TeachersFirst - Featured Sites: Week of Oct 9, 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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Storybooks - Where Did the River Go

Grades
K to 4
1 Favorites 0  Comments
 
Create your own books for reading on the computer or printing, and test your reading skills with this interactive site. On the main screen are two different stories to choose ...more
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Create your own books for reading on the computer or printing, and test your reading skills with this interactive site. On the main screen are two different stories to choose from (The Journey To Darkest Somewhere or The House of Scary Words). Once you choose a story the fun begins! As each page turns, see options to personalize the characters and text. Click to drag new objects (pictures) into the story. Personalize the story with your own name. All of the red words/phrases can be changed. At the end of the story, choose to print the story or save to pdf. Along with the stories, there are other key components of the site, one of which is the section entitled "Scared of Words," tips for parents to help students with reading. There is a video skills quiz to help identify any weaknesses parents may have in reading skills, reasons for reading, hints and tips for helping children read, and links to online book resources. This site was developed in the United Kingdom, so you may notice a few spelling/vocabulary differences (for example, potato chips are referred to as "crisps.")

tag(s): book lists (124), literacy (102), reading comprehension (114), reading strategies (43)

In the Classroom

Share this site during Literacy nights at school as a resource parents can use at home when helping their students read. Share the site with ESL/ELL and Special Education teachers as a resource. Create a link on classroom computers, and have students create their own stories to print into a classroom book. Use this site to demonstrate how a passage will change through use of different verbs and nouns.
  This resource requires Adobe Flash and PDF reader software like Adobe Acrobat.

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Blog Divided - Dickinson College

Grades
7 to 12
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This blog was created and is maintained by Dickinson College (in Carlisle, Pennsylvania, just north of Gettysburg and the Mason-Dixon Line) for those teaching about the American Civil...more
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This blog was created and is maintained by Dickinson College (in Carlisle, Pennsylvania, just north of Gettysburg and the Mason-Dixon Line) for those teaching about the American Civil War era. The site is indexed by theme and category, making it easy to search for information and resources related to topics from slavery to science and technology to religion. Not limited to information about battles, soldiers or generals, the site offers commentary about the culture and social issues of the mid-nineteenth century. There are links to other resources and projects maintained by Dickinson College and others.

tag(s): 1800s (44), civil war (145)

In the Classroom

While the site might be useful to students doing higher level research or working on a National History project, teachers are the principal audience. If this is a passion of yours, add it to your RSS feed or bookmark it and add to your own knowledge base on this important topic. Share relevant blog entries with your class on your interactive whiteboard or projector. Challenge cooperative learning groups to read one of the blogs and share the information with the class by creating online posters on paper using a tool such as Web Poster Wizard (reviewed here) or PicLits (reviewed here).

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MyAlgebra - Bagatrix

Grades
7 to 12
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Enter algebra problems and receive the solutions! Also included are many sample problems. Choose sample problems using the options on the right of the screen, from categories such as...more
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Enter algebra problems and receive the solutions! Also included are many sample problems. Choose sample problems using the options on the right of the screen, from categories such as algebra concepts and expressions, simplifying or factoring polynomials, vectors, and much more. After creating a problem, select "solve" to find an answer. One major downfall of the site is that the option to see the steps needed to answer the problem leads to a pay site. However, the site is still worthwhile for students to check problem solutions.
This site includes advertising.

tag(s): factoring (31), homework (43), polynomials (32), vectors (24)

In the Classroom

Share the site with students as a resource for checking homework. Provide this link on your class website. At the beginning of a unit, display the site on your interactive whiteboard or projector showing the solution to a new problem, and then allow students to investigate and discover how to find the answer. When they complain that the site does not explain how it "got" the answer, you have the perfect teaching moment to point out why you require students to "show their work" to remove such mystery.

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The Mother Goose Club - Sockeye Media, LLC

Grades
K to 1
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Join the fun of rhymes and music in the Mother Goose Club. Energize over 78 popular Mother Goose rhymes with song and music. Videos, songs, and/or coloring pages accompany the ...more
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Join the fun of rhymes and music in the Mother Goose Club. Energize over 78 popular Mother Goose rhymes with song and music. Videos, songs, and/or coloring pages accompany the rhymes. Activities and tips for teachers and parents are included. Additional curriculum items are advertised for a fee. However, the FREE items make this site a must-see!
This site includes advertising.

tag(s): nursery rhymes (18), phonics (75), preK (275)

In the Classroom

Promote early literacy in a new way. Use this site on your projector or interactive whiteboard. Have students view the activities on laptops. (Don't forget the headsets.) Create a learning center that is sure to keep students intrigued. Use this site to promote early phonemic awareness in a colorful and engaging way. While teaching about Mother Goose rhymes in class, be sure to list this site in your class newsletter or on your class website for students to revisit the classics at home. You would be surprised how many parents do not even know these rhymes!
  This resource requires Adobe Flash and PDF reader software like Adobe Acrobat.

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Road to Grammar - Road to Grammar

Grades
5 to 12
3 Favorites 0  Comments
 
This site provides quizzes, interactives, and extra grammar help for older learners. Students can choose from over 300 grammar quizzes. Topics range from "Adjectives and Prepositions"...more
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This site provides quizzes, interactives, and extra grammar help for older learners. Students can choose from over 300 grammar quizzes. Topics range from "Adjectives and Prepositions" to "AM, IS, or ARE" to "Currencies of the World" to "Zero Infinitive" to hundreds of other topics! Whatever grammar topic you are learning about or teaching, chances are very good that it is here. Though originally meant for ESL/ELL learners, this site is appropriate for all learners. The site also includes downloadable resources for teacher and student use.
This site includes advertising.

tag(s): grammar (217), grammar review (37), parts of speech (68), prefixes (16), sentences (52), suffixes (14), synonyms (38), verbs (41), writing (355)

In the Classroom

Use this site on a projector or interactive whiteboard as a fun way to introduce students to different types of grammar. In addition, use this as a way to discuss and informally assess prior knowledge as you start your study of a particular grammar topic. Post this on your class webpage for students to use at home or use it in the lab or classroom when students finish an assignment early. Be sure to check out the downloads section. Provide students with the confusing words handout and have them paste it into their writing notebooks. They will never confuse affect and effect again.
  This resource requires Adobe Flash and PDF reader software like Adobe Acrobat.

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Visual Fractions - Richard Rand

Grades
3 to 9
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This site is a tutorial that models fractions with number lines or circles through several different options. Applets are divided into categories such as identify fractions, rename...more
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This site is a tutorial that models fractions with number lines or circles through several different options. Applets are divided into categories such as identify fractions, rename fractions, compare fractions, investigate fractions, and much more. Each category contains different options for exploration with flash applets to practice that skill. The "investigate" option offers step-by-step explanations of the different categories and would be very useful to offer students when reviewing skills such as comparing fractions and using order of operations. Some of the slide shows are also available in PDF form along with practice worksheets. Another component of the site allows you to input your own fractions to practice your own examples.

tag(s): decimals (133), fractions (239), percent (82), test prep (95)

In the Classroom

Introduce this site on your interactive whiteboard or projector. Have the students open the site and use the whiteboard tools to explore and practice different aspects of fractions. Then have students explore this site independently or in small groups. Use this site on a projector or interactive whiteboard to discuss and informally assess prior knowledge as you start your study of fractions. Create a link to this site on classroom computers, and your classroom website or blog for students to explore.
  This resource requires Adobe Flash and PDF reader software like Adobe Acrobat.

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Scale of Universe - Primax Studio

Grades
4 to 12
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Discover better perspective on the size of the universe using this interactive. Use the slider at the bottom to move from the atomic, cellular, and human perspective all the way ...more
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Discover better perspective on the size of the universe using this interactive. Use the slider at the bottom to move from the atomic, cellular, and human perspective all the way to the size of the galaxy. Units are displayed alongside images. Warning: underneath the interactive, there is a public comment area. You may want to preview this area if allowing students to navigate on their own.

tag(s): atoms (55), cells (102), measurement (163), space (206)

In the Classroom

Use as an introductory unit to measurement, or when discussing atoms or cellular parts. Allow students time to roam the site in groups and notice the units given. Ask them to determine the relationships between the units as they move through the slider from the smallest to the largest. Use this to frame the size of microscopic items observed in class. Create a measurement unit scale for display in the room.
 This resource requires Adobe Flash.

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Counter Square - Ambleside Primary

Grades
K to 5
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This online 100 chart is more than just a static chart. You can click and drag counters onto the chart to display patterns, multiples, odd and even numbers, and much ...more
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This online 100 chart is more than just a static chart. You can click and drag counters onto the chart to display patterns, multiples, odd and even numbers, and much more. Six different counters are available to use in demonstrating math concepts.

tag(s): multiplication (227), number sense (97)

In the Classroom

Have students add up sums of counters placed onto the 100 chart. Use this site to teach younger students HOW to count to 100 and the value/idea of 100. Demonstrate multiples of factors when teaching multiplication facts. Use on the interactive whiteboard or projector when teaching number sense to highlight odd and even numbers. Highlight prime numbers when learning prime and composite. Make this an interactive whiteboard center for students to practice or challenge each other with multiples questions. Visual and tactile learners can get "in touch" with numbers!
 This resource requires Adobe Flash.

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My Culture Quest - Museums Sheffield

Grades
3 to 8
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My Culture Quest is an interactive that allows you to explore the world's museums and search for items from different countries. As items are gathered, you answer questions and move...more
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My Culture Quest is an interactive that allows you to explore the world's museums and search for items from different countries. As items are gathered, you answer questions and move to new countries and items. Earn points based on the items gathered - more points are earned by gathering items by themes such as conflict, religion, or celebrations. Upon completion, see your items in an exhibit and a score based on the exhibit's success. Image links are also available.

tag(s): cross cultural understanding (115), cultures (105), map skills (80), museums (49)

In the Classroom

Allow students to try this on the interactive whiteboard or projector. Review geographical locations and continents as students travel to different exhibits. Geographic locations and museum exhibits found here could be used as options for reports on different countries and locations. Create Venn diagrams, comparing and contrasting different cultures to the students' culture. Use an online tool such as Interactive Two Circle Venn Diagram (reviewed here).
 This resource requires Adobe Flash.

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Campaign for Safe Cosmetics - DIY Recipes - Safe Cosmetics Action Network

Grades
6 to 12
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This site provides a number of recipes for cosmetics that are safe to make and missing all harmful chemicals. From lip gloss to deodorant to face paint, this site has ...more
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This site provides a number of recipes for cosmetics that are safe to make and missing all harmful chemicals. From lip gloss to deodorant to face paint, this site has it. Discover the natural approach with some science on the side.

tag(s): chemicals (40), experiments (71)

In the Classroom

Use in a personal hygiene or health course to teach good practices. This is a great addition to family and consumer science or chemistry class for students to see science in practice. This site may inspire some terrific science fair projects, as well. Make your Halloween makeup an all-natural option. Challenge students to create one of the products and share their creations on a video. Share them using a tool such as SchoolTube reviewed here.
 This resource requires PDF reader software like Adobe Acrobat.

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Visual Recipes - Visual Recipes

Grades
3 to 12
4 Favorites 1  Comments
Teach students about foods, measurement, or nutrition, and find great recipes at Visual Recipes. View a picture of each step of the recipe as you read the directions. English language...more
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Teach students about foods, measurement, or nutrition, and find great recipes at Visual Recipes. View a picture of each step of the recipe as you read the directions. English language learners and new learners to foods will find this a great resource.

tag(s): cooking (34), nutrition (154), sequencing (31), visual thinking (10), visualizations (14)

In the Classroom

Choose recipes to create a menu that meets all of the requirements of the new USDA "MyPlate." Analyze a typical dish to look at calories and the breakdown of the nutrients. Be a food scientist, choosing recipes that are examples of different types of solutions (homogeneous and heterogeneous) or basic chemical reactions. Encourage healthy eating, ethnic exploration through foods, and many other topics with these easy to follow pictures and directions. World language teachers will love this visual approach to foods in another culture and can ask students to "narrate" a visual recipe in the new language while presenting on interactive whiteboard or projector. Use visual recipes to teach sequencing for writing about step by step process using words like "first, then, next." Challenge cooperative learning groups to make their own slideshow/recipe for a favorite dish of their choice using a site such as 280Slides (reviewed here).
 This resource requires Adobe Flash.

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Kathleen, VT, Grades: 0 - 12

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Youblisher.com - Youblisher

Grades
K to 12
6 Favorites 0  Comments
 
Have you ever wanted to share your class books online? Youblisher offers a wonderful, visual method for uploading pdf's to an online location and making them look like pages turning...more
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Have you ever wanted to share your class books online? Youblisher offers a wonderful, visual method for uploading pdf's to an online location and making them look like pages turning in a book. If you don't create with Acrobat, not to worry! You just need to scan your documents to convert them to a pdf file. Once you know how to generate pdf files, you are ready to go. Explore whether your computer can "print" to pdf files or learn how to use the scanner. If you use a Mac, the option to "print" from your word processor or other program to pdf is built right in. Once you have a file as pdf, upload the files to this site. Youblisher makes your files flippable like the pages of an interactive book. You receive a link (url) to add to your website. Check out the introductory video on the homepage. Students, teachers, and parents (and grandparents) will all love seeing classroom creations in this easy to view format.

tag(s): book reports (36), digital storytelling (135)

In the Classroom

Share interactive books created online for students to read at learning centers. Create a lesson via pdf files and share it on your interactive whiteboard or projector. Scan/convert and save students complete research projects, upload the pdf's as a way to share all information. Create a class book, or newsletter, including images, and upload the pdf "book" or newsletter to Youblisher. Then include the the url on your website to share with friends and family. Challenge students to create their own books (in cooperative learning groups) about a specific topic being taught in class. Have upper elementary or middle school students create online "little buddy books" they can share online with lower grade classrooms. If your interactive whiteboard program generates pdf files from in-class activities, why not share them in flippable form on your class web site for review or absentees?

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Wisemapping - Wisemapping Corporation

Grades
8 to 12
2 Favorites 1  Comments
 
Create a free diagram (concept map, graphic organizer) to represent words, ideas, or tasks to aid in studying, organizing, or problem solving. Link documents to a wise map and share...more
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Create a free diagram (concept map, graphic organizer) to represent words, ideas, or tasks to aid in studying, organizing, or problem solving. Link documents to a wise map and share or embed diagrams with other maps.

tag(s): concept mapping (22), mind map (24)

In the Classroom

Users must be able to navigate the icons for editing and creating a mindmap. Icons and commands are the same as in any office and free applications that most people use. View the free demo for an introduction of using Wisemapping. Use the demo editor to play with the tools and learn what they do. Note: the demo function does not allow you to save your creation as it is a sandbox area for learning. Allow students an opportunity to learn to play first without teacher direction as each person will find different ways to use wisemapping for their best benefit. Click on a set of words to edit the words, color, font, etc. in the bubble. Drag items easily around the screen by clicking and dragging the icon to drop into a new configuration. Add "icons" and flags anywhere on your mindmap. Add a "note" to a bubble anywhere. The note appears like a little sticky note on the bubble and expands when clicked on. Add a "link" to any of the text on the wisemap that leads to any link on the web you specify. Export as a scalable vector graphic (svg), PDF document, or image file. "Share" to work collaboratively with others. Users must have a login in order to share and publish. Click on the "history" of a wisemap to view the contributions of others.

Assign sections of current curriculum topic to groups of students to map out and explain in detail. Link to outside web pages and pictures and create notes with additional study hints and information. Assign a different group to review information for accuracy and add additional information and explanations. Using this process, a wisemap of a chapter or unit can be created easily and efficiently while benefiting all learners.

There are countless possibilities at this mental mapping site. Demonstrate the activity on an interactive whiteboard or projector, and then allow students to try to create their own graphic organizers. Use this site for literature activities, research projects, social studies, or science topics of study. Use this site to create family trees. Have students collaborate together (online) to create group mind maps or review charts before tests on a given topic. Have students organize any concepts you study; color-code concepts to show what they understand, wonder, question; map out a story, plotline, or LIFETIME; map out a step-by-step process (life cycle); map a real historical event as a choose-your-own-adventure with alternate endings based on pivotal points; plan a "tour" for a "thought museum." Use this mapping website as an alternative to a traditional test, quiz, or homework assignment in literature or social studies: have students demonstrate their understanding by completing a graphic organizer about the main points. Be sure that they RENAME it before they start work to an individual name so you know who did it (they could EMAIL it to you!) or have them print their results to turn in.

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david, TX, Grades: 9 - 12

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Podiobooks - Evo Terra, Tee Morris, and Chris Miller

Grades
6 to 12
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Podiobooks is an online library of audio books available for free download. There are categories for children and young adults, and several different genres. Click on the "Browse our...more
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Podiobooks is an online library of audio books available for free download. There are categories for children and young adults, and several different genres. Click on the "Browse our Titles" link to search for children's books. Many titles are classics and appropriate for middle school and teen readers. You can download to your computer, get an RSS feed, or download to an MP3 player. Options for listening include downloading one chapter at a time or getting the entire book. Authors donate their works to this site which also includes books already in the public domain, such as The Wizard of Oz. Some works are in the process of being recorded. Listeners have to wait for remaining chapters.

Without registering, you can download items manually. All you have to do is navigate to a book page, scroll down and click on the name of any episode. Play it on your computer or save it to your hard drive for later. Registering allows Podiobook to build a custom podcast feed just for you. They will customize each feed so that it is updated once a week. You can change that to once a month, or once a day if you need to. Be aware: the titles on the main page (at the time of this review) were not appropriate for elementary students. There is an option "Erotica" in the search options. So be sure to preview what you wish to share AND be certain that students know where they are allowed to search and the consequences for not following the rules. Adults may want to download for the students and offer the files offline. Joining and designing a "feed" of teacher-selected books avoids the complicated issue of monitoring content.

tag(s): audio books (32), literature (275)

In the Classroom

Teachers and parents need to supervise title selection or do the downloads themselves. Send students directly to the children's or young adult categories to ensure age appropriateness for your students. Find appropriate books for students to use at a listening learning center. Have an actual hard copy of the book; then use this site for your learning support students or weaker readers to help them build fluency, increase their vocabulary and pronunciation of new words. Provide this link ( maybe the link to just the children's section) on your class website for students (and families) to access out of the classroom.

Make a listening center or load the mp3 files on a set of iTouches for student listening. If you choose to register, an email address is required. Rather than using your personal email address (or professional), sign up for a gmail account (FREE).
 This resource requires Adobe Flash.

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