TeachersFirst - Featured Sites: Week of Jan 29, 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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100 Snowballs Game - ABCya!

Grades
K to 4
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What can you do with 100 snowballs? Find out with this interactive activity where students can let their imaginations run free with creating a winter scene using 100 snowballs. The...more
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What can you do with 100 snowballs? Find out with this interactive activity where students can let their imaginations run free with creating a winter scene using 100 snowballs. The activity is easy to use, simply click and drag each snowball anywhere in the scene. Finished creations can be saved to your computer or printed using links at the top of the activity.

In the Classroom

This site would be perfect for the 100th day of school activities! Use in a computer center and have students group the snowballs into different size groups and count how many are in each pile. Have students create a scene using the 100 snowballs then write a poem about their creation.
 This resource requires Adobe Flash.

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Not Just Sushi - Dr. Min Liu and Team

Grades
6 to 10
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Not Just Sushi is a webquest about the Japanese culture, current and historical, centered around food as an entry point. There are three quests for you to choose from and ...more
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Not Just Sushi is a webquest about the Japanese culture, current and historical, centered around food as an entry point. There are three quests for you to choose from and for your students to complete: Creating a Japanese Travel Guide, Creating a Japanese Cookbook, and Creating a Japanese Restaurant. Students will learn historical, geographical, cultural, nutritional and other information about major Japanese food, through this site and links provided on this site. For students to use the notepad, a tool to take notes on what they find as they explore virtual Tokyo, you need to register them. If you do not want your students to use the notepad, you do not have to register; just have your students log in as guests. Once you have chosen (and clicked on) a restaurant or residence to explore, you will hear a conversation in Japanese with balloons in English. Be sure to click around on the image to learn information and to find the resource links. Though the website states this is for sixth grade, it is suitable for a range of grades.

tag(s): cross cultural understanding (115), cultures (105), japan (62), webquests (29)

In the Classroom

Create small groups of students, then use your interactive whiteboard or projector introduce the site. There are descriptions and plans under the "Teacher's Guide" for each of the three projects. You may want to post the link to the directions on either your website, or use PearlTrees reviewed here not only for the project directions, but to direct your students to only one or two of the sites listed.

Students making the "Travel Guide" can use an online program like SimpleBooklets reviewed here to present their final project to the class, or My Brochure Maker reviewed here if you want the brochures for your bulletin board. Students creating the "Cookbook" can use a site such as Bookemon reviewed here. Students interested in completing the "Japanese Restaurant" project can simply create a menu by using a site like Web Poster Wizard 7332reviewed here.
 This resource requires Adobe Flash.

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iCharts - iCharts, Inc.

Grades
2 to 12
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iCharts creates a new place to publish online charts (with interactive info on mouse-clicks) based on public or private data. Format charts as you see fit. Share charts using Facebook...more
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iCharts creates a new place to publish online charts (with interactive info on mouse-clicks) based on public or private data. Format charts as you see fit. Share charts using Facebook or Twitter or embed them in a website or blog. Clip and save iCharts that you like into your account. You can also browse all types of interesting charts made by others.

tag(s): charts and graphs (195)

In the Classroom

This site is great for classroom work or teacher-created mapping. You will want to play with this tool before using it in class, but it is very simple to use. Use with any numerical data that is best shown in a chart. Collect data in a science lab, survey, or math class, and display it using different graphs to discuss the advantages and disadvantages of using each graph type. In reading class, practice reading charts/graphs that accompany informational texts using the various examples here. Use for quick creation and sharing of graphs. Create charts together easily on an interactive whiteboard (or projector) when introducing the different types to elementary students, then embed your examples on a class web page for students to revisit. Have students operate the board so their peers can see how the tool works and give each other oral directions as they problem solve together. Then make the iChart site a small group center during math class for further practice on a computer or interactive whiteboard. Save this site in your favorites for quick retrieval any time students need to make a quick chart. For student practice, have them chart time spent on homework or hobbies, choice of favorite pet, etc. Reinforce good study habits in middle school by having students make charts of their average grades or time spent on independent reading.

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The Readability Test Tool - David Simpson

Grades
1 to 12
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Test any website's readability using The Readability Test Tool. Test readability by URL or direct text input from any source (such as copy/paste of student writing). Simply enter...more
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Test any website's readability using The Readability Test Tool. Test readability by URL or direct text input from any source (such as copy/paste of student writing). Simply enter the web address (URL) and get the readability of the site on several scales. You can also check your own webpages by using the "referer" section. You will get a score for the most used readability indicators: Flesch Kincaid Reading Ease and Grade Level, Gunning Fog Score, Coleman Liau Index, and Automated Readability Index (ARI). The tool also includes explanations of each scale. These tell much more than a simple "grade level."

tag(s): independent reading (125), readability (8), writing (355)

In the Classroom

Use this tool to offer differentiated resources for the different reading levels in your class. At the beginning of the year, as you learn your students' capabilities, use this tool to find reading at the appropriate level to eliminate frustration. This is perfect for finding the "just right" level for your highly advanced/gifted students and those needing extra remediation. If you do discover that a website you want to use is over your students' independent reading level, you can still use it, just open Lingro reviewed here first; then enter the URL you want them to read. Lingro is a study aid and open content dictionary that makes all of the words (on a particular website) clickable for definitions and translation. Of course, if the sentence length or complexity is at a much higher reading level, simple word definitions will not make it "readable" for struggling readers.

Why not have students put in the URL for their blog or wiki (or simply paste in a writing sample) to see the level at which they are writing? This is one way to encourage writing as a craft and challenge students to include more varied vocabulary and sentence structure in their writing.

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Groundhog Day and Possum Night Talking Storybook - Mighty Book

Grades
K to 3
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This is a talking storybook that tells the story of Groundhog Day (and a bit more.) Animations and silly music help bring the story to life and add interest for ...more
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This is a talking storybook that tells the story of Groundhog Day (and a bit more.) Animations and silly music help bring the story to life and add interest for students. Students can follow along as text is highlighted when being read. The story can also be stopped at anytime and pages can be flipped forward and backward.

tag(s): holidays (147), preK (275)

In the Classroom

This would be a great site to use on classroom computers as a center close to Groundhogs Day. Show the book on your interactive whiteboard or projector and have students circle and find adjectives, nouns, or verbs in the story.
 This resource requires Adobe Flash.

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Biodigitalhuman - Healthline Networks

Grades
7 to 12
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Use this exceptional tool to look inside the human body in a detailed 3D view. Definitions, descriptions, and common conditions of that structure show in the pop up text. View ...more
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Use this exceptional tool to look inside the human body in a detailed 3D view. Definitions, descriptions, and common conditions of that structure show in the pop up text. View male or female anatomical structures down to the most incredible detail. Use the slider along the bottom to rotate the image 360 degrees. View the videos, health tips, injury or disease causes or symptoms, and other structures. Choose which system to view: urinary, digestive, reproductive, muscular, nervous, or many others. Of course, this site is "anatomically correct."

tag(s): body systems (56), human body (119), medicine (67), reproduction (9)

In the Classroom

Use this resource in an anatomy/physiology, biology, or health class. Use as a resource to understand structure and function as well as common health ailments and their effects. Share this site on your interactive whiteboard or projector. Provide this link on your website for students to use who are studying human body systems. Assign a different "system" to each student (or cooperative learning group). Challenge students to create multimedia presentations on their system using one of the many TeachersFirst Edge tools reviewed here.

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Tildee - tildee.com

Grades
4 to 12
2 Favorites 0  Comments
   
Create tutorials for anyone about anything using this tool! Start from an easy to use template and share your tutorial via a unique URL. Your tutorial can have text, screen ...more
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Create tutorials for anyone about anything using this tool! Start from an easy to use template and share your tutorial via a unique URL. Your tutorial can have text, screen shots, and videos. You don't need to register to start a tutorial, but if you want to save, edit or delete it, you'll need to sign up with your email address. Tildee is free. You can also view public tutorials by searching. At the time of this review, there were many well done Tildees on topics such as: How to Use Google Translate, Camtasia: The Beginnings, Glogster, How to Make Professional YouTube Background, and much more.

tag(s): assessment (99), tutorials (47)

In the Classroom

Tildee could become a very powerful tool in your classroom. Have students use it to demonstrate what they understand about any concept you teach. Tildee would be the ultimate in "show your work" to explain how students came to a conclusion. Students could use Tildee for persuasive speeches, or speech and debate by uploading facts, videos, and images to prove their point during their speeches. They can also use it to write sequenced directions. Students in history, math, science, art or music classes could showcase their knowledge by creating a tutorial about any topic: how an animal became endangered and the steps to reverse this, the major events that led up to the Civil Rights Movement, or the Holocaust, how to reduce a fraction, the cycle of a cell, or anything else you feel would be worthy of assessment. Physical Education teachers could create tutorials for any move for any sport or exercise, i.e. how to do a proper sit-up or push-up. Teachers can use this site to create tutorials for absentees and/or review and post the URL on your webpage.

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obooko - Tony Stanton, Sarah Bainbridge, Tim Johnson

Grades
7 to 12
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Join the writers and readers of obooko, the free site to publish and read ebooks. Readers' Choice Awards of 2011 winner for free eBooks , obooko offers a platform to ...more
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Join the writers and readers of obooko, the free site to publish and read ebooks. Readers' Choice Awards of 2011 winner for free eBooks , obooko offers a platform to share your work and read the works of others. Become a reviewer and write comments on other ebooks. As authors, you retain all rights with no charges or contracts. This site is legal and does not infringe on copyright laws. There are numerous categories to choose from: Romance and Women, Crime, Religion, Thriller, Mystery, Teens, and much more! This site is not intended for children under 13. Some of the content may not be appropriate for the classroom. So be sure to preview.
This site includes advertising.

tag(s): creative writing (167), ebooks (40), mysteries (25), novels (24), poetry (229), religions (61)

In the Classroom

For your language arts class, obooko contains many examples of contemporary writing. Selections for critiquing and editing are readily available without hurting any class member's feelings. Look at examples for current ideas and places to begin brainstorming. Included are free templates for different types of writing. Have each member of your class become a published author! Use the titles as writing prompts or read only half of the story and have students finish it in their own way. Bring each student's story into the lives of many. Assign critiques using obooko. You might even create a school or class obooko literary magazine during poetry month.

Library/media specialists may want to select certain ebooks to load on school iTouches for students to read and review. Start an obooko reading club with these free options.

If you are uncomfortable sharing here or school policy prohibits it, have your classes create a similar website (wiki) with published pieces from your school or class. Not familiar with wikis? Check out the TeachersFirst Wiki Walk-Through.

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JellyCam Stop-Motion Maker - Chris Dennett Tickly Pictures

Grades
4 to 12
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Interested in stop motion animation, but think it is too complicated? JellyCam is a free program for creating stop motion movies. JellyCam is a software download for Windows computers...more
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Interested in stop motion animation, but think it is too complicated? JellyCam is a free program for creating stop motion movies. JellyCam is a software download for Windows computers and Macs for creating stop motion movies using the computer web cam or an assortment of pictures. Adobe Air is required and is a free and simple install. Be sure to check out the specs required for installation. Easily use images from your computer or ones captured from your webcam. Upload a soundtrack if desired. View the video tutorial before beginning to get an overview of how to use the site. Select images, and then quickly arrange them into a sequence. Then determine how many images you want per frame. View the demo video to learn more about this neat program!

tag(s): animation (59), movies (63), video (251)

In the Classroom

Use JellyCam to show time consuming or difficult processes broken down frame by frame. For example, long games of Chess could be turned into a video that just highlights player moves. For Science, show processes such as diffusion and osmosis (drop food coloring in water and watch it spread over time) or create DNA models that you actually show moving performing a process one step at a time. In math, build geometric structures or find math in everyday actions. Create a stop motion of actors throughout a scene. Show the creative process in creating a work of art. Have students use your webcam or digital camera to capture images showing a sequence of events within a story or book. Use this site to retell science concepts (life of a cell, human stages of development, and others). Groups of students can create the dialogue or narration for the video by using a program such Blabberize (reviewed here). Share student videos using a tool such as SchoolTube reviewed here.

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Engrade - Engrade

Grades
3 to 12
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Engrade will no longer be free starting in September 2016. Alternative tools to use would be Edusight, reviewed here, ClassFlow, reviewed...more
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Engrade will no longer be free starting in September 2016. Alternative tools to use would be Edusight, reviewed here, ClassFlow, reviewed here, Otus, reviewed here, or Easyclass, reviewed here. Engrade is a comprehensive grade book program complete with tools to create quizzes, wiki pages, calendars, flash cards, create discussions and send messages to and from students, parents and administrators. The best part is all of this is free and both FERPA and EU Safe Harbor compliant. Student information security is a top priority for this company. This is a great way to slim down the number of log-ins and passwords students must have. Instead of using three different log-ins and passwords in three different programs for grade book, online tests and quizzes, and wikis, it is one stop shop. This site could help you save time and confusion for both teachers and students.

tag(s): quiz (85), wikis (20)

In the Classroom

Sign up for an account (email required) and keep track of student scores, create quizzes for students, and make discussion boards for online conversations about things that happen in your classroom. Quizzes can be graded from the grade book program, directly entering the scores into your records. Be sure to provide this information (link) on your class website for parents to access.

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