TeachersFirst - Featured Sites: Week of Jan 1, 2012

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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Teachers: World Food Programme - World Food Programme

Grades
3 to 10
1 Favorites 0  Comments
  
This site is full of learning activities and resources from the World Food Programme, developed by educators to be used in the classroom. Inspire students as global citizens through...more
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This site is full of learning activities and resources from the World Food Programme, developed by educators to be used in the classroom. Inspire students as global citizens through these lessons and service learning opportunities. The lesson plans and classroom activities cover all grades and subject areas, with themes ranging from "What to do about Malnutrition" to "The Millennium Development Goals." Classroom activities can be found by going to the link on the right-hand side of the page. Activities are labeled by age range, subject, and general category of the lesson (such as collaborative learning & problem solving or addition & subtraction of decimals). After choosing a lesson, click on download to access the lesson in an easy to print pdf document. Lessons are very detailed, including an overview, aims and objectives, materials needed, lesson procedure, and activity sheets. Another excellent resource within the site is titled Hunger 101. Resources in that section include useful information and resources for discussing hunger in the classroom. In the future, the site intends to include more resources such as teaching materials and maps for the classroom. The site also includes links to sign up for their Facebook page, Twitter feed, and blog.

tag(s): cross cultural understanding (115), nutrition (154), service projects (25)

In the Classroom

Share this site with your students on your interactive whiteboard or projector then allow them time to explore on their own. Use lessons from the site in your classroom. Have students create a multimedia presentation using Thinglink, reviewed here. This site allows users to narrate a picture. To find Creative Commons images for student projects (with credit, of course), try Compfight, reviewed here. Service groups, student councils, and gifted programs can find many ideas for service projects and fundraisers through this site.
 This resource requires PDF reader software like Adobe Acrobat.

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KidRex - Kid Safe Search Engine - KidRex.org

Grades
K to 7
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KidRex is an engaging, safe search engine for students that is powered by Google Custom Search and Google SafeSearch technology. In addition to typical filters applied to searches,...more
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KidRex is an engaging, safe search engine for students that is powered by Google Custom Search and Google SafeSearch technology. In addition to typical filters applied to searches, the site maintains its own database of inappropriate websites and keywords to further reduce the possibility of inappropriate search returns. The search engine is easy to use and similar to a typical Google search. You simply enter the search term and a list of sites is returned. Inappropriate search terms are returned with an "Oops, try again!" message. Before using the site, be sure to click on the Parents link for a quick overview of how the site works.
This site includes advertising.

tag(s): internet safety (109), search engines (65)

In the Classroom

Create a link to KidRex on classroom computers for students to use as a default search engine. Use this site on your interactive whiteboard (or projector) to demonstrate how to search for items or when searching with your students.

Comments

A similar site that uses Google SafeSearch, but may be more appropriate for older kids is http://www.KidzSearch.com Daniel, CA, Grades: 0 - 12

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Eco Zoo - Enjin, Inc.

Grades
K to 4
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Visit the Ecozoo: a colorful, content-rich website! Click on the critter icons along the top to learn how to live in the environment and have good habits. Each critter has ...more
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Visit the Ecozoo: a colorful, content-rich website! Click on the critter icons along the top to learn how to live in the environment and have good habits. Each critter has a pop up book to learn new habits. The site is in both English and Japanese, making it even more intriguing to younger readers!
This site includes advertising.

tag(s): animals (276), ecology (135), ecosystems (88), sustainability (19)

In the Classroom

Allow students to explore the site and share information with one another about what they have learned. Bring these ideas together into a class discussion. Students can research other methods to create a more sustainable society and create flyers, posters, or blog posts to share information with others. Have students make a multimedia presentation using one of the many TeachersFirst Edge tools reviewed here or make one together as a class, with each student contributing a portion.
 This resource requires Adobe Flash.

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Slavery in New York - New York Historical Society

Grades
4 to 12
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This site offers a look into New York's little-discussed history with slavery in the United States. New York was the capital of American slavery for more than two centuries. This ...more
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This site offers a look into New York's little-discussed history with slavery in the United States. New York was the capital of American slavery for more than two centuries. This exhibition spans the period from the 1600s to 1827, when slavery was legally abolished in New York State. After entering the site, visitors enter galleries with slide shows including pictures and written descriptions of events in New York during this time. Many portions in each gallery have further information included by clicking on links, text, and pictures, be sure to "look around" carefully so you don't miss anything. Although the exhibit was originally opened in 2005-2006, the site appears to have been continually maintained. This is definitely worth a look!

tag(s): 1600s (11), 1700s (23), 1800s (44), african american (113), civil rights (117), new york (26), slavery (72)

In the Classroom

Share this site on your interactive whiteboard (or projector); then allow students to explore on their own. Assign each of the 9 galleries to different students to explore, then have each group create an online presentation on their gallery using Nota (reviewed here) or another reviewed presentation tool from the TeachersFirst Edge.
 This resource requires Adobe Flash.

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Let's Crate - Sahil Lavingia and Dan Loewenherz

Grades
K to 12
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Package your files (or groups of files) for sharing in "crates" simply by dragging and dropping them in place. After dropping them into the crate, the files are uploaded. Use ...more
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Package your files (or groups of files) for sharing in "crates" simply by dragging and dropping them in place. After dropping them into the crate, the files are uploaded. Use the links then provided to share your files with others. The free account has a limited number of 6 crates and 1,000 files that may be uploaded. Easily share documents with others in the class. Though not a complete back-up of all your documents, Let's Crate can be used to collaborate and to finish work easily when on different computers. Any Word files, slides, or videos can be shared via Let's Crate.
This site includes advertising.

tag(s): images (266), slides (63), video (254)

In the Classroom

Use for any work students may wish to collaborate on. Use this resource to upload files for access at school later. (Be sure to make sure that this site is not blocked by the district first.) The possibilities here are endless - any subject area, any level, any topic!

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Learn it in 5 - How to Videos - Learnitin5.com

Grades
K to 12
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This site offers short video tutorials for many common web 2.0 tools, technology tasks, and subject specific items. This is truly an awesome find! Some examples of topics (at the ...more
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This site offers short video tutorials for many common web 2.0 tools, technology tasks, and subject specific items. This is truly an awesome find! Some examples of topics (at the time of this review) include: Twitter Hashtags, Adding Pictures to your Wiki, Google Swirl, YouTube Interactive Videos, and countless others. Additional videos provide still images set to music and can be used during instruction. These videos include the American Revolution, Algebra Mistakes, and science topics. There appears to be a new tutorial added every few weeks, so check back often. The actual videos are hosted on YouTube, so they may be blocked in some schools.

tag(s): tutorials (47), video (254)

In the Classroom

This site is great for teachers and students. Show these videos using an projector or interactive whiteboard to introduce students to a new web 2.0 tool before starting a project. The videos are five minutes or less so they won't take up too much instructional time. Make this link available as a Favorite on you teacher public page as student self-help. These videos are also helpful for teachers who want to know more about tech tools but don't have the time to participate in lengthy workshops. Please note that the videos are embedded YouTube videos so they may be blocked by your district. If your school blocks streaming video sites, consider accessing this site and choosing videos at home. Use a tool such as KeepVid reviewed here to download the videos from YouTube.

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Write Comics - Write Comics

Grades
K to 12
7 Favorites 0  Comments
You can make your very own comic right now! At Write Comics, you will be able to create your own comics using the figures, backgrounds, animal, aliens, and dialogue bubbles, ...more
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You can make your very own comic right now! At Write Comics, you will be able to create your own comics using the figures, backgrounds, animal, aliens, and dialogue bubbles, supplied by Write Comics. This site is extremely easy to use. There is no need to sign up or register. Once you click Finish, you will be given a link. Go to your link and print your comic or upload it to your webpage.

tag(s): comics and cartoons (74)

In the Classroom

Create a comic to put on your website. You might want to use Write Comics to display the vocabulary word of the day, the math puzzle of the week, a concept your students are learning in social studies or science. Have students create comic strips for dialog-writing lessons, summarizing, predicting and retelling stories. Use comic strips for literature responses. For pre-reading students, create a comic of pictures and have students tell the story based on the pictures/scenes. Make a class book of the comics created throughout the year. That book will become the most read classroom book of all in an elementary classroom. Use comics to show sequencing of events. When studying about characterization, create dialog to show (not tell) about a character. World language and ESL/ELL teachers can assign students to create dialog strips as an alternate to traditional written assessments. Have students share all of their comics on your interactive whiteboard or projector.

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WeeBehave - Wee Behave

Grades
K to 12
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WeeBehave is a site that allows you to create behavior, task, or chore charts online. Multiple students can be tracked through one account. Teachers and parents alike would benefit...more
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WeeBehave is a site that allows you to create behavior, task, or chore charts online. Multiple students can be tracked through one account. Teachers and parents alike would benefit from using this online tool.

tag(s): autism (22), behavior (46), classroom management (135), organizational skills (122), parents (56)

In the Classroom

Start your year off right! Set up an account using WeeBehave. Special education teachers can set up weekly progress monitoring using this website. This could be invaluable to a life skills, autistic support, or emotional support teacher who needs to track the behavior of each of the students on their roster. Have regular education teachers with these students set up accounts, complete weekly data, and then print or take a snap shot of the week's chart and email it to the teacher in charge of tracking the student's data. Or have students who are struggling with following the rules set up charts to evaluate themselves, comparing their ratings with the teacher's charts. This would allow for a quality discussion about differences between what students think of their behavior and how others see it. Please keep in mind if planning to share charts with anyone other than yourself (teacher) and the student's parents, you should use codes or fictitious names to protect student identity. Assign a code that has no relationship to the child or student ID.

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Soundation - Power FX Systems AB

Grades
5 to 12
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Soundation is an online tool to create music. No download or installation is needed to use this tool. It has the raw materials: sounds loops, effects, and virtual instruments, ready...more
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Soundation is an online tool to create music. No download or installation is needed to use this tool. It has the raw materials: sounds loops, effects, and virtual instruments, ready to be use. Experienced music creators could probably learn how to use this tool by playing around with it. For those who are little less musically trained or inclined, there is a great how-to section of the site that gives a play by play of how to make your own music. There are FREE and FEE based versions of this site. The FREE version allows you to record music in one session; however you cannot save to return later. You can use the free version to record and edit what you have recorded. You can download the file in .wav format and save it on your own computer. You can also "publish and share" via url or on Facebook. The down arrow offers both options.
This site includes advertising.

tag(s): energy (198), lyrics (20), musical instruments (48), musical notation (35), sounds (68)

In the Classroom

This would be fantastic for teaching how to mix music and create interesting sounds without taking up space in permanent files on the computer. If it is used for practice, the jumbles of sounds "go away" when closing the website. Try using this in music class to show students how to mix up sounds, practice with rhythms, and play with tools. Allow students to try their hand at creating their own music. Create sound files to use as "bumpers" or backgrounds in podcasts and videos. The music you create is not copyrighted, so there is no concern about "rights." As a new angle on digital storytelling, why not challenge students to tell a story through sound effects and music? Create sound sequences then as audio writing prompts for stories or poetry. In science or physics classes, this tool could be displayed on an interactive whiteboard (or projector) to show what the frequencies of sound and different pitches of voices look like when represented graphically. Use this site to demonstrate how a sound wave is actually a wave of energy. Another use would be for classroom management. Have this tool displayed on the interactive whiteboard, as student become to noisy point out what their sound looks like on the board, and show them parameters of sound that they have to meet in your classroom. For younger students, this will give the visual message that their sound is "big" because they often lack that perspective.

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Shadow Light Productions - ShadowLight Productions

Grades
2 to 12
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Investigate the art of shadow puppetry through Shadow Light Productions. This is a commercial site featuring performances for school groups, community centers, or various events. Examples...more
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Investigate the art of shadow puppetry through Shadow Light Productions. This is a commercial site featuring performances for school groups, community centers, or various events. Examples of performances with traditional stories appear in written and video format. A commercial venture on this site sells DVDS of actual performances. Begin your study of shadow puppetry at this site. Detailed plans with standards include suggested objectives, strategies, equipment, materials, and resources for audio, video, and texts. These plans answer all your questions on how to use shadow puppetry effectively in your classroom. Examples of lesson plans and student performance give ideas for language arts classes. Some of the images (although appropriate) may appear scary to younger students. So please preview before you share with your class.
This site includes advertising.

tag(s): halloween (40), short stories (25)

In the Classroom

Share some of this "puppeteer fun" on your interactive whiteboard or projector. Integrate into your Language Arts classroom to discover theme, plot, characterization, or myths and legends in a new way. Science classes can investigate the use of shadow and sound. Shadow puppetry is an easy way to incorporate several multiple intelligences. Easily differentiated plans for ESL/ELL and Gifted students to capture interest and motivate success. Use as an enrichment cluster, or after-school activity. Be sure to capture all your class creations on video and share on your class web site or blog.
 This resource requires Adobe Flash.

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PHMS Podcasts: Math Minutes - Prairie Hills Middle School

Grades
5 to 8
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Get involved with Math through podcasts. Each podcast is fairly short and to the point (approximately 1 minute in length). The podcasts feature vibrant pictures and are similar to videos....more
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Get involved with Math through podcasts. Each podcast is fairly short and to the point (approximately 1 minute in length). The podcasts feature vibrant pictures and are similar to videos. Students tackle topics such as using variables, expressions, and proportions and demonstrate how to solve a problem. Be sure to click on the archives link for other podcasts not shown on the main page of the site. This site is fairly new, so it is likely that new podcasts will be added. You may want to check back occasionally to see what's new.

tag(s): equations (155), operations (126), order of operations (33), podcasts (52), variables (22)

In the Classroom

Share podcasts on your interactive whiteboard or projector as a warm-up to class lessons. Use the podcasts as examples and have students create their own. Use a site such as PodOmatic (reviewed here). Share their work on your class website or blog. Include a link to the site on your class newsletter for parents to view.
 This resource requires Adobe Flash.

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Chrome experiments - Google

Grades
6 to 12
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Share or view creative web experiments with this website. The projects on this site show what can be done with Google Chrome and the "latest open technologies, including HTML5, Canvas,...more
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Share or view creative web experiments with this website. The projects on this site show what can be done with Google Chrome and the "latest open technologies, including HTML5, Canvas, SVG, and WebGL." There is a gallery full of over 300 examples of innovative programming ideas from artists and programmers across the globe. You can also participate in chats about computer design and rate submitted creations. Students who are interested in video games, web design, and programming will love this site.

tag(s): animation (63), computers (95), design (84), graphic design (35)

In the Classroom

This is a great resource for computer design and programming coursework. Each programmer has tagged their project with the name of technology they used to create their project. Consider showing examples of these technologies on an interactive whiteboard or projector. Have students develop their own experiment that uses Java Script and Google Chrome and then submit their work to the site. Make sure students understand not to share the link with anyone they do not trust or want contributing. Be sure to review the content in the chat session before using it with students. It is necessary to have an email in order to participate in online discussions. Read tips for safely managing email registrations here. It is essential that permissible use and consequences are set before introducing the site.
  This resource requires Adobe Flash and PDF reader software like Adobe Acrobat.

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Project Explorer - projectexplorer.org

Grades
5 to 12
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This site is a marvelous, award-winning collection of well-organized blogs, photos, lesson plans, and videos exploring cultures all around the world. Enter the locations from a clickable...more
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This site is a marvelous, award-winning collection of well-organized blogs, photos, lesson plans, and videos exploring cultures all around the world. Enter the locations from a clickable world map. Organized by level, it begins with upper elementary and goes through middle school, high school, and beyond. Sections focus on educator and professional needs as well as ordinary citizens. Countries featured (at the time of this review) include Mexico, Jordan, and South Africa. All levels have a special section on Shakespearean England. A series featuring similar offerings for the country of Thailand is under development.

tag(s): africa (180), asia (73), countries (76), cross cultural understanding (115), england (57), jordan (5), mexico (34), shakespeare (131), south america (39)

In the Classroom

Use this site on a projector or interactive whiteboard to discuss and informally assess prior knowledge of a selected country as you start your study of its geography, people, and other cultural items. Have students in language classes create similar videos and/or blogs that feature items of interest in countries whose languages they are studying. Challenge cooperative learning groups to create videos share the videos on a site such as TeacherTube reviewed here.
  This resource requires Adobe Flash and PDF reader software like Adobe Acrobat.

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