file, then upload and convert. Swiffy renders a product that is very good, with a slightly larger file size than the original. This simple to use, one step solution provides an alternative for viewing Flash based ads and animations. This site is unable to convert files that contain audio.

tag(s): computers (42)

In the Classroom

Use this tool to convert animations or other items needed in class to a file that students can view on their non-Flash devices such as iTouch or iPad.
 

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Epic Decide - EpicDecide.com

Grades
3 to 12
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Use this free and easy to use tool to make decisions quickly. Provide a question and options to choose from. View data and a make a decision based upon the ...more
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Use this free and easy to use tool to make decisions quickly. Provide a question and options to choose from. View data and a make a decision based upon the majority. Test the tool by trying the Instant Demo. Enter the answer to the following: "What would you like to vote on" and "The best options are the most"... Include as many options as are necessary. Click create the vote. Send the URL to others to read the options and make a choice. Click Settings to choose to update the acceptance of nominations. Click Results to see choices people have made. Be sure to keep the results page bookmarked in your Favorites to view the results. Results are not saved within an account.

tag(s): polls and surveys (42), quizzes (76)

In the Classroom

Use this tool to make choices on activities in class, what students feel about certain aspects of history or current events, or any other question where you want to offer options and collect votes. Use in clubs and organizations in school. Poll a class at the start (on iTouches) to see how they would have handled a difficult issue in history or as part of homework, have them predict what will happen in the next chapter of the novel the class is reading. Have students use the decision maker in a role play activity such as deciding whether or not your state should secede from the Union in 1861.

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COLORCUBE: ColorFun - ColorCube

Grades
4 to 12
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Have lots of fun learning about color on ColorCube. Several different activities explore the world of color. In Color Paintbox mix colors from the 5 color palette to recreate the ...more
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Have lots of fun learning about color on ColorCube. Several different activities explore the world of color. In Color Paintbox mix colors from the 5 color palette to recreate the color given on the site. Explore the color systems of hue, saturation, and lightness with Color Slide by deconstructing images to find the various colors within. Try the Color Scrambles puzzle to practice color sequencing and recognition; choices at the bottom of the page allow for easy, intermediate, and difficult puzzles.

tag(s): colors (72), light (42), photography (134)

In the Classroom

Share this site on your interactive whiteboard or projector and allow students to manipulate the program. Share this site with the Art teacher in your building as a resource for teaching color. Photography teachers may want to use this site to reinforce color concepts and changes that can be made with digital photography software. IF you teach about light and the color spectrum in science classes, this site will give students a "hands on" way to "see" color.

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The World's Favorite Foods - The Guardian - U.K.

Grades
3 to 12
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This interactive map lets you roll the mouse over different countries of the world to see what their favorite foods are. Although not all countries are included, the three items ...more
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This interactive map lets you roll the mouse over different countries of the world to see what their favorite foods are. Although not all countries are included, the three items listed for each country available are interesting. There is a link to a full-text article about the results of the map.
This site includes advertising.

tag(s): cross cultural understanding (88), infographics (40), nutrition (138)

In the Classroom

Introduce this map by having your students poll each other on what they think the favorite U.S. foods are. Summarize the poll and then check the map. Share the map on your interactive whiteboard or projector to compare foods from around the world. Or have cooperative learning groups check out the other countries listed. Challenge groups to research countries not already included on this map and create their own "Food Maps" (or another topic) using a mapmaking site such as Mapskip, reviewed here.
 This resource requires Adobe Flash.

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Soungle - Southern Codes

Grades
5 to 12
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Royalty Free Sound Effects Library for Download by Soungle.com is a go-to resource to keep in your bookmarked favorites for easy, free downloads of sounds, and the best part ...more
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Royalty Free Sound Effects Library for Download by Soungle.com is a go-to resource to keep in your bookmarked favorites for easy, free downloads of sounds, and the best part is it is searchable! The sound effects are short, and there is no membership required. Cautionary advice would be to direct students to type in a search term and avoid clicking on word links which will actually lead away from the webpage.
This site includes advertising.

tag(s): sound (88), sounds (68)

In the Classroom

Try sharing this resource with students when they are creating podcasts, slideshows, and other media projects. This would also be great for performance groups such as drama clubs or musicals that need sound effects. Very creative students might like to actually tell a story through nothing but sound effects. Have them try making a "sound rebus" story on your class wiki, with words and sound links to tell what happens. Download sound effects and add them, worry-free, to projects or productions. Make sure students realize that "royalty free" does not dismiss the need to give proper credit for their source!

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I Rule Money - DoughMain

Grades
8 to 12
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This site offers informative 30 second videos to answer teens' questions on different financial matters related to their lives. Choose from categories such as credit and debt, housing,...more
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This site offers informative 30 second videos to answer teens' questions on different financial matters related to their lives. Choose from categories such as credit and debt, housing, cars, jobs, and more. Within each category are questions from typical teenagers with links to the video response. Banking & Loans questions include "How can I get a college loan," "Why do some ATM's charge me a fee to withdraw money," and other bank-related concerns.
This site includes advertising.

tag(s): financial aid (11), financial literacy (61), money (176)

In the Classroom

Use these short videos on your interactive whiteboard or projector to introduce financial literacy topics in the classroom. Share videos with students as models then have them create their own 30 second video response to other financial topics discussed in class. Share the videos using a tool such as SchoolTube reviewed here.

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LITCHARTS - Get Lit - LitCharts

Grades
6 to 12
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LitCharts is an online site similar to the familiar Cliffs Notes but with their own spin. Charts are available for literary classics such as Romeo and Juliet, Lord of the ...more
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LitCharts is an online site similar to the familiar Cliffs Notes but with their own spin. Charts are available for literary classics such as Romeo and Juliet, Lord of the Flies, Jane Eyre, and several more. Charts can be viewed online, downloaded in a PDF file, or accessed through an iPhone app (apps are 99 cents each). Each chart offers a side by side summary and analysis of story events making events easier to follow and understand than typical summaries. In addition, they include a color coded theme tracker to help follow themes throughout the book. Each LitChart is 10 pages or less, making them concise and easy to use.
This site includes advertising.

tag(s): literature (216), summarizing (12)

In the Classroom

LitCharts is a great resource to use with ESL/ELL and intervention students to reinforce concepts in texts provided. It is also helpful for students who lack experience with challenging literary classic. Share a LitChart with your class when reading one of the books on the site then have students create their own LitChart for the next book or to improve on the ones offered here. Provide a link to LitCharts to students to use as a study resource for end of novel assessments. Hint: make sure any assessments you use ask questions that go beyond what these charts offer, or students will not even try to read the actual texts! An intriguing challenge would be to ask them what else they would include in a study guide for the work.
 This resource requires PDF reader software like Adobe Acrobat.

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Kids Web Japan - Ministry of Foreign Affairs Japan

Grades
3 to 9
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introduce Japan to school-aged students around the world through this site. It is divided into several different portions for exploring, beginning with Explore Japan which contains...more
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introduce Japan to school-aged students around the world through this site. It is divided into several different portions for exploring, beginning with Explore Japan which contains maps, calendars, and basic facts about Japan. Learn about popular culture in the play portion where information is presented about biggest fads in Japan, virtual culture to try out online, games, and quizzes. Another interesting part of the site is the Explore section to discover different aspects of the country from climate to housing and government. Find out about Japanese schools, cities, and young artists in the Try box that offers information and virtual visits to different areas of the country. This site is viewable in seven different languages.

tag(s): cross cultural understanding (88), japan (58), virtual field trips (37)

In the Classroom

Introduce this site on your interactive whiteboard and allow students to explore on their own or in pairs. Assign different portions of the site to groups of students to create multimedia presentations for the class. Use the site to create Venn Diagrams to compare and contrast life in Japan with life in the United States. Take a virtual field trip to Japan by exploring different cities and cultural activities offered on the site. Find a recipe for one of the Japanese foods listed on the site and make it to try in class. Assign cooperative learning groups a specific part of this site to explore. Challenge groups to make a multimedia presentation using one of many TeachersFirst Edge tools reviewed here.
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