TeachersFirst - Featured Sites: Week of Dec 11, 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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What is your #Eduwin? - EdReach

Grades
K to 12
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"Every day teachers all across America are taking education forward. What's your #EduWin?" Share and witness the positive impact of American schools by sharing an #Eduwin, a small victory,...more
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"Every day teachers all across America are taking education forward. What's your #EduWin?" Share and witness the positive impact of American schools by sharing an #Eduwin, a small victory, accomplishment, or learning moment from your classroom, told in 140 characters or less. The #Eduwin idea stemmed from EduBloggerCon, a preconference get-together before ISTE 2011 in Philadelphia. Read more about it in this post from the TeachersFirst editor and this one from EdReach's Daniel Rezac.

It takes almost no time to share an #Eduwin. Build media and public awareness of positive teaching stories (and reflect on the good about your career after a bad day). This site provides a simple place to enter your #Eduwin without accessing your Twitter account. It will automatically take you to Twitter where you can log in and send the tweet. You can read the #eduwin messages of others on the same page. Want to know more about Twitter? See TeachersFirst's Twitter for Teachers. Note that #Eduwin can also be added as a hashtag on student projects, wikis, and anywhere search engines might find it! Of course, you can add the #Eduwin hashtag to tweets sent from any Twitter tool, not just from this page.

tag(s): twitter (50)

In the Classroom

Mark this one in your favorites for quick access. Make a habit of reflecting on --and sharing -- the positive steps you witness on a daily basis. Tell your teacher friends. Watch this page for positive words (and ideas) from teachers you have never met.

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Instagrok - Google for Learning

Grades
6 to 12
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Grok: To understand thoroughly and intuitively. Instagrok is an intelligent search engine that improves independent learning on any topic. It retrieves information from around the web...more
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Grok: To understand thoroughly and intuitively. Instagrok is an intelligent search engine that improves independent learning on any topic. It retrieves information from around the web but goes one step further by helping you navigate your way through the results, identifying and rating the difficulty of important concepts and creating review quizzes. It also displays concept definitions and the relationships between concepts in the left column. Be sure to watch the video for information on using Instagrok.

tag(s): search engines (65), search strategies (30)

In the Classroom

Use this search engine to find information about important concepts and focus on student learning. Encourage students to "grok" any concept or term they encounter to gain a general sense of what they will learn. Display a "grok" of every unit topic as you begin the unit and use this visual display for students to access prior knowledge and make observations about what they see. Place a link on your class site, wiki, or blog for easy access or on a classroom computer for quicker searching. Demonstrate how to use this search engine on your interactive whiteboard or projector. Use this tool to save students' time while researching.
 This resource requires Adobe Flash.

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Slavery Footprint - How Many Slaves Work For You? - MUH-TAY-ZIK HOF-FER

Grades
7 to 12
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Slavery Footprint calculates the number of forced laborers involved in making the products we buy as consumers (such as beans in our coffee). Questions are based on the food...more
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Slavery Footprint calculates the number of forced laborers involved in making the products we buy as consumers (such as beans in our coffee). Questions are based on the food you eat, clothes you own, and even the sports you do. There is even the option to add detail about certain commodities to allow the program to make a more precise calculation. The result gives you the exact number of slaves that "work for you" in the supply chains of your consumption. An interesting portion of the site goes into detail about the methodology used for determining the number of slaves "working" for the respondents. The site also provides their definition of a slave: "Anyone who is forced to work without pay, being economically exploited, and unable to walk away." Be sure to share the opening portion of the site, "What? Slaves work for me?" with students for a wonderful explanation of slavery and the purpose of the site. Note: There is one question in the survey about paying for sex. While sexual slave trade is a very real issue in today's world, you may not want your less mature students to encounter this question. Only you know your school community's tolerance for such discussions.

tag(s): cross cultural understanding (115), ecology (135), slavery (72)

In the Classroom

Have students complete individual surveys and graph results, use the information for a basis of class discussions on economy and each individual's impact on the environment. Complete one survey for the entire class on your interactive whiteboard (or projector) using average information found from students. Show the impact of changes in lifestyle by completing new surveys by making lifestyle changes. Have students use a tool such as Woices (beta) (reviewed here) to create a fictitious radio news story from information they learn at this site. Have students use a mapping tool such as Google Earth (reviewed here) to create an audio (and visual) tour of countries included on the survey.

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How to Pronounce Words and Use Them - EmbedPlus

Grades
4 to 12
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This site is exactly what its title indicates, but it's more. It's not just an audio dictionary program. At How to Pronounce Words and Use Them you see a selection ...more
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This site is exactly what its title indicates, but it's more. It's not just an audio dictionary program. At How to Pronounce Words and Use Them you see a selection of videos with the word, and different forms of the word being used in context. These are actual news stories, lectures, etc. where people are using the word for real! When you first arrive, you see a sample video. You can also click on one of the sample words at the bottom to see everything offered when you search a word. There is information about why it's important to see facial expressions when learning to pronounce a new word and why it's important not to use the word in isolation when learning to pronounce it. Be aware: this site allows any word to be typed into the text box, including words inappropriate for the classroom. Be sure students know consequences for inappropriate use of this tool just as they do for writing words on the board or in their assignments..

tag(s): pronunciation (44), vocabulary (324), vocabulary development (126), word study (80)

In the Classroom

If YouTube is blocked at your school, use a tool such as KeepVid reviewed here to download the videos from YouTube and to convert online videos such as the ones you find on YouTube into a portable format you can play at school.

Whether you're an English Language Arts teacher or an ESL/ELL teacher, this site can help your students learn new words. You might want to have students keep lists of words they come across in their reading. Then have them take turns using this site (at a center or individual laptops). Or, if YouTube is blocked at your school, have this site posted on your webpage for parent and student use at home.

If you are a science, history, math, or other subject area teacher, you might want to embed a few of the videos on your own page for weekly vocabulary.

The quality of the information on the videos is excellent. In the Common Core State Standards there is an emphasis on background knowledge. This program will not only help your students with vocabulary and word pronunciation, but will help them build their background knowledge!
 This resource requires Adobe Flash.

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Stories in Flight: FlickrPoet - Thomas Sturm

Grades
3 to 12
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This site matches the words you enter with photos on Flickr reviewed here. It uses search tags, titles, and descriptions of photos to match up with...more
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This site matches the words you enter with photos on Flickr reviewed here. It uses search tags, titles, and descriptions of photos to match up with the words you type in the text box. You can get new pictures for the same words by clicking "Show Story" again. Use Stories in Flight: FlickrPoet to put photos with your favorite poem, quote, lyrics, or other piece of writing.
Note: Since Flickr houses photos contributed by the general public, some photos may be rated PG or depict something that may make student laugh. Nouns, active verbs, and vivid adjectives are most likely to return results that make sense.

tag(s): creative writing (166), creativity (109), digital storytelling (142), flickr (7), poetry (227)

In the Classroom

Stories in Flight: FlickrPoet would be perfect to use in April during National Poetry Month. Or introduce any poetry unit by showing Stories in Flight: FlickrPoet on your interactive whiteboard or projector. (Prescreen your word choices to be sure what you will get.) Have students work together on the IWB to create poems, or choose a favorite paragraph from their writing, then use this site to add images. Click on "Show Story" and compare the different outputs. For some interesting, high level discussion, ask students what makes something a "poem" vs. simply a collection of words. Ask them if they are satisfied with the images matched to their writing, and how they could make better matches for what they were thinking. Do they prefer imagining the metaphors or seeing them in concrete images, for example?

You may want to have a class Flickr account. Have students play with Stories in Flight: FlickrPoet using the "Show Story" several times, and then find their own pictures to go with their writing by using the search bar on Flickr. They can then publish their creations using a web site maker such as Weebly reviewed here. Offer this as one of several "visual poem" options during Poetry Month or poetry units.

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DOGOnews - Meera Dolasia

Grades
2 to 12
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Need kid-friendly online news? This safe site, written for kids, by kids, offers news from a younger point-of-view. You can create a class page where you can load a variety ...more
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Need kid-friendly online news? This safe site, written for kids, by kids, offers news from a younger point-of-view. You can create a class page where you can load a variety of articles, add a book list, a calendar, favorite sites list, add lesson plan instructions, monitor student comments, and more. DOGOnews is kid friendly, colorful, and flexible. After all, DOGO means young or small in Swahili. You can select articles from a number of categories (Social Studies, Science, World, Current Events, etc.). There is an integrated dictionary for challenging words and maps for geographical context. Some of the articles include short video clips. Students may leave brief comments about each article (no login required). Also, typing the word "video" in the search box will bring up the Video of the Week for the past several weeks. The videos reside on YouTube. If your district blocks YouTube, the videos may not be viewable. You could always view them at home and bring them to class "on a stick" to share. Use a tool such as Freemake Video Converter, reviewed here, to download the videos from YouTube. In addition, find a Book and Movie section with a brief summary for the book or movie, and comments. You don't have to join to read the articles, but you do need to join to create a class page. There are many benefits to creating a class page, and it's all free! Don't want to create a class page? You can also embed articles on your current web page.

tag(s): news (261), reading comprehension (116), sports (96)

In the Classroom

Non-fiction reading and background knowledge have found a new emphasis with The Common Core State Standards. It is more important now than ever to help connect students with quality, non-fiction reading and viewing material. Find great news resources and videos of the week to create assignments for your class at DOGOnews. You may want to create a class page and load several news articles. Have students choose from the articles, and email it to themselves. Have students print out the article and complete a "close reading" of the article by annotating it. Then have students who chose the same article get together in groups to discuss their reactions about the article, create a summary together, and create four or five open-ended questions about the article. Lastly, create groups of four, with each student having a different article, and have them present their article to the others in the group and ask them their open-ended questions to trigger a discussion. Create a class magazine from the articles. Or better yet, have students create a multimedia presentation using UtellStory, reviewed here. This site allows users to narrate a picture. Challenge students to find a photo (legally permitted to be reproduced), and then narrate the photo as if it is a news report. Strengthen reading comprehension by having an 'article du jour' on your interactive whiteboard or projector as students arrive. Link this site on your homepage.

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YoungZine - Deepa Gopal

Grades
3 to 10
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Youngzine is news and more for the young. Enjoy the different articles, comics, videos, etc. without signing up, or you can sign up to have full access to everything ...more
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Youngzine is news and more for the young. Enjoy the different articles, comics, videos, etc. without signing up, or you can sign up to have full access to everything on this safe site, including teacher tools. General subjects include World News, Science & Technology, Our Earth, Society & Arts. For each class, teachers get a blog where they can post assignments and have students respond. Teachers can register their class for free. You can include specific articles and quizzes for each assignment. Comments are moderated to prevent inappropriate classroom content.

For each of your classes, you see a full report of each student's activities by going to your classroom tab. Youngzine also provides a safe "blog" environment for classrooms - a constructive, creative, and controlled way for teachers to create classroom assignments and foster discussions about current events! The blog can be completely private so outsiders cannot see student comments. Teachers control these settings.

tag(s): blogs (88), communities (35), news (261), service projects (25), summarizing (13)

In the Classroom

Have your students make comments on articles (public comments), take quizzes, rate articles, and participate in contests. You can create custom assignments and have students respond and discuss, right on Youngzine! This is a great way to assess student's understanding and create an arena for a discussion/debate between class students. Or, ask your students to summarize an article, as a way to encourage them to think and write.

There is also a tab for "U Write." This section appears to allow students to write about issues in their community, or programs they've heard about to help a suffering communities. You might consider having your students look at the different articles and decide on a community to help. Have them vote on the community they would like to help by using Thinkmeter reviewed here.

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BigMarker - BigMarker.com

Grades
9 to 12
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Big Marker is a new, free service for creating and participating in online conferences, chats, webinars, or other get-togethers. Big Marker is a good service for online tutoring sessions,...more
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Big Marker is a new, free service for creating and participating in online conferences, chats, webinars, or other get-togethers. Big Marker is a good service for online tutoring sessions, sessions for brainstorming, and any other online activity where people from multiple computer locations can congregate to share ideas. Create a public or private meeting room. Making the room public allows anyone to join. (There are many upcoming sessions that are public and listed on the main page.) Provide a password to other participants when making the room private. Share screens through the presentation board or write on the provided whiteboard. Chat through many methods including text, audio, and video. The creator of the Big Marker conference controls audio and video options and who is heard throughout the chats. Try the demo room first to become acquainted with the tools available and the interface.

In the Classroom

Use Big Marker for online tutoring or peer tutoring sessions and providing additional lessons to students for enrichment. Use Big Marker for brainstorming, planning, and completing projects. Create professional development opportunities for others in your school or elsewhere. Use for extracurricular activities, home schooling, or other online events. Set up a Big Marker get together during snow days so students can stay up to date with projects and assignments.

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TallJerome Math Songs/Video - Jerome White

Grades
8 to 12
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New Orleans Math Teacher, Jerome White, has created this site to share his classroom productions with others. He has produced videos fashioned after popular songs with Math themes....more
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New Orleans Math Teacher, Jerome White, has created this site to share his classroom productions with others. He has produced videos fashioned after popular songs with Math themes. Examples are Super Geek sung to the the tune of Super Freak, I Solved for X to the tune of I Kissed a Girl, and many more. Videos are presented through YouTube and most are also linked to an original posting with an explanation of the contents. Be sure to also check out his Math Nerdiness page which features his Mathematical explanation of Parallel Parking, Sine Cradle, Rational Functions explanations, and other "Nerdiness." Other linked portions of the site are for more mature students, such as the tattoo designs done by calculus students.

tag(s): angles (88), geometric shapes (163), humor (15), quadratics (32)

In the Classroom

This is a great find for gifted students or to lure in disengaged math students. Allow them to explore the Math Nerdiness and investigate the Mathematical explanations contained there. Share the videos with students on your interactive whiteboard or projector to add a little humor to Math class. The videos are hosted on YouTube. If your district blocks YouTube, then they may not be viewable. You could always view them 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. Challenge students to create their own video or multimedia presentations using current Math content. Share the videos on a site such as TeacherTube reviewed here.
 This resource requires Adobe Flash.

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Virtual Swim - Virtual-swim.com

Grades
6 to 12
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Virtual Swim offers a three dimensional approach to swimming body movements. From butterfly to freestyle, this module offers swimming animations of real Olympic swimmers at different...more
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Virtual Swim offers a three dimensional approach to swimming body movements. From butterfly to freestyle, this module offers swimming animations of real Olympic swimmers at different speeds and different angles. The site is extremely valuable and fun to manipulate with the animations provided! This offers a great real world connection to the universe of physics. This could be great for swimming coaches and physical education teachers alike. STudents more interested in athletics than science might be hooked into studying principles of motion through these animations.

While the site offers custom animation for FREE, there is a cost if you choose to send in a video of yourself swimming both above and below the water surface. Depending how involved you become with using this site, this is not at all necessary, but it is an option.
This site includes advertising.

tag(s): human body (120), motion (58), sports (96), waves (21)

In the Classroom

Share this site on your projector or interactive whiteboard. Try using this tool in your physics class to analyze motion, to reinforce Newton's Laws, and to explore Bernoulli's principle. Divide your class into teams and have them swim to the head of the class by assigning each group a different stroke and have them explain how the stroke demonstrates Newton's first and third law. Assist students in gathering numerical data to calculate force using Newton's second law. On a more simple level, when using this website in physical education, use the site to demonstrate the proper form for each of the strokes available on the site. Have students share the science of motion in their sport of interest. Fr example, what do runners do to minimize wind resistance at the start of a race?
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English Online Learners - British Council

Grades
6 to 12
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This great ESL/ELL site offers online listening and viewing activities, language games, story telling and a story telling marathon, information on language tests in Great Britain, information...more
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This great ESL/ELL site offers online listening and viewing activities, language games, story telling and a story telling marathon, information on language tests in Great Britain, information and practice with job interviews, and more. Vocabulary and grammar activities are animated and highly interactive. Don't miss the links to Language Snacks, Overcooked, Simon Says, and How To videos. There is an interactive "Wordshake" game similar to Boggle. The range of topics is wide and appealing. The opening page of the site changes weekly and offers new topics, words of the day, competitions, winner announcements, and grammar polls. All material on the site is available in Chinese as well as English. The tab at top right takes you to the extensive Teachers section of the site. Free member registration allows access to more content and offerings customized to your needs. Note that the site is from the UK, so spellings will vary from those in the U.S.
This site includes advertising.

tag(s): chinese (48), grammar (216), listening (91), vocabulary (324), vocabulary development (126)

In the Classroom

Make a shortcut to this site on classroom computers and recommend it to your English learners. Many portions of the site are also appropriate for any English speaking student to improve vocabulary, spelling, and more. Share parts of this site on your interactive whiteboard or projector. Provide this link on your class website for students to access both in and out of classroom. Consider having your ESL/ELL students create their own "how-to" videos. Share the videos using SchoolTube reviewed here.
 This resource requires Adobe Flash.

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Kids' Stories Online - Karen Wade

Grades
K to 6
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This site aggregates free online stories, audio books, e-books, and videos! You can also submit your own stories. Most of the stories are recently written by educators and other site...more
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This site aggregates free online stories, audio books, e-books, and videos! You can also submit your own stories. Most of the stories are recently written by educators and other site members. Membership is not required. Some of the stories are children's classics and fairy tales. The songs appear to relate to current events and education in general. There are seasonal offerings like a music video about Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer. The site offers "free" activities related to the topic of the story, usually coloring sheets and simple games. A small part of the site is under construction. More stories and other items are constantly being added.

BEFORE submitting any stories created by your students, check with your administrator to be sure that your school allows students to submit stories to such sites.
This site includes advertising.

tag(s): christmas (64), folktales (65), holidays (147), interactive stories (32)

In the Classroom

ALL elementary students will enjoy reading the simple stories from this site. This site is ideal for the regular classroom, ESL/ELL students, learning support, and the youngest of kindergartners. Share the interactive books on your projector or interactive whiteboard. Save this site on your classroom computer for students to use as a learning center or to explore during an indoor recess. Have students try out this site on individual computers.
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