TeachersFirst - Featured Sites: Week of Jan 8, 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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Co-Co's AdverSmarts: An Interactive Unit on Food Marketing on the Web - Media Awareness Network

Grades
K to 5
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Learn about a rarely found topic for elementary students (marketing) in an engaging and interactive design. The activity is almost like an interactive audio book with a "choose your...more
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Learn about a rarely found topic for elementary students (marketing) in an engaging and interactive design. The activity is almost like an interactive audio book with a "choose your own adventure" twist! The site states that it is created for students between the ages of 5-8, but it could be used with older elementary students. Use this site to recognize the marketing techniques used on commercial websites that target children. After beginning the activity, follow a series of choices demonstrating tactics used by advertisers to sell items such as using the word "my" to create a belief that the item is just for you, or joining a "club." There is a PRINT option for the advertisement you complete.

A comprehensive guide for parents and teachers describes activities included in the unit and background on different marketing techniques. The printable guide also includes activity extensions and suggestions for classroom use.

tag(s): advertising (33)

In the Classroom

Create a link to the activity on classroom computers for students to explore on their own. With younger students, do this as a class activity on your projector or interactive whiteboard. Encourage students to play more than once to explore different options within the activity. Have students discuss and find examples of marketing techniques they have seen in their everyday lives. Take screenshots of students final advertisements. Have students create online posters using Check This (reviewed here).
  This resource requires Adobe Flash and PDF reader software like Adobe Acrobat.

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Compare & Contrast Map - Read, Write, Think - International Reading Association

Grades
3 to 12
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This interactive graphic organizer helps students develop an outline for one of three types of comparison essays: whole-to-whole, similarities-to-differences, or point-to-point. A link...more
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This interactive graphic organizer helps students develop an outline for one of three types of comparison essays: whole-to-whole, similarities-to-differences, or point-to-point. A link in the introduction to the "Comparison and Contrast Guide" gives students the chance to get definitions and look at examples before they begin working. The tool offers multiple ways to navigate information, including a graphic on the right to move around the map without having to work in a linear fashion. The finished map can be saved, e-mailed, or printed. There are many additional interactives and lesson plans (with standards included!).

tag(s): charts and graphs (195), concept mapping (22), graphic organizers (43)

In the Classroom

Use this site to introduce comparisons to your students on your interactive whiteboard or projector. After demonstrating how to use the site, create a link on classroom computers for students to make their own comparisons to be printed and shared. Divide students into 3 groups - one for each type of comparison essay - and have them create comparisons for their type, then share and compare with other students. Have students create "talking pictures" to illustrate the different types of comparisons using Fotobabble reviewed here. Use this site with gifted students as a way for them to explore subjects more deeply than discussed in class. Use this site with ESL/ELL students to help organize information easily and as a visual representation of class material.
 This resource requires Adobe Flash.

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Reel Life Wisdom - Doug Manning

Grades
5 to 12
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Capture your students' attention through movies! Reel Life Wisdom, offers a collection of over 3,200 hand-picked quotes from films across the ages. Search for great quotes by...more
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Capture your students' attention through movies! Reel Life Wisdom, offers a collection of over 3,200 hand-picked quotes from films across the ages. Search for great quotes by movie title, actor, or year. Quotes are organized by character qualities such as hope, faith and belief, and courage. Love: Connect to Your Supporting Cast quotes contain quotes on family, friends, contributions, and relationships. Random Bits of Wisdom quotes examine adversity, balance, discrimination, and responsibility among many others. Reel life quotes aim to inspire and support people proactively, self-managing their life. An RSS feed and email subscription ensure delivery of daily quotes to you.

tag(s): movies (65), quotations (23)

In the Classroom

Reel Life Wisdom supports character education programs with a parent PDF offering useful tips. Use relevant quotes in discussions on theme, choice, and empowerment. Lead your students to understand they are in charge of their lives. Improve reading comprehension of any text, by making connections or comparisons to a movie. Strengthen writing skills by critiques, explanations, and point of view essays. Challenge students to reach a deeper understanding of theme by finding a quote to match the theme. Use movies as an example for positive, effective goal setting strategies. Develop written or oral language by using the quotes as writing/speaking prompts. Challenge students to discover the many choices available to every individual. Encourage a meaningful sense of story development while connecting to each student's interest. The movies also offer a personal story into the study of people, government, and values. Create a thematic bulletin board of quotes on a topic, or have students generate word clouds from several favorite quotes on the same theme. Use a tool such as Wordle, reviewed here. Post the clouds for class inspiration. During the first week of school, share this site and ask each student to share a favorite quote on a class blog or wiki for students to get to know each other.

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Explania - explania.com

Grades
4 to 12
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Watch hundreds of animated explanations, tutorials, and videos on a variety of questions. Learn about the myth of Santa, the flu, migraines, history of football, how to avoid stomach...more
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Watch hundreds of animated explanations, tutorials, and videos on a variety of questions. Learn about the myth of Santa, the flu, migraines, history of football, how to avoid stomach aches, what is Twitter, and other topics. General subjects include Health, Sports, Software, Work, Technology, and Companies (advertising.) This site is designed for secondary students (and adults). However, many of the topics would be relevant with older elementary students (for example, "How to Avoid Stomach Aches"). Be sure to peruse and preview before sharing the video in an elementary classroom.

Embed the videos easily into your blog, wiki, or site for use with students. This site does allow users to submit their own videos, but this appears to be for a fee and mainly for businesses looking to advertise or promote a service.
This site includes advertising.

tag(s): advertising (33), animation (63), myths and legends (25), sports (97), twitter (50), video (254)

In the Classroom

Share these short videos on your interactive whiteboard or projector. Find videos related to the content you are teaching. For example, the "What is the flu?" animation gives a great amount of information about colds and flu. Begin your lesson by asking students common statements or questions about what they understand about the cold or the flu. Show the results on a board and then share the video. (Embedding it in a site that you already have is a really great idea.) Identify the actual information to counter the common misconceptions. Find great animations related to technology and using computer and Web 2.0 tools. Divide students into cooperative learning groups to explore the site. Have them report information learned to the others. Challenge groups to create an animated explanation using one of the many TeachersFirst Edge animation tools here.

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Electrocity - Genesis Energy

Grades
4 to 9
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Design and run your own city to balance energy needs, sustainability, and environmental concerns. Be sure to click "How To Play" for an overview of the game. Look at "Finished ...more
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Design and run your own city to balance energy needs, sustainability, and environmental concerns. Be sure to click "How To Play" for an overview of the game. Look at "Finished Cities" to view completed cities for an idea or design. Start a New Game to design and manage the use and production of electricity on your city. Through building choices, understand the various factors that increase or decrease both electricity use and environmental concerns. You can register classes to keep track of your students' cities. Click on Teacher Resources for information and fact sheets on various types of power. There are also downloadable links for a limited form of the game to be installed on a classroom computer if Internet access is limited.

tag(s): conservation (127), electricity (89), energy (198), environment (317), nuclear energy (24), solar energy (38)

In the Classroom

Try this activity at the start or at the end of a unit on energy. Students can use different power sources and identify which created more power and caused more environmental problems. Share findings with the class and identify the advantages and disadvantages of each type of power source. Have students make a multimedia presentation using one of the many TeachersFirst Edge tools reviewed here. Use as a springboard for class discussions and further research. Compare the use of each of these power sources in various countries around the world.
  This resource requires Adobe Flash and PDF reader software like Adobe Acrobat.

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Solvr - FreshBrain

Grades
3 to 12
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Solvr is an online, collaborative problem solving tool that might even make solving problems fun! The site is simple to use - enter a problem, then enter ideas that might ...more
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Solvr is an online, collaborative problem solving tool that might even make solving problems fun! The site is simple to use - enter a problem, then enter ideas that might help to solve the problem. Your entry instantly creates a unique url that can be shared with others. Anyone with the url can add ideas, comments, or additional problems to the original problem or proposed solutions, and their response is anonymous. Their thoughts then lead to other possible ideas, with the collaborative process leading to a solution. Each contribution can earn "votes." The entire thought process can also be printed out. Here is a simple example begun by our review team. No log in or registration is needed!

tag(s): critical thinking (108), problem solving (272), social networking (112)

In the Classroom

Use this site to solve classroom problems or curriculum related issues anonymously. For example, try the problem of increased erosion due to recent development. Or use to develop classroom citizenship skills with examples such as how to distribute roles for a classroom play or how much homework should be assigned. Post the question, provide the link to students on classroom computers, and let them input ideas. Share the site with parent organizations to use as a problem solving tool.

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Only 2 Clicks - Only2Clicks.com

Grades
3 to 12
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Only2Clicks allows you to create your own page with organized, tabbed bookmarks. Similar to a Google homepage, Only2Clicks has the advantage of being simple. There are only four skin...more
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Only2Clicks allows you to create your own page with organized, tabbed bookmarks. Similar to a Google homepage, Only2Clicks has the advantage of being simple. There are only four skin or theme choices to avoid distractions. Bookmarks can be shared with other computers and even your iPhone, iPad, or iPod touch. Yes, they have an app for that! Import bookmarks from your computer to use anywhere. While other sites such as Delicious.com or Diigo.com have a lot more options, the strength of this site is its simplicity. Users will not be distracted by extra buttons or tabs.

tag(s): bookmarks (60)

In the Classroom

Use this for students to make/access bookmark collections for projects at home or at school. Have them mark your school website on their front page so they can easily access it, as well. Share teacher-made collections of links for a specific project/unit.

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Decico - Decico.com

Grades
4 to 12
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How do you make a decision and weigh all of the factors? Use Decico. This decision making tool uses a decision matrix technique to look at the problem in context ...more
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How do you make a decision and weigh all of the factors? Use Decico. This decision making tool uses a decision matrix technique to look at the problem in context and calculate favorable alternatives. Select the alternatives you want to compare, choose how you want to compare them, and then compare the generated score. Highest score should be given consideration. Create a login to save your decision matrices. Link, download, or embed the results.

tag(s): concept mapping (22), debate (41), mind map (25), persuasive writing (55)

In the Classroom

Use for many kinds of societal, political, or environmental discussions and decisions, such as paper or plastic bags, drilling or not in ANWAR, etc. Use in literary discussions of alternatives faced by characters. Use in preparation for debates or persuasive writing. Generate a list of actions and alternatives and create the decision matrix. Use multimedia or conventional posters to generate information about the advantages and disadvantages of each position. Try a site like Piclits (reviewed here) or Typogenerator (reviewed here). Create a case study about a real life situation where a decision would have to be made and provide roles for students. Students use the decision making matrix with their assigned role to generate a vote for the issue. Consider using this tool for a project actually occurring in their neighborhood. For example, a field and trees being taken down as well as the changing of the landscape for a proposed development. Use the decision making matrix in Decico to determine why the decision to proceed happened or should happen.

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Flipsnack - Smartketer LLC

Grades
5 to 12
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Use FlipSnack to create a free, online flip book from PDF documents. Create a Flip book when you want to embed a book, magazine, catalog, newspaper, portfolio, or other kind ...more
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Use FlipSnack to create a free, online flip book from PDF documents. Create a Flip book when you want to embed a book, magazine, catalog, newspaper, portfolio, or other kind of document into a website, wiki, or blog and have viewers flip through the pages interactively. Upload your pdf document and choose a title. (Choose carefully, since it is the title of the book.) Choose a template and customize by dragging elements and changing colors and then Publish. Now any content can become an online "book."

In the Classroom

Make a flipbook of a presentation as an engaging alternative to a web page or PowerPoint. Share classroom information such as rules and expectations in an easy to read format. Use for a great way to bring digital storytelling up front in your classroom. Make photosynthesis a story instead of bits of equations and information. Portray a time period in history or create books of different political or societal opinions. Create a flipbook with the viewpoints and personalities of characters in a story. Practice a different language by creating a themed flipbook. Lower grades can combine writing into a class flipbook to be shared online or read aloud. Any written assignment can easily be re-visioned as a flipbook! Make your literary magazone a flipbook or build new poetry collections during poetry month. Share all your flipbooks on individual laptops, or the interactive whiteboard or projector. Create simple flipbooks of Dolch words for beginning readers.

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Keeping Score - San Francisco Symphony

Grades
3 to 12
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Keeping Score takes you on a creative historical journey through the composers, conflicts, and culture of some of music's most beloved and classical works. This first-class website...more
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Keeping Score takes you on a creative historical journey through the composers, conflicts, and culture of some of music's most beloved and classical works. This first-class website contains interactives for composers such as Beethoven, Copeland, Stravinsky, and Tchaikovsky. You can see pictures and listen to stories about the lives and times of the composers, hear the music, read personal reflections or quotes of the composers, and listen to commentary of other musical professionals. Also included are podcasts of the San Francisco radio show, 13 Days When Music Changed Forever which is about musical revolutions. The education link is full of ideas for incorporating music into any and all subjects. It also has time saving, standards guided lesson plans to be used in all educational settings. Musical education websites do not get cooler than this! This type of site can connect with today's learners by bringing them all the information that they need in a one stop, multimedia package. It is classy, concise, and easy to navigate.

tag(s): composers (21), music theory (43), musical instruments (48), songs (52)

In the Classroom

Share this site on your interactive whiteboard or projector. Allow students to explore specific composers on their own (or in cooperative learning groups). Have students make a multimedia presentation using one of the many TeachersFirst Edge tools reviewed here.

U.S. and world history teachers will love this site! (As well as music teachers) Use interactives to integrate music into history classes, math classes (for timing and fractions), and English classes (reading and writing about music). All teachers can check out the thematic links for their subject to music. Take advantage of the FREE lesson plans. Chances are good that you could incorporate music into every type of class. Simply check out the education link, and your imagination and educational wheels will start spinning!
 This resource requires PDF reader software like Adobe Acrobat.

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Knoword - Trevor Blades

Grades
5 to 12
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This "wordy" site offers word definitions with a challenge! You see the first letter of a word and its definition. You must quickly type in a word you think fits ...more
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This "wordy" site offers word definitions with a challenge! You see the first letter of a word and its definition. You must quickly type in a word you think fits the definition. The site allows you to pass if you do not know the word, but the definition of the word appears anyway (along with the answer). Once the correct word is entered, the definition changes quickly so you can accrue as many points as possible in a limited time. The site also keeps a list of words used at any interaction, so you can see the words correct and missed. Some definitions offer easier hints in their wording.

tag(s): game based learning (103), vocabulary (324), vocabulary development (126), word study (80)

In the Classroom

Try this activity at the start of class on your interactive whiteboard or projector; it's perfect for vocabulary development with a lively twist! Offer this site to your students who are trying to assess and/or improve their vocabulary for standardized tests such as the ACT or SAT. ESL/ELL students may also enjoy the challenges and additions to their vocabulary. Share this site on your class webpage or blog for students to access (and practice) at home.
 This resource requires Adobe Flash.

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Mapping America: Every City, Every Block - NY Times

Grades
4 to 12
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This interactive map shows racial distribution in every community in the U.S. The information is provided by the Census Bureau's American Community Surveys from 2005 to 2009. You can...more
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This interactive map shows racial distribution in every community in the U.S. The information is provided by the Census Bureau's American Community Surveys from 2005 to 2009. You can view the overall distribution; other maps allow you to select one specific racial distribution. Racial groups included are white, black, Hispanic, Asian, and other. The map is zoomable so you can view neighborhoods delineated by specific streets.

tag(s): african american (113), census (19), cross cultural understanding (115), hispanic (18), maps (287), racism (18)

In the Classroom

Introduce this site on your interactive whiteboard or projector. Then have students explore this site independently or in small groups. Encourage your students to use this tool for projects and organization including making assumptions about neighborhood breakdowns, relationship to poverty levels, and effects of industrialization. Compare known cities or towns, including those known as affluent or distressed. Have students select a map view from this site to kick off a project about a family member and the community where he/she lived. Have students use a mapping tool such as Mapskip (reviewed here) to create their own maps (with audio stories and pictures included)! It might be helpful to use screenshots from these maps as images in their projects. Mac users press Command+shift+4 to save the screenshot image on you computer. Windows users, press the PrntScrn key, then paste the "copied" image into a document or slide.
 This resource requires Adobe Flash.

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Highlights Kids Story Player - Highlights Magazine

Grades
1 to 5
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This site offers several original stories from Highlights Magazine. The stories feature audio, text, and beautiful illustrations. There is a wide variety offered, and the stories...more
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This site offers several original stories from Highlights Magazine. The stories feature audio, text, and beautiful illustrations. There is a wide variety offered, and the stories include both prose and poetry. You can also print page by page. Elementary aged ESL students and emerging readers will benefit from the double presentation of the stories both in text and orally. At the time of this review, there were five audio stories. All current stories are related to recent holidays and weather. Check back frequently as story choices may change along with the seasons. Don't miss the "Poetry Player" under the "Read it" tab for more readaloud options, including a Martin Luther King poem in January.

tag(s): audio books (32), holidays (147), martin luther king (37), reading comprehension (116)

In the Classroom

Share the stories on your interactive whiteboard or projector. Build oral reading expression with these examples, as well. Following this model, have your students select a favorite story or poem. After they make original pictures and/or graphics to go with the stories, have them record themselves reading the story page by page. Have students create an online book using a tool such as Bookemon reviewed here. Another options, have groups create videos and share them on a site such as TeacherTube reviewed here. Share the Bookemon books or videos on your class website. (Be sure to get parent permission.) Share the Highlights site on your class webpage for families to read together.
 This resource requires Adobe Flash.

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