TeachersFirst - Featured Sites: Week of Dec 4, 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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Shelfari - Amazon

Grades
4 to 12
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Shelfari is a community-powered encyclopedia for book lovers. Create a virtual bookshelf, discover new books, connect with friends, and learn more about your favorite books. You can...more
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Shelfari is a community-powered encyclopedia for book lovers. Create a virtual bookshelf, discover new books, connect with friends, and learn more about your favorite books. You can read, write and edit plot summaries, popular quotes, character descriptions and more than a dozen other types of book factoids. The site can be searched without registration; however, free registration is required to create a virtual bookshelf. (Although they do not openly "advertise," Amazon obviously hopes this site will inspire you to buy more books. If you feel so moved, we hope you will make your purchase by entering through the Amazon search at the bottom of this page so TeachersFirst can benefit from the donations Amazon makes to our non-profit service as a result of your purchase.)
This site includes advertising.

tag(s): book lists (126), book reports (36), independent reading (126)

In the Classroom

Before or after reading classroom novels, pull up the book on your interactive whiteboard or projector to view what others have written about the book. Create a classroom account and your own virtual bookshelf as a resource for students to find books that they will enjoy. Create different bookshelves by subject, genre, etc. Show this site on your interactive whiteboard to demonstrate how to use the site and find books of interest. Use examples on the site, then have students create their own book summaries (using this site's format) using Google Docs reviewed here. Add the Shelfari widget to your classroom website or blog for easy access for students.

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Produce Oasis - P-O-P Interactive, Inc.

Grades
4 to 12
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Produce Oasis is a source for information about selecting and preparing herbs, fresh fruits & vegetables. The site includes healthy recipes, seasonal information, history, and nutritional...more
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Produce Oasis is a source for information about selecting and preparing herbs, fresh fruits & vegetables. The site includes healthy recipes, seasonal information, history, and nutritional & dietary data about your favorite fruits and vegetables! To explore the site, choose from one of the categories offered: fruits, vegetables, recipes, and more. One unique area is the produce nutrition section; click this button and choose a vitamin or mineral from the list to find the daily recommended allowance. It also provides lists of fruits and vegetables and their percentage of the daily allowance in a serving. The Tip of the Day section offers a daily tip on vegetables or fruits that are high in nutrition and includes archives of past tips.
This site includes advertising.

tag(s): cooking (34), nutrition (154)

In the Classroom

During a unit on healthy eating, challenge your students to create a web exhibit collection about the nutritional value of fruits and vegetables using a tool such as Bag The Web (reviewed here) to share all of the important links, information, and even brief descriptions. Use the site with students to create healthy menus and find alternatives to fast foods. If you are a family and consumer science teacher, try out some of the recipes in class! Have students choose a recipe and create a "how-to" video to share with the class. Share the videos using a tool such as SchoolTube reviewed here.

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Calcoolate - The Coolest Calculator on the Web - Calcoolate.com

Grades
7 to 12
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Calcoolate is an online, fast, scientific calculator. It has a clean interface and, unlike other online calculators, doesn't clutter your screen with unnecessary calculator buttons...more
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Calcoolate is an online, fast, scientific calculator. It has a clean interface and, unlike other online calculators, doesn't clutter your screen with unnecessary calculator buttons that you can input from your keyboard (1,2,3, +, -,* etc). It supports simple and trigonometric or scientific math functions (sin, cos, log, etc), instantly highlights any errors in your input, and automatically saves a history of your previous calculations. The preferences page allows for further customization of the calculator: choose to use either a dot or comma as the decimal point, save the history (or not), and show angles in radians or degrees. In addition to the calculator, there is an online conversion tool. This tool performs conversions for distance and length, speed, temperature, weight, volume, area, and currency. Your computer's calculator history will also show on screen when performing conversions. Although the advertisements on this page can be a bit "flashy," this site is definitely worth using!
This site includes advertising.

tag(s): calculators (41), conversions (22), measurement (159)

In the Classroom

Share this site on your interactive whiteboard or projector when performing operations and conversions in math and science. Use the history as a reference for comparing calculations performed. (Some school computers may "blow out" the computer "cookies" that store this history.) Share a link to the site on your classroom website or blog for students to use at home.

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ASPCA Kids - American Society for Prevention of Cruelty to Animals

Grades
K to 6
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At this site, students learn about animals, pet care, careers, and more! Kids are predominately featured in stories on the site. For example, read about kids who have helped and ...more
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At this site, students learn about animals, pet care, careers, and more! Kids are predominately featured in stories on the site. For example, read about kids who have helped and saved animals in their hometowns. You can read what is involved in having a pet and keeping it safe and healthy. Ask Azula is a parrot who answers questions about pets. Simply click to ask a question or find answers to previously asked questions, such as, "What kind of noises do giraffes make?" The Animal Careers section contains short stories about people with careers involving animals. They discuss their jobs and how they got involved with animals. Don't be fooled into thinking the cartoon section is just for fun! This section contains links to YouTube video cartoons that demonstrate proper pet care.

tag(s): animals (276), careers (132)

In the Classroom

Share this site with students when researching careers or animals. Have students create an online presentation on animal care or careers using Smilebox (reviewed here) or another reviewed presentation tool from the TeachersFirst Edge reviewed here. As a writing project, have students send in a picture of their pet and a short story for consideration to be the site's Pet of the Week. Submit the story using a class account to protect student safety and stay within school policies.
 This resource requires Adobe Flash.

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Talking Pets - All About Pets

Grades
K to 8
8 Favorites 1  Comments
 
TalkingPets lets you make pets talk using a text-to speech system. Choose a pet from a selection of cats and dogs. Accessorize your choice or upload your own pet's ...more
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TalkingPets lets you make pets talk using a text-to speech system. Choose a pet from a selection of cats and dogs. Accessorize your choice or upload your own pet's picture and attach a virtual mouth. You choose the type of voice and write the text for your pet. The text length is limited. (There are also some phrases already "ready to go.") Put commas between the words to make pets speak more slowly. Students will love creating pets and making them talk.This site can be useful to increase interest with younger students when creating and writing in the classroom. Finished projects can be emailed; recipients will receive a link to access the talking pet. Here is an example, just for fun.

tag(s): creative writing (166), descriptive writing (41), text to speech (16)

In the Classroom

Share "advertisements" for student writing projects by letting them choose a pet, accessorize, then type in an excerpt from their writing. Share an entire short passage such as writings by very young students or targeted writing examples such as sentences using vivid adjectives, Share finished projects by emailing to yourself, then adding the urls on your classroom webpage or blog. With older students, have the pets tell the students what to do at the start of class or leave one of these "pet avatars" for a substitute to provide directions to your class with a furry twist!
 This resource requires Adobe Flash.

Comments

This tool is so much fun! What a great way to greet students in the morning. My 3rd graders love this site. Melissa, , Grades: 0 - 5

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The World's Top 50 - Wall Street Journal

Grades
5 to 12
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This graph shows how the world's population (currently about 7 billion) is distributed. You can mouse over to see the details of the seven highest populated countries, the history of...more
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This graph shows how the world's population (currently about 7 billion) is distributed. You can mouse over to see the details of the seven highest populated countries, the history of their population growth, and their projected population. Other options for viewing including checking world regions: Africa, Asia, North America, South America, and Europe. You can add any other country to a graph by simply clicking on the box next to the name of that particular country.
This site includes advertising.

tag(s): charts and graphs (195), data (148), population (60)

In the Classroom

Use this site to teach beginning graph reading to advanced data analysis. Compare the growth rates in the top most populated countries by creating your own online graphs using Tabblo reviewed here. Challenge students to research other countries during research projects and use the population data provided here. Be sure to ask why these trends may be happening and what the results of the population changes might be. Have students make a multimedia presentation using one of the many TeachersFirst Edge tools reviewed here.
 This resource requires Adobe Flash.

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Fuel Up To Play 60 - U.S. Dept. Agriculture, National Football League

Grades
2 to 12
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Encourage students to get sixty minutes of exercise daily by partnering school workers with this site's two sponsors: the Department of Agriculture and the National Football League....more
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Encourage students to get sixty minutes of exercise daily by partnering school workers with this site's two sponsors: the Department of Agriculture and the National Football League. You can join the program for free and see if your school qualifies to receive grants to help educate your students about exercise, nutrition, and healthy eating and also to increase student access to more physical education programs and better foods. Check with your school administrators to be sure it is acceptable to have your school join and to allow your students to individually register. "Quick Start Resources" help you learn how to use the program and set up their class as a team.

tag(s): fitness (49), nutrition (154)

In the Classroom

Participate in the healthy eating challenge by creating your own class video entry for the Cooking Show Challenge! Share the videos using a tool such as Teachers.TV reviewed here. Help your class members to apply to be student ambassadors. Help your students to sign up and start graphing their physical activity and nutritional changes, receive badges and prizes, see how their classmates are doing and encourage them by giving rewards, and finally, by viewing what other classes are doing. Share the information on this site with parents so they can support the lifestyle changes encouraged here at home.
 This resource requires Adobe Flash.

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English Attack - Entertainment Learning

Grades
8 to 12
1 Favorites 0  Comments
   
This site uses movie and music video clips to teach English vocabulary and listening. It also has visual dictionaries called "Photo Vocabs" and other learning interactives based on...more
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This site uses movie and music video clips to teach English vocabulary and listening. It also has visual dictionaries called "Photo Vocabs" and other learning interactives based on active media experiences. There is also a large component that includes social networking around the world. To receive full access to all offerings, you need to register to activate a "booster pass." There is also a Premium level, activated only after registration and payment. Everyday there is a new video booster (video clip) and accompanying vocabulary activities. Video clips are taken from things that interest teens. Students can select a "translation" language for the question vocabulary to be instantly translated on mouse-over. Students can also create an identity online, a "badge." Be certain to monitor the daily offerings and preview to make sure they are appropriate for your classroom.
This site includes advertising.

tag(s): idioms (44), listening (91), video (253), vocabulary development (126)

In the Classroom

English and world language instructors can use this site to increase listening comprehension and vocabulary knowledge. Browse the range of video booster offerings to find appropriate themes for use in daily lessons. Share these clips on your interactive whiteboard or projector. Challenge students to create simple how-to videos and share them using a tool such as TeacherTube reviewed here.
 This resource requires Adobe Flash.

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Greensboro Sit-Ins - Greensboro News-Record

Grades
6 to 12
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This site contains an in-depth look at the Greensboro Sit-Ins that took place on February 1, 1960. You can hear the mayor of the time, George Roach, talk about how ...more
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This site contains an in-depth look at the Greensboro Sit-Ins that took place on February 1, 1960. You can hear the mayor of the time, George Roach, talk about how the city avoided violent incidents (such as those in Birmingham, Alabama.) Several other features will give you a feel for the era and the significance of the sit-ins. Take a look at the video clips or listen to the audio files. There is also a timeline, complete with historic photos. Don't miss the historical photos and stories from the News & Record archives, with a photo from the first day of the sit-ins. The site includes a look at what the Greensboro Public Library has to offer on the subject. There is even an electronic bulletin board, where visitors can write what they think - or, for many, remember - about the sit-ins and see what other people have said. There are extensive links to other civil rights and black history sites. A PDF version of the February 1, 1960, newspaper detailing all of the events is also available. You will find the site especially informative because of the way it is organized. Don't miss this intriguing look at this historical time in American history.
This site includes advertising.

tag(s): african american (113), civil rights (117)

In the Classroom

Share this site on your interactive whiteboard or projector. Allow students to explore on their own. Have students create a news report as a multimedia presentation using Thinglink, reviewed here. This site allows users to narrate a picture. Have students find Creative Commons images for their news report using a site (with credit, of course), like Compfight, reviewed here. Challenge your students to use a site such as Timetoast reviewed here to include the Greensboro Sit-ins in a timeline of the Civil Rights Movement. After viewing the site, ask students to research events in your state or city that related to the Civil Rights Movement.
  This resource requires Adobe Flash and PDF reader software like Adobe Acrobat.

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European History Interactive - Worldology.com

Grades
6 to 10
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Remember when you needed a wall of paper maps to teach history or social studies? And they were always out of date? If you're teaching European history, this site replaces ...more
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Remember when you needed a wall of paper maps to teach history or social studies? And they were always out of date? If you're teaching European history, this site replaces those maps with images for your interactive whiteboard or projector. Simply choose the time period, and the maps show political boundaries of the time along with commentary about the important geopolitical events for that era. There are also hyperlinks to articles with more information. Be aware: users can comment on the maps. So you may want to preview the maps (and comments) before sharing them with your students.
This site includes advertising.

tag(s): europe (75), maps (288)

In the Classroom

Use these maps to highlight lessons about the history and people of Europe or to show the changes in political and cultural boundaries over time. Save this site in your favorites for students to use on classroom or home computers throughout the year or when working on research projects. It may be best to turn the volume down when using the site in class; some of the advertising along the margins comes with audio tracks.
 This resource requires Adobe Flash.

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State of the Ocean - Physical Oceanography Distributed Active Archive Center

Grades
7 to 12
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Use this interactive website to show scientific data about the Oceans of the World. The site uses Google Earth. Don't have Google Earth? Download it here...more
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Use this interactive website to show scientific data about the Oceans of the World. The site uses Google Earth. Don't have Google Earth? Download it here or request it from your school tech department--using this site as an example of why you need it! Manipulate the sea surface temperature, sea surface height, chlorophyll levels, and ocean wind speeds by clicking on the appropriate checkbox. (Be sure to click the box to show the legend bar as well.)

tag(s): climate (92), climate change (64), data (148), earth (228), oceans (148)

In the Classroom

Choose a parameter to display, such as wind speed. It is best to choose only one topic (data set) at a time and be sure to instruct students to uncheck previous boxes before choosing a new one. Use as an inquiry activity to look at various parameters around the globe and ask questions about what they see. For example, Sea Surface Temperature Anomaly shows areas of the oceans that are warming and some that are cooling more than others. Provide time for students to spin the globe and zoom in to look at where various changes are occurring and make observations. Bring these observations to light in class and brainstorm why the phenomenon exists. If you have an interactive whiteboard, have students add their observations to the board as they make discoveries. Then have them discuss and sort their statements into "proven" and "unproven" columns on the IWB. Research what has already been demonstrated about warming and cooling as well as the potential impacts it may have. Compare these changes with other parameters such as chlorophyll to understand producers and their ocean environment.

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Mail Catch - Net-Core.org

Grades
5 to 12
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Mailcatch quickly creates a "disposable" email address to use with web tools that require email registration. This could be your solution to using free, membership-required sites where...more
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Mailcatch quickly creates a "disposable" email address to use with web tools that require email registration. This could be your solution to using free, membership-required sites where students must sign up individually using an email address. This is the spam, update, and junk email dumping ground! Files are deleted on a regular basis. If there is something you need to check for site log in purposes, be sure to check it the day that the email is sent and save the information to a document on your computer. The genius of this site is that it is temporary but completely functional for protecting individual identities. Protect your own "real" email, too! Note that any "disposable" email address can be used by others at any time, so using a more unique address will decrease the likelihood that others have used the same one. Be clever!
This site includes advertising.

tag(s): internet safety (108)

In the Classroom

Have students choose a "Mailcatch" address in the beginning of the school year as part of your introductory lesson on acceptable use procedures. Once that email is chosen, they can use it every time they need to sign up for a website that requires an email. After they have used it in your class, show them how to check the mail by typing in their "address" into the web page. Here they can see their email, such as membership confirmations.
 

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Sign up genius - Skylark Productions

Grades
K to 12
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Create private or public sign ups for easy creation of snack lists, volunteer sheets, party planners, parent/teacher conference planning, or project preparation. Sign up for free using...more
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Create private or public sign ups for easy creation of snack lists, volunteer sheets, party planners, parent/teacher conference planning, or project preparation. Sign up for free using an email address (email verification not required.) View your created sign ups under "My Account." Be sure to view the Frequently Asked Questions for help in using this simple resource. Find complete guides for an even smoother sign up process under the "Planning Resources" tab. Follow the directions for creating your sign up including all the details. "Invite" and "Publish" to set your privacy options as well as enter the email information to send to others. Add a web button to your site to take users directly to your home page to find active sign ups (find this function under "My Account").

tag(s): charts and graphs (195)

In the Classroom

The possibilities are endless. Use this for planning parties, bringing in materials for projects, and any other activity that requires coordination. If you have limited technology availability, this is a great way for teachers or students to sign up for time slots to use laptops, iPads, video cameras, or a podcast recording station. Go paperless with your signups! Share this tool at Back to School night (and with your room parent or PTO). Organize your parent/teacher conferences. Plan student research of class projects using this resource. Help students build organizational skills by having them "plan" a mythical event such as a museum opening for their Famous Americans exhibit.

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Open Heat Map - Openheatmap.com

Grades
8 to 12
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Use data from a spreadsheet to instantly create an interactive map. Search the Gallery for some great ideas for using spreadsheets to make a map. Watch the "What is this ...more
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Use data from a spreadsheet to instantly create an interactive map. Search the Gallery for some great ideas for using spreadsheets to make a map. Watch the "What is this all about" video to see how easy it is to create a data map. Click "Create your map" to upload an excel or Google Docs file to be used. Users must be able to collect data using either an Excel spreadsheet or Google Spreadsheet. Upload the file to view the graphical data. Click Share to send to others. View your data in a graphical way! Data uploaded is viewable by the public. No login is required. Be sure that information used to create the graph is not private information.

tag(s): data (148), infographics (42), maps (288)

In the Classroom

Consider identifying water/electric/gas usage in various areas in your school district. Use data about car ownership to identify trends in various locations. Collect information about wildlife sightings, traffic patterns, and other interesting information to view as a graph. Have students research countless trends from around the world and create maps to share ad explain on a projector or interactive whiteboard. Be sure to ask questions about what the data implies. Why does one location differ from another? Have students hypothesize what the data means, then research information to back up their hypothesis.
 This resource requires Adobe Flash.

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