TeachersFirst - Featured Sites: Week of Jan 22, 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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The Civics Connection - Lou Frey Institute

Grades
9 to 12
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This series of 16 short videos with former members of Congress includes related teaching materials on topics about "the inner workings of Congress, legislative-executive branch relations,...more
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This series of 16 short videos with former members of Congress includes related teaching materials on topics about "the inner workings of Congress, legislative-executive branch relations, landmark public policies, political parties and interest groups, campaigning for Congress, and the relationships between Congress and the public." Word documents are available for download, including teacher manuals, student handouts, and more. Free teacher registration is required to access some components so the Institute knows how many teachers are using the materials. The topics align easily with high school, AP, and college courses on U.S. government. The streaming video files are .ogv format. They are not on YouTube, however, so should be accessible inside school filters.

tag(s): branches of government (48), congress (33)

In the Classroom

Explore these videos as primary source interviews on government or as entire lessons for your government classes. Have students research and generate their own explanations of some of the tensions in government using video clips and the various primary sources offered with each clip. If they are adept with technology, they can use a tool such as Online Converter, reviewed here, to download a video clip-- with proper credit, of course -- and use an excerpt in their own classroom "newscast" or investigative story on their chosen topic. Downloaded videos should not be used in online projects, since this would be a copyright violation.

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OPB: Art Beat at School - Oregon Public Broadcasting

Grades
K to 12
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Here you will find an online collection of streaming video clips from OPB's Oregon Art Beat television series. In addition, there are 100 lesson plans designed for K-12 teachers to...more
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Here you will find an online collection of streaming video clips from OPB's Oregon Art Beat television series. In addition, there are 100 lesson plans designed for K-12 teachers to use in the classroom. Each of the lesson plans has related materials such as worksheets and scoring guides to use with the activities. Discover a variety of ways to integrate the Arts across all subject areas with this innovative set of learning resources.

Searching this site is very flexible. You can search by categories (music, drawing and painting, historical and cultural perspectives, dance, architecture, landscape, films, sculpture, and many more) by clicking on the "search video" tab. You can also search by entering a keyword. There is also an advanced search where you can search by topic categories, curriculum categories, as well as keywords.
This site includes advertising.

tag(s): architecture (83), art history (69), cross cultural understanding (115), cultures (105), dance (28), drawing (77), geometric shapes (159), painting (66), plays (37), sculpture (21), video (251)

In the Classroom

This site will help any teacher answer the question, "Why do I have to learn this?" You will also find ways to show connections between the arts and other fields of endeavor. Share the videos on your projector or interactive whiteboard. Here are just a few examples of how you can use the Arts in your academic classes:

In math when studying geometric patterns, you might want to show the video about quilt artist Mary Bywater Cross. She likes to take a traditional pattern, blow it up, figure out where to cut to make the repeat in her geometrical patterns, how to achieve symmetry and balance in her designs, and how to make it all work in the quilt she envisions. Mary is also a quilt historian, so your students will also gain background knowledge about quilts and wool.

In science, view quantum physicist-turned-sculptor, Julian Voss-Andreae's stainless steel sculpture based on the molecular structure of an antibody.
  This resource requires Adobe Flash and PDF reader software like Adobe Acrobat.

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Alpha-Bot - Word Central

Grades
2 to 8
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Play a spelling game in a unique and entertaining way with Alpha-Bot. This game offers the choice of three different levels of difficulty. After choosing a level, click on the ...more
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Play a spelling game in a unique and entertaining way with Alpha-Bot. This game offers the choice of three different levels of difficulty. After choosing a level, click on the audio button to hear the word, this button can be clicked at anytime during the game to repeat the word. Once the word is presented, letters need to be moved up and down within the grid until the correct word is spelled. When finished, choose the check button to find out if the word is correctly spelled. You can also click the hint button to get a definition of the word being played. After the word is correctly spelled, a new word is offered to begin play again.

tag(s): spelling (168), vocabulary (323)

In the Classroom

Use this site as a spelling center on your interactive whiteboard (or projector) or through a link on classroom computers. Share this site with parents through your classroom blog or website as a resource for spelling practice. Challenge students to improve spelling and move up difficulty levels within the game.
 This resource requires Adobe Flash.

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CIESE Tele-Collaborative Classroom Projects - The Center for Innovation in Engineering and Science Education

Grades
1 to 12
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This site provides several collaborative science and engineering projects with various start dates. Projects are available for a full range of grade levels. The target grade level is...more
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This site provides several collaborative science and engineering projects with various start dates. Projects are available for a full range of grade levels. The target grade level is listed with the project. Some projects at the time of this review included: The Global Sun (grades 5-8), Bucket Buddies (grades 1-5), Human Genetics (grades 6-12), Home Lighting in Developing Countries (grades 9-12), and several others.

tag(s): animals (277), engineering (118), genetics (90), light (46), plants (143), scientists (68), sun (71), water (130)

In the Classroom

Use these collaborative projects to teach students more about science and engineering. Even though some of the start dates have passed, teachers can still access the information and lessons. Many projects offer the future dates. If you choose to participate during the time frame or not, you can use the materials to collaborate with a class in the same school or in another state.

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A Thin Line - MTV

Grades
6 to 12
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A Thin Line provides advice to teens so they can recognize unsafe online behaviors. This website, produced by MTV, provides young adults with fact sheets, videos, and discussions on...more
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A Thin Line provides advice to teens so they can recognize unsafe online behaviors. This website, produced by MTV, provides young adults with fact sheets, videos, and discussions on several online safety issues.

tag(s): bullying (51), cyberbullying (42), internet safety (109)

In the Classroom

This will be a great addition to your health, guidance, or Internet safety program. Before showing the site, have students take the quiz. The quiz can even be embedded on your website. Afterwards, using your interactive whiteboard (or projector), have students watch the different videos. Using the information found on the site, have students create skits to show proper or improper ways to behave online.
 This resource requires Adobe Flash.

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Everyday Life - Goodwill Community Foundation

Grades
2 to 12
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This site teaches survival skills through interactive demonstrations with sound. Although some of the topics appear elementary level, the presentations are written for older students...more
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This site teaches survival skills through interactive demonstrations with sound. Although some of the topics appear elementary level, the presentations are written for older students and adults. For example, the time-telling activity is not designed for primary grades. General topics include using money, cooking, shopping, getting around, HIV/AIDS, using numbers, using time, safety, and more.

tag(s): cooking (34), hiv/aids (18), maps (287), money (192), nutrition (154), safety (92), transportation (40), word study (80)

In the Classroom

Use these activities with ESL/ELL students or special ed students to reinforce concepts visually and with sounds. Let students experience practical life skills such as how to use an ATM machine using the interactive. Share the many interactives and/or video clips on your interactive whiteboard or in a learning center. A printable AIDS workbook would be helpful for older students in health classes. This is a great site to link on your class website for students (and families) to check out at home. Middle school Family and Consumer science classes will find many of the topics fit right into the curriculum.
  This resource requires Adobe Flash and PDF reader software like Adobe Acrobat.

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Mind42 - IRIAN Solutions Vienna

Grades
1 to 12
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Mind 42 is an easy to use mind mapping (or concept mapping) tool. You create the format and easily add links, notes, to do lists, images, or even a Wikipedia ...more
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Mind 42 is an easy to use mind mapping (or concept mapping) tool. You create the format and easily add links, notes, to do lists, images, or even a Wikipedia article. Import the result into documents or perhaps a Skype conversation. Bring mind maps/concept maps to a new level!

tag(s): concept mapping (22), mind map (24)

In the Classroom

This free organizational tool can be used in classrooms at every level. Teachers can use this tool to help organize learning units and share the orgnanization on screen so students see how pieces fit together. Share the unit map with other teachers, students, or parents, to highlight goals, objectives, learning tasks, assessments, and resources. Share before your unit and expectations become very clear. Use as a yearly overview for parents showing units with resources at the beginning of the year at Open House. Let parents see the multiple ways their child will be assessed through the year. Students can use this tool for direction in problem based learning situations. Use this tool in science for collecting data, experiments, or science fair outlines. Use the tool in writing class to make writing guides for narrative or expository writing. In reading, use for predictions, sequencing of stories, inferences, or organizing genres of books each student has read. Have students map multiple ways to solve a single problem in math class. Have students keep daily requirements or schedules with readily available resources as links. Let students enjoy taking notes from content based classes. Have a student scribe create the notes each day and share with the class. Have student groups map the current unit before the test as a review activity.

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Stupeflix Video Maker - Stupeflix.com

Grades
5 to 12
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Stupeflix is a video creation application. Create and post videos and photographs to impress others and push your production skills to new levels. Drag and drop your images into the...more
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Stupeflix is a video creation application. Create and post videos and photographs to impress others and push your production skills to new levels. Drag and drop your images into the appropriate sequence or import from Facebook, Instagram, and more. Easily add additional text or make edits. Add more than one audio clip to the creation (though there is only one soundtrack available); upload others from your computer. Choose from a variety of themes: Snowflakes, Scrapbook, Blueprint, and others. Follow the easy to use directions to create an amazing video! Share on Facebook, Twitter, email the URL, or copy the embed code.
This site includes advertising.

tag(s): images (261), movies (63), video (251)

In the Classroom

Create a video montage of images taken in the classroom. Use to show a process, explain an experiment, discuss data collected, create club or class movies about happenings throughout the year, and much more. Use this tool as a creative and easy alternative to boring slideshow presentations. Introduce the major points of a topic through images and added text. Use this site to make commercials, science fair previews, and animated shorts in any content area. Have students make "advertisements" for an organism or a literary character. Make a travel commercial for a country being studied or for cultural sites in a world language class. Be sure to share the presentations on your projector or interactive whiteboard.

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Science (and more) to Music - Dr. Lodge McCammon

Grades
4 to 12
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This site offers many songs related to math, social studies, and science concepts. Science concepts include water & pollution, scientific inquiry, changes in matter, and much more....more
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This site offers many songs related to math, social studies, and science concepts. Science concepts include water & pollution, scientific inquiry, changes in matter, and much more. Math concepts range from order of operations to quadratic and exponential functions. After choosing a topic, you can listen to the song online, download the mp3, view lyrics, and possibly view an accompanying video. (Not all topics include the video.) Some topics also include a teacher guide with lesson suggestions. This site does mention that you can create your own videos. However, at the time of this review, that feature was not working.

tag(s): africa (181), area (65), atoms (55), bill of rights (28), branches of government (48), cells (102), civil war (145), constitution (79), elements (36), equations (155), exponents (42), factoring (31), factors (42), functions (70), inquiry (37), integers (41), matter (56), nutrition (154), oceans (147), order of operations (33), quadratics (32), rainforests (13), ratios (52), songs (52), sound (100), volume (46), water (130), world war 2 (141)

In the Classroom

Play songs related to math, social studies, or science concepts in class to supplement current lessons. Download and play the tunes on iPods or mp3 players in a listening corner. Have younger students sing along with the songs (reading the lyrics). ESL/ELL students will benefit from such an alternate presentation of concepts, as will any who have strong musical/rhythmic intelligence. Give students copies of song lyrics, and have them create their own songs. After listening to a song, have students create their own song relating to current classroom topics. Suggest some familiar tunes so students do not have to start from scratch. Create a video of the songs and share using a site such as SchoolTube reviewed here.
 This resource requires Adobe Flash.

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We Use Math - BYU Mathematics Department

Grades
6 to 12
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This site is a non-profit website dedicated to answering the question, "When Will I Use Math?" The site describes the importance of mathematics and many career opportunities available...more
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This site is a non-profit website dedicated to answering the question, "When Will I Use Math?" The site describes the importance of mathematics and many career opportunities available to students who discover mathematics. Although there is a store and social links on the site, it is worth the visit for the information provided. The Careers link provides an extensive list of careers that use mathematics along with the approximate salary scale. Clicking the title of the career leads you to a biography of someone with this career, their education, math required and used in this career, potential employers, and other facts. Other interesting sections of the site include How To Succeed (tips for being successful with math) and Did You Know? (tidbits and trivia related to math). There is also a link for teachers with a link to a forum, other math resources, and information about math competitions. A blog on the site offers other math problems and information.
This site includes advertising.

tag(s): biographies (85), careers (129), statistics (122)

In the Classroom

Challenge students to create a list of jobs requiring mathematics and see how many they can find that are provided on the site. Ask students to estimate average salaries of jobs listed on the site and compare to actual salaries. At Take Your Child to Work Day time, have students use this site to explore the connections between math and the careers they visit. Share this site with students when studying careers.

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Bounce - ZURB

Grades
6 to 12
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Bounce allows you to upload from your computer or grab an image from the web to share with others. Make "bouncing around" on the web easier and more directed by ...more
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Bounce allows you to upload from your computer or grab an image from the web to share with others. Make "bouncing around" on the web easier and more directed by guiding people to what you want them to see. Once you grab or upload an image (screenshot), you can add notes and comments. Share via email or using the url on the page. Free registration is required to be able to share links, view projects, and collaborate.

tag(s): images (261)

In the Classroom

Create a detailed and guided "web quest" for students. This way they cannot be confused about what they should be looking for on a page; they can simply look for your comments and find their information. Help special education students and others keep track of and organize what they have found on the web for research projects. This would be an excellent tool for showing and teaching reading comprehension. Assign students a web article or story and have them notate it with their pre reading questions, main idea sentences or summaries of what they have read. They can share their links with you as an assignment submission or for others to view. Use Bounce for students to critique or analyze bias or misinformation on websites as part of an information literacy unit. Students could also use a picture of an animal or plant and add the taxonomical information to it in science class and create a "web trail" of insects using Bounce as an alternative to an old fashioned insect project. Collect and annotate from all over the web!

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authorSTREAM - authorSTREAM.com

Grades
4 to 12
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authorSTREAM, an internet based presentation maker that is based on PowerPoint formatting, is easy to use and offers some very useful and unique features. Offering more than the basic...more
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authorSTREAM, an internet based presentation maker that is based on PowerPoint formatting, is easy to use and offers some very useful and unique features. Offering more than the basic PowerPoint creation greatly expands its value. Special features of authorSTREAM include the ability to make public presentations, download presentations as FLV, MP4, AVI, and WMV files, present live to an online audience anywhere in the world, and the ability to create a "channel" or collection of all your online work. With this application, you can add YouTube videos and sound narration directly to your presentations. Of these features, perhaps the two most unique are the ability to download in different formats. Using this, you can create a movie to be played on a television or create a file that can be shared by all of your audience on iTunes, since MP4 is iTunes language! With private presentations -- or even public ones -- you can protect access with a password. Also, this program has an add-on in PowerPoint that allows you to search web content directly from the application. This add-on is also free but does require a Windows machine; even if your Mac has Microsoft PowerPoint, it will not work properly. Talk about a time saver for Windows users!

tag(s): slides (60), video (251)

In the Classroom

Have you been contemplating a "flipped classroom" teaching style where you do the activities and hands-on things during class and the students listen to the information and lectures outside of class? This is a great tool for a flipped classroom or any use of sharable media. You can create your notes and lectures in PowerPoint, adding video clips and narration, download as an MP4, and then share with all of your students through iTunes. This greatly enhances the opportunities for extended thinking and active time in the classroom. More simply, try recording yourself giving an informational presentation, saving it here, and sharing with students via your website or wiki to access from home as a review tool or a catch-up for absentees. Have older students create their own presentations and share with the class and teacher via iTunes. Students who are normally very shy and uncomfortable can feel safe "presenting" in front of the class! High school students can also share links to their best work as part of a digital portfolio or college application. Art students can create online portfolios with narrated artist notes. Student-made book talks can be shared on iTouches in the library/media center. Link to them by QR code! Teachers at any grade level can share back to school night information with parents unable to attend.

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