TeachersFirst - Featured Sites: Week of Oct 16, 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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African Fractals - Ron Eglash

Grades
8 to 12
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This site takes a look at African art and the use of fractals within the art. Ron Eglash is a cultural mathematician studying how cultures and mathematics intersect. An introductory...more
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This site takes a look at African art and the use of fractals within the art. Ron Eglash is a cultural mathematician studying how cultures and mathematics intersect. An introductory TED video gives a wonderful explanation of his background and exploration of cultural uses of mathematics in their architecture and art. Each segment of the written portion of the site contains a short explanation along with diagrams. Also included are interactive applets allowing for exploration of the Koch curve and fractal dimensions. Be sure to check out the other links on the page that explore African art, religions, and futures.

tag(s): africa (181), architecture (83), cross cultural understanding (115), cultures (105), religions (61)

In the Classroom

Make math engaging for students with strong visual/spatial interests. This site would be perfect to explore on interactive whiteboard. Use this site as an introduction to fractals, African art, mathematicians, or forms found in architecture. View the video as a class, and allow students to explore the site on their own, allowing time for experimenting with the included applets.
 This resource requires Adobe Flash.

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Mummy - Oriental Institute/University of Chicago

Grades
6 to 12
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Created by the Oriental Institute at the University of Chicago, this site allows you to virtually prepare and embalm a mummy. Begin with instructions for pulling the brain out of ...more
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Created by the Oriental Institute at the University of Chicago, this site allows you to virtually prepare and embalm a mummy. Begin with instructions for pulling the brain out of the nose, then you remove the body's organs, fill the body with salt, wrap it with linens, and prepare it for the afterlife. Potentially unfamiliar words are highlighted, and clicking on them provides an audio dictionary to teach the meaning. While it's not too graphic, it's just "gross" enough that students will love it.

tag(s): egypt (66), halloween (40)

In the Classroom

Use on an interactive whiteboard or projector, or allow students to do their own individual "embalming" on a classroom or home computer. Create a center using your interactive whiteboard and allow small groups to manipulate the whiteboard and the "life size" mummy. You'll need to provide the context for the activity; the site is simply a chance to virtually prepare a mummy. Share t during a unit on Ancient Egypt. This would be intriguing to do around the Halloween holiday.
 This resource requires Adobe Flash.

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ABCya - ABCYA.com, l.l.c,

Grades
K to 5
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ABCya.com, developed by a web developer turned computer teacher, aims to provide educational games and activities for elementary students. Nearly every subject is included. Simply click...more
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ABCya.com, developed by a web developer turned computer teacher, aims to provide educational games and activities for elementary students. Nearly every subject is included. Simply click on your grade level (K-5) and find what is available under language arts, math, and other subjects. Specific topics range from basic typing activities to creating word clouds to grammar games (at all levels) and so much more. The interactives are teacher approved and offer colorful and attention grabbing ways for learning. Opportunities for sharing on Facebook, tweeting, and sharing on social bookmarking sites are incorporated. This is a MUST SEE site for elementary teachers looking for some great practice sites for basic skills!
This site includes advertising.

tag(s): alphabet (92), decimals (133), drawing (77), fractions (239), game based learning (101), geometric shapes (159), keyboarding (38), latitude (13), literacy (102), longitude (13), number sense (97), numbers (203), operations (126), preK (275)

In the Classroom

Share this site on your interactive whiteboard or projector, demonstration how to use the specific tool/activity. Create a learning center AT the whiteboard or on individual laptops and allow students to try it out on their own. List this as a student and parent resource on your classroom website. Use this site to informally assess skills to tell you which students to allow to do alternative work or go ahead. Allow your gifted students to explore new concepts while providing necessary reinforcement for those learners that need a technology-inspired method to help master learning goals. This is an excellent tool for differentiating. Provide as an anticipatory guide for new units.
 This resource requires Adobe Flash.

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YouTube Play: Live from the Guggenheim - Youtube Play

Grades
5 to 12
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Join YouTube and the Guggenheim Museum in recognizing a biennial review of the best online videos from around the world. As a form of modern and contemporary art, celebrate free ...more
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Join YouTube and the Guggenheim Museum in recognizing a biennial review of the best online videos from around the world. As a form of modern and contemporary art, celebrate free access every day for your virtual field trip from a Webby award winning nominee site for 2011. A panel of 20-25 experts chooses from a selection of over 23,000 videos submitted. Explore art, music, movement, poetry, and prose on this creative video site. The option of subscribing to recent uploads is available at no charge. Click "continue" to see thumbnails of all available winners. Not all comments posted are appropriate and videos should be previewed before viewing in the classroom setting.

tag(s): computers (78), video (251)

In the Classroom

Capture your students' interest in the modern world of technology. Share this video on your interactive whiteboard or projector (be sure to use full screen mode). YouTube Play can be used in a variety of classroom settings; art, music, technology, language art, drama, science, or political science. If your district blocks YouTube, then this site may not be viewable. You could always view selected videos at home and bring them to class "on a stick" to share. Use a tool such as KeepVid reviewed here to download the videos from YouTube.

In the art classroom, explore the emerging world of creative video. Determine elements of design, technology, photography, and movement. Discover the integration of music, sound, and movement in video in many creative ways. Use the site to demonstrate how to convey a message through creative animation. Express a creative editorial on a current events or important issues that challenge our world such as over-population, fossil fuels, or pollution. Have students create innovative political campaign videos. Take your technology classes to a new level of excellence. Add a visual component to poems, prose, or narratives as an additional interpretation device. Introduce storyboarding techniques to create videos. Have your students make their own videos and share them via TeacherTube, reviewed here.
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Human Body Maps - Healthline Networks Inc.

Grades
9 to 12
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Explore the anatomy of the human body in an interactive 3D format. Search multiple layers of the human anatomy and trace organ systems down to the organs and then the ...more
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Explore the anatomy of the human body in an interactive 3D format. Search multiple layers of the human anatomy and trace organ systems down to the organs and then the lowest functioning parts. These detailed anatomical images can be used to learn about the body and how to keep it healthy. Note: Since this is an anatomy site, there are graphics of the genitalia/reproductive system on the main page..
This site includes advertising.

tag(s): body systems (56), brain (70), diseases (66), heart (42), human body (119), organisms (21), reproduction (9)

In the Classroom

Use for any anatomy, health, or physiology topic. View the coronary artery delivering blood to the heart. To keep the heart functioning healthy, discuss optimum conditions for the heart and factors that affect its performance. Learn from the site the way plaque builds on artery walls which can lead to heart disease. Find information on how to prevent injuries as well as where pulled muscles and broken bones occur. Identify sections of the human brain while determining where emotions and body functions are controlled. Find anatomy and health information about all areas of the body. Assign different body systems to cooperative learning groups. Challenge students to explore the system using this site and other research. Have students make a multimedia presentation using one of the many TeachersFirst Edge tools reviewed here.

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Headline Clues - Michigan State University

Grades
8 to 12
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Solve headline mysteries using verbal clues and inferencing in this current events activity. You are presented with a SHORT passage (newspaper story headline) and then a few fill in...more
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Solve headline mysteries using verbal clues and inferencing in this current events activity. You are presented with a SHORT passage (newspaper story headline) and then a few fill in the blank phrases. What an excellent tool for researching and reading comprehension! There are three levels of difficulty. Choose from favorite news topics on the main page: sports, world and U.S. news, technology, off-beat, entertainment, and even the New York Times. Other publications available for headline finding are NPR and New Scientist. Although this is an activity in "game" format, it is an excellent reading skill builder. Students can see how many letters are missing; they use both semantic and syntactic clues to complete the headlines. Options include a timer and a speed meter. As you play, ask the site for clues to help. Due to the graphic nature of some of the headlines, this site is recommended for mature middle school students or high school students.

tag(s): context clues (8), descriptive writing (41), newspapers (94), summarizing (13)

In the Classroom

Use this "game" as an introduction when studying the latest news stories and/or basic reading comprehension. Teach reading in context when explaining to students how the activity works. Use the headline builder as a jumping off point for teaching summary writing based on news stories. Share this site on your interactive whiteboard or projector as an "ice-breaker" for the start of class or as one of several reading activities during newspapers in education week.
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allwritewithme - Diane Owens

Grades
3 to 7
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Extend your writing workshop beyond your classroom walls with this site! This website includes explanations and practice for writing techniques in upper elementary classrooms. Another...more
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Extend your writing workshop beyond your classroom walls with this site! This website includes explanations and practice for writing techniques in upper elementary classrooms. Another section contains areas to post your own story or continue with a story in progress. The content reinforces and expands upon the 6+1 Trait Writing Model used in many elementary writing programs. Users are able to make comments. So you may want to preview before you share with students.

tag(s): characterization (16), main idea (9), writing (355), writing prompts (92)

In the Classroom

Emphasize what you have presented or want to review in writing concept mini lessons. Reluctant writers as well as enthusiastic writers can gleam ideas to start writing, as well as several ideas for writing prompts. Share this site on your class website for students who need extra reinforcement with writing concepts at home or students who love to go beyond and dig deeper into writing. Part of the site includes an area to continue the started story. Be sure to monitor closely since not all posts appear to be part of the topic. Use this site as an example of ways to continue writing workshop ideas onto your own classroom blog. Share your class stories using a site such as Bookemon, reviewed here.

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Globe Genie - Joe McMichael

Grades
4 to 12
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Use this engaging mashup of Google Street View and Google Maps to hop around the globe by randomly teleporting into a continent. Use as a spontaneous way to learn about ...more
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Use this engaging mashup of Google Street View and Google Maps to hop around the globe by randomly teleporting into a continent. Use as a spontaneous way to learn about other areas and review how to determine longitude and latitude of a location. Choose a continent to visit and click "Teleport." View the street view in the large screen and the Google Map location in the smaller one. This site gives a "taste" of the area, not a wide variety of photos.
This site includes advertising.

tag(s): continents (50), countries (77), map skills (80), maps (287)

In the Classroom

Use this resource to have students or groups of students teleport to a random area. Assign projects that require students to learn more about the area including history, people living there, natural resources, ecosystem information, and more. Create travel brochures, wiki pages, and more with the information. Have students make a multimedia presentation or mystery tour of world locations using one of the reviewed TeachersFirst Edge tools reviewed here.
 This resource requires Adobe Flash.

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Who Wants to Be a Cotton Millionaire? - BBC

Grades
6 to 12
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Experience the successes and failures of British entrepreneurs during the Victorian era as they try to make a fortune in the cotton industry. Great decisions will determine prosperity,...more
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Experience the successes and failures of British entrepreneurs during the Victorian era as they try to make a fortune in the cotton industry. Great decisions will determine prosperity, poor decisions will lead to debtors prison. This easy to follow game demonstrates the pros and cons of various decisions made by businessmen in the Victorian era.

tag(s): ecology (135), financial literacy (78), great britain (16), industrial revolution (25), industrialization (15), victorian (20)

In the Classroom

Divide the class into teams to compete to become the wealthiest British cotton farmer. Students can write compare/contrast reports based on decisions to be made in the game such as location choice, type of labor, etc.
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Greenlearning.ca - Pembrina Institute

Grades
4 to 12
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Promote environmental citizenship through this site's "green learning" units. The curriculum ranges from examining how electricity works, understanding the balance of ecosystems, to...more
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Promote environmental citizenship through this site's "green learning" units. The curriculum ranges from examining how electricity works, understanding the balance of ecosystems, to a high school unit on sustainable futures. Enjoy the interactive wind turbine and carbon calculator. The animation for grades 4 - 7 is engaging, and the video presentations for high school students on sustainability is powerful. Green Learning provides educators with an array of hands-on activities, online learning opportunities, printable materials, assessment tools, and valuable resources such as environmental experts to contact. Each environmental concept taught provides opportunities for real world learning, encourages social action, and advocacy. Teacher friendly planning tools can help meet instructional time constraints, students learning styles, and promote cross-curricular connections. The site is free but requires registration. Membership provides access to additional educational materials and a monthly newsletter. This program comes to us from Canada.

tag(s): climate (92), climate change (64), conservation (127), ecosystems (88), electricity (88), energy (197), environment (317), natural resources (59), persuasive writing (54), solar energy (38)

In the Classroom

The e-Card project series invites students to research a topic, write a persuasive letter to an individual they believe makes decisions that effect environment, then design and create an e-Card. Have your students share their work on the e-Cards website and view what other students have created.

There is a range of lessons and activities here, some more complex than others. You may want to choose a few that fit your curricular needs and then allow small groups of students to investigate one together. Have student groups make an online Stixy (reviewed here) of things they discover about their topic, and later rearrange the items to "explain" their topic to classmates visually.
 This resource requires PDF reader software like Adobe Acrobat.

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Climbers and Creepers - Royal Botanic Gardens

Grades
K to 2
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Learn about various plants, insects, and bugs at this primary science site. View stories (pdf printables) about various types of plants and the insects and other animals that interact...more
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Learn about various plants, insects, and bugs at this primary science site. View stories (pdf printables) about various types of plants and the insects and other animals that interact with them. This site also has a few interactives such as the "Plant maker," "Plant homes," and "Buzzie's Picnic."

tag(s): butterflies (13), insects (68), plants (143), preK (275)

In the Classroom

In "Plant homes," choose various landscapes and environmental conditions to investigate what types of plants can live there. Create posters or drawings (either conventional or multimedia) to showcase the various living environments of plants and the animals that live around them. Use an online poster creator, such as Padlet (reviewed here). Find pictures on the Internet that show the actual types of plants and habitats. Learn about food chains connected to these plants.
  This resource requires Adobe Flash and PDF reader software like Adobe Acrobat.

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Geolover - geolover.com

Grades
4 to 12
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Use Geolover to plan and organize trips anywhere in the world. Mark places you like. Print to create your own travel map and guide. Click on a location, find sites ...more
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Use Geolover to plan and organize trips anywhere in the world. Mark places you like. Print to create your own travel map and guide. Click on a location, find sites of interest, and click "Add to my list." Click on your lists to view in map view and use other tools. Add your own places of interest easily. As with any site that shares photos and video clips, be sure to preview what you plan to share BEFORE you share the site with your class. There is also an app version of this site for those using iPads or iTouches.

tag(s): countries (77), cultures (105), map skills (80), maps (287)

In the Classroom

Use this resource to find important points of interest in places around the world. Use to learn more about other countries and cultures, determine distances between points of interest, or create travel guides for particular purposes such as religious, governmental, or historical interest. Create a travel guide of a country you would love to visit. Share travel guides or use as the basis of presentations to the class. Use the information at this site to have your students create conventional or multimedia projects. Have students make a multimedia presentation using one of the many TeachersFirst Edge tools reviewed here. Have students create an online book or brochure of images and captions about their travel guide using a site such as bookr (reviewed here.) (Bookr uses Flickr images, so you must first upload or find the images on Flickr reviewed here).
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