TeachersFirst - Featured Sites: Week of Jan 15, 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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Mapping the Nation's Well-Being - NY Times

Grades
6 to 12
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This interactive map shows the United States "Well-Being" according to a 2010 Gallup poll. You can search for happiness, stress, depression, health, health issues, work environment,...more
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This interactive map shows the United States "Well-Being" according to a 2010 Gallup poll. You can search for happiness, stress, depression, health, health issues, work environment, job satisfaction, diet etc. You can also make the map bigger to just display a certain area. (Simply click on the area that you wish to enlarge.)

tag(s): careers (106), dental health (19), map skills (70), maps (236), mental health (17), nutrition (135), stress (13)

In the Classroom

Use this map when studying map reading and graphs. Talk about what geographic, climate, or economic factors may influence "well being" in a certain location. Have students create a simple online posters comparing two areas using PicLits (reviewed here. Or use an online tool such as Interactive Two Circle Venn Diagram (reviewed here) to compare two areas. Incorporate information from this map when doing state projects. Have students make a multimedia presentation using one of the many TeachersFirst Edge tools reviewed here. This site is very accessible for ESL/ELL and learning support students since there is little reading.
 This resource requires Adobe Flash.

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RekenWeb Games - Freudenthal Institute

Grades
K to 7
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This site offers several interesting interactives for practicing math concepts at the elementary level. Many games go beyond the standard rote-type practice and involve critical thinking...more
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This site offers several interesting interactives for practicing math concepts at the elementary level. Many games go beyond the standard rote-type practice and involve critical thinking skills. For example, Beads on a String asks you to create a bead necklace using a pattern, but then asks that bead number 102 be blue adding difficulty to the challenge. Other activities involve estimation, money, logic, and symmetry. Activities can be sorted by age (5-12). Parts of this site appear in Dutch and you may have to simply hit the "translate" button to see the instruction in English.

tag(s): critical thinking (66), estimation (41), logic (201), money (174), puzzles (180), symmetry (49), time (130)

In the Classroom

Create a link to this site on classroom computers for students to explore. Share a link to the site on your classroom website or blog for students to access at home. Display the site on your interactive whiteboard (or projector) to use as a math center. Be sure to explain how to translate the site into English (when necessary).
 This resource requires Adobe Flash.

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Math Video Tutorials - James Sousa

Grades
4 to 12
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Math Video Tutorials offers over 1500+ free math videos organized by course and topic. And the offerings are constantly growing. Videos are hosted on YouTube and SchoolTube and are...more
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Math Video Tutorials offers over 1500+ free math videos organized by course and topic. And the offerings are constantly growing. Videos are hosted on YouTube and SchoolTube and are all 10 minutes or less in length. Content includes arithmetic, algebra, geometry, trigonometry, business calculus, and calculus. Each main topic includes links to the videos organized by more specific topics - for example, algebra videos are sorted by introduction to algebra, rational expressions, equations and functions, equations and percentages, exponential and logarithmic functions, graphing, linear equations, and more. Note that many of the videos are hosted on YouTube so may not be accessible inside school networks.

tag(s): area (53), business (51), charts and graphs (183), equations (132), factoring (27), functions (62), integers (40), measurement (141), operations (99), order of operations (29), percent (70), place value (50), prime numbers (27), ratios (49), test prep (82), tutorials (48), volume (36)

In the Classroom

Share videos on your interactive whiteboard as in introduction to a new concept or as review. Embed the links to videos of weekly concepts on your class website or blog. Create a link on classroom computers to current content for students to use as a review resource. Ask students to rate the most helpful videos they find and share their recommendations on a class wiki. Share this site with parents to use as a resource when helping students at home. Challenge students to create their own how-to video of math concepts. Share the videos using a tool such as SchoolTube reviewed here.

Some of the videos are hosted on YouTube. If your district blocks YouTube, then they may not be viewable. You could always view/download them at home and bring them to class on a stick. Use a tool such as KeepVid reviewed here to download the videos from YouTube.

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morgueFile - Kevin and Michael Connors, Johannes Seemann

Grades
4 to 12
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Use MorgueFile for free images for inspiration, reference, and use in creative works. These images are legal for use without concern about copyright. Photographs were 'freely contributed...more
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Use MorgueFile for free images for inspiration, reference, and use in creative works. These images are legal for use without concern about copyright. Photographs were 'freely contributed by many artists to be used in creative projects by visitors to the site," though they do request that proper credit be given (see "about"). Enter your search term and refine your search to find images in various categories, size, color, and other options. Click on the image to go to its own page. Save on your computer by clicking Download. Inappropriate images can be reported on this page as well. Create a login to use an organizer to manage photos you have found. Be sure to check out the portfolio tab to view other photos as well as the Classroom tab. Use the Classroom tab to learn about cameras, lenses, and taking better photographs.
This site includes advertising.

tag(s): copyright (45), images (210), photography (132), writing prompts (81)

In the Classroom

Use this site in every subject area where images can convey concepts or students make projects. Find free images easily for use within the classroom. Use images for drag and drop activities on IWB, such as sorting vegetables from fruits, etc. In Art class, have students find images to demonstrate different design concepts such as rhythm, line, etc. Project an intriguing photo on your interactive whiteboard or projector as a writing prompt for a short story (or poem). Use images for practice writing in world languages, by having students describe the scene or tell a story about it. Have students create an annotated image including text boxes and related links using a tool such as Thinglink, reviewed here.

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American Sabor: Latinos in U.S. Popular Music - Smithsonian Institute

Grades
5 to 12
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See a comprehensive look at the music and cultural influences of the Latin American music community on contemporary U.S. music. With 24 separate music styles including salsa, merengue,...more
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See a comprehensive look at the music and cultural influences of the Latin American music community on contemporary U.S. music. With 24 separate music styles including salsa, merengue, boogaloo, East L.A. punk, and hip hop, this site offers a wide range of genres. This site includes explanations of the musical genres, interviews with leading musicians of each, biographies of musicians, chances to listen to musical examples using the online jukebox, and an opportunity to do mixing of musical types using the embedded radio. Other features include an up-to-date blog and a list of tour sites for the music around the country. Extensive classroom support includes lesson plans, handouts, maps, timelines, and activities/games at all K-12 levels.

tag(s): biographies (37), cross cultural understanding (85), cultures (85), hispanic (16), mexico (30), south america (31)

In the Classroom

When studying music or Latin America, introduce your units with a clip from a specific type of music. Assign other types of music for your students to research; allow them to choose by listening to a section of a song and seeing what they like. Have students create reports or reviews of the music and share them using a tool such as SchoolTube reviewed here.
  This resource requires Adobe Flash and PDF reader software like Adobe Acrobat.

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Lyrics Gaps - lyricsgaps.com

Grades
5 to 12
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Learn a new language through music and lyrics! Choose English, Spanish, German, French, Italian, Portugese, Japanese, Russian, Greek, Dutch, Danish, or Romanian. Register for FREE and...more
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Learn a new language through music and lyrics! Choose English, Spanish, German, French, Italian, Portugese, Japanese, Russian, Greek, Dutch, Danish, or Romanian. Register for FREE and learn the new language. Each language has different activities: karaoke, interactive cloze activities, videos, and more. You can choose among three different difficulty levels. Some activities even have the option to "double click" to read a definition of a word. You also have the ability to submit your own songs and language activities to the site. Note that this site is fairly new and only ha a few hundred songs at the time of this review. Help contribute to the offerings!
This site includes advertising.

tag(s): cross cultural understanding (85), cultures (85), french (83), german (60), greek (38), italian (31), japanese (42), portuguese (15), russian (24), songs (47), spanish (97)

In the Classroom

This is a wonderful find for ESL/ELL and world language teachers. Teachers may prefer to do a class registration and use the offerings of the site with the entire class. Challenge your students to create (and submit) their own songs/activities in a new language. If school policy does not allow students to share songs on a site, have students create their own in-class presentations of songs and similar exercises using one selection from this site as a model.
 This resource requires Adobe Flash.

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Math Games - Kent ICT

Grades
K to 5
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This site offers elementary math activities for use on your interactive whiteboard. Hovering over each image offers a description of the activity and the math concept taught. Activities...more
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This site offers elementary math activities for use on your interactive whiteboard. Hovering over each image offers a description of the activity and the math concept taught. Activities for the youngest students include adding spots to giraffes, subtraction to the 5 little ducks song, a countdown clock, and more or less practice. One especially interesting activity is the Magic Square which offers choices of puzzles and the ability to record information while solving the puzzle. Activities for older students provide practice with place value, multiplication, decimals, and negative numbers. Many of the activities can also be downloaded for later use by using the link toward the bottom of the page. Don't miss the Build a Snowman for wintertime fun counting eyes, hands, etc.

tag(s): addition (210), counting (113), decimals (115), iwb (30), logic (201), multiplication (194), negative numbers (21), number sense (82), operations (99), place value (50), preK (225), puzzles (180), subtraction (174), time (130)

In the Classroom

Use this site as an anticipatory set or "activator" to introduce a unit or lesson on a projector or interactive whiteboard. Use one of the activities on your interactive whiteboard as a math center. Share this link on your class website for students (and parents) to access at home. Selected activities could also serve as writing prompts after the math is done: tell about your giraffe or snowman!
 This resource requires Adobe Flash.

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Thinking Mathematics! - James Stanton

Grades
8 to 12
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The goal of this site is to demonstrate the beauty of mathematics. The creator also wants to show the wonder and intellectual playfulness of math. Included on the site are ...more
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The goal of this site is to demonstrate the beauty of mathematics. The creator also wants to show the wonder and intellectual playfulness of math. Included on the site are many videos and essays exploring higher level mathematics. Titles include "How to Think Like a School Math Genius", "A Cute Finger Trick for Trigonometry", and "What is Zero to the Zeroth Power?". Most video titles are approximately 10 minutes in length. Also available on the site are two free PDF downloads: Guide to Everything Quadratic and Guide to Fractions. Be aware: parts of this site require some navigation (a few clicks) to get to your destination. But the "clicks" are well worth the time. At the time of this review, the link to "Curriculum Tidbits" was not active, but the Think Curriculum tab works. Although the author's books are available for sale on the site, there is plenty of free material available making the site worth exploring.
This site includes advertising.

tag(s): critical thinking (66), fractions (212), gifted (80), prime numbers (27), probability (105), puzzles (180), video (175)

In the Classroom

Use your interactive whiteboard (or projector) to view videos available on the site. This site is perfect for advanced or gifted students to use for learning new concepts or exploring different approaches to mathematics not typically covered in classroom materials. After sharing this site on your interactive whiteboard, allow students to explore the site on their own. Challenge your students to create their own videos demonstrating a tough math concept. Share the videos using a site such as TeacherTube reviewed here.
  This resource requires Adobe Flash and PDF reader software like Adobe Acrobat.

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Zinepal - Zinepal

Grades
5 to 12
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Create a magazine, PDF, or eBooks from any online content you choose. Select content from a blog or blogs, RSS feeds, or other websites. Enter the address of the site ...more
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Create a magazine, PDF, or eBooks from any online content you choose. Select content from a blog or blogs, RSS feeds, or other websites. Enter the address of the site where the content exists. Choose whether entire posts or previews are used in the creation of your ezine. Select or deselect the stories to be portrayed and choose fonts and sizes. Continue editing by customizing eBook or finalize your eBook when you are finished. Use this website to turn the chosen content into a printable PDF or an eBook that can be used with eBook readers. Email to your friends or provide the subscription feed. Broadcast your eBook through Facebook or Twitter. If you simply want to take online content with you when going somewhere "offline," Zinepal allows you to collect it all into on printable pdf. Note that the free version only allows up to 5 stories per book.

tag(s): blogs (80)

In the Classroom

Create an eBook for each student's individual blog or from a class blog. Create an eBook from a class wiki or other feed. Create eBooks about class projects, topics for units of study, sharing student work, and more. Share with parents or other classes. Make a class eBook on a current unit topic to be read on iPads or eBook readers. Teachers can make social studies topics into eBooks for reading practice in time-crunched elementary classrooms. Make the eBook yet another alternative for sharing projects and presenting information. For a high-level thinking challenge, have students create eBook collections of different political leanings to compare during an election year. My selecting and grouping content from multiple sources into one eBook, students can show relationships between disparate content. In world language class, have students collect and generate eBooks with cultural or recipe information in their new language.

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Disapainted - Matus Lestan

Grades
4 to 12
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Make a series of sketches; then turn them into an animation with one click! Set up an account (free) and create an avatar to practice using the simple drawing tools. ...more
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Make a series of sketches; then turn them into an animation with one click! Set up an account (free) and create an avatar to practice using the simple drawing tools. Draw "cells" in which the action slowly progresses. Finally, click to see your cells together as animation! Typical basic drawing tools include a brush, a line, curvy lines, rectangle and circle shapes, polygons, paint, spray, colors, and an eraser. You can save and publish final animations. Be certain to preview anything you wish to share with your class. This site does not require Flash, but rather Java. It therefore will work on iOS devices!

tag(s): animation (50), drawing (69)

In the Classroom

Use this site to draw a quick sketch to show to your class instantly. Introduce this site on your interactive whiteboard or projector. Then have students explore this site independently or in small groups. Use this site as the way to add another dimension to individual or group projects. Encourage your students to use this tool for projects, such as simple animations of the rock cycle or water cycle, cells dividing, etc. Share the various projects on your interactive whiteboard or class wiki by url.

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iTV Wild - ITV Studios

Grades
K to 8
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Visit the World Wild Web! Find excellent video clips of a vast array of wild animals from around the world. Search for a specific animal or browse through the most ...more
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Visit the World Wild Web! Find excellent video clips of a vast array of wild animals from around the world. Search for a specific animal or browse through the most popular searches. Find related videos, information about the species, details related to the species, and conservation status on each page. Share the clip on Twitter or Facebook or by sharing the clip URL. Try the interactives with your knowledge of animals.

tag(s): animals (218), environment (279), habitats (70)

In the Classroom

Use to introduce students to certain species or to discuss how different organisms meet their life needs. Increase the observation skills of your students by viewing clips as they become the head scientist, observing behavior or physical characteristics. Use these videos for elementary students to practice writing observation log as a scientist; then assign student partners to watch and "observe" another video at a classroom center. Answer questions such as: What kinds of habitats do each of these organisms need? How are they all similar or different? Have students create a word cloud of the important information they learn from this site using a tool such as Wordle (reviewed here), Tagxedo (reviewed here), or WordItOut (reviewed here).
 This resource requires Adobe Flash.

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Alan Cooper's Homonym List - Alan Cooper

Grades
1 to 12
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Here you will find the most extensive list of homonyms ever seen! A list of over 460 homonyms (words that sound alike but have a different spelling and meaning) has ...more
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Here you will find the most extensive list of homonyms ever seen! A list of over 460 homonyms (words that sound alike but have a different spelling and meaning) has been organized for us by Alan Cooper. If you've exhausted your list of homonyms to use with your students, check this site out. If you're still confused by which witch is which, use this site to cite the correct word! Be sure to read his comments on his "All About Homonyms" page, too.

tag(s): editing (37), homonyms (9), spelling (160), word choice (25), word study (56)

In the Classroom

Challenge your students to use both homonyms in a meaningful sentence. Each word's meaning should be obvious in the context of the sentence. Then give the students a fill in the blank test on the words where they have to choose the correct spelling of the word. Challenge students to put some of the more difficult words/homonyms on a poster using Automotivator reviewed here. For a creative challenge, have students create simple animations distinguishing the homonyms using one of the animation tools from the TeachersFirst Edge. Award Homonym Oscars for the best animations.

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