TeachersFirst - Featured Sites: Week of Nov 27, 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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Join.me - LogMeIn, Inc.

Grades
4 to 12
0 Favorites 0  Comments
 
Join.me is a web browser-based tool that allows you to share your PC (or Mac) screen with anyone who has access to the web. To share your screen, simply download ...more
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Join.me is a web browser-based tool that allows you to share your PC (or Mac) screen with anyone who has access to the web. To share your screen, simply download a small application to your Windows or Mac OS X PC. (Windows and Mac users can across platforms; it doesn't have to be Windows to Windows or Mac to Mac.) Send the 9-digit code generated to your collaborator (an email is automatically created). They either click a link in the email, or go to the join.me website and input the code, and they can see your screen. There is a share control feature that can be turned on allowing both users access to either computer. You may need to request download and install by school tech staff if computers are locked down for installing software. Test it out at home first.

tag(s): editing (61), homework (44)

In the Classroom

Screen share with students in computer labs to demonstrate items such as website addresses, how to locate information on websites, or when learning text editing features such as changing font size or color. Use this tool to collaborate with other teachers when creating lesson plans or student documents. Students with laptops can share the screen with the teacher during presentations to make information easier to view. Share this site with students to use at home when collaborating on projects. Help a homebound student by sharing your class computer screen and opening an audio connection on the phone. Offer "extra help" sessions via screen share at predetermined "office hours" or during a snow day. Have students teach tech skills to their peers using this free sharing app.

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ClassWish - ClassWish.org

Grades
K to 12
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Just as the name implies, this site offers the opportunity for teachers to post a wish list of items wanted for the classroom. The list can be shared with others ...more
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Just as the name implies, this site offers the opportunity for teachers to post a wish list of items wanted for the classroom. The list can be shared with others in the community, providing a way for people to donate and receive a tax deduction. Sign up is easy, search the site for your school, click teachers, then create your wish list. Be sure to visit the wish list tool kit that offers suggestions for publicizing your list. When donations are received, the teacher is notified and can order items to be sent directly to school. Donors can recommend what they want to be purchased; however, it is up to the teacher how to spend the money. Administrators and school PTO/PTA's can also create their own wish lists.

tag(s): grants (19), service projects (25)

In the Classroom

Use this site as a potential funding source or make a donation. Join the site (free). Then take the time to write up a clearly-worded wish list for potential donors to view. Share the site with parents and others in the community using the tips on the site. If you have a sister school in a needy area, this is a great way for them to list their needs and for your own school to organize the donations. Instead of holiday teacher gifts (another coffee cup?!), why not use this tool to request items you really need for your classroom or school?

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Disposable Web Page - disposableWebPage.com

Grades
K to 12
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Disposable web page offers the convenience and freedom of sharing information on the Internet with little hassle. Each disposable webpage has a count down clock. Set the clock to count...more
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Disposable web page offers the convenience and freedom of sharing information on the Internet with little hassle. Each disposable webpage has a count down clock. Set the clock to count down anywhere from 90 days to 0 days from the time the page is created. When the remaining time reaches 00:00:00:00, the page is automatically set for disposal and will exist for 2 more weeks before being "incinerated." Features that can be included on the page are bookmarking, rich text editor, uploading up to 5 images, and sticky notes with sticky notes player. The page creator receives an editing "key," and can generate a new key for editing by others.

Unlike other web page and online project creators, this tool erases your digital footprint when it is no longer needed!

tag(s): homework (44)

In the Classroom

Create pages for quick link sharing or for upcoming events such as field trips, class party information, school events, science fair, etc. Pages will automatically disappear after the event without any effort on your part. Create a page to countdown to standardized testing and allow students to add tips and advice on the page as the countdown goes on. This site could be used during long term projects to help students "stay on track." Students can create simple pages to share links to include in presentations so classmates can participate on laptops.

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FFFBI: Missions - WGBH

Grades
4 to 9
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FFFBI (Fin, Fur and Feather Bureau of Investigation) Academy is designed to help upper elementary and middle school kids -- especially those with attention issues -- manage the problems...more
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FFFBI (Fin, Fur and Feather Bureau of Investigation) Academy is designed to help upper elementary and middle school kids -- especially those with attention issues -- manage the problems they face with schoolwork, homework, and even managing their binders. Each interactive is designed to teach useful skills and strategies, while continually encouraging you to complete increasingly difficult tasks. To increase interest, the FFFBI Academy uses its humorous spy theme and frequent reinforcements for successful game play. National Geographic has partnered to help produce this series of geography-themed missions. In each, students are introduced to a new country and receive a dossier of documents to help complete a mission. Each dossier contains maps, forensic information, media and wiretap intercepts, background information, and images. Each mission requires students to exercise geography skills and basic problem-solving in six interactive challenges. Each mission follows National Geographic's geography standards. Upon completion, a short Coffee Guy quiz debriefs students about the knowledge they have gained. There is an excellent teacher's section of the site containing a summary of each activities with tips and an approximate time to complete.

tag(s): map skills (79), mysteries (25), problem solving (272)

In the Classroom

Share the site on your interactive whiteboard or projector; then assign a challenge each week for students to work on during centers or on laptops in geography/social studies class. Use activities from different countries as an introduction to the country before starting classroom activities. Special Education teachers may want to offer this active alternative to traditional lessons for students with attention issues.

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Inspire My Kids - Mike Stutman and Kevin Conklin

Grades
K to 12
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Find inspiring, age-appropriate, real-life stories, videos, and projects to share with the children and teens. The site hopes to help these students take positive actions and become...more
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Find inspiring, age-appropriate, real-life stories, videos, and projects to share with the children and teens. The site hopes to help these students take positive actions and become the best people they can be. Stories offer great examples of values like courage, determination, honesty, humility, kindness, responsibility, and tolerance. The stories range from incredible kids inspiring other kids, to amazing animals demonstrating admirable qualities, to the invention of inspirational social causes. Stories are searchable in several ways - by values, topics, age range, and format. Formats include articles, podcasts, reference, and videos. You can also sign up for the site's newsletter including updates and new article information.
This site includes advertising.

tag(s): bullying (52), disabilities (20), school violence (12), service projects (25)

In the Classroom

Share stories from the site on your interactive whiteboard or projector when learning about character traits such as sportsmanship, perseverance, and responsibility. Use the site as a resource when problems arise in the classroom such as bullying, intolerance, or special needs awareness. Have students use resources from the website as models for writing their own articles or creating a podcast. Use a site such as PodOmatic (reviewed here). Use the stories as models for writing activities and essays. Your students could also draw inspiration from this site to create values comics using one of many comic creation tools in this TeachersFirst collection.
 This resource requires Adobe Flash.

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Quizbreak - Michigan State Center for Language Education and Research

Grades
2 to 12
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Create Jeopardy style games that are hosted online. Add images, video, and audio to each "answer." Use of this resource requires registration (email verification required). Click on...more
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Create Jeopardy style games that are hosted online. Add images, video, and audio to each "answer." Use of this resource requires registration (email verification required). Click on each square, enter text, images, video, or audio and click OK. Use the URL to share with others to play.

tag(s): grammar review (37), quiz (85), quizzes (97)

In the Classroom

This would be a fantastic way to find out what students know about a topic prior to studying in class. Use this as a review, to learn vocabulary, or for rich learning opportunities. Have students create their own games/activities to share with the class. Learning support students would respond well to creating review games rather than doing "traditional" review.
  This resource requires Adobe Flash and PDF reader software like Adobe Acrobat.

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Magnoto - Magnoto

Grades
6 to 12
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Magnoto can be your personal spot on the web. Though called a blog site, it offers a place to stick your "virtual post-its." You can add all types of components ...more
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Magnoto can be your personal spot on the web. Though called a blog site, it offers a place to stick your "virtual post-its." You can add all types of components into a visual space: links, images, text, videos, music, and more. Its more like a community scrap-blog for those who venture to try it out! It is free, easy to use, and makes for exciting communication between students and teachers. Since this tool offers a great deal of room for personal expression, it is a great way to differentiate instruction for all. Tools like this are especially ideal for the "quiet types" who truly do have things they want to say or express. This tool is in its "beta" run which means it may have an occasional glitch. Check out the sample here.
This site includes advertising.

tag(s): blogs (88), bulletin boards (16)

In the Classroom

Ideas for using Magnoto can be found on the opening page of the site. Remember to reinforce proper use of materials and copyright. The best way to avoid trouble here is to capture your own images, use royalty free music, and create the videos to be used. Anything that is added that has an "M" can be adjusted with Magnoto's special effects. To move objects around on the page, make sure you are clicking on object near the top and have blue highlighting. Images, backgrounds, magnets, and many other bits of flare can be uploaded.

Try this site as an alternative to traditional "about me" activities for the beginning of the year. In guidance classes or health classes, have students create vision boards for goals they want to accomplish. Assign student groups to create online bulletin boards for assigned project topics. Have students "turn in" web addresses on a class wiki or directly to you to avoid classtime presentations if time is short, or have students share their site through the interactive whiteboard or projector. There is no need to transport files because it is all stored at their Magnoto url. Have students create a page that is subject specific, such as a leaf collection for biology class. Have students add pictures of leaves that they have taken and instead of traditional tags, use the comment space to provide the needed information about the leaf. As the teacher, you could even create a template to share with the students for how the information should look so you can easily assess the project. Please note: to log back into "your space" once you have logged off, use the address that was created for you upon sign up. If you attempt to log-in from the original Magnoto page, it will be unsuccessful. There is gray tab on the upper right hand corner of your opening Magnoto page. Enter log-in information here to access your editable blog. Users need to be able to locate files and follow on screen instructions.

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Print what you like - printwhatyoulike.com

Grades
K to 12
6 Favorites 0  Comments
 
Hate to waste paper? Use this free resource to print web pages without wasted white space, ads, or extra pages. Enter the URL (web address) of the website you wish ...more
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Hate to waste paper? Use this free resource to print web pages without wasted white space, ads, or extra pages. Enter the URL (web address) of the website you wish to print, rearrange the elements, and print! To rearrange, edit the items on the left navigation bar. Choose to show or hide the background, images, or margins. Change the font or font size. Save your changes as a pdf for later viewing. Create an account for more features such as "change sets" which allow your formatting options to be applied to other pages from the same website and clips. Use the clips or pieces from various web pages to create a simple page that houses them all. Add the bookmarklet to your browser by simply dragging it to your toolbar. Be sure to check out the demo and videos.

tag(s): conservation (127)

In the Classroom

Use in the classroom to save paper and printing ink. Teach students to remove unwanted images and change margins to fit the content on a page. Be sure students save the page as a pdf to view and print again later if needed. Model an environmentally friendly classroom with the use of this resource. Be sure to check with your tech department on the ability to add bookmarklets to the browser toolbar. This resource can be used without signing up - a bonus for the classroom! Use this when technology access is low or you want to print an activity for students to do when you are not there to supervise the technology use. Create in-class reading from blogs or other websites appropriate for your classroom. Make a pdf that can be opened on your interactive whiteboard without all the ads and clutter of the web page so students can annotate, highlight, and even practice reading comprehension skills such as "main idea." List this link on your class website for families to try at home! Use it to share articles with parents, as well--as long as you model proper behavior by giving credit. Best practice ALWAYS includes a url and title/author on any printed article from the web.
 This resource requires PDF reader software like Adobe Acrobat.

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Geniquest - The Concord Consortium

Grades
9 to 12
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Use the tutorials, quizzes, and animations at this site to learn about meiosis, genes, and heredity. Use traits of dragons to identify and follow how regions of parents' DNA lead ...more
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Use the tutorials, quizzes, and animations at this site to learn about meiosis, genes, and heredity. Use traits of dragons to identify and follow how regions of parents' DNA lead to inherited traits. Conduct virtual breeding experiments with drakes, a kind of dragon, using real genetics (using mouse DNA) and real data in an environment that guides the learning of genetics by conducting experiments in a virtual environment. Create a registration as a teacher. Add classes and create a special word that students will use to sign up and be part of the class. View their progress and data by clicking on My Classes. Be sure to check out the Getting Started and FAQ sections for help. Click on Activities along the left. Choose from the Intro, Part II Intermediate Activities, or Part III. This site requires Java. Get it here.

tag(s): genetics (90), meiosis (15)

In the Classroom

To use this site in class, set up your class (after registration of course). Add classes and assign activities. Be sure to provide students with a link to the portal as well as the secret word to enter and log in.

This site does not have flashy graphics but uses pure science for inquiry and solving problems. Assign the Intro and Intermediate activities to understand basic concepts. As students conduct experiments, remind them to take snapshots of the screen that they created through the experiments to save for later.

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The Outliner of Giants - Simon

Grades
7 to 12
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The Outliner of Giants is a free, web-based outline program designed to support large, complex documents, such as reports and academic thesis. You can embed content from sites, such...more
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The Outliner of Giants is a free, web-based outline program designed to support large, complex documents, such as reports and academic thesis. You can embed content from sites, such as YouTube Videos and PDF documents or simply attach your own files. You can export your outlines at anytime to your Google docs. The service uses Google's own user account system and an HTTPS internet connection. You and your students will be able to access your outline on your computer, iPads, tablets, smart phones, and Androids.

tag(s): college (43), concept mapping (22), letter writing (21), process writing (42)

In the Classroom

On an interactive whiteboard or projector, create an outline of facts or concepts in any subject area. You can assign students to "outline" a chapter or story or assign groups to create study guides using this tool. Why not use a student-operated IWB at the side (as a "sidebar") during lessons and have students continuously add to the outline as a set of class notes. This will help them to become familiar with the traditional, formal outlining format. The class can create outlines together, after a brainstorming session using a tool such as Popplet reviewed here. Use Outliner of Giants for literature activities, research projects, social studies, or science topics. Create family trees or menus in family and consumer science. Have students collaborate together (online) to create group outlines before tests on a given subject. Have students organize any concepts you study: outline a story, plotline, or plan for the future; outline a step-by-step process (life cycle). As students discover whether they are more visual or verbal, allow them to choose between outline and mindmap/concept map as a planning tool.

This is a great tool for you or your students to use to plan a resume, a masters thesis, or any academic thesis. You may want to suggest Outliner of Giants to students to plan their letter of introduction when submitting college applications. You might even want to use it in your own graduate program!

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PrimaryPad - Primary Technology

Grades
2 to 12
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Primary Pad is a web-based collaborative word processor perfect for students (both elementary and secondary.) The tool is straightforward and easy to navigate. Up to five people can...more
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Primary Pad is a web-based collaborative word processor perfect for students (both elementary and secondary.) The tool is straightforward and easy to navigate. Up to five people can simultaneously collaborate in real time on a single web document using a free, public account. Each contributor's text is highlighted in a different color. There is a side chat window that allows for dialogue. A free Primary Pad Public account allows you to save up to ten revisions of a document for 30 days. The "timeslider" feature replays the sequence of edits and the development of the text. This makes it easy to assess the contributions of each team member. Share and edit text files by importing them directly into a Primary Pad document. With a Public account, documents are read only files. Send private invites to people you want to have "read and write" privileges. It is possible to access Primary Pad in eighteen different languages. Once a document is complete, export it as a PDF, Word doc., and HTML file directly onto a desktop.

There is a free three-month trial account that allows files to be either public or private. After three months, you will be notified and asked if you'd like to continue your account as a paying customer. Paid accounts offer additional features. Such as the paintbrush tool, and the file switches into "Primary Paint" mode. The paint mode lets users draw, insert shapes, use background colors, capture a website screenshot and search for images on Flicker. Upload PowerPoint, PDFs, JPGs, GIFs or PNGs from your desktop and use them in a "Paint" document. Use the embed code provided to share the results of a Primary Pad document on a class or personal website. Share a document via url so designated individuals can immediately begin "real-time" collaboration. Send invitations out to participants through email or simply write down the URL.

tag(s): chat (51), writing (359)

In the Classroom

This site may or may not be fully accessible inside your school filtering. You will want to be sure that all portions you plan to use are available when using your school's network. No login or account sign up is necessary for a "Public" account. You or students can simply click the "Create a Public Pad" button and start typing. Discuss acceptable uses and consequences before introducing the site. The downside of this is that anyone who has the link can access a document, and the work is not password protected. Make sure students understand not to share the link with anyone they do not trust or want contributing. Have students use initials or assign logical pseudonyms (Ex. MsGper2-12, MsGper2-13, etc.) for their user names. Keep your own record of their user names for accountability in case there are any problems. The free public pad option saves a single file for 30 days, so plan accordingly!

All academic subjects can benefit from "real-time" document creation. Student teams can communicate and create presentations after-school, when sick at home, traveling, or even in-class. Divide students into cooperative learning groups to explore the site. In science class, have students draft their observations and results from an experiment together. Let students assume the persona and dialogue of a designated character from a literature study book and add an additional scene. Have students re-write a fable with another student(s). Develop a peer-tutor writing program with older students at a different school site. Provide immediate feedback to students as they write drafts. Use the "timeslider" to assess contributions each team member is making to group projects. Embed the finished product onto the school website for others to read. Writing teachers will love viewing and debriefing time-lapses of the writing/revision process using the slider.

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ArcGIS - ArcGIS.com

Grades
8 to 12
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Use maps from around the world as an entry point for information, statistics, and discussions. Create or view maps that communicate information; then share your maps with others. View...more
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Use maps from around the world as an entry point for information, statistics, and discussions. Create or view maps that communicate information; then share your maps with others. View maps made by others by clicking on the Gallery or Featured Maps. Hover over the map to view a description, reviews, and more details. Within the site, you will find tools for building and sharing maps. Click on Map to view directions for creating your own map. Find a variety of basemaps, specialty layers, applications, and tools that you can use to create an awesome map. Find helpful collaborative groups. Create web apps and mobile apps as well. Your maps can be shared by url or embedded in a wiki, blog, or web page.

If you simply wish to use maps created by others, no special skills or login are needed. Click on areas of the map to zoom in to find the content layers. Click on the little icons at the top left hand column (hover over to see description.) Click on the map legend to get a key for the icons. You can even add to already existing maps!

tag(s): earth (228), maps (287)

In the Classroom

Create a login to create a map, rate maps, or join a group. Follow the directions for creating a map.

Use existing maps to obtain information about a wide variety of topics and issues. Assign a map for students to explore and practice both map skills while accessing content information on environmental issues, economics, current events, world cultures, and more. Provide time for students to view the information and record what they see and connections they make about the material. Offer some thought-provoking questions, such as, "Which part of the world seems to have the highest gas prices? Why?" Create a mind map or use an interactive whiteboard to sketch out all of the information students have found. Use a tool such as bubbl.us (reviewed here) to create and share mind maps. Have student groups find relevant information, statistics, and resources to understand the map. Work together as a class to add information to a local map about watershed, pollution sources, or animal habitats. Allow students to add relevant layers or create their own maps when completing projects, researching issues, or learning concepts from class. Challenge student groups to build global perspective by exploring a location and learn as much about it as they can by viewing a wide variety of the maps from the Gallery. Have them generate a map information and comparison challenge for peers based on the maps available in the Gallery. In world language classes, have students gather knowledge about a country where their language is spoken and share it in oral discussions (in the new language, of course!).

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ZimmerTwins.com - Jason Krogh

Grades
1 to 8
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Looking for a different, engaging way for students to create reports? At ZimmerTwins.com you can create and share movies on your own or using their starter videos. Share created movies...more
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Looking for a different, engaging way for students to create reports? At ZimmerTwins.com you can create and share movies on your own or using their starter videos. Share created movies using the code generated after publication. You must be a member to save movies; membership is free. You can create one account to be used by both you and your students. There is a page just for teachers with lesson ideas to use with your students. Students do not need drawing skills; they simply insert and edit characters and text available with the site.
This site includes advertising.

tag(s): digital storytelling (144), movies (65), video (254)

In the Classroom

Even in the younger grades, the students would enjoy sharing these clips on your interactive whiteboard or projector. Create a class video together on your interactive whiteboard. Publish the video on your website or blog. Assign groups of students to create videos with facts on lessons learned (one group does reptiles, another mammals, another birds, etc.) to create a group of videos to cover your entire unit. Challenge students to create a persuasive video as a starter before a writing project. Use the movies already on the site as story starters for struggling writers.

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